Dungeon Finder: Two Perspectives (Part 1)

As with any major patch, 3.3 brought with it some conversation pieces that still resonate today. Was passing out Emblems of Triumph like candy the biggest nerf the game has seen? Was adopting a QuestHelper-like interface catering too much to the noobs? Did allowing shoulder enchants to be BoA cheapen the Sons of Hodir rep grind a bit? Arguments could be made for both sides of all of these questions.

The change that stands out the most to me is the Dungeon Finder system. I was originally going to do one post discussing the pros and cons of the new system. But as I started writing, I realized it might be best to devote one post to the good and one post to the bad. Today’s post will get the negativity out of the way so we can all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” next time around. Without further ado…

Part 1: The Bad

Alternate title: The Cow-Punching Noobtards Can Haz Herokes. Yes, that’s right. We’ve all dealt with it. Regardless of Blizzard’s attempt at restricting undergeared players from entering Heroics for which they are not geared, they’re still getting in. Sometimes they’re coming in as part of a group. Some guildies couldn’t find a fourth or fifth member to carry their newly-minted 80’s through Heroics. Congratulations. You just won that role. Other times, and I’ve seen this, they’re sporting quest greens and blues and a crafted ilvl 245 item or two. The law of averages just humped your leg.

Regardless of how they made it into the run, they did. The fact that they don’t belong there is a moot point. So far, my personal experiences have all been with DPS, which is a lot easier to compensate for than tanks and healers. The “bad” ones usually fit neatly into one of three categories: a) DPS too low to be there, b) IQ too low to be there, or c) all of the above. The first category doesn’t really bother me. I’ve always thought of 1.6K DPS as a minimum for most Heroics. As long as I can do three times that and the tank can hold aggro, what the other deeps are doing isn’t really a concern of mine. The second category… that’s a horse of a different color. These are the DK’s that Death Grip adds and drop Death and Decay before the tank has aggro. They’re the tab-targeting Locks that pull the boss while you’re still clearing trash. The Boomkin that Typhoons and Starfalls every denizen of the dungeon. And the Hunter with his pet set to Aggressive.

But let us not forget the third group: the unholy amalgamation of everything that is wrong with the world. Not just the World of Warcraft… the world. I’m not being a drama queen here. Think about it. We’re talking about the sixteen-year-old girl who just squeaked out a passing score on her driver’s exam shooting through the suburbs as she applies makeup and texts her BFF. Think I’m exaggerating?

Yesterday, I queued up for a random. After a few minutes, I wound up in Halls of Lightning with a Prot Pally, a Holy Priest, a Feral Druid, and a Prot Warrior. Notice something a little unusual there? Two Prots. The Pally was around 40K HP buffed. The Warrior, on the other hand, was around 24K HP buffed. The Pally quickly demanded that the Warrior switch specs. He barked, “I don’t need an off-tank in here!”

The Warrior obliged, but the Priest objected to the harsh request. Turns out, the Priest and the Warrior were guildies. Some words were exchanged. They weren’t necessarily nice words, per se. Before we got started, the Warrior indicated that his DPS would be a little low as he was gearing up to be a tank… yet he entered as DPS… spec’d as a tank. Yeah.

The Pally took off like a rocket and before we knew it, General Bjarngrim was down. There was literally no downtime before the Pally made his next pull. The Feral Kitty asked if we could slow down. The speed demon Pally wasn’t havin’ it. He gave brief pause as we prepared to make a mad dash through the Slags and up the steps on the other side. And when I say “brief,” I mean very brief. The Priest, kitty cat, and glorified off-tank did not make it through as they tried to follow through much too far behind. With nearly 40K HP going for him, the Pally remained alive as I AoE’d the Slags off of him. The rest… died.

While 60% of our group made their corpse runs, I took a quick look at Recount. My DPS was a little inflated by the AoE-fest, but not far from the 4K I tally in most Heroics. The Drood had about 1.5K, which was OK. I can compensate for that. But I nearly whizzed my pants when I noticed that the Warrior had racked up a cool 235 DPS. That’s not a typo. There’s no decimal point or “K” missing. Two hundred thirty-five damage per second. My Boomkin did double that in Hellfire Ramparts.

But at that point, I was determined to press on. If you look at 1.6K as a baseline for Heroic DPS, the damage trio needs to contribute around 4.8K to have an effective run. The Druid and I surpassed that number effectively, the tank was holding aggro just fine, and until the slow-pokes became crispy critters in the Slag room, the healer had been doing just fine too. But their corpse run took long enough that the Slags respawned. Without hesitation, the trio dashed into the room. The Pally noticed their questionable choice and rushed in to rescue them. He effectively grabbed aggro and escorted the gang to the steps. Health bars were a little low, but they made it.

It looked like we were in good shape until Mr. Three Digit Deeps raced around the corner to “safety,” pulling the next group of elementals on the landing. Rather than race toward the tank, he dashed around erratically trying to DPS them down. Let me remind you of something: two hundred… thirty… five! He was dead in a matter of seconds. Once he was no longer amongst the living, they wandered over to me. I knew I couldn’t escort them to the tank. The Slags were almost dead and would be exploding soon. If I popped Invisibility or Ice Block, the Healer would be their next target. So I Blinked to the corner that they came from, sacrificing myself to hopefully buy the Pally, Priest, and Druid enough time to knock out the Slags before they had to take on the off-tank’s pull. No such luck.

So, the Warrior became the proud recipient of my Second Annual Cow-Punching Noobtard of the Year Award. And a perfect example of the third group I mentioned above. His DPS was awful, but that wasn’t his greatest flaw. Most experienced players can compensate for a weak damage-dealer in the group. What you can’t always work around is stupidity. The Dungeon Finder tool is all about luck of the draw. Blizzard even gave us an aptly-titled buff to illustrate that point. Sometimes your luck is good, sometimes it’s bad. Just don’t let the bad experiences discourage you from using it. We’ll go on a magical adventure through Planet Happy Thoughts next time.

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