Dungeon Finder: Two Perspectives (Part 2)

As you may recall, I devoted my last post to crying like a little girl with a skinned knee about the injustices that we’ve been served via WoW’s new Dungeon Finder tool. This time around, we’re going to dig into the more positive aspects of said tool. So, without further space-filling text in the first paragraph, let’s put on a happy face!

Part 2: The Good

I could spend literally all day discussing the multitudes of little benefits that the new system provides, but I’ll instead focus on the three that affect me the most personally… cuz this is my blog. Go get your own. Unless you already have your own. Then this is just awkward. Where was I? Oh yes, my top three reasons that Dungeon Finder is not the¬†Antichrist. They are:

  1. More for My Gold
  2. More for My Money
  3. PvP… Yes, PvP!

I will now address each bullet point in its own paragraph with its associated heading, thus giving some order to this post and enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Go!

More for My Gold

Specifically, I’m talking about Dual Talent Specialization. That’s a 1000G investment that is rarely put to good use on my alts. Devv has been swapping back and forth between Arcane and Frost for her PvE and PvP needs respectively. But my DK and my Druid account for a 2K gold investment that, prior to patch 3.3, was little more than a sunk cost. Why? Because I’m a chicken-shit, usually too afraid to step out of my comfort zone for fear of failure. Predatore generally gravitates toward Blood DPS. But he could be tanking and getting into Heroics in two seconds flat. And Mezzanotte has been happily burning down the mobs of Northrend as a Boomkin. But the need for healers is much greater than the need for deeps.

A couple weeks ago, a Holy Paladin changed the way I look at my secondary specs. I was questing on Mezzanotte, plowing through her early 70’s. As she neared endgame, I was starting to dread questing out those last few levels. I was just ready to be… done. To break the monotony of questing, I queued my little laser chicken up for a random Northrend dungeon. After a 15-20 minute wait listening to instrumental soft rock versions of the hits of Journey and Foreigner in the Blizzard lobby (how cool would that be if you could teleport to an actual waiting room with magazines and stuff?), she was plopped down at the entrance to The Nexus.

Whenever I enter a dungeon, I generally take a peek at the other party members’ specs and gear. Holy Pally healer? Works for me. Level 80 Holy Pally healer in mostly ilvl 232 gear or better?!? Very cool! Not that it was any of my business, but I asked the Healadin what a well-geared level 80 was doing in a normal dungeon. He responded that he was practicing healing in an environment where it was less crucial for him to perform flawlessly. Genius! Pure genius!

Why didn’t I think of that? Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone pick up a second spec and queue up for Heroics. That’s missing the point. I’m suggesting that once a day, grab that second gear set (if necessary), activate that lonely talent spec, and jump into a normal random dungeon. You’ll be rewarded a couple Emblems of Triumph for you effort and have a chance to hone your skills without fearing the wrath of the epeen asshats that populate the upper half of the Dungeon Finder system.

In Mezzanotte’s case, she’s had a Resto spec sitting in her back pocket since level 40. Outside of healing a few Outland dungeons, the only time Resto has been activated has been when she’s visited her class trainer to fill in the incremental talents specific to that tree. At level 80, it’s a lot easier to compensate for an undergeared DPS than an undergeared healer in Heroics. As such, it would be easy to queue her as nothing but Boomkin and forget all about her healing abilities. But the Dungeon Finder system gives her the opportunity to practice healing without losing all of the Triumph badges she’d accumulate in the Heroic version.

More for My Money

I’m not talking about gold here. I’m talking about my money. As in, the fifteen clams a month I drop on this game. Before three-point-three went live, finding a group for Heroics was a frustrating experience. While the search was understandably easier for healers and tanks, DPS were left with only a couple of undesirable options. You could select up to three specific dungeons in LFG and hope for the best. But for DPS, throwing your name into LFG was a lot like posting a classified ad titled “Registered Sex Offender Looking for Love.” You weren’t likely to get many responses. You could spam Trade with “LFM for H Dungeon X,” but unless you were trying to do the daily or H ToC, you could count on getting exactly zero tells. Don’t even get me started on attempting to recruit tanks and healers for the cause.

But Dungeon Finder changed all of this. Gone are the days of camping in Dalaran, spamming Trade, and trying to quickly PST the rare tank or healer that popped into LFG before somebody else snagged them. In short, Dungeon Finder has allowed me to run as many Heroics as I want in a completely non-intrusive way. It honestly doesn’t bother me that I sit in queue for an average of 15-20 minutes per Heroic. In fact, I enjoy the way it splits up my playtime. When I log in, I click the green eye, then go about my dailies. I can usually knock out my cooking daily and half of my Argent Tournament dailies before my group is ready for me.

Since Devv has knocked out the Crusader prerequisites, she has nine dailies available to her in the tents to the north. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but they’ve become more of a chore than a pleasure. I’ve done them all a million times. I’m actually to the point that I enjoy “Get Kraken!” because the mechanics are a change of pace from the usual fare. Popping into a random dungeon is a nice little break from the grind. It’s kind of like a halftime show.

With the exception of PvP, I can pretty much do whatever I want while I wait in the queue. It’s truly a “set it and forget it” experience. The only downside is that sometimes I do truly forget it. Last night, I wrapped up a daily and snuck outside for a quick smoke. As I headed back to my office, it occurred to me that I might have just F’ed myself in the A. Sure enough, the little green blinking eye was gone. Doh! But if that is the biggest issue I meet with Dungeon Finder affecting my habits, I’ll take it.

PvP… Yes, PvP

Euripedes is either going to kill me or love me for saying this, but you can pick up an entire set of ilvl 226 or higher PvP gear without ever stepping foot in a Battleground or Arena. For a grand total of 325 Emblems of Triumph, you can pick up the five-piece Arena Season 6 set. I know Season 8 is right around the corner, but these ilvl 232 beauties are a huge improvement over the crafted blues or PvE gear that many of your teammates and opponents are running around in. Devv is piecing together the Furious Gladiator’s Regalia set right now.

But what about the accessories? The trinkets, rings, necklace and non-set armor pieces? Those all take Honor Points to purchase. Remember when you started running Heroics? That little Wintergrasp buff meant that you were racking up 12-16 Stone Keeper’s Shards per run. After every run, you had to sneak a peek at your Currency tab to see how close you were getting to 300 of those bad boys for that drool-inspiring Black War Mammoth. But I’d venture to guess that you haven’t checked your SKS count since you acquired a mount that, as it turns out, doesn’t fit through many doors.

When your faction has WG, 30 of those dust-collecting Shards will earn you a Wintergrasp Commendation and a cool 2000 honor. Not too shabby. Your bracers, a ring, a trinket, necklace, belt, cloak, and boots will run you a grand total of 294,400 honor. That will cost you approximately 148 Wintergrasp Commendations, therefore 4440 Stone Keeper’s Shards. I know that sounds like a lot, but it is possible. If the average Heroic drops 16 Shards and you run five Heroics a day while your faction controls Wintergrasp, it would take you less than two months. Another 70 Stone Keeper’s Shards will earn you both your head and shoulder enchants. A +20 Resilience gem is yours for the low, low price of 20 Shards and you can fill that Meta slot for another 15.

The only holes you’ll have to fill are one ring and one trinket. But by this point, you should be geared enough to grind out some Wintergrasp Marks of Honor and fill them in. It will only take you 40, which works out to a little over 13 Wintergrasp victories. If your faction can’t pick up 13 wins in two months, you probably don’t want to be gearing up for PvP anyhow. Consider a faction transfer. The only things I haven’t covered are weapons, off-hands, relics, and ranged. You’ll pretty much leave your PvE gear equipped in these slots. For realz. And bickety bam! Bob’s your uncle. A full set of pee-vee-pee without ever stepping foot in a BG. Random Heroics FTW.

How does this affect me? ToC, ToGC, and ICC are the only raids that interest me at this point. Maybe the occasional VoA, but that’s a 30-minute faceroll. If I were to run all of them in one week, I’d still have a lot of playing time available to me. Taking an interest in PvP again has added another dimension to my playing. I remember how excited I was when I dinged 80 and started gearing up for raiding. I get that same sense of excitement as I’m gearing up for PvP. That Lock that roflstomps me in WSG? Come see me next month.

Holy crap! This was a long one. In my next post, I want to spend a little time talking about why I went back to my former guild and my adventures in a bittersweet return to PvP. Everything old is new again. That would make a nice post title!

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