Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New thoughts about LFD

Linedan at Achtung Panzercow wrote about his experiences in using the LFD tool for Random Dungeons. This post struck my chord, because it was something I was about to write myself.

As stated in the post - and as I have stated myself earlier, and so many others have said - LFD is easy, simple enough and effective. Especially if you are of tanking or healing persuasion. For a DPS kind of person it might be a bit more on the waiting side (not the nanosecond instancing like for a tank), but still it's fast enough to keep you going.

That is it's main attraction. It's fast and you get the much coveted Emblems of Triumph for the gear. Loads of them, if you're lucky with the instance you enter.

The catch is the randomness, both in the instance and in the group you are tossed in. If you are lucky, the group is full of professionals and the instance is through without a word from anyone. If you are unlucky, you scramble with a vocal and self-centered bunch wiping every other encounter and get rolled in Oculus three times in a row. With a forementioned wipe-group.

Because it's random over servers, the actual social connecting isn't there. You are running with a computer generated group with a bit better AI than in a current solo game and with as much chatting and connecting as within a solo game. Or even less.

I actually wondered whether the others are really living players and not some good AI constructs in one or two runs...

The other thing, which people seem to forget is that instead of running blindly from one group to another, it would be faster and more efficient to stick with a good group and run randoms in succession. The leader just puts the whole group into the LFD (Join as Party) and off you go to the next instance. Instead, people are leaving the group right after the final boss in the instance is killed, as if they were ashamed of the way they had chosen their loot or how they had done in the instance.

Both of the earlier things bothered me in the last Oculus random which I ran with Bishopgeorge (he's currently in shadow spec, as he just couldn't perform up to the standards he set himself up to in healing). There were two who had been there once (me and a warlock), one who hadn't been there ever (Bishopgeorge) and two who had been there several times. I started by saying that I don't know the instance well enough and I would welcome any hints on how to do things. Bishop and the 'lock stated their inexperience, too, but the two veterans just said hi and off we went. Everything went ok till we had to choose the drakes: I still have no idea what to choose and why, but I tend to fly on Amber one. The bosses didn't cause any problems at all, no deaths before Ley Guardian Eregos. Where we wiped because we three out of five didn't have a clue what was going on.

There was no co-ordination, no planning, no communication on what to do and how. As I mentioned that I do not have a clue on how to encounter Eregos, the paladin -one of the veterans- stepped down and told how he wants to see it done. The other veteran stated that he appreciated my directness in the issue and gave even more pointers.

Result: Eregos died and we missed the counter with one wipe only by few seconds.

I learned from this. As Eregos was dead and the loot cache was distributed the group dispersed before I could say a word. We took another random with Bishop and -to my surprise- ended up in Old Kingdom. I had been there two or three times at this point, and as the group leader I took the helm. I shortly recounted the specialities of the bosses before the encounter started, kept telling the group what I expected to see from them, guided the group through the instance. We made our speed records in two of the bosses. We cleaned the place in a breeze, even though Bishop was there for the first full run and another dps for the first time ever. And I didn't get a single negative remark on my guidance and leading, even though the healer and the rogue wore all purples.

The group disappeared into their own servers right after the run. Before I could suggest another one.

What the LFD doesn't teach you is to act civilized and to act socially. Some word here and there might make the run more fun or enjoyable. A guiding sentence every now and then might save the group from wipe, because you never know how the other players have played the encounter or have they ever been in the instance.

LFD is just like the game itself: you get from it exactly what you put into it.