Fixing the Community

I’m stumped.  I still love WoW, but I can barely stand to play it with anyone other than close friends or people that I know I can trust.  My ability to go out and mix with the community on my realms has been beaten down and destroyed.

Every change that Blizzard has made in the 3.x patch line to make content more accessible has been wildly successful – and yet each change only seems to increase the level of self-entitlement.  People want more loot, easier loot and bosses to fall over when you stare at them funny.

I have to wonder if  anyone would notice if Blizzard disabled /say, /yell /party and all emotes in dungeon finder groups, leaving the “vote kick” button as the only way of interacting with group members.

The thing is, I like being part of the larger community on my server.  Though I may advise against being a “walking wowhead”, I like helping other people.  I enjoy the game more when I can give someone information that improves their performance.  Just yesterday I helped a healer friend improve their enhancement offspec DPS to the point where they can comfortably queue for a heroic as DPS.  Opening up new play options for others is fun for me.

In dungeon finder groups though, I don’t even bother anymore.  The last warlock I tried to help in a Gnomeregan group responded to my suggestion to use more than Rain of Fire on single targets responded by saying “is my RoF bothering you?”.  How does one respond to that?

On the official forums many people decry this idea that “Cataclysm will fix it”, though for the most part they’re talking about game mechanics or class balance issues.  I’m not sure how many people feel that Cataclysm will change this anti-social society that has been growing throughout WotLK but has swelled since patch 3.3.

The dungeon finder is here to stay.  They are making some small changes in 3.3.3 which may help, or may be abused even further.  Whatever changes are made for the rest of 3.x, the dungeon finder will be a big part of leveling in Cataclysm, both through the new content and for anyone rolling a new alt to experience the new Azeroth.

If the consumers of the dungeon finder were reasonable and rational people, these changes would only improve things.  But therein lies the problem.  I don’t feel that the general WoW playerbase is reasonable and rational anymore.  They won’t be swayed by a compelling argument or an impassioned plea.  I feel that only impacting the material gain, the pure self-interest is going to make them sit up and take notice.

So, the question I’d like to pose is this:

What is the one thing you would change in WoW – mechanical, social or contractual (i.e. changes to the ToS) – to try to bring back the spirit of playing the game with others?

My change would be mechanical.  I’d reduce the two frost emblem reward for the first random heroic to one, but add a bonus for completing the group without anyone being kicked.  People dropping out or disconnecting are fine, but kicking an active member would make you ineligible for the bonus.  I would let you earn a maximum of two frost emblems per day from random heroics – so if you were in a group who kicked someone against your wishes, you could do another random heroic to make up the difference.  This would effectively double the time-to-emblem ratios for anyone with an itchy trigger finger on “vote kick”.

I believe that any group can complete nearly any dungeon with the group they are assigned – if people are willing to work together.  Your tank may not push the level of TPS you’re used to – the DPS can choose to go easy so they don’t pull agro.  Your healer may not pump out the kind of healing you’re used to – the group can do everything possible to avoid unnecessary damage.  Your DPS might be low – but you have the survivability to get the packs down if you concentrate.  Only in extreme cases like a Ret Paladin with no tanking gear queueing as tank in a group that has nobody with a tanking offspec might this work out badly.

If I had a second change to make, I’d require that to queue as a tank for a heroic (not a normal) you had a given number of talents to identify you as a tank.  When you spot someone with a bad talent spec, it’s easy to zone in on the key talents or trees that are set up wrong.  DKs would need to take the tier 1 talents, Paladins and Warriors would need to have a certain number of talents (40 perhaps) in their tanking tree.  Druids would need the same investment in feral but also have their anti-crit talent.

I’m interested to hear what other people think about the state of WoW today.  Am I way off?  Do you think everything is fine and will only get better with Cataclysm?  Or are you of the same opinion as me, and if so how would you go about fixing it?

Until Next Time

Image from ICanHazCheezBurger