Saturday, December 12, 2009

The new PUG tool is awesome!

Dear readers, thank you for the great feedback on my previous article, To PUG or not to PUG... The reaction, not only on this blog obviously, seems to be close to unanimous: the new LFG tool is a big success. As it happens, right after I posted that article, I decided to stop being chicken and just give the damn tool a try. I did and I loved it. Here is a summary of the main advantages and drawbacks that I've experienced.

Before I start, the usual disclaimer: these are my personal opinions, yours may be different. Also please keep it in mind that I'm writing this as a solo player who has only grouped once before for a dungeon in WotLK and never in BC.

Advantages of the new LFG tool
  • Solo players such as myself finally have a way to experience 5-man dungeons like never before.
  • There's no need for a guild in order to create a group.
  • The tool allows anyone to get into a group incredibly quick! Thanks to the new cross-realm technology, queues are so short that you barely have enough time to do anything until you get thrown into a dungeon. I can't speak for specific dungeons but that's how it works for random ones. The first time I queued up, the confirmation dialog came so quickly that I missed it due to not being ready. The next queue came just as fast, under 1 minute.
  • Linked to the above point, you no longer have to waste 30 minutes - 1 hour spamming the trade chat for a PUG.
  • The LFG tool puts you right inside the instance which means that "noobs" like me don't have to make a fool of themselves by admitting they don't know where the entrance is. In addition, it saves you a lot of time because you don't have to travel all the way to the instance and then wait for slow-ass group members to show up.
  • The LFG tool allows all players, even casuals, to experience a lot of content that they would have otherwise missed due to being afraid to group with random strangers.
  • It makes PUGs cool and safe. Cool because you don't need to know anyone in the group and as a consequence it allows shy people to be more at ease. Safe because of the voting feature where you can choose to kick out from the group anyone who acts like a jerk.
  • Because all the pre-dungeon logistics are taken care of, it's easy to jump right into the middle of the action and finish a heroic in 30 minutes - 1 hour, as long as it used to take just to form a group before patch 3.3.
  • All this efficiency allow people to run more dungeons in the same amount of time than they used to. Which also translates into more loot and cheaper mats on the AH. For example Frozen Orbs have dropped on my server, in the few days since patch 3.3 went up, from 30 gold to less than 10 gold.
  • The new loot option, in addition to Need and Greed, which is Disenchant, also makes enchanting mats more common and cheaper. Of course, this new option only applies if there's a disenchanter in the group.
  • If the random group that you are in is very good, you can choose to complete other dungeons with them, without disbanding, by having the party leader queue the group for another dungeon. How cool is that?
  • It allows casuals who care about achievements to accomplish a whole lot of them. In only 2 heroics I got about 10 new achievements.
  • As a further incentive to use this tool, we get the Perky Pug as a reward for grouping up with 100 random people.

Disadvantages of the LFG tool

Unfortunately there are a few things that are missing from the LFG tool. They're not exactly major disadvantages but life would be even better with them.
  • You can't use the LFG tool for raids. That's very sad because I was hoping to finally jump into some form of casual raiding without having any affiliation with a guild.
  • You can't use the LFG tool for older dungeons/raids such as BC or Classic. I would have really loved to be able to group up for some of the older dungeons. Even though I can solo most of the 5-man BC dungeons, that's not the case for raids. For example it would be totally awesome if this tool allowed us to queue up for a Molten Core or AQ raid.
What I'm hoping for is that Blizzard will enable these 2 features some time in the future. It is entirely possible that they won't even consider it but hey, I can only hope.

At any rate, despite these minor issues, I declare the new LFG tool a major success. It's probably one of the best features that any patch has introduced in a long time. It opens up World of Warcraft to so many players who had never considered grouping due to various reasons and, I dare to suggest, it removes some of the stigma that surrounds casuals and solo players. The only question that I have is why the hell didn't Blizzard implement this earlier, like in Classic or at least BC? Beggars can't be choosers though and I salute Blizzard and thank them for this new feature.

If you can think of other cool features and/or disadvantages of the new LFG tool that I haven't covered, please drop me a line. And enjoy pugging like never before!


MrShides said...

Hello good sir,

You can in fact use the LFG tool to run the classic content, so long as it is level appropriate. I'm fully aware that in your article you where hoping for running old content on your level 80 main.

However, this is great, because now that level 30 something alt you had can get into a Black Fathom Deeps run or other run super easy!


MK said...

Glad to hear you've dove in and enjoyed it. Now you'll have to change the name of your blog to "Soloing is dead" jkjk. But seriously, MrShides is correct. I used the Dungeon Finder for a low-level alt and it went off without a hitch.

Darth Solo said...

@MrShides I am aware of that. I failed to mention this aspect but I realized from the start that the tool is "level sensitive". That's what made me sad, I just wish I could team up with, say, level 60s for a BC dungeon.

@MK I'll definitely have to try it with my 74 rogue and 67 shaman. But first I have to get tired of running it with my hunter :)

Anonymous said...

You can't use the LFG tool for raids.

From the patch notes:

There is a new Looking For Raid option available to players that can be accessed via the Raid Information screen in the interface or by typing "/LFR."

Search for "Looking For Raid" in the patch notes for more details.

Anonymous said...

The LFR tool (looking for raids) is mostly the same tool we had pre-patch 3.3 (and is not cross-faction). Major problem of raids is the multiple composition. While heroics are ALWAYS 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 dps... Raids can be very different from each other.

Darth Solo said...

@Anons I pretty much forgot about that old tool. I never used it. I had a suspicion that it would be a lot harder for an automated tool to come up with a viable raid group. Oh well, I guess I'll just stick to heroics.

Jarnow said...

Darth, regarding the out-of-level content, as someone who is learning to heal with my mid-60s Druid in BC dungeons I don't *want* you (or other 80s) there :) It's fine if I arrange a run-through but if I am looking to group up to experience the dungeon and challenge my newfound healing abilities, a lvl80 blasting through everything wouldn't really accomplish my goals...


Other than that I totally agree that the system is great.

DaveTheWaveUSMC said...

The new LFR tool is much better than the old LFG tool. It can be found on the same screen with your friends list and who. Look for the Raid tab at the bottome right. You can now que up for more than 3 raids. Give it a try...

Darth Solo said...

@Jarnow you have a point there. I would hate to have an 80 in my Deadmines group for my lv.15 priest. However, you can always kick them out if that's the case :) I would have liked the opportunity to group up mainly for Classic and BC raids though.

@DaveTheWaveUSMC I'll probably give it a try at some point but first I'm trying to get enough Emblems to upgrade my gear or else I'll look a fool.

Narillan said...

Only "negative" I've found with the LFG tool is that if you queue as dps/healer, well get used to being the healer. I've gotten to DPS one instance in all the times I've queued. Though if you want your dungeon group fast, be a healer or tank. You will have a dungeon in less than a minute in most cases.

Darth Solo said...

@Narillan yup, that's definitely true. Healers and tanks have the shortest queues. Does the tool force you to queue as dps/healer or is that your own choice?

Narillan said...

@Darth, ah I'm slow in replying. :)

It's my choice. And I've been running as healer for my guildies lately that I've just been staying in my offspec of Resto. I'm definitely queueing up as just DPS sometime soon just so I can lightning something. :)

Darth Solo said...

I've never healed or tanked for a group. I'm imagining there's a lot of responsibility and I'm scared to do it.

Stranic said...

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Darth Solo said...

@Stranic duuude...