As anyone knows who is involved with WoW, the “Dragon Soul” patch is currently on the way. What interests me more than anything else in this patch is the addition of the raid finder. Supposedly it sets you up with a raid group and you get raid loot that’s a tier or so underneath the normal stuff, but at least you get a chance to see the content. However, it does raise some interesting logistical issues.
For starters, WoW is a game that is heavily reliant on teammates. Whether you’re in a 5 man dungeon or a 25m raid, no single individual is going to win the show for everyone there. If your DPS is garbage you fail. If you tank is a ding dong you lose. If heals can’t stop watching television and WoW at the same time you get to re-do the encounter.
The upside to a system like this is that if you win, it feels great. You worked incredibly well as a team and yay we were victorious. The downside is essentially anyone who runs pubs or isn’t in a highly organized raid group (eg: nearly everyone). Coincidentally today I was browsing the LoL leader boards and the top 5v5 solo players have W/L ratios just above 50%. LoL is another game that reminds me of WoW in the sense that it requires immense teamwork.
I’m not entirely sure why games continue to rely so heavily on teammates to get the job done. It feels odd to be seemingly so alone with the thought that games would be made more enjoyable if the individual had a greater impact. The highest level of WoW raiding is possible to accomplish via GKDP runs where 10-15 members of the 25m raid actually do anything. BF3 is coming out and conquest mode is only playable at 32 or 64 players. Contrasted with CoD (admittedly a different style of FPS) what do you think the chances are that people will feel like an empowered individual when the team sizes go from 6v6 to 32v32.
Anyway, I think tools to find groups are awesome and need to be more heavily utilized in video games, but they can also be discouraging because running public groups in games that emphasize such a heavy amount of teamwork typically spells Disaster with a capital D.