The Utopian Dungeon Finder

Reading the community response to Blizzard’s forthcoming attempt to reduce the dungeon finder queue times for DPS players (the Call to Arms) is making my brain itch1. I started to write a rant in response but … well, I was interrupted. Then I calmed down a bit and realised that ranting about it wouldn’t be that helpful. Then I read another couple of blogs on the subject, remembered an unfinished draft post I wrote on holiday a couple of weeks back2 and so you get this post of two related halves crudely cemented together.

First the ranty bit. I don’t entirely agree with what seems to me to be the consensus view of the dungeon finder at the moment, which I will inflammarise as:

  1. Everyone in the dungeon finder queue is an incompetent dickhead who will start writing their first expletive-filled insult while queuing so as to have it ready to send the moment the group zones in. Except me… and maybe you.
  2. After the call to arms goes live, pretty much every tank in the queue will have terrible gear, the wrong spec and no idea how to tank. As well as being an incompetent dickhead. Except my tanking alt, who I probably won’t play because everyone in the dungeon finder is an incompetent dickhead etc etc.
  3. The greater internet fuckwad theory is a solid gold proven fact engraved on a stone tablet and handed directly to Moses by Stephen Hawking, along with those commandment thingies and a telephone number for the Dark Matter band.

Ok. Guess my brain’s still a bit itchy after all.

One of the comments on a Wow Insider article published today echoed how I’m feeling (the rest are largely a circular “the problem is it’s too hard” > “no, the problem is you suck” > “I’m quitting. I’M QUITTING” cycle). An excerpt:

I myself PuG pretty often – in fact, that’s how I’m leveling up my healer, and you know what? I rarely meet rude and elitist players (of those who I do, I could count on one hand).

I think Talitha must be in the same alternate universe as me, and that’s great. In fact, I’d like to share with all of you3 *my* dungeon finder, which seems largely free from the vile behaviour my reading suggests is near constant elsewhere. Welcome to the Utopian Dungeon Finder (UDF), where devotion aura is more than just an armour buff…

Now before I start, I don’t want to give you false hope. This UDF of mine isn’t perfect. I could, for example, tell you a story about a DK who, when not doing 2.5k dps, alternated between complaining about the tank and complaining about the heals. Now to be fair to him, after the first five minutes I did notice that he was receiving a little less healing than the other players. I couldn’t help but notice: I was the healer and I wasn’t up for healing him while he typed his complaints mid-fight, but still…

Thing is, in the Utopian Dungeon Finder, stories like this are hugely memorable. Because they’re unusual. And before you ask, that’s not because the UDF is exclusively populated by guildies, either. I’m trying to make my three4 85s ‘raid-capable’, which means running HCs on all three for VPs, rep and the odd justice point whenever I can. I don’t get home from work in time for all of those runs to be with guildies, so I’ve solo-queued for a good number of runs, the majority on Ano as a healer.

The average UDF run consists of trading aimless puns and waffle with people from a variety of servers, with occasional breaks to kill bosses and collect loot.  All it seems to take is a single silly remark which garners a reply, and the ice is broken. After that, it’s gravy. The rest are your standard quiet-but-efficient runs, with polite helloes, thanks and goodbyes, and little else unless CC or other individual instructions are required.

It’s glorious.

The greatest thing about this wondrous arrangement is that when mistakes do happen, the response is another one of those silly remarks or at worst a ‘hells, those guys are a pain. Perhaps we should CC one?’ in party chat. Not a ‘FFS’ in sight, unless someone is being particularly self-effacing5. In the UDF, even running into inexperienced or plain not-that-gifted players isn’t a brain-exploding disaster: when everyone is being friendly, a “hey, btw it’s *really* important you get out of the way of Blitz this time — just run to one side” is helpful advice, not offensively patronising, and “Evening folks, just to warn you this is my first heroic/first time healing/first time I’ve tanked this dungeon” isn’t a cue for everyone to drop group in a cloud of profanity.

Perhaps Talitha has it right:

Want a great PuG run? BE NICE AND FRIENDLY ALL THE TIMES, even if it means pulling out your tooth. It’s worth it. (Being nice and friendly means NO snarky, subtle, snide comments or being rude to one person while being nice to the rest. That’s simply not nice.)

As my grandma used to say, “It’s nice to be nice.”

The Utopian Number Generator

The UDF seemingly also has the power to influence Lady RNG.

One night I’d logged on just too late for a slot in a guild heroic so threw myself into the queue and was fairly quickly placed in a group for Grim Batol as healer6. My heart sank a bit when I saw two rogues in the group, as they do seem prone to taking lots of damage and/or pulling aggro and going squish. It’s nothing personal, dear rogues — in fact I’d like to do a few more runs with rogues, if only to stop the constant supply of rogue loot that shows up for my largely rogue-free guild. Anyway, my already heavy heart sank further during the first pull when I had to make heroic efforts to keep one of them alive.

“Just let Rogue1 die, it’ll teach him a lesson” said the bear tank in party chat.

“Oh dear,” I thought, “I do hope this group won’t be fractious, as that will be most distressing.”7

There was a little back-and-forth between the rogue and the rest of the group at this point, but something about the tone made me check the player details more carefully. Aha, all four from the same guild.

This little exchange set the pattern for the rest of the run; random banter and requests to let one person or another die went back and forth after every pull. Friendly insults were traded, the occasional thank-you-as-compliment. At the end of the run, we hung around for a short while chatting about the the last boss encounter and the bear’s tactic for managing the adds, which seemed very effective (even if the switch to cat form and back confused Vuhdo and panicked me a little the first time it happened).

So far, so blah. Nice people in fun UDF run? Hardly front page material for me.

The good bit was the following night, once again queuing on my own, once again chosen to heal. Let’s see… a bear tank, a familiar-looking rogue… the same guild group from the previous night! It was awesome.


  1. Thank the gods for my previously-mentioned greasemonkey script! []
  2. Tapped awkwardly into the WordPress for Blackberry app while sitting on public transport with Bryn dozing on my shoulder []
  3. provided you’re not one of those incompetent dickheads from point 1 of the earlier inflammary. Hey, why stop at verbs! []
  4. soon to be four: Grammy-the-warlock is questing in Hyjal []
  5. “FFS, why didn’t I use lay on hands there? Sorry guys, completely my fault”. []
  6. it’s always Grim Batol for me, unless I’m grouping with guildies and someone says “I hope we get a quick one”. In which case it will be Deadmines :S []
  7. Well ok, that wasn’t precisely what I thought. I’m not a character in P&P&W after all. []

6 thoughts on “The Utopian Dungeon Finder”

  1. You seem to forgot the power of the bad experience.

    You can have fantstic runs every day for a month and then have one horror story and that horror story will be the only one you remember every time you run. In the back of your mind you will always being thinking, what if I get another one of those runs.

    It is human nature to be like that. No one ever goes on the forums to say, guess what I just had a great run. They go to say, guess what, there was this DK wearing spirit haste in my group doing 2500 DPS because people like to share horror stories.

    People like to share bad experiences but rarely share good ones. Like if you go out to dinner and something tastes bad you will usually go, this is horrible, here, taste. Yet if it is good you won’t even mention it at all. People like to share bad things.

    Being everyone shares their bad stroeis only and the good stories are few and far between it makes it seem as if the majority of the time things go bad.

    In turth, up until recently, I’ve had very few good run, many average ones and more then a handful of pull my hair out why the hell am I even here runs.

    The latter is the one that I always recall as to why I do not do my randoms any more. I have everything I need from valor, have for months, so why run it, to take the chance, even if it is only a small 20% chance, that I will end up in a group from hell.

    20% bad will always be a larger number then 80% good. Don’t let the number fool you, the power of that 20% is strong and will stick with you.

    1. You’re not wrong: bad experiences (of all kinds) seem to be more memorable than good ones. We certainly seem to be more likely to share the story of them with others.

      That said, even though they’re more fun to talk (read: rant) about, I don’t base my decisions on the 1/100 chance outcome, unless the 1/100 outcome is massively, horrifyingly extreme. If a bad pug run could delete all of my characters and bill my direct debit for £200, then I’d be extremely cautious about pugging. But the worst a bad pug run can do is frustrate me a little.

      From my perspective, if there are guildies around, I’ll take as many of them as I can with me, because I know them and like them and enjoy doing stuff with them. If there aren’t sufficient/any available, then I’ll throw myself in the queue and (in all likelihood) have a fun, straightforward dungeon run. But if it turns into a complete unrecoverable mess, I can drop the group and I’ve lost very little: I wasn’t going to run a dungeon on my own, so it’s just not something I get too excited about.

  2. I think you’re absolutely right. I think we tend to forget the decent dungeons that we have run just because they are less than memorable. In a massive sea of dungeons completed it is the unusual ones that stand out, and bad ones stick out like a sore thumb. This was why I intended to do a series on pugging on my Paladin highlighting every dungeon I ran, but I bumped into the problem where it just wasn’t interesting to write about the 10th run through Deadmines that went smooth as butter. I’d still like to do that project though, and see just what percentage of random dungeons really are intolerable. Maybe someday…

    1. Hmm, I don’t know. I think a series of two-line posts might make for an interesting commentary in and of themselves:

      “Today’s random group: DK (tank), mage, hunter, rogue. Rogue told a couple of jokes. Hunter did remarkable DPS. Quick and smooth”

      “Today’s random group: Warrior(prot), warrior(fury), warrior (arms), DK(frost). No plate dropped. We all laughed. Otherwise unremarkable.”

      etc etc

  3. On Live Journal, there’s a WoW community, called Dear_Gnome. I like it a great deal. Yes, there’s a fair bit of ranting and grizzling there – but there’s also a lot of “You guys rocked!” action going on, and I try to add to that positivity where I can. I deliberately posted the other week about what a pleasure it was healing one of our guildies through a heroic, while he was still in mostly greens, and being all apologetic, but also about how damned well he did! We definitely could do with more of that sort of thing!

    Hmm. Wonder if someone should set up a little community called Nice Pugs Have More Fun….?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>