#1 - 2013/04/02 11:01:00 AMI've been troubled for a long while about the impersonality of LFD. Aside from a few shared smiles and compliments if the group is good, the lack of any engaging content within it means that the most common feeling I ever get from it is frustration when the group is slow.
It used to be the case that even if a group might be bad, that would be mitigated by people being good-natured or wanting to overcome something - but in their current state, dungeons are so undertuned that players never have to communicate at all.
How did we get to this point? That's actually pretty easy to trace. The introduction of LFD and the lamentable failure of Cata's release heroics documents it quite well. LFD's rudimentary matchmaking tool is not capable of consistently churning out groups willing to tough out wipes and overcoming challenge. It's not in the mentality of much of the playerbase anymore; especially not when it comes to the task dungeons currently have.
Dungeons currently exist to be run repeatedly for valor points and gear. They're run ad nauseum, and it's completely reasonable for people to not expect to fail them. But content like that isn't enjoyable at all, and there isn't really a step between that and raiding.
We have LFR, but since it also uses the LFD matchmaking system, it boils down to just being a dungeon with more people. People don't want to 'progress' with random strangers they won't meet again. That's what friends and guilds are for.
That leaves us with a dilemma. We have normal/heroic raids, and we have LFD and LFR. There's no medium. No casual, current content where you actually want to talk to the other players. Perhaps normal modes on farm are the exception; you're okay to pug one or two people there, and there's a good chance you make some new friends in the process. But even these take a good deal of work to get together.
Here's where my idea comes in. We're currently seeing a lot of experimentation with scenarios. They're bite-sized bits of content with no real consistent structure, and no need for tanks or healers. The design options are more open-ended than dungeons, and this honestly makes them better suited for spamming like heroics. Much less aggro with other players is inevitable, with perhaps exception to something like "A little patience". That one certainly does try my patience. :P
Dungeons, on the other hand, have traditionally been about distilled combat. Heavy on the trash, light on the scripting, very much a "bring together a team and go gatecrash this party at x's house" deal. But Mists's dungeons have been the reverse. They've been light on the combat, light on exp, heavy on the scripting. You spend more time waiting for scripted events to happen than you do fighting. You watch that one boss in Gate of the Setting Sun zip around at 1 hp for a few strafing runs then suddenly dying. You cry yourself to sleep as you wait for the tower defense segment of Niuzao Temple to finish. Events like this are awful for something you want to blitz, by the way.
Really, if we're going to have both scenarios and dungeons, there should be a distinction. Why not bring 5-mans (or at the very least heroic 5-mans) more in line with what they used to be? Something you have to manually make groups for. With a need for 5 people, it's still a much quicker business than pugging raids. You have the scenarios for the daily grind, and the dungeons for something a little more engaging.
Hell, if we can work out a way to make them provide a reasonable, but not excessively great reward, we might even be able to bring them in line with Karazhan or BRD. Something you can explore in your own time without being compelled to run daily.
Of course, that's a demanding challenge. But I would love nothing more than some content where I'd actually get to go and meet new people again. Some content where I have to cast healing spells as a healer and isn't a scheduled raid night. The only way you really see this anymore is through raid pugs, and it's a real shame.
It is worth noting that 5.3's heroic scenarios suggest that Blizzard are at least trying to bring back some casual content not designed for anonymous matchmade groups. For that, I am really grateful.