Dungeon Finder Tanking Inecentives
Gosh, it must suck to work at Blizzard some days.
For months, forum posters have been complaining about “unacceptable” queue times for DPSers trying to do their daily heroic. Last night, Blizzard unleashed their plan to deal with this problem in the form of a “Call to Arms” system for the already-established dungeon finder. The full details are available on Blizzard’s official blog post, but here are the major bullet points:
- “Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the “Call to Arms: Tanks” icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu …”
- “Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss.”
- “Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you’ll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount.”
When I first read this last night, I had three basic reactions. The first: “Huh, that’s an interesting incentive.” The second: “Whelp, healers are never going to be the ones who benefit from this.” And finally: “Hoo, boy, people are going to be riled up about this one.”
As expected, the Twitterverse pretty much exploded into a debate about whether this was a Good Idea or a Bad Idea. Several people raised concerns that this was only a “band aid” that would temporarily helped the problem. There was also a question of whether it’s fair to only reward one specific role, and if the rewards available should be so extensive as to include rare mount drops.
Frankly, I’m not sure what anyone else expected Blizzard to do in order to counteract the lack of tanks who solo-queue for random heroics. In order to give people any sort of incentive to queue at all (and especially to queue alone if they have the option of going with a pre-made group), the rewards would have to be something pretty steep – and yet not game-changing. I’ve seen bloggers posing the idea of additional valor points, and while that would certainly be incentive to queue and help new tanks gear faster, I think we’d see a lot more accusations of Blizzard being “unfair” or “discriminating” against DPS classes if that were the case. Aside from that, gearing tanks faster essentially means gearing them out of the system faster, and that’s really not going to help solve the probelm long-term.
Choosing vanity items as the rewards for this system is actually a pretty smart idea because it ensures that even fully-raid geared tanks might have a reason to start queuing for heroics again. Sure, not everyone cares about rare mounts and non-combat pets, but I know at least one Pink Kitty who’s planning to run some heroics as a Pink Bear in the hopes of obtaining a few more pets for his collection. As I said above, if Blizzard is going to make a system that is really only going to reward one role, then the rewards cannot be something that make it easier to gear that class and they also must be something that will remain attractive to people who are already fully geared through current content.
I’ll admit to being a little sad that healers are never going to see any of the perks from the Call to Arms system. In theory, I suppose it’s possible that there are points during the day when maybe there are less healers in the queue than tanks, but I’ve never found that to be the case. During Wrath, I almost always had an instant to >1 minute queue time for my random. Since Cataclysm, the shortest I ever see is around 3 minutes, with most queues averaging from 5-7. While those numbers probably change slightly across the different battlegroups, the bottom line is that healers are not the bulk of the problem. Unfortunately for us, we have to deal with the same increased gear standards and responsibilities that tanks do in PuGs, but we won’t be seeing the same rewards for our efforts. But hey, we’re healers; we’re used to being under-appreciated.