Thursday, January 19, 2012

[SWTOR] Dungeon Finder

The Old Republic doesn't have a dungeon finder.  A lot of bloggers seem to be applauding this.

I don't know. Maybe they're right. Maybe a dungeon finder does damage the community and make running instances less fun.

All I know is that my highest level character, a 42 Sniper, has only seen the first three flashpoints, and only the first two were done at the appropriate level. The third flashpoint I did when I was 15 levels higher than the recommended level. I have not finished a [HEROIC 4] group quest since the second planet, at about level 16.  I have done some of the smaller [HEROIC 2+] quests though.

I have a whole set of outdated quests in my log, pointing to the flashpoints I just have not been able to do.

Now, maybe it's my fault for choosing to play a DPS character instead of a tank or healer. Maybe I should have found and joined an active guild with people at the correct level. Maybe I should be more willing to spend hours on the station looking for a group, instead of continuing on my quests.

Maybe I should have stuck with the player-made global Looking For Group channel, despite the fact that everyone was using it as a general chat, and it was worse than Barrens chat.

I did try for the third flashpoint when at the correct level. I spent an hour looking for people, but only found one other person, at which point I gave up.

I really enjoy doing small group content at the correct level. I don't like being carried by higher level players. But as far as I can see, that's pretty much not an option for me in The Old Republic.

I guess I'll get to see the flashpoints when I'm at max level, and there's nothing better to do but hang out at the station and scan the chat.

Maybe the dungeon finder makes running instances less fun. But at least with a dungeon finder, I can actually run the instances.


  1. If, in SWTOR, we created strong social connections while we leveled, a LFD wouldn't make sense. But, really, that's just not the case and the leveling is much too fast to justify not having a LFD.

    So, SW:TOR should have added a LFD. Considering the game SWTOR is, not having a LFD doesn't make sense.

  2. Although I still don't think a cross-server LFD tool is the right way to go, they absolutely have to do SOMETHING to increase the ability to find groups for group content. Not having a global chat channel or LFG tool at all makes it extremely difficult.

    Bare minimum I'd like to see a LFG tool like WoW used to have, since that would allow for finding groups for Heroic quests as well. Otherwise, I'd rather have a Dungeon Finder, even x-server, than the nothing we have at the moment.

  3. I agree. For all the negative talk about the dungeon finder I think people just don't understand how little dungeons were done before it.

    I know peronally I've played WoW off and on since Beta. I hardly ever did any dungeons pre-LFD. And coincidently I never got into the end game much. Post LFD I got into tanking and running 5 mans and leveled up primarily that way. Which led to an interest in raiding and now co-raid lead for my guild.

    And I can way there is no way I would still be playing WoW like I do sans-LFD tool.

  4. Whenever I hear reports like that I wonder what makes those of us who do manage to do all the group content at level and without a dungeon finder so amazingly different.

    I'm curious now, how much group content did you do in WoW pre-dungeon finder? And assuming that you didn't just solo all the time, what is so different in newer games that grouping isn't possible for you anymore? (I do get that someone might prefer the convenience of a dungeon finder to the point where they don't want to bother with grouping the old-fashioned way, but you make it sound like it's an actual impossibility.)

  5. I agree with Dimli. Playing WoW at release time, I did many (but certainly not all) of the instances while levelling. And then, despite levelling numerous alts, I'm not sure I ever saw the inside of a pre-level-60 instance from maybe late 2005 until the release of the Dungeon Finder.

    Additionally, I would say, if you're finding it hard to get groups assembled for non-levelcap flashpoints in SW:TOR now, within the first month after the biggest launch in history, those flashpoints will not be run at all once the game is little older, unless some automated group-forming is added.

  6. I think some sort of automated LFD tool would be awesome. The advantages to the LFD wasn't just the ability to team up people but an instant teleport to and back to your original location. There are significant downsides to the LFD tool, as it had been implemented by Blizz.

    I would hope a SW:TOR one is realm only or limited to small pool of realms. The LFD tool pretty much negated most sense of server in Wow.

    There was no need to remember who where good tanks, dps, and healers. And the lack of future grouping possibilities increased the amount of anonymity induced asshatery.

  7. I can see it both ways, On the one hand it would force people to form connections socially...but on the other if you mainly solo like me it's easier to use a LFD. I'm sure just like WOW they will add one especially as the game expands.

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  8. @Shintar, I didn't really do very many dungeons while levelling pre-LFD. I also took six months to level to 60, and I was more willing spend an entire evening trying to form a group.

    I do remember finishing Scarlet Monastery, and it's one of my fondest memories from levelling in Vanilla. I was in a group, and all of us were completely new to Cathedral, had never done it before. We finally got to Mograine, beat him down, and then Whitemane came out. When she did the whole "Arise my champion", we were all completely shocked, and wiped right after. Still brings a grin to my face.

    But back to the main topic, almost all my dungeon running came at the level cap. I think that I spent another six months there until I started raiding, and even then I don't think I ran a great many dungeons, compared to now.

    In TBC while levelling I did a couple dungeons, but ended up doing most of them at max level.

  9. I concur with Shintar. My toon (currently Level 30) has run every flashpoint at level and I could have run a couple multiple times but I gave up my spot for another person from my guild.

    We were just discussing last night what flashpoints we are going to run this weekend (Cadenium and maybe Jedi Prisoner).

    I know I'm lucky to have a very active guild

  10. Not having a group finder for Heroic content is a fine thing to... "applaud", but not having one for the instance content is gamebreaking.

    I'll give TOR one credit for this, and that's that all Flashpoints are started from the same place. But spamming chat channels looking for a party to run a FP is not fun, and a complete waste of time. I have no interest in running any FPs, because I don't want to be sitting my ass in the Fleet and NOT PLAYING.

    I also disagree with the assertion that having a LFD lowers the social contact. If anything, it makes you more likely to meet new people, since again. Who really wants to be not playing the game as they spam chat channels looking for guys to run a FP?

    The only FP I've run has been the starting one, and that's because I was lucky with a group that happened to be forming just then. Since then, every time I've gone to the Fleet I've tried a few times to get into a group, but never had any luck. And with the way the game worlds are constructed, I rarely have any reason to go to the Fleet at all, so I've just been levelling through solo content instead. If there was some kind of LFD, be it same-server or cross-server, I would definitely be playing more FPs. I think the idea of them are great, but not enough to justify spending so much time sitting around doing nothing beforehand.

  11. When I was playing SWTOR just after Christmas this was one of my big annoyances. I wanted to do the heroic quests while I was leveling, but there was nothing to do short of asking in the planet's chat channel every few minutes.

    Really left me wishing there was some sort of automatic group assembler for the heroics. It wouldn't have to be anything like the WoW LFD... just let you flag yourself as wanting to find a group for that quest, and get a group assembled of other people in the same questing area who're similarly flagged.

    Nothing makes me feel more like an epic jedi knight than regularly saying "LF2M Face Merchants". :P

  12. I'm reminded of that old line about democracy being a terrible form of government but still better than any of the alternatives.

    LFD tools are terrible but they're still better than not having them and dungeons never being run.

  13. I think part of the problem is that everything is launched from the fleet rather than from the quest path.

    For example, in WoW if I'm in my late teens questing in Westfall I'm already there whenever a group starts to form.

    In TOR if I'm in my late teens I was to run Hammer Station, I need to stop everything I'm doing and head to the fleet and sit around until a group forms.

  14. "I did try for the third flashpoint when at the correct level. I spent an hour looking for people, but only found one other person, at which point I gave up."

    Instead of giving up, why not whip out your companions and give it a try anyway? I don't think there are any mechanics prior to Colicoid War Game that would absolutely require the presence of four actual humans.

  15. I leveled as DD as well and changed to healer at level 50 since it was easier to get into a group. "Easier", but not instant. I'm not yet geared or skilled enough to do some of the hard mode content, so I do normal level 50 dungeons, but people don't want to do that. I've spent about 30 minutes looking for a group for Directive 7 the other day.

    And if somebody says that LFD ruins the game, it's not. I've already met enough morons in SWTOR by joining random groups that were looking for healer. One hour wipefest on Bulwark because 3 people with interrupts just couldn't do it? Been there, done that.

    While I was leveling my main in WoW in TBC, I've spent several hours per day doing dungeons. I joined LFG channel, spammed it and also looked for players with /who to get a group. Sometimes getting a group for SM would take me longer than clearing the dungeon. But I cleared every dungeon up to BRD and the leveling took me longer that most players.

    I did level another healer after LFD was introduced into the game, and it was certainly a faster way to find a group. Were these groups worse than regular PUGs? Not at all, but I also had a chance to meet some great players.

    SWTOR doesn't need cross-server LFD at the moment. Just something to make it easier for people to find a group while leveling or questing outside the Imperial Fleet.

  16. Believe me I am not trying to be negative, or to berate you, but I think you sort of answer your own question here. Dungeon Finder is great, and in WoW, I am having a great time using this tool to enhance my character regardless of who is online in the guild.

    That being said, it is an MMO, which means you need to find people to play with. Whether that means an active, helpful guild or a close group of friends that play together, you just cannot hope to do well all on your own.

  17. There is one gem of a post on the official forums pro LFD. Anything I could say about LFD would just be like some SWTOR systems, an incomplete less quality copy:

  18. RE the question of what makes people who CAN do the dungeons at level so different to those that CAN'T, I'll take a stab that it is a combination of:

    (1) Being in an active Guild, perhaps even preformed in another MMO
    (2) Being on a heavily populated launch server
    (3) Being able to play for time periods well over an hour, ideally two-plus
    (4) Being able to play at peak times

    As a simple question, do the people that are "fine" with no LFD generally meet points (1) to (4) above?

    My subscription will probably lapse later this week, even though I bought the CE (ouch) and love the Star Wars universe. I think SWTOR is an amazing game, but I didn't join the game with a pre-formed Guild. In fact I had hoped to experience it with fresh eyes, which hasn't really worked. I often play in 1-2 hour sessions. And those are sometimes at odd hours. 1-2 hours is plenty to run an instance in a game with a LFD. 1-2 hours is plenty to have a great time in a tightly tuned single player game replete with plot and challenge (I'm looking at you Uncharted series). But my experience has been that 1-2 hours in SW:TOR is an exercise in frustration, aside from the single player questing. And the single player questing isn't of high enough gameplay quality for me to subscribe to it.

    Awesome game, but I think for those that fulfil points (1) to (4) above, it's many many times better than it is for those that don't. As I'm in the latter camp, my subscription will lapse. I only ever finished one Flashpoint (Esseles) at ten levels higher that intended. I did a fair number of H+2 style instances with people I added to my friends lists, pretty much never saw any of the again. I can honestly say that I leave SW:TOR without a memorable group experience to take with me.

    But I do accept that for those that have the time to put into SW:TOR in the old-school spam chat for heroics until you get a server rep, that either are in (or join) an established Guild, and that perhaps are just more patient / explorer types, would find the game very good and enjoyable. I'm just not one of those people.

  19. If you're in an active guild, even a fairly casual one, then the problem dissolves. You might not always be able to run the instance exactly when you want to, but you'll get to see it with friends.

    LFD has mostly just made me scared to PUG because I might end up with a load of screaming strangers who won't understand if I haven't seen the instance before and don't know it by heart. And I'm a fairly experienced MMO player but I don't want to learn to tank an instance with a bunch of random kids hurling abuse.

  20. I think part of the problem is that everything is launched from the fleet rather than from the quest path.

    There are couriers in the quest path that direct you to a level appropriate FP, and have a shuttle back to the Fleet next to them. That said, it doesn't stop the issue that you're stopping everything and hoping to get a group...

    LFD has mostly just made me scared to PUG because I might end up with a load of screaming strangers who won't understand if I haven't seen the instance before and don't know it by heart.

    To be fair, this is not an issue unique to LFD. You have just as high of a chance of finding a group of terrible strangers spamming chat channels as you are using LFD.

    To those who say "Just use your guildmates", congratulations to you for having a large enough and populated enough guild that wants to run FPs at all levels at all times. Please realize that you are actually in the minority, however. Most players, from what I can tell, are not in a situation like this.

    While my own guild runs guild FPs oftenish, the majority of the members are already at the level cap, and preparing for raiding. That sure doesn't help someone who decided to not play 24/7 since launch get into FPs, or is levelling an alt.

  21. If you can't hear chat when you're outside the fleet, wouldn't a global LFG channel if you flag LFG be a far more easily implemented solution with a lot less fallout?

  22. The problem with chat channels, especially global channels, is that people insist on using them for non-lfg related talk. And it becomes a lot of spam.

    Not to mention that I had to turn off General Chat yesterday, because people were deliberately posting spoilers. That's going to make finding groups even more fun.

  23. Personally, I have also been able to run every single Flashpoint and heroic mission at level as well, and not with guildies but simply by spamming /1 while questing. Sure it takes slightly more effort than using a LFD tool but it's certainly worked for me. I've only had to skip 2 heroic ares so far on Hoth, every other I've been able to find a group for.

  24. Spinks made a good comment about "If you're in an active guild..."

    Yes, if you're in an active guild with everyone roughly the same level and they actually talk to you when you want to do an instance, then fantastic! If on the other hand you're dragging behind, or racing ahead, or want to do something when they're all off raiding in WoW, or any other reason you're out of luck.

    SWTOR needs LFD. It has some great end-game content, but needs to start making it more accessible.

  25. Cross-server kills any semblance of accountability. Acting like a douchebag has no consequences when you do it to people on other servers, but would have gotten you "blacklisted" in pre-LFD days as your reputation was a currency.

    TL;DR: Same-server? Yes. Cross-server? No.

  26. I ran Athiss (PT Shieldtech here) w/my gf (Sith Marauder), a Sith Asssassin, and my gf's companion Malavai Quinn as healer. We were a couple levels higher, so the only problem we had was the final boss, and the problem wasn't with the difficulty of the damage or anything like that, but the fireball's he summons. As long as they didn't focus on the healer, we were ok, but if they did, we had problems. Even by putting him on passive and her running around to keep the fireballs away from him, we still had problems, because if he got hit, he couldn't heal himself, and usually died.

    We are hoping to actually have a healer available for running Raiders...

  27. Cross-server kills any semblance of accountability. Acting like a douchebag has no consequences when you do it to people on other servers, but would have gotten you "blacklisted" in pre-LFD days as your reputation was a currency.

    I disagree, because even if it's across servers, it's still the same pool of players overall. Even in WoW you will be seeing some of the same players over time, and will get to know how they play. There's no effective difference between a cross-server queue and having a single GIGANTIC server.

    Even before WoW added cross-server there was no real accountability if your server was established; there was no server-wide way to pass on details about people. Maybe something will come up now and then on a chat channel, but you had to actually be there at that time, and paying attention to see it. And even then it's also entirely heresy; I've had situations where someone got upset at me over something that was in fact their own fault.

    It's not too dissimilar from real life, honestly. Even if there's ways to find out, how often do you know that the person you're dealing with at any given moment wasn't a criminal in the past? And does it matter, if there's no problems in the current exchange? People change, and having some kind of server accountability only punishes those who may have made a mistake or was misunderstood.

    There's also the assumption that LFD automatically means cross-server, which is not necessarily the case. WoW only added cross-server due to demands from players to shorten queue times; there's no telling that TOR's structure and server sizes may be conductive to better queue times if they're locked to the same server.

  28. Accountability in WoW pre-LFG came from posting on the realm forums (which TOR also needs) and naming ninja's and douchebags.

    Several people on my old server became infamous for bad behavior. Guild policing was also a factor.

    Some LFD tool should be available I agree. The requirement of being in Fleet was bad design choice for flashpoints.

  29. A Dungeon finder is needed in SWTOR. I have stopped playing because I cant really play at end game. Even if it only paired people on the same server, I would be happy with it.

  30. I've not started in SWTOR yet - but do I understand you right that you have to be inside a special area to find a group?

    IMHO from start BC to mid LK the reason why I always could find a group in reasonable time (even with my lock) was the severwide /lfg channel.

    So having neither a LFD tool nor such a channel is.... odd

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

  31. @Rauxis, there's this central space station called Fleet. It acts kind of like Stormwind or Orgrimmar. All flashpoints are accessible through the Fleet. Basically, they dispatch your group in a shuttle to wherever the action is.

    But while leveling, most people are on the other planets, in the other zones, so you don't really see groups forming for instances in the questing zones. Most pug groups seem to formed at Fleet.

    It's as if you wanted to find a group for Deadmines, so you had to go back to Stormwind and advertise in Stormwind general chat.

  32. Join an Active guild. Its your fault if you do not take the responsibility for your game time in your own hands.

  33. Anonymous: I took responsibility for my game time. That's why I'm no longer playing SWTOR. :)

  34. I find it very funny how several people who did all FPs behave.
    "It is your own fault you can't have fun with this game, you must try harder, or be as lucky as me, or be more determined" they say. As Paul said, he resolved the problem for himself differently - by quitting. Three are LOTS of games on the market, and if one particular service does not correspond to my needs - so be it. I can live witout this entertainment service just fine.

  35. I think this is a very good illustration of how MMO's becoming so popular, and the gaming industrys desire to get everyone doing online games that cant be pirated damaging the genre.

    Those who like to have the "solo" game want to do all the instances without the inconvienence of actually interacting with anyone else. That's fine but it really hurts the community of the MMO. I'm not sure there's a good solution at this point with the millions of solo players that want to play with their chat functions. In a perfect world there would be two seperate games for those two types of players.

  36. I never get the argument from those with a strong guild that easily forms dungeon groups themself want to stop the rest of the population of a game from having a LFD tool since thats what they need to do the same. Nothing stops ppl from doing it both ways if a LFD tool is available.

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  38. I actually started TOR is a preformed guild, active in every TZ with 400+ members and an entire guild for our alts and I will still spend hours trying to find a group because either people have geared beyond my level, not on at the same time for the same time period, are doing something else in game, not at the appropriate level or they don't want to do what I want to do at that particular moment. I have 2 lvl 50's and a handful of 20's and can't resist spacebar'ing through all the conversations I've heard a hundred times. Also it's hard to get a word in with 100+ people online in the guild and spamming a LFG anywhere just sucks. I would even go for an internal, guild level LFG tool.

    It's just as simple as something being better than nothing. No one will have to use it and everyone that doesn't want to doesn't have to. It's sort of a spiteful thing for those people that don't want to use the tool to be against it for those who can clearly benefit from it.

    I stopped my Sub and cited the reason being lack of an LFG tool. I may re-up at the last minute but I want them to get the message that people are leaving because it's not there.

    The die hards will have to decide to allow the LFG tool or risk losing TOR and MMO's in general because if 300 million can't satisfy us no one is going to try it again.

  39. Just an interesting tidbit.

    I just counted posts from individuals (no repeat posters) on the latest SWTOR official forum with a topic of requesting a Dungeon Finder and I found it to be out of all 10 pages of posts 58 to 20 in favor of an LFG tool in one form or another beyond what is currently available.

    It's a business first, entertainment second and this is just good business. Give the people what they want. No one is going to leave because it's there and if they do, well they'll be replaced by 2 new subscribers that appreciate the accessibility.

  40. I don't know why they can't mix up different features form different games. They already took the best of most other games and incoporated it into SWTOR, after all..why re0invent the wheel or...why fix what is not broken,etc.... I perosnally would like to see for heroic quests a warhammer system, if someone on the quest is near and in the area it automatically asks you if you want to join a party for the group quest in this area. I'm a big WoW fan but that feature from warhammer was awesome, i got into group gameplay straight away and had no hrd time forming social bonds due to that system alone!! In addition for instances a similar-to-WoW LFD is needed, period! I don't want to waist time finding a group only to wait for all to have travelled to the instance and then half-way through the instance loose a player, having to travel back to where I was question. I pay money every month to play the content not trying to break the world record in most visited flight-points between station and my Quest hub.