I finally had a chance to play around with the new Random Dungeon feature in WoW…
As a healer, I get into random groups immediately. Like, within seconds. I first tried the new system out on Wednesday night. I was planning to do some old world quests while waiting (tinkering with achievement stuff) and didn’t even make it to the Orgrimmar portal in Dalaran before being summoned for my first healing assignment. Wow.
A moment later, my group and I were assembled inside the instance, which was … Not Oculus! Yay! 😉 It was Nexus. Easy peasy. We blew through the place. We greeded and disenchanted our way through most of the greens and blues, and the shaman got the healing mace for his offspec from Keristraza at the end.
The run was very business-like, too. I was afraid that the random dungeons would be to pugs what battlegrounds are to Wintergrasp. With no reputation to worry about, people were going to be the worst kinds of jerkfaces to one another. Not so in any of the runs I’ve been on so far. We had one tank tantrum (which I’ll talk about in the next section), but other than that people have been … professional? Sounds weird, but I think that’s the right word. Quite a surprise.
And as soon as one random dungeon run ends, I’ve noticed it’s very difficult to not queue for another immediately. This new feature has eliminated much of what makes pugging so maddening: the waiting. You have to wait to get the appropriate roles filled, then you have to wait for people to finish doing whatever they were doing, then you have to wait for them to go back and repair because they forgot, or wait because their friend who needs help with Chillmaw just logged in, etc, etc. Now, if you want to run a dungeon, there’s more immediate gratification. That plus the unknown of what dungeon you might get gives it a sort of slot machine quality. If I know I’m going to be online for at least 30 minutes, it’s hard for me not to queue up.
I’ve noticed a trend with the tanks in these random dungeons. They are ALL chainpulling. While this can make it fun and interesting in many cases, it can also get the group into trouble. The first random pug I ran with had an excellent bear tank. He always stopped before bosses and if he ever noticed me at half mana, he asked if I wanted to stop and drink. Most of the time the answer was “no,” but there were a few times were I was pretty low before a boss pull, so I’d mana up at least halfway.
In the next pug, however, the tank was not paying attention to the rest of the group at all and it did cause issues. We were in heroic Drak’tharon run and we had just finished killing King Drek. People were milling around the body, looting, etc. I stayed with the group and sat down to regen my mana. Then I noticed the tank on my grid bar, out of range, with his health dropping rapidly. He had run up the stairs and started killing things by himself.
“Maybe you should have waited for us,” said the rogue, as the tank’s health dropped to zero. The mobs started running down the stairs after us. The rest of us were far enough ahead that we could likely get to the entrance, so we ran. The tank asked why we hadn’t followed, and we said that we were waiting for the looting to finish, folks were getting mana back, etc. “All of you?” he said.
“Everyone else was down here except you,” said the hunter.
We ran to the entrance. I was the first one out the front door and as I stepped through, I honestly wasn’t sure where I’d end up. Turns out I appeared in Dalaran on my home server … Oops. I told the group where I was. “It’s okay,” said the rogue. “Just click on the eye to port back.” I looked around for an eye. Thanks to my addon which hides most of the buttons on my minimap, I didn’t see it right away. In the moments before I found it, the tank quit the group.
After a brief discussion of the tank’s departure (turns out he was a member of the notorious Goon Squad, by the way), we decided to pick up another tank for the remainder of the instance. Two folks turned it down (since it was a partial dungeon run at this point), but the third person offered the spot took it and helped finish it off.
Anyway, I have a feeling he won’t be the last tank to do something like that and get himself (or all of us) killed. Another of the random dungeons I got was Utgarde Keep (if this is a slot machine, I think that might be the jackpot of easiness) and the tank decided to pull the entire group of protodrakes at once. I’m a well-geared healer, but I don’t think he was geared as well as he thought he was. He was unable to hold aggro on all of the mobs so there was tons of party damage. I managed to keep everyone alive except the boomkin. After being rezzed, the boomkin said, “lol fun,” so I guess he wasn’t too bothered. I’m just not looking forward to the day I get blamed for crap like that. I know it will happen.
Overall, I think this is a great addition to the game and could be quite good for our guild. I worry a little about it being too easy to find a random group (it’s now faster to put together a random group than a guild one), but in the long run, it probably won’t change our guild culture much. Folks do like running things together, and we do still have a subset of non-puggers who will always prefer the guild.
Beyond that, those hungry to run dungeons all the time will be able to find groups to do so, while the folks in the guild that aren’t in the mood to farm badges can do whatever they want and not feel guilty. Folks may feel more inclined to gear up their alts, knowing they won’t always be depended upon in a particular role. There are a few achievements and a pet that I’m looking forward to picking up from running the dungeons, as well…
And speaking of… it’s just after 5. I wonder how many random dungeons I can get in before the raid tonight… 😉