Is the Dungeon Finder an Omen of Things to Come?
So along with the release of patch 3.3, and some of my initial thoughts (and yours!) about it, I’ve been hearing a lot of similar thoughts about what the dungeon finder means not just for World of Warcraft but for other games as well. The success of the dungeon finder is surely something that Blizzard will be uniquely interested in for other games.
That being said, the dungeon finder reminds me a ton (and it’s not just the moving eye icon) of the old Battle.net matching system from games like Starcraft and Warcraft III, but its application to World of Warcraft is unique. It all but eliminates the need to look hard for a group for just about any five-man dungeon, and even the raid finder makes it simpler to find 10 or more to do something bigger. If you’re stuck with group quests that force you to go into a dungeon at a specific level, you have no excuse not to do it; we’re all too used to just dropping them and moving on to the next zone, as if the instance quests are a sign that we’re done there. The dungeon finder has changed all of this.
But at the same time, the sword cuts several ways. A more instance-savvy playing population can have a couple of different effects – more well-geared players fresh at 80, more instance-experienced players who understand roles and responsibilities in a raid or a dungeon all around, more savvy and group-friendly players, and fewer players who think that the game is essentially a solo grind up to the level cap are all some potential positive benefits that I’ve heard, agree with, and hope to see pretty quickly: the dungeon finder will result in a number of players, especially on their alts, finding it easier to gear those alts up, pick up gear for offspecs, and learn from others how to play their classes.
On the other hand, I’ve heard that the dungeon finder will saturate the market of skilled, level-capped, and geared players for guilds looking to recruit; will dilute the market of quality players since everyone will have at least some decent gear (even purples that drop in heroics) and make it more difficult to pick out a good player from a simply well geared one. Personally, I think that’s a great problem to have, but I can see why some people would be a little concerned.
The dungeon finder was released to rave reviews, and it’s clear that it’s not just here to stay, but it’s one of the best features to be added to the game since launch. But what does it mean for the future of the World of Warcraft, and the future of dungeons and raiding in general? Will the raid finder eventually look like the dungeon finder, and make use of in-game voicechat? Will we eventually see cross-server guilds? Only time will tell, but the possibilities are certainly out there.