Premade Group Browser – Death of Many to Help No One?

So I had a bit of a chat on this topic with some one and came upon quite a heavy realization.

Honestly, I was considering this to be the biggest feature in WoD and simply could not wait to test it and see it in action. When I heard it made it in with the previous build, I quickly went to make a video on it and see just what it was all about. Not all of it is working currently, but the stuff that is in is really neat. It appears there are predetermined sets of activities you can group for, divided along broader PVP and PVE boarders. There are also “custom” sets that you can simply set your own title and description for and hope people search for and find them.

Now when we think of this feature, and after we saw it at Blizzcon the grim realities came to mind immediately. The addon OQ, and the website Openraid.us (or .eu) are essentially this feature, but ran by separate enterprising folks. Its very likely this service has done a great deal for them, and even more likely did they change their lives to develop and maintain it. Obviously, I am extremely excited for this feature in game, but when you think about all the people who likely made a job out of managing and organizing these previous options, you can’t help but be upset.

#neverforget. RIP Wisdom

#neverforget. RIP Wisdom

The whole thing is akin to the addon Pallypower in TBC and Wrath. This was such an important addon and the developer of it became such a household name among paladins that it seems like he had carved out a niche of immortality within the game, on the level of Leroy. And then, Blizzard decided it was time for that man to become a mortal again. Not only did they take away 10 / 30 minute variants, but they changed it to only Kings or Might, which has gone through many iterations as well. Honestly, Paladin blessing was a lot of fun and was why the class was the way it was for a long time, and this one man and maybe a few of his friends made a life around helping others. Then all of a sudden, it was all gone.

 

So this sob story is just expected, and really only a bleeding heart would weep for these situations. But realistically, it does effect people. The bright side is, this brand new feature that will allow players to organize premade groups across each World of Warcraft region will change the game and help many more people than it hurts right?
Well… maybe not. This was the topic of our conversation, and the revelation that came over me was how few people will still not use this.

Honestly, OQ and openraid are in no way invasive. What’s the difference now? Instead of downloading an addon or going to a website, you can now just do it in game. Who is this targeted for? The ultra-lazy? More likely the ultra-oblivious.

Which is great, because adding add-on functionality into the default game is logical but…

Well the issue that we have come to realize is that the people who need this feature still wont use it, and likely won’t have any clue what it does anyway.
Think about this. About half way into SoO, some months after the feature was displayed at Blizzcon, a predecessor of sorts was demoed in the game.

Currently, if you go to the raid tab and use the vestigial raid browser that was once implemented to help people declare their intent, you can list your name for any Flex wing, as well as Ordos and Celestials. This is great, because it is a smaller version of what we have been speaking about, and seems to work flawlessly, right? Well it has the same flaws that I have come to realize the new system will carry as well.

You see, all this system has done is make it so there are never any people looking on Openraid for Flex or the World bosses. All the intelligent people who would have used the third parties to find groups now just list their name in game.
Meanwhile, all the ultra-oblivious continue their derpin ways and spam general chat on the timeless isle looking for 39 more for Ordos.

I see this weekly, and it really adds the pieces together for me after thinking long and hard about this new premade group browser.

The statement that was made that was stunning to me was

They really need to get this thing working perfectly, it needs all the functions of other group finders like OQ…
I’m just worried people wont use it. The idea is so promising, but if people aren’t using it or are using different group finders because this one lacks a function or two then it just wont work. It needs a lot of active users to attract more users.

Truer words were never spoken, and it was this that caused a ripple effect leading me to believe that this too will be a flop, as was the previous iterations.

Not because its poorly designed, but just because people are too clueless and too stubborn. People like myself will love this feature, but half the game will still refuse to acknowledge it, so it will just be a few thousand people all searching for the same things over and over again.

I have grandiose ideas in my head already for this, like weekly “normal” raids, world boss groups, challenge modes, achievement runs…Tywin-Lannister-house-lannister-245
Honestly, this was my most anticipated feature, but after thinking about how many hard working people it will put out of business, and how few people will actually come to discover it, it really makes me worried.

The future of the feature will be decided in the first few weeks people are 100. It can establish a dynasty that will last a thousand years… or it can collapse into nothing, as the Targaryens did.

Only time will tell. I remain optimistic, but there are many reasons to be worried.

Check out what has made it into the beta thus far: