World of Warcraft continues to show everyone why they have eighty six million subscriptions and you don’t – by patching in one of the most hated features from Modern Warfare 2.
Want to go kill things in a dungeon? Sure you do. Just click the button.
BAM. Go. Kill. Get loot. Get bonus loot. Get a DOG.
Come on. Look at that dog. Just LOOK AT IT. You just can’t let that dog down, can you? BAM! GO! KILL! LOOT! DOG!
See, most hardcore forum posters are going to be complaining about Icecrown lockouts and how out of whack itemization is and how arena teams are completely broken now and what the hell, I have to wait a month to 5-man Arthas, come on WTF GG BLIZZ.
Meanwhile, the great majority of players, who are at raiding level but not in a hardcore guild?
BAM! LOOT! DOG!
What really makes this feature special isn’t that it’s new – it’s not, particularly. Among other implementations, Final Fantasy XI has had random pickup groups since the game launched, and even World of Warcraft’s first iteration of meeting stones tried to do the pile-everyone-in-a-group thing. No – what makes this version of the matchmaker work is that World of Warcraft has such a critical mass of players that at any time, at almost every level (a level 65-ish alt I was levelling up got groups quickly for instances I had never seen the first time around), you can push a button and get instant – well, if not gratification, progress. Sure, pick-up groups can often be mindbogglingy hellishly wrong, because people are involved, and sometimes you get the people who just haven’t really figured out the whole process of hitting-buttons-making-things-fall-over ‘skill’ in this sort of game. But most of the time? It’s perfectly tuned to – dare I say it? The casual player. The guy who gets home from work and just wants to kill things in a dungeon. BAM! LOOT! BADGES! REP! STUFF! It’s a feedback cycle that is so quick and painless, it’s easily one of the best ways to get more people into the core gameplay of dungeon raiding.
(Also, the dog.)
And, the best part? Blizzard already had the code sitting there from Warcraft 3.