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WoWJun 14, 2015 6:00 pm CT

Group content and community betterment

Let’s just get one thing very honest and straight here: vote kicks have not helped fix the community or group content.

It is simply too difficult to actually vote kick a player.  I am sure that many people have their own pet horror story – the botting player that kept chain pulling to keep the group in combat, having a sudden 4 hour timer to even initiate a vote kick, or perhaps a new player finds themselves unable to even enter group content because they are kicked simply for being new.

However, we can do better.  As someone that has played the game almost since the beginning, Warcraft honestly does have a wonderful community, but a few bad apples in either case can certainly ruin it.  So, then, how does a game actually encourage a more cohesive environment and actually encourage not just better play, but better treatment in general of players?  There are certainly a few options, and many of them come in the form of things already live in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – the MMO that more and more players are beginning to hear about.

MG_horde_rpAdded new player bonuses

Why should a group honestly teach a new player how to do content? Why should they honestly go out of their way for someone who did not know that they could see a video first of the LFR boss they are about to face?

What if the instance had additional rewards simply because a player is present that has not yet cleared that instance?  While this seems petty in the days following valor points, perhaps a bonus to experience for low-level dungeons or even an additional drop from the boss (or an increased chance of drops from other bosses on personal loot) would encourage groups to help new players instead of simply kicking them.

This would be incredibly similar already to the system already in place for Final Fantasy. If a new player joins your group, you will receive almost double the amount of whatever currency that instance would already reward you at max level.  This means that the perceived added trouble of helping someone newer to the game is far more rewarding – rather than just a noble effort to embrace someone who simply is not as familiar with it.

Image courtesy of Alex ZiebartThe commendation system

What if you could reward a player that happened to be just a bit more helpful than others?  Perhaps they gave a great explanation, or they did a superior job in their role by switching to an add despite the loss in damage, or they were a great healer or tank.  In Warcraft, this type of interaction used to be supported by the fact that there were no cross-realm dungeons.  Instead, players had to form groups themselves, and relied upon having a good reputation on their server.  This arguably fostered a better community less inclined toward trolling other players during dungeons, simply because one did not want to be ostracized from the group content on their server (especially before realm transfers were available!)

Final Fantasy has an answer to this – a player may grant a commendation to another player that they did not queue with at the end of an instance.  These commendations would accumulate over type, similar to achievement points.  Though they are not a currency in their strictest sense, gaining a certain amount of them can reward titles, mounts, and even transmogable gear.  In fact, this type of system has incredible potential for more rewards to be added in.

This is positive reinforcement for good behavior within a group, in addition to encouraging random queues for dungeons.  Perhaps Blizzard could not just grant rewards similar to what Final Fantasy has, but even to reduce queue times for certain players that have received a large amount of commendations, or even to give those players certain bonuses within the dungeons to make their groups more successful.  While I would not encourage to tie this into raid content, there is certainly much potential there.

Of course, these are simply proposals for how group content could be bettered.  The vote kick system has not fostered a better community, yet perhaps adding some better rewards for acting on one’s best behavior will help, or even an extra cookie for having helped out.

As a player, what kind of revamps would you love to see in LFD?

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