Saturday, October 5, 2013

Duty Finder

The duty finder has been heavily discussed since ARR was released, and with good reason. Dungeons are a massive part of any MMORPG, and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception. Here are our top likes and dislikes of the duty finder system, and where we think they should go from here.


One of the main reasons for the existence of the duty finder is to allow for easier grouping for dungeons and other group content. Not everyone has a kick ass endgame free company. Even for those who do, not everyone is on the same dungeon or needs the same thing from the same places at the same time. It's good practice to ask your FC/LS if they want to run, but DF is a nice option when everyone busy or offline.

Right now the system works very well for healers and especially well for tanks. If you heal or tank, you are almost assured an instant queue. If you are a damage dealer, expect a much longer wait. We are very lucky, as we run almost everything together as pld/whm. If we were mnk/blm, our experience would likely be very different.

Another example of where this can be great is when your linkshell or free company is clearing some content together, but you're short a dd. You can do it with your group, but fill in that last spot with the duty finder. This often works very well. Of course, like with most other things with the duty finder, this can also be a nightmare, depending on who you end up with. Hilarity can ensue when the 8th and only pugged member tries to boss you all around ;)

One of the things we enjoy most about the duty finder is the ability to meet new people. There are hundreds of thousands of people playing this game, and the duty finder allows us to interact with people we would not have met otherwise in our gaming experiences. We've met some amazing people in our dungeon runs; helpful people, hilarious people, chatty people, and any combination of the three. Of course, this is also an enormous downside to the duty finder; you could find the best 8-man group you've ever run. Everyone can be getting along, laughing and chatting and completely decimating the content in record time...and you could be from four different servers and never get to play together again. We have had this happen several times already, and it's always a little sad to find out someone is from a different server when you work so well together and have so much fun. Sadly in all the dungeon runs I have done I have added 2 people to my friendlist afterwards. Same here; added two friends out of all of my runs, and I've run with some excellent people from other servers.



Speaking of meeting new people, this can be a positive in another way. The duty finder can have a sense of anonymity due to playing with people from other servers. It's a great way to practice skills and learn rotations without embarrassing yourself in front of your linkshell or free company. Yet again, this anonymity can also be a negative. Because players believe they might never see you again because you are on a different server, haters and trolls are much more common. I recently ran AK, and lost aggro on the third group of trash mobs for a moment, as someone was hitting a mob other than the marked target. No one died, and I picked it up immediately, but one of the players started hating on me, and a spirited discussion ensued. -_- 

I had a bad pug experience doing Halitali for my GC hunting log. I'm on whm and we get to the fire sprite boss with absolutely no trouble and the tank is tanking, the blm is nuking and the bard is killing adds. Right as the boss has a sliver of life left I ran over to heal the bard quick just as the tank took an unusual amount of damage and suddenly died. We finish the boss and I raise & rebuff the tank and figure we would be on our way to the next area and the tank gets all bitchy and finally says "If I die again I'm not going to participate" he was seriously going to just /afk there until the timer ran out if he died again. I just typed "Have fun" and left the party. Yeah it was probably my fault he died but there is no reason to lose your mind about it. Now he can wait for another healer and I will go chop down trees for 15 minutes and hope I get a better party next time*.

We've seen far too much of this type of behaviour and much worse. Jerks are aplenty in DF parties for content at all levels. There is a lot of bullying and harassment. Comments like "This must be your first MMO!" or "You suck!" are not going to help the party succeed. Even if it was someones first MMO you shouldn't treat people that way. Hell especially if it WAS their first MMO you shouldn't act like that.

People need to have a touch of patience. Especially if someone is new or the screw up is minor. Failure at a boss should be considered a possibility, especially in a pug. Doubly so for a new person. I can have a fight explained to me all day but I cannot really process this information until I experience it first hand. If the party fails it's much better to figure out what went wrong and have another try at it. No, I will not wipe over and over at a boss if we aren't getting any better at it. I will wipe a couple times if we are learning and getting better. Hell, we occasionally get unlucky in premades and wipe on something we have done together 100 times before and we laugh it off and go again.


Public Service Reminder from the Drunken Lalafell Morality Squad: We just want to remind everyone that regardless of server, each character you group up with has a human being attached outside of pixel space. Try to remember that before you turn into a giant douche.


There are a couple of issues in game that absolutely need to be fixed as soon as possible. The ability to vote to kick someone from a party is crucial. If you have someone that AFK's in the beginning of the dungeon, you are left with no choice but to take your fifteen minute penalty. Often, people receive error messages and cannot get back on, but we cannot remove and replace them. Instead, we have to leave the dungeon ourselves and deal with 15 minute penalties for leaving the instance. We think 3/4 or 5/8 to remove someone from a group would be sufficient and fair for everyone. We know that there is the possibility of this tool being used for evil, but honestly believe it will resolve more issues than it causes, especially if implemented properly.

Speakking of evil, a blacklist that works for all servers within a duty finder group would be nice to filter out the truly vile people you never want to see again. Completely removing the chance of ending up in duty finder with anyone on that list would be amazing, especially when dealing with people actually griefing your dungeon runs.

Another item that is a major issue is the lack of instance servers. With the Tomestone of Mythology cap resetting on Monday mornings, some people are having to wait up to, or even more than, an hour to get into an AK instance early each week. Partially, this will be alleviated when more options for earning Mythology are implemented, but right now, we're just hosed. Hopefully, the instance servers that will be added mid-October should eliminate this problem.


As you can see, we like quite a few things about the duty finder. When utilized correctly by competent and decent human beings, it's an excellent tool for grouping players together. There's still some work to be done, but we are glad it's available.

*I did, it was awesome.