Monday, April 5, 2010

Quick Shot: Qualifying for a PUG

What do "elite" raiding guilds and pretentious PUGs use now to determine who qualifies to join them? Gearscore and Achievements? This creates the often mentioned paradox of “Can’t do the dungeon until you’ve done the dungeon”. Why is this the case? Why don’t elite players have faith the majority of the players at level cap? Most likely because a huge portion of those capped players are accustomed to the leveling game, and hardly ever touched group mechanics. Thus the learning curve for a player’s group role is incredibly steep at level cap, leading to a lot of crappy PUGs and even more exclusion. Here’s an idea that will break the paradox and reduce the number of ill prepared group members in most PUGs.

Group Role Ratings. At any time (or maybe just in main hubs) a player can access a sort of military academy where they can take “role tests” that test how high their skill as a tank/DPS/healer/buffer/debuffer/controller is. There would be at least 25 tests for each role, and each test would be a small lesson in how the mechanics of the role works, with a staged group battle to test the mechanics in. A low level tank test would be something as simple as using a taunt, with tips on how to do it most effectively, while higher level tank tests would have NPC allies accidentally drawing aggro away from you and requiring you to get back control, or switch off to another tank. They would need to be scaled by level/gear, or ignore them altogether, allowing a low level player with true player skill to show their high rating early on.

This would also allow particularly talented special builds to show that they are just as worth taking along as the “role standard” class. If a warlock can somehow achieve a higher tank rating than a warrior, he would then actually have a chance of being picked up, because the Group Role Level would be a standardized indicator of skill.

If a player reached level cap without doing any group work, they would quickly see that no PUG or serious guild would take them along unless they were of a certain role rating. So they would start taking the tests, learning how to play their group role step by step, redoing tests they fail until they master the concepts and execution. They’re learning with NPC groups instead of human groups, giving them growth opportunities without risking other players’ lives.

You could call the program Group Role Rating Education And Testing. GRREAT! Have a tiger instruct it and you’re good to go.

Come to think of it, this could also work (almost as well) for PvP roles.

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