WoW Classic Players Are Divided Over The Lack Of Dungeon Finder In Wrath Classic
Blizzard has said it wants to "settle" the Dungeon Finder debate ahead of Wrath of the Lich King Classic's launch, but players are still as divided over the feature as ever.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic's September 26 release is just a few weeks away, but many players are still hoping that Blizzard will budge on one major feature that has been confirmed to not be part of the re-release of the wildly popular expansion: the Dungeon Finder.
Added in 2009 as part of the last major content patch for the original Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the Dungeon Finder made it so players no longer needed to look for groups manually or travel to dungeons directly. Instead, it linked servers across what Blizzard called "battlegroups" and allowed players to select their desired role and matchmake with other players for either specific dungeons or random ones. Once a group was found, the Dungeon Finder would then automatically teleport players to the start of the dungeon.
The introduction of the Dungeon Finder changed the way WoW was played forever, and depending on who you ask, maybe not for the better. It signaled a move away from the more social aspects of Blizzard's MMORPG that were dominant in the game's early days in favor of convenience features that have continued to mold the modern version of WoW into what it is today.
Wrath of the Lich King Classic will operate on the original expansion's final patch for balance purposes, which means one might expect the Dungeon Finder to be a part of the experience. That, however, won't be the case. Blizzard has made clear since Wrath of the Lich King Classic's announcement that the Dungeon Finder won't be included.
That fact has divided the WoW Classic community in a way few of Blizzard's decisions regarding the old-school version of its MMO have before. On one hand, players who played during the tail-end of the original Wrath of the Lich King remember the Dungeon Finder fondly, as it eliminated the oftentimes tedious task of trying to find a group manually and then traveling to the dungeon entrance. On the other hand, many WoW players point to the addition of the Dungeon Finder as the "beginning of the end" in some respects to Blizzard's MMO, as subsequent expansions would continue that same line of thought to further simplify aspects of the game like leveling, raids, talents, and more.
Blizzard, then, finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place, seeking to keep re-releases of WoW's older expansions distinct from the modern version of the game while still keeping its playerbase happy. Once adverse to making any changes to WoW Classic at all, Blizzard is now far more willing to make changes it deems better for the long-term health of the game. The downside is that it now has to decide on a feature-by-feature basis what adheres to their self described "core values" for WoW Classic, one of which is maintaining and promoting the social aspect of the MMO.
Blizzard has its goals clear ever since Wrath of the Lich King Classic's announcement back in April of this year. As part of a group interview that GameSpot participated in, principal system designer Kris Zierhut described the expansion's re-release as a second chance, one where Blizzard could pay attention to social aspects of the game it neglected to pay attention to back in 2009.
"We didn't have people thinking about how social systems should work back when we originally did Wrath of the Lich King, so it's a new lens to look at things," Zierhut said. "What promotes social? What damages social? Paying close attention to that…that's the thing we weren't careful about when we worked on Wrath of the Lich King the first time."
In a recent forum post, Blizzard once again reiterated that it won't be adding Dungeon Finder to Wrath of the Lich King Classic, with players instead needing to rely on chat channels or the newly implemented "looking for group" bulletin board to form dungeon groups. Blizzard stated the news would be "disappointing" for some, but that it wanted to "settle this topic before launch."
Far from settling the topic, it has only further ignited debate. Reactions to the news have been starkly divided. Direct replies to Blizzard's forum post have been mixed, with many players on the forums commenting that they still hope to see the Dungeon Finder added at some point in the future. On fansite Wowhead, comments have been overwhelmingly negative in response to Blizzard's continued anti-Dungeon Finder-position. "I have yet to meet someone who doesn't want it," one comment reads, with another calling Blizzard's decision to "double down" on their "awful LFG tool" and not implement the Dungeon Finder "absolute insanity."
On the WoW Classic subreddit, responses have been more positive, though there are still plenty of players unhappy with Blizzard's decision. One player, for example, states that Blizzard's decision to not implement the Dungeon Finder has created a terrible social atmosphere in-game, with players in the beta constantly arguing about Blizzard's decision. Overall, however, player complaints on Reddit seem more targeted towards recently announced decisions like the lack of account-wide achievements and mounts and the introduction of a paid race and faction change service for the old-school MMO.
Players in the pro-Dungeon Finder camp have remained hopeful that Blizzard would pull an about face similar to what it did with another controversial feature, Quest Tracking. Added in the same patch as the Dungeon Finder, Quest Tracking made it so players could easily see quest objectives on the map, which in turn made questing far easier.
Originally, Blizzard stated Quest Tracking would not be present in Wrath of the Lich King Classic, as it went against the core values of promoting the social aspect of the game and the feeling of being immersed in the world. Blizzard recently backtracked on that position, stating its opinion on the subject had changed. While the feature might not be available come Wrath of the Lich King Classic's launch, it will be added at some point in the future, something many players also hoped Blizzard would announce for the Dungeon Finder.
While a change could be announced prior to launch, it currently doesn't look likely Blizzard will be budging on its Dungeon Finder position, to the annoyance of some players and to the joy of others. As WoW Classic continues to move forward, whether its into the game's next expansion, Cataclysm, or some other unforeseen future, Blizzard will have to continue walking a fine line when it comes to deciding what features are and aren't "Classic" enough for WoW Classic, and provide enough reasoning to help settle the debates between players that will come along with each decision.
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