For the last week and some change, I have been running at least one dungeon a night. Often time I am queuing with less than a full party. This is a situation that generally causes me great anxiety, because I like going into a group knowing that folks I know… outnumber the folks I don’t know. I said awhile back that I have been trying to force myself to be more cordial in dungeons. As a result I have adopted my common “Hey Folks” and “How Goes?” greetings. My friend Grace that I am often dungeoning with has been doing the same. Mostly we had a discussion awhile back about how this is the common expected behavior in Final Fantasy XIV, and that maybe if we attempted to treat World of Warcraft the same we might get similar results. Folks in FFXIV are largely charming and willing to help you sort out mechanics that you might not understand, all just because you spoke up and said you were new to a dungeon. My experience in the past of WoW has not been nearly that charitable, but I was willing to give it a shot either way. The awesome thing about going in with the majority of a party… it means the moment someone resorts to toxic behavior you can punt them quickly. All in all I have to say I continue to be pleased at just how well this is going, even in Heroics. If you present a friendly face, more often than not it has been met with a similarly friendly response.
Last night we had someone drop shortly after introductions… which I am hoping was just a case of them getting disconnected or being needed elsewhere. However others in the party not only were cheery but performed admirably. At the end of the dungeon run we took time to praise the Deathknight for example who did an amazing job of pull casters into the group, and pulled off a clutch rez when our healer inadvertently stood in some “bad”. All of this is really making me wish that World of Warcraft would adopt a commendation system similar to Final Fantasy XIV. I think a lot of that culture is based on the fact that at the end of a dungeon run, each player gets a single commendation that they can give to someone in their party. There is the additional caveat that you cannot give commendations to members of your own guild, meaning you have to be giving random strangers these nods. To make it something that folks are actually interested in receiving there are a number of achievements based on the number of commendations you have, and some of the rewards are things like mounts, titles and cosmetic items. Basically the system would port perfectly to World of Warcraft random dungeons, and give some additional reinforcement of good behavior. Last night for example I greatly wished I had the ability to heap tangible praise on this Deathknight for doing a pretty amazing job all around. Even the mage that ultimately replaced the dropped Demon Hunter, was deserving of commendations because for the most part everyone “mechanic’d” like a pro.
Other than dungeons, last night I spent most of my time attempting to catch up in Suramar. I had been lagging behind horribly in the questing there, namely when it comes to unlocking things in the actual city proper. I am not a huge fan of stealth mechanics, and it is foreign to me to attempt to sneak around. A huge part of me wants to simply fight my way from one side of the city to the other… but the sheer mob density here makes that not really a viable option. Similarly I don’t believe a lot of the quests are actually open to you unless you are wearing the illusion. As Tam and I have commented… Suramar is like being a High Elf Enchanter in Neriak… for those who ever had that experience in the original Everquest. The illusion works most of the time, but occasionally there is someone all to happy to murder you. As you progress however you start to build little enclaves where you are more or less free to roam safely. Last nights grind was focused on getting far enough in to be able to start unlocking some of the lucrative world quests, one of which yesterday was an epic trinket. Before I went to bed last night I managed to unlock the dinosaur quest… which is truly amazing and with it the trinket world quest. Nothing quite as fun as riding along on the back of a devilsaur and gobbling up demons and evil elves.