Recently Scott Hartsmann spoke out to the folks over at Zam stating that Trion would be developing a dungeon queue system for Rift. Needless to say, this idea has been met in recent days with a lot of discussion and a fair share of derision from the hardcore players on our own forums and across the internet. I’m going to play the Devil’s advocate today and write about the whole thing: why it’s both a good thing and a bad. Ultimately, it won’t affect my decision to play the game, but I can understand why it might instill scorn in some folks and turn them away. So with the interest of a two-sided discussion let’s go over just what a Dungeon Finder tool does to a game and why it’s not necessarily the worst thing that could happen.
First and foremost, though I’m sure the cynics would say otherwise… we don’t know what the shape of Rift’s group finding tool will be. Are the chances high that it will be akin to WoW’s? Yes, I think we can say as much, considering how quickly and effortless it made finding groups for dungeons and how Trion has stated that this is their goal with their own tool. And while I understand the sentiment that such a tool breaks the community, especially when presented as cross-server, I also understand why Scott believes there is a need for one.
As the game matures and populations across the many different severs pan out, it is inevitably going to be the case that many players will find themselves “out in the cold” as it were without a guild or without friends on their server but they’ll still want to take part in the content. I know it’s easy to say, “Well those people just need to make friends then.” But really, it’s not. MMOs today are simply not at all like the games of yesteryear where players were always willing to lend a hand and help out their fellow adventurers. Blame it on whatever you like, but the landscape has changed and tools like a dungeon finder make it much easier for players to see content they would otherwise find themselves missing out on for any number of reasons.
I know that it makes the forming and adventuring to a dungeon “too instant” or immediate, but face it… this is the world we live in. There are a great many more people out there who simply don’t have the time or patience to sit in a major city spamming the LFG channel to round out their groups. Not only that, but they also don’t have the time or patience to then spend an hour getting to said dungeons. But here’s the beauty of any tool that’s added to a game to make things a little more accessible for players: they’re not mandatory. If you’d rather still form your groups the old fashioned way, and if you have a guild to do so with that makes it so you don’t need the dungeon tool, then you’re golden. There’s no need to begrudge other players without such a luxury something which gives them the same enjoyment you’re privileged too.
Now, all this said, I do want to keep repeating that I understand where those against any dungeon finder-like tool might be getting their worries. Still I really think we ought to let Trion try their hands at the thing before we completely condemn it. The Rifts and general set up for open world PvP seem to suggest that Scott and crew do still value the notion of server communities. Additionally a dungeon-finding tool is likely still a ways off. And when it does come, it won’t be something everyone has to use. In the meantime, if you’re still planning on getting Rift at launch maybe you should focus on enjoying the game as it is and not as it might become. Complain all you want. Don’t let me stop you there. But try to remember why you got excited about the game in the first place too.