Thought of the Day: Effect of the dungeon finder on smaller servers

My server (Argent Dawn EU) has had regular login queues over the last few weeks. On several occasions, it has also been marked as locked which means no new characters can be created there. At the same time, the server has been the source of free transfers to other RP servers. Clearly that hasn’t been working.

And why is that? (Aside from my presence.)

Well, via the dungeon finder, characters can get geared up more quickly than ever before. And what will they do once they are geared? There’s a good chance that they will want to raid, and the easiest way for a more casual player to raid is to join a PUG. And the easiest way to find a PUG is to hang around a city in game, keeping an eye on the trade and LFG channels, and wait until someone announces that they are looking for more people to form a raid.

This happens more frequently on larger servers.

Being on a smaller server has never been less attractive for a casual player, and unless Blizzard can get some kind of cross-server raid function working, I think that further exodus is inevitable. It’s ironic, because one of the great benefits of the cross-server dungeon finder has been that players on smaller servers have much better access to group content. But it may yet be the death of those servers in the long run …

11 thoughts on “Thought of the Day: Effect of the dungeon finder on smaller servers

  1. I hope for a functionality that allows you to hop between the servers in your pool at will, like switching between different channels in Runes of Magic. It would probably require some pretty massive changes in Blizzards server architecture and the codebasis of WoW but I think its the only logical choice now that we are in contact with players from other servers anyways.

  2. Indeed. Pre-WOTLK random raids on SSC, TK, Hyjal and BT were possible and even successful on Frostwolf. You could also be picky with whom to do Karazhan and Zul’Aman. On Taerar the Alliance side suffered a lot and had trouble to do random dungeons yet alone raids.

  3. Yup, last week has been bad with logins, especially around 8-9 o’clock in the evening, with waiting up to 20 minutes šŸ˜¦

    Now, if only I would have the patient to wait for a PuG…

    But the solution is already in game, they just have to make a LFR-option, and with the build-in gear check, the random-raid will not be undergeared… no way of knowing if the players have the don’t-stand-in-the-fire-talent though :).

  4. Having the same problems as you are with my server, US-Moon Guard. It was terrible, the other night during a raid my computer crashed and when I tried to log back in I was sitting in a 550-person queue. D:

  5. I’ve been on a smaller server (Korialstraz-US) and switched back to my old overpopulated server exactly because you couldn’t get anything going on Korialstraz. There was a single guild doing raid content and unless you were in it you could forget about doing any kind of raids.

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  7. I think the bigger danger to the server population would be the reduced social interaction from automating grouping too much. Add to that the cross server nature of the grouping (which means that you’ll never get to carry on adventuring with those people) and my bet is long term this will have a negative effect on things, we’ll see I guess.

  8. Hey there, saw a link about your post on just now and I thought I’d comment on it here. I think you’ve made a small mistake in comparing the /LFG tool and its effect on Casual players.

    I am a LONG time casual gamer, (3? yrs playing, 1 main, lvl 80) and I’m just now getting into “serious” raiding. While I DO agree the /LFG tool is going to help people gear up like mad, and be able to raid easier, I don’t think this is such a bad thing. The wait time between “80-in-greens” and “Raid Ready” is going to go WAY down, but I don’t see this as a bad thing. Will people transfer more because they are geared and want to get into a better raiding guild? there may be a slight increase, but Its been happening ever since they allowed paid transfers and I don’t see it getting worse. For the Casual gamer however, the /LFG is a godsend. A small casual family guild is no longer forced to wait for an hour to pick up the last person they need for a dungeon Run. Friends can group and level together so much easier even if it means bringing in a stranger. But you’re having to o that anyway so what difference does it make so long as you get to do your run? for me? the new /LFG tool is a Godsend. Ive’ got my little casual guild, my low pop server, my zero wait time for logging in, And I’ve got 10x the people to draw from when I’m pugging a dungeon. Win all the way around as far as i am concerned šŸ˜€ Others mileage may vary of course… But I think its an awesome addition for the Low-pop servers/Casual players.

    • Thanks for stopping by!

      And I agree, it’s brilliant that more people are able to run instances these days. Especially if it takes some stress off the smaller family-type guilds who used to feel that they had to try to organise regular runs.

      What I am thinking about though is the next step. What happens when people finally have as much as they can get from the instance runs? When they get bored of Halls of Stone et al? This will happen much more slowly for more casual players, but it will happen eventually.

      At that point, your options are to level more alts (which works!), find other things to do in game, or think about raiding. And this is where the server size comes in. I think a lot of people don’t realise the difference between larger and smaller servers, but on a large server, there will be pick up group raids running every night. Multiple raids, to multiple destinations. You could log on, sit in Dalaran, and whisper the raid leaders to try to get yourself a spot.

      Sure, some raid leaders will be fussy about gearscore and achievements but others won’t – might just be a case of picking the right raids.

      So eventually, the casual player on the larger server will have more opportunities to see these things than would happen on a smaller server. And as one barrier comes down (ie. the barrier stopping people seeing instances), I wonder what will happen when they see the next barrier ahead of them and know that a server transfer would bypass it.

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