First I swear this is going to be my last post on this issue.  At least for today.  Since everyone was giving there take on what we think should be done to improve/instead of the call to arms solution I figure I would expand on mine in an actual post.

On a sidenote, I thought this post on the solution was awesome http://foreveranoob.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/call-to-arms-my-take/

In my original post Domitor challenged me by pointing out that we can’t expect people to do more work today than they are already doing, because that just isn’t practical.  Expecting people to approach how they run instances in a completely different manner is just not going to happen.  So what do we do about it?

My answer, after a lot of thought, was to build on something we already have and use in game.  The ignore list.  People would be able to use it in exactly the same manner as they currently do.  All Blizzard would have to do is to implement the request by numerous people to expand the amount of people we can ignore.  I say make it unlimited.

The real reason for the ignore list

I don’t work for Blizzard, and never have, but I can imagine how this feature was developed internally and what the internal dialog was right.  There had to have been numerous discussions trying to find a balance between this being an inherently social game (what with the whole “multiplayer” term) and the reality that not all people get along and there are some people out there who just need to be ignored.  Their solution was to allow you to ignore a limited number of people.  This way you really were forced into the social ecosystem of the game, but could still live without ever having to hear from the worst offenders.

Balancing Equations

So what we ended up with is Blizzard saying that given the amount of people on the server, in their given faction, their client base would be happy if they heard from all of them but a set number.  An arbitrary number to be certain, but that’s fine, I don’t have a problem with a social experiment.  Then they changed the ecosystem.  We’re not only hearing from our server anymore.  Now we can be grouped with a much larger group of people.  They changed one side of the equation without balancing the other.  Not to mention they don’t give us any nice tools to ignore people from other servers.  It doesn’t make any logical sense as to why ignoring people from other servers isn’t an intrinsic part of this larger ecosystem.

Rethinking Original Assumptions

I would say their original assumption about people and ignore lists was naive and they should rethink it. I don’t see anything wrong with giving someone who plays an MMO exactly what they want, even if what they want is to play it like a single player game.

I have a programmer background so forgive the analogy, but in my field we have what are called edge cases. I’m fairly certain the term is generic, but in case you aren’t familiar with it, it just means an example that is outside the statistical norm of behavior, but may arise. You’ve heard the term the devil is in the details? Well for developers, edge cases are the details and there is plenty of devil in them. Developers spend so much time thinking about edge cases, they forget to develop for the statistical norm.

If they allowed everyone to ignore everyone else, could they end up in a world where no one talks to each other? Sure, it’s possible, but it won’t happen. If it did they should probably shut the game down anyway, talk about a sign. What will happen is some people will use it more than others, but everyone will be around an average with an acceptable variance. The bell curve strikes again.

How does this affect queue times?

Every tank could ignore the DPS that make them miserable. Each Healer could ignore the tank who pulls an entire hallway and drops group. Every DPS could ignore the tank in intellect gear. Ignoring the bads, that part sounds easy, but take it even further. I’ve been a healer who was with a group who didn’t do anything wrong exactly, except they just weren’t comfortable with how far behind I was. The run went fairly smoothly but I felt constantly pushed. I could ignore them. Pretty soon I would be able to be relatively certain that I would group with people I enjoy running with and approach instances the same way I do.

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