WoW Thoughts

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Dungeon Finder Tool: Dungeon Preferences

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Ever since the dungeon finder tool was released, there’s been a common cry from many different users, that they are are regularly being put into specific dungeons more often than others. There are a couple reasons why you might experience this, but you should know: based on all the evidence I can find, it is *not* all in your head.

The dungeon finder prefers to find groups of people who can work reasonably well to complete a dungeon together, while also meeting certain other requirements. Though it’s not stated explicitly by Blizzard, experience of both leveling a character and having a high level character shows that these requirements tend to seek to put under-geared players — especially tanks or healers — with classes that compensate for them via their gear. (Many people will be quick to point out that gear is not the same as skill, but gear is quantifiable; skill isn’t. The Dungeon Finder can’t check a player’s skill in general.) If you’re an undergeared tank, there is a good chance that you will have an overgeared healer, and vice versa. A single undergeared DPS will often be grouped with one or more higher-geared players.

The Dungeon Finder seeks to put you into a dungeon you will be able to achieve. When you first start running heroics, you won’t be dropped into HoR. This is another aspect of the gear check; this particular one lets you actually see the effect of your gear on your possible dungeon choices in the interface, which will tell you “You must obtain better gear.”

In general, the dungeon finder seeks to make a relatively balanced group: you won’t typically have 3 melee as your DPS, nor three ranged. In general, the dungeon finder tries to balance both number of characters of a given armor class and types of damage dealt. (This is, of course, thrown off by players grouping together and joining the random queue; you can have a group of 4 paladins if all of the paladins were in a group to begin with, and just grabbed one from the queue.)

The dungeon finder will attempt to put you in a dungeon which you are not locked to yet for the day.

Finally, the dungeon finder tries to put you into a dungeon that you are experienced with. This is the one that people seem to be concerned about most often.

Everyone knows that WoW has statistics about which dungeons you have done most: Sites like PUG Checker will show you your counts, for example. In general, assuming all other criteria are met, it seems that it is common for the Dungeon Finder to try to give players the dungeon that they have done the most often.

For the random daily dungeon (the first dungeon of the day), over the past week, Nesilo has had:

  • Utgarde Keep (11 total)
  • Drak’tharon Keep (7 total)
  • Halls of Stone (10 total)
  • Azjol-Nerub (7 total)

    Looking at PUG Checker, we can see that this shows a heavy bias towards dungeons which are done more often by the character. Levelled after patch 3.3, Nesilo has never done a heroic dungeon via anything other than the random dungeon finder, but the number of kills of each dungeon show a strong indication of a non-random distribution. Culling of Stratholme and Occulus show 7 kills each, while Utgarde Pinnacle shows only 2 — and none done since the switch to only doing dungeons daily instead of running multiples each day. Gundrak shows only 3 kills — all of which were done in chain dungeon running. Nesilo has never run Gundrak as his first daily of the day.

    This trend applies equally across other characters. Rosenblythe, on the same server, has run VH and Gundrak 27 times each, and UK a stunning 51 times… but completed Halls of Stone only 7.

    You’ll see this trend everywhere you look: Any player with a discrepancy in their kill counts of a dungeon will see that discrepancy increase over time, and the larger the difference, the more heavily it appears to be weighted. If you’ve done one dungeon twice as much as any others, it seems almost a guarantee that your daily dungeon will be that one, unless you’ve got someone else in the group who is weighted in some other direction. Of course, this type of weighting is a vicious cycle: the more you do a dungeon, the more likely you are to do it in the future.

    Practically speaking, there’s nothing that you can do about this: dungeon finder is controlled by WoW, not by you. One thing you can try is to extend your lockouts on dungeons as you run them, to try to have the “not locked out” condition override your heavily weighted single dungeons.

    This type of weighting is actually very bad for users who might be casual players looking to gear up: By doing a dungeon every day, it seems that you are likely to quickly develop an affinity for that dungeon, meaning that — using the random function of the dungeon finder — you are less likely to see other dungeons, which might provide further upgrades for your gear.

    Weighting dungeons such that an experienced ‘guide’ can lead lower geared people through it is a nice thing to try, but the current implementation seems to tie people overly much to a single dungeon, and that type of behavior is discouraging. Even quick and easy dungeons like Utgarde Keep get annoying after a while, and not being able to control this aspect of the game often leads to frustration. Random doesn’t necessarily have to actually mean random in this case, but the heavy weighting of such a mostly unimportant factor is certainly unfortunate.


    Written by wowthoughts

    May 14, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Posted in Uncategorized

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