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This is a Rift raid finder opinion, and as of right now there is not one in the game. While this is true, I feel it's a feature that should be added.

Players have bashed any ideas of “group finding” tools in games for as long as I can remember. Generally this comes with the idea that they destroy community and/or bring out the worst players. While I agree with these, to a point, I also feel that people are looking at it from the wrong perspective.

Lets hit on the point that a Rift raid finder would destroy the community. While some will disagree with my feelings, I think that any game that fosters instanced content as its end-game has already destroyed its community. The instancing in and of itself, while it does help with allowing multiple people to do content without competing, also causes the game to be in a state where you only ever see a fraction of the players on.

In relation to the idea that it brings out the worst players, I don't really follow this one too well. I've been in many PUG's for raids (both 10/20-man), dungeons, raid rifts, etc. I've also been in many pre-made guild groups. Based on my time in both of these, I've found that both of them are about equal when it comes to how people act. Furthermore, most people who join PUG raids are doing so on an alt, so they have experience on their mains already (this isn't always true, but often is).

With the regular dungeon finding tool already in the game, I feel that the next step is to help foster cross-server raiding. When it really comes down to it, the first tier (GSB, RoS, GP and DH) of raids is already at a point where PUG's can clear them with no issues. The only downside is that it takes a while to get the groups together. A Rift raid finder (just added as a new option to the existing LFG tool) would be extremely helpful for creating these groups. Cross-server would benefit even more, allowing players to get people from a much larger pool. Furthermore, this allows you to do other things instead of sitting around watching chat and attempting to get groups formed. You can jump in a PvP match, do some Instant Adventures, or even just watch TV or something and relax while waiting on the raid to pop. It's a very simple solution to what is becoming a very complex problem.

Update 1

This is an update based on my time in other games, like World of Warcraft, that offer up a raid finding tool. So far, it has shown to be extremely successful. In both FFXIV and WoW, groups are formed fairly quickly and have been at least somewhat competent. It is worth nothing, however, that these two games could not be further apart when it comes to the difficulty of their raids you get entered into, and this is an important thing to keep in consideration.

FFXIV

The community behind this game is very solid, and most of the dungeon running community is also pretty cool. When you make mistakes or do not understand your class completely, there are more than enough people around that are willing to help understand exactly what you are doing right and wrong, and they will help guide you on the path to becoming a much better player. This has shown true through all levels and classes or roles. Of course, you do find the occasional player that acts like you would normally expect from a game where you are essentially playing anonymously, but these players in FFXIV are the exception, rather than the norm. This speaks wonders for the game and helps explain why it is so much fun. But keep in mind that I said this is what it is like in dungeon groups… with raids, it is an entirely different beast. Raiding in FFXIV is very hit and miss. If you are joining through the queue system, it is really a lot like playing the lottery. You may have a competent group or you may not. For the most part, it seems like the higher you get up in the raid tiers, the less chance you have of finding a decent group. It is very important to keep this in mind, because it gives a bit of a false sense of security – you start out in dungeons, where everything is as perfect as it can be. You start out on the low end of the raiding, and things are a bit more tricky, but the community still works together and it eliminates any ill thoughts or issues you might otherwise have. And the further you get, the harder it becomes, and the most hostile players become. You eventually get to the point where people will give it a try or two and just give up if they feel like others are not catching on to what needs to be done. There is a lot less help given, and a lot less patience. This is likely due at least in part due to the fact that most mechanics should be obvious at this point, and yet the vast majority of players, for some reason, just can not figure it out. So despite the change in mentality of players, this is absolutely understandable. After all, it is annoying to spend hours at a time on a group where most of the players are unable to read or comprehend very basic tasks. Not only are they not progressing, but neither are you, and it is nothing but a waste of time for no reward. That said, I do believe that the raiding system, for players that are up for learning how to play and trying to get down how to tackle the raids, is a great asset. It allows you to queue up at any time, rather than waiting for your normal premade groups (should you have one), and gives a decent way to learn. While you are unlikely to be successful much, if at all, as you do this, you still get to see each of the mechanics in action and can hone in on your skills. Your goal when doing this should essentially be to just try and be the last one standing, rather than one of the first to die. And if you happen to be in a group that does end up successfully taking down bosses, all the more power to you – now you have gotten an even bigger benefit, in that you have also obtained rewards. But do yourself a favor to save the headache, frustration, and disappointment… do not go in there with the expectation that you are going to walk out successful. With how much of a lottery the groups are, the chances are great that you won’t be.

World of Warcraft

This game’s raiding queue works vastly different than was originally expected. While you do enter the same raid lairs you would normally enter and you do still get to face off against the exact same bosses, there is one very cool feature there: you are in a weaker version of the same raids. Now, the benefit of this is two fold: you have a much greater chance of success (I can only think of one period where a raid group had to try more than 5 times to slay a single boss, though there have been many where it takes 2 or 3 tries) and you still get to learn what you are doing and how to do the various raids. The success part comes because the raids are essentially watered down. Based on what I can tell, they do have the same exact mechanics as the normal versions, they are just easier to take down. For example, they do less damage and may have less health (though I can not confirm these on my own). That said, across all of the different raid dungeons, there are only a few encounters that are still reliably difficult – meaning that the average group is going to fail a few times. These are a blast to take part in, because they help add a bit of a challenge to what otherwise feels like an almost mindless grind through some raid dungeons. You could even argue, for example, that these raids are usually even easier than the normal dungeons, solely because there are so many players and the effect a single person is going to have on the rest of the raid (keep in mind there are you and 24 others) is pretty minimal, at best. In fact, there have been some ongoing issues with players going AFK – some do it for an entire raid, or at least attempt to, and others just go AFK somewhat randomly. In most cases, these players end up being vote kicked out, but occasionally one or more will end up making it all the way through to the end, getting some free rewards while doing nothing and contributing nothing to the rest of the raid group. That said, as a time commitment, you are still much better off actually taking part. Not to mention it is the right thing to do, after all. When it comes to strategy and learning how the raids within WoW work, these are a great way to get it all down. They do follow the same general idea, but are slightly (or greatly, depending on how you look at it) easier to complete. The best part about this is that you are able to get actual raid experience from the same bosses you will normally be fighting if you are in a raiding guild. The concepts will remain the same, and what you learn is directly transferrable – the only real difference is that the real version does not allow for many mistakes, whereas the dungeon queuing method does. For example, in one fight you may need to keep the two bosses away from each other in a normal raid, while in the LFR one they can stay together, simply because the effects are not as strong. It does not mean that the mechanic is not there, it simply means that you are able to withstand skipping at least some of them. This can, however, also lead you into a false sense of security. Just as this is a great benefit, it is also detrimental for bosses you think you understand but really do not. For example, you can take down bosses flawlessly in the LFR, think you understand exactly how they work, and then join the real raids and realize that there are mechanics that were present but did not matter enough to worry about. As a result, if you plan to do normal raiding, it is important to be adaptive. Realize that you may not have a full grasp of everything that is going on, despite feeling like you do. While somewhat frequent mistakes being made in LFR do not upset most players (though there are a few that may call you out, especially if you are a core role, such as healer or tank), the vast majority view it as just part of the queuing with randoms. In a raiding guild, however, play time is limited and the goal is to actually get things done. In these cases, being the cause of a lot of mistakes can cause you to be barred from future raids or banned altogether, all depending on the guild that you are in. For the most part, guilds want players that are going to be learning, adapting, and helping everyone else get the content completed, rather than holding everyone back due to obvious failures.

Lower Quality Items

At this point, it likely brings up the question of why you would do the full raids if the raid queuing system gives you everything that you need. This all boils down to getting gear, and the queued ones, because they are easier than normal, do not come with the same drops. Instead, the gear is weaker than what you would normally get if you did the real bosses. It is hard to gauge exactly where the gear drops stand in relation to raids and dungeons, but it would appear that it is essentially right in the center of the two. In other words, the drops that you get while doing these encounters should be better than what you would get in normal dungeons (which, in this case, does mean Heroics), but worse than off the full raids. That said, it is actually more than enough for the average player and will get them through all of the content they want to take part in. The full raids are more of a niche feature of the game at this point, rather than a core one, and being that you can lock down on all of the lore, take down the bosses, and get the same general experience you would get regardless as to if you are doing the full raids or the queued ones, it is all really just a matter of personal preference. If you really want that boosted difficulty, go for the full ones as well. If you are just trying to have fun and do something relaxing with a lot of other players, just worry about the queued ones. And if you are trying to raid for some gold and really do not care about anything past that, the queues are where it is at – the bonus gold for completing these is pretty good, and if you run each of these once a week, you can lock in a couple thousand gold extra. Note that the queues also do not have any sort of lockout timers, so you are able to join them as often as you want. But you can only loot each of the bosses one time, so in terms of drops, you can only do them once a week.

Circling Back to Rift

I feel that Rift would benefit from a system that is a lot like WoW’s. It should come with slightly easier raid encounters to take part in, but that mimic the full versions well. Rift is a game that is highly geared on progression, and having something like this in place would help players get to learn the encounters before they go off and drag others into the dungeon with them. While my view in this area might be tainted based on past experience, I have to say that I have been in many of Rift’s raiding guilds, and the lack of ability to follow simple procedures appears to follow a large portion of the community. Things as simple as not standing in fire seem to be pretty difficult for a lot of players to grasp (maybe due to focusing on their skill rotations or something), and having more practice before using up guild time would be a great asset to everyone as a whole. Not only could these players get some more time in during periods where the guild is not raiding, so that they can learn how to better cope with the mechanics they are having issues with, but it also offers the ability to get a bit better geared up. This, to me, seems like a perfect fit for Rift, and I strongly feel that it would help enhance the community around raiding and help bring more players on board that otherwise do their best to avoid taking part at all costs. And that does not even touch on the benefit to casual players, who could then queue for raids while they do whatever else it is they want, rather than having to find a guild whose times match their own or being forced to do their best to schedule around guild runs (which is a common issue, especially being that most people either work or go to school). While scheduling things around the guild is not usually an issue in the beginning, it often gets to the point where it is simply overwhelming, at best.

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