PuG’ing has long been the antithesis to many people’s evenings in WoW. Reasons ranged from hating running heroics to simply enjoying questing more to the most commonly cited reason: PuGs suck. The main reason? People suck, especially anonymous people. Hell’s bells, the whole of human society is based around trying to find the group of people who least annoy you and banding together into a clique of friends that keep other, more annoying people at bay. It’s a dance of sublime pains in my ass.
But I’ve noticed something as I’ve been doing this new round of PuG after PuG after PuG. Thanks to the new group finding tool there is literally no required interaction between yourself and your group mates. Scrat even pointed out in a comment a couple of days ago that grouping has almost become like soloing now, except with even less effort on your part to reach your destination. People don’t really talk anymore because there’s really no incentive to do so. Who cares what Group Member #4 thinks of you? He’s from Boulderfist server and you’ll certainly never see him again, so why even bother? Of course, this can be a good thing.
I love that there’s no longer a reason for the tank to share his hopes and dreams of someday being a good tank with us all. Gone are the days of awkward banter where people feel like they need to get a conversation going or else the group didn’t count for some reason. Nowadays most groups are lucky for there to be a conversation past the initial “hello” thrown out, which is inevitably met with every other form of “hello” except the original (hola, hi, what’s up, howdy), an odd phenomenon. But at the same time it’s almost like there’s something missing.
Groups have become much less personal lately, more about just getting down to business. Since most people in the system are familiar with the old heroics at this point, there’s no need to stop and confirm if everyone’s done a fight, no explanations, no impetus to get the people communicating anymore. Everyone just runs from position to position, doing the same dance they’ve done over and over before. No friends are made, no connections to be had, it’s all run run run, fight fight fight, loot loot loot.
What it comes down to is that the new LFG tool has changed the game, made it stronger in the regards that high level loot is easily attainable by grouping regularly, which is now done at convenience. However, it’s almost been counterintuitive with this increased encouragement to group met with a decreased reason to make lasting connections with your group mates. This has weakened the game by making it so you can no longer subtly recruit new guild members by observing them during multiple dungeon runs. You must now rely on what you gleam from an app doubled with the gear they’re wearing, though that is not really a good barometer anymore.
I suppose that in the end any sort of improvement such as the new group finder would end up being double edged in some fashion, but isn’t the social aspect of an MMO one of its drawing points? Fun little exchanges at random always make my day, I know that much, and now they’re happening less often than they used to. Ah well, in the end everything will have its price, I suppose, and my new trinket sure as hell doesn’t feel bad about all those missed conversations, so why should I?