Yesterday I said that WildStar’s dungeons are too hard for PUGs, so today I’m going to solve that problem.
Okay, I don’t really know how to solve it.
But I have an idea: PUG Attunements! Or as I like to call it, "Stuff you have to do before you can queue in the dungeon finder."
In order for a PUG to even have a chance at success, you need each member of the group to know how to dodge and interrupt. You also need the tank to know how to maintain a little bit of threat, and you need the healer to know how to heal people who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
The WildStar Dungeon Preparation Simulation*, as I’ll call, would be a single-player instance that drills you on the skills you need in a dungeon. (I think this is something like The Gatekeeper in The Secret World, which I’ve never actually seen but only read about.) It would present a series of tests that the player must pass with a fairly high degree of accuracy before unlocking the ability to queue for dungeons. The tests should be tuned so that someone who is already "hardcore" enough can pass them on the first or second try.
The Dungeon Preparation Simulation has two main purposes: First, to train newer players in the skills they’ll need to do well in a dungeon. Second and just as important, to give players entering a PUG some confidence that whatever random group they get might actually be able to finish the dungeon.
To test dodging, I would make people run through some kind of obstacle course that throws out random telegraphs that you have to avoid. They would have to be fast enough that you could only avoid them by dodging, not simply running out of them. In order to pass, you’d have to avoid at least 90% of them. (And ideally they should be randomized enough that you can’t just memorize how to do it.)
Testing a player’s interrupt ability is a little harder because in dungeons you need two people to interrupt. But in a solo instance I might throw things at the player that they must see and interrupt quickly. Perhaps throw in some telegraphs that the player doesn’t need to interrupt so he has to decide whether to burn his 30-second cooldown or not. Perhaps have things they must interrupt while they are dodging telegraphs at the same time. Maybe that could be the final round of testing. First phase: Dodging. Second phase: Interrupting. Final phase: Dodging and interrupting.
If the player wants to tank, I would make them pass a tanking simulation. The instance might throw waves of mobs at the player and require him to grab aggro before they kill some innocent bystanders. Perhaps it might throw some extremely damaging telegraphs and force the player to pop defensive cooldowns to survive and pass the tests.
A similar situation could be created for testing healers. Put a bunch of friendly NPCs in a room taking damage while running around all over the place, and make the healer keep them alive for a period of five or ten minutes. It would have to be a long period of time to force the healer to manage his focus resource over long boss fights. The healer would also have to avoid pulling too much threat.
Now keep in mind, these tests would only need to be passed in order to queue for the random group finder tool. If you put together your own group, there’s no need for tests.
Well, it’s an idea, I’m not saying it’s a great one. But I do think it’s better than PUGs constantly disbanding after one wipe.
Of course now that I think about it, one could argue that the Level 20 Dungeons are Dungeon Preparation Simulators. Because I suspect a lot of people aren’t going to bother trying the Level 30 dungeons after getting creamed in the Level 20 dungeons.
* I swear I did not plan that to have the acronym DPS.