“LFM ICC 10. No achievement required, min 5k Cheerscore. PST for invite.”Is this something we’ll see in the LFG channel in the future? Maybe. I don’t know if there will ever be a Cheerscore. But we need something more than just gear evaluations to make grouping with unknown players a bit smoother.
Recently there have been a lot of blogposts about the use of Gearscore and about the sometimes rather unrealistic demands that l33t players are making on their fellow PUGers. Once again we’re reminded about how the community consists of millions of players with wildly shifting expectations on the game, more or less successfully trying to coexist side by side in peace.
The problem isn’t new, but the new random dungeon system is bringing matters to a head. Some players are in this only for the badges, measuring the success of an instance run in the ratio of minutes/emblem.
Others are Looking for More, wanting to see some sort of group chemistry or even intimacy to not feel empty and unfulfilled.
Just like any other online dating service, Blizzard is trying to match players who they think would fit nicely together. However the matching so far seems to be based mostly on gear level, just like it already is.
The Gearscore addon has been popular for quite a while now as an instrument to quickly evaluate potential party members to try to make the best possible match. Spinksville wrote a very thoughtful and intelligent post about the reasons for using it. It isn’t necessarily the root of all evil, but actually quite handy.
But the majority of the recent voices in the blogosphere have expressed their utter contempt for not only this specific addon, but the mentality that it represents.
I believe that we partly can blame the rather clumsy matching and grouping system in WoW for those clashing worlds, the lack of group chemistry and the differing goals and expectations that create unnecessary conflicts. Gear’s fine, but it definitely doesn’t say everything about a player. Being social or not hasn’t got anything to do with purples.
There are extremely achievement-oriented, rather impatient players who don’t put up with less than perfection from their party, but are totally uninterested in a friendly banter, imba players who have blue gear, since they’re currently speedlevelling the new tanking character that their guild desperately needed. Or perhaps since they just admire Gevlon’s Ulduar adventures, considering overgearing a waste of time.
And there are players decked-out in purples, who are more social and chatty than they are hungry for boss kills, who happily would like to spend two hours whipping in a Hall of Reflections-pug as long as they had a good laugh doing so.
The challenge is to make sure that those different sorts of players aren’t grouped up together, but matched with other players with similar mindset. The question is: how do you make it happen?
The Cheerscore solution
Dw Redux is sick and tired of the silent runs where the only answer you’ll get if you write something in the party chat is “gogogogo”. He suggested an extra tick box: “looking for friends” or “willing to chat”. Maybe that’s the easiest thing to do. Let the talkative people play with each other and let the emblems/hour people have their fun.
But I’m also playing with the idea if it would be possible to make an addon to help you evaluate the social side of other players as easy and quickly as you can get a rough picture of their gear through Gearscore.
Everything we do in the game, every little piece of action we take, is recorded and kept in the seemingly endless Blizzard data base. Just look at the statistic page of your own character and you’ll get the picture! Would it be possible to make a rough picture of the play style of another person from some of those numbers? Maybe.
Let’s have a look at the social page for instance. Admittedly there isn't much information on it for the time being, but at least there is some. Until now Lar'isa has given out 175 hugs but she has never ever done a facepalm and only lol’d 11 times. It probably says something - and I'm afraid my own Gearscore would be far higher than my Cheerscore. Probably there are more social statistics available than the ones currently displayed. Probably they know very well not only how many hugs we've given out, but also how many we have recived. Those reciprocal hugs, shouldn’t they increase my Cheerscore? What else could be measured? The numbers of friends list you’re appearing on? The numbers of times you’ve sticked around after a wipe feast? You can probably come up with better ideas than I.
The question is of course: would it really matter in the end? The Gearscore mentality is widespread to say the least. Are there still enough Cheerscore people around to form a pug raid based on it? If you could choose between a highly rated Gearscore raid respectively a Cheerscore raid, which one would you pick?