Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has posted his latest World of Warcraft dev blog entry, and this one features an interesting change to the Luck of the Draw buff.
In its current state, the buff provides a 5% bonus to damage, healing and health if you group with at least one random person using the Dungeon Finder. In patch 4.0.6, the buff is being increased to 5% per player, up to a maximum of 15%.
So why make the change? According to Ghostcrawler, "the intent of Luck of the Draw is to help make up for the lack of coordination, communication, and familiarity that pick up groups suffer relative to organized groups of guild members and friends." This buff should help PUGs in Cataclysm and make using the Dungeon Finder a more pleasant experience.
Also, fun fact: it turns out the Luck of the Draw buff hasn't been working in Cataclysm at all, except for in a few specific dungeons. Check out the entire blog entry after the jump and discuss the buff in this thread in our WoW general forum.
Luck of the Draw Buff
In case you aren't already aware, Luck of the Draw is the name of the buff you get for grouping with random people using Dungeon Finder. It currently provides a 5% buff to damage, healing, and health if you have at least one random player in your group. With patch 4.0.6, we are increasing this buff to 5% damage, healing, and health per random player, up to a maximum of 15%.
In the process of working on this change we actually discovered that the Luck of the Draw buff has not been working in Cataclysm at all, save for a few specific dungeons. This means that the difficulty in almost all normal and Heroic dungeons for those using the Dungeon Finder tool was higher than expected. Still, with that issue corrected in 4.0.6, we feel the bump up to 15% for three or more random players found through the Dungeon Finder is a necessary change.
The intent of Luck of the Draw is to help make up for the lack of coordination, communication, and familiarity that pick up groups suffer relative to organized groups of guild members and friends. Cataclysm dungeons, especially on Heroic mode, are quite challenging and ask for more group organization than the Wrath of the Lich King dungeons did. Therefore, Luck of the Draw became relatively weaker in Cataclysm. I'm painting the picture with unfairly large brush strokes here, but in general, Heroic dungeons are of appropriate difficulty for organized groups, but just brutal on Dungeon Finder groups. Players wonder, and rightly so, why Dungeon Finder supports Cataclysm Heroic dungeons at all when the chance of success is so low.
We think buffing Luck of the Draw is a good way to go about correcting the difficulty differences because it makes things slightly easier on PUGs without depriving the organized groups of a fun challenge. We also think the bonus is modest enough that it won't encourage organized groups to split up and just PUG instead - - the success rate for PUGs relative to organized groups is just that far behind. We still think you'll have more fun and a greater chance of success running dungeons with friends, but when that isn’t possible, we hope this change will make Dungeon Finder a more pleasant experience. Also remember that patch 4.0.6 is adjusting the difficulty of some bosses that are particularly unforgiving, such as Ozruk in Heroic Stonecore, though to be fair, we are buffing some underperforming encounters as well. In addition, we are offering larger Justice Point rewards for players who just prefer the faster pace and greater success rate of normal dungeons, and by the time 4.1 comes out everyone will have access to more powerful gear, making the older content even easier. But then there'll be new challenges to face!
We'd like to thank everyone who has provided us with feedback. We do listen, even if we don't immediately deploy every design change suggested by the player community. Our intent is to make the game fun for a wide variety of players, which can be quite a challenge when you have a community this large and this varied. We hope you continue to enjoy the game, and look forward to sharing more changes (and a few surprises) in the months ahead.
-Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft and was attacked by a coati as a child. (True story.)