World of Warcraft begins Midsummer Fire Festival, WoW Classic previews new group finder

    
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It was a different time.

Ah, the Midsummer Fire Festival in World of Warcraft, the time of year when everything feels like it’s already on fire so you might as well just lean in and wear some shoulder armor that is actually on fire. It’s a noble event with a long history, and it’s back around again until July 5th for both the retail realms and the WoW Classic servers exploring The Burning Crusade. If you love yourself some cosmetic fire toys and gear, now is absolutely your time to claim that.

Meanwhile, the Classic side of the game is full steam ahead toward Wrath of the Lich King Classic, with plans to deploy a buff on the existing realms offering a 50% experience buff so that players can level up faster ahead of the expansion launch. (Relaunch… whatever.) It’ll even be active on the fresh start realms! There’s also a preview of the extensively changed and redeveloped Group Finder interface coming with Wrath Classic, as Blizzard continues to insist that it’s not going to add in the dungeon finder which was (we will note once again) actually part of the expansion and something fans have been asking for extensively. We’ve included the explanation for this new tool below.

And speaking of solutions, I’ve come bearing some good news: we are actively developing a brand-new Group Finder UI for Wrath of the Lich King Classic! Here’s a small sneak preview of some of the features we’re aiming to deliver.

  • New Look, Modern Code: We’ve rebuilt the UI to be easier to read and more inviting than it was in Burning Crusade Classic. Behind the scenes, we’re using our modern Group Finder code, ensuring stability and performance.
  • Roles: We’re introducing roles into the UI in Wrath Classic. Partial groups can broadcast which slots they have open, and individuals can specify whether they’re willing to tank, heal, deal damage, or do multiple of the above. Roles are intended to expedite communication – not stifle gameplay creativity – so for the moment we’re keeping all roles open to all classes.
  • Solo Listings and Multiple Activities: We envision this Group Finder as a “bulletin board” where players can list activities they want to do and discover others who want to do the same. To that end, we’re supporting listings from both solo individuals and partially filled groups. And if you can’t decide which dungeon you want to run, that’s okay! You can list yourself for more than one.
  • Request Invite and Suggest Invite: To smooth out group formation, we’re adding Request Invite and Suggest Invite features. Just remember: a quick “Hey there” is always preferred over a silent and sudden ninja-invite!
  • The Single Source for Your Group Finding Needs: We’re aiming for this Group Finding UI to be a one-stop shop for all your group-finding needs. To that end, we’re reviving an old rule from the original Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King: sending messages in the Looking for Group chat channel will require being listed in the UI.

You might be thinking, “no one likes restrictions”. In an ideal world, each individual player would build their groups using whatever tools they deem best for the job. However, we’ve observed that group finding is a social coordination problem, and there’s value in funneling everyone through the same system. If we can create a single “source” through which all group finding is done, all players will reap the benefits.

Veteran players will note from the description and screenshots that this is not substantially different from the modern Group Finder tool, which makes it less of a fix for the issues players have noted in the Classic experience (lack of meaningful leveling groups, slowness in assembling groups for leveling dungeons, lack of access to endgame past level cap for all but the most dedicated players, etc) and more of a back-porting of an existing feature. But, you know, that ship has sailed.

Source: Official Site (1, 2, 3)
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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