I design a competent LFG tool

This is a mock-up for a LFG system that WORKS. Based on the previous rants (rant 1rant 2).

There should be also a new icon that looks like an eye of a demon (and maybe even animated, for the cool factor). Eye open = LFG on. Eye closed = LFG off. It’s a simple toggle that you enable/disable with a mouse click on the icon.

The design idea is: If you make the LFG tool a predominant element of the interface instead of hiding it somewhere, then people more likely will use it.

In my design this icon/eye should be placed near the character portrait or at the upper right of the screen, between the zone name and the icon showing the time of the day. You click on this eye and a radial menu will open with just two icons/options (if you use Trinity bars you have an idea of how this radial menu could look). One will toggle the LFG flag on and off, the other will bring up the LFG panel shown above, where you set all the options and can perform the searches.

The LFG options you set from the panel are SAVED with your character. This means that your preferences will be carried over from session to session and you could log in the game and just toggle the LFG flag. Without the need to reconfigure the whole thing.

Trick: Another idea I got is that if you mouse over the zone name, just above the mini-map, you would get a tooltip that shows on the fly all the players who are LFG in the same zone.

Some more explanations:

– If you check the “Global LFG” option then all the fields below will be checked automatically and you’ll always appear in every search that another player performs if he is in the same level range.

– If you check one of the main fields (Zone, Dungeon, Quest and Raid) then all the fields below will be checked as well. Instead if you go check one of the single options while the main field isn’t checked then the main field will be checked as well, but not all the other options for that field.

– “Auto LFG in current zone”, if checked this option greys out the “Zone” field. If active it means that the game automatically flags you LFG only for the zone you are in. This means that when you move from zone to zone the LFG flag will be updated automatically to your “current” zone. Just remember that even if this option is active, you still have to toggle the “LFG” on (via eye icon) to be actually flagged.

– “Auto LFG Elite quests”, if checked this greys out the “Quest” field. It means that you are LFG for all Elite quests in your quest log and when you take a new elite quest it will join the list and get flagged automatically. Same as above, you still need to toggle the LFG on for this option to be in use.

Note: there will be a new option on the quest log that allows you to send a specific quest to the LFG panel. By default only the “elite” quests will be listed on the LFG panel, but you can use the quest log to “send” there even normal quests, and ask for help.

Note 2: When you flag an elite quest you are also flagged automatically for the corresponding zone. This allows you to “see” those players who are flagged LFG for the zone where the elite quest is, even if they don’t share your precise quest. This to make easier to ask for help and maybe trade favors (I help you with this if then you help me with mine). For example making visible two players who are LFG for two different elite quests in the the same zone.

Similarly, players LFG in a zone will see also all those players who are flagged for an elite quest in the zone, so that they can offer to help them.

– “Looking For More”. This tab is greyed out till you are “solo”. As you join another player in a group this tab becomes usable, while the options above the tab will be reset. All the options you set while in the group are “volatile” and won’t be saved, and as you disband your default options on the LFG panel will be restored. The purpose of this is to allow simple, aimed searches when you are in a group and going for a specific objective. So without overwriting the default options that you use normally while looking for a group.

For example lets say that you are with three other players going in the Blackfathom Deeps dungeon. Your group needs an healer. So you select Blackfathom in the dungeon tab, then check “1”, “Priest” and “Druid” under the LFM tab. This corresponds to the classic “LF1M healer”. When you’ll perform a search you’ll see all priests and druids who are also looking for a group for that dungeon. And all the priests and druids looking for a group in that dungeon will see your group set LFM.

The two major goals of this system are:

1- Allow for multiple choices, giving as much customization and “reach” as you want
2- Provide complete matchmaking results by performing ONE search

In particular I underline the second point. In the current system used in WoW you have to perform one search for each option available. Instead in my system you get ALL the results, sorted by group (first groups, then solo players), number of matches and then alphabetical order.

So you’ll get a list of names of all the players whose LFG options match at least one of yours. By mouse-hovering on a name you can see what is the result, or results that were matched.

Summary of the overall UI scheme:

  • eye icon (eye open = LFG on, eye closed = LFG off)
  • (radial menu)

    • LFG toggle
      • (on/off)
    • LFG panel (two tabs)
      • LFG Options (this opens by default if LFG toggle is “off”)
      • Search (this opens by default if LFG toggle is “on”)

This system has one apparent imperfection compared to Blizzard’s one. To be able to perform a search and get “matched” you are forced to set yourself LFG (as the search function will look automatically for all the fields you checked). While in Blizzard’s current LFG tool you can search LFG players even if you aren’t set LFG. This is a desired effect. As I want the players to flag themselves when they are searching, instead of using the tool passively.

It will encourage more players to turn the LFG flag on and get better used to the system.

EDIT: I revised some smaller parts.

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