I am what most would consider a casual player. I have a busy job where I often work nights and an 18 month old at home. Even when I am off for a week I may only get two hours to play. When I do get on, I have to try and maximize my experience, because that may be my only chance to do ops or flashpoints for that week. Before someone makes the recommendation, my toons are in guilds, one is very active with four raid groups rotating through the week, but its not fair for me to sign up for a raid group when my schedule is so unpredictable.
With that out of the way, I am wondering why you cannot select L50 operations, like Eternity Vault, Karraga's Palace, and Explosive Conflict, from within group finder as a level 55 character. I've done Eternity Vault a grand total of two times and KP once. I'd love to be able to do these operations for the story, the experience of the fights, the achievements, and, to some extent, the loot. I realize that gear-wise, many of the drops from those operations are obsolete. But, there are other loot drops besides the gear (crafting materials, vehicles, pets) and to the extent I am a collector/completionist there is some satisfaction in getting all the tiers of gear. While I may not like the look of the Black Hole and Dread Guard consular gear, someone else might. Specifically regarding the achievements, while end-game raiders in full Hazmat/Dread Guard gear probably had their fill of NiM EV, the achievement for doing it in under 2 hours didn't come until achievements launched with 2.0, thus there would still be a subset of level 55 geared end game raiders who would have a desire to do these operations.
Are these operations excluded from Group Finder for specific reasons? For example:
1. Would queue times be unacceptably long if those operations were included? I cannot see how this would be the case, because end-game high level raiders would not have to check those boxes if they weren't interested. Now, It might be the case for the person queuing for L50 ops that they would have an long wait, but at least they have the option to queue, even if it is long. Having the option to queue means a casual player like myself can work on, at the very least, the multitude of dailies while I wait for a group to pop, rather than spamming on the fleet, "L55 sage LFG level 50 ops!" which completely incapacitates me for anything other than crafting low level gear to toss on the GTN.
2. Are the designers trying to make sure people don't waste their time obtaining gear that is already obsolete? Its true that the black hole gear from Story Mode Eternity Vault is pretty substandard compared to even the artifact L55 gear you purchase with basic comms, and may not even be adequate for L55 hard mode flashpoints. But, if you don't need that gear you don't have to click on that check box in the group finder UI. For collectors and completionists and achievement-seekers, they can opt to queue up. Furthermore, the devs have made the effort to construct a weekly mission awarding elite and ultimate comms for doing the so-called classic operations. Why not facilitate doing those by including the option to queue for them in GF? A hard core raider might not require the extra 12 ultimate commendations from yet another weekly for an operation they could do asleep, but a casual player like myself needs every single comm he or she can get.
3. Are the designers worried the UI for group finder would be too cluttered? Well, IMO its pretty self-explanatory, and if a player can't figure out the group finder UI they shouldn't be doing operations or even flashpoints anyway. But there are easy ways to prioritize the internal unseen list of things you can queue for in the UI so that the most "important" things, like L55 ops and L55 HM FPs, show up on the top of the list.
Those are the reasons I could think of, from a design perspective, that would keep the devs from putting L50 ops on a level 55 toon's group finder window. I have offered counter arguments to all of them. With that, I respectfully request that the developers add the option, for level 55 characters, to queue for story/hard/nightmare mode classic (L50) operations (eternity vault, karraga's palace, explosive conflict). I welcome comments, especially from yellow names. Thank you for reading.