Yesterday I finally did LI HM with one of my chars with a random group. It was probably tenth time i tried. That's why I found it necessary to post some thoughts about group finder.
I see three shortcomings of current group finder system:
1) There's no gear (or stat) check.
How many times have I joind group for LI HM just to see people in Tionese/Recruit gear or even using green lvl 45-50 items? Because of that a lot of time is wasted for finding replacement and whole group gets frustrated. How many times have I also been wiped, because someone was undergeared and couldn't understand, that gear he was given at lvl 50 is better than the one he dropped, for instance, on Corellia? I do understand that this system works in a way to allow everyone to join FPs, not hardcore gamers from PVE guilds, but people with gear below basic requirements shouldn't be able to use group finder for those specific FPs, just like people with lvl 35 can't join Kaon or False Emperor.
2) There's no skill check.
I can also begin with LI HM. Being wiped on LR5 or Lorrick is a very common thing for random groups. The same goes for Soa in EV, thrash mobs in KP or even in Kaon. I don't expect anyone to perfectly know OP or FP, although basic knowledge is necessary. Problem is that about 1/4 of groups have first timers (for OPs, with FPs it would be a smaller number), who are often source of all the wipes, frustration and rage quits. As I said, I don't demand anyone to know fight tactics. I think that people joining group through group finder for more challenging FPs or OPs should know what's going to happen, shouldn't be surprised.
3) There are almost no OPs to choose.
It would be just nice to be able to use group finder to join EC or TFB story mode or KP and EV hard mode, instead of looking for group on fleet for many hours.
I thiknk this should be quite easy to implement. I'd also go with stat check, which wouldn't disqualify those with mixed gear (for example with one last part of recruit gear) and wouldn't be easy to cheat (if we did a gear check using some number created from rating for example, someone could use a different high level gear, used for different spec, and after joining the group, change it to one below requirements).
Recently I saw on this forum one suggestion to solve this problem – using codex entries. It's a neat idea, although I would suggest using the upcoming achievment system. Player would be allowed to join queue for specific FPs (only those more difficult, rest IMO should be allowed always for everyone) and OPs only after getting an achievment. For HM FPs it could be an achievment after completing SM version of FP, or even one you get after completing HM FP. The same for OPs – only players who completed OP on certain difficulty mode at least once, would be allowed to join queue for this OP (of adequate difficulty). Of course, at the beginning, queues would be empty, but on the other hand fleet would be full of people wanting to get this new achievment.
Also because achievment system is going to be legacy wide, it would allow players to join OP or FP with an alt, even if they did this OP or FP with their main char (however I'd think about three different achievments for each OP or FP – completing them as a DPS, tank and healer).
Btw. I don't think that nerfing LI HM, which is going to happen in 2.0, is a good solution. Even though I don't like atmosphere of this FP, I find it to be the best one due to challenging fights. So BW, please, don't nerf it! Make more FPs as difficult as this one!
I suppose that we don't see most of the OPs in group finder, because most of random groups wouldn't even go past first bosses. However, if gear/stat and skill check was implemented, probability of wipes would be greatly decreased and even random, not-so-well coordinated groups would succeed – people would generally know what to do and wouldn't be undergeared.
And what's your opinion?