Friday 11 February 2011

A solution to the problem of wiping in instances.

It seems that a lot of people hate wiping in instance, to such an extent that they drop group immediately it happens. They aren't in the instances for the adventure, they're in it for the "phat lewtz". Well, here's a solution that will please them. I visited the cathedral in Stormwind today. Looking for Shaina Fuller, the first-aid trainer. She was busy with another student, so I sat down at a nearby bench to wait my turn. Bored, my eyes wandered around the room. Lying there on the ground beneath the seat in front of me was a scrap of vellum. I picked it up. It was memo, between the heads of two organizations I'd never heard of before. Well, I read it, and I was amazed by its content. I quickly stuffed it in my pocket and ran out into the sunshine, unsure what to do about it. I think the best thing to do is bring it into the public domain, so below is a transcription of the memo.

From: Dr. Van Howzen, CEO Azeroth Health Service Executive.
To: Professor Gashweld, Chief Surgeon, Royal College of Physicians
Re: Centres of Excellence

Dear Tiberius,

As you know, the Alliance Trauma Association of Doctors established a centre of excellence in Theramore several years ago, and has shown an excellent record in patient treatment and outcomes. As a result of this success, the Azeroth Health Service Executive has been created to streamline the delivery of health-care throughout Azeroth. Our most urgent task is to improve health service productivity, and to that end we have developed a vision for change. Let me re-iterate our mission statement:
"The Azeroth Health Service Executive aims to provide high quality and equitable care for all its patients, in a safe and secure environment, and to achieve excellence in clinical practice, teaching, training and research".

I now turn to the treatment of trauma injury in instances. Heretofore, trauma injury in dungeons has been dealt with solely by general health practitioners. It is the practice of all instance groups to have one or more dedicated General Practitioners accompany the group and provide immediate emergency support. This has several problems.

  • It puts GPs at risk, as they are dependant on the rest of the group for protection from injury while they are treating patients, usually in the middle of dangerous encounters. This has led on more than one occasion to GPs suffering from exactly the same kinds of trauma that they are trying to prevent. Studies by ATAD have consistently shown over several years that over 95% of all GPs suffer at least one injury per instance.
  • In the event of the death of the GP, it is common for the whole party to succumb to their injuries. Studies by your own organization, the RCP, have shown this to be the case in 72% of all encounters where all GPs die.
  • In many cases, the trauma is so great that the GP's mana-pool is completely exhausted before the end of the encounter. Once again, it is common for the whole party, including the GP, to succumb to their injuries (see Surgeon General Cogspin's report in last month's Journal of the Azeroth College of Surgeons). A common response to this is for GPs on the spot to allow some patients to die in order to conserve their mana. Such patients could be saved.
  • In other cases, parties find themselves breezing through instances without much injury, leaving their accompanying GPS with little to do. The productivity of these GPs is greatly reduced.
  • It reduces instance group productivity to have to wait until a GP becomes available and willing to undertake such hazardous activity.
  • GPs have to be knowledgeable about a wide range of injury vectors including blunt and sharp force trauma, burns, poison, frostbite, and various forms of magically induced injury, both physical and mental. It is inherent in being a General Practitioner that one is not a specialist in any field. Therefore the best specialized knowledge and techniques are unavailable to instance parties.
  • The only medical technologies and equipment available is that which the GP is capable of carrying personally. This greatly limits the quality of the healthcare delivered.

To address these problems, we plan to create centres of excellence in which specialist doctors can provide high quality and equitable care for patients in a safe and secure environment. No doctor need be forced to accompany adventurers into dangerous environments. Instead they will be able to perform their work in one of our centres, where they are safe from attack, where they have the backup of other specialists (including an almost limitless mana pool), where they have access to the latest technology, and where they can achieve excellence in clinical practice, teaching, training and research.

With medical practitioners now working in our centres of excellence instead of in dark and dangerous dungeons, we must next address how primary healthcare will be delivered to patients in instances. We must rapidly bring injured patients out of these instances and into our hospitals. We pondered several schemes (for instance Gryphon Master Talonaxe of the Society of Flight Masters was approached to discuss the feasibility of an air ambulance service, and we discussed with Zaphod Boombox the provision of goblin rocket packs to adventurers), before finally deciding on the Automatic Remote Supervision and Extraction service. A.R.S.E. is composed of two parts: a supervision service and an extraction service.

1. Supervision. The supervision service monitors the health of adventurers, automatically and remotely. We did consider installing eyes of Kilrogg in all instances but they would have to be manually monitored, and the cost would have been prohibitive; and of course there is always a worry when relying on warlock thaumaturgy. Instead, we asked High Tinker Mekkatorque to advise, and he has commissioned an automatic monitoring device from the Gnomeregan Institute of Engineering. This is a small robust, waterproof device that adventurers will carry in their back pocket, and that will continually transmit health indices to an automatic monitoring station in Ironforge. Clinical trials are already underway in our Theramore centre of excellence and the results are promising. Gelbin tells me that the Institute has provided monitoring coverage over the whole of Dun Morogh and Theramore for our trials, and intends to complete coverage of the Eastern Kingdoms by the end of the fourth quarter of this year, provided funding is made available. Signal coverage will be extended to the rest of Kalimdor next year and to Northrend the following year. We hope to provide a separate service in Outlands in three years' time.

2. Extraction. Archmage Rhonin of the Kirin Tor has been approached to extend the teleportation facilities that are currently provided in instances to allow adventurers to be teleported to a new triage centre in Dalaran. This will have portals to all our centres of excellence so that patients can be triaged quickly and delivered efficiently to the centre which can best treat their injuries. Rhonin and Gelbin have set up a committee to examine how monitoring signals from the A.R.S.E monitor can be delivered early to the Dalaran triage centre, possibly by aggregating such signals in the Ironforge Monitoring Centre and sending them through a dedicated repeater portal.

The nerve centre of the whole operation will be in Gnomeregan. Gelbin tells me that stage two of Operation:Gnomeregan is on schedule and the capital city should be fully ready by the time we begin the build-out. The day-to-day operation will be fully automatic: when the health of an adventurer carrying an A.R.S.E. monitor falls below a preassigned level (settable by the adventurer), such adventurers will be automatically teleported out of the instance to our triage centre, where depending on the type and seriousness of their injuries they will be assigned to a destination centre of excellence and put in its portal queue. At the same time, a fully healed adventurer will be teleported back to the instance in their place. This solution will make party wipes a thing of the past: it will be almost impossible to die in instances, thanks to the excellence of the health care solution that the Azeroth HSE will deliver. Instances will finally become as safe as houses for everyone.

I trust you are in agreement with this plan; I am sure all adventurers will welcome it. I will be in touch again once funding has been secured.

Yours truly,
Gustaf Van Howzen

Well, what to make of this! It is an answer to the problem of wiping, that much is certain. For those people who hate adventuring, surely this is a great solution. Perhaps even better though, why wouldn't the powers that be just hand over the "phat lewtz" without making them go to the trouble of running the instances? The broken "I win" button must be fixed!