With the way World of Warcraft both attracts new players and loses old ones, it’s more than likely we’ve all lost a few arena partners. Or perhaps you’ve never really had any. https://www.teamfind.com/ is a great way to find people to play with for Arenas and RBGs, and in the future they’re pretty certain to expand to other aspects of WoW, PvE or PvP related. It offers you an instant visual into all the information you’d usually have to ask someone to link, or click through their armory for and also shows you a little more information about them. I got the opportunity to talk to it’s creator, Pyrilus, and find out a little more about him and the websites plans for my second interview.
Who are you?
Hi I’m Skander, I’ve been playing WoW for a very long time – since the beginning really. I’ve played warlock for 5 of the last 7 or 8 years, and, I’m a rocket scientist. Or, I was, until I started working on teamfind full time since summer.
A rocket scientist? Now that’s impressive. How did your education take you down that road?
Oh, Well as far as my education goes, in college I did Aeronautics and Astronautics and then I got my grad degree in Aerospace engineering, I got a masters in that. So, I’ve kind of had a double life with playing WoW. I mean, on the one hand getting rank 1, and multiple gladiator titles as well as doing engineering and stuff like that.
I bet that was pretty hard to balance, I’m assuming there’s a lot of studying involved with being a rocket scientist – or, I hope there’s a lot of studying involved with being a rocket scientist.
Haha, Yeah, well – I’ve been a fan of learning without taking notes. I’ve always had the opinion that if you’re learning something you should learn it forever, so, distracting yourself with taking notes and things like that is just not worth it. If you wanna understand something fully just pay attention and find out how things work. It’s kind of the same with WoW, you need to pay attention to how classes interact.
So – you’ve spoken about being gladiator and rank 1, what is your WoW experience for anyone who may not know?
Sure! In vanilla I played on Cho’Gall, on my warlock, for the most part. Cho’Gall was a pretty popular centre in the US for PvP players in TBC. In total I got Gladiator season one through eight. And rank 1 in season four. There was a really strong community of 5v5 teams on Cho’Gall, and that’s what I enjoyed playing. But yeah, so it’s there that I got involved with the PvP community and Arena Junkies as well.
What do you play right now, and with anyone we may all know?
I’ve levelled to 90, and I’m in the guild <hey im mvp> with a few friends, but I don’t really play as competitively as I used to as I’ve been building teamfind. Recently I’ve been playing more RBGs, and the odd arena, but I’m feeling the struggle that most people have with finding new people to play with. I’ve played a little with Khryll and stuff, though.
I understand you’re involved with Arena Junkies, how did that come about?
I’ve been a moderator for a long time now. I was an active participant on the warlock forums, and at one point they were looking for moderators, so – I applied and then people voted and I got voted to be a moderator.
Was there any other previous involvement with the community?
Arena Junkies was pretty much it, but when Gameriot was a big deal I made a few articles, a guest article on World Of Ming. I remember back when Arena came out there was still a lot of confusion about how to play them, warriors not pummeling, priests not mana burning, so it was a pretty fun time if you had some advantages that allowed you to optimize your play style.
Teamfind. What is it?
Teamfind is intended to be the best thing to use to find anyone to do almost anything in WoW. Be that Arenas, RBGs, PvP, Honor Grinds, Challenge modes – there’s a lot of work to be done, but the intent is for you to never have to use trade chat for anything but selling or buying items again. The idea of spamming a chat channel just to find people to play with seems really outdated, so we want to make it so you never have to do that.
What was the idea behind it, where did it come from?
Like I said, I was a rocket scientist, I was working at Boeing and I wanted to find people to play with that had similar play times as I couldn’t be on as often. But I wanted them to be of a similar skill level, and still have a solid team. So, me and a few friends came up with teamfind. I launched it in December of last year with Rzn, with a lot of support from the community, Arena Junkies, <hey im mvp>, friends and even a little help from Blizzard.
So who’s involved at the moment? Who was there at the start?
I’ve done a lot of the coding, but Kollektiv has helped out with the more hardcore things – he’s a developer himself, a software engineer, and he doesn’t live far away. There’s a team of about 4-5 of us at any given point, doing what we can. Right now for example, Rzn is helping get the word out and getting feedback.
Kollektiv for example has worked on teamfind with me since the beginning of the year.
A key thing is that team find is free, does it plan to stay that way?
Yes. Well, there are premium options, but as a core team find will always be free. We do however want to offer extra things that people will find attractive enough to believe is worth a few extra dollars a month. For example, we’re looking at ways of sending automatic match results to your email for a premium user, and other things that will make the experience of teamfind a little more instantaneous and automatic for people that want to help support us.
What’s the pricing like on that?
We launched our premium accounts a month and a half ago or so, and we have another month and a half of introductory pricing. We have the lowest tier premium is something like $2.50 a month, and then there’s a guild recruiter feature that’s $10 a month. But we’re really looking at feedback to see exactly what people expect to be offered for that fee, and what other things they’d like. We look at all feedback regardless of whether you’re a premium or a free member, though.
How’s the reception been with teamfind so far, is it mostly US players?
As far as the free part of it, A lot of people are really quite pleased with it, I get a lot of messages or emails from people saying “Yeah, my friend got 2200 with a bunch of people from teamfind and now plays regularly with them”, which is really encouraging. Of course, we’re always looking to improve the experience, so we’re adding for example – believe it or a not – a team finder for teamfind. At the moment you search for players, really, and we plan on changing it around so you can search for teams, or search for a player if you have a team.
With regard to our player base, we have a pretty even 60-40 split between US and EU players, so if you’re in either of those regions then it’s fine.
How’s the growth been with teamfind?
I don’t give too much thought to it really, but the website now has over 25,000 registered members, with the help and support of a bunch of people that I’ve mentioned, arena junkies, Blizzard. But as far as my goal with the growth, teamfind isn’t done until you log on to WoW and only see people trading stuff in trade chat.
You’ve said Blizzard have helped you, what’ve they done?
Yeah, whenever we have an update incoming or an announcement to make, Blizzard makes a post on their facebook page which has helped out a lot with reaching people.
I know you’re very quick with adding new features and updates to teamfind (At one point I saw someone using Hydra’s character on teamfind, after the message was forwarded on to you, I’m pretty sure the next day there was a new feature implemented that allowed people the ability to verify their characters and the ability to request verification of people’s characters) what features do you have coming in the near future, and what features would you really like to introduce later on?
The improvements that are coming up involve a lot more intuitive and immediate way of finding exact matches. We’ve got filtering for Achievements coming, and Achievements you’ve earned will be displayed on your page, which helps a little with knowing exactly who’s telling the truth about their experience without you having to go onto their armory. We’ve got more RBG teamfinding features coming that allow people the opportunity to put an RBG team on and say “We need 3 more members” that people can apply to, or players looking for an RBG team can be found by the team. We also want to get to the point that pretty much everything you need a group for in WoW, be it PVE, PvP, Challenge modes which are quite popular now, all can be done through teamfind.
What you offer is basically an improved and more expansive LFG system, is there enough support from Blizzard that you may get to the point you could offer an addon or anything of that sort?
Well the biggest issue there is that WoW addons are largely “sandboxed” – they can only really deal with what’s in game, it’s difficult to get them to communicate with anything externally. Largely all it could do at the moment is look at what’s happening in chat channels and so on that are in game, but working with Blizzard is definitely something we are exploring and would like to explore further. For now, though, we are working on ways to make it a little easier to just tab into teamfind and find what you’re looking for.
You have a lot of ideas for improvement, what is it that you’re not satisfied with yet in regards to teamfind?
One thing I think, is that it still takes a little too much energy to find a team and really get it started, often it involves waiting for someone to reply to your message and sometimes people won’t get back to you. We want to make it much more responsive and immediate, which is our big goal at the moment.
And what are you particularly pleased with?
The best thing is that people are finding teams, I’m ecstatic when I hear about people finding a team that they play with regularly.
Most of the feedback for teamfind seems positive, how important is feedback to you, how quickly can you act on a piece of feedback?
Yes, often it is good, a common sentiment is that team find is an awesome site, they just wish that more people knew about it, so we really want to make it so intensely useful that you can’t not use teamfind. Eventually we’d like to get to a point where everyone wants to use it because they know they can get the results they need.
Feedback is extremely important, I can never overstate how important it is knowing what is working on teamfind and what isn’t. We’re always working to talk with people to see exactly what problems they have in finding the right partners.
A lot of the direction we take on teamfind is based on user feedback, and when we have an idea, or a suggestion – it varies on the complexity of the idea – but we try to implement better solutions or features within anywhere from a week to a month for a more complicated feature. Some things can be more instantaneous. Like with the Hydra thing, that verification system had been on our list of things to do but when your feedback was given to me we implemented it as fast as we could. You can now request people to verify their character also, which is behaviour we’d like to encourage. We want to implement more things that will require you to have a verified character.
So if people have feedback for you, how can they pass it on?
If you look at the bottom left or bottom right, or the contact link on teamfind, you can find a way to contact us, we check it regularly – I get the emails probably within the first 5-10 minutes or so after them being sent, and try to be quick about it.
Is there anything you’d like to ask from people specifically?
If you’ve been a teamfind user or you’d like to be, we’re always looking for better ways of serving people. Like I said, you shouldn’t have to be discouraged from playing World of Warcraft just because you can’t find the right people to play with.
How do you feel about the boosting and such that happens?
There are a lot of shadier ways of gaining rating, but with teamfind I’m asking people to earn rating and not buy it. I want to encourage more fun, and perhaps attract more people to try earn the ratings by making it easier to find people of a similar mind set than to buy the rating. We do not and don’t plan on condoning anything that may violate Blizzard’s terms of service with what we offer on teamfind and what people can search for.
You’ve spoken about making everything on teamfind a little more instantaneous, how instantaneous do you hope to make everything?
The idea is we’re going to go for something very responsive. You should be able to announce what you’re looking for and also look through the people that are looking for teams. You can invite people to join the team, or people can apply to join the team, and once either accepts all contact information is shared. The ideal timeframe should be quicker than trade chat, and more organized. Especially for RBGs, the idea that you have to log an alt to go on different servers to find teams or players is a huge problem. We want you to instantly be able to see who has what achievements, experience and a lot of other information and try provide matches that would work for you or your team.
Any last words?
Thank you for the interview, and I hope everyone who hasn’t tried teamfind yet will come sign up. I’d also like to say that while we’re still figuring out the premium packages and what to offer, there is an option to support teamfind on the website, for less than the cost of coffee, so if anyone wants to help out by using that then we can certainly get working on other ideas we have as we grow.
If anyone wants to contribute to team find then I’d love to hear from them, we’re looking mostly and web developers and designers, anyone with the passion to create something really useful and work on it so it’s as good as it can be.
I’d like to thank a bunch of people too, it’s hard to name names because there are so many people that have helped in some capacity. But I’d like to thank my own team, Blizzard for their support. Hydra, Conradical, Rzn, and anyone else I’ve previously mentioned.
If you haven’t tried Team Find yet, I really recommend it, and make sure you get your friends on it too. In my time talking with Pyrilus I was pretty amazed with how passionate he is about making this site for the community. I also really know that their plans to expand and improve the service are great, and he asked a lot about how I would feel about certain features and so on, so he’s definitely keen to get feedback and really make sure he’s offering what people want. I also know they’ll be launching a few pretty big and impressive updates in the next few weeks, and I really feel that this website is only limited by the amount of people that use it (Not that they have a shortage of members, I checked everything from RP-realms to Low-pop realms and could see a good number of people of all types of experience).
With the features that Team Find has coming, it will become massively more useful, I know for a fact in the near future it will be a lot easier to contact people and reply to people through the website, which is the only thing that I found to currently be a little difficult. They’re continuing to update the profile pages so it instantly recognizes and offers you everything you’d want to know, and want to tell a person so you can really find the right team or players. If this becomes something people “Must Have” then a lot of the features they plan to offer will make setting up RBG groups, raids and all sorts a lot easier.
As usual, let me know what you guys thought of the interview, and who else you’d like to see interviewed – I need your feedback to make sure I offer the right type of interviews, the right length, and so on.