Two Views On The “Ghetto” Of LFR

Love it or hate it (and I think regular readers know my opinion by now), WoW’s LFR continues to be one of the most debate-worthy and interesting experiments in the MMO world at the moment.

Today we’ve got two really interesting, rather opposed views on the entire thing. First, we have Dinear at Forever A Noob, who has been looking at the progression of raiding groups on his server, and has come to a somewhat startling conclusion – that LFR is slowly and patiently strangling World of Warcraft:

“Guilds (at least on my realm) aren’t really doing progression raids anymore. Since raiding is such a large part of the game, I can’t imagine that people aren’t raiding. The obvious conclusion is that people are getting their raiding fix through LFR, and not so much in guild raids.

I have a problem with this.

In my personal vision of WoW, guilds and interpersonal interaction are the heart and soul of the game. The need for cooperation to overcome obstacles is what the original raid encounters were built on. Communication, people doing their job, everyone having a role… these were the skills that set the foundation for the more fun and challenging raid bosses. LFR doesn’t have much or any of that.”

Read the rest of My Opinion: LFR Is Ruining The Game

Meanwhile, The Godmother presents a completely different opinion, from the perspective of someone who isn’t able to compete in normal raids, and so has to rely on LFR to see all the content. She describes the experience as being “in the ghetto of WoW”:

“LFR is, for some of us, the ONLY way to see Blizzard’s End Game content. As a result, the patience to remain in the system is likely to last at least until Garrosh meets his (wholly justified) unpleasant end. It doesn’t matter how many helpful buffs you chuck at people, if the people playing aren’t there to do their best, there is absolutely nothing you can do. All you can hope is that everyone turns up and at least makes an effort, and if they do you’ll wonder why you ever bemoaned LFR’s system in the first place.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s really enough. ”

Read the rest of In The Ghetto

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LFR Woes

Seems like things aren’t going too well in World of Warcraft’s Raid Finder at the moment. Whilst that’s not exactly a surprise – the Raid Finder is one of the major reasons I’m not playing WoW much right now – it’s interesting to see just why things are going so wrong.

We’ve seen two great posts this week. First up is Alison Robert at WoW Insider, pondering the ethics of “tricking” the Raid Finder into giving you quicker queue times

“The solution, as so many players pointed out, was to tell the system you weren’t tanking. Sign up as a healer or DPS, get a raid much faster than you would otherwise, and do the fights while still specced as a tank. No matter how poorly you healed or DPSed, the system would give you loot based on your tank spec when the boss died.

Not a bad deal … unless you cared about doing a really crappy job in LFR.”

And The Grumpy Elf has finally given up on LFR altogether. The reason? Because with 5.2’s changes and new “determination” buff, he’s now finding that LFR is far too hard for what it is

“I have to say I am done. I quit. I just can not do it any more. I have no desire to do progression raiding with 24 people I have never met and will most likely never meet again. I have no desire to do progression raiding in a group with 5 people that all think they are the leader and have different ways to go about the fight. I have no desire to do progression raiding with random people that all think they are better than everyone else even if they are the first one to have died to an easily avoidable mechanic. I have no desire to do progression raiding with people calling each other names and insulting each other instead of doing what they were there for, you know, killing things.

I have no desire to do progression raiding with no communication. I have no desire to do progression raiding with damage dealers who think DPS is more important than doing the right thing. I have no desire to do progression raiding with healers that think doing an AoE heal to increase their HPS is more important than keeping the tank alive. I have no desire to do progression raiding and have to explain everything all over again every attempt because people leave and come in and none of them even consider taking 3 minutes to watch a video or read a post. I have no desire to do progression raiding in a random setting that is intended to be so easy and it was for seeing content, getting loot and collecting valor in a quick and easy way when there is nothing quick and easy about it. I have no desire to do progression raiding with random people. I quit.”

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No Item Upgrades In WoW Patch 5.2?

Of all the announcements about WoW Patch 5.2, the most startling was perhaps that the just-introduced Valor Point Upgrading would be stopping once again in the new patch.

What’s going on? And is it good? Bloggers have been commenting:

  • Green Armadillo argued that this was probably a permanent change, saying that it showed Blizzard had made a mistake overemphasising iLevel – he was subsequently proved wrong, but it’s still a very interesting argument – “It is natural for these customers react poorly when told that they have to do something they do not want to do in order to get the ilvl they think they need. “
  • And The Godmother questions the overall upgrade path in 5.2, saying that the current spectre of 2 tiers of “upgrade” LFR is worrying“You know what, Blizzard. I hate to say this, but you should have kept the Tabards and put a weekly reputation cap on them. At least them people could have chosen where they did their work. You live and learn.”
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How We Learned To Love WoW’s Changes

Happy New Year, one and all!

It’s safe to say that in the 8 years (!) I’ve been playing MMORPGs, we’ve seen a lot of changes – but the last few years may have seen the most dramatic, and controversial, changes of all, particularly for WoW.

From LF* to quest difficulty to the Daily Quest Revolution, the game’s changed almost beyond recognition.

And so, today we have four bloggers each looking at how the game’s changed, and how – and if – they’re coping with it:

  • Big Bear Butt thinks that the new mass of Daily Quests is massive paradigm shift we need to adjust to, not a small change“I think the core gameplay in World of Warcraft is now being built around daily quests, and if you’re still stuck thinking of dailies as something we will someday get past, good morning Mr Phelps it’s time for your 6:00 AM wakeup call.”
  • Tzufit offers a series of tips on how best to cope with LFR if it’s a part of the game you don’t love“I would say that I have been lucky to have relatively few bad experiences in LFR since this expansion was released, but I truly believe that it’s more than just luck.”
  • Redbeard explains how he managed to stop stressing about newer classes being hugely overpowered“Unless your toon is being picked on by the OP ones, is this really that much of a problem that it requires a Dev to get out the nerfbat? “
  • And The Grumpy Elf asks whether WoW in 2013 is a game any newbie would enjoy“The leveling speed is way too fast that it would never allow people to get in touch with the characters, to get a real feel for how they play. “

Talking of changes – the Melting Pot’s going through a couple too. I’ll write more about that next week!

What do you think? Has WoW changed beyond recognition?

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Pre-Thanksgiving Roundup: ATITD Genius, Speed, WoW Memories & LFR Drinking

It’s quiet on the blogosphere today, presumably as all you strange people who roast turkeys in November head to the family home. But with WoW’s 8th anniversary just passed, we’ve got a great retrospective. Zubon’s – plus there’s always, always LFR…

  • Aldous the Boozekin has resurfaced, and he’s giving us tips on how to do what he does best – drink. Yep, it’s the LFR Drinking Game 5.0!“You’re zoned in, waiting for the group to fill up, and you have zero healers in the group – drink once for every minute that you’re waiting”
  • Zinn gets nostalgic, giving us a great rundown of his top 5 moments in World of Warcraft“Eventually I would get to know every nook and cranny of this game better than the back of my hand and having to cross long distances now annoys me more than it fills me with wonder, but I can still find places in WoW where I just stroll around and take in the scenery and simple grandness of it all.”
  • Zubon looks at a particularly genius-driven piece of MMO design – the complex social challenge that is A Tale In The Desert’s Test of the Obilisk“Really, I can pass the Test for just 8 cubits? Up goes the obelisk! Oh, you built yours 6 days and 18 hours ago? Sorry about that/sucks to be you. “
  • And Stubborn leads us into the Thanksgiving weekend with a look at how pacing, and gameplay speed, present MMO designers with unique challenges“Overall, a lot of the slower paced activities are actively looked down on by fast-paced players. They equate pacing with skill, when in fact different skills are utilized by different pacings; more visceral skills, like reflexes and accuracy (aim or rotation accuracy), are often more fast-paced skills, whereas tactical strategy is often a slower-paced skill.”

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend – or just a regular weekend!

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WoW: Amber, Loot, and Panda Experiences

And finally, the 300-lb panda of them all – WoW. What’s been happening in Pandaria this week?

  • Apple Cider looked at the question of whether the Mantids are actually the first gender-neutral, meritocratic race in WoW“Granted, I still believe that this is by accident, but the idea of the Mantid society defining themselves by accomplishment seems more a true reflection of the Warcraft gender politics than even us as player characters are.”
  • The Godmother looks at how we react to quests that give us the choice of being nice or nasty, especially when provoked“grant you, punching him in the mouth is not the answer, in an ideal world, but I don’t like to be told to scurry off anywhere. Use your good looks for stuff other than pretending being handsome got you where you are today. Frankly, you can stump up, pal.”
  • Want to know what the leader of the Horde thought when he met some Pandaren for the first time? Well, fortunately, as regular readers will know, he blogs” And, first impressions…well, I’ll be honest. First impressions weren’t so impressive. I mean, I realize I should know better than to jump to conclusions based on appearances, but…well…the words “roly poly” come to mind. “
  • Shy looks at the question of whether off-spec healers should be nerfed, and comes to some very interesting conclusions“Yaknow, that big ability that the boss does and everybody needs to press their cooldown button at that specific moment? Yes, that, not a ‘nice save’, pre-programmed.”
  • And Big Bear Butt comes up with a really intriguing idea/prediction for some new things that the LFR loot system might allow Blizzard to do“They could conceivably increase the chance items drop for players of lower average iLevel while reducing the chance for players decked to the nines.”

And look – no reputations!

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How Much Committment Should An MMO Demand?

LFR. Dailies. Lucky Charms. Food. If there’s a single thread running through Mists of Pandaria’s reception, it’s “HOW MUCH STUFF ARE WE MEANT TO DO?”

But is that fair? Are raiders – or players in general – actually required to do any of it? And why’s it provoking such a stink?

That’s the question a number of bloggers are addressing today, looking at the design of MMORPGs as a whole, and whether they do, will, should or can demand massive time commitment…

  • Jeromai considers the question from a psychological perspective, delving into Myers-Briggs personality types to find out why some people love grind and others hate it“The Judging preference might be more telling. I’m guessing that Judgers really like a sense of structure to their gaming. They need to be able to make plans, to see the next goal ahead of them, and are probably the most likely to enjoy making lots of to-do lists and checking them off.”
  • The Game Delver argues that MMORPGs as a whole have changed – that not every MMORPG is going to be a “virtual life” to play, and we should stop expecting them to be“Maybe it is time that instead of bloating their games beyond necessary, developers design MMORPGs to be picked up and played like League of Legends or a typical shooter.”
  • Vixsin, a very hardcore raider, argues that even hardcore players shouldn’t be complaining about the things there are to do, but thanking Blizzard for all their choices“This game isn’t a quicktime event, I don’t have to press “X” to continue, and I don’t have to do anything I don’t damn well feel like doing. And I’m going to thank Blizzard for giving me that option.”
  • Healing The Masses muses on the topics of committment, fun, entitlement, group play and more“So forget those self absorbed urges you have, find a group, get committed and be social.. its what we’ve been working towards with this always online world of ours.”
  • And Green Armadillo says that saying dailies, LFR or coin hunting is optional is rather like saying wearing pants is optional“Lecturing the customer on why they are incorrect, not as good at playing the game as people who are beating the content with the minimum gear, and need to find new friends with lower expectations – however accurate all of these statements may be – is not a good business strategy. “

This one’s going to run and run, I suspect, particularly with Blizzard showing no inclination to reduce the amount of Stuff To Do. I must admit, even as a non-hardcore raider, I’d be feeling the pressure of time if I was raiding this expansion – time before the nerfbat hits and raids suddenly get easier…

What do you think? ARE players required to do all this stuff?

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Drama, Brawling, How Average is Average, and How To Understand Stamina – WoW Roundup

It’s been a busy couple of days for WoW, with everything from the LFR Debate to news filtering out of the Public Test Realm faster and faster. So, if you want more brain-food for your WoW, from the troubles that Stamina causes top theorycrafters to an impassioned argument for opening up the Brawler’s Guild, here we go…

  • Theck writes a fascinating – if somewhat mathsy – explanation of why understand Stamina’s effectiveness for tanks is actually a huge unsolved problem“If you model a “perfect” healer, the tank almost never dies. So you want to model an “imperfect” healer, because tanks tend to die when someone makes a mistake (healer or tank). But how do you model “bad” play when that sort of play is inherently inconsistent and varies from player to player and encounter to encounter?”
  • The Godmother boggles at players who want the old LFR looting system back – because they miss the drama“What I find incredible is that if someone in the Real World went to the amount of trouble Blizzard have to improve people’s quality of life, they’d get a lot less grief and a lot more general acceptance for their efforts. It just goes to show, you can’t keep everyone happy, even if you do your best.”
  • The Grumpy Elf attempted to estimate the average competence of LFR players – With Science! (Sort of)“I wonder what the other 15 DPS would think if they knew that the person that finished #2 was a tank with all tank type gear playing cat for the first time in ages pressing only 1 button the entire fight.”
  • And Olivia Grace argues against the current intention to sell off Brawler’s Guild invitations to gold barons and AH players“The part that I find most objectionable about this proposed change is that those who have the invitations can hold other players ransom for access to the Brawler’s Guild. “

I honestly don’t know what the right way to jump on the Brawler’s Guild is – although I agree, it seems somewhat unfair to limit it only to players with huge amounts of in-game gold. Still, as the invitations are one-way, I’m not sure how long the gates would hold – I recall how easy it became to aquire Gmail invitations, back in the day…

What do you think?

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Controversy Watch: Asshats, Dailies, and Is LFR Required

It’s that time again – time to look at the controversial topics currently spurring discussion in the MMORPG world!

Today we’ve got more about unpleasant players, dailies, and the “Is LFR Required?” question…

The Dailies Of MoP

Dailies, dailies, and more dailies – but are we still hating them?

  • Shy is annoyed, but not because of the effort – she’s annoyed about the lack of choice of activities to get Lucky Charms“Why not allow people to gain lesser charms by pvping? Or get a lesser charm through Scenarios? I love those scenarios, but the rewards are somewhat meager at the moment. And since I only have limited time to spend in the game I don’t get to do scenarios nearly as much as I would prefer. Instead I spend time doing stuff I don’t enjoy much.”
  • And Big Bear Butt has cracked, started doing the dailies – and discovered that to his astonishment, he loves them“But for story and playing and fun, the structure of the Klaxxi have been the one element I have enjoyed the most, right from the beginning and stayed with me as the faction has continued to grow.”

Unpleasant Players

It’s an eternal topic of discussion, in WoW in particular, thanks to the LFD tool – and this week, the “what to do about asshole players” discussion has reared once again –

  • We don’t normally link WoW Insider Breakfast Topics, but Robin Torres’ question about PuGing gathered some fascinating responses“It is definitely much more personal in a 5-man group. That’s certain. It’s not “you all suck,” but “you suck, Laurel.” If I’m really not doing well, there are better ways to tell me, obviously. More often, however, the blamer is the one with the problem.”
  • And Kurn, who has recently quit WoW, points to one commenter as an example of how her values don’t seem to match with many WoW players’ today“Not only do I have very little in common with the vast majority of the playerbase in terms of how they approach their character and their play, but the vitriol displayed in his comment, especially his parting words, just reinforces to me that the vast majority of players out there aren’t people with whom I care to associate.”

Is LFR Required?

And finally, the topic of yesterday was LFR, and whether it’s actually required for raiders – and a raid leader responds:

  • The Grumpy Elf explains why, in his opinion and his guild, LFR play is absolutely required for his raiders“Raiding is a team event, one that everyone should contribute to. Doing the LFR is you learning the plays from the playbook. Any decent team player at least checks the plays out before showing up for the game. “

What do you think of all this? Let us know in the comments below!

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Are You Required To Do LFR – or ANY MMO content?

No-one’s required to do LFR, right? You don’t have to do it.

Or do you?

That’s the question that blew up on the official forums over the weekend – and has prompted several bloggers to write interesting posts looking at the issue of social expectations, hardcore raiding, and just what you are or aren’t required to do…

  • Here’s Zarhym’s original post and his lengthy follow-up” Our goal isn’t to make sure progression raiders never want or need to run LFR. Having experienced raiders queuing up is usually going to be a net gain for everyone (in terms of wait times, success rates, etc.). There is usually some benefit to most level-90 players running Raid Finder, but that’s obviously very different from “forced content.””
  • Anafielle was actually the one who Zarhym quotes in his response, above, and she wrote a fascinating follow-up post looking at whether LFR is indeed required“It really annoys me to see my style of play disrespected by others. Comments like “You have a guild problem” or “That’s a playstyle choice” are really disrespectful to me. They completely miss the point.”
  • And Matticus also weighed in on the issue of LFR being required, pointing out that in loot distribution systems where player effort is considered, LFR attendance or not will affect your chances of raiding loot“Watching people absolutely refuse to queue for it despite the fact there’s a chance for possible upgrades feels like they’re not as willing nor as committed as I am to the success of the raid group.”
  • And finally, Dinaer wrote on a similar subject last week, putting a lot of the complains about “required” content down to nothing more than impatience“People have no self-control. We see dailies and reputations and say OMG I HAVE TO DO THAT BECAUSE ITS THERE. Rein it in. You’ve probably got two years with this expansion. You can get the reputation to exalted later. Or next year.”

The topic of what’s required and expected in an MMO is an endlessly complex and fascinating one – and it’s certainly not as simple as “if you don’t want to do LFR but feel you have to, UR playin it rong”. I’ll be interested to see where the debate goes from here.

What do you think?

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