Is the tide turning on WoW’s LFR?

Looking For Fail. Looking Fail Raid. The LF Tool Tool.

LFR does not have a particularly stellar reputation amongst WoW players, and for good reason. Of late, everyone’s attention has been focussed on the looting situation in LFR, which has gone from bad to worse –

or has it?

We’ve got three different perspectives on the present and future of LFR today, including, I’m glad to say, a message of hope:

  • The Grumpy Elf ain’t made any cheerier by his LFR loot experiences, and today offers a suggestion for improving Looking For Raid’s looting system – just have us collect teeth“Whenever you defeat a boss in the current tier of the LFR you will loot a tooth off the boss as proof of the bosses demise. Simple as that. There will be no loot drops, there will be no rolling, all you need to do is bend over and loot the boss.”
  • The Godmother recounts a particularly abusive LFR situation, calling upon all of us to act to prevent LFR bullying“It doesn’t matter what loot rules you put in place, you’re never going to find a way to restrict idiots like this. Some people’s idea of enjoyment is a Universe away from everyone else’s, and thriving on other’s upset and discomfort is something that, quite frankly, makes me ill just thinking about it.”
  • And Big Bear Butt brings us a message of hope, reporting that he’s been seeing a pattern of behaviour in LFR – random unprovoked acts of kindness“without warning a trade window is opened, and the piece of loot is placed there. No conversation, nothing. I accept, and whisper back my thanks and appreciation. The person then says something along the lines of, “No problem, I didn’t need it and you looked like the person who could use it the most.””

What do you think of the state of LFR right now?

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Is LFR the new LFD? Has information ruined raiding? And is LFD the reason we can’t have nice things?

There’s a loose thread running through a number of posts today – a wondering about where WoW is going, and a dissatisfaction with the nature of the various Looking For… tools as they are now.

The Grumpy Elf kicks it all off with an idea I’d not even considered – that LFR will, over time, eclipse and replace LFD. He follows that up with a solid series of arguments demonstrating that for almost every purpose, the LFR environment beats LFD

“Can something protect anonymity and be more social both at the same time? Damn straight it can. While the people that just want to stay in the shadows can do so in the looking for raid setting a lot easier then they can in a five man, the person that wants to be the center of attention can be so more easily in the 25 man setting then they can in the 5 man setting. They have more people to talk to and more people to look at them and we know they want everyone to look at them. Social people want to be noticed and what better way for them to be noticed then to have 24 others trapped in a room with them.

For social people the LFR is a great fit for them.”

Interestingly, Grumpy’s most telling arguments center around anonymity and social elements. He successfully argues both that LFD offers a greater chance to avoid griefing and abuse for most classes – and that brings us on to our next post…

Big Bear Butt, meanwhile, has been chatting with friends who enjoy WoW, but aren’t familiar with the ecosystem of sites, guides, and recommendations that many hardcore players feel are “needed” to play the game (an interesting echo of the discussion about addons that’s still raging in the comments). And that conversation leads him on to thinking about how he used to play WoW, without websites to rely on, and what that information ecosystem has done to the game’s community

“You know what’s funny? For a long time now, gear upgrades and drops have not excited me.

Each new piece of loot has represented an increased possibility that I will not suffer abuse for my performance at the hands of complete strangers in a random group using specs and gear builds they read off the internet, pulling for me or on the wrong target, assuming any mistake is the fault of anyone but them.

And along the way I have had to remember that, if my choice of upgrade is not the approved item “as seen on TV”, I can get shit for that as well, and I have to be prepared to justify my choice with reason and logic.

And be ready to take shit for it anyhow. /ignore is your friend, until it is full.”

Obviously, both the Melting Pot and BBB himself are or have been part of that same information ecosystem, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing so. Indeed, the messages of thanks we get every day make me darn proud to write guides that help people out .

But nonetheless, WoW is part of a huge information network that’s unprecedented in the history of gaming, and the results of that network are… unexpected. And, unfortunately, where there’s information, there are idiots who overvalue it, and are willing to heap abuse on anyone not singing from the same hymnsheet as them – even if they are (as they usually are, in my experience) partially to completely wrong.

Which brings us, finally, to Darraxus The Warrior, who today writes an angry and personal post relating his experience taking his wife – someone who doesn’t normally participate in the LFD environment – into an LFD run

“Then he goes on a rant linking a few of the blue items my wife is wearing. Last I checked, you do not need full epics to get into the instance. He just kept going and going. Unforunately, the vote to kick was on cooldown because we had to kick a tank who DCed immediately after we zoned it.

It is not like they were doing terrible DPS. They were both doing between 12 and 13.5k DPS, which is more than enough for these instances.

The whole situation literally made my wife cry. In real life. This is the reason why I never had her do LFG instances. People can be douchebags. It was a new encounter, her gear and DPS was plenty sufficient, and some asshat decided that it was his mission to make someone feel like shit.”

No matter what the cause might be, when a game is causing encounters like the one Darraxus describes, it’s pretty clear the situation isn’t ideal.

Will LFR change things for the better? Can ANYTHING change WoW, or MMOs, to make them a less hostile place?

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Mists of Pandaria Raid Finder: everything you need to know about Looking for Raid’s difficulty, loot rules, tier gear, lockout, opening dates, ilevel and more.

Looking for Raid has been through a fair few iterations over WoW’s history: from Vanilla’s “guilds only” approach, through the global Looking for Group channel (aka Looking For Spam), through several different iterations of a manual raid listing system in TBC and WoTLK (one of which no-one ever used), and now finally to an automated matchmaking system like the Looking for Dungeon tool. Mists of Pandaria is the first full expansion to bring this new Raid Finder to global use, so there are a lot of questions out there about how it will work – how will loot rules work? How will the kick system work? Will it drop tier gear pieces, what iLevel will the drops be, will it share lockouts with regular raids, how hard will the raids be?

Well, here in one mammoth post are all your answers. They’re currently taken from the Public Test Realm LFR (Looking for Raid) experience, but we’ll update as soon as LFR raids for MoP go live with more information.

Latest update: 16th October 2012

Looking for Raid / Raid Finder difficulty

The Looking for Raid tool will not run at normal raid difficulties. Instead, it will send players to a custom difficulty level below Normal. It will only run 25-man raids.

LFR difficulty currently differs from Normal difficulty in two ways:

  • Most boss and add health and damage is reduced by about 25%.
  • Some abilities are removed from some bosses – usually those requiring a lot of coordination or faster reflexes from players.

Notably, whilst the LFR difficulty often means that less people need to successfully understand the mechanics for a fight, it doesn’t remove the need for the “dance” entirely – players still need to move, target-swap, attack adds, at least roughly understand phases and so on.

Looking for Raid minimum iLevel

The minimum iLevel required to enter LFR in MoP is iLevel 460 for Mogu’Shan Vaults, and iLevel 470 for the later two raids, Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear. That’s going to be fairly tricky for most people, requiring almost a full set of Heroic dungeon gear. Note that you’ll no longer be able to “cheat” the iLevel requirement with PvP gear – crafted PvP gear in Mists of Pandaria is iLevel 450, as is non-raid crafted PvE gear.

How the Raid Finder loot rules work

Raid Finder loot rules have been completely changed from their earlier interpretation.

These days, all Raid Finder loot is individual. The game will decide if you get a piece of loot for each boss, randomly and independently of anyone else, and will then assign you something appropriate to your class and spec if so.

That means that guild groups can no longer roll Need for each other, people can no longer Need just to keep items away from other people, and generally makes the entire LFR experience a lot less horrible!

Looking for Raid / Raid Finder loot, iLevels and tier pieces

All Looking for Raid loot will be iLevel 476 in Mogu’Shan Vaults and iLevel 483 in Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear. That’s considerably better than most Heroic dungeon loot, which is iLevel 463, but nowhere near as good as the iLevel 489 / 496 loot that Normal raiding gives.

LFR will drop tier tokens, which will reward tier pieces named the same as the Normal or Heroic tier pieces, but with lower iLevels and stats. However, importantly, LFR gear will still offer the same set bonuses, and you can mix LFR, Normal and Heroic tier gear to achieve the two and four-piece set bonuses.

Given the Tier 14 set bonuses are by and large very powerful, this will mean that even hardcore raiders will likely want to do LFR every week until they have their set bonuses.

What raids can we join with the new Raid Finder?

Dragon Soul is still available on LFR, we believe.

The release dates of the other raids will be staggered on LFR, approximately 5 days behind the release dates of the Normal raids. Mogu’Shan Vaults will open on the 7th October 2012, and the Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring will open on November 6th 2012.

Raid Finder / LFR lockouts, raid leaders, and other info

  • Looking for Raid does not have a lockout – however, if you’ve killed a boss on LFR during a raiding week, you’ll automatically pass on loot from that boss on future Raid Finder attempts ONLY.
  • LFR will have a single person designated as “Raid Leader” – however, their only powers will be, according to Blizzard, “the ability to mark targets and use /raid warning”. The Raid Leader will be chosen at random from everyone who volunteered to raid lead.
  • Raid Finder and the Legendary Questline: we know that at least the first stage of the [Legendary Questline in MoP](http://t.co/0i4CgWoH) WILL most likely be doable on LFR.

If you’ve found this post useful, please consider sharing it using the buttons below (or on your blog!)!

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A Hundred Questions LFR Must Answer

And in WoW news, meanwhile – the LFR posting on the blogosphere has started to ramp up. I’m expecting this to be the big one – more than any other feature in 4.3, perhaps until the next expansion, I’m anticipating debate, discussion, and detailed blog posting about Looking For Raid and the trials and tribulations therof.

(Of course, I’m also anticipating a million how-to-mog posts. But LFR’s going to be the debate-starter.)

It has already started with a couple of posts, notably an excellent one from Shintar some time ago. But today, The Grumpy Elf lives up to his name and delivers a really fascinating dissection of the LFR idea, in a truly massive post highlighting all the questions that Blizzard have yet to answer about LFR

“What about roles? Is Blizzard going to fill the raids with the standard 2 tanks, 2 healer, 6 DPS set up? I know my guild likes to do 2, 3, and 5 when we are starting out new content. Sometimes we still keep that even on stuff we can farm. How about solo tank fights? I can solo tank a buttload of stuff this expansion so far. I would say almost a quarter of the bosses can be solo tanked. So why make sure to give us 2? Are they going to just assume someone will have a viable DPS offset? Same with heals, some fights can really benefit from having three healers while others two is more then enough. Hell, I have a holy paladin in my guild that is more then willing (and capable) to one heal some of last tiers stuff.

Most tanks hate being on add duty. Add duty is probably the hardest tanking job anyone can have. Maybe that is why I like it, who knows. If we are given two tanks from the system who is to say we will get anywhere while we wait for the two people to fight it out on who will be the add tank. Is the system going to tell us who will be main tank and who will be off tank? How is the system going to actually decide this? Will the person it selects for it actually be capable of doing it? I know many fights where if all you ever did was main tank you will be in for a shock when you have to add tank.”

This one’s going to spark some debate – when you head over to read it, be prepared to get annoyed. I violently disagreed with at least two of Grumpy’s points – vote-kicking (not all people with vote-kick timers are “assholes that kick anyone that is not perfect”), and loot etiquette (if you’re rolling Need for your guildies, you’re part of the problem), and was uncertain on a few more. But nonetheless, he hits a whole bunch of home-runs too.

How WILL roles be distributed? How will communication be handled? What about DBM? What about offspec loot roles? Who’s going to decide what tactics we use?

It’s the start of a very interesting discussion, and I look forward to seeing the responses – and slightly apprehensively to finding out what the answers are.

Is the current LFR plan filled with holes? And what do you think the solutions will be?

Quote taken from The Grumpy Elf’s post .

Find The Grumpy Elf’s homepage at http://thegrumpyelf.blogspot.com .

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Predicting the 4.3 future

We’re still riding the wave of post-4.3 news blogging here at the Melting Pot, and there’s some extremely interesting stuff coming out from the blogosphere, with a variety of fascinating, detailed predictions hitting us over the weekend. So, join me as I take a wander through what our collective crystal balls are showing us.

First up, Dwarven Battle Medic has a detailed 4.3 post, but the part that really interested me was his phase-by-phase suggestions for how the Deathwing fight could work:

The Battle Mages manage to ground him, but as he’s just too powerful they cannot hold him for long. The Raid would fight a partially subdued Deathwing on the ground and have to deal with all the tricks that a very pissed off dragon in command of the element of Earth can possibly think up. Giant Earth Elemental adds that need to be tanked, insta-kill pits opening up beneath people’s feet and giant impaling spikes are some of the possibilities, in addition to having to deal with random, devastating flame breath attacks, claws and tail swipes.

Secondly, the Dead Good Tanking Guide has been thinking about the threat changes, and has a super-detailed runthrough of how, compared to DKs, Protection Warriors (and tanks in general) might change to the new model:

As far as I’m concerned, the biggest stand outs for change are Disarm, Spell Reflect and Shield Block. The former need more common use so are prime candidates for a change, while the latter is the ideal choice to make our mastery (blocking with a shield… Who knew?) more active. I also consider the implications that any sweeping changes would have on PvP, so I’d imagine that deep Protection talents would be the place where these changes are implemented.

And finally, Shintar, the Priest With A Cause, has been imagining the fun we’ll all have with the new Raid Finder:

Just like in the dungeon finder, I expect most people to zone in and not say a word. I can already picture tanks charging in with no consideration for the rest of the raid, just like they often do in five-mans… except that in a raid they’ll end up dying that way, and then maybe drop group. Most people will probably just stand around and wait for someone to tell them what to do, with maybe one or two going nuts with excitement about being in a raid with so many people, spamming chat, changing appearance and bouncing off the walls until they pull something – basically similar to what you see in the starting cave in Alterac Valley.

Frankly, I’ve been trying not to imagine LFR – but it’s still an interesting read.

**So, your turn! Do you have ideas on how the tanking mechanics will work? Or how Deathwing’s raid will come about? (Fee, free to comment on the Melting Pot’s own Deathwing raid speculation post too). Or just how good or bad the LFR tool will be?

Also, I’d love to get some feedback on this style of multiple-link post, as opposed to my usual lists. Do you like it or hate it? I like having the space to showcase each article a bit more, but it does make it longer as a post. What do you think?

All quotes taken directly from their respective articles.

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