LFR Perspectives: Of Anxiety And Class

LFR will go down in MMO history as the topic of conversation this month, and probably for many months to come. Blizzard have done something audacious and arguably crazy here – build a system which matchmakes 25 total strangers in an environment known to be socially hostile to attempt to cooperate at a task. It’s fascinating, it’s sometimes very fun, and it’s often a trainwreck.

Today, we’ve got two perspectives from the “trainwreck” side of things.

Firstly, The Reluctant Raider talks about something that has been concerning several of my guildmates too – the creeping likelihood that LFR will gradually become a mandatory part of guild play, and just what we can do about that

“When I started to hear rumors of the upcoming LFR system, I thought that this was a great idea for the people who work weird schedules or have kids to take care of or just don’t have a guild to run with. However, now that it’s out, I’m seeing more and more of my guildies say “Don’t forget to run LFR this week and get some upgrades!”

Honestly, this has my heart in a vice grip. The idea of going into a group where I know (at the most) 4 or 5 people makes me want to scream and then cry. I have said “I don’t want to go, thank you” but now I’m sitting on the side lines watching my best friends and my husband get their “Fall of Deathwing” and it’s killing me. In our raid group, the only person who doesn’t have “Fall of Deathwing” is me.

Am I bringing my raid group down because I can’t LFR? If I want to progress, do I need to have a panic attack over a video game? I don’t know. “

There are echoes of the Valor Point Capping debate of earlier in the year here, and indeed a meta-debate that has been going on for years now. At what point does our involvement in a social game force us to do something that may be unpleasant or even actively harmful for us? And how can we avoid or mitigate those problems?

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Aldous the Boozekin raised one gin-soaked wing for a hilarious account of how he internally translates the activity and dialogue of a standard Looking for Raid run – which rather illustrates the Reluctant Raider’s point

“This next gentleman is far too friendly. What a jolly old chap! Not only will he only be harming you once every thirty seconds, but we’re also going to be providing you with a unique ability that will allow you to completely avoid the damage that he attempts to inflict upon you. It’s almost as if this gentleman wants us to defeat him! Far too simple, I say, far too simple.

Well that first attack didn’t go very well. My friends, please remember to activate your special abilities, lest you wish death upon yourselves…

ok LOL seriously? click button it’s not hard.

ugh okay it’s just not worth the heals. HEALERS PLS DON’T HEAL DPS THAT FAILS AT BUTTON

come on guys almost got it gogogogogogogog

uuuuuuuuungh well of course we hit enrage, not enough dps in this group. L2 NOT FAIL NUBS

What’s in LFR’s future? Amusement, nice feature, or horrible trial by fire?

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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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Everybody’s Raid Findin’

Now that the second part of Dragon’s Soul is on the Raid Finder in WoW, it would appear that Raid Finding Madness is in full progress. From a trickle, to a steady flow last week, the commentary, insight, and sarcasm about the Raid Finder has now reached a full flood.

So, if you’re out there Finding Raids (as opposed to “Finding @_Rades”, which would be something else), here’s a selection of amusement, consideration, and advice for you today!

  • The Grumpy Elf goes nonlinear with a fascinating stream-of-conciousness on LFR“If they are not going to fix the loot problem, there is no reason to pug … They should give tanks a ready check option, even if they were not assigned leader … The leader never does a ready check and then asks, what are we waiting for? … Well, I can’t do a ready check so you do it and let me know when I can pull.”
  • Tzufit at Tree Heals Go Whoosh has a fascinating piece up asking whether the Raid Finder will cause a nasty case of cognitive dissonance in future raiders“Does Raid Finder give people a good sense of what raiding is like? Absolutely not. In fact, some part of me is worried about the effect Raid Finder will have on my guild’s recruitment from here on out, because I worry that our less experienced applicants may assume that raiding with a guild is like what they’ve done on Raid Finder.”
  • And Rank 4 Healing Touch concludes the day with some great tips for making sure that your fellow PUGers do it, you know, kind of right“The fights in Fall of Deathwing aren’t really so bad on the whole but what I’ve found helpful is a whole array of handy ‘raid warning’ macros that I drag onto my bar prior to every fight.”

Have you been Raid Findin’ on the weekend? How was it?

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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.

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