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Posts with tag Looking-for-raid

How to get started in LFR whether you're a new 90 or a boosted 90

If you've just gotten your first character -- or your second or third -- to level 90, you might be looking to check out the raiding game. Fortunately, the looking for raid (or LFR) tool makes it easier than ever to jump into raid content without a lot of complicated scheduling and planning... but that doesn't mean LFR is easy mode. It's true, LFR has simplified versions of boss fights compared to flex or heroic raids -- but when you're gathering up 25 random players who might not even speak the same language, simplifying things is a must if the group is going to progress.

However, despite their relative ease, there's still some work to be done to do your best in LFR -- and in the process make the raiding experience easier on you and your group mates. We'll walk you through the game's LFRs and what you need to do to get there.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Tanks, healers, and the most dangerous LFR bosses

Recently I wrote a small article wondering whether the fabled Monday night Raid Finder festival of ugly death was just an urban legend. Opinions in the comment section were mixed, so I wanted to do a little ingame research to figure out whether the conventional wisdom was right and Mondays are an unusually deadly day for LFR runs.

While I'm nowhere close to being done with that little project, my first venture into the numbers in Siege of Orgrimmar and the Raid Finder did turn up some interesting results with my characters. The deadliest Raid Finder boss of tier 16 was not who I thought it was, the safest Raid Finder boss was really not who I thought it was, and there are some eye-raising numbers on the fights where a well-geared tank or healer was disproportionately likely to swing the odds in the raid's favor.

Also, the Gates of Retribution wing sucks. But you knew that already.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

The dangers of Monday night LFR

After my guild finished raid on Monday, we voted to do the fourth wing of Siege of Orgrimmar in flex for another shot at Garrosh's heirlooms. Before queuing for flex, people took a break to let their dogs out, get something to drink, or jump on alts to do their farming. My fellow tank hopped to his alt warrior and wondered aloud over the wisdom of doing an LFR on him later that night. "Don't do it," was the universal consensus. "Monday night LFR is just asking for trouble. The only winning move is not to play."

That got me thinking about the weirder aspects of the game's culture, in which a single day and a raid lockout divides an alleged nightmare (Raid Finder on Mondays) from a safe bet (Raid Finder on Tuesdays). The usual story is that people run their better-geared mains through Raid Finder soon after the weekly lockout finishes, but come Sunday and Monday they're running their less-geared alts, and usually on classes with which they're less familiar. There's got to be more to it than this, but it's a narrative that most players are probably aware of by now.

Out of morbid curiosity, I've occasionally taken my main or alt shaman through Sunday and Monday LFRs but can't say I've noticed a massive difference. There are definitely more times late in the week where I've zoned into a squabbling raid with a two-stack of Determination, but most runs are fairly uneventful. However, one player's experiences are rarely representative, and your own gear and experience play a role as well. A well-geared toon, especially if it's a tank or healer, is at least marginally more likely to contribute a successful raid, and vice versa.

I'm tempted to do a series of LFRs and measure overall raid DPS and number of deaths by day. I'm genuinely curious whether the conventional wisdom is right, and late-week Raid Finders are more likely to encounter trouble than their early-week counterparts.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Looking for Raid must not be destroyed

Every so often, a new forum thread comes up saying that LFR is awful and should be removed from the game. This is one, but it's hardly new or unique (as the post closing the thread makes clear, there are already several forum posts on the topic) - the argument has existed in one form or another since LFR debuted at the end of Cataclysm.

It's no secret that I neither like LFR nor run it at all anymore. I am not the audience for LFR. And yet, I not only do not believe it should be removed, I believe it must not be removed. Why do I believe this? Well, multiple reasons.
  • LFR is the friendliest raiding option available to people with limited schedules or who are unable/unwilling to commit to overly structured play time.
  • LFR allows for access to content that would otherwise be unavailable for the majority of the player base.
  • LFR fills a niche - it is neither necessary nor forced upon players who have the time or ability to progress in flex, normal or heroic raiding.
One of the things I argued at the beginning of Mists of Pandaria was that content that wasn't necessarily content I personally cared about (pet battles, the Tillers, scenarios) was still good for the game. Options are good - it's better to have more of them, even if they don't suit everyone's playstyles. In many cases, I've only grown to believe this more strongly as LFR has moved from 'content I occasionally run' to 'content I never run' - my ability to completely disregard LFR as unimportant to my game only means that it proves that the developers have successfully balanced raiding.

I'm not blind to some of the problems that have hit LFR in the process, however. I've watched my wife (an excellent player hampered by the fact that her day job doesn't allow the kind of time we used to spend raiding together) struggle with bad LFR groups, and I do think there have been some changes to LFR that need to be addressed. Gutting the entire feature, however, is absolutely not the way to go.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Drowning in Timeless Coins

Drowning in Timeless Coins
I've been happily completing the daily over on the Timeless Isle every day -- it's an easy 50 valor points, after all. And while farming the 20 elite mobs needed for the quest, of course I've been hopping from rare mob to rare mob in search of pets or interesting toys. In the meantime, I've piled up a lot of Timeless Coins. I mean, a ridiculous number. I'd noticed people complaining that they had all these Timeless Coins, but I didn't really understand the problem. I mean, they aren't sitting in your bags taking up space in your inventory, they're just ... there. Incorporeal currency.

But it's slowly begun to sink in that there's a legitimate problem with the Timeless Isle and its bizarre form of currency -- namely that the only place you can spend that currency is on the Timeless Isle itself. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy buying trinkets and unusual things, but at the same time, if all those Timeless Coins pictured above were actually gold in my bank, I'd be ecstatic. Instead, I'm slightly nonplussed and wondering what the heck to do with all these incorporeal things I've gathered.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Does LFR impact raid design?

Breakfast Topic Does LFR impact raid design
A few days ago, the player Camaranth started a thread on the tank forums examining the number of tank swap mechanics in raids. While the discussion is a good one, there's a reply written by Snuzzle not far down the thread with an interesting observation. "I think the reason we are seeing so many encounters designed with tank swaps in Mists," he/she writes, "is that fights are being designed with Raid Finder in mind ... They need both tanks to have a job to do. Tank swaps are the way to do that (because) most everyone can instantly understand (them)."

LFR might not be the only reason for that, but I think Snuzzle has a point. Encounters have to be programmed with the knowledge that Raid Finder groups will always have two tanks, 6 healers, and 17 DPS, no guarantees on class composition, and the knowledge that coordination will realistically be minimal. I don't think it necessarily reflects on the skill of the players concerned so much as the inherent disorganization. Under the circumstances, it would be extremely difficult to program an encounter like, say, Kael'thas or Teron Gorefiend or High King Maulgar, and have it remain somewhat close to the normal and heroic versions.

I don't know whether LFR actually does have a serious impact on raid design, but it's certainly an interesting question. In related news, the LFR version of Siege of Orgrimmar was nerfed recently for reasons I think all of us can guess.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Trouble filling those last few raid slots? Try the raid browser

Trouble filling those last few raid slots Try the raid browser
It's frustrating to lose time when you need to fill those last few raid spots, yet the Raid Finder isn't coming up with the players you need. Or maybe you're the one who's seeking a raid group, but nothing seems to be shaking loose that night. In a recent Breakfast Topic on in-game help tools, WoW Insider reader PaulLloyd offered up a strikingly simple suggestion that gives both types of seekers one more avenue of hope: the old-school Raid browser.

The wha...? PaulLloyd's not referring to the Raid Finder tab in the contemporary Dungeon Finder feature. This relic of olden raiding days, folks, is the previous system found tucked inside the Social tab. Writes PaulLloyd:

This is the "find a raid" system that pre-dates LFR. You would list your interest in a certain raid, and when a raid group is looking for a certain role to be filled, they would look them up on this list. It would've saved me cancelling many raids if people would use it. Sadly, it is hidden away, forcing RLs to use trade chat for missing slots, which relies on people sitting around a city and watching trade chat, which means a huge number of people missing the message.

For those wondering "what the hell is the raid browser?" Open the social tab (default 'O'). Select 'Raid' tab. Click 'Other Raids' Button. If you're announcing your availability to a raid, use the 'Choose Raid' tab. If you're looking for people, use the 'Browse' tab.

While nobody's advocating using this older system as a replacement for the Raid Finder, it makes a fine adjunct tool that could come through if enough players and raid leaders give it a try. PaulLloyd observes that the system is fairly useless on his realm because players simply don't use it, but other players seem hopeful that it could offer a helpful backup method of finding raiders and raids. What do you think? Seems worth a try!

Filed under: News items

Navigating the loot

Horridon
While perusing Wowhead's blue tracker the other day I stumbled across this thread on the EU forums about the LFR loot system, its frustrations, and potential alternatives. Community manager Draztal is pretty active in the thread, which is nice to see -- there is plenty of back-and-forth and, despite player accusations of just parroting Blizzard policy, Draztal has a lot of good points to make about the nature of effort and reward.

The truth is that WoW has never consistently rewarded players for running dungeons or raids. I still get a little involuntary curl to my lip anytime I think about Burning Crusade-era heroics, particularly Magister's Terrace, and how often I ran them trying to get some piece of gear, and how often my groups wiped and nothing I needed dropped anyway (and all those useless PvP gems).

I agree it's frustrating to run LFR and only get gold, though I did have to sit down and think about why, in particular. After all, I killed Saurfang in Icecrown for probably upwards of three months before I finally got the Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff. During all that time it never occurred to me that my failure to receive loot was an indication that the entire system needed an overhaul. After a couple minutes ruminating, though, I think the answer is pretty obvious: loot is the only real reason to run LFR (with the exception of just experiencing content, for those who may not have the opportunity to raid otherwise).

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

Why aren't more healers queueing for the Raid Finder?

Why don't healers queue for the Raid Finder
While writing the Azeroth Ethicist article on whether it's ethical to "cheat" the Raid Finder's loot distribution system, I linked a post from The Grumpy Elf about the lack of healers in the LFR queue and the effect it's having on queue times. There was an observation there about how LFR healing may actually be more stressful than its normal counterpart:

No matter what, you name it, everything in the LFR when done wrong screams "the healers will fix it". Dropping the bad where it should not be, no worries, the healers will fix it. Not using your defensive cooldowns, no worries, the healers will fix it ... even in the LFR if you do not follow mechanics it hurts and puts all the pressure on the healers.

There are a lot of reasons why the LFR queue is so long these days for the average player -- ilevel requirements (though Blizzard's made it easier to get gear from older raids to address this), the sheer popularity of new content, and, as Ghostcrawler pointed out, tanks and healers who queue with their guildies -- but I think Grumpy Elf has a point.

While I've mostly tanked in Mists of Pandaria, I healed my way through the Raid Finder in Dragon Soul, and the number of players who took unnecessary or avoidable damage was depressingly high. You expect that with anyone who might be new to the instance, but it wasn't fun seeing a raid with lots of people in normal or even heroic tier 13 ignoring, say, the players trapped in Hagara's Ice Tombs.

So for the healers out there, here's a question: Are you queuing for Raid Finder raids? If you are, is the job noticeably more difficult or stressful than it is with your guildies? If you aren't queuing, why not?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Azeroth Ethicist: Is it cheating to trick the LFR loot system?

The Azeroth Ethicist Is gaming the LFR loot system cheating
Before I write anything else here, the issue to be discussed in this article will no longer exist in patch 5.3 if the changes announced in the PTR patch notes from May 22 survive. For the record, I think this is one of the best changes to come along in a while, as it should reduce queue times for the Raid Finder significantly, while also being a great quality-of-life bonus for anyone trying to gear an offspec. However, it's still a problem at the moment.

After reaching level 90, I ran heroic after heroic obsessively in order to scrape the ilevel needed to enter the Raid Finder. After a few drops and the generosity of a guild leatherworker, I cheerfully queued as a tank for Vaults, and then went off to do dailies, figuring that the wait might be a little longer than normal given the popularity of new raid content, but it probably wouldn't be too bad.

30 minutes later, I shrugged and thought to myself, "Well, everybody's running LFR now."

52 minutes later, it occurred to me while yanking pink turnips out of the ground that I had been a little overoptimistic about wait times. Oh well. The farm wasn't going to tend itself.

An hour and 20 minutes later, I tabbed out of the game to check the forums, wondering if others were complaining about queue times, or if I'd just had a stroke of really bad luck.

Nope. Wait times for tanks through LFR, as a legion of enraged forum posters screamed, were through the roof at the beginning of the expansion. Right now, it seems like DPS players are getting the lion's share of agony. Rather than wait it out, many -- perhaps most -- tank players chose to exploit a loophole that allowed them to get a raid more quickly on a less easily-filled role.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

What's the purpose of a heroic dungeon?

What is the purpose of a heroic dungeon
One of the more volatile announcements that we've heard so far from Blizzard regarding Mists of Pandaria is the fact that Mists will not include any more 5-man dungeons. In an expansion where new content seems to be rolling out on a much faster, tighter basis than any expansion prior this seems a little bizarre to players, particularly those that enjoy dungeon-based content. Yet one of the things Mists has been doing consistently throughout the expansion is delivering a wider array of things to do. In fact, there's such a variety in endgame content that players sometimes feel legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it.

But just because we aren't getting any new dungeons doesn't mean we aren't getting alternate ways to obtain all that sweet, sweet gear we know and love. Patch 5.3 will see the introduction of heroic scenarios, slightly tougher versions of the scenarios we've already seen this expansion. In addition to valor, the heroic scenarios will offer raid-finder level rewards for players that choose to participate in them -- better than any gear you'll find in a heroic dungeon at this point.

While this may seem pretty cool for some people, it does make one wonder -- what's the purpose of heroic dungeons?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Is the new LFR loot system working for you?

Is the new LFR loot system working for you
I'm not, by and large, a huge fan of LFR. Most of this isn't really due to the raids themselves, but to the fact that as a DPS I generally feel like I have to wait an eternity for that queue to fill up, especially if I wait until the end of the week to run the thing. But I like seeing the fights, and I like beating things up. I like getting loot.

Unfortunately, that last statement doesn't really happen very often. I've gotten a bare handful of pieces out of LFR, but most of the time my reward is simply gold, and the valor I get at the end of the run. That seems to be the case for most players -- after each boss kill is a litany of "Oh no, not gold again, I never get anything from here." But then I started thinking about it, and what exactly that new loot system has done for LFR raiding.

Oddly enough, it's changed it in a significant manner.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Raid Finder: Too easy?

Raid Finder Too easy

There's been a bit of discussion taking place over on the official forums about the ease of the raid finder's first three bosses, released on October 9th in the US. It's no great surprise, really, that this ever-controversial feature is stirring up ire in the forums, with complaints that it's too easy. Blizzard Blue Taepsilum has weighed in, with some interesting ideas on the Raid Finder's difficulty settings.

First and foremost, the main issue Blizzard seems to have at the front of their minds is that the Raid Finder, unlike normal and heroic difficulties, is specifically designed for random groups. These are not your well-oiled machine guild groups, your Methods and Vodkas, these are a bunch of players who've probably never met each other before, and probably never will again. Sure you can join the Raid Finder as a group if you want to, but that's not really what it's designed for.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Reminder: Raid finder loot rules change applies even to guild runs

CM Watcher clarified the way loot is going to work in the raid finder going forward, and it may be a surprise for those of us who are used to forming all-guild runs to try and farm up set pieces for the bonuses. You won't be able to use any other loot system for bosses than the new LFR roll system, even in a preformed group.


Watcher - The new LFR roll system
Posted by Ichi

It would be useful if we could form a guild group and set our own loot rules, essentially the same process we use in norm/heroic.

Within LFR, boss loot is handled on a per-player basis using the new system, regardless whether you queued as a full group or used the matchmaking features. You should still be able to change the loot method you use to handle any drops from the non-boss creatures in the instance if you are a full premade, but the boss system is hardcoded.



If you're used to forming groups to funnel gear to a specific player or players, you won't be able to do that with the raid finder any longer. Even in a completely premade raid group, the loot system will work as it does for people using the matchmaking tool to form a random group. Everyone's chance to get loot is independent of anyone else; you can't trade an item that dropped for you, and you'll only get drops that are useful to your current spec.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Gamescom Raid Q&A with the Devs: Nerfs, the raid finder and more

Gamescom Raid and Dungeons Q&A with the Devs
You may have spotted Monday's post on how to design a raid, which was the first half of the Gamescom 2012 Raids and Dungeons round table with Ion Hazzikostas and John Lagrave. The second half of the Round Table was a Q&A session in which many interesting questions were asked, shedding light on some hot issues as well as simply providing a little more insight into the Blizzard Encounter Design Team's creative processes.

Again, these aren't verbatim quotations from Ion and John, as I simply can't write that fast, but the overall statements are accurate representations of their responses.

Are there any encounters Blizzard have had to alter or leave out due to technical constraints?

There was a boss leading up to the Lich King who you had to heal (Valithria Dreamwalker), and that was a huge challenge for their existing technology. If you think about it, Ion explained, up to that point, every healing spell in the game was designed to be cast on a friendly target, that is to say, a player. So the devs were faced with the task of reworking every healing spell in the game. They didn't want players to only be able to use certain spells on her, as that would have been bad, so they redid every healing spell. The technical team changed the game's design so that the boss basically became a raid team member. Ion and John explained that it's all about working out creative ways to implement the designers' ideas.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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