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Posts with tag lfr

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

Siege of Orgrimmar updating to Warlords-mode raiding in 6.0

Mythic mode raiding will be coming into play a little sooner than previously thought. A tweet by Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas yesterday confirmed that we will be seeing Warlords-style raiding implemented into the Siege of Orgrimmar raid with patch 6.0. The raid structure in Warlords includes Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulty all available in Flex-scaling formats. Raid Finder mode as it stands today will still be called Raid Finder mode, however Flexible difficulty will now be called Normal, our version of Normal raiding will be Heroic, and Mythic raiding, a 20-man only format, replaces our Heroic mode as it stands today.


While we knew these changes would be coming in 6.0 via screens shown at BlizzCon 2013, what we didn't know is that this format will be applied to Siege of Orgrimmar, as well as all raids going forward into the new expansion. A later tweet by Hazzikostas pointed out that there will be plenty of advance notice before the change goes live, and there will also be more information on the topic at a later date. Considering we're just now seeing patch 5.4.7 on the PTR, we shouldn't expect Mythic modes to be dropped on us immediately.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Why do we still have separate PvP and PvE gear?

While seeking out questions to a Queue I wrote, I was asked by a Twitter follower why we had separate PvE and PvP gear in the first place. A question I love, and that I wouldn't be able to respond to briefly enough for The Queue. I'm not going to go into a complete, exhaustive history of PvP gear. For starters, I didn't play in Classic, so I can't really comment on the gear then, but I gather that there was a lot more overlap between the two.

Then, with Burning Crusade, back in 2006, the combat rating system and Resilience were both introduced, along with arenas. PvP gear was born. It's been through many different iterations since then -- too easy to get, too hard to get, too bad for PvE, too good for PvE, different effects, stat budgets, you name it. But history, while it merits repetition, shouldn't have too much bearing on this question in today's game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

My Warlords of Draenor Wish List

It should be noted that these are not features that have been announced, nor even speculated about or teased to my knowledge - if they have, I missed them somehow. It's possible. I'm human, I miss things. But I was thinking about the features announced for Warlords of Draenor (including recent announcements that blood elves and draenei will be among the races who get new models) and I realized that there's all sorts of things I'd like to see that haven't even been mentioned yet, and while I don't expect they'll happen, I might as well share them with you in the hopes that they may end up arriving at some point down the road. After all, transmog and LFR happened in the middle of an expansion, and they both worked out pretty well.

So here we go.

Level scaling

This is one I've wanted for a while. With flexible raiding now a reality, I'm drawn back to the idea of being able to scale your level down to run older content with friends, something the late, lamented City of Heroes had (called mentoring/sidekicking in that game). We've been teased with this potentially existing as recently as October of 2013 and whether or not it was a hoax then (I personally have no idea) it's something I've wanted for years. Sure, it's fun to bring your level 90 to an old dungeon and blow it up sometimes, but I want the option to step myself down and run it at an appropriate level in appropriate gear if I so choose. I'd also like to be able to boost a friend up to my level so that we can run stuff together, although I suspect the free level 90 boost is aimed at handling this same problem. Basically, anything that lets friends do more stuff together, I'm down for.

And speaking of that...

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Filed under: PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Why Warlords of Draenor needs a legendary chain

Mists of Pandaria was unique in a variety of different ways, but none quite so unique as its approach to legendary items. While prior expansions offered legendaries in the form of random drops from bosses or craftable items that required -- you guessed it -- random drops from bosses, Mists paved the way for a new type of legendary. It was a legendary that anyone could get, provided they put in the time and effort required to obtain it.

Coming from a long line of raiding going all the way back to vanilla, I have to say that Mists' approach was the best I've ever seen. No more arguing over which class deserved the legendary more, no more officer headaches as they tried to decide who got the legendary first. No more accusations of favoritism, no more guild explosions. Just you, the character you play, and a decision to make: do you go for the legendary chain, or do you ignore it? You choose.

We need this in Warlords.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Flex, Group Finder and Raid Finder's roles

Blizzard Community Manager Lore has been posting about the future roles of Flex, the new Group Finder, and Raid Finder in Warlords of Draenor. You can, as usual, see Lore's full post after the break, but what he's talking about is how, thanks to the success of Flex as a raid system and the resultant awkward position of LFR, a reshuffle needs to happen.

LFR has been wearing too many hats. It's been end-game progression for some, a gear grind for others, and a way to see the sights of a raid for even more, as well as everything in between. That's a hard act for one difficulty, that is simultaneously too hard and too easy.

But thanks to the runaway success of Flex, due in no small part to group-finding systems like OpenRaid or oQueue, the devs think they can make some changes to the tuning of LFR. The idea, it seems, is that the new Group Finder will make it just as easy to find a Flex group as it currently is to find an LFR one. Then, LFR tuning can be altered, allowing Blizz to "better provide for both the "busy raider" and "sightseer" styles of gameplay as a result."

So it seems likely that, if this remains the case (we're not even in beta after all) LFR will become the tourist difficulty. Flex via the Group Finder, and with friends, will become the new way to get meaningful progression encounters. And that makes sense, given how it'll be renamed to "Normal" come WoD. Hit the break for Lore's full post.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Would you bring back "boss must die!" quests?

Flame Leviathan
Once upon a time it was common for there to exist daily (for dungeons) or weekly (for raids) boss-kill quests in WoW; think Archmage Lan'dalock during Wrath of the Lich King. User Frozenclaw, over on the EU forums, is wondering just what happened to those types of quests? Why don't we see any in Mists of Pandaria? It would be a great way to drive players to some of the lower-tier raids (such as Heart of Fear or Terrace of Endless Spring) these days, as well as a way to gain some reward for being willing to step into old content.

I think this would be a great idea! I still regularly hit up some of the initial MoP raids for valor and the like, but sometimes the queue times are, uh, depressing. The addition of an extra reward for killing certain bosses might help drive people into these older raids--great if you're trying to gear an alt in LFR, for example--and give them something nice for doing so.

Would you like to see the return of these types of quests? Would you run them if they did come back? What kind of rewards would you like to see out of them?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Patch 5.4.2: This is just the beginning for Blizzard's Raid Finder

We posted earlier about Blizzard's first steps towards building their own answer to oQueue, leveling various criticisms at what they had done so far for patch 5.4.2. Basically, you can head back and read the previous post, but the changes so far have all been to the existing Raid Finder tool. The one that nobody knows exists. And the one that nobody can find. Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street was quick to add, though, that this is only the beginning for Blizzard's group finder.

So we can allow ourselves to hope for better with 6.0. What would you like to see? Personally, I think oQueue, for all its bugs and quirks, does a pretty great job of finding cross-realm groups for people. I'd like to see something that mirrors oQueue, but with fewer issues like spam, memory use, and more. Of course, with Blizzard designing this themselves, it's very likely to be the case that it doesn't suffer any of these ills. I'd love to see it have all the ilvl restrictions, completion restrictions and other group restrictions applicable, and to have the option to appear offline, or hide.

One big thing, too, is visibility. It needs to either be integrated into the LFG panel, or have its own micro-menu entry. The single thing that such a system needs, as I mentioned in the earlier article, is people. It needs to be right in players' faces, more convenient than the competition. I believe Blizzard can do it, but to replace such a popular addon that's done so much good to the game, they'll have to do it well.

Filed under: 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

Last wing of Siege of Orgrimmar now open in LFR

Klaxxi
According to the official schedule, the fourth and final wing of the Siege of Orgrimmar, "Downfall," should be available as of today, October 22nd, to players via LFR. The fourth wing features three bosses: Siegecrafter Blackfuse, Paragons of the Klaxxi, and the big bad Garrosh Hellscream himself. As has always been the case, you much have the achievement of completion for the previous raid wings in order to access the new one, in addition to a minimum gear ilevel of 496.

With this last stage of the raid unlocked, LFR groups should now be able to complete the entire Siege of Orgrimmar. If you've somehow managed to avoid all the spoilers as to the identity of the new Warchief, now's your chance to find out the old-fashioned way!

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Should Proving Grounds be an entry requirement for LFG content?

Should Proving Grounds be an entry requirement for LFG content
There's been an interesting discussion taking place lately regarding Proving Grounds, and their use as a barrier to entry for LFG content. Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street tweeted to clarify Blizzard's potential intent, in response to the forum thread.

I thought this was an interesting idea, and clearly something Blizzard has taken into consideration, so let's explore the good and bad sides of it. In each section, I'm going to try my best to steadfastly ignore the opposite position. Think of it as a debate I'm having. With myself.

Good Sides

Proving grounds are at least a way to show skill. The current system bases itself purely off item level, so if you have the gear on your character, or the gear in your bags, you can get into a LFR raid. This is really really easy to manipulate, particularly for classes who can equip anything, and this in itself is an issue. It's far, far harder to manipulate Proving Ground achievements, particularly given how item level is scaled to 463 in Proving Grounds.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

Are we getting less tolerant of wipes?

Are we getting less tolerant of wipes
Blizzard Community Manager Nethaera and MVP Crepe have both weighed in on the official forums on the notion of wipe aversion. The jist of Crepe's original post is that they feel the community has become less and less tolerant of wipes. WoW players don't like doing things where their characters die. Crepe gives the specific example of LFR, saying that after a wipe players will just drop group, and that three wipes was the death knell for almost any LFR group.

And there's definitely truth to that, why after all did Blizzard introduce the Determination buff if not to try to coax groups to stick together? Alas, it can sometimes work against the group, I've seen players zone in, see three stacks of determination, and immediately drop group again. They weren't even there for the wipes, they have no idea what went wrong or how it happened, and yet they can't take the idea of being in a wiping group.

Yet, while players continue to drop group on wipes, the complaints continue that LFR is too easy, that it's sucking the life out of the game, trivializing it at every turn. Blizzard can't win, with LFR at least, it's both too hard and too easy. Every time a new tier comes out, as just happened yesterday, the Community team is besieged with players railing against the difficulty of the new tier. So what's causing us to be less and less tolerant of failure?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Siege of Orgrimmar LFR Wing Two opens

Siege of Orgrimmar LFR Wing Two opens
Get ready for the LFR chaos to ramp still higher as wing two opens. This section includes Galakras, Iron Juggernaut, Kor'kron Dark Shaman and General Nazgrim, and we're really getting into the fun stuff now, after the relatively gentle introduction that was wing one.

We'll be putting together a guide that details the bosses in five seconds strategy before too long, but in the meantime you can check out our full guides from our PTR testing of the bosses. Which are you most excited about? Which has got you worried? Personally I'm looking forward to Iron Juggernaut. Not because I think it's a particularly excellent fight or anything, but because it's a huge robot scorpion that shoots fire. Frankly I think that's reason enough to be excited about a fight, don't you?

And the good news is that, despite the additional difficulty of this wing, we've got two weeks to deal with it and learn the strategies before the next wing of LFR opens on the 8th of October. That one is where it really starts to get crazy, with Malkorok, Spoils of Pandaria and Thok the Bloodthirsty, so get yourself ready for some LFR fun! And be good to each other. We're all new to this.

Filed under: Raiding

Queue for all the LFRs at once in patch 5.4

Queue for all the LFRs at once in patch 54
Mists of Pandaria added the option to queue for every different type of content at once, but new with patch 5.4 is the ability to queue for every LFR at once. Yes, literally every single one. This means you can queue for all the LFRs at once, and from my experience today at least, it seems that once you're done with your first LFR of the day, your second queue has popped. It apparently maintains your place in the queue while you're inside the instance, so you will lose absolutely nothing by doing one LFR while you wait.

Queue for all the LFRs at once in patch 54There is a limit on the number of instances you can queue for, which seems, at the moment at least, to be around ten instances. At that point, it just started telling me that I couldn't add any more to my list. But, as you can see to the right-hand side, it is very possible to queue for a large number of LFRs all at once, and add more to your queue list as you complete them. What it doesn't seem to do is particularly prioritize the ones you added first, but that is a very small price to pay for finally being able to queue for all the LFRs at once!

Filed under: Raiding

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