Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking For Raids Easier?

When I first heard the idea of the looking for raid feature I could have easily made a post that explained 25 reasons why it would fail, horribly.  While I still have some doubts I do like the new information we see on it.  Well, like might not be the correct word.  I am intrigued about how it will be implemented. 

Intrigued seems to be a much better word for it.  Making the raids training versions of what the real raid would be is a good concept but I am not completely sure it will help enough.

What I am looking forward to most is that if used correctly it can be a fantastic tool for teaching people and allowing them to learn in less stressful situations.

The long and short of it is if they give you the fight as a whole but doing less damage and going down quicker it becomes a matter of learning it and then just doing it at full force.  Awesome.  It makes downing a boss easier. 

Lets say it takes you 15 attempts to get the mechanics down before you do a first kill, with the fight being easier it might take 4 or 5 attempts.  So pop in the looking for raid as a guild group, knock out the first kill in 4 or 5 attempts, switch over the a real raid and one shot it.  You can use the looking for raid to limit your time spent learning a fight.  Well, in theory anyway.

This is all assuming a few factors we do not know of yet.

1) That the LFR does not lock you out of the real raid.
2) That the fights will be exactly the same as the real fight.
3) That you are allowed to queue as a full group.
4) That the current raids are included in the LFR format.

As an achievement whore I am going to be doing the LFR based on the concept alone that there will be different achievements for doing all the raids in a LFR group.  I like that the achievements will be different.  With a different difficultly level there should be a way to determine the difficultly level of the bosses downed.

While this addresses some of the points I was worried about with the looking for raid feature it does not address most of them.  Sure, the most important thing is addressed.  Difficultly.  It is hard enough to get 10 or 25 random people (including some horrible players) working together if the have vent, it would be impossible to do it without some sort of voice communication.  Pugging as a concept is an effort in failure to begin with.  You always know there will be a lot more to overcome then there would be in a hand picked raid.

I still worry about people signing up in the wrong roles.  I still worry about the loot drama.  I still worry about people that won't even know the bare minimum like get out of the fire.  I still worry about constant AFKers.  I still worry about kick timers.  I still worry about people thinking it is okay to wear the wrong style of gear.  I am still worried about ungemmed, unenchanted, unreforged people.  I am still worried about PvP gear to some extent.  There is still a lot to worry about but with the raid difficultly tuned down it makes everything else seem slightly less of a worry.

See, there is a curve here.  It is all based on difficulty.  If something has any degree of difficulty everything else around it becomes a problem.

Toward the end of wrath if a DPS was slacking, who cared?  As a healer I could do 7K DPS toward the end of wrath.  On my DPS I will pulling 10K in dungeons at worst.  As a tank, as long as I had a healer I could care less if the DPS sucked or not, it would get done either way.

When things are so easy you tend to care less about the little things like people doing what they are supposed to do.  This will all depend on the actual level of difficultly that they make the LFR raids.  If they are so super easy it won't make a difference if a plate DPS came as a tank.  Healers will still be able to keep them up.  It won't make a difference if there is a 5K DPS faking their way through things.

That is where I think my biggest concern still lies.  In the difficulty level.

The looking for raid has a chance to become an amazing learning tool for new raiders if it is not made too easy.  If it is made too easy it loses any use at all.

Lets take a fight like ODS where if someone stood in the wrong place they could wipe the group.  It was instant wipe on a badly placed flamethrower when BWD first came out.  Now it can still really hurt a group but you can recover from it with some good healing.  Next step down would be a 75% hit.  The thing where if it happens twice you are dead.

That would be perfect for the LFR.  Teach people by showing them, this hurts damn it.  Make it scare the crap out of them but do not make it kill them.  So when they do the real thing and they know the real thing will hurt more they will notice that they almost died from something so they know they will in the real version.

This would work as a great learning tool.  However I do not have a great deal of faith in blizzard to design things that way.  I assure you that something like the flame thrower mentioned will be reduced to 10K for each person it hits.  This basically means it will do something near unnoticeable and when people enter the real raid after doing the LFR version of it they will not know that the flamethrower is a mechanic to worry about.

Sure, doing that, and all the other abilities, at 10K per would basically turn that fight into a tank and spank with just target switching.  You would not even worry about the damage if everything only hits for 10K.  You will not learn a damn thing there except to switch targets.

I hope and pray that is not what they mean when they say they are going to make things easier.  Making them easier is a good thing to teach people.  Making them too easy defeats the purpose.

It is hard to tell people to move when they have the flamethrower on them when it doesn't hurt.  No matter how much you tell them they will never worry about it to much.  They will think, let me finish this cast first, because they know that the worst case is a few people get hurt a tiny bit where in reality it should be, oh shit I better move or we are all going to die.

As a raid leader I am a stickler for following mechanics.  Even when we do throwback raids where things die so quickly I always tell people, DO THE MECHANICS.  I do not care if the boss will be down in 2 minutes.  It is bad game practice to not do mechanics on things you over gear.  It creates lazy players and players that can't learn.

If you make an effort to always follow mechanics even if you do not need to when the time comes for you to have to do it you will be used to doing it and you will do it better because you are well practiced at doing it.  Hence the reason even on old raids I always stress that everyone needs to do the mechanics no matter what.

As it is now, all fights are easy.  They are just a set of mechanics you need to get down.  That is, that is all there is to raiding.  Get the mechanics down and everything thing else will fall into place.  The tanks will learn when to use their cooldowns, the healers will learn when AoE healing will be needed and when to concentrate on the tanks.  DPS will learn where they need to stand and when they need to move allowing them to work on their maximum damage rotation better.  Everything is easy... once you know the mechanics.

What I would like to see is the LFR dungeons be all about that.  Teach the mechanics.  Doing less damage is not going to cut it.  Doing less damage does not teach people to do mechanics.  It teaches them to ignore mechanics.  If the flamethrower is not going to kill everyone in its path there is no reason for you to run away when it is on you.

This is where it is going to be really difficult to fine tune it for blizzard.  I love the concept of easier raids with lesser gear for the LFR versions.  The lesser gear helps people gear up for the real thing and the easier raids let them experience content they might not have had the chance to experience otherwise.  Win/win if you ask me.  Oh, and achievements for me too, can't forget those can we.

How I think it should be done is this.

Leave all mechanics as killer.  Lower life totals huge amount.  28M life?  make it 9M life.  Push over you say.  Yes and no.  If all mechanics are left as is people will still need to learn them but the lower boss life will mean they need to do the mechanics dance a lot less.

Once they learn to do the mechanics dance they can move on to the real thing and do the real thing 3 times more often than they have already learned to do it for.

Perhaps lower the mechanic damage a tiny bit, for healer sake, 20% there.  Nothing more.  Anything more and you can trivialize the mechanic.

Now that is how I would do it.  I would make it a true training raid.

I do not envy Blizzards task here.  They need to try to making LFR content challenging while not making it punishing and they need to make it easy without making it trivial.

I do think they are making a step in the right direction however by saying the achievements will be different, the gear will be lesser and the content will be easier.  All things that are needed.

All the other problems with LFR?  There are still dozens of them for sure, but they are all secondary.  Content is king and they need to get that figured out first.

They have made a step in the right direction.  I wish them good luck but I still think the looking for raid will be an epic failure.  I hope they can prove me wrong.


  1. I have to say, I'd not considered this system as 'training wheels' for a 25 man raid group, but potentially I have to agree with you, I think it would be a great way to allow people a handle on the mechanics in a less powerful environment.

    The key ofc will be whether you get the lockout ^^

  2. Good points.

    I also agree that the question you need to ask yourself is whether to get the lockout. Mean, the chances of completing the entire raid are slim. So what are the chances you meet players again with the same progression? Just thinking out aloud.

    - Jamin

  3. Only one small consideration: For those fight mechanics involving a boss-damage percentage transition, reducing the boss' damage pool makes managing that transition harder, not easier. I'm not sure if that's a benefit or a liability. I don't raid now, but for some of the older content (thinking specifically about Ascendant Council in BoT), requiring more precision in managing the damage transition might be a breaker for inexperienced raiders, but good training if you wanna prep for the big time.