Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LFR vs. LFD

Now that we have had a couple of weeks to experience the looking for raid we can start to understand it a little better.  While I still believe it is better at the moment then it will be in 2 weeks or 2 months as the better players feel there is no real need to go there any more one thing has become completely clear.

Looking for raid is the future of WoW.

5 Man dungeons are a thing of the past and in a veiled way it seems even CMs agree.

Having the LFR group size set at 25 allows for a more forgiving experience should errors be made by individual players — after all, we believe Raid Finder groups should be a fun way to experience raid content without feeling too punishing to new or inexperienced raiders.

Words like these need to be taken as they appear because they are probably some of the most truthful words ever posted by a CM on any blizzard forum.

These words also prove why the 5 man content might very well be a thing of the past soon.  25 mans are just plain easier.

Time:

When cataclysm first came out many of the dungeons where 2 hour events.  I even recall one guild mate that spent 6 hours with 18 different people in deadmines.  6 hours to complete a dungeon.  Even with no one appearing to know the content my average pass through the LFR is no more then one and a half hours for the first part.  Second part seems to be harder, 5th boss usually takes an hour to get a decent group, everything else after that is a one shot fight even with people that do not know them.

When it comes to flat out time investment LFR is the winner.

Trash:

When ZA/ZG first came out it was the trash that gave everyone hell.  Any average group might wipe once on a boss but once they did they got it on the second try.  Any average group would wipe 6 or 8 or 10 times on the trash in there.  Still now, over gearing it as we do, the trash in ZA is harder than any boss fight.  In the looking for raid the only problem with trash are the purple slimes.  Everything else is just a general annoyance to waste some time and make it seem like there is actually more "content".

When it comes to trash packs LFR is the clear winner.

Bad Players:

Now to the real kicker, the one the blue mentioned.  While there are no real numbers on the subject I can speak from what I have experienced and from what I read everyone else around the WoW blog world has experienced.  It seems to be commonly accepted that about 1 in 5 players are really, for lack of a better word, bad.  Another commonly accepted belief is that the bad player is usually a DPS.  While it is true there are bad tanks and bad healers as well, more often then not it is the DPS that is bad.

When dungeons are new and you first reach the item level to enter them one bad DPS can be make or break the group.  Not enough DPS to down the boss before the tank runs out of cooldowns.  One bad DPS standing in stuff making the healers life harder.  One bad DPS breaking CC or hitting the wrong target and always stealing aggro.  One bad DPS not stacking or not spreading.  One bad DPS can really cause wipe after wipe in a heroic.

Using the looking for raid, even if there are five bad DPS, keeping the one in five average, there will be less of a problem.  There is no CC to be broken, most fights are single target so less aggro issues, the mechanics are toned down to the point where if a few people are standing in the wrong place it will not cause a wipe, with the other 12 DPS doing their job well even five bad DPS will not make you hit an enrage timer, except for maybe the fifth boss, and that is why that is the hardest boss in the LFR at the moment.

When it comes to 1 in 5 being bad, it is less of a problem in LFR so that is the clear winner here.  Even a blue said so.

Fun:

Lets get to another word in the CMs post, fun.  There was nothing "fun" about the ZA/ZG grind.  It required a decent group working together or an extremely intelligent group that could pick up and adjust on the fly.  CC on the fly, dispel on the fly, move on the fly, switch targets on the fly, etc.  Without a good group, ZA/ZG was not fun.  Even with a good group ZA/ZG was not fun.  Cataclysm dungeons when the expansion was first released, were not fun.  Some fights are still not fun.  Corla with dim wits in your group can still be a wipe fest no matter how many times you try to explain it.

Even the new 5 mans, which are short and much easier, there is still a slight possibility of wipes do to people not doing their jobs.  Don't step on the fireball, wipe, don't interrupt startdust, wipe, don't hit the time reset, wipe, don't throw the totem back, wipe, don't all attack the same zombie, wipe.  And that is just the first dungeon.  Mind you, I have done most of mine with all guild so I have not had these problems but the few pugs I have done, people really do wipe on those simple things.  With stuff like that in dungeons, dungeons are just not fun.  There are no instant wipe mechanics like that in LFR and if there are any there are also 25 people there and someone will be capable of taking care of bouncing the ball, so to speak.

When it comes to instant wipe mechanics LFR is the winner with much fewer of those.

Mechanics:

Mechanics in general are a lot easier in LFR as well.  I can't even recall the number of times I have had to explain jindo to pugs coming and going.  Jindo, the pug killer.  The only thing comparable is the 5th boss in LFR.  Jindos get in the bubble or stand on the bubble to get jumped on is like that pressing heroic will.  There will always be people that just can not do it even if the concept is super simple.

The difference is, if someone does not get in the bubble at the start, they could die, or drain the healer of mana and if they do not stand on the bubble for the bonce the fight will go on to long.  Each one being done wrong will usually result in a wipe.  With the heroic will button you can have as many as five people totally forget to do it and still be okay.  More then five might become an issue unless you have some really great healers.  Remember, 1 in 5 is a bad player, so if you can survive with 1 in 5 being bad in a raid and not with 1 in 5 being bad on jindo what does that mean?  That means jindo is actually a harder fight then anything the raid finder has to offer.

When it comes to simple mechanics LFR takes the cake.

Gathering:

Gathering is one thing that the LFD will still take the lead on.  There are lots of green items to disenchant, blue items, purple items, cloth, and general trash that can sell for gold.  Not to mention lots more mobs to loot gold off of too.  If you are looking to gather up some enchanting materials or cloth or what have you then with it's more mobs, more bosses, more loot that no one needs, there will be more chance to get materials.

If you are looking for cloth or enchanting materials LFD wins this one.

Ease of Assembling Loot:

The looking for raid has another failing as I see it.  You can only loot a boss once a week.  Which means they are not exactly repeatable.  They also drop no justice points like heroics do.  So if you are looking for a quick gear up then running heroics could be better.  Justice every boss and top current justice level items from the newest heroics.  You can grind heroics.

If you are looking for the fast gear up, LFD wins here, get all 378s instead of only a chance at 384s.

Quality of Loot:

When it comes to quality of the loot the LFR loot is better, even if not amazingly better.  However, the one place where it really takes the cake is in the fact that you can get pieces for the tier set bonus.  While the difficulty of winning the roll is still completely luck at least you have the chance to get it instead of not having the chance to get it at all in a dungeon or with valor.  Not to mention the LFR has trinkets and weapons that are much better then ever found in dungeons because they are raid trinkets and weapons.  Even if they are watered down versions they are still much better then the item level would make it appear.

If you want set bonuses and special trinkets and weapons LFR is the way to go, if you are lucky at least.

Buffs:

Bonuses are something else to take into account.  In a 5 man you have 5 people and it is quite possible to end up with few or no buffs.  Priest healer, DK tank, rogue, hunter and warrior.  Not exactly a buff bonanza there wouldn't you say?  25 man you have 25 people and most likely near every possible buff in the game.  This means the good people will be even better and the bad people, while still bad in comparison will not be as bad as they are in a 5 man with no, or fewer, buffs.

When it comes to buffage the LFR wins another round hands down.

Anonymity:

Anonymity seems to be something many people want.  In a five man you stand out more.  In a 25 man you could easily blend in unless you are either so much better or so much worse or you are the tank, who is most likely to be the only name people remember, or you win a piece of gear someone else feels the need to nerd rage about and calls you out by name.  Outside of those things, just do your job and no one will ever even notice you where there.  Someone in the raid will usually mention what needs to be done and you just follow, no need to talk or ask if you do not know.

For the people that are not into the social aspect of the game LFR might be more a fit for them.

Social:

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.

Easy Grind:

When it all comes down to it when people are doing the "gear grind" they just want to get it done.  They do not want a challenge in the grind, they just want a way to do it.  The LFR offering better than dungeon gear and valor points as well means from a gear grinding standpoint it is just easier to assemble gear though that system.

When it comes to getting the best gear for your time the LFR is the way to go.

Easy Content:

The forgiving nature of the 25 man format also means the fights are easier which means there is a lot less stress when it comes to doing the gear grind.  Mechanics are more forgiving, enrage timers are more forgiving, DPS, healing and tanking requirements are more forgiving, and as the blue mentioned, it was made with the intention that there would be a few bad apples in the bunch unlike dungeons that are designed for a cohesive group.

If you want easy, LFR is easier then dungeons are.

Assembly:

While some guilds can field 25s there are not nearly as many of those types of guilds around any more.  It is much easier for a guild now to get 5 players together to pound out heroics to get to valor cap then it would be for them to pound out a looking for raid with all guild members.  While heroics are harder, in a sense, they are easier to make guild only.

When it comes to making a group with friends it is a lot easier to assemble for a LFD.

Valor Capping:

At the moment you can only get 500 valor from LFR, only 250 if you are looking for really fast and avoid the second half which could be hit or miss depending on the group you get.  Not sure how they plan to do it, but in the future if the older raids of the current expansion are all 250 each, then capping with LFR will be the preferred method.  At the moment, being you can not cap in LFR this one is really a no contest.

LFD can cap you, so it wins.

Let us take a tally of what we have from the two.

LFR:
Time investment, Trash, Bad Players, Fun, Mechanics, Quality of Loot, Buffs, Anonymity, Social, Easy Grind, Easy Content.

LFD:
Gathering, Ease of Loot, Assembly, Valor Capping.

Looks like the LFR has a lot of advantages over the LFD.

At the moment I do not see the looking for raid taking over the looking for dungeon but if they where ever to introduce a 10 man version of the looking for raid and allow people to do the current raid in 10 and 25, at least on the raid finder with two different loot lockouts, then I can really see the looking for raid taking over the looking for dungeon completely.

Honestly, if they had a 10 man version right now I am sure all 10 man guilds would run guild runs through that effectively cutting the need for looking for dungeon in half instantly.

Perhaps that is part of the reason there is no 10 man version, maybe someone in the office thought of that and they realized that if there were a 10 man version they would effectively be losing some of the need for 5 man dungeons.

The future will tell us for sure, but if the looking for raids are so much easier then heroic dungeon content and offer more valor to complete and have better gear drops I can see the looking for raid completely removing the need for many players in the game to ever step into a 5 man again.

I'll have to reevaluate this again once all the really bad players are in the looking for raid and all the really good players have no need for it any more.  I still have a fear that the LFR can become harder then any heroic raid ever if you get a bad group, a really bad group.  I don't see that happening for a few more weeks however.

Do you think that the looking for raid can remove the need for the looking for dungeon?

I think it is possible.

7 comments:

  1. Good post. I finally had a chance to really think about it. You listed so many things were I totally agree. Except that it's a good thing... (and that those first cata inis wasn't fun. what the hell, running heroics the first days after release was one of the best experience in that addon)

    As such, I just hit that unsubscribe. WoW isn't the game I want to play anymore (and actually wasn't for a long time).

    ~ a former 10m heroic player...

    ReplyDelete
  2. The new instances where fun, when I was in a guild group, they where hell when I was in a pug.

    Pugging is what made them hell. They where never really a problem with premade groups.

    I remember hearing so much about ripsnarl and how he was near impossible and I did it in a guild group and we downed it in our first attempt and laughed at all the people that said it was hard.

    Then I got into it as a pug and we had to go through about 6 DPS and a dozen wipes before we downed it. Now I understood, that is why it was not fun.

    I agree the first week of cata was great for instance if you ran guild runs. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a guild I can run with. Doing them in pugs is not fun and never will be.

    Sorry to see you are leaving because of easier content for some others.

    Heroic content has not changed at all. If that was your level of play then the game has not changed at all for you, if anything it has gotten better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LMAO......we told everyone this in vanilla when they nerfed raids in Strat, Scholo and LBRS and UBRS and forced everyone to run smaller groups. Because things were too easy.

    now we've come full circle back to where we were. Larger raids are more fun for everyone but the guys that have to organize them, and LFR removes that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Everything comes full circle.

    Not sure if the way it is moving is a good sign however.

    That is why I gave up on 25s, they are just too hard to assemble and even worse on a small server. There are no 25 man raiding guilds on my server because there are not enough even half way decent people to support one. They all want their own things, so only 10s for us.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have to agree with the first Anonymous that Cata five-mans were fun when they were hard and you ran them with guildies. And for all the things that LFR has going for it, "Wow, this is fun!" is not one of them IMO.

    I also don't think that LFR will obsolete LFD - but I do think that it will obsolete a good chunk of raid guilds.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good post. I ran the second half of DS today, I think we blew through it in less than an hour. We had a lot of people that could at least follow direction, and some crazy gear, but I think LFR DS is about to be a loot piñata like we've never seen. I think that in less than a couple months, instead of LFR getting worse, it's going to be something most runs will breeze through in less than a half hour.

    But even if that occurs, I still like it. The new heroics are quite good as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It isn't necessarily the ridicolous difficult level that made me quit. If people have fun grinding raids for nothing but epics, so be it.
    It's many of your other points.
    Things like anonymity. I don't want to queue for 24 stranger I never see again, I want a working community. It's (or was) a MMO for gods sake! The world is only working as a huge lobby to queue for whatever you feel like and the only point where you find some interaction with the rest of your server is the AH or some tradeskills.

    Then the speed. You rush through the content like there's no tomorrow, everything you do must be finished asap. Hell, were are the mid- or longterm goals that keep me playing? I don't see them. I read a great quote a few days ago I just remembered:

    "I have a Deathwing kill on my Hunter and I’m already finished. But, for the first time ever, I unsubscribed for a positive reason. I came back to learn and gear my Hunter, get a transmog bow, and kill Deathwing. Done, done, and done. Time to move on to other games."

    If that's the way blizzard is going, good luck.

    You say all that doesn't affect me as a hc raider. There were times were I could do more then just log in to raid, log of after raid. That is probably true for every raider, they wouldn't get that far in the game otherwise.

    Btw, that blizzard is forcing hardcore raiders to the LFR to get their tier set asap didn't help either...

    ReplyDelete