Thursday, April 4, 2013

The ROI of The LFR

For those that have never seen the acronym ROI it means Return On Investment.  More a financial term but just as fitting for in game.  You invest time to do things and expect something in return from it.  Be it doing a quest and being rewarded with an item and gold or valor and some lesser coins.  You invest time, you get something in return.

I think the current issue with the LFR is not so much a difficulty issue for many people, not directly at least, it is an ROI issue.  Even more so for people that use it as their primary source of raiding.  The ROI for the LFR is negative.  When you are done with it you are felt as if you just wasted your time, even when it was a good run.

Why would someone continue to invest in a stock that continues to go down when they can invest in another stock, even if it isn't making money, and not lose?  Or even better still, invest in a stock that goes up.  Why do anything that has a negative ROI?

The perfect example, and only one currently in game that I can think of as good ROI design, is from a holiday event, oddly enough the one that is going on now.  The noblegarden event is actually to as close to perfect as you can get in a game like this, ROI wise that is.

You need noblegarden chocolates to buy items, but you can also get those items when looting the brightly colored eggs.  What it comes down to is this, if you want the mount you need 500 eggs.  Or you can get lucky and get it before you get to 500 eggs.  Your basic ROI here is that you have to invest enough time to collect 500 eggs and are guaranteed the mount.  Best case would be you get lucky enough to loot the mount from the egg before you get to that 500 number.  Finding it that way would make it an incredibly good ROI but working your way to the 500 means you got what you wanted to get for a set investment you knew it would take to get it beforehand.  That is a good ROI.  You invest the time to collect 500 eggs, you get the return you wanted for doing so, the mount.  Perfect design.

The bottom line is that in a game you invest something, namely time, and expect something in return for the time you have spent.  There are some factors that can skew the ROI that you would not have with business, such as "fun".  If you really enjoy doing something the reward does not need to be big, or even exist.  Doing the task itself is the reward.  Think PvP for the most part.  Winning could be all the reward you want.  Even with losing you can still have fun killing some people.  Unless you play on the competitive edge like RBGs or arena there really is no return once you have all the gear you can get with honor but if you enjoy doing random battlegrounds you enjoy them.

The issue is, at least as I see it, there is nothing enjoyable about the LFR.  So we can basically remove the "fun" factor from there and look at it from a pure time investment standpoint.

Is the time investment you spend doing the LFR worth the reward?

Lets take the new LFR wing that just came out and add up your investment, if you happened to get into the group I had at least.

90 lesser charms of good fortune needed for three coins for extra rolls.  The average quest offers 2 lesser charms and lets say the average quest takes 3 minutes.  That means 45 quests need to be completed at 3 minutes each.  So we are 2 hours and 15 minutes into our LFR run just to get coins before we get into it.  Add the average 45 minute wait time and we are now at 3 hours.

Now for the horror show, if you get unlucky.  Three hours on the first boss puts us up to 6 hours invested.  Lets say boss two, which people seem to have fewer problems with is another hour and the last one, until you can get people to stop AoE, which will be hard with people that like to whore on recount, could take an hour and a half.

That means your time investment to do the new LFR would be 8 1/2 hours.  Now, if you are anything like most people I hear from, you won nothing, all three of your coins won nothing, and you will spend well over 400 gold for repairs in that time frame.  Is that really worth your time investment?  What is your return on investment here?  You lost time, and lost gold.  And lets not forget the lingering feeling that the two hours and 15 minutes you spent to get those coins was wasted time too now.

Would any business man still be in business if they spent all their time with nothing in return for it?  Would anyone that ever invested in stocks have any money left if they got no ROI and lost money?

Even with a smoother run, considering the time it takes to gather enough coins and the time it takes to wait in queue, even a super fast 1 hour run for the LFR with no wipes it would still works out that you spent 4 hours on it.  To win nothing.

You can say, but I got some gold from doing it and I got some valor as well.  ROI wise the LFR is a horrible investment of your time if gold or valor is your intention.  There are many better ways to make gold.  You could make triple what the LFR gives you in less than 5 minutes with ANY profession in the game.  For gold the LFR has a horrible ROI. 

As for valor, you can run a dungeon which has a much faster queue, and is much quicker to run and could, if you get the right one, give you the same amount of valor as the LFR.  You could quest and in the same time you spent in the LFR you could make more than 90 valor and not have to deal with random people that basically suck all the life out of the game.  So for valor the LFR has a horrible ROI.

So what does the LFR have to offer?  Gear.  That is it, that is all it is there for, it has no other purpose.  At least not the current ones.  They exist to get gear.

When you run them over and over and get no gear they continue to get worse.  Even if you get a good group and not a nightmare like I had, you still wasted your time unless you get gear because there were better ways to spend your time to make gold and valor, which is all you ended up with from it.  Without gear dropping the LFR serves no purpose.  It does not offer a good ROI.

So what could make the LFR have a better, more appealing ROI?

Brightly colored eggs.  No, really.  Use the noblegarden design.  Where you can collect 500 eggs to get a mount or get lucky and get one sooner.  Have all bosses drop a token, and sell gear that drops from the raid for 10 tokens.  So, even if you do not have any luck with drops or coins, you will know that every 10 bosses you can get one piece of loot.

You would effectively be working for your gear and thinking, 3 more bosses until I get my bow, instead of just bitching and complaining that it never drops anything.  If it does drop something, bonus.  You got it faster and easier all thanks to luck and that means your ROI in very high now.  Either way, it changes the entire experience because now your investment is no longer just investing for luck, it is investing for a goal.  You want to kill 10 bosses to buy something, just like you wanted to collect 500 eggs to buy something.  You agreed to invest your time for something and that is your ROI.  My return would be my bow for killing 10 bosses.  Seems fair enough to me.

The ROI for the LFR is negative the way it is.  The LFR is there for gear and gear only.  Nothing more, nothing less.  There needs to be a better ROI if they want people to do it.  People would be more willing to deal with wipes if they knew they were getting something from it.  Even if that something was only one brightly colored egg, so to speak.

In the end the LFR takes too much time for too little reward.  It is a horrible investment of your time, even with a quick and easy run.

Personally, the only characters I like doing the LFR on are my enchanters.  So if I win something I do not need I can disenchant it for a sha crystal.  Sadly, I am on three weeks now with one of my enchanters doing every LFR and using every coin I had and only saw 1 piece.  Increased drop rates my ass.  The ROI for the LFR is horrible.  Worse than horrible actually.  We need a brightly colored egg system added to it.


  1. I agree with everything so just ^^

    One thing though, last boss get people to stop AoE? Erm when I did the last boss yesterday we did it via AoE and very successfully. It took 2 attempts, purely because well one shotting something you've never seen in practice is always hard. It worked really well and I'm not just saying that because I like to whore on recount. The fact that I was top dps as a tank, yes I find it fun, but it's irrelevant. I read the tactics for that boss, it sounded complicated as hell, I forsee wiping dozens of times before we understand it on normal. For me not to have a clue how it works despite watching the video, reading the guide, and sort of seeing it in action. Well I'm not that stupid so the encounter is complicated.

    The way I see it AoE is the only way you can kill that last boss in LFR. Splitting up so everyone takes an add, killing them one up one by other mobs, to spawn them, to kill them by other ones. It'll be tough to get right on normal, in LFR no chance. With AoE though, easy as anything. The Dark Animus boss was the one of the three I was most worried about, and it was actually the easiest by far.

    1. There are two schools on that. Perhaps I am thinking to "real" and not enough "LFR".

      Sometimes thinking normal really complicates things more than it needs to. Heck, the first boss LFR this expansion, stone guards, could you imagine if that was attempted with two tanks not communicating and not knowing what to do. LMAO.

      I think the token per boss thing would be a nice backup plan. People could not max out gear too fast, one a week, maybe 2 at most. So it would make people feel that even if they are not getting any drops that they can get something once a week. Not a lot, that is all people ask, something to feel like going though all the frustration that the LFR can be is worth it.

    2. 5.3 is promising something like that where the drop chance from charms increases each time you don't get loot. But it's still RNG.

      I'd much prefer a token/currency system.

      Regarding Dark Animus, as I commented the other day. We wiped within a few seconds by doing AoE because all the big golems turned on all at once and killed everyone... So the top few dps (me, mage, and a lock, and maybe some others) stopped doing massive AoE and went to single target rotations. The golems still died really fast but things were slightly more staggered so the tanks could pick things up more easily. Probably depends a lot on the tanks. Things go so fast that I could be totally misinterpreting it though.

    3. I think everyone would prefer a token/currency system. This is why they always have to rig PVP gear to be subpar for PVE, otherwise everyone PVPs because currency systems >>> random drops. But alas, Blizzard loves their random drops.

    4. @Jaeger

      A lot has to do with tanks there. But the DPS need to control themselves, single target works best, and let the tanks pick up the adds. It comes all down to that.

      Too many adds at once and even with pouring everything I had into a tank with 850K natural health, he was going down like he was wearing tissue paper.

      So it is a combo, you need to tanks to grab them and rotate cooldowns to survive, but you also need DPS to not actively try to kill the tank by doing AoE.


      That is why I have always loved the PvP gearing system. It is just a smarter system.

  2. I know one thing I learn from LFR, even if it continually wipes and never even gets to the drop. I learn some of the fight for my raid group later. I can see tactics (fails and wins), and learn what stuff to avoid or watch out for. I can learn the attacks and phases of the boss to some extent, which is then implemented by reading the dungeon journal or guides on the web. Maybe its just me, because I learn better by doing, by hands on, than just reading. I get better each LFR run. Which then makes me a better raider for my guild later. I'm more aware and not so lost. For me, LFR means that I don't feel like a complete idiot when my guild raid team approaches a new boss. For me, for a time, the ROI is worth it. But beyond that... it diminishes extremely quickly.
    So while my initial ROI may be greater than others, I'm all for some changes to LFR.

    1. It is true that the LFR does actually teach you for when you get their with your real raid. It might be watered down, but it does give you an idea for sure.

      I will not let anyone step into my raids unless they have already done the boss on at least LFR difficultly. It makes it so much easier to explain to someone that has seen the layout too. So it makes my job as a raid leader a ton easier too.

      But, as you mentioned, once you have learned what it has to offer, doing it again it loses its ROI.

  3. Right spot on, except in my case I count 2 other things

    a) I get a lot of satisfaction beating people on DPS that are much better geared then my little feral
    b) I like to "dance the raid choreography". Even if I don't need gear, there is the personal feeling of success if I know I did it right.

    But the ROI with regard to gear is baaaaaaaaaad

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    1. I know what you mean. Love seeing a hunter in better gear and thinking, okay, now I can see how I am really doing, only to see I beat him by 30K, at least.

      In the end it just makes me upset that some horrible hunter has all the luck with drops, yet I am 10 items levels less than him and destroying him. Sorry if this might sound rude, but he does not deserve that gear because he does not know what to do with it.

  4. The queue is what gets me. 45 minutes of just sitting there waiting. If you minimize it mutes it so you can't hear when it pops. I should probably find a way to fix that. Even better would be a way to queue one character for raid finder and then go level an alt or something until it pops.

    As for gear, one LFR I killed the first boss and got some bracers. Killed the next boss and got some more bracers. Thanks, I guess. The upside was that the second pair was better than the first.

    1. Part of the problem is that people sign up for them one at a time, it is not a random system. So even if everyone in the game is raiding with the LFR at any given moment, only one tenth of them might be in yours. Which makes every ones wait time 10 times longer than if they were all queued together.

      Gear is gear, at this point I would be happy to get something I don't need, just to make sure my character is not broken and can actually receive gear. Because it sure does not seem that way sometimes.

    2. There should be an option in the sound settings to enable background sounds... that should have them continue to play while you're tabbed out.

    3. Oh, and you *can* flip toons to do things while queued and not lose your spot, just have to flip back every couple of minutes. The timer does continue, too, and from what I've been able to determine, it does count toward queue time. My personal data is limited, though, so it may actually pause the queue while you're out. My experience has been otherwise, though, and it won't actually pop while you're on another toon, you can't flip for any length of time.

    4. I noticed that when I had to log out to restart the game for an addon and was still in queue. Kind of cool, wonder how long we really have before it kicks us.

      I like the sound idea, never thought of that one. Better than sitting at there letting your brain rot while listening to trade chat.

  5. I thought VP were the failsafe reward. Should be per boss, though, not per wing.

    1. Per boss would be nice to some extent. I have some ideas for the LFR and that is partly one of them.

  6. I got one complete run in, in the LFR, last week.
    Poor ROI.
    This week, so far, I've found a lot less people doing dumb stuff.
    ROI has improved.

    1. I actually got a group that got the maze down in 3 tries, twice. So I was mildly impressed.

      But those same groups that did the maze fine wiped 5 times on the next boss when one group that needed a 10 stack on the maze one shot the next boss.

      Every group has its strengths and weaknesses. Just seems like the maze is a huge weakness for most.

  7. You are twisting the math into your favour. I do dailies while queueing for LFR. Getting 90 coins in general is something that you do easily spread out during the week. Most people get a massive coin surplus by doing just some leasure dailies a week.

    Also you can choose not to do dailies. You don't *have* to do them just to get 3 rolls per week extra.

    From loot point of view LFR loot is relative garbage anyway. You get better gear from the vendors, which progress by reputation and is locked to 3 bosses any difficulty per week. The neutral and friendly gear already gives you 4 pieces.

    And if you had upgraded normal T14 gear, T15 LFR is actually a downgrade! And if you have only T14 LFR, well, I miss why you are complaining? If you are - like me don't get me wrong - LFR only, LFR progression is not based on gear but based on skill and luckiness not to have too many morons in your group. You don't *need* bonus rolls if LFR is your game.

    BTW my LFR experience has been one or two wipes per boss only. Took us little under 2 hours to clear the three bosses per wing.

    And in return I got - aside from being lucky in drops - gold, valor and reputation. That is a pretty good return of investment!

    Sorry, I get your frustration, but your time spend is the odd ball, not the norm. Just as I - and I'm not kidding - first 42 rolls in LFR produced gold. Yes, 42 rolls in MoP in LFR in a row, gold only!!!

    If you are frustrated now, think of my rage after being loot-less a few weeks into MoP while some other guildies where already 4pc T14 equipped. :-)

    1. You could call it twisting, or you could call it what it is. Actual real data.

      If it takes X amount of time doing dailies, it takes that amount of time. There is no way to twist that data.

      If you CHOOSE to do them while in queue you are doing two parts at once thus lowering your time investment. Good for you. But it does not change the numbers. If it takes 45 minutes to do something, it takes 45 minutes to do something, even if you are also doing something else at the same time.

      I have 2 pieces of upgraded tier, never got the other two because I never raided on my main, I was tanking. But, either way, a two piece T15 502s would be better than my two piece T14 504s. So yes, the LFR is better than upgraded real pieces and MUCH better than the LFR version of them if that is all some people had.

      As you can tell, my LFR luck sucked last tier too. Never got the bow, never got any tier pieces to get the 4 piece set. This was running every boss, every week.

      You are one of the lucky ones, I have a friend that is like that, he always gets great runs, at most one or two wipes like you. I envy you guys. I only have nightmares and I get nothing from them.

      I still have never got the 4 piece T14, don't feel bad.

  8. I love this idea. Every time you kill a boss, you get, let's say, 40 points. These bosses all drop loot, of course, but you also get the points. After a certain amount of time, generally a week or so, you could save up enough of those points to trade in for gear, specifically the gear that did not drop for you off the bosses. We could call them... Valor Points.

    Hurry up and implement this, Blizz!!!

    1. Glad you like it but I believe blizzard is dead set on random being random and will let luck be the deciding factor of the game. :(

  9. Wouldn't the best solution be to make LFR fun?

    Why bother making the raids accessible to everyone if the overall experience isn't fun?

    1. Ding ding ding, we have a winner.

      If they were quick and easy and even a caveman could do it the fact that loot did not drop would be less of an issue and or course, no wipes means no 300 gold paid on repairs for one run either.

  10. I generally like the current LFR system, my only issue it with boss mechanics and, generally, too much trash.

    I'll run the two MV halves or Terrace anytime anyone asks... I find MV quite enjoyable and quick these days and Terrace has always been, to use your phrasing, good ROI (4 bosses, minimal trash, nice gear). I generally only run HoF in order to get a toon through to being able to run Terrace.

    ToT is rougher, sure, but it's still relatively new... as folks learn the fights and start to bring alts though it'll get easier. I recall how bad Will was in the early days, too... that was a guaranteed 3 or 4 wipes every time in with 6 melee dps dead right after the first few devastating strikes. These days it's unusual to wipe.

    If I was in charge of tweaking LFR to make it better, though:

    * Make bosses immune to pulling by anyone other than designated tanks... in a perfect world, give tanks 5 seconds before anyone else can attack. Just LFR, of course, there should be penalties for stupidity in regular raids.

    * Remove LFR-unfriendly mechanics from bosses, or at least make the penalties less severe. There shouldn't be one-shot mechanics in LFR, period, nor should you ever have to do more than 2 things at once.

    * Aim should be 5 minutes of trash between bosses. ToT especially has too much trash, as do sections of HoF. First boss of HoF should either have corridor trash, or the trash down in the boss area... both is just nuts, not to mention that it's TOUGH trash for a lot of groups.

    * Failbags should drop 5-10 lesser tokens each. I should be able to get the 90 tokens every week just from running a tier of LFR, more or less. Note - this isn't from my own perspective, I do believe the greater charms are fully optional for anyone other than progression raiders (they're the only ones for whom gear is the actual limiting factor, for everyone else it's skill &/or mechanics), but there seems to be a lot of momentum on the other side so I'll cave to it.

    * Remove the repair penalty from wipes during boss fights (maybe trash fights as well but definitely boss fights). I'm getting tired of folks zoning into LFR and immediately asking for a repair bot. The gold issue is secondary, I come out positive on almost every LFR run, but I'd be more comfy if it wasn't a factor at all.

    * Give VP for each boss kill as well as for completing the dungeon... right now, when I zone into a run that's on the last boss, I get a full set of VP from that one boss kill... to re-queue to do the bosses that I missed I'd get 0 VP unless I killed the last boss again (and who does that?). I'd like to get 15VP per boss plus a 45VP bonus for completing the run vs 90VP for completion. The extra VP from a last-boss-only run is what compensates you for having to re-queue for earlier bosses.

    * Bonus VP &/or higher chance of gear if you live through a boss fight (battle rez not included). Right now there's zero incentive (aside from the repair bill) not to suicide at the first available opportunity. I'd also like to incent anyone with a battle rez to actually USE it... but that would probably cause more harm than good. Just wish all the DKs in the world would realize that they have one now, too.

    I've had other ideas but those are the ones that come to mind right now... more later, maybe.

    1. The first set I agree with you on all. I love the MV and terrace but HoF can go scratch and I only do it to get to the last one like you.

      I too have often said that only people marked tanks should be allowed to pull. Not sure why they have not added this yet, awesome idea.

      Agreed, there should never be a one shot mechanic and also there should never be a mechanic that is one person that has no clue gets it they can hurt everyone else. All mechanics should be based on individual actions. You can not assume group coordination in a random.

      Not only should there be less trash, but trash should be like heroic dungeons. Round them up and AoE, people like that. No mechanics on trash. Wipe city with that stuff.

      Again the less charm one is something I have said. All fail bags should have anywhere between 2 and 10 lesser coins. I also think when you fail with a coin you should get a bag, not just gold, so you have a chance to get something extra as well.

      As for your VP one I had a better idea, I think, for in progress runs. If you join a run in progress you can get loot from it, even if you already looted from that boss. Or if you run it a second time, you can get loot a second time. Basically whenever you join something in progress you get to double dip on loot, as a consolation for not getting the earlier boss you might have actually wanted.

      You seem to be on the same page with me for some of my ideas.

    2. If you let people run more than once for loot, many will feel obligated to run more than once. I don't think that's the answer... and in your case, that'd just be more boss kills that don't drop loot for you. :) At least if they drop a bit of extra VP for your trouble you will eventually get some gear more quickly as a result.

      Ironically, since I mentioned that Terrace is on my good ROI list, I had my worst run in a while in there last night that even had a wipe on the second boss... tank standing full-time in the beam was the main culprit, healers were out of mana quickly from having to heal everyone getting hit by the breath while trying to remove their stacks, plus all of the dps and healers who presumably always stand in there full-time and simply died to the damage rather than moving.

      Tanking 101: Don't point the boss toward a spot that non-tanks will need to be standing, ever, unless there's a mechanic that specifically requires it. Assume there isn't until you hear otherwise.

      Non-tanking 101: If your health is going down and you aren't sure why, move.

    3. Oddly enough, I don't need any VP gear any more. I need drops, even LFR drops. Sure, there are two pieces I "could" use at revered, but I am already capped with nothing to spend my VP on.

      They really need to add more VP gear for more slots because you burn through things to buy before you reputation can catch up unless you have been doing full clears since release and sadly, that is not me.

      I was in that run. LMAO. I doubt it, but the tanks kept pointing the dragon to where everyone needed to stand to drop their debuff.

      Tanks can really make things difficult sometimes.

    4. Lucky you! I still have 1 or 2 pieces left to buy of the ones already available and am low on VP, just bought the bracers. But yeah, not having an alt spec to soak up some VPs does mean that pures will often not have anything to buy. Beats having to gear up 2 or 3 specs, IMO.

      Might have been the same run, I haven't seen that particular issue before and my monk was duking it out with a hunter (name began with an A, I think) on all the boss fights that run. If it was you, /wave. :)

    5. I was full on valor when the patch hit, so it helped me buy everything. I could buy the legs, which I might do and save them as an off piece at some people if needed. Otherwise I need revered.

      Yes, it sure does beat having to gear for multiple specs. That is why my shaman in now elemental as well as resto because at least I can quest elemental in my resto gear. Makes it so much easier.

      That would be funny if it were. Was with a guild hunter that was #1 all 4 fights. I train my hunters well. ;)