Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Do the Long LFR Queue Times Mean?

After spending three hours in queue, on a Saturday during prime time nonetheless, to get into and LFR it had me thinking that there are some real problems with the grouping system that needs to be addressed.  Or maybe it is more telling that just that and it says something about the health of the game as a whole.


It is easy to chalk up the wait time to be because of the lack of people playing the role of tank.  I know I am as much a part of that problem as anyone else.  I have tanks but refuse to tank the LFR.  I have a saying I often use, and it is true, that even if blizzard were to offer to send me a paycheck each week to tank the LFR I still would not do it.

Admittedly that is only my opinion on tanking but it seems like I am not alone.  There are a shortage of tanks and that does seem to make a difference.  The idea is how do we deal with this problem in the LFR to shorten queue times.

I have the answer and I have been saying it for a very long time.  Make all LFR bosses one tank fights.  If you only need one tank it makes filling the group with tanks a lot easier.  Also, if you only need one tank that means many people, myself included, that do not like tanking because we do not like the other tanks we run into, will tank it.  If LFR was a one tank event I would tank it, no problem and no need for blizzard to pay me to do it either.

But, are the lack of tanks really the main reason for the long waits lately?


I've wondered a few times, more often while waiting for those three hours, if perhaps there was a problem with the coding that was screwing up making groups.  How it it even possible for a game with seven million subscribers, even if they are in all different zones and play at different times, to not be able to assemble 25 people at prime time on a weekend night when usually more people are supposed to be playing.

It made me wonder if someone over at the blizzard home offices has been playing around with some of the match making code and broke something so it is not matching people correctly.  It can not just be a tank issue.  Even more so when just the other day one of the people over at blizzard watch, a writer there, said he waited in queue, as a tank, for an hour before he gave up.

So it can not be a tank issue if sometimes even tanks are waiting in queue.  Sure when you look at your group it always shows there are no tanks, but that does not mean there actually are no tanks.  It just means they have not matched you with a tank.

So if sometimes tanks are waiting and sometimes others are waiting all while there are even others that say they have 10 minute queue times as a damage dealer and get right in, makes you wonder, is something broken?

How can one damage dealer get into a group in 10 minutes and another wait 3 hours?  How can one tank wait in queue for an hour while other groups are sitting there waiting for one fill in tank after someone dropped for the past 30 minutes?

Maybe there is something wrong with the coding.  Maybe it is not just the lack of tanks.  Or maybe it is something else?

The Health of the Game:

Maybe it is a symbol of the over all health of the game.  Longer wait times because less people are playing it, or less people are doing this aspect of the game.  Blizzard did say they wanted to give raiders less of a reason to go into the LFR and lets face it, they did exactly that.

My main did the HM and BRF LFRs once each.  Because that is what I like to do, just to get it done.  My main alt, my druid, did one here or there, but I could count how many LFRs she did on one hand it was so few.  All she really needed to do was blackhand because she never killed it.  Otherwise she, even as an alt, collected all her legendary parts in the real raids.

Even my alts do not step foot into the LFR.  The couple of characters that do have any progress toward completing the legendary only go there once to loot items needed.  Otherwise I let the garrisons, and now shipyards, collect the pieces for them slowly but surely.

You are talking a person that did the legendary quest line last expansion to completion on 11 or 12 characters and had partial completion on another 13.  I had no aversion to working for something, I had no issue with group content even if it was LFR.  For the most part I liked doing LFR on alts.  But between the removal of tier gear, decent trinkets and weapons and the fact I can slowly get items with my garrison, there is no need to do it.  Not even on alts.  Unless I wanted to speed along the legendary quest line that is.  And with as crappy as the end result ring is, I am not really all that excited about getting it on multiple characters. Maybe if the bonus was not capable of being used by someone else I might, but that is another story all together.

So with all that added together, blizzard basically said they do not want me there.  If I get the feeling they do not want me there I am sure other do as well.  So add the feeling we are not wanted there, no tier gear, bad groups, increasing long wait times, lower subscriber numbers, and the LFR is the very symbol of what warcraft really is, a dying game.

Maybe the LFR and its long wait times are just a side effect of a game that no longer is capable of grabging the attention of the people it is trying to grab.  A three hour wait time at prime time on the weekend which is usually busier just has to mean something.  And it has to mean something more than just a lack of tanks because it is impossible to believe there are none at that time.  Maybe it means a lot more.  Maybe it is telling of the health of the game as a whole.


  1. Maybe servers clusters can only support a certain amount of raid instances at a time. You might be waiting for another raid to get done so you can move up in que. Maybe they share server resources with, hearthstone or heroes of the storm too now .

    1. Good ideas, they could all cause problems as well. I'd say they would all fit under the coding error heading because every single one of those would be an error. There is absolutely no reason they can not host enough instances for all that are needed and warcraft should not need to "share" resources with heroes or hearthstone because we pay for warcraft to have their own resources.

      So they are all close to being coding errors if any of them is true. Even if they would be more judgement errors of the person running them. As in the judgement error of using resources we paid for for a reason other than what we paid for it to do.

  2. LFR is absolute garbage to tank, but the death of it this expansion was actually the fallout of an “improvement”. Before personal loot in MOP tank queues took forever, before I quit (during Terrace) the average wait time for a tank in LFR was well over an hour. Forcing players to be in the tank speck to receive tank loot, created a giant bottle neck.

    Personal loot solved that, now you can get tank gear without tanking the raid. The down side is tanking a LFR and DPSing not equal efforts. A huge number of players go AFK during the encounter that can last up to an hour, understandable on trash unacceptable on/in front of the boss. But if you are tanking you are not going AFK, and you are raid leading by default. Keeping track of 40 children running in random directions and resetting boss fights by never running in, is your job for the mnext 40+ minutes.

    When you queue as a tank you’ll have equal likely hoods of joining group on an alt where you will be ignored because other tank is 700+ giving their guildie’s alts an insta-queue. Rest assured they will be constantly taunting off you, ignoring every mechanic giving you nothing to do for an hour (and you better do nothing, because if you pull your weight, especially on trash, you will find out no healer is focusing you). You are equally likely to join a group where the other tank is wearing PVP blues and knows neither their class nor the fights.

    Why do any of that when you can just queue as another spec and complete daily and garrison chores. LFR is only worth tanking when you have guidies going with you. And even then you might be paired with a random tank who’s constant taunt spamming ruins the experience for you.

    1. For me healing on my druid makes sense. I tank normals and heroics on my druid but I do not heal with it. So I rarely get healing gear unless it is needed. So I heal LFR looking for healing gear, it works for me. But I agree. I love that I could heal and get DPS gear if I so wished to. That was a good change. At least I believe it to be.

      But it is a double edged sword. What if someone is willing to wait? Now they will not tank because they are not forced to tank and still get tank gear. So it works both ways really.

      The other people, as in healers and damage dealers, while they can bother me from time to time are not what keep me from tanking LFR personally, at least not completely. The other tanks do. It seems I have the bad luck to team up with the most arrogant of pricks, the most clueless of whack jobs or the completely uncommunicative. All of which make tanking annoying. Tanks, more than any other role in LFR, need to have at least a minimum amount of communication to make things smooth. The other tanks are what keep me from tanking. That is why I say I would love to tank if it was a solo tank thing. At least I would know I do not have to deal with them. It would be back to just picking up lose mobs that stupid DDs and Healers pull. Which in the grand scheme of things, is not so bad, if they kill them first before I pick them up that is. ;)

      Funny new tank story.

      We recruited a new tank a few months ago, gave him some testing out and the regular tank kept having to tell him to stop taunting because it seemed like he was taunting on cooldown. He swore he wasn't.

      We found out later he read some guide online and took the macros they suggested which had taunt macroed into some abilities with a shift modifier yet he did not add the modifier and was taunting basically on cooldown.

      He learned, we taught him, but that was kind of funny trying to figure out how he kept taunting when he swore he was not hitting his taunt. It would not surprise me if some of these LFR tank have macros like that.

  3. The thing about queues is somehow understandable. When I queue up for 4 wings at once, the first wait is normally long. But after you finish the first wing, you are called to join another wing, and another - right at the moment the last boss is dead.

    So, I deduct it works like this. You join the raid, but your queue to other wings is saved for you. Therefore, if some guy queues for the 2nd wing while I clean up this 1st wing, he's still farther in the line. It means he must wait until I finish this wing and accept or reject invitation to push forward in the line.

    The theory proves to be correct as your first queue takes exactly the time you need to clean up the wing (with more or less wipes).

    1. It’s a useful tool for guys who particularly like the alt they are playing, and commit long stretches of time. But the drawback is you need two and a half / three hours to get any benefit. Anyone who is not a tank or healer queuing for a single LFR wing is just going to experience the expected queue time jump wildly as players who have just completed one wing jump to the front of the line, while they receive the lowest weight/priority and continue to sit in even longer queues.

    2. @Gnomecore

      Very good reasoning there. It is also something that is entirely believable.

      However, let me play pretend here for a moment and make up a fake scenario and some fake numbers to show how you suggest it could be and how I believe it should be.

      There is an already in progress group. And AFK DPS is kicked opening up one spot for a damage dealer.

      Now lets say there are 87 people ahead of me in queue but they are all otherwise occupied in a LFD dungeon or an LFR raid.

      What you are saying is I have to wait for those 87 people who queued before me to get into the raid I queued for.

      What I am saying is if that is indeed the fact I would call it an error in coding. It should take the first "available" damage dealer and not wait for the first one that queued up. I should not have to wait for those 87 people to get in before me. If the queue pops and I am the first available person that spot should go to me even if someone else queued before I did.

      What you say does make sense. It could possible be it. But if that is the way they are doing it I would have to say they have some major logic flaws in how the queue system is being handled.

    3. @Rick

      My horde hunter, which is basically the only character I am currently running LFR on as he is playing catch up on the legendary quest line I do that on.

      I like that I can queue up for all 4 and then just go from one to the next. Sometimes it seems there is a minor delay between groups but usually no more than a minute or two.

      Makes me think Gnomecore could be right with his idea. They are "waiting" for me to finish before letting someone that signed up after me into a group.

      If it works this way I would have to say, even if my horde hunter likes going from one to the next, I do not like it. I do not like it at all.

    4. And one more thought: your queue waiting time actually depends on 2 things:

      1. Number of wipes needed for the guys you wait to finish the run (each try is +10 minutes).
      2. The need of guys currently in raid to run it all through. Maybe they don't need this boss and quit, so you take their place. That's why you don't always start from the beginning.

      Trust a serious LFR raider here :) It's the only raid type I do, and I do it hardcore. 11 toons are at the HFC step of Epic Ring (just love all my characters equally ^_^).

    5. @Grumpy
      I think its a change to the group maker to address an emotional/perceived fairness rather than a logical one. It seems this iteration of group maker address the concerns of “I just waited for a LFR, why do I have to wait again”. We can only guess at the possible weights the group maker places on players, (I think its just raw wait time out side of an instance). But we do know it comes at the expense of people who only have time to queue for one wing. The initial queue time is extended for all players. And if your free time splits LFR across multiple days you’ll be sitting in longer queues multiple times.

    6. @gnomecore

      I would have never thought of this, but it makes perfect sense insofar as it explains the bizarre queue time jumps. But it is unbelievably horrible as a design. If true, it is no wonder that Blizz never discusses the inner workings of its game mechanics -- they are less worried about the possibility of hacks than they are about the possibility they will be seen as lazy and inept!

      The devs cannot be playing this game on a real server, as all their customers do, or they would never put up with such an arrangement.

    7. @Gnomecore

      It really makes sense and I really really really hope they are not doing that. Someone should not have to ever wait for someone else to finish something else first so they can take their place in line. If the next spot opens up and someone is busy in another LFR, they get skipped. When they get out they will go in front, that is fine, but I should not have to wait for them to get out and into one before I can. If blizzard is doing this it would have to rank up there with one of the worst decisions they have ever made.

      Sad part is, you make a valid point and they are known for doing stupid things like this. Makes me wonder.


      I would choose logic over emotion any day when it comes to coding. It is easy to defend logic, even if someone disagrees, but you can not defend emotion. If blizzard is making decisions based on emotions they need to put new people in charge.

      I am not saying if something comes up the person that is in an LFR already is skipped. I am just saying they pass on their turn because they are already busy. When they come out they would be in front of the line time wise because they are. But they should not hold up others behind them. I hope this is not how they are doing them, but might need to default to gnomecore as he does it often, he is in a better place to pass judgement.


      It makes perfect sense for blizzard, but not perfect sense for decent design. lol We have learned those two things are totally different over the years.

      It might explain the timers as you said. Even if I spent 3 hours in queue, my expected time kept bouncing between 10 minutes and 1 hour 5 minutes. Never once did it suggest I would be waiting 3 hours.

  4. Grumpy, you are forgetting about gear as a reason not to run LFR. Apexis gear even with poor stats is higher at 695 than hellfire normal let alone the lfr level. Any casual player is probably going to farm crystals with there spare times with the looking for group tool than wait 3 hrs for crap gear in an LFR. Personnally i can't believe apexis is higher gear level than hellfire normal, that in my opinion in very wrong.

    1. I did not look at the LFR tier sets but I would guess (could be wrong) you would be better with 685 LFR tier gear than 695 off pieces. However you are correct. Apexis gear really does take away another huge motivator for people to do LFR, gear. Unless you like to do LFR, or need to do it to get tomes, there really seems to be little reason to do it.

      Blizzard did say they were trying to remove the reason for raiders to do it but I think they went to far. Even non raiders do not do it. Heck, I used to run it on all my non raiding alts and most have never stepped foot into one of them this expansion thus far.

  5. Great discussion here on LFR queues: the assumption that tanks are the bottleneck has been disproved, and the queuing mechanism behaviour matches Gnomecore's theory very well. Scary as hell, but if it looks like a duck....


    "Even my alts do not step foot into the LFR. The couple of characters that do have any progress toward completing the legendary only go there once to loot items needed. Otherwise I let the garrisons, and now shipyards, collect the pieces for them slowly but surely."

    I'd love to do this, but the absurd numbers of tokens you need to collect leaves me feeling I have no choice but to run LFR to get them. 900 runestones, meh. The best I've seen from Garrisonville & Galleonville is 18 to 20 runes. That's a lot of missions.

    Hobson's choice for me between missions and LFR.

    Our guild team raids HFC twice a week, and we down between zero and four bosses a night. That doesn't give many opportunities for tomes. Again, I feel compelled to run LFR to make up the difference.

    I enjoyed LFR more in MoP, probably because it was a guild activity and several of us queued together. The mechanics and loot were more meaningful, and as a new player it was where I fell in love with raiding and got my ilvl to the point where I could progress to Flex.

    LFR feels so different in WoD, and without quoting again what's already been said above it appears to be by unintentional design. Maybe I'm not LFR's target audience anymore, and I'm at fault by running it and expecting it to meet my needs, then hating it when it doesn't?

    You guys have given me a lot to think about, I may need to adjust my raid priorities, and slow down on the Ring quest progression once I have the 715 version.

    It's a shame the T2 rares don't drop the tokens you need. Now *that* I'd enjoy.

    BTW, as a break from Blizz-bashing: I absolutely love the quest you do to get the Legendary follower, sneaking into the base. Reminded me of one of my favourite missions in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. :-)

    1. I remember MoP, and queues were just the same. On your login you queue up for raid. But! At the same time you queued up for a scenario and a random dungeon run. This accurately took away 30 minutes of your wait, so in the middle of your Halfhill questing you got a raid invitation.

      Btw, it's my theory in work again. Waiting for scenario took you 5 minutes at most, waiting for dungeon took 15-30 minutes (run time), waiting for raid took you 40-60 minutes. And it's exactly relates to time needed to complete the scenario/dungeon/raid.

      As for Ring quest, I made a mistake at first, as I did with MoP. If you are a LFR runner like me, first take the Epic Ring quest to the raid, then go gearing up there.

      My mistake was that I did many, many runs to Highmaul and then BRF, so I had to re-run these raids more and more. Same was at Pandaria: I sieged Orgrimmar for half a year, and when I finally got Wrathion's quest to SoO, there was no way I'm going there again.

      My Epic Item tip is: you must collect gear and quest items at the same time! It means this:
      1. Bosses drop loot or items or both. When I have finished your raid, I definitely have some gear or quest progress or both, so the run was not in vain by all means, even if I got a piece of gear you already have or none at all, but you have some quest items!
      2. Collecting quest items separately means that first you run for gear, then for quest items. Guess who'll eventually feel sick even at the raid entrance?

      I failed to do this with Highmaul, and I stopped halfway at BRF: even if my toons had a pair of BRF runs and got some gear, they put it aside and returned to Highmaul to finish their Abrogator Stone hunt. Only then they were allowed to collect both full BRF sets and Runes at the same time.

      For Hellfire, we came all ready. Neither of my toons would step into HFC without Epic Ring quest - luckily they all have it.

    2. @Grumsta

      If it were last expansion I would agree. I wanted to play my alts, I wanted to gear them up, I wanted them to be the best they can be. This expansion killed my desire to do that with alts. So I do not feel the need to rush it.

      However, if, for example, we needed a disc priest, I would run mine through there to speed it up. She is only doing stones and only a few away, I can wait a week or two to get them, or run HM this week. If she was needed I would run HM, if not, I will wait 2 more weeks. No rush. They ruined disc, or at least my enjoyment of it, so I have no desire to push it faster.

      For my guild we only do the first 6, which is all that is out. If we do not make progression before the next LFR comes out, than I will do those because I feel I have to. Otherwise I will just try to keep it to the real raid, if I can. But I see what you mean. If we were only doing 4 I would feel forced to do the second part to get boss 5 and 6. It would be a must.

      I agree LFR changed. It was bad sometimes last expansion, but mostly it was okay. The valor from it helped. Now it just feels like a forgotten part of the game that would be better off removed or tuned down to 5 man content. Which I think is the right answer honestly. Each new wing could come out as a dungeon.

      I HATED that quest. She has to be the worst rogue ever in the history of rogues. What rogue in their right mind when they jump behind someone screams, breaks out of stealth, and then leave a giant ball of flame where they were standing. She wanted to get caught. Worst.... rogue... ever.

      For a fun rogue experience like that do the legendary quest line from cataclysm on a rogue. It was a challenge, it was fun, and you could actually sneak past things at a range you should unlike this time around where she gets seen from what seems like a mile away.

      It was fun once, it is more annoying than anything else on alts. You spend more time waiting for mobs to walk around so you can do them one at a time than actually doing anything. To each their won, but I would have rathered a fight like in mists than that.

    3. @Gnomecore

      I respectfully disagree about the wait time. On rare occasion I would see a one hour wait during MoP but never in the history of the game have I seen a 3 hour wait until now. And I ran a hell of a lot back in MoP.

      You are right on your tip. When you already past geared an instance it sucks running it again for no real reason. That is one reason I liked valor, it was added incentive to rerun stuff like that. But now, I agree. Do not gear up too fast, but that will be harder now with tanaan giving 650 and 675s without even talking about the upgrades.

  6. It normally seems like you keep your "priority" in the queue after doing one wing, but last night, I queued for both HFC wings. I spent about an hour waiting for the first one, which took about an hour to complete... Then I spent another 30 minutes or more waiting for the second one which took well over 90 minutes to complete.

    Kilrogg requires way too much personal responsibility for the average LFR player (constant interrupts, constant target switching, special mechanics that require players to move in certain ways). Took us 5 attempts to do it (and they're not short attempts) and I think it was just because the half of us that could do the mechanics got our determination buffs and the rest died or were just dead weight... I was typically having the most interrupts in the group and I'm a hunter... that's pathetic... Even on the kill, we missed half of the Rending Howl casts... and Heart Seeker is just too damn complicated for LFR players. LFR players won't move... Then there's Vision of Death that has to be handled. If the fight had one of these mechanics, it'd probably work, but all 3...

    Gorefiend was tuned more appropriately. We wiped once because people didn't really know what to expect and then we got it the second time.

    I don't even remember what the first boss was like... We one shot it. It was probably under-tuned...

    Anyway, back on topic.

    I am only doing LFR for tomes. I want a 2pc set from the end bosses (the bonus main stat makes up for the 685 iLvL), but these early bosses give me nothing. 675 gear is crap. And once I get all my tomes, I'll have -100 reasons to do LFR... I guess I should really just find a casual team that raids one night a week from between 8-12pm ET or something... I spend that much time trying to do LFR anyway...

    I'd be less annoyed about the 1hr + wait times, if when I was doing LFR, it didn't seem like I was trying to pull the weight of 5 people just so we can kill the boss.

    Ugh, just so many things wrong with the design of the game right now...

    1. I only wiped once on Killrog when I did it. One shot the other two, but we had a few actual raiders in there. Including one that rocked my number and I love to see that. He was in mostly all 710+ gear. I could not keep up with him. It was awesome.

      Yes, I do agree however, the adds were going down slow even with me and that other guy on Killrog, and I can see that being a massive problem later on without some raid geared people in the group.

      I agree. I would not mind as much with the 1 hour wait if when I got into the raid I did not feel as if I was doing all the work.