There are a few questions rattling in my mind right now. Perhaps they are all deserving of their own post but I've decided to make one post with a bunch of them in it, all at once. The reason being is that I think all the questions really follow one train of thought even if they seem to bounce around a little bit. It is all about my monk entering the LFR this week for the first time.
Are Heroics Even Needed Anymore?
I crafted the 496 hands and chest for my monk. That along with my archeology polearm, all the quest rewards from the wastes including the end klaxxi line 489 ring, and both of the soulbound trinkets you can find in the wastes being found and I am at a 460 item level.
This is the second week in a row and the second character in those two weeks that I have had a new 90 hit the 460 item level doing nothing much besides questing and a few craftables. My warlock didn't even use the 496 crafted gear to get there, they used a few 458 PvP pieces. But he did have the alchemy trinket, the 471 archeology trinket and 471 archaeology offhand to offset those I guess.
For someone that knows better, has the resources, and is willing to at least close out the klaxxi quest line, which with the double reputation it is really easy to do, getting to 460 does not seem like much of an issue.
In a way, I sort of miss the 5 man heroics now that I do not need to do them. Sure, they can get me 463 items, lots of them that both characters need in many slots, but when I can step into the LFR and get 476 gear where is the attraction of those 463s?
With time being so much of an issue with this expansion it really does not make sense to ever work on getting something lower to move up. I do not have the time for that. My time is at a premium this expansion and I will take advantage of every short cut I can which means that heroics are out of the equation for me completely.
And What About That Old Valor Gear?
Around that same line of thought, why would you waste valor on a 489 or a 496 gear when the LFR will be dropping 502s once you get there. It is not like the 496 is selling set pieces which might be worth considering until you get the 502 set. They offer nothing worth while. Their only real use is that if you do not have the reputation for the 522s yet you can bleed off some excess valor until you do, but it still really feels as if you are wasting valor doing that. And being it is a limited commodity I really hate wasting any of it.
Is there a real reason for the out dated gear still costing valor that I am missing maybe? Not only do you need to get reputation with one faction or another to buy it but you need valor. If I am going to spend my valor don't you think it would be better spent gearing up with 522 items than it would gearing up with 489 items I will replace in the LFR?
I am sure I have to be missing some train of thought here from the developers but I just can't help but think that if they sold for justice instead of valor I would now have a reason to run those heroics, so I can get them. While I do not think running heroics for 463s is worth my time investment I do think running heroics for justice that will buy me 489s and 496s is a reasonable time investment before I get to the level I can start getting 502s and reputation for 522s.
It would also mean those 489s and 496s would now be something that is moving me forward and not something that is holding me back. Buying a 489 or 496 with valor you are holding yourself back. You could have purchased a 522 and instead went for something less than random content now gives. I just do not see the logic in that. I really think that old valor gear should be justice gear now. In my opinion it is the only way to justify buying them and the only real reason I would ever do heroics, or at least more than one a day if at all.
Is the LFR my New Home?
It sometimes feels as if once you do manage to hit that 460 level, if you are serious in gearing up, the rest of your life in game and every free moment you have, will be spent running the LFR. At least until you get lucky enough to have that one week where everything seems to drop.
You have to run the 460s to get to the 470s to get to the 480s to get some 502s to drop and some reputation that will allow you to buy those 522s. Just seems like a task if you happen to be unlucky with drops. My DK could tell you a thing or two about that.
For an expansion that seems to be all about choice there really does not seem to be a great deal of choice for alts except to queue up for the LFR and hope that you are one of the lucky ones with getting okay groups and actually getting a drop.
My monk will attempt to do them all this week. Just hope I get lucky with the first six bosses so I can push my way into the others. I have 16 coins, thanks to the treasure room on the isle, how I love that place for gearing up alts. Get all the coins you need, and a lot of gold to boot.
It does seem a little daunting however to have to think of the run. 28 bosses, if I could do them all, in one week. For an alt, that is a lot of time spent on one single part of the game. Even with all good groups. It is like I am living in the LFR and right now on many of my alts, whom I only play from time to time and all that they ever seem to have time to do is an LFR or two, that is my life and I live there and I hate it.
28 bosses to a raider might not seem like a lot, raiding what seems like all the time might not seem like a lot to a raider either but the majority of the player base are not raiders and even this raider here would not want to be doing them in the LFR. Real raid, cool, I would love to do that but LFR, not cool. I would really like to know how they feel about 28 fights and more importantly remembering 28 different fights with 28 sets of mechanics and many more little things they need to look out for, like even on trash.
Does Warcraft Require to Much From Your Memory Muscle?
For someone that has been raiding for 2, 4, 8 or more tiers raiding in the LFR is not really a challenge. For anyone that might actually be a raider, even a part time or retired one, the LFR is nothing special. For everyone else it can be a huge hurdle. And for the sake of numbers, over 90% of the player base is "everyone else". For the non raider, for the new player, for the part timers, and of course for the bad players, trolls and the I don't give a crap people it can and will be a challenge.
If you are a raider the stack up, spread out, move from this, share the other, and all that jazz is old hat. Sometimes something new might be added and we need to learn it. Like the dance on will or the maze on the beholder, we, as raiders, might fail at it the first time we see it, even the first few times we see it, but also as raiders we understand how mechanics work and it does not seem like "OMG this is impossible". It is more like, okay, let me figure how this works. And we do it, and we move on. All because most everything else is been there and done that to us.
To the player that does not raid, all of this is a lot to take in. They need to learn and understand 100s of different mechanics all at once. That is a lot for someone to remember, that is a lot for someone to understand. What makes it even worse is the fact that the raiders learned this stuff by doing it over and over. We wiped 100s of times, perhaps even 1000s of times while doing fights where we were learning these mechanics one at a time. We learned them slowly a few here and there, we learned them during progression, we learned them wiping on them and getting better at them.
The new players have to learn them, and many other mechanics quickly. There will be no wiping 100s of times so they can get used to that mechanic. There will be no seeing one or maybe two new bosses a week and only needing to learn a few mechanics off that one or two bosses. They will need to learn many mechanics off many bosses all at the same time and in many cases they need to learn those mechanics in only one attempt. Which means they need to learn faster than we had the luxury of. Who would have every thought someone would say we had the luxury of wiping a hundred times? Not I.
Not only do they have so much more to learn all at once, they do not get a do over. If they fail at a mechanic and they die they usually will not get a second chance at it until the next week. Even if you wipe and they get a second chance, they will not get too many chances. I might have died on a fight 50 times to learn how to handle something they need to learn how to handle it in a few, or one. Even in the worst of worst LFRs you will rarely wipe more than five times at most. So they have to learn everything in less than five tries.
Did anyone ever consider that for those people that never raided that it is really hard for them to learn and remember 100s of different mechanics all at the same time, which is basically what they are being asked to do.
While running the first ToT LFR with a guild mate last night, a non raider, the ball came at her on the first boss. I saw it and told her to move from the pool. She did, but she asked, what happened. I said, when the ball comes at you, you can't let it hit you in the pool. She said she did not know that and I asked, haven't you done this before. She said, yes, at least 5 or 6 times, but the ball never came at me before. I wasn't sure what to do.
That is the luxury of wiping. Sooner or later if you wipe on a boss the ball comes to everyone. Even the melee know the ball mechanic because they had been there for the wipes even if it never targeted them. In the LFR I have heard so many ranged apologize because they didn't know because they only ever tanked it before or meleed it before. They did not even know that mechanic was there.
For people that do not raid there is a lot coming down the pipe for them to learn and remember from week to week and being they might only see it once a week, or in the case of the girl that ran with me, once every 5 or 6 weeks, it takes longer to learn it and it is a lot harder to remember everything when it is not being beat in your head from wiping because of it.
So does the LFR society that the game has become actually require its players to be better? Does it require them to have a much stronger memory muscle?
Speaking of Better?
I've often said I try to use the LFR to get better at my class. It is a great place to learn the dance on will without being a liability to your raid. I still fail miserably at it when I melee, good thing I tank, heal and range and do not raid melee. As such, I have never had the chance to do it as melee in normal. So I use the LFR to learn, should I ever get the occasion to. I still attempt to learn it and get better at it each time I am there. But the problem is, there is usually only one attempt. One attempt per week does not really help all that much, but it does help.
How many others out there take their personal performance seriously enough to use the LFR to get better at doing it?
I plan to do that with my monk. Just hit 90, just got up to the item level to start them, and never played in group content with it before. So it will be about me trying to get to know how to play it well. How to move with a tank with ants in his pants while not losing too much DPS in the process. How to use my personal cooldowns at the right times to help the healers. Get a feel for which abilities I am using most to get up my binds better for that character. To find out what secondary abilities are even worth binding because I use them often even if I had not considered I would.
Entering group content to learn. That is what I will be using the LFR for. To learn how to play it better. I know the mechanics so no need for me to work my memory muscle, that knowledge is already there. It is time to learn something else. How to maximize what I am capable of doing in there.
It does make me wonder however, for as horrible as the LFR is, if many of these non raiders, the ones that really do not want to be there, the ones that are learning and trying to absorb all this information about mechanics, cooldowns, etc all at once, I wonder is that going to make them better players in the long run?
Can you really learn to raid in the LFR? I think a raider can learn to raid better from doing the LFR but I am not convinced that someone that does not raid can become a raider thanks to the LFR. Convince me.
If Only the Community Were Better.
There is good and bad in the LFR. Some mechanics are just too much when grouped with people that really do not get it. Be it they are new, take longer to learn or are just flat out horrible players, there are some things in the LFR that can be brutal to the ones that do not know it. Sadly, some of those brutal things are the people. These people do not help anyone. If anything, these are the ones that start to create the toxic community that we have all been talking about lately.
Just a few examples because they have been on my mind and I want to share the stories.
Beholder, maze, dead raid mostly, wipe. Someone comes after the wipe and says, this has been out for weeks, how the hell does any retard not know how to do this. Enter toxic community.
That comment is uncalled for completely. Ask, what went wrong and go from there or don't ask anything and just explain. There could be people there that have never been there before. There could be people there that had been there before but never got the chance to learn. They downed it and they never got another attempt in. They could have computer issues like someone in my guild who seems to DC every time the maze pops up. They could have visual issues like I do with it where I need to change my setting on that one fight to see it. There are a million and one reasons why someone could have messed it up. To just assume that everyone is a retard because this has been out for weeks is wrong. Does that person not understand that 6 months from now someone will be stepping in there for the first time ever and dying to it. Are you going to say, this has been out for 9 months, you should know it. Well, if you do you are the retard, not them.
It took me three tries before I learned it. I am sure some it took less and some it takes more. On the first attempt if everyone dies explain it. If I were going to start getting upset with the group it wouldn't be until after a few tries. And even at that, I would ask them whats your problem with it, not say you are a retard.
End note, I started a vote kick for him and he went bye bye. Someone explained the maze. They put markers on me and two others that had survived it last time, and we downed it on the second attempt without that guy.
Another little toxic community one I recently ran into was when someone in the group started talking about how they carried the whole group and everyone there was horrible. I was on my rogue, mostly 483 gear, 2 502s and 2 522s and they were in all 522 gear, one 502 piece and one 535 piece. They did 101K on the boss fight. I did 89K. Not great on my part, but when comparing my gear to his gear and then looking how close those numbers where, I decided to thank him for carrying me.
I rarely speak in raid unless it is needed. Even more so to exchange verbal sparing moments with another but when the #3 DPS says thanks for carrying me to the #1 DPS his performance is brought into light for what it really was.
Oh, did I mention how I said it? I forgot that part didn't I?
Thanks for carrying me, I hope when I pick up 30+ items levels I can do as good as you in full 522 gear. Too bad I am in mostly 483 LFR gear and I could only come within 12K of you.
I then let the masses have fun with him and never said another word. Sometimes you can let the toxic community work for you too. There is no reason for someone to be such a jerk about anything in the LFR. And really, if you are going to talk about how great you are and how you are carrying the entire group, the very least you should be is, well, good. 100K in all 522 gear is not exactly what I would call good enough to brag about. It might be respectable for the content at hand, LFR, but nothing to brag about.
I think I take more offense to someone thinking they are gods gift to the world than anything else in the LFR. People who yell at others for failing. People who think they are the best player and people should bow to them. I am sorry as I know most people do not agree with this motto but I have to say it, "just shut up and play".
The LFR would be a much better place if the community were better. The one guy could tell the "retards" how to avoid it next time in the same amount of time he spent insulting them and it would have had a positive effect on the group instead of a negative one. The 522 item level damage dealer that could only manage 100K might have gotten the praise he was fishing for if he said, hey, nice DPS there rogue or great heals. I, or they, might have replied, thanks, nice work on top damage. After all, that is all he was looking for when he bought it up, he wanted people to complement him. If he played it another way, he would have got the complement he wanted and it would have had a much better group feel to it too than him bragging say how great he was and if it weren't for him we would have never got the boss down. In the end, one got kicked and the other got knocked down more than a few pegs when people started making fun of his numbers instead of complementing him on them.
Toxic comments leave the entire raid feeling bad and rarely if ever turn out with the desired results, unless the desire is to destroy the community which would be they are working wonderfully.. However, sometimes, if done correctly, it can help. Like one tank in a run that was rather squishy and some of the healers said something, nicely. Are you using all your cooldowns? Perhaps saving them for this point, etc. On our 4th attempt, the tank did just fine because people did not call him out as a horrible tank, they helped him out by asking questions and offering assistance. Sadly, that does not always work either. Some people think of questions or assistance as insults too.
So the Monk Will Start to Gear up.
If the community were better than the LFRs would not feel like they do right now. Horrible. My monk will be going through them all this week, if he can, and while I look forward to the gearing up process because I can't wait to get better with it and see what I can do with gear, I do wonder, if going through this is worth it.
Seemingly bad drop rates, bad groups, toxic community, and being placed with new people I basically end up forced to wipe with because they are just learning when I have passed that learning phase already all makes me wonder if it is worth it.
It makes me wonder if the LFR system really is a reasonable way to gear up. It also makes me wonder, why was everything changed to what it is now. Shouldn't there be other choices in the expansion that was all about choices?
I'll let you know how it goes.