With the four different levels of difficulty in raiding right now from the pure random pug friendly LFR to the highly coordinated group effort of mythic it made me wonder, what is the preferred method level of raiding of people if you could only have one.
The way I figure it most "raiders" raid two levels or raiding, not really all four. You have your farm raid and your progression raid. For some people they farm LFR and progress through normal, or others they farm normal and progresses through heroic and for yet others they farm heroic to progress through mythic.
Of course there are those that only do one. I know a great many players that only do LFR. I have some guild members that refuse to step into LFR but as they are not really raiders so they will only do normal. Then there are the people that are "better" than normal, their word, not mine, and refuse to step into any raid that is not heroic. If we are doing a normal run that night they take the night off. All those people only do one level of raiding.
So while the choice is nice to have with 4 different levels of raiding I would say the majority of raiders, at least the ones I know or have spoken to, only raid 2 of those 4 levels of difficulty on a regular basis at most.
If I were to ask the question which 2 raid difficulties would you choose the answer would be simple for me personally. My opinions are as follows.
LFR is not needed. It no longer serves the purpose it was intended for and it should be either fixed or removed from the game. If LFR still offered real tier gear I could see it having a place in the game. If LFR was designed to teach people to be raiders I could see it having a place in the game. If LFR was actively moderated by blizzard to keep it from getting toxic like it does often I could see it having a place in the game. If LFR actually required people to participate and actually try, even if they do poorly, then I could see it having a place in the game.
The thing is, it does not teach anyone, it does not offer tier gear, it does not have moderators and there are too many people expecting to be carried by others for LFR to continue to exist. It is not needed and should be removed because, we know for a fact, blizzard has no intention of fixing it. So cutting down from 4 raid difficulties to 3 was easy for more. Lose LFR.
Losing the second difficulty was an easy choice for me as well. Mythic has no place in the game either. Just look at the numbers. LFR has the most people actively playing it in the game and I would choose to remove that, so why in hell would I keep the difficulty that the fewest, by large, are participating in.
It is not just about the numbers that use it, it is about the format itself. It is a fixed size, something that in this day and age has played itself out, games need to be more dynamic. And if it was going to be a fixed size it should be a fixed size that was more inclusive, like 10 or at max 15. When they decided on 20 man as the base for mythic they effectively told over 95% of the heroic guilds to go screw themselves. Not the smartest move in my opinion.
Perhaps if mythic were 10 man than it would not be one of the two I would remove. As a matter of fact, I am sure if mythic was 10 man I would have not said to remove it. But as 20 man it does not fit in a dying game where it seems most servers can barely field one or two mythic guilds even if there are hundreds of people on that server that would want to run mythic. Many, like myself, prefer smaller groups even if it historically means harder fights.
So if I had to choose only 2 to stay it would be normal or heroic.
Now comes the hard part, if I had to choose only one. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
Normal is easy enough that you can take new players along with hurting yourself too much. You can take alts on a normal run no problem. You can make mistakes on a normal run. You can have fun on a normal run once you start to over gear it by ignoring some mechanics, something it usually takes until the next tier that comes out to be capable of doing. And the number one plus on the side of normal is because it is easier it is faster. I am about as sick and tired of log fights as any one elf can be. I enjoy going into normal on my main and blowing things up in record time. Fast fights = fun fights.
Normal does have its downsides as well. As it is easier you will down stuff faster. Sure depending on your group and the skill of the players in it you can still hit a bump in the road here and there to slow you down. Normal archie took a little bit for us, heck even gorefiend was a bit rough the first week for my guild who never did higher than heroic the previous tier and was geared as such. Neither took us long to down, but that is the point. Even the "brick walls" on normal are not much of a challenge for even the remotely organized group. If all challenges are like this, were you never meet a fight that can take you weeks to down, or 100 wipes to get, I could see it getting boring. Sure no one want to wipe 100 times on every single boss, but having one or two or even three in a raid this side that take you a few weeks, maybe even 40 tries would be nice. It would feel like progression. Normal might be fun, but it can also be too easy for anyone that is willing to put in even a little effort.
As for heroic, like normal it has its positives and negatives. Some of the positives are the fact that for the vast majority of the player base these are genuinely hard. It is a challenge and it is exciting to beat that challenge. Even for the somewhat better players that might be able to down it in just a few attempts the fact that it is a bigger challenge is more rewarding.
Another positive is that it teaches the next generation of raiders that mechanics matter, performance matters, personally responsibility matters. When someone can do LFR or even normal and they die on every boss but they still down it they think "oh this is easy". In the heroic world they are removed from the group. Sorry, no dead weight wanted. Even if you can carry someone like that, why do so? They offer no benefit to the group. Heroic, if it were the only difficulty, would mean that a hell of a lot of player would get better. They would be better player over all, or they would not be raiders. That's a fact. Well, unless you pay for a carry, but no matter what they will always happen so forget I said it.
The main negative of heroic is that I am a grumpy elf. No really. You really can not bring people in after you have been downing bosses that do not know the fight. It is frustrating taking a step back and unlike with normal were you might be able to push through having a few inexperienced players it usually means a wipe in heroic. Call it be being grumpy but I would just say it is me being tired and not liking the idea of doing progression over and over and over in a raid I have already been downing with no problem. This is the biggest draw back of heroic.
A secondary drawback of heroic is blizzards own fault and that is the scaling of flex. A fight like Killrog with 10 people early on was near impossible unless you had top notch players and they all performed to perfection. But with 20 or even more so with 30 players it was a joke. Blizzard needs to fix heroic so no matter how many you have 10 or 30 it is close to the same fight, difficulty wise.
So you see whittling down to just one difficulty for me would be hard. But when push comes to shove I would choose heroic as the single raid difficulty. Probably because that is what I like to raid so I am already bias toward it. Someone that only does LFR might say LFR, someone that only want to do mythic might say mythic.
However, with that all said, I want to add one additional thing.
I would prefer to say the current normal should be the only difficulty. And that the current normal should add activated hard modes like Ulduar had. So you can turn normal into a heroic type encounter or even a mythic type encounter. Now that would leave everyone with the best of all worlds in my opinion, all the benefits of normal with all the challenge of mythic if you so choose with a 10 to 30 player group.
Now that would be my real answer. I want to see normal only, but with activated modes to make it harder as you decide it to be. With no 20 person lock, with no issues switching back and forth, just one lock out doing each boss the way you want to do them.
So if they are left "as is" I choose heroic. But if they want to make raiding better I choose normal with activated hard modes, many of them.
If you had to choose only one raid difficulty to stay, which would you choose?