Is LFR getting “dumber” because of Flex Raiding and the Timeless Isle?

Tuesday, as you know, released the 2nd wing of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid in to LFR, and as expected, I have yet to finish it. On my first attempt, the LFR group actually managed to one-shot the first two bosses with minimal effort, but the Dark Shaman (or whatever the 3rd bosses are technically called) tore us apart time and time again.

This caused the usual LFR response of trolling the chat, calling people out, people dropping group in bulk, etc., and it brings to mind a question.

Why is everything okay until we wipe once?

Negative attitudes are contagious and being a jerk invites others to be a jerk, so of course we’re going to do worse and worse. Individuals aren’t going to give it their all when they perceive that half of the raid, strangers or not, are full of folks who don’t really care. Especially those who have just waited 30 minutes to join a partially cleared raid. But to do a complete 180 after one wipe? I don’t get it.

Raid chat was absolutely quiet during the first two bosses, aside from a few people familiar with the fights shooting off tidbits of strategy here and there. The instant we wiped to the Dark Shaman encounter, raid chat went wild with sarcastic replies, finger pointing and people immediately leaving the group.

“The tank is wearing welfare 496 Isle epics! Kick him!” – Even though he successfully tanked the first two bosses just fine, and what gear he did have was enchanted, gemmed and reforged.

“You healers suck! LOLOLOLOL! *links healing meter*” – Despite healers doing great through the first two encounters and our first wipe being at 47%.

DPS is way too low, I shouldn’t be doing this much more! *links Recount*” – Despite the fact that the DPS complaining is a Hunter in a mix of Thunderforged/Flex gear.

This is LFR we’re talking about. LFR consists of people either looking for upgrades they missed in their own guild’s raid, wanting to gear their alts or do not have the time to invest in doing real raids. To compensate for 25 strangers working together, raid encounters are simplified for LFR and, in return, offer nerfed versions of the normal loot drops.

It’s to be expected that there will be some sort of learning curve in the newer raids, but there are enough people that are impatient enough to crumble groups at the first sign of struggle. The examples I listed above are just a few that I witnessed first-hand after our first wipe in the entire raid, but, as this is nothing new, this generally happens every single time an LFR group starts to stutter.

With 5.4, Blizzard has tossed a new wrench in to the spokes of LFR in the form of Flex Raiding. Flex Raiding is the perfect way for compentant players to raid who otherwise suffered the wrath of the LFR derp machine. It offers higher quality gear and encounters that scale according to the number of players in the raid itself, so it’s still nerfed content, but not to the extent of the LFR versions.

With a lot of the quality players jumping in to Flex Raids, is the quality of LFR getting worse? It’s still too early to tell, as it hasn’t even been two weeks since we were introduced to SOO, but I think it’s safe to say that SOO is more mechanic-intensive than any LFR thus far. My guess is that it’s a combination of that statement and undergeared/unexperienced players entering SOO prematurely.

Personally, I think the Timeless Isle has bit us in the ass.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love being able to take my alts to the Isle who either just hit 90 or who needed a few item level points to run SOO and getting that taken care of within a few hours. But there are so many people who are bringing in characters decked out from head to toe in 496 token epics that are either poorly itemized, not enchanted, not gemmed and, worst of all, have absolutely no idea how to play their class in a raid setting.

I know LFR is the place for these people, but allowing this sort of half-assery to jump straight in to the latest content only welcomes failure. If they had lowered the token item level and forced these people to at least do TOT once for a few upgrades, they would be better suited for the more mechanic-intensive nature of SOO.

I complain because I have yet to find a competant group on my Moonkin that can successfully complete both wings without wiping to the same bosses 4 and 5 times before the groups crumble, rather than address the issues and fix them. LFR players rarely want to address the issues because they’re just there to faceroll content and get loot. They basically want giant training dummies that are shaped like dragons, yet don’t fight back and have a chance to drop “teh purpz”, rather than facing any sort of challenge.

With Flex Raiding now an option, will the quality players, in fact, ditch LFR altogether to avoid dealing with the typically trollish and terrible LFR players? I know I would.

I don’t have time for legit raiding right now, so I depend on LFR and valor points to get the best gear possible. I take pride in myself and I love the game enough that I try to optimize what I can. Doing what I can with what I have, so to speak. I’m also still a firm believer that skill trumps gear, but still feel that gear helps. Although I have yet to jump in to Flex Raiding, it’s something I’m strongly considering.

I guess a good question to Blizzard would be “How can we avoid this?”. How can we prevent LFR from becoming a failed concept in SOO, so much to the point where Blizzard has to nerf the encounters so much that they’re not even close to their normal/Flex counterpart?

My first answer would be to drop the iLVL of the Isle tokens to something a little under 496. This would encourage people to run HOF, TOES and TOT, even if it’s just once, to obtain those last few item levels. The half-assery would go virtually unnoticed in these raids as the content is familiar and it’s already nerfed.

I complain.. but I’m also guilty, to a point. I’m a hypocrite, I suppose.

Over the weekend, I managed to ding level 90 on my Death Knight. I had been farming the Timeless Isle all week on my Moonkin and sent every necklace, ring, cloak, trinket and plate armor token to my DK for him to use as soon as he reached max level. Within 24 hours, he was item level 491 – 5 item levels away from running the latest raid content.

I leveled as Blood, so I had absolutely no idea how to play the Unholy spec I chose and I had no intent on gemming or enchanting his gear on the chance that he’d get upgrades in TOT, that I might end up not liking Unholy or that I’d hate the class as a whole and give up. But since I was still 5 item levels away from running SOO, I had to run TOT, and this helped out tremendously.

Running ToT gave me the crash course I needed to familiarize myself with the spec, concentrating on using Soul Reaper at 35% target health, use Festering Strike on blood and frost runes to turn them in the death runes, prioritize Death & Decay over Scourge Strike with my unholy runes and open with Outbreak instead of manually applying diseases. These are basic things that I would have learned in SOO, but I’d be holding others back in the process because of my overall lack of experience and DPS.

I’m still no Unholy DK expert, but to me, ToT was a good place for me to start as it’s full of nerfed raid encounters that enough people are already familiar with. I know it’s not a cure-all, but forcing players to at least experience earlier content before stepping in to SOO would at least boost their skills in some way. I’ve been playing WoW since the beginning, but the refresher course that TOT gave me has obviously made me a better player for when I decide to do SOO.

So what about you?

Do you think the future of LFR is “doomed”? Will the quality of player gradually get worse as more and more of the experienced players jump ship to Flex raid? What’s your take on the Timeless Isle gear scaling?

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6 thoughts on “Is LFR getting “dumber” because of Flex Raiding and the Timeless Isle?

  1. LFR is fine. It’s the players *all players* that are the problem. Not just the loud-mouthed whiny ones linking recount and initiating kicks. It’s also the players who let them get away with it. The ones who stay silent and go along with kicks even if they know the person doesn’t deserve to be kicked.
    The only solution is to step up the to plate and put these griefers – because that is exactly what they are – in their place.
    Just because they are loud, doesn’t mean they are right. I always announce I am putting them on ignore, Reporting Language (fortunately idiots always swear so it’s an excellent tool to get them out of the game for a day or two) and suggest everyone else do the same because it cleans up Instance chat.
    If they don’t have an audience and have the minimal brain power required to realize no one sees what they type in chat, they usually leave on their own.

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    1. I agree that the “concept” of LFR is fine, and that we, as players, need to step up to the plate and start putting our foot down when it comes to trolls and flame wars. However, I don’t really see that happening. I think LFR has been around long enough that it’s just become something people expect, and that’s pretty sad. People zone in, put their heads down, steamroll and hope they get out as fast as possible with as much loot as they can carry. If bad things happen, people erupt, point fingers, troll and leave group. It’s either trolls are the majority in LFR or there are so many people who would rather suffer through being miserable and yelled at for the “chance” to get loot.

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      1. You’re absolutely correct. I haven’t been in the LFR situation myself where the majority of the 25 players were trolls, but I’ve sure been in a few where the majority are silently suffering through it. Sometimes I don’t feel like it myself because let’s face it – LFR isn’t a therapy session and I’m not a psychologist.
        But you know how the old, often misquoted saying goes – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
        Sometimes it takes just one person to step up and turn the thing around.
        I won’t argue with them. I won’t even address them directly. It doesn’t always work, but I do not enjoy having my game time disrupted by idiots and I will step up.
        Then again, I’ve never been one to suffer in silence :D

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      2. My play time during the week is limited to maybe 2 hours per night, so if I’m going to wait in queue as DPS on a Tuesday after the reset, and people are going to act like self-righteous d-bags, I’ve found myself (more often than not) leaving. I don’t need gear that bad, and I sure as hell won’t let the misdirected hostility of other players ruin my evening in the game.

        I’m with you, though. Maybe we *should* outspokenly encourage other players to step up and make LFR a fun thing to do? The ignore button is a magical being and if we *want* to do LFR, why should we let the trolls rule the roost?

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  2. Don’t know about others, but I haven’t even stepped into the new LFR. Gear upgrades are only marginal, and now that I have my cloak, there’s no need to collect tokens any more.

    Now, extremely skilled players – like heroic raiders – never really needed LFR in the first place. But as of this point in the expansion, there are a myriad of somewhat-skilled players who were always just in the LFR to make a bit of progress beyond what their group could manage. These players might not have been the best, but they’re dedicated and they generally pay attention. They also now have no reason whatsoever to have to endure the horror of LFR.

    This could be projection, but my guess is that it’s the loss of this skeleton of reasonable players that’s causing the a-hole quotient to increase.

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    1. “This could be projection, but my guess is that it’s the loss of this skeleton of reasonable players that’s causing the a-hole quotient to increase.” – My thoughts exactly.

      The hardest of the hardcore would only, I assume, venture in to LFR for valor to upgrade their gear. With Flex Raid offering more of a “teamwork” atmosphere, better gear and the option to be selective in who you bring — thus being able to remove trolls from the group — I see absolutely no reason for anyone to suffer through LFR unless it’s their only possible resource for better gear. But in that case, what is the point of better gear in LFR if that is all you’re going to run? Self satisfaction? If your gear is already good enough for SOO (and with the Isle tokens being so high in ILVL, that should take all of one day as a fresh 90), is their a point to obtaining better gear if you have no intention in doing any sort of “real” raiding?

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