What does that title mean? Let me explain. I’ve said this all before, but seeing GuildOx rankings really slammed the point home for me.
First – understand that I don’t consider LFR to be actual raiding. Its more like sightseeing. Yes, I know that LFR is tougher now than it was back in Cata. However, the increasing Determination buff means that you can continue to screw up and you’ll eventually succeed despite yourself. Its a nice way for everyone to see the raid encounters without being accountable for their performance. Its a good thing. I am not anti-LFR. I don’t run it myself, but I don’t hate it. Its an aspect of the game that is available if you want it.
I recently went on GuildOx to see how my guild stacked up against other guilds on my realm. I was surprised to see that, on Sen’jin which is by no means a dead realm, only 20 or so guilds have completed Tier 14 raids on normal mode. In fact, my guild *just* killed Amber-Shaper Unsok this week on 10 normal, and we are only the 25th guild on the server to do so.
I’m not even looking at heroic modes. Just normal. If you have cleared T14 on normal and done the first boss in T15, then you’re a top twenty guild on my server.
What does this tell me? It tells me that guilds (at least on my realm) aren’t really doing progression raids anymore. Since raiding is such a large part of the game, I can’t imagine that people aren’t raiding. The obvious conclusion is that people are getting their raiding fix through LFR, and not so much in guild raids.
I have a problem with this.
In my personal vision of WoW, guilds and interpersonal interaction are the heart and soul of the game. The need for cooperation to overcome obstacles is what the original raid encounters were built on. Communication, people doing their job, everyone having a role… these were the skills that set the foundation for the more fun and challenging raid bosses. LFR doesn’t have much or any of that.
I really, really don’t like this model. Yes, LFR gets people into raiding, and that is a good thing. But its being used as an expected part of the gearing path. People run Thone of Thunder (LFR) in order to gear up for Throne of Thunder (normal). What is this nonsense? Run a raid to gear for the same raid? How is this different than the ToC days in Wrath, when you ran 10 man to gear up for 25 man?
There isn’t even any sense of anticipation or buildup. A new patch comes out with a new raid. A week later it opens up on LFR. Then… Boom! In a couple of hours of pugging you have cleared the newly available raid content. It trivializes the time and effort of raid design.
For me (and this is just my approach) I am looking forward to seeing Throne of Thunder. I’m looking forward to figuring out the encounters one by one and progressing through it. I’m looking forward to hearing the vocalizations of the bosses and getting to know their story and their personality. I’ll see it when I get to it, after my guild clears tier 14. All of that anticipation is lost in LFR raiding.
WoW is a great MMO. WoW is a mediocre single-player game, and LFR has allowed it to drift into that mode. LFR as a way into raiding is fine. LFR as a true alternative to guild raiding is not in the best interests of the game, in my opinion.
(What? You don’t care about the story and anticipation of raids? You only care about gear? This isn’t the blog post you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.)