My selfish hopes for Flex Raiding, Raid FinderPosted: June 16, 2013
Squido told me about Flex Raiding before I had read about it myself. He seemed excited about it.
I wasn’t so sure. My first thought was this:
Oh great. Now I’ll have three raids to run every week on just one character… to spread my bonus rolls around to, to make decisions on, etc. Awesome. (Sarcasm implied) (Yes, Mushan is a hunter and he thinks to himself in green-colored font: stayin’ class-y).
Additionally, the whole “flex raiding is great when you don’t have enough people to fill a 25″ thing doesn’t do much for me. Usually, the problem our guild has is that, too often, not enough people show up to even fill a 10-person team. Last night, for instance, we 9-manned the first four bosses in ToT because the replacement healer that was apparently confirmed ahead of time didn’t log in at all, and there were no other options to even pick up a body. So from that nit-picky standpoint, this solves no problems for me.
The other side of the issue, the ‘three raids per week’ concept, was another irritant for me. More busywork*. More shit to do if I want to take all of the opportunities within my grasp / within my community to be as geared and ready as possible when it comes time to raid with my team.
*I’m considering anything that isn’t either new lore, fun adventuring, or progression raiding to be busywork today – such is my current mood.
Thus were my initial thoughts.
Since then, I’ve read more about flex raids; additionally, more information, some of it speculative or tentative, has come out. And I listened to last weekend’s CTR interview with Preach – a fascinating interview, by the way – in which they discussed flex, LFR, and where they think Blizzard needs to take these concepts in the future.
And here’s an interesting quote from Ghostcrawler:
5.4 ilevels aren't finalized but we're thinking something like 528 LFR, 536 Flex, 553 Normal, 566 Heroic.—
Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) June 12, 2013
One item that hasn’t been mentioned, at least to my knowledge, is whether ilvl upgrades will be going away again in 5.4. I have sort of been assuming that they will be, and will play my VP-managing game according to that premise. However, if by some chance the upgrade NPCs remain plying their trade in 5.4, the game changes a little bit.
In that case – depending, of course, on itemization and socketing for the new gear – flex gear, able to be upgraded under current rules, would be highly sought after. 544 is no joke to a normal-mode raider, after all, at this point in the game.
At any rate, it looks like Blizzard is not working terribly hard to bring LFR any closer to its original premise of “it’s for non-raiders to see the raid content” and any further from what it is now: raiders use it to fill holes in their gear sets or to initially gear up, or to get legendary quest items, and LFR is still too hard for non-raiders and too easy and irritating for raiders.
I could start a rant here. I’m trying not to; I’m trying to stay on track.
There needs to be a bigger separation.
I like the idea of flex raiding, I guess. It forces people to put teams together to run a raid built explicitly for that raid team’s size. Its gear is almost 20 ilvls lower than normal mode. Got it.
But I’d like to see LFR become largely irrelevant for normal mode raiders. And to accomplish in-game goals such as mine, that’s not the way it is right now.
Case in point: I finally finished collecting Secrets of the Empire a few weeks ago. I’m now collecting Titan Runestones. Where can I get those? Well, they have the chance to drop off the bosses in parts 3 and 4 of ToT. Bosses that, for various reasons, my team is not killing yet. Thus, my personal progression – my personal goal, of questing through the Legendary quest line for better gear – has left me no options other than to a) run ToT LFR for those quest items, week after week, or b) choose not to do so, stalling my progress and possibly choosing to thereby not finish the questline at all, since the likelihood that I will be killing those bosses with much regularity is marginal at best in normal mode.
It’s a harsh choice. After all, I’ve never had a legendary. And I’d love to finish legendary progress at least one time before my time in this game is over. So this is an in-game goal, combined with a result that will probably help me contribute better to my team. And how do I accomplish this? The same way I’ve accomplished major portions of it up to this point: I slug out a few LFRs every week. Content I grossly over-gear at this point. Content that is frustrating because it’s for ‘everyone,’ and therefore much time is wasted in the process of succeeding in picking off those bosses for possible pieces of the puzzle.
With 5.4 and flex raiding, the importance of LFR may diminish for me with the hunter. Judging by how long it will take for it to come to live servers, I will likely be entirely covered in gear that is higher level than the gear from SoO LFR, thanks to Thunderforged normal gear and VP ilvl upgrades. In fact, I will be very close to the flex level. So at least I may be able to skip SoO LFR, unless… Tier gear. Oh yeah, and weapons with crazy, OP weapon procs. Yeah. Yeah…
(deep breath, go get a drink, Mushan.)
I really, REALLY liked what Preach (and the CTR guys) had to say about how the concept of LFR gets it wrong. I’m going to mix my feelings with their points, because they are melded together in my head now and because I don’t feel like writing up a transcript of the podcast in order to quote them correctly. Definitely listen to the show if you haven’t already – here’s the link again.
If the point of it is for everyone in the game to be able to see the content, why is it able to be completed by the fifth week after the new raid opens? Why is it built to be such a challenge that groups will fail if they don’t have raiders in the group? What happened to the idea that you finally kill the final boss after a long, hard struggle, which gives it an epic feeling of total awesome?
From my experience – and I talked about this before Throne of Thunder had even dropped, in my post Discovery, together: the number 1 reason “the new Ulduar” will differ from the old Ulduar – the answer to the last question is that, unless you’re at the front of the pack, it’s likely gone.
Preach talked about how the Lei Shen heroic fight is one of the greatest boss encounters Blizzard has ever made. I’ve only seen it once it on normal, but I’ve seen it several times in LFR.
The soul of raiding is absent, by and large, from LFR. It’s you and 24 other tools (and I use that word to mean ‘things you use to get a job done,’ not derogatorily) smashing and bumbling your way to VP/gear/quest items.
And for those of us who find ourselves there week after week, doing boringly-insane DPS and dealing with tanks who queue for the first time ever for Pinnacle of Storms with an ilvl of 484 in full PvP gear with 426k health unbuffed, gemmed for PvP power/resilience (when there are gems), missing most enchants and all glyphs, who say “first time here…” (for example), it can be numbing if you let it get to you / if you do it often enough.
It’s badly designed. There needs to be virtually no incentive for raiders to do LFR – baked right into the game. It needs to be a true faceroll, with no trollable mechanics (like the healer today who yelled repeatedly at people to stack on the Gastropods and then lol’d at all the people who died. Asshole.). It needs to not have any gear we normal-mode raiders could possibly want. And I really like the suggestion from the podcast, that the introduction of LFR be delayed much longer than it is now, possibly even until the following patch (like 5.3 or 5.5).
This suggestion, the delay of 8-12 weeks or so, seems to me to be the best solution. It takes LFR off the table for Day One raiders. It takes care of the “I have to do this three times every week” mentality. It gives LFR-only raiders something to look forward to, while still giving them a chance to gear up. And it narrows the focus of raiders a bit, particularly with flex raiding coming.
I know that this probably reads as something of a haphazard, tangent-filled rant, as well as the fact that it is certainly not a well-thought-out, step-by-step solution/proposal. Apologies for that.
One more thought, before I wrap this up and try to move on to some other topic for some other post…
There may be other guilds like mine, where the only days you see many people online are on raid nights. In my guild, that’s Saturday and Sunday.
We tried to do LFR nights for a while during the week, but after a few weeks (each tier),
attendance participation petered out. What I’m curious about is whether flex raiding is something my guild (and others like it) will be able to do as a team, without sacrificing raid time. My guess is that it will not be.
As such, I’m likely going to try to latch onto and pug with a guild that does regular flex raid runs earlier in the week. Because I’ll probably need gear from SoOflex, and it will give me something productive to do during the week. If this is possible, I may be able to avoid LFR in its entirety in 5.4 with Mushan, which would be a very, very good thing.
We’ll see what happens… :)
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!