I would firstly like to start by saying that I am currently planning on returning to WoW for raiding in patch 5.2 because an old guild of mine as contacted me telling me they wish to reform. I have played at the casual level whilst also playing at the higher levels (hardmode clears etc). I have just read the information contained in patch 5.2 notes and the Q&A's and I am really disappointed in what is being proposed. I thought I would put this post here, not as a QQ post but merely as a discussion. I will be posting this on the Blizzard forums as well, but I doubt a blue will actually reply to it. This post isn't a complaining thread but merely a detailed look at the effect that the patch 5.2 notes will have for a lot of people and why it is (in my opinion) a bad idea.
The main part I am referring to is "There will be no new 5 man dungeons being added in patch 5.2". In Cata the reason I loved new patches was because they were a reset of prior progression without severely ruining anything for the people who worked hard in the previous patch. For example, a friend's guild needed a tank in the patch (beginning) of firelands. By using a large amount of effort I was about to painfully grind out the dungeons to get myself in a set of gear that would enable me to tank the normal modes of the firelands patch without severely disadvantaging my guild.
This being said, I still saw other people in the guild who had continued to play in the BWD, BoT and TotFW patch and had heroic gear from there. Had I tarnished their efforts by being able to catch up for normals modes through these new dungeons? No, because they still had 20-30 ilvls over me and performed at a much higher level due to this.
LFR reliance and no 5 man dungeons:
With this new patch idea, someone who is just starting the game in 5.1 and wanting to start raiding in 5.2 (or returning like myself from a break etc) will be in ilvl 463 gear from the heroics. Even in just normal modes the ilvl from ToES is 496, so the difference between those people is already 33 points. When they make the new raid and the normal modes, Blizzard generally assume that you have done majority of the normal modes (in relation to your gear and corresponding item level) and that is what they will use to be "decently" geared for the new patches first few bosses.
This is where the current LFR system comes in to bridge the gap between ilvl463 and ilvl496 (or even higher if you are HM progression, but lets keep it to an average). Using the current LFR system I managed to get about 5 pieces of gear in about 5-6 weeks of LFR. This boosted me approximately 7 ilvls from the originaly ilvl 463 approximate (raided for a few weeks at start of patch before personal issues struck and had to take a break, so I need to discount those items). This would mean that if I kept the exact same amount of luck on loot, I would be around 475-480 when the next patch hits if I do LFR, Sha every week until then.
The problem with the above post is that I am assuming that everyone is having the same luck as me, with posts on the forums being against the luck I have had with people saying they are having much worse odds. The point from this is that even with the RNG being in someone's favour in LFR, if they started say now, a month or two before the patch, they would still be 10-20 ilvls behind approximately where the raid will most probably be set at. This will require people to have to do more LFR and try to continuously catch up, by then guild spots are full and once again they are relying on that RNG to catch them up, which may result in them always being behind people who raided from the start and were able to raid as soon as 5.2 starts.
With the beginning of a new patch we usually have guilds needing more people, people wanting a change and roles that may have been filled previously being open now.
5 man dungeons, like mentioned in my firelands story, were a way to make sure you could have a decent set of gear to attempt the new dungeon normal mode. (In that story I regeared as a tank, but I wasn't geared as a tank prior to the new patch hitting). The point I am making here is that dungeons are not just for people who want to re-enter the raiding scene but also may help people who need to change roles or simply want to. Because via random dungeons you can keep queuing you could bridge the gap of gear to within a reasonable level by putting in lots of effort in the first week.
LFR once again causes this problem because, firstly it is only one set of bosses per week and secondly it gives you spec specific loot. So if you wanted to change specs to say healing because that had more demand than a dps druid for example, then you would have to go back to heroics ilvl 463, and get a complete set and then go do LFR once a week and hopefully get enough gear to be a decent healer. Even with great RNG you will still be behind the ilvl that would be recommended, once again meaning you are behind and need to keep doing LFR to try and bridge a gap you may never fill when people who have raided this tier are so much further ahead.
LFR: To support "casual" players and allow them to experience content:
Blizzard, from what I understood, developed LFR to allow casual players to experience content, get some raiding experience and to allow them to get gear towards their ultimate goal of raiding. If this is incorrect I apologise, but I believe this is approximately what Blizzard wanted from LFR, which is great.This new "5.2 no 5 man dungeon" idea is actually counter-productive to Blizzard's support on "the casual player" or people who "needed a step from heroics to raiding".
In this example people are going to be left out of normal raiding experiences because of a lack of gear. Currently as a ilvl 475 hunter, most pugs will not take me for even an MSV, let alone a HoF or a ToES. Regardless of whether these people are "being unrealistic" or "overcompensating" this is how the community is and Blizzard need to look at the realistic approach from the community not the "pen and paper" approach.
What I mean by this is that even though guilds completed MSV with heroic gear being around 463 ilvl does not mean that people in the community will take a 463 player for a full clear of MSV. However to bridge the gap you (Blizzard) have provided by not including 5 man dungeons with higher ilvls, ultimately you have not allowed a "soft reset" of gear standards and give people a change to get a reasonable ilvl for the new content. Blizzard's approach currently would be to use the fact that the content is "doable" in ilvl 463 gear, that it is fine and therefore justified but this is certainly not the case.
This lack of content being added simply punishes people for bad RNG in LFR, for not being a raider as soon as the expansion hit or wanting to change spec for a change or simply because their guild may need them to.
The patch 5.2 decision to make no new 5 man dungeons and make people rely on LFR from patch 5-5.1 seems highly poor design and seems to punish people who haven't been raiding for whatever reason up until this point. Players should not be restricted this heavily from the chance to raid and whilst the raids may be doable with lower ilvls than is expected by the community, this will not change what majority of people expect or demand from their players and will cause people to be left behind, which ruins the experience for a player.
I personally, will still probably continue to raid as I will have the support of my reforming guild to be tolerating of my "sub par" performance due to gearing issues if I don't get some luck in LFR until the next patch. However, I still do not think this is fair for my guild to have to put up with, it ruins my experience as a player and I think it ruins the experiences for the average players out there.
I thank you for reading this if you have and I would love to hear you feedback on this particular area, I just ask it be kept constructive and on topic. I realise that some people may not care about this change, but I am talking for majority of players and the people who don't care are usually high end raiders who would not be effected if this was changed to the original idea of new 5 man dungeons.
** PLEASE NOTE ** I have not talked about valor or BoE upgrades because I feel that this is highly irrelevant as it assumes that the LFR pieces you are getting are not replacing the valor upgrades (limits ilvl). Also it means that people who are not up-to-date with reputation are still going to have the same problem that LFR poses. BoEs are not included as they would make minor differences and assume that people have large volumes of money which is not always the case.
TL;DR: No 5 man dungeons are a bad idea for the next patch as they allowed players who were not raiding or took breaks in previous patches to catch up as well as for current raiders to change specs and be at an appropriate level for the new content.