Last edited by Ronduwil; 2013-07-01 at 09:53 PM.
1 -- How LFR helps actual raiding:
1a --It provides a bridge between solo / small group content (1,3,5 players) and large group content (10,25). When I first decided I wanted to start raiding, I felt extremely overwhelmed at the prospect. My gear was subpar, and I didn't even know what the best resources for learning how to play were. Any time I tried to join a pug doing a 10-player raid (in BC), the results were awful and it lowered my morale. Other players in these pugs didn't seem approachable, because the smallest of mistakes was met with insults. I'm not saying LFR is devoid of this blame game, but the stakes and expectations in LFR are much, much lower.
There surely must have been other people in my boat who instead of persisting just felt the barrier to entry was too high, and I can't blame them for reaching that conclusion. I had to persist from near the end of BC to near the mid of Wrath before my efforts reaped success (getting a spot in a stable raiding guild). Had LFR been around in BC/Wrath, it would have provided a lower barrier to entry. I'm not now satisfied with getting just LFR kills, and I was even hungrier for a sense of accomplishment back then, so I certainly wouldn't have been satisfied with it back then. I would have been able to see the rudimentary basics of raiding and large group dynamics and have a wider array of people to ask about how to play better.
1b -- Cost/benefit from Blizz's standpoint: Blizz has mentioned again and again how raiding, particularly hardcore raiding, represents the activity of a fraction of a fraction of the playerbase. Financially it honestly doesn't make sense for them to support it -- at least before the advent of LFR. More people seeing raid content means more justification for more raid content. It's no surprise that raids in Cata were tiny, then after LFR is introduced each tier in MoP has had about as many bosses as the final two tiers in Cata combined. It's worth the cost now, because enough people are seeing it for them to justify pouring that many resources into it. Honestly, hardcore players should be thanking Blizz for the existence of LFR, otherwise we'd be having 6-boss raid tiers again. Unless, you know, Firelands was your ideal type of raid.
2 -- Flex raids for all raid settings: Never gonna happen, at least not for heroic. Normal is a real possibility, I'd think, however. Let's say they do make Flex Heroic modes: people will find out the exact raid size / comp at which things scale best to your advantage. "Oh, heroic Sha of Pride has a breakpoint where it's easier with 24 ppl than with 23 or 25. Let's drop one dps then get them back after." "Heroic Garrosh is faceroll with 23 ppl, you can just drop two healers", etc, etc, etc. Blizz will absolutely not go through the trouble of specifically addressing each and every possible raid size during testing. It'd just be too much to test.
It doesn't though. Many people who do LFR never had any interest in raiding before. A majority of them were happy with doing 5 mans. Blizzard has forced those people into LFR with a lack of 5 man support, but they have no intention of ever trying traditional raiding. Sure some may do LFR and want to try raiding, but those same people would have likely done the same regardless, just in a different way.It provides a bridge between solo / small group content (1,3,5 players) and large group content (10,25).
I'm sorry, but you clearly didn't try hard enough. There were plenty of casual guilds running Kara. Sure, they may have never done anything more, or even cleared Kara, but they were still there raiding. Naxx in Wrath was a complete joke. I was on a terrible server and there were constant 10 man Naxx pugs. Dozens of casual guilds getting kills in Naxx. ToC is another example of raid content being very accesable to pugs and casual guilds, and it seems that is where you broke into the raiding scene. But honestly, I was raiding a few weeks after I hit 80 in a casual guild going 3 nights a week.I had to persist from near the end of BC to near the mid of Wrath before my efforts reaped success (getting a spot in a stable raiding guild).
Yet it seems before Firelands this was never a problem, and while subs were going down, revenue was still stable at the time. Granted Cata took away the casualness of raiding that Wrath introduced, but that was a mistake of Blizzard making 10 mans harder, and destorying the way a casual raider could see content. Making instant catch up mechanics also made pervious tiers irrelevant as soon as the new one was out. BC was by no means perfect, with attunments being a major problem (easily solved with having guild attunments), balance issues, but it kept content relevant the majority of its life. All of that is fixed now (for the most part), but Blizzards insistace that everyone has to be in the current tier as soon as it is out was a mistake. MoP would have been perfect with no catch up mechanics (better use of JP would have been good though), with a slight nerf to the previous teir when the new one came out.Financially it honestly doesn't make sense for them to support it -- at least before the advent of LFR.
I agree with your statements that's balancing will be a nightmare, but I don't have faith in Blizzard anymore. Eventually the majority of players will become dissatisfied with Flex difficulty, but they won't want to stick to the structure that traditional raiding has, and will complain, and Blizzard will change it. The same will happen with heroic modes, though this is more likely from the normal raiders who just aren't quite good enough for heroic modes.Flex raids for all raid settings: Never gonna happen, at least not for heroic.
Once you start giving into demands, your setting yourself up for people to think you will cave in again. Not talking about Flex Raid specifically here, but just the overall attitude Blizzard has. They try to cater the game to the players, at times hardcore, most times the casuals. Thing is, players don't know what the hell they want. They think they know, but when they get it, it's not enough. That's true for casual and hardcore alike. The game started going downhill as soon as Blizzard stopped making the game they wanted, and made the game players wanted, as convoluted as that sounds.
Last edited by Amerrol; 2013-07-01 at 11:01 PM.
WoW has just become too carebear. I remember raiding for 5-6 days and 40 hours a week in Everquest and competing with other guilds on my server for kills because we didnt have instances. I have cleared every tier of content when it was current in WoW without ever having to raid more than 2 nights a week. Also everything is instanced which ruins MMOs.
And holding up EQ as something that would be more popular than WoW is loltastic. That war was fought and won (by WoW) years ago.
Last edited by Osmeric; 2013-07-01 at 11:06 PM.
Raid Guilds are dying out for two reasons and there's really no denying it: 1.) Transmog. Say what you want, but a lot of the appeal of raiding was getting the awesome gear that people would recognize in town. If you looked good, you probably were good. 2.) LFR. People don't need to raid to experience content anymore.
OP, it's not as if the NES generation is dying out - it's just that we're getting older now (most of us are in our 30s), and our lives are moving beyond the time constraints that a hardcore raiding guild requires. At some point or another, I just realized that I can't spend 30+ hours a week playing a video game and have the life I wanted.
Most heroic guilds raid like 9-12 hours a week.
Unless you already have full gear from reg, which if you are then we are no longer talking about reg since you are likely doing heroic, you are running a heroic scenario every day for a 516 piece (maybe 20 minutes a day, 2.5 - 3 hours a week) and you are running lfr every week for tier, or to replace your last piece of gear from T14 (probably another 2-3 hours a week depending on how lucky you are with a group). For all of T14 you were rep grinding dailies every day for vp gear and patterns if you were going to craft gear to help your guildies gear. That probably took a few hours a day, and about 10 hours a week until you were exalted with everyone. If you are making flasks or pots you spend hours a week farming mats to make said flasks and pots. If you are bringing feasts you spend just as much time farming mats for food. If you are making your guild gear you are farming mats to do profession dailies for patterns, or farming mats to make the patterns you have. You also need to vp cap every week, so you can buy or upgrade gear. This takes time, although it often shares it with those scenarios, lfr, and actual downed raid bosses. Most of this stuff requires some waiting, some queue time, some kind of extra time allotment. Maybe it doesn't take everyone 30 hours, maybe you have 5 geared toons and have worked it out so you can do all this in a matter of 3 or 4 hours, or maybe you just don't bother with anything extra, you raid vp cap and log off. But for everyone else, there is a significant amount of time allotted to raiding, both in the raid and outside of it. Maybe people don't do it because they aren't dedicated, or maybe they have all the drive in the world, and simply have to work 40 hours a week, eat sleep, spend some minimal amount of time with their family, and can't find the 20-30 hours needed to do everything to get ready for raids.
A guild that raids 8 hours per week on a 50th ranking US server has killed Ra-den. All the people who say it takes massive time commitment to complete MoP normal modes are exaggerating.
First off, I said it could be done with less than 10 hours, that is just an average raid schedule.
The rest of my post was an explanation of how, while raiding itself is doable, if you want to be more than just a body on your raid group (i.e. make sure you are as geared as you can be every week, bring flasks, pots, feasts, or gear depending on your professions, you know, all the other stuff that raid groups look for as a sign of commitment from their raiders) you need to put in time outside the raid. 8 hours of raiding is probably at least double that in time spent preparing every week. Maybe you aren't one of the people in that top .1% who can clear heroics with an 8 hour raid schedule, well then all that stuff takes even more time.
Gear looks were long ago replaced by achievements. People ask about cool titles or cool mounts. Not to mention that I am more often complemented nowadays for my performance in pug groups which then makes people look at my gear than I was before for having "cool looking raiding gear". People actually care for things that matter. Looks of gear shouldn't have anything to do with your performance. It's by far cooler to be complemented for how you play than how you look.1.) Transmog. Say what you want, but a lot of the appeal of raiding was getting the awesome gear that people would recognize in town. If you looked good, you probably were good.
Boss models is not the content. The content is not only what you see but what you experience. LFR lets people learn the story but nothing more. Experiencing heroic or normal content is far better than seeing bosses in LFR for anyone who cares for that experience. And people who don't care for it wouldn't raid anyway even if LFR was gone.2.) LFR. People don't need to raid to experience content anymore.
Heroic raiding is becoming harder and more demanding with each expantion. It's good for the need of challenge of top players. But it makes bigger barrier for anyone new who wants to join. Since hardcore raiders will eventually quit due to real life or simply growing up and having less time to play, raiding guilds need new recruits which are lacking since the start of Cata. And how WoW looked at the start of Cata?
- no LFR
- huge difficulty of 5 mans for pugs
- raid pugs none existant till the next content was released and people started pugging previous content with some gear boost from new valor gear
- removal of easy raiding content (shared lockouts and bringing 10man raid closer with difficulty to 25man)
It's the huge difficulty jumps for anyone new to the game what started decay in the "new blood". This is what lies at the bottom of current problems. NOTHING else has as much impact on lack of new recruits than this. Everything else is a domino effect.
You don't know what my experience was. You don't know what it was like on my server. I would spend literally hours every day trying to form groups to run heroic five-players so I could get dungeon gear and badges for raid-quality gear. I considered it a good day if I got a group to run one heroic. I considered it a great day if that same group ran a second one. Great days were rare, and good days were about as common as bad days -- where I'd spend literally 2-4 hours looking for folks only to have to call the search off due to not getting a tank or a healer.I'm sorry, but you clearly didn't try hard enough. There were plenty of casual guilds running Kara. Sure, they may have never done anything more, or even cleared Kara, but they were still there raiding.
The casual guilds I approached at the time had their roster spots on lock for the most part. I got in as a fill-in on the last few bosses of Kara (they didn't get Malch down) with a casual guild who didn't need a fill-in for the rest of the xpac. I got into a ZA as a fill-in with another guild, and got blamed for a wipe that I did not cause -- I explained I did as I was told (at the time I didn't know the fight and all I knew is I did do what I was told to do -- later after I looked back, yeah, I actually did what I was supposed to), but being the newb/noob it didn't matter and I got blamed for it anyway. I think we got 3 bosses down.
I think it was around the time of Cata, particularly as FL and DS were in development, that they began to question WoW's status as hinging its reputation on end-game raiding, when most of its revenue came from players who did not raid. It's no coincidence that with the advent of LFR, there has been a shift from the previous design of having new dungeons with most every major content patch -- they're using LFR as the stepping stone that higher-ilvl-than-launch dungeons were, and thus the resources put into large raids (ToT/SoO) are more justified.Yet it seems before Firelands this was never a problem, and while subs were going down, revenue was still stable at the time.
What I think they need to do is put some serious thought into what the progression paths should be, for non-normal/heroic raiders and for normal/heroic raiders ... as in, for one example of non-normal/heroic raider path: normal dungeons -> normal scenarios -> heroic dungeons -> LFR -> heroic scenarios (this path based on current MoP ilvls of gear -- personally I don't think the inherent difficulty/challenges properly correlate with the rewards there). I'd like to see them revisit their concepts for normal dungeons and normal scenarios ... I'd like to see normal dungeons as a form of end-game (or not-quite endgame) content, for non-raiders.
Like, you'd do normal scenarios while leveling, but maybe only unlocking them after doing certain quest chains in a zone ... then after getting the zone quest achieve you unlock the dungeon hub (1-3 dungeons on a theme, like slave pens / underbog / steamvaults, or halls of stone/lightning) for that zone ... then have some new max-level normal dungeons and scenarios which are tuned about where current heroic dungeons are ... and then heroic versions of all those, tuned about where launch Cata heroics were, but they wouldn't seem as bad because you wouldn't be jumping straight into them at max level -- with scenarios being tuned a couple/few notches difficulty below the dungeons. Basically, make heroic scenarios the Wrath / Hour of Twilight / MoP heroic dungeons, and heroic dungeons the launch Cata / Cata ZA+ZG / BC heroic difficulty.
Maddest of them all.
I used to work 5pm till 10pm and all raid guilds, or the ones that advertised always seemed to start their raids at 10pm. It was pointless for me to join them, as I wasn't going to run home, skip dinner and fumble about logging in just to keep a raid spot. That didn't mean I wasn't able to play 6-8 hours a day, since I had plenty of time before work and I'd normally not go to bed till about 2 or 3am anyways.
I'm not saying that my kind of schedule was "normal", but with LFR if I'm in the mood to "raid" and I've got an hour or two spare pretty much any time of day (besides maybe 2am) you'll find other people joining LFR too.
I think that's possibly why WoW's raid guilds are dying out. 1-90 is pretty much a solo affair. You don't need to group up, run dungeons, play battlegrounds, you can just play by yourself at your pace all the way from 1-90. Hell, even if you just picked herbs and mined rocks you'd hit level 90. It'd take forever but it'd be at your own pace.
As others have said, the way your character increases in power and the steady drip feed of content is easily paced too while leveling. Accept a quest, complete it, get gear or money. Then when you hit 90 this method slowly trickles out untill you've completed all the quests, crafted all your gear and the only way to get more character progression is by total RNG.
On my DK I think for the past 2 or 3 weeks I've gotten one piece of gear from ToT LFR, which to me is good. I've been playing WoW on and off since Vanilla and I've come to know and expect gear droughts. With the way the game is set up, you've been constantly rewarded for the past 90 levels and now you start to do dungeons and raids and you can potentially walk out of them with nothing. Well, you get gold but that might as well be nothing, since to me something like gold just gets turned into gems which is such a small stat increase.
So now you've got a group of people who have played WoW from level 1 to level cap and have been taught "If I do something I'm going to get rewarded" and don't. Why join a raid guild when you might never get anything from them, other than possibly /g chat banter. You've got another group of people that can put a lot of hours into the game, but not at set times when someone else tells them to. Why join a raid guild when you can't attend the raid times? You've got another group of people, who might not even know the raids exist! This is a little less unlikely as you've got the Wrathion quest that helps to shunt you towards raids, but it's still fairly vague. It never tells you WHERE those raids are. Why join a raid guild, when you don't even know what raiding is?
I think raid guilds dying is a good thing. If your biggest chunk of players dosn't have any interest, or just dosn't care, or can't re-arrange their irl life for their digital life then maybe raids need to be killed off. That, or scaled back. I'd prefer to see 1-3 boss raids that get released on a much faster schedule much how the LFR teirs are introduced. I'd definately like to see more 5 mans, more BRS style dungeons and gear sets coming back to 5 man dungeons too.
Overall, it's Blizzards game. If they want raiding to be the biggest thing this game has to offer then they'd best be happy with a much smaller subsciption base.