Hello boys and girls,
I've been seeing a lot of LFR posts lately on pretty much every gaming forum that has sections on World of Warcraft. A lot of hate on Raid Finder, also tons of criticism on the game's dropping difficulty level. As a part of the casual community LFR and Flex modes mainly adress, I would like to share some opnions on all this difficulty stuff as a casual gamer, for hardcore or professional gamers among you to read if they are interested.
I would like to describe how raiding as "DPS" role works for me and a few mates, I understand that I may get a lot of flaming, but here it goes.
- Normal raids usually have a lot of boss mechanics that require the player to be aware of the environment, or the buffs/debuffs and act accordingly.
Such as wipe mechanics, bosses that get a lot more powerful if you dont dispel them, roots or dots on players etc. If you are not experienced on this stuff, or your reaction time is slower to such visual effects, you will probably fail a lot during the first tries. You will only get the hang of it after some kills, when you are experienced.
A problem with that is, even when you are experienced, doing this with a random group that lacks coordination(pugs) might leave your reflexes as fresh as the first time you tried that boss. Most of us don't have the time, or the interest for guilds, some have trouble finding a right one(and that takes a lot of time), some don't even want to try because of the whole "we absolutely have to progress, even if we wipe for hours each week which is totally fun for some reason" thingy, that can be seen in some.
Pugs are usually the only option, we gather up as 4 mates, create a pug and hope for the best. It's kind of like RNG even with the armory and achievement checks, if the communication isn't well between the teammates, no sir we can't even get past Horridon.
Another problem is multitasking. Again, this might get flamed, but for a casual raider some dps rotations or priority systems are a bitch to master. To perform decent, you have to bind your more useful spells and abilites to your keyboard. It depends on the class and specialization, but with a high number of necessary dps keybinds invading "reachable" space on the keyboard, I have a very hard time reaching my defensives or the buttons I bind my raid utilites on; as I'm already having a "not fun at all" time tracking my dots, my power-ups, and trying to orchestrate my rotation/priority system according to them and to the ongoing fight the best I can. I completely understand that this is a walk in the park for an experienced raider, but that struggle for an optimal performance and survival is stressful, tiring for the most. While trying not to make big mistakes with your spesific role, damaging the boss in an optimal way and keeping track of stuff, cd's, dots and bla bla, avoiding raid mechanics or acting according to them with sharp reflexes is sometimes not easy at all. Depends on the fight, but it is highly possible that it might not feel "gamey", you have to train, research your class and the fight, train more to orchestrate what you've learned "effectively", this feels more like work actually. A lot of gamers chose this hobby to get away from the "usual serious stuff" we have to do everyday in the first place.
Again I understand this is not even close to the case of a "proper" raider, as I very well know that they have little difficulty doing all this; they enjoy the raiding rituals and improving their performance, but this is what the most casual players experience as far as I've gathered. People either have to give up a significant amount of their performance to survive in a fight, or vice versa and put more responsibility&stress on their "better" teammates or healers. At least in the case of pugs or in some casual/softcore guilds that are still trying to progress through normal Throne of Thunder.
Don't get me wrong by the way, I memorize rotations and try to improve myself via ice veins, reforge addons, priority addons etc when I have the time, I'm pretty sure I have asked a few things here too. But "raiding" usually requires more dedication than that, both research and exercise parts get bigger and bigger until they are no where near "fun" anymore, especially if you are underperforming in a normal raid. Then trying to improve your "performance" by trying out new numbers, button sequences, gearing choices in a video game to hit dragons with your sword for a higher number, for some fucking reason. Doing these rituals regularly ceases your interest in in them, as there is nothing interesting about "which button should i smash now" or "which gem should i use now" marathons.
So for such a gamer that plays World of Warcraft, normal difficulty is pretty "challenging", improving performance raid wise is "tiring", trying to perform decent in an unfriendly raid environment "stressful", grinding activites such as leveling raid professions "boring", than why this dude still raids?
Answer to that may vary from player to player. Me for instance, gaming is my favourite hobby, and I play World of Warcraft between the release dates of single player RPG's I wait to get my hands on. I will keep playing it until Dragon Age 3 comes out, i will finish and re-finish DA3, then return to WoW and keep playing until the new Mass Effect, Witcher 3 or Project Eternity comes out. World of Warcraft offers a great fantasy universe, allows you to experience and be part of a story via quests, combat, dungeons and raids, it is the single best alternative to "pass time", especially when played with rl friends. Yet, once you reach max level, it doesn't offer anything new or fun to do, if you are not into mount/achievement collecting or pvp, raiding is your only viable option, and you want it to be; as it offers story, action and the undeniable thrill of looting something new that will empower you more. It is fun, and I believe those are the main reasons many "non-raiders" want to do it every week, even with different characters as I do.
Raid Finder adresses this vast crowd, and Flex mode probably will too. If you have read this far, thank you for reading and I hope I explained "difficulty from a casual perpective" well, adressing the LFR and difficulty arguements you have ongoing.