Kinder Gentler LFR
Last night we opted to enter the “Looking For Raid” version of Highmaul as a guild, similar to how we did Molten Core, since that made the entire experience so much less chaotic. We brought with us both tanks and a couple of healers, and since we have done the fights on normal now figured we would be able to push through any issues we came along. Oddly enough the LFR tool did not make one of us the leader of the group even through we accounted for 15 of the 25 slots. Instead it chose this shaman healer who’s name was some combination of “Faceroll” and “Ballerina” that I am sure he thought was exceedingly clever when he created the character. I say “he” because the actions and commentary felt like a “dudebro” playing the character.
Moments after we started clearing he started barking orders generally starting off with “alright you fuckfaces”. Moments later however he was gone from the raid. The beautiful thing about doing LFR as a guild is that you can pretty much rapid-fire vote kick someone and have more than enough votes for it to succeed. After that was over, the rest of the run went exceptionally smoothly. I kinda dig being able to act as a force of good in looking for group, getting rid of the toxic players when we see them. What I find amazing is just how willing people were to work within the parameters we set for them. We treated LFR like it was an actual raid, with marking locations to stand in and this made the entire experience go solidly and by the numbers.
L is for Loot Piñata
Maybe it is because we have done the normal version of this place, but god Looking for Raid seemed simple. As in it felt like you could straight up ignore every tactic and just keep mashing buttons until the bosses fell down. All told the actual combat time of the raid took maybe 20 minutes for three bosses. I saw plenty of people looting goodies, so hopefully lots of folks got nice stuff. The only problem I see is that there is little to no reason to do heroics right now. Sure you get 50 Garrison resources for your first heroic of the day, and a bag of gold, but it feels like they really have taken away all of the reason to actually group up for heroics once you are over ilevel 630. Previously all serious players had to do a handful of heroics a week to make sure they were capping out Valor points, but with that gone there is little to no reason to draw well geared players into the fray.
Quite honestly you can hit the LFR requirement of 615 relatively easily through doing the quests in Nagrand with a Dwarven Bunker giving you increased chance of getting blue and purple upgrades. As such I cannot see any reason at all for folks to actually do the heroic grind once the rest of Highmaul has been released. Unless the next part significantly ramps up the difficulty, this is going to be essentially Timeless Isle 2.0 in the form of a raid. Granted I don’t much care about people getting easy gear, in fact I am looking forward to it as I try and gear my army of alts. I loved the Timeless Isle for the ease of catching characters up. That said the heroic experience in this expansion is really good, and while difficult is fun to do with your friends. Maybe they are expecting heroics to be a guild only thing? I have a feeling we are going to see a pass that maybe starts adding in some reasons for doing things, because it feels like they completely ignored the reward part of “risk vs reward”.
The problem that I can see is soon the queues for heroics will be insanely long, because Blizzard seems to be fundamentally bad at social engineering. I say this because I am playing another game that is exceptionally good at social engineering and making players WANT to run older content. Final Fantasy XIV has this long quest chain that involves giving players non-raiding ways to upgrade their main weapon. It starts with the Relic weapon, and each upgrade bumps up its ilevel and its stats. The most famous bout of social engineering comes into play when you reach the Atma farming step, which involves you going back to every zone in the game and running FATEs until an “Atma of the” item drops. The reason why this is most definitely social engineering is that they purposefully kept the ATMAs from dropping in the zones that were already natural FATE running hotbeds of activity. Thing is it works… there are now players in most every zone running FATEs as they work on the Atma weapon step for their characters.
Similarly they created the Nexus step that involves farming “light” from various activities like doing Hard Modes, Experts, and related large group activity. Additionally they created the concept of “bonus light” which targets certain encounters that have especially long queue times. When one of these bonuses is in place all these players come from out of the woodwork and start running it, I happened into Hard Mode Garuda during one of these periods and it was insane to see just how fast that encounter evaporated. Now with the latest step it involves running various hard mode dungeons until you get a specific item to drop, thus getting tanks and healers…. and everyone else to start queuing for these encounters. I realize that I am being engineered, but I don’t care because it works. It keeps the game thriving and vibrant and keeps the overall queue times low enough to allow me to do whatever content I need to do at the time. I never feel like I am being exploited, because they managed to have just enough of a reward to make the risk worthwhile.