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Raid Finder: Too easy?


There's been a bit of discussion taking place over on the official forums about the ease of the raid finder's first three bosses, released on October 9th in the US. It's no great surprise, really, that this ever-controversial feature is stirring up ire in the forums, with complaints that it's too easy. Blizzard Blue Taepsilum has weighed in, with some interesting ideas on the Raid Finder's difficulty settings.

First and foremost, the main issue Blizzard seems to have at the front of their minds is that the Raid Finder, unlike normal and heroic difficulties, is specifically designed for random groups. These are not your well-oiled machine guild groups, your Methods and Vodkas, these are a bunch of players who've probably never met each other before, and probably never will again. Sure you can join the Raid Finder as a group if you want to, but that's not really what it's designed for.

It should be noted that I've cut up Taepsilum's full post here, so we don't get critted by a wall of text! If you want to read the full post in context, head to the forums.

... if we raise the difficulty too much, due to the nature of the random grouping system, most raids will end up with excessive wipes, players frequently leaving, constant queuing to find replacements, and just an overall bad and tedious experience. Sure, every once in a blue moon, the right group of players would be put together and would have a great raid, but if that happens only 1 out of 10 times that's not something we aim for with LFR, it wasn't designed to appeal to those players, for that you have normal and heroic mode.

The raid encounters need to take into account not only the skill level of the average raid but also the fact that these raids are usually made up of players that don't know each other and the inevitable lack of communication and coordination that it implies.

Certain Boss abilities on normal mode are built around the assumption that there's enough coordination in those raid groups to overcome certain obstacles. This same assumption can't be applied to LFR, that's why sometimes we have to simply remove certain Boss abilities instead of just tuning them down, some abilities can only be either on or off, without anything that you can actually scale up or down.

I realize that these first LFR encounters might feel a bit too easy to some of you, but I think that the explanation for that also lies within that very same sentence; they're the "first bosses" of the "first part" of LFR. .

Let's imagine for a second that the Raid Finder's difficulty was just a shade easier than normal. Think back to the heady days of Dragon Soul in the Raid Finder. Did your Raid Finder groups never, ever wipe? Were you not in a single group that wiped in the Raid Finder, not even once? I certainly was, heck, I even caused a wipe. Well, sort of. Now, if it had been almost as hard as even a normal 10-man raid, imagine how much wiping there would have been. How often your healers would have given up en masse, and you'd have had to start the group again.

Did you enjoy wiping in Raid Finder? Those who were in there because it was the only way they had available to them to experience content, they probably didn't. I don't think those who were in there as it's a rung on the gearing ladder particularly enjoyed wiping in the Raid Finder either. I mean, one or two wipes, that's acceptable, that's run of the mill, but wiping time and time again? No thanks.

And Taepsilum raises another point, being that, if you want something harder, there's another two tiers of raiding available to you, four if you consider 10-man and 25-man to be separate. Basing your opinion of Blizzard's end-game raiding content in Mists on Raid Finder is like basing your opinion of the 5-man content on the leveling dungeons. These are also the first bosses of the first tier of the first raid in Mists. Let's not count our chickens before they're hatched. Compare Morchok to Madness, or Shannox to Ragnaros.

Don't hate the game, hate the players?

Furthermore, it seems likely to me that the characters currently using the Raid Finder are the well-geared, knowledgeable, raid-minded types. I don't know about you, but the only characters I have with an item level high enough for Raid Finder right now are my restoration shaman and my protection paladin. Both of these are classes I know like the back of my hand. In a few weeks', or even a few months' time, I'll be in there on my hunter. I don't know a darn thing about hunter PvE. I'll be dreadful. And maybe you'll be in there on your 6th alt, too. Or your 8th alt. Or your 22nd. Whichever point your skill level starts to drop off! And then, maybe, the difficulty will make more sense.

Now, don't let it be said that I think the difficulty should be so low that mechanics can be completely ignored. That's not my stance here, and I don't think it's Blizzard's either. I do think, however, that --as some forum posters are doing -- judging the entire Raid Finder on the first three bosses on what are likely your best-known classes in the first weeks of an expansion may be a little harsh. Instead, pat yourself on the back for being good enough to steamroll through it and gear up.

Also, Blizzard has, with this Raid Finder, a fully separate tier of difficulty. This allows them more freedom to tune it, and to separate it from the normal and heroic difficulties, so feedback can be heard and acted upon with relative ease. Don't stop providing it!

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, let's not forget the message Ion Hazzikostas gave us at Gamescom, and has repeated several times since then:

The existence of LFR justifies the creation of more raid content for casual and hardcore players alike.

As ever, it must be remembered that this is my opinion. I'm not stating a fact, I'm just saying that maybe players should consider a little before flying off the handle about a new-ish feature that serves a useful purpose, mostly for those who haven't other ways to see content, but also for those of us who want to get some gear, and really don't go in for dailies!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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