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A solution to the LFR "problem"


Our very own Olivia Grace recently sat down with to discuss player complaints about the obligation that many raiders out there feel to run LFR each week, a topic that has been hotly debated in, among other places, this thread on the official forums with the ghastly Zarhym naturally representing Blizzard.

In the video, Olivia raises a good point that many people may not immediately realize – the game isn't forcing you to run LFR every week, it is the social pressures of being in a competitive raiding guild, the very nature of which makes it basically mandatory to seek every advantage you can to edge out your competition. And while many players cite a myriad of issues with LFR, few offer any real, workable solutions. I have seen a couple non-workable solutions, however, so let's briefly discuss them.

  • Make the gear that drops out of LFR so terrible that any heroic raider would never touch it, ever.
This is an extension of what basically happened in the transition from Cataclysm to Mists. If you remember, the trinkets off Spine of Deathwing and the weapons off Madness of Deathwing were higher ilvl than the rest of the instance, which meant that their LFR equivalents were actually quite competitive options compared to normal mode drops and heroic gear of the previous tier. The designers "fixed" this in Mists by making sure that the gear from LFR would never eclipse these drops.

Taking this a step further is a step too far. In order for LFR gear to be "not worth it" for heroic raiders, it would have to be worse than any gear offered out of heroic dungeons, or even Dread Wastes questing blue rewards. For those that use the LFR as a primary means of seeing the content, such a nerf would be a huge slap in the face.
  • Tie LFRs lockout to heroic and normal difficulty raids.
This one won't work because of the differences in LFR and raids in general. Personally, I don't actually consider running LFR "raiding" any more than I consider killing faction NPCs "PvP." For one thing, there is only one size for LFR, it's assembled using the Raid Finder tool and filled with random players, and there are so few challenges that leadership is hardly ever needed. Of course, all of this is heavily seasoned with my own opinion, but I think if there's something we can agree on, it's that there are large enough differences between these experiences that it's really like comparing apples to oranges.

If you tie all of these difficulties together on one lockout, you will only be hurting normal mode guilds in the long run, and you will be creating an artificial barrier for players than want to warm up in LFR and build up to normal. Basically, everybody loses with this solution.

Anyway, I did promise that I had an idea for how to solve this problem, didn't I? Well, I have to admit it's not some crazy new, completely unheard of idea:
  • Tie LFRs lockout to heroic only.
For heroic raiders, this would cut LFR as a gearing source as long as they want to work on heroic progression. Sure, you will still probably need to run LFR for a bit at the start of a patch or expansion to get as geared as you can before you unlock heroics, but this should cut down on any "required" runs pretty effectively. And, as a bonus, if your guild leader decides to drop down to normal for a week to gear some people out, this effectively doubles everyone's chances at getting additional upgrades.

For normal raiders, you still have the option to jump into LFR for extra gear or to see fights ahead of time, and LFR raiders will be able to dip their feet in normal modes without having to worry about lockouts.

What do you think?

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