Looking for Raid is the latest feature in 4.3 to allow folks who aren’t in raiding guilds to see raiding content. Now LFR content is much easier than even normal mode, the gear rewards let folks get the latest Tier gear though at an item level of 384 instead of the 397 off the normal modes. Tier gear was also changed to only drop off bosses in the Dragon Soul. So LFR is a way for non-raiders to not only raid but also get the tier gear. Some of the tier gear is so good, well the set bonuses, that several top end guilds have run their players through LFR simply to gear them up and get those bonuses.
Now all these benefits seem pretty great, right? What about the downside of LFR? I firmly believe by making the end-game content so accessible that players no longer need to be a member of a guild to gain access to the latest content, which in turn hurts the guild community as a whole.
Guilds, ever since vanilla WoW were a way to organize people to see the end-game, to raid, to accomplish content that was not able to be completed by a person solo. We would see some folks try to organize PUG raids after content was cleared on a server, however with the addition of LFR, people no longer need to organize PUGs to see the raid content, all it takes is to queue up for LFR. In fact there are many people in LFR I have met who are unguilded. I asked one healer why they were unguilded, their response “Because why do I need a guild, if I have LFR to see content”. That statement alone got me thinking, is LFR hurting the guild community? I think it is.
Because potential guildies no longer need a guild to see the content what is the incentive to joining a guild? Besides some of the guild perks, maybe some guild repairs, there isn’t a need unless you are one of those folks who wants the challenge of normal or hard mode raids. If you are happy in just seeing the content, then LFR takes care of that need. No the gear isn’t the best, but the fact is the last raid in the game currently has been beaten by mostly everyone. Many folks have been able to bum rush the biggest of the bad and see the end game cut scenes.
Look I am no hypocrite, I run LFR, getting the gear that drops in there helps me out with my guild’s normal modes, but every time I take down Deathwing it feels hollow. Where in normal mode beating the game at the very least provides a sense of accomplishment, LFR I feel doesn’t provide that. In fact many folks in LFR think LFR and normal mode is the same thing! So part of it may be an education thing, but I think LFR has opened up the content too fast to too many people. To the extent that I see guilds folding or recruiting non-stop to get members to fill the now vacant raider positions.
I am not going to sit here and say how LFR is ruining guilds, though currently its not making folks look for a decent guild either. I will offer some suggestions on how to minimize LFR’s impact on the community.
- Remove tier gear from the loot tables. If tier armor set tokens only dropped from normal mode and higher, and not in LFR, there would be more reason to run normal modes.
- Do not allow the final boss to be played. Make it so the final boss is something special for guilds & organized raid groups. Letting the end boss of an expansion be able to be beaten even if its easier by a bunch of random folks without truly working at it, cheapens the experience. Open it up only after the next tier of raiding is available or upon the next expansion.
- Don’t allow best in slot gear, including trinkets with special on use or random procs to drop. Use a shared loot table with items across all bosses. This would also push folks to run normal modes.
I think LFR can be a valuable tool and a great way for folks to see the content, however I think the content needs to be limited, and the rewards also need to be limited. Limiting these things makes guilds more attractive and helps build that community. I firmly believe that World of Warcraft has thrived for so long because of the community. By adding features which limit the community aspect of the game, I think you will see more and more sub numbers drop. So lets get back to content that focuses on the community of guilds, and not on random people in a group. Lets focus on content which rewards some work and effort, now I am not saying let people bang their head on a boss for 4 months, but let the reward equal the work put in.