WoW Discussion

Is Looking for Raid Hurting the Guild Community?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

21 Comments on Is Looking for Raid Hurting the Guild Community?

  1. I don’t think LFR alone is causing people to lose interest in guilds. I actually think this has been something that’s been on the horizon for a while now. Between the Dungeon Finder, the ease at which you can level with virtually no assistance, the system of marking down epics so you can buy them with Justice points, etc. all of those things contribute to people largely being able to do whatever they want by themselves, without needing a guild to help them through those things. I think because LFR is the newest something to do this that it is getting most of the attention. People have already voiced their displeasure with the other things, but not so much with this yet.

    I like LFR for the reasons that you do. I think it’s a great way to get some practice on fights that you’re going to experience on Normal mode, not to mention the gear. I agree that boss fights on LFR can feel hollow, but I would hope that they would also inspire people to want to see the real thing. I all but slept my way through Spine and Madness on LFR. On Normal mode, I had to *work,* honey. I was OOM. I was yelling at folks to click the damn Lightwell. It was a gong show.

    But, it felt *incredible* when we got Madness down. I’m still riding high from it all. That’s what people should be feeling and experiencing and hopefully LFR motivates people to want more for themselves and to want better. It should give them a taste of things to come or a sneak preview of what they could have if they really want it.

    In terms of gear, I would argue that gear isn’t everything. I know people that are decked out in LFRs finest that still can’t push out the DPS to avoid wiping on Ultraxion or Madness. I know people who don’t stand in the bombs on Blackhorn and then the airship gets destroyed. Gear is half the battle. Throw all the gear you want at people, as long as you continue to create encounters that make skill a top priority.
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  2. Percy

    I had a thought about LFR mode when it came out. Imagine if the LFR gear was changed to rares instead of epics.

    It would have the same stats, even the same looks. Just make name of the item blue instead of purple.

    Wouldn’t that be fascinating? The reaction such a “meaningless” change would cause, I’d love to see it.

    Granted it’ll never happen, but I can dream…

    As for whether or not LFR hurts guilds? Absolutely it does. But this is the trend for awhile now. Shrinking from 40 man to 25 man hurt guilds in BC. Shrinking from 25 to 10 hurt guilds in wrath/cata. No longer requiring set groups at all now is the next step. Everything Blizz does to make things more accessible hurts guilds. People need guilds for support and mutual benefits. But if everything is so easy that you don’t need anyone elses support why join a guild? MoP will probably continue the trend with extensive LFR support and even solo content.

  3. I’m not sure that I really agree with you. Certainly, there will be fewer people applying for raid teams, but will that actually “hurt” guilds? It depends on the type of person that chooses to take a pass on guild life.

    When I ran a raid team, I had some super dependable folks that I could always count on to show up, and I had the less dependable folks. I was once told that a team member had to leave raid early (about half way through) so he could “meet a girl at a bar.”

    After a few weeks of stunts like that, I would typically boot the offending player off the team. LFR allows someone like that is able to see raiding content and not waste raid leaders’ time by taking a slot and failing to show up. I think that will be helpful in the long run to guilds. Guilds will only get people who want to be in a guild and are willing to commit to the guild’s schedule.

    There will be some upheaval and angst until the effect of it settles out in the community, but I think in the long run, things will be better.

    • Ceraphus

      I really think LFR could be a useful tool, but as I am seeing it across at least our realm, it seems to be having negative consequences on guilds

      • I disagree, and here’s a specific example of how LFR is helping your guild…

        Honestly, I was feeling kinda isolated in PoN until last night. It’s hard to get to know people in 25 m raids – there’s so much going on that chatter (which is okay in 10s) has to be kept to a minimum. I knew that part of the problem was that Krakle and I just hadn’t been logging on much (with the house stuff), but when we had logged on folks were doing the new 5 mans. Timing and group composition didn’t line up for us to group up with folks for this smaller content.

        Then, last night, we suggested LFR. We had to wait a bit for the timing to line up (we waited about 45 minutes), but took a group of 5 guildies into the first half and 7 guildies into the second half. We all rolled on gear for each other and traded to give our guildies the best chance at getting gear. We chatted on mumble for hours and had a really good time.

        In fact, it was the most fun I’ve had in WoW in a LONG LONG time (at least in all of Cata). The content was relatively easy (even when we wiped, the mistakes were easy to identify and fix) so we could chat rather than strategize in mumble. Because the structure of LFR is different from LFG, we could take everyone who wanted to go (not capping on 5 people or someone having to get on an alt to fill a certain role).

        I feel that our ability to run through that raid in a relaxed manner with whoever was online helped to strengthen ties among guildies who participated.

        In more general terms, and specifically for recruiting – yes, there is churn right now as the community aligns to the new feature. The flakes and the baddies are (hopefully) no longer applying to guilds to temporarly take up spots. It looks like a bad thing as guilds are folding, but once the initial churn is over and the guilds are stable, I think we’ll have a better long term situation.
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  4. Honestly I do not mind the LFR being exactly what it is: a place for non raiding players to see the content developed for end game without the commitment & dedication required to have seen it in past tiers of content, but clearly not the same level of reward either.

    I would agree that the gear should perhaps not actually be the Tier gear, but copies with iLvl 384 stats, but no the composite set bonuses attached.

    Withholding an encounter within the LFR would defeat the primary purpose…allow ALL players to see the entire tier of content. So that is not realistic from a dev standpoint.

    Honestly, I agree the sense of community has devolved in WoW from where it once was in Vanilla….however, LFR and developed tools like it are not going to make or break that. Player greed and unrealistic expectations have lent more to the destruction of guilds and sense of community than anything else.

    When a raid team could not beat an encounter before, they used to come back and try other approaches and techniques. Farm more gear for lesser geared players. Continued to run additional or previous content. Example: My raid team saw the release of Dragon Soul and all but abandoned Firelands and refused to run it unless they were using an alt that they could gear up. No one seemed to care that my main and other people’s still NEEDED gear from Firelands either normal or heroic! Again, player greed for “give me mah purplez” took over for that sense of community.

    There are still achievements to be had in older tiers of content, but most players instead of doing those fun things, would prefer to level alts or gear alts. And yes, old achieves are MY perspective and definition of fun…but I think the developers see it that way too. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the achievement system.

    I guess my point here, not so succinctly, is that if the sense of community, family, and the social aspect of WoW has taken a hit; its not in game tools like the LFR we should look to blame…its ourselves. We are the beginning and ending of that community. It is entirely our own fault if its not optimal.
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  5. Great post and also I think the discussion you’re bringing up here is an important one to have!

    I think LFR hurts the server community more, although of course guilds play a big part in this.
    As LFD and now LFR makes it easier to be progressive as a solo player, I see the guild perks as a counter act to this. By giving large mechanical incentives to join a guild (with high enough level) guild membership is a buff to the player (the perks). I’m fear that less and less people are joining guilds with the intent of gaining a network, you can do a lot without a network these days. “Free Guild Perks”-guilds will probably benefit from LFR, but the guild format as we used to know it could be changing.
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    • Ceraphus

      I just know that in vanilla guilds were everything, now it seems like as you said much of the content can be solo’d. I guess I am feeling that a lot of the community is disappearing with people constantly playing with folks they will never have to talk to again from other servers.

  6. Your not the only one to be expressing your concern. Just read Vid’s post (From Manalicious), which addresses a similar feel in the community and such. I am also one to share that feeling of ’emptiness’ when running the LFR. However, I think that if you want the challenge you could, say, join a guild to do normal/HC modes and your back in the frame you want. It’s just not with LFR it’s more apparent what It’s like in faceroll mode while guild-less.

    Good post,

    – Jamin
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    • Ceraphus

      I mean my guild does offer normal modes, and I do see some people, but for those guilds which do include mine who look for the more casual raider, that LFR hurts that because our big selling point is hey have a life outside of the game, but come see content with us.

  7. I’ll be honest. I kind of disagree with this whole post.

    When I read your story about the un-guilded healer, I interpreted that conversation in a completely different way. You heard his response and saw it as removing someone from the raiding pool who could be raiding. I, on the other hand, smiled– because LFR gave that healer the chance to raid who would never have otherwise seen that content. That’s a wonderful thing.

    Regardless of the way in which it’s working right now, I love the idea behind LFR– everyone should get to see the story of the expansion, and everyone should get to taste raiding. Which is why I don’t understand your proposals to fix it. Locking the final boss away pretty much shoots that in the foot, the whole idea behind LFR. If you don’t want the final boss in LFR, you’ve missed the entire point. The spirit of LFR isn’t to lock away rewards. The spirit of LFR is to give them to everyone. To share raiding and how cool and epic raiding is, and (in my opinion, and in the words of the devs) specifically the epic feel to 25 MAN raiding, with people who don’t have the schedule or the time to raid like you and I do.

    LFR is for sharing. Normals are for scheduled raiding, and HMs are for crazy people (like myself). I actually rather like the way it’s worked out, three levels of content, and I think all three have VERY different sorts of people they appeal to. Different target audiences. LFR isn’t harming the normal mode pool because they appeal to completely different people.

    I don’t understand this argument that the addition of LFR hurts normals. Think of it this way– If you give someone an extra option, and they take it, then what you’ve done is made them happier. You haven’t taken anything away. You’ve given them something they wanted more.

    If people are switching to LFR because it’s easier for them than being in a guild, then — as a previous commenter said– being in a guild wasn’t the right thing for them. Maybe they were that flakey person who never showed up for raid. Maybe they were (let’s be honest) really, really bad. Well, I don’t want that bad in my raid, but damnit, they deserve to see Deathwing die too. Give them LFR. They can see it all, raid content, the content I love, without devoting the crazy time I devote. I damn well like my special rewards for being crazy, but I think everyone should get the “you finished the race!” blue ribbon for effort.

    I’m also confused by this idea that LFR and normals are being conflated. I would be interested to know precisely who thinks they’re the same, because I’ve never met anyone who thinks that. I’m blown away by this concept frankly.

    LFR and normal are pretty different. They require a completely different schedule, and the strategies in some cases are even different. If LFR is damaging normal mode guilds, then those guilds weren’t long for this world before LFR existed. LFR isn’t harming them one bit– it’s just giving those people what they REALLY wanted.

    Believe me, I have my issues with LFR, and they are not dissimilar to what you’ve mentioned. Tier gear, proc weapons, and trinkets being upgrades off HM previous-tier gear– that is a problem, a big one, but I disagree with your solutions.

    The dissolution of guilds you’ve noticed is definitely happening, but I think LFR isn’t the cause; I actually think LFR should help if anything because it introduces people to a side of the game they’ve never seen before. Raiding. And I am well in support of people seeing that side of the game– experiencing tier gear, too, yes, and all the bosses. They deserve it. If I deserve it, then they deserve it — everything — and on whatever schedule they want.
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    • Ceraphus

      I think maybe I might not have conveyed my point correctly. My point is not that people shouldn’t see the content, I think its great. I think though that killing the final encounter felt hollow, and cheapened the raiding experience. I am afraid that some folks who never raided will see that and say, thats its? thats what I am missing and feel under whelmed. My suggestion of maybe locking out the last boss and gating it was a suggestion to keep normal and higher raids feel more special, or perhaps not provide the cut scenes? I don’t know maybe make normal encounters have a little extra something? Some way I feel that would distinguish it a bit more, similar to how heroic rag came out of the fire.

      As for those who thought they were the same, its really from some comments I have seen in chat when doing LFR personally.

      My fear is that people will be underwhelmed with the experience presented by LFR, or even see similar rewards and be like what incentive is there for me to join a guild to do normal modes.

      I am not against LFR, I think it can be a good tool, but in its current incarnation I think its not providing all the benefits it could.

      • Percy

        Its pretty interesting. Aside from the bit about Rag coming out of the fire everything you said comparing LFR mode to Normal mode can be applied to Normal mode compared to Heroic Mode. Just switch out the words.

        For the top tier guilds normal mode is about as difficult as LFR mode is for your average guild. They clear it all on day one the day its available.

        So first they disenfranchise the elite. Now they disenfranchise the above-average. How fun. =)

  8. Esoth

    I propose the following changes:

    1. Remove tier gear from the loot tables on normal or lower. If tier armor set tokens only dropped from heroic, there would be more reason to run heroic modes.
    2. Do not allow the final boss to be played on normal or lower. 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 casual 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.
    3. Don’t allow best in slot gear, including trinkets with special on use or random procs to drop in normal or lower. Use a shared loot table with items across all bosses. This would also push folks to run heroic modes.
    4. Make LFR only doable on the penultimate tier.

  9. “So first they disenfranchise the elite. Now they disenfranchise the above-average. How fun. =)”

    So this gets to my primary point about the game, the developers, the players, and the big melting pot we are all swirling in…

    Is Blizzard truly responsible for disenfranchising anyone?
    Or, perhaps, is it the player base themselves who are responsible for their own disenfranchisement?!

    The hard core player who complains that “his” heroic modes should be sacrosanct and mere regular raiders should not have access to them is akin to the regular readier having the same perspective about “their” normal mode content and the casuals. In the end, everyone is paying the same amount to play, all are paying customers. While it is true those hard core players are getting more mileage from their particular dollar than the casual player is, it does not mean they should have some of the product solely reserved for them!

    Blizzard wants ALL players to be able to see ALL aspects of the game. They know it is not realistic to force it on everyone, and they are not trying that. In the end, they have made it accessible, dropped the gear ratings down a notch, and allowed it as a self-regulated voluntary process. In my opinion…best possible solution for the consumer base as a whole. They’ve done right by the community. We should adjust our expectations and attitudes of one another!!
    quori´s last blog post ..Bags are packed, but what skin shall I put on?

    • Percy

      “In my opinion…best possible solution for the consumer base as a whole. They’ve done right by the community. We should adjust our expectations and attitudes of one another”

      Its dangerous to assume the community actually knows what they want. Especially considering how bad or casual a majority of the community is at MMOs. If WoW keeps going in the direction it is of extreme accessibility and increased small group content they will only hasten their demise.

      To put it simply: Easy content is consumed quicker so people leave quicker. Easy content also means people don’t need to develop strong social bonds (guilds) to succeed. The very same social bonds that will keep a person playing MMOs for years. Its a recipe for disaster… but at least Joe Terrible who pays his $15 a month can lag through Deathwing now on his 2003 Compaq computer from BestBuy and get epic loot better then what Ragnaros drops. (Seriously, shooting for THAT as your target market is video game suicide.)

      • I still stick by that I think they are doing what is best for the entire community and honestly, the majority of the community. If you look at the “final boss” kill ratios in each tier, essentially less than a quarter of the player population sees the final content developed.

        That is ATROCIOUS. The analogy I always use is this: If you were a car maker, and you developed a car wherein the fuel it used was only accessible to 25% of the marketplace, you would have a product that would FAIL…regardless of how awesome that car is…it would fail.

        I am not saying that the game content should be so easy that its cleared and completed by everyone in 1 week…but LFR is definitely something that allows the larger majority of the player base who would not have seen the content otherwise access to it!

        The normal 10/25 is still there. The Heroic modes are still there. Those that aim for that level of progression still have it available to them and should be satisfied with that.

        Again, it goes to my main point which is and always will be: adjust YOUR expectations. Because in the end, its all you really can control.

        For my part…I agree on not wanting it to be too easy. But admittedly, like most people, I do not want it to be impossible either. I want a happy medium…entertaining content that challenges me and provides some feeling of “time well spent”.
        quori´s last blog post ..Bags are packed, but what skin shall I put on?

  10. JT

    LFR – allows many people to see & experience end game content they otherwise might never get to experience. And thats the bottom line.
    Burning Crusade – I was never able to experience Black Temple – my guild just wasn’t able to get there
    Wrath of Lich King – I was never able to experience end game raid – different guild this time – still not able to get there

    Two expansions where i never saw end game content. I have to wonder if im the only one this happened to. The result – i left WoW for over a year – just got tired of being left out. Now I’m actually studying the bosses a lot more then i used to – because i know i’ll be able to get there – and when i do i want to know what i’m doing.

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