Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why LFR?

Here's a really interesting thread from the MMO-Champion forums: Why Do You Choose LFR Over Raid Guilds? There's a lot of chatter about LFR, and how negative the experience is, etc. So one person decided to ask about the other side of the coin, and the responses are extremely enlightening.

The main reason given, naturally, is time and scheduling concerns. This was predictable, and indeed is a strength of LFR.

However, the other major trend is that a lot of people hated the raid guild atmosphere. The drama, the way people were treated, etc.

If LFR is widely considered to be a negative experience in terms of the people involved, it should be of major concern that many people see the raid guilds as worse. That LFR actually provides them with a more pleasurable experience, in addition to being more convenient.

I really like proper, extended raiding with a solid raid team. I am lucky enough to be in one in The Old Republic.  But if a majority, or even a significant minority, find LFR to be a better experience than raid guilds, then there's no way raid guilds will survive.


Handera said...

This is going to be off-topic, but I can't believe you're still here after all these years. I had no idea. All the other great paladin blogs I used to read are long gone. It's good to see you around.

Talarian said...

I don't know if I agree with you on this one.

A number of these folks who are complaining about the attitudes people in raiding guilds are complaining about things like attendance requirements, skill requirements, filling out an application to get in, etc. As a raid leader, I already have issues trying to field a full raid of 10 people from a full roster of 15 for a once a week 3 hour raid night. If I didn't have attendance requirements, skill requirements, etc. we would never make any progress, and we'd probably have to cancel the raid every other week, too. We struggle with progress as it is. But I think a lot of these people don't understand that being part of a raid *team* is precisely that, being a part of a team. I'd certainly hope I wouldn't be on the same recreational soccer team as these folks if we never knew if they'd show up or not, so I don't see an issue applying the same logic to the WoW raid team that I run. If that's not their bag, then hooray for them, LFR is great, but I don't think you can extrapolate the death of raiding guilds from that.

That being said, it does sound like there are still plenty of unreasonable raid leaders out there, loot drama, etc. And I'm not sure what you can do to avoid that beyond being a better judge of character. Does the guild/raid team have a charter that clearly stipulates rules/expectations? Do they seem reasonable? Are there allowances for schedule mismatches? And so on. But that requires some level of investment from people who "don't want to treat the game like a job" and equate even a modicum of effort as "JOB!" So instead they play by themselves and use LFR, and everyone on both sides of the coin should be quite happy with that.

Zeno said...

I was a fairly hard core raider up till Ulduar/Trial of the crusader when I quit raiding with a raiding guild once and for all. If it hadnt been for LFR I might have quit WoW fully too. For me the LFR experience is so much better than a raiding guild. Pros for me:

1) No attendance requirement (having to raid 3-4 nights each week 3-5 hours each time was awful. Being able to do from 1-4 hours at a time with LFR is such a relief, also I can do it when it suits me and not the guild.

2) Loot. I do raids for loot mainly. When I got what I need I stop raiding with that char and jump to another of my chars. In a guild you have to declare a main and you have some peer pressure to keep raiding with the guild until everyone is geared.

3) 99 percent of the time LFRs are fun and pleasant. The 1 percents are usually when I run LFRs at a bad time (early in the morning for instance) when you have problems filling the raid if someone leaves/get kicked. Guildraiding was usually a lot more stressful I find in practice and dont miss it much at all.

Zeno said...

Addendum, I miss one raid with a guild :) Molten Core raiding when we all were just 60 and a raid could be done with 30+ so it didnt matter if the last 10 knew what they were doing or not :) Raiding was so much easier back then.

Gevlon said...

LFR isn't better, it's just one-time. You find a horrible, you /ignore and probably never see him again.

You find a horrible in a raiding guild, it remains horrible.

Kring said...

> Addendum, I miss one raid with a guild :) Molten Core
> raiding when we all were just 60 and a raid could
> be done with 30+ so it didnt matter if the
> last 10 knew what they were doing or not :)
> Raiding was so much easier back then.

I somehow agree. They had some kind of FLEXible raiding back then. They should bring some of that FLEXibility back, that could solve a lot of the problems people have with raiding guilds.

souldrinker said...

Any raiding guild (not the casual guild which does a bit of raiding now and than but the guild which exists for raiding only and everything else is optional) is, in essense, a military organization.

There is no way a military organization can be pleasant to its members.

RJ said...

On the other hand, Rohan, you have to also look at demographics.

At 9 million players, you're going to have people with a wide range of opinions. And within this range, you're going to have people who think raiding guilds as being this worse experience, and those who don't. This has only become a larger issue now because MMOs in general have made it easier to get into queued content over the last few years.

Basically, what you're seeing probably isn't so much raiding guilds dying out because raiding is a terrible experience with LFR being less bad. What you're seeing is now the remaining percentage of players getting a glimpse of what the raiding world was like, and realizing that it doesn't suit them, without having to go through the hassle of applying to a guild.

There's always going to be a bulk of people who are not interested in the "regimented" nature of raiding guilds, and a group that is. It's just part of the nature of MMO demographics. To look at a widened base of "raiders" and then claim that structured raiding is in danger is a little silly.

@souldrinker: Not being pleasant to your troops for the majority of time in a professional military is the easy way to no longer have any troops.

While it's one thing to require discipline in operations (ie while raiding), being strict in the exact same ways elsewhere is the fast track to people deciding they don't want to be part of it anymore. In other words, it's one thing to have your raid leader yelling and giving orders while you're in a raid. It's another for your raid leader to be yelling and giving orders while you're just playing the game normally between raids. And that's nothing to say of drama, in or outside of raids.

When people have a choice in the matter, you want to encourage them to remain with you in the good times, so they'll be with you in the bad. Treating people like you're in the bad times all the time only works when people can't choose to no longer be part of the organization; ie conscription.

Redbeard said...

IMO, a good raid guild is less a military organization and more a family. Of course, a family has its share of drama, but that's to be expected.

But guilds need to have buy-in from their members, and raid guilds with lots of progression but also lots of internal strife end up having a lot of churn.

Redbeard said...

...and that's what I get for accidentally hitting the mouse button.

That said, the great advantage of LFR is that it requires significantly less buy-in from people, so those people who aren't willing to commit to spending a lot of their free time raiding still can raid.

LFR allows people who have kids, have jobs with long hours (or odd hours), or who want to have a life outside of WoW a chance at raiding. The drawbacks are that LFR is a weird combination of instance pugging drama and raid drama, and that experience is not for everyone. However, compared to guild drama, LFR's drama is minor by comparison.

Clockwork said...

Gevlon pretty much summed up my opinion. Though I am no expert, in my experience the majority of raid guilds are inevitably going to crash and burn. Certainly there are those that have stood the test of time, but for the average player, each guild is just a time bomb of drama. Two cliques might form, some personalities might clash, someone might change the rules or steal loot; there are dozens of things that can throw it off the rails. All while you are trying to schedule play-time.

LFR and Guild Raiding are similar...good chance of meeting someone you dislike, but at the end of the day in LFR you leave with whatever you got that don't have to schedule your LFR'ing days ahead of time, you just show up. So while your chances of abusive or mean players are higher, you can basically just ignore them and leave once you are done.

Xintia said...

Gevlon's observation is the main problem I have had with raid guilds. True my real life circumstances no longer allow me to raid on a schedule, but that is not the fault of a game or the guild. But what Gevlon mentioned is a problem inherent to guilds themselves. Drama in any guild is almost inevitable, but apply the pressures of performance, regimented schedules, and competition for loot... and those problems are all magnified.

In LFR, you put the douches on ignore or just drop group and try your luck again later. In a raid guild, that douche is still there tomorrow and you're still there tomorrow and there is often little you can do about it aside from leaving the guild entirely. Gamers in general are very much about "path of least resistance." Why tolerate the drama of a raid guild when most LFR runs get the job done quicker and with less hassle?

Liore said...

"In a raid guild, that douche is still there tomorrow and you're still there tomorrow and there is often little you can do about it aside from leaving the guild entirely."

If this is the case, then your guild leader is doing it wrong, or you joined the wrong guild. There are two types of raiding guilds:

1) The cutting-edge type where players all understand that they were invited for their ability and not their personality. In these guilds there is an unspoken (or perhaps spoken) agreement that everyone will put up with each other for the sake of progress.

2) The family raiding guild. In these guilds the understanding is that progression is slower, but group bonding is higher. A family guild leader has to be vigilant about removing "douches" and anyone new who clashes with the guild culture.

The problem is not that raid guilds somehow create jerks -- the problem is that there are a billion guilds and only a tiny fraction of them are lead by someone with the leadership skills to actually manage their guild. And I don't mean that as some kind of slight, just that leadership is a skill or ability that not everyone has, like writing or doing high level math or something.

Roman Zamishka said...

LFR is boring. It's too easy and too anonymous. The result is that I don't care about the content nor the people.

10 man presents a greater challenge and I like the banter in 10 man vent.

Attendance requirements are an issue. As a healing officer I hate to bench people. Flex raiding should fix that problem.

Vando said...

I don't believe LFR is killing raiding, I think 10 man raiding is.

I play with 2 friends I've known in real life for 18 or so years. What are the odds we can all find a spot in the same 10 man? Not many guilds run 25 mans anymore. In 25 or 40 we would have had a much easier time finding a spot. I hope the new flex raiding will fix this for many people. Instead of having 12-13 people and some on a bench weekly, you run with everyone. Run that rare 25 man guild that struggles with only 21 showing up nightly? Run with 21.

Kimberly said...

I've never been part of a raid guild, but I had a guild that casually raided. They've all left now, so I consider the thousands of goofballs in LFR my own guild. I follow many great WoW players & raiders on Twitter. I don't think I could ever deal with the drama that they tweet about and that, frankly, they bring on themselves with the way they view their team. I've read some of those applications. They're a bit over-the-top. Heck, in the few months I was with AIE I tried to get into a guild LFR (not even one of their raid teams) and the leader was forcing people to run a random LFR before they'd let you into the guild one. And I joined that guild...why?

I LFR (and LFG) every week. I very rarely have a horrible experience. (Mostly because of actual Real!Raiders! who are running their required LFR for gear.) Oftentimes had so much fun that my face hurts from smiling. With so many of the same people moaning about LFG and LFR, you have to wonder who is actually the problem.