Thursday, December 27, 2012

Looking For Raid, Pandaria Edition

My computer was having a lot of trouble with Looking For Raid in Pandaria. It would crash often, on pretty much every fight. Given that it would occasionally crash at other times, I finally bit the bullet and got a new machine. Ah well, the old one served effectively for almost five years, so I guess it was just time.

So in the past couple of weeks, I've actually gotten to try out the new raids in Mists of Pandaria, if only the LFR versions.  Here are some thoughts.

I like pretty much all the raids in this tier. They're a lot of fun, with interesting mechanics. By and large the difficulty seems appropriate for LFR. It's doable, but you do need at least some of your group to pay attention.

Skill-wise, LFR seems pretty much the same. There doesn't appear to be any completely terrible people, but there's the standard not-switching targets or killing adds issue that always plagues LFR. I can usually count on having at least 4 of 6 healers being competitive on the meters.

I've switched away from Eternal Flame to Sacred Shield. In LFR, raw HPS is pretty much the only thing that matters, because you can't "trust" your other healers in the same manner as in a normal raid group. So raw raid healing with cooldowns on the tanks is more likely to help the group survive.  That means heavy reliance on Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn.

Loot System

So the big controversy with LFR this time around is the loot system.  I have mixed feelings about it. On the whole, I think I get loot at the same rate as in previous tiers.  And per-character loot definitely solved the drama issues with LFR loot in previous tiers.

But now, killing a boss seems like a big letdown. Previously, you killed the boss, and there was a cascade of purples. Maybe you personally wouldn't get anything, but there was plenty of treasure for the group. But now, most of the time it seems like just a small amount of gold, which is a disappointment.

I don't know. It's like before, the treasure definitely existed. If you didn't get an item, then someone else did. You saw rogues get cool daggers, and hunters get bows, and enthused with everyone else when they got their items. But now, it seems like 80% of the time there is no treasure at all.

Also, not being able to get off-spec gear is a bit disappointing. Especially since rep gear costs Valor, that precludes reputation as a source of off-spec gear. But on the other hand, it's better than people taking off-spec gear over main spec players.

This is especially reinforced with the Greater Charms of Forture. You pop a Charm, and 80% of the time is just gold, again. Blizzard should have just tripled the cost per Charm, and only allowed you get one per week, but made it guarantee a drop.

I don't really see a decent solution for the loot issues. Maybe announcing the winners of items to the raid, since you can't change anything, would be enough to get the old feel back. This system is good enough, though. I just feel sad that the previous system wasn't able to work, that it died in a tragedy of the commons.


  1. Ghostcrawler stated that they plan to increase the reward when using a charm results in a "fail bag" - I think he suggested VP?

    I think not having the charm produce a guaranteed drop is part of Blizzard's PR campaign that this system is not "mandatory". If a 25-man raid guild could walk out with 25 additional epics per kill, the impact on progression would be so dramatic that any serious guild would need to require that all members max out on charms. The thinking appears to be that the non-zero but low drop chance makes possession of max charms "optional" and thus makes the level of effort required to get them okay.

  2. Yeah, you're probably right.

    It's just that right now it's disappointment on top of disappointment. Oh, I didn't get any loot. Let's burn a Charm. Oh, no loot there either.

  3. However, you are kind of getting "more loot", in the sense that the amount of gold earned for "losing" a roll is both on top of the drop from the boss, and roughly equal to a weapon that would have dropped anyway.

    So it's basically as if you got an item, and sold it instantly.

  4. One issue that you didn't mention (at least explicitly) and that taints the LFR experience for hybrid classes is the fact that you only win loot for the spec you are on.

    So since I want the shield from Spirit Kings I need to run it as tank. This gives me a much longer queue than just going in as tank/dps, and it increases the overall wait time for everyone in the queue (this would be even more true for healers chars wanting offspec gear I would assume).

    Half the time I'll go into a group that's already past Spirit Kings which makes it even more worthless to queue as a single spec.

    A simple button popping up asking what spec loot you'd want per boss would solve this - it could default to your current role if no answer in X amount of time.

  5. So far I've been happy with the LFR version of the fights. I feel it's tuned just right. The thing that frustrates me right now is how they tied our Legendary Gem to rng drop of a Sha Touched weapon. For the past almost four months I've grinded it out in raids (LFR /Normals) collecting my Sigils to obtain my LegGem. I obtained it two weeks ago but have yet to have my weapon drop, even with the assistance of the charms. With 5.2 around the corner it's sad that my gem will go to waste after working so hard in obtaining it. :(


  6. "The thinking appears to be that the non-zero but low drop chance makes possession of max charms "optional" and thus makes the level of effort required to get them okay."

    So...25 extra epics per week is mandatory, but 10 extra epics per week is optional?

    The former is if you got one charm per week that was guaranteed and the latter is the current situation with three charms.

  7. I actually like the system how the gear is role specific. When I go in as hol, I know any gear I get will be good for me to use. The system encourages me to go in my tank spec and start getting gear for that role. I really don't need anymore LFR pieces for holy so I'll go in and tank for a bit to fill in my missing epics there.

    Overall I feel like gear is VERY easy to get in this xpac. Between LFR, Valor bought Epics, the number of dailies you can do if you really want a valor piece (haven't done them for weeks), the option to use coins in normal raids (plus the fact that I already got 3 epic drops that went to off-spec from my regular raid group), it's easy to be "Raid Ready".

    Maybe it's just me too, but I feel with the way these raids are tuned, communication and stategy make the difference for our ten man team not our gear. We're a casualy raiding guild and we've been moving along at a steady pace without being the best geared out there.

  8. LFR is ok, but they really need to get the system going in which you can select a different role for loot than for queuing. I am heartily sick of 45 minute dps queues and would like to get in on that instant healer action. I'm also a little concerned about this idea of using LFR later in the expansion to gear up alts. It seems much too slow to function as this. Part of the problem might be that in my lfr clears I've gotten 3 necklaces, 3 rings, 2 capes, and 2 shin'kars.

  9. I think that they should increase the drop rate in LFR to maybe 1 in 6 or 1 in 5 instead of 1 in 8. I really don't want to know how things will pan out in 5.2 and onwards with the higher LFRs requiring higher and higher item level. Putting the VP gear on JP would work, but then that would make the rep grinds unnecessary (not a bad thing, I guess).

    It will be interesting to see how Blizard handles LFR in future patches, somebody that only runs LFR and does not do dailies for rep rewards will be left behind if they don't change something though.