Flex Capacitor

Flex raiding is fascinating because it evokes such different reactions from different groups of players.  For example, my first reaction was pure enthusiasm.  “This is great,” I thought, “I’ll be able to do more raiding on my favorite alts without having to commit to another scheduled raid night.”  The fact that it’s cross-realm means I can join up with friends on other servers and help out, and automatic scaling means that I don’t have to feel bad if I can’t make a night.

I was also optimistic that the introduction of a new difficulty level that was parked squarely between LFR and Normal would help revitalize a guild that several of my real-life friends play in.  They hit a brick wall in normal-mode Throne of Thunder, struggling to score a single Jin’rokh kill, and their raid team decided to stop bothering.  Many of them stopped logging in and let their accounts lapse.  It’s a story that is all too common nowadays – a casual friends-and-family guild that broke upon the rocks of tier 15.  Flex seems well-poised to fill the void that these guilds fell into.  Accessible content that’s still aimed at organized groups rather than consumption with random strangers. Not having to force anyone to sit out on the one night a week that they can make is just the icing on the cake.

My biggest reservation is actually the loot system.  Personal loot certainly makes sense, both in LFR and in Flex.  I don’t object to it from an intellectual or game-design perspective.  But the personal loot system feels like an awkward fit in this case – a glove that’s a size too small, as it were.  You can wear it, but it just doesn’t feel quite right.  There’s something special and exciting about killing a boss and seeing the loot it dropped on its crumpled corpse, even if none of that loot is for your class or spec.  The personal loot system has never evoked that same feeling for me, for some reason.

And I think that it will work less well in Flex than it does in LFR.  At least in LFR, it’s an unorganized group of strangers that you wouldn’t want to share your loot with.  Even when you don’t get something, the large number of players and limited communication shields you from the feeling that the effort was worthless.  In Flex, it should be fairly common to down a boss and have none of the ten players present get loot.  And that will feel far worse because it’s an organized group of friends rather than faceless strangers.

In fact, if there were one thing I’d change about the Flex concept, that would be it: the loot system.  Rather than using personal loot, I would use a progressive probabilistic system.  The boss would drop an average of 0.2 items per player in the group.  Items would be guaranteed at certain thresholds – i.e. it would drop one item for every five players in the raid (so 2 items for a 10-man, 5 items for a 25-man).  For partial groups, each player would contribute to the probability of an additional item.

To illustrate: a ten-player group would always see exactly 2 items.  An eleven-player group would get 2 items and a 20% chance at a third item.  A twelve-player group would get 2 items and a 40% chance at a third item.  And so on, such that the fifteen-player group would get exactly 3 items.  I realize that it’s far too late for this sort of system to be implemented for 5.4, and would probably require some subtle technical changes in how boss loot is handled server-side.  But I hope that it’s considered for 6.0, especially since I think it’s a safe bet that Blizzard will get a lot of (negative) feedback about personal loot in Flex once players get the chance to experience it.

But overall, I was still completely optimistic about Flex raiding.  So it was a surprise to me that the first few pieces of feedback I received when discussing it with other hardcore raiders was entirely negative. Though in retrospect, perhaps it shouldn’t have been, as the complaint was familiar enough.  “Great, now I’ll have to run Siege of Orgrimmar three times a week on my main.”

So while Flex raiding introduces some great opportunities for the player base as a whole, it presents a fairly complicated problem for a small subset of that player base at the extreme upper end of raiding.  Heroic raiders in particular are faced with yet another potential time sink and an increased likelihood of burnout.

This concern spawned a long and involved thread on maintankadin discussing what, if anything, Blizzard should do about it.

Burnout

It’s easy to write this off as an irrelevant problem, or to characterize it as a fabrication; a self-imposed problem created by deranged players that simply can’t exercise self-control. But I think that’s a mistake.  Despite the lower ilvl of LFR and Flex-raid gear, tier bonuses and trinkets have traditionally been powerful enough to more than overcome the ilvl disparity.  So there’s a clear incentive for players to run this content even if their skill level far exceeds that content.

And where there’s an incentive, one must consider human psychology.  The vast majority of these players are not incapable of self-control.  They are sharp minds making calculated decisions about how to spend their time in-game.  Raiding at any organized level is being part of a team, which means there are complicated social interactions involved.  Some players will do whatever they can to help the team, either out of altruistic motivations or to ensure that nobody can accuse them of giving less than 110%.  Others will do the bare minimum that is required.  Either of those cases can involve a weekly LFR and/or Flex raid for extra chances at overpowered gear.

Perhaps more concerning is those players raiding on limited schedules.  They may be skilled enough to raid at a high level, but the demands of the regular raid schedule already stretch them near the limit.  Additional LFR or Flex raids outside of the usual schedule may very easily be the tipping point that pushes them out of raiding entirely.  And those players are rarely content to scale back to a shorter raid week with weaker progression.  They’re more likely to get frustrated with the game, quit, and move on to other games that have a similar skill cap but don’t require the same time expenditure.

But it isn’t just heroic raiders that are faced with this problem.  That’s a convenient way to try and marginalize the effect, but the truth is that even normal-mode raiders are presented with this dilemma.  In some ways, they even have it worse: those Flex-raid items are a bigger upgrade for a normal-mode raider’s previous-tier gear than for a player with double-upgraded heroic loot.  And there are probably more potential upgrades in Flex mode for those normal raiders as well.

We tend to focus on heroic raiders as the ones most inconvenienced by these additional time sinks, but in reality I think normal raiders are more heavily impacted, as they’ll have incentives to run LFR and Flex throughout the tier, long after they’ve become irrelevant for heroic raiders.  And normal-mode raiders are no less susceptible to burnout than their heroic brethren.

I don’t think there’s any question that the problem exists.  It’s hard to argue that the incentive isn’t there, because it’s fairly evident.  And burnout is a major concern, not just of the player base, but of Blizzard.  The developers have made it quite clear that the shared lockout between 10-man and 25-man that was instituted in Cataclysm was explicitly to stem burnout caused by running both formats each week.  So the question is not whether there’s a problem, merely whether or not Blizzard should do anything about it.

Solutions

Much of the linked thread is focused on exactly that question.  What can Blizzard do to mitigate the incentive to run and re-run the same instance multiple times per week? Should they do anything at all?

Even though there’s a problem, sometimes there’s just no good solution.  One argument is that this problem need not be addressed because it’s temporary. Flex raids are provided in wings, and those wings will be gated much like LFR will be.  By the time all of Flex mode is available, heroic raiders will already have several full instance clears under their belts, and the number of upgrades to be had in LFR or Flex will likely be small.  There will always be a few players that get unlucky with drops and feel compelled to keep going back for that one item they’re missing.  But with a winged implementation, even that isn’t so onerous, as you’ll only be running 3-4 bosses one extra time each week.

Of course, that again focuses on the heroic raider’s experience.  Normal-mode raiders may well find themselves running multiple wings of Flex throughout the tier for gear upgrades.  For those players, the problem will feel a lot less temporary.

But perhaps the best argument for leaving the “Flex Problem” well enough alone is that most of the proposed solutions are worse than doing nothing at all.

The Nerf Bat

Predictably, the first few solutions trotted out involve nerfing LFR and Flex loot ilvls so that they’re not attractive to heroic raiders.  If the problem is that the gear is an upgrade for heroic raiders, perhaps the solution is to nerf it until it isn’t.  I think the reason that this solution is the first to be suggested is tied to the fact that the argument has worked before.

In cataclysm, it was only 13 ilvls behind.  And at the time, I wrote a blog post opining that the separation should probably be a little larger to further disincentivize LFR farming by organized raiders.  In the first two tiers of MoP, the gap between LFR and normal-mode gear was increased to 20 ilvls (if you’re keeping score, I suggested 19 in that post).  In T16, that gap is increasing even more (up to 28 ilvls) to accommodate Flex-mode gear, which will be 17 ilvls below normal-mode gear.  So it’s clear that Blizzard has been sympathetic to the “increase the ilvl gap” argument.

However, I’m also not convinced that solution actually works all that well in practice.  It’s fine when you’re just comparing raw stats, but the problem areas are traditionally unique effects from tier bonuses and trinkets.  Neither of those are beholden the traditional rules of “higher ilvl = more stats = better.”  In both T15 and T16, we see trinkets with unique and interesting effects that can be exploited for large DPS gains compared to higher-ilvl trinkets.  And especially when it comes to tanks, set bonuses can be game-changing and hard to compare to a fixed stat increase.

Further, there’s a social problem with increasing the ilvl gap even further.  Nobody likes to feel like a second-class citizen.  But as the ilvl gap between LFR and Normal increases, that’s exactly what LFR players feel increasingly like.  There’s no question that the rewards for heroic-mode need to be greater than normal, which needs to be greater than flex, and so on down the line.  But remember that each ilvl is approximately 1% character power.  An LFR player is already about 20% less effective than a normal-mode raider, and 33% less effective than a heroic-mode raider.  Tuning open-world content gets much harder when that sort of performance gap exists.  Content that’s challenging for the heroic raider is impossible for the LFR player, while content that challenges the LFR player becomes trivial and boring for the heroic raider.  It adds another constraint on the problem of making compelling open-world content, which is something Blizzard has been struggling with all through Mists of Pandaria.

Nerfing LFR and Flex-mode gear also sends a very clear message to LFR and Flex raiders, whether that message is intended or not.  It says “we value the opinion of these heroic raiders more than yours,” because the majority of players calling for LFR gear to be nerfed are outspoken heroic raiders.  I’m sure Blizzard would never agree that this is the message they’re sending, and honestly don’t believe they think that way in the first place.  But perception is what matters, and there’s no question that this is how such a change would be perceived.  In essence, “GG, Blizzard caving again to the elitist heroic raiders that don’t want casuals to have nice things.”

So I really don’t think that nerfing the ilvl of LFR and Flex loot is a viable solution, nor do I think it’s any more likely than removing LFR entirely.  I think the drop in ilvl to accommodate Flex raiding was probably a contentious compromise even within the halls of Blizzard HQ, seen not as ideal but as necessary to preserve the impression that there’s a significant skill divide between normal/heroic and LFR/Flex.  I’d be very surprised to see LFR loot drop any farther behind.

Loot Lockouts

Another idea put forth is to share loot lockouts between difficulties.  In other words, if you run Flex, you’re locked out of loot in LFR for that week.  Depending on who’s making the suggestion, it could even extend to being locked out of normal and heroic as well.  And I can see the reason this option looks good on paper.  It’s simple to understand and keep track of: one boss, one chance at loot, once a week.  Period.

That said, it’s also a fundamentally flawed proposition.  LFR and Flex raiding weren’t just instituted to provide an additional difficulty level for standard raiding.  They’re explicitly designed to mitigate or eliminate some of the organizational and logistical “strings attached” that come with normal raiding practices.  The need to agree on a particular time and date, to maintain a specific roster size, to choose which ten players to bring for each boss and which to sit on the bench, to have consumables prepared beforehand, even the need to review strategies before raid time.  All of these are issues that LFR and Flex attempt to eliminate in the name of accessibility.  These formats are doing everything they can to promote social raiding – to encourage friends to get together and have fun without the sorts of burdens that raiders have traditionally been unable to escape.

I’m certain that Blizzard wants a player who rarely has time for more than LFR to be excited when they get a chance to join a Flex raid pick-up-group.  If it feels like an exciting opportunity, the player is happy and the format is doing its job.  But it will just feel like a disappointment to the player if they’re unable to receive Flex loot because they’ve already run that wing of LFR this week.  Suddenly, a layer of planning and optimization has been forced on a format that felt free and unburdened otherwise.

And that’s really the reason that loot lockouts won’t solve this problem.  To ignore the social aspect of LFR and Flex is to completely overlook the intent of those modes.  They are meant to be flexible and accommodating, so that you can jump in with some friends and help out without worrying about exterior consequences.  Any sort of loot lockout subverts the freedom that makes LFR and Flex raiding attractive to the majority of its audience.  While it might fix the incentive problem that heroic and normal raiders have, it causes so much collateral damage to the social raiding formats that it’s untenable.

Bonus Rolls

So far, the suggestions have focused on adding or tightening restrictions on LFR and Flex, which inevitably makes the format worse for its intended audience.  And I think that any solution trying to walk that path is doomed to failure.  The problem is very limited in scope.  It only affects normal and heroic raiders.  The solution should be similarly limited in scope, in that it should try to fix the problem in a way that has the smallest (ideally no) impact on LFR and Flex raiders.

In that thread, I suggested a method that tied your LFR loot roll to your bonus rolls.  In short, if you hadn’t used your LFR loot roll on a given boss that week, you would get an increase (maybe +10%) to your bonus roll chance if you used a coin on that boss in normal or heroic mode.  Using a bonus roll would then make you ineligible for loot from that boss on LFR.The idea is very straightforward.  If a normal or heroic raider is after a specific item, then increasing the bonus roll chance from 15% to 25% on their highest difficulty level is more attractive than another 15% chance to get a weaker version of the trinket through LFR.  There would no longer be an incentive to run LFR for a powerful item because that LFR roll was now an additional resource that could be leveraged to better effect on heroic mode with a bonus roll.

However, having given it more thought, I’m not sure it’s a great idea either. For one, it actively discourages raiders from going into LFR.  While most heroic raiders would be happy for a reason to actively avoid LFR, it does add another layer of restriction.  What about players who like to run LFR for valor, or to help out a friend in a less progressed guild?  They’re suddenly restricted from doing that because it impacts their bonus rolls in progression content, at least until after main raid is completed for that week.

You could work around that limitation by making it an option, but now you’re talking about introducing a new UI and building an entire system around the idea of “LFR loot rolls as a resource.”  And while I like the resource idea, I think this amount of complication clearly sets it aside as something too large and complicated for a mid-expansion patch.

There is an alternative implementation of the bonus roll idea that would probably make LFR and Flex raiders happy.  Or at least, amused by the irony.  A bonus roll on normal or heroic could automatically lock you out of LFR loot from that boss, and vice versa.  This is interesting in that it primarily punishes the normal and heroic raiders.  An LFR or Flex raider would be unburdened by the restriction, while the heroic raider would suddenly find their three most attractive bosses worthless on LFR.

But ultimately, even that idea has its share of awkward consequences, including punishing the LFR raider that can occasionally make it into a normal-mode group.  While I think the “rolls as a resource” idea is interesting and worth investigating, it would require a lot of careful tweaking to get it into a form ready for implementation.

Free Loot

The idea I’ve liked the most so far is one proposed by Thels.  For lack of a better term, I’d call it the “Cumulative Loot System.”  In short, when you kill a normal or heroic boss, you also automatically get your personal loot rolls for LFR and/or Flex.  You could imagine various permutations of how this would work; maybe a normal kill gives you your LFR roll, while a heroic kill gives you both LFR and Flex rolls.  But the simplest case is just that you get both rolls on any normal or heroic kill.

What I like about this solution is that it directly addresses the problem at the source.  The problem is that players clearing normal and heroic feel compelled to run LFR and Flex for additional chances at marginal upgrades.  The complaint isn’t that the LFR and Flex loot is “too good,” or “more than LFR deserves,” strictly speaking, though I’m sure we could find a small subset of players who would argue those points.  The problem is that the extra LFR and Flex clears require more time on top of an already demanding heroic raiding schedule, and that a player with the skill to do heroic modes doesn’t find these watered-down difficulty levels fun.

Rather than trying to take anything away from LFR or Flex raiders, this solution instead just gives “extra” or “free” loot to heroic raiders to remove the additional time sink.  And I think that’s a much wiser move at this point in the game’s life than trying to impose more restrictions on the LFR and Flex raid population, which even now accounts for the vast majority of raiders.

The main objection that’s arisen to this suggestion is that normal/heroic raiders don’t “deserve” that extra loot, because they haven’t “earned” it.  But I think there are a number of reasons that this objection is nonsensical.  First, there’s the obvious: the argument rests on the abstract and arbitrary nature of what anybody does or doesn’t “earn” or “deserve” in a fictional online universe where rewards depend on the whims of a team of developers.  If you ask 100 players what a raider deserves for killing a heroic boss, you’ll get 100 different answers.  What anyone “deserves” is arbitrary, and determined entirely by what the boss actually drops.

More importantly, there’s already a precedent in-place that heroic raiders do “deserve” more for killing a boss than normal or LFR raiders get for killing a boss.  And that’s above and beyond the increased ilvl loot that heroic bosses drop.  Whether it’s a guaranteed vanity mount drop from an end boss, a raid-wide achievement like the Glory achievements, or access to a special heroic-only boss like Ra-Den, Sinestra, or Algalon, heroic raiders have always received extra perks for clearing harder content.  You could argue that they don’t deserve those perks, but Blizzard keeps implementing them, so they clearly disagree.  Trying to draw a distinction between vanity mounts and extra LFR loot and argue that heroic raiders “deserve” one but not the other seems specious to me.  Both are just a small extra reward for putting in additional time and effort and demonstrating a higher level of skill.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that time is the real reward here.  In most cases, the “free” extra loot is nothing more than extra satchels containing 28 gold.  Certainly some lucky players will get that trinket they would have run LFR for, but for the vast majority of heroic raiders this reward structure would just mean freedom from the additional time sink of LFR and/or Flex.  And the excess gold could even be compensated for by reducing the gold that heroic bosses drop.  I doubt many raiders would hesitate to pass up the extra gold they’d get by running LFR for the freedom from ever having to run LFR again on their main.

There’s also a subtlety here that I think most people have overlooked.  If normal and heroic automatically grant LFR or Flex rolls, then it’s no longer a problem if those items are attractive to normal and heroic raiders.  And if there’s no longer any problem with them being attractive to heroic raiders, it means that LFR and Flex loot wouldn’t have to be kept at an artificially low ilvl.  There’s no point in having a 30-ilvl gap between normal and LFR just for the sake of keeping normal and heroic raiders from feeling obligated to run LFR.  The gap can be adjusted more freely by the developers, which could make LFR and Flex feel even better for their intended audiences.  I wonder if the players arguing against giving heroic raiders more “free” loot would stand firm on that position if the alternative was getting better loot in LFR.

The other potential downside is that fewer heroic raiders will run LFR, lowering the average skill level of a randomly-selected LFR group.  I’m not sure that’s going to have a significant impact on the average LFR raid, though.  In many cases, guilds will queue together to “get the pain over with quickly,” so nobody suffers if we remove those groups from the LFR queue.  And many of the players who run LFR on a geared main may continue to do so for valor, to help out a friend, or just to epeen meters.  Or they may go on an alt that can benefit from the loot instead.  So they won’t be completely absent.

But more importantly, LFR was never tuned with those players in mind.  The encounters are easily clear-able by a group that contains no highly-geared champion to carry them.  I’ve been in groups on my mage where I topped DPS meters despite only having an ilvl of 500, and we had little trouble killing bosses.  While some players might bemoan getting carried by a handful of heroic-geared players, that was never how LFR was supposed to work in the first place.

In fact, I wonder if it wouldn’t have a positive effect on LFR overall.  It’s fairly common to find players that join up and AFK bosses, relying on that handful of players to carry them to free loot.  And that cycle perpetuates because it works.  If you remove the “carriers,” such that every player’s contribution was more important, I think the remaining players might take enforcement more seriously too, and vote-kick players that clearly aren’t contributing.  If carrying an AFK player had a significant downside, such as a noticeable increase in the likelihood of a wipe, players may be less willing to shrug their shoulders and say “whatever, we’re going to kill the boss anyway.”

Closing Thoughts

In my mind, it’s pretty clear that any solution has to have as little an impact on LFR and Flex as possible.  Because to be frank, while the problem exists, I don’t think it’s as severe as most heroic raiders make it out to be.  Sure, it’s an inconvenience, and it’s definitely going to cause some players to burn out.  But I think it’s probably a very small percent.  At least, a very small percent of heroic raiders, who will out-gear Flex mode to the point of irrelevance very rapidly.

So I think that any solution that hurts the LFR or Flex experience probably isn’t worth it.  Sure, it might be a quality-of-life improvement for us, but that shouldn’t come at a significant quality-of-life decrease for a much larger population of raiders.

If we really want to eliminate the incentive to spend time in LFR, we should be focusing our effort on solutions that don’t actively punish LFR and Flex raiders.  A solution like the Cumulative Loot System idea, which nullifies the incentive without taking anything away from social raiders, is exactly the sort of idea that can gain widespread support from more than just a small subset of elite heroic raiders.  And the possibility of decreasing the LFR loot gap could even win it the support of LFR players.  An idea that works for everybody is far more likely to be considered by a developer than one that’s divisive, and our best chance at avoiding a return to Wrath-of-the-Lich-King era burnout conditions.

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77 Responses to Flex Capacitor

  1. pc9 says:

    Theck nice post as always! But I’m curious… what do you say about prot 5.4 raid performance?

  2. Newsom says:

    The more I think about it the more I like your “free loot” solution.

    I had one problem with it – the fact that many people like to use LFR to gear their offspec, but then I remembered you could just set your loot spec to that before you kill the boss. If you later want to bonus roll you could then set it back to your main spec before pressing the coin button.

    Now I can’t think of anything that is wrong with it.

    • Geodew says:

      What if you’ve got an offspec upgrade from LFR (or higher) but a mainspec upgrade from Flex (or higher)? Perhaps you’d need to be able to set your loot spec for each x.X

    • Thiron says:

      There’s still a scenario that isn’t covered.
      If a piece of gear you want doesn’t drop on normal, you want to get “mainspec” lfr loot, but if it doesn’t drop, you want “offspec” lfr loot.
      How to handle this case?

      • Thiron says:

        *but if it does drop

        • Geodew says:

          Might just require new UI element akin to bonus rolls. Similarity shouldn’t make it too hard. Might be too much to make it for 5.4 though.

          • Thels says:

            To be honest, I don’t think that’s going to matter much. Right now, if you run LFR first, you also cannot check if it’s going to drop in your normal raid or not.

            Of course, right now you can run LFR after the normal raid, so you can base your choices on what dropped. You no longer have that choice if you get the LFR drops during your normal raid.

            But that’s ok. You do not have to get the best possible deal out of the situation. That’s not what the solution is about. It’s meant to remove the incentive to run LFR, and that’s what it does.

            If that means that you are rolling on LFR gear on your mainspec to then see it drop in the raid might suck, but it’s not really a problem at all.

  3. Çapncrunch says:

    I’ll be honest, my first thought when I saw the Flex announcement (well my second thought, my first thought was of all the burnout complaints) was that shared locks were the obvious answer. Despite what you said, I think it’s perfectly justifiable to say that we, as a community, ARE incapable of self-restraint. We are terrible at knowing what we actually want out of a game, notorious for complaining when we get what we asked for, and we’ll rush through content as fast as we possibly can and then complain and scream at Blizzard when we get tired of it. So sometimes we just need the devs to step in and restrict what we can do in order to protect us from ourselves. Do we complain when they do it? Sure, but we complain no matter what, so that’s not really a good metric to determine if something is a good idea or not (in this case I think that perception is not what counts, what counts is whether the end result allows us to have more fun than when we’re allowed to ruin our own experiences).

    That said, I do see your point about not wanting to “punish” those at the lower end of the raiding community. They’re the least likely to suffer from this potential burnout, so they don’t need the same limitations as the normal/heroic raiders. The challenging thing is trying to find a way to limit the normal/heroic raiders’ options to run the lower difficulties without limiting everyone else’ options to run those difficulties. I would argue that if LFR and Flex shared a lockout the moment Flex went live then it wouldn’t really be “punishing” anyone (as it wouldn’t “take” anything from LFR raiders, they’d still have what they do now, just with a new option on top of it), but you also have a point with wanting to encourage the type of play in LFR and Flex difficulties (plus, it can be argued that since they are the majority anyways they might as well get some extra love now and then anyways).

    Now the “free loot” system does sound like an interesting idea. It solves the burnout issue by removing the “need” to run multiple difficulties for the extra rewards. That said I can see something of a point on the “normal/heroic raiders don’t ‘deserve’ extra loot” argument, one would argue that the reward for clearing extra content is already the higher quality loot, so by getting both higher quality loot and the lower quality loot does seem a bit like double-rewarding (or triple rewarding if you get both lfr and flex loot); on the other hand if you can clear normal/heroic then clearing lfr/flex should be mostly trivial, so as you said the real reward is simply the time you don’t have to spend in the other difficulties burning yourself out.

  4. Shandren says:

    Really impressive thoughts there. Good analysis of pros and cons with each solution. Some version of the free loot idea sounds like a very nice solution. As the argument for it is sort of complicated I too would worry that its a “hard sell” to many LFR-raiders. This coming from someone who is likely best described as a ‘flex-raider’

  5. queldan says:

    And this is exactly why we need you posting more on maintankadin again 😉
    On a related-noted, you’ve probably seen the EF vs SS discussion that popped up. I’ll be honest and say the EF arguments sound like they hold some water, so an expert opinion would be more than welcome!

  6. tarwth says:

    I like the “free loot” system, but it would definitely make me feel even worse about not being an enchanter (all the extra DEs…)

    • Geodew says:

      What’s the difference between that and a personal-loot-system LFR and Flex, as it is right now on PTR?

      • Thels says:

        There would probably be a point where you could no longer use loot from LFR, or perhaps you personally aren’t too bothered to run LFR, even when there are upgrades left.

        You wouldn’t get the LFR loot there, since you wouldn’t run LFR. With the “free” loot, you would get the extra gear.

  7. Thels says:

    To be honest, giving both LFR and Flex loot as extra would be quite overkill, in my humble opinion. Would that also mean Flex should get the LFR loot as extra?

    WoW is a game where investment of time and money leads to reward. It’s healthy for the game to have something to do outside of progress raiding. Having one lower entry to raid (Flex for Normal/Heroic, LFR for Flex) would be such an option.

    Having both LFR and Flex as extras is overkill, though. Also, LFR is so far away from Normal/Heroic raiding, it rarely appeals to a Normal/Heroic raider. Providing “free” LFR loot to Normal/Heroic raiders would solve these issues. Providing free Flex loot to Normal/Heroic raiders would be a little overkill.

    • Keres says:

      Depends on how the extra loot is handled.

      As a person who is looking forward to Flex (my guild of family/friends is currently working on Council of Elders normal, after spending 11 weeks working on Horridon) I don’t mind the extra loot going to heroic raids. However to keep it from being a rain of loot on them on every kill how about something like a bonus on extra rolls.

      Say: Heroic Gorrash dies: X Loot drops off the boss. a person decides to burn a coin for an extra roll.

      15% chance to get a heroic item…
      If no loot is granted, (15% + (heroic chance) chance to get a Normal Item…
      If no loot is granted, (15% + (Chance for normal item)) chance to get a Flex Item…
      If no loot is granted, (15% + (Chance for flex item) chance to get LFR item.

      The heroic raider will see a 15% chance to get a heroic item, but if they don’t then they will have a 30% chance to get a normal item, but it they don’t get it, a 45% chance for a flex item, and if they don’t get that then a 60% chance to get a LFR item. This could apply to normal mode as well, just starting on the level below on the example.

      Plenty of incentive, and heroic raiders won’t be inundated with loot, which should curtain arguments that they are getting rewards not in keeping with their time investment.

      • Thels says:

        While interesting, I don’t really see how this would solve the issue at all.

        If the bonus is irrelevant to running LFR or Flex, then it does nothing to solve the issue, just an increased chance to get an item from a coin (which will probably annoy non-enchanters, as the items often sell for less than the gold in the bag).

        If the bonus is relevant to running LFR or Flex, then you are suddenly getting penalized for running LFR or Flex, as it screws over your bonus rolls. And what if you used the bonus roll and then go LFR or Flex. Did that take out your chance of loot for this week? What about the other bosses?

    • Geodew says:

      I don’t really think it would be overkill.

      If Heroic and World First raiders hate LFR so much, why would they be so keen to do Flex? If it’s just a chore, that’s a part of the game which is not fun for them, so it should be addressed. I see no reason to force players to do something they don’t want to do. That’s called grindy gameplay and is not fun. WoW learned this years ago.

      The only situation in which I feel grinds are appropriate is farming for gold etc; if farming gold is too easy, you get massive inflation and economy problems.

  8. ironshield says:

    As to the Burnout question, I fully support the Cumulative Loot System (CLS) as I agree that it is the only solution proposed that doesn’t ruin LFR and Flex for their intended audiences while still addressing the very real problem of too many timesinks.

    As for the personal vs shared loot for Flex, I think personal loot is the only way to go if you don’t want people to feel they need to bring more / fewer people as even though your solution maths out OK, people will still try to hit the ‘caps’ and the feel of it will probably be different to the equations. I offer as evidence for this opinion an excellent cartoon coincidentally published on the same day as your blog post (well the same day as I read it, which is the same thing right?). I think that means it was aimed at your argument :) http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/index.php?date=082213

  9. Angelflavor says:

    I feel Burn out is too real. There is a difficult balance between not having enough to do and too much. I really hope blizzard finds that balance soon

  10. R says:

    That’s the best, and most neutral, analysis of the situation that I’ve seen yet, nicely done.

    My simplest opinion is that self-control exists and should be used. I believe that there are a lot more players who were looking for things to do in late Wrath than feel overloaded by too much to do now. You can always do less but it’s hard to do more when there isn’t more to do. I think it’s up to heroic raid groups to set a proper expectation for their players and for the players to stick to it. For world first guilds who are already spending 120hrs+ a week playing, having a 3rd loot option available will be a positive… they’re going to be playing anyway, may as well spend that time playing in a way that will get them a possible upgrade. They’d probably rather spend 2 hours a week clearing Flex than wiping 12 more times on a progression boss (so, 108 instead of 120). For any heroic raiders who aren’t at that level, it should really be the raid leaders who set the tone. If they feel that all 3 runs are necessary for gear then they should run those 3 as a group, together, during scheduled raid time, for shared pain and shared benefit. If LFR and Flex aren’t important enough to schedule during normal raid times then they shouldn’t be required to be run, period. If someone WANTS to run by choice rather than obligation then that’s fine but nobody should be made to feel like they’re letting the team down if they don’t. As GC and others have pointed out many times in the past, a bit more gear isn’t going to suddenly make a boss fall down.

    That aside, on the assumption that something has to be done to save heroic raiders from themselves (the worst thing humans were ever given was free choice… and actual choices to make with it), my personal solution would be to make one change with two exceptions:

    Change:
    * Make most LFR loot equivalent to previous-tier normal loot (so, i522 for 5.4). Same loot as T16 normal raids, just i522.

    Two exceptions:
    * Have LFR drop previous-tier tier pieces (so, i522 tier pieces with T15 bonuses), not current tier.
    * Have LFR drop previous-tier trinkets (so, i522 trinkets from T15), not current trinkets.

    As you pointed out, the two main areas where normal/heroic raiders can do better with LFR gear is tier gear and trinkets (which are generally the only pieces of gear that can significantly outperform their iLvl… RoRo for dps monks, for instance). So, remove those and bring back the ones from the previous tier, they’ll just go from the T15 normal loot table to the T15 normal and T16 LFR loot tables.

    I have only one normal+ geared toon, my raiding main, who currently has mostly i522/i528 but with the LFR tier chest, an LFR OH weapon (just a result of crappy drop luck, not because the LFR piece is better) and an LFR trinket. Tier and trinket. I speak from experience. I also have 10+ toons who are i480+ but would be iffy for normal raids and undergeared for heroic raids so I speak from even more experience in terms of someone having LFR-geared toons. Normal T16 will require, roughly, normal T15 gear. i522. I don’t see a single thing wrong with offering i522 in T16 LFR if someone wants to gear up for T16 normal, between those drops and VP upgrades (since that’ll be all we have to spend it on, I think… which I still find baffling, I’ve bought plenty of VP gear and have still upgraded every slot my toon has) it shouldn’t be challenging for that. For those who are ONLY running LFR and doing current non-raid content, previous-tier gear will be PLENTY to get that done. I don’t see gear of that level being any sort of punishment.

    The only reason I don’t think Blizzard is doing something like this already is because they do feel that normal/heroic raiders are necessary for LFR. Especially in the early days, you need people who understand the fights or have at least prepared for them to explain the key points. I think it’s fair to assume that LFR-only players don’t do this… hell, half the people I raid normals with are incapable of explaining what caused a wipe, imagine 25 LFR strangers trying to learn a fight cold. Having normal/heroic raiders along in the late days of a patch is probably unnecessary but I think you’re forgetting how it was the first couple of months. Until half the raid or more had done the fights and kind of understood them, those were hellish runs even WITH the extra help.

    Note – I’m only talking LFR here. I do fully expect that normal/heroic raiders will regularly do flex runs as well as scheduled raid activities, at least for the first while. If nothing else, it should provide practice for them as well as decent, minor upgrades over T15. I’m okay with that. My intention here is to make LFR unappealing to normal/heroic raiders without significantly impacting the LFR-only crowd or introducing artifical constraints. If someone is missing 1 or 2 slots from the previous tier (say, they started normal raids late and didn’t quite fill out the slots), I have no problem with them running LFR to try and fill those slots or they could put a group together to do the original normal instance on for the same item if they’d prefer. Yes, the cumulative loot system would also help with this but I think getting extra gear should require extra effort (even bonus tokens don’t come automatically every week… unless you pet battle, I gather…). When Blizz does offer “free” loot (the Sha lootable item, the 476 belt for gold, the 502 quest boots, the 516 first heroic scenario reward, the 522 shoulders for gold, etc), it should be unusual and something to look forward to, not something that becomes mundane and expected. If they implemented that system they would be tied to it forever, they could never even THINK about getting rid of it. Players are already plenty entitled as it is, this type of system would take it to the next level.

    All that being said, I’d prefer to see players simply take responsibility for how they spend their in-game time.

    • Geodew says:

      I respectfully disagree. Some things I think you perhaps overlooked:

      1. Casual LFR-only players with upgraded 530 valor gear, upgraded 510 trinkets and weapons, and upgraded 510 4-tier-set, do not have much to gain from an ilvl 522 SoO LFR. Even 535 would probably make them feel like it’s not worth the effort. Ghostcrawler mentioned this on Twitter I think a couple weeks ago — that they need to make the new LFR be significant upgrades over 2/2 valor gear to keep casual LFR-only players interested.

      2. Agreeing with Theck, I don’t really see the Cumulative Loot System as “free loot.” Certainly if a player has defeated Heroic mode, they are skilled and geared enough to defeat Normal, Flex, and LFR in an appropriate, contributing group. It’s not getting them any more loot than if they’d spent a lot of time doing LFR and Flex. It’s only saving them time. Also as Theck said, whether or not you consider this “free loot” is determined only by your expectations of what the boss should drop. I don’t really feel like you’ve refuted these points.

      3. You kind of brush off the burnout issue as “Well they shouldn’t spend so much time playing then.” That’s kind of a straw man. The problem is not “Oops I played too much, and now I’m tired of the game.” The problem is more often “There’s this difficulty mode that feels trivial for my skills and gear, but it drops upgrades that would be helpful for this challenging difficulty mode.” Even Normal Mode guilds do not need the LFR “practice” come week 3, let alone Heroic guilds. It’s way too easy to be any sort of challenge for skilled players, except maybe healers trying to carry an awful group (which is not a good indication of how healing Normals will be at all, usually). Also, World First guilds would be idiotic to not grasp every advantage they can get (and to a lesser extent, Heroic and Normal mode guilds also do this, to further their guild’s progression, for gear or guild altruism or whatever, as Theck mentioned). LFR upgrades can already make a difference when everyone in the raid team does it, especially for N guilds. To forgo an advantage you could have had is to purposefully hinder yourself in the progression race, at which point you may as well play a different game, because the person who wins is just the person who spends the most time playing. Halfway into N progression this tier, my guildmates each had 4-6 LFR items average equipped. All those smaller upgrades contributes to a large raid performance change. To ignore these facts about burnout makes you sound wildly out-of-touch with these WoW players and how they feel about doing content they don’t enjoy to be better prepared for content they do enjoy.

      • R says:

        1. Understood completely but I’ve been arguing this point since LFR was originally implemented and since Blizz hasn’t been working on that basis to this point, yes, this tier would be an underwhelming upgrade. I’m thinking long-term, not just in terms of SoO LFR. In 5.4 there won’t BE VP gear equivalent to current i522 gear so that will only be an issue for one tier. For the purposes of that point, imagine that current LFR dropped i496 gear instead of i502 and there was no i522 VP gear… upgraded LFR gear would be i504, next-tier LFR gear would be i522. That’s a significant upgrade (my raiding toon picked up about 30% dps during that range, I’d estimate) so it would meet that requirement. Tier and trinkets would still be i496. THAT’S the scenario I’m proposing.

        2. It is free loot, though, since rather than getting loot at a 15% (roughly) rate per boss kill, they’d be getting it at closer to an 87% rate per kill using Keres’ numbers from a comment above (it maths out to a 13% chance of not getting gear in any of the 4 chances, which means an 87% chance of getting a drop). You’re introducing a huge amount of additional gear (roughly 6x) into the economy which will have two main effects that I see: players will gear up more quickly (not to BiS, that pace won’t change, but to BETTER gear… otherwise there would be no point to even implement this) and there will be a huge increase in the amount of enchanting mats on the market will will have an effect on prices. This might not matter to you (or even most) but it’s an impact that’ll have to be factored in. It will also, of course, decrease the number of geared/skilled players running LFR. I’m still not willing to believe that’s a good thing for the game as a whole, it’s an MMO for all, not just for you (or me, for that matter).

        3. You’re making the assumption that minor gear upgrades from LFR will measurably improve the success of a normal raid group. I’m not willing to concede that assumption and I think that’s a fundamental issue around why players feel “obligated” to run LFR for minor upgrades that I’d like to see go away. The average tier bonus gets you a 2% dps increase, more or less… one person getting that bonus will increase 10-man raid dps by 0.2%. By definition, unless you’ve EVER had a 0.2% boss wipe, that tier bonus would have had ZERO actual impact. Even if you’ve had one, how likely is it that you wouldn’t just get a kill the next pull anyway due to minor tweaks in strat, performance, etc? I’m not sure my raid has had a sub-2% wipe this expansion, which would require every single person in the raid to have gotten a tier bonus equivalent (assuming tanks and healers are included as well). Most of our kills were 15% to kill. Sure, there are exceptions, and sure, in heroic raiding there will be tighter finishes to fights than on normal, but those will still be very rare, not commonplace and certainly not something worth running LFR if that’s the only reason for doing so. You also seem to be positioning LFR as something that normal/heroic players only run for loot, which may be true in a lot (or even most) cases but I don’t think 100% of the players in the game only run content for loot, even LFR.

        And yes, I made that exact comment about world first guilds (re-read my first full paragraph) where every pull DOES count, I’m not speaking for them and I expect they’ll run any content available. 99.9% of the raiding population isn’t in that category and Blizzard shouldn’t make fundamental design decisions that affect us all specifically for 10 guilds worldwide. That ties into my request that guilds set the tone for what their raiders are expected to do, and not in an NFL “optional training camp” way where players are fined if they don’t show up. Blizzard shouldn’t be the ones responsible for determining what a raid should require of their raiders, that should be up to the raid by factoring in how the raiders play – how much, what they choose to do, whether to schedule those types of runs, etc. That’s the main thing I’m trying to communicate here, players need to take responsibility for their own playtime. I just can’t understand anyone arguing that point.

        • Çapncrunch says:

          You have some faults in your logic. First of all, Keres’ numbers don’t actually reflect the suggested cumulative loot system, Keres was talking about bonus rolls which isn’t the suggestion, and also suggested that a heroic kill has a chance to award normal mode loot, which is also not a part of the suggestion. The suggestion was that killing a boss on normal or heroic would also trigger/consume your chance at loot for LFR/Flex (ie the automatic loot or bag you get once per week in LFR/Flex is awarded when you kill it on normal/heroic). So there is no 87% chance at getting loot from a kill. You have the regular chance of getting normal/heroic loot based on what the boss dropped and how it’s distributed and then in addition you have ~15% chance of getting an LFR item and ~15% chance of getting a Flex item. That’s equates to just under a 28% chance at getting “free loot” in addition to the regular boss drops. (I would imagine that under the suggested cumulative loot system bonus rolls would work exactly as they currently do, giving you a chance at extra loot based on the difficulty that you actually killed the boss on, with no chance at giving you extra loot from lfr/flex unless you specifically do those difficulties in order to use your coins)

          You also claim that this system would result in “more loot” and “faster gearing” when it wouldn’t. The players would still be getting the same amount of loot per week, they just wouldn’t have to run the same instance 3 times per week to get it. So it doesn’t speed that anyone gears up, except for maybe the super lazy that wouldn’t normally bother to run LFR/Flex.

          You then follow your claim that giving LFR/Flex gear to normal/heroic raiders for doing normal/heroic kills would significantly increase how fast players gear, with a claim that LFR/Flex items are such insignificant upgrades that they have no impact whatsoever on progression….do you see the contradiction there? If the items are so insignificant then what would be the problem of players getting them faster (when again, as I’ve pointed out, they won’t actually get them faster at all).

          The problem is that “optional” content isn’t. It just isn’t. For the grand majority of players, if there is extra content that has a chance to give them upgrades then they’re going to feel obligated to do it. This isn’t just a matter for the world first guilds, nor is it something that guilds enforce, it’s simply the natural mindset of players. If a normal mode raider is still using any item that is less than 502/510 then they’re naturally going to WANT to run lfr so that they can replace it and make their character better, it’s a natural desire. Even if you had a very casual normal mode raiding guild where the raid leader made it abundantly clear that there are no expectations whatsoever for raiders to do LFR and that it’s perfectly fine to just make due with what drops in raid and zero outside effort was required, I can guarantee that at least half of them, probably more, will still run LFR just because THEY want the upgrades.

          If Blizzard made it so that you were eligible for LFR loot 3 times per week, then most players would start running LFR 3 times per week until they no longer needed any loot from it. Because they want the loot and they will naturally seek out any opportunity to get it. We’re strange creatures, if you give us the option to get more loot then we will naturally gravitate towards it, even if we dislike the act of doing it (if anything that seems to make us even more compelled to do it, because we want to get it over with).

          That’s the issue with burnout: we WILL run as much content as possible for the potential rewards. Whether it’s optional or not we’ll still do it. We NEED blizzard to step in and stop us one way or another. One way, the most common, is through a restriction of some sort, such as a shared lockout, that makes it so that we’re unable to get some of those potential rewards and remove the “need” to do it. The other option is to provide an alternative option to get those potential rewards in a less burnouting (?) manner, such as the cumulative loot system. Because if blizzard doesn’t step in and stop us then we WILL run ourselves ragged and then rage at blizzard for letting us do it.

          Sure you can argue that it’s our own fault but that’s really no relevant. All that matters is that we want to enjoy the game, and blizzard wants us to enjoy it as well. It doesn’t gain them anything to let us ruin our own experience and do nothing but say “serves you right”. They are much better off doing *something* to prevent us from burning ourselves out so that we continue to enjoy the game and keep playing it.

        • Geodew says:

          Re 1: Okay, I understand you now.

          Re 2: What are you talking about? Keres’ comment is not the Cumulative Loot System that was suggested… With CLS you introduce no extra gear to a player who would have done the boss on LFR and Flex that week anyway. The only potential problem is that you’re handing DE-able gear to enchanters who may not have run the content on LFR/Flex regardless. I don’t really see this as a major economy-breaking problem, especially in the final tier.

          Re 3: You say you won’t concede this point, but I’ll assume you don’t actually mean “I’m stubborn and will plug my ears to anything you say.” So here goes.

          Okay, suppose there’s no valor gear like you said. We can also probably ignore upgrades for this discussion, since 502 and 522 are 20 apart, and so are 510 and 530.

          So a N Mode raider would have finished T14 with maybe half 489/496 and half 463 if they did no LFR and purchased no valor gear. Let’s average 489 and 496 to 492.5. Let’s say they may have replaced 489s with 496s so their average raid gear piece is ilvl 493. That makes their average item level with the half 463s equal to *478.*
          If the 463s were all 483s and 476s instead (say average 481) from running LFR all tier, their avg ilvl is *487.*

          This is already 9 item levels apart. That’s a huge difference in performance. But I’m not done.

          T15 hits, and by the end of the tier they have half 522s (or worse, with how difficult bosses #2 and #3 were). The guy who did LFR last tier did LFR this tier too, and has upgraded all his 496s and worse to 502s. His avg item level is *512.*
          The guy who did no LFR doesn’t do any again. He replaces a random half of his gear with 522s, leaving half of the remaining (so a fourth of the total) 463, and the other half of the remaining ~493. His average item level is *500.*

          Now the players are 12 item levels apart, which is an even larger performance difference. This also means these two players likely remained ~10 item levels apart for the entire tier. This is scarily consistent with what I experienced between me (who unwillingly did lots of LFRs for upgrades) and one of our tanks (who did next to no LFR, and not our prot pally for the record). He was always about 10 item levels behind.

          Other points to consider: Either you think LFR is worth doing, or you don’t. Let’s say you think it’s worth doing, then everyone on your raid team does it. If you don’t think it’s worth doing, then none of them do. You’re considering the difference between one player doing LFR, not the entire raid team. You should be considering the entire raid team. It’s like you’re saying “it’s not worth flasking because one person getting 1000 int does not increase raid dps that much.” Well, it sure does if *all* of your dpsers flask.

          Next, tier bonuses are rarely worth as low as 2%. They’re so strong in fact that it’s sometimes worth wearing two tier 502s over two non-tier 522s depending on spec. It’s almost always worth wearing at least one 502 to get a tier bonus over a 522. More often tier bonuses are around a 5% performance increase, sometimes up to 10% if they’re accidentally too good. My Mage friend saw a SimC DPS increase from 120k to 132k from switching a 522 to a 502 tier piece completing his 4set. I’m not making this stuff up here.

          Third, your math is weird. If one of FIVE dps increases their performance by 5%, that’s a 1% raid dps gain, not 0.5%. You do not have ten DPS in a 10m raid. 😛 Nitpicking, but still.

          Fourth, my raid group has had lots of close wipes <5% like that this tier alone, one or two even <0.5%. We have had even more times with boss kills where the last person standing finishes off the boss as they die. It happens a lot more often than you think.

          • R says:

            I’m going to completely re-post the relevent Keres comment here to make sure we’re talking about the same thing, I realize that he/she is proposing a modification of the originally discussed system, that’s why I mentioned I was using that proposal for reference:


            Say: Heroic Gorrash dies: X Loot drops off the boss. a person decides to burn a coin for an extra roll.

            15% chance to get a heroic item…
            If no loot is granted, (15% + (heroic chance) chance to get a Normal Item…
            If no loot is granted, (15% + (Chance for normal item)) chance to get a Flex Item…
            If no loot is granted, (15% + (Chance for flex item) chance to get LFR item.

            The heroic raider will see a 15% chance to get a heroic item, but if they don’t then they will have a 30% chance to get a normal item, but it they don’t get it, a 45% chance for a flex item, and if they don’t get that then a 60% chance to get a LFR item. This could apply to normal mode as well, just starting on the level below on the example.

            In that scenario, you have an 87% chance of getting a piece of loot. It’s math, not opinion. 85% chance of not getting the heroic item, 59.5% chance of not getting heroic or normal, 32.7% chance of not getting those two or flex, 13% chance of not getting any of the four. So, an 87% chance of getting a drop.

            @Capn:

            “The problem is that “optional” content isn’t. It just isn’t. For the grand majority of players, if there is extra content that has a chance to give them upgrades then they’re going to feel obligated to do it.”

            I don’t even know where to start with this. The “grand majority” of WHAT players? World first raiders? Heroic raiders? Normal raiders? Future flex raiders? LFR raiders? Pet battlers? The obligation you refer to is a PERSONAL CHARACTER TRAIT, probably in the OCD family. Yes, I suspect it’s one that a larger-than-normal percentage of the WoW population has. Despite that, I absolutely question your opinion that the grand majority of any playerbase (with the likely exception of WF/Heroic raiders, for whom absolute maximizing probably IS a formalized expectation for their raid groups) feels obligated to run LFR after the first week or two. Even if you’re speaking on behalf of a bunch of people that you know personally you can’t make that type of claim with any authority. I’m a raider myself, I see that pressure (and feel some of it myself), what I *don’t* see is people just mindlessly running LFR for minor upgrades. Some run it regularly, some run it occasionally, some have stopped running it, based on whether they want/choose to do it or not. That’s healthy. I do absolutely believe that you and many others do feel that obligation. I do equally absolutely believe that you’re in the small minority of the playerbase as a whole and that your obligation is entirely personal, not the fault of Blizzard for not saving you from yourselves. Take some responsibility. It’s Blizzard’s job to make the content, it’s up to you to determine what content to play.

            @Geo:

            Re: 2: Unless you’re imagining this system being limited to 5.4 and ONLY to 5.4 I don’t see how your economic argument makes sense. Today, sure, mats are devalued and generally plentiful on even my lesser-populated servers but in the first tier of the next expansion that will NOT be the case. One of the common errors people make when discussing things like this is to only consider the immediate consequences. Blizzard is playing the long game. If you’re going to discuss things that Blizzard should do you need to give long-term impact sigificantly more weight than how things will impact today. Unless they’re pretty sure a change won’t have long-term negative impact they’d prefer to keep things as they are. I’d do the same thing in their situation. Something gets added in a PTR patch note and gets taken away shortly afterward and a portion of the playerbase revolts… about something that they never actually had. I’m baffled by that type of reaction.

            Re: 3: No, I definitely try to be open-minded so I appreciate the assumption. And yes, I should have said “performance” instead of “dps” with the 2% / 0.2% comment. If anything, I think healers and tanks are the most important roles in the last few seconds of a near-wipe, a bit more dps will only save you a few microseconds, a well-timed heal or CD can get you a kill. I’d argue their 0.2% improvements could be more valuable than dps ones.

            In terms of the bulk of the rest of your comment there, I’m not sure where you got the impression that I was suggesting that nobody raiding above LFR level (even if they aren’t clearing) actually run LFR… sure, if there are SIGNIFICANT upgrades there, go for it, or if you just enjoy running LFR as GAME CONTENT, absolutely do it. I’m not asking for a shared lockout between LFR and anything else. What I’m trying to point out is that minor upgrades (and I mean minor upgrades… i496 -> i502, for instance) aren’t worth actually WORRYING ABOUT for 99.9% of us. We’ll see zero actual impact from those types of upgrades. From i463 to i496, though? I’d run LFR for that. If I thought I was underperforming, though, I’d be more likely to hit the dummy for a while, though, vs trying to get gear. Gear will come at some point but performance improvements will have immediate AND long-term benefits.

            I think LFR is worth doing if it’s worth doing. I can’t say whether you find it worthwhile or whether @Capn finds it worthwhile or whether anyone else in-game finds it worthwhile, it’s a personal decision. I don’t pet battle but others swear by it, doesn’t mean I don’t think pet battles are worth doing, just means I’ve decided it’s not for me. If they put a LFR-calibre piece of loot as a weekly pet battle reward it wouldn’t make me start doing it. It just wouldn’t. Not because I don’t like my raid group, not because I don’t value success, not because I don’t like getting upgrades, but because it wouldn’t be worthwhile enough to do.

            I’ve also said that I think if a raid believes that every upgrade should be chased, the raid should be doing LFR as a group to share the pain and improve the experience. If they don’t think LFR is important enough to dedicate time to then players shouldn’t feel obligated to use up THEIR time for it unless they choose to. Some will, of course, but I just wish more players would realize that doing something you hate/ you despise/that will burn you out isn’t WORTH small, incremental gear upgrades.

            Tier bonuses vary a lot by class/spec/tier, I felt 2% was a reasonable average based on what I’ve seen with my toons over the years. I don’t think you’d argue that 5% is average across all classes/specs. But again, that ties into someone’s personal situation… for instance, on my main toon, a ww monk, RoRo is ridiculously overpowered, even the i502 version… it’s arguably better than any other TF heroic trinket available. So yes, I farmed that… personal choice. I didn’t farm it on my hunter, though.

            Okay, if you say you’ve had multiple <0.5% wipes then I'll give you that point. I haven't, though, and I strongly suspect that there are very few of those that actually happen… still, did any of those <0.5% wipes not end up in a kill that night? Would it be worth farming LFR for 4hr per week per player to save yourself a couple of wipes in the future?

            I'd never argue with flasks being important, +1000 stats is a big increase and, unlike LFR gear, getting them is easy, they have a great benefit/effort ratio… any food is less significant, though, and the extra +25 stat from +300 food is less than trivial vs +275 feast. Again, world first trying to wring every last bit of performance out of their raiders? I can see the appeal although I'd still argue whether it'd do any actual good. For even heroic raiders, though? Totally not worth the effort.

            Honestly, none of us are probably that far off in terms of what we'd want, I'd just like to see LFR be made optional based on player preference &/or making the LFR gear less desirable vs making perceived obligation an actual determining factor in how the game is designed and by handing out extra loot to compensate. Ultimately, I think we'd all like LFR to be optional and situational for raiders, it's just a matter of the least disruptive way to get there. I don't like artificial caps like the old 25 daily cap, I'd rather leave it in the hands of the players and trust them to make the right decisions for themselves. Those who can't will just have to deal with the consequences… or continue petitioning Blizzard to save them from themselves, I guess. I just won't support that argument.

          • Geodew says:

            I don’t agree with Keres’ system either for the reasons you mention and more.

            “The “grand majority” of WHAT players?”

            You seem out of touch with raiders. I have the same impression he has, though none of the three of us have any scientifically sound surveys. If you’re arguing 30%+ of WoW players are OCD about getting gear I think you’re kidding yourself. The point is that you do the best you can in raiding N/H and getting gear upgrades is one of the surefire ways to do that.
            For what it’s worth, I tried to start a poll. Who knows if it’ll get enough views to be useful, though. http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1336053-Poll-Do-you-run-LFR-for-gear-despite-not-enjoying-the-content

            Currently I’m only suggesting this system be put in place for 5.4 until 6.0. A sizable majority of players are not enchanters on their mains, so I don’t think the small amount of extra Sha Crystals would cause a huge impact. Remember that there is no difference for players who would run LFR/Flex that week anyway; the change only affects enchanters who wouldn’t. A sizable amount of Sha Crystals also come from enchanters DEing old gear from previous tiers and such. 5.4 would be a good test to see the effect on econ.

            “What I’m trying to point out is that minor upgrades (and I mean minor upgrades… i496 -> i502, for instance) aren’t worth actually WORRYING ABOUT for 99.9% of us. We’ll see zero actual impact from those types of upgrades. From i463 to i496, though? I’d run LFR for that.”

            Yeah, the thing is that the devs have said that they felt the difference for T14 valor gear to T15 LFR gear (496->502, 6 ilvls) was too small. That’s why T15 valor is 522 and T16 LFR is 535 (13 item levels), and we can expect to see such a large ilvl difference for N Raiders in the future as well, apparently, and most importantly in 5.4. In T14 running LFR was also 463->476/483 for MSV/(HoF/ToES) (13/20 item levels). Flex will be even larger upgrades.

    • Sher says:

      I deeply dislike “personal” loot in Flex as well, because when I run with friends I want to be able to share the loot with them. It sucks when you get the same item week in week out, an item you never wanted in the first place because you outgear the content, and meanwhile your friend is going “aww…gold again..i could have really used that trinket”. Definitely love your idea of scaling up loot in Flex.

      As for LFR…what about the idea of “scaling the gear to the level of the instance”. You zone into LFR, you get your ilvl set to, idk, 520 or something. You get to see content…progress…but you don’t get any rewards from it other than gold, pets, etc..cosmetic stuff, and valor. Then if you want to raid more seriously you join flex, normal, heroic whatever. That would work for me, and I don’t even mind that most of my alts will remain in blues. This is because the expectation for joining flex/normal raids will no longer include an “lfr ilvl” which is what makes things so frustrating now. Anyway just a thought.

  11. Geodew says:

    You’re brilliant as always if I may say so. Well put, I think. To reinforce what you think about normal mode raiders… My guild’s semi-casual 5/13H right now. But last tier only got 14/14N (partially due to attendance problems and being on a VERY low-pop realm (at the time) so literally no pugs in trade, to explain the progression difference :P). So I don’t know if you’d consider us Hrc or N raiders.

    Regardless, this was pretty much our first reaction: “But how are we going to get raiders to show up for a Flex night? Everyone’s too busy with jobs. Can we even get 10 people without carrying pugs? Could we even finish all of Flex in one night? Not to mention we have to run LFR and Flex and N/H and do Timeless Isle stuff to keep up? Even though we stocked up on Lesser Charms …Yeah, we’re not going to keep up. At least not most of us.”

    And that’s kind of a bad feeling. I’d like for my raid team to give it our all, even if we don’t spend much time raiding, but if people don’t have time to make Flex (a few guildies already don’t really do LFR except to see the fight 1-2 times), it feels like doing progression attempts without anyone flasking — you’re just not doing everything you could do to succeed. You know?

    So like you said, it’s not really just about burnout, it’s also about getting Normal Mode (or whatever, Somewhere-In-Between-Mode) guilds like mine, who don’t all have time for Flex *or* LFR, let alone both, a way to still be competitive.

    • Geodew says:

      One more minor point: Even if Cumulative Loot lowers the average skill of LFR or Flex, and this causes problems, the encounters can just be tuned to be a bit easier. Thus, I don’t see the problem with that even if it *were* true.

  12. Wayne Molina says:

    Please suggest that loot idea to Blizzard :) I agree totally.. I think Flex would be much more appealing if you could use your own loot system than deal with the “Oh yay gold again” LFR type of mentality

    • Çapncrunch says:

      I agree that the LFR-style loot system does sort of get in the way of the “casual yet organized” content mentality, but I think the reason they’re going with the LFR-style loot is essentially make Flex into the PUG-mode raiding. One complaint that’s been around since the start of Cata is the lack of pug-friendly raid content. LFR was sort of their first attempt to solve the problem, but due to the nature of random que mentality it just didn’t fit the old “pug” feeling. Flex is their next attempt, adding a bit more organization than what LFR requires, but easy enough that you can probably still just grab just about anyone from /trade and still have a decent shot at success. But we saw back in Dragon Soul LFR what tends to happen in large-group pugs.

      While the LFR-style loot might take away a bit from the group aspect, I think it’s an ok compromise to ensure safe pugging.

      Oh, another factor with being able to choose your own loot system is whether or not you are able to re-run Flex in the same week like you can LFR. For whatever reason I got the impression you could, though I haven’t seen it specifically mentioned. And if that was the case it could lead to issues with certain loot rules, while on the other hand the LFR-style loot was specifically designed with this in mind.

    • Geodew says:

      I think we should also consider that personal loot means you won’t have a PUG raid lead saying “No, I’m an Elemental Shaman, so we’re not taking any Ele or Resto shamans.” Which happened to me recently. Selfish of him, but the reality is that it happens. My realm is high pop so people can get away with it. Personal Loot eliminates this problem, and you can bring whomever you want as long as the comp’s good.

  13. Jolugon says:

    Great analysis, as always.

    From my point of view, it would be easier to reduce the effectiveness the LFR version of sets and procs from trinckets, if you are running a heroic version rather than cumulative loot. This way, there is no more an incentive for heroic raiders to do LFR (remember that we are talking about 3 dificulty levels below now).

    However, I also would like to point out that it is only a part of the problem. For Normal raiders, LFR can be much more problematic. Please let me explain my case: I am a raid leader of a friendship-based normal guild, and in our case LFR is hurting A LOT. What I expect from my raiders is to be ready for the raid (carry flasks, potions, know the mechanics, etc.) and to do their best once they are in. According to this, people who meet the requirements have the same chance to improve themselves via loot.

    Well, LFR has destroyed this balance for us. Now, there is a great difference between people that only can/want to care about the main guild activity (raiding) and people which spend all their time trying to get every single upgrade that they are able to. I’m not only talking about loot but legendary quest line (was it really necessary a 600 ilvl cape??), valor cap, faction rep, dailies rewards, world bosses, etc.. As a consequence, some people feel themselves unfairly strong while others feel unfairly weak. As you could imagine, this is something destabilizing for the guild.

    I cannot see a simply way to fix this situation without harming the LFR oriented comunity. Probably the game does not need heroic raiders for LFR, but normal raiders… Curiosly, my only hope now to fix this situation for us is Flex raid. I plan to include it in our normal raiding schedule (at least until we achieve some progression point), so everybody will be able to get the valor caps, legendary tockens and hopefully enough upgrades to reduce the average ilevel difference.

    • Geodew says:

      I think removing the elitist, don’t-want-to-be-there, let’s-get-this-overwith people in LFR would be a big plus for LFR raiders who probably don’t want to deal with that. I think LFR would be a much more pleasant experience for everyone if everyone there was doing it for fun, not for gear. Some of those get-this-overwith players are Normal Mode raiders who need the gear.

      I think it sounds like the Cumulative Loot System would fix your guild’s problem, also.

      The cloak needs to be ~600 to be a significant upgrade over Heroic SoO gear stats-wise. That’s probably why they put it so high.

      I don’t think handling only trinkets and set bonuses will fix the problem. Alleviate, sure, but not fix. I ran Iron Qon on LFR probably 8 times trying to get an off-hand for progression’s sake.

    • Çapncrunch says:

      I don’t think its realistic to think they could reduce the effectiveness of set bonuses from LFR, because the set bonuses are tied to the “sets” not the items. IE the T15 Retribution tier set is actually 15 items, not 5, including LFR, normal and heroic versions (and the sets will be 20 items in SoO with the addition of Flex). So regardless of whether you’re wearing LFR tier or Heroic tier you still have items from the same “set” and therefore get the same set bonus. Or another way of looking at is what happens when you have 2 pieces of LFR tier and 2 pieces of normal tier (or any combination of mixed level tier pieces)? Which set bonus do you get, the lfr version or the normal version? It would be considerably more complicated (both for the devs as well as for players) to account for all possible combinations.

      Trinkets are another matter, since they are singular items, although the reason why they tend to create similar issues where lesser versions can be nearly as attractive as their higher ilevel counterparts is because trinkets are inherently unique due to having some sort of proc or on use effect, which means that they aren’t nearly as comparable to eachother as other items. For example if you look at all the available necks for a given ilevel they’ll all have X stam, Y strength and then 2 secondary stats of roughly similar quantities, which means that while one neck will be the best and another will be the worst, the relative difference between them will be both small and static; which means that it’s highly unlikely that the LFR version of the best neck will be better than the normal mode version of the worst neck because they’re just not different enough to overcome the ilevel gap.

      But trinkets have far greater variety which makes the comparisons much less straightforward. Looking at dps trinkets (to keep things as straight-forward as possible) one trinket might have a chunk of strength and a mastery proc, another may have a chunk of haste and a strength cd, and a third may have a chunk of crit and a stacking effect, so they differ not only in which secondary stats they provide but also in how they provide them, what their average uptimes are, how their cds/icds line up with other abilities etc. Which can easily create a large enough difference between the best and worst trinkets to overcome ilevel gaps (especially when you consider that there’s usually only 3, maybe 4 trinkets for each spec in a tier and you need 2 of them which increases the variance between them). And the only real way to prevent this from happening is to take that sort of uniqueness away from trinkets and just make them have static stats on them and no procs or other effects like the rest of our gear (or at least reduce the impact of those procs/cds to the point that they have little bearing on the quality of the trinkets, which would be just as boring).

    • Jolugon says:

      Thank you both for your interesting comments. I would like to do some remarks about them:

      1. From the perspective of a normal/heroic raider, I agree you, a cumulative loot system would work. However, possibly LFR raiders would feel that their effort would be less rewarding in relative terms, because the rest would win a chance to get the same loot as them for free.

      2. I still cannot follow the logic behind the current 600 ilvl cloak (not the legendary one). It is so huge difference between it and “regular” cloaks that it is absolutely mandatory to achieve it, even for the next tier (until you are able to obtain the legendary one). My only guess is that it is an intent to nerf content through gear, and while it could seem ok at first glance, this “nerf” is not the same for everybody, and people who cannot progress through the quest line fast enough “only” by raiding every single day, feel unfearly weak and punished.

      3. I also agree that even if they disable procs from LFR items in Heroic, the stats balance problem should remain, but it would be much less common than these days. But you are right, some people would still be pushed to run LFR for upgrades. Thinking about this, an absurd idea have crossed my mind:

      How about fully “gating” raid difficulties? Let’s suppose that you could use gear this way:
      – LFR loot –> Only usable in LFR and Flex (also world bosses, instances, outdoor, etc.).
      – Flex loot –> Only usable in LFR, Flex and Normal/heroic.
      – Normal/heroic loot –> No restrictions

      Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but I cannot find too many weak points. One could think that it could be a problem when you change from a tier to the next one, but not necessarily. This gating would not be tied to the item level, so when the next tier comes, you will stay roughly at the same difficulty level (you could choose if you need to go one step below to gear up), so your gear still be valid (you would still need to meet current item level requirements for LFR, obviously).

      • Geodew says:

        1. I’d guess that it only remains to convince LFR raiders that it’s not “free” if they spent 5+ hours on progression for that boss. The idea that a N or H raider doesn’t deserve the LFR gear just because they didn’t actually run LFR seems silly to me.

        2. I see where you’re coming from here. The RNG aspect of the legendary progress is quite frustrating. Note, however, that the Legendary Meta Gem was a huge upgrade (15-20% performance) for most specs whereas the cloak was more like 3% I think, according to tools like SimC. I’d be complaining about RNG Meta Gem progress before the cloak 😛

        3. You’re certainly right; that’s a very absurd idea :) It might just work, though. Only difference is World PvP or Questing.

        This reduces the number of lockouts required by N/H raiders to 2. However, with Flex ilvl much closer to N/H, players still might feel more obligated to run Flex in 5.4 than LFR in 5.2, which still makes the situation worse than it was.

        Also if Flex can be used for all 4 raid difficulties, doesn’t it also have “no restrictions” like N/H gear? 😛

        • Jolugon says:

          Yes you are right. I was thinking about not allowing Flex gear on Heroic, but taking into account that Normal and Heroic shares lockout I changed my mind and add “/Heroic” :P.

          It is also true that this would make Flex more mandatory, but anyway with current system it will be. Even if you get an upgrade from LFR you will also run Flex to try to get the improved version of the item. On the other side, I consider much better to be “forced” only to run an easy instance with your guild mates, if you are released from having to run LFR also.

      • Çapncrunch says:

        The issue I see with trying to “gate” gear is that gear doesn’t only come from raiding. Where would the heroic scenario loot fall on that table? World drop epics? Crafted items? Quest rewards? 5-man drops? Or pvp items?

        Consider the first tier of an expansion, everyone will be starting out with a mix of quest rewards and dungeon blues and then going straight into normal mode raids the first week they’re open. But by following your logic everybody would essentially be completely naked walking into normals, they’d be completely undo-able, even by world first-quality guilds until after weeks of farming flex-mode until they were fully geared in flex-level gear before they could even set foot into normals. Factor in the gating mechanism that LFR and Flex use, and it just exacerbates the issue. That’d be just plain dumb. Sure you could remove or change the requirements for the first tier of each expansion, but that’s just a sign that the system is flawed. Not to mention this issue would have the same negative impact on alts or new players, making them arbitrarily forbidden to enter a normal mode raid until they’ve farmed a full set of flex gear.

        Imagine what about that unlucky who leveled up and has been running LFR and Flex with friends and is trying to get into normal raids, but is still using an LFR weapon on his ret-pally because he hasn’t managed to get one from Flex yet? Now instead of just having a low quality weapon, he literally has no weapon at all. He’s now being gated from content not by the quality of his gear but simply because of where the gear came from.

        Or consider the prospect of going back and doing old content, if an LFR-SoO raider, who never touches flex (unlikely, but possible, or imagine a situation like above where they’re still stuck with an lfr item in some critical slot), let alone normals wants to go back and do normal MSV for achievements or fun. They’re not allowed just because their gear all came out of an LFR? Even though they significantly outgear the content they’re not allowed to use that superior gear? Somehow their ~528 ilevel gear isn’t good enough to kill bosses that drop 476 gear? Again you could say to just remove the restriction on each tier when a new one comes out, but again, that’s just a sign that the system is flawed to begin with.

        Plus the idea just doesn’t make sense. Why should an LFR item be reduced to an empty slot in a normal/heroic raid instance? Walking into a raid instance should not, all of a sudden, make your character weaker than it was before. That’d just be jarring and unnatural. Even in the case of pvp or challenge modes they only scale your gear, they don’t just outright say “you can’t equip this here”. The idea just seems to run contrary to the concept of how gearing works: you replace items because you got better ones, not because you’re no longer allowed to use them.

        The idea of not allowing LFR gear in normal/heroic raids has been tossed around since Dragon Soul, but it simply doesn’t work for so many reasons. And let’s face it, if Blizzard was going to introduce gear-gating like this then they’d have done it for pvp to definitively solve the issue of imbalance between pve and pvp gear growth rates, instead of the ilevel scaling they went with. At least there you could make a logical argument of “pve gear isn’t meant for pvp, so it’s not allowed anymore” instead of the much less logical argument of “this pve gear shouldn’t be used for that pve content”

        • Geodew says:

          Haha yeah I guess you’re (mostly) right.

          Regarding your first paragraph: I assumed he meant that all other gear would also have no restrictions. The goal was to make it so N/H raiders don’t have to do lower-difficulty content without discouraging people from doing LFR/Flex on the off-chance they get into a normal mode (which is an effect of shared lockouts). Thus there doesn’t need to be any restriction on craftable epics or stuff like that.

          One thing you could do instead is that LFR gear gets scaled down in N/H, rather than just being unusable. 502 LFR to 496. 535 LFR to 522.

          However, this still requires you to potentially carry around additional gear pieces just-in-case depending on which kind of content you were doing, and still makes it harder to get new raiders or alts started; you are super right about that.

          So, on second thought, Cumulative Loot System seems to have way fewer flaws and risks.

        • Jolugon says:

          There is no need to be so caustic.

          I will do a more serious analysis:

          It make sense to me that a LFR item is not useful for Normal/Heroic because they are in different progression paths. People don’t start progressing from LFR to Heroic and the next tier start again with LFR. My point is that basically there are LFR raiders, Normal raiders and Heroic raiders. Of course one can progress from LFR raiding to Heroic raiding if he is skilled enough, but even in that case, there is a lot of time, effort and learning involved. We could see it as an “implicit gating”.

          The problem is that people find the shortcuts to improve themselves (for example, Normal raiders gearing up on LFR). Regardless the progression level of a raiding guild, we all fight against bosses which difficulty is a little too hard for us with our current gear level and skills. We try to improve both, but it is so much easier the second one when we play near our limits that there is no choice, and we do what we do not want to do (run LFR for upgrades). This is sad and bad for the game.

          If we turn the implicit gating into explicit, then we prevent people from going (or being forced to go) against the essence of the system. All the solutions which involve per-boss locks (like the cumulative loot system) only work if you are able to clean the instance every week with all your riders. For an average Normal raiding guild, this is far from being true the most part of the tier, so the problem will remain.

          The only way for not feeling forced to run LFR for raiding guilds which are progressing through Normal difficulty is establishing some kind of explicit gating. It can be “soft gating” (making LFR items worthless for Normal/Heroic raiders) or “hard gating” (we can put inside this group the shared lockout solution). It is simple, a cumulative loot system will not work for us because we will want Garrosh LFR upgrades untill the end of our progression through SoO.

          At least, we will always have Flex…

          • Thels says:

            True, the cumulative loot system doesn’t remove the problem altogether for Normal raiders, though it becomes smaller and smaller as your group progresses through the raid instance.

            One could say that the LFR drops have a minimal impact on your group, as when you’re behind LFR gating on normal progression, it is not likely the gear holding you back, but human psychology is a weird thing, so we can’t write it off that easily.

            So, yes, the system I suggested and Theck detailed out in this post is helping, but won’t be the perfect solution for everyone.

            I don’t think that two of the concerns that Capncrunch are really concerns. First, the restriction would only apply to LFR gear, and not to any other gear, so dungeon gear would work fine in Normal/Heroic raiding.

            Second, there is no point in applying the limitations to previous tiers. Obviously, the restriction only needs to apply to LFR gear from the current Tier, and only towards the current Tier raid instances. Blizzard already performs a lot of tweaks every time a new Tier comes out, so I don’t see making a small change like that every new Tier as a major flaw.

            However, there are still 2 concerns left:

            People that focus on normal/heroic raiding will indeed not set foot in LFR, as the gear there is useless. But what about people that don’t focus on normal/heroic raiding, or not initially?

            Say Bob the Hunter is a casual friend in a raiding guild. He doesn’t raid himself, and only does his LFR every week. One week, the Hunter in the raiding squad is sick, and Bob happens to be online. Rather than calling the raid, they could take Bob along, and down a couple of bosses they have on Farm. They couldn’t do that with your solution.

            There are also plenty of players that take things slower and do work their way up. Perhaps focus on Flex first, with some LFR on the side. And after a month or two, when Flex is cleared, they might want to step up to normal. But wait, they still got an LFR piece here and there.

            The second concern is that of value. By nerfing or removing LFR gear in Normal/Heroic raiding, it might create the message that that’s not true gear, not serious gear. It might give LFRers moreso the feeling that they’re secondary class citizens, and not taken seriously, than the ilvl drop would.

  14. Marshall says:

    What fun is there in ignoring boss mechanics and underperforming or blatantly going afk, then getting free loot you will never use because you aren’t good enough to actually raid?

    The fun of raiding comes from perfecting your skills. Its like playing a console game on the highest difficulty. The challenge IS the fun. I’d bet the number of people who are “there for fun” is incredibly small.

    • Jackinthegreen says:

      The fun of raiding (and playing any game in general) is different for different people. Do you honestly think one definition or way of thinking can even begin to cover the millions of WoW players?

    • Geodew says:

      I’d take that bet in a heartbeat. There’s a large number of casual players who don’t care for Normal Mode raids because they’re too hard. They are the target audience of LFR, and make up most of LFR groups. If you think I’m wrong, consider the kind of people you get into LFR with. How many of them do you think are good enough that you’d bet they raid Normals or Heroics? Half? Less?

      Why do you think Blizzard put LFR in the game in the first place? If it was to give N/H raiders more to do, it wouldn’t be as easy, and they’ve clearly stated that they don’t want N/H raiders to feel forced to do LFR for gear.

      I think you’ll also find that the ones going afk or *purposefully* ignoring mechanics are usually heroic mode raiders who very much don’t want to be there and don’t care enough to try.

  15. NetherLands says:

    An alternative solution would be to make all PvE Gear up to Normal available in the Blizzard Store.

    That way Heroic Raiders wouldn’t be forced to do lesser content, and everybody else wouldn’t be (overly) forced into content, either. The options to get PvE Gear would be either by in-game effort, or by out-of-game effort, depending on player choice and resources.

    The only issue would be the recent increased usefulness of PvE Gear in PvP, but that design decision could of course be reversed also.

    Of course there will be those that complaint on how this makes WoW ‘P2W’ but besides WoW having had P2W elements ever since they put 60’s and 70’s in the same worlds with TBC, for all the hate the sparkleponies and what not have recieved they are apparently succesful enough for Blizz to keep making more of them. Add in a Blue comment on how more money for Blizz = more content, and the masses will be mollified.

    And it are the masses that bring in the bacon.

    • Jackinthegreen says:

      Blizzard will never put gear with actual stats in the store. Doing so would grossly undermine their standards (yes, they do have standards). You’re delusional if you think they’d go for that.

      And what kind of P2W are you talking about? You mean buying the expansion and then leveling up to 70 and slaughtering 60’s? That’s not “P2W” in any meaningful sense because it’s due to the expansion allowing and requiring levels higher than 60 for the new content. That’s pay to play, which is exactly what WoW and most games are in the first place.

    • Geodew says:

      First, I think if Blizzard did this they’d lose at least a third of their Western subscribers instantly. That would make even more people quit because the playerbase is dwindling, and they’d lose more money than they’d gain due to lost subs.

      Second, this does not solve the problem. There will still be people who can’t afford or don’t want to pay for that gear. It’s rather unfair to rich WoW players. There will still be a lot of people (I’d bet most of them) who will feel forced to run LFR/Flex.

      Also, everything Jack said.

      • NetherLands says:

        Wether or not the player-base would revolt in significant numbers (remember, the vast majority of the player base doesn’t Raid to begin with, and Heroic Raiding is a positively niche playstyle) to hurt the bottom line is up for debate, neither I nor you know for certain what will happen.

        In this context it will be interesting to see how Rifts shop is panning out, as afaik they do offer starter-Raid kit in their shop.

        As for wether it would solve the issue to a large enough degree:

        as you correctly said, it is the time factor and the inherent repetitiveness of Instanced Raid content that creates this particular bugbear. People could skip the inconvenient time factor by paying, which is in a sense the whole basis of the ‘better’ F2P systems (you can get store coins by wallet or by getting them in-game as drops etc.).

        I have a hard time to see how this would be unfair, especially compared to the other options like more free loot for doing the exact same thing you were already doing anyway.

        If I have to explain how easier access to gold (eg Dailies) and stronger characters than others because you have bought more boxes – remember, all those characters operate in the same economy and the same worlds, it would be different if they didn’t – is reeking of P2Win, I don’t know what I could say that would open up people’s mind to at least understanding different perspectives.

        • Newsom says:

          Not sure if troll or stupid.

        • Çapncrunch says:

          Buying new expansions is not P2Win. First of all nobody paid for a level 70 character (or 80/85/90), they reached those levels by playing the game. By arguing that buying a new expansion is P2Win is like arguing that paying your monthly subscription is P2Win because buying game time allows you to continue improving your character while a player that doesn’t buy more time can’t.

          Second, when a new expansion comes out the previous content becomes inconsequential. The difference in “character power” between a level 70 character and a level 60 character (during TBC) is just as irrelevant as the difference in character power between a level 40 and a level 30 character. You’re not paying to “win” when you purchase a new expansion, you’re paying the “Play” the new expansion.

          If there was no pve content beyond questing, and the only pvp was world pvp, THEN you might have an argument for comparing expansions to being P2Win, but that’s not the case. When an expansion comes out the previous “game” ends and a new “game” begins, and everyone playing that “game” paid for the expansion and therefore none of them got any extra advantage out of it.

        • Geodew says:

          Everything else aside about it, show me someone who does all the MoP dailies on 11 toons and still has free time and I’ll show you someone who somehow never needs sleep or food. Further, who in their right mind does dailies to make money? Farm one or two ghost iron nodes and you have the same amount of money as one daily or more for way less time.

          Also, I don’t count amassing a large sum of gold as “winning.” Letting players buy gold, however, would break the economy. This is a different discussion anyway. Let’s not get off-topic.

          Anyway, okay. Let me clarify something here. When you say that the gear should be buyable, do you mean the actual gear, or the chance at loot? Because the former is definitely pay to win; you could buy all your LFR gear week 1 whereas someone who didn’t buy the gear only has a slim chance to get even a third of that, and since everyone needs more than one thing from at least one boss, it would be *impossible* to get every piece of LFR gear you need week 1. It occurs to me that you might mean being able to purchase the loot chance, which is a time saver like the Lesser Charms, with the problem (specifically for Flex+) that the player may not be skilled enough to earn that gear legitimately, in which case it’s no longer just a time-saver and thus also P2W.

          • NetherLands says:

            The Dailies-for-Gold was a signifcant advantage for TBC accounts compared to Vanilla accounts, people might want to look up reviews etc. of the time.

            Considering what goods and services Gold can provide it is silly to argue having more gold doesn’t provide advantages to the individual player than him having less gold.

            Note that this is seperate from the question wether that advantage is fair or not, or wether an inidividual player cares about an advantage or not (personally, I don’t care for most Raid Achievements exactly because they can be doctored, yet at the same time I do realize that being able to bribe others into boosting you is an advantage).

            And again, if new Expansions lead to everybody who bought that new Expansion being shunted into a different server (or vice-versa) , the relative difference between account types wouldn’t be a factor, but as this isn’t the case, they do provide advantages to the individual player (although I admit that eg during Wrath only Wrath accounts having access to Heirlooms – hardly just flat XP multipliers- made it more blatant).

            There is little moral difference between limiting acces to the Sword of a Thousand Deaths (usable in the original content) to people who buy a box or
            selling it outright, the effect is the same.

            Not everybody is only interested in endgame (going by the % of subscribers with at least one current cap character, most aren’t interested in it) let alone Raiding so looking only at things from that perspective is a tad limited.

            As for the Gear:
            the improved chance is something they are already looking into for the Asian market, I was talking about the actual Gear also as that is more likely to prevent being ripped-off (”oh didn’t your whatsamacallit work? here, buy another. Oh, still no luck? Buy another” etc.).

            On the larger scheme of things, Normal raiding is just a prelude to Heroic, so any imagined prestige associated with Normal Raid Gear doesn’t really exist, Normal Gear is just a tool.

          • Geodew says:

            (Even if this guy’s a troll, I kind of enjoy a test of logic.)

            Even if what you say about TBC dailies were true, it doesn’t matter. This is no longer the case in MoP. I’m sure Blizzard didn’t intend for people to make multiple accounts for the sake of grinding dailies for money. Posting items for USD is obviously intentional.

            Gold provides some perks but BoE gear is semi-affordable without it. More importantly, no one is suggesting that we allow pay-for-gold. I think it *is* still slightly P2W because of BoEs being a bit expensive (and if you’re really poor somehow, it would let you buy gems and enchants more readily), but if you spend USD on 100k gold and then 100k on a mount that’s not too different from buying it with USD. I was more arguing that paying for another account doesn’t really help you make money in MoP today. Pay-for-gold would also cause massive inflation, so I don’t support it at all.

            If you’re going to tell me “most accounts don’t have a toon at the level cap,” I’m going to look at you funny and demand a source. Also, regardless of who plays what aspects of the game, every aspect of the game must refrain from being pay-to-win. Things like XP bonuses are time-savers for the person whose goal is to reach L90 on 10 toons.

            The problem is that the design would have to be “You get your LFR rolls for Wing X of Raid Y for the week” not “You get this LFR piece of gear” because otherwise it’s P2W, like I said. You did not even attempt to refute this point of mine. Also, if you think that Blizzard would even do THIS anywhere but Asia, where people will soon be able to buy Lesser Charms and XP boosts (even those caused Western outrage), then you’re kidding yourself.

            “On the larger scheme of things, Normal raiding is just a prelude to Heroic, so any imagined prestige associated with Normal Raid Gear doesn’t really exist, Normal Gear is just a tool.”

            This has nothing to do with the conversation, and is pure opinion. I’m getting more and more sure that you’re trolling.

          • Thels says:

            Sure, buying a new expansion and being able to level higher and get better gear is an advantage. But that’s more of a side effect. Of course the players that are stuck with Cata have a disadvantage in World PvP in comparison to the players that bought MoP. However, I don’t think that keeping the game fun and engaging for those that are on pre-current level caps is a major goal for Blizzard. They will either buy the new expansion or probably stop playing soon.

            You are completely wrong however, when you say that Normal gear is just a tool for Heroic raiding, and nothing else. Far from everyone is a Heroic raider. A lot of players progress through normal, and others will be progressing through Flex. Being able to start in a normal gear set would be a major advantage to these players, and at the same time make the game more boring for them, as there aren’t any gear upgrades to look forward to.

            And even heroic players would benefit from this gear. If they clear normal in week 1, that far from means that everyone in the raid is decked out in full normal gear.

            It might also make it mandatory for players to buy this gear, as raid leaders would be much more likely to extend raids. Why farm the earlier bosses if people can buy that gear at the store.

            I’m completely fine with XP and Coins being purchaseable in the store. I would have no complains about them being added to the US/EU stores, though I would never use them. While people can buy them, it will give them zero advantage over me, as I could access the same stuff in game. (And honestly, if you want charms, set up a barrens raid. It’s quite easy to farm 300 coins in under an hour.)

            Gear would be quite different. Running LFR/Flex/Normal would only give you a chance on that gear. Being able to buy that gear would be a guarantee, and thus people that are able to buy the gear have a major advantage over those that do not.

            I could understand being able to buy your LFR drops for the week (some loot and failbags), but considering how random that could be, that would sound like a dirty money scheme.

            I admit that buying new expansions also give such an advantage, as it gives you access to gear that people without the expansion wouldn’t have access to, so to a certain degree, buying expansions could be seen as P2W. However, it’s acceptable, as everyone is considered to be buying these new expansions, so it evens out. If gear was for sale, it would only even out, if everyone was considered to be buying that gear, and I would really not like to see the game head in that direction.

          • Çapncrunch says:

            Lol, this guy’s logic is hilarious. Buying expansions is P2Win because not everyone is interested in end-game content, but giving away normal mode loot is fine because only heroic mode matters.

            That’s all I have to say here, I’m done with this one.

          • NetherLands says:

            There have been similar posts from the Wrath era and before, a post I can link at the drop of a hat on the Account/Capped toons % is from Cata

            http://childrenofwrath.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/numbers-20-insight-into-design-theory.html

            According to the Grumpy Elf this precentage is now even lower, which is quite possible given there are relatively many Cataclysm Holdouts (at the first few weeks of MoP launch, only abt. 4 million copies total had been on a then-8 million subs base, for example).

            So yes, in a nutshell GC was absolutely right in that the Forum population grossly overestimates the percentage of Raiders (and mutliboxers, for that matter) but I guess that perhaps some commentors think that GC ‘must be trolling’ as well.

            Btw, if someone can prove or at least make likely that the majority of the total subscriber base actually has level-capped characters and is actively raiding, please do, as so far there are far more indications that the majority isn’t (and not just talking about the less than 1% saw Naxx Vanilla thing) while at the same time a lot of netbloviation assumes the opposite.

            The article was about solutions to a supposed problem (incedentally, if one takes the stance that it doesn’t matter for the bottom line that a very small subsection of the subscriber base has feelings of burnout a bit sooner than usual, the whole supposed gravitas of the situation melts away as well) , and missed the obvious option I named.

            The basis for rejecting is that it would lead to P2W and certain people having no self-control (”they’d buy gear and get bored”).

            The first assumes that WoW doesn’t have P2W elements already – which it has (incedentally, it is 100% legal to buy for cash TCG Loot from the secondary card market and then sell the loot for gold on the in-game AH, so in effect you can already buy gold 100% legit, not just by Guardian Cub).

            Of course it could be the EXTEND of P2W that annoys people, but that is a personal choice, not a moral choice, the moral Rubicon of P2W has already been passed.

            The second is at the end of the day purely a people problem caused by players themselves,and I for one am sick and tired of all the caps and restrictions and handholding in the game because of those kind of people.

            Again, others may very well like the dumbing down etc. that has taken place and all this nannying, so that is again a matter of personal taste only.

            Now in true WoW fashion I could accuse those that disagree with me of being trolls (in the days of politcial correctness replaced by other terms) but frankly I don’t stoop to that myself.

  16. Thels says:

    I’ve been thinking about the Loot System for Flex, and why it copies LFR, not Normal/Heroic. I think there are two good reasons not to use the normal/heroic system:

    1) By using the Normal/Heroic system, you have to make sure that the members of your raid use different kinds of gear. If all characters are on the same tier token, or if you only bring clothies and plates, and no leathers/mails, you’re wasting a lot of your gear. Considering the Flex nature, that’s not really viable.

    2) Using the Normal/Heroic system would support a lot of gear funneling. Say you’re in a 10 man guild and decide to run Flex on the side. With the LFR system, you would just run it on your mains. With Normal/Heroic loot, you would have the first 5 come on their mains and the other 5 come on their alt, and then do it again with the first 5 on their alts and the other 5 on their main. Bringing friends to pass the gear on your behalf would be a boon.

    However, to make it a little more appealing, they could apply the following two changes:

    1) Instead of randomly determining per player if that player gets loot or not, assign loot to a number of players equal to 0.2 times the number of players in the raid eligible for loot. Say you’re running with 12 players, all eligible for loot. it would always hand out loot to 2 of the players, and then there’s a 40% chance it hands out loot to a 3rd player.

    Everyone has a 20% chance of getting loot, regardless of how many players you actually bring, so bringing more or less players does not affect your chance on loot, but this would guarantee there would always be a number of players getting loot (assuming at least 5 players are eligible for loot).

    After determining which of the players get loot, it would then randomly decide which piece of loot they get as normal. (Naturally, the value could be bumped up or down, if Blizzard wants a higher or lower chance to earn loot.)

    2) Have the game announce directly into the chat frames which of the players got loot, and which loot they got.

    • Geodew says:

      Interesting thoughts. It suddenly occurs to me that more RNG is probably not good. There will be a raid group that regularly does Flex with 12-13 people and gets 2 pieces of loot almost all the time. That would kinda suck for that raid group, and may be more frustrating than personal loot, depending.

      Then again, no one getting loot after 1-2 hours or more of progression also feels really crappy. I suppose 2-3 people getting loot is less RNG than 0-13, almost by nature. It would be even worse to be in a raid group where the entire raid regularly gets NO gear.

      • Jackinthegreen says:

        Yeah, the chance to have 0 loot drop in Flex wouldn’t work well for the target audience, while having a chance for everyone to get loot is more than a bit ridiculous. The massive RNG swing can lead to psychological issues that happen with gambling (such as people continually justifying that the next roll is going to get it for them, and then effectively becoming addicted to it).

        Regularly having 0 loot can also lead to people despairing over that particular way to raid and eventually not wanting to take part in it at all. And unfortunately for them, Flex will actually allow that if the raid can still get at least 10 members since it automatically scales. In some cases they might even feel justified in not participating because they could get into a slump and not feel like their contribution will make up for the increased difficulty (despite the numbers that will almost certainly show otherwise).

  17. Genada says:

    I am glad you see flex as being something that is going to be viewed as a positive by social and casual guilds but as the gm of one, I do not. Normal was taken away from us on behalf of the hard core and tuned higher then it had been in previous expansions. Now Blizzard wants to throw us a bone with a stupid loot system and gate how it comes out. To hell with that, I and my guild would rather just not play then do flex.

    • Geodew says:

      That’s sad. I hope you don’t quit. It sounds like what Theck suggested would fix your guild’s problems… I wish they’d just do it already. With Cumulative Loot, there would be much less need for gating Flex :)

      (Though I think most guilds at whom Flex is aimed will not progress through all the bosses that are released immediately anyway, to be fair. It’s supposed to be progression-oriented, unlike LFR.)

      • Genada says:

        Think about the message that would be being sent with cumulative loot. Your pretty much saying that the loot from lfr and flex is such garbage we can give it away. This system would further alienate the more casual player base and further separate the groups apart from each other.

        Also it would be very tough to accept that normal and heroic have guaranteed drops with further chances at flex and lfr loot while the other modes only have a chance.

        • Thels says:

          Most people that enjoy the cumulative loot idea prefer to only LFR gear be handed out in normal/heroic raids, not Flex.

          LFR gear is sort of cheap, though. If you queue up for an LFR raid, and stick with it, you will get the bosses down, even if it means wiping a couple of times for the Determined buff. Can anyone honestly say that LFR gear was won with skill? That lesser skilled or organized players would have no access to the loot?

          Normal and heroic raids have 2/6 guaranteed drops that need to be spread among 10/25 people, and have quite a decent chance on wasted gear. I figure Flex will have more or less the same chance on loot (around 20%), but since the loot is always intended for your class and spec, there is much less waste.

          Of course, if Normal/Heroic raiders get their LFR on top of it, they get slightly more gear, but most of this LFR gear is wasted on Normal/Heroic raiders. The amount of items that they can actually use from LFR are few and far between, and most players will have no use for this gear at all.

          Besides, they already have access to this extra gear, by running LFR. The method is not intended to give Normal/Heroic raiders more loot. It’s merely saving them from having to run LFR (on top of Normal/Heroic and Flex) for a chance on that trinket that manages to evade them in Normal/Heroic and Flex.

          • Genada says:

            I understand the basic idea. The question can be reversed tho as well, why do you deserve loot for content your not doing more then the lfr raider? Should he have a chance at normal and heroic gear out of lfr? I doubt anyone would be ok with that but your pretty much asking to be given loot from content you do not wish to be doing. If people do not want to run lfr then they shouldn’t.

            The effort for lfr gear maybe little to none but that doesn’t mean it should be just handed out either.

          • Geodew says:

            The point is that, for N/H raiders, LFR is not fun. The people who come into LFR with a piss-poor attitude ruining the LFR for people there to just have fun are usually N/H raiders who don’t want to be there but are running LFR anyway. Elements of the game which are not fun for a large number of players but increase your power, like 5.0 dailies, should be removed from the game.

            Unfortunately not running LFR is not that simple. N/H raiders are becoming pressed for time. The amount of time required to be maximally prepared for raids keeps increasing, and players trying to do their best are starting to fail to meet it. This number will skyrocket with Flex Mode in 5.4 if it launches as-is. N/H raiding requires lots of time and energy already from hours of progression wipes. LFR does not. I also disagree with “the person who’s online the longest kills that boss first” gameplay design. This kind of design should only be seen at the hardcore world-first arena, if anywhere, but it’s become commonplace for N raiders. http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/1336053-Poll-Do-you-run-LFR-for-gear-despite-not-enjoying-the-content

            It is also assumed that N/H raiders are more than capable of defeating Flex/LFR, whereas the opposite can obviously not be assumed of someone defeating LFR.

          • Genada says:

            I do understand and I can understand the dislike of having to do lfr. I do not enjoy lfr myself but it would be unfair to just give the gear to people doing normal or heroic because they do not enjoy doing it. A lot of things in this game involve doing things that one does not enjoy because they get something in return for it.

            You have a major problem in the game right now with a split between the community and this will further drive the two apart and build resent. The honest truth is that lfr is not enjoyed by more then just heroic and normal mode raiders, it’s not enjoyed by many of the people running it who it’s the highest lvl of raiding they do, the problem is raiding has become too much of a focus for end game. I would purpose a better system that would be fairer imo to all as far as lfr gear goes, put it all on a vendor for either valor or justice points. That way all could benefit from it without giving one group anything over a different group. Also it could allow those that do not wish to take part in raiding a path to gear as well. This would only run into the concern of giving free epics away but as has been pointed out lfr is viewed as doing that anyway, so I see this not causing too much trouble.

            Put lfr gear on a vendor, gets you out of lfr if you hate it and would have a more equal and fair benefit to all.

            Sorry placed this in the wrong place to start with and I do not know how to delete comments.

          • Thels says:

            ” The question can be reversed tho as well, why do you deserve loot for content your not doing more then the lfr raider? Should he have a chance at normal and heroic gear out of lfr?”

            No, it cannot be reversed.

            A player that is able to kill bosses on Normal or Heroic mode won’t have problems killing any bosses on LFR of Flex mode. There is no challenge there for that player. All he needs to do is invest some time, and the bosses go down. The loot, while “free”, is loot he has access to nonetheless. Only a time constraint is taken away.

            A player that is running LFR every week is far from guaranteed to down any Normal or Heroic bosses. Sure, he can bring 9 LFR friends, and set foot inside the instance on Normal difficulty, but that in no way guarantees that the bosses will go down, and that they’ll get any loot. There’s a decently good chance they’ll just wipe on the first boss for a while and give up.

            The Normal/Heroic raider has the option to go LFR (and/or Flex) for a bit of extra loot. It is there, waiting for him. Removing the need to go LFR saves him from running content that doesn’t at all match his interest.

            The LFR raider does not have the option to go Normal/Heroic. Knowing that there will be no loot gained from simply wiping on the first boss for a couple of hours, the LFR raider won’t bother going there.

            “The effort for lfr gear maybe little to none but that doesn’t mean it should be just handed out either.”

            It is not simply handed out. Unlike LFR bosses, Normal/Heroic bosses won’t just roll over if you try a couple of times. We’re not walking up to an NPC who gives us the loot for free.

            “Put lfr gear on a vendor, gets you out of lfr if you hate it and would have a more equal and fair benefit to all.”

            The problem is, there certainly is an audience for LFR. A pretty decently sized audience. LFR is here for a good reason, and like all things in the game, it requires a reward, which is currently provided through 476/483/502/528 ilvl gear.

            LFR was not designed for players that were already raiding on normal or heroic mode. It was never intended as a timesink, and we can see from Blizzard’s experience with and reactions to TotC and ICC, that they do not plan for us to run the same content several times per week. Hence T11 and T12 were back to a single lockout per week.

            Blizzard however wants to keep the option for LFR raiders to step up to Normal, which is why there is no lockout between LFR and Normal. The problem is that there is now extra loot available to Normal and Heroic raiders. The addition of LFR causes a problem to Normal and Heroic raiders. The Normal and Heroic raiders never asked for LFR. They had plenty to do already.

            By adding Cumulative Loot, LFR is not such a bother to Normal/Heroic raiders. This would also allow them to play with LFR loot some more, as they don’t have to worry about forcing Norma/Heroic raiders to go there for the loot.

    • Thels says:

      That’s… unfortunate. I’m not sure if it’s tuned higher than previous expansions, though. MoP Normal certainly doesn’t feel harder than the Vanilla and TBC raids. It does feel harder than WotLK 10 man raids, but WotLK 10 man raids were a lot easier, because they were intended a step below 25 man raiding. This made 10 man raiders feel too much like second-class citizens, so Blizzard bumped 10 man raiding up to be more or less on par with 25 man raiding again. And then there was Dragon Soul which many players agreed was a joke.

      Blizzard tuned Normal back to what felt more or less right to most of the normal raiders. Unfortunately, that means that some of the players that could latch on during WotLK and Dragon Soul to feel detached.

      I’m curious what you would recommend in the situation, though. There’s only so many things Blizzard could do.

      The Flex difficulty level sounds exactly right for you, and has the added benefit that you can bring whoever you want without having to bench someone, or have to worry about people being on the same token.

      The “stupid loot system” might feel a little detached. I agree with that. But it has it’s perks. You don’t have to worry about bringing 2 paladins, 2 priests and 2 warlocks to a 10 man raid, and then realize it’ll take forever for them to complete their tier sets. Or disenchanging all the caster mail/plate, because you didn’t bring a Holy Paladin or Elemental/Resto Shaman. You also don’t have to worry about DKP systems and what not.

      Blizzard could make it a little more appealing, by guaranteeing at least 1 out of 5 players receives loot, and then broadcasting which players got what loot, but overall, the “stupid loot system” is a plus for a specific group. The only real downside it has, is that you cannot funnel gear to new players to quickly gear them up.

      As for gating the content, if Flex is intended for you, the gating shouldn’t be an issue, as you shouldn’t be clearing the instance right away. Your personal progression will set the pace, not the gating. If the gating is setting the pace, you are likely better off in Normal.

      At the end of things, Flex is extra content out there, that you can choose to go experience and quite possibly enjoy. You don’t have to, but I’m a little baffled over your negativity over an extra option.

      • Genada says:

        The reason I am upset over it is because me and my guild do not belong in flex, were would be stuck with it due to our server population going down the drain and that normals were in fact tuned higher then they had been in previous tiers.

        The system I would most like to see put in place would be like WoTLK. I feel as if in that system you could form and create a guild around. I very much doubt that your going to be able to do so with flex, due to it’s loot system and the amount of derision a person would get for attempting to do so. Tens were held in less regard then 25 mans then but it wasn’t all out and total contempt which I feel is going to happen with people who want to be flex raiders.

        Going back to the WoTLK lock outs also would allow for better server community imo. People were pugging 25 mans, meeting new people and guild communities formed. I do not think flex will do that, I think it will be ran in guilds and people will not really attempt to pug it often if at all.

        • Geodew says:

          I’m interested in pugging Flex, especially on less-geared alts as a stepping stone to normal mode pugs.

          Going back to the WotLK model is impractical. GC has tweeted so himself, I believe — All the 10m guilds would suddenly have to recruit 15 people? No. They wouldn’t ever do that. A few would probably sooner disband because they’re suddenly second-class citizens. A few would just run the lower difficulty. Most would be angry at the inconvenience.

          Flex being tuned the same as 10m in wrath is basically the same system, anyway, so I don’t see what you mean by people treating it differently.

          I don’t see how requiring 25m normal pugs is better than 10m. That would make pugging normal even harder on lower-pop realms. Would also take longer to fill a group.

          • Genada says:

            We shall have to agree to disagree on this point but to your gearing one…

            I do understand and I can understand the dislike of having to do lfr. I do not enjoy lfr myself but it would be unfair to just give the gear to people doing normal or heroic because they do not enjoy doing it. A lot of things in this game involve doing things that one does not enjoy because they get something in return for it.

            You have a major problem in the game right now with a split between the community and this will further drive the two apart and build resent. The honest truth is that lfr is not enjoyed by more then just heroic and normal mode raiders, it’s not enjoyed by many of the people running it who it’s the highest lvl of raiding they do, the problem is raiding has become too much of a focus for end game. I would purpose a better system that would be fairer imo to all as far as lfr gear goes, put it all on a vendor for either valor or justice points. That way all could benefit from it without giving one group anything over a different group. Also it could allow those that do not wish to take part in raiding a path to gear as well. This would only run into the concern of giving free epics away but as has been pointed out lfr is viewed as doing that anyway, so I see this not causing too much trouble.

            Put lfr gear on a vendor, gets you out of lfr if you hate it and would have a more equal and fair benefit to all.

          • Geodew says:

            On the contrary, it has been suggested that LFR just be removed because “no one” enjoys it, but Blizz has said that there is an audience that does definitely enjoy it (which I find easy to believe), and they will not remove it because of that audience who wants to super-casually raid to get a (limited) idea of the “real” endgame content, or to see the lore associated with the raids so they don’t miss out on the story (which I think is cool that they can do that).

            To make a system where you can get the same gear easier would kind of undermine that goal. I feel like if people were only running LFR to see the story, queue times would be like 5 hours. Would you have re-done the Isle of Thunder scenarios 5 times? I wouldn’t; the story was easy enough to grasp the first time 😛

            The point is that those casual PvE-ers keep coming back for chances at gear, and because they’re not tired of LFR yet. (N/H raiders are tired of LFR week 2 or 3.)

          • Thels says:

            The difference between WotLK 10 man and Flex are pretty small. Both are a step down from normal raiding (Normal being 25 man in the days of WotLK), with slightly lower gear and easier encounters, on a different lockout than one step up, so it’s always an option to move up the ladder and raid normal.

            There are a few key differences:
            – You can now bring almost any number of players, rather than being fixed to 10 or 25 players.
            – You no longer have to worry about all people in your team being on the same token, or that several drop types would go to waste.
            – You no longer have to travel to the instance.
            – You can now do wings separately. Say nobody needs loot from wing 1 anymore. You are free to start at wing 2 or 3 instead.
            – When someone missed last evening’s raid, you can now run those bosses a second time if you want, to make sure they got the loot too.
            – If someone already pugged the instance earlier in the week, he can still tag along if he wants to.
            – When you want to step up to normal raiding, you are no longer required to move up to 25 people.
            – You can no longer funnel gear to new players.

            With the exception of the last entry, all are nice quality of life improvements that you have over normal raiding/WotLK 10 man raiding.

            Flex raiding is everything that WotLK 10 man raiding was, with a huge bunch of quality of life improvements, and only a single downside (no more funneling gear). If you enjoyed being in a 10 man guild back in WotLK, you should certainly enjoy being in a Flex guild in MoP.

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