I’ve read a lot about how easy Looking For Raid is, and the fears people have that it will continue that way.
I’m thinking it’s a self-correcting problem, but I’m hopeful it’ll all work out as we go.
I’ll put this as simply as I can.
When LFR was released for the patch, it had a requirement of iLevel 372 gear to queue.
For the first week of LFR, the only people capable of entering were those who had been able to get to an average ilevel of 372 or higher without the benefits of 378 Valor gear suddenly being purchaseable from justice Points, and 378 gear dropping from streamlined 5 person dungeons.
I want to be clear about what I AM saying, and what I and am NOT saying.
I AM saying that for the first week at least, the people able to queue for LFR were experienced in raiding Firelands content in large groups, and had done so enough to be reasonably well geared from it.
I AM saying that I think frequent successful raiding experience translates to people generally knowing how to handle current content design concepts in a group.
So, I think that it is not surprising to find that the LFR as it stands was considered easy for the first week.
Seeing new content look absurdly easy the first week it was released is nothing new to us.
Think back to when Burning Crusade was first released. All those folks in their high level raiding purples blew through the zone, and were already hitting raids and succeeding in the first week. One thing that was changed for Wrath was making such a power discrepancy between BC level 70 and WotLK level 80 that it wasn’t supposed to happen that way again.
It did anyway. There were Sunwell raiding groups that were clearing WotLK raids in Sunwell gear early on.
My point here is, having the iLevel requirement for the first week be high enough that it limited the raid queueing to current well-geared raiders at the top of their game, people that had been consistently clearing Firelands content and hard modes, means that you’ve got the same situation now.
The big difference is, these are the folks you’re raiding right alongside with.
If the starting iLevel requirement had been 365, it probably wouldn’t have been as easy-peasy seeming the first week.
I think what we’re going to see happen is, all non-raiding folks (just like me!) people who are excited at raiding but never had the regimented, predictable time in their schedules to raid consistently, are now going to rapidly finish gearing their characters by running the new 5 person instances, getting massive upgrades, and spending JP and Valor on great stuff.
Those folks will have heard how easy LFR is, and, just like me, be excited to get in there and see it themselves. These folks who are in guilds or situations that limit their ability to raid will get their characters geared well enough to run it, but they will not be experienced in raiding within a 25 person environment. They will be having to perform at a level they are not familiar with. There will be learning opportunities. There will be mistakes. There will be confusion.
On the flip side, I anticipate most raiders doing it now will have gotten what they can for upgrades out of LFR within a month, and will stop chain-running it because they will be working on content progression in normal and hard modes of the real Dragon Soul. They may keep running it a few times a week for the quick 250 Valor Point reward, but not to the extent they are now.
For the next month, those players new to the logistics of 25 person raiding will have the opportunity to learn from the raiders that are experts already, but gradually leaving for the main raid.
I think the LFR will gradually get more difficult to clear, wipes will become more frequent, and overall it will become more of a challenge as the average dps level drops from 20K+ down to the 16k range, and healer throughput dips as well.
What am I NOT saying?
I’m not saying that the hardcore raiders are intrinsically better players better than those who haven’t had the opportunity to raid a lot in large groups. I’m saying that dedicated raiders have had more experience recently, and went in geared to succeed and apply their experience immediately.
But if you’re doing the LFR right now, and wondering in amazement at how awesome it is that it’s so easy, and even complaining that you wish it was more challenging…
Keep in mind, it’s likely never going to be so easy ever again. And since each group is thrown together from scratch each time, you are only as good as the average experience level of each individual player. You will never see overall improvement as a group, because your group will never have the chance to work together again to improve coordination, communication or teamwork.
So suck it up, buttercups. Enjoy the ride while it lasts. It’s gonna get harder soon enough, and you will find that challenge we all love.
If there is a downside, it will be the people who base their expectations on the LFR for the next year on how it’s gone the last week, and who will grow ever louder in rage about how everyone suddenly ‘sucks’ because there are actual wipes as people learn the encounters.