Another week is coming to a close and another week of LFR failure. I try to run three characters through LFR every week, to cap Valor and in the case of my two alts, to get secrets and rune stones. I’ve been able to down Garrosh on one of my alts once, but have yet to run in an LFR group on my second alt that has been able to. This morning I spent nearly 3 hours on SoO wing 4 before I finally left the group due to frustration.
The group started off with what looked to be some promise, though we did have a couple wipes on Blackfuse. But it was smooth after that until we got to Garrosh. After a relatively quick wipe on Garrosh one of the tanks left and we sat in the queue for 40 minutes waiting on a second. And when we started our second attempt on Garrosh the new tank proceeded to tank him by dragging him all over the middle area of the room instead of centering him in the circle. The adds weren’t dieing and the hunter that was on Engineer duty decided it was too chaotic to release any more stars. The tank made no attempt to move the boss out of the path of the first star and it ended up killing a healer who didn’t move for some reason either along with a few DPS.
This after working all day yesterday on my second alt to clear SoO and never even getting to the 4th wing. I’d simply had enough and logged back over to my main to PVP. That’s pretty much my experience every week and why I’m probably not going to bother with LFR any longer. Not because of what LFR is, but because of the people LFR attracts. I have been a proponent of LFR and would love it to continue as I think its important to the game for there to be some mechanism for a majority of players to experience raid content. But let us be honest about it. In large part, the people who run LFR are those who can’t find guilds to run normal mode or those who have been rejected from other raids because of low performance and skills. There’s also been a relatively healthy portion in the past of Normal raiders who were just trying to cap valor or who were perhaps looking for off-spec pieces. And when there were enough of them in the raid it was generally enough to overcome any deficiencies of the rest.
LFR has been a quick and easy way to get Valor and off-spec pieces but the problem with the current raid tier is that with the introduction of Flex that proportion of Normal raiders in LFR has dwindled. Flex runs can be choosy about those who are invited and the loot is personal. So the proportion of Normal raiders in LFR has dwindled leaving the proportion of non-Normal raiders in LFR on the upswing. With fewer Normal raiders to overcome the deficiencies LFR has become a much more frightful place than in the past.
Blizzard has uniformly blamed LFR woes on “players not knowing the fights”, which of course is indeed part of it. But also completely ignores the larger reason why previous raid tiers were largely successful in LFR, and why SoO is not. I harbor no illusions that a preponderance of players will wake up one morning and decide they actually need to be responsible for themselves; that they actually need to read about the boss fights before they walk into an LFR raid. Or that those queuing for Tank or Healer roles are actually geared to perform those special raid roles, and are capable of performing them. But unless more players do those things LFR will become such a stagnant wasteland that the players who depend upon it for access to raid content will end up strangling the one thing that gives it them.
To date Blizzard’s only means of combating the plagues of LFR has been to severely nerf the encounters. As Ghostcrawler commented at Blizzcon this year, LFR is “tourist mode”. Which is fine as far as it goes, and yet we continue to experience LFR raids that run on for hours and never finish. I literally spent 11.5 hours in a SoO Wing 2 run a number of weeks ago. Yes, you saw that correctly — 11.5 hours. We did finally finish the wing but I couldn’t tell you how many Tanks or Healers we went through to do it. Dumbing down and nerfing the encounters simply isn’t enough as I doubt Blizzard could ever overcome the ineptitude and ill-preparedness of the combined LFR raiding population. Instead I think Blizzard needs to do what they can to engender those skills in the LFR raiders they currently so utterly lack. You can’t separate raiding from personal accountability, and in trying to do so Blizzard has done a disservice to WoW and the very players LFR is designed for.
I have no idea how Blizzard could correct the many issues in LFR — perhaps through the Proving Grounds — but unless or until they do LFR simply is no longer a place I wish to visit.