Looking for Raid Tool – Obsolete Already?

Posted Mon, Mar 12, 2012 by Messiah

It has only been a short while since Blizzard implemented the Looking for Raid tool in the World of Warcraft, so why has Blizzard already made it obsolete?

Before getting into why exactly it is obsolete already let’s look at how LFR tool has faired since it’s implementation. Once we look back at how things have gone with it so far, we will look at why it is essentially killed already, and how Blizzard could have prevented it.

Looking for Raid Tool Positive effects

Many of us, myself included, were very negative about the prospects of the LFR tool, after all it is hard enough to find 5 players that can work together in a heroic instance, never mind 25 players for a raid.

LFR tool, raid finder tool
The raid finder tool makes it very easy for anyone to jump into a raid.

However, all of us neigh-sayers were proved wrong as the tool actually works, and works very well for the most part. The fights are simplified just enough that a pug group stands a good chance on being able to finish them, while still providing some difficulty.

Don’t get me wrong, players can still screw it up badly, for example the Ultraxion fight can cause problems, as can the Spine of Deathwing fight. In Ultraxion many times the tanks just can’t get the whole taunt and fade thing right, which quickly wipes the raid. I was in one group the other day that the tank kept refusing to fade and died 5 times in the fight. As for the Spine of Deathwing fight, some hunter can’t seem to get it through their head that just because the tentacles have health bars doesn’t mean they should be killed. I pick on hunters here because they are the most common to screw this fight up, but I have seen a clueless player of each and every class joyfully ignore the whole raid screaming at them to stop killing tentacles, the most common just seems to be the good old faithful huntard and their pets.

Luckily for the few times that it goes horribly wrong, there are many more where everything just goes perfectly. Friends and I have geared up over 25 toons through the LFR tool and unanimously we feel we have had way more good runs than bad, which surprised all of us.

This positive experience has drawn many more players into the LFR tool to experiment with raids. Once there most players are enjoying it and looking forward to more, some are even joining raiding guilds to get into some heroic modes for more challenge. I can only see this as a pure win for the game and an overall positive for everyone involved.

Why is the LFR tool failing now?

While the LFR tool is still technically working, it is taking longer and longer each day to get into it as seeming fewer players are queuing for it. There are several reasons for this, but let’s look at the biggest and most obvious one first.

Blizzard started putting debuffing the bosses in the Dragon Soul raid a few weeks ago, reducing the health and damage caused by bosses by 5%. Then this past week that debuff was boosted to 10%. That means that realistically the normal mode Dragon Soul raid is easier than it was before and potentially even easier than the LFR mode since you will have some control over the raid composition and membership.

The second issue that the LFR tool is failing now is that most of the players that were not in raiding guilds, or that were gearing up alt’s through the LFR tool are now done. Since those players are now through the LFR mode and are done gearing they no longer have a reason to queue for it. The players that are starting to queue now are all third and fourth tier alts, or players that are just now finally getting to level 85. Either way they are generally either not as skilled or not as skilled at that specific class. This means that groups have fewer competent players in general and are having more and more difficulty finishing the LFR raid.

These issues have made it harder and harder to jump into a LFR group and finish the raid in the last little while. Let’s face it, on any decently populated server LFR is now pretty much relegated to the absolute beginners now. Even those that want a piece of two more gear from the LFR level are abandoning it and pugging through the trade channel since the LFR tool is actually harder now than the normal mode.

What Could Blizzard have done differently?

The first thing that Blizzard could have done differently is either apply the debuff to the Dragon Soul raid across all versions of it. This would mean that as the LFR queue got players or characters that were less skilled or less geared over time that they would still be able to complete it. There would be no need to rush to the normal mode instead since the LFR mode would be much easier.

Madness of Deathwing fight
The fights are easier in normal mode now, meaning you don't really need the super simple LFR version.

Another option would have been to not apply any debuff at all. After all with three different difficulty levels, and pretty much everyone that wanted to see the content able to, there was no real reason for it. I think this would have been the best way since as long as you saw the content and beat it, does it really matter which level, story wise? For those that wanted to finish it in hard mode, now that it is nerfed and the achievements don’t distinguish if you got it pre or post nerf the achievement doesn’t mean as much (to me at least).

Another option, would be for Blizzard to open up the LFR tool to be able to queue for other raids. I know that this wouldn’t solve the whole quest for gear issue, but it would allow players access to some of the past raids so we could easily get groups and play through some other awesome content and boss fights. While this wouldn’t make everyone happy since it is not new content and higher level gear, it would be different content and fights for many players. I think most would be willing to go back and fight their way through the Firelands raid for example, I know many in my casual guild that would.

The Future of the LFR tool

Even though I feel the LFR tool is now pretty much dead in Cataclysm, I believe it was an overwhelming success. I think we should all assume that this will be in place for each and every raid in the Mists of Pandaria expansion when it is released, and I can not wait for that.

The tool opened up raiding to those that could not assign a set time, or could not find a guild that they liked, or any number of other factors. While I still far prefer raiding with a guild and other players that I know and like, the LFR tool allows me to jump into a raid any time I want. With busy work schedules, home schedules, social lives, and everything else going on in this busy age, it is awesome that I can jump on and raid any time I have some time free. Just because I am busy on a Tuesday night and can’t get online for my guilds raid, doesn’t mean I don’t get to raid at all that week.

Despite it’s flaws and some obnoxious / unskilled players that you run into Blizzard has to be congratulated on a hugely successful addition to the game.

The Normal version of 10man is not easier then 25m LFR.

Sounds like this one writer is generalizing his own experiences and concluding that LFR isn't working for anyone any more. This is no more valid than one player running into a string of RNG bad luck and concluding that drop rates must have changed. In my experience, and my guild seems to be in 100% agreement on this, LFR takes no longer to queue for now than it did a couple months ago. We typically get in within a few minutes. One thing that has changed is that the quality of the groups seems to be significantly better. We don't see nearly as much asshattery as we saw in the beginning. People in LFR now for the most part seem to know how to click the button on Ultraxion, stop damaging the amalgamated mobs on Spine until they absorb enough bloods, and single target the tentacles on Madness. LFR groups I've been in do not wipe nearly as often as they used to, because this encounter knowledge is the most important factor to success in LFR, even more important than knowing how to play your class to its greatest potential. LFR runs now are usually quicker and more drama free than the early runs were.

BTW, the term is "nay-sayer". A neigh-sayer would be a horse.

I hate to defend Blizzard but your argument is totally flawed. Lfr actually works well because at the start of the expansion their will always be people from raiding guilds in it because they need set bonuses or trinkets. These raiders have prepared for the fights and are able to pass this knowledge onto those not willing or able to prepare due to time constraints. Lfr will always be full at the start of the expansion due to this.

As raiders no longer need gear, the lfr population becomes the extremely casual raiders and non-raiders. The reason you are seeing nobody in lfr atm is that these people generally have enough shiny items from the lfr raids that they no longer need them.

It has to be said that lfr is generally more difficult now though because the raiding population has abandoned it. Whereas your alts were finding it pretty easy gearing with half the raid doing 50k+ on deathwing and only needing on the odd trinket or tier piece. Now you have a full raid doing between 9 and 30k and all needing on everything (yes I have seen people in 384 tier doing 9k :-).

Yes, the ds debuff makes it progressively easier for normal and heroic modes. This is a good thing for those coming from lfr paricularly because the difference between normal and lfr is considerable. You may have killed deathwing in raid finder with 20k dps but even at 30% buff this will not be enough for deathwing normal.

Embrace the buff, throw some friends together and try the normal modes. The mechanics are relatively much, much harder so you may just enjoy the challenge. The intended progression is lfr then normal then hard modes and not lfr then done :-)

10m is a joke. That is all.

Don't worrying...raiding is dead after GW2 comes out.

The idea of grouping with 10+/25+ players will seem so stupid in a few months...especially after all these raiders realized how much of their lives they wasted raiding.

I personally love the LFR tool that Blizzard has put in. I just recently started playing WOW a few months ago so my game exp is not very high so the LFR tool helps me to some what learn raid so I am able to at least attempt to play the regular mode of raid. I do believe that nerfing the game should become a thing of past since you now have 3 tiers of the raid. I also have the opportunity to play through the whole story line of the game using the LFR. I do wish that Blizzard would go back and put in the past raids as I would very much like to run through those a well so I can get the whole feel of the story instead of trying to assume the story. Also would help those of us that are trying to work on getting the achievements.

The LFR queue times in my BG for DPS are certainly much higher on Monday - 30 mins is common. On Tuesday they are back to 5mins. The runs are, for the most part, much easier as times goes on. Lack of dps is rarely a problem now and most fights are very easy if simple tactics are followed. As for the difficulty of normal - even with buffs it's a big step up from LFR. A pug using the LFR tool in normal mode would be a massive wipefest - you'd be lucky to down the first boss, left alone DW.

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