Lockouts and LFR

There’s been a lot of talk lately about LFR and it’s place on the gearing ladder. Some progression raiders are unhappy that they feel forced to run LFR to remain competitive. The solution that they presented for this is for LFR to share a lockout with the regular raid. The blues have responded by trying to make LFR less attractive to run, without removing the possibility to run. LFR and lockouts are a contentious issue as everyone has their own opinion.

In addition to LFR problems lockouts have a problem of their own. It’s been a whole expansion now. since flexible lockouts were introduced. so I don’t hold out much hope of them fixing them. They are bugged or certainly don’t seem to work in the spirit that I thought they were intended.

The LFR gearing dilemma
As long as LFR has gear upgrades, however minor, then the people in competitive guilds will have an obligation to run for them. I’m in a social guild that raids, we’re not competitive at all, but I feel like I’m not doing my best if I don’t take every option available to me. I personally would choose to run LFR to gear, not because my guild makes me. Some competitive guilds do have it as a requirement, and some progression raiders don’t like that they are forced to run it. However, I don’t think that the solution is taking options away from the rest of the general playerbase. What about the person who doesn’t usually raid but gets invited along to a friends run. If the LFR and normal lockout were the same, and they’d done LFR, then they couldn’t do that.

LFR is releasing half of the raid a week after the raid is released on normal, the second half the week after that. Therefore competitive raiders will have had two weeks of raiding before LFR is available in it’s entirety. They will perhaps have finished normal mode and be on heroic. Therefore they will have holes in their gear, from it not dropping, from losing the roll etc. However, they will have access to better gear so running LFR to fill in the holes, while progressing with the normal raid, will only last a couple of weeks. After that time they’ll either have the LFR version or the normal version so the need to run LFR will be gone.

As the loot system is turning personal rather than the usual need/greed system, there’s no benefit to running to try and gear up a guildmate. Therefore as harsh as it sounds if the competitive raiders don’t want to be ‘forced’ to run LFR for a week or two, then perhaps they should raid at a less competitive level. It sounds harsh but it’s about choice, if what you’re doing isn’t fun for you (and this is a game) then perhaps you shouldn’t do it.

The problem of personal loot
So far I’ve just rehashed what I’ve read elsewhere. Not very compelling reading right? I just do agree with the blue stance that it’s personal choice whether you run LFR. Don’t do it if you don’t want too. If your guild makes you then find a guild you’re more compatible with. If you don’t want to find a new guild then accept what you have to do.

Anyway, I have a personal issue with the new loot system. LFR is a cesspool, I’ve said that a number of times. I’ve never seen such abuse, language, poor behaviour and just general offensiveness anywhere but LFR. Heroics have it to a certain extent but they’re shorter and there’s less people. It’s a product of the random nature of the looking for system, people don’t feel accountable, so they behave in an absolute reprehensible manner. That brings me to the problem of the new personal loot system. In Mists I’m going to be main tanking for the new raid team in my guild. I love tanking but I refuse to tank in LFR. I feel that I should run LFR for the gear upgrades, but I’m too scared to tank in LFR as I can’t take the abuse. Even when I know that I haven’t done anything wrong, it’s intimidating and upsetting and I can’t cope with it. I’m not claiming that I don’t ever make a mistake because I do. However, in LFR I’ve got abuse even when I’ve done it right, even when I’ve done well on an encounter, and managed to survive (or even kill the boss) for a long time with the other tank dead, or with healers dead, or lots of dps dead. Tanks get abuse in LFR whatever happens and I refuse to put myself in that position.

Currently with LFR I’ve been running as healer for the tokens, then cashing them in for my tank spec. I don’t get to roll on the tank gear but the tokens were a good upgrade, get the set bonus from them, and I felt like I was making an effort for my guild. However, if I ran as healer in LFR in Mists I’d only get healer gear. If I want any gear from LFR for my tank spec then I’ll have to run it as tank. I don’t think I can do that. It’s possible that if a group from the guild went then I’d be ok, as if people started with the abuse, we’d laugh about it in guild chat and it wouldn’t be so bad. However, I can’t depend on others being able to run LFR with me, so I might just have to give up the gear advantage for my guild. I want to be the best I can be but who wants to be abused in a game?

Lets actually think about this for a second. I’ve tanked all of normal Dragon Soul, and a couple of encounters on heroic, and I’m scared of tanking LFR. If it’s like that for me, someone who knows the encounters and has successfully executed them on a higher difficulty. What must it be like for someone who doesn’t raid outside LFR? What must it be like for a 5 man tank that decided to try this new LFR tool? They don’t have any raid experience outside of LFR, LFR is the only way they can see the encounters to practice them. What must that be like? There is no way to police LFR which is why people behave so badly and I don’t know what to suggest to improve it. Perhaps turning off raid chat maybe, as if people can’t communicate in a civilised manner then they lose the privilege. It’s a difficult one and something that blizzard shouldn’t have to address, but something that perhaps they should.

Flexible lockouts are not so flexible
A few months back my friend and I were talking about Sunwell Plateau. Our guild currently doesn’t have the achievement for the legendary bow, Thori’dal the Star’s Fury. Ideally we want the guild hunter to have it, and I’ll certainly run with her as much as I can until she gets it, but we both have hunter alts and having 3x chance a week increases the probability of it dropping. Using our death knights we duoed up to the last boss and then the plan was that each of us would go and get our hunter, while the other dk tanked it for the 5/6 lockout. Unfortunately, as we discovered, the old raid lockouts don’t work that way. Once a raid ID has been cleared it’s cleared for everyone, whether you were there or not. The new flexible lock where you can kill 3/8 with one group, 5/8 with another, and then finish with a third, with the lockout being personal to you, just doesn’t work.

That isn’t the only instance of flexible locks not working as advertised. Heroic locks aren’t flexible at all which is really unfair. A couple of months ago we were in Dragon Soul at Hagara, we’d killed Morchok and Yor’sahj on heroic, and then after Hagara one of the tanks had to leave. A friend of the raid leaders offered to come as he was saved 4/8, which we’d just cleared, so that was perfect. However, he’d also killed heroic Morchok and this conflicted with our heroic lock. If he’d done 4/8 normal then that would have been fine, but that one heroic kill meant he couldn’t join us for later kills. Why are heroic locks non-flexible? Why are they treated differently from normal locks?

Either the raid lockout system is flexible or it isn’t. Right now they are saying it’s flexible but then it’s not working that way. If this is a bug then why, an expansion on, have they still not fixed it? If it isn’t a bug I’d like a clarification on why it’s working like it is because it doesn’t seem right.

In summary
The option of LFR is a good thing, the people in LFR are generally not. It’s almost impossible to police such a thing, although perhaps with the changes to loot people will be less hostile, we can live in hope anyway. I may struggle to run LFR in Mists due to the system only giving you current spec items. Who needs a side order of abuse with their gameplay? Oh and flexible lockouts annoy me as they aren’t truly flexible. They should clarify how lockouts work and explain why they seem bugged, but probably aren’t.