Friday, March 16, 2012

Top 5 Things They Must Fix About LFR

The Looking For Raid tool is a pretty new feature in WoW, but do you remember what it was like getting groups before the Looking for Dungeon tool? I do, it was horrible. I can still not understand how people can look back at those days and think that it was in any way better than what we have now. Arguments like "you knew the people you grouped with" and "people had a reputation to consider" fade around counter-arguments like "It took hours to gather a group and get everyone to the instance" and "if anyone left mid-instance, you were basically back on square one". The chances of actually getting a dungeon done during the day increased by hundredfold once the LFD-tool was introduced. To me, the LFD-tool is one of the best things Blizzard has ever decided to put into the game. That doesn't mean it works perfectly however, there are in many ways lots of things about the LFD-tool that really got me gritting my teeth and wondering why Blizzard didn't just make some slight changes to avoid everyone abusing it so. But even after being in a group that seemed to be the spawn of my darkest nightmares and that had me really question the future of humanity, I could be happy thinking I had only wasted 30 minutes on it instead of 120. Blizzard have made many changes to the LFD tool since then, and nowadays I do think it is working quite well with only a few adjustments left to be made.

The LFR-tool isn't much different.
I will admit I was the sceptic at first, wondering how on earth Blizzard could make an entire raid of fools work together well enough to finish raids when they were struggling to get five people to cooperate long enough for dungeons. I was also worried that over-simplifying the raid fights would just turn them into loot-piñatas similar to the ones we have in Baradin Hold and something most people would bore of quickly. The end result was positively surprising. Yes the fights are very simple, yes most of the weight of success is put on the shoulders of the healers and tanks while dps just troll around not giving a shit but overall I think Blizzard have managed to balance it pretty well between group-effort and individual effort.

But like I said, there are still a few things I really would like to see them fix before my Nag-O-Meter goes down to green levels. Here is my top 5 list on things I think they currently need to fix in the LFR (and LFD)

5. Measuring Activity
I put this as number five, not because I think it's the least important thing to fix on my list, but because I realize it's the least plausible one to ever actually be able to fix in a good way. Basically, I would love it if there was some way to measure the activity of a player, and reward them accordingly. When doing LFR especially, it is quite obvious that some players can't do much more than auto-attack, while some people actually bust their asses off to down the boss. Yet once the boss goes down, they both have an equally good chance on whatever loot that drops. In fact it actually seems like more the rule than exception that people who put in low effort win all the dang loot. Not punishing laziness and not rewarding effort are basically the same thing and boils down to people not giving a shit, which makes the fight take a lot longer than necessary or even worse - cause completely unecessary wipes. What if switching to dpsing Globules, trying to be top healer on the meters, using mitigation cooldowns as a tank and not standing in fire would reward you with a bonus to your roll? That would of course be awesome, but unfortunately completely impossible to implement. There is no way a string of code could properly measure a players effort, taking into consideration the difference in gear for difference in output, the aspect of varying tactics for how, when and why people attack or don't attack adds for instance. Maybe you don't want the rogues to attack the globules on Yor'sahj, should they then get punished or should you give them an exception to the rule?

I want to recall having this kind of "reward based on effort" system in Warhammer, although I have no idea how it worked or what exactly it based your amount of effort on. How do you measure a tanks effort? How do you measure a healers effort when you clearly don't want healers to just spam their brains and mana pools out to top meters? I would like to see this work somehow, but I know it's probably impossible.

4. Punishing the quitters
Something that really annoys me, is how loot is completely wasted on people who win things and have already left the group. Eventhough I can see how there might be programming issues with distributing loot to people who are no longer in the instance-server, I can't see how it can be difficult to just cut those people out from the roll. So you rolled and left the group, tough luck, that means everyone who is still in the group are the only ones who actually get to roll on the loot. Considering leaving the group prematurely already means not receiving the loot, all this changes is that the loot will actually come to a player instead of being forever lost lying around on the corpse of some boss. I can't see how that can be a bad thing.

And there is really no point in having to force everyone to wait around for the full length of the roll timer just because some people couldn't be arsed to roll before they left the group. If you haven't rolled before you left the group, there is no way you can, so why can't that person just be cut out from the roll all together? Similar to the issue above, it doesn't seem like too difficult a thing to do and would save a lot of time and grief.

3. One for you, one for me
I realize not many are going to agree with me on this one, because it seems like a behavior everyone is doing. I am talking about the way people need on every gear piece they can need on, regardless of whether they need it or not. It can either be to have some bargaining material for whenever someone else wins something you want, or to up the chances of one of your friends in the group to get an item. To me, it seems to be something people do because everyone does it. Whenever douche-baggeriness is that widespread, if you don't do it yourself you will lose out. It reminds me of how people need on everything that drops in heroics as well, just because everyone else does it. It's difficult to prevent in heroics, although the way Blizzard has done it by making all needs BoP has worked fairly well. And it would be difficult to prevent in LFR too, especially considering that epics are tradeable, which is exactly the reason to why people do this. I don't know how many times I have seen a gear piece go to someone who already had it, or had better. So my question is, why can you even roll on loot you already have?

The amount of times you would need
a second piece of whatever gear is extremely rare. Not counting people who use two one-hand weapons (for which you can make an exception) the only reason would be if you wanted to gem and enchant that piece differently for another spec, and honestly, how many people do that? Most people just regem/enchant the gear they have instead, even now when you actually can carry around different gear sets of the same pieces. There might be some few exceptions, but in most cases where specs are similar enough, Blizzard have really tried to make sure that they can basically use the same set of stats. And tier is overall the only gear piece you'd want for different specs (and to clarify, I do agree on letting people needing several tier tokens), in most other cases there a piece either works for two specs or it doesn't, in which case you either use one item for both or you don't.

Preventing people from needing on loot they already have already exists in the game (it is heavily used on most event bosses for instance), so why can't it be implemented into the LFR loot system? Maybe Blizzard are afraid of making the loot system too rigid with a rule like that, but personally I think it would be worth it.

This is something that annoys me more in heroics than it does in LFR, but it exists in LFR as well. There are some rules set up as to how you can vote to kick people, rules that I overall think work fairly well. Rules that I think should go flying out the window as soon as we're dealing with people who are afk flagged. AFK means the person is not at the keyboard, and when would you ever want such a person in your dungeon? Why would you have to wait to get out of combat or to get the roll done before you can vote to kick such a person? People who are AFK flagged while actually playing have themselves to blame, because if you want to tell people not to disturb you there is a perfectly usable DND flag instead. People who go AFK with the permission of the rest of the group wouldn't get kicked anyway, so no problem there! As it works now, the rest of the group has to wait around, making sure not to get into combat, or loot something, or wait those 15 minutes, before they can kick someone from the group who have flagged themselves as not even playing. To me, that doesn't make any sense. You also shouldn't get any kick-penalty for kicking afk-players imo.

You might argue that it wouldn't prevent people from going afk, they could just simply put themselves on follow or otherwise make sure they don't get flagged. That might be so, but that usually still requires some sort of effort on their part. Right now people can just tab out at the beginning of the instance being pretty sure they won't be kicked for at least 20 minutes, which is to the benefit of exactly no one else in the group. Putting AFK-flagged people in the danger zone is at least a start.

1. Share the fun (responsibility)
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I would love it if Blizzard somehow managed to equal the burden of the fight over the different roles of healing, tanking and dpsing. As it is now, tanks and healers basically have to mop up all and any mess caused by dps, whilst also having to care a lot more for tactics and fight mechanics than most dpsers do. Taking for instance a fight like Ultraxion, dpsers don't really have to think about anything while tanks and healers have to bust their asses in comparison. I am definitely not saying that any of the fights are particularly difficult for any of the roles, only that the difficulty level is severely skewered. It is interesting to note for instance that many of the fight mechanics that dpsers have to care about, like killing adds or using a proper cooldown, have been simplified so much that you in many cases don't even really have to care about them (again, the AOE on Ultraxion as an example), whereas fight mechanics important for the tank to remember can wipe the raid if they fail (not taunting on Ultraxion, not picking up Tentacle or adds on Madness, not moving the Amalgamation the right way on Spine etc). Dps really only have to dps, sometimes they have to switch target and that's about it.

I don't want to turn this into a debate on the essence of healing, tanking and dpsing. Maybe this is the way it works, and maybe the responsibility is equally distributed considering the role distribution. Only having two tanks means each tank has 50% of "their" responsibility while a dpser only has some 6% of "their" responsibility. Or maybe that is simply how the holy trinity works and I have to accept it (considering this has been something of an issue since the dawn of grouping). Maybe people who play tanks and healers actually somewhere deep inside enjoy that extra responsibility - admittedly I turn into a dps troll myself whenever I go on my mage, tunneling on topping the meters and barely caring about fight mechanics (bad bad me). Maybe putting more responsibility into the hands of dpsers wouldn't really make anything better, but just greatly up the risk of failure. Maybe I just wish people would be a little more greatful for the effort tanks and healers put in. Probably.


  1. Hi there
    well concerning the "people leaving don't get loot" that's not entirely correct. I do recall a run I was in with our guilds lock. We downed deathwing just fine, and the dagger with the "poison all enemies" stuff dropped... the warlock rolled because he wanted to test it if it was better than his 397 weapon, but then dropped group as he needed to log off for RL issues. I saw in my chat window that he actually was rolling for the dagger and he even won the roll despite being offline.

    The next day when he logged on he had the dagger in his mailbox.

    Therefore people dropping group still get the item. Maybe the system needs all people to leave the instance or something to distribute it but the items aren't completely wasted.

    1. As far as I know you have to contact a GM for that to happen, which I don't think many people can be bothered with. But I could be wrong, if it really works anyway it's all good!

    2. could as well be that he didn't really drop group by right clicking his portrait and using "leave group" but just logged out..

      maybe the game thought he was just DC'd.. I think this might be the most reasonable explanation..

  2. Hey Zinn,

    100% with you on the DPS vs Tanks/Healers shared responsibility.
    I have played as all different roles, and I must say I always have second thoughts before pushing the LFD button with my tank/healer, because I know that all the pressure is going to be on my shoulders.
    On the other hand, I have no issues whatsoever with my mage, I'm just happy to nuke everything and take care not to stand in the fire, get healed if I screw up, or have the tank taunt if I get aggro (I may ice cube or spawn twins or fade to invisibility to mitigate that).

    I have one other idea to counter the people who need on everything they can, which is something that I refuse to do and I hate it when a DPS rolls on my tanking gear "for his alt".
    It would be to reduce the number of chances you have to win the next loot if you have selected "need" for an item.
    For example, boss 1 down, you "need" => You'll only get 50% chance on the next roll. That will make people think twice before needing on that item they don't really need.
    Another option would be to have a more intelligent looting system for the whole dungeon/raid, that would not produce 2 cloth + intellect items in the same instance. I hate when that happens. Loot 1 "Cloth + intellect", Loot 2 "Cloth + intellect", loot 3 "Leather + whatever".
    I hate those dungeons, Blizzard is just telling me that I did burst my ass for 30 minutes taking a pounding for those lazy dpsers with 2 of the items for that bloody mage??? Are you freakin" kidding me???

    But I actually think there's a worse issue! The loots that no one can use! Why on earth doesn't Blizzard removes those from the loot list????

    1. Oh I am so with you on the useless loot point. Like the throwing weapon from Morchok, how many people need that? The odd rogue, woo wee. Definitely time for Blizz to streamline the loot options more, and as you say, diversify them more so that they're potentially interesting for everyone involved.

  3. DPS don't get fading light on derp mode ultraxion, only the tank does.

    1. You're completely right, my mistake! It does prove my point about Blizz making the fights a lot easier for dps tho ;P

  4. I agree with most of your points. The only thing I disagree with is not being allowed to roll on tier tokens you already have. I know that many DPS specs don't really need a second piece for their off-spec because the set bonuses work for all specs. But I play a Druid, and there are THREE completely different tier sets that I might need, depending on my off-spec. If a druid without access to normal level raids was limited to only ever getting one of each token then they would never be able to get set bonuses for their off-spec. And if they ever decided to switch to a different main-spec they would be screwed. Other hybrid classes would have the same problem.

    It wouldn't feel fair to pure classes if the pures were limited to one token per slot while hybrids were allowed to get 2-3 tokens per slot. But it also wouldn't be fair to prevent hybrids from being able to ever gear up for another role by limiting their ability to earn tokens.

    I've heard some people suggest that Blizzard only allow people to roll on tier if they aren't currently wearing any. Theoretically this would mean that if you were main spec heals but wanted tier for an off-spec you would queue as your off-spec's role while wearing your off-spec gear. Because your off-spec gear wouldn't include tier pieces, you'd then be allowed to roll on tokens again. Superficially this would seem to work, but I know some people prefer to queue as their main-spec anyway -- either because it's more fun for them, because it gives them shorter queues, or because they want to gear up enough for their second role so they will be able to perform well when they finally do queue as that role. Forcing someone with a well-geared DPS spec to gear as a tank with terrible gear, just to be eligible for a tank-spec token, could jeopardize the success of the group.

    Therefore, we're stuck with the current system, which relies on the good will of 25 random strangers. :(

    1. Oh I completely agree that people should be able to roll on multiple tier tokens, I realize now that that doesn't come out very clear in the post though. Obviously hybrids should be able to get more than one set of tier!

  5. Regarding #3...

    If you can't roll on items you don't "need," then you run into the very reason people tend not to roll for loot in 25 man raids (10 mans it's less of an issue since fewer people need each item).

    Namely, a person who has less gear has more chances to win something. So if I just want my Conqueror helm, I have the same chance of winning it as the 372 ilvl priest who can also roll on a dozen other items. Does that seem fair, that I have to pass on 11 items that he can roll on and potentially win, and then we both have equal chances to get the one item I need?

    By trading, you can get around this issue with LFR not caring about how many items you need or how long you've been running it. And since unlike an actual raid, you don't have a fairly static group. Not getting an item in a raid means you might have to wait a few weeks. Not getting an item in LFR just means you're back to square one.

    In addition, do you think it's unethical for a paladin friend to queue with me to try to help get me my helm? He's helping the group and the reward he wants for his efforts is a chance to help me get the gear I want.

    That said, I think people rolling need just to vendor are assholes, sure. But I think many people roll need because an RNG system without a static group makes it harder to get gear the more items you get, there's never the "Well, I keep losing, but finally I'm the only one who needs it!"

    P.S. I don't actually need a Conqueror helm, I'm just using it as an example.

    1. I suppose the way to look at it is how angry would you be if it happened to you?

      for example if you were tanking one of the latest heroics and the paladin healer needed on the tanking trinket from the last boss for his mates offspec?

      I looked up the definitions of need and greed on the blizzard web site and need was the button to hit for useful gear for yourself.

      The way to stop this would be to make need roll BoP for LFR.

      Maybe they should introduce DKP for LFR, every time you kill a boss for get 25 points and every time you win a needed item you lose 25 points. You just add your total points to your roll :)

      Aren't Blizz changing the loot distribution in MoP LFR to everyone rolls and the top 5 people get an item or cash if they cannot use what they won?

    2. Yeah, they're changing it to be individual rolls. Not exactly sure how it'll work yet.

      [quote]for example if you were tanking one of the latest heroics and the paladin healer needed on the tanking trinket from the last boss for his mates offspec?[/quote]

      There's a few problems with this statement:

      1, that loot, with the addition of LFR, is transitory. Aka, it is intended to be replaced by LFR loot within the same tier. So I'd argue, even if everything else was the same (and it's not, so this is the least important part), that it's far less of an issue.

      2, controlling LFD loot is far easier. At a minimum, you can get 4 friends and run it for the item. It's a lot harder to find 24 friends for LFR, and you don't have the option to queue with a group of 15 that can do LFR with 15 people. Even if I can only get 1-2 friends, I can still make it extraordinarily unlikely one of the PUGs will be able to need on the trinket.

      3, there's far less loot overlap. I don't have to worry about a second tank needing an item, and Blizzard tries to avoid multiple DPS with the same armor type. And since they'll probably do something similar with the Role Bonus in Mists, I should win it with my main spec.

      4, I have an opportunity to do the dungeon a minimum of one per day (more if I get it with a random queue), meaning at least seven chances per week if I really want it versus one chance.

      5, I have a far better chance at winning it no matter what. Imagine I'm a mage and I want a caster trinket. Every other mage, warlock, shadow priest, boomkin, and elemental shaman will also want it. I could potentially have to roll against nearly a dozen people. In a five man, in the *worst* case I'd have to roll against four other people, and likely only one, or none.

  6. I think people kicking out party members just before the boss they want to loot or to bring in a guild member or friend halfway through the run is a bigger problem than anything you've listed. There's nothing more aggravating than being kicked halfway through a run that was going perfectly. I bet that costs blizzard a fair number of players that just give up and quit playing.

    1. The annoys me too, a few weeks back a hunter guildie of mine got kicked just before DW and we can only think it was the other hunter (and friends) doing it to try and get an uncontested roll on the bow.