Luck of the LFR draw

LFR lately for me has been on a kind of pendulum swing — great groups that power through every boss with a minimum of effort and drama, or really abysmal groups that struggle with every boss and snipe at each other the whole time. Not much in between. Last night, sad to say, I was on a roll with the latter kind of groups. I was trying to power a couple of alts through full HFC clears, for the valor and in one case for the 33 final ring doohickeys. The first run took nearly 3 hours, and I was unable to complete the second because frankly I could not take any more, I got through one wing and part of another before I just gave up.

There was a pattern of “really tough” (more than 3 wipes) bosses last night, but even the ones that the groups did not wipe on were usually only beaten by the skin of our teeth, and sloppily so at that. Usually they went on far longer than is usual these days. One Gorefiend group went through three Feast of Souls phases. Three. An Iron Reaver group went through two air phases. Another group spent forever in the trash gauntlet after Socrethar, neither of the tanks understood that you can’t just stand in one place and kill mobs.

The big wipe bosses were Kilrogg, Xhul’horac, Mannoroth, and of course Archimonde. In LFR, these bosses really should not be especially challenging — they are all about fairly simple mechanics, like don’t stand in fire, kill adds before boss, and take the bad stuff away from the raid. But people for some reason frequently just refuse to do that. I have no clue why this is.

Now, there are sometimes groups who are collectively so overpowered that they can do all of those no-no’s and still down the boss. But that was absolutely not the case last night. One group wiped twice on Kilrogg because people just ignored it when they got Heartseeker, and the entire area around the boss was filled with the red AoE splotches. Plus the bloods kept getting to the boss because they started out so close to him. Similarly, in Xhul’horac no one moved at all when they got Fel Surge or Void Surge, and soon there was almost no place to stand where you were in range of the boss and weren’t taking AoE. Wipe, wipe, wipe.

Mannoroth and Archie were of course all about the adds, and far too many damage dealers just simply refused to target adds, even after it was patiently explained that killing adds was the winning strategy. I am guessing most of them were prima donnas that figured targeting adds was for the average damage dealers, not august presences such as themselves. I quit one group after we got 6 stacks from repeatedly wiping on Mannoroth because of this. In the Archie group I was in, we got up to 8 stacks because, even after people finally got it through their thick heads to down the adds, most could not grasp the necessity of prioritizing the orb while in the Nether. They just figured they could power through the big add there before the orb could get close enough to do damage. Nope.

Over the course of the evening, I think I came into contact with almost every bad stereotype player in LFR.

The diva tank. This guy is truly a delicate flower, unable to tolerate even the smallest hint that anyone would dare to think he could make a mistake, or to abide even the most polite suggestion regarding tactics. We lost 4 tanks over the course of the evening because of this attitude. (And I know tanks get a lot of abuse in LFR, most of it completely uncalled for, but as far as I could tell, none of that was going on when these tanks quit. They acted huffy and insulted that anyone would dare to address them.)

The GOGOGO guy. These are the ones who, at even the slightest pause before a pull, start chanting GOGOGO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR. If forced to wait for more than a minute they either drop group or pull themselves, even if that means pulling with insufficient number of healers or tanks, or that it locks some people out because they are still running back after the last wipe. Quite a few of the groups last night spent a lot of time in queue because people would drop group not wanting to wait for replacements, which of course caused us to need more replacements, which caused impatient types to drop, etc.

The meter guy. This is the guy who blasts out damage meter results in raid chat after every pull. The one constantly monitoring everyone else’s damage numbers, and helpfully pointing out — strictly as a public service to the raid — that Buggyeye’s numbers are terrible and he should be immediately kicked. This is almost always also the guy who never targets adds and who would not deign to perform raid utilities such as running the boxes in Hellfire Assault. Those are jobs for the lesser raid members.

Leeeroy’s group leader. This is the opposite of the GOGOGO guy, who thinks LFR is a real raid, and who wants to spend forever laying out complex movement markers, sub-dividing groups into specialty teams, marking the tanks and healers. I am all for ensuring the group knows the basic mechanics, but that takes at most a minute — and usually more like 30 seconds — to explain for LFR.

Your BFF. This is the guy who, as soon as he gets a shareable debuff on him, immediately sidles up to you, and no matter what you do you can’t shake him. If you move, he moves, it’s like you are suddenly joined at the hip.

The troll. This is the guy who is only there to see how nasty he can make it for others. He belittles every class except his own, demeans every player so as to build himself up, brags about his (usually nonexistent) expertise, takes a contrary stance against every strategy, and refuses every suggestion such as “Everyone step inside, please.” He may also deliberately pull before anyone is ready and run around gathering up adds to bring into trash fights. He often initiates kicks of people he has inexplicably taken a particular dislike to, and he counts it as a victory if his nastiness results in someone dropping group.

Interestingly, most of my baddies tend to be tanks or damage dealers, I don’t think I have ever come across anything close to a bad stereotype of a healer. Maybe I just haven’t noticed. I have certainly come across bad healers, but generally what makes them bad is that they are just not proficient, nothing that strikes me as malicious. (Except when they deliberately let some dirtbag die, which I tend to cheer actually.)

And there are certainly also good LFR player stereotypes. I’ll try to describe them next time my LFR luck of the draw results in a positive experience.




About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

4 Responses to Luck of the LFR draw

  1. Grumsta says:

    LFR queues were getting longer for me until the recent addition of Ring Valor upgrades, but my experience over the last two resets has been overwhelmingly positive.

    Groups form quickly: it might take 10 – 15 minutes to get into the first group, but then as soon as the boss is down the next group is often ready to go. Tanks give concise instructions (probably macro’d) via RW, and off we all go.

    Both of my last Archie kills have been on the first pull. I thought the first one was a fluke tbh, but the second week’s went the same way. Both tanks need to work together, and as long as a couple of healers look after them while 3 – 4 dps with 50k dps or higher go for priority targets it’s a breeze.

    I haven’t seen any more of the leet groups who flew through everything with open contempt at having to be there, I think even they got bored of being such idiots and just do Mythic dungeons now (still my preferred Valor source, I’m hoping to run a few tonight with friends).

    It could be luck of the draw, or EU vs US. I don’t envy you your experience that’s for sure. LFR continues to be a necessary evil rather than something we look forward to doing. When you get a good group it’s more a sigh of relief than any real satisfaction at an achievement.

    I have started doing Archie Normal pug runs for the Ring upgrade, and all the player types you mention above are there too. The number of groups I’ve been in where 4 or 5 people fly into the air and then wipe themselves and the 2 or 3 people who try to soak them…… Cue abuse and group disbanding, rinse and repeat :-/

    This is of course because those players who cluster & fly in formation have come straight from LFR where the mechanic doesn’t exist. They haven’t read up on the Normal fight, watched videos, etc, so they expect a slightly tougher fight similar to one they’ve probably run a dozen times and think they “know”. Surprise!

    LFR is a key part of the game (you can tell it’s important to Blizz because they keep giving us reasons to go back and run it) but it has such an identity crisis that no-one knows what it’s for any more. It isn’t a training environment for Normal, and it isn’t a nuke-and-collect-token mechanism for the Legendary quest either. I hope Blizz are able to give it some love and attention for Legion [doesn’t hold breath].

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, except for the night I wrote about, I have had pretty positive LFR experiences, similar to what you describe, for a couple of weeks. That may be why the evening was so frustrating — I had let my expectations creep up too high!

      Your comment about LFR’s identity crisis is straight on. It is apparent that the genre is presenting some very significant design challenges for Blizz, yet they are not ready to ditch it completely. I am especially troubled by the “Archie” situation, where there are actual mechanics just missing from LFR but critical in Normal and higher tiers. I do think LFR should be — at least minimally — a true intro/training ground for regular raiding, and for quite a while this has seemed to be Blizz’s philosophy too. Unfortunately, as the raiding base becomes more sophisticated, there is a demand for increasingly complex (both quantitatively and qualitatively) boss mechanics, but these are beyond the reasonable reach of groups configured the way LFR is. (The way they are currently implemented is also beyond the reach of “friends and family” teams, but the way Blizz has dealt with this is to abandon the whole idea originally behind the flex/normal tier, making it a progression tier instead.)

      This is a very interesting subject, because it goes to the core of Blizz’s entire raid group design. I hope Blizz’s recent doubling down on LFR is not a make-or-break test for It. As I have written before, my sense is that Blizz’s design in many parts of the game (gear reward structure, lack of incentives for guild membership, long and complex boss fights, disappearance of the tier between LFR and progression, much more) is resulting in raiding becoming less accessible to all but dedicated raiders. I don’t know if this is deliberate or a result of poor game planning, and I don’t know what if any effect ATVI’s buy in to eSports has on it, but I see a definite trend in this direction.

  2. Heh, I love your stereotypes. There is also this guy. He shows up and does very little dps and is looking for an easy ride — but he’ll tell you all about his Main. His main, of course, is 11/13 mythic and knows all and is all-powerful. Whether that main exists or not is the question, no?
    As to the LFR, I don’t have a solution. What would you think if in the LFR that raid markers were automatically generated? I know it’d give away the strategy and that there might be many strats but … I have often wished on LFR Iron Reaver that the healers were marked during barrage and the up phase. Or tanks were always marked, always and forever.
    I love reading your posts.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yes there is definitely that guy!

      There are a lot of LFR innovations that would be helpful. Not sure about auto-generated locational markers, but auto-generated tank and healer markers might be useful — certainly worth a test.

      My tinfoil hat theory on what Blizz is doing with LFR is that they have a dual purpose. The first is obviously to provide activity that might keep players active until Legion, but maybe the second is to bring in a lot more players to LFR so that there is a wider pool of ideas on how to improve the experience. I hope Blizz is committed to LFR for Legion, but I do think they realize it needs a lot of work, that it is no longer the experience they hoped it would be when they implemented it.

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