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LFR Killed the Part-Core Raid Star

December 21, 2011

Dear Reader,

Ive come to mourn.  I’ve had three pretty big “revelations” (though probably they only warrant the word “realizations”) recently regarding (unintentional alliteration; accept my apology) my relationship with WoW and MMOs in general.  First, though, I promised a tale of a struggle versus dastardly foes, and I’m happy to report that on Monday night, my guild downed the second boss…

…in Ulduar.  That’s right.  We didn’t even attempt Dragon Soul.  The raid comp and signups were garbage, the raid leader had had a legitimately bad day with her dog becoming emergency-room sick, and we couldn’t get the two PvPers (one of which is the good druid healer/dpser) to join us.  Right as I was throwing in the towel someone said, “Let’s do Ulduar!” which I grumbled about but agreed to do.

We had 11 interested, so we decided to do 25 man.  We blew through FL and XT and decided to go right and visit Algalon, who I’d personally never even seen.  He was awesome looking, and the encounter was really fun – except we couldn’t down him.  We couldn’t down a level 80 raid boss.  Our dps was stupidly low – I as a tank was about two dpsers (out of 7).  We had two healers – my wife and the bad shammy – and the bad shammy died to literally every single big bang.  He simply COULD NOT get into a black hole.  Many of the dpsers were standing in the cosmic slash like it was no big deal, though falling damage is percent based, so they’d still get whammied upon hitting the ground.

It was, honestly, embarrassing.  It was also a sign.  I’m going out of town tomorrow, and I think when I get back that’s going to be it for this guild, and probably for WoW until the next expansion.  We’ll see; I’ll have a clearer head in a week.

Now, the revelations:

1: I don’t enjoy playing games by myself any more, even single player games.

I’ve bought a lot of single player games during steam sales.  A shameful amount.  I’ve always had a tendency that, when I’m sure I can beat a game, I just lose interest and, eventually if I don’t finish quickly enough, stop playing it.  It’s happened over and over; eventually, I get curious and return and finish some of them, but less and less recently.  It struck me with Mass Effect 2, then Civ 5.  I’ve played so many co-op shooters and great Civ 5 games with my wife that I just don’t enjoy playing alone any more.  This is pretty much in line with Koster and McGonigal’s game theory, who state (respectively) that once you learn a game’s pattern, it gets boring (so I lose interest) and that playing with people makes most games more fun.

So that’s a problem, since I don’t really like strangers, because I’m becoming co-dependent on my buddy and my wife for entertainment (or my brother-in-law in Portal 2′s case – finished in 2 nights).  I’m not certain if it’s a genre issue in that I’m just sick and tired of shooters and (mmo)rpgs, which may be the case since I did play all the way through Limbo and Bastion, but I don’t know.

2: Many of the things that used to entertain me now frustrate me.

WoW and Civ 5 are great examples of this.  I used to take failure in stride, but recently I’ve become very annoyed by various types of failure.  My theory is that since I’m not doing satisfying work (I’m taking from McG again here) in my “real” life, I’m more invested in my “play” life and thus feel it’s higher stakes.  In NY, I didn’t care about wiping for hours or letting my first settler get killed by goddamn barbarians (I may have restarted anyway, but I wasn’t upset about it, just a bit self-peeved at my arrogance of sending them out undefended).  Now, though, I find myself feeling enraged over things that I can intellectually see are trivial but emotionally feel like major losses.

I don’t know if any full-time job would solve this, either, since I’d obviously prefer to work in a job I enjoy (teaching).  This situation worries me because at the moment I’m apparently (by local school district’s definition) over-qualified for public school, but (by University’s definition) under-qualified to teach full time at a college.  Stuck in the middle, I have few options but accepting my part-time condition or dumping tens of thousands of dollars into getting a PhD that may or may not actually help me in this geographical area.

3: I think I may not be part-core any more, but actually just be casual.

Though I’m fully aware that it may be tied to any of the above situations, I just don’t have it in me any more to raid seriously.  In the past, it was easier to find like-minded individuals (and here comes the relevance to the title of the post), but nowadays, it seems harder than ever.  I think, and the few people I’ve run this past feel it’s a sound theory, that LFR did this unintentionally.  Before I go further, let me say that I have no problem with LFR; I’ve never done it myself (and won’t) and have heard mostly good reports, so unlike my comments on LFD (which I abhor), I’m not complaining about the LFR design or implementation.  However, I think its existence has mortally wounded part-core raiding.

Everyone raids for a variety of reasons, but let me oversimplify to keep from making an exhaustively long list.  Hard core raiders do it for the achievement (not in the game sense, but in the worldly sense).  They do it to overcome a difficult obstacle; to be among the few who could.  Casual raiders do it for fun, to pass the time, and to spend time with friends.  Part-core raiders were somewhere in between.  My and my buddy’s primary reasons for raiding were to see the content, to experience the fights.  With LFR, a player can do that without batting an eye; how many people have downed Deathwing already in LFR?  Many, I’m sure, since even some of the most baffling bad players in my guild have done so (as well as all of the good ones).

Why struggle?  If you can see the content, get the gear (not mentioned above but surely a motivation for people of all raiding classes), and overcome the challenges (as low a bar as they may set in LFR), then why try to do it the hard way in real 10 man or 25 man?  There really isn’t a reason, and there you go.  I might as well just queue my 10 man raids up for LFR (and it’s been suggested before); we’d get to see the content, we’d be playing together, and we’d have fun and success.

So like video and radio, it seems that LFR has killed Part Core in WoW.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and resting in peace)

19 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2011 4:09 pm

    Why exactly are you in this guild?

    About three years ago, I wrote a post describing my my ideal guild. Then when I went searching for a guild, I found one that was a pretty good match. Not a perfect match, but close. I’ve been in that guild for a long time now.

    I think you would benefit from doing something like this. First, define what you want in a guild. What properties are “must haves” and what are “nice to haves”. Then search for something that matches your desires.

    You can’t change people. So the best thing to do is find like-minded people. And you can’t find like-minded people until you know what your own mind is like.

    • January 2, 2012 11:32 am

      I’ve asked myself this question a lot, particularly over the break I had in South Carolina. As mentioned in today’s post, I think I was simply trying to get my hands on the raw materials to reconstruct what I had before, but the materials were a little too raw.

      I’ve done what you’ve said before, actually, when I was deciding where to move after my time with my second guild came to an end. I ended up in what I’m now referring to as my “middle guild,” which was very successful at raiding (11/12 HM ICC), an enjoyable group of people, and all with good attitudes and personalities. It was perfect.

      Except that the GM/RL didn’t like my buddy. I understand what happened, but it baffles me that such a small thing, unmentioned, could create so much turmoil. But it did, and there I was in a position to choose between my RL friend and a nearly perfect guild environment. Really, though, there was no choice.

      Since then I’ve guild shopped, carefully, slowly, and ended up in places that had 75% of the qualities I’ve wanted: success, but too vulgar; good people, but not successful; perfect environment and successful, but raid nights not compatible with my own. Finally I just took the guild my new RL friends were in and decided to see what I could do with it. Not enough, apparently, to satisfy myself.

      Thanks for the comment; it’s a rare honor to have you around these parts.

  2. December 21, 2011 6:08 pm

    I scrolled down here to leave a comment and I see Rohan has pretty much beaten me to the punch. Finding the right guild will fix all three of your problems. I seem to recall this being an issue before for you a while back and you had some real life friends you were following around, if I recall. And hey, that’s great, but you’re also making yourself miserable. It’s like the guy who goes to the doctor to complain that it hurts when he pokes himself, and the doctor just says, “Well.. stop doing that.”

    Like, seriously, stop putting up with guilds that don’t meet the criteria you desire. I can think of a half a dozen guilds right now that would be a better fit for you and your wife. I’d be happy to recommend a few, but I think you’d be best off following Rohan’s advice and really contemplating what your needs are.

    (PS: Are you playing SWTOR? Because I will invite you and your wife to my casualcore SWTOR guild right this very second. I’m not even lying. We’re usually a little tricky to get into and I barely know you, but for months I’ve been reading your posts where your guild is just slowly grinding down your enjoyment of MMOs and it’s painful to read!!)

    • January 2, 2012 11:34 am

      I am playing SW, and I actually formed a guild with a few people of like minds already. Some of the commentators here and people he knew. I’m not playing SW for end game right now, though, I’m just taking my time. I appreciate the offer, though, and if you’re ever guild shopping, give me a buzz.

  3. December 21, 2011 7:57 pm

    After you reading your post, I thought that you really nailed the sentiment of how it feels to raid nowadays. The funny thing is, I long for the ease with which raiding could be done in the past. It was easier because finding like-minded players wasn’t as difficult as it is now. These days, players just don’t care about playing with other players. Other players, to them, are a means to an ends and nothing more. I thought before the issue was generational, and it *is* …partially. The other part is that the design philosophy of the game has made other players so insignificant that it’s hard to motivate people to actually play. It’s just really hard. Players dont have the motivation they did before, the incentives.

    LFR is really well done so far. I’ve done it a couple of times and it was a great, no pressure environment of blowing through easy bosses and collecting loot. I come and go as I please without fear of letting others down. I have no incentive to stay and none to go. LFR is just another perfectly anti-social feature of the game.

    • January 2, 2012 11:37 am

      Blizz has done a lot to innovate the MMO environment, but like Ford, Carnegie, and other famous American businessmen, it’s often with a great cost to the humanity of the process. LFD was a great idea, except it turned group-mates into commodities like pens or water bottles. LFR I’m sure will be wonderful except it killed the part-core ethic; why struggle when you can get it for less effort? I don’t blame Blizz for the decisions they’ve made, but they’ve done more to hurt the community feeling of an MMO than any other source, and they’ve done nothing to preserve it through means of monitoring bad behavior. They’ve created a community where one can be a sociopath and get completely away with it without providing ways for others to deal with it.

  4. Elisa Baker permalink
    December 22, 2011 11:57 am

    I send the opinions that frankly this just sounds like a terrible guild full of people who don’t give a shit. And, um yeah, that would kill raiding for me too. I don’t think it has anything to do with LFR – I regularly experience all 3 tiers of raiding, I would say – I’m in a 4 night a week 25 man raid guild working on heroics. I _also_ have an alt healer who runs in a completely different set of people, one night a week. We are working on regular mode DS, with spine down. I would say that meets the definition of “part core” – it’s extremely low time committment, and most of the players in the group are alts like me, or people who only want to raid 1 or 2 nights. But we take it seriously in the sense that everyone is a good player, characters are specced and enchanted right – and yet we still have a lot of fun. I also run LFR every week, twice, to try and get tier pieces and it’s just mindless drudgery that I often run two at once (2 accounts) because it takes so little attention. It’s hard to image anyone who finds that satisfying, especially anyone who actually enjoys the challenge of raiding even if they’re under no illusions about defeating all the content in HM

    • January 2, 2012 11:41 am

      I don’t disagree with any particular point you make, but you’re far from being a part-core player. I couldn’t possibly imagine having the time to raid 5+nights a week (nor the desire to). Perhaps your one alt-healer guild fits the bill, but the fact that you’re getting your core raiding done successfully with a large 4 night a week raid schedule indicates you’re a lot more than a part-time player.

      That’s not to negate your points, though, which I think are all valid, particularly your point about the satisfaction of LFR. I’m squarely in your boat there; I won’t do LFR; it’s like fast food: cheap, convenient, and empty of value. However, a lot of people are pulling up to the LFR window and ordering raid after raid. I’m just not interested in that; I want to see the content in a meaningful way with a group of people who have the group’s best interest in mind. I’m not in a place for that right now, though, but who knows what the future holds?

  5. December 22, 2011 6:10 pm

    Your not alone in your ‘struggle’ buddy.

    You know, I can’t get to grips with Single Players much any more. But you know what’s worse? A multi-player game, more-so an ‘MMO’, which feels like a solo game. Especially with no close friends left playing and false, forced and temporary relationships via the LFR/LFD tools. You can literally complete the raid without a word from anybody. If anything does come out it’s usually negative. It’s like a dog-eat-dog world.

    I also feel myself to be Part-Core (Stubborn TM).

    Thanks for sharing

    • January 2, 2012 11:26 am

      MSOs are the future, I think; parallel play, not cooperative play. I’m not excited about that; I think it’s probably not for the better of the overall gaming community; who knows, though? Subscriptions were hated at first, and now they’re going by the wayside, so everything’s just a moment in time, really, just for now. Hopefully something new and exciting will show up sometime soon and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and fresh air.

  6. December 23, 2011 10:17 am

    I recognize myself in most of the things you write about actually, and it especially annoys me that I can’t find the motivation to finish or even properly play games I know I love and enjoy. I’ve been so spoiled with easy accessible and multi player games that anything else just has a really hard time keeping my interest and it scares me, frankly. Best thing would probably be to go to a remote cabin somewhere without internet or friends and just your console of choice (which could be a PC). Unfortunately a lot of single player games nowadays still require you to have access to internet :S

    • January 2, 2012 11:24 am

      I’m hoping that I can keep my interest in Skyrim long enough, but I wonder if I’m just hitting a point where I’ve “been there, done that,” in basically every video game I play. There’s only so many ways you can shoot bad guys in the face, get out of the fire, or jump from platform to platform, and I’ve done a lot of them. Raph Koster says that games are destined to become boring, and I’ve played a lot of games. I probably brought this on myself.

  7. AliPally permalink
    December 29, 2011 8:24 pm

    Guess what? We killed Algalon with what would be ‘stupidly low’ dps by today’s standards, but that was because we did it while it was current content. Looking at a screen shot I took at the time, I had 22k health, yet I survived all the Big Bangs and Cosmic Smashes and all the rest of it. It’s not the dps that let you down (even if it was terrible), it’s the standing in fire and failure to move.

    Your guild totally and absolutely fails at raiding; it’s no wonder you are so fed up with it all. You can’t raid with a group like that, and It is pointless trying. You say that people in your guild have killed the bosses in LFR, but I can guarantee that they are being carried by other players. LFR might be a lot easier than Normal mode, but then so is Algalon – a lot easier.

    I love raiding; it’s the only reason I still play WoW. On my main I think I am ‘part-core’ as you call it. We raid to a reasonable standard, but we are all good friends, which to me is very important.
    I also have an alt that I do LFR with. I do not raid current content with this alt at all; I don’t have the time or the energy to play two characters like that. I do it mainly because I can join a quick run that doesn’t require me to play hard, that I can drop out of after even one boss kill and not feel I left the group stranded, and that is fairly forgiving for standing in fire and dps/hps requirements. On that character I find LFR to be fun, and I would really recommend you try it, but it is stil lmore fun to do with a friend than solo. Aren’t most things?

    • January 2, 2012 11:20 am

      To be fair – and this is IN NO WAY justifying my guilds poor performance – I doubt you 11 manned 25 man Algalon. If we’d had 25 people, even with the bad playing (avoiding mechanics and low dps/healing), we’d have downed him. That said I totally agree it had to do with people being unable to get their ass in a black hole to avoid the Big Bangs.

      Your assessment about LFR may or may not be correct; not having been in there, I don’t know if they’re being carried or not. I’ll say this, though; 8 of the 10 are pretty solid players, and I don’t think they need to be carried. The other 2 are perpetually the problem, and when we have better dps and heals (like the druid who won’t play with us), then we succeed in some limited fashion.

      The bottom line is we raid in a week what most guilds raid in a single nights: 2 hours on 2 days. While we certainly could be MORE successful than we are, there’s simply not enough time there to get any serious raiding done, be it practicing dances, rotations, or just practicing getting one’s ass in a black hole.

      Your final point is my biggest sticking point. Everyone tells me to just go play LFR, see the content, get it out of your system, but I’m playing to play with friends, to build success in a group; if I’m playing with strangers, I might as well go play Skyrim.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Berdache permalink
      March 21, 2012 7:59 am

      We recently cleared Ulduar 25 with 14 of us including all the hard modes (for the awesome mount) and we found Algernon fairly easy compared to some of the other bosses (we wiped a few times on Yoggy 0 guardians). I do think solo healing it (effectively) is a bit difficult though so you probably needed someone switching to offspec healing .

      It does sound to me like you do need to find a new guild in the middle ground between casual and hard core and hope it stays there.

      As a RL in a soft-core raiding guild we have actually benefited from LFR. Everyone ran it a couple of times and actually got to see the (watered down) encounters in a low stress way. For the first month or so we had LFR Thursdays where 8-12 of the guild ran it at the same time and had a blast. It made explaining the encounters a lot easier for the guild raid. Nowadays we mainly treat it as an alt gearing tool :). I would suggest you get a few mates together and try it.

    • March 21, 2012 1:21 pm

      I just… I just can’t bring myself to do LFR. I don’t know why. I’m earning my name, I suppose, by stubbornly refusing to have anything to do with it, but.. I don’t know. I just don’t want to do that. I don’t want raids to become mass-produced fast food like heroics became. I don’t want that kind of game where people you play with are just a commodity. That’s just not for me.

      I agree, though, that the guild I’m in need(s/ed) a lot of work. I haven’t done anything with them since the year started, though, so I think I’m past it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  8. anon permalink
    January 2, 2012 6:09 am

    Ewww! what a bunch of baddies in guild , seriously I would have quit wow if i had to put with that much crap , kudos to you for taking it like a man. But honestly a game shouldnt feel like a chore ,if it does then either switch the game or remedy the problem. In my case remedy was to reroll on one of the most populated and progressed eu server so finding good guilds wouldnt be a issue . I struck gold when i found a guild that just migrated and was reforming, since last 8months I have been in the same guild 6/7hc fl and now 1/8 hc DS.
    At the moment the couple of options you have are following,
    1) Tell people to stop being douchescanoes (thanks to Ilikebubbles ) and step up their game.
    2) Look for a different guild where everyone respects other 9/24 people’s time
    3) Start your own pugs when you have time and when the trade chat is a bit active.

    • January 2, 2012 11:16 am

      Yes, a game becoming “like a chore” is something I’m working to escape at the moment. I think WoW, though, has had many “chore-like” elements for some time; dailies, valor capping, regearing, etc. I’m thinking the problem might just be the amount of time I’ve spent playing games over all; it’s hard for innovation to strike when I’ve played every damn game I’m interested in for about 20 years.
      As to your suggestions, I appreciate them, but things are never so simple. I’m not in a position to tell people they’re douchecanoes; “It’s a casual guild” will be the response, and my real life friends might catch flak for it. I’m done with looking for new guilds; I’ve been in about 6 guilds in a year now. I don’t have the patience any more do set up pugs, especially when LFR is a button click away. So, all of your suggestions are intelligent and reasonable, but unfortunately I’m neither any more when it comes to WoW raiding. Thanks all the same, though!

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  1. A Year (or so) Later, We Revisit LFR Killed the Part-Core Raid Star « Sheep The Diamond

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