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LFR brings the shinies, Apologies if you’ve not been so lucky…

Lot of talk in the blogsphere about gearing in the last few days, whether it be WoW Insider staffers or Large Furry Druids. It is apparent from this small corner that the process of gearing has changed yet again: been a while since I rocked a five set of anything on anybody. Of course, it’s not Tier!Normal it’s Tier!Lite, but my dps doesn’t seem to mind. Flasked and fed, I was pulling 40k dps plus last night in LFR, and I was rarely out of the top five on the meters. This, for most people, is all that really matters: you look GOOD. However (there’s always a caveat) I find myself thinking this morning, is this actually an improvement on the way things were? I know I was a big Naysayer on the LFR thing even before we had it: does this apparent improvement in gearing sources really improve the lot of the average player?

Well, in practical terms, it’s a massive boost. Farming in TB is quicker and easier: ‘basic’ L85 beasts die with ease, and more give up skins in my 60 minute window allowing the Potion of Treasure Finding to randomly gift me with moar chests. If I look at the how many extra skins get sold on the Auction House, I’m betting the financial benefit of more dps is largely unarguable. I took my Rogue out for Part One later last night and again, with application to my rotation and some foods (not even a flask) top 5 dps places were easy to attain. However, and here’s the killer (at least for me): there were far better geared people than me doing far less dps.  It was late, and it was LFR: there could be any number of excuses, but what is clear (and this has always been the case) that looking permanently smart does not automatically mean you’ll play smart 24/7 too. LFR may teach you how boss fights work, but it doesn’t teach you how to play better. That’s your task to undertake and not for Blizzard.

I am not the only person who bemoans those who do not come prepared to raids. I’m also not the only person who thinks that people need something more than just being shown what to do. These are people who have been in the game a long time, who remember when raiding meant far more than picking a role and simply pressing a button. This mentality is not easy to distil or reinforce in the more casual player either: if I take my 11 year old as an example he’s prepared to grind for something but only when he has exhausted all the easy options. If he can cheat, he will, if someone else has shown him the way first. I find myself thinking that for the majority of those who don’t just count Azeroth as their ‘home’ have this mindset and not the one that assumes that everyone will give 110% regardless of what they are doing. I’m not suggesting this should be the default state, but it might make everyone’s life a bit easier if it was, surely?

I suggested in my Professions posts that it would be wonderful to see the ability to tie levelling a craft with learning that it’s not just about the best gear, there are other issues to consider (like food, flasks and enchants). Blizzard have a great opportunity when addressing the issue of ‘stat inflation’ to make armour less of an issue to how people are organised into content. With mogging being increasingly popular (if the prices of sub-80 green gear are any indicator on my server, it’s taking off in a big way) it shouldn’t be about how you look any more, and it really ought not to be relying on a number you work so you can press a particular button either. We need to balance the need to be better with the mechanics that get us there, and people have to understand that, even on the days when we’re not playing at 100%, there’s more to this game than just the basics.

Sadly, we have a month to wait until we hear any news on how this all might be changing from the Land of Pandas… but I’m sure we can all find plenty to discuss until then.

One thought on “Working the Numbers.

  1. I think what it boils down to is; how do people learn to be good players in parties/raids if they're not in a guild that educates them on that?

    You say it's for players to undertake themselves, not Blizzard, but with all the help for new players that the game throws up now ('you have a talent point, here's what that means'), I think there really needs to be a 'this is what you need to think about when playing with others' guide within LFD and LFR. Things like:

    – What does 'tank', 'healer', 'damage' actually mean? What is expected of each role?

    – What are the ways to enhance your performance (fnar, fnar)? We all know about food, flasks, enchants, but only by osmosis over the years.

    etc.

    Sadly my final piece of TierLite evades me (HAT!), so I am suitably envious. I am also about 6.2% sadder in raids than I was last week after the Fire Mage nerf – it was nice being near the top of the meters while I could. :-)

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