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The pros and cons of World of Warcraft’s “Looking For Raid” feature

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

I stood victorious. Before my battle-worn body lay the molten husk of Deathwing, former Aspect of Earth and previously a protector of Azeroth. The fiery visage of the once-noble dragon was shattered, many pieces still seething with rage as they slowly sunk into the depths of the sea.

The battle was long and we had prevailed.

An Orc warrior, the leader of our raid, stood tall and made a proud declaration of our victory for all to hear….

"LOL LATER DERPY N00BS".

Wait. What?

 

The most recent and final content update to the World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm introduced a bevy of new features. None has proven to be more controversial, however, than the "Looking For Raid" option. The LFR enables players to group with 25 random strangers in order to take on the newest tier of end-game raiding, albeit considerably easier in difficulty.
 
The new mechanic has received much praise and ire, causing an already polarized community to become even more hostile to one another. What are the claims? Why is everyone so angry? Most importantly, is the Looking For Raid system a help or hinderance to a game that has lost close to two million subscribers in the last year?
 
Allow me to address the situation.
 
I've logged 90 days of in-game time with my two main characters in World of Warcraft. Some of that time has included hardcore raiding. But up until last week I had never seen the defeat of the main boss of a World of Warcraft expansion with my own eyes.
 
World of Warcraft
Nope. Didn't see him.
 
That was until the LFR system took me straight into the maw of madness. I looked ahead and struck swiftly to victory.
 
As a fanatic of the lore and canon surrounding the Warcraft universe, I rejoiced at finally seeing the culmination of a story that I had been a part of for almost a year. To see Deathwing, bringer of the Catacylsm that destroyed the face of Azeroth itself, was a moment I never thought I would see. I mean, who has the time to raid when you have a full-time job and a life?
 
The LFR system is amazing for subscribers that want to experience the content while it's still relevant. Past expansions left behind those of us not willing to dedicate ourselves to 10 hours a day, five days a week, and voice chat abuse for standing in fire.
 
World of Warcraft
 
 
The added bonus to this? Those that experience this content via the LFR system still have a chance at epic gear, the lifeblood of end-game raiding. This gear may be de-powered compared to the normal and heroic difficulty settings of the same content, but it's still more powerful than the loot a majority of gamers will get ahold of.
 
I should also make mention that I find the LFR system to be a great teaching tool for those looking to step their feet into raiding for the first time. Additionally, while these boss encounters are de-powered, LFR is a sound way of seeing the fight mechanics and familiarizing yourself with each individual boss fight.
 
All of this sounds good, right? Some would disagree, and even go as far to say that the LFR system is the final nail in the World of Warcraft coffin.
 
Remember the scenario that I used to begin this article? Completely true. Even sadder was that I did not know a single person out of the 25 of us that managed to kill Deathwing. On the first try. 
 
We held no celebration, no culmination of hard work and effort on the part of a group. People rolled "need" on the gear they wanted and immediately bolted, off to the next source of loot.
 
Even I wasn't thrilled. In fact, I complained to a fellow guildmate that I didn't win any gear, ate a Pop-Tart, and promptly went to bed with a feeling of "meh." 
 
World of Warcraft
Exciting, right?
 
Detractors of the LFR system complain that boiling down painfully technical and momentous encounters into nothing more than standing in one place and attacking ad nauseum has ruined what should be a great experience. 
 
I can relate to this idea. Having been a member of a hardcore raiding guild at one point, I know the feeling of achievement and joy that comes with taking out the big bad of a raid for the first time.
 
What makes the moment important is that you have accomplished this with guildmates — fellow players whom you have talked, laughed and played with for months, all in the name of teamwork and accomplishing a goal. 
 
Those against the LFR system are convinced that this lack of camaraderie is what will enevitabilty kill a game that has been around for close to a decade. After all, what is the point of doing the raid content on higher difficulties if you have already defeated the big evil…and with little effort to boot? 
 
Why go after the more powerful gear in the higher difficulties when this is the last boss of the expansion? After all, this epic gear will immediately be replaced by common rarity gear that is more powerful once Mists of Pandaria — the next World of Warcraft expansion — is released. So why bother?
 
World of Warcraft t-shirt
It's gotta go.
 
I do not believe that there is a right answer to this situation. I am thrilled to see content I never thought I would have the gear for. Likewise, I am sad that the moment had absolutely no meaning to me on a personal level. The solution does not appear to be clear.
 
Is the LFR system a deal-breaker? That is something each subscriber will have to decide for themselves. For the time being, I consider it a good thing. And it gives me a chance to level new characters.
 
After all, I've already slain the dragon. 
However, one must consider the problems at hand. Is the 'Looking For Raid' system the final nail in the coffin of 'World of Warcraft'?
 
I stood victorious. Before my battle-worn body lay the molten husk of Deathwing, former Aspect of Earth and previously a protector of Azeroth. The fiery visage of the once-noble dragon had been shattered, with so many pieces still seething with rage slowly sinking to the depths of the sea.
 
The battle was long and we had prevailed. 
 
A tall Orc warrior, The leader of our raid stands tall and makes a proud declaration of our victory for all to hear…
 
"LOL LATER N00BS".
 
Wait. What?
 
A bevy of new features were introduced With patch 4.3, the most recent and final content update to the World of Warcraft expansion 'Cataclysm". None have proven to be more controversial, however, than the 'Looking For Raid' finder. The LFR enables players to group with twenty five random players in order to take on the newest tier of end-game raiding, albeit considerably easier in difficulty.
 
The new mechanic has been one of much praise and ire, causing an already polarized community within World of Warcraft to become even more hostile. What are the claims? Why is everyone so angry? Most importantly, is the LFG system a help or hinderance to a game that has lost close to two million subscribers in the last year?
 
Allow me to address the situation.
 
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
 
83 days. That is how much time played I have with my two main characters in World of Warcraft. In that time, I have taken many different styles of play. This has included, on occasion, being a hardcore raider. Many four to seven hour nights, dying over and over to the same bosses occured. 'Phat loots' were taken. However, up until ast week I had never seen the defeat of the main boss of a 'World of Warcraft' expansion with my own eyes.
 
That was until the LFG system took me straight into the maw of madness. I looked ahead and struck swiftly to victory.
 
As a fanatic of the lore and canon surrounding the Warcraft universe, I rejoiced at finally being able to see the culmination of a story that I had been apart of for almost a year. To see Deathwing, bringer of the Catacylsm that destroyed the face of Azeroth itself was a moment I never thought I would see. Why? 
 
Who has the time to raid when you have a full-time job and a life?
 
The LFG system is amazing for subscribers that want to experience the content while said content is still relevant. Past expansions left behind those of us not willing to dedicate ourselves to ten hours a day, five days a week, and being yelled at over voice chat for standing in fire.
 
The added bonus to this? Those that experience this content via the LFG system still have a chance at epic gear, the lifeblood of end-game raiding content. This gear may be de-powered compared to the normal and heroic difficulty settings of the same content, but is still more powerful than the loot a majority of gamers will get ahold of.
 
I should also make mention that I find the LFG system to be a great teaching tool for those looking to step their feet into raiding for the first time. Additionally, while these boss encounters are de-powered, LFG is a sound way of seeing the fight mechanics and familiarizing yourself with each individual boss fight.
 
All of this sounds good, right? Some would disagree, and even go as far to say that the LFG system is the final nail in the 'World of Warcraft' coffin.
 
AN ANTI-CLIMATIC MOMENT?
 
Remember the scenario that I used to begin this article? Completely true. Even sadder that was I did not know a single person our of the twenty five of us that managed to kill Deathwing. 
 
There was no celebration, nor any culmination of hard work and effort on part of a group. People rolled 'need' on the gear they wanted and immediately bolted, off to the next source of epic gear.
 
Detractors of the LFG system have experienced similar encounters. The complaint is that boiling down once painfully technical and monumentus encounters into nothing more than standing in one place and attacking ad naseum has ruined what should be a great experience. 
 
I can relate to this idea. Having been the member of a hardcore raiding guild at one point, I know the feeling of achievement and joy that comes with taking out the big bad of a raid for the first time. What makes the moment important is that you have accomplished this guildmates whom you have talked, laughed and played with for months–and sometimes years–all in the name of teamwork and accomplishing a goal. 
 
There was no celebration or excitement upon my defeat of Deathwing. I wasn't thrilled. In fact, I complained to a fellow guildmate that I didn't win any gear, ate a pop-tart and promptly went to bed with a feeling of 'meh'. 
 
Those against the LFG are convinced that this exact scenario is what will enevitabilty kill a game that has been around for close to a decade. After all, what is the point of doing the raid content on higher difficulties if you have already seen it done, and with little effort to boot? 
 
Why go after the more powerful gear in the higher difficulties when this is the last boss of the expansion? After all, all of this epic gear is going to be immediately replaced by common rarity gear once 'Mists of Pandaria' – the next 'World of Warcraft' expansion – is released. 
 
Why bother?
 
I do not believe that there is a right answer to this situation. I am thrilled to see content I never thought I would have the gear for. Likewise, I am sad that said moment had absolutely no meaning to me on a personal level. The solution does not appear to be clear.
 
Is this the final nail in the coffin? I don't think so. A game with over 8 million active players isn't going to wither and die immediately. 
 
However, one must consider the problems at hand. 

However, one must consider the problems at hand.I stood victorious. Before my battle-worn body lay the molten husk of Deathwing, former 
 
Aspect of Earth and previously a protector of Azeroth. The fiery visage of the once-noble 
 
dragon had been shattered, with so many pieces still seething with rage slowly sinking to 
 
the depths of the sea.
 
The battle was long and we had prevailed. 
 
A tall Orc warrior, The leader of our raid stands tall and makes a proud declaration of our 
 
victory for all to hear…
 
"LOL LATER N00BS".
 
Wait. What?
 
A bevy of new features were introduced With patch 4.3, the most recent and final content 
 
update to the World of Warcraft expansion 'Cataclysm". None have proven to be more 
 
controversial, however, than the 'Looking For Raid' finder. The LFR enables players to group 
 
with twenty five random players in order to take on the newest tier of end-game raiding, 
 
albeit considerably easier in difficulty.
 
The new mechanic has been one of much praise and ire, causing an already polarized community 
 
within World of Warcraft to become even more hostile. What are the claims? Why is everyone 
 
so angry? Most importantly, is the LFG system a help or hinderance to a game that has lost 
 
close to two million subscribers in the last year?
 
Allow me to address the situation.
 
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
 
83 days. That is how much time played I have with my two main characters in World of 
 
Warcraft. In that time, I have taken many different styles of play. This has included, on 
 
occasion, being a hardcore raider. Many four to seven hour nights, dying over and over to 
 
the same bosses occured. 'Phat loots' were taken. However, up until ast week I had never 
 
seen the defeat of the main boss of a 'World of Warcraft' expansion with my own eyes.
 
That was until the LFG system took me straight into the maw of madness. I looked ahead and 
 
struck swiftly to victory.
 
As a fanatic of the lore and canon surrounding the Warcraft universe, I rejoiced at finally 
 
being able to see the culmination of a story that I had been apart of for almost a year. To 
 
see Deathwing, bringer of the Catacylsm that destroyed the face of Azeroth itself was a 
 
moment I never thought I would see. Why? 
 
Who has the time to raid when you have a full-time job and a life?
 
The LFG system is amazing for subscribers that want to experience the content while said 
 
content is still relevant. Past expansions left behind those of us not willing to dedicate 
 
ourselves to ten hours a day, five days a week, and being yelled at over voice chat for 
 
standing in fire.
 
The added bonus to this? Those that experience this content via the LFG system still have a 
 
chance at epic gear, the lifeblood of end-game raiding content. This gear may be de-powered 
 
compared to the normal and heroic difficulty settings of the same content, but is still more 
 
powerful than the loot a majority of gamers will get ahold of.
 
I should also make mention that I find the LFG system to be a great teaching tool for those 
 
looking to step their feet into raiding for the first time. Additionally, while these boss 
 
encounters are de-powered, LFG is a sound way of seeing the fight mechanics and 
 
familiarizing yourself with each individual boss fight.
 
All of this sounds good, right? Some would disagree, and even go as far to say that the LFG 
 
system is the final nail in the 'World of Warcraft' coffin.
 
AN ANTI-CLIMATIC MOMENT?
 
Remember the scenario that I used to begin this article? Completely true. Even sadder that was I did not know a single person our of the twenty five of us that managed to kill Deathwing. 
 
There was no celebration, nor any culmination of hard work and effort on part of a group. People rolled 'need' on the gear they wanted and immediately bolted, off to the next source of epic gear.
 
Detractors of the LFG system have experienced similar encounters. The complaint is that boiling down once painfully technical and monumentus encounters into nothing more than standing in one place and attacking ad naseum has ruined what should be a great experience. 
 
I can relate to this idea. Having been the member of a hardcore raiding guild at one point, I know the feeling of achievement and joy that comes with taking out the big bad of a raid for the first time. What makes the moment important is that you have accomplished this guildmates whom you have talked, laughed and played with for months–and sometimes years–all in the name of teamwork and accomplishing a goal. 
 
There was no celebration or excitement upon my defeat of Deathwing. I wasn't thrilled. In fact, I complained to a fellow guildmate that I didn't win any gear, ate a pop-tart and promptly went to bed with a feeling of 'meh'. 
 
Those against the LFG are convinced that this exact scenario is what will enevitabilty kill a game that has been around for close to a decade. After all, what is the point of doing the raid content on higher difficulties if you have already seen it done, and with little effort to boot? 
 
Why go after the more powerful gear in the higher difficulties when this is the last boss of the expansion? After all, all of this epic gear is going to be immediately replaced by common rarity gear once 'Mists of Pandaria' – the next 'World of Warcraft' expansion – is released. 
 
Why bother?
 
I do not believe that there is a right answer to this situation. I am thrilled to see content I never thought I would have the gear for. Likewise, I am sad that said moment had absolutely no meaning to me on a personal level. The solution does not appear to be clear.
 
Is this the final nail in the coffin? I don't think so. A game with over 8 million active players isn't going to wither and die immediately. 
 
However, one must consider the problems at hand.

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