Monday, October 31, 2011

The LFR is not going to work

... for randoms unless Blizzard makes these changes. And even then, I'm not sure.

First, please have a good look at the official feedback thread on the forums. ... And then please remember that this is the PTR. The players there are not typical players. Almost every PTR player is much more invested in the game than the average player on live servers.

Blizzard's approach so far has been to tune the difficulty down. And that is necessary. But it is not enough. The current implementation would only work if the difficulty were so low that half the raid could kill the boss - without a tank. And if Blizzard, indeed, dumbed it down to that level, the raids were just timesinks to get better equipment. Boring activities done by players for external rewards.

If Blizzard wants this to work they need sophisticated social engineering and incentives. Here are my suggestions:

First, any LFR group starts with a 5-man group. This 5-man group pays 2000 gold to start the raid. This group gets 500 gold back per boss the raid kills successfully. Only this 5 man group can kick another player in this raid and only if they all agree. They cannot kick each other. If one of them leaves, he is replaced by a random. If the groups kicks more than 20 players, the raid is automatically dissolved.

Second, every random player who joins the 5-man group's raid pays 200 gold to join. He will only get these 200 gold back if he is not kicked from the raid.

Pretty draconic, yes? But nothing less will suffice. Read the PTR feedback post!


  1. I'm sure i'm going to enjoy early LFR! :)

    Randomness! Frustration! People in full PVP gear! People having no clue about every mechanic! People doing 5k dps or running oom halfway into first phase! Full clears taking hours! Lots of errors to analyze, lots of problems to fix! And all that without any social ties!

    Sounds like loads of fun to me. No sarcasm, I really mean it. "Earn your happy ending" really makes things more fun overall, even in total PUGs :)

    But still, i expect it to fail... not that Blizzard didn't fail a lot before stumbling to Dungeon Finder. I don't think it really scales like they think it does...

    If they'd chosen 10 man as base, i think they'd manage to do it right, but 25man... way too many people, way too many problem points. Having middle ground between "impossible" and "one-shot" is really hard with so many moving parts.

  2. Sounds like someone's been reading Gevlon's blog recently, given you're considering charging people.

    It is a good idea though. Charging gold would be the most efficient method of making people stay.

    But let's go with your other mthod, the one you list as boring. Making it so easy that half the raid could take out the boss with no tank. That sounds a little like the scenarios that Blizz is putting together.

    Let's take that idea, but still enforce the roles: Tanks, Healer, DPS. The raid can't succeed without them. But still make it easy, where half the raid could legitimately take down the boss. Emphasize the important parts of raiding: cooperation, not standing in fire, dance mechanics, and what your role is supposed to do.

    And if you have people who just go in, auto-attack and get loot, so what? The loot isn't that important, it's only a step above heroic gear. It's the experience that's important. Those who make the most of it and enjoy it will do regular raiding, those who can't commit to regular raiding still get the experience, and those who aren't putting in the effort will not go any further and probably get kicked a lot.

    Seriously though, that kick feature needs to be different for raids. Make it so after a boss, those under a certain damage threshold get kicked. Or make DC'ed players free to kick after 2 minutes. Something needs to be done.

  3. I think 10/25 men PvE scenarios need to replace LFR raids. No need for tanks of high dps peeps, rewards are JP/VP, can be completed with minimun level of coordination or even with less that full group. Basically Rift's zone-wide invasion mobs and colossi.

    Leave raids challenging.

  4. I've leveled an UD rogue on a F2P account to "verify" your experiences. I've run two rundom dungeons at level 15.

    - nobody said hello or bye
    - there was no chat during the run
    - people dropped group left and right without saying a word, most of the time after a boss
    - after one boss a DD pulled as much trash as possible and left the group for whatever reason

    That leaves one question:
    Why would I like to play with other humans?

    My fun was not increased because I've played with humans. Bots could have played as good as them (because it's not difficult to play a char with 2 abilities at level 15). And, remembering Maniac from Wing Commander, even bots can be scripted dicks that increase the difficulty by doing stupid stuff.

    Why would I want to play with other humans if I gain noting from the fact that they are human. In PvP an advantage of human is that they are unpredictable. This is not an advantage in Coop. Why would I want to play with other humans if the interaction with them is the same interaction I have with NPCs. To be honest, I have more interaction with NPCs in sRPG then the interaction I have in LFD groups.

    That's the problem. If the other humans are only there as a way to loot, the system will fail. It will fail the same way as LFD "failed", by being a huge success but cannibalizing it's own foundation and further weakening the long term future of the whole game.

    That's the real problem: There must be a reason why I prefer to play with humans over playing with henchmens.

  5. Why would I want to play with other humans if I gain noting from the fact that they are human.

    A very valid question, I think. I even have a post on this topic lingering around somewhere waiting to be finished ;)

  6. Almost every PTR player is much more invested in the game than the average player on live servers.

    It's interesting but I see most commenters saying PTR players are less invested in their (PTR) characters than live players are. I believe that boils down to saying that PTR players are less motivated to play well which seems to be the exact opposite to what you're claiming. Of course, even if your opinion is a minority one, it might be true but I believe that you should support your claim by an explanation (at least) and not just assert it's true.

    As for 10- vs. 25-man LFRs, there might be two factors that led Blizzard to make the decision. First, individual actions have less impact in 25-man so single players will have an easier time performing well enough not to grief unintentionally. Second, 10-mans would need 2 tanks and 3 healers per group, 25-mans need 2 and 6 - per 100 players the tank:healer:DPS ratio is 20:30:50 for 10-mans and 8:24:68 for 25-mans (60% less tanks, 20% less healers, 36% more DPS).

  7. Imakulata, I said that players on the PTR are more invested in the game than the average player. And this is rather obvious, I think. However, you are right that they are less interested in their character and more interested in trolling/nija'ing/etc.

    But a PTR player is almost certain to be able to play better than the average LRF player on live realms and has better equipment (PTR equipment). So it might balance out.

    I understand why they go with 25-man. There are good reasons for it.

  8. I also understand why they want the 25-men thing, but I still think they should have gone 10-men. 25-men is dying even in organized guilds, because of the complexity of managing one large group. It will NOT be easier in LFR.

    There's also no indication if it works like LFD, where you cannot be grouped with people in your ignore list. BTW they should make ignore account-wide. Even if I don't get to know the names of the other characters, I should still NOT be grouped with them.

    @Kring: statistics on TWO runs, yeah sure.

  9. The LFD ignore logic works account wide. You will not be grouped with accounts where any of your characters has any of the other accounts characters on the ignore list. They said that when that feature was implemented.


    I said nothing about statistics.

  10. I read an earlier iteration of that LFR feedback thread after The Grumpy Elf mentioned it. I thought I was already being very cynical in my predictions about the system, but the experiences people reported actually sounded worse!

    I really wonder what it will be like on live now, and if it's possible for it to be enough of a failure for Blizzard to finally rethink their system of grouping people with random strangers for everything. One can dream.

  11. I've been feeling the only way LFR is going to work is as a de facto third difficulty setting for manually formed raids. In that case, they might as well add a 10 man version and be done with it.

  12. The only thing is... what's 200 gold? It's completely disposable.
    Ok, so you scale the gold amount up to a significant chunk of someone's bank account. Now people don't want to risk losing that chunk because the raid they joined/formed takes too long and they *need to leave* for RL reasons etc.

    While I appreciate the thoughts I've seen float around different blogs concerning why it's not going to work/how to make it work, the proposals will never fix it. The problem with the proposals is they all address symptoms, not the root.
    It's almost cyclic here, but the root proper IS the finder. You cannot expect people to act/work in a coherent manner with anonymity.

  13. damnit, no edit for the above.

    Taking a look at how x-realm bg's worked out, how LFG worked out:

    X-realm bg's destroyed server pride. The root goal of the system didn't fail too horribly because even if your team sucked, you could still succeed on an individual level with farming hk's.

    LFG only worked because of the upteen content nerfs to content. If the *original* (read: vanilla) hp counts, NPC abilities were in play, it would have flopped. UBRS 15man with a x-realm PUG? Ugh, it was a nightmare just working within your server to get 15 people on the same page. DM West? Forget it.

    They *can* make LFR work, but not on its own merits. It will be through nerfs elsewhere. And of course, success will be claimed for good PR despite having rigged it..

  14. Found something off of MMO Champion that would interest you involving the kick function. It's a client string.

    ERR_PARTY_LFG_BOOT_VOTE_REGISTERED = "Your request to kick %s has been successfully received. %d |4more request is:more requests are; needed to initiate a vote.";

  15. Straw Fellow, after reading this feedback thread even a company as stubborn an Blizzard was certain to understand that kicks need to be reworked for LFR.

    Ahtchu you can always copy/paste and delete your old comment and misuse this as an edit function. I do this myself quite often.

    I actually do think that LFR can work. You just need to give the leadership a strong incentive to succeed AND the power to kick everybody they want.
    The rest of the players need to have a vested interest in not being kicked (leaving shouldn't be a aproblem).

    You can achieve this in many ways. The best way that employs loss aversion is the same supermarkets use to make you bring back that cart.

    Whether LFR is good for the game in the long run and how much it actually adds to the game is a different question, of course.

  16. Maybe these LFR raids are really 25 man raids with the 10 man difficulty for stats.

    The boss has 10 man HP, damage etc. And the mechanics are where healers can heal throguh them etc.

    So yes I think they will be tuned to allow slightly less than half the raid to down the boss. They might also give you an extra second or two to get out of fire, move from an AOE etc.