The Looking For Raid tool is a pretty new feature in WoW, but do you remember what it was like getting groups before the Looking for Dungeon tool? I do, it was horrible. I can still not understand how people can look back at those days and think that it was in any way better than what we have now. Arguments like "you knew the people you grouped with" and "people had a reputation to consider" fade around counter-arguments like "It took hours to gather a group and get everyone to the instance" and "if anyone left mid-instance, you were basically back on square one". The chances of actually getting a dungeon done during the day increased by hundredfold once the LFD-tool was introduced. To me, the LFD-tool is one of the best things Blizzard has ever decided to put into the game. That doesn't mean it works perfectly however, there are in many ways lots of things about the LFD-tool that really got me gritting my teeth and wondering why Blizzard didn't just make some slight changes to avoid everyone abusing it so. But even after being in a group that seemed to be the spawn of my darkest nightmares and that had me really question the future of humanity, I could be happy thinking I had only wasted 30 minutes on it instead of 120. Blizzard have made many changes to the LFD tool since then, and nowadays I do think it is working quite well with only a few adjustments left to be made.
The LFR-tool isn't much different. I will admit I was the sceptic at first, wondering how on earth Blizzard could make an entire raid of fools work together well enough to finish raids when they were struggling to get five people to cooperate long enough for dungeons. I was also worried that over-simplifying the raid fights would just turn them into loot-piñatas similar to the ones we have in Baradin Hold and something most people would bore of quickly. The end result was positively surprising. Yes the fights are very simple, yes most of the weight of success is put on the shoulders of the healers and tanks while dps just troll around not giving a shit but overall I think Blizzard have managed to balance it pretty well between group-effort and individual effort.
But like I said, there are still a few things I really would like to see them fix before my Nag-O-Meter goes down to green levels. Here is my top 5 list on things I think they currently need to fix in the LFR (and LFD)
5. Measuring Activity
I put this as number five, not because I think it's the least important thing to fix on my list, but because I realize it's the least plausible one to ever actually be able to fix in a good way. Basically, I would love it if there was some way to measure the activity of a player, and reward them accordingly. When doing LFR especially, it is quite obvious that some players can't do much more than auto-attack, while some people actually bust their asses off to down the boss. Yet once the boss goes down, they both have an equally good chance on whatever loot that drops. In fact it actually seems like more the rule than exception that people who put in low effort win all the dang loot. Not punishing laziness and not rewarding effort are basically the same thing and boils down to people not giving a shit, which makes the fight take a lot longer than necessary or even worse - cause completely unecessary wipes. What if switching to dpsing Globules, trying to be top healer on the meters, using mitigation cooldowns as a tank and not standing in fire would reward you with a bonus to your roll? That would of course be awesome, but unfortunately completely impossible to implement. There is no way a string of code could properly measure a players effort, taking into consideration the difference in gear for difference in output, the aspect of varying tactics for how, when and why people attack or don't attack adds for instance. Maybe you don't want the rogues to attack the globules on Yor'sahj, should they then get punished or should you give them an exception to the rule?
I want to recall having this kind of "reward based on effort" system in Warhammer, although I have no idea how it worked or what exactly it based your amount of effort on. How do you measure a tanks effort? How do you measure a healers effort when you clearly don't want healers to just spam their brains and mana pools out to top meters? I would like to see this work somehow, but I know it's probably impossible.
4. Punishing the quitters
Something that really annoys me, is how loot is completely wasted on people who win things and have already left the group. Eventhough I can see how there might be programming issues with distributing loot to people who are no longer in the instance-server, I can't see how it can be difficult to just cut those people out from the roll. So you rolled and left the group, tough luck, that means everyone who is still in the group are the only ones who actually get to roll on the loot. Considering leaving the group prematurely already means not receiving the loot, all this changes is that the loot will actually come to a player instead of being forever lost lying around on the corpse of some boss. I can't see how that can be a bad thing.
And there is really no point in having to force everyone to wait around for the full length of the roll timer just because some people couldn't be arsed to roll before they left the group. If you haven't rolled before you left the group, there is no way you can, so why can't that person just be cut out from the roll all together? Similar to the issue above, it doesn't seem like too difficult a thing to do and would save a lot of time and grief.
3. One for you, one for me
I realize not many are going to agree with me on this one, because it seems like a behavior everyone is doing. I am talking about the way people need on every gear piece they can need on, regardless of whether they need it or not. It can either be to have some bargaining material for whenever someone else wins something you want, or to up the chances of one of your friends in the group to get an item. To me, it seems to be something people do because everyone does it. Whenever douche-baggeriness is that widespread, if you don't do it yourself you will lose out. It reminds me of how people need on everything that drops in heroics as well, just because everyone else does it. It's difficult to prevent in heroics, although the way Blizzard has done it by making all needs BoP has worked fairly well. And it would be difficult to prevent in LFR too, especially considering that epics are tradeable, which is exactly the reason to why people do this. I don't know how many times I have seen a gear piece go to someone who already had it, or had better. So my question is, why can you even roll on loot you already have?
The amount of times you would need a second piece of whatever gear is extremely rare. Not counting people who use two one-hand weapons (for which you can make an exception) the only reason would be if you wanted to gem and enchant that piece differently for another spec, and honestly, how many people do that? Most people just regem/enchant the gear they have instead, even now when you actually can carry around different gear sets of the same pieces. There might be some few exceptions, but in most cases where specs are similar enough, Blizzard have really tried to make sure that they can basically use the same set of stats. And tier is overall the only gear piece you'd want for different specs (and to clarify, I do agree on letting people needing several tier tokens), in most other cases there a piece either works for two specs or it doesn't, in which case you either use one item for both or you don't.
Preventing people from needing on loot they already have already exists in the game (it is heavily used on most event bosses for instance), so why can't it be implemented into the LFR loot system? Maybe Blizzard are afraid of making the loot system too rigid with a rule like that, but personally I think it would be worth it.
2. AFK = GTFO
This is something that annoys me more in heroics than it does in LFR, but it exists in LFR as well. There are some rules set up as to how you can vote to kick people, rules that I overall think work fairly well. Rules that I think should go flying out the window as soon as we're dealing with people who are afk flagged. AFK means the person is not at the keyboard, and when would you ever want such a person in your dungeon? Why would you have to wait to get out of combat or to get the roll done before you can vote to kick such a person? People who are AFK flagged while actually playing have themselves to blame, because if you want to tell people not to disturb you there is a perfectly usable DND flag instead. People who go AFK with the permission of the rest of the group wouldn't get kicked anyway, so no problem there! As it works now, the rest of the group has to wait around, making sure not to get into combat, or loot something, or wait those 15 minutes, before they can kick someone from the group who have flagged themselves as not even playing. To me, that doesn't make any sense. You also shouldn't get any kick-penalty for kicking afk-players imo.
You might argue that it wouldn't prevent people from going afk, they could just simply put themselves on follow or otherwise make sure they don't get flagged. That might be so, but that usually still requires some sort of effort on their part. Right now people can just tab out at the beginning of the instance being pretty sure they won't be kicked for at least 20 minutes, which is to the benefit of exactly no one else in the group. Putting AFK-flagged people in the danger zone is at least a start.
1. Share the fun (responsibility)
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I would love it if Blizzard somehow managed to equal the burden of the fight over the different roles of healing, tanking and dpsing. As it is now, tanks and healers basically have to mop up all and any mess caused by dps, whilst also having to care a lot more for tactics and fight mechanics than most dpsers do. Taking for instance a fight like Ultraxion, dpsers don't really have to think about anything while tanks and healers have to bust their asses in comparison. I am definitely not saying that any of the fights are particularly difficult for any of the roles, only that the difficulty level is severely skewered. It is interesting to note for instance that many of the fight mechanics that dpsers have to care about, like killing adds or using a proper cooldown, have been simplified so much that you in many cases don't even really have to care about them (again, the AOE on Ultraxion as an example), whereas fight mechanics important for the tank to remember can wipe the raid if they fail (not taunting on Ultraxion, not picking up Tentacle or adds on Madness, not moving the Amalgamation the right way on Spine etc). Dps really only have to dps, sometimes they have to switch target and that's about it.
I don't want to turn this into a debate on the essence of healing, tanking and dpsing. Maybe this is the way it works, and maybe the responsibility is equally distributed considering the role distribution. Only having two tanks means each tank has 50% of "their" responsibility while a dpser only has some 6% of "their" responsibility. Or maybe that is simply how the holy trinity works and I have to accept it (considering this has been something of an issue since the dawn of grouping). Maybe people who play tanks and healers actually somewhere deep inside enjoy that extra responsibility - admittedly I turn into a dps troll myself whenever I go on my mage, tunneling on topping the meters and barely caring about fight mechanics (bad bad me). Maybe putting more responsibility into the hands of dpsers wouldn't really make anything better, but just greatly up the risk of failure. Maybe I just wish people would be a little more greatful for the effort tanks and healers put in. Probably.