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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

[WoW] Solutions to 4 lockouts a week

In my last post I talked about the change to LFR and the removal of "Raid" items from its drop table. While personally I am slightly disappointed, I understand Blizzard's reasons for the change and it's one I can live with. Even if that means I'll grumble my way through some Flex raids to get my set. But for many raiders WoD will still mean running the same raids 3 times a week.

Others, like Balkoth, are happy because of the change and I can see why. Running four lockouts a week is an experience I do not want to go through again. I had my fill of that in Trial of the Crusade. Personally my current schedule makes it hard enough just to get my LFR done in a week, much less 3 more raids on top of that. So the issue of Heroic (and soon Mythic) raiders having to run 3 lockouts a week got me to pondering solutions to the problem.

The most appealing solution I have seen suggested on Twitter and other blogs is to set it up so that when you kill a boss the game not only rolls on the boss's table for that difficulty, but also rolls for all difficulties below it as well. I call this the "All Below" system. In essence, if you kill Immerseus on Heroic, the game rolls for normal, Flex, and LFR as well as Heroic. Potentially you could get four items of loot, and therein is one of the first issues I think Blizzard wants to avoid. Right now, if you want four chances you have to kill him four times. Three of those might be trivial for you, but you still have to put the effort in. With this change players would save a lot of time, which is good for them, but I suspect Blizzard is less enthusiastic. Personally, I would welcome it.

Economic Issues

If you're an enchanter who no longer needs those items, you just got yourself 4 Sha crystals. I think it is fair to say that it would increase the number of crystals in the economy because suddenly all those enchanters that were only running one difficulty per week (provided it's higher than LFR) are suddenly getting more crystals. Players who primarily run Flex and Normal typically (in my experience) do not have the same pressure or drive to run every lockout they can to maximize drop chances.

Now this is not something Blizzard could not fix; they could easily increase the amount of Sha crystals it takes to do an enchantment, but that would have an effect on existing enchanters that don't run content 4 times a week and get their crystals other ways. Obligatory comment on the butterfly effect aside such a change, even a minor one, will have economic consequences. Other issues might be changes to food/flask demand because people need fewer per week.

Still, those concerns aside I think it the "all below" drop system is the most appealing to players who don't want to be running the same dungeon three to four times a week.

Blizzard could also implement a "charm" system similar to what they have now except the "rerolls" would instead be the rolls for the boss's lower difficulty loot table. If they implemented such a system I'd suggest there not be a cap on how many can be earned per week; the 3/week cap works for Warforged seals because of lockouts, but I am not sure it would meet the goals of the "all below" system.

Subsidizing Skill

Another effect that I think Blizzard was reluctant to lose, and even now might be, is having more skilled players in LFR raids. Now while Blizzard is making LFR more of a transitory step on the gearing path, it is a step, so even players with their sights set on Mythic will likely occasionally step into LFR, just as they do now when trying to get certain pieces of gear. I am not advocating for this practice, but Blizzard does seem to want to have higher skill players in LFR to help balance the lower skill, lesser gear, and general apathy that runs rampant in it. This is not to suggest that LFR is entirely comprised of unskilled or unintelligent players, but it's reputation is not entirely without basis. Blizzard knows this, and has an interest in putting a few talented players in a group to help ensure success. Much as players might like to mock the difficulty of LFR there is a reason Determination had to be put in place.

Further evidence is that Blizzard only lets you spend one seal per boss; why limit you this way? You can always re-run the raid and roll again on the same boss, but there's the kicker, you have to re-run the raid. If you're in an LFR group that means a fresh group.

Esoteric Alternatives

I have seen other solutions as well, such as moving to a purely currency and achievement based system for loot, or by limiting people to loot from a boss once a week. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but I find I like the "all below" system because it more or less maintains the current situation and doesn't penalize people for challenging themselves.


  1. The main problem I think is with how you handle drops when you are not using personal loot. I'd think a top-end guild would want to determine how loot is distributed to the different characters, and having several out-of-control rolls may not be ideal for them, probably leading them to run the lower difficulties first as organized groups to select how the loot is distributed, maybe even doing several normal or heroic runs with 4 mains (one of each armor type) and the rest alts with the intent to funnel all loot to the mains before going for mythic at the end of the week with the time running out.

    The current system allows for guilds to start at the higher difficulty and then if they want to go after the lower ones, rolling for everything at once would force the opposite.

    1. That's a good point, I had forgotten to address the effects that changing to personal loot would have. I guess the trade off becomes whether the group would prefer to have more control over their loot (for alt gearing purposes) or running the content only once per week. They could also help fix that by making the "all below" loot trade-able (so if you kill on Mythic, everything Heroic and below can be traded).

      Or if we really want to get crazy, groups could choose which form they prefer. Which admittedly opens another can of worms.

    2. All of the options tend to open their own unique cans of worms, unfortunately. Wrote a post on the matter here:

      I do swear it started as a simple comment for here -- then kind of ended up as over 800 words.

  2. Im surprised about this change in some ways, but in light of the recently announced subscription numbers, Im not.

    They are trending towards doing what they believe worked in TBC. To an outsider this looks like posturing the game for changes of WoD. Conveniently. Nothing wrong with convenient changes.