LFR - Looking for raid, or as I like to call it, Looking for retards, is here and with it comes a whole new bucket of drama to go with it.
I was extremely skeptical about the idea of LFR from the moment it was announced. The idea that a random assortment of 25 people could clear a raid instance just sounded ludicrous, especially when I still saw varying degrees of failure in just 5 man dungeons.
The saving grace was that the LFR would be "tuned down" to better accommodate the randomness factor of 25 players. I was still skeptical - so what if they decreased health and damage output? Mechanics are really what kills you. Honestly, how many times do you wipe to enrage timers? It's that ground AoE you didn't interrupt, or that add you didn't kill that blows up your raid.
Anyways, I gave it a try - as much as I hate this fact, there are upgrades in terms of item level. It pisses me off to see people walking around in raid finder gear that equals my hard-earned Firelands gear I got from Ragnaros, but if I can't stop others from getting that gear, then I want it too!
I gave LFR a few runs and understood exactly how it was all possible. You see, they didn't just tune down the HP and damage, they actually completely removed some of the raid-wiping mechanics. Don't get me wrong - the damage nerf is significant, but it's the removal of crucial raid mechanics that make the fights so trivial.
For example on Warlord Zon'ozz, the ball-bouncing mechanic that cost our guild 10+ wipes to learn, is completely negated by the fact that:
1. A tight stack is not required as the explosion radius is very large (hence damage is soaked by everyone whether they are close or not)
2. The ball automatically hits the boss after a certain number of bounces
So basically, a fight that requires high awareness and good positioning on normal raid mode, becomes a downright tank-n-spank fight in LFR.
Another good example is Ultraxion. Most of the mechanics are the same except that there is no requirement for anyone to soak Hour of Twilight. And from what I've seen, even if you're hit by it, it does not kill you. In addition, the fading light debuff only hits the tanks. The complicated taunt rotation and timing required to beat the enrage timer on normal mode is pretty much gone.
On Spine of Deathwing, the kill-stack-roll maneuver to take care of the corruptions is no longer there. I actually got yelled at for killing all the tentacles because apparently on raid finder difficulty, you only need to kill one. I found it kind of ironic that someone would call me a "noob" for this mistake - I was just doing what I'm used to doing on the ACTUAL ENCOUNTER as opposed to a watered-down child level version of it, which apparently makes me a noob.
On the few LFR runs that I've tried, my DPS has been #1 from start to finish. I'm not the best rogue from a hardcore guild nor am I decked out in full heroic T13. I'm an average-geared rogue from an average-progressed raiding guild. The fact that no one even comes within ~3k of my DPS says something about the average damage output of the players in LFR.
I expected a healthy mix of good and bad players - good players who do raid with a guild, but want to fill some gaps in their gear through LFR, and bad players who're looking to the LFR as a quick and easy way to upgrade their gear. What I found was a sadly skewed ratio of more bad than good. In terms of pure DPS, the players I found were not my equals. In terms of raid awareness, I saw at least 2-3 idiots on each fight attacking the wrong targets or not moving out of AoE.
Despite all this, some runs were better than others in the sense that people were relatively polite, did not make a stink about loot, or berate others. Some runs were terrible and made me feel like I was in a Zaldalaris all over again. It's amazing how that one player who is even slightly better (or thinks is better) than his peers wants to vote kick someone who did 0.2% less damage. Or that healer who calls all the DPS garbage and yet doesn't even have a shadow spec to prove he could do any better.
The loot RNG was another big source of grief too. More than once I saw that guy pulling 9k DPS win both the tier tokens and ring I wanted. More than once I saw people ninjaing for their off specs. And once I was even booted (along with 4 other rogues and mages) because someone didn't want competition for their tier tokens.
Overall, I see it as a cheapened experience of actual raiding. The challenge isn't there, the teamwork and fun of downing a hard boss isn't there, and the only thing that is even marginally there are the rewards, which everyone immediately squabbles over.
Will I still run it? Probably, because I need to complete my 4 piece one way or another. But as soon as I don't have to, I won't. It's not satisfying and I find it no less aggravating than running a few 5-mans to get that valor.