In the past, when you get a character to a level cap, you would get an email from one of the main NPCs of the particular expansion, and get a little goody bag to celebrate your accomplishment. So, at 70, 80, 85 and 90 you would get a letter, some potions and words of encouragement to get off your butt and get to work, so you can raid and kill bosses and collect purples.
This is the mail my level 64 Shaman is awaiting her at level 90:
I started playing WoW at the tail end of the Burning Crusade. For the longest time, the way we adapted to new raid content has evolved.
It always had an upgraded gear tier, which then made the newly depreciated gear a bit more readily available. Maybe for the lesser tokens, maybe for Honor or Valor. New factions would allow you to relatively quickly get a few key pieces of gear.
A freshly level-capped character preparing to raid endgame content still had a good amount of work to avoid being carried in raids.
With the Timeless Isle concept, you can give an alt with a more than adequate set of gear that makes life a lot easier. It makes it so you can get through dailies a lot faster and opens up heroic dungeons and scenarios.
It also means that it’s not hard to qualify to go into the end-tier raid on LFR, almost IMMEDIATELY after dinging 90. Rezznul just ran around the Isle and found all the treasure chests and was able to have plenty of tokens to share. My Warlock, who I never have raided on, except a few LFRs, is better geared than Rezznul. I find it easy and fun to run around the Isle solo, killing rares and getting tokens for everyone.
I realize Blizzard wanted this to replace the normal gear upgrade progression of discounting previous tier goods, making it so you can build a decent set that allows you to grow into the end-game content. The huge side-effect is in LFR.
Ever since LFR emerged, the experience is quite varied. However, with Siege, I have heard more horror stories about LFR than ever before. Why?
Sure, are there parts that are overtuned? Sure. I’m always of the mindset that it’s easier to nerf a fight than buff it, so some fights may turn out to be way harder than intended.
However, I think the root cause is the ability to plop into the last raid of an expansion after quick leveling up to 90 (which Blizzard has done a great job of streamlining), getting your Timeless gear, and then having no clue how to best use your abilities in a raid that is challenging even for people who have experience raiding.
Add to the fact that people became spoiled in earlier raid versions of LFR, where mechanics were removed, or changed so much over the regular version that they become inconsequential. So, the tolerance for people learning a fight is much lower. Wiping on LFR is tantamount to ultimate failure to many, so if all you see is LFR, you can’t treat that as your “progression wiping” that regular raiders experience.
As an experiment, I got my OTHER druid in Waypoint, Rosavin to 90. She is Cynwise and Valys’ pocket healer on the Battleground, and locked at 87 for most of MoP. We all finally unlocked and worked up to 90. Rosa had a full set of Timeless treats waiting for her. She had her 450 weapon and offhand.
I went into LFR ToT with her. I qualified for SoO, but deferred. Even in ToT, I could tell the difference. The Timeless gear is very good, don’t get me wrong. However, it’s not going to allow you to do whatever you want right away.
The problem is, a lot of people don’t think that way. So, they get their Timeless gear for their alt, or offspec, pop in and think they can just will their way through. They aren’t necessarily bad players, but they maybe overestimate their gear against what they think they can do.
So, the wipes pile up. People hate LFR even more. The Timeless Isle floats on, caring not for anything around it. The mailbox gets more and more full.
When entering a LFR with a newly Timelessed character, I think the best thing people need to remember is the words of many a Pandaren: “Slow down.”
Blizzard is between a rock and a hard place with LFR. If they nerf it to the ground people immediately outgear it, and then half the raid can auto-attack with their fingers up their nose and still get phat lewts, and half the playerbase bitches because LFR is a total faceroll. If they actually make it challenging, it turns into a wipefest and half the playerbase bitch because it takes four hours to get shiny purplz. If it drops loot, people accuse it of being a way to get lolwelfare epicz. If it doesn’t drop loot, people bitch because they’re doing LFR for nothing.
Wipes are a good opportunity for people to learn and refine a strategy, and I really do think a kill is more rewarding if you have to work for it. I grow weary of the NOW NOW NOW generation of players, who immediately drop group or whine about baddies if an LFD/LFR group wipes once. It’s hard for me to reconcile these whiners with the idea that somewhere out there there’s a healthy raiding community of people who are willing to patiently work on boss strats for shared rewards. Personally, because I am virtuous and perfect and wonderful in every way, I don’t mind a wipe or two in LFR (or flex or normal).
General Nazgrim, on the other hand, can kiss the meatiest portion of whichever of my ass cheeks he prefers…
You really make a great point that even for someone who knows how to raid, Timeless Isle-geared alts can be completely unprepared for actual raiding. I know when my resto Druid hit 90 I truly didn’t know how to use half my abilities and wondered why she was struggling in LFD, even after some (admittedly casual) due diligence at Icy Veins. It’s tough to run LFR on my geared and competent priest because I see so much avoidable damage/simple mistakery, but I’m like an addict on the alts I don’t know very well. I guess in the end, it’s a lot more fun to be carried than do the carrying.
(My Druid is a lot more competent now thanks to the extremely helpful guidance of a certain blog owner, who swore that a rough guide of invaluable secret tree lore would be his next post. Soon (TM), or we riot!)
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