|LFR is not going away. How are you going to use it?|
With the news that the World First Korean Guild 'aggressively farmed' LFR (in a perfectly sensible and legal way) to prepare for their Deathwing kills I think it's fair to say that LFR's become part of the raiding process. Knowing how I felt about the idea when it was first mooted it's odd to think that it's on the way to being as much of a part of the landscape as 5 Mans. What this exercise shows us is that with some planning the 25 man setup is as easily 'farmed' as Heroics are in lower population Guilds, and the benefits are just as clear. What's not yet apparent is whether this was part of the Blizzard Plan: what we now need to watch is the number of people heading into Heroic Raids (and completing the content)
More importantly, now you can complete the End Game in a basic version, just how many people will just stop here?
It's a fairly large gamble on Blizzard's part to offer the content in Lite Form, assuming that most people will still want to complete 10/25 versions. It's also apparent that a large number of casual players are relishing the chance to own gear they'd not normally have a chance to even see. What now becomes interesting is how this system will a) be improved in Pandaland and b) how (if at all) Blizzard plan to reverse-engineer this content into the game. I think I've covered the issues with rolling quite well, there's still a lot of kinks in the LFR which could use ironing out. However, what is now interesting me more is what Blizzard plan to do with Old Raid Content. I don't think they need to redesign any loot for the 'old' stuff (and to an extent they really don't need to change any difficulty) but they really do need to get these places available to the 1-90 people, with XP and Achievements as part of the levelling process. I for one would love to have the chance to level a Panda in Raids: it would make sense to offer a Sack of Helpful Goods as a reward: you can then pick either 5 mans, PvP or Raids as your preferred route to max level, mixing and matching along the way.
The only problem comes, at least as I see it, for those people who do LFR but never win anything. I work on a simple philosophy: instance for points, loot is a bonus. What might be good would be to introduce a 'Loot Bag' or a second level of token as reward for completing the instance so people could put that towards another level of gear, probably around the LFR range. In the end, a tangible reward for most people is an item of gear for X minutes work. Those of us who realise that the game's not just about the loot aren't that fussed, but for everyone else... :D
Suffice it to say, LFR's not going anywhere. What we now need to know is how it will fit into the overall framework of the game...