Flex Raid: ilvl 540 [Watcher Post]

100 Gnome Mage
20090
Split into two posts because Watcher can bypass the 5000 character limit. Some good developer insight in here.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/9500130636?page=13#259

Allow me to walk through some of our thinking, from a couple of angles.

To begin with, Siege of Orgrimmar LFR loot needs to feel like a meaningful upgrade to people who are currently primarily running Throne of Thunder LFR. (And yes, contrary to the occasional "but what do LFR players need gear upgrades for, anyway?" argument, it turns out that player power progression is a fairly integral part of the RPG experience for all playstyles, and not one that we consider negotiable.) Now, 5.2 Valor gear is 522, and Heroic Scenario gear is 516, and LFR-only players often have both of these in abundance. For such players, even item level 528 might not feel like a huge step up, but that was pretty much a floor on how low the Siege of Orgrimmar LFR loot could go.

Next, we want Siege of Orgrimmar Normal loot to be higher than Heroic Throne of Thunder loot, for a few reasons. Heroic raiders range from bleeding-edge progression guilds who will be racing for world firsts during the first weeks of the raid, to those who will steadily work their way through the zone over the course of weeks and months. Many players in the latter group will be largely Heroic-geared when Siege of Orgrimmar comes out, but they won't necessarily be killing many Siege of Orgrimmar Heroic bosses for a while. The prospect of disenchanting nearly every single drop from Normal in favor of items obtained months ago is not a thrilling one. In addition, that would seriously complicate gear progression and its ability to smooth the difficulty curve over the course of the zone. Since Heroic Thunderforged loot is 549, something in the low 550s felt like the right place for Normal Siege of Orgrimmar loot, and we chose 553.

That brings us to Flexible mode. It's meant to fill a gap between LFR and Normal. However, Flexible mode requires a pre-formed group to enter, and its mechanics are generally closer to Normal's given the baseline assumption of more coordination and communication among a premade group. Those factors mean that Flexible should be sufficiently rewarding above and beyond LFR, or Flexible raiders may wonder why they're bothering with the additional effort for a measly few item levels. We chose 540 as roughly a midway point between LFR and Normal, and feel it appropriately rewards the added difficulty and organizational requirements as compared to LFR.

For current Heroic raiders, who are the ones most likely to feel obligated to pursue every available means of improving their character's performance, the overwhelming majority of Flexible loot will not be an upgrade compared to their current items. Many Heroic raiders are already sporting average item levels in the mid-540s due to a mix of Valor upgrades and Thunderforged loot. (And yes, while you could upgrade your Flex 540 to make it superior to a 541 or 543, you won't -- if you're a Heroic raider today, you'll be getting 553+ Normal mode loot the moment Siege of Orgrimmar opens, and upgrading that will be a priority.) Flexible mode will also be gated. Its wings will open at a faster pace than LFR's, but it will still be gated. Again, Heroic raiders will have a significant amount of Normal mode Siege of Orgrimmar loot by the time most of Flexible is unlocked.

Now, will it be worth it to run Flexible mode as a Heroic raider if you're chasing after a specific amazing trinket, or trying to get your fourth set piece to complete your bonus? Yes, it probably will. But I suspect that the same would have been true if Flexible mode dropped item level 536 loot, or 534, or nearly any reasonable value that would still be an attractive reward to a majority of the playerbase. And that should be a short-term commitment, maybe focused on the specific wing in which your item lies, until you either obtain it or its Normal-mode equivalent. In the long-run, Heroic raiders will be progressing in Heroic mode, and Normal raiders will be progressing in Normal mode.
Edited by Digerati on 7/20/2013 2:10 PM PDT
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100 Gnome Mage
20090
Continued!

We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal. This is a very different structure than, say, Trial of the Crusader in patch 3.2, where clearing all available difficulties was required in order to earn required currency for purchasing set pieces, regardless of your level of progression. We hope that a few weeks into patch 5.4, the only people running Flexible mode will be the ones who genuinely want to do so, and we hope that there will be many of them. The separate lockouts do also offer benefits to many guild raiders who may want to work on achievements separately, or may for the first time be able to hop in an off-night raid with some real-life friends on a different server, without it conflicting with their main raid lockout.

I realize at the end of the day that parts of our design may simply not be ideal for your personal playstyle, and I understand that perspective, but hopefully some of this sheds some light on our thought process and the different considerations involved.
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100 Dwarf Shaman
19790
Very interesting post. LFR is to offer meaningful gear progression for people who have VP and heroic scenario gear, and this is "non negotiable".

Blizzard is aware of calls to remove/nerf tier and trinkets, but is unwilling to. They hope instead normal and heroic raiders simply won't need them after a few weeks.
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90 Worgen Warlock
14465
Blizzard is aware of calls to remove/nerf tier and trinkets, but is unwilling to. They hope instead normal and heroic raiders simply won't need them after a few weeks.


Yeah, after all since we're able to pick the loot we want we can just get all the trinkets and tier we need right away on the release of a tier and be good to go.

...Which is why I still don't have a UVLS after killing Lei Shen for almost 4 months now.
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100 Troll Rogue
21875
Really for heroic raiders we'll all be running them for trinkets no matter what the ilvl is so I'm having a hard time getting too upset over it.
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100 Goblin Shaman
21595
That post made sense to me. I am glad he addressed the trinket issue and he is right - even if they nerfed the ilvl to say 534, etc, people would still go for that specific wing of the raid because trinkets are frequently designed in tiers to just be so flat out powerful form some classes and specs.

Don't confuse that with it being a problem of flex / lfr. That is more of an issue with blizzard trinket design philosophy itself.
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100 Dwarf Shaman
19790
Some of the suggestions in the other threads were to make the LFR/flex trinkets completely different from norm/h ones, with simple procs which merely increased a secondary stat for example.
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10 Blood Elf Paladin
10
07/20/2013 02:08 PMPosted by Digerati
We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal.


not with ridiculously OP trinkets on the table.

even *LFR* versions make my 2/2 heroic trinkets look like they were from last expansion. also, they seem to be contradicting themselves. why do 10/25 share a lockout? to avoid burnout, right? but here we are, running 3 raids a week instead of 1 for upgrades.

it'd be nice if they made the truly OP items normal/heroic only. of course, I dont think game breaking trinkets are a good idea in the first place, but if we absolutely have to put them in, do that. less farming of lfr/flex for 1 item is a good thing.
Edited by Sanctifìed on 7/20/2013 2:48 PM PDT
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I think Ive kinda been saying this for a few weeks now.
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90 Blood Elf Mage
11510
We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal.


This is the core of the post, and it's wrong. The CD reduction trinkets are like an UVLS-level upgrade for every spec in the game.
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10 Blood Elf Paladin
10
in all honesty, I think it's deliberate.

by putting powerful items in lfr, it encourages even the best raiders to carry the runs. blizz wont admit it, but they know LFR will cause more qq if more runs go bad. which is less likely with geared raiders who know the fights.
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90 Human Monk
10260
07/20/2013 04:45 PMPosted by Mahourai
We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal.


This is the core of the post, and it's wrong. The CD reduction trinkets are like an UVLS-level upgrade for every spec in the game.


I'm loving my spec right now. No OP trinkets for us next tier!
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90 Undead Monk
13535
07/20/2013 04:45 PMPosted by Mahourai
We don't want to see you feeling obligated to run the same raid two or three times a week any more than you do, and for the most part, we feel that the itemization structure supports that goal.


This is the core of the post, and it's wrong. The CD reduction trinkets are like an UVLS-level upgrade for every spec in the game.


The only thing I'm hoping for is those trinkets are near the end of the raid so hopefully, I'll have the normal mode version before it comes out in LFR or Flex (if Flex is gated).
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90 Blood Elf Mage
11510
I'm loving my spec right now. No OP trinkets for us next tier!


lol

in all honesty, I think it's deliberate.

by putting powerful items in lfr, it encourages even the best raiders to carry the runs. blizz wont admit it, but they know LFR will cause more qq if more runs go bad. which is less likely with geared raiders who know the fights.


Whether or not this is an intentional design (and I don't think it is, they just like designing silly trinkets) it is a natural side effect of putting those trinkets in LFR.

The only thing I'm hoping for is those trinkets are near the end of the raid so hopefully, I'll have the normal mode version before it comes out in LFR or Flex (if Flex is gated).


See: The Warlock in this thread who still doesn't have UVLS or the Monks without Rune of Reorigination.
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90 Undead Monk
13535
See: The Warlock in this thread who still doesn't have UVLS or the Monks without Rune of Reorigination.


It's why I said hopefully.
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100 Troll Rogue
17115
The post makes perfect sense trinkets notwithstanding, I'm curious to see how gated Flex/LFR is, I pity the CM who has to write the post explaining it, it will be a long one, many players will be confused as hell too.

I don't think LFR needs raiders to carry groups, they can just set the bar even lower if success rates are too low, they have proved over and over that they will do this.

What does confuse me are the casual crusaders who enjoy easy content wanting higher and higher ilvl from flex/lfr, with higher ilvl comes more challenge, its the whole reason why 10 mans in cata were made harder then in wrath.
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90 Blood Elf Mage
11510
What does confuse me are the casual crusaders who enjoy easy content wanting higher and higher ilvl from flex/lfr, with higher ilvl comes more challenge, its the whole reason why 10 mans in cata were made harder then in wrath.


Higher ilvls in LFR doesn't result in more challenging LFRs. At all.
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10 Blood Elf Paladin
10
What does confuse me are the casual crusaders who enjoy easy content wanting higher and higher ilvl from flex/lfr, with higher ilvl comes more challenge, its the whole reason why 10 mans in cata were made harder then in wrath.


people want the rewards without the effort.

they dont want to wipe 100 times on a progression boss. they want immediate gratification. we should give more reasons for people to do normal/heroic, not less. flex will probably make things a bit worse, as far as the raiding population goes.

people doing guild raids will continue to do so...but where is the incentive for people to try it now if they arent currently doing normal or heroic? many will be content with lfr/flex.
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100 Troll Rogue
17115
Higher ilvls in LFR doesn't result in more challenging LFRs. At all.


I was thinking more about flex when i wrote that then lfr.
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90 Blood Elf Mage
11510
07/20/2013 06:23 PMPosted by Sabod
Higher ilvls in LFR doesn't result in more challenging LFRs. At all.


I was thinking more about flex when i wrote that then lfr.


I doubt Flex (are we really going with Flex as the final name for the mode, by the way?) is going to be a stiff challenge, despite dev statements to the contrary that indicate they want it to be a progression difficulty. The target audience for Flex emphatically does not want progression or difficulty. It will be nerfed into a form that makes 35% normal Dragon Soul look like competing in the Olympics.
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