So the big thing yesterday was the release of the first LFR wing for the Emerald Nightmare in World of Warcraft: Legion and the immediate revelation that the quest items for the Balance of Power questline were not dropping from it. This was soon confirmed by Blizzard that these items were not intended to drop from LFR, and that the questline and the artifact appearances it unlocked (as unlocking the first appearance in any row is required to receive the other three) were reserved for those who tackled Normal or higher difficulties of the raids only as the appearances were meant to be a cosmetic reward for tackling challenging pre-made group content.
This sparked a massive debate across the internet and most of it could be boiled down into the age old ‘casual vs hardcore’ nonsense that has plagued gaming for years now. However, the thing that struck me was more so the idea that people shouldn’t complain because ‘normals are easy’. Wait. Isn’t that the exact reason you said this SHOULDN’T be in LFR? Because LFR is easy? I saw this argument used dozens of times in the past 24 hours:
Content X should be gated behind difficulty Y because difficulty Z isn’t challenging. But people shouldn’t complain because difficulty Y isn’t challenging.
If you are confused by that statement, welcome to my world. The only explanation I can get is that the ‘challenge’ comes from assembling a premade group and actually staying as a cohesive whole long enough to kill the bosses. An easy task for those who have existing guilds and raid teams that they are part of, less so for those who are without. The ‘challenge’ for them becomes convincing a guild to give them a slot on the raid team or the far more daunting task of convincing a pick up group to let them come along.
That latter situation is where the headaches come from for most who are complaining about this change. Be it social anxiety, scheduling conflicts, or simply impossible recruitment requirements (Day 1 Emerald Nightmare ‘Plz know the fights’, item level requirements that eclipse what the content drops, requiring 1+ legendaries) finding a PUG is simultaneously easy to do and difficult to join. Oh sure, there’s a group finder, but let’s hope you get lucky on whether or not you get an invite in any timely fashion.
The same can be said about Mythic Dungeons. As a Retribution Paladin, I’ve managed to snag one invite to a Mythic after dozens of applications to join one. Which then promptly fell apart when the tank and healer bailed due to “low dps”. However, Mythics are a gate for a number of quests including my professions. But it’s okay, people tell me, Mythics are mind numbingly easy. Perhaps but then the most difficult boss again becomes actually getting a group.
So what seems to be the crux of this whole thing seems less to be about what is easy or difficulty and more so a push back against matchmaking groups. The Dungeon Finder/LFR tools make the process of getting a group too easy. So we must reward those who eschew convenience and reward them with cosmetics and their own dungeon tier that is completely optional except for when it is not (again with the Engineer profession quest requiring a Mythic dungeon – that drops ilvl 840 gear – to get a recipe that makes a ilvl 815 item.)
I suppose in some ways we’ve gone full circle. We’re back to the Molten Core days where “wrangling the cats” was the hardest part of the job. Only now you get exclusive rewards along with the better gear.
So am I upset about this? Eh. Maybe a bit peeved, but hardly anything I’d quit the game over. Blizzard did confirm in a blue post that story/profession quests that require raids will be doable in LFR, so you won’t get locked out of finishing Suramar and getting the last Pillar of Creation. It’s just the “Valorous” artifact appearance that is locked behind the wall. And while my inner completionist screams “nooooooo!” I’ve long learned how to deal with him. Mostly single player RPGs.
(I AM still irritated about that Mythic dungeon engineering quest though. Because that’s just dumb. 830 ilevel requirement to get an 815 helm? Who did that math?)