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The Benefits of "Looking for Raid" as a Casual Gamer

I have played World of Warcraft for many years now. Despite this, I have only one level 100 character, another level 90 character, and the rest barely break the 50s, if that. I am the definition of a "casual" gamer.

I remember the old days of the game very well. I don't have the rose-colored glasses that other gamers on the internet seem to have for these olden days. Meanwhile, I am sometimes surprised when I find reddit posts like this one, which comments under the post go on to complain about the use of the Raid Finder tool that was introduced with the Mists of Pandaria expansion to replace the Looking For Raid (LFR) tool.

LFR Tool

LORE

When it comes to "casual" gamers in WoW, the love of lore is usually a big part of why we play. I think the Warcraft universe is rich with great story opportunities and I love that the game has evolved and contains a story that is vastly different than it was when it launched ten years ago.

The problem with the MMO gaming structure Pre-MoP was that being able to even witness some of the grand lore moments in the game hinged upon particular limitations set down by large guilds that could demand certain behavior, specs, rotations, and gear scores from a player before allowing them to partake in raids.

I'm not complaining about the old system, but I'm attempting to highlight the limitations that existed in those days.

When my mage hit 80 at the end of WotLK, I wanted to see the fall of the Lich King. As a Warcraft III player I was very excited about this expansion and really loved the leveling experience. The addition of LFD Heroics meant I was able to gear up for raids a little easier. 

The ultimate wall I ran into with that expansion was that getting into a raid still required joining a guild, being submitted to the will of a guild leader, potentially changing spec because it works better for the guild, and/or being scheduled to play the game on a certain time or day.

It never worked out. I need to be able to log in, play the game on my schedule and have a good time doing it. If I'm getting ridiculed, told to play a way different than I want, or anything along those lines I ultimately lose interest in the game and move on to something else.

Raid Finder Saves the Day

The addition of the Raid Finder tool in MoP fixed all of my noted problems. I knew if I had the right gear by hovering over the menu. I could run the raid and see ALL of the story content without any of the hours of work that go into the harder versions of the raids. 

Now, I admit that I will ALWAYS have lower gear scores than those that dedicate more time for the more difficult version of the raids, I will ALWAYS miss out on some of the great achievements that come with a good guild, and I will ALWAYS be submitting myself to long queues to get into the Raid Finder.

That is okay.

I run each raid just long enough to get enough gear score to climb to the next raid. I want the story. I don't care about that rare dagger that only has a 1% drop rate and requires me to run it again and again if I want it to pop.

The Raid Finder Problem

So, based on what I read on reddit, I think the perceived problem is that many of the "casual" gamers opt to do Raid Finder rather than dedicating the time to join a guild and train up to run the harder versions and this is creating a rift between the "casual" and the "hardcore" WoW players.

The real "problem", as I see it, is that when given the option, many OTHER players that had previously taken the time to be in old raiding parties, these "kinda-hardcore" players, found the Raid Finder to be a much easier option and turned their attention to that rather than sticking to their old ways. They BECAME more "casual" in their play style. This, in turn, lowered the population of the "hardcore" gamers available for the old style of getting a raid party.

Personally, I hope Blizzard's move to make Raid Finder difficulty even EASIER in WoD is their attempt to allow the truly "casual" players to view the story content while encouraging more eager players that are bored in the easy mode to up the difficulty by seeking out like-minded individuals for harder versions of the raid, be it through the Premade tool or by seeking a guild.

I think that the Raid Finder is a great tool. I think it opens the door to witness great story that, until the last expansion, was locked to players like me... players that either couldn't or wouldn't dedicate the time required to organize and execute raiding parties. We are all paying the same $15/month for this content, so making a tool that lets everyone access it at their level of difficulty is a good thing.

Meanwhile, as a bonus, having an easy mode of the raid also helps players get the feel for the combat so that when/if they do decide to join a guild and become more "hardcore", they know what they are getting themselves into before their first guild run.

Of course, only time will tell if that's a good thing or not!



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