The main goal of LFR is to provide a way for players who would not otherwise be able to go to see raiding content to be able to. I have no objection to that, and I think that LFR succeeds, broadly, in its goal.
I don’t think that it’s good, though.
For players like me, LFR is awful. I don’t like grouping up with random players, but I can just about manage doing it with four of them. Being placed in a raid with 24 random strangers, many of whom are morons, is something I hate above all else and avoid at all costs. I would be perfectly happy to ignore LFR utterly.
LFR gives loot; it gives damn good loot – on the same quality level as world epic drops and crafted epics (which are worth a lot of money). Since the server I play on is relatively low on the raiding charts, LFR represents a massive increase in the gear that I am likely to get. I don’t object to a tier of gear in-between Heroic blues and Normal raiding gear per se.
What I do object to is that I have to do something I absolutely loathe to get it. There are three related reasons. Firstly, I believe that gear’s quality should reflect the difficulty of acquiring it (and LFR has been quite farcically easy for my kind of player since it was released). That means that I dislike the loot rewards from LFR on principle. Secondly, in an expansion where Blizzard seems to be trying to promote an endgame where pretty much all time investments are equally rewarding when normalised to skill requirement (i.e. dailies, scenarios, heroics, challenges, et cetera) LFR poos all over such a good idea like a diarrhetic elephant. By being not only the least difficult way to gear up (by quite some distance) and simultaneously the most rewarding, I think that it significantly devalues the rest of the awesome content that Blizzard has made. Worse, it’s devaluing better content that hasn’t been exhausted yet.
Finally, I think that I should be free to go about Normal raiding progression in a way that I like – I don’t raid for prestige, I do it because it’s fun. By making the rewards so good for LFR, Blizzard is effectively giving me another place that I feel I must go in order to make the Normal raiding experience easier on my friends. In that sense, Blizzard is literally pitting my hatred of 24 random strangers against the alliance I have with my guild-mates. I’ve already told everyone I’m refusing to do LFR. I’ve already been told that I have to do LFR to make it easier on everyone else, with the implication being that it would be unfair on my friends if I didn’t. This kind of conflict is extremely upsetting, because I value my friends somewhat highly.
Ultimately, giving such good loot rewards in LFR is breaking the game for me. It’s devaluing better content, it’s further separating what I want to do and what I feel I should be doing in game, and finally it’s flying in the face of the “skill + time = reward” formula that has made WoW so compelling for me for so long.
And I’m sad to say that I might not want to play WoW for much longer because of it.
If you are interested in joining in a discussion on the topic, head on over to the Icy Veins forums where the subject is currently grabbing some attention.