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World of Warcraft Column: Raid Finder - A Smash Hit?

By Joseph Sanicky on December 19, 2011

Bouncing around the forums it is plain even to the untrained eye that the new Raid Finder tool in World of Warcraft is giving forumites everywhere an excuse to grab a shovel and dig up some old bones.  Speculation abounded pre 4.3 launch that LFR was going to further degrade the World of Warcraft community and destroy any semblance of humanity and good will left within the game (except of course for trade chat!).  Typically I don’t let forums sway my opinion of a topic much if at all…then again 183 page forum threads don’t happen every day!  Contrary to what you may be thinking this very instant (something like “oh gosh another one of these tired old threads!”) the thread is not a negative romp through memory lane, it is actually quite the opposite!

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Now, I’m not sure who Tweak (the author of the post) is, nor am I sure if I even care, but I have to give props to the guy for coming off as a pristine example of the typical everyman who plays WoW because he enjoys it and just wants a fair shake at the content.  If the rest of the thread is anything like the first ten pages (and from what I hear around the water-cooler it is, even some blues stopped by to shake hands with the players) then there is a solid 183 pages of unadulterated praise for Blizzard’s latest prodigal son.  I’m not even experiencing the Raid Finder yet and all this jubilant talk is getting me excited for my first run through it!

Funny enough the players you would think would be enormous detractors are actually as enthusiastic about it as the laymen who rejoice the feature.  There are a multitude of “hardcore” raiders singing the praises of the LFR system with reasons varying from it makes gearing up alts less painful to it gets them playing with their family and friends to LFR being a great way to practice fights in person without a huge penalty attached. 

Of course millions of people play this game, and 183 pages of posters is still an extremely small vocal minority no matter how you look at it, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t seen such a heartwarming sight in ages!  Players are coming together celebrating the joy of finally being able to experience the content.

It is bloody glorious if you ask me!

It is also ironic because in a round-up of the 4.3 patch I was complaining how even with the raid finder I probably wouldn’t see Deathwing go down, well, lo and behold I’m boiling my shoe so I can eat it henceforth!  A few more minutes and it should be good and tender!


So far this has been the best part of the patch for me.

Keeping in pace with the damned irony of it all is the fact that Blizzard has seemingly made a flawless entry into WoW’s feature list while also innovating within the genre and making everybody happy!  This decisive victory is coming off the heals of their (allegedly) hated Mists of Pandaria: Rise of the Kung Fu Panda expansion announcement, their irrevocable destruction of the legitimate and utterly impeccable talent system, and of course having the gall to add Pokemon into their game!  Odd how this seems to be working out so well for them… wait hold on a minute there, stop the presses!

Last week I made a point of explaining how the story has been, in essence, wiped clean of all theatrical elements that were prohibiting a much more interesting and powerful narrative from taking place.  Beyond that though having the next expansion take place in Pandaria is giving Blizzard the chance to reboot the atmosphere, tone, and location of the game… all of which can have a drastic effect on how the game plays, or at least how it feels to play the game.  And now we have the superior evolution of the group system in the raid finder, an evolution that will be adapted to all raids henceforth, an evolution widely regarded as a great move by Blizzard, an evolution that very well may set the stage for how the entirety of the next expansion could play out…

Maybe I’m becoming a conspiracy theorist, but all this looks to be the makings of some sort of redefinition of the IP!

Think about it a bit before you start tossing your shoes at me though!  Of course the game will still play in a familiar manner, and the traditional structure of the game will remain, but there are other indicators of how Pandaria might adjust the tried and true formula.  Devs have spoken about gear inflation and a possible reckoning of the gearscore for Pandaria, plus players won’t be flying until max level there either, and on top of all of that there will be some legitimate political intrigue with the opposing panda factions!  Neutral new toon starting area anyone?

What are the chances of the author of the post being a plant by Blizzard?

*ducks thrown shoe*

I’ll have to keep my eye on Blizzard, they’re sneaky ones I tell you!

In the mean time I’ll be returning to my main now that Northrend experience gains have been buffed, no more countless weeks of parading around alts trying to find the most “fun” class for me (obviously mages).

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