Is LFR Mandatory for Raiders? Maybe

Is LFR Mandatory for Raiders? Maybe

To me, this is both a yes and no question.

As raiders, it’s fair to assume that we want to get as much of a gearing advantage as possible for raids. Every little bit helps and counts towards boss kills. The beginning point of an expansion is a crucial stage for this. The difference between a heroic weapon and an LFR weapon can be a significant upgrade.

Let’s look at it from the beginning of the expansion.

Speaking for myself, I feel that I have to run it every week. If I don’t, I feel like I’m letting the rest of my team down and that I’m not trying as hard as I otherwise could have. For one, the experience gain out of LFR and seeing mechanics early is beneficial (despite it’s nerfed state). Even though abilities function slower and aren’t as lethal, at least we can recognize and see them. Second, there’s always that slight chance where I’ll get an item upgrade that immediately replaces a heroic dungeon piece which will help in the long run when we’re working on progression bosses. I know there doesn’t seem to be a huge gap between a 463 item and a 476 item. But psychologically, I’m seeing the difference between a blue quality item and a purple quality item. Watching people absolutely refuse to queue for it despite the fact there’s a chance for possible upgrades feels like they’re not as willing nor as committed as I am to the success of the raid group.

It’s the same idea with someone who steadfastly refuses to do dailies.

From my point of view, a blatant refusal to consider LFR or do dailies limits your sources of gear to raids only. Now in a loot council guild, player effort is one of those things that gets taken into consideration. Do we give the shiny new weapon to the Mage who worked really hard at crafting their own items, built up their Golden Lotus rep, and tried their hand at LFR only to get nothing? Or should it be assigned to that Shadow Priest who had better things to do like Pet Battles for 10  hours a night and not giving a damn about dailies or LFR? It’s pure perception. We’re in an environment where we have a general idea of what other players are doing. We can inspect their gear and see where they’re getting it from.

This doesn’t include the fact that dailies help you with coins that can be used at a chance for more gear (although, for most of us, it seems to be for more gold).

The imaginative requirement to do LFR isn’t so much a product of the game. It’s a product of simulated pressure from our peers. We don’t want to let the team down. We want to feel relief in knowing that even though we didn’t get gear that week for our toons, at least the effort was made.

Now let’s Time Warp and move ahead a few months. Patch 5.3 is out with new raid content and big bosses. We’ll call it the Halls of Eternity or something.

Blizzard has indicated multiple times that the LFR gear in whatever the latest raid will be is going to be distinctively lower in quality and item level compared to normal/heroic items in the previous tier. I’d only run LFR in this tier to cap out. But if I’m maintaining my dailies, raids or doing dungeons, I may not feel the need or desire to cap out valor. The incentive to run LFR isn’t as high because there’s no gear in there that would be an upgrade. You could make a case that attempting to complete the new tier 16 set to activate bonuses is a possible goal. But are you willing to sacrifice a 13 x 4 item level decrease just to establish bonuses? I find that a tough case to make.

Many guildies and players I know just absolutely refuse to queue in LFR alone. They’d rather go in as a guild group of possible to increase the chance of success and get through it as fast as possible. Personally, I’m okay with solo queuing. It reminds me why I raid in a guild and is an exercise in patience. I end up doing 40% of the healing anyway.

You end up with people who just:

  • Refuse to read the strategy or dungeon finder beforehand (C’mon guys, do your homework).
  • Don’t stand in melee range for Spirit Kings thereby resulting in the tank dying.
  • Not going to the Spirit Realm for Gara’jal.
  • Falling through the floor on Elegon.

Stuff like that.

Actually, my guild and I turned it into a fun drinking game. I should post the rules we made up for it.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. I don’t disagree with the basic points, but I must ask the question: “At what point does it become too much?”
    As an example, back during Icecrown Citadel in Wrath, I was running raid six days a week. Three days of 10-man and three days of 25-man. I did this in order to maximize my gear gain, but also to maintain guild morale. The 25s were largely to keep the guild together and functioning, while the 10s were where I really had fun and progress. At first, this was fine. I enjoyed all the raiding. Not surprisingly, it did not last. It was too much to do. I burned out, stepped back and ultimately even server transferred to an environment that was better suited for me. The guild was good people, but it’s goals and needs were not the right fit for me. I still miss many of the members, but I am vastly happier now.
    Running LFR every week is not that bad. But it does offer the same question. “Is it too much?” That is something each individual needs to answer. In my current guild, we only raid twice a week. Asking the guild to get together for a third night is, in fact, too much. Yes, many people raid more than we do. That’s cool, but it’s too much for our guild. Two nights a week is good. Three is bad. Even if that third is LFR. It’s fine if people want to go on their own time, so long as it’s still fun for them to do so. I know we’re probably in the minority here, but the simple fact is that for US, requirement to do LFR every week is just plain too much to ask.
    No, we’re not super hardcore and never will be. That’s ok. We don’t intend to be. We just like to raid, have fun and progress as fast as we are able. We’re 3/6 Normal right now and should get Spirit Kings down tonight. We’re happy with that because we are having fun. There’s no way that’s gonna be the same for all WoW raiders out there, but it’s something each person needs to ask themselves. “Is it worth it?”

  2. It’s insane how quickly I’ve geared up this tier. Approx. 3 weeks of 3 nights a week (i.e. 9 raid nights) and I’m 379 ilvl?
    It’s been awesome to not been crushed when you down the boss and see that piece you really needed didn’t drop.
    I’m itching for a weapon, but especially with the way content has been tiered, I’m always surprised and can be made up for missing a normal mode drop when HoF LFR gives me my helm.
    Bottomline, min/maxer perspective that helm isn’t so good because of reduced ilvl. But from a progression, seeing my characte improve perspective, it makes all the difference as you wait for the RNG gods to start giving in normal.

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