Blizzard released some of the initial details about the upcoming Looking For Raid (LFR) tool, which is scheduled to launch with 4.3. While I was hoping that a different raid would be designed for the LFR, a scaled down version of the Demon Soul raid will be the only available option at the start. In a way, this makes a lot of sense, especially when you take the recent Firelands nerfs into account. There will also be reduced pressure on learning a new raid that isn't available in a normal environment.
Tell me about what matters - the loot!
Right now in Firelands we're getting 378, 384, 391 and 397 gear, with the standard 13 iLvls between normal and heroic, and 6 iLvls for Rag. Much like the 1/2 step we saw between regular heroics and Zulroics, I can certainly see the LFR handing out 397 gear - just like Sinestra's loot was around the same iLvl as starting Firelands. I full expect to see 397 from LFR, and then 404 and 417 (with possible 1/2 steps from Deathwing) from normal and heroic DS. All sounds fine, yes?
The first alarm bell that starts ringing in my mind is that the LFR will also drop tier tokens, even if they are slightly lower iLvl. So now you have a potential situation lining up where raiders can be expected to not only raid the standard Demon Soul, but also use the LFR to pick up slightly lower gear. While this may not be as big an issue for your top tier guilds that already have full Fireland heroic gear, I'm betting that there are still some slots folks would like to upgrade. So here we have a similar situation to ICC/ToC 10/25, where you had to run both raids every week, just to make sure you were getting as much loot into your raid group as possible.
This isn't a real issue for a 25m guild, where you can control (to some extent) how the loot is handled in the LFR - but this becomes a bigger issues for 10m guilds that are trying to get a few extra drops for the week.
Need before Greed shenanigans
So now my question is, how will the loot be handled in Tank/Healer/DPS situations? Based on what I'm reading right now, it looks like it will perform just like the LFD. If you can use it, you can roll Need on it. So there will be ample opportunity for some shenanigans to take place - especially since you can queue in a large group. As it stands now, you can roll into the raid with anything from a single player to a full 25m raid group. As long as loot is still tradeable between raid members, I can certainly see an entire group rolling Need on an item to increase their chances of getting it to the person they want to have it.
While this type of thing can occur anywhere, I think the anonymity of the LFR will take the asshattery of LFD to a whole new level.
So will I use it?
I really don't know. I imagine I will give it a go with the guild as much as I can, and I'll probably throw my Paladin into the mix just to see how it plays out. I have to hope that enough checks and balances will be placed in the system to make it at least semi-decent. It certainly won't hurt to get some extra practice on bosses, and a lot will depend on how nerfed the encounters are. I really hope that they don't turn the LFR Deathwing into a nerfed Shannox on the first day.