Probably the most popular blog topic of the week (and last) has been the new LFG system. What?!? Not the new raid Instance, Icecrown Citadel? We're talking about Practice (Iverson lovers/haters, unite) - we're talking about running old content, over and over and over, and we're obssessed with it!
Blizzard clearly has a win here, people. I doubt the 5-man heroics have been run more at any time in the game. The ease of matching, combined with the rewards means that virtually everyone with an 80 is at least going to do the random daily. Raiders kitted out in full T9 (and even the first few pieces of T10) are chain-running heroics. Wow. So the system works.
How about the quality of the experience?
It seems to be a bit of a mixed bag.
Without even dipping into the miasma that is the official community forums, we can see on the blogosphere over the past week or so that people have had wildly varying experiences with the new LFG.
Some are dismayed by the exacerbation of 'typical' problems from pugs previously. Tanks tend to pull without regard to anyone and expect everyone to keep up. HORRIBLE players of every role are pouring into the system, and many players are approaching the heroics with very elitist attitudes of not tolerating lesser geared or skilled players.
Others have been nothing but pleased by the results.
As I've mentioned in comments on several other blogs, I've had very positive experiences. I've never wiped yet on my healer, and I've only wiped a couple of times on my DK. Runs are quick, smooth, and painless. I chat with friends and guildies while doing them, and indeed the rewards are very nice.
Reflecting on this I can make one generalization.
IF YOU'RE ALREADY GEARED, YOU'RE SET.
Ironically, running heroics in random pugs can be very painful especially if you're a fresh 80.
This is the opposite of what it should be, since 5-mans should be about gearing up newer players, but it is what it is.
But my experience has been in part relatively painless because top raid gear does essentially make heroics completely trivial.
Last night for example. You can see from the screenshot that this group was not very good. The reason two of the other players - and I'm so high in dps - are over 2k is because of the drake portion of Occulus. On regular fights, they were both under 1k dps. This would have been a disaster if the fifth player was undergeared as well - even if they were highly skilled. But since my gear is T9 level, I was able to kill things fast enough to trivialize the instance. We actually did wipe on the last fight because someone pulled eregos, the healer didn't heal, and we were all over the place. One person dropped, but then we 4-manned the last boss extremely easy on the next attempt.
I dunno. Much has been said about this already.
I just have one simple (two-part) suggestion to contribute:
If your toon is highly geared, you should be able to carry the group - a few silly shenanigans like a crazy pulling tank aside. This makes heroics fairly simple.
However, if you're playing a lower geared toon, try to queue with at least one other player you know and trust. You'll still get credit for the random (and get your frost emblem), but with two players, even if your gear is low, you should be able to manage to make the run relatively painless.
That's it! Go forth and prosper!