As the Alpha continues to sizzle, we learn more about a topic speculated on and discussed since Blizzcon. In the latest build, it appears that the option to enter previous versions of LFR and scenarios is accessible via a specific set of NPCs. Whether their presence, dialogue, or models are expectant of a release has yet to be seen, but what is resounding is the ability to do so, given a new set of rules.

First of all, if you don’t get around much, lets explain what the previous system was all about and then we can relate it to the new means of entrance.

Starting with it’s invent in Dragon Soul, LFR allowed players to queue as a role and be entered in a massive pool of hopefuls, being paired with 24 others, with 6 healers, 2 tanks, and the remainder DPS. The queue itself became notable quickly for its extreme length, especially as a DPS. This only got worse with the onset of Flex difficulty, and when this return feature was announced, I assumed it would be even more impossible to find enough people. On top of this, I wondered just what type of player system they would seek to control, and whether or not there would be a cap to enter.

With the announcement and testing in the Alpha, we learn that this is all a thing of the past for the equally past LFRs. Now, they will simply operate as any other dungeon, just instead of being able to walk in you will still queue. A bit of a vestigial structure is this system, at least in my eyes, but I suppose its no surprise. This is really nothing more than fan service when you examine exactly what LFR has been and is meant to be in this coming expansion.

However, it will give those who missed an interesting coloration, especially in Dragon Soul, a chance to return to the past and collect their just rewards. Or maybe not.

The next question posed by myself and the community is how loot will work. Let’s once again discuss it in its current state for completion’s and comparison’s sake.

Currently, when you enter LFR and complete a boss you roll against yourself to see if you shall be awarded loot. This is a system known as “personal loot” and was implemented with MSV Looking for Raid. Previously in Dragon Soul, the system was as it always used to be. When thinking about 25 man raiding, you can understand why this was a mess all around, especially for pieces of the tier set gear that was acquired in the form of a token for up to 3 other classes. Having 25 people all roll for 6+ pieces of gear every boss got very confusing quickly and elicited some changes as the tier went on.

The first change we saw was a system to help people rolling for main spec gear have an advantage over those looking for off spec or perhaps simply to troll. This system was quite archaic, but effective to some degree, allowing an extra 100 points to each roll when it was for a piece you were currently speced into. This marked further issues, as a lot of people only did LFR for off spec gear, but they had to be in that spec when the loot dropped, otherwise they would not receive the bonus. Obviously, if any one player needed on it as it pertained to him, no off spec player could win it, so it quickly devolved into people just sitting in the wrong spec for the entire raid. After there were enough complaints about 6 tanks or 2 healers, it became obvious this would not work going forward.

Eventually, we come to the world we live in today, where you can select your intended specialization as well as loot preference, AND can avoid the mess that was DS LFR loot, rife with trading, trolling, and high rolling!

So, back on track here, we then finally come to the answer of how the current loot system will be implemented across legacy content that requires an NPC to queue for?

Our buddy Ion, the Perisian Torpedo, answers it for us via twitter.

We learn a few things from this set of tweets, but alongside this, a few more concerns arise.

Ion confirms that the current system would stay, but does this mean that the DS loot will drop 6 pieces as it did back when it was current? Had the personal loot system actually been implemented by 5.0, or did that not make it in until MSV? I honestly cant remember. Feel free to reply if you know this answer.

Either way, the next set of concerns become obvious from there. Often times, being able to transmog pieces of gear require access to loot tables not relevant to your class.

I, for one, don’t see myself up in arms about this, but that doesn’t mean that thousands of people wont be. Currently, given the personal loot system, it is absolutely not possible to get pieces other than your that applicable to your available specs. The best example is that a shaman can not acquire a tanking mace or axe, no matter what they do, given the current system.

This can be address one of two ways. First of all, and the least attractive of the options, you can allow trading of the items. This sees to be something a lot of people want, which makes sense, especially for the LFR MSV and higher. Its unlikely average players will be able to solo them, so if personal loot stays it would be extremely beneficial to be able to trade any loot you get amongst those with you in the party, especially considering it will be likely that on most bosses with 2-4 people, no one will get anything.

Just thinking about that alone makes me cringe. Part of soloing old raids is the fact that a high amount of gear drops each time. The fact that you can often get two pieces of each boss that you are after is a huge attraction. I feel if they are going to stick with personal loot here, they better make it so you always get at least one piece, as well as a chance to get two. Something has to happen either way, otherwise soloing these places will feel very unrewarding if you come out with nothing but the miniscule amount of gold they offer comparatively.

The second option is (when ruling out simply removing personal loot) to make it possible to select roles you aren’t able to fill as well as make these pieces BOA. If they did something along these lines, it would be near the same chance to get any piece in the game, and then you could trade it to which ever toon you prefer. This is very unlikely, however, as there has been very few cases of BOA transmog opportunities, but it seems plausible to think the out side role options may make it.

Ion reminds us that changing these LFR loot constraints is no small task, but I think implementing them with the current issues is simply backwards. There are far too many drawbacks to soloing a raid where you may not even get a single piece of gear drop, let alone the ones you want, as well as none of it being pieces outside your class’s specializations.

I look forward to following this feature as it develops, but for now be sure to stop by our forums and discuss this or any of the other features of the Alpha you are interested in. Feel free to suggest anything you would like to see as well. It will be our pleasure to help our fans out!

Check out Meoni’s Alpha look at the concept: