Alternatively titled World of Warcraft: and the Devil's Advocate
So, we've been trudging around in Draenor for around close to (if not greater than) a year, and the Tanaan Jungle for closer to five months. We've been given (an opportunity to get) flying and so many ways to get apexis it's not even funny. Along with the apexis landslide, we've also been given several outlets to get gear such as: The elite mobs in Tanaan that drop baleful tokens, The apexis vendors that sell baleful tokens and the empowered fragments used to upgrade them, garrison/naval missions that give us gear, the weekly events that give us the Heroic Hellfire Citadel gear boxes, and finally PvP (which isn't too bad, give PvP a try since it's late in the expansion, it's a blast). This is all well and good, even with all of the hate that's been given to apexis grinding. Getting the gear and it's upgrades is a great way to feel some progression in the game. The feeling of dropping a piece of gear that you no longer need because you just got a better item is borderline ecstasy. That's where Blizzard's brainchild, LFR, comes into play.
Or rather, it doesn't. LFR, more commonly referred to as Looking For Raid, is a joke in Warlords of Draenor. It doesn't give you gear a majority of the time, and the feeling of progression is almost non-existent. I've been playing WoW for quite a long time since the day I logged in at the start of Wrath of the Lich King, and I played through the hell that was early Cataclysm. I was there for the first implementation of LFR. I remember running Dragon Soul with my guild via LFR in those days because we could never find healers or even PUG them for that matter. It was fun, We had the tank slots full and over half the DPS slots full anytime we entered.
The fights were tough as nails, even for the decreased difficulty, and I still cry when I try to solo Spine of Deathwing because of the trauma I experienced with that fight, even though it was just LFR. Hellfire Citadel, even Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry, just doesn't have that difficulty. Maybe it was because these raids had to be designed with the LFR framework in mind, or the raid design team just didn't give a rat's arse this expansion. Take this fight for example; Kormrok has mechanics in Normal and other modes for sure - Drag him to the pools you want him to jump in, so he gets the abilities you want him to gain. No issues there, but in LFR it doesn't matter at all. In Normal and onward, you have to plan for which pools you want to do in what order, LFR is just a DPS and Heal check when it comes to this encounter.
Now, when they tried to introduce some actual difficulty (read as: fun, challenging game-play) with the last fight, Archimonde, LFR still has issues getting him down while Normal raid teams are having a grand ol' time with this guy. It's not that it's so hard they can't do it, it's more about the group of people in LFR for the most part. Every time I queue for Archimonde at least 3 healers (sometimes it's all of them) were DPS that queued as heals just to cut down on queue times. The Tanks have no idea what they are doing and don't even have the gear to match their bluff, so Archimonde pops their head and goes about his day wiping groups. The DPS aren't even the worst part anymore. They're what you expect them to be, one or two arseholes that won't shut up and the rest just attack anything that moves. So, after four or five wipes an LFR group has built up enough stacks of Determination, which gives them boosted attack, defense, and healing/spell power - FOR BEING BAD - they finally down Archimonde. You run over to the smoldering corpse to loot him, and you find... a rock. A rune that buffs your main stat for 30 minutes. A stone that says "Hey, I was here and wasted an hour of my time with idiots just for a consumable that isn't even good."
There's no incentive to run LFR anymore, at least for progress minded players. You get next to no loot, and when you do, your Apexis stuff surpasses it. Sometimes you get gold, other times (90% of the time it seems) you get the complimentary "You were here rocks". So, why do we raid in LFR? The lack of any good raiders to build a team with, the lack of raid teams period, and we really, really, really, just want to get our legendary ring done. After that, there's no point! Why would you even go to LFR? It's like you go to a store to get things you need and act shitty the whole time, but you go back because you think the cashier was cute.
But, there's a good reason for going back ( I just don't want to admit it). That reason being that not a lot of people are in raiding guilds anymore. Sure, they might get lucky and their guild will need a DPS to fill in, or their guild ends up running Mythic Dungeons. But as of right now, with they way the WoW community is, LFR is the light in the darkness. A way to experience end-game content without having to schedule out time on weekends or during the week to sit down for a few hours with a guild, and can instead just pop in for an hour and do one wing every other day in the week.
So, is LFR really that bad? Yes. It's absolutely horrible and I don't want anything to do with it as an experienced player ready to graduate from queue times into raid times. But for the rest of the game's subscriber base (as minuscule as it may be now) it may just be exactly what they're looking for. As always, what's good and bad for games may just be a matter of perspective.