Somewhere along the road from patch 4.3 announcement concerning LFR’s introduction, the Statement “Give players a chance to experience the end game” came along. I had to go look. Because from what I recall, that was never the intent of LFR, unless it was during an interview or a presentation. The written description basically said.
Rich rewards still await those who face the Raid Finder version, which we hope will introduce the thrills and epic experience of raiding to a broader audience than ever before.
Original Blizzard blog post here
So basically they created LFR to introduce raiding to a broader audience. Now we can all make statements about the meaning of it, to bolster raiding numbers, to allow people to see the end game, to better equip themselves, etc. From where we were back then to now 4 years later, LFR has seen detractors saying it is a loot vending machine, not really raiding, casual care bear mode, I could probably find a few dozen derogatory labels I have read over the years. And there have been many in favor of it. It is what I chose to run primarily for the last 4 years. It allowed me to see the fights at a reduced level of difficulty, which for me allowed me to run them several times, so that when I did Normal I had a general idea of what types of mechanics I would see. Yes there were many not included, yes some damage dealing effects were greatly minimized, but it gave you a glimpse, and when those few raiders that came along and treated it like a raid, assigned groups, placed markers, gave general instructions, 99% of the time it was a 1 shot, even with the so called AFK people that I have rarely seen when I ran them.
When people treat it, and those running it as a joke, it’s not seriously raiding, and cause wipe after wipe because they, not only don’t care about the content, by their actions are saying I don’t care about you as a player, it becomes/became a toxic environment. I always tried to do my best, tried to read the dungeon journal while I waited 45 minutes or longer to get in. Even though the written description is very difficult for me to envision. I always tried. And I normally am at the top of the list in DPS, not because I am a great player, but because I try. I may not comment on criticisms about how people feel LFR is a joke, not really raiding, even the old unless you were top 100 25 heroic world progression you were not raiding, 10 man was not raiding.
The Wiki definition is;
A raid is a type of mission in a video game in which a number of people attempt to defeat a boss monster or consecutive series of bosses. The term raid itself stems from the military definition of a sudden attack and/or seizure of some objective. This type of objective is most common in MMORPGs, and usually but not necessarily occurs within an Instance dungeon. In RTS games like StarCraft, the term is used differently; see Raid (military).
Raiding originated in the class of text MUDs known as DikuMUD. DikuMUD heavily influenced the game EverQuest which brought the raiding concept into modern 3D MMORPGs. The largest and most popular game to currently feature raiding is World of Warcraft
It does not say what level of difficulty, not when you choose to do the fights, current or 4 years later. It is a generic tag. People place additional meaning on it to isolate or demean others that either cannot, or choose to not play the game to the level they do, and that goes both directions.
LFR was introduced as a means to allow players that might have never seen content in a raid format, and perhaps to find they liked it and wanted to try more. It was mentioned in a comment on @Alternativechat blog that LFR is not fun. And I tend to agree with the general statement. There have been fights over the years that really were not fun. They were challenging, and to some extent more difficult then they should have been, mostly because you put 25 strangers in a group, that have done some fights differently or not at all, and that is a recipe for disaster. My personal feeling is that no fight in LFR should ever require more than 3-4 wipes. Provided the majority are actually trying.
I have seen normal raiding, even watched my wife raid Heroic, and I know that is beyond me. And to be honest, even LFR feels beyond me, maybe not so much because of the difficulty, but more that it has become so disheartening to many that they do not even try, they have developed a remorse that it is not possible unless you have a 30% buff. Getting to sub 20% on a first attempt is invigorating, you know that you are close, you can get this. Fighting for 1-2 minutes to wipe at 70% just makes people depressed. And I am sure many like myself are just starting to say, It’s just not worth it. And then what you lose are all of those that really did try, the ones that wanted to be there to see it. Wanted to try to learn something.