Stubborn has an interesting post up about the LFR experience, and how little this may prepare you for actual raiding:
I can see why no one knows how to do the fights the right way. In another perfect example of Blizzard’s pedagogy, LFR does not teach you anything practical about raiding, in the same way that leveling teaches you nothing about end game, normal dungeons teach you nothing about heroics, and heroics teach you little about raiding. Each stage of the game requires a complete rewrite of behavior, knowledge, and performance, so it’s no wonder that so many people are unprepared for entry-level raids.
The amount of learning you gain from such an experience depends a lot on you the player. Someone who cares about their performance and role will probably benefit, but many just do it without really learning anything about raiding or their class, as Stubborn states later in the post, as a “once a week daily”.
I would add that this lack of ‘tutorial for raiding’ is not a problem just in WoW. Arguably Rift does little if nothing to prepare you for raid level gameplay. Even the open group content out in the world is generally done by hordes of DPS with the odd support or healer – tanking is mostly optional and even when a tank is present they seem to ignore the mobs beating on my cleric while I’m trying to heal. LoTRO certainly doesn’t provide any training for large scale group play and since the advent of the ‘inspiration’ buff is heavily focused on solo-pve content these days.
The odd one out among MMOs when it comes to actually introducing the trinity roles is SWTOR. Playing constantly with a NPC companion gives you an implicit glimpse of concepts like threat, taunts, crowd control (and breaking it!) and healing others from an early level. Sure you can play mindless of this and just bullrush through the content and possibly get to the cap oblivious. But it certainly makes these core concepts of dungeons and raids (flashpoints and operations in SWTOR) more a part of the general leveling experience than other games.
It is ironic that a system that is blamed by some for promoting solo-play over group-play is also the omnipresent reminder of some of the core skills of PVE end game. It’s harder to ignore these tactical issues in SWTOR because so much content is tuned for you + companion, whereas in most MMOs it is tuned for solo played only.
I’m not aware of any MMOs that actually tutorial this all properly. I suspect WoW now has something in the talent spec descriptions, but one line about ‘protecting others’ isn’t preparation for tanking your first dungeon. I think MMOs should have optional solo dungeons where you get to practice tanking, healing (and managing healer aggro), crowd control, interrupts etc. Do any games have this already, I wonder?