Blue posts from Bashiok on the issue of LFR's release schedule:
Upfront clarity: the unlock schedule for LFR in 5.4 is exactly the same as it was in 5.2.
In the vast majority of cases raiders are progressing through Normal, and especially Heroic, at a steady pace over weeks and months. A very small percentage of the very best world-first raiders, of course, will complete the raids much quicker than that, but in the vast majority of cases raiders don't step into Normal and down the last boss that same week, let alone the third or fourth boss. Most Normal raiders will get the first few bosses down in the first couple weeks, and the unlock schedule of LFR is very much intended to match the median progression of a Normal raid group.
LFR allows players of all playstyles, without guilds or fixed raiding schedules, to experience the content. But the point isn't to be able to do so faster than guild raiders, or for a guild raider to feel like the best way to experience the conclusion to the Mists of Pandaria story arc is to hop into an LFR queue rather than to play with their friends.
Flex does have an accelerated unlock timetable, and the first wing will be available on day-one of the patch. While Flex has a lot of... flexibility, it still requires coordination of a raid leader to create a competent group. Potentially to your benefit though Flex is cross-realm, and groups can be built of multiple guilds and friends regardless of the realm they play on. Considering the increased difficulty of Flex we're not sure how successful day-one Siege of Orgrimmar Flex PUGs will be (and it is progression raiding, not just slightly harder LFR), but we're excited to see people give it a shot. That's probably an option a lot of current LFR-only raiders will find enticing, and could lead them to a regular raiding group, new friends, maybe a new guild, and even higher difficulty levels.
There are a lot of situations at play so I'll just try to bullet some of them quickly (sorry I gotta run soon):
- Heroic/Normal raiders enjoy what they're doing. If LFR was available at the same time they would be required to also run LFR as, at least for Normal raiders, would likely hold some potential upgrades. Regardless of how small or specific (trinkets?), progression raiding for many requires squeezing every ounce out of every aspect of the game. If another guild does this thing, you have to do it too or you are suboptimal. That's not a factor of wanting to do it or not, it's a requirement to compete. That's probably also the most difficult mentality to get across as it's a fundamentally different way to approach a game for different people, and it really only requires the ability to accept that how you like to play the game doesn't and shouldn't apply to everyone else. Hardcore progression raiders don't think having all of Normal progression and LFR on week one sounds fun, and neither do we.
- It's pretty lame if the biggest and baddest enemy of the entire expansion is killed first, day one, in the easiest difficulty. And it would be if it were at the same time. It's not only lame for the people attempting to kill him in the harder difficulties, but it's pretty lame for the people aspiring or looking up to those killing him in a harder difficulty and wanting to be a part of that progression. You may not necessarily care, and just want to kill Garrosh and be done, but a lot of people are playing the game because they want a challenge in defeating the most horrendous creature and enemies in the game. For a lot of players the point of playing a game is meeting and surmounting a challenge. It undermines that challenge when you can just go and do it in a difficulty, that by necessity of its random matchmaking, can be beaten very easily. Especially for groups of coordinated progression raiders.
- Not everyone in a Normal raid will kill Garrosh before he's available to kill in LFR, this is true, but that doesn't mean we should just say screw it and open it all up for every difficulty day one. Those really vying for realm firsts very likely will kill him before he's available to LFR, and that's the main intent, a good faith effort to give progression guilds a chance at downing the content in their difficulties.
- There are some players that just want to see the content and don't care too much about gearing up. They would race through LFR day one, down Garrosh, and ask "what now?", and likely come to the forums to complain we didn't give them enough content. We could get into some long debate about the nature of production, as well as basic laws of physics, but let's suspend all disbelief for this argument that we do our best to provide awesome and compelling content as quickly as we can for millions of players all with varying tastes, personal expectations, lives, goals, dreams, etc.
- Raid content is really intended to be progressed through by building a competent team of people, in appropriate leveled gear, that work together to solve difficult challenges through expert knowledge - and execution of - within the game. Some people don't have time for that, they can't commit to a raid schedule (although both those groups should be looking toward Flex as it is very much for them!), just want to see the content, aren't very good at the game, or just aren't playing to be in a social situation, and want to run LFR, and we think that's great, and it's great LFR is right up their alley and let's them see the content, it is there for those reasons, but that doesn't mean that it should be available and allow access to content many weeks faster than is intended through progression raiding.
- In other words: if you are only doing LFR you are still going to see the content much faster !-even with a gated wing schedule-! than if you were in a Normal progression group.