My time calculations earlier on were being generous with time. The fast you can complete an Op, the BETTER they are for gearing per player per hour. I used longer times to be more relevant to most groups that would benefit from the gear drops in LI. Yes Ops can be done in an hour and my guild can knock LI HM over in just under 25 mins, but now we overgear it and to do Ops in an hour you probably do too, so our cases aren't relevant.
In terms of difficulty: Compare Story Mode EC and EV/KP. There is a HUGE difference in difficulty. Now compare D7/KUS HM (IMO the hardest T1 FPs for Bosses and Trash respectively, especially pre Bulwark nerf) with LI HM. The difficulty increase is similar. It is similar to someone going: "I can beat EV easily so I should be able to beat EC." It doesn't work that way for Ops tiers and it doesn't work that way for FPs tiers.
Add to that, most people that fail at LI HM have NEVER tried it on SM. Hell most people try it because of the weekly and speeder quests, if they weren't there most people wouldn't even think of doing it. They skip SM because you can skip it on all the others and be fine AND because there is no reward for doing SM LI. As such, why bother?
The other reason LI is really tough is that it is a 4 man instance. In an Op you can usually afford to lose 1 player and usually still get through a fight all right. If you lose a man in HM LI you have just lost: a) your healer, b) your tank, or c) ~40% of your DPS until they can be rezzed. As such you can't really afford to lose anyone whereas in an Op you can recover by a) other healer rez b) offtank steps in c) only losing ~20% of DPS until they can be rezzed. 8 people gives a larger margin for error than 4 people.
All valid points and nothing I would disagree with
What degree of loot increase do you feel is required? I personally think that changing Tionese crystals to Columi comms would be sufficient. I would suggest you keep in mind that upping the drops on LR-5 to Rakata would enable people to farm a Rakata piece in about 10 minutes once they know how to do it. Sav-Rak would push that out to 15 minutes but I don't feel he is as difficult and as such should not have higher drops than LR-5.
I agree with changing the Tionese crystal to Columi comms, after all how many of these worthless things do we have? We cant even trade them up for anything and unless your an entry level player or a first time participant in pve they are useless but so are Columi comms come to think of it (most of our companions wear Rakata now).
You made a valid point about players farming the first boss once a day if he dropped a set Rakata piece until I realized it wouldnt matter. Best case scenerio is that a player could pass an item onto their companion once they got it but for most raiders we've already done that so it ends up becoming sold item for credits.
If the decision was mine to make I would leave Dr Lorrick loot tables as they are, but would add 1 Rakata piece to both Sav Rak & LR-5. At best a player would have 3 pieces of Rakata gear and would not get the 4 set bonus without obtaining the 4th piece by raiding, not to mention the MH & OH weapons.
I felt that with T1 FP's & OP's the loot system worked well, while we were raiding for Rakata some casuals and non raiders were gearing up in Columi. Now with T2 FP's & OP's were hunting down Campaign gear sets while the above mentioned playerbase is still hunting for Columi and the Rakata chest. Unfortunately the entire Black Hole set has thrown things out of whack, but given that most of the stats on the BH gear either need to be remodded or in our case mods selectively taken out to add to Campaign pieces I dont see it as to much of an issue.
My main concern is that if we want HM LI boss mechanics to become the minimum standard for future content I just feel that the rewards need to be increased to satisfy that segment of the community that dont or wont raid. make them aware that the continued effort and challenge is worth trying to overcome rather than giving up. Bearing in mind none of this is relevant to the raiding community because we already outgear HM LI, this is offering an incentive to the non raiding community to adopt a raid mentality where continued effort (HM LI) grants greater rewards than instant gratification (T1 FP's) because as it stands only Dr Lorrick offers them any reward and many cant even get past the 1st boss at this stage.