MMO-Champion - Patch 5.4 - Flexible Raid Preview
Patch 5.4 - Flexible Raid Preview
Patch 5.4 will add a a new raid difficulty:

  • Bring anywhere from 10 to 25 people to your raid and the difficulty will automatically scale.
  • Works with battletags, so you can bring friends from other realms.
  • Item level of loot is between Raid Finder and Normal and loot is awarded with the Raid Finder style loot system.
  • Separate lockout from Raid Finder and Normal, allowing you to do all three difficulties.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Raids in World of Warcraft have a long history of not just challenging players, but changing and evolving as the years and expansions go by. As with everything in the game, we’re always thinking about what more we can bring to raiding to improve the experience for an even wider range of players. While Normal and Heroic Raids are a great fit for many, we feel there’s another gap worth filling—and to that end, we’re currently working on the development of a new type of Raid for the next major content update: Flexible Raiding.

One Size Does Not Fit All
While it’s impossible to fit every player into a neat, tidy archetype, we recognize that we could be providing a better experience to one broad category of raider: social groups comprised predominantly of friends and family, and smaller guilds that do their best to include as many members in their Raid outings possible.

During the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the 10-player Normal difficulty served these groups of players pretty well, but the unification of 10-player and 25-player into a single difficulty effectively eliminated that niche. While Raid Finder mode is extremely accessible, it doesn’t provide smaller groups with a tight-knit social experience while progressing through the content. In Patch 5.4, we’re planning to introduce a new mode of raiding that allows us to deliver the sort of experience that we think these players are looking for.

/Flex
To fill this void, we’re in the process of developing a new Flexible Raid system, which includes a new difficulty that sits between Raid Finder and Normal difficulty, while still allowing friends, family, or pick-up groups to play together. This difficulty will be available for premade groups of 10–25 players, including any number in between. That means whether you have 11, 14, or 23 friends available for a Raid, they’ll all be able to participate.

The Flexible Raid system is designed so that the challenge level will scale depending on how many players you have in the Raid. So if you switch between 14 players one week and 22 the next, the difficulty will adjust automatically. Keep in mind that unlike Raid Finder, no matchmaking is available, so you’ll need to make sure you invite people to attend—but if some can’t make it, it’s not the end of the world (or the Raid). You’ll also still be able to invite Real ID or Battle.net friends cross-realm. Who you choose to bring and what Item Level gear they’ll need to join your merry band is up to you, too—there’s no Item Level requirement for this Raid difficulty.

Dressed to Kill
A new Raid difficulty also means a new Item Level. Flexible mode will award loot with an Item Level that falls between Raid Finder and Normal quality, and will use the Raid Finder’s “per person” loot system, specialization choices, and bonus rolls, so you won’t need to worry about bringing the “wrong” person and having them win that piece of gear you’ve long been waiting for.

You Have the Keys
We plan to unlock the Flexible Raid difficulty in wings, similar to Raid Finder, but on an accelerated timetable. This new difficulty also has a separate Raid lockout from Raid Finder and Normal difficulty, allowing you to take part in all three if you so desire. You’ll also be able to complete portions of your “Glory of the Orgrimmar Raider” raid meta- achievement in Flexible mode as well as in Normal or Heroic to earn cosmetic rewards such as an epic mount. This will allow Raid groups the opportunity to switch off nights between raids to complete achievements. Finally, taking part in Flexible, Normal, or Heroic difficulty will provide access to additional rewards that won’t be available in Raid Finder.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks
As with any in-development feature, we’re continuing to refine how the Flexible Raid system will work, and we look forward to hearing your constructive feedback from your experiences on the Public Test Realm when the new system goes live.
This article was originally published in forum thread: A Raid for All Seasons: Flexible Raid Preview started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 817 Comments
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuja View Post
    Why is the loot ilvl lower than normal? Are the bosses easier?
    Yes, because Blizzard has acknowledged that the gap between LFR and Normal is too wide and keeps players out of proper organized raiding.
    This might cause more people to get into Normals and still raiders bitch about it, probably because they can't manage their playtime or lets their guild force them to do more raiding per week than reasonable.

    Why care about Flex? Well, if it drops same ilvl as normal mode, we'd essentially have to do Normal/Heroic + Flex every week until we're decked out in normal gear.
    Read it again.
    Flex will drop iLvl BETWEEN LFR and Normal
    Geez. Inform yourself.
  1. Nienor's Avatar
    I wonder what good this feature will do to people like me who can't even find 10 people for a raid. Unless it scales also with less than 10 people...
    Another useless feature that will take a lot of the developer´s effort and won't really offer anything. I mean, can u imagine all the effort it'll take to balance the raid and make the new items? And that is gonna keep taking precious development time in the future too.

    Instead of putting all this effort on something really useful and cool like for example total elimination of empty/imbalanced realms that will bring the words massive and multiplayer back to this sad excuse of mmo they go and spend time on so ething like that...

    I'm totally unimpressed
  1. Gordon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nienor View Post
    I wonder what good this feature will do to people like me who can't even find 10 people for a raid. Unless it scales also with less than 10 people...
    Another useless feature that will take a lot of the developer´s effort and won't really offer anything. I mean, can u imagine all the effort it'll take to balance the raid and make the new items? And that is gonna keep taking precious development time in the future too.

    Instead of putting all this effort on something really useful and cool like for example total elimination of empty/imbalanced realms that will bring the words massive and multiplayer back to this sad excuse of mmo they go and spend time on so ething like that...

    I'm totally unimpressed
    Don't be dense. Raids become puggable again, even crossrealm.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nienor View Post
    I wonder what good this feature will do to people like me who can't even find 10 people for a raid. Unless it scales also with less than 10 people...
    Another useless feature that will take a lot of the developer´s effort and won't really offer anything. I mean, can u imagine all the effort it'll take to balance the raid and make the new items? And that is gonna keep taking precious development time in the future too.

    Instead of putting all this effort on something really useful and cool like for example total elimination of empty/imbalanced realms that will bring the words massive and multiplayer back to this sad excuse of mmo they go and spend time on so ething like that...

    I'm totally unimpressed
    Two things
    PuG-friendly. People can tag along but you won't need to fill 25 just to get started. (below 10 would be weird because it'd cause some weird stuff regarding number of roles.)

    and

    I don't think the guys responsible for Flex has ANYTHING to do with merging realms and all the issues that may cause.
  1. Cecilius's Avatar
    It looks like they are only testing flexi raid style on new lighter difficulty to make it in 6.0 as normal/heroic difficulty also. There will be no more flame wars about which size is harder and it will fit to all guilds.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cecilius View Post
    It looks like they are only testing flexi raid style on new lighter difficulty to make it in 6.0 as normal/heroic difficulty also. There will be no more flame wars about which size is harder and it will fit to all guilds.
    Oh the day when 25 man as a definite number goes away. Wonder if people can handle that.
  1. Gordon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    Oh the day when 25 man as a definite number goes away. Wonder if people can handle that.
    Mass suicides incoming.
  1. Fuhok's Avatar
    GC said that when they were working on this they knew that some people would love it, and some would hate it.

    I'm of the third, unmentioned minority who just don't care. I don't raid. So if this feature is something that others will enjoy, great. It's not my cup o' tea
  1. gend's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon View Post
    In what universe is someone struggling with getting normal mode done a viable choice for heroic raiding?
    The way into a top guild works like this:
    - You start out in guild that does normals (5k-15k west rank).
    - You get recruited into a semi serious heroic guild (1k-5k west rank).
    - Those guilds feed the top guilds with new recruits.

    Now when flex comes out there will probably be less normal mode raiders. That in turn means there will be less players to recruit from.
    Many top guilds prefer to be on full+high servers just so they have a higher pool of potential recruits.
  1. JoeShmo's Avatar
    A few things to think about:

    Blizzard has acknowledged previously their shift to more "better" raiding content, and scenarios "replacing" dungeon content. This firmly gives blizzard more reason to make more "acceptable" raid content at the expense of dungeon content, so that as players continue to shift to raiding more they can enjoy better raid content and burn out slower.

    Also allows blizzard to continue its practice of "rehashing / reusing" content instead of creating new ones, effectively increasing the size of endgame artificially with no real manpower needed other than some internal testing after the system is first in place.

    They also state that player burnout of dungeons is many folds greater than raiding burnout (mostly because of the raid lockouts, and dungeons being able to be chain completed with lfd bypassing heroic lockouts).

    The korean playerbase wanted their dual lockouts back after wrath, and blizzard gave it to them while still feeding the rest of the population their stern stance and "logic" on why they have to stick with shared lockouts. Instead of backpedaling or showing any sign of "weakness" , doing the same for the EU and US servers, they "compromise" by creating a new set of raid difficulty to do the same thing.

    This also addresses (albeit not entirely gracefully), the issue with social / small guilds and trying to fit everyone into a firm 10 or 25 group ( Which displaces a lot of players because you cannot split a 25 man into an equal amount of 10 mans without leaving 5 players left out or needing to find 5 other players to start up a 3rd group ).

    Players have been complaining about LFD loot drop % , adding in another lockout for them to run gives them another chance per week to get loot.

    Players have been complaining about being required to do dailies/etc. to get raid quality / qualifying loot, while blizzard has tried to save face saying that dailies are not required and that you can just gear up via raid finder. Now players will have less "need" to do dailies in blizzard's eyes and they can continue to use the "LFD card" .

    The MoP expansion, which has been argued as very alt unfriendly in comparison to previous expansions, will now become even less alt friendly, as (if you feel forced to run it) you now have another extensive thing to do per character. This will add up very quickly if you play every alt each week, and as new raid tiers are added that still require you to do the previous tiers to catch up. It does have the positive effect though of allowing (if you only play alts occasional) alts to catch up quicker, having access to more chances for raid drops as mentioned above.

    Gives an easier time for players to acquire some achievements, while diminishing their value at the same time. Trade off is subjective to ones value of achievements to begin with, especially with ones that give actual rewards for completing them.



    These are just a few things off the top of my head at 4 am in the morning. I do not agree or disagree with what ive stated above, but rather just wanted to point out some things that players may or may not be considering.
  1. Lethora's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cassidin View Post
    - Heroic guilds will be forced to farm the same raid EVEN MORE than before with this 3rd lockout. Oh joy.

    - Meta achievement mounts will be a joke to obtain.
    No. Just no.
    Heroic guilds might farm it once or twice at the start of new tier. And that's basically it. They will be working on heroics by that time.
    Meta achievements still require you to kill everything bar last boss on heroic. I don't see them suddenly becoming a joke. Normal mode achievements were never too hard. (I'm like 2 non-heroic achievements away from my T15 Glory but still missing 6 heroic kills).
  1. tgrosh's Avatar
    Despite my many criticisms of Blizzard's development cycle deficiencies, the one thing I am impressed with from them is that, just when you start to think they cant come surprise you, they introduce a feature that no one saw coming. I give them credit for trying new ideas.
  1. CLaxxess's Avatar
    I don't get why the flex idea couldn't simply be applied to normal raids, effectively allowing guilds that are expanding to still farm content and get their gear so that they don't run into a brick wall in the HCs due to lack of gear. As it is now a 25 man guild that has 24 ppl online one night has the choice of flex for lower gear or leave 4 ppl out and gear the other 20 with better gear. Guess which one they will choose. You guessed right...the 2 x 10man solution. Because no one wants to compromise their ilvl for anyone especially not when the item distribution is not in the hand of the guild itself but instead uses the LFR's totally random loot distribution system so you can't even go there to gear the people who need it.
  1. Noomz's Avatar
    Was this the unannounced feature?

    Blizz, I'm disappoint.
  1. SodiumChloride's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zergal View Post
    /sigh, definitively not what i had hoped for. Lets split the community even more. Would had been a great replacement for LFR tough but one can only dream.
    LOL. Giving people choice = "split the community".

    Lets force everyone to do only normal. That would work out so well. Not. Players can't really be forced to do anything. If they aren't having fun, they quit. Provide stuff they like to do or lose subs. Simple decision to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quilzar View Post
    I would not mind this at all.
    I rather it share lockout with normal/heroic. This way raiders can stop whining about it being "required".
  1. hitgirlkorgath's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nienor View Post
    I wonder what good this feature will do to people like me who can't even find 10 people for a raid. Unless it scales also with less than 10 people...
    Another useless feature that will take a lot of the developer´s effort and won't really offer anything. I mean, can u imagine all the effort it'll take to balance the raid and make the new items? And that is gonna keep taking precious development time in the future too.

    Instead of putting all this effort on something really useful and cool like for example total elimination of empty/imbalanced realms that will bring the words massive and multiplayer back to this sad excuse of mmo they go and spend time on so ething like that...

    I'm totally unimpressed
    I see where you are coming from - I thought that is why they added scenario's but the original plan with that was to address the issue of people not able to find 10 people for raids, so they made a way for 3 people to get geared in a lesser serious way, but then again what do we have? instead of gear they replaced it with Valor Points and a box to contain a chance of BoE Epic where you are forced to decide either to sell or equip.
  1. Frozenbeef's Avatar
    seems pretty pointless to have an entire new level of difficulty..they should have used this in combination with normal mode
  1. Nirse's Avatar
    Was this that "unannounced great idea"? It's neat, but not so neat :<
  1. Sunnydee's Avatar
    Ok ive seen enough of these " gotta do this every week to??? gtfo".

    IF YOU RAID NORMAL ++, then there is no need to look at this feature (perhaps for alts). just pretend it NEVER EVER CAME, it does not affect you. it will not bite you. it will not try to make you smoke. it wont sell drugs to you. NADA. NOTHING!

    just look the other way! please!

    Good "change" from the info we gotten so far, hope this is a test for normals to next expansion
  1. Glorious Warrior's Avatar
    NICE! Might be time for me to take up casual raiding again... Raid finder is too easy and normal is too hard so this might be within my comfort zone.

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