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.

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 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 816 Comments
  1. Balazzar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cayn View Post
    I certainly hope this is not meant to be the NEXT BIG FEATURE to highlight 5.4. Another raid lockout of the same old same old? Can we get something really new like NEW PLAYER MODELS (which, by the way were supposed to be released in MoP.. yeah right.) Or how about player/guild housing? Or maybe something that does not reuse old content in the vain hope that is will prolong player interest. I don't know about you guys, but making old content "new" by putting collectable pets in it does not do it for me. Old content is old.
    All of those would be either a major patch in itself, or to be cynical/realistic would be part of a new Expansion in order to further boost interest in renewing sub / getting new subs.
  1. Drogoh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balazzar View Post
    ITT: Out of touch raiders complain as usual about having to run another difficulty; 99% of playerbase rejoices there is a way to run a PUG w/self selecting and vetting players in advance.

    It goes straight to the MMO-Champ self-selecting bias that "he does LFR only, he sucks and must be a retard." Nope. Honestly, there are quite a few people who do not even do all the LFRs every week... They have jobs, families, obligations that they did not have 5 years ago raiding BT/Hyjal/Karazhan. Having a venue to vet out known a-holes and really undergeared / poorly specced players and just have a go at a raid is a fun idea to them because they want to do 1-2 sections of raid a week.

    But as I said, this point will never sink in here. Its just assumed that everyone runs every single LFR possible + raid nights. That is not even conceivable to most of the playerbase. The demographics of MMO are changing. People that did that in the past are too old and busy to do that. Younger players are playing iOS and freeware games on iPads and tablets, and do not give a crap about something like WoW. Get over it.
    This has nothing with being out of touch. If you want to do casual play then more power to you have fun enjoy it. LFR is there take some friends and kill stuff. Don't want to bother with the idiots in LFR? Fine do 10/25 man normal and again have fun doing it. Dont have time to complete the entire raid? Then don't, kill a few bosses and extend the lockout. All you are doing is creating excuses for people that are casual players that don't want to put in any effort yet get the same reward. If you only work 20 hours a week do you get the same pay and reward as someone that works 40 hours? No you do not. Yes this may be different in the fact that it is a game but the base matter is similar. There is a ton of casual content now, more than ever before. There is less and less content for raiders and "hardcore" players (which hardcore i am far from). Raiders get 1-2 raids every 2 patches or so. That is 12-16 bosses for a 6+ month period. We get told that having 10 and 25 separate lockouts is too much as it makes people feel the need to do more than one raid per lockout. Yes there is heroic content but that is designed more for the "hardcore" guilds than anyone else as most raiders simply only do the normal versions of raids (as stated by blizzard employees and numbers a ton of times). But even if we raiders advance one boss per week. That leaves us with over 3 months of killing the same bosses and that is it. Casual players get dailies, pet battles, LFR, scenarios, Heroic scenarios, new weekly quests and now FR. We raiders do not assume everyone runs LFR + raid nights it is you casuals that assume all of us raiders do. A lot of my guild is really only on for the 2 nights a week that we raid plus a few hours here or there to do whatever. We raid to have fun and adding in more watered down content rather than giving us stuff we can actually do to have more fun and improve ourselves is annoying.
  1. Aernath's Avatar
    This isn't anything "awesome" it's just more stuff to do. People want more 5 mans, maybe a new Challenge gear.
    Easier catching up systems, some stuff are really annoying in WoW those can be easily fixed. Why this instead?...
    Game is too item-based, skill part is neglected and some classes have too much buttons to mash where some are just too damn easy to play.
    I really don't know where this game is going but sadly there are no "real" alternatives to the game and I'm anxiously awaiting new char-models and hoping for next expansion to be Emerald Dream at last.
    One can hope...
    WoW... There is still good in you, I know it! <:b
  1. omnivores's Avatar
    I love the idea. This is what LFR should have been. Just drop LFR and replace it with this please. kthanks.
  1. Psykewne's Avatar
    This is brilliant, as a member of a guild that was 10 man throughout wotlk and had loads of fun doing it, Cataclysm was a bit of a rough ride while Mists has been a brutal beat down. There is nothing wrong with my guild and I love it however, the raid content was just perfect in 10 man wotlk for us as a group and it's great that they have noted that this is exactly what is missing. This will also make alt raiding much more fun too offering a "real" raid experience that is more forgiving than current normal modes. I've been in hardcore guilds, I've got server first titles etc... It's alot of fun, but alot of time commitment, 10 man wotlk content however was the perfect casual raider challenge level in my eyes. When we had 10 and 25 man split in wotlk i think everyone failed to achnowledge that it created a new type of raider, one that has not been catered to since, simply offering 10 man versions of 25 level raiding was not the right solution. I do hope that the difficulty drop is not huge from normal, the 10% nerf to tier 14 content actually placed the difficulty at a perfect point in my opinion so i would hope that flex raids are maybe 10-20% reduced from normal modes to offer an experience that is not trivial but also not overly demanding on an average player.
  1. Briga's Avatar
    great ANOTHER Ilevel of gear...

    This is getting too complicated now.
  1. PaintOnASign's Avatar
    This is better than LFR, but like LFR, its aimed at all the people who can't get through Normal. Unfortunately, that means the people who can get through LFR, really aren't seeing new features developed for them. The only people who will probably do this that can get through Normal content will only do it while progressing through normal to get some in-between upgrades, and then they'll stop doing it entirely (for the entire tier) once there's no more upgrades available. Which shouldn't take too long if you can progress through Normal at a decent rate.

    I see the upside, I do. But as someone who hasn't been struggling through Normal for weeks now, it sucks knowing that I'll barely spend any time doing Flexible raids, just like I don't spend any time in LFR either. This doesn't solve my issue of lack of content at end-game. As a PvE'er, if you don't raid, there's really nothing to do that is actually beneficial. You can argue I could collect mounts, or pets, or do pet battles, but that doesn't actually help me do any PvE. It's just stuff to do in-between actually PvE'ing, and it sucks.
  1. Gray_Matter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by shise View Post
    This is the most stupid thing I've ever seen. Simply makes no sense. C'mon, we have 25, 25 HC, 10, 10 HC and LFR.

    There is simply NO need for more. And you can even break the groups and bring the amount of people you want.. this is plain wrong.
    Yet people complain when Blizzard make normal a bit easier.
  1. Ferrouswheel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kittycovox View Post
    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
    Getting sick of seeing these idiotic arguments. If you actually raided you'd know that MANY times a wipe will happen where the boss is below 1% health. If a couple of raiders had lfr or flexi gear instead of a 463 blue on that's a kill. I have killed three bosses this expansion myself. The whole raid died, I (the tank) was the only one alive, boss kills me, purgatory kicks in so I'm alive for 3 more seconds and the boss dies. Then I died. One time it was on Garalon. Our first kill. So we all run back and the corpse is sitting there with loot on it, but we can't loot it cause the wall is still up. We had to make a ticket and get a GM to hand out the loot. THREE TIMES that has happened where I killed a boss under purgatory. When wipes come down to things like that you best believe raiders will run all the stuff they can to squeeze out every little bit. So knock of the ignorant arguments, if you don't know anything about raiding gtfo.
  1. Martymark's Avatar
    It's nice that they are adding a "Beer League"...but I feel like the resources could have been put somewhere else.
  1. Dewragg's Avatar
    wow i'm actually kinda surprised at the negative coments here.. i mean how many times can you remember when you first started raiding and were so excited waiting for everyone else to log in and form a raid BUT to be told "sorry 12 people online only 10 spots available" .. this will solve the "i'm sick of sitting out with nothing to do because there aren't enough other people on to form another group" or how about gearing up alts if your a dual boxer? now you can have your toons get geared up at the same time, and of course some guilds can now "sell" free rides for gear or achievements.. the possibilities are limited by you, and the 25 max players cap
  1. F-Minus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dewragg View Post
    wow i'm actually kinda surprised at the negative coments here.. i mean how many times can you remember when you first started raiding and were so excited waiting for everyone else to log in and form a raid BUT to be told "sorry 12 people online only 10 spots available" .. this will solve the "i'm sick of sitting out with nothing to do because there aren't enough other people on to form another group" or how about gearing up alts if your a dual boxer? now you can have your toons get geared up at the same time, and of course some guilds can now "sell" free rides for gear or achievements.. the possibilities are limited by you, and the 25 max players cap
    It wont solve that, cause 10 man guild are still going to raid 10 man for the loot, just like 25 man guilds will raid 25 for loot. No serious guild (with the intention to kill bosses on normal and heroic) will go for this Flex raid option just because they have too many or too few players. They will deliberately go and do it for upgrade gear when a tier is released but not otherwise.

    I'm not in a hardcore guild, but we still manage to do normal and heroics, each tier and for not a single member of our guild this flex raid is appealing, we raid 3 times a week for 4 hours each raid. As said not hardcore, we are just having fun in a challenge and flex raid don't seem like a challenge.

    But i'm not against it, i'm sure there are people and guilds who will love this, just not your standard guilds of which 90% exist in wow.
  1. relaxok's Avatar
    As someone who doesn't play anymore but still follows developments.. I'm really confused about how this whole thing came about.

    It seems like what they should really be doing is turning Normal into Flex-Raid, with the same gear level and difficulty.

    BUT.. How did Normal become too hard for an organized/dedicated guild? That seems like a tuning mistake to me. That kind of thing used to be called Heroic. Is Heroic now way harder than it was before too and they also made Normal harder? Or is the quality of the average raider much lower, ability-wise than it used to be?
  1. threadz's Avatar
    If it has the failbag loot system I doubt I'll even bother.
  1. RareMouse's Avatar
    So. Let me get this strait.
    WotLK --> Cata transition - we are putting 10 and 25 man on same cooldown so people don't have to do same raids twice per week for more loot.
    5.4. We adding additional 3rd raid cooldown so people have to do the same raid three times per week for more loot. And let me guess, new mode drops tier pieces too?
    Honestly, i think that this feature is the most illogical thing ever mentioned by blizzard.
    Oh yeah and just to clarify, i'm saying this from hardcore raider point of view.
    It may be good for game overall(more stuff to do, duh), it will defenetly be good for casual guilds with flowing roster, but honestly, they should've just left 10 mans on separate CD in cata.
    Just my opinion folks. Hardcore raider in retirment.
  1. Olumdril's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dewragg View Post
    wow i'm actually kinda surprised at the negative coments here.. i mean how many times can you remember when you first started raiding and were so excited waiting for everyone else to log in and form a raid BUT to be told "sorry 12 people online only 10 spots available" .. this will solve the "i'm sick of sitting out with nothing to do because there aren't enough other people on to form another group"
    It won't. Normal guilds will want normal progress and gear for faster progression, especially if they want to do heroics after. These 10 people will still go without you and the 2 will have to sit out or find another team to join.
  1. thewallofsleep's Avatar
    I'm extremely psyched for this. A friend and I were just talking yesterday about how missed the days when 10 man and 25 man didn't share the same lock out. Now we'll have even more to do!
  1. froglet's Avatar
    This definitely sounds like it's GC's Unannounced Feature.

    But the complex situation with 3 different lockouts, 3 different raid sizes, 4 different difficulty levels, and 4+ different ilevels is a little much. I doubt it'll last more than T16.

    My prediction/suggestion/hope is that Blizzard will eventually drop a difficulty level and remove both 10s and 25s in favor of 15s. In T17 and beyond (i.e. next expansion), raid levels and lockouts would be structured like this:

    * LFR. Same 25-man derpfest as now.
    * Flexible raid size (10-25 or maybe even up to 40 depending on the raid). Difficulty level on par with Normals now.
    * Fixed-size raid. Probably 15... Blizz has stated in the past that 15 would be an ideal size. This raid size can run Normals, just locked to 15 players. This raid size is also the only one that can switch fights to Heroic. Having a fixed raid size for the highest level will allow Blizzard to better tune fights.

    Phasing out 10s and 25s in favor of 15s is best done at the start of a new expansion as it has a significant impact on guilds.
  1. Somebody's Avatar
    I don't want to be THAT GUY here, but wouldn't it be smart of them to scale down raids, even if it was just the 5.0 raids to fit 5 players? I know there are some technical limitations, fights won't work without two tanks, but the gear wouldn't even need to change. Tuning the bosses to handle 5 people would take less development than tuning future raids to scale between 10 and 25 people especially when it comes down to comp makeup. On the bonus side, they would also be winning over the people that have been wanting a new 5 mans since 5.1
  1. Thraenduil's Avatar
    I see this as a great recruiting tool for top guilds. And also as a long awaited "Proving grounds"- like thing for new players.

    One more thing. People rooting for 25-only HM raids don't like losing to Paragon. Flex raiding on heroic will make world 1st race fair to all guilds.

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