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 815 Comments
  1. Mehrunes Dagon's Avatar
    WoW, by far, is the greatest MMO experiment known. All the things Blizzard add, remove, and change are tested and tracked. If Titan will be an MMO, I'm really curious what lessons they've learned in WoW that they'll apply to that game.

    This new experiment is going to be interesting.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NightmareGER View Post
    And what about if you can't bring 10 ppl? what if you can only bring 7,8 or 9?
    you ask in /2 This is exactly what some people asked for, a reason to pug with people from your server.
  1. TheSweetness's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottsdaleHokie View Post
    If this is the big surprise, then what a disappointment.

    This will bring back exactly ZERO people that have quit.
    I'm a person who has quit and is really considering coming back after hearing about this. If they had introduced this instead of LFR, I might have stayed.
  1. Miraclemax's Avatar
    Interesting... although curious to see how the heck a raid leader know what roles he needs with flexible groups.

    For 10 man you need 2 tanks 3 heals and 5 dps
    What do you need for 12 man? 15 man? 20 man?

    Seems like a lot of complexity/confusion to understand how many additional healers, dps you need to be successful with flexible sizes between 10 and 25

    Will be interesting to see how this pans out

    Might be simpler to re implement the wrath 10/25 mans with separate lockouts... heck they still do that for china... although I know this would not address group sizes between 10 and 25
  1. Tyraena's Avatar
    (1) Hope it is the feature.
    (2) What it delivers isn't a better LFR. LFR was intended to give people the ability to see the stories, with the fighting being secondary. Too many raiders only equate content = bosses/loot, which LFR's content was not intended to be.
    (3) iLvl has to be diff, or they would have to lose a raid type.
  1. Lockula's Avatar
    Think of it this way flex will be what 10 normal was in wrath. Then 10/25 will be what 25 was in wrath (barring fights being easier on 10 or 25). As well, pugging will be back hooray.
  1. adrii021's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    I guess you could easily go and back track some news posts from MMOChampion and blue posts from Blizzard. They've got all your answers about "why LFR failed" covered. From Killing guilds groups, going into killing social aspect of a Multiplayer game (social! shocking!), passing by not letting ppl see the stuff since it's all about "GO GO GO GO YOU TARDS!!!" and not correctly preparing for normal raiding.

    You're saying it's "bitching", wich is not, and by the way, crying out about "bitching" is one of the lowest things someone can do, showing their lack of arguments. (finishing with "arent you normal/heroics?" is even worse).

    Guess we reached the point were we can say wotlk ppl are just thinking of it with "rose-tinted glasses" and pure nostalgia like classic/tbc players. Raiding there wasn't all that happiness and perfect. There was bad players just like there are now. Pugs failed a lot in 10 man mode ("perfect" pugs were mostly, guess what? Formed from 25 man raid players trying to get specific itens from 10, because, we need to be honest, things were worse then since 10 and 25 mode had diferent loot, not only diferent ilvl. So you could have your BiS trinket in 10 instead of 25 for example). And almost all 25man pugs failboated before saurfang (4th boss) in icc for example.

    ToC's faction champions anyone? Anubarak? Ulduar crazy bosses? Yeah... real easy and pug fest... hahaha
    Fair enough if LFR ruined the game that much i totally missed it, ive always had a stabile raiding envoirment. And i only do LFR on my alts, it has its place atm. I would say there are things missing more then saying lfr is a failure. But yea i think its here our thoughts are seperated.
    And yea there IS a difference about bitching (you were bitching) and giving constructive feedback.

    You dont work at blizzard, you dont know shit about how this will evolve or have an impact on the game so stop acting like it.
    The overall negative energy just makes me puke sometimes. Jesus see some positive things.

    Raiding has evovled, if its cause blizzard made normals hard ot whatever it doesnt matter. Clearly this is game changing if it ends up beeing like

    Normal Flexible
    Heroic Flexible

    as its probably might end up in the next expansion. It will open up a whole new dynamic to raiding.

    Dynamic is usually good when a game is dropping in subs.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SodiumChloride View Post
    Maybe you should find a better guild with a less "hardcore" attitude ...

    If what you say is true, Blizzard is even trying to discourage normal mode raiders from farming LFR with the ilvl gap. LFR should be the last resort if a weapon refuses to drop - since everything else can be either bought or crafted.

    Remember, you don't need LFR gear to clear normal. I repeat, it's your (and your guild's) choice to cheese normal with LFR gear.

    PS: Sorry if I come across as a troll. I was trolling a little by playing along with self-proclaimed superiority of the typical raider that whines about LFR on these forums.
    Ok, let's all ditch our friends, bye bye, because they asked you to do something. Like asking you to also help them in LFR (to avoid so much bad players making them stack determination istead of killing the boss 1st time), or now even in flex mode. "No guys, sry, i only raid once, don't want to go again" good job dude.

    We all could say "dude, just find a better guild with less bad players, so you could finally down normal bosses". Wouldn't you tell me that you shouldn't ditch your friends just because they're bad enough to not kill the normal mode boss?

    As Blizzard alread stated so many times, it's their job to be the ones imposing some limits, to avoid this kind of thing. Instead of having ppl arguing, fighting, etc. about that inside the guilds, they just put limits like valor caps, 10/25 lockouts, huge gap between LFR and Normal ilvl, etc.

    Lower ilvl gear isn't cheesing, stop saying that, it's kinda of stupid since cheesing something means outgearing/outleveling it.

    You're not out leveling something with lower ilvl. It's higher than heroic 5man gear and lower than Normal mode gear. It's fair game. Or you would be cheesing by entering T15 with T14 gear. See?

    Grabbing valor gear would be cheesing. It's not normal mode drop.


    In a ideal world you don't need most of the things in the game. You don't need to do dailies, you don't need to do LFR, you don't need to do heroic 5man, you don't need to cap valor... (you don't need normal mode gear if your thing is just "LFRing" and "dailying" and sitting in your capital city since we're at what you don't need or need).

    But... do we live in a ideal world? Guess not.
  1. Abda's Avatar
    Now we gonna have 2 sets of difficulties: 2 for casual players LFR (more sole oriented) and flex (for those who have no time/skill to progress normals but still wanna have social aspect in riding) and normal, heroic for hardcore raiders. I think everyone who wanna raid gonna find something for themselves! Great idea Blizzard!
  1. Dracbane's Avatar
    What people fail to understand is you are not meant to do all 4 raid lock outs a week. It is an option, but not the intent behind the 4 different Raid Levels. LFR is for seeing content and not having to worry about the details of the raid comp and who isnt doing their job. This Friends/Family casual type raid lock out is for everyone who wants to raid but can't commit to a real raiding guild/group due to time restrictions. Normal is for your average daily player who can be at a raid every week without an issue, and Heroic is for the elites who want difficult content and a challenge. However, I think they could have accomplished the same goal with 3 raid levels. Personally, I think instead of introducing this new raid tech into its own level they should have just rolled into into the current raid system and removed the 10/25 designation all together(but keeping the 10 min and 25 max in places) but just having the raids scale based on the number in the raid group.
  1. Polarthief's Avatar
    Good idea, but extremely disappointing as it's not a new "feature", it's just a new 'difficulty'.

    Now if they allow this flexibility in just Normal as well, I'd be pretty happy. Keep Heroic locked at 10/25 with realm-only; let Normal be 10-25 region-wide too
  1. chazus's Avatar
    I also severely hope this is not the feature in 5.4. The only group this really gives any benefit to, is people who already do Normal raids, but don't want to deal with LFR, but want to gear up the rest of the guild. This is basically a fix for having two separate 10m raid groups, and moving 10m raiding out of LFR.

    I doubt many people who aren't in a raiding guild have 10+ people on their friends list, who are 90, who are on at the same time, who also want to actually raid.

    If it were smaller, say 4-7 people? I'd be stoked (though it still doesn't seem to be a groundbreaking thing), because THEN more people might be interested, but the 10+ feature just seems to cater to a staggeringly small audience.
  1. Absintheminded's Avatar
    I honestly don't see how this fits, it's just an extra lock-out with another chance at a stupid loot drop
  1. StationaryHawk's Avatar
    Glad their adding more options but, since it has a different lockout than LFR and Normal, people are going to take that as "Now we need to do all three."

    Not that I think anyone needs to or should do all three, but there will be people that will.
  1. stripesrus's Avatar
    If this is the "5.4 feature", then I am extremely underwhelmed
  1. albar45's Avatar
    MEH as a solo casual player this "feature" does me about as much good as a hill of beans. Really hoping this isn't the big thing Blizz was talking about.
  1. hablix's Avatar
    Wow, this totally lives up to the hype. This is awesome. It sounds too good to be true to the point that I wondered for a moment if this was a prank.
  1. Outofmana's Avatar
    Should've made it 40man max. What a missed opportunity.

    Will be very interesting how this will work though, take Lei-shen for example; in 25man like 6 blue soaks spawn per platform, in 10man like 2, so what will be cutoff be, will 12 man raid spawn 1 more? or 13 etc? Will be hard to really balance.
  1. Somebody's Avatar
    This is a really cool feature, but it won't bring me back to WoW. The friends I used to have had all stopped playing in Cataclysm and ever since LFR I have never really felt the need raid with guild in normal mode 10 or 25. I was in a big guild for a while and we raided 10 man, but I never really knew the players in the guild so raiding with them wasn't fun or adventurous, I was just there to help out.

    Well if this is the new feature, then I feel this will benefit current players, but it doesn't benefit those who have quit. Frankly, I don't see how this feature is fun, its really only helpful for when 25m raids are short and when 10m raids have several people who really want to go on bench.
  1. Twerking As Intended's Avatar
    I can understand why it's a separate difficulty: if it was applied to normal/heroic raiding we'd eventually see an end to 25man raiding. However I don't see how it will resolve the ongoing issue of dwindling realm populations, both caused by and contributing to a lack of normal/heroic raid progression. It may actually discourage players from trying normal/heroic content.

    Also consider how it would exacerbate the current issues of:
    • balancing 10man and 25man content,
    • the gearing process aimed towards normal/heroic endgame,
    • the tedious comparisons of loot in multiple tiers/modes,
    • the challenge of finding enough healers based on the raid's size

    25man guilds could see it as an alternative in case they can't fill their rosters. On the other hand, I don't think a 10man guild, which is experienced with normal/heroic raiding and only raids 2-3 nights a week, would sacrifice a progressive raid night for a lower level of difficulty and loot just to accomodate a couple extra guildies.

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