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. Zhulrak's Avatar
    Oh cool now we get to have 6 different gear types! LFR > Flex > Normal > Normal TF (or whatever Thunderforged is in 5.4) > Heroic > Heroic TF
  1. Cyberthug32's Avatar
    Waste of time, should go back to how it was 10man loot table 25man loot table. Scrap this bad idea please!!!!
  1. Darkhallows's Avatar
    They actually did it. They did it! WHOA. That's huge. I can raid with exactly whoever I want now as long as the number exceeds 10? That's fucking awesome.
  1. Sj's Avatar
    Would like to see this replace LFR. The only change they would have to make is a toggle that auto-invites LFR-queued players. There's really no need for another difficulty level.
  1. smooth_c's Avatar
    Yet another mindless raid that you should go to spend coins... /puke
    We already have LFR...
  1. Vulcanasm's Avatar
    I think this is a transition whose final step is obvious: flex raids become the norm in 6.0, they add a 2nd hard mode level, and we're back to two lockouts (LFR and flex, which can be normal, hard, or nightmare mode). Quite simply, I think Blizzard has realized that a company can't simultaneously attract new players and design an endgame for players who mastered all the game mechanics years ago. This is the transitional step toward fixing that.

    Notably, I think the transitional stage that is 5.4 has an Achilles heel: Who has time to run the same raid 3 times a week on each character?

    (edit) Wish they'd drop the minimum from 10 to 5, while I'm at it, but I suspect that's mechanically impossible.
  1. Wishblade's Avatar
    Hi Unnanounced Feature!

    Sounds really neat, will help people raid without having to worry much about the amount of people (as long as there are 2 tanks and 2/3 healers (betting 2 might be enough if it's easier than Normal)) and it'll let you do achievements? Even more neat!

    I like the sound of this, but probably won't use it much for the time being, still requires a time schedule. But look forward to seeing it ingame! =D
  1. Nivena's Avatar
    Is the new difficulty also split up into four(?) wings or is it just the whole raid and you clear as much as possible?

    I would really like wings like in raidfinder when I don't have 4-5hrs of time to go through the whole raid.
  1. Schaapa's Avatar
    This is not the news we were looking for.
  1. Keosen's Avatar
    Great addition.
    Although it doesn't directly affects me since i'm not raiding with a 25man guild, i'm pretty sure a lot of p;layers would find this very helpful.
    Really exciting feature.
  1. Anonym89's Avatar
    This is a brilliant idea - those who are saying its crap have never been a position where you must recruit enough players to do your 10 man, but not over recruit that you have to bench people each week. If you don't like it, don't use it.
    I can hopefully get my social life back and not worry about the raid group/loot systems too much now.

    Happy bunny now.
  1. Alexor's Avatar
    to stay competitive and mix max , at the start of a new tier well will have to do the content 3 times a week now.
    I like this feature but I feel that's doing a lot of raiding on alts every week.

    feeling they should give up on regular and make this the new regular content. and its not as finely tuned and challenging as current normal modes and just keep the fine tuned ballence raiding in heroic content.

    Ill probly lose many people on this idea but maybe consider dropping 10 man heroic altogether and only 25 man heroics exsist. will let them have a super focus on 25 man heroic tuning and balance. and make it a more clear race for heroic progression.
  1. SodiumChloride's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    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.
    "because they ask you to do something"? It's your freaking life. Say "No". What kind of friend do you have? They should learn to respect your limitations.

    It is cheesing, lower ilvl or no. It was intended you hit the bosses with gear from the previous raid. It has always been like that before LFR. LFR is just something extra they added for the causal crowd to do. You don't have to do it. It's not meant for you.

    Maybe they should put LFR on the same lockout as normal and heroic. Some player can't seem to control themselves - totally Blizzard's fault here. Never mind that some players don't mind cheesing normal mode and don't QQ like bitches that they have to "work" for their cheese.
  1. Howard Moon's Avatar
    Finally the announcement of the unannounced feature!

    I like that there is no queue. Any since it auto-scales it will be easy to find enough people.
  1. Maelle's Avatar
    Seems like a good way for them to "dip their toe" into the idea of them bringing an idea like this into normal raiding difficulties without the inevitable drama that would ensue from them plopping it into the current raid system and it causing chaos if it's not perfectly balanced from the off.

    Good things:

    More options for people gearing up, and a stepping stone into raiding for people new or returning.
    Something for the people moaning about the loss of easier 10 man content on a separate lockout to do.
    Great for more casual guilds struggling with normals, or struggling to fill raids, or having too many raiders for 10m and hating to bench people.
    Interesting for the pug community - although I have a suspicion 10-15 people will be a million times more common than 23 for example.
    As a lot of people will pug this, the loot system is sensible and abuse proof hopefully!

    Possible Problems:

    You will probably have to pug it, unless your guild has the time to go through (12) extra bosses each week. (and you can sign up in the time they choose).
    Personally I'm not sure how I feel about trying to shoehorn into my schedule - finding a pug (or more if not completed with 1 group), killing another (12) bosses a week until I have the upgrades I need.
    The scaling may end up with people mathing out an optimum group size, and sticking with that anyway. (although if it's pretty easy it probably won't matter that much).

    All in all I'm interested to see how it turns out, although the time aspect of it will be a small burden for me personally.
  1. Dingolicious's Avatar
    What I wonder is how the difficulty scaling is going to work given that some fights are NOT just a numbers change:

    Spawn rate of adds - Will it have different timers for 10-12-14-16 etc?
    Adds in a fight - Will they scale for 10-12-14-16 etc?

    Or is it going to be a fixed number ala 10 man, but with bigger numbers?
  1. Narshe's Avatar
    Great feature but would rather they axe 10 and 25 altogether and go with this scaling for normal and heroic modes. Like minimum of 8 or something and capped at 25.
  1. Kanariya's Avatar
    Completely unnecessary and further adding to the out-of-control item level inflation.
  1. pocky_rin's Avatar
    Who is this for exactly lol? Most people are 10man these days anyway, and there are plenty of guilds with friends and family members raiding. I play in a more casual guild because we wanted to take friends and family over progress so we are on normal 10man but we have a blast, a really fun time. I don't see who this is for. The only people I can see it's for is for people that finish LFR but then can't raid normals because they are just that terrible, so they just go on to raid something slightly harder than LFR. If people cannot make the jump from LFR to normal, the honest problem solver is to make LFR slightly harder to ensure people understand the tactics. Not very hard because of course it's still the same raid, but to remove the big jmp for some people.

    To go to flexi raid, you need 10 people. Presumably in raidfinder gear since the raid is slightly above raidfinder. Are you telling me 10 people couldn't just go kill 1-2 bosses in normal modes and feel good about themselves? All I see this doing is people will choose the path of less effort and once again it will be harder to recruit the mentality for 10+25man. You already killed 25mans pretty much and now it seems they are after 10man.
  1. Narshe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanariya View Post
    Completely unnecessary and further adding to the out-of-control item level inflation.
    I agree to an extent but honestly the jump from 502 raid finder to 522 normal is pretty huge. It wouldnt be hard to stick in a 512 or something in between.

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