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. Belrhen's Avatar
    No a fan of this at all, I could see this making it even more difficult to recruit people for a raiding guild when people can just do pickups for better then lfr gear.
  1. Tehterokkar's Avatar
    Would people actually bother to DAMN READ THE POST before screaming "Omfg Will it share lockout!?"

    It says it bright and clear:
    Quote Originally Posted by Blizzard View Post
    This new difficulty also has a separate Raid lockout from Raid Finder and Normal difficulty.
  1. gibborim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baphomette View Post
    Very odd. At least they're admitting that Normal is too hard for normal people, but I don't know if this is the right solution.
    No, they admitted that normal is too hard for bads that think they are average.
  1. OneSent's Avatar
    Just how thin do they plan on spreading the raiding community?

    Another "convenience" feature that will cause more harm than good. 25-man guilds are already on the brink of extinction and for those that can barely fill them will just use this instead.

    When will it stop? Will we eventually see another difficulty between Normal and Heroic? Will there be Heroic Flexible mode raids with Heroic Flexible Challenge Mode Thunderforged items with 2x item upgrade? Honestly, it's getting silly.
  1. willempie's Avatar
    looks interesting, and fun to show new players/guildies tactics and gear them up at the same time.

    I dont see any problem with this
  1. Ygami01's Avatar
    GG. more grinding >.<
  1. Rorschachs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Synthaxx View Post
    I think it's a decent idea. I can't tell you how many raids in Wrath we had to cancel because of lack of people. Eventually we had to downsize to 10-man only, and eventually we had to merge with a larger guild. My question is whether or not they'll allow it to scale below 10 players, either in the future or upon release. I'd personally love to see flex work down to 5-man level or even allow solo content (but scale the items down to way below LFR - perhaps by as much as 20 points), but I imagine they won't allow that.

    It won't share a lockout and that's the best part about it imo.
  1. l337g0g0's Avatar
    Is this flexible as in as your raiding in the same night if like multiple people drop will the difficulty adjusted as you raid or you have to wait till the next day and form again and then it adjusts?
  1. Polygons's Avatar
    IMO keep this and get rid of LFR
  1. Viradiance's Avatar
    Needs to share a lockout with raid finder, I'd gouge my eyes out with a melon baller if I was obligated to do both retard modes just for the gear for a shot at normal.

    Disappointed it doesn't support group sizes smaller than 10. Adding more lukewarm bodies isn't always hard, and speaking as someone who's already finished CMs, I want something I can do with the 4 people I like and not a ton of garbage pugs I keep on btag through stockholm syndrome.
  1. Kashii's Avatar
    I assume this is a way to test out a system that can eventually replace the 10/25 man fiasco that now exists. I understand why they dn't want to wholesale replace 10/25 normal/heroic w/o a lot of live "testing" but I hope they consider this is an eventual solution to this painful situation that now exists in raiding.
  1. SodiumChloride's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by paralleluniverse View Post
    You pretend that this isn't a legitimate concern. It is a legitimate concern.
    Don't really see how other people getting content to do and getting gear "concerns" you.

    Don't like it, don't do it. Please don't say it's to gear up for normal/heroic. Do those in normal/heroic gear from the previous tiers. Man up and stop trying to cheese the challenge. The challenge is why you are doing normal/heroic no?
  1. Elise the Seeker's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vuhdoo View Post
    I hope this isnt the new feature they were going on and on about.
    It is the new feature. Not blizzards fault you imagined something greater. Ghostcrawler said people over-thought it.
  1. artem123's Avatar
    Make it share with LFR and ill be the happiest player there is.
    having the chance at extra LFR type loot without having to deal with LFR? that would overjoy so many players
  1. Volendrung's Avatar
    Well... I guess Ghostcrawler was right when he said he didn't know why everyone was going to get hyped... and was worried that it would be a letdown. This is getting a bit out of hand, no?

    LFR -> "Flex" -> Normal -> Normal Thunderforged -> Heroic -> Heroic Thunderforged -> ???

    What's next? When can we expect the difficulty that is slightly more heroic than normal but not as hard as heroic? We have to cater to the semi-pros after all.
  1. F-Minus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by StaeleAilar View Post
    i don't understand this at all. Yeah guys lets take away wotlk style raiding where 10 man was rewarding lower ilvl loot by a fraction and was a little easier for people to play with their friends in in favour of sharing lockouts for 10 and 25. Then lets chuck in raid finder and make it compulsory to gear so that anyone who wants to raid has to do it to get anywhere in the first place. And now lets make ANOTHER mode of the same encounter when all we have done is whinge about how we can't balance 10 and 25 man to be equal in difficulty yet we now can miraculously with any number between 10 and 25...

    Seriously.. what the hell??
    What is there not to understand?

    There are guilds who raid 10 as hardcore as there are 25 guilds. Just because people don't want to commit to 25 doesn't mean the loot should be worse. A lot of players in top 10 man guilds are just as skilled if not more as top 25 man guilds, so why punish them? Blizzard realized that, and also noted that there's a lot more interest for smaller groups (10 men) as for (25 men) thus the gear was equalized and so were the raid difficulties too - before that 10 men raids were a lot easier compared to 25.

    Personally, I don't want to raid 25s, but I still want a challenge and be adequately rewarded for completing that challenge, lower ilvl just feels like a punch in the face for doing the equivalently hard content as my fellow 25 raiders. I had my fair share of 25s, and I don't like it, you always miss people here there, guild repairs suck the bank dry in like couple of raids, you don't have much close contact with most members since there's just to many etc.

    But back then, when you wanted a challenge your only option was to find 24 other people and raid 25s, which a lot of people didn't like and started doing 10s even for worse loot, but most became vocal about 10s being too easy and the loot being crap - so Blizzard listened and did what they did.

    25/10 Normal/Heroic are fine as they are now, this new Flex mode is more than welcome for people who don't feel the need for a challenge and are under time constrains, not for people who want a challenge still but don't want to raid 25. It's fine, there's a bit messy with how many raid modes there is and how many levels of loot there is, but we'll get used to it like we did for every feature up until now.
  1. Lorelai1548's Avatar
    All I see here is more grinding.
  1. looorg's Avatar
    I just hope they apply this to our standard normal/heroic raids so we can flext them to; that way nobody will have to sit out -- or can sit out if they all of a sudden have some irl emergency etc. Naturally there might be a sweetspot of how many people you bring.

    So while I'm not overly interested in this now; it being between lfr and normal mode I guess and hope that eventually it will apply to all raidmodes.
  1. Saybel's Avatar
    This is the best thing... ever.
  1. Ronnosh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alewyn View Post
    This is interesting. If this works out well then I hope they drop 10 and 25 man, leaving Normal flex raids and Heroic Flex raids, and LFR.
    I think that's the intended goal now and this preliminary tryout will buy them time to figure out how to scale mechanics and loot tables to match the logistical variables for when they do decide to implement it towards Normal and Heroic.

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