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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 will really help guilds who get stuck actually progress. Even though my wife and I were in a server-first heroic guild, I wouldn't have minded an extra healer helping my casual guild to learn how to do Elegon, Garalon, or Amber Shaper (extra tank! 25m is so unfair lol). 10-man difficulty would be a lot more fun as 12-man because role ratios so heavily favor 25m raiding.The choice between 2 and 3 healing for 10m is just brutal sometimes, and this feature would cut out a ton of roadblocks to learning and progressing (would have helped immensely in this tier on all those fights that blizz screwed the pooch with 10m difficulty).I'd be interested in a feature that allowed you to "extend" or "convert" your regular raid lock into a Flex raid, so you can get over the hump, but receive a lesser reward if you can't quite do it on normal mode yet, without having to start fresh. Org raid should be like BWD- sieging a city shouldn't be linearly gated- you should have to roust out pockets of resistance to make it safe to kill the end boss- heck- make the end boss available to pull right away and buff him significantly (like 20% hp and damage each) based on how many of his generals are up, similar to Yogg-saron.
I tend to wonder if this isn't a test for the next xpac. I don't see this three track split as a sustainable thing. I bet they are wanting to move to dynamic raid sizes in general, but want to test the waters in 5.x.
Why a group of 10 people will do a Flex if the normal gear is better ? dont get it... would be great to raid with 6-7
Dynamic raiding seems almost inevitable. But yes, these last few patches will probably be a whole lot of prepping/testing before the new expansion.
This is a bad thing because people will be playing the game in a way I don't like and that has a huge impact on my WoW experience. >:C</sarcasm>
I hope they have a unique colour of armour for this, it would make a much wider choice of transmog preferences, it sucks we had stuff like; Yellow Scourgelord, Silver Elementium Deathplate and Green Cataclysmic Gladiator's DK set (Yes, all DK sets, that's what I only know!) never make it to live servers, would love to see all colours possible make it to live now with this.
Shocked at all the negativity, but I guess I shouldn't be. Only WoW fans can QQ over Blizzard adding an optional feature.
This is too much. Why not just have 10 man LFR and have it so you and 9 other guildies can go into a raid and select LFR difficulty?
I don't get it. Why doesn't it have better loot, or the same loot, as normal.Hey we have 11 for a flex Raid. Screw that, you're out and we're going to do 10 man normal because it gives better gear.Hey we have 20 for a flex Raid. Screw that, let's split into 2 10s because they give better gear.Not that any of this affects me though :)Cheers.
This is freaking great, and might be the first time I ever get to participate in a raid. I don't know why there is so much cynicism about something that's purely optional and to the side. This isn't "something else that now you have to do", this is a damn video game and you are supposed to be playing it to have fun.
It doesn't give the same loot because it's not meant to be Normal mode, simple as that.
indeed ty blizz..
I like this idea.I used to be in a guild that was sold as a social/progression guild (I know that they seem exclusive of each other to a lot of people, but they can work!). I used to actually used to enjoy spending a raid night wiping on one boss when learning what the deal was - every extra percent that health bar went down from attempt to attempt was reward enough. When the boss went down - TeamSpeak used to erupt with cheering - getting loot was a bonus (Who doesn't like a new purple shiny?)Outside of raid nights there were always people willing to help others with dungeons / HC's / quests etc etc - the people were all friendly and were invited to sign up for raids as and when they could make it (Some of use were more 'Hardcore' than others on this point).At present, I can only really do LFR due to not having a clue as to my availability from one day to the next due to work. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy getting the purple shinies but the sense of achievement isn't to be found on LFR (First one I did after a break throughout the whole of Cata we ended up downing all the bosses first time round without any real effort on my part other than looking at a few youtube vids to make sure I knew what was coming).This might actually get me really interested in raiding again, asking people for their battlenet ID after a good scenario / HC and trying to build up my friends list.OFC - if the difficulty is too close to LFR it probably won't be that great, but we can only see what the 5.4 PTR brings on that front I suppose.
Well, it'll speed up gearing, and make the pug-raid a viable concept. I'll probably run them for extra chances at mounts, and such. I don't know that I think it was needed, but I'm not worried that it exists.
"Glory of the Orgrimmar Raider"Thanks for throwing in a hint for the upcoming patch!
Yeah, uhm well, if you think about this logically... Blizzard in fact, IS killing raiding and I can tell you why.First of all, 4 modes of raiding LFR-FLEX-NORM-HERO would kinda obviously mean that there would be many different levels of gear. NOW... let us just say for argument's sake that I WANT to start with LFR and work my way up. My question is; (I am not against so many modes) do I really want to work through four different modes of the same dungeon BUT also with the fact that the first two are cake and differ to much from the other two? And since I got so many freebies from cake mode, I will not, just not, play as much due to boredum... Point being... BRING BACK SEPERATE RAID LOCKOUTS PLEASE... Remember... 10 and 25 Normal / 10 and 25 Herioc? That would work only if blizz would friggin fix server deadness... BUT WAIT LOL... Remember how we can invite real IDs? PROBLEM SOLVED! :P Omg now that I think about it... There is almost no point of doing heriocs or normals if you think about it! There is not much else to do in those mode, therefore the game (at least for every patch) is won quickly and so there is one question to ask; can Blizzard really make money off this game like they did in the past, and, is there really much of a point to continue playing after you got all the stuff from cake modes?
I must say, I'm a fan of this, but probably only because of the achievement/mounts. At the moment, I'm working on H's with my guild, but some of the H bosses we don't have the achievement for *cough cough Ji-Kun cough* so this will be great for H progression guilds so they don't have to waste a lockout. I can also see top guilds like BL and Method using the Flex Raid in order to get alts gear at a faster pace.