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.
I don't think this was intended to help raiding guilds. I think this was intended to make raiding available to alts and casuals, if only on a soft-core, lower-reward basis. The bleeding-edge raid rewards, for the people who want them, would still require "proper" 10- or 25-man teams. For those that don't have the inclination or the time to push that envelope, this lets them see a little more of the content.Speaking as someone who rarely has the time and patience for anything higher up the food chain than LFR, I think this could be neat.
This is going to be great for gearing alts. You might be able to get enough gear in 1 week for normal raids.
From my personal standpoint I can say the main obstacle to me raiding properly (ie. normal or heroic) isn’t competence or difficulty but simply time – there is no way I can (or want to) commit to spending 3-4 hours in one chunk at my computer playing WoW. Some days I’ll be able to but other days it just won’t be possible and there’s no way I can predict this. Then it always seems like a raid’s competence goes hand-in-hand with their “dedication” (I put this in inverted commas because it goes way too far with a lot of raiding guilds to the point where it’s no longer a game). I very rarely find raid groups that are casual in their attitude towards raiding and playing WoW but competent.Therefore, for me, normal raiding isn’t really an option so the more alternatives the better.
^My play experience is similar to that of Myrmidus. I really don't want to spend 1-2 hours after work waiting for a raid to form, then do a raid for 3-4 hours if it goes decent (god forbid it is a pug and falls apart on the first boss or you have to wait another hour because a tank left or didn't realize he was saved).My bad experiences have pretty much left me with random bgs, because dedicated arena players have a mentality to push hard and play for a good while to keep momentum up. I hate the feeling of being someone else's to push around. The few good arena partners and raid groups I have ever been in were full of pot heads and trolls, they are entertaining and didn't get pissed when things went downhill. They are also forgiving of mistakes and I actually completed most my raids and arenas with these kids of people.
Re: the comments about you HAVING to do LFR/Flex to get through normal modes.No, this is not true. There are other ways of improving your gear outside of normals. If you don't like doing dailies, heroics, scenarios, and your raid group has no skill and needs higher gear to out-muscle the raid, then you have more issues than them releasing Flex difficulty. If you can't put in the effort, then don't cry when you're not getting better gear. If your people are that low on skill, it might be time to find better raiders rather than slogging through LFR and then complaining about it.Hardcores need to realize that this isn't just your game. Blizzard makes more money with a larger array of people enjoying their game. Whether you agree with this philosophy or not, this is how it is and complaining won't change that. Not everyone can put in huge amounts of hours per day, but there are still people that will dedicate their precious little time to it. If they push in the same sort of effort in that time and the only real thing between them and raiding is that their time is less than yours, I don't think they should have to suffer for it. I think the person who packs heroics, dailies, and LFR into one hour of a day when they don't have any more time to spare due to work and stuff obviously more important than a damn game, I think that person should be able to have as much fun as the person playing 6+ hours a day packing in those same activities. In fact, a lot of those people on for hours in a day simply sit in trade half the time being trolls and showing just how little of a life they have when their guild is done raiding for the week. In comparison, someone with less time is more likely to actually UTILIZE their time, since it's not something they get to do as often. I think the person with less time that utilizes it better is almost MORE worthy of rewards.Granted, I don't think they should get heroic mode stuff easy and that's what it comes down to. If you're a hardcore, you are more worried about normal and heroic modes, so the people in the lower modes shouldn't interest you and you shouldn't be crying about this new raid type. It's still lower ilevel gear and it is aimed at more social raiding. If social raiding isn't your thing compared to "hardcore" raiding, then ignore it and move on with your OBVIOUSLY superior existence.
I think adding new options is great! My guild may never participate in this, just like it has never participated in any of the other raids or alot of other endgame stuff.I just don't understand why people whine when a game introduces an option that they don't have to participate in.While we're here, why don't we complain that the game has a "Colorblind" checkbox. I'm never gonna use it, why does blizz have to accommodate ppl. I never play in fullscreen, lets take that option out too... Oh, and nobody could possibly have a resolution lower than 1900x1280, so lets get rid of all the lower resolutions too.If you don't like it, don't use it, but don't sit there and whine about every new option blizz adds, just because you're not using it... It's an OPTION ppl, if you or your guild doesn't like it or need it, just don't use it.
I don't see what the big deal is , so u do a raid with 15 or 18 ppl so what ? Why does this have ppl excited?
The logic of how they are doing the loot system completely floors me. In one sentence we get: "social groups comprised predominantly of friends and family,"and the loot explanation is: "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".This boggles my friggin mind and I would love for a blue to actually explain this logic. We want family and friends to be able to raid together, but we want lfr loot system so nobody ninjas from each other? Why don't you say what it is for real Blizz and stop masking stuff with piss poor explanations. Really, they want you to play with your friends and family but not really "help" them gear faster. Just leave it up to RNG rather than me going in with a group of my friends and my brother and all of us actually working together to get everyone loot they need, rather than rely on loot RNG to not drop me that dumbass cloak i've gotten 3 times already. Please, somebody yank a blue into reality and get an explanation on this!
@leaponover- they pretty much did come out and say it. That's why "wrong" is in quotation marks. Whether or not it is the "nice" thing for people to do, Blizzard knows that in raiding guilds, many flex raids would be done with the normal raid team, and maybe the alternates who are already pretty competent at raiding but don't have permanent spots, if they were worried about gear distribution. Some wouldn't, but for most raid teams faster gearing means faster progression. This loot system is designed to deal with the realities of what would happen in raiding guilds, vs. what you think should happen.There are a lot of very nice, good quality, fantastic people that are terrible at this game. And most raid content is designed so that it's really hard to bring terrible players and actually beat it, even if they are exceptionally charming over the course of the raid. Flex raid is clearly designed so that good players CAN bring people who have no idea what they are doing, and get through the content, so that the main focus is having fun with the person, and not worrying about how well they play. And in the course of that raid those people have access to gear they wouldn't have had otherwise. For people who are never going to see any higher level of content, and who maybe aren't putting the new gear to very much use, there's no goal beyond that that they're working on. For people who are looking to clear normal and heroic modes as quickly as possible, the extra gear at the release of the raid is helpful. And so many would most likely spend the first few weeks gearing the raid team. Later on, I imagine that people would be willing to take guildies through to get them geared even if there was competition, but this way they get to see the content when it is new.Flex raid = A raid tier that is easy enough for raiders to carry their casual friends and family through to make them happy and get them gear, and is supposed to be a social activity that lets the two types of players play together. In order to keep it that way, there has to be no competitive advantage in taking smaller numbers of people.
Most welcome! If I, a casual wish to join in the guild's 10 man group then I can be the 11th, just to have a look at the content and not really wiping them :) NICE!
@JKpman- I know a lot of people who are always happy to give away things to a guildie, who are always happy to help with a quest or a port or anything else, who are generally nice and friendly and talkative people, who just aren't very good at the game. Many of them don't do anything beyond LFR. They level alts, make gold, collect pets and mounts, play with transmog, etc. Some of them are older and don't have great reflexes, some of them are not video gamers in general but were just introduced to WoW trough someone they knew, some of them don't have much time to play and just play a few hours a week to have some fun. Not everyone is going to be good at video games, but they may still enjoy them regardless. I wouldn't bring them on a raid, necessarily, but I don't think that a categorical statement that you can't be a nice person unless you are good at video games is at all a fair statement, or even one that makes sense.
You're right- they're not trying. Which is why I wouldn't raid with them. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy having them in guild chat or vent while they pick herbs, collect pets and farm old content all day. And it doesn't mean I wouldn't go help them with old content that I'd be able to solo, just to hang out. This is like that- to hang out doing something low-intensity that you don't have to worry what everyone is doing skill wise, as long as the tanks and enough of the heals and DPS are on their game. It's for people to bring their kids who are too young to do it on their own, their friends who play once in a blue moon, older family members who are just looking for something to fill their time, their hilarious drunk/stoner friends who run into stuff all the time but are a riot in vent, etc.
Seems more like an attempt to phase out LFR to make the game more social. It's clearly a better option than the hatefest that is LFR.