Manaflask Article

A Raid for All Seasons - A New Raid Difficulty!

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.

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  3. Lagruell's avatar
    Lagruell 2013-06-07 23:17:14 UTC — Might help the game actually, I think some guilds could use such format where none gets to sit on the bench, and someone not showing up doesn't get the raid night cancelled.
  4. Morituri's avatar
    Morituri 2013-06-07 21:52:04 UTC — Clearly an attempt to remedy the 10/25 issue they're having
    Step one: Learn to balance this ridiculous idea (patch 5.4).
    Step two: Replace 10/25 mans with said ridiculous idea (next expac)
    Step three: Continue to question why subs are slipping when everything is so much more "accessible."

    I don't necessarily mind this idea flat out, games for years have been scaling content to the number of people in them (more "bad guys spawn" or some other variation), however when they have had to tune numbers individually between 10s and 25s (i.e. mechanics aren't hitting 2.5 times harder, hp isn't 2.5 times higher, etc.) I don't know how they could possible balance this properly, and add to it the fact that LFR is already filling in this "easy content" niche (see thread on 90-Lei Shen kill), and I have no idea why this is even going to be a thing. Kill LFR at the very least if you are going to do this blizzard, promote the looking for raid feature that you used to have (in which you would publish your name on an in game list based on what role you can fill and what raid you are looking for), make said list cross realm, and make people actually have to fill their own groups with easy to use tools, rather than a queue and forget like they have now.
  5. Tripping's avatar
    Tripping 2013-06-07 20:55:19 UTC — I hate saying that Blizzard should bring back the old systems, because things do move on, but in the last half of Wrath I don't remember there being any problems. The different lock-outs for 10 + 25 took care of the casual vs hardcore raids, and 5 mans worked well for gearing up alts.
  6. Kritisch's avatar
    Kritisch 2013-06-07 20:21:21 UTC — htf they come up with this stupid ideas? They kill the game with the end of every expansion a little bit more. Now they split the players once more. Just make the same system as in wotlk and all will be fine.
    I think they really try hard to let me quit this game, i think they will finally get me :D
  7. Lestuniem's avatar
    Lestuniem 2013-06-07 17:59:05 UTC — Dakota: You should had added all item upgrades into it.
  8. Dakota's avatar
    Dakota 2013-06-07 17:39:41 UTC — I'm trying my best! ;) But I'm right?
  9. Starym's avatar
    Starym 2013-06-07 17:28:34 UTC — @Dakota Damn, you just wrinkled my brain.
  10. Dakota's avatar
    Dakota 2013-06-07 17:25:33 UTC — if this comes true it means in 5.4 the gear ranking will be the following: Questing < Scenario < Dungeon < Heroic Scenario < Heroic Dungeon < 5.0 Raidfinder < 5.0 Normal Mode < 5.2 Raidfinder < 5.0 Normal Elite < 5.0 Heroic < 5.0 Heroic Elite < 5.2 Normal Mode < 5.0 Asia Heroic < 5.0 Asia Heroic Elite < 5.4 Raidfinder < 5.4 Flex Raid < 5.2 Normal Elite < 5.2 Heroic < 5.2 Heroic Elite < 5.4 Normal Mode < 5.2 Asia Heroic < 5.2 Asia Heroic Elite < 5.4 Normal Elite < 5.4 Heroic < 5.4 Heroic Elite < 5.4 Asia Heroic < 5.4 Asia Heroic Elite right?