Manaflask Article

Flex Raiding Q&A

Can I run a Flex raid with 10 rogues and zero healers and zero tanks?

It doesn't change the mechanics of what raids are, it's a variable difficulty that scales on the number of people you have. You'll still need tanks, you'll still need healers, and you'll still need DPS; the fundamental archetypes of the game aren't changing.

If your guild or group of friends isn't attempting raids now outside of LFR, you might have some roles you're not filling, but you certainly could get to that point. Certainly expect people to be building PUGs and such, but that's not really the intended target. The immediately intended target of Flex is to allow the more casual guilds that are already making small attempts at Normal (and probably hit a brick wall early on in ToT) to more easily get weekly groups together to have fun and progress on content that's more suited for their pace. They want to see the content, want some challenge in progressing, but aren't so hardcore as to be sitting people out or demanding requirements of those playing. Jump in and play the game with friends, have fun, low stress, Flex.

I hope it helps with reviving the pugging scene I met a lot of friends that way.

Absolutely. Just the process of people putting groups together for things and having that need for some coordination in the content, you end up seeing the same people over and over, make friends, and that in no small part helps to build long-term in-game relationships and feeds into healthy guilds.

So if a 10 man raid group thats casually doing Normal modes decides to do a flex raid, its just plain easier. no doubts there.
But if they bring their 10 man, and then 5 more healer friends, how does it scale? Just plain scaling of the bosses HP? wouldn't it mean those 5 other healer friends are kind of dead weight?

If you're thinking strictly in terms of "what is optimal for us to complete this content efficiently" then Flex is probably not targeted at you.

Balancing will come out during the PTR though, I don't think we'll get into how it'll scale too much before then. It'll err on the side of the group, and ensuring they can meaningfully progress in a reasonable amount of time.

But only 25m casual groups or 10m groups with large rosters, right? A small, casual 10m group that ends up missing people on a given night won't really be able to take advantage of the flex system to "just raid anyway" with their friends, which I think is a shame.
I'd love to see a little more flex allowing for maybe 8-28 raiders or something, so that 25m groups can also take advantage of the new flex raids to not have to bench friends, and 10m groups can worry less about having their raid night cancelled because of one or two missing raiders.

Raid mechanics start to break down when you go much below 10 players. There are still assumptions of having 2 tanks and 2 healers, and some mechanics are not really able to scale with much fewer DPS. Raids are still going to be raids, and raids are designed with some 'givens' to ensure the mechanics can be interesting, complex, and challenging.

But unlike Normal and Heroic, you CAN invite BattleTag/RealID friends to a Flex raid of the current tier, and so if you're short you can fill it out with people you know, instead of spamming chat to pick up randoms.

The designers are discussing allowing you to at least enter the raid with 8+ people. The intent would be to allow a group to start clearing trash while they wait for a couple stragglers, as the difficulty with less than 10 would still be scaled for 10. It could allow for skilled/geared players to do it with less than 10, but some mechanics just may not be possible as we're not designing for it.

Can they leave and have the raid automatically adjust on the fly? How about adding people after it starts?

Yes, and yes. It's dynamic.

How is it going to scale for healers? If I'm taking 17 players how will I know how many healers I will need?

You'll still want a standard raiding DPS/Healer ratio. It doesn't look at class or spec, it's purely scaling for number of players. It'll be up to the raid leader, and depending on gear and skill it'll be different for every group of people how much they can really deviate and how those deviations affect their rate of progression.

Again, it's going to be up to the PTR and seeing how testing progresses to determine how balancing shakes out and what's possible.

We just made tech which could made life of 25-men a lot easier. Let's give it to LFR folks. -.-

This isn’t for LFR folks, it’s for Normal folks (ahem... you know what I mean) that were going into LFR and weren’t having an enjoyable raiding experience or that just wanted an easy way to play with friends and family without spending too much time organizing it. These players would go to LFR only for gear, not for the experience, and that’s not really what we want to see happening.

I’m hoping that players who are looking for more challenging content, but have no time to get into the usual guild raiding schedules, will start to switch from LFR to Flexible Raids.

Highly skilled players with heavy time constraints have always felt a bit left out from MMORPGs, but maybe there are ways we can deal with that.

Ideally, skill should be equally or even better rewarded than time, but there needs to be a balance between the two, we can’t provide 30 minutes of insanely difficult content with the best rewards that only 0.001% of the player base would be able reach, but we also can’t do the opposite and make rewards exclusively and directly proportional with time spent. Skill needs to enter into the equation and needs to have a pretty strong weight.

LFR still has its own place, some players are quite content with it, some have no intention of going any further than LFR in terms of raiding and are happy with the experience it provides. We’re just trying to provide content for everyone to enjoy.

This is just a preview, 5.4 isn’t even on the PTR yet, many things can still change. This is also part of the reason why we’re sharing this information with you all; the feedback we get will help us to better shape our next major content patch. I've already seen quite a few interesting and unexpected arguments in this thread and we'll share them with the devs, so keep it up!

With a new raid lockout things will indeed change (not for everyone, of course). If you want to stay ahead and on the top of your game, you'd want to run both the 5.4 LFR and LFR+ since they most likely will wield upgrades, whether it be because you want to mixmax for your normal/heroic raid progress or because you want to see your character evolve.

That’s a good point, I believe that a few players might do that for a little while, but I would like to point out that the unlocking of Flexible Raids and LFR are very similar but on different timetables, this will probably mean that normal and heroic will open first, then FR and then LFR.

So by the time LFR opens, chances are, there won’t be that many upgrades left for let’s say, a fully heroic equipped 5.3 raider, which is the typical player that usually tries to get upgrades wherever and whenever possible.

I think it's an amazing idea, but I would like to see it 8-25 or 5-25 if possible + make the loot the same ilvl as normal and make flexi and normal share the lockout, or even replace the whole normal with 8-25 mode.
If there are 11-12 one night, the guild has to decide to do the low ilvl with all players, or do the high ilvl but 1-2 are left out.. and i'm almost positive they will choose the higher ilvl.

Yes that will probably happen to some extent in some groups, but that will depend on how hard the content really turns out to be and the ilvl difference between those “extra” players and the rest.
So, yes, it’s possible that some groups form with the intent to be as efficient as possible, so those will only include the best geared players in the smallest possible group.

I don’t think we should worry too much about that to be honest, in the end it’s all up to whoever organizes the raid, and that has always been the case. I sincerely doubt that most groups will leave people behind just for a small difference in terms of item level. Besides, ilvl isn’t everything, every guild decides on whom to bring to the raids based on many different factors, gear is only one of them, there’s skill, there’s personality, there’s knowledge…

Then let us assign loot to players whilst doing it please. One of my initial thoughts about this was it would be a useful way to help undergeared (whether through bad luck, absence due to real-life, or because they are trailists that need a little boost in ilevel) team members improve their gear.
Then I read that this new difficulty would be using the current lfr loot roll system. This would be a hindrance to such help. It would be useful if this decision were reconsidered, so that raiding guilds could assign gear to members based on need for helping us progress through normal's and heroic's.

There's nothing that cannot be reconsidered and iterated before a patch goes live, we'll share your input about the loot system with the devs.

Sorry, but I don't see that the traditional loot distribution would work with flexible raid size. If they add brackets to how many items drop based in a fixed amount of people (ie 2 with 10, 3 with 15, 4 with 20, 5 with 25) people would just pick enough people to reach that.

That’s a very good point; I assume that's probably the reason why this loot system was chosen in the first place. But like I said, everything is still subject to change, devs sometimes like to surprise us with unexpected solutions.

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  2. Sil's avatar
    Sil 2013-06-08 22:43:13 UTC — This is a logical move in the way that they are trying to reach an even larger public and attract the already playing public to keep raiding. They are trying not to affect the hardcore "core", or what's left of it by using the argument that raiding with 25 players is still possible if they want to do so. Which in essence of course is true. From Blizzard's and the large public point of view this might be a good move and it might not be. But for the people that love raiding I think this has been the worst change in the history of WoW. This move has probably been done hoping to extend's WoW's lifespan due to recent news about 'Titan' delay, if I'd have to guess.
  3. DarnnREM's avatar
    DarnnREM 2013-06-08 22:28:14 UTC — @Lagruell I know I'm not the target for Flex , althought I think in it's current form it will do potentially even more dmg to the game. I also agree with @Exaltus that going back to Vanilla-style system would fail miserably nowadays, but some kind of attunement would be nice.

    Preach, guy from that 90 to Lei Shen vid, had an interesting idea how to redesign LFR and whole catch-up mechanic. T14 LFR would be unlocked after the release of T15, so alts and players that are casual would have an easier way to get geared for newest content/see the raid. T15 LFR would be released with the T16 normal and so on.

    Now imagine this scenario after introducing Flex. Flex replaces LFR and is released togheter with normal and heroic mode at the same time. For the most casual players, Flex would be the way to go. For more serious guilds we would have normal mode to let them gear up first before attempting heroics. The top notch guilds competing for WF ranks would save immense amount of time by going straight for hc mode - no more running 6 25mans to funnel gear etc, whole alt style of raiding would be greatly diminished. Possibility of some random guild getting WF on hc boss before the big boys imo doesn't really exist, and even if so - they wouldn't be able to get WF on last boss of the tier on hc.

    When whole progression would be over, after the release of minor patch without raiding content, LFR would get unlocked to gear up alts, or catch up with legendary quest and please people that would want to just get carried.
  4. Lagruell's avatar
    Lagruell 2013-06-08 19:30:37 UTC — @Michelangelo: LFR and Flex are gated to avoid having competitive guilds doing this. It should work if they aren't unlocked too quickly.
  5. Michelangelo's avatar
    Michelangelo 2013-06-08 19:24:29 UTC — So long as you can acquire tier tokens, trinkets, and weapons, all raid lockouts will be used by a player to stay competitive.

    T13 lfr loot was lower ilvl than T12 heroic but T13 set bonuses were too important for some classes. With respect to "people won't think it's mandatory since there won't be upgrades" I highly disagree.
  6. Lagruell's avatar
    Lagruell 2013-06-08 19:22:06 UTC — I think this type of raid should perfectly fit its target, it isn't meant for you Darniee, but it might help the game not to lose too much subscriptions, thus improving your experience.

    There are people who just don't like to get to sit on the bench, be it for a week, or a particular encounter. There are people who just can't stand cancelling a raid because someone didn't show up.

    Also, raiding hasn't always been about skill but dedication and free time (farming, optimizing, learning from wipes...), and from that should come skill. Some people are just as dedicated as you are, but they don't have your free time.
  7. Exaltus's avatar
    Exaltus 2013-06-08 14:06:12 UTC — Though i agree with what you say Darniee, a compromise like this will keep a lot more people playing the game, and thus a lot more funds will be free to make better raids (imo ToT was one of the best raids in WoW so far). I'm afraid if wow would turn back to its roots in vanilla and tbc now, even more people would abandon it. But i also think if it stays like it is now (with LFR for the casuals), these casual players won't have any sense of accomplishment and they'll leave as well. So this flexible system might be a good middle of the road solution. They get to feel 'real raiding' in a very flexible way, but still don't get the same rewards for it.
  8. DarnnREM's avatar
    DarnnREM 2013-06-08 12:20:48 UTC — I'm still not convinced to this idea at all. Raiding was about skill. If you were not skilled enough to raid, you either were benched or didn't raid at all. You had simple choice to either pick up your gameplay or go pvp f.e. I understand the fact that some people were not pleased with it and they started "accesibility" argument. But where is the accomplishement here? Is it really something to kill boss with let's say 12 people, boss with skill requirement close to LFR rather than normal? Kind of paraolympic games.