A Raid for All Seasons: Flexible Raid Preview

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06/10/2013 PM
Blizzard is introducing a new raid format in Patch 5.4! The new Flexible Raid system is designed to allow social groups a close-knit raiding experience outside of the usual 10 and 25 player formats. 

This new raid format is intended to appeal to players who enjoyed the 10-player normal format in Wrath of the Lich King. It's something players can enjoy doing for fun on off-nights with their Real ID or Battle.net friends. There isn't an ilvl requirement for Flexible Raids, so new alts can tag along too!

This should also be a welcome alternate to LFR, where players can run through easy content solely with their friends and don't have to rely on PUGs to round out 25 players. Rewards are also slightly better in this format--higher ilvl gear, and the chance to complete achievements and win mounts.
A raid's difficulty will scale based on how many players are in the Flexible Raid. Between 10 and 25 people can be in this raid.
This raid format has a separate lockout than LFR, and Normal/Heroic. You can also complete achievements on this difficulty level.
Gear rewards will be between LFR and Normal quality. Players can also get some items not available in LFR.
There's no ilvl requirement for Flexible Raids, and raids can include Real ID or Battle.net friends cross-realm.
Players will acquire loot via the Raid Finder's "per person" loot system.

Nethaera

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.


/Flex

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.


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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