As is unfortunately usual in a Ghostcrawler twitter conversation, it starts out with a troll trying to get under the skin of WoW's lead system designer, and ends with Ghostcrawler making a point that everyone should hear. This time it struck home. Flex raiding is not going to be there for the hard core guild that wants to get world firsts, it's not going to be there for the people that want to raid just once every few months, and it's not going to be there as a cakewalk for newbies to just waltz into and get some epics.
It's going to be there for the former raid leader like me, that had no choice in The Burning Crusade but to have a "hard core" guild and all the drama and decision making that came along with it. Back in the day (note that I'm using the phrase here not as a positive) in order to see the end game content of Illidan, Archimonde, and hell, even Kael'thas, you had to have a guild that was well put together and full of dedicated raiders.
A dedicated raider was someone who farmed 10 to 20 hours a week, came prepared with their own food, flasks, and other assorted gadgetry. A dedicated raider read up on all the stats, knew the fights inside and out, and was ready to adept to new situations on a moment's notice. A dedicated raider also knew that we lived and died by the numbers. If you were not putting out 1,000 DPS (at the time), you were on the docket to be cut. When we entered Sunwell Plateau you had to be producing 1,500 DPS on Brutullas or you were going to be sat, and probably replaced in the long run.
A dedicated raider might have been the nicest guy in the world, but if they were not performing the way they needed to, then they didn't have a spot on the team. Sorry pal, we like you, but you can't mash your hand against your keyboard fast enough. You're cut.
Now my apologies if I sound overly cynical here, but as a raid and guild leader that had to make these decisions, they hurt every single time. Especially when the player in question was really a friend. I eventually got burned out on doing this and left the guild and quit raiding for a while; I just didn't like having to judge other people like that in a game. In real life and at a job it's different -- but for a game, it's not something that I want to do.
WoW's direction in recent years has softened the need for that hard lined decision making in many aspects of raiding, but it's still there. If you're not making the numbers, you're going to be told to go run LFR or normals until you're ready. And if you don't like it, well, then it comes down to the same decision as before -- you're going to either leave the group on your own accord be cut by a raid leader.
Flex raiding isn't going to solve this entirely, but it's sure going to help a lot. The nice guy with low DPS is going to have a home and be able to have fun with the game the way he wants. Maybe he is a "hard core" player -- just maybe not in the DPS sort of way. With flex raiding he'll get to have challenges and enjoy the game. He's not going to be just a number on a chart.
And that's why Ghostcrawler's tweet sums up everything there is to love about flex raiding. It removes the impersonal numbers and puts the player back into the center of the game. If I ever lead a guild and raid again, I won't have to cut people because of how they perform -- and that really is just lovely.