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Posts with tag flex-raiding

How long is too long for a raid?

How long is too long for a raid
I remember the year I spent in Icecrown Citadel. I'm not really exaggerating - it was from December to December, so about a year total. It was about the longest time I spent on a raid, including the days of Molten Core - for comparison, Molten Core was the only real endgame raid besides Onyxia's Lair from November of 2004, WoW's release date, until July of 2005, so roughly eight months. Interestingly, the Shadow of the Necropolis patch (patch 1.11) came out in June of 2006, so in the year between the first and last raids of classic WoW we saw MC, Onyxia, BWL, Zul Gurub, Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and finally Naxxramas. All of these raids released between July of 2005 and June 2006. Not all of these raids were replacements for previous ones - Blackwing Lair and AQ 40 were considered 'sidegrades' from each other, at least until one killed C'thun, who until the release of Naxxramas had the best gear in the game. The two 20 man raids, ZG and AQ20, did not replace BWL or evn MC gear, they just provided another place to go.

Because of the way raids were structured back then it's a little misleading to compare classic's raid release schedule with our modern one. Raids were something a very few players overall did - there was no parity between smaller and larger raid sizes, no LFR, no flex (although by the time Naxxramas came out, some guilds were running MC, Onyxia and even BWL/AQ with smaller raids to maximize gear acquisition before heading into Naxx) and the only way to gear up for raids was either to be carried through said raids by geared groups and handed all the stuff they didn't want or need anymore, or to start on the ground floor and run the level 60 dungeons. The design wasn't structured around raiding being accessible or allowing a larger group of players to see these fights - raiders got to see them, and if that was 10% of the people playing the game, that's what it was.

It's interesting to look at how players react to raid content now. A commonly expressed sentiment is that Throne of Thunder, a raid first released on March 5th, 2013, has been around too long and players are eager for new content. This is a raid that has been around for six month, and will be superseded around the time it enters it's seventh. While hardly the shortest time a raid has ever had to be run through, it's not much longer than the initial tier of Mists raid content, either. Mists of Pandaria released on September 25th, 2012, meaning that from October 2012 to March 5th 2013 we only had MSV, HoF and ToES - a time of about five months. What makes five months acceptable and seven months unacceptable? Are two months that much longer to raid a zone?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: Hellscream's BoA epics

Patch 54 PTR  Hellscream's BoA epics
An interesting new wrinkle in patch 5.4 has been discovered, in the form of a whole host of new Bind to Account weapons found in the files for Siege of Orgrimmar. Available in Flexible Raid, normal and heroic levels (although for many of them, only one or two versions have yet been found) these items use the old Horde PvP models, although that may not be final. We know that the items are not finished, their item levels are not finalized at this time. Still, items like Hellscream's Decapitator are interesting for a variety of reasons. Will they behave like current heirlooms and Archaeology BoA's like Zin'rokh, meaning that you could send them to your alts of either faction? BoA items like these could definitely provide an alt with a leg-up on gearing, and making them available only via Flex and Normal/Heroic would definitely get players interested in checking out Flex Raids.

At present we have a variety of datamined Hellscream's items - In addition to the Decapitator above, we have the Barrier, Cleaver, Doomblade, Pig Sticker, Razor, Shield Wall, Tome of Destruction, War Staff, Warbow and Warmace. No word yet on whether or not these items will be usable with transmogrification, considering that at present the original PvP items require certain PvP ranks to use them with transmog.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler on flex raiding's rollout

Ghostcrawler on flex raiding's rollout
We had some discussion last week here at WoW Insider regarding the proposed roll-out of the new Flexible Raiding system coming with patch 5.4. If you weren't aware, it was previously proposed that Flex would roll out in phases similar to what we've become used to with Raid Finder, meaning that at the initial release of the tier Flex wouldn't be available, and would come in week-by-week, wing by wing. Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street commented on this on Twitter:

Ghostcrawler's approach certainly seems to make sense. By pushing the new difficulty out sooner, more players will be enticed to give it a go, and hopefully more will like it. However, the downside for this is of course the hardcore players, who might feel even more obliged to take on the new difficulty for gear if it's rolled out sooner. However, they are such a minute percentage of the player base that it seems illogical to excessively punish the rest for their benefit!

What's your take on this? When should Flex appear? Personally, I think I'd like to see the first wing release at roughly the same time as heroic, and then a wing per week until it's all out. I think Raid Finder should probably follow about a week behind that. But this is really just personal, and maybe you feel differently? If you do, then why?

Filed under: Raiding

Breakfast Topic: What's your ideal raid size?

Breakfast Topic What's your ideal raid size
With the advent of flex raiding, players will find it simpler than ever to gather friends or muster guildmates to experience WoW's fantastic endgame raiding content. "Having a flexible raid size with scaling damage will bring its own design challenges, to be sure," writes Matthew Rossi, "but it will also mean that once your guild hits the minimum raid size (currently 10 players) until it hits the maximum, it will never have to sit a player again. And at the maximum size, it will never have to cancel a raid because 22 people showed up instead of 25. It will change raiding, it will change guilds, but it is probably inevitable and necessary change."

For keeping up with a constant stream of new raids and an endgame whose goalposts bump forward on a regular basis, the ability to scale raid challenges seems right on target. How will flex raiding change the way your raid group approaches raiding? Do you expect it will represent mostly a convenience to cover scheduling snafus and absences, or will your group take advantage of flex raiding to customize a raid size that works better for your guild or group of friends?

And while we're at it, what would you consider your ideal raid group size?

What's your ideal raid size?
Fewer than 10 players816 (16.3%)
10 players975 (19.5%)
10-15 players1115 (22.3%)
15 players523 (10.4%)
15-25 players365 (7.3%)
25 players421 (8.4%)
25-40 players150 (3.0%)
40 players353 (7.1%)
More than 40 players288 (5.8%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Why Flex Raiding will change everything

Why Flex Raiding is the future
Ever since 10 and 25 man raiding were both equally supported in Wrath of the Lich King it's been a struggle to balance these two sizes of raiding groups. In Wrath, the balancing act was accompanied with gear inequity - the smaller size got lesser gear. Many 10 man guilds felt marginalized, and many 25 man guilds would split up to run the 10 mans for additional loot since the two sizes did not share a lockout. We're of course all aware of how that ended up working out - people complained about feeling forced to run raids twice or even four times on certain difficulties, leading to the current system of shared lockouts and the heroic difficulty toggle.

The current system, with 10 and 25 man raids sharing a lockout and gear has endured since Cataclysm, and it's one of the contributing factors to the death of 25 man raiding. Simply put, it's easier to set up and run a 10 man. Each raid size has its own quirks of difficulty (the difficulty in setting up a proper raid comp for 10s and the feeling of added responsibility per player vs. the often grueling mechanical difficulty ramp up for 25's and the sense of having less space to use to avoid more damage) but all things being equal, a 10 man raid is a lot easier to get off of the ground. It does bring its own problems... it's easier to keep a bench going and rotate players in 25's than it can be in 10s - but a lot of players have opted for 10 man. Patch 5.4 threw a wrinkle into this whole balancing act with the introduction of flexible raiding.

And it is this which has me convinced that flex raiding will replace both 10 and 25 man sizes for raids in the expansion to come. Having a flexible raid size with scaling damage will bring its own design challenges, to be sure, but it will also mean that once your guild hits the minimum raid size (currently 10 players) until it hits the maximum, it will never have to sit a player again. And at the maximum size, it will never have to cancel a raid because 22 people showed up instead of 25. It will change raiding, it will change guilds, but it is probably inevitable and necessary change.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Flexible Raiding lockouts and queues clarified

Flexible Raiding lockouts clarified
As with any new feature, confusion abounds around Flexible Raiding and just how it will work. Blizzard Community Manager Taepsilum took to the forums to clarify various aspects, including lockouts.
Taepsilum
Right now, the idea is to have FR lockouts work very similarly to lockouts in LFR.
You will be able to repeat bosses, and that will actually still be somewhat rewarding, you'll be able to use additional bonus rolls, earn Valor Points, and potentially loot some shinnies from trash...

There's something unique about FRs though, I'll explain it with an example:
Let's say you join a 12man and kill the first boss, leave the raid, and join a 20man, you might have to repeat the first boss.

"Might", so how does that work?
If everyone in the new 20man raid has already killed the first boss just like you did, then that boss will not spawn.
But even if only 1 of the players in that 20man has not killed the first boss, he will spawn again and everyone else will have to repeat the encounter.
This is all pretty confusing stuff! WoW Insider reached out to Blizzard for some additional clarity on just how the raid lockouts will work, and they came back with some more information.

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Filed under: Raiding

Patch 5.4 PTR news roundup

Patch 54 PTR news roundup
Patch 5.4 has hit the PTR and a flurry of information regarding the latest patch has already been released. Featuring a new raid, patch 5.4 will also include a variety of new features that are quickly shaping up to be game-changers. Curious about all the new stuff? Take a look at our coverage for more information on patch 5.4 and the upcoming content.
Stay tuned for more patch 5.4 information, and keep your eyes peeled for the PTR.


Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Insider Round Table 3: Flexible raiding and its impact on WoW

Welcome back to episode three of the WoW Insider Round Table! This week, we had Olivia Grace, Dawn Moore, Matt Low and Sarah Pine, and new panelist Joe Perez, and our topic of discussion was, inevitably, flexible raiding. We started off, selfishly, by giving our own opinions, the panel runs teh gamut from the hardcore end to the casual, so we had most perspectives covered. We discussed whether this would cause or contribute to burnout among hardcore raiders, as well as wondering what the impact on casual guilds would be.

We then moved on to consider the new tier's impact on the Raid Finder, whether players would choose to run this new content instead of the Raid Finder, particularly tanks, and while the panel concluded that a good number of them would, they were fairly sure that, while queue times were likely to increase, the Raid Finder would not die an untimely death.

As far as other considerations for the new raid system, the panel discussed some of the issues inherent with flexible raid sizes, particularly the numbers and how abilities would scale, before moving on to talk about the looting system chosen -- the same as the system for Raid Finder. We concluded, just as we began, that this was a system that would have a positive impact, far more so than the Raid Finder. One panelist even asserted that this was what they always should have done, instead of LFR. We hope you enjoyed this panel, and if you have any ideas for future topics, do let us know!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

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