When Rohan at Blessing of Kings posted about variable group sizes in WoW, I thought it was a great idea that would likely never be implemented. I was wrong.
Blizzard just announced Flexible Raids. Flexible Raids is a new raid difficulty for 10-25 players. Loot works like LFR, and you can participate cross-realm, but there is no matchmaking service. The difficulty scales with the number of people in the group, and item level of gear will be between LFR and normal mode. In addition, Flexible Raids are on their own lockout.
What does this mean?
You’re no longer obligated to run either 10-man or 25-man raids. Guilds now have the flexibility to run with however many people they want.
Except that’s not quite true.
Let’s say a 25-man guild doesn’t have enough people to raid on a particular raid night. Yes, they could run a Flexible Raid. However, would it be better to run the flex as a whole group or send 10 people into normal mode where they’ll get better gear? Maybe it has to do with how many people are available. If there’s between 20 and 25, maybe they should try to run two normal modes. I don’t know; I’m not in a 25-man guild.
What about 10-man guilds? There are two scenarios to consider. First, what if there aren’t enough people to raid? Well, if we’re under 10 people, the Flexible Raid isn’t going to help. If we have more than 10 people, why would we want to get worse gear? Wouldn’t we rather the 10 more regular raiders have a chance at better gear in normal mode?
I think this is going to become another obligation. Blizzard says I’m not obligated to run LFR, but I still need a lot of gear from it even though I’m in a 10-man guild. While I don’t always do LFR, I try to run it every week. If the flex raid is going to drop better gear, shouldn’t I be doing it too? I suppose this could bond a different set of people. If 10 core guild raiders were online and wanted to raid, we could raid normal. If I wanted to do LFR, I could just queue. The flex raid would give me a reason to make friends with a wider community. Right now, I don’t interact with WoW players outside of my guild very often. There have been guilds in the past that PUG’d me regularly, but currently I’m not in touch with anyone. With flex raids feeling required but lacking a matchmaking service, I could see reaching out to other bloggers, for example, to add Battletag friends. But I have to be honest. Most weeks I don’t valor cap or complete LFR. What makes me think I have time to schedule a flex raid?
This seems really odd to me. I’d be ecstatic if they had followed Rohan’s idea of 7 to 13 people. Blizzard’s implementation won’t really help my guild and will likely feel like a burden I can’t fulfill. It’s an interesting first iteration of the scaling feature regardless. Even if I don’t have time to schedule anything, maybe a guildie will occasionally ask me to join a flex raid, but I don’t see it happening lately. It’s hard to judge a feature without experiencing it, but it seems to me that Blizzard took an interesting idea and executed it poorly.