Blizzard talk “flexible raiding” for World of Warcraft: a new, sociable difficulty level for “friends and family”

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Blizzard are happy with the way Normal and Heroic raiding work in WoW, but think a valuable niche was lost when 10-player and 25-player modes were unified into a single difficulty after Wrath of the Lich King. They want to win back that space for a group they’re currently not serving – friends, family, and small, inclusive guilds.

“While Raid Finder mode is extremely accessible, it doesn’t provide smaller groups with a tight-knit social experience while progressing through the content,” write Blizzard. “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.”

That new mode is ‘flexible raiding’ – a new difficulty that slots in above Raid Finder and below Normal. It’ll be accessible to groups of 10, 25, or – crucially – anywhere in between.

In Flexible mode, raid challenge will automatically scale according to the number of players. The idea is that you’re not obliged to make your regular session every week, and one-off invitations to friends will be newly viable. As in other raid modes, you’ll be able to invite Real ID or Battle.net friends cross-realm – but there’ll be no Item Level requirement to restrict entry.

The new mode will also introduce an Item Level between Raid Finder and Normal Difficulty. It’ll use Raid Finder’s ‘per-person’ loot system, specialisation choices, and bonus rolls – eliminating the chance of losing long-awaited gear to a guest comrade.

Say Blizzard: “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.”

Flexible Raid difficulty will be unlocked over time in wings, but at a faster rate than Raid Finder. It arrives at a time when high-end raiding is becoming too hardcore for even the hardcore. Hopefully, by breaking down some of the stricter barriers to entry and making raiding more malleable to players’ wants, it’ll be more fun for the majority. What do you think?

Thanks, MMO Champion.