The benefits of Flex raiding

The latest World of Warcraft patch brought with it a new raid size – Flex raiding. With two wings of the four total wings available in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, I thought I would talk about some of the benefits for Flex raiding.

  • Variable group size. If you have 20 people on to run a weekend Flex raid, you can hop into a raid and not have to pick up 5 unknown people to form a 25-man raid. If you have 11 people, you don’t have to sit one out to form up a 10-man raid. Instead, you can run with any number of people between 10 and 25. This lowers the administrative and organizational burden. If you have 15 people online, you can hop into a raid – assuming that you have the right group makeup with tanks, DPS, and healers.
  • People can join & leave freely. When we would do organized LFR runs, if someone showed up 10 minutes after you started, they couldn’t join the raid. In LFR, you couldn’t swap people out between bosses. In LFR, you couldn’t replace a bad PUG with a great friend. With the new Flex runs, you can do all three! If you start the raid with 10 people, you can still end the raid night with 25 (or any amount in between). We frequently have people show up late to our Flex raids and it doesn’t cause nearly the same headache that we experienced the last few expansions without Flex raids.
  • Individual loot system. An administrative burden for normal & heroic raids is the need to have some way to ensure that loot is fairly distributed. In 25-man normal/heroics, we run with an addon that tracks points (EPGP). However, for the Flex nights, we don’t have to worry about distributing loot, as the use of the LFR individual loot system reduces the possibility for fighting or loot drama in the more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Allows for organization. Unlike LFR with strangers, you can force the raiders running Flex to be prepared for raiding. You get to choose the members of your raid team.
  • Wings mean you can skip more bosses. A difficult problem with having 13 or 14 bosses in a normal/heroic raid is that you often have to do 12 bosses to work on the 13th. In most cases, this means that normal/heroic raids require significant time commitments to clear the earlier bosses and unlock the later progression bosses.Having only 3 to 4 bosses in a Flex or LFR wing means that you can skip the first wing if you just want to do the second – or you can skip the first three and start on the last wing (once they are all open).
  • Raid with your friends. A benefit of being cross-server is that you can raid with your friends. We can bring along social guild members, battle-tag or Real-ID friends along for the fun. Our guild does a Monday night alt Flex raid where I have been able to raid on my druid for the first time this expansion, as alt LFR raids weren’t very satisfying for my raiding guild.
  • Raid with strangers. If you don’t have an organized flex raid with friends, you can still organize groups of strangers using tools such as Open Raid. If you can’t plan in advance, you can also use an addon called OQueue to find a group in-game. Other communities such as Twitterland Raiding have been used for people to organize cross-realm raid groups.

Taken together, what does this all mean? Well, for one – there will be fewer organized LFR runs. Most of the organized groups will be better off hitting Flex raids (meaning you won’t be lucky and happen into the rare spots in the organized LFR runs when you do run LFR). I believe that Flex will be a very popular raid size for small casual guilds or for cross-realm groups of friends that were formed to run LFR groups together, with fewer drawbacks of having to pick up random LFR people. Either way, it encourages some consistency in raiding with friends, without being super rigid the way that normal & heroic raiding is. One thing I can say for certain is that I am really enjoying Flex raiding on my druid.

4 Comments

  1. Talarian
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Our guild has been doing Flex modes once a week for 3 hours and we’ve gotten through the first wing now once. Somethings to note that are a detriment to how Flex is set up:

    * There are definite inflection points where difficulty spikes a LOT. Our raid found that 18 people on Sha of Pride gave us 3 Prisons, whereas 17 we only had 2. Our raid could not handle the third prison well enough to not wipe pretty well every time, which means we’re looking at capping our raid at 17 people.

    * You still can’t just take anyone along with you. We had 6 healers for 19 people. Coupled with 3 DPSers incapable of more than 50k DPS, we could not carry those folks through Norushen or Sha. Norushen in particular is extremely punishing to raids that bring extra people. It’s not normal mode (or Normal team is currently stuck on Norushen, but we can 9 man Flex Immerseus), but it definitely needs more capability than LFR.

    * You cannot ignore mechanics. Honestly, I put this under a good thing personally, but many folks in our guild are seemingly incapable of noticing and reacting to mechanics appropriately, causing wipes on things like Sha of Pride and Norushen, which have a high level of personal responsibility, which goes against the spirit of Flex, which is to bring your friends and not dump them. We’ve had to dump people :(

    Still, I’ve been quite pleased with how Flex has turned out. Definitely a little rough around the edges with how some mechanics have translated, but mostly fulfills the promise that we can bring a bunch of our guildies who aren’t really normal raiders and actually down bosses with them, which is nice. And the LFR-style loot was definitely the correct decision, in my mind.

    • Jabari
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Tal: Your 2nd and 3rd points are exactly why flex is AWESOME. Personal responsibily is definitely NOT “against the spirit of flex”, it’s “against the spirit of LFR”. Flex requires people to do things mostly-correctly (wait until you do the Fireball-Dance on Galakras *chuckle*) – just with a lower DPS bar.

      People need to get better somehow, and LFR certainly isn’t the way to do it. If you have to “dump people” because they can’t move for Self-Reflection or get out of the death beam, then queue with them for LFR and such and help them learn the mechanics. Voice comms is critical, as is doing things like watching their Pride (to make sure they get out of stuff), etc.

      6 healers is way too many for 19 people, though. None of them have a decent DPS set (or DPS alts), really?

      As far as the first point, we noticed the same thing with the prisons with 18. It’s a pain in that it activates the other prison on the “tank side” and not the “group side” – they really should have just done both of the group-side ones for that. *shrug* We did eventually get by it with 18, but it’s wasn’t a pushover by any stretch.

    • Berdache
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      We hit the enrage timer on Norushen a few times but found tweaking tactics got round it. You certainly cannot take everyone to Flexi so I would set a dps target (say 100k on ToT first boss in LFR) or an achiveable gear level for entry (neccessary for healers and tanks).

      We regularly run with 4 tanks in our flexi so they all end up dpsing a couple of encounters. I think the enrage times have enough fat in them.

  2. Berdache
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    We love it for all those reasons too. We often have 8-12 people and we can pug a few spots from friends off server (and they often bring a few more). And if someone needs to have an early night the rest of us dont need to stop or find a replacement mid way through. We also have a few people who want to raid still gearing and it means, once they are ready, they know they have a spot.

    I also think it will allow guilds to be able to grow from 10 to 25 man raiding, which up to this point has been impossible.