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.