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World of Warcraft Column: Raiding and Questing in Draenor

By Reza Lackey on December 02, 2013

This week in the WoW Factor we’re going to focus on what’s new with questing and raiding as we continue to explore what we know about the recently announced Warlords of Draenor expansion.

Raiding

With the last raid in the Cataclysm expansion, Dragon Soul, Blizzard introduced a new Looking For Raid system (or LFR) that allowed players to queue for a specific wing of a raid and be grouped with others in an easier difficulty version of a raid. The LFR also introduced personal loot. To avoid drama over loot, the game would randomly decide if a player would get an item from a boss and then decide what eligible item on the loot table would be awarded. This new raid system proved to be incredibly popular and was offered for each raid released since.

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Recently introduced was a new tier of difficulty called Flex Raids. This difficulty rests between LFR and Normal 10 player difficulty. The Flex Raids allow any number of players between 10 and 25 to participate and the raid difficulty will essentially scale on the fly depending on the amount of players currently present. Say three players need to leave the raid because their PS4’s just arrived, the raid difficulty will scale down to compensate for the smaller raid size.

Before looking at how raiding will change come Warlords of Draenor, here is what the current raid landscape looks like (in ascending order of difficulty):

  • Looking For Raid (25 players)
  • Flexible Raid (10-25 players)
  • Normal (10 Players)
  • Heroic (10 Players)
  • Normal (25 Players)
  • Heroic (25 Players)

Going forward, things are going to become much easier to understand and digest. Warlords of Draenor is going to remove the Flexible Raid difficulty and bake that technology into the other raid difficulties. There will also be a new, harder difficulty: Mythic.

Here is what the raiding modes will look like in Warlords:

  • Looking for Raid (10-25 Players, flexible)
  • Normal (10-25 Players, flexible)
  • Heroic (10-25 Players, flexible)
  • Mythic (20 Players, non-flexible)

As you can see, three of the four difficulties will use the Flex Raid system making it much easier for players to raid in different difficulty tiers while offering a precisely tuned, difficult dungeon for 20 players to take on in the form of Mythic raids. These changes essentially give more player more to do at the end game which is always a good thing. The downside however is that guilds looking to stay competitive and ahead of others may need to recruit or change their roster of raiders as the Mythic difficulty only supports 20 players, no more and no less.

I am really happy with the direction Blizzard is taking raiding in Warlords. My self and many of my friends really took a liking to Flex Raiding as it allowed us to raid on a more open schedule at non-peak times. It provided a new avenue to earn gear and allowed players more options of when they could raid. It’s also a great way for a few guildies to run something together that is a bit more relaxed than the normal difficulty. The best part though is that now when we attempt a normal or heroic raid, if we lose a player, we’ll no longer be dead in the water until a replacement is found because of the flexible raid system. Additionally, it will allow for more pickup groups a better chance to take on more difficult raids going forward. 

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