I say this in every article, but let’s be honest; we are just stoked for Warlords of Draenor. But what’s more important, as I’m sure most people are thinking, are the changes in endgame raiding in the newest expansion, because no matter how hard we try to disagree with the veritable pick of opinions on the real game, endgame progression is all that really counts, right?
With all the information about how raiding will go in WoD, it would seem quite redundant if I had to relay anymore of the information the general populace knows up to this date. But in case you didn’t catch it, let me run it down for you: Warlords of Draenor will no longer feature a “flexible” difficulty, but the feature of the raid member flexibility will be passed on to LFR, Normal, and Heroic difficulties. The new tier, Mythic, has its own raid size and is unaffected by the flex mechanic. A lot of us are appreciative of the change, but not everything is all unicorns and sparkles with these.
Nope, Not Cancelling Another Raid
To be completely honest, I almost gave up on WoW several times due to how raiding can be such a chore. Getting twenty five people together at the same time is harder than Heroic Thok with several huntards unable to move while mashing on two to three skills. The logistics aspect of raiding is the biggest challenge any group or lead can ever have and, thankfully, Blizzard’s endgame crafting experience have made it easier and easier with every succeeding patch and expansion. In Warlords of Draenor, things are just about to get easier.
With the entire time I’ve been raiding, I’ve never met a single person that actually preferred the strict raid size of Normal and Heroic raiding to Flexible raiding. I mean, really, who likes having to pug a 10 man or, god forbid, a 25 man raid, only to have one or two people leave, and it may so happen that they were some very important members in the raid. You’d probably be able to replace one of them, but I’m willing to bet that you’re still missing more dps that were too impatient to wait for a replacement that took no more than 5 minutes to find.
If you think that sort of thing happens with pugs only, hell, you haven’t been raiding enough. Even guild runs or cross-server statics still run into a few road bumps here and there, and most of those things are always scheduling problems. At some point, everyone had to cancel a scheduled raid due to having that single guildie absent for no reason and you are all unable to commence due to either a lack of a replacement, guilt over leaving behind a guildie, or everyone else getting pissed off and logging for the night. Absentees will no longer impede anyone from being able to play due to the instance scaling to how many people you have.
Have only eleven people? Cool, just get on with the raid, as you are no longer tied to a specific number of people to continue further. Someone drop right after a single wipe on some easy boss? No problem! So long as you don’t dip below 10 people, there can’t possibly be any harm done. Though this won’t completely help at all with the more pressing problem of lacking tanks and healers.
Certainly, this can’t alleviate the guilt of leaving behind a friend, but at least these mechanics will be able to save everyone else’s time. No more iffy looking raid situations, no more hassles of guildies asking you if the raid is going through or not, and most importantly, no more waiting. Unless you have a thing for it, that is.
Stop Talking To Me, You Are Not Gear
Now that all that is out of the way, imagine the possible harm this may do to the raiding community. Admittedly, WoW isn’t one of those games that have such exemplary communities but there is still a semblance of it, regardless. Flexible raiding in Mists of Pandaria, regardless of our experiences and how we feel about it is just that; it doesn’t really seem to matter. A lot of people, just get grouped up with a bunch of random players for a flex and leave when they get what they want (or leave due to the lack of it). Flexible raiding, as much as it opens doors for new friendships and opportunities, can be just as bad in that same aspect.
There is no incentive to be nice, no incentive to socialize, and no incentive for anything other that one’s own selfish needs. Yes, we all really just need gear from raiding, but it’s still plenty important to maintain the social aspect of MMO gaming. With the new flexible mechanics for each difficulty, the present day attitude of “get-gear-and-get-out” might become much more prevalent in WoD, making for a more soulless environment than it is now.
In the same vein that the ease of getting into raids with a more relaxed number and atmosphere, flex raiding in this sense does not encourage people to form bonds with one another, seeing only the other people in a raid as a means to an end. Of course, like I said earlier, it won’t be the case for everyone, but still, we can’t deny that people like this exist, even in 10 man or 25 normals and not just flexes.
Lastly, it’s frightening to think how many players, in these recent times, think they’re all hot stuff, but in fact, suffer greatly from carryitis. Getting carried in LFR and Flex are very prominent these days, and it really dents the way it pans out for the raid in the current instance, as well as their future in other raids. For example, with an encounter geared for 2 healers only, Flexible mechanics can make it absolutely easier simply by adding just one more healer without actually making the encounter harder for dps classes. This could, and it already has cause an irreverent measure of one’s own and others abilities. Though, this could be easily handled by Blizzard’s plans for WoD’s proving grounds to be a requirement to get into the endgame dungeons and raids, but that is yet to be seen if it will be any effective.
Mythic Raiding… Um, What?
It’s quite an odd decision on Blizzard’s part in making Mythic raiding to be deadlocked as 20 people only. Considering the ease of gathering and engaging a raid in lower difficulties, one would think that they would make it the same way for the highest form, or even at least just adding an option for a 10 man. Blizzard’s decision on this is pretty much screwing over guilds that have their whole groove set to 10 man and are hardcore raiders. I could name a couple of dozen guilds I’m friends with that do nothing but wail on this apparent reality. It simply doesn’t make sense why they wouldn’t allow either the same flexibility or at least an easier number to attain in terms of raid members for the Mythic tier. It just seems that Blizzard really can’t move on from their old habits, but at least it’s a bigger improvement over the 40 or 25 man restrictions of earlier expansions. Hopefully, this will be changed before release, or at least have an easier option.
Moar Raiding in Draenor!
With all these fantastic changes, we can expect a much better experience with raiding in Draenor, free from most of the hassles that we’ve grown accustomed to in our MMO careers, no matter the game. However, Blizzard’s 10 years of experience on the matter of endgame raiding show a lot of wisdom as these decisions are geared towards the players’ conveniences. This saves on everyone else’s time and sanity as it opens up a lot of doors and cracks a few windows to make for a speedy and stress-free experience. It’s too bad that this wasn’t implemented earlier, but I’m sure Blizzard’s kicking itself a thousand times over for it. But again, there are certain repercussions that need to be avoided, though I don’t think anyone can see what those might be, as only time will tell.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, MMORPG, Raids, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday