Blizzard’s New Flexible Raiding System: Yay or Nay?
Raiding has always been one of World of Warcraft’s prime gameplay aspects since Blizzard unveiled this MMORPG back in 2004. Four expansions later, raid groups have evolved from the classic 40-man Molten Core runs to 10 and 25 player groups that aimed to compensate both casual and hard core players. But even with the introduction of the Raid Finder system that allows a solo player to experience end-game content amongst strangers, the preference of raiding with guild members, family, or friends has always been a high priority. Yet the rigid categories of 10 or 25 has the tendency to leave certain players out or provokes grave difficulty in filling a full group. After my last few experiences, my guild spent over two hours waiting for one or two members to come online in order to fill our remaining spots. By the time they were filled, others had to leave due to priorities away from the keyboard. This brings me to Blizzard’s announcement regarding a new flexible raiding system, which in my opinion, can be a godsend to casual players such as myself. By addressing a middle ground between 10 and 25, WoW will continue to attract gamers by eliminating the “benchwarmer” situation and provide more levels of difficulty for players to enjoy.
In an attempt to fill the “tight-knit” void that Raid Finder leaves hollow, Blizzard’s new system will also include a new level of difficulty lodged between Raid Finder and Normal. While this may not seem appealing to some players due to a lower Item Level when compared to Normal, the core idea that any group between 10-25 members will be able to participate in a raid is promising. Whether you have 15 or 21 members, the dungeon difficulty will be automatically adjusted and players will not have to worry about being left out any longer. It comes as no surprise that this system will have its own unique Raid lockout that does not overlap with Raid Finder or the Normal difficulty, thereby allowing players to, well, spend more hours playing on the computer!
Naturally, this new development caters greatly to players who still wish to enjoy the game in one hand while managing reality in the other. The new system does not necessarily stand in the way of 25-man raiders who aspire to complete Heroic mode and achieve the highest tier of armor or weaponry. Yet, the flexible raiding system may also impinge on this particular group. How? Let’s say you have a group of 23 or 24 members and are ready to raid. You don’t have enough to carry out a heroic run but you also do not have any other option besides the new system that sits just below normal difficulty. Finding a suitable guild with heroic mode aims is already difficult for many. Likewise with 10-man groups, adding one or two more players to become a 11 or 12-man raid instead of a 10-man normal difficulty run (that guarantees a higher ilvl) is not ideal for set groups with specific raiding aims. In this instance, a gap remains for the more hard core players since it does not address this group’s recruitment dilemma. A 15 or 20 man raid ABOVE normal but below the highest difficulty will be another complex story altogether, but still neglects to ease the burden of heroic raiders.
All in all, I cannot argue with Blizzard’s new move towards retaining the enjoyment in WoW that has captivated longtime fans like myself for years. I still remember many situations where unnecessary guild drama would erupt due to players bring dropped halfway through a raid or were completely left out week after week. As I mentioned beforehand, the premise of this idea will be a cry of joy for a large majority of players, especially those who play actively with friends or family. With an incoming Public Test Realm that will allow us to test this latest innovation, let’s hope that the experience will not disappoint.
Peace and patience be with you friends.