Wednesday, September 4, 2013

10s, 25s and Flex, Oh My.

As this week begins to pass I look forward to next week when the world or raiding changes once again for my guild.  The last time we experienced a change to the raiding face this large it was the end of wrath when they decided that 10 man and 25 man raids would share a lock out.  This is still the single worst change to the face of raiding in the history of the game, in my opinion of course.

At the beginning of cataclysm we lost a great deal of players.  In part to how dreadfully horrible of an expansion that cataclysm was, but also because of the shared lock outs between 10 and 25 man.  I am hoping we do not see a repeat of that when this change takes place.  But I don't think we will.  Blizzard is adding this time, not taking away.

In a strange sort of way they are bringing back two lockouts but with two difficulties, not to sizes.  But will flex and normal/heroic not being shared lock outs be a bad thing?  I already hear people talking about burn out and they have not even done it yet.

But with each good there is bad in everything.  My guild, walking into the next patch, is in a place it has not been for a long time and I am having trouble deciding what exactly I am going to do as far as raid schedule goes.

At the beginning of the tier we were your average struggling raid guild with only one tank meaning I needed to tank a lot and two of our three healers dreadfully under geared due to bad luck with drops and them not working as hard as they should have to make up for that bad luck with valor gear.

We struggled, like everyone else, with horridon.  Three shaman healers, one tank rotating all the time, and no one to fill in for the massive loss of a damage dealer that me tanking left open.  We worked our way through it.  You know how it goes if you ever raided.  You have to figure out what works for you and we did.  In time.

During that time guilds started folding left and right on the server and our guild was the only guild on the server that was not classified, by themselves, as hardcore.  We raided for 2 hours one night a week and sometimes 2 nights if we had enough on.  About as casual as you could get.

In time we started to absorb the lost souls looking for a place to be and we expanded, seemingly over night.  I started a 25 man team as my 10 man started to get further in.  It was not long after that we had a second 10 man running.

At this point we have three 10 man teams and a 25 man team.  Our 25 man is not so great of course because of the shared lock out thing in some cases.  But we are still good enough to make it top 1000 in the US, which is not really saying much, so please do not take that as tooting my horn.  When there are only 2000 25 man guilds to begin with it just means we are middle of the pack, the average casual raiding guild.  Basically nothing special.

Now with flex on the horizon I am looking at what I might set up for our raid schedule next tier, which is only a week away and it seems like it will be a huge task, an undertaking I am not completely sure I can handle.  We will be moving from a guild that was doing one or two organized raids a week to a guild that has enough people do be doing 4 raids, on different lock outs, and now flex in the same week.

10s, 25s, and Flex, Oh My

The main 10 man:

The main 10 man team is basically a core of people that have been together since firelands.  We have added 2 new people to the 13 man mix this tier and both have been exceptionally huge additions.  Some of those people go back a little further, but none of them are left from wrath.  It is the way things change.  The fact that the majority of the players have been together since firelands is amazing for a casual guild to being with.

While we will never compete for server firsts and are not a heroic group, I think the reason the group does okay is because we have been together so long.  Sometimes that really helps on fights where a lot of coordination is needed as there is usually very little that needs to be said.  When there is a fight where we need to split into three groups, they already know their groups without me even needing to say anything.  There is something to be said about playing with the same people for so long.  Sometimes what me might lack in skill a bit we can make up for in communication to compensate.

That group will be moving directly into 10 normal.  They will of course go on flex runs, more gear is always better, and anything that gets you gear and keeps you out of the LFR is welcome to all the people involved.

The second 10 man:

This group is basically made up of the people from the main 10 that are sitting that week and some of the best of the people we have recently picked up with all the other guilds going down.  While this group is the newest to our mix they have the potential to be a very powerful team.

It includes probably the most experienced raider in the guild currently based on time and content seen when current.  He has been around longer and raided harder than most people and is still a quality player.  Along with him come two husband and wife teams.  One is team is clearly better than the other but both are normal capable.  I just have some worries about one of the four as they can't seem to find a character they are comfortable playing, but they are willing to learn and put in the effort and will fill any role needed.  So that makes up for some of it.  I've been spending some time with him teaching him how to tank recently.

I am leaving this group in the capable hands of an ex raid leader I recruited back in cataclysm.  I had met them in wrath back when his guild was having issues in ICC and I joined them in 10s, as I was doing 25s and we had separate lock outs, and I helped him get his 10 man through some rough patches.  So when his guild folded early on in cataclysm he quit the game.  When he came back he joined us.  He has raid lead experience and had ran the second 10 man I had back in DS.  So he is more than capable of handling the job.

I will not be joining this group unless it is required as a fill in on one of my alts.  Like the main 10 man the fill ins will be picked from the people that do the best over all with the gear they have.  We use the 25 and soon the flex to evaluate the new people.  We do not look at numbers over all, we look at numbers based on gear level and awareness, attendance and ability to listen. 

The best players in the group might not always be the ones that the average player looks at and thinks is the best.  Case and point, when I needed a fill in for my 10 a few weeks ago I grabbed someone that most might not even have noticed was in the 25.  He did amazing and has been driven to get even better now.

This group will also be looking to enter into normals as soon as the patch comes out as they are more than capable of it.

The third 10 man:

This group was actually the second 10 man formed.  It is basically comprised of someone that wanted to do something on the weekends with some of his friends and family.  Of course it was green lit and being we had so many members, thanks to running 25s, he was more than welcome to work with them.

It was only a short time before he effectively alienated nearly everyone he offered to run with him.  Almost every time someone runs with him I get a whisper shortly after saying they do not want to run with him any more.

Even three people left his group, and the guild, to find a better raid team.  I guess they did not want to wait on the 25 to get better and they knew there would never really be a place for them in my 10 man, as their attitude did not fit my team mentality.  They were basically people that were completely elitist in mentality while still lacking in skill.  Oddly enough, they fit the team they left personality wise, as that is the reason that the raid leader for that team is alienating everyone that runs with him.

I will still offer tactical support to that group as I will help them with strategy, I will help craft their people gear if they need it.  I will provide potions, flasks, food, and whatever else they need.  But I will not run with them.  Not any more.  Almost my entire 10 man has run with them and nearly every single one of them came back after the run and said never again.

So this third 10 man team, while part of our guild, is effectively on their own by their own doing.  Instead of embracing people they scare them away.  Like last week when they needed a damage dealer one of the elemental shaman in the guild offered to help even if he did not feel like raiding.  There are so many great team players willing to do stuff like that in my guild, that is why I love them.

When the run was done they told the shaman he would no longer we welcome back and they will not be needing him next week.  Okay, he is 12/12 and that group could not down the 3rd boss, he was top DPS, brought the food for everyone and supplied it after each wipe, and helped when he would have rather not went just for the guild because he is a team player and you tell him he is no longer welcome with you?  Now you understand how he is alienating people?

This group has intentions of starting on normal but I really do not see it happening for them.  They only got 5 down and they were raiding for a long time.  And the only time they got 3, 4 or 5 down were when they had 3 (or more) people from my 10 man filling in for them.  Otherwise they never got past the 3rd boss.  So I do not expect much from them normal mode and will try my best to convince their raid leader to start them in flex only.  That is where they should be.

I believe, if he can find a team to stick with, and he does flex they can meld and begin to get better as a group and do just fine in time, but as it stands, this group is the perfect example of what flex raiding was made for.  Normals are just a tad too hard for them.  Perhaps if they finish off flex a few times they can move up to normals and become better players as a team.  That would be great, and perhaps offer them a taste of the humility they need, as that elitist attitude is not a good thing to have, even less so when you have no reason to have that attitude.  Flex is where they should be.

The 25 man team:

Speaking of where they should be, the 25 man should be in flex as well and will be starting there.  A mix of players from all three groups on alts and some others from guild the group is not half bad.  It suffered a late late start and really slow progression but downing the turtle for the first time a couple of weeks ago and meg for the first time the week before last, it finally seems like they are making some progression.  Heck, 5 bosses in one night for a 2 hour raid team like this is very good in my opinion, I am very proud of them.

Sure, we have some knowledgeable people in the group which helps but three of the six healers are still not even 510, one is sitting at 486, and many of the damage dealers wouldn't know 90K if you hit them in the head with it.  The group still needs a lot of work and I think that is where flex will come in.

It will allow those behind in gear to catch up and it will get them some valuable learning experiences in an organized group setting.  I am looking forward to "learning with them" instead of "teaching them".  When I had done all the fights already in 10 man it was a matter of me teaching them but being this is new content and we will all be experiencing it together for the first time we will be learning with each other.

This will be an amazing time to evaluate the skill of all these new players I have seen coming in and out week after week.  This is the beauty of flex.

Another one of the best things about flex is that it will make our 25 man team a hell of a lot better.  Before we could not just tell people "you are not good enough to be here" because how would they get better.  We use the 25s mans to train for the 10s being 25s are so much easier to carry people in.  Now with flex we can tell them, you are not ready to step up to 25 which means I will try to fill the 25s with 25 ready people instead of 18 ready people and 7 people we are teaching each week.

So the 25 man will start off in flex, but I think it has room to grow and maybe we can start normals on 25 a few weeks after the patch comes out.  In reality I am hoping to see the 25 in normals within a month at worst.

I am glad for flex, because that is the level I believe the 25 needs to be raiding at.  It is not quite ready to jump from normal to normal like the two 10 mans will.  But jumping from normal to flex then back to normal seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered just like the third 10 man team.

What has become of the raid week:

From a guild that was doing one or two nights a week at most we will now be running 7 days a week with multiple runs on weekends.  With the influx of new people and the addition of flex, I can see how this could very much mean burn out for a lot of people.

I am trying to limit my game play to keep myself from burning out too.  I am running the main 10 and the 25 but I will leave the rest in the capable hands of the other people in the guild.  We currently have 6 ex raid leaders, some of very successful teams in the past.  I am not to big to just stand aside and let them do whatever they can do wishing them the best of luck because after all anything any of us achieve we achieve as a team.

The way it looks now is that we will be running flex at least 4 days a week, maybe 5.  The main 10 will be doing 2 days, second and third 10 one day each and the 25, at some point, hopefully 2 nights a week.  That means upwards of 11 raids a week.  Most likely more at the start as I am sure on the weekend we can easily get extra flex groups going to gear up alts being there will be no other way to get alts gear now unless you really enjoy abusing yourself using the looking for raid.

Sometimes it just seems like too much going on all at once and I am not sure how I feel about that.  I like that there is a lot going on, but I do not like that it all feels like I "have to" do it just to keep up.  I still believe that normals should have been lowered in difficulty for the lesser players instead of another tier being added.  But this might work being it is on a different lockout.

I like the addition of flex because it really suits where I believe the 25 man should be but I am extremely worried for what the ramifications might turn out to be because of it.  Only time will tell, but looking at it now all I can say is 10s, 25s and flex, oh my.

How will flex change the way your raid?  More or less, or change of venue?  Do you think you will pug with flex or burn out because of it?


  1. Hmm, how do your guildies usually react to your negative/constructive criticism posts? I ask this because I remember a one of your posts where your candid assessment of your 25 man raid team resulted in people quitting the guild.

    1. I tell them how I feel in person. If I think someone needs to get better I tell them. I also tell them I will help them with running content with them so they can get quick queue. I offer to make them gems and enchants. I do everything I can to help them get better. If they do not get better than it is their choice.

      If I were doing something wrong I would rather someone tell me what I was doing wrong then to just push me to the side with no reason. So I told the 25 they will be starting in flex because that is more suited for where they should be. When they down flex they can move up to normal.

      Might someone be offended by that, sure, but we are a casual guild that is there to have fun and it is not fun wiping on a boss they are not capable of downing. But it would be fun learning in an easier format that they can do it in.

      Also, there is a reason I never link my information here. Because no one knows who I am. It allows my posts to be true and real. If I knew people were reading it I would try and sugar coat things and than what would be the reason to write it? It would become complete fiction.

      Like I said however. I tell people exactly what I think. I do not hold it back. I've told people that they can not come until they get better. I've told people they can not come until they get a stable connection. I've told people that we had too many healers, for example, and they are the lowest one so they sit. Etc.

      That is why I am looking forward to flex. Now I have more room to teach them. It allows me to bring that low healer, the under performing person that really needs a lot of practice, the guy with the connection issues.

      All people that flex fits better. Is telling them that wrong? I do not think so.

      I would rather tell someone flex is more for them than tell them I can not take them at all.

  2. I hope to use flex to find a new guild or possibly even a new server.

    After doing Heroic progression in DS, I took a break from raiding in Mists because I was burnt out; raiding 4+hrs two nights a week every week was too much for me. DS wasn't super hard, but heroics are still heroics and not everyone is cut out for them. I did it, but it was too stressful. It stopped being fun.

    And then most of my guild/raid team moved to Proudmoore.

    So I hope to use flex to actually have some fun raiding again.

    1. I think that is why I do not like doing heroics myself. Not enough people around that are capable of them. I would rather stick to normals and clear out and start bringing alts then get stressed over someone that "just doesn't get it" with heroics.

      Some mechanics just completely go over some peoples heads. Even in normal sometimes.

      I am hoping flex can keep me wanting to play. I think it is my last hope. Because I am on a thread as is. I have been wanting to quit for a month now. Even stopped automatic payment and am using cards again. I am on the way out.

      If I do not get lucky with flex and normal, having no valor gear to help me feel like I am actually getting anywhere, I am gone. So my luck better gear better and flex better fill a place, or I am gone.

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    You actually had me laughing out-loud with your description of the formerly second, currently third raid team. Perhaps the best name for it is the Jerk Squad. And ya know, maybe, just maybe as long as they behave in trade/general/guild chat, giving folks of that nature a home to gravitate to is not a bad thing.

    It ain't how I would have handled it when I was the guild lead, but if it works, it works and so far it sounds fine. LOL, long live the Jerk Squad, and may they come to embrace their name.

    It really is good to read such a positive report speaking more seriously.

    I am thinking that maybe I would like to get back into raiding on a flex level, so I suspect in the next few days, when my life allows, I will try to get some guild mates to give me a whirlwind tour of the dungeons and scenarios of Pandaria. You may be called on for you fair warning.

    1. Well, you know who I am talking about. When I first ran with them we had someone fill in, an old time player from the guild. They never did the first fight and when they got the ball on them they did not move fast enough.

      You know my approach, I explain what they did wrong and how to do it better next time and we move on. But their approach was, if you can not move when you have the ball you have no business raiding. They went off on a rant about it. The term elitist scum immediately popped to mind.

      Funny part was, they could not get past the second boss. While working on it with them they said they never got past the second door. I worked with them that week and the week after and had them finally get through the fight.

      But I always think back to them giving an elitist tongue lashing to someone new to the fight instead of explaining it to them so they do not made the same mistake again and think, what would anyone want to raid with them.

      We will get you nice and geared. Looking forward to running with you again. Maybe I can get you a spot on the third team so you can teach them something. ;)

    2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

      Lol, teach them how to be old and slow maybe...wish me happy birthday, today is my 61st.

      PS: I am the sole exception to Grumpy's no revelation rule, hence my odd naming style.

    3. Yes I know, happy birthday. Hope you have a good one.

  4. 25s being so easy to carry people is a bit of a myth. It seems easier when doing the first few bossese with half the raid at heroic level gear, but at appropriate raid level? no.
    Take my guild. Our core is around 545+. The second team is around 530+. There are also a couple of players around 520. So basically, more than capable to handle heroic level content. I'm looking over last night's logs. Hc Horridon, 11:52. Almost hitting enrage. We only lost one dps at around the 11th minute mark. We did have 7 healers (due to some of them not having a decent offspec), but... it's hard to say it was easy to carry these people. I assume that at the time when we did hc Horridon on 10m (at around 520 iLvl) it would've been impossible to down it in 25m without a full group of progression-oriented people.
    Yeah, I do recall doing normal Horridon in 25m in the fourth (?) week and it was easy-mode, but then again, we already had full clear and knowledge from the 10m. Also, while the first half was easy enough, we ended it at Twins, were it was clear there wasn't enough dps.

    1. It is not a myth, it is an fact based on experience. While it might be anecdotal evidence at best from my experiences 25s have always been easier.

      Even back when 25s offered better gear they were easier. 10 man groups in lesser gear would join for a 25 ICC with a few pugs and roflsstomp through it. But 10 people from the better geared 25 man could not get past 6 bosses on 10 man. 25s have always been easier. Even when they offered better gear.

      Perhaps things are different on heroic level. I have not raided anything 25 man heroic since wrath. The only heroic experience I have had since then is in 10s and 10s only. But for normals it is absolutely not a myth. 25s are much easier. Your mileage might vary as you are speaking from heroic 25 and I am speaking from normal 25.

      The other night, which most would call a fail night, we went into a 25 with under geared alts and some really fresh players, as in 480 or so item level. The top DPS on the first fight was over 150K less than the top DPS normally (308K to 144K). It all went down form there. Just to show you this was "not" an over geared group. It was 2 mains, 10 alts and 13 new players, 3 of which had never done it and 1 who had never even done it in LFR.

      We only got three bosses down in a hour and a half which was all the time we had. Like I said, nothing impressive. But try doing 10 man with that group and tell me you would ever get down horridon? I dare you to because you would be dead wrong.

      We even lost 7 people when sul got empowered because there was not enough DPS to burn him. We used our three battle res on 2 healers and a tank and still beat the fight.

      Losing 7 people in 25 is like losing 3 people in 10. Try any fight, I mean any fight, where you lose 3 people and they are not over geared characters to carry the group and see if you get the boss down. Not going to happen. Sorry.

      It is not a myth. 25s are easier.

    2. I know you’re smart enough to know that your anecdotal evidence does not make something a fact. In fact I can twist your own anecdotal evidence to make my own FACT! Your 25 man team is not as progressed as your 10 man teams therefore 25’s are harder then 10! FACT!

    3. I know that and that is why I stated it was anecdotal evidence.

      However, as such, it does influence my opinion that 25s are easier. Also, your argument would not hold water as the 10 man has better players than the 25 man and that is why it is more progressed. If the 10 man consisted of the same level of skill players as the 25 they would have never made it past horridon.

    4. I argue that yours doesn't hold water sir! Doesn't your 25 man contain lots of the same players from the 10 man? As such since 25 man is easier they should be able to carry them. Thus since they can't its harder (smirk). Regardless your first sentence claims it as FACT! and when it’s your opinion. If it’s your opinion it’s not a fact it’s an opinion. Just keeping you on the straight and narrow.

    5. 25m is easier in a what-if scenario. What if we had the required roster of 30-like-minded players, similar in skill and willingness to learn, same availability, class-balanced, with good computers that don't make framerates crawl, healers that know how to heal and use external cooldowns and so on. Heroic-wise, it's nothing to laugh about.
      I don't want to start and argument over which one is easier and which one isn't. I have experience both ways, of heavily overtuned 25m fights (Ultraxion anyone?) and vice-versa (try Megaera week 1). But carrying people like you were able to do back in Wrath is not really an option on 25m these days. And yes, we compare full content, not just the first few bosses.

    6. @ Tiggi

      I could go through a list of dozen reasons 25 man is easier. They would all be based on facts. So being I experienced those said fact, even if the results of only one person, it is my "opinion" that I believe the "fact" that 25 man is easier.

      There will always be arguments either way and people will have their opinion, but some years ago someone did some research and they were much more knowledgeable than I could ever be on the fact and they said if you remove the "human factor" that 25 man raids are mathematically easier.

      It is my opinion that I believe that fact. Call it my opinion, but that does not change anything.

      People will always tend to lean toward what they play as harder and what they don't as easier. As when a 25 goes to 10 they already have experience so 10s seem easier and when 10s go to 25 they think it is easier because they have done it on 10.

      That is a fact you can not argue. People with experience in one will always find the other easier.

      I am only talking from a simple numbers perspective removing the human factor and from that perspective 25s are easier.

      Add the human factor, and then 25s can become MUCH harder. But that has nothing to do with the content, it has to do with the people. The content remains easier.


      Removing the human factor and taking the content at face value, that is where the assessment that 25s are easier comes from.

      Personally. As a raid leader. I would be happy never to step into a 25 man again. I love it, but as a raider, not as a leader.

      The hardest part of a 25 man is getting the people and setting up the logistics. I think most people consider that is what makes 25s harder.

      If people want to say 25s are harder to assemble, harder to organize, harder to position, harder to assign, harder to keep more people happy, etc, I would agree hands down.

      But removing said human factor, I would not.

      The only real thing easier about 10 man is you get to choose the 10 best players to go in. That is what makes 10s seem easier. You are taking the best people, no carrying, no slackers, no people that stand in everything. That is why you need to remove the human factor when considering which is harder.

      @ Both

      In the end you base it on how you feel when doing it. I know when I want to "relax" I do 25 man. Because, in my opinion, that is what 25 man was made for.

  5. I've raided with a couple of different 10-man raids in MoP but right now I'm more or less between raids... filling in with various groups here and there but without a regular run. Partly by choice, partly by circumstance.

    I'm hoping to put together a 10-15 person flex raid in 5.4 with some friends (and friends-of-friends) but nothing has been finalized yet. I may also get back to normal 10-man raiding but I don't have any specific plans for that yet.

    The addition of flex for me will be entirely positive, it'll give me a chance to run more often if I choose to (primarily via cross-server) and has me actually thinking about putting my own run together. I don't have the obligation reflex to run all the things always, though, which makes that kind of flexibility a good thing rather than a bad thing.

    1. You mention something that is the best part of flex. You can run it with a 15 man team, and if a few do not show, you can still run it. That is fantastic. And you never have to tell people they need to sit today. I really like that aspect of it.

    2. Yeah, that's the current plan, try to get 15 actually interested folks (and maybe a few "eh, if I'm bored I'll come along"s as well) with enough off-specs or alts to deal with missing people. I still intend to treat it as a scheduled raid, though, this won't be a "show if you feel like it" like doing a weekly group LFR run, it'll just be a raid that if someone doesn't show we likely won't have to fill the spot. Attendance will still be required for at least the core group.

      One aspect of flex that I haven't seen mentioned much is that it'll be a GODSEND for guilds/raids who are looking to test players out. I'm expecting there will be significantly increased cross-guild cooperation (for non-cutthroat guilds, at least) as a result of flex, you'll have raiders from various guilds running in each others guild flex runs and probably forming some casual alliances for normal/heroic raid fill-ins... I love that and it's not something you can really work toward with normal raids, you don't want to displace a regular for a potential ally but bringing one extra body to a flex run shouldn't hurt and has some significant potential benefit.

      In my perfect world I'll have done flex raids with a bunch of guilds on the server by the time MoP ends just to meet some new people.

    3. I plan to use it to test out people for our 25. We only managed 5/12 in 2 months of actual raiding. Mostly one night a week. We are starting to come together, but there are still some stragglers. We are starting in flex and will promote from flex to the 25. No longer will the 25 be "take whoever shows" it will be earn your spot and flex will be where people learn and prove their worth. I am going to like it for that.

      I too will treat flex as a real raiding. It is what normal should really have been like to begin with in my opinion. A place where you can teach people. That is what normal is as I see it. But I'll use this for it. I love that we do not need to bring a set team number however. I am sort of at a toss up if I would want that in normal or not.

    4. My expectation is that when the next expansion hits (or at least the raids for it) there won't be 4 viable raid levels anymore (LFR, flex, normal, heroic). I'm not sure WHAT we'll get but I think 5.4 will be a testing ground for Blizzard to see where the action is.

      If I had to guess, I'd say LFR will be the one to go away and will become something less difficult than it currently is and will be a catch-up mechanic for gear (like the previous late-expansion 5-mans) more than viable current content. More of an interactive story than an actual raid, similar in difficulty to heroic 5-mans but with 25 people tripping over each other. Raiders won't have any obligation to run it, it'll drop lower-quality gear and JPs (which will hopefully be a bit more useful than they were in MoP).

      Flex will be renamed Normal and will become the "standard" type of raid that most people do who consider themselves raiders.

      Dedicated 10- and 25-man raids will be called something new (I don't think it will be Heroic) and have a difficulty level somewhere between current normals and heroics, probably closer to normal.

      Elite modes will be added that are somewhat more difficult than current heroics and are available after you've killed a boss - so, even if you've only killed the first boss, you can do him on Elite mode the next time in. If you get stuck on a progression boss you can choose to work on Elite progression earlier in the instance instead even if you don't have a full clear. That might be of use to some raids who have a poor comp for a boss but have the skill to down a harder earlier boss.

      I'm probably completely wrong, though. :)

    5. I would love to see LFR go away or become something much much easier and fast as a catch up mechanic. So you have my vote at least.

      I like your ideas but as you said, I do not see LFR going away. Blizzard has MAJOR issues with admitting mistakes so don't expect that to happen any time soon. But maybe, just maybe, they will adjust it downward a bit.

  6. You say removing shared lockouts was the worst decision ever, yet you complain about having too many raids to run with flex and normals. Those two scenarios are basically the same. Which is it?

    For me, Flex will be nice because it will likely be the only real raiding I'll see for most of the patch, and I'll be able to do it on characters cross server.

    I could see server transfer revenue going down significantly because people can try raiding with a guild via flex before transferring now. It won't be quite the same, but you'll at least get a feel for the guild environment instead of wasting 25 bucks to find out the guild is all full of your third ten men people.

    1. They are two completely different things. If they had 2 separate lock outs but changed it to the same gear level then you can run 10s with guild and 25s with pug or the the other way around.

      It builds community, helps guild recruitment, and lets people make a choice. Sure, many would still feel they "need" to run both, I would be one of them, but the benefits to community can not be denied.

      I believe flex can be the replacement for that second lock out, the pug lock out, be it 10 or 25 of before. But I also believe flex should drop the same item level as normal otherwise it just becomes another stepping stone and goes from the illusion of choice to run all to the reality that even if you run one you will still "need" to run another. All opinion of course.

      The change in raiding with adding 10s and 25s together destroyed my server and many other servers. You can see, if you can still find it, that drastic drop in raiding from wrath to cataclysm and that is the main reason for it.

      So, those two scenarios are no where near the same. It is not so much having too many raids that is the problem, it is having too many item levels for each raid. They should all drop the same gear. I would even go so far as to say LFR / flex / normal / heroic should all drop the same gear and the only difference between them would be difficulty, allowing people true choice.

      You make a great point with the flex for resting with guilds but you are aware that you could do that with LFR too right? My guild would routinely invite other people from other servers on out LFR runs back when they were new.

    2. I hope that flex builds community and pugs more. My main experience with separate lockouts was just "having" to run both every week on at least two toons to have the best possible gear for the main raids (two raids with half mains in each to funnel gear). I can see that still being a thing for hard core raiders with flex now. I think that was why they tried to put flex at 540 so that heroic raiders wouldn't have upgrades from it, so they wouldn't need to run it. I think tier and certain trinkets could still trump that at first though. Now that moves it down to the normal mode raiders can see upgrades in flex, but they are generally less likely to feel the need to run both if they aren't competing in the progression race.

      I don't think there's any one reason for the drastic drop in raiding, and even if there was neither of us is going to have the numbers to back it up.

      I'm hoping that flex is closer to normal raiding though, and therefore more likely to allow you to show some skill. Also more likely to be on vent during so you can get a feel for how it would be during real raids. Whenever I ran LFR with guildies it was usually only a subset of the people in the run, and everyone just autopiloted it.

      I think in theory it would be nice if all the versions dropped the same, and you just picked the version you liked best. In reality that would just lead to different abuses. Hard core guilds running tons of lower level raids to funnel gear, and only then stepping up in difficulty for the real race. I like the idea of you can only get loot once but you can run it to help friends more times, but in formats where the bosses themselves still drop loot that again would lead to abuses.

    3. I think the key is that people can PUG flex with their mains and not "lock out" their character from the guild run.

      That is really what helps a lot. When everyone is saving their "good" character for the guild run, you do not have as many good people to choose from when pugging. And that is what killed pugging, the lack of separate lock outs.

      There is the added fact for people like myself. I not only saved my main for the guild raid but I saved my tank too just in case it was needed. So that was effectively removing two, sometimes more, characters from possible people to pug with.

      From doing flex last night I can see it will not be something you can pug easily until people get to know the fights, but it sure seems like it will be possible. It wasn't until the 3rd boss that we even hit any problems what so ever. First two bosses seemed easy enough. However, I can see the first boss giving some pugs problems, but the second was really easy and the 3rd could be the pug breaker. At the start at least.