World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor has several changes that where announced, but one of the ones most dear to myself are the changes to the raid system. There are changes coming to the types (or difficulty levels) of the raids in game, the addition of a new raid type, and changes to the tuning used in raids for difficulties.
Warlords of Draenor - Raid Types
The first thing to look at is the new raid structure that will be used in Warlords of Draenor. The clearest explanation can be seen by checking out the chart below:
The new raid structure and how it relates to the old structure from Mists of Pandaria.
Some of the key things to note about the coming changes are:
- Almost all raids now use the flexible raid size system to adjust the raid difficulty on the fly for 10-25 players.
- You can not queue for a 10 player Raid Finder, it will automatically try to fill to 25 players, and keep trying to fill over time. However, if you have 2 players disconnect right before a boss, you can still pull the boss and it will just auto adjust to the number of players in the raid at that time.
- Mythic raids are set to 20 players and are non-flex based.
- There are therefore 2 fewer levels of raiding available to players.
- Each raid type is on a separate lockout.
- You can still enter raids that you are locked out of, as it is only a loot lock based on the bosses you won loot from. You can still enter a raid that you beat that week to help out a friend or guild.
- Blizzard mentioned at BlizzCon that ONLY Raid Finder difficulty will port you to the raid. You will not be able to port in and out at will of the other raids as you do now. You will need to walk in the front door, like players used to have to.
- All raids will be cross-realm, meaning you can raid with friends from other servers if you want.
Warlords of Draenor - Automatic Raid Tuning
Even though the new raids will predominantly be flex mode raiding that adapts to the number of players that are currently in it, Blizzard has already talked a bit about how they will be tuning them differently than the current flex mode system. In addition even though they are using flexible adjustments, flex mode is gone from the game.
The biggest difference from the current Flex raid level to the new Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic modes that use the flex technology is how they will auto balance for difficulty and gear rewards.
Currently there are break points for the number of players and key mechanics in each boss encounter. What is meant by this is that a boss may target 2 random players with an ability at up to 14 players, but then hits 3 players with it once there are 15 in the raid. This means that currently some fights are significantly easier if you stay just below those break points. These break points exist for gear drops as well, you need a certain number of players in the raid to have that extra item drop.
In the new system being used for tuning, the game will still determine the number of players to affect with an ability or the amount of gear to drop based on the amount of players in the raid, but will use percentages rather than break points. Using the same example as above where every 5 additional players in a raid means an extra person being affected by an ability, if you have 14 players in the raid then 2.8 players will be affected. Huh? What is 0.8 of a player. What the game will do is each time the ability is used, 2 players will be affected and there will be an 80% chance of a 3rd being affected. The same system will be used for determining how much loot should drop when a boss is killed.
This new system means that in general you will not need to worry about the number of players in a raid making any encounter harder or easier, or looking for that perfect number to maximize the amount of loot dropped. There will be exceptions, as certain fights or mechanics need to have a set number of players affected so that you know how many to watch for, but for most fights it will scale as described here.
Warlords of Draenor - Mythic Raid
The new Mythic raid level is Blizzards answer to the hard core raiding groups that look to defeat the hardest content out there as soon as they can. This new level of raiding, replaces the current Heroic level of raiding, but aims to step it up a bit in difficulty.
There are a few key things to note about the new Mythic raid difficulty.
Mythic Raid Size - Blizzard also aims to adjust the raid size used for this level of raiding from the current 10 or 25 players down to 20. This is meant to be a middle ground since it will only be available in one size. As such this is the only level of raiding that does not use the flex system to adjust difficulty. If you do not bring 20 players you are severely hurting your ability to complete this level of raiding.
Mythic Raid Composition - Blizzard is using the 20 player size instead of a smaller 10 player raid size so that they can safely assume 1 of each class will be present in the raid. Blizzard has already stated that different encounters will require different specific classes to use abilities that are not normally used any more. This could be see as a return to several old raid encounters where you had to have certain classes doing certain things to be able to defeat the encounter.
Mythic Raid Difficulty - By having a single set raid size and having it large enough to assume 1 of each class present, Blizzard has stated that it will allow them far greater control in tuning the fights to be as hard as possible and therefore offer an even more challenging encounter for the hardcore raiding guilds.
Warlords of Draenor Raid Changes - Comments
So far the changes being announced about Raiding in Warlords of Draenor have me pretty excited. However since I do not complete in the Hardcore raiding environment any more, I wonder what those players think of the change in raid size for them? So, I am looking for hardcore heroic raiders to post their thoughts on those changes. For everyone else, what are your thoughts on the rest of the changes, predominantly the change to use flexible sizes for all of the non-hardcore modes. Please share your thoughts in our comment section below.