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Blizzard guru Watcher recently posted a
series of Dev Watercolor blog posts solely focuses on raiding in
World of Warcraft. Posts one
of this series detailed how
raiding has changed up until this point. Without a doubt, they are
pretty eye-opening reads.

Raiding has changed and evolved a lot
over the years, perhaps more than we remember. We have gotten used to
the current status quot and it is pretty easy to believe that things
have always been this way. However, these blog posts make it
glaringly clear that more than a few changes, both good and bad, have
been put into effect over the years. Some of these changes manage to
stand head and shoulders above the rest, improving raiding forever. Read
on to see my personal picks for the top 5 raiding changes of the past.

Smaller Raid Groups

Back in the first days of raiding in
World of Warcraft, 40 players gathered together to take on challenges
like the Molten Core and Onyixa's lair. Raiding guilds were
impossibly huge, with hundreds of members to manage, to be able to
fill these raids. While I still have fond memories of these times, it
was hard to feel you were truly important to the group when you were
just one of many. Not to mention that many players were totally left
out of raiding, unable to fill the massive quota of 40 plus needed to

As we know, 40 man raids were replaced
with 25 man raids in Burning Crusade and eventually 25 and 10 man
raids. This opened up raiding to more players than ever. It also made
players feel like they were real heroes, that they were important to
their raid group and not just one of 40 hamsters turning the wheel.

Flexible Raiding

A more recent addition to the raiding
scene is Flexible Raiding. Introduced for the Siege of Orgrimmar, this
form of raiding was put into place to ensure that players who
desired to play with their friends and family (one of the most
appealing parts of raiding for most) would be able to, even if they
didn't have exactly 10 or 25 members.

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Before Siege, things were tough for
these groups. They found themselves unable to complete raid content
as it became more difficult, yet they were steadfast in their desire
to play with the people they loved. Flexible raiding in Siege was
20-25% easier than Normal mode, making it akin to the 10-man days of
Karazhan, without sacrificing the fight mechanics. Allowing players
to play with the group of their choosing, while still being able to
enjoy boss fights as they were intended, is a pretty big deal in my
book. As we know, Flexible raiding has been so successful, it is
moving on to Warlords of Draenor in a whole new form and thus,
Flexible Raiding is firmly planted on this list.

Variable Difficulty Bosses

In Wrath, Blizzard was faced with a
major problem; raiding seemed a bit to lenient. This was especially
true for more hardcore guilds who were looking for a bit of a
challenge. Very few players want to go into an instance and stroll
through it, it just isn't any fun. Variable difficulty bosses, the
first being Sartharion, were the perfect answer to this problem and
were expanded upon in Ulduar.

Players were able to choose to take on
the boss in normal mode, or activate the bosses “hard mode” that
offered up better loot. This lead to the Heroic mode and the rest is
history. Without bosses with variable difficulties, none of this
would have happened and more than a few players would still be
wishing for a more challenging raiding option.

Merging 10 and 25 Man

I hesitated to pick this particular
raiding change to my list, because I knew it would be highly
controversial. However, in the end I decided to throw caution to the
wind and give it a spot. You see, more is not always better and that
was seen when raid groups were able to complete both 10 and 25 man
raids. While it would seem groups would pick one or the other, most
the time players felt pressured to do both. Talk about burnout.

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Also a concern with having two seperate
raid difficulities, was the feeling that 10 player groups never got a
chance to take on the harder content. This was pretty discouraging,
especially if you had a great group. Consolidating 10 and 25 man into
one difficulty solved both of these problems in one fell swoop. These
changes may have brought about some not-so-nice side effects,
but after some trial and error, this has become one of the best
raiding changes we've seen thus far.

Raid Finder

I will be the first to laugh at a Raid
Finder joke. There is no doubt that this fairly new raid system has
some flaws. However, it makes the list because it, like many others
here, has made raiding available to so many more players. For a long
time, only select players could hope to see end game content. While
my old elitest self would not have been fine with that, I now
realize how
wrong it is. Every player should get the chance to raid if they so
choose and Raid Finder makes that possible, planting it firmly on
this list.

That wraps up my picks for the top 5
raid changes of the past. We can only hope that Warlords of Draenor
and other future expansions will continue to take raiding to new
levels of awesome. Check out some of the changes you can expect to raiding
in Warlords in the final
blog post of the Dev Watercooler: Raiding Azeroth series
. What are
some raid changes you were particularly
thankful for? Share them with us in the comments section below!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.