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Should Mythic Raiding Be Flexible?

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11689-should-mythic-raiding-be-flexible.

 

When Blizzard announced their raid game restructuring for Warlords of Draenor at BlizzCon 2013, they made major adjustments to Raid Finder and the once-Normal, now-Heroic difficulty - introducing flexibility so that in LFR, Normal, and Heroic raiding, any number of players from 10 to 25 (later upped to 30) could get together and raid. The 'hardcore' difficulty, now referred to as Mythic, would be exclusively for a fixed group of 20 players. But should it be?

 

For some context, here is the original announcement after BlizzCon 2013. All of the old raid formats were being condensed into the new flexible paradigm, with the exception of Mythic:

 

PN7ZTE8EMVF71383582152086.png

Now with less, "Where's Johnny tonight, $*%?!"

 

Flexible raiding may be among one of the best additions ever brought to World of Warcraft. In an inherently social environment, being forced to bring people into your circle of friends to meet an arbitrary head count - or, worse, being forced to ask some of your friends to sit on the sidelines - was never enjoyable. It created most of the recruitment and retention headaches the game experienced in prior expansions.

 

Blizzard opted not to make Mythic flexible, however, saying this:

 

The only place where Flex scaling doesn’t quite suit our gameplay goals is the most extreme difficulty of raid content, where razor’s-edge tuning would be impossible to achieve while supporting incremental raid sizes for each additional player. Thus, we are introducing Mythic difficulty with a single, fixed 20-player size, which will offer the pinnacle of raiding for the best of the best and the highest-quality rewards and prestige.

 

Understandably, the caveat above is logical - given the balance that has to be struck between various raid group requirements (number of tanks, how much damage tanks do vs. a DPS class, number of healers, availability of buffs/cooldowns/etc.), it would absolutely be quite difficult to make the tuning flawless for a truly level playing field competitively.

 

The question that emerges, then, is this: Is the playing field being flawlessly even actually a worthwhile pursuit?

 

G5zfKxP.jpg

Method won this contest. You or I never had a chance.

 

Since the beginning of high end raiding in MMO's, guilds have used whatever advantages were available to them to be progressively more competitive - edging out their opposition using multiple raid instances, alt raids, putting in more hours, and finding every conceivable edge case on an encounter over hundreds of pulls. These players are already breaking the tuning balance by gaining advantages that don't exist for all but maybe a few hundred players in the world.

 

When flexible raiding was introduced, it was designed explicitly to cater to a more casual audience - somewhere between LFR (the 'watch the cutscenes' difficulty) and the then-Normal, now-Heroic difficulty (a 10- or 25-player difficulty that was reasonably challenging). Issues with flex scaling were identified early on, and solved ahead of the move to the WoD paradigm. In general, the mathematical principles of most abilities and the design of encounters has been updated to reflect the scaling requirements of flex.

 

When a raid group goes to do Mythic, they're already at the point of pulling out all of the stops. They're being forced to use a set number of players. If - for sake of argument - Mythic were flexible, and someone identified a clever breakpoint for a Mythic raid ("It's easiest with 17 people, guys!"), in what meaningful way would that be demonstrably different from the current situation? The 2-3% of players working on content of that difficulty level are not going to be negatively effected by the introduction of flexibility/scaling, and maybe it would open Mythic up to some of the 10-player Heroic raiders of years gone by.

 

pvp20141112.jpg

The PvP webcomic had a great take on flex raiding.

 

There are plenty of restrictions on Mythic raiding to keep it exclusive. It will (likely!) always have the additional raw numerical difficulty, the additional mechanics and execution requirements, the cross-realm restrictions, and so on. Making the difficulty flexible would just be a strong way for Blizzard to help keep guilds, groups, and the game healthy long-term, by eliminating one of the few places in which an unfortunate anti-social barrier to gameplay still exists.

 

So, to the two main points against flexible Mythic raiding:

 

1. It's too difficult to design difficult raid content that has a variable size. I disagree - Blizzard is managing just fine with LFR/Normal/Heroic, and I think it would translate well to Mythic. The concern that underpins this isn't that the content wouldn't be "difficult enough" on Mythic, but that guilds would be able to isolate a 'best' group size per encounter. That possibility does not, to me, seem any more significant in terms of ways to achieve progression than having alt raids or the ability to raid 30 hours a week.

 

2. Players will abuse scaling to find easier ways to beat encounters. There are a ton of solutions here - encounter design is already certainly attempting to account for this, and I have not seen or heard any meaningful examples of players attempting to play around head count in the other difficulty levels (which, presumably, would be just as present in Normal guilds trying to 'game' Heroic encounters beyond their ability as it would be with Heroic guilds working on Mythic, or whatever). Also, frankly, as has been said already - guilds at the top end are going to use every advantage they can get. Gating content behind raid size doesn't have any impact on those guilds; it limits accessibility to another audience.

 

Basically, go look at this Dark Legacy Comics entry from January. Most of what people remember from their decade with this game is the people they played it with, and they come back to play with their friends. If those people are good enough players of the game to mechanically enjoy Mythic content, but there are only 14 of them, what serious reason is there not to let them?

 

I have a dream - a dream that one day, all raiding will be flexible, and all raids will be judged not by the number of their characters, but by the ability of their players.

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This is an excellent post and a conversation Blizzard really needs to invite the community into. Having been one of those "10-player Heroic raiders of years gone by", the transition to 20-player Mythic has been anything but smooth. You bring up a lot of points, and I would like to add a couple of things to it.

 

Firstly, when Mythic difficulty was first announced at Blizzcon, I specifically remember the devs (I believe it was Jeff Kaplan) talking about class balance and class stacking in raids. I also remember that one of the biggest arguments they made inf avor of Mythic being locked at 20 players was that 20-man was the minimum amount they felt they could design for to ensure that every raid would have one of each class. They then elaborated on this, seeming quite excited when they went on to say they could then have mechanics on Mythic fights that only certain abilities or classes would be able to counter or make use of. I have to admit, I got excited about this, and it was one of the main things I was looking forward to for Mythic difficulty. My mind started even thinking of possibilities: a fight where Summoning Portals can be used in combat and Warlocks have to summon a tank from a 'locked' position before they get squished by a boss mechanic? Perhaps an encounter where fires need to be lit by Shaman's Flame Shocks and then doused by Mage's Frostbolt's at specific times? The ability trees and class structures of WoW are literally rife with possibilities they could have implemented.

 

However, now, an entire Tier into this shiny, new difficulty and how many class-specific mechanics have we gotten? One. Priests using Dominate Mind on NPCs during the Blast Furnace encounter, to be specific. To make matters worse, this is actually a mechanic you can make use of on any difficulty, so it's validity as a class-specific Mythic mechanic is in dispute to begin with. To me, this seems to be a total slap in the face: we got no class-specific mechanics, we got no more class balance than we were already used to, and the hardest difficulty in the game just became the much more inaccessible - to players who should be able to access it.

 

Secondly, you made the point of players abusing scaling to make things easier. While this is true, take a look at how things currently work and ask yourself: is this any worse than the class-stacking/class-exclusion that has been rampant in this game since BC? No one wants a warrior or shadow priest right now, regardless of how many that might bring their group to for scaling issues. The downside just doesn't outweigh the upside. What I would like to see, more than Blizzard locking hard difficulties at one number of players is for them to take the initiative to kick these kinds of groups to the curb.

 

I know there are plenty of issues with what I am about to suggest, but what about class-limiting? If you try to enter a raid with 10 ppl total, and more than 3 of those are of the same class, you get an "Invalid Raid Composition" error when trying to zone in and are dumped back out, similar to the "Instance is Full" error. Bosses could have comp checks built in as well: say a boss is tuned at 10 players for 2 tanks, 2 healers, 2 melee DPS and 4 Ranged DPS, if you tried to pull with 2 tanks, 2 healers, 1 melee and 5 ranged, the boss would despawn and an "Invalid Raid Composition" system message would appear for all players. They already have the dungeon journal where they could list requirements for bosses.

 

I'm not saying there wouldn't be any flexibility, either. Bosses could be tuned for 2 Tanks, 2-3 healers, 2 melee and 3-4 ranged DPS for example. (Note: I also believe we are well past the time where melee DPS and Ranged DPS should count as the same role, but that's another topic entirely.) This would give certain teams that need more heals the flexibility to bring them, but it would also prevent other raid teams from cheesing the encounter by bringing 3 boomkins, 2 mages and a hunter on fights that may not be as melee-friendly as some people wish it were. It would also take the guess work out of "Do we have enough Y to handle X?" mechanics discussions that precede pulls each and every day. There could also be a "Test Mode" you could set raids to in order to buck these restrictions, but the logs taken during such attempts would be flagged as such and wouldn't be valid for the progression race. I guess it just disappoints me that Blizzard has complained for years about raids using class-stacking, got rid of big raid CDs in WoD to try to alleviate the problem, but still hasn't taken this simple view of it.

 

Bottom line, I believe there are ways Blizzard could force players be more flexible in their comps and to include classes that aren't as "safe" as others. Especially in the era of the "Bring the player, not the class" mentality. Assuming that mentality still exists on the dev team, I'm really surprised they haven't class-limited raids sooner. Either way, the un-flexibility of Mythic is definitely something that needs to be looked at and revised. In most cases, it was not and is not as easy for 10-man Heroic raiders to simply glue two teams or guilds together and assume schedules, attitudes, classes, roles, and voice chats will just line up.

Edited by ORCSMASH
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I'd really like to see a flexible option for mythic raiding. We're currently just farming 10/10 HC in our guild, and can't stat mythic atm since we've had a lot of players who left in early 6.1, and it's hard to PUG 8-10 guys from our realm on raid nights, and we're trying to recruit but it's just hard and i'd pref to just go with the 12-15 people we've been raiding with since HM.

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Ok blizzard created these different difficulties for a reason, to separate players of different skill! And it's neat!

Back in TBC there was Sunwell, most of the players just ignored the raid, or atleast few of the last bosses and had nothing to do in the game for a while. But now there is a difficulty for anyone out there! From that kid that can hardly press the buttons to the genius that leads a big successful guild. If you can't find 19 other people to do Mythic maybe it's just not your thing! If you take the fixed 20 man from the mythic then there is nothing left of discipline or competition to get to the 20 man roster!

I mean we had this guild where people just randomly come online and you know if they were in the mood, they might come to the raid for the flex mode. So there were no competitions out there, No one tried to do better to get that spot in the roster because anytime they come online they got invited...

In my opinion these kind of guilds with no discipline and no commitment and with members that just don't want to dedicate 100% to the raid, just don't deserve it! They really don't deserve to kill Mythic bosses, so they MUST struggle finding a fix 20 man roster! They MUST have problem doing Mythic with PUG, I mean it's PUG for God's sake! If we would be able to do the most difficult bosses in this game with any amount of players with a pug group or even with a guild that members don't care if they come online for the raid or not, then I don't see a hard mode in this game!

Remember when the leader had to sort out the groups with different buffs? you know melee on group 1 to get the attack power buff, casters on group 2 to get the shaman totem and blood lust, omg you haven't invited a paladin!! what are we going to do without pala buff!! I mean it was so hard for the leader!!! where is the challenge right now? It has been taken from us! and yet you're trying to make it even easier to do the bosses? No I don't want that. I don't want the difficulty of the tactics or the spells, I don't want a video from icy veins where it says ok remember that boss in the last patch? well this spell is exactly the same with a new model!! huray!!! No I want to see a video where you say ok this one is tough for the leader or the one that calls the shots! I want to see a challenge as a leader, as a guild master, as an officer. Day after day we see more people with ZERO knowledge of the game creating groups for raid and unfortunately... they succeed... And sometimes they even ninja items. No I don't want this kind of leader, I want a sort of difficulty where you can realize a noob just by entering his group! And In my opinion Mythic is somehow providing this difficulty and changing it to flex is going to destroy the fun and challenge.

Edited by mnime

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I 100% agree that mythic should be flex. The "challenge" should come from defeating the incredibly difficult bosses, not trying to find enough geared people to do it. My guild has a quite steady 20 man roster, but guess what? Real life happens. Sometimes people have to work late, or travel, or can't make it for other reasons. The other 18 or 19 of us shouldn't be forced to pug, or miss a night entirely over something like this.

Also if blizzard wants to see more classes played consistently they need to give a helping hand to those classes, not force more people to be needed in a raid group. It's the same thing with Moba's, the balance teams always look at the game as a whole rather than just admitting a hero or class is weak. Maybe there is a reason nobody wants a shadow priest...why would I take a shadow priest when I could have an arcane or fire Mage pull more dps at a lower ilvl? It's just common sense really.

TLDR: Mythic should be flex to accommodate real life situations.

It should be about your skill, not who you know.

If blizzard wants more classes to be viable they need to personally throw them a bone, not force a number restriction.

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Amongst all the other stuff that Bliz have got right in WOD, Flex raiding and the scaling of the 4 difficulties of raids they have offered stand out.  Flex raiding as they have implemented it in WOD is IMO one of the best features that Bliz has delivered to us to date in the game.  It was a carrot that had a lot of us return to WOW and has lived up to it's promise of making raiding more flexible and from an organizational point of view more accessible to guilds.  Blizzard have also this expansion done really well providing Raid challenges to all levels of Players and Raiding guilds.  At one end we have the LFR theme park ride that means anyone so inclined can see what the content looks like, Normal is simple enough that raiding is accessible to any guild that wants to take it up, Heroic is challenging enough for satisfy the majority of Raiding Guilds and Mythic is lip smackingly difficult enough that it presents a challenge to the best raiders and raiding guilds.  Two thumbs up so far.

 

Where Blizzard has fumbled, though not dropped the ball is in marrying up the benefits that Flex raiding and Mythic content deliver.  I am tempted to play the worlds smallest violin for the Devs who say that balancing Mythic for Flex would just be too hard.  Clearly they need more Google meeting bikes to allow them to nut out how to do it.   If it really is a problem which the company is simply unwilling to spend the money on solving then they should spend the smaller amount of money and balance it for 10 man.  The dual options of 10 and 20 man raid sizes in Mythic wouldn't be as amazing as Flex Mythic but it would be soooo much better than only having 20man. 

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Mythic needs to be a flex option - look at the number of guilds that have disbanded during mythic blackrock. Skill had nothing to do with it, only maintaining a roster, and its becoming harder and harder these days due to the fact that for some reason, EVERYONE must have their own guild.

 

I was looking at trade chat today and saw 7 guilds recruiting, trying to gain a mythic roster - each had roughly the same schedule, same loot rules, etc. So I asked in trade "Why not just combine your guilds into one and have your mythic+ roster?" And the reasons baffled me, and were contradictory to their proposed guild environment stated in their recruitment post.

 

But for the higher end guilds, lets take a look at Blood Legion. I quote the following from their home page:

http://www.bloodlegion.com/

 

"Now that the dust has settled a bit, I decided to take the time and write a news post to keep everyone in the loop.

Blood Legion has been around since the launch of WoW, and has always been at the top of the PvE scene. Since 2011, we've been pushing the envelope and putting in countless hours of preparation towards competing for World Firsts.

Over the years, many people of the guild have gotten married, some have had children, others have moved on to new jobs/schools, and all of the other things that life throws our way.

We have always had a very small roster when it comes to raiding, and when these life issues come into play, along with others having less of a desire to push the insane hours, number of alts, etc., it became very clear that we needed to cut back on the hours and change the direction of the guild.

Our part in the race to World First has ended. We may enter the fray once again down the road. Blood Legion has been an active guild and part of the Illidan community since day 1. We will continue to do so until the day they close down the server. Thank you to everyone who supported our quest to win. We appreciate every one of you. And to all former, present, and future Blood Legion members. May you always remember what this guild did for you and what you did for this guild.

Thanks Again.

-Riggs"

 

So times have changed, and even the most skilled of us cannot commit the insane hours anymore to push for the bleeding edge, yet there are so many skilled raiders out there that CAN do mythic, but cannot due to roster issues. THAT is a problem. I was raiding Full Time Mythic (ended 6/10 BRF Mythic) and people quit showing up due to real life issues. So to say that mythic isnt for players like myself due to external issues is insane mnime. Just look at how many US Guilds are full cleared 10/10 Mythic: out of 88 Full Clears, only 15 have full cleared. Overall hardcore progression compared to past expansions has dropped off immensely.

 

Blizzard could have simply made Normal/Heroic/Mythic all flex, and gated each raid behind full clear of its previous difficulty, just like in Wrath. This way, everyone can experience the raid difficulty they want, even if they have no intention to play mythic. This way, if they ever DID want to check out mythic, they wouldnt have to worry about roster concerns - they would be able to go in and check it out. Whats so wrong with that? This is a game that everyone should be able to enjoy no matter what, with 100% access to any content designed.

 

Hopefully next expansion (sooner preferred), we see all raid difficulty levels become flex. I will try to hold out hope.

Edited by Cavil
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The size itself is not likely the issue. Plenty of guild maintained rosters for 25m sizes. I would think the burnout would likely be due to the fact that Highmaul and Blackrock have been relatively difficult instances, but mostly due to the fact that any guild that wants to be competitive has to have nearly half a dozen alts that they can play at a high level in order to do split raids to maximize the benefit of the loot lockouts. I can't say what the solution to that is. I really like the flexible size and loot lockouts of normal and heroic, but the strain of leveling, gearing, and maintaining those alts is crazy.

 

Further, Mythic needs to NOT be flexible. No matter how well Blizzard tests, and tunes, and fixes, there will always be some raid size that makes a fight easier. Add this to class stacking, the variety of strats people can come up with, and all the rest and the difficulty of tuning every possible raid size from 10 to 30 would be a Herculean task. On top of that, it would be a waste of resources. Having a unified Mythic size allows the progression race to be on a slightly more even ground.

 

 

This is a game that everyone should be able to enjoy no matter what, with 100% access to any content designed.

 

This is the purpose of LFR. Even the most casual can see all of the content available. Mythic is for less casual players and yes, maintaining the roster is a challenge, but it is far from insurmountable.

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This is the purpose of LFR. Even the most casual can see all of the content available. Mythic is for less casual players and yes, maintaining the roster is a challenge, but it is far from insurmountable.

I'm not sure that the access to the content that was mentioned, was about seeing it in LFR.

 

WoW is an old game. 10 years - people who started to play being 17-25 years old, now are 27-35. There are people who raided through all the expansions, like in my raid group - we have the same core raiders for almost 7 years.

We were doing all the actual HC raid content and we always had enough people to manage a 10-man. But now we were brutally cut from the Mythic content because we don't have 25 people for a steady 20-man progression. 30+ years old still want to raid and have the needed abilities, but it's extremely hard to have 20 people of this age coming to the raid 3 times a week because RL stuff happens - later hours at work, kid's ill, family duty... Some day we have 17 people in raid, another day - 22. So it's fine for HCs, but no Mythic for us even with all the desire and ability.

Yeah, I know: "Stop to whine, go recruit, go to LFR if you so busy, raiding is for young people" - I heard all of this.

 

But maybe there is a better solution for the problem that, let's admit, we have here.

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I do think allowing Mythic to have a more limitted Flex system would be good without compromising the design philosophy behind it.  Something like17-22.  That way Blizz doesn't need to worry about mechanical, damage or loot breakpoints in Mythic as the raid numbers all fall in a much tighter range. It simply adjusts boss hp so falling short or high does bone a raid.

 

I'm not sure that the access to the content that was mentioned, was about seeing it in LFR.

 

Yeah, I know: "Stop to whine, go recruit, go to LFR if you so busy, raiding is for young people" - I heard all of this.

 

But maybe there is a better solution for the problem that, let's admit, we have here.

The "Recruit more" response has never been terribly compelling to me.  If you're not a top 100 guild you're going to struggle with getting the 20 for Mythic.  God forbid you fall below the top 300 and you might as well take a buck shot approach to recruiting.  It's a sad consequence of guilds that like progression but don't compete at the highest level for kills.  It' exponentially harder to find solid, stable recruits as the best of them often seek a higher ranking guild.  Thus your quality of recruits snowballs.

 

My guild would consider Mythic as well.  We have the same issue.  ~12 Core raiders that have been around since early BC and ~10 more infrequent raiders.  Hitting the requisite 20 is hard for us.  And that's not counting the mechanics skill issue of having ~5 of the raiders taking several times longer to get down boss mechanics.  Yes, that part's our problem as we don't consider ourselves competitive and min/max oriented enough to bench the slower ones.  But removing the hard 20 would go a long ways to removing at least 1 big hurdle in raiding Mythic for a guild around our level.  

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I'm not 100% sure with this one. I'm probably totally the opposite to you synkronized

 

I've always raided 10 man and the flexible raids have been great for us.  Raid flexibility helps with trials, bringing in those that would have been standbys etc and as a whole it's been positive.  We are 8/10 hc now (had about 10-15 pulls on Blast Furnace hc so far) and although progress hasnt stalled - I can see Blackhand heroic being really difficult for us.  The only "problem" I've had from flexible raiding is for the players who are borderline in terms of availability.  In previous expansions weve always had 10 players confirmed and sometimes had to put these borderline players on standby.  Now the group is flexible I'm forever getting /w "can I come?" etc and as a casual guild its pretty tough to manage the groups now.  Weve taken a lot of players who shouldnt have been in the progress group early on as (because I'm weak and struggle to say no).  Having a strict 20 man setup when we finally have enough players to do it will help me get back to "sorry you cant come youre not in our top 20 players".

 

I'd quite like to push into some early mythic bosses from Highmaul etc just to keep our guys motivated, but like a large number of guilds out there we are anywhere between 10-15, possibly 18 if everyone turns up.  Would I like to go with what I have without having to recruit? I'm not sure.

 

Back in TBC I was just starting out and I managed to clear Karazhan.  I never dreamed of going to BT / Sunwell as I wasnt good enough.  I didnt expect any scraps from the table and although I love Warcraft III and Illidan I think if LFR was available then it would have devalued it for me.  Hearing from a friend who had progressed on him and watching some videos on youtube was enough for me.  I understand that LFR has its place and thats a totally different discussion - but I actually LIKE having something be difficult.  Even if the difficulty is creating a worthwhile group.

 

Yeah it sucks for a lot of guilds like ours who are 15 on a average raid night, but I still love the fact that something still needs to be worked for.  A lot may argue that there shouldnt be a "recruitment boss" but the fact there are still some barriers to the end end content is good.  

 

So for us - we are pushing recruitment / considering co-ops with guilds on our server and a few other things.  Is it a pain? Yup!  But I think it's great that we have something to work for.  We are pushing the boundaries a bit and for me as GM / raid leader - its a new challenge all in itself.

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 A lot may argue that there shouldnt be a "recruitment boss" but the fact there are still some barriers to the end end content is good.  

I would argue here. In my opinion, the barriers in raiding should be about your play skill and ability / willing to put an effort to achieve a goal.

It shouldn't be about a server you are playing at (low or high populated), it shouldn't be about the age of raiders ( this team has 23 students who now are on 2-month summer vacation, while that team has 26 work people but 7 of them are at the work meeting in Ohio this week). 

I extremely simplified it, but there is a big difference of not being able to raid due to RL and having some RL issue once or twice a month.

10-man teams were able to manage 13-15 people in roster to cover for unsigns, but for a stable 20-man team during a whole tier you need around 27 people which is insane for the most of non-top guilds (25-27 people who are able to raid on the Mythic difficulty). Having a possibility for a flexible 18-22 Mythic may severely reduce the required number and bring many teams back to the high-end content.

This current 'recruitment' challenge has nothing to do with the game and raiding and brings a 'luck' to the wrong place.

I know that there were many guilds in US that were raiding 25-man, less in EU, but (!) if you had a problem finding 25 people, you could raid the same HC difficulty with 10. Now you can't.

We don't have any official Blizzard competition for high-end raiding, so I don't see any specific reason to stop on 20 people except of "Well, we have to chose some number and tune the encounters for it". But as we can see right now, flexible raids work pretty good, so... Why not to make the next step?

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Yup agree with a lot that you've said Pandacho - but play skill and ability is what holds back a lot of raid teams from growing.

 

We have a lot of people wanting to raid probably 30+ but none are good enough for mythic raiding.

 

You do have a point with the whole 25 / 10 raiding but that itself wasn't perfect and had a lot of problems.

 

I'll probably come back in a few months with my tail between my legs QQ'ing that we can't raid mythic due to group size :P

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I think Mythic should drop to 15 people and not be flexible. I hated the 10 vs 25 arguments and you cannot dispute that certain flexible bosses end up easier depending on raid size.

 

Mythic is competitive and it needs to remain on an even playing field.

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How about blizz unlocks flexible mythic after world first? Or 8 weeks after raid is released...somthing like that.

 

Surely that satisfies everyone? (apart from blizz who have to do some extra work....)

 

TBH, I hate the fact that the highest difficulty of the game is basically exclusive to a small percentage of players. Bring back 10 man heroic/mythic I say.

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Completely flexible?  No, there should be one or two set raid sizes.  You have to realize that tuning an encounter for one size is much easier than tuning it for a multitude of sizes (Gruul's Inferno Slice at the beginning of BRF was punishing small groups since they had less people to soak each hit, for example).  

Is 20 the correct size?  Well, maybe.  Yes it's hard for a small guild to go from 12-16 people to the 20 needed for mythic.  Recruitment can be very tight for these smaller guild, and they might have to end up settling for lower geared players than they'd like and having to gear them up, loosing weeks possibly of mythic progression.  And for guilds that were sitting at 25-28 from 25H, then it means that a few more people have to be benched, which can lead to drama over who is sitting and why.  Not everyone will be willing to sit out when necessary.  My guild currently has 27 people (if everyone is on and free of RL complications) that are Mythic ready, so we are constantly rotating through our bench trying to find a roster that works for each Mythic boss.  Dropping the Mythic size to 15 could potentially do terrible things to us, as all of a sudden we'd have 12 people on the bench instead of 7, almost enough to start another Mythic group on their own, and certainly enough for them to be doing a separate Heroic clear for trials and lower geared people to get them up to the point where they are ready for Mythic.

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You are all talking a lot about a very simple matter that is not worth it. There are a lot of people who play wow and do not have the time to raid many hours per week. Those people PAY blizzard money and still want to enjoy the game. These same people cannot organize 20man raids because it is SIMPLY impossible to get together 20 people with busy lives in the same day. I can assure you that the 10man raids bring more money to blizzard for it includes all those people like me who cannot play more than once a week or twice. These people are skilled and very good players and can outplay any wow geek that spends more than 30 hours per week playing wow, wiping endless times, getting lost in the game forgotten from their real lives.

 

So if blizzard RESPECTS people who pay money they should understand that there is no excuse from setting the top gear raids to 20man and blocking access these people just because of organising issues. I play football every week and it is already difficult to find 11 players. 20 for wow? a video game? come on blizzard :) 

 

So blizzard listen to me carefully. I play wow since 2004. I am a classic gamer from the 80s. I have played almost every single game that came out since 1980. You had raids on 40 man which was ridiculous. Then you made it 25 man and it started to look better but still pointless. Then you made it 10man and we all could compete without being nerds or geeks. So take my advice. Keep it 10man or at most make it 15. But anything bigger than that its just stupid. And for the record that is a reason i stop playing in the last expansion.

 

The rest is just excuses and don't even bother analysing it. Proving grounds is super difficult and it includes 1 person.

 

Also for the people who love REAL ROLE PLAYING GAMES just a short notice. The best game ever created by gary gygax "dungeons and dragons" on which warcraft is based 100% it always includes average 4 heroes. 4 legendary heroes are needed always. Not more. But even 10 is ok. Anything more is just a stupid fiesta.

 

thanks and lets hope legion brings sanity to blizzard.

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    • By Starym

       
      The first part of this huge interview, featuring how to get better at M+, class balance and more.
      In this first of a two part interview, the champs go into class balance, how to get better at M+, their thoughts on the affixes, the dungeons and much more.
      The Mythic+ crew of Jdotb (Resto Druid), Shakib (Veng DH), Darkee (WW Monk), Mittbitt (Balance Druid) and Marvink (Aff Warlock) shattered a large number of records recently and decided to have a chat with us on the most successful thing to come out of Legion, the Mythic Keystone Dungeon system. In the first part of this mythic interview, the dungeoneers talk about how to get better at running M+, class setup and balance, affixes, the dungeons themselves and more. With a huge amount of experience under their belts there's no one better to discuss the issues surrounding WoW's latest endgame activity, so let's dive right in.

      Let's start simple: why do you do it?
      Darkee: I do it for the challenge and prestige.
      Jdotb: For the challenge and fun of it. Having a stable team makes m+ a lot more enjoyable.
      Marvink: It’s a source of end-game replayability that lets you push your limits outside of raids. Pushing actually feels like raiding in a smaller more close-knit environment, and you get to constantly try to beat even yourself with the scaling content.
      Shakib: The moment of glory at the end of a world first run.
       
      For people that are just starting out running higher and higher M+ runs, as well as for those that want to get into the WF race, what would be your advice to them?
      Jdotb: A few things: first, try to find a group that you can run with all the time so you can develop solid communication and start building some in-house strats. Being on the same page as your group is incredibly important. Five pretty good players being vocal, knowing what mobs will be pulled, etc. will beat five all stars that haven’t played together. Second, make a lot of equipment sets and get comfortable switching among them. One for avoidance cap, one for trash aoe, one for pure single target, etc. It helps a lot to tailor your equipment to each specific encounter. Third, watch vods and steal strats.  You can find other groups doing a lot of really innovative stuff if you pay attention.  Don’t try to reinvent the wheel every dungeon.

      Shakib: The best advice I can give to anyone trying  to become better at M+ is to play with the same people. It doesn’t have to be the same exact 5 people every single time since some people might not be able to ALWAYS play. I personally play regularly with 10-15 people. Sure, I try to stick with the same 5 as much as possible during a push week and that would be the best scenario for everyone, but it can be hard sometimes so at least having people you know or have played with before helps a lot. Having to explain the strats to a new person will slow down your progression and might even make it not enjoyable.
       
      What would be the top 3 tips you would give to other high M+ teams?
      Jdotb: Sometimes you will have to replace people if you want to push for world firsts. It sucks, but it’s necessary. Prioritize playing with people that are available all the time. It’s hard to overcome playing infrequently even if it’s with really good people. Always be open to new strats for your runs.  If someone asks, “Why do we…” or “Why don’t we…”, take the time to really consider if there isn’t a better way.
      Shakib: At the highest level of m+ you have to treat 90% of the mechanics as if they are going to kill or nearly kill you. Mechanics that you used to ignore now become deadly. This applies for bosses and trash. Communication is key. I do think that having people that call out CC throughout the dungeon is very important. At a very high lvl overlapping a 6 second silence with a stun can result in a wipe, especially in huge packs where 1 cast goes off and the dungeon is over.
       
      You mostly use the same setup for your runs, could you talk about the choices there and why your class/spec is the best for this type of play? 
      Darkee: Windwalker brings high damage and “good enough” survivability. It really shines in mass aoe pulls due to our exponential scaling with Spinning Crane Kick. This allows the other 2 dps to bring more single target focused builds. We also have exceptional burst damage for high priority short lived adds (one example being the adds that shield the third boss in Seat).
      Jdotb: Four of us (Shakib, Mitt, Marvin and Jdotb) have been running together for several months. Darkee is a recent addition. His spec (Windwalker) does the most dps of any class in m+ right now by a country mile. Windwalker defensives are ok but not great, but Windwalker dps is so good that it doesn’t matter. The common theme among the rest of us is that our classes are very good at living.
      Marvink: Our group composition just sort of fell into place. For me, affliction will always have its place in high dungeons. Their damage is very competitive but a large portion of their appeal is the insane personal self-sustain. Having one less person the healer has to worry about a lot of the time helps quite a bit. As there are many dungeons with demons this expansion, Banish is very helpful in some dungeons on Bolstering and Bursting week allowing you to pull a little larger than you would without it. And don’t forget the important Arcway buff through enslave demon.
      Shakib:  Vengeance demon hunter: While dh’s don’t bring much group utility (ex: BoP, Leech aura, Battle res…) we bring an insane utility toolkit (trash control) and the strongest overall damage during a dungeon for a tank spec. We also have very good self sustain, especially during Metamorphosis, which almost makes us invincible. The great self-sustain lets our resto druid have even more globals to dps.
      Restoration Druid: The reason that druid is one of the two top pick for a healer spec is mainly because of their survivability via bear form and Barkskin. On top of that they are able to heal pretty much any situation while dealing a pretty decent chunk of damage if they pick the talent Feral Affinity. Ironbark is a very nice external on a short cooldown. Typhoon during a sanguine week is a lifesaver. Brez is definitly a big plus.
      Affliction Warlock: This spec is currently great at everything. They have a multitude of talents to pick from which our lock swaps between depending on the dungeon. Their damage is top tier while also having insane survivability (several defensives, the self-healing from drain is powerful, lets you somewhat ignore some mechanics while healing through them). Really good utility also for many situations. Stun, gateway, the decurse from the infernal pet but most importantly they can enable huge pulls by equipping Sacrolash's Dark Strike which slows every enemy affected by Corruption by 60%. This allows us to do some big pulls where I kite and the dps take care of the pack without having to deal with mechanics (mostly used in dungeons like Neltharion’s lair, Blackrook and seat). Healthstones <3
      Balance druid: Once again, same as resto druids you are basically never worried of a balance druid dying during intense damage taken periods because of their bear form. Brez and Typhoon are also nice to have. While not having a low cooldown interrupt can be an annoyance on heavy casting fights like Medivh in Upper Kharazan, Solar Beam is extremely strong for huge caster pulls - 8 seconds of silence is HUGE.
      Windwalker monk: This is a recent pick up, while windwalkers have always been a really good dps pick for m+ they were lacking survivability to justify bringing them. With the start of the new tier windwalker monks have been destroying dps meters which made us pick Darkee as our 5th. They always have cooldowns up. Leg sweep is the best aoe stun in the game. We also really like playing with 1 melee in our comp.
       
      If you had to pick the single strongest and weakest class and spec for pushing high M+, what would they be?
      Darkee: I think class balance is more like a tier list rather than clear-cut winners and losers. However, if I had to choose the best/worst, Mistweaver would be the worst. There are many contenders for best but my vote goes toward affliction lock. Strong damage, very strong survivability and they bring utility in the form of healthstones/gates/summons/soulstone.
      Shakib:  Affliction warlock is definitely the strongest overall spec. Good at everything, great survival, great utility. I can’t think of a downside of bringing a warlock. I would usually bash on Shadow priests but I think enhance shaman is the weakest key pushing spec in the game, not only are they melee which makes them more vulnerable to dying in big packs but they also have probably the weakest defensive toolkit in the game. From what I’ve heard they have really good single target and 3-4 target cleave but after that pretty much any other class is better.
       
      Do you feel Blizzard have done a good job with class balance throughout Legion? And do you have high hopes for BfA in this regard?
      Darkee: This answer would just be salt coming from a windwalker main (Rank 1 Krosus parse getting beat by rank 830 warrior parse). However, I think balance will be much easier in BFA with the removal of tier sets.
      Marvink: M+ has basically always been ruled by how much AoE burst you can get, you can always pull more if you have the damage. There’s always been some sort of mix of classes and trinkets that just rule the scene and not much has been done to limit the effectiveness of them outside of raids, one gets changes and another one takes its place.
      Shakib: The class balance has been decent throughout the xpac, the main balance that I would like to see is defensive changes. The defensive toolkit a class has is usually the main reason they are brought into a high m+ dungeon. Blizzard has surprised me several times this expansion when it comes to dungeons. Never did I think there would be this many changes done to balance dungeons out, it’s not a perfect balance but at least we know that they care about dungeons a lot more than before. They even hotfixed some of the bugs or “exploits” that were happening pretty quickly recently. Especially having a dungeon tournament hosted by blizzard themselves so my hopes are very high for BfA and future expansions.
       
          
      Let’s start from the most obvious: rank the dungeons in order of difficulty on the highest M+ numbers.
      Mittbitt : (Most difficult) Seat of the Triumvirate - Some of the trash is always brutal regardless of affixes, and the the last two bosses can make or break your key.
      Maw of Souls - The trash is not too controllable and does significant damage to all players, and the second boss can get fairly chaotic. Also the timer is not generous at all.
      Neltharion’s Lair- Ularogg Cragshaper, and Dargrul eat up a significant amount of time overall for the key by getting an undesired transition or add. Also the trash in the dungeon is very strong, specifically the scorpions at the end.
      Darkheart Thicket- Dresaron and Shade of Xavius can be quite scary, more so Xavius requires a great deal of durability.
      Halls of Valor -Hyrja can be a big block in whether or not you can complete the key, and some of the trash can be quite difficult if not dealt with correctly.
      Black Rook Hold - The bosses can be challenging, however the trash gets hard to deal with quickly.
      Upper Karazhan - Each boss has their own element making them difficult, however Shade and Mana Devourer can get messy and require extra coordination to kill.
      Lower Karazhan - Overall I don’t feel that this dungeon is exceptionally difficult, however the Mounted Strike can chunk anyone in melee range of Attumen the Huntsman, and unless you have a comp to cheese Garrotes, Moroes can get sketchy quickly.
      Eye of Azshara - The only two scary bosses in here are Lady Hatecoil, and Wrath of Azshara. Although not too difficult the winds pushing players around is obnoxious and can get very dangerous very quickly.
      Vault of the Wardens - The trash and the mini bosses are quite dangerous, other than that avoiding extra phases on Glazer are one of the essential parts to getting more time available in the key.
      The Arcway - Getting left side at the beginning of they key makes the timer much more relaxed and makes it the easiest key, unfortunately we did not get left side on our timed 27. What makes this key particularly difficult is Ivanyr, Nal’tira, and the large amount of time that Advisor Vandros takes up.
      (Least difficult) Court of Stars - Overall the trash is not too difficult, and mainly only the second boss is frightening as the damage caps early on the last boss, and the first boss is straightforward.
      Shakib: Lower-arcway-vault-court-upper-eye of azshara-blackrook hold-cathedral-darkheart-neltharion-halls of valor-maw-seat.
       
      If you could change a few dungeons which would they be and how would you change them?
      Darkee: Something needs to be done about that entire archer area in Blackrook. Getting through it with me only dying twice is considered a success. I would make it so you can’t out-range shoot but drastically lower the damage it deals.
      Marvink: I’d remove the very far back Warden spawn in Seat, and add a profession to the Starlight Rose Brew in Court of Stars. I’d also make Hyrja only able to cast the ability she’s currently linked to, not if she just has stacks.
      Mittbitt : I would reduce the amount of role play in some dungeons, such as the Court of Stars boat ride and talking, Neltharion’s Lair waterfalls and maybe even the shuffling of the rocks on Ularogg Cragshaper.
      Shakib: Court of stars: The rng on the buffs is interesting and cute at low lvl keys but becomes frustrating when you need a perfect buff combination (on top of having people change professions just to maybe have it up during your 1 run) to finish a key in time. I think in m+ it should either be a set combination of buffs or just disable all of them just like we saw in the MDI.
      Seat: similar to CoS, the warden locations should be set spawns.
      Arcway: Having a 50/50 on the door that’s open at the start is another point that can greatly impact the dungeon time (maybe less if warlocks wouldn’t be able to control the OP chaosbringer pet on the left side of the dungeon). Maybe a decent fix would be a toggle left/right as you start the keystone depending on the side you think your comp can clear faster on.
       
      Which is your favorite and least favorite dungeon to run?
      Darkee: My favorite is Upper with Court being a close second. Least favorite is easily Blackrook.
      Marvink: My favorite dungeon by far is Court of Stars. I despise Halls of Valor (I’m look at you Hyrja).
      Mittbitt : My favorite dungeon to run is currently Vault of the Wardens. I enjoy the layout of the dungeon and how it allows me to optimize my cooldowns. My least favorite dungeon to run is Upper Karazhan, I do not enjoy the bosses, nor the tuning for the dot on Mana Devourer.
      Shakib: Favorite dungeon is hands down Lower Kharazan. There’s nothing I love more than pulling big and lower is a goldmine of huge trash packs. Turns out dh’s are also quite strong at doing exactly what I love :). (Seat is really close behind.) My least favorite dungeon has to be Neltharion’s lair. Even though it is a pretty straight forward dungeon there’s something about the environment and the mob type that just gets to me.
       
      What are the easiest affixes and do they vary from dungeon to dungeon?
      Shakib: I would say that the Sanguine, Volcanic, Fortified set of affixes is the easiest for 12 out of the 13 available dungeons. The one that stands out as not a “harder” dungeon but just much slower. A LOT of time gets wasted during the scavenger hallway. I would say that the easiest set of affixes for Blackrook Hold is Teeming, Quaking, Fortified, the pulls are usually really big pulls so adding a couple mobs here and there doesn’t slow you down as much as people may think in there, at least not as much as Sanguine.
       
      Are there some affix combos you just will not get out of bed in the morning for?
      Darkee: Teeming Explosive is a bad joke. Explosive in general is just not fun. It doesn’t help that monks deal 50% less damage to them during our main cd, and our main cd is up at the start of every big pull. I just don’t play unless I have to during Explosive.
      Jdotb: Obviously some of the affix combinations are particularly disgusting, but we’ll run keys most every day regardless. We’re fiends. At the very least, affixes like Bolstering and Tyrannical make you appreciate the Volcanics and Fortifieds.
      Marvink: Bolstering, Explosive, Tyrannical. Not my cup of tea for that amount of trash management, and marathon boss fights are never fun.
      Mittbitt : I will always get out of bed for some mythic plus regardless of the affix combos, however the affix combo that least excites me is Bolstering, Grievous, Tyrannical.
       
      What do you think of the current affixes as they are now? Which should be changed or even removed completely and are there any you’d like to see added in BfA?
      Jdotb: Tyrannical is the big offender at the moment. You don’t have to dive very deep into the analytics to see that all the highest keys are on Fortified weeks. The 40% hp on Tyrannical is the problem - it just makes the bosses take waaaaay too long. The damage bump is fine where it’s at, but the hp buff needs to be cut to at most 25%, maybe even 20%. Bosses are already the hardest parts of high keys because of scaling; making them do more damage AND live almost half again as long is insurmountable.
      Bolstering is probably a bit too punishing. If you screw up, you can’t really undo it without wiping. If the Bolstering buff had a duration (maybe 10-15s) or a cap (maybe 10 stacks) it would be a lot more palatable.
      Explosive starts to feel a little overwhelming on high keys because the orb health scales with the key level so instead of just requiring a global cooldown, the orbs now need people to focus them for several casts.
      Volcanic is a joke now that probably needs to be reworked. It isn’t threatening and half the time it doesn’t even require you to move.
      Quaking for the most part is ok but can be devastating on boss fights where you absolutely need your Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus shield up to live through certain mechanics. There isn’t a way to play around that currently. If Quaking always did damage to your hp pool directly instead of eating shields, I think it would improve the affix a lot.
      Mittbitt : I feel that Tyrannical needs some tuning, possibly by dropping the hp that bosses receive and beefing up trash more. However, Tyrannical boss hp and abilities get out of control much sooner, and honestly are the least enjoyable mythic plus weeks where we typically farm 20-24 keys.
       
      What’s your favorite, least favorite and funniest “trick” you’ve used in the past to get that tier done in time?
      Jdotb: My favorite trick would have to be keeping the cats in the front of DHT from jumping. That made the instance so much less frustrating.
      Least favorite trick is delaying on the second platform of Viz’aduum. He always targets me with the disintegrate so I have to spend a minute or two running back and forth between two spots.
      Funniest trick was probably taunting Ularogg to keep him from going underground (has since been fixed) - if you were successful, he would instantly punch you really hard and probably kill you on higher keys, so the taunt “winner” would usually be the dead guy.
       
      That's it for the first part of this interview, we had to cut it up into two for, well, obvious reasons! Huge thanks to the Mythic + crew for the insightful answers and you check back in a few days when we finish this up with their thoughts on addons, raiding and its impact on M+,  the Mythic Dungeon Invitational, their suggestions for the future of M+ and much more!
    • By Stan

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    • By Jovovich
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