As is pretty typical, just after my sub expired again for WoW, Blizzard go and announce flexible size raiding. The new mode will be introduced when patch 5.4 eventually lands (no date as yet). It will be easier than normal mode but require more coordination than the Raid Finder lowest tier.
The guild I played with this last time in WoW was raiding several nights a week, although beyond a few LFR experiences I only joined in a few times to fill a gap. As a non-raider and with pretty poor gear I found normal modes in the Pandaria expansion to be ‘over-tuned’ – they felt like we were back in early Burning Cruasade era heroics. The slightest mistake could lead to a wipe, and there was real pressure for performance from all ten raid members to make progress.
I think yet another tier of raiding (tier of difficulty, not gear level) *is* needed at present to fix this massive gap in difficulty between LFR and normal mode. It’s a brutal transition to be frank. The flex size will also be a very welcome addition to avoid people ‘sitting on the bench’ at least for a while. I’ve read a few times about how much more forgiving 40 man raiding was, especially compared to ten man. I wonder if this new flex mode will take some of the ‘perform or we don’t progress’ pressure off of guilds as well? There certainly are other reasons to bring a guild member along than their pure DPS or HPS rating (e.g. they’re learning a new class/spec or they bring social or leadership skills beyond game mechanics).
It’s not enough to immediately tempt me back, but then it doesn’t need to as I can watch my partner raiding the new mode from the desk next to mine to vicariously see how it turns out.