I have been out of the WOW loop for a long damn time now but the news of a brand new expansion was something I could not ignore. There are tons of sparkly things being added to the game like an improved UI, in particular the inventory (I might not need to install a bag mod!) and new stuff to do like open world PVP, some kind of player housing, etc. The thing that really turned my crank though was the strong support for Flexible raiding.
The gist of it is that all normal and heroic difficulties for raiding allow for 10-25 people to be in the zone and they scale with the number of people that are there. Presumably boss damage, health, number of adds, and special abilities creep up in power as you add people in ways that reasonably preserve difficulty level. There remains a single difficulty level called Mythic that is tuned for precisely 20 people and is heinously difficult which is all fine and good for the most hardcore guilds.
Flexible mode seems absolutely fantastic. One of the most frustrating and difficult parts of raiding was recruiting to a specific number and benching people. You needed 13 people on the roster and then nearly every raid you ended up having to either bench people or cancel the raid - it wasn't that common to actually have the right number and comp to just be able to go. It won't be as tightly tuned as past raiding difficulties of course but the ability to just run with 17 people in the guild and hit GO as soon as the raid start time ticks over is fan fucking tastic. This alone has me wondering if I will raid again when the expansion lands since I really do love the idea of building a guild around a group of friends and not recruiting to a specific number.
Instead of feeling like you simply have to log in because the guild cannot hit the magical number otherwise you simply play when you want to smash monsters and don't play if you don't want to. Clearly if you rarely log in you will eventually get dropped from the group but that crushing obligation to log in or risk having everyone be disappointed will be very much mitigated.
And holy crap am I excited about leading raids without the bullshit of having to pick who doesn't get to play tonight. Just figure out what specs people are going as, sort out the strat, and yell "PULL!" That is exactly the kind of raid leading that got my blood running hot in years gone by as I sat on ventrilo bellowing orders and giving desperate instructions to my minions. The thing I want to block my troops from getting their shiny loot is the necessity of playing well, not the necessity of convincing the raid leader to let them play. I can feel the rush right now, that desire to lead a group to glory pulsing in my veins. IT IS CRUSHING TIME YO.