Raiding in Mists of Pandaria: Inclusion Versus Exclusivity

Background of World of Warcraft Raiding

Historically, raiding in World of Warcraft belonged to the elite players.  It was for the hardcore set of people that had either been playing since the beginning and knew the ins and outs of their characters, or those who had a special knack for raid awareness and group chemistry.

With the addition of a new Raid Finder difficulty and group search option toward the end of the Cataclysm expansion, Blizzard did something to change this.  In an effort to open content to more casual players, they made it relatively quick to find a 25 man raid team to attempt raiding.  After a few weeks, many people had gotten most of the mechanics down on the fights.  Casual players had gotten enough gear to make an attempt at stepping into normal difficulty raids.


Mogu’Shan Vaults is the first accessible raid in Mists of Pandaria. The raid finder difficulty has been available for a while, and with few inexperienced players, can usually be easily cleared.

However, the fact that normal raids had content that was lacking in the raid finder version made integrating unskilled players a problem.  Avoidable damage that could be sunk in raid finder now began to wipe raids entirely.  This caused people to become disillusioned with pick-up groups (PUG’s) and caused many to form guild teams, or simply stick with the raid finder.

DISCLAIMER: Commentary on the full clear raid footage contains some graphic language.  Discretion is advised.  The character involved in the raiding was the author’s discipline priest, Divi, from Korialstrasz Alliance.  All raid footage was drawn from WeatheredTunic on Twitch.TV.

Mogu’Shan Vaults Raid Finder Full Clear


Mists of Pandaria Raiding

Enter the Mists of Pandaria raids.  Starting in their most recent expansion, Blizzard decided to introduce a raid finder difficulty for each new raid they present.  As of writing, three full raids have been implemented in the raid finder.  The first wing of a new four wing raid has been introduced to raiders on the raid finder, leaving the rest of it open to normal raiders to discover.  Each raid has been presented with a similar structure, allowing new content to be experienced by normal and heroic caliber players before raid finder opens.  In my experience, my guild members have been spoiled by the raid finder to the point where they have severe difficulties clearing current normal content.  They have gotten to the point where they set up guild groups to queue for Raid Finder instead of practicing on the normal raids.


Heart of Fear, the second full raid added to raid finder, puts you into a team tasked with defeating the possessed sect of Klaxxi under the control of the Sha of Fear.

This difficulty scaling has made it difficult for the classic raiders to clear any normal content without setting up a guild raid team that isn’t disillusioned  by the raid finder.  Players are consistently looking for PUG’s, because a group they are in on one night gets stuck on a single boss, and they cannot move past it.  While this happens to the best raiders on occasion, many times with the proper preparation, a raid team can clear content for their gear level with an abundance of caution and focus.

Heart of Fear Raid Finder Full Clear

Difficulty Scaling in Raiding

Mists has presented a new paradigm in raid difficulty scaling.  Instead of the traditional normal difficulty leading to heroic difficulty raids, with one or two additions per fight and health scaling, Mists brings in a more inclusive nature to raiding.  Many older raiders find this demeaning and insulting.  Several “hardcore” World of Warcraft players feel like raids were created to present a challenge to the highest echelon of gamers, and the addition of raid content not much more difficult than heroic dungeons allows a majority of players a shot at clearing the same material.

Even with the ease of most of the content in raid finder relative to normal modes, you still see a large number of wipes, even on bosses whose mechanics are relatively easy to learn quickly, as is evidenced in the full clear footage on this post.  With that said, a new feature was added to raid finder to help scale the difficulty even more for groups that consistently fail to defeat bosses.  The feature immediately nerfs the current boss by 5% each time the group exits combat with the boss after dying.


The Terrace of Endless Spring is the most recently released full raid on raid finder, and pits you against several seemingly unrelated enemies before facing the Sha of Fear himself.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, Blizzard has also added some elite, bragging rights related content in the Brawlers Guilds and the timed Challenge Mode dungeons.  The these new additions, while seeming like a ploy to keep the hardcore achievement hunters in the game, actually do add an effective means of showing your prowess and raising your status on publicly visible leaderboards.

Terrace of Endless Spring Raid Finder Full Clear

And if these difficult achievements aren’t good enough for you, or you have a full team of people vying to make a name for themselves, there’s still heroic raiding.  This isn’t likely to draw unskilled raiders into the fold.  If you know a player is good for heroic raiding, it is still a good chance that a raid team can effectively progress on heroic content.