Blizzard has released the official preview of the Raid Finder feature that's coming to World of Warcraft in Patch 4.3. The cross-realm tool will allow level 85 players to access a 25-player version of the Dragon Soul raid dungeon. This Raid Finder version will be easier than the normal and heroic versions of Dragon Soul; in fact, it's been split into two wings that each contains four boss encounters. If the Raid Finder proves popular, more raid instances may be added to it in the future.
Loot acquired through the Raid Finder, including tier set pieces, will be of a lower item level than items acquired from normal or heroic versions of the Dragon Soul raid. Basically, it's a way for non-raiders to experience 4.3's raid content. If you're curious about the raid's composition, each Raid Finder raid will include two tanks, six healers, and seventeen damage dealers.
More details, including a FAQ, can be found after the jump.
Raid Finder Coming in Patch 4.3
We are working hard to introduce an exciting new feature to World of Warcraft in patch 4.3: the Raid Finder system. While it presents unprecedented technical hurdles and may change before it’s released, we wanted to provide you with an early look at what we hope to accomplish, and share some details that we’ve worked out, which will lend some insight as to how the new feature is planned to work.
So what is the Raid Finder? It will be a brand new grouping feature that superficially works much like the Dungeon Finder. Instead of five-player dungeons, the Raid Finder is designed to help players quickly and easily form a pick-up raid for a specially tuned version of the current tier of raid content: the Dragon Soul raid. It’s not intended to replace organized raiding though. You’ll still need friends and guild members to help you conquer the toughest raiding challenges that patch 4.3 has to offer.
As we currently plan to roll out the Raid Finder feature in patch 4.3, level-85 players will be able to use it to access a 25-player version of the Dragon Soul raid dungeon, which will culminate in a glorious battle against Deathwing himself. Dragon Soul will be split into three different difficulties. The Raid Finder provides access to a new tier of difficulty, which in this case has split the raid into two wings, each containing four boss encounters. Meanwhile, raiders will still need to join with friends and guildmates to face the more challenging normal and heroic versions of the raid, since the Raid Finder cannot be used to access those higher difficulty levels. Naturally, because they’re harder to defeat, the normal and heroic version of Dragon Soul will drop more powerful lootalong with prestigious rewards such as achievements, titles, and epic mounts. Rich rewards still await those who face the Raid Finder version, which we hope will introduce the thrills and epic experience of raiding to a broader audience than ever before.
You can access the Raid Finder through the ‘Raid’ button in the menu at the bottom of the default user interface. The Raid Finder should feel familiar to Dungeon Finder users. Just fire it up, select your class role, click the ‘Find Raid’ button, and get ready to face Deathwing’s jaw of doom.
Q. Raids aren’t dungeons. Who will keep things organized?
A. A Raid Finder raid will require someone to queue as leader. The Raid Finder leader will have a very limited set of powers and cannot change loot type, nor do they have the ability to arbitrarily kick people from the raid. They do have the ability to mark targets and use /raid warning, and can promote other players to be leads as well. To be most successful, each Raid Finder group should have at least one leader who will explain the fights, assign raid markers, and make the tough calls, like who the main tank and off-tanks are.
Q. How will loot be distributed?
A. Automatic rolls and the Need Before Greed loot rules will apply in Raid Finder raids, just as they do in Dungeon Finder instances. Also, while Dungeon Finder raids aren’t locked, you are only eligible for loot from a boss once per week. This means that if you were present for the defeat of a boss, whether you receive loot or not, then you will automatically pass on loot that drops during later attempts on that boss during the same week.
Q. How will Raid Finder loot differ?
A. Loot acquired through the Raid Finder, including tier set pieces, will be of a lower item level than items acquired from normal or heroic mode versions of the Dragon Soul raid, and its appearance may differ. Also, there are certain items, as well as components for legendary weapons, which will not drop in Raid Finder raids. While individual bosses will not yield Valor Points as they would in other versions of the raid, you can still earn 250 Valor Points for beating the final boss in each wing of the instance.
Tier armor that drops in Raid Finder raids still provides set bonuses, and those bonuses are compatible with the higher item level versions of the armor available in the normal and heroic mode versions of the raid. None of these tier sets will be available for purchase from a vendor via Valor Points.
Q. Will there be an item level requirement to use the Raid Finder?
A. Yes, accessing raids via the Raid Finder will require that participating characters be level 85 and have attained a certain item level, to help ensure that they are prepared for the content they’ll be facing.
Q. Will the Raid Finder be cross-realm?
A. Yes, the Raid Finder will draw players from all realms. As with the Dungeon Finder, it will place some priority on grouping players from the same realm, though not at the cost of increased queue times.
Q. What kind of raid composition will the Raid Finder create?
A. Each Raid Finder raid will include two tanks, six healers, and seventeen damage dealers. As the raid is assembled, the Raid Finder will attempt to balance the group according to armor type, which should help ensure a healthy mix of melee and ranged dps.
Q. Why 25-player only?
A. A 25-player group is actually easier and faster to fill than a smaller group would be, and allows for greater flexibility in raid creation, all of which will help contribute to lower queue times. Also, 25-player raids are less subject to issues with composition or player connectivity.
The Raid Finder version of the Dragon Soul raid will be designed with pick-up raiding in mind. Normal and heroic difficulties will require the greater organization and teamwork found in guild raid groups.
Q. Will I get Call to Arms benefits when using the Raid Finder?
A. We don’t currently plan to apply Call to Arms benefits to the Raid Finder, though that may change in the future.
Q. Will I be locked to a raid I join through the Raid Finder?
A. Since the Raid Finder only offers access exclusively to a specially tuned version of the Dragon Soul raid instance, instance locks will not be enforced for that version. Instance locks will still be enforced for the normal and heroic versions of the raid.
Q. Can I queue with my friends in a party or raid?
A. Yes, you can queue for the Raid Finder individually, in a party, or in a raid. The Raid Finder can be a great tool to help fill those last few slots in a raid.
Q. I’m a dedicated raider with an organized group, what good is the Raid Finder to me?
A. Since instance locks aren’t in play, Raid Finder raids could provide a way for dedicated raiders to gear up alternate characters, fill gaps in their itemization, finish off elusive set bonuses, or just have some fun while preparing to face the normal or heroic version of the raid on the next reset.
Q. Why aren’t other raids available?
A. The Raid Finder is intended to help players experience the current tier of content. Also, many older raids don’t require a full complement of raiders, making the Raid Finder unnecessary. This is also the first rollout of the feature and we decided to start things simple, rather than potentially delay the feature’s introduction. If the Raid Finder proves popular, more raid instances may be added to it in the future.
Q. Will Vote Kick still work in the Raid Finder?
A. Yes, though many of the same requirements and restrictions will be in place. For example, kicking too many times can result in a Vote Kick cooldown. Also, the thresholds are different, and several players will need to agree on kicking a candidate before the vote begins. Successful kick votes will require a significant number of Yes votes to pass.
Q. What happens if I leave a Raid Finder raid before it’s over?
A. Players who leave the Raid prematurely will receive a Deserter Debuff, though it will likely be of longer duration than the one applied to users of the Dungeon Finder. This debuff will only apply to the Raid Finder system.