From the title of this post, you have learned two things. One, I liked R.E.M. in the 80s (laugh it up, they were still a good band!); and two, I’m going to be talking about the already very talked about changes to raid structure that were just announced in a Cataclysm preview. I know that I’m a little late to the party here, but that’s largely because I am not entirely sure how I feel about these changes. And to be completely honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about the changes.
So what do I think? I just don’t know. Let me try to break down my thoughts a bit.
Will it end 25 man raiding?
Maybe. Part of the fun in 25 man raiding is that it’s 25 people, and to an extent for some people it will seem grander than the smaller, more intimate raid environments offered by the 10s. But the truth is, some guilds will not survive this. Sure, the more solid and well established guilds will likely continue on about their way, but for guilds that are already struggling for numbers and/or progress it’s likely the signature on their death sentence. I mean…why continue to struggle to field 25 people when you can more easily have 10?
And I have to say…there is certainly some appeal to 10 mans. Less organizational headaches, the potential for less drama…and now the same loot. Man, it’s honestly tough to say if one is better than the other. They certainly both have draws to them.
I don’t know if the change will kill 25 man raiding entirely, but I do think that there will be far fewer 25 man guilds around. And I think it will have a massive impact on guild recruiting for 25 man guilds. It’s already a challenge to recruit, but it’s going to become more difficult with the homogenization of the two raid sizes. At least in my opinion.
I think, much to the chagrin of the current 10 man raid teams that are pleased with this announcement, that there will still be some stigmata attached to 10 man raids. That they are easier, that 10 mans are “inferior” raids. I do not think that having the same loot added to the loot tables, or “equalizing” will change that particular line of thinking for many people…at least not at first.
I think those who went from a 40 man to a 25 man raiding team will likely remain 25 man raid teams. If you are already a strong 25 man raid team, I just don’t see this changing unless there is a lot of discord currently. I could very well be wrong, but I still think a lot of people will enjoy the 25 man raid environment, and so I think there will still be 25 man raid opportunities. I also think the competitive guilds, the cutting edge guilds will remain 25 man settings and that will set the “standard” for the rest of the community. So no, I suppose I don’t think that the changes will kill 25 man raiding.
On raid difficulty
Blizzard has stated that since the loot rewards are going to be the same, the raid difficulty between 10 and 25 man dungeons will be the same.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it happening as it’s been sold to us. I just don’t think it’s possible to equally balance the two if it is the exact same instance.
There are some encounters that I’ve experienced in 10 mans that I felt were far more difficult than in 25 mans, and vice versa. It is my opinion that Blizzard, for the entirety of this expansion, has had difficulty balancing 10 man raids…and I do not see this being magically fixed if they continue to utilize their current raid structure as a basis for the next level on content. Largely because you just cannot continue to make innovative encounters with new mechanics and say “it will be the same plus or minus 15 people”. No matter how hard they try, it cannot be done. Something is going to get lost in translation.
And while I can fully appreciate what the strict 10 man guilds currently accomplish, if they raid difficulty of the 10 man raids is truly stepped up to match the difficulty of 25 main raids, point for point, I think there is going to be a lot of complaints that the content is too difficult. Take Sarth 3D as an example. At the time of its release, it was the hardest 10 man content in the game…but also not feasibly achievable by strict 10 guilds in strict 10 gear. Hell, even in 25 gear it was just plain hard. I’ll even be as bold as to state that it was harder than the 25 man version by a long shot. Why? Because it didn’t translate well from 25 man to 10 man. Largely just due to the lack of resources available and the discrepancy between the two raid sizes.
Now, to flip it around, let’s look at Yogg Saron. An encounter that I felt was far more challenging in 25s, just based on the number of things going on and the number of people that you had to coordinate, and any number of mistakes that could happen. Perhaps it was slightly undertuned in the 10s, but the difference in that fight is like night and day between 10s and 25s. It was far, far more difficult in 25s and not just because of gear, gear didn’t keep 10 melee from stepping in the damn clouds. Gear didn’t keep 15 ranged from eating eye beams and being brain linked across the room from each other. The mere scope of the encounter and how many things were happening was not proportionately difficult between the two raid sizes. Again, leaving us with another encounter that just did not translate well.
Well…now that everyone is going to be in the “same” gear, how are they going to solve these kinds of discrepancies and keep everything “equally challenging”? Aren’t they also running the risk, by making content that may not be accessible to everyone, reverting back into a model that they were trying to get away from? Very, very tricky ground here I think.
I do not doubt that they will try to make it equal. But I do doubt that they will succeed at that goal. And ultimately, it’s going to cause problems and there will be a lot of unhappy people…and I don’t think it’s going to change many already set perceptions. I could be wrong in this regard, and I’d like to be pleasantly surprised, but I don’t think that I will be.
On raid lock outs
This one I actually do have a bit of an opinion on. Of everything that was announced, I think that this has not been well thought out.
If the goal is to get progression teams to stop “experimenting” in 10 man content, it’s going to fail. Those guilds already have alt teams that out perform a lot of guild’s main raid teams, and they are just going to utilize those alt teams to go in and guinea pig the instance as they are already doing. This change isn’t going to change anything in this regard.
If the goal is for 25 man raid teams to not feel obligated to run 10 mans of the same instance, well the gear homogenization of the two raids has already alleviated that. Currently one of the biggest reasons for raiders to run 10 man content is because BiS gear was placed in those zones. Alternatively, progression teams felt that they needed to continue to run those zones to maximize their badges to purchase the gear from the badge vendors.
Whatever the reasoning for the change, it has a net negative effect on the community as a whole. If you look past the small percentage of progression raiders cramming every version of an instance they can get their hands on to gain an advantage, you get a group of raiders who may do 25 man content with their raid team…and then 10 man content with their family or friends. And you have just crippled that avenue for a lot of people. I just cannot see an upside to this change.
If you are worried about preventing the dual farming of badges/honor points/whatever, why not just code in that if you have saved yourself to a 25 man version of this instance, you cannot receive honor points for the 10 man version, but can still participate in the 10 man version?
Sure, you will probably have those very progression oriented raid teams farming both for the greater opportunity at gear upgrades…but you won’t be excluding a larger percentage of people who just want to play and have fun. I just can’t help but think that perhaps there is a better solution to meet the end goal that what has been presented to us already.
On Gear Homogenization
I don’t really have a whole lot of an opinion here. Gear is cool, but I truly raid for the experiences. It’s a basis that we’ve tried to build our guild on, you know, that gear is just a tool to let us reach the next level. I guess perhaps that’s while I’m really not fired up about this. I think it’s fine that everyone that raids will have the same opportunities to upgrade their characters.
Do I think this is going to cause the sky to fall as far as 25 man raiding goes? No. Not really. It may make some 25 man raid leadership second guess if the challenges they face or worth the rewards to their team, and themselves. But, for the reasons mentioned above, I think 25 man raiding isn’t going to disappear. And therefore, if Blizzard can pull out the “equally balanced” miracle that they’ve advertised, I, personally, have no issues with this change. But I do reserve the right to re-evaluate my position at a later date.
My final thoughts are that I still don’t really know what to think about all of the changes. I don’t think the world is ending. I don’t think that this is the “death” of the 25 man raid. At least not yet. So I guess what I think is that I’m going to wait and see how everything turns out. I think I’m going to set my preliminary goal as remaining a 25 man raider and running a 25 man raiding guild.
Only time will tell what happens.
What are your thoughts on the changes?