Will 25s Continue To Be Worth The Effort?   43 comments

Last night on Twitter I was having a discussion with Jar regarding the new nerf to Efflorescence (which is a rant for another day), and one of the things that I mentioned was something that Keeva brought up in her post on the changes. Namely that the change, which effectively means that efflorescence now only heals 6 people, has a significantly larger impact on 25 man raids than it does on 10 man raids. Which then got me to really thinking about the differences between the two raid types, which of course then started making me ask questions.

Forgive me if I start to grow a bit rambly here as I work through my thoughts on this…or run in fear as you see my brain try to process and function. If you look hard enough you can probably see smoke coming out of my ears as the cogs are turning in overtime.

******* Before I get started here, I want to make something very clear: I do not have a problem with 10s, nor do I have a problem with them getting equal gear for their efforts. I am happy that my 10 man brethren were finally recognized and received the validation as a “proper” raiders that they sought throughout the entirety of this expansion. I just wanted to get that in before the “QQ more” comments that I’ve seen from some of the 10 man raiders who seemingly characterize valid concerns from the 25 man front as nothing more than whining. As such, please keep that in mind when commenting here. ********

Exactly How Are These Raids Going To Be Equal?

As I was ranting a bit to Brade, one of the biggest points I was making was that I honestly see no way that these two raid sizes are going to be equal in difficulty. I just don’t think it’s even remotely close to being in the realm of possibility. I mean let’s take a simple mechanic like needing to spread out. Unless they shrink the size of the room – a 10 man raid is going to have a significant advantage and greater ease with this solely based on the fact that there are only 10 of them. How are they going to equal that out in a 25 man setting?

Let’s take a look next at some of the healing spells available – such as WG, Echo of Light (new priest version of effloresce), CoH, Efflorescence, Holy Radiance. All of which apparently now only hit 6 targets at full strength. Now let’s take a fight with constant raid AE damage, and oh yes…they still exist, and a 10 man raid now has another significant advantage over a 25 man raid. Those spells will heal 60% of their raid while in a 25 man raid those spells will only heal 24% of the raid. How is that remotely close to being equal? How can you design an encounter with those mechanics that is “equal”? Sure a 25 man raid will have more healers, but the difference a single healer will be able to make in a 10 man raid vs a 25 man raid is hugely disparaging.

I could probably give 100 more examples here – but I’m wary of how much of my whining…er, valid complaining you want to truly listen to! I’m really trying very hard to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt on this, but as more and more information regarding Cataclysm comes to light, my faith that we are going to see equal raids waivers. I just don’t think it can happen. And yet everything to date, including frequently sought after “server first” achievements, has them set on equal footing. I just don’t understand it – at all.

Will The Two Raids Be Well Balanced For Their Respective Structure?

I just don’t see how it’s possible. At all.

Here is what I think is going to happen – and please keep in mind that this is pure conjecture at this point – I think that 10s are going to be over tuned at release. And, honestly, I don’t think that should come as a shock to anyone if it happens, because the evidence that they don’t know how to balance the raids is all over the WotLK expansion. Just take a look at fights like Sarth 3D and HM LK in 10s; or Heroic Lady Deathwhisper, Heroic Anub’arak or Heroic Firefighter in 25s. There is no way that those encounters were respectively difficult.

Sure – the counter argument to that is that Blizzard had to balance 10s around 25s gear this expansion. I’m sorry, but I’m just not sold on it.

I think that in their effort to make things “equal” in difficulty, Blizzard is going to over-balance the 10s, and make them disproportionately difficult. Now, I could be completely wrong, and the 25s could be the raid that is balanced incorrectly. I guess what I’m really trying to say, is that on release I feel that one of the two raid sizes is going to be screwed. The only questions is: which one?

Exactly What Benefits Do You Get From 25 Man Raiding, Again?

When Blizzard first made the announcement that 10s and 25s were going to be “equalized” a lot of people were concerned that they were essentially killing the 25 man raid. And the verdict of that death sentence has yet to play out. However, one of the things that they had indicated was that in order to keep 25 man raiding viable (i.e. worth the effort) was that 25s would drop loot at a significantly higher rate, and 25s would gear faster – and then subsequently, and logically, be prepared to tackle more challenging content at a quicker pace.

And, as I stated above, I really want to believe that they are going to do this right. Now – they’ve already announced that legendaries are going to be available to both raid structures, and as long as they seem truly “rare” and special, I have absolutely no problems with that. However, if they become so common that they lose their honor, I’m going to be disappointed. They are meant to be truly rare – legendary, in fact.

But I digress.

Loot drops, I believe is where I left off. 25s are supposed to have an “advantage” of gearing more quickly than 10s. So let’s take a look at what’s been seen in the Beta. Most 10 mans are reporting that each boss drops 2 loot items. Alright, fair enough. That’s 20% of the raid getting an upgrade per boss, much the same as now. But 25s have reported anywhere between 8 items per boss in early testing (32% of the raid) and as low as only 4 items per boss in some of the later testing (16% of the raid). And here I start to get nervous. If the 4 items per boss is what we are going to see…then where is the advantage? It’s actually less loot than you would receive than if you were running a 10 man.

If the later numbers that we’ve seen are an accurate reflection of what we can expect when Cataclysm pushes live – where are the promised “perks” for the struggles and challenges it takes to coordinate 25 people together? Because if it’s not in the increased loot drops – exactly where is it? I want to believe Blizzard is going to do it right – but beta patch after beta patch – and report after report – I find myself wondering if I’m mis-placing my faith in them. I wish that they’d just pick one raid size, even if it’s 10s, and stick to it. I think they’d find more success and frankly probably do a better job with the content, if they weren’t trying to please all of the people all of the time.

Are 25s Worth The Effort Anymore?

We are going into the expansion full steam as a 25 man raiding guild. We’ve been a 40s/25s guild since Vanilla – and we don’t want to change that. But I’m going to be honest here, I’m really struggling to find the silver lining in this cloud. It is a lot of work to organize a 25 man raid, and even more work to do it with any modicum of success. But to date – it’s continued to be worth the effort put into it because the reward has been there to justify it.

But moving forward?

I have to tell you, I just don’t know where the effort vs reward factor is going to fall. I want to continue raiding 25s – we’ve built a strong guild full of people that I enjoy playing with, and I don’t want that to change. But ultimately, the question that we are inevitably going to be faced with is if we can continue to sustain it – which won’t entirely be within our control. If it continues to be worth the effort it takes to maintain the machine. And I would be lying to you to tell you that it wasn’t playing heavily on my mind right now. I’m trying to stay positive, I’m trying to see the silver lining and I’m desperately trying to see how these changes are going to have positive effects on my guild. But it’s not easy.

I Am Surely Not The Only One With These Concerns. I’m curious to know how other raiders are feeling right now. As more information becomes accessible from the beta, do you grow more nervous? Do you think that 25s will continue to remain a viable raiding option? If you are running 10s – do you feel that my concerns with regards to 25s are valid? Do you have concerns that I didn’t address?

Posted November 10, 2010 by Beruthiel in Cataclysm!, Guild Management, Raiding

43 responses to “Will 25s Continue To Be Worth The Effort?

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  1. Hi, Beru-

    I’ve been feeling much the same way. In fact I made a post about this very thing.

    http://muradinmusings.blogspot.com/2010/10/ch-ch-ch-changes.html

    I’m nervous and trying to stay positive. I feel lucky that the guild I’m currently in is very strong. However, I have already seen some troubling signs amongst some of the officers stating they would prefer raiding ten mans.

    The fact is, it’s really hard to plan ahead, as the changes are so big and there’s really no way of knowing what’s going to happen.

    It may end up that some of our officers take the helm for 10mans and some of us continue leading 25mans.

    • It is absolutely hard to plan ahead! I need a crystal ball, and some skill at seeing the future, I think :)

      We haven’t seen anything amongst the officers about 10s vs 25s really, we just always indicated we wanted to stay 25s.

  2. My biggest fear in regards to 25 man raiding is I think 25 man raids will become a niche and recruiting will become difficult/impossible to maintain.

    As you state it’s pretty much impossible for them to perfectly balance the raids between 10/25. From the little I’ve read on raids so far 25 man raids are a lot more difficult then the 10 man raids. That will even make it less of an incentive to run 25 mans. Like it or not a lot of people play the game for the carrot. If they can get the same carrot for less effort, why would they choose the more difficult path? 25 mans are more difficult to organize, the fights tend to be more difficult, and there is usually a lot less drama to deal with in 10 man raids than there is 25 mans. Even the achievements are no longer separated.

    Here is the way I personally view raids and I think I fall into the niche that I mentioned above. When you think of raids, you think of epic fights with an army against a powerful entity. In my opinion, 10 man raids don’t have that epic feel. It’s a little more than a group and a half of people. Easier to organize? Yes. Epic Feel? Absolutely not.

    Unfortunately, I think the end of 25 mans could very well be in the near future.

    • I do think that the larger size does offer a more epic feel, for sure.

      I don’t know if 25s are going to become a niche or not. I suspect that most of the superstar “progression” guilds are going to keep 25s as their core raid. I also suspect that they will break into 10s teams when they feel it will further progression better – and as they are able in their progression pushes. And I do believe that it is those raid teams that will ultimately determine what the progression community as a whole will see as the “progression raid size” – and be the weight on the scale that determines how 25s are viewed going forward.

      I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

  3. Of course you know that my reply is heavily coloured by my experience – I am for tens through and through! But I don’t want my gain to be someone else’s loss, either.

    As for the raid difficulty question – I suspect that it is tens that will be much more difficult/overtuned at launch. I remember reading at one time Blizz stating that the difficulty of tens would be increasing with these changes. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I’ve often resented the idea that tens are “easy,” always put forth by folks overgearing them. It’s really hard to judge in that scenario. The two types have different difficulties. We do have a clear advantage where spreading out is necessary. On the other hand, fights like H BPC where we need enough ranged to cover the room and juggle the orbs become much more difficult than in a 25, I’d imagine! The bottom line is that balancing both raid difficulties to be “equally difficult” will be hard, and each size will always have its quirks and unique challenges. If they overtune 10s at the beginning, that’s OK, I like a challenge and it would be unfortunate if everyone said “lolol tens are so easy and gear is the same so why would anyone raid 25s?” I think in a way tens will have to be harder. Sometimes we don’t even know what hard/ridiculous is – when ICC launched, our first Marrowgar kill happened when he was set to do *twenty-five man* damage on tens. We were left stunned at the jaw-dropping damage on the tanks and raid, and then when we read that it was a bug it was like, “Ohhh, that explains a lot,” haha.

    As you said, you have a guild of great people with the size to run 25s and so I hope that the interest remains strong for you and the rewards proportional. Assembling twenty-five people for raids is an HR nightmare and I have a lot of respect for those slogging it out to do it. For me, ten is cozy and twenty-five is a crowd – but each OPTION should remain strong and with its own benefits. I hope that Blizzard focuses on that, and I sure hope that tens people have not been giving you a hard time or gloating. I want everyone to have fun, and my complaints about tens parity the past expansion are just that – mine – and have no bearing on friends who prefer 25s or what I think should happen with them!

    I’m also with you, I don’t think that legendaries should just be hanging around for everyone to get. It should take incredible skill, dedication and effort to assemble one! I’m just glad that my tens team will even have a chance to do so where formerly we didn’t.

    • Most of the people who said they were easy really just didn’t appreciate the difference that extra health, crit, haste, mana, spellpower, all made on their higher level gear. Saw it in a recent comment about HLK 10 being beaten months before HLK25 and thus HLK25 was more difficult… I wanted to smack the guy upside the head and point to the ten-strict first-kill of HLK10 being almost half a year after HLK25. But I refrained. It was a forum. Must… not… feed… trolls…
      XD

      • ^ the counterpoint to that argument Kae (of which the developers are trying to fix in Cataclysm) is that the shear number of quality 25man guilds greatly outweighed the number of quality 10m strict guilds in this expansion. My realm (Smolderthorn) for example currently has zero active 10m strict guilds.

        While I’m not denying the 277vs264 gear (~12% average stat diff) wasn’t an advantage when doing 10m encounters this expansion in 25m gear, there were just too many other encounter mechanics (such as defile, valks, maellable goo, more mc’s, etc) that imo made the 10m encounters a lot more manageable than their 25m counterparts.

      • @ Kae I would agree that a lot of people didn’t appreciate the difficulty of 10s in only 10s gear. I also think that a lot of folks are in for a rude awakening come Cataclysm when that first boss whoops their ass ;)

      • @Infinitum – I also agree that there are a lot of mechanics that make 10 man encounters less challenging outside of just the gear making a difference. But the reverse is true about some 25 encounters as well, I think.

    • @Vidalya My biggest concern is that recruiting is going to become even more difficult – if not close to impossible. With the advent of the 10s in this expansion, recruiting has already been a challenge. I do not see that getting any easier in Cataclysm. Ultimately I don’t know that 10s, per se, are going to kill the 25 man, but they are going to be a catalyst I think.

      At some point there has to be some reward or benefit to running 25s. It is a lot of work to keep them going, and if leadership teams stop seeing benefits and rewards for all of the effort, I suspect that more and more of them are going to say “screw this – let’s just do 10s”.

  4. It’s hard to say at this point what will happen to 25s. I wonder if additoinal 25s will form in Cata as easily. My thoughts are no. Its much easier to start and maintain a 10 than a 25 raiding guild.

    10s so far seem to get most of the ‘goodness’ from Cata. with the ‘equal opportunity’ stance. The good thing is that Blizzard has been known to watch player interaction/numbers and tweak. A bit more than 4 loots per boss would easily do that. The % should be slightly higher, definitely. I do like the idea of room shrinkage, that would be interesting! I’d like to see much better guild rewards from 25s vs. 10s for those who join and stay in a larger raiding guild. (Maybe mass rez AND no repair on a cooldown)

    From my standpoint, I feel its easier to hide my screw up in 25 as heals vs. 10. After all there are 4 others healing. It’s a tad more easy also to carry someone with the raid in a 25. To me, 10s mean all have to ‘do their business and do it well’, especially during the gearing up phase of raiding.

    • To an extent I would agree that 10 mans put more weight on each player to perform. But there are many 25 man encounters where that is equally as true as well, I think.

      With 10s and 25s dropping the same gear, I do think that your PuG raids will likely mostly be 10 mans. It’s a whole lot easier to dig up 10 people than 25 people.

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  6. Here’s where I see it – if 25s continue to be harder, they’ll continue to be the epeen ranking method used by people who care about rankings. (I count myself among this group, btw. Killing hard fights fast is fun for me.) More people will run 10s who are motivated by simple speed of kills or just for loot. (Plus obviously lots of people who just prefer a more intimate raid/less HR.)

    I definitely think a lot of people who think they’ll run 25s will find out that they won’t be motivated if their 10 man brethren get the same rewards faster and easier (definately from an org standpoint, currently from a game mechanics standpoint.)

    I think there’s going to be a LOT of drama as 25 man guilds discover they can take their 10 best/most popular players and leave their old rankings in the dirt. It’s going to be the current set of 25s ->10s drama on a much higher scale until guilds get sorted out.

    • I agree that I think the “progression standard” is going to be set by the top progression guilds, and I think that they will largely remain 25 man teams – but I also think that they will break into 10 man teams when it suits their progression needs.

      I absolutely agree that if there isn’t *some* advantage or benefit to running 25s a lot of people will abandon 25s and head to 10s. Easier to organize, less drama, etc.

      I am hoping that strong 25 man guilds will continue to be strong and stay with 25s. But I agree that guilds that were struggling with 25s will likely see some drama and shake up as their guilds splinter into 10s. I can only hope that our guild is strong enough and can see progression quickly enough in our 25s that we don’t have to experience that.

  7. Just to toss some other situations into the fray, as counter-points:

    A ten man raid spreads out. Their two (sometimes 3) healers are feverishly healing the tanks together, and trying to AoE heal the raid around it: if the players spread too far, the AoE heals don’t reach everyone. This was seen in cases like Blood Queen, where everyone must spread a certain distance, but an AoE heal might hit only 2-3 people unless you have a heavy number of melee. Spread too far, and it’ll only hit 1 person and you just wasted your mana and some people might die. 10′s *could* use the whole room, but they had to stay close to each other just so the aoe heals splashed at least enough that the raid was able to survive. Festergut had similar AoE-heal issues, though to a lesser degree since you could minimize the number of players out in ranged.

    Take a fight like Firefighter where you have people all over the room running in ten different directions, with a lower density of healers to cover all of the areas: people go out of range of their fleeing healers and die. Including tanks. A greater number of healers allows you to more easily cover all areas of a room, so that if someone does run into that corner, they’re more likely to still be covered. Or if you have a tank kiting around the room, you can pre-position healers to cover them as the tank kites into range, without needing to have the healers try to run alongside and share firebombs with other players.

    I agree that balance will be terribly difficult on the developers. There will be cases where they mess up balance and it tips in favor of 25-man as well, I am sure. Those that swapped to a 10′s format out of an expectation of it being always easier (in terms of instance difficulty) will probably cry out very loudly when it does happen.

    I think the reason I’m not as concerned about it, though, is because I didn’t pick my raid size based on any sort of content difficulty. I just like the size. :)

    • Just to be clear, density matters when addressing targeted or selective damage. But on raid-wide AOE damage the proportion of healers to players is just about equal between typical 10s and 25s compositions. (1:3.3 for 10s, assuming 3 heals, and 1:3.6 for 25s, assuming 7 heals).

      The great news is, raid-wide AOE effects are in large supply in Cata! The bad news is, they’re pretty darn stressful to heal through, no matter the raid size.

      • @Vixsin – are you finding that most 25 man raids are running at 7 healers for Cataclysm?

        Right now we run ours with 5-6 for all but two fights in ICC, and more 10s are running at 2 healers for most fights currently.

        If that is truly the case, that 25s need 7 heals for learning and 10s need 3, then I suspect that a lot of guilds are going to need to beef up their healing roster – or a lot of Off-Spec healers are going to find themselves healing with more frequency.

    • @ Kae I don’t disagree that there are different challenges with 10s – although until you’ve tried to cram 25 people into Mimiron’s room in phase 1 of Firefighter trying to deal with both the fire and napalm, and having done the encounter on both 10s and 25s – I’m going to have to respectfully disagree that it was more challenging in the 10 man version. ;) No sheer number of healers would solve some of the challenges that the encounter presented on 25s.

      The difference in the two with “spreading out” is that in 10s you have so much more flexibility to use the space available, and regardless of people positioning themselves poorly, you have a lot that is in your control with regards to how you utilize that space. That is removed in those types of encounters for 25s. Sure, there are differing challenges, but at least you have more control of the challenges you face in those situations in 10s.

      Please don’t take me to be saying that I don’t think 10s were challenging – I absolutely believe that they are. But I also think that some mechanics were significantly easier to deal with in 10s. And to be fair, you could flip that around and say that some were easier to deal with in 25s and be 100% accurate as well!

      I guess part of what concerns me so much I do like 25s, but I feel that a lot of keeping my raid alive has been taken out of my control – and that is a little bit frustrating. While I raid in 25s because I enjoy the feel – the cold hard truth is that isn’t the motivation everyone is going to have. And if 25s don’t get some additional benefits – those that raid just for the purple pixels are going to seek out the path of least resistance – and that can have an irreparably harmful affect on 25 man raids should they prove to not offer any added benefits.

  8. Beru,

    Good post. After having raided on both 10 and 25 on the beta, I’ll be writing a post of my own to illustrate my own experience.

    However, I can confirm that of the bosses I took down on beta in 25, they dropped 5 pieces of loot. On 10 man, it was 2 pieces of loot. In regards to valor points, on 25 I got a little over 100 valor points per boss kill. On 10 man, it was around the 80 to 90ish range (Can’t remember, need to check my videos again later to confirm).

    While it may seem trivial, in the long run, as a 25 man raider, I’ll be able to purchase gear from the valor vendors earlier compared to a 10 man raider. However, I believe a valor income cap has also been instituted. Although its going to limit the amount I can get, I think after something like 3-4 weeks, a 25 man raider will still end up on top with maybe an extra item or 2 before the 10 man player can get it.

    That post is being worked on. I’ll end up publishing it on WoW Insider I think.

    • I had forgotten all about the Justice Points – honestly. Although now that you mention them…10 more points for 25s? Really? That’s it? That hardly even seems worth mentioning as an asset – I truly hope that it is more significant than that.

      As for the gear drops, 5 pieces in 25 mans is 20% of the raid – which is exactly equal to what 10 mans are getting with 2 loot drops per boss. That doesn’t give 25s any benefit at all, and certainly won’t gear them any faster.

      When Blizzard announced the two raid sizes being “equalized” one of the things that they promised to help keep 25s viable was increased loot – and so far I don’t think that is fleshing out. And if that truly ends up being the case, that’s going to be disappointing. From a leadership standing, we have to be able to offer people something for continuing to raid 25s – and from where I’m sitting right now, Blizzard hasn’t left us with a whole lot of carrot.

  9. Testing some more of the hardmodes in 10-man last night, I can attest that 10s (if they keep the current level of tuning) are going to be pretty darn difficult. Even with an epicly-geared premade and some very skilled folks, 4+ hours of attempts got us maybe about a quarter of a way to a kill. Maybe. And, man, healing … I just …. ugh.

    In the end, I think 10s and 25s will be equal only in that they’re equally imbalanced, simply because some mechanics translate better to a 10-man team, while others favor 25. But what I worry about beyond that point is that the “epic uber defining fight of the xpac” will wind up being a 10-man, where I’ll have to go with an alt just so I can appreciate the challenge. Thank goodness my second shaman is nearing 80 … >.<

    • Have you tried any of the heroic encounters on 25 yet? I’m curious as to your comparison on their difficulty.

      I ultimately suspect that at launch one of the two raid sizes is going to be over tuned – and will have to be revisited. And I largely suspect that it’s going to be the 10 man, but I could be very wrong about that.

      I agree that there is going to be no way to balance the two to be equal in difficulty. At this point, I can only hope that one isn’t so imbalanced that is makes the other option less viable.

      I really am at the point that I wish they’d just pick one size and run with it.

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  11. Thanks for the post, Beru.

    Posted a brief (ha!) response over at my joint. I don’t think the difficulty is (or ever was) rooted in the actual encounter difficulty for me. It’s all the stuff that goes along with setting up and managing a 25man capable raiding crew.

    • I read through it earlier, and will post on it in a bit!

      But I 100% agree that part of what is going to kill 25s – if that happens – is going to be the leadership throwing up their hands and going “you know, this just isn’t worth it anymore”.

  12. About loot distribution, in 10mans, it’s not uncommon for loot to drop which nobody present can actually use. In a recent ICC run, we saw a lot of mail drop that the shaman couldn’t use. We didn’t have any hunters so it got sharded. In other runs, the only plate wearer has been our holy/prot pally.

    In 25m raids this lack of class/spec representation happens much less often so it’s a bit of a red herring to think about 20% of a 10m raid getting an upgrade per boss. If there are drops that nobody can use, you’re down to 10% or even 0% even *before* anybody overgears the content.

    • This does happen pretty frequently in 25s, too – especially pre-4.0.1 changes when gearing didn’t take armor type into account. You had items like the Plague boots that were BIS for every caster in your raid, from the warlocks to the holy paladins. So you sharded basically every other pair of boots, since those were the only viable 277 upgrade for many people. For example, I couldn’t maintain haste cap with the 277 spirit/crit boots, so I still wore the 264 craftables.

      Reforging and armor mastery is an interesting experiment to make more loot, if not BIS, at least decent. But I think I’m getting off topic a bit. I would agree that the probability of useless loot dropping in 10s is higher, but has always existed in any raid format. Another example – my guild got a Glorenzelg off LK every single week. Sometimes two. All of our plate melee had Shadowmourne. We used to sell them to pugs or bring in alts or give them to hunters just as a joke to try to get rid of all those Glorenzelgs. We had probably 20 or more Glorenzelgs drop, and two Archus staves. RNG is Random.

    • @Bear – please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this only happens in 10s.

      25s are susceptible to the same shitty RNG – and while there may be more people, there is only so much that you can do with 12 Heroic Last Words. ;)

      • Sure. Sure. I wasn’t at all saying that doesn’t happen in 25s and it happens for everybody a lot more once the core group gets geared up. I was just looking ahead to early days in cata raiding where everybody’s gearing up, nobody has a the equivalent of Last Word much less the heroic version and 90% of drops would be an upgrade for somebody. Very different than ICC today where lots of loot tables have been picked clean.

        If you’re wondering how quickly the different formats will gear people up, it makes a difference how often drops get sharded. This probably isn’t a make-or-break thing for deciding whether to run 10s or 25s but since you brought it up, Beru, I thought I’d throw it out there.

  13. I hope that the raids will be of an equal challenge level and see this as the major issue for Blizzard to address in the coming expansion. I think though that you have to assume that they will make every effort to do this and so the levels of rewards should be ‘absolutely’ equal.

    Any deviation from a position of absolute equality will inevitably favour one group over the other and this position is unsustainable.

    Otherwise you are saying that one groups achievements are either less or more valid than anothers and that runs contrary to the stated aim of the change.

    • I agree – and I think that they are going to try to make them equal, I just don’t think that they are going to succeed at doing it.

      Which, in turn, means that one group is going to become the favored group.

      Now, I could be completely wrong, and when Cataclysm launches, we could see that they are equal. Only time will tell on that front, though :)

  14. I don’t think they’ll manage to balance the sizes. It’s impossible. I just hope they manage to balance the… number of imbalanced encounters, let’s say. Meaning I expect some bosses to be harder on 10 and some to be harder on 25, but not 90% hard on 10-man and 20% hard on 25-man.

    About the viability of 25-man raids… I think there’s two ways of looking at that. If you ask me, a person should choose a raid size because they *like* it, not because it’s easier or it drops more loot. If you feel 25s are more epic, you should do 25s; if you like the coziness of 10s, do 10s. When we chose to create a 10-man guild, we did it for mainly one reason: it’s easier to find 10 good players than 25 and less of an organizational nightmare. After raiding like that for 6 months, I realized I no longer like the crowded 25-mans, so, regardless of loot and JP, 10s are where I’ll stay. I hope 25-mans stay equally viable for the people who enjoy them.

    • The flaw, I think, is going to be that if 10s come out to be the more viable and/or easier raid – regardless of how much you may like to run 25s, if you can’t recruit to fill a roster of 25 people, because so many people are successfully running 10s and uninterested in joining 25s, you aren’t going to have 25s as a viable option anymore.

      It’s dangerous.

      • I just lost a very good player and a nice guy to a 25-man guild. He, at least, is sure that a 25-man raiding environment is better than our tight little group :( There’s hope yet…

        Personally, I agree with your worries – I can see a lot of officers just giving up on 25-mans due to the ratio between admin issues and rewards. On the other hand, I don’t see guilds like my boyfriend’s (server #2 or #3) collapsing like that. If they haven’t disbanded after months of wiping on LK 25 heroic, I don’t think they’re the kind of people who will just quit for 10s. But “casual” 25-man guilds? Yeah… I don’t see a very bright future, honestly. A lot of them only lived through Cataclysm due to the item level of the loot.

  15. Lots of good points have already been raised. The big worry I have is about guild cohesion. In Wrath, we started with a 25 and two 10s, with the 25 collapsing around the release of Ulduar. The guild shrank dramatically, and although I was much more interested in the 10s (more hardcore, closer friends, etc.), I realised the advantages of having a larger community that only comes with a larger raid. This is why I’m struggling hard to push my guild to have a (casual) 25, to flank our one or possibly two more hardcore 10s. I wonder if other guilds are going to be in the same situation?

    • We are considering a similar scheme, to cover the wide variety of interests in the guild. You can chose from the 10 man pushing heroic and achievements or the 10 man for normal progression, and then there’s a 25 man on different nights for people who can’t attend as often/alt toons/etc. We’ll see how it all goes! :)

  16. Pingback: Falling Leaves And Wings: Are 25 Mans Going To Be Worth The Effort In Cata? | MMO Melting Pot

  17. The “which raid size is more difficult” argument is something that most people will simply not agree on.

    Personally, as a former officer in a 40/25 person raiding guild I think it’s obvious that 25 person raid groups are logistically more difficult to manage. However, on the flip side, I think that in a 10 person raid, each individual player is making more of a contribution to the relative success or failure of that group. Having a single bad tank/dps/healer in a 10 person group can often make fights completely impossible, whereas the failings of an individual player in a 25 person group can often be covered (or masked) by the rest of the group.

    That said, I think that for every argument, there is a counter-argument. For example, the corollary to having “more room to spread out in” is “having more ground to cover”. Take Heroic Blood Princes as an example; With 3 ranged DPS in a typical 10 person raid, each one of them needs to cover 1/3 of the room (for bombs). The same thing applies to healers in 10 person raids; they are typically spread out more. This means that, on average, each raid member has only a single healer within range of them. Contrast this with a 25 person raid in which there are usually at least two healers within range of each raid member.

    I made the switch from 25 person raiding to 10 person raiding about a year ago, and I haven’t looked back since. I find 10 person raids to be a more interesting social environment. I’ve found I now know the players in my 10 person group far better than I ever knew the other players I was raiding with in my previous 25 person group.

    Honestly, if the only incentive keeping you in 25 person raids is “more/better loot” then perhaps you need to rethink why you’re running them.

    • I’m in no way trying to say that the differing raid sizes don’t present their own unique challenges. And I have raided all of the content in this expansion in both sizes – so aside from my “25s gear handicap” and am familiar with the challenges that 10 man raids are faced with.

      “Honestly, if the only incentive keeping you in 25 person raids is “more/better loot” then perhaps you need to rethink why you’re running them.”

      I’m trying fairly hard not to find this comment insulting – and I’m going to try and offer an answer where I don’t come off as defensive.

      The reason that I brought up the loot drops is because that is what Blizzard told us was going to be the incentive – and defining factor – offered to keep 25 man raiding viable with the homogenization of raids.

      Now, I truly enjoy raiding 25 man raids, and like Virile, I feel that they offer a more epic feel to them. Now that’s not going to be everyone’s opinion, and that’s fine. However, regardless of how much I like the larger raid size, and want to continue on the larger raid size, if there aren’t enough incentives to keep other people interested in putting forth the effort for 25 man raids, they are going to start to die when they begin to atrite and you can no longer recruit to replace the members…because people are more than content to run 10 man raids – and there is no added incentive to run 25 man raids .

      I don’t know how long you’ve been following my blog – or how familiar you are with myself or my guild. I suspect not too terribly long, or you would probably already know that one of our defining factors is that we have always, and will continue, to view loot as a tool that helps us succeed – not as the reason we raid. ;)

      • I don’t think Khaal was trying to be offensive, he was just voicing an idea in a blunt way (and I read it as “generic you”, not “you, Beru”).

        I know there’s two points of view here: the raid leader who just wants people to show up and cares about what motivates *them* (people, epicness, loot, whatever) and the regular player (e.g. me) who doesn’t see the point of running something they don’t enjoy. I just can’t get my head around the idea that so many players run 25-mans *exclusively* for the better loot. Though I guess I’m asking 25-man players to suddenly become the 10-man players of now… (Meaning that in Wrath 10-man players were excluded from the “epeen” ranks, yet they didn’t care because they simply enjoyed these raids better.)

        [I might not make sense so early in the morning, so I'll shut up for now.]

  18. I think the main difference we’re going to see is a reverse in design priority. I think early in Wrath (perhaps all the way up to ToC which was a bit over the shop in difficulty on 10 man but fairly constant on 25, from memory) they designed encounters for 25 man teams, and scaled abilities/dmg/debuffed targets down to suit 10 man teams.

    I think this lead to some pretty inconsistent experiences for 10 man teams.

    In Cataclysm I expect we’ll see a reverse and instead see bosses and abilities that are scaled up for 25 people, but designed for 10 man teams.

    I totally agree on your point about “spreading out” – personal space is much more valuable in 25s and 10s man rooms can feel much more relaxed in comparison. Perhaps they’ll be kind and actually *omg* change the range of abilities so that 10 man raiders can be expected to spread out 11 yards apart and 25 man raiders only need spread out 5 yards apart to remain safe.

    I really don’t see 25 man raiding staying strong for long. We’ve recruited some great people in the last few weeks – people who have just discovered their guild is going to drop them to scale down to 10 mans in Cata – but I don’t know if they’ll stay.

    Also, more so than the loot per person thingy (really 2 drops per 10 man trumps 5 drops per 25 man simply because everyone is chasing the same BiS usually and I think you’ll see it faster in the 10 man) I think they might entice raiders to keep running 25 mans if they get their fragments/shards for their legendary faster in a 25 man.

    Otherwise there’s more incentives for a want-my-legendary player to find a 10 man team if 1 out of 10 players can get their legendary at the same speed that 1 out of 25 players can get it – remember in the second group that’s a lot more casters missing out.

  19. Beru,

    First of all, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed this article, even though I disagree with some of your points. While I think you’re right that it’s very difficult for individual encounters to be balanced between the difficulties, I would argue that it is not necessary for every encounter to be balanced – merely the whole instance. Some mechanics favour 10mans, some favour 25mans, but provided there’s a decent balance over all it shouldn’t matter. In fact, this is an advantage to 25man raids if anything, since they have the option to scale down to a number of 10man raids for fights that are easier on 10man than 25man, and stay as 25man for those that are harder than 10man – a luxury denied to a 10man raiding guild.

    You also didn’t mention the increase in valour points that 25man players get (I know someone else pointed this out in the comments), and between these two things I think that 25mans still have an advantage over 10man raids – not as massive and imbalanced as an advantage as they do at the moment, true, but still an advantage. If the raids are overall of the same difficulty, then I don’t think that an increase in logistical challenge is sufficient to merit the 10man progression path being rendered completely irrelevant, as was the case in Wrath. If there’s no real in-game advantage for 10mans (there isn’t at the moment) then I don’t see a migration from 25 to 10 for the sake of minor convenience.

    Anyway, I wrote an article on this, so I’ll get out of your comment space now:

    http://doyoumindifiplay.blogspot.com/2010/11/why-25-man-raiding-will-be-worth-it-in.html

    Yours,

    Roxton.

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