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?