10s and 25s – My Take

This post is, of course, speaking in regards to the announced changes to raid size design for Cataclysm. I assume everyone is already familiar with the official post, but a link is included directly below for those who want to refresh their memory (or for those who somehow missed it and thus I can safely assume must be living in caves):

Assuming Blizzard doesn’t make any major modifications to the above, and assuming they can actually adhere to the above, what do I see coming from this?

25 mans will be a thing of the past. Although initially they may still be done in relative abundance, as the expansion goes on, they’ll wither away and eventually be all but abandoned.

And, you know what? That’s not a bad thing. In fact, speaking from the perspective of a hardcore raider, it’s likely one of the best things which could be done to the raiding scene for all involved – the hardcore, the casual, and Blizzard’s pocketbook.

There’s currently three primary reasons people do 25 mans instead of 10s:

  1. Some simply prefer the different social atmosphere a larger raid size provides. There’s nothing more to it than that; they find raiding more enjoyable when there are more people present.
  2. 25 mans currently provide a larger challenge than 10 mans. This may come off as slightly elitist, and I certainly mean no offence to 10 man “strict” guilds (a concept I find rather odd, by the way) out there, but it’s absolutely true. Partially because Blizzard intentionally designs 25s to be harder, partially because 25s are inherently more difficult to organize than 10s (simple logistics), partially because it’s more bothersome to stack a larger raid, and partially because of a dozen other reasons, this is an undeniable fact of the current state of raiding. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing – it is what it is – merely that it’s unarguable.
  3. 25s provide better quality loot than 10s. People desire better loot for a number of reasons – because it’s a reward for their hard work, because it allows them to tackle ever more challenging content, because its good for their ego, etcetera.

Reason 1 won’t change in any way, but reason 2 and 3? It’s pretty explicitly stated that they plan to equalize the difficulty and the loot of the two versions, and hence those motivators are negated. 25s will simply fade.

Think about it – if the challenge is the same and, because of that, the rewards are too – why would you bother with them? All you’re left with is that different “social atmosphere” and even for those who do find that more enjoyable (which I can’t imagine a ton do), it’s likely not worth all of the extra hassles 25s require of a person (increased need to constantly recruit, more loot-related issues, a higher chance at drama, the greater odds of disliking 1 person in 24 than 1 in 9, so on and so forth).

The stated incentive of a higher number of drops and gold are laughable – gearing up slightly faster doesn’t mean much of anything, and when was the last time raiding was anyone’s primary source of gold?

10s will simply be the way to go.

But like I said at the very start, this all assumes that Blizzard doesn’t deviate from the design they outlined in this post and assumes that Blizzard can actually manage to accomplish the design they outlined. These are two huge assumptions.

It’s Alpha. It goes without saying that the expansion won’t be out for many, many months, and that between now and then Blizzard will make many, many changes from what they currently intend, be it due to feedback, technical limitations, time frames, or who knows what. They are human, after all.

What will be really interesting to see is if Blizzard can actually balance 10s and 25s in difficulty. If they can’t, then this new design and my prediction of its outcome get blown to pieces. If 25s are still more difficult, many hardcore will inevitably continue to run them, even if 10s provide the same loot. If 25s are actually easier, then more pugs and such will inevitably run them, precisely because they provide the same loot for less effort.

Balancing the level of challenge between the two is a huge undertaking for a number of reasons;

  • 10s are easier to stack than 25s. Take heroic Lich King, for example. Warlocks trivialize the fight in a million ways, but most notably is the fact that if they get picked up by a Valkyr, the raid can ignore that mob and the lock can simply demonic-port back up to the platform when dropped. This saves you a ton of dps, and considering how challenging the enrage timer can be, is invaluable. In a 25 man, even if you wanted to stack them and fill half your dps spots with them, it would be hard to find that many, but in a 10? So much easier, because it takes so much less to accomplish.
  • 10s are more composition sensitive than 25s. Blizzard appears to be further consolidating raid buffs/debuffs judging by the Alpha build, but it’s still going to be harder to get everything you need through 10 people than though 25.
  • 10s are easier to organize. If you have to get 10 people online at a specific time, you’re less likely to have a no-show than you are with 25. If you decide to raid an extra night or at a different time, you’re more likely to get 10 people to agree than 25. If you only have to recruit for a roster of 10 (plus a couple extra), it’s a hell of a lot easier than recruiting for a roster of 25+. Speaking as someone who has been an officer and raid leader in the past, 10s are so much less stressful on the leadership.
  • 10s are less drama-prone. If you need to make loot council decisions or handle dkp bidding, less people means less chances of an issue. If you have two people who don’t mesh personality wise (or who mesh too well, if you know what I mean), it’s easier to sort it out when there are fewer people affected and thus involved. I’m sure almost everyone can think of at least one guild they know which has broken up or suffered delayed progression because of drama. It’s a very real factor in raiding.
  • 10s have more individual responsibility than 25s. If one person out of 10 dies, it’s a much larger deal than one out of 25 dying. One under performer is just less forgivable when you have less people, and thus personal accountability is paramount.

It is a monumental task on Blizzard’s plate to equalize all of these factors between 10s and 25s. Likely some of them will remain simply because they’re impossible to eliminate, and thus 10s will probably continue to be easier than 25s. The question is whether the gap will be due to encounter design or pure logistics, and if it’s simply the latter, than 25s are done.

But if they do actually manage it? If the difficulty is actually equal, or near enough to not matter? If all that separates the two is the logistics?

10s will be where its at. For everyone. And, personally, I find that great. 10s are easier to balance, more enjoyable (if they weren’t so laughably easy), easier for people to get into (i.e, find a guild/pug/whatever for), likely easier to develop, and a number of other upsides. There’s no downside (unless Blizzard brings the difficult of 25s down to 10s instead of 10s up to 25s, but I find that unlikely).

One of the most interesting changes in the expansion yet.

(I apologize for the poor writing of this piece! Was multi-tasking and kept losing my train of thought!)

7 Responses to 10s and 25s – My Take

  1. septiple says:

    “10s have more individual responsibility than 25s. If one person out of 10 dies, it’s not as big of a deal as one out of 25. One under performer is just less forgivable when you have less people.”

    Are you sure you don’t mean this the other way around? Like: “10s have more individual responsibility than 25s. If one person out of 25 dies, it’s not as big of a deal as one out of 10. One under performer is just less forgivable when you have more people.”

    • Consider says:

      That’s a rather meaningful typo to make! Fixed, of course. Not sure how I missed that!

      The second sentence is correct, however – when you have more people, an under performer is more forgivable. Or, at least, more ignorable.

  2. Alkek says:

    I was having this very same conversation the other day with a friend of mine. I feel that 25’s will fade away as well. 10 person runs have always felt better to me, although I rarely get to run them with our regular raid schedule and real life commitments. I am looking forward to the expansion when I might get the change to spread my wings so to speak.

  3. Sidh says:

    I do agree that 25s will most likely fade. On the note of challenge and balance between 10s and 25s it will come down to this IMO – its easier to fail in 25s (you have 2.5 times more people and their average skill level is likely to be less than that of the best 10s of the same guild) but the cost of that failure isn’t that high. In 10s there is less chance to fail (less people) but the cost of failure is much much higher.

  4. Ant Andy says:

    10 mans are infinitely better. We can barely get through anything in our 25 mans, but our 10 mans are hugely successful. They are a closer knit group of players in my guild, and I look forward to the 10 mans every week. Not so much for the 25 mans (although I would still really like the Deathbringers Will). This new change is great to be honest. Can’t wait.

  5. Rhaevos says:

    I like 10’s more than 25’s also because it’s more pleasing aesthetically because there is usually less people in the way as well as less spells going off. In 10’s, I find that I can appriciate the games graphic engine and artists more.

    I also feel that 10’s is a little more epic in fashion. 40 people vs an C’Thun makes it seem like I am just one cog in a machine, 25 a little less so, but still there. When I do 10 mans, it makes me as a player seem more important when it comes to the encounter or story.

    I approve of this change 100% and agree that 25’s will die, but change can be a good thing 🙂

  6. Insolence says:

    I’m personally thinking of going from a Strict 10 Raider (what I am now) to a 25 Raider come Cataclysm. Why – I love the extra challenge of Strict 10 Raiding, you’re not overgearing the Content and there’s no real “faceroll” feeling that some people get because they think “lol 10 man is faceroll for tactics”. Anyway, I’m considering becoming a 25 Raider just for the hopeful extra challenge Blizzard will implement. The Boss will still have more health and hopefully still dish out more “valkyries” which will always add a bit of an extra challenge to the encounter. Another reason is because a lot of 25 Raiders right now are just people that want to show off BiS purples. With those people gone to 10s the only people left Raiding 25s will probably be the hardcore community that really enjoys harder encounters etc which is who I really like to raid with.

    Sorry if I phrased it badly, half asleep atm 😀

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