Guest Post: Raid Size ~ Two Months On

Editor’s note: Naithin from Fun in Games was kind enough to write a guest post for me, and on a very current topic at that! (Someone’s got to write about current topics ‘cos the light knows I sure don’t.) It’s a fantastic post and he sets the bar high for when I finish my post for him. Enjoy!

How do you feel about Blizzard’s decision to, for all intents and purposes, merge 10 and 25 man raids? Is it different to how you thought you’d feel about it when you first heard?

When I first heard of the plans to make 10 and 25m share a lockout my response was immediate dismay. I liked doing both. I did 25-man ‘serious’ raiding with Surreality, and 10-man ‘funsies’ raiding with a bunch of friends scattered across a few guilds on the server.

It was our way to relax and unwind and how dare blizzard take it away!

I read further, and found out they also intended to give equal loot to 10 and 25 man raids. I didn’t particularly have any problem with this; it was about time so far as I was concerned. I mean, I only got into 25m raiding in the first place because you couldn’t finish gearing in 10s alone and I was tired of fail pugging 25s . . . Oh.


Sure, I can write this as one continuous thought now but to think it actually occurred to me with such clarity would be to assume a degree of cleverness and self-awareness that, in reality, I didn’t possess. I’d done a pretty good job of tricking myself into believing 25-man raiding was what I wanted and the most fun and that it was the ‘real’ version of raiding.

Where that idea comes from I really don’t know. I’d seen first hand that in many cases the 10m content was legitimately more difficult and less forgiving of error than 25m, but nonetheless, it was how I and many others felt.

In actual fact, reaching the epiphany at the end of that thought process took me at least a month as I alternated between being pleased with how they’d handled the loot distribution between the raid sizes and mad at the loss of choice of doing both 10 and 25m if I wanted to.

The provided reasoning was sound, I could admit, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. The provided reasoning for multi-variable calculus problems are also often sound, and I certainly don’t like those.

In any case, eventually I did come to the end of that thought process, and realised that for me, 10m content was where it was at. This is pretty much in direct contrast with both Ophelie of- well; here, and Larisa over at The Pink Pigtail Inn, who strongly believe it is 25m or go home.

Larisa is a bit concerned that these changes spell the demise of 25m raiding. I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind once or twice after the news, but . . .

Does this Spell the Demise of 25m Raiding?


Does this Spell the Demise of more Casual 25m Raiding?


All I have is purely anecdotal, but I’ll try not to let that get in the way of forming an opinion anyway.

You have likely seen the cry Larisa has put out to preserve 25m raiding within her guild. You’ve possibly heard about other guilds going through similar experiences, or, have had your own guild go through it.

Surreality – my guild – was a 25m raiding guild throughout BC and Wrath; we had a friends before progress stance yet did pretty well nonetheless. Most of us ended up with the 25m Glory of the Icecrown Raider drake before the expansion was over, for instance.

Yet during our raiding lull – we stopped a few weeks out from Cataclysm’s release – there was a discussion on the forums about what people wanted to do and while it was fairly balanced, the decision to split off into multiple 10m groups ultimately prevailed.

So that’s what happened.

Now however there is a movement in some of the other 10m groups to get together as a 25m raiding force. It might even happen, but I have seen that it’s been quite a struggle to get the people together for it when the option to do 10m with a tighter crew but for the same rewards (even if the drop ratio is somewhat reduced) is present.

What I’m seeing and hearing and ultimately thinking is that the 25m raid format isn’t dying, but guilds have to really want it. There needs to be a lot more effort put into recruitment, and standards might need to be lowered to meet initial numbers with the hope that these people can be trained.

I think the reason recruitment is proving so much more difficult now is not that there are any less players about – despite the doom calls about the place – but more so that with 10m now being such an attractive option, and so, much easier to form, people who perhaps used to float free and get by on pugs have joined with friends to raid as a set group; removing them from the potential candidate pool.

10m Raids can’t be all Sunshine… Can They?

Nope. The biggest issue is the bench.

You probably won’t have one.
This can then result in calling a whole raid night for one person missing. With 25m Raids, having a reasonable sized on-call bench was expected and rotation happened naturally.

Out of 25 players, you could always count on one or another having to miss a raid session here and there for whatever reason.

With a 10 player group it’s not nearly so simple. Why would a tank or healer or anyone opt to bench on a regular basis when they could just as easily form the core of another 10m and get to raid far more often?

This is not a completely insurmountable issue; I’m sure we could all think of more fair rotation cycles to keep people in play and the like. It’s just that you can’t expect a bench as a given.

If you want one – much like with 25m raids at the moment – you have to really want it and be willing to work at it.

Goodness Nait, you Ramble.

I know. I’m sorry!

Getting to the point again and to answer my own question from the beginning?

I like the change. I like not feeling pressured to run 25m content just so I won’t feel my character isn’t complete. I like being able to run with 9 closer friends and face stricter challenges and overcome them.

That is different to what I first anticipated I would feel for sure.

Every decision has some benefits and negatives and this one is no different. Both from Blizzard’s end granting us the choice of engaging in the size we truly feel to be more fun, at the cost of removing the choice to do both; and from our ends. Do we want to work extra hard to maintain a viable 25m raiding roster, or are we content with running smaller and tighter yet have to work harder on keeping a viable bench (or accept that some nights are just going to be called) as a 10m group?

I’m happy with the choices made by both parties for the moment. What about everyone else?

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17 Comments on “Guest Post: Raid Size ~ Two Months On”

  1. […] Raid Size: Two Months On […]

  2. Ngita Says:

    The casual 25m raiding looks to have been slammed hard.
    Proudmoore is a big busy server. By the end of classic something like 200 guilds had cleared MC.

    As of a couple weeks ago we where the 12th and LAST in progression 25 man guild, 5 25 man bosses killed and we havent yet had a succesful 25 man raid on day 2 due to lack of numbers. We also run 3-4 10 man raids in different time slots and for three of them if a healer or tank cant make it, no raid. Their has been talk of merging one time zone but then we would have 18 regulars chasing 10 slots.

    • Naithin Says:

      The tracking stats for 25 are are pretty borked all around at the moment, I don’t really know how far to trust them.

      I think it was Beru that did a pretty good post on the matter somewhat recently, but from what I recall Blizz made it far more difficult to track the differences between 10/25m kills.

      The initial answer from the tracking sites was to just throw them all in together.

      Clearly, people didn’t think much of that as a solution, so they’ve jimmied up ways to get 25m stats seperate, but they’re far less reliable. Issues like if any 10m kills were done first (which in many cases would’ve happened as some levelled and geared ahead of the pack) then I don’t think it counts them as 25m progression even if they’ve made nothing but 25m kills since.

      Makes it really, really difficult to get a clear and unbiased view of what’s going on. :/

  3. Larísa Says:

    10 mans are probably sunshine if you have 9 close friends. I don’t. If we cut down to 10 mans I’ll probably not make it into the raid group to be really honest. I’m not one of our best 10 raiders. And that sucks. In worst case it might end up in me guildless and if that happens I’m not sure I’ll keep playing WoW.

    We make huge efforts in recruiting and it’s still a pita. That’s our reality. And it worries me. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in that situation.

    But I suppose: grats to the tightly knit 10 man groups. This expansion belongs to you.

    • Naithin Says:

      I really hope it doesn’t end up that way for you, Larisa. :/

      I hope more that it isn’t that bad; that while you might have the adjustment period (which you’ve spoken of before, last time I remember from when you came back from being away a while) that you’d get into 10s as much as you did 25s.

      I definitely do see the struggles with 25m recruiting at the moment for all but the ‘top’ guilds on any given server. I think it is because most of them that would’ve been free to raid 25s have split off into 10s instead, removing themselves from the player pool.

      I hadn’t seen anything else on you since the original worry post on the matter, so was hoping that had meant things were coming right.

      *hug* I’m sorry it seems not to be the case so far.

  4. claisa Says:

    10 mans drop less loot per ratio in heroic mode. There is no heroic tokens for certains slots in 10 man as well.

    They almost got it right but seemed to have forgotten a couple of things.

    • Naithin Says:

      The ratio thing is true in both heroic and normal; the ratio is always better in 25m.

      I didn’t know though that 10m was missing some tokens. So what happens then, kill a boss on heroic in 10m and it only drops normal token?

      That doesn’t sound right, but if it is true, I guess was just one extra bone they’ve thrown 25m to keep them viable in terms of people wanting to run them.

      I’ll have to check into this and see what comes up. 🙂

      • Larísa Says:

        can’t understand why you say the ratio is better in 25 mans. The bosses drop 5 items in 25 mans = 1 per 5 players. In 10 man they drop 2 items = 1 item per 5 players. Is’nt that the same?

        • Naithin Says:

          If it is just 5 drops per 25m raid boss then you’re correct and the ratio is the same. :/

          As for why I said it:

          Quote: Nethaera
          We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you’re able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.

          However, just double checked myself, and it appears for whatever reason that never came to pass.

          25m raid bosses do seem to give more valour points per kill (source) but I think that on its own is hardly sufficient motivation to keep 25m as a ‘more rewarding’ way to go for groups that fight to organise the numbers like yours is doing. :/

          So it appears I was going off old and incorrect information. So with Claisa being correct on that point, I’m more inclined to believe 10m is missing some heroic tokens too (which I guess might be the motivation to 25m? I would’ve preferred the originally planned motivation if so… But.. oh well) but I haven’t yet been able to find anything on that topic.

          At work at the moment so basically limited in browsing time to breaks at the moment. 😦

          • Ngita Says:

            25 Man BH drops 6 loots not 5, i thought some other bosses dropped 6 as well. Slightly more valor, meh, I have all ready run out of valor upgrades and i am siting on 2k pts, slightly more Guild rep. But with the small loot tables and the fact, you can get up to 3? of the same drop from the same boss you get a lot of wastage. Back to back triple hit offhand drops and I think we have had enough cloth hats for every person in the raid.

            But I still prefer 25 man over 10. 25 feels like a raid, 10 is a group of friends.

  5. xistorria Says:

    Great post – it set me thinking about 10vs25 again.
    For me 25m raiding was “epic&elite”(that’s not about loot only), and 10s – just for fun. That was till I had an opportunity to run both. But this time I need to make my own decision of what I want more – fun or that feeling-of-epic. It’s a difficult choice for me. I’m still trying to find an appropriative guild for 25m(it is much less number of them now), but may be just because I’ve simply got used to it.

    • Naithin Says:

      Agreed that 25m raiding had a more epic feeling to it, and it certainly seemed to be held as the more ‘elite’ and ‘real’ raiding tier.

      I have thought about it since writing the post, and I wonder if it might be some hold over from either:
      a) The 40m raiding days, 25m is closest to that number you can get, closest to the original and thus ‘real’ raiding style,
      b) Burning Crusade; Kara was held in high regard and is many raiders favourite raid, but it was still a second class citizen or perhaps like the little sibling to the ‘real’ raid content of SSC, The Eye, Black Temple, etc.

      There was no 10m version and so it literally was the only ‘real’ raiding content.

      I think more likely the answer falls with (b), and the mentality carried over into Wrath even though on most fights the 10m version was legitimately more difficult.

      There were some exceptions though, Thaddius for example was more difficult in 25m vs 10m. Patchwerk was at first due to the increased damage on tank relative to the early gear levels, but for the most part, yeah, 10m was harder.

      Still. My biggest hope at the moment is that Larisa ends up ok. Certainly turned the whole look at this from the purely academic to the more personal. When I wrote it was fairly sure Larisa had already ended up alright,but it would appear not.

  6. Janyaa Says:

    Wow, Naithin, it sounds like your and my thought processes about switching to 25man to 10man raiding is very similar. Overall, I am surprised at how satisfied I am with my 10man raiding.

    Although, I am concerned about the lack of bench and how easy/ hard it will be to recruit if we lose a player due to real life.

    Here’s my post about this very same topic!

    • Naithin Says:

      Fantastic post, Janyaa. I’m still amazed by the blogs I sometimes miss — particularly when they belong to people I already talk to on Twitter!

      Added you finally to blog roll and reader.

      It’s kinda interesting actually; it’s almost like this topic went out as a hive-mind version of a BA Shared Topic.

      I saw Larisa’s post on the matter which finally decided me on a topic to do for this guest post which I’d been trying to think on since December, and I started writing it on the day.

      Then between the time I first wrote it, and then finally submitted final revision to Ophelie to post, about a half dozen other posts on the same topic came up from about the place.

      All of them quite good; which almost made me want to pick something else! xD In the end glad stayed with this one, but it was certainly an odd experience.

      Not used to having blog posts held for so long, I typically blog by the seat of my pants, write and post. At most I might hold a post a half day or so to post during the US AM, but never much more than that.

      I bet people who schedule posts further in advance are often frustrated by this. xD

      • Janyaa Says:

        Oh yes, there have been many times where it seems everybody is on a similar page and writing about a common topic. I don’t think that it’s too unusual considering we’re all playing the same game and experiencing similar changes. Especially when you consider that Cataclysm has brought some major differences.

        I’m like you in the sense that I don’t tend to hold onto my posts for very long. I think it’s because once I get it pounded out it burns a hole in my pocket. The longest I’ve held onto a post is ’til the next day, and that’s just because the template I use doesn’t separate posts on the same day and so one inevitably gets missed.

  7. Janyaa Says:

    PS. Thank you for adding me to your blogroll. 🙂

  8. AliPally Says:

    In Wrath our 25s always struggled to make the progress our 10s did, despite the fact our 25s were seen as the main aim of the guild. Some people just weren’t as committed to the 25s, and we struggled with sign-ups and there were always ‘slackers’ who put in the minimum effort every raid.
    We did used to run 10s as well as 25s, but as our 10s were always secondary to 25s, we tended to only run 10s one day a week. Despite that, we got our Glory titles in 10 man, whereas in 25s we didn’t even beat the LK in normal mode.

    Now we just run 10s; our team is settled, we have a better understanding of each other, and everyone is doing their best. I wish our 25s could have been of the same standard, but they sadly weren’t, and I am happy we have abandoned them.

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