Sunday, April 19, 2009

10 verses 25

I remember my very first 40-man raid. I had turned 60 fairly recently, and the GM of my guild was inviting everyone he could to help him kill the summoned Qiraji Emissary. I was so nervous seeing all these names pop up and a new chat color appear on my screen. I was determined not to embarrass myself though, and concentrated hard to not screw up. I had no idea that soon raiding MC would be a common thing, followed by BWL. The very thought of me one day becoming a guild officer that would organize raids and distribute loot was laughable.

I admit, I miss 40-mans. There was something very endearing about such a large number of players coming together to work towards a goal. I agree that the number was rather unreasonable for a lot of raiding guilds, and I think 25 is an acceptable alternative, but organizing and considering group synergy was a fun thing. Zul'Gurub is still one of my favorite instances ("Shirvallah, fill me with your RAGE!"), and I am sad that I didn't get to run UBRS before it was nerfed from 15-man to 10-man.

To the veteran raider, the concept of a 10-man being classified as "progressive content" is an alien one. The ranking for raid difficulty has always been 5 -> 10/15 -> 20 -> 40. With BC, this changed only with the elimination of 20-mans and the reduction of 40-mans to 25. A 10-man instance was still just a stepping stone to 25-man raiding. 3.1 forever changes this concept. Think if SSC/TK/MH/BT had 10-man modes!

The idea of 10- and 25-man versions of raids was novel in Wrath, but it wasn't really weird until this patch hit. Content was cleared relatively quickly after release, mainly due to the fact that there were only two "novel" 25-man instances, and they only had a single boss each. Large guilds ran the ten man versions of the instances for their challenges, if not for gear. Sarth10+3D was the most difficult encounter pre-3.1, abet Blizzard admits this was a mistake on their part, but it made 10-mans seem part of the standard raid week for the 25-man raiding guilds. Now there is a new multi-boss instance for 10-man groups, an instance that is new, but not part of the a 25-man guild's goal.

We have new content with drastically different scales of difficulty between 10- and 25-man versions. We have only downed two bosses in Ulduar 25, but the Ulduar 10 group that went in this weekend on the offnights has gone through nine bosses so far, some of them on hard mode! For the most part, the gear are side-grades, but it is great for experiencing the bosses and their hard-modes before we face their counterparts on 25-man.

While I like Blizzard's approach to allowing content be accessable to all sizes of raiding guilds, I think it will take me a while to get used to it. I don't want to say it is dumbing down of the game to make every 25-man have a 10-man equivalent, but it does make that elistist-side of me that treasures my good-fortune of finding a dedicated raiding guild twitch a bit (Yes, I want to emphasize the luck-factor associated with being an end-game raider). It took 40 to kill Nefarian and C'Thun, 25 to kill Illidan, but only 10 to kill Arthas and Yogg-Saron? It doesn't make sense...


PIke said...

I find myself in an odd position. On the one hand, I think things are more epic with more people in a raid-- 25 or 40 man. And I want to be able to see someone in raid gear and know that they worked hard for it with a bunch of other people.

On the other hand, if it weren't for the way Blizz is doing things now, I'd never be able to see content past Naxx/OS/VoA so I probably shouldn't be complaining >.>

KiwiRed said...

I've been in both versions of Ulduar this week, and I think what I've come away from the experience is that the 25-man version progression show just how good your raiders really are. It's easy to pick 10-12 very good raiders (the sort who know how to follow directions, and how to get out of the fire) from a 25-man raiding guild and make big progress through 10-man, but in our 25-mans so far we've really felt the influence of raiders who have grown sloppy after 5 months of easy-mode Naxx runs.

I don't mind the twin progression routes (lower-level loot issues aside), but the difficulties inherent in gathering up enough raiders for 25-mans (and shorter raids due to scheduling issues, along with longer wipe-recovery that comes with bigger groups) suggests that there's going to be a lot more 10-man progression for the time being (especially in my guild).

Negathle said...

I agree with you that you are less likely to find a group of 25 dedicated players who are willing to give it their all every raid, but I also think it is very bad for guild moral to have one or two elite groups go through Ulduar 10 on raid nights when you have 30+ raiders eager to do the content the guild has stated is their goal. If they are prepared and shown that they meet the requirements for raiding, then there is no reason that they should not be allowed to push content on 25, progression in either or be damned.

Thunderhorns said...

This Ulduar even on 10 man is a huge step up from Naxx. I'm unfortunate and am in a guild that doesn't have 25 dedicated people. We have about 15 really dedicated people. We managed to clear Naxx 25 one time carrying about 10 casual raiders with us. Ulduar will not allow us to run the same way.

Our guild is practically imploding because we had to pick ten of our best raiders to go into Ulduar and leave out a bunch who wanted to head in thinking that it was Naxx and they could just show up and get the job done in lame gear with minimal skill.

Our ten good raiders mostly in a mix of Naxx 10 and Naxx 25 are having a hard time of Ulduar 10. Razorscale is a real difficult encounter that requires the kind of coordination that wasn't required in Naxx. We're improving our coordination and the Razorscale fight will hopefully prepare us for the rest of Ulduar.

But even as hard as it is, I'm just happy that Blizzard put out an instance that won't allow slackers to run it. No more easy, lazy PUG groups looking to skim gear from an easy instance raid. Now you have to bring your A game (or at least your B game) and pay attention.

You can't even lose one healer in Ulduar 10 or your other healers will be overloaded. Lose one dps and you might not get Razorscale down fast enough. Lose one tank and the adds might overwhelm you. Oh the joy of hard raiding again. I love it.

Wish I was in a 25 man guild as good as your. But hopefully this new raid instance will send a loud and clear message to the rest of our guild that they need to step up their game if they want to see Ulduar. And especially our guild leader who doesn't care to vet out poor players and tell them to improve point blank. He'll have no choice now or he won't make much headway into Ulduar at all.

And keep up writing about Ulduar. I love reading about other players' experiences.

Criven said...

Hmmm, myself, I'm an officer in a (mainly) 10 man casual raiding guild, on a low population server.

For ourselves, 10 man raids have been wonderful. Our playerbase initially was predominantly ex hardcore raiders who'd burned out/have picked up variable schedule jobs.

10 man allowed us to keep playing together and grow the guild. When it suits us, we run a bit of 25 man. When it doesn't, we run 10 man.

On the other hand, Blizz isn't really making them two separate tracks.

It annoys me a lot that I'm using EoV for my 10 man Ulduar tokens, and I've no pattern or runed orb equivalents dropping there.

Seems the expectation is that you move from 10 man to 25 man raiding as soon as possible. Could be wrong, but that's my read on it.

Criven said...

Hmmm, as far as the point about "40 to kill C'Thun, 10 to kill Arthas" goes - it doesn't necessarily make it less epic.

Take Beowulf for example.

Against Grendel, he had support of all his men.

Against the Dragon in his later life, only one could stand with him.

Personally, I like the idea that as heroes become more powerful, it takes less of them to make a difference.

Nassira said...

I feel the same way. We ran around in 10-mans all weekend and aside from getting to see new content, I certainly didnt' consider it progression, and to me, raiding started last night in the 25s.

I don't like running 10s and I probably won't unless there's a BIS like Maly, which actually I got the other day, so no more 10s for me. I just don't enjoy it as much, and it feels too easy.

Stupid Mage said...

I don't find the reduction in the numbers of people required to be strange at all. The better they are, the fewer you need to get a job done.

Negathle said...

Coming from a guild that a one point could not even get enough people together to do anything besides Kara, I do like how they made content available to every size of raiding guild. It took a lot of luck and a little hassle to get to my present guild, I cannot stress that enough.

However, you cannot deny that the encounters are simplified some in order to accommodate the fewer players. You get to see the content, and if you will never get 25 people together who care enough or are skilled enough to do it on "heroic" mode, then you are satisfied with that. But you don't have to be any better on 10-man than you do 25-man (except in the case of Sarth10+3D, Blizzard goes "oops"). So while the metaphor works over time, it doesn't between instance levels, and I think that's where 25-man raiders feel strange about the 10-mans.

I also feel like the concept of "fewer number of good players" is a dangerous one, and I see this within my own guild. We ran 10-mans as officers in order to work on the achievements and figure out the nuances of the fight before we made multiple 10-mans for the rest of the raiders. It becomes too easy for that first group of "elite" raiders to eventually not branch out to incorporate the other raiders.

Stupid Mage said...

Delta, Force Recon, SEALS, and Ninjas don't just take anybody you know ;)

Negathle said...

Nor am I belittling progressive 10-man guilds :P