Apr 272010

Well, I was considering writing a post about soloing one boss in ZA this weekend, and picking up Mojo (sadly, bears don’t do well solo against bleeds or magic damage). I also considering writing a post about how our 25-man LK raid successfully killed the first Val’kyr spawn and dodged the first Defile with no deaths…once. (Now we’ve got to figure out how to handle healer positioning for Infest.) However, the raiding world changed today, as Blizzard announced dramatic new plans for raid structuring in Cataclysm. In brief:

  • 10’s and 25’s will share a lockout and drop the exact same gear. It may be possible for raidleaders to switch between 25-man and 10-man modes for different bosses.
  • 25’s will drop a higher proportion of gear to compensate for the logistical difficulties of forming them. Other 25-specific rewards are still TBD.
  • Achievements will be independent of raid size.
  • 10’s and 25’s will be much closer in difficulty.

Wow. Just wow. Blizz’s stated goal is they want people to go where they enjoy- they want people who like 10’s to do 10’s, they want people who like 25’s to do 25’s, and not feel shoehorned into the other type because of progression demands. Hypothetically, this will reduce burnout (less raiding + slower progression). So, what happens when they do this? Let’s look at some different player perspectives.

  • Casual-Raiding Carl will struggle at first, as there will be very few raiding PUG’s. (No more bored guild raiders pugging the opposite size.) However, he’ll probably be occupied in 5-man content for a while; and once he’s ready to raid, there should be many more earlier-tier PUG’s as people gear alts. These PUG’s will almost uniformly be 10-man; nobody will want to spend the extra time and effort for the same return.
  • Hardcore Harry will stick to 25’s at first, for the extra gear potential. If 10’s turn out easier, though? /wave.
  • Ten-Strict Tom will be ecstatic. Hopefully, his guild’s efforts will finally be seen as worthy.
  • Average 25=Man Raider Annie will stick it out for a while; however, when progression becomes difficult, and all the normal raider issues crop up (RL, Internet problems, etc.)…she’ll be mighty tempted to listen to calls to split the guild into two 10-man teams.
  • Officer Olivia will ask, seriously, if it’s worth the effort to field a full 25-man roster every raid night, when 2×10 offers much more flexibility. The temptation will be very strong to field a top 10 “A-Team” and a lesser “B-Team.”

Having raided (and recruited for) both 10 and 25-man, if you take the gear advantage away, I don’t see what 25-man has to offer. Is the “epic” feeling worth the logistical headaches, the multiplied organizational time, the reduced FPS, etc? It’s up to you.

That said, I HIGHLY doubt that Blizzard will be able to balance the difficulty of the two, without overly homogenizing classes or encounters. Void zones mechanics favor 10’s (more space to move…see Defile.) Raid composition mechanics can cause vast swings in difficulty (some mechanics become much easier with certain classes…see Disc Priests and Infest.)

Overall, though, I’m largely in favor of this change. Combined with the info about a new weekly cap on top-tier “badges” (points), this shows that Bliz is really trying to slow down content and reduce burnout…which is great in my book.