Thursday, April 29, 2010

10s versus 25s

Big Bear Butt asks, "Can 25 man raids really be as fun as 10’s to play in, if most people have to be bribed to take part in them?"

I don't know, BBB. But one could ask, "If 10s are really that much more fun, why do they need higher quality rewards? Surely the extra fun is more important than the lower level loot."

But both questions miss the point. Or more accurately, both questions twist the situation, conveniently ignoring many aspects of the problem.

Here's how I look at it:

1. 25s are more fun than 10s.*
2. 25s are more significantly more work than 10s for the officers.

* Not really up for debate. Just accept that I personally find 25s more fun than 10s.

So it's a question of marginal value. Does the extra fun outweigh the extra cost. In the current game, the calculation is, "Does extra fun + greater quality loot outweigh the extra cost?" The answer for a lot of people is Yes. However, there are still a lot of people who answer No and do mainly 10s. Or they don't consider 25s more fun, so the decision is solely "greater quality loot versus extra work".

In Cataclysm, the question will be, "Does extra fun + greater quantity of loot outweigh the extra cost?" I think that a far greater majority of officers will answer No. And people who are willing to lead guilds are the heart and soul of the WoW community. The rest of us will follow their lead.

As for quantity versus quality of loot, we've debated that before. For some reason, quality is far more important to PvE. Witness the fuss made over Best-in-Slot gear versus gear that is just slightly worse.

The only time quantity of loot actually matters is if gear becomes very hard to obtain. For example, the switch from tier set pieces to tokens. Blizzard is not going to cripple 10s by making the quantity of loot low enough to actually be a factor worth considering when debating between 10s and 25s. Or if they do, the howls when the only item that drops off the boss is Spell Power plate--or something else unusable--will quickly force them to reconsider.

25s may drop more loot, but 10s will drop enough loot. And at that point, I don't think the extra fun will outweigh the extra work for the officers.

On the other hand, perhaps putting all this extra work on the officers was a bad idea in the first place. I've been raiding for several years now, first in 40s and then 25s, and I've seen a lot of officers burn out. As I mentioned above, these players are usually the heart and soul of the guild and community. Perhaps sacrificing 25s is worthwhile if it keeps them playing and involved in the game at a comfortable level.


  1. Don't forget that, while it may ease the load on raid leaders if guild switch en masse to 10-man raiding, we'll need two and half times as many people who are willing and able to lead raids.

  2. In Cataclysm, the question will be, "Does extra fun + greater quantity of loot outweigh the extra cost?" I think that a far greater majority of officers will answer No. And people who are willing to lead guilds are the heart and soul of the WoW community. The rest of us will follow their lead.

    Lots of problems with this line of reasoning. First, if fewer people are willing to run 25s, then the people that are still running them will be able to pick from the cream of the crop, which will make 25 mans look like the 1337 run, which will bring people back in.

    Also, the ones most likely to see the extra loot as justifying the trouble are the officers, because they (we) are the ones that hear people whine when they don't get gear, the ones who want people geared up, and the ones who don't want to have to lead runs on our mains and two alts to get everyone through.

    Finally, there is another angle that everyone seems to be ignoring. Cataclysm is supposed to bring guild experience and a new guild resource to the game. If the "quantity" of rewards are increased in 25 mans, then it stands to reason that the guild xp and resource gain will also. I think that officers will be really intent on building this.

  3. I completely agree, Rohan. However, I think the shared raid lockout is going to be just as big of a problem (if not bigger) for 25-mans than the loot changes, because it has the serious potential to dry up that raider pool. More PuG raids are likely to become 10-mans since, as you mentioned, they're easier to organize (thereby locking PuGers out of the equivalent 25s), and the players who are fine with either format will likely join 10-man raids because they'll simply be easier to come by. Basically, it means that everyone who's willing to compromise on raid size for whatever reason will likely go to 10s, leaving behind only the people who want to run 25s and only 25s. When you factor in attrition (due to players moving to faster-progressing raids, real life interfering, drama bombs going off, etc. etc.) you end up with a very valid concern for whether the 25-man raiding pool will be able to maintain the critical mass necessary to sustain itself.

    If the pool gets too small, then you'll end up in a situation were raid leaders may not be able to replace players that don't fit the raid (whether that's due to performance concerns or personality conflict or anything else). They'll end up getting frustrated and either feeding into the attrition mentioned above or swap to running 10 mans because it's less of a headache. And at some point, the players who really like running 25s may end up finding themselves forced into running 10s, not because it's what's fun for them, but because it's the only thing readily available. This isn't fundamentally any different than players who feel forced to run 25s for the best loot when they'd rather run 10s—it's just the same thing in reverse.

    Now, I'm not saying that the above is definitely going to happen and the only way to prevent it is for Blizzard to rescind the change, I'm just stating that it's valid enough of a concern that it should be discussed seriously and thoroughly, and I applaud you for this post. Unless Blizzard can come up for a way to reassure people that the 25s pool won't dry up (perhaps by enticing the crowd of people who don't care whether they're raiding 10s or 25s over to the "25s preferred" side of the spectrum), people who genuinely enjoy the 25s experience over the 10s are going to continue to worry, and rightly so in my opinion.

  4. I'm in the exact opposite situation as you. I love 10-man raiding. My guild has to put a gun to my head to get me into a 25-man raid.

    I'm tired of being a second class citizen and being asked to move to the back of the bus so the "real" raiders can have a seat. Every real cool thing about raids (read legendaries) have been completely out of my reach because I hate the method of raiding that's required.

    25s are already far easier than 10s (once you've filled the raids). Why should the people who have to have perfection to win be rewarded less than those who can have 2-5 people who can't even cast a spell and still win?

    I understand the logistics issue. I'm an officer in a guild that has twice now almost killed itself by trying to do 25s.

  5. 25s may drop more loot, but 10s will drop enough loot. And at that point, I don't think the extra fun will outweigh the extra work for the officers.

    It's going to be interesting and Bliz's balance will make all the difference BUT regarding your statement above... if 10s drop enough (relative to teh player numbers) the bribe to run 25s will mean they drop too much loot.

    On 25 we'll see loot being sharded with massive frequency just a few weeks into the content if they set the drops too high but not doing so will not balance the equation.

    My guild, Pride of St George, has moved from 10-man through TBC, Naxx and Uld into a 25-man guild with a healthy bench for TOTC and ICC.

    We have a really good core of excellent raiders but we can see, from our 10-man progress that not all are equal in skill. There's going to be a temptation to forge ahead with this group which may fragment our current team.

    My work and that of the Raid Leaders will be much harder to prevent this and the forming of cliques within the guild.

  6. Apologies for two back-to-back comments, but this was too long to fit into the first:

    @Carson: In my experience, many 25 man raids have multiple raid officers, whereas 10 man raids can be led solo. If 25s break up into 10s, I have no doubt that there will be plenty of potential raid leaders around.

    @Phelps: I disagree with your assertion that if fewer people run 25s then 25s will be able to pick from the cream of the crop and thereby entice more people back over. I think it's more likely that the 25-man raider pool will dry up (as explained above), thereby making it significantly harder for 25s to replenish their ranks. This means they'll be more likely to have to resort to bringing along players that they don't want to bring (either due to lack of performance or personality conflicts or whatever) because it's often a better alternative than trying to run short-handed.

    As for whether the extra loot will justify the extra effort on the part of the officers really depends on how much more loot 25s will drop per player than 10s. If 10s drop 2 epics per boss and 25s drop 6, that's only one extra epic per 25 players per boss. I'm not entirely convinced that's a significant enough of an increase to justify the work, and I'm not prepared to assume a higher epics per boss ratio until we have more concrete numbers (either from Blizzard or from beta testers). What can I say, I'm a "expect the worst, hope for the best" kind of guy.

    Finally, Blizzard has stated that the guild XP accumulation rate is going to be capped so that smaller guilds aren't going to be at a disadvantage to larger guilds, so that argument goes out the window. Not to mention that guild rewards will do nothing to help 25-mans on servers where non-guild affiliated raids and/or raiding alliances are common. In fact, they'll end up hurting them even more if the rewards become seen as necessary for raiding, since many players in such raids would rather raid 10s with their in-guild friends than have to merge guilds until they have a viable 25-man.

  7. There is alot of buss flying around now regarding this issue with 10 vs 25 mans. As I see it there can be no doubt that 25 mans will die for most guilds. Only guilds solid enough to always have sufficient number of good reliable players will run them for the reasons of habit and that it is accually less work for them to organize 1-2 25 man runs than the eqivalent of 3-5 10 man runs. The main reasons for the death of the 25 man is not only the hassle/strain on raid leader, but also that you don`t get significantly increased utility with 25 people that 10. If the encounters where scripted differently and the classes had differences that really conted in the raids - it migth be really worth it bringing 25 players together. The way Bliz is going now it`s not going in this direction. It seems the other way around. So 25 RIP.

  8. I'm not 100% sure why this seems to be such a big deal. The change is great because it leaves it up to the group. Guilds who either don't have the roster or the inclination to do 25s don't have to pug them on off nights in order to get the loot they want. Guilds that do enjoy 25 man raids can still do them. I think 25s and 10s are fun in their own ways.. 25 feels more epic, 10 feels more like a close-knit team going against the odds, and sometimes 10s are more of a challenge.

    The game should be about what's fun for the player I think, not about giving only the best loot to players who enjoy playing Virtual HR Department with a 25 person raid. Or players who are lucky enough to be in a guild with a leader who enjoys playing VHRD.

  9. Sorry for the double but I forgot to add that 25s won't die as long as there are people who enjoy doing them, and there always will be. The guilds running them may be fewer and further between, but I'd argue that's already the case now.

    People want to raid and have fun period, and I think the average player would be happy in either situation as long as they can play and get the bosses down. It's just going to come down to the raid leaders' personal preferences, and as I said, there will be plenty of each type.

  10. Back when WotLK first came out, I was actually disappointed to switch to 25-mans with my guild. The 10-mans just feel more heroic with me, like we're the heroes of a story. (You don't have 25 heroes in a story, that's a mass of faceless people with a couple leaders, but a band of ten can happen.)

    I admit the better gear is a nice incentive to do the bigger raids, but at the end of the day, it's the only incentive (for me).

    In answer to the question "If 10s are really that much more fun, why do they need higher quality rewards? Surely the extra fun is more important than the lower level loot."

    I do run 10s only now. So the answer is no, we don't "need" higher quality rewards. If this change wasn't made I'd still be running 10s in Cataclysm. That's what my current guildies signed up to do. But it certainly will make recruitment easier and we won't have the occasional 25-man raider dogging on us.

    I know there are a lot of people who love the 25-man format, though, and I'm hoping there are enough people who like it that people will play the size they want regardless of the quality of loot that drops for it. Maybe if they really care about it, more 25-man raiders will step up to help the officer team.

    When my 25-man guild disbanded nearly all the officers were burnt out and the guild leaders quit the game entirely (due to their own burnout). With work, I could have tried saving the guild as an officer and the new guild leader, but I knew that without the support of the remaining officers I would burn out in short order, so we mutually agreed on the disbanding and I made my current 10-man guild.

    For me it was a double bonus. I like the format already, and the guild is small enough that there's no need for an officer team. Everyone knows everyone else and people pitch in as needed because as a smaller group, each individual is more invested in having us succeed.

  11. I love the new 10 man world! As far as I'm concerned, the ONLY reason people do 25 man raids now is either the better loot or the increased DPS from the increase in raid buffs.

    Are the areas different for 25s now? No? Are the mechanics significantly different? No? Then why choose 25s over 10s? Loot and DPS.

    People don't want to come out and say "I like 25s because there is more or better loot" So they make up this "I like the epic raid feel! Eee!" excuse.

    I'll be totally honest, I would rather do 25s than 10s because of the better loot. I'm not going to lie so I don't look like a mercenary.

    But with the loot equal, I would rather do 10s because there is less crap to deal with and my individual contribution is greater.

    Now, one aspect of 10 mans that I DON'T like is the lower chance of having a fully buffed raid. If you're DPS, you simply do more damage in 25s because of the better availability of buffs. If you're a healer, your job is simply easier in a 25 because you have a more specialized assignment (And possibly have more buffs)

    There are raid buffs that only a single spec of a single class can do... (Example... Trueshot Aura) or others that only come from a set of 2 unique class/specs (Wrath totem / Demonic Pact)

    Why couldn't they fix that when they said they were going to with the "Bring the player, not the class" crap?

  12. I completely agree with you, and I think a lot of people who don't think this will be the beginning of the end of 25-man raiding have a romantic view of what makes raiding fun.

    To take it one step further: What if all loot you could obtain in 10-man raiding could be obtained in 5-man heroics? What if you could purchase all the raid loot with badges, at reasonably exorbitant prices. Would you spend 3h-4 nights (12h) a week raiding on a set schedule when you could instead run 24h worth of heroics for the same loot? It becomes another scale of logistics + time commitment vs the "fun" of raiding. Of course, if you've obtained all the 'best' gear from 5-mans then you'll most likely run the 10-man raid just to see what it's all about (just like running old content you missed just to see it,) but won't have any incentive to raid on a weekly basis.

    It's easy to say it won't make a difference, and people will still do 25's, but we'll just have to see what happens when the time comes. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if we drop to less than half the current number of 25-man guilds. Wow-progress shows 4.3k guilds that have killed normal mode Arthas 25 and 13.1k on 10-man (1:3 ratio). I bet in Cataclysm it'll be at least double; 1:6 and probably closer to 1:10.