Setting the Dead Horse Straight
I was really trying to avoid this post. The Cataclysm raid change post. However, after catching up on some podcasts I heard a lot of opinions that weren’t taking all of the changes into consideration. So, here we go:
First a link to the blue post over at MMO-Champion; I’ll wait while you refresh your memory…
Now, you can’t take any of these points as separate issues, as they play off of each other (something a lot of people have failed to recognize). What I’m going to try to do is follow Blizzard’s thought process on the changes.
Let’s start with the loot and raid difficulty. By combining loot tables Blizzard eliminates the flaw that the current system has: 10 mans are a lot easier because they have to make it realistic for strictly 10 man players to complete the raid with only 10 man gear. The 10 mans (while still easier than 25s) are not a face roll if you only have 10 man gear from the previous raid. The reason why so many people view 10 mans as being a lot easier is because they are going into them with the superior 25 man gear. They can now balance 10s and 25s around the same quality of gear, thus making each raid relatively close in difficulty. This is where I believe the Dev team started the changing process at. They wanted to make 10s and 25s a lot closer in difficulty, and by having both share the same loot table, they will be able to do just that.
Of course, if they share the same loot, then under the current system 25 man guilds could (and would almost be required to) run both 25 and 10 man raids. So, in the new system, both raid sizes will share the same lockout. This means that you can only run one version of the raid on any single character per week. This is an obvious solution to the created problem and, in my opinion, one that has some added benefits. Guilds that have 25 people will no longer have to figure out how to break down into smaller raid sizes to do the 10 man raids. It could be argued that doing the 10 man is a choice and, there is no requirement to do so. However, at the start of a new raid everyone is vying for the new gear and not doing the 10 man is leaving extra badges on the table. Besides the logistical issue for guild leaders, this will also take a lot of stress off of the individual raiders who do not have a vast amount of time to spend in game, or (due to work or family) cannot be in game at prime time every day of the week. Once again, this change isn’t punishing those who have the time; it’s simply no longer putting those who don’t at a disadvantage. You could call that catering to the casual, but time spent in game has no effect on whether a player is casual or not. Dedication and research to the game does.
With the new system, we have two raid sizes that drop the same loot and share a lockout. But, with that being the case why run a 25 man when it is easier to put together and, manage a 10 man? There is the idea that 25 mans simply feel more ‘epic’ than the smaller raids and, are therefore more enjoyable to down bosses in. But is that enough to keep enough people interested in 25 mans? Likely not. So in order to solve this issue, 25 man raids will drop more loot per raider than the 10 man. I’ve heard a lot of people miss those two little words when talking about these changes. To make it clear: Take two 25 man raids and five 10 man raids. The two 25 mans will get more drops than the five 10 mans will, overall. So, if you have fifty people in your guild it is much more efficient to do two 25s than five 10s.
Another thing to remember in all of this is that Blizzard has stated that the first few raid tiers will have several smaller raids instead of one or two long ones. Therefore, if you happen to get into a raid that fails or falls apart after a boss or two, you won’t be locked out of raid content for that week. Ulduar was the first raid instance that contained an entire set of tier gear. And, that trend continued in ToC and ICC. I think Blizzard realized that doing the same instance every week, all week gets a bit boring. I hope to see a return to TBC days where each tier was spread out through at least 2 different raids.
Will 25 mans die in spite of the increased loot? No. Take a look at the boards; How many people do you see that are concerned that 25 mans will die? Is it more than 25? Will they still take a hit? Sure. Add the guild leveling system into the equation and guild alliances will be a thing of the past. Why make an alliance when a smaller guild can just do the 10 man version for the same loot?
Overall, this will be a good change for the game. It will give some credibility to 10 man raids while, also giving players more options on how they wish to experience the content. In the current system there is only an illusion of choice. 10 man raiders can’t do the 25s consistently and 25 man raiders have to do 10s as well if they want to stay on par with their raid team.
I know this is an almost dead topic but, better late than never. After a few weeks of thinking it over, do you have any new thoughts on the changes? Have you changed your mind from your original reaction? I’d love to hear what you think now that the dust is settling.