I know I mentioned that I hardly do posts commenting on game/patch notes or updates. Though I had to a couple weeks ago with the resto druid changes. And then now this! Raiding changes! For the most part I wouldn't feel the need to weigh in since others do it better than I. But because I don't think that there are that many voices from strict 10 raiders in our blogosphere, I'm going to put in my two cents.
Let me step back for a sec though. I actually had a post outline sitting in my gmail drafts from April 2. The subject? "How much difference does gear really make"? The crux of the post was wondering how much gear brings to the raiding table. Why was I curious? Well, when 25 man raiders ask "Why haven't you gotten Sindragosa down yet, we got her a month/weeks ago?", I was curious how their downing of 10 man Sindragosa a month ago compares to us, a strict 10 guild still working on Sindragosa.
Now I would argue that 25 man guilds not only have higher level gear, but given they are running both 25 and 10 mans, they are able to accumulate frost badges at a faster rate, also thus affording them access to better gear sooner. I guess I knew that the answer to my question couldn't really can't be quantified, but I was just curious how different a 10 man encounter is in 25 man gear.
Again, call me biased (remember I am a strict 10 raider) but there has to be some difference. So when someone tells me that they or someone else we knew downed the Lich King on 10 man (in a 25 man guild) in a "Haha, we are the awesome sauce and you are not" sort of way, my response once or twice has been (I kid you not) "Oh that's great, but do you know that I have a bloggy friend Kae who downed Lich King like 6 weeks ago and they are a strict 10 guild"?
I don't know if 25 man raiders can really appreciate what an incredible achievement that is, to down Lich King in strict 10 gear (again, remember accumulating frost badges from only one raid a week) even before 25 man raiders are doing it in their 10 man runs. Yeah, I'm a little bit of a fan-girl of Kae's guild, Vortex, as they are definitely at the pinnacle of strict 10 raiding when they are getting kills before 25 man guilds are doing it on 10 man. Go see some of Kae's thoughts around the raid changes.
Anyways, I thought it was funny I had a post of this subject drafted, then the raiding changes to Cataclysm info comes out. So a ton of other bloggers have already commented on this. A lot of folks are declaring this to be the death of 25 man raiding guilds. Really?
I thought Tam made an interesting point in asking
"but ultimately if something 'dies' because a viable alternative is offered, then that thing was meant to die. I mean, seriously, if people are ONLY raiding in 25mans because the loot is better then 25 man raiding is already dead".
I totally see his point. Honestly, I guess I am unsure then what truly motivates 25 man raiders. Why do they raid? Folks have mentioned the epic feel of raiding with 24 others and the accomplishment in bring 25 folks together. Then make the choice to continue doing so.
If you really believe that giving 10 man raids access to the same gear spells the death of 25 man raids, then was your motivation for running 25 mans truly just "epic feel"? Or was it better gear and the license to feel that you were "somehow better" than 10 man raiders? If you have to do 10 man raids in order to be able to run your 25 mans or exist as a 25 man guild, to me, there's something wrong there.
"Once again, run what you want. I think they will be even more fun since it will truly be a choice to be there. If you truly run twenty-fives because you love them and prefer that challenge then this may well be your golden age. Unless you’re an asshat, but that kinda goes without saying."
Let's examine some other points. One lock out, where the 10 man raid bosses will drop 2 pieces of loot, whereas the 25 man raid bosses will drop 6 or so pieces. Perfectly reasonable. Same ilevel? Hooray! Will 10 man bosses finally also drop boe gear? We'll see.
Now being on the same lock out for 10 and 25 man in one week doesn't mean that a 25 man guild can't choose to do a 25 man run one week, then do 10 man runs the next week right? Could a guild run 25 mans for several weeks to get their 6 drops per boss, gear up their guild faster (more drops per raider), then go back to 10 mans with an intent for faster progression or a first kill on a boss in 10 man? It's going to be interesting to see how the whole tuning of the difficulty pans out. How will these raid changes affect the strict 10 progression designation/definition?
More around relative difficulty. I will definitely recognize that certain fights are more difficult with 24 other people when the size of the room isn't any larger. So yes, I can see how blood queen could be more difficult. But is there another side to this? How about encounters where raid dmg is shared by people (ex. green oozes in Putricide)? Isn't it easier in 25 mans for people to group together whereas in 10 mans, less people means more people could be spread out? Some encounters or pieces of encounters are easier on 25 mans than 10 mans.
Jess and I have talked multiple times about the level of individual responsibility in 10 mans vs 25 mans. We had a hell of a time with Sindragosa last week, partly because we have two folks disconnecting on and off. Argh! It was death for us. Or you have one person make one tiny misstep and it wipes the raid. I'm going to say that there is just less margin to carry dead weight in a 10 man vs a 25 man.
So what does it all mean for a guild like the Left Claw? Well, it doesn't change what we run since we are a strict 10 guild to begin with. I do think the raids may be a bit harder for us than we are used to now, which is fine if we are running for the best level gear. But yes, I am definitely intrigued by the prospect of us being able to continue to run our strict 10s while having access to the highest level of gear, while no longer being the red-headed step-child as Keeva describes so well.
Ok, um that was more than two cents worth of talky talky. Maybe more like ten.