The Raid Size Quandary: 10 vs 25
by, 19-07-2012 at 02:55 AM (6721 Views)
I was going to call this 10 vs 25 Man Raiding, but then I remembered that there are a number of Ladies out there that like to raid as well, so it would be incredibly insensitive of me to continue to call it that
Anyway, there was a forum post over on the EU forums a few days ago saying:
While that’s a nice goal, it’s going to be very very hard to achieve in practice, as there are a large number of variables to consider. It’s not just a matter of multiplying everything by 2.5 and calling it a day. You have to consider the available space, possible class balance, possible buff/debuff availability, how likely you are to have the current Flavour of the Month Tank/DPS/Healer present, recruitment & reserves and even loot distribution.The devs don't have, at this time, any plans to incentivize 25-man raiding. They want to make 10 and 25-man raids close enough, so that you choose whatever you find more fun.
Since I wrote those down in a nice random order, let's tackle them as I wrote them down.
Room To Move
This one is both an upside and a downside to both raid sizes. On the one hand, a 10 person raid has more space in a room, being able to spread out more easily when required or move around a space filling AoE (or fewer people to run around if you have to kite something out of the raid). On the other hand, the 25 person raid is able to take advantage of AoE healing to a greater extent. Still, the advantage in this seems to be on the 10’s side rather than 25’s.
Class Balance, Buffs and Flavours of the Month
I thought I’d combine these three points into one, because they all impact on each other.
Firstly, the raid buffs I covered way back in March when they were first announced, and we identified that there were a few classes that you really should have in your raid if you wanted to cover your bases with respect to buffs and debuffs. These were the caster hybrids (Shadow Priests, Balance Druids and Elemental Shaman) and certain melee DPS specs (Death Knights, Warriors and Rogues). This leaves some classes or specs like Hunters, Mages or Feral Druids with a rather low contribution to raid buffs, which can be critical when deciding between players for your two or three melee or ranged dps slots in a 10 person raid. For a 25 person raid this isn’t as much of an issue as you’ll often have enough players to cover all of the available buffs and then some (especially since the buff count is down to a rather low fourteen for Mists).
For the average player looking to have fun with their friends in 10’s, this might not be much of an issue. For the average player looking to do some progression in 10’s, their initial raid spot may be in jeopardy due to their lack of raid buffs if the current raid composition does not already have those buffs. This may force some players to change roles, specs or even classes to continue playing the WoW Raiding Game the way they want to. Then there’s the Bleeding Edge “Hardcore” Raider who will focus on min/maxing the whole raid as much as possible, so there may be no room for a “buff poor” spec like Feral Druids in their raid if they only have two melee spots.
The issue for Melee DPS specs is that there are four DPS buffs specific for melee (attack power, melee haste, weakened armour and physical vulnerability) compared with three spell specific ones (spell haste, spell power and magic vulnerability), and you’ll want spell haste for your healers anyway. In any case, Raid Buff distribution clearly favours 25 person raiding, if only because it makes it easier to obtain all the buffs without sacrificing individual players.
Class balance is also a key factor, as any class that can handle multiple roles will be represented in higher numbers in 10 man raids than other classes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lower overall representation of “pure” DPS classes (being Rogues, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks) in 10 person raids after Mists is released, since five out of eleven classes can heal, and a slightly different five can tank. Exactly how much of a difference will also come down to the “Flavour of the Month” effect, which can be anything from interesting fight mechanics (Fire Mages on Alysrazor, for example) to a general underperformance of a class in general (I think Mages and Warlocks numbers were see-sawing during Wrath of the Lich King due to various balance issues). Hopefully this time around the block we have fewer instances of this happening, but class balancing & Flavour of the Month can skew things drastically for 10’s. Whether this is a good or bad effect depends on how you handle it though. 25’s tend to have this minimised, unless you’re part of one of those “Hardcore” raids that have a bunch of well geared alts to take advantage of these sorts of things, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here, is it?
Raiders: Recruitment, Roster and Reserves
Most people argue that the advantage of 10 person raiding is that you have a much easier time herding 10 cats than you do herding 25 cats. Well, true, but generally with 25 person raids you have the raid broken down into a few sub-groups (tank group, healer group, ranged dps, melee dps) each with their own designated “leader”. Usually these leaders also double as assistant raid leaders, so it’s more like 4-5 people herding 20 cats vs 1 person herding 9 cats.
In fact, that delegation aspect makes the management side of 25’s somewhat easier, as your healing lead can concentrate on making sure that the healing assignments are sorted, covering raid cooldowns, etc while the others handle dps assignments and so forth. Expecting one person to handle everything is a little unfair.
Likewise with reserves, a 25 person raid can afford to maintain a proportionally smaller bench in order to maintain a full raid. Generally with 25’s you’ll need 4-6 reserves, whereas with 10’s you’ll need 2-3. There’s also a heavier requirement in 10’s for dual role players, in case your main tank isn’t available and the only reserves available are DPS classes.
However, the advantage of having a roster of only 13-14 people is that you don’t need to recruit upwards of 30 people to raid with, which is one of the biggest issues with WoW Raiding these days. It’s very hard to find the right raid group for you for many reasons. Some prefer to make distinctions between “hardcore” and “casual” while others prefer a different game/real life balance. Others enjoy a friendly tolerant environment over one where insults & abuse in chat are “accepted” as part of the guild character. There’s also availability restrictions, be it school, work or time zone related (talking from experience here, as raiding when working 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday in New Zealand, which is GMT+12 or 13 depending on the time of year means I’m very limited in my guild choices). Combine this with the fact that the cost for most raiders to transfer to another server is not just one transfer (with possible faction change) but several due to the set of alts that they will bring with them, and you’ll see that most players will choose to downsize their 25 person raid to 10 to continue raiding with their friends rather than transfer to a new server en masse to join up with a new guild and continue raiding 25’s.
Give me some Epic Lewtz
Even if 25 person raiding isn’t incentivised in terms of additional loot, statistically speaking it will still be more effective at gearing people up than in 10’s. On most bosses this will make no difference, but on bosses from whom set tokens drop you’ll get a slightly lower rate of token acquisition (8% for 25 vs 10% for 10) but you’ll have three chances at the second item table compared with the single chance for 10’s. This can make a big difference if a few ideal items are stacked on a token boss.
Where do we go from here?
If you ignore the logistics side of things, 25’s seems to be the best way to raid. It has a few downsides, but it has more things in its favour than 10 person raiding does. The only real issue for it is the recruitment side of things.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing that Blizzard can really do from a game design point of view to make 25 person recruitment better, short of returning to the Wrath or Burning Crusade models for instance sizes. This includes adding gear incentives, which would only serve to shorten content cycles for those that stick with 25’s rather than making any decent increase to the size balances.
The real power to make a difference lies with two groups of people. The first is the group that decide the cost of the “value added features” for WoW like server & faction transfers. Reducing the cost of these and/or making group/guild transfer discount options available for en-masse transfers would allow people to transfer with their friends & alts for a lower cost.
The second group is us, the players. It may just be that we have to compromise a little on what we want in our ideal raid environment if we don’t want to spend money on that server transfer, but should you expect your friends & guildmates to do the same thing? Maybe putting pride aside and merging with another guild with similar raid times, goals & progressions would be a good idea.
I’ve spent many nights doing both 10 and 25 person raids, and to be perfectly honest, 25’s always felt more... epic. I’d like to continue my epic internet dragon slaying.
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