The 10-man raid and the brick wall

Now we killed Nefarian and Cho’gall, we can go into heroic raids. And we began with Chimaeron this week, we spent more than 5 of our 10 raiding hours wiping the floor of its lair, ruining our chances to clean the rest of the content as we had no time to kill Chogall, Nefarian and the whole Four Winds raid. Morale wasn’t very high in the guild since what happened two weeks ago, but this fight is even harder on our nerves. We just wiped, came back, pulled, lost the tank again, wiped, came back, … As a dpser, it was just boring : I have as much fun in front of the dummies of Darnassus… Except the last phase which is a bit more fun : I need to Feign Death ! Woah ! Amazing ! … Yeah…

(For your information, this will be a rant, maybe even a long one…)

This fight and our wipes leaded us to forums, to see how other 10-man guilds were struggling with hardmodes. We already knew than some leader of top world guids said it was clearly the hardest tier of content they had ever done, in term of progression : no downtime for gating, Christmas holidays in the way, leaded to lots of work to stay in the competition for world firsts. I feel far from world firsts, those are top guilds, with nearly professional raiders who choose to dedicate some months of their life for these achievement (If you want an idea of what a day in a Paragon’s raider life is during progression, read this). I’m not like them. I play a lot but I can’t quit my job or cut my working hours for two months for a raid. If I’d take 2 months holidays, I wouldn’t spend those in Wow but I’d take a plane to somewhere far away…

What we discovered hit me quite hard. We found several posts (you can read this one, or that one, and that article on Paragon’s blog I really liked), setting aside the usual whiners and trolls, where people were calmly explaining how the 10-man encounters were badly balanced, and some were not even feasible. I remember when Blizzard announced back this summer how we would have one lock-out for 10 and 25 raids, and would have to choose between the two raid sizes. I remember raiders rejoicing to be able to raid as 10-mans without being second-zone raiders like it felt in WotLK : same rewards, same difficulty in the encounters, so we were told.

We prepared for it. We built a close team, with friends, and intended to play better with less raiding nights than most guilds of the server, to rush through the content and have fun in hardmodes. It would be nice and fun, we would have only friends, chosen skilled players and would meet the same challenges as every other raiders in the game. Reality hit like a trunk when you live in care-bears country… Reality is that some healing classes are badly struggling with issues, that we need more kickers than we have, that consumables for raids are ridiculously time-consuming to farm, and, as we realised this week, 10-man hardmodes are horribly balanced and very demanding in term of raid composition.

I remember my guildies in the summer, hoping that 10-man content won’t be trivial. Man, be careful with what you wish…

My guild started seriously raiding on the 6th of January, we raid 12 hours a week when we have the raiders. Our roster is currently 14 people : 3 tanks, 4 healers, 3 melees, 4 casters as main specs. All our healers have either a dps spec or a tanking spec, our SPriest has a holy spec, tanks have dps or healing specs. Than means we can be quite flexible with specs, but sometimes, we just don’t have what is needed. You can’t get a tenth raider from nowhere when only 9 people signed up, and there are times when, even if you wish you could, you can’t put 12 raiders in a 10-man raid…

Like many of the 10-man heroic fights in this tier, Chimaeron is a great example of the exact opposite of  ‘bring the player not the class’ that Blizzard is trying to make us believe. Even in 25-man it’s not true, look at the ‘half-the-raid-is-druids’ Nefarian kill from Paragon, or their ‘no-shaman’ Sinestra kill. For Chimaeron, we need to rotate cooldowns on the tank and the raid, that means we must bring at least 3 of our four paladins, and our healing priest, we need a plate dpser to tank normal phase (needs to be able to taunt), we have only one, meaning we can’t do any progression on this boss when our retpal can’t attend to the raid.

Raiding 10-mans now feels extremely unfair. Lesser rewards for bosses, less loots per player, slower pace to gear your raid, but as much time spent in raid, as much consumables to farm, as much researches to do, and for the officer teams, as much hair-pulling to build raid comps, if not more.

I read on forum some people arguing that the better rewards you earn in 25-man raids is a compensation to the largest management you need to get a 25-man together. Having been in both 25 and 10 progression guilds in the past 2 years, I can tell you it’s far easier in 25-man. In 25-man guilds, with rosters of around 35 people, if you lose someone (RL, burnout, aliens), you can go on the time to find someone else. In our 10-man, when one person is in holidays, and another one is just missing his usual raid because he plays football on Tuesday nights, we sometimes can’t raid, because we are one healer short, or missing a tank.

The problem in 10-man team is not building the team but rather keeping it together as we hit a wall together… In a 25-man, there is a high turn-out in the raiding team. People can afford to miss a raid or two, they can be sure that at least someone will be able to fill their raid spot. In my 10-man team, if my boyfriend and I are not around, that means 2 of the ranged dpsers are missing, that the raid will need to bring offspecs, and everyone will have to compensate for our absence. It’s much heavier on the shoulders of raider, and leads to burnout more quickly.

Same during combat : when one player dies, 10% of the raid is down, 1/3 of the healers, or 1/2 of our kickers/dispellers or whatever buff they bring… In 25-man raids, if one player die, the remaining of the team can cope with it as the share is wider, you won’t lose a buff as there is a high chance there will be someone else bringing it. And they have 3 battle-rezzes anyway… If a hunter dies in 25-man, the rest of the raid just go on, they lose 4-5% of the dps of the raid, there is another hunter to bring this buff, or an enhancement shaman, or a frost DK… In my 10-man, if I die, we lose 17 to 18% of our dps, we lose my buff, but also the buff brought by my pet which is really important as I usually have the pet needed to bring a missing buff, we sometime lose the frost trap, or the misdirection, or a crowd control. And I’d rather not talking about losing a healer. Losing someone in 10-man hardmode means a wipe.

And what do you get for all these efforts, hair-pulling, tears and sweat ? Less valor points, less gear, shards,… Being an officer in a 10-man guild have never been more thankless : bosses are not dying, people are not gearing, they are burning out and unhappy more quickly. Officers want their raiders to be happy, because a happy raider make a good raider, which incidentally, helps to kill hard bosses, and makes them even more happy. Unhappy raiders don’t kill bosses. My guildies are unhappy…

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2 Réponses to “The 10-man raid and the brick wall”

  1. Larísa Says:

    Well, I would argue that 25 man guilds are the ones having the roughest time right now. Recruiting is a pita, it’s like running into a brickwall. I don’t know what « extra loot » you’re talking about. The bosses drop 2 items for 10 people or 5 for 25 = 1 item per 5 people. That’s the same. The points are a few more. That’s all. I honestly don’t think ANYONE will raid 25 mans these days due to loot. Our guild is on the verge of giving up if things won’t change. And becoming one of all thsoe 10 man guilds, completely dominating the scene these days. For a very good reason. Barely anyone wants to take on themselves the hassle and headache to coordinate 25 people. 10 puts a lot less stress on the officers. Simple as that. I think it’s a pity but I wonder if there will be any 25 man raids at all in the next expansion.

    If you feel vulnerable due to absences, it sounds to me as if you have a too small roster. Are people that touchy about sitting out a raid once in a while? A little surplus doesn’t hurt.

    For our part though, a surplus is just a distant dream currently. We’re glad if we can fill our raids.

  2. Ronwe Says:

    I don’t really agree with you Larisa.

    Through your comment, it seems you’re raiding in 25 and a bit bitter about the 10 man bloom you see today and for this, I can understand. But to say 25-man will disapear, I’m not sure it will ever happen.

    For the « more loot per people », you must not think with rough numbers, but with loot potential in mind : the number of items per raider is the same, but with 5 loots, you get roughly half or a third of the boss loot table at once. Why is it an edge ? Because in 10 man, it’s not unheard of both loot being dezzed, even on the first few weeks of raiding. The probability of « noone looting » is greater in 10 man. The edge is mostly there, but it would be unwise to dismiss it as negligible, for sadly, it isn’t.

    As for the future of 25-man guilds, I’m not afraid : many 10-man guilds, especially those interested in progression start regreting their move to 10-man : that’s no wonder considering 25 man guilds « as a whole » are already at 13/13HM when 10 man guilds are stuck at most around 7-8/13, those who are further having … made the move back to 25 man.

    As for the stress on the officers having seen both sides of the mirror, I can assure you it’s the same in 25 man and in 10 man, if you want to do things well. The only difference being you emphasise more on coordination in 25 man and on individual motivation / roster management in 10 man. When a fight force you to have 3 people able to kick on a « less than 12 seconds » cooldown in 25 man, you have nothing more to do than just raid : you have them. On 10 man, you start playing with alts, benching people with few hope to see the fight before a few weeks and so on and the management can quickly become a nightmare.

    As for sitting out people, it’s not really that people are touchy about it, it’s just that if you’re, let’s say, 13 in your 10 man roster, the 3 people you leave out represent 1/4 of your roster. When you take them again the next week, there is the possibility that the regression in fight knowledge (and also, gear …) makes progression a lot more painful because 1/3rd of your raid is behind, if you take the same 3 people in a 25 man roster, they’ll be more « droplets in a sea of raider » and the delay will be a lot less noticeable.

    tl;dr version : raiding casually may be easier with a 10 man raid, and I guess that’s Blizzard’s intent, but, at least right now, progression is, IMHO, easier in 25 man.

    As for recruitment, at least on our server, it’s the same for 10 and 25 man : if you’re anything less thant 12/12 normal mode, it’s a pain in the a** to get anyone new, and at the moment you start trying hardmodes, wannabe recruits are flooding the /w of officers and members alike …


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