Archives for November 2013

How does a 25 player guild handle Mythic raiding?

How does a 25 player guild handle Mythic raiding?

Ever since the announcement of BlizzCon with the revisions to raid, I’ve been asked countless times (both in guild and from players out of guild) what I was going to do.

Are we going to just stick to heroic raiding?

Are we going to have to make cuts for mythic?

What will our raid plans be since they’re all on separate lockouts now?

Before we get into that, I wanted to offer my thoughts on Mythic raiding in general. Suffice it to say, it was a long time coming. Back when SWTOR came out and there were players raiding, I felt that 16 players was a solid raid size. There weren’t that many people involved and it still captured the feelings of “epicness” when it comes to taking down monsters. Discussing it with my friends, I hoped that Blizzard would eventually make that jump down to 20 or 15. Little did I know, they did allow for that.


The new Flex raid system that came out with patch 5.4 was simply the first step. You could have a 12 man raiding guild or a 17 player or whatever you wanted and the encounter would dynamically scale. 10 player guilds didn’t have to feel bad about benching their friends. 25 player guilds didn’t have to struggle when a player or two needed to take a night off. As far as I can tell, the reaction to Flex raiding was overwhelmingly positive.

This leads us to Warlords of Draenor and the new Mythic raiding difficulty level. Why did they decide on 20?

We chose to put Mythic at 20 largely for the function of raid design. One of the biggest issues we’re currently facing with 10-player Heroic raiding is that of raid composition. It’s impossible for every group to have every class, and often that means they’re lacking in certain tools, which in turn means that we can’t design encounters around those tools (or if we do, it becomes extremely frustrating for the 10-player Heroic guild that suddenly needs a Paladin for Hand of Protection).

We want to be able to use those sorts of mechanics again. Those of you who have been with us for a while might remember things like Mage tanks on High King Maulgar, or Priests using Mind Control on Instructor Razuvious. We want it to be okay when, say, the Paladin can use Hand of Protection to clear a dangerous debuff, because we can reasonably assume that most guilds will have at least one Paladin in their raid. We like it when someone gets to feel awesome and have a special task on a fight because of class abilities that otherwise wouldn’t get much use.

We can’t do that when we’re designing with a 10-player raid size in mind. We don’t think we’d be able to get away with it at 15 either. At 20, it becomes a lot more acceptable for us to say “you should probably bring a Mage to Spellsteal this.” And honestly, that’s just one example of the sort of encounter mechanics we can start to utilize in a larger group size.

I’d also call into question the statement of “It’s easier to drop people than it is to recruit them.” It’s technically true, yes — finding new raiders is harder than just not inviting the ones you have — but totally ignores the fact that cutting people from your roster often means losing people you like. Which feels better: making new friends, or telling your current ones that they don’t get to play with you any more? We’re already asking a lot of many 25-player Heroic groups to cut 5 people.

As I mentioned before, this was not a decision we came to lightly. It’s definitely going to be a very scary transition for a lot of people. We knew that when we made the decision. We just also feel quite strongly that, when the dust settles, we’ll be able to provide a better raiding experience for everyone.


That highlighted selection is the problem I have on my hands. Granted, the expansion is still an extremely long time away. I understand that there’s a few 10 man guilds that are upset by this change going up. Maybe it’s server population reasons or that they just don’t like the idea of doubling their roster for mythic. For most normal mode raiding guilds, that’s not going to be a problem here since the heroic mode of Warlords still allows for that.  If Conquest was primarily a 10 man organization, I’d have no problems upscaling it. The problem is that we’re a 25 and I have to tell ~20% of my team that I have to rebalance the raid group and they’re not going to be on the starting lineup.

If there’s one thing I know about guild leaders though, is that they’re usually resilient. If they want something badly enough, they’ll find a way to make it happen.

Will Conquest just stick to heroic raiding?

No. During the opening week of the expansion, Mythic will not be available until the second week. We’ll start with heroic raiding first to get everyone acclimated. The first chance we get to duck into Mythic, we will. Our current plans are to fall back to Heroic raiding in the event of holiday weeks or extremely low attendance. The second option is to have a rotating bi-weekly schedule where we work on Heroic raids on week one, Mythic raids on week two (or get as far as we can). Gear is still important and we need to make sure every player has the tools that they need. The last option is we utilize Heroic raiding on the first two days of our schedule before switching to Mythic on the last day (or vice versa depending on our progression). It really is too soon to say because any number of things could change between now and the release of Warlords.

Bottom line? Both Heroic and Mythic will be on the table.

Are we going to have to make cuts for Mythic?

Yes. It’s math, right? We’re raiding 25s right now but we’ll have to eventually rebalance and downsize. I told everyone in guild to not worry about as much that we had months to go before the expansion.

The truth is that I’m already evaluating players between now and then. Based on what? Oh you know, the usual fare like DPS or other performance metrics. There’s also a secret Matt tolerance factor. Is that person fun to raid with or are they just downright annoying? Do they increase my rage meter? We’ll see what happens! There’s still a long way to go! Maybe I’ll do a secret Hunger games style thing.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Mythic raiding. I’ve handled the transition from 40 to 25 before. I’m no stranger to making the jump in raid sizes if I have to. The players who don’t end up being on my protected list won’t be ejected out or anything. There’s still Heroic mode raiding to do plus there’s all sorts of other activities to participate in-game with. I have no plans to outright punt anyone outside of the guild. Some of our longer term players were surprised to find that their characters were still sporting our guild tag. I guess they expected me to have kicked them out at some point due to inactivity. Of course, I told them that I would never do that because I knew that one day they’d return.

In reality, I’m actually that lazy.

Back from BlizzCon 2013

Back from BlizzCon 2013

I’m exchanging the 20° of Anaheim for the much more comfortable 10° of Canada. Not sure how those people do it with those temperatures! I need my climate control.

In any case, I had a fantastic time at BlizzCon and it was great to meet up with the Conquest crew (past and present). I think we had around 30 members representing this year who’ve been with us at some point or other. Since it was around two years the last time I saw them, it was refreshing to see everyone again.

Here’s a quick recap of the whole week:

Day 1 (Wednesday)

The first day is practically a necessity for me now. I have to get acclimated to the surroundings. It’s also a great time to take care of administrative stuff like getting a US SIM card and stocking up on alcohol! Never ceases to amaze me how much more affordable this stuff is compared to us back home. The Jamaican Appleton I picked up didn’t last the rest of the week. It’s virtually a quieter day where I link up with the guildies who are here and we just catchup and chat about stuff.

I also pre-pre-gamed. Never drinking any fireballs again. Learned my lesson. Threw up twice but at least I knew what my limits were and I managed to get that out of the way.

Day 2 (Thursday)

This is when everything starts to pick up. With the WoW Insider party in the evening, I met up with the rest of the team to sketch out battle plans and strats for the next two days. It’s important to help minimize overlap and ensure that we’re as efficient as possible with coverage. The remote teams were the heroes here as they helped make any edits and corrections. After that, it’s partying the rest of the night! Ran into several blues and other prominent figures in the Warcraft community. The drink lines were long but the secret to that is tipping really well the first time, waving cash, and knowing exactly what you want.

Day 3 (Friday)

BlizzCon opening! I volunteered to be one of the demo testers in obtaining a first impression of Warlords of Draenor. Skipped out on the opening ceremony and lined up right by the bank of machines that were all deceptively idle. The desktop icon showed WoW PTR 6.0. Caught the cinematics to Heroes of the Storm and the Warlords presentation. There were three selections for the demo: Alliance questing, Horde questing, or putting together a 5 man and running the dungeon. Thankfully, I’m familiar with healing and reconfiguring the UI on the go. Our party consisted of me, Sarah Pine, and three other attendees as we all opted to put together a team for the dungeon. It was a bit of a tough start because I kept missing certain keys and had to rebind on the fly, but we did decently toward the end. The rest of that day was spent attending various panels and special meetings with developers (Press only). Wanted to play  Heroes of the Storm but I couldn’t get away early enough. So much to do so I opted to go next day. In the evening, our guild dinner was at a local restaurant with taxi distance. From previous years, I knew that getting a booking for a large group of people in nearby convention restaurants was going to be almost impossible.

Other than my slightly extra nuked steak, it was a great moment to just unwind and unburden myself of being a GM or being Matticus. I could just be Matt.

Day 4 (Saturday)

With the first day of BlizzCon in the books, the second day is a little more relaxed. I can hit the floor and check out some of the other demos or pick up other gear. The Heroes of the Storm line was easily two hours long. Wish they had a fast pass system like Disney but I wandered around instead before waltzing into the BlizzPro/TwizzCast meetup at 2 PM then returned later at 4 PM for the WoW Insider meet and greet for the fans that missed out on Thursday. After that, it was dinner again! I love ribeye. It was a smaller and more intimate group of friends and then we bounced back to the Hilton where the real festivities began. The Hilton after party is always a must. It can be suffocating and it’s definitely not for everyone. But I relish in the atmosphere and chatted with my guild along with other friends (old and new) who were around and about. Excellent time to catch up and collect everyone’s thoughts for the upcoming expansion. I also met Watcher for the first time!

Day 5 (Sunday)

Disneyland was the final destination. The last time I was here was when I was 2 years old so I wasn’t able to really appreciate the parks. I just did the Disney side mostly. Only had time for three attractions: Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Teacup ride. Really wanted to do Indiana Jones but that was closed (only to be reopened not long after I left).

Can’t wait for next year!

I’ll go over my thoughts in more detail in the upcoming days. But for now, here’s what I liked and what I didn’t.


  • Garrisons
  • Reviving the in-game raid browser
  • Racial re-balance
  • One instant level 90
  • Removal of hit, expertise, dodge, and parry
  • Heroes of the Storm


  • Mythic raiding’s reduced roster size
  • Removal of reforging (Although I suspect I’ll change my mind fast)
  • Garrosh again
  • Nerfs to Hearthstone’s hunter cards