25 Man Guilds Slowly Dwindling?

Another 25 player guild on my server has called it quits. Seems like a number of them have decided to stop altogether or switch to being a 10 player guild instead.

I can almost count on one hand the number of active raiding 25s. A year ago, during ICC, there  must have been over 20 guilds that did 25s across both factions.

Now? Well, there’s over 30 registered. But it seems like a decent number have them have stopped altogether. It might be due to other games like Rift. I have a hunch it might be related to the difficulty levels of the content. During ICC, the instance gradually got easier due to the buffs. In Cataclysm, the only way the ways get easier is through practice and gear acquisition.  I can’t help but wonder if patience is wearing thin. I know during vanilla, bosses were next to impossible. It would take multiple weeks or even months just to get a new boss taken down. Thinking out loud, I can’t help but wonder if players are fed up with raiding 25s as a whole and looking to jump down to 10s.

No plans on throwing in the towel yet. But I feel like I’m part of an endangered species. How’s your servers looking? Any prominent guilds closing up shop or switching focus?

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. We are very much seeing the same thing in our server. I know of at least 1 established 25 man guild who recently just stopped raiding. But to be honest, I am not exactly sure if it’s the “in-between content dip” we always see at this time between major content patches / tiers or if it’s really a transition of more guilds moving to 10 mans.

    I sure see more recruitment for 10s in trade, but I guess only time will tell if it’s a trend or a coincidence.

    Ever since we switched to multiple 10 man team, I’ve loved the different challenges I faced with a smaller tight knit group. So for me, it’s here to stay and I have no real desire to go back to 25s anyway.

  2. Our guild has taken the decision to split into two ten man teams, yet to see if this is a positive or negative change!

    Last week was the breaking point for some members who were infuriated by some buggy mechanics which have since been hot fixed.

    Does anyone else think the ICC buff was not such a bad thing? It allows guilds to feel like they are progressing rather than burn out on encounters that they won’t defeat before the next content is released?

    • Nope, I think the ICC buff was a good thing. It was the final content patch in Wrath. If people were really stuck on a boss, the buff gave them something to look forward to.

      “Oh maybe we can do it next week when we get another 5% buff!”

      I’m not calling for it in Cataclysm. I just can’t help but wonder what type of impact it made to keep people going.

  3. We still raid 25s, but we’re only about one of four guilds on our realm that do. The others are definitely more progressed and don’t show any signs of stopping 25s.

    Right now our attendance is good, but our progress is slowing. I think for now we’ve alleviated the tension between 10 and 25 mainly due to the fact that we can kill more bosses in 25 so the only bosses left for 10s are pure progression.

    We’ll continue to run 25s going into patch 4.2. If our raid team can’t clear at least the normal mode content we may either step up recruiting or reconsider what we’re doing.

  4. I have found that this same phenomenon is occuring on my server. There have been quite a few long standing guilds (one from Vanilla) that have recently disbanded. I have heard rumours of some players just burning out with the stagnation of progression. Quite a few guilds had been stuck on a particular HC boss for a number of weeks and I guess their members were not used to this type of raiding.

    My guild has also recently switched from 25 to 10 man as we lost players to the summer weather, burnout and Rift amongst others. You have to question whether implementing an ICC style debuff over time would keep some players in the game. I think it would help the longevity of many guilds but at the same time there is a lot of talk that many raiders are simply bored of the game in general.

    Personally I really hope the endgame does not just become the home for the very hardcore. I am sure it will not but the rate at which guilds seem to be imploding is quite alarming.

    • Yeah, indeed. I hear you on the progression part. Some guilds get to 3 or 4/12 hard mode and then just decide to call it quits. It could also be boredom too. I think it took us maybe 2-3 months to get bored of ToC.

      This troll instance can’t come out fast enough.

  5. Our 10 man guild recently picked up quite a few raiders from another small guild destroyed by Rift.

    With a few more recruits we’ll be looking to combine our two 10’s into a 25.

    Look for more people to start raiding in 4.1 as epics start flowing like water and people return from Rift.

    I think there is a good chance for the end bosses of normal modes getting slight nerfs before 4.2 hits.

  6. Always one to buck a trend my guild are thinking about moving up from 10 to 25.

  7. I share your hunch that it is the difficulty level that is causing players to quit.

    What happens at 25-man guilds is that some players quit. And what remains is a 10-man guild. This however is rather a forced move than a deliberate choice.

    Jumping down to 10s does little to reduce the difficulty. http://www.wowtrack.org/encounters.lua shows that 25s are by-and-large ahead of 10s (hover over the chart legend to visualize this.) One of the reasons for this is that it is much more difficult to satisfy the stacking requirements for heroics with a 10-man roster.

    I agree that patience is wearing thin compared to vanilla. On the other hand, in vanilla, finishing the progress was a requirement to participate in the next tier. As of WotLK, we have a constant gear reset with each tier of content due to badge/points items. While this is a good thing to allow players to enter the game at any point in time, it also has a negative effect on player motivation.

  8. I’m seeing a complete lack of raider applications on our website and just about every other guild site on my realm! It seems like NO one is interested in the content :/ and when it comes to raid turnover… we might have to switch back to 10s if this keeps up. So far I’ve seen guilds switch to 10s, completely stop, or some are even rumored to be absorbing each other.

    The content so far has been a real hassle in my opinion. And from an officer point of view, it’s extremely difficult to not burn out on trying to push things/progress.

  9. Our server is seeing the exact same thing. We were 11/12 HM in 25s on our server and 12/12HM in 10 in ICC. And we just couldn’t recruit/train our bottom 25% enough to really push HLK 25. We had the same problem keeping up with hard modes in Cata, and we had to call it quits and switch to 10 man.

    There is now only a handful of 25 man guilds on our server, and the top 10 progressed guilds on our server are all 10 man now.

    I think 25 mans are only really viable for well known or cutting edge guilds, as it’s MANY times easier to find 10 people at the same level of play than 25. If your on a low-med pop server running a 25 man guild that progresses solidly is very difficult.

  10. AgreeWithStory says:

    I don’t think the content is necessarily more difficult then prior content- be it Vanilla (how many guilds crashed on Vael?); TBC (you know there were peeps who you’d just pray were not selected for Teron Gorefiend; how many guilds were torn asunder in Sunwell?); Heroic 25 ICC (that fight was a brutal form of wheat and chaff if there ever was one)…

    Now- are the normal modes more difficult today? I don’t think so (with a few exceptions).

    I also don’t think gearing to get raid ready is difficult (we set a wow-heroes floor at 4000 when we started in January)…. But for players born in wrath: when normal modes were breezy cheesy, especially on 10normal… It’s akin to moving from rec. Ball to club…

    As for the demise of 25mans, this was foreshadowed a year ago or so when the changes were announced.

    While there are some legitimate concerns regarding 10H, the fact of the matter is most servers see most first kills on 10n and 10h. Even most 25m guilds poach progression by sending their 10best in to get a kill…

    Again though- rewards dictate behavior… And while it is awesome to get 9pieces of loot for killing Heroic Chimaeron (25), the difficulty difference between Al’akir 25 and 10 is equally staggering…

    Which leads to those in 10s saying ‘what am I doing?’

    Can it be managed? Yes, but it requires the knowledge of those in 25s that they will be doing harder content, while being rewarded (or penalized) by being IN a larger group…

    Regardless, 25s are toast without a reward system change by Blizzard (in 4.2).

    Finally, don’t discount normal lower attendance as spring/summer hits (note: rift has so far proven like Conan for us: some departures, a lot of play, and most not renewing after the initial 30days)….

    Whew…. Sorry for the novel.

  11. On my server, there are only six 25 man raiding guilds. The vast majority are 10-man guilds.

    I think I may be the only guild actively trying to switch up into 25-man. We have the DPS. We need healers.

    I’ve actually had the reverse issue – if we can’t pull together 2 people for a 25, we have enough geared alts to flip to 2 10-mans. If those same two people don’t show up for a 10-man, we’re scrambling to fill spots. We’ve had more wasted nights trying to find two people. It’s not fair to my raiders.

    We also do not recruit a bench team. To put it bluntly, no one is going to “deal” with a bench team on 10-mans. Whether or not that’s vestigial from Wrath or not, I am not sure. But when people join, they join for the opportunity to raid, not the opportunity to sit around watching other people raid until it becomes convenient to bring them on. We’re just not the kind of powerhouse raiding guild where people are willing to wait for crumbs from the table. So for us, 25 actually alleviates a lot of seating drama.

    In any event, I miss the larger raid size. I find 10-mans quite boring. But then I never got into a snit because someone is doing 2K less than me. Are they not standing in fire? Are they always on time? Do the learn the strats quickly? Are they pleasant company in Vent? Do they not cause drama? Those things mean more to me than one guy who can do 30K DPS but is a royal pain in the rear.

    PS: This was not meant as a specific reply to my prior poster. I fail at hitting the correct reply. The comment was meant for the original post…

  12. I have indeed seen an exodus of players from the 25-man guilds on my server, with a total of 3 of the top 15 or so guilds remaining having an active 25-man raid (including my own).

    This really disappoints me, and I think could be tied to the difficulty level of current raids, burn-out, and simply people moving on with their life (or going to play other games).

  13. As a former officer of the guild that I’m pretty sure you’re talking about, Matt, I can tell you that the 10s/25s split was not the reason that we folded. Neither was Rift. We folded for fairly mundane reasons that guilds have been folding for since Vanilla – personality conflicts coming to a head due to stress over progression, burnout as a result of the same, and members drawing unfavorable comparisons between us and more progressed guilds.

    The only conclusion to draw is that, when many of a guild’s members and officers are more concerned with keeping up with the Joneses than they are with enjoying and clearing content at their guild’s own pace, the guild is going to have trouble if it falls behind in progression.

  14. At the start of Cataclysm, the most-progressed guild on the server, Echelon (Horde guild on Eldre’Thalas) dropped to 10 man from 25. They’re still going strong on 10s, just got the Realm First H. Nefarian last night.

    Another strong Wrath-era guild, Free At Last (A), started out in 25s and then said “screw it” and dropped to two 10s teams. (I’m unsure if they still do two teams, but their focus is 10s.) They did that when they were at 10/12 25-man progress.

    That leaves two major guilds on Eldre’Thalas, Epic Again (A) and Apotheosis (A) working on 25s, with EA digging into heroic modes and Apotheosis sitting at 11/12 (but hopefully 12/12 or 1/13 this week!) and the others sitting back.

    There are a LOT of 10s that have sprung up, but yes, I definitely feel like an endangered species.

  15. I’ve noticed a significant decrease in 25-man raiding on my server, too. Some are struggling while others haven given up and converted back to 10-man raiding. I’m starting to worry that Cataclysm is going to be the expansion that kills WoW.

  16. Our server is no different. We are literally (at least according to all the tracking websites) the last 25-man raiding guild on Alliance-side. But even then, there are only about two or three Horde guilds still doing 25-man. Meanwhile, 10-man guilds are coming out of the woodwork.

    The real thing that frustrates me is when it comes to recruitment and attendance. We recently hit a slump of no-shows, due to various life reasons, and began to recruit more people. Thing is, when you’re a 25-man guild at 10/12 reg and you have some 10-man guild spamming recruitment for 3/12 HMs, it doesn’t exactly help your chances of getting applicants.

    My guild’s social atmosphere is among the most stable on the server (Vanilla guild represent), but the death of our 25-man raiding would cause a serious schism among the raiding corp., as we have been raiding large-group content since its formation.

    The only real fix for this, as state above in other comments, is a retooling of the reward system for 25-man raids, other than “oh, we get 20 more Valor Points and four more items per boss kill.”

  17. Imakulata says:

    I guess it’s a server thing. On my server (The Maelstrom) the top guilds like Scrubbusters went the 25-man route. When I check the world top guilds, it’s the same. There is more 10-man guilds but when we get to those that killed at least a couple of bosses on heroic, they actually become a minority. To be honest, I’m not really surprised by 25-man guilds getting a majority of the difficult heroic bosses including Al’Akir who is easier on 10-man.

    And for those who ask about the normal bosses, the casual guilds, how do they fare? Let me ask – how did they fare before Cata? There was much more 10-man guilds back then too. Just killing a couple of bosses on 25-man was enough to get a place on the 25-man ladder that would require being well progressed in heroic on 10-man.

  18. Well, our server has eleven guilds that primarily raid 25-mans (according to our server progression sticky, anyway) with only one of those being Alliance (most of our top alliance guilds transferred off server sometime in Wrath).

    We have a total of 22 guilds that do 10-mans, though, including guilds that also do 25-mans. So we’ve still got a decent raider base. I’m not entirely sure how many guilds *primarily* do 10-mans, but there’s a good chunk of them that do, ours included (we actually have three 10-man teams at the moment). Funny thing is, all these 25-man guilds we have were around in Wrath, and some even as early as BC.

  19. We tried two 10man teams (too many close friends to only raid a single team), and it just doesn’t work for us – we need 25man raids. So we actually did the opposite of what most are doing now – we started in 10s and went back to 25s!

    But it seems our server can only support a tiny handful of 25man guilds; many are slipping and having to drop back to 10s.

    We have merged with another guild in the same position as us (a strong core, but low attendance for 25s) to continue. I would not normally be positive about guild mergers, but with the lack of recruits available to us, we really had no choice if we wanted to stay together (rather than split up and go join some of the other guilds). So far, fantastic.

    I hope 25mans don’t die out – I like 10s, definitely, but I prefer the larger raid size. 10s make for a closer-knit group, but it also means excluding people. For example, we have a bunch of shadow priests, and they’re all good (and great people). Having to turf some of them out to squeeze into a 10man isn’t fun.

    I’m not sure what I would do if 25s died out completely. I do enjoy 10s, but I’m not sure I would want to do them full-time.

  20. I know a lot of 25 man guilds had 10 man drama back in Wrath (and TBC), and this is one of the things that affected my 25 man raid group in Cataclysm — you only need a few key players to leave and struggle to replace them to suddenly be in trouble.

    It wasn’t the only reason though. Some people got bored/ burned out and left. I suspect some of them were already burned out when this expansion launched but were hoping desperately that it’d relight the spark for them … and it didn’t.

  21. We haven’t had a decent 25 man in weeks. At the end of Wrath a big chunk of members split into a 10 man guild and we struggle to find reliable recruits since.

    There is only 1 other guild left on the server trying to field 25 mans with 3/12 heroic progress.

  22. No.

    People don’t do 25-man raids because THEY DON’T HAVE TO. The top bets players wanted the gear that dropped from 25-man, so they would assemble 25 players to do it. Simple as that. Now that they don’t HAVE to… they don’t. The gear they want drops from 10-man, so they just do 10-man, which is simpler to assemble.

    Simple, really.

  23. I wonder how much of this is just a ‘greener grass’ phenomenon. People are struggling with content as they always have, but now they suddenly have this ‘option’. The question is whether it will make things better or worse over the long term. However, even if it’s going to be worse, it’s unlikely people would actually be able to judge it, so in the end it is what it is. A tantalizing option when things are rough.

  24. On my server there are only a handful of 25 man guilds actively raiding but tons of 10 man guilds.

    From a progression raiding there are really only three guilds and only one, mine, seems to be regularly downing new bosses at this point. The changes to lockouts and the loot merger has killed 25 man raiding. We are doing fine but the applicant pool is pretty small now.

  25. Nothing new here…same old story on our server. There are a total of 4 25-man raiding guilds left on our server, only two of which are into HMs. Its definitely frustrating as a 25 man to try to keep up with the 10 man teams, but I’m expecting they will hit a wall soon (they are 5/13, we’re sitting at 3/13).

    We transitioned from 10 to 25s at the start of Cata just because we had fairly recently formed together and were growing rapidly. We ended up pooling a pretty large amount of the existing talent in the faction (albeit on a low-progress server) and putting together a very successful 25.

    We have had fairly steady recruitment throughout Cata, in contrast to a lot of what I hear from other guilds around the way.

    I’m agnostic, and I thank god every day for my recruitment officer. She is amazing. As much as I am the GM/Raid Lead and have a ton to do with our success, she has single handedly made the guild what it is today.

    Don’t forget to /hug your recruitment folk on a daily basis guys.

  26. What is she doing that’s working? I’ve been doing everything I can possibly think of to fill in the holes in our 25-man roster, and it’s the most discouraging recruiting environment I’ve ever been in (I’ve been playing since Vanilla).

    Our 25-man group is struggling as well because, like the poster above me, we’ve had a “slump of no-shows, due to various life reasons, and began to recruit more people. Thing is, when you’re a 25-man guild at 10/12 reg and you have some 10-man guild spamming recruitment for 3/12 HMs, it doesn’t exactly help your chances of getting applicants.”

    • Prime on Ysera has remained a 25-man guild despite setbacks with real life issues, Rift, and so forth. A few players dropped out of raiding early on whose skills were not increasing quickly enough for the content difficulty. As we transitioned into hard modes, we lost another small batch who weren’t handling the stress level very well. Al’Akir on the 25-man is a coordination monster, yes? I’d imagine the next difficult spot happens when our players realize that not all hard modes are created equal. The next content patch may help ease that concern.

      We’ve learned to spend more time on recruiting than we used to. One member shot an early recruitment video for YouTube. We placed it on our web site’s front page. We use sites that help us search for cross-server candidates like http://www.wowlemmings.com. When we were at that 10/12 point, we told potential recruits that if they wanted to be in our guild for 12/12 and beyond, they should consider joining before there were no raid spots left to take.

      After getting over the 12/12 hump, we’ve had no trouble filling raids. It probably helps that ours is a high population server with an overall high progression rate. Also, I have two good people helping recruit when I’m not available. Now our biggest concern is making sure our recruits get the attention they need to either graduate and integrate well or part ways gracefully.

      For April Fools, we announced we’re scaling down to 5-mans:

  27. If I say anything more than “Yes, my server too”, I’d just repeating what has been said at least a dozen times here already 🙂

  28. My 25 man guild lost almost half of our raid team in two weeks. This was due to a number of factors from real life (work, military) to leaving to play Rift to boredom due to completing the normal content.

    On the second week we had a terrible raid, and I had some sleepless nights over it from the stress. I talked to our core raiders and discussed moving down to 10s. Everyone who replied felt that slower progression was better, and that they wanted to continue it as they want to stay as a 25 man raid into Firelands.

    As of right now we’ve absorbed 3 from the 10 man that was running in the guild and we are good on DPS but it looks like we are running into healer issues again. Healers have been slow to apply and last night we pugged someone.

    We’ve had applicants but the majority of them either aren’t good fits or raid with us for one week and then disappear into the abyss. On the other hand we have had some good applicants join us. Recruitment is rough. We went from 15 applicants a week to 2 or so and the chance of an applicant turning into a core raider is only around 5%-10%.

    • I forgot to mention at least our realm is very welcoming to 25 man guilds. Our 3 top guilds are 25 man (the realms top one is 9/13HM). The 4th guild on the list is a 10 man team in a guild that also has a 25 man raid. Only a few of the guilds in the top 20 are 10. However progression has stalled at 1/13HM or 2/13HM for many guilds including ours likely due to the issue with getting good members. I am lucky that I am on a realm that is 25 man friendly and can be advertised as such.


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