The new Thunderforged item concept adds another two levels of items into raids. Only available to items that are non-tier. Not sure how the slight stat allocation of Thunderforged compares to the set bonuses that tier provides, but that’s not the object of discussion here.
Much of the feedback Blizzard received was around 25 man raiding and how to proportionately reward those who eagerly go through the logistical challenges of organizing them (y’know, hopeless idiots like myself). 25 mans are gradually diminishing. Top guilds Vodka and Exodus merged resulting in the loss of another prominent 25 man guild.
Coming to the PTR in the near future will be a new designation of item type in Normal and Heroic raids for non-tier pieces. Each 5.2 raid boss will have a chance of dropping this new designation of a particular item that’s 6 item levels higher than their counterparts. These higher quality versions will be called “Thunderforged”. This means that there will be five variations of some items. You’ll now see a 5.2 raid item of LFR quality at item level 502, the same item in Normal quality at item level 522, the item in Normal Thunderforged quality at item level 528, the Heroic version of the item at level 535, and the Heroic Thunderforged version of the item at level 541.
We’ve also received a lot of feedback regarding 25-player raids, and have been looking for ways to address some concerns. Ever since we changed 10-player raids to drop the same item level as 25′s, we’ve seen a steady decline in 25-player raiding. This isn’t surprising. A 25-player raid takes an extra level of logistical commitment for the officers of those groups. It’s unfortunately easy for a 25-player guild to collapse down into a 10-player guild, but very unlikely for the opposite to happen. However, we like 25-player raiding and don’t want to see it go away. Like many players, we love the epic feeling that comes with banding together more massive groups to battle powerful foes, we love that there’s opportunity for those groups to try out new players or unusual comps without causing a huge burden, and we want to support the larger raiding guilds. That said, we’re also concerned that over-rewarding the 25-player guilds-if, for example, we went back to a higher item level across the board for 25′s, as was the case for Icecrown Citadel-would feel like a slap in the face to the many 10-player raiders out there, who are the majority of our Normal and Heroic raiders.
To attempt to navigate this minefield, we’re going to try having Thunderforged items drop more frequently in 25-player raids. They’ll be somewhat rare in both cases compared to the standard versions that’ll drop, but they’ll be even rarer in 10′s. Overall, a 25-player group will be more likely to end up with a slightly higher item level after several weeks of raiding.
This isn’t going to have much effect on the guilds that already run 25 man raids. Conquest has survived some of the worst ordeals in it’s history. 10 man raiding has never been a long term solution in any fashion and it never will be as long as I continue to run it. The players and the leaders have no interest in it all and that resiliency has helped us.
Have to admit, reward incentive here with the Thunderforged is cool. It’s a neat compromise to the whole suggestion of adding a completely different level of gear between 25s and 10s (the Wrath style). I’ve seen cases of 25s dropping down to 10s but I have never seen a 10 man raid step up to a 25 man raid which continues to be active. If you happen to be the architect of such a move, give me a shout!
More importantly, is this going be enough to influence players to make the switch from 10 to 25? I don’t think so. My guess is no. The interactions I’ve had with the 10 man players is that they have no interest in the logistical maintenance that’s required at the 25 level. There’s a strong preference for the closer intimacy that’s offered.
This change seems to be targeting the players that like having the best stuff available. They raid a set amount of hours a week and they want to really maximize their return on their time investment.
What about the leaders? As I said, it’s a cool reward for the few that brave the logistical nightmares. But if you’re a 10 man raid leader, is it enough to consider to make that shift? I’m not sure about that. Seems to me that the players already comfortable where they are don’t want to take that leap. I gather there’s large number of players that aren’t raiding purely for the gear level (but I acknowledge that there are some who do).
During Wrath, 25s were the dominant raiding force. The challenges there offered undoubtedly better geared compared to the 10 man counterparts. With this in place, 25 man raiders have a better chance of securing better gear compared to the 10 man raiders. The 10 man players won’t be shut out. They’ll still have a chance at it but it won’t be as strong. We’ll have to wait and see what the frequency of the Thunderforge drops are going to be.
I took a quick poll on Twitter to see what other people felt.
Yes or no: Is Thunderforged enough to make you consider joining a 25 man raid group?
— Matticus(@matticus) January 23, 2013
Here’s what you said:
@matticus simple, no. I raid 10man because I prefer the social environment of 9 friends.
— Jayden (@Omegahty) January 23, 2013
Yup, I figured that was going to be the case for quite a few players. What else?
@matticus As a raid leader: Hell no. 25 mans are an organizational nightmare. All the gear in the world isn’t enough.
— Jamie Cox (@KitsuneLeo) January 23, 2013
Also understandable. Doesn’t matter how good the rewards and incentives are. Sometimes there is no price that’s high enough. next?
— Gnoodles (@Gnoodles_WoW) January 23, 2013
So not exactly eager to look for a 25 but won’t resist if the current leadership decides to go that route. That’s fair. It does lower the barrier slightly. And this change does seem to go after the players that are either on the fence or virtually indifferent.
@matticus Yes. I joined a guild for 25s and they downsized to Alpha and Bravo 10mans 3 days later. I hope it’s enough to bring people back.
— Shane Greenwell (@sfgreenwell) January 23, 2013
Oof, I hate hearing about situations like that. Players joining a guild expecting one kind of experience only for that to be abruptly changed soon after. It’s crappy.
@matticus we will probably lose 3 of our 10 man including the Raid lead.
— Marathal(@Marathal) January 23, 2013
That’s unexpected. So in the grand scheme of things, there is an extremely slight chance that it’s enough to split a 10 man (maybe not break it).
What are your thoughts on this addition? Is it enough to give you a reason to start looking around for 25s? Are you or your raid leaders suitably incentivized to give 25s a shot or look for a guild to merge with? Or does nothing change and the status quo is maintained?