Raiding 10 v. 25: Which is better?

Raiding 10 v. 25: Which is better?


Since Blizzard implemented the 10 man raid I’ve been hearing debates between players on which is the better raid format, 10 or 25 man raids. I find myself drawing parallels between the debate of 25 v 40 raids. Lets look at some of the virtues of both shall we?

10 Man Raid

Easier to organize

Easier to coordinate raider movement

Less vent / teamspeak chatter

Easier to spot problems

More individual responsibility

Less margin for error

Lower gear leve than25 man

Allows smaller guilds and pugs to experience end game content

25 Man raid

More room for error

Higher Gear level than10 man

More drops per boss and zone than 10 man

Less people have to be “benched”

Bigger sense of accomplishment after defeating a boss

Looking at the points in both I see a lot of the same arguments from 40 man raids to 25 man raids. I’ve had the fortune to experience 40 man, 25 man, 20 man and 10 man raiding and I’d like to offer up my opinion on it. They are all fun.

40 man raids were a pain in the rear to organize and in many cases required you to carry a certain number of a class in order to succeed (Princess huhuran needed at least 4 hunters for tranqshot rotation and such). It was a pain in the ass that required a good hierarchy in order to do successfully. This involved raid leaders, officers, class leaders and such. In a 40 man raid it was very possible for five people to hold a raid hostage and cause all sorts of mayhem.

With that said I loved the content of the 40 player raids, they felt epic. Zones like Molten Core, Black Wing Lair and AQ40 were large and just amazingly well done. Problem was you needed a full group or mostly full group to do these end game raids. Many smaller guilds would form raid alliances and venture forth into the end game content.

20 man raids were introduced with the instance Zul’Gurub. It was a well designed zone and forced you to pick a smaller team to proceed. There was less margin for error but it was easier to grab 19 other players and go in rather than hunting down enough players for Molten Core. The zone was smaller than other end game raids at the time, but offered an opportunity for greater emphasis on fight mechanics than 40 man raiding did. It was a wildly popular raid and showed that the smaller format could be successful.

25 man raids made things a lot easier. Guilds would have a better time getting together enough raiders and wouldn’t have to enter as frequently into raid alliances in order to see the end game content. This was partially helped along by the success of ZG. At this point players for the most part had embraced the smaller format. It offered greater raid accountability on the raiders and easier coordination of the group for the raid leaders. One person could wrangle 24 others without the aid of officers and class leaders if they needed to. Fights could be explained faster than 40 man and it was easier to spot mistakes. This was hailed as a large success on the raiding scene. In 25 man raids though it was still easy to hide behind the skirts of a better healer or DPS just like in the old 40 man raids

When 25 man raids were new and successful, Blizzard also introduced the 10 man raid. Karazhan was for many people their first full raid. It was big and epic in both zone size and scope of what it set out to do. Fight mechanics were interesting and fresh and easier to implement than they were in 25 man. Fights like Netherspite lended itself well to the 10 man raid size as it was much easier to coordinate, but still gave players jobs to do other than just sit and dps or sit and heal. With 25 man raiding though there was still the problem of smaller guilds still needing to enter into raid alliances or pug raider spots if they couldn’t show up with 25 people ready to go see the endgame.

After a full expansion of 25 man raids, Blizzard announced that in Wrath of the Lich King you’d be able to toggle difficulty on all raids between 10 and 25 man. This news sent waves throughout the community. People called it both genius and folly. It allowed you to really take your raid and simplify it. You could take 10 raiders and do all the same raids that the 25 player content was providing and it allowed content to be more accessible to a wider variety of players. Allowing raids to be done at a 10 man level also allowed for greater accountability. If you messed up in kara back in the day, you noticed. It was a lot easier to see what you were doing wrong. It’s much much harder to look at 24 other people and catch problems before they cause wipes. You have much more personal responsibility in a 10 man than you do in a 25 and as a result you are a more integral part of the team. Some fights are inherently harder in 10 man version than they are in 25 man, and some vice verse. You have options now to be able to see all of the games content.

Lodur’s opinion:

Personally I like both formats a lot. I love 25 man raids because at the end of the night I feel accomplished. Being able to help lead 24 other people to a successful boss kill and hear the screams of joy when we get through a particularly hard boss(vent the night of the first Yogg kill was electrifying awesome) is priceless to me. At the same token herding 24 other players even with assistance is grueling and can wear you down. In 25 mans I find myself constantly watching the raid trying to find and stop problems quickly before they cause wipes. I love being able to take the vast majority of my raiders into a zone as well so not everyone is sitting idle.

I love 10 mans because of the intimacy of them. Recently due to some raiders being out, my guild split into two 10 man groups for the night. We ran ToC 10. I lead one group, the GM lead another. I had with me some very good people and a rather nice setup. I also had two people that have had problems in the past staying focused or people I like to refer to as “Fire Huggers”. I was able to coach those two players and get an absolutely phenomenal performance out of them on the fly. Especially when we got to the Faction Champions (pre nerf). This fight was the hardest in the zone (IMO) and lots of people were caught cutting their teeth on it for a while. We wiped once, I saw what was going wrong pretty quickly and was able to change tactics and issue commands on the fly much easier than in 25 man raids and we were able to adapt and overcome the encounter quickly. 10 mans are much easier to coordinate and I didn’t feel nearly the same pressure that I do when I’m thrust into leading a 25 man.

Bottom line, I love both formats just for different reasons. I think they are both solid and offer everything raiders could want.  I also think there shouldn’t be a debate between which format is better. They both work, and they both work pretty damn well (loot distribution aside *shakes fist at blizzard for putting all the good spell shields in 10 man hard modes*).

So how about you? What do you prefer 10 or 25? Why do you like that format?

Well that is all I have for today. Until next time, Happy Healing!


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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.


  1. I’ve found some people that I think are an absolute joy to raid with in 10 man some how become assholes in 25 man. Why is that? I love the epic feeling of 25 man (and the loot), but 10 mans are so much less frustrating and more relaxed. I guess I agree that both can be fun.
    .-= Cotar´s last blog ..Gearing Up For Progression Raiding =-.

  2. I love 10-personcontent. I used to do 40-person stuff, and it was fun. But when ZG came out, I loved the 20-person raid because it gave us a chance to interact with those whom we cared about. In TBC, Karazhan let us have a closely knit group actually have fun together. And in WLK, I am sad that I cared more about loot than fun, and never really experienced any 10-person content.

    I feel more comfortable in smaller, more intimate groups, in both real life and in-game, and 10-person content really helps that out. I think Blizzard is going in the right direction with ToC’s Heroic mode not being 25-only. If Icecrown and then whatever they do in Cataclysm evolves further, then I see myself actually getting involved in raiding again, in 10s, because the game might finally reward those few introverts who play the game and still want socialization.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Fringe Season 2 – “Go Then. There Are Other Worlds Than These.” =-.

  3. @cotar I can say I haven’t really seen that transition. It might have to do something with increased anonymity in a bigger raid. More skirts to hide behind so to speak. That does make for some interesting research. I’ll have to look into that more.

  4. I love my 10-person raids! I’ve tried the 25-person raiding scene and the difference between them, for me, has been like night and day.

    If a guild has a well-organized, well-structured framework within which they can guarantee that 25+ intelligent and respectful team players will show up on time and prepared 2-4 times a week, good for them! Maybe someday I’ll be in such a guild, and I’d probably enjoy it quite a bit.

    But I have never managed to make that work, probably because my guild is a little too friendly (i.e. not nearly strict enough). And so I’m happy to ditch a logistical nightmare (read: 15 slackers getting carried by 10 good folks) and enjoy the 10-person raiding scene, which, I can say from personal experience, is a far more relaxed setting. That might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is perfect for mine.

    As a final note that I wish I didn’t have to write, given the positive attitude nearly consistently displayed by this site’s writers, I do have to say that I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of editing on this article. Good points were made and I appreciate the author’s thoughts and effort, but missed capitalization, punctuation, and the like really detracted from the article’s polish.

  5. 10 mans, hands down. In 10 mans I am a more significant contributor to my group. In the 25s I’m just another unknown face in the crowd.

    10 mans just feel more epic (in a fantasy story type). 25 and 40 mans never were epic to me. They were just a more like a tour bus gone astray. Xenophon’s march of the 10,000 is epic. The Nine Walkers of Lord of the Rings is epic. Anything in-between, not so much.

    Oh, by the way, Netherbane? Did you mean Netherspite or Nightbane?

  6. LIke many – I’ve been an office and raid leader since Vanilla WoW. Trying to herd the cats through MC, through wipes and progression – dealing with the politics and issues of 40/25 man guilds – no thank you. My guild has 10 folks in it – that’s it. Nobody sits, everyone works like mad because they know they will be replaced (myself included) if they don’t cut the mustard. We’re basically down to one night of raiding now – zerg TOC and TOGC (10) in less than 3 hours – and we still have time for Ony. This lets us goof off, and try things like 10 manning Ony 25.

    I run a PUG 25 on our server, basically because the loot is a little better – and it is an opportunity to mix with other folks and guilds that are of similar mindset. It also reminds me why I don’t do 25s regularly any more.

    My biggest beef is that the gear isn’t just better – it’s different. I wish they’d just lowered the stats a little and toss the same loot into both instances.
    .-= Adgamorix´s last blog ..Anub’Arak – Parabola 10 Man Hard Mode =-.

  7. Although I also enjoy 25 man raids I have recently become a big fan of 10 man raiding. After being in a semi-hard core raiding guild for most of Wotlk I have recently needed to cut my play time back and have joined up with a mostly casual guild that also has about 10-15 people who love to raid. The 10 man format has allowed those of us who enjoy raiding to be in a casual guild where we are not under any obligation to raid multiple nights a week, but still get the opportunity to see some of the new content on our weekly raids.

  8. @Piper thanks. I’ve ALWAYS done that, for some reason I go to say Netherspite, and I merge the two >.<

  9. The myth of 25-mans having more room for error is just that – a myth. This very much depends on the difficulty of the encounter.

    On easier encounters, 10 mans are harder than 25s in this regard – because one person failing comprises more of the overall effectiveness of the group (10% vs 4%).

    On harder encounters, 25s are harder than 10. This is because on harder encounters where everyone needs to be playing at a high level, the chances that anyone will screw up are much, much higher in 25 than 10. It’s much easier to get 10 people to play perfectly than 25, and things like lag, DCs, random drama, whatever all can get in the way of that perfect attempt.

    The easiest way to show this anecdotally is immortal (25) vs undying (10) in Naxx. People dying on Naxx was stupid. None of the fights were particularly hard, all were well-understood. If you were correct, Undying would have far fewer people who did it – but because immortal had much higher requirements than undying (10 people living through things is going to be easier than 25) it was far tougher, and was the hardest achievement to get in Naxx-level content.

    I also think that there’s a lot more pressure – good and bad – on performing in 25s. When you were That Guy who couldn’t do constructs on Teron or can’t get out of the way on Icehowl’s charges or always went the wrong way on Thaddius polarity shifts…that’s always bad. But on 10s you’re just letting down 9 other people. On 25s you’re letting down 24 other people. It’s much more demoralizing to know that you wiped a 25 attempt than a 10.
    .-= Kal´s last blog ..[Druid]Pesky PvP gear again =-.

  10. @kal that’s the thing though. Coordination in a 25 man is much harder, no dispute there. But if a single DPS dies, you can still kill a boss. If two dies you can still succeed. If you lose a healer in a 25 man, it’s not the end of the encounter. In a 10 man it absolutely can be. That’s what I mean by more room for error.

  11. MetalReaper says:

    @Neil, I guess you “didn’t” have to “write” about the lack of capitalization and punctuation. I agree, that is looks more polished that way, but as long as I understand what is being said, I don’t care how it looks. I want to read the topics, learn and disagree with them. Just an opinion, nothing more.

  12. I’ve never raided 40m raids, so I can’t comment on that format…I expect I wouldn’t really enjoy it all that much.
    I prefer 10 man raids over 25. The big reason is that its easier to get 10 people who are punctual, reliably willing to attend each week, don’t go AFK before every boss, and capable of following 3rd grade level instructions like don’t stand in the fire, do switch bosses when you are supposed to, kill the adds when necessary and so on.

  13. I have to disagree with the “Bigger sense of accomplishment” to a certain extent at least. Usually I feel a sense of accomplishment after our 10 man team would won a boss. But after the 25 man team does, it feels more like relief than accomplishment. Relief as in “finally the drooling masses were able to do what our A team did last month”

    I agree the more or less room for error depends on the boss. Some bosses are actually easier on 25. Some are harder.

  14. I have to agree with yunk. We feel a fantastic sense of accomplishment when we down a hard boss in our 10 mans, especially when we beat a 25 man guild. Knowing we downed it with 10 man gear is a great sense of accomplishment.

  15. I wholeheartedly favour the 25s. The extra players add an extra dimension of complexity that makes it worth it.

    Then theres the phatter loot of course ^^.
    .-= Matticus´s last blog ..Raiding 10 v. 25: Which is better? =-.

  16. I’m actually a raid leader for a raid alliance that was born in the MC days. We’ve been raiding consistently since then, but Blizzards efforts to make content more available have hampered how effective it is.

    That being said, we’re currently doing 10-man raids & am constantly frustrated by the reduced loot item-level that drops in 10-man raids. I’m not sure why Blizzard decided to put the “better loot” on 25-man raids. If they thought that nobody would do 25-man raids if the loot wasn’t better, or offered some more reward, then doesn’t that tell them something about 25-mans?

    As far as the sense of accomplishment, I have just as much pride when we down a boss in 10-man Ulduar, as I did when we downed Grull with 25 & Ragnaros with 40. I believe working as a team to reach a goal is awesome.

  17. It all just depends on your point of view.

    When I started raiding in WotLK, I was in a guild that couldn’t muster up 25 people to raid, so we only did 10-mans. I had always preferred the 10-man format to the 25-man format because of, among other things, the close bonds you can forge with your fellow raiders.

    Once I changed guilds, I now raid 25-man content almost exclusively. The increased number of people that can wipe the raid is quite frustrating at times, but I feel that of the two, I now prefer the 25-man format.

    In my eyes, 10-man raiding is for a lazy Saturday afternoon to just “chill” online with your homies. 25-man raiding is the “real thing” when it comes to taking down bosses. (it doesn’t hurt that 25-man content gives higher iLevel gear either…LOL)

  18. I’d argue that 25man raids wouldn’t be half as popular if they didn’t drop better loot. Remove the loot disparity (keep the same ilevel and ratio of drops to players) and see how many people still prefer the 25man flavor.
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..The Plight of the 10-Man Guild =-.

  19. WoW… I think a lot of people are thinking long and hard about the 10 vs 25 man thing this week! I wrote a post about my thoughts on it earlier this week too 🙂
    .-= Lath´s last blog ..Post Patch Nerf (and Buff) Anxiety =-.

  20. I loved Kara. I loved Zul’Aman. I love 10 Man Ulduar. 10 Man Naxx – not so much – too long and hard to get people through certain areas when they aren’t up to it (back when everyone wasn’t running around in 226-245 epics). The construct wing, save Patchwerk, and the Heigan dance, and Frogger come to mind. Frogger is in there purely to raise repair bills and allow raiders who aren’t paying attention and putting forth their best effort to hold the rest of the group back even more than they do already.

    The problem with 10 man raids is that most people are, when you get down to it, lazy. Yes you can inspire them to greatness, but if they all had their druthers, they’re going to go the easiest way to the purples as possible.

    The fact that there’s a lot more pressure to perform in 10s, combined with the fact that there’s a lot better loot in 25s, makes it really hard to get a core group to stick together for 10 man runs. You’re also constantly being asked to bring in alts, pugs or new players and reteaching them how to do the run. Part of the fun of raiding is working well together as a group, and that doesn’t happen unless you get to know your fellow raiders. That used to happen in Kara and ZA. That doesn’t happen in 10s now, most people would just rather run 25s.

    So which do I like better? 10s, especially as a healer. It allows you to do your job, instead of worrying about being sniped all the time like you do in 25s. Also, people really notice your performance when you 2 heal a progression 10 man or even solo heal a boss or two in Naxx or Ulduar 10.

  21. The idea that 25-mans = real raiding really sets my teeth on edge. Why is 25-man realler than 10-man? Sure if it was still 40-mans you could argue that 40-mans is the way it started so therefore it is the original way of raiding. But 25-mans and 10-mans are both new kids on the block, and even more so now that they are the same content, so that kind of comment infuriates me.

    Yes, they are different and yes, they have their pros and cons and yes, everyone has different preferences. But that does not mean that one of better or realler than the other – it is just different.

    We have been a 10-man guild forever (boy did we get bored of Kara before ZA came out), but we have done a fair bit of 25-mans lately. We tried out a guild alliance for a couple of weeks (didn’t work – who knew that casual raiding comes in so many flavours… 😉 ) and also had a flukey couple of weeks when we had every single raider signed up at the same time. So we’ve tried both formats as a guild.

    In the end, I think I personally prefer the 10-man format. It is easier to organise and run. I still cannot get over just how much longer wipe recovery takes in 25-mans and normally dependable people seem to deteriorate in time-keeping and simple things like that. I also feel that I contribute more to a 10-man and socially it feels more inclusive somehow.

    Overall though we will run whatever format our sign-ups enables us to do – 1×10, 2×10 or 1×25. The less raiders I’m having to bench the better.
    .-= Tufva´s last blog ..Odd groups got left, even groups got right! =-.

  22. I’ve never understood this “big things = epic” view that pervades WoW, esp…To me, epic is an individual or small group vs the overwhelming. The Lord of the Rings boils down to Frodo and Sam vs Saurron. The Belgariad is Garion, and a handful of other against Torak. The Dark Tower is an adventurer against a necromantic army. These things are epic.

    25 and 40 mans just tend to be big, IMO.

  23. I really like them all for different reasons. I really liked the old 40man raids and wish they never changed. I think there was much more strategy involved.

    As of now, i like the 25 mans because of the loot, and the 10 mans because they are easier to organize..
    .-= Derek B´s last blog ..A New Way To Level? =-.

  24. I’m pretty wholeheartedly a 25 person raider. I just think it’s more challenging–especially for healing, especially for positioning. The rewards are also so much better, and while I’m not all that gear oriented, I do appreciate seeing people get gear they are excited to have.

    That said–I find that the 10 person hard modes are the best tuned. 25 person hard is just hard enough that I get frustrated with my own or others’ small mistakes. In 10 person, it’s a lot easier to identify the issue (even when it’s my own!) and fix it on a hard mode.

    The most fun I’ve had lately is Jaraxxus 10 hard and Twin Valkyr 10 hard.

  25. 40man – horrible to organize, glad they’re gone. OK, it was more epic.. but still not worth. Plus you could basically 30man them plus 10 autoshot-hunters
    10man – nice, but not real raiding (unless you do hardmodes) – it’s like UBRS. just two pugged 5 man groups.
    25man – Most fun in my wow life I had in MH and BT. Hard encounters, a tight-knit team of 25 people (and still a bit of switching round). Second-best wow raiding moments were finally killing Vashj after some nights and Archimonde, also after many wipes.
    20man – Most epic raid moment for me to this day was the Hakkar first kill in ZG – my first end boss of a raid instance.
    .-= Armagon´s last blog ..Armagon: @veneretio "average" as in "seeing lots of better and lots of worse warriors"? How’d you measure this, doesn’t almost everyone think so? =-.

  26. Except for the loot, I don’t know that you can say one is ‘better’ than the other. My guild just doesn’t quite seem to have what it takes to organize 25-mans with any real consistency, but when we do it seems far less satisfying for me personally than 10’s. The 10-man team that I’m on runs like a pretty well-oiled machine; in 25’s, nobody seems to want to be ‘The Whip’ and we end up with a lot of the little annoyances: AFK’s, goofing around, extraneous vent chatter, plus too many cooks trying to stir the strategy pot. I also feel like my role in a 25 is less important than in 10. It doesn’t really seem to matter too much if I eat floor for 90% of the fight. In 10’s, if I try to squeeze in one-more-heal-because-I’m-sure-th- void-zone-won’t-kill-me-that-fast-oops — it’s probably a wipe.

  27. If they got rid of the difference in loot between 10 and 25’s what would many people say? I’m a little biased because I am not in a large raiding guild but it seems to me that many people would do smaller raids if the gear was the same.

  28. 25 man content has phat lootz! I have to go for 25 for that reason. When a boss dies, I can’t WAIT to see if the pretties I’m hoping for dropped.

    Although, I do acknowledge that there’s a few BiS’ in hard mode 10-man content.

    /shakes fist along side Lodur at bilzz for putting all BiS spell shields in 10-man hardmodes!!

  29. @Dirz

    Yeah man, I’d perfer 10mans if they dropped similar level gear… but, after having experienced it the way blizz has it now, I’m not sure I’d like the change too much. Bosses have more health. Harder to kill. Harder to organize raids that size. I think the drops should be better.

    My two c’s

  30. I personally love 10-mans, and don’t care for 25s. If 25 were not giving out better loot, and were not the focus of my guild, I’d be glad to drop them completely:
    – setup times + wipe recovery are just horrendous
    – it’s much harder to get 25 nice and fun people to group with
    – it’s much harder to get 25 competent players to group with
    – same with nice+fun+competent all at the same time…
    – in 25-mans the fights are slower, so OK, more room for error… same with watching water heating up: you get a lot of room for error… but little fun.

  31. I’d trade the actual state of raiding for the BC 10/25 man raiding system any second. Separate raiding dungeons and no hard modes is the way to go for me.

    I know this is a very egoistical point of view. I do see the huge advantages the 10 man raid content has for small guilds.

    Nonetheless, I had by far most fun in TK/SSC and BT/MH. Killing Illidan and getting my Hand of Adal title or a 2% wipe on Archimonde, the excitement raiding offered at this point was just huge compared to my actual raiding experience.

    In WotLK, I miss a clear line of progression. Hard modes just offer far too many encounters to work on. Progression isn’t any longer working from boss to boss. but rather a strange zig zag between encounters to find out which hard modes your guild should work on.

    Repeating the same instance I already did in 25 man raiding with 10 mans is not a great fun for me either. I really don’t see the point of visiting the same place twice a week. On my shaman, I haven’t cleared 10 man Ulduar, while I did several HMs in the 25 man Ulduar version.

    I honestly miss the times where you would stick to your equipment for a tiny bit longer. Or when characters would actually look different and gear would represent your success in raiding. Rather than the uniform world of Emblem we have now.

    I respect the effort of blizzard to make raiding fun for small guilds, I really do. I think it’s great how many small guilds have gotten into a very decent level of raiding. But on my realm the guilds who raided BT/MH suffered badly in WotLK. All three guilds that could kill Illidan pre-nerf had to give up raiding due to heavy loss of players.

    While the new raiding system is great for casual players, small guilds and everyone who likes gearing up alts, I see many serious, not quite end game players leaving the game and missing the old times.
    .-= drug´s last blog ..Emblem Pick Order: Conquest and Triumph Edition =-.

  32. I’ll admit, I prefer 25-man raids as I feel 10-man raiding is just too easy. I did enjoy both Kara and ZA a whole lot in Burning Crusade, though! And 10-man raids are very, very fun for me. 🙂 I just wish they’d made them different from the 25-man raids so I don’t have to go into the same boring zone 2-4 times a week. : /

    Edit: Oh, as for the loot comparison of 10s vs. 25s? Many people have said that it’s harder to get 25 smart, nice people together and that it takes more time to do 25-man content. To my mind harder + more time consuming = better gear. 🙂
    .-= Codi´s last blog ..Which is worse? =-.


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