The big Cataclysm announcement this week is the changes being made to raid progression. To summarize:
- 10 and 25 raids will share the same lockout
- Heroic mode will be toggled individually per boss
- The difficulty gap between 10 and 25 raids will narrow
- 10 and 25 man bosses will drop the same items
- 25 man bosses will drop more items
- Multiple, smaller raids instead of massive ones
- Continued gating
- Initial raids tuned for dungeon blues and crafted
First reaction? Surprised. It’s as if someone splashed me with cold water. Again, with the rewards changes and time investment changes, the game is shifted to further accessibility. There are some aspects that I like, and there are other aspects I’m a little wary of.
On reduced commitment
Having the same lockout and having the same item qualities drop will free up time for players to do other stuff. Your raid won’t suffer a penalty either if a number of players unexpectedly drop out for a day due to vacations or dog shows or what not. If you’re short several players, you can still pull off 2 x 10s and not miss a week of gearing up.
It certainly does feel like the raiding progression game is going to slow down.
What needs to happen for this to work
Please, do not screw over the players who prefer to do 25s. I believe some of the extra rewards are badges, loot, and gold. The extra gold is nice and all but for most organizations, it isn’t a problem. Having extra badges will speed up the gearing process for sure.
1) Increased item drops: And I mean a lot more. To put it into perspective, if you take down Marrowgar on 10s and 25s, your raid gets access to 5 possible items. If you were wearing ToC or Ulduar level gear, any of those 5 items could have been an upgrade. What drove some players to run ICC 10 and ICC 25 was that any item, whether it was a 264 or 251 level, would’ve been used regardless. I know I’d like to see 6+ drops to truly make it worthwhile.
2) Other incentives: Mounts or titles? I don’t know. But there needs to be something that’ll keep players motivated to do 25s. I’m not sure if money and badges alone will do it.
3) Difficulty: I don’t know in what direction the raid difficulty it being switched to. Is the difficulty going down or increasing? It should be just as punishing either way, I think.
This is the fear. The fear is that players will opt to switch to 10 mans that is further into a raid instance than a 25 man when they’re only 3 or 4 bosses in.
From a player progression standpoint, would you rather be in a 25 that has taken down 2 or 3 bosses or a 10 man that has taken down 7 bosses in a zone? Knowing that the item grade is going to be the same, I’d say that most players will opt for the 10 man.
On the other hand, what some players seem to have forgotten is that there is only 10 players allowed. Someone’s inevitably going to have to sit. 25s feel a little more accommodating, and dare I say it, more forgiving. With more players, you get access to more outs to help put you over the top during encounters.
In addition, don’t forget about Kae’s point on difficulty. The reason that 10’s are perceived as easy is that players often run them overgeared. Doing ICC 10 with ICC 25 gear made it that much easier. But we’re using the same gear now.
I know that for now, I’m still committed to 25 man raiding into Cataclysm.
On raid instance sizes
I actually missed the mid-sized raid instances we had during Burning Crusade. In the closing months of the expansion, many players went through Karazhan, Gruul’s and Magtheridon then jumped into Black Temple, Mount Hyjal and Sunwell. It felt as if Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep weren’t as played as the others were. Right now, we’ve got the extreme of mammoth sized instances and short instances (I’d consider Trial of the Crusader short-ish) but there is nothing in between. Plus it’ll give us some more visual variety. I know there are players who got exhausted of running the same things whether it was Naxx, Ulduar and Icecrown. At least with an extra set of instances, the time it takes to get visually tired of places won’t be as quick.
One more question
Since 10s and 25s share the same lockout, will there be an option to toggle between a 10s and 25s mode if you’re already saved to it? Let’s say we clear out half an instance and the next raid day, power goes out for half the guild. Instead of calling the raid, I wonder if it’s possible to switch from 25s to 10s just so we can keep going with the players available.
I called out on Twitter for other bloggers who’ve written about their thoughts on the topic. Check them out: