Still Going to Run 25s?

Still Going to Run 25s?


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.

Other reactions

I called out on Twitter for other bloggers who’ve written about their thoughts on the topic. Check them out:

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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. As long as my current roster sticks together I’ll keep going with 25mans. If everyone disappears over the summer, I doubt with these changes I’ll feel compelled to recruit another 15 people (or however many). I’ll just hunker down and reorganize into a 10s guild.
    .-= Rhidach´s last blog ..Rabble, rabble, rabble =-.

  2. First off thanks for the link to my blog in your post. You touched on my biggest question can we toggle from 25s to 10s, if so thats great, because it will provide flexibility. I see no reason why not if they make the difficulty the same. How they will normalize that I can imagine will be a development nightmare, but will also be a blessing since they will spend less time designing 2 different sets of loot basically (10 and 25).

    Toggling between the 2 since its the same raid lockout and/or ID? Would be optimal especially when people have RL commitments and can mess up a 25 man night.

    I forsee item drops being a % of the people, so if 2 items drop in 10, I would say 5 would drop in 25, as its more proportional, basically 1 item per boss for every 5 people.

  3. I would have to say that the ability to toggle between 10 and 25 would definitely eliminate some of the major concerns that people have about the differences.

    I can foresee something happening where a 10-man guild picks up enough to do 25-man, but the people they picked up are terribads, and they end up calling the raid after 1-2 bosses. If they can toggle it to 10-man after that, and the 10-man group can get through an additional 4 bosses, I think many fewer people would complain.

    The only major stipulation that I would include is that you can only switch the raid between 10-man and 25-man after a soft reset of the instance (i.e. 2 hours). This would lessen the possibility of groups saying “ok, this boss is easier on 10-man, we need you 15 to step out while we kill him, then you can come back in on the next boss”.
    .-= Spazmoosifer´s last blog ..Feeling Frosty? =-.

  4. I’m not sure why you are so concerned about making sure that 10-man raids continue to be screwed.

    Oh, I know you phrased it as making sure that 25-man raids are rewarded, but if the difficulty level is the same (and it’s always been closer than generally admitted for pure 10-man guilds) why should you get extra credit for the ability to wrangle more cats?

    Sure, each boss needs to drop 2.5 times as many items due to the extra people in the room, but other than that, why should having 15 more people in the room make any difference in the reward?

    I for one am tired of being a second class raiding citizens and think this a good first step to acknowledging that 10-mans aren’t just something 25-man raiders do when they’re bored.

  5. 25 Man will day even more then in wotlk if this is in fact going to happen. Raid leading in 10man is way easier. Finding 9 people is easier then finding 24 people that want to raid with you. Also eventough doing 10mans in 25man gear is overpowered, in my guild’s 10man runs we just feel more pro. There is no standing in fire or ‘sorry I was afk a bit’, while in 25man half the raid still doesn’t get the fight where the other half is getting pissed cause it’s not down already.

    I prefer 25man, cause face it, the more people the more it feels like a real raid. Killing Lich King on 10man feels like he was a total pussy, while with 25man you get the idea that he is powerfull. Give 40man LK! (yes I know, finding 39 people is impossible even if you are raiding capitals).

    In my opinion it has to be back at tbc, giving designers place to make 25man bosses actually 25man bosses and not 10man bosses that hit a little harder and have a bit more HP. Oh, and maybe an extra spell or extra mob.

  6. Yay, more flexibility for raids! Let’s face it, a HUGE amount of WoW players are casuals (like me) and this will only make them happy.

    I think this change is good.

  7. I’m okay with the idea of equalizing the 10 and 25 man raids. The idea that I won’t be able to gear up in a 25 then steamroll a 10 is great. I’d like both the 10s and 25s to be equally challenging. I’m also happy that the 10-man strict raiders will no longer be treated as “2nd class” (even though I’m not one of them).

    However, I’m against having to choose between 10s and 25s. It seems like we’re being pushed to raid less, but on more characters. I’m not an alt person, I like being able to raid on my main as much as I like.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Frequently Asked Questions =-.

  8. 10 Man Uber Horde guild Matt

  9. I really don’t like the idea of raid-size-segregation in the first place. Blizzard should pick one raid size & stick with it, and make the rest of us just have to suck it up & deal. This four-tiered system (10/25 x normal/hard) just really blows. Pick the normal/hard dimension, or the 10/25 dimension, and just stick with something, rather than really making the game worse by having perceived options that are really just worse than what a consistent progression would be.

    Blizzard is going to fail at designing separate but equal 10 & 25’s, and either the 10’s or the 25’s are going to greatly suffer for it. In WotLK, 10’s suffered for it. In Cata, it’s 25’s turn to suffer.

  10. Obviously there will be some tweaking to make 25 mans more inviting to players that aren’t very interested in organizing a large group of people. But it is certainly a relief to not have to do 25 mans because I want to get awesome gear anymore. 10 mans are just so enjoyable because I get to go in their with 10 of my friends who know what they are doing and have a great time doing it. And while 10 mans are less forgiving it is also easier to have great runs because there are less people in the raid that are can mess up.

    This also frees up time, to go and enjoy other parts of the game, instead of just 10 and 25 mans every time you get on. And lets face it less time commitment means less people getting burnt out on the game, which means a stronger subscriber base for Blizzard.

  11. As it is, I often feel cheated as a 10 man raider. Every guide on raiding is for 25-man raiders, because why would anyone do anything else? According to the conventional wisdom of 25-man raiding, I’m a terrible healer because I heal 10-mans and have different spell priorities than the “elites”. We put in a lot of work to raid but we don’t get all the cool stuff, cool mounts, legendary weapons. Our primary form of content is regarded as a playground for EZ-mode screwing around by “real” raiders, only there to offer more badges and fill out any gear slots you havent been able to fill with “real” gear.

    It gets old being constantly told, by Blizzard and the community, that you suck because you spend all your time doing “EZ mode”. It’s NOT easy mode if youre actually in the right gear.

  12. As someone from a 10 man strict guild – this is the best decision Blizzard has made in a long time. I can’t wait to see how “easy” things are when the playing field is truly leveled.

  13. apparently I had a lot to say about it…

    In summary I think this is going to invert the current balance of raids. 10mans will become the new hardcore progression and 25mans will become, if they stick around, the new social raiding guilds.

  14. Speaking as a raid leader who’s run into issues in ICC 25 – much more than the equivalent 10-man – it’s hard to say whether this is good or bad yet. For now, I’m considering simply changing my personal focus to 10-mans. It seems like it’d be easier to get a consistent, excellent group together for a 10-man than for a 25-man raid – and as I’m pretty progression-minded, I’d prefer to have the option to pursue that with a tightly-knit 10-man group.

    That said, the scale of the 25-man raid is naturally a bit more epic, and doing only a 10-man means that I wouldn’t be raiding with 15 of the people that I usually raid with now. This isn’t necessarily a good thing; I really do enjoy playing with many of those people.
    .-= velinath´s last blog ..Cataclysm Raids: 10- and 25-player shared lockouts =-.

  15. I’ll be happy in 10s. Finally, what I find fun in game will no longer be considered second-rate. This, along with Rated Battlegrounds, might actually make me interested in playing again. And I might be able to do it on my schedule, too, and even lead a few.

    I think what this does is open the game up to (almost) everyone, even moreso than Wrath has done, without watering down the content. After all, 10man Heroics are often considered harder than their counterparts. I wonder if Blizzard will put in any measures like that to make normal 10mans scale that way.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..One Year of Beej =-.

  16. I linked some quotes from you Matt, so I always like to give notice on that. Seems like everyone is abuzz with this, and I think Blizzard has made a good choice. I do hope there’s an outlet for top raid guilds in the world and casuals to do something truly epic. Not just 25…but the return of 40.


  17. I have no problems with equalizing the loot between 10’s and 25’s for all of the reasons above. My only quibble is with the shared lockout. If you have to choose between your tight knit 10 that’s making real progress and your bigger 25 man raid that, since it can be like herding cats, is not as far along – which will you choose? Leading a 25 is more than 2.5 times as hard as leading a 10. There will be no real reason left to go to all that trouble. Loot? no. Difficulty? we’re told not. Money? psh. A few really tightly knit, uber guilds may stay with the 25’s. But for the most part I think we’re looking at the death of the 25 man raid. No one forces me to run both a 10 and a 25 right now. But if I want to lend my heals to some old friends running a 10, I can do it without jeopardizing my spot in the guild 25. Oh wait, there won’t be a 25.

  18. I’m currently taking a break from WoW, although I did link this announcement over on my guild forums to see what people think of it. I suspect that the raid leaders in my guild will, like a great many other guilds, take the opportunity to ditch half the roster and just run 10-mans with their close friends.

    It will be interesting to see if the WoW community has enough people willing and able to organize and lead raids to make this shift to 10-man focus work.
    .-= Carson´s last blog ..How quickly is it OK to judge an MMORPG? =-.

  19. If the incentive to do 25 mans isn’t great enough to reward the out-of-game logistical challenges of doing those 25 mans, 25 man raiding will die (or become a very small minority).

    Recruiting may be equally difficult in 10 or 25 mans, but a lot are forgetting the other things that go into running a 25 man raid. For a 10 man you’re looking at a roster of 12? 13? Compare that to what you need for a 25 man raid: ~33 to cover all of your bases every raid night. Throw into this a loot system, guild structure (officers to make decisions on behalf of the -guild), and other small things, you end up with a lot of calories burned out of game.

    There are so many questions to ask about all of this. I can say for myself, as a raid leader for many years, that if the reward isn’t big enough,25 mans are not going to be worth it. They’re just barely worth it right now.
    .-= Borsk´s last blog ..Cataclysm raid refinements open doors, leave questions =-.

  20. I doubt that it’s possible to reward the extra effort of 25-man raiding by giving more of the same and expect 25-man raids to last more than a couple of months.

    If 10 and 25 are equally difficult then for progression it’s just easier to drop the 15 worst 25-man raiders and do it 10-man. The only way I can see 25-mans “rewarded” are by making them comparatively easier than 10-mans to allow for the lower player skill average.

    I’ll certainly be hoping to keep 25-man raiding, but I really can’t see the will to keep it going if we lose a raider or two.

  21. I think people are misunderstanding. People are focusing on “25 mans will drop more loot” but missing the part where it says “per player”. That means, divide by the number of players, the ratio will be higher in 25s. That’s a LOT of loot. 25s aren’t going anywhere, my friends.

    Lets say for instance a 10 man boss drops 2 pieces of loot. That’s 2/10 or 1/5 ratio of gear to player. The same ratio means that a 25 man boss drops at least 5 pieces of gear. Currently, (I believe, not 100% on this) they drop 3, if you include tokens for the end wing bosses in ICC. That means that at the least, every 25 man boss will drop 5 pieces, and probably more, maybe 6 or 7. That’s a lot of loot. You will also get more PVE points. They also said that you can switch back and forth: if you suddenly find yourself short players you can switch to a 10 man raid for certain bosses, then switch back. That I think will

    Also, yes 10s will be harder because we won’t overgear them anymore. In fact, they may have to work to dial down the difficulty of 10s I’m betting. 10s can be unforgiving at the right gear level.

    I do still miss Kara and ZA. Having a 10 man that you can go into as a group and just hang out and farm at a pretty low stress level was nice.

  22. As someone who just likes playing the game, whether it be in 10s or 25s, this is a big plus. It means that if I choose to make a conversion to a guild that may emphasize 25s that gear may not be a huge factor.

    I do question how this will affect progression guilds; will there be more competitive strict 10-man guilds and reduce the number of competitive 25s? Hm.

  23. An interesting point made in the megathread following this announcement on the WoW forums was that a shared 10/25 lockout may increase the number of raids hitting up the hard modes of the previous tier of raid content. This would particularly be the case if the heroic modes of the previous tier offered similar gear levels and and valor points to the normal modes of the current tier.

    (Obviously that won’t apply to the first tier, but tougher heroics may fill that gap)

  24. For those of us down here in Oz where we don’t have the amazing internet access speeds of N America, 25 mans can be a pain. I can’t remember ever getting through a boss fight on 25 man without at least one player dc’ing. On a Tuesday night (when things get choppy before maintenance starts) it’s more like 8 players. And everyone has to turn off addons and turn down video effects to ugly mode. And then there’s a lot of pre-emptive guesswork about where the orbs/fire etc might be cause you’re not gonna see it til after it starts hurting you. It becomes less about the game than it is about beating the connection problems.
    So I’ll be happy to dump 25 mans and focus on 10 mans.
    .-= Xeppe´s last blog ..Xeppe takes a break =-.

  25. You and I have varying perspectives on the situation due to the size of the raids we run respectively.

    Some thoughts on this debate:
    .-= Bronte´s last blog ..“Continuing the 10 vs 25 debate” or “What Leto Said” =-.

  26. Estamoon says:

    Personally, I feel dealing with 25 people raiding is much harder than deal with 10 men. The difficulties can be learned a lot quicker through10 good players. Adding the same boss mechanics with 25 players, you not only deal with the RNG but also you deal with people’s utmost stupid moments. And as raid leaders, you are the ones trying to figure the problems not the ones that caused them.

    I’d rather do 10 men to reduce the headaches and get less loot than dealing with 25 men while banging my head against something I can control.

  27. as a hardcore raider from late vanilla right up to the current content….

    my account is on ebay.

  28. This design philosophy change was exactly the push I needed to go about ending the long-going struggle my guild has had to scrap up enough warm bodies to hit up ICC 25. No longer will I waste 18-20 people’s time waiting around hoping for a few more people to show up, nor will I have to deal with all sorts of other headaches. Now it’ll be me, along with a host of close-knit friends, tearing it up in 10 mans from now into Cataclysm (and perhaps beyond).

    I do wonder how many other guilds are out there that are treading water similar to what mine was in that may end up downsizing to 10s now. I suspect that there will be a fairly large amount of guilds that opt to do that.

  29. ObiChad says:

    Assuming they balance the difficulty between 10 and 25 well enough I think the hard core guilds may make the decision based on how quickly they can progress through the content. Assuming Blizzard realizes this as well, I see them dropping a much greater amount of loot from the 25s bosses, and possibly providing other incentives in the guild leveling system as well. What you can get will be the same from both versions, but the speed at which you can get it will be far greater in the 25s. Further assuming that gearing up is required to succeed in the heroic versions of the encounters, the 25s will be the way to go if doing things as fast as possible and attempting world firsts is your goal. I know there are a lot of assumptions in here, not much else we can do, but I think that’s the way Blizzard is thinking.


  1. […] seems to be down right giddy about the news if you ask me, as you can tell I share his enthusiasm. Matticus is feeling a bit apprehensive about the situation. He has concern for 25’s and I think […]

  2. […] in larger guilds. Matticus, for one, believes that having the same drops, just multiplied by 2.5, would be screwing over the 25-man raiding guilds. “Please, do not screw over the players who prefer to do 25s. I believe some of the extra […]

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