Now, I’m sure most of you have probably done your own fair bit of reading and opinion making at this point. I probably should have put up a post with my thoughts sooner if they were to have any impact. But I didn’t. The hampsters are getting fat and lazy, and as such, they aren’t running in their wheels as much as they should.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. What IS here is my opinion. I know you didn’t ask, but you’ll get it anyway. :)
The part about the planned changes to raiding that seems to get most people’s knickers in a knot is this:
We’re designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we’ll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They’ll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items. Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.
Unfortunately, what I think is happening is that people stop reading at this paragraph. I can understand why, as it’s pretty big news. But really, kids, before you get all “OMFG NO MOAR 25′s!!”, read the whole thing. In particular, please read this paragraph:
We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you’re able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.
You see, Blizzard knows that 25 man raids take more work and still plans to reward you for that. You want to win the “race to Deathwing”? 25 man raids will be the way to do it. Your group will gear up faster in 25′s than if you run only 10 mans.
Will extra loot (as opposed to better loot) be enough motivation to keep 25 man raiding guilds going? Likely. All of them? Probably not. But I really don’t anticipate that all of the 25 man raiding guilds are going to fold just because of ePeen. A lot of them will probably stick with it for a couple of reasons.
- Their system is already set up. They have their tanks, healers, and dps. Why change a system that works?
- More loot, faster. Sure, it may not be “better” than the 10 man stuff, but there’s a greater chance to finish a run with maybe 1 or 2 pieces of gear instead just 1 (or none).
- Guilds that run 25 man raids often enjoy 25 man raids more.
I really think that people who were previously willing to put together groups of 25 people will continue to be willing to make those efforts. Just like how the dual 10/25 man raids of WotLK was supposed to be the death of 25 man raids, but wasn’t: The Cataclysm raid changes will have a lot less impact on the status quo, despite what some might suggest.
Another topic of the changes that is getting some (albeit, less) attention, is the shared raid lockout:
The first of the refinements being made is that we’re combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn’t apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.
This kind of sucks for me because I often reserve any 10-man stuff for my guild, while I can happily PuG a 25 man with no worries about not being able to help out the guild. But really, it makes sense when they’re making the gear quality equal between the two raid sizes. Part of the reasoning is likely to help throttle back some progress in the more aggressive/hardcore guilds trying to get showered with gear. Another thing it will probably impact is burnout. A lot of people end up running both 10 and 25 man versions to gear up. By eliminating the option to run the same raid twice, it will reduces how quickly someone might get “bored” with the content. A pretty smart move by trying to maintain long-term interest (and $ub$critpion$).
Despite these changes being fairly significant, it’s really not all doom and gloom. In fact, very little may change on a practical level. Everyone who’s bothered to get up-in-arms and have a hissy fit about them, well, they’re simply just overreacting. So, I suggest everyone to remember: we haven’t even seen these changes be implemented. Meaning we, myself included, actually have NO idea what really will happen.
But we’ll find out Soon(tm) enough.