Why raids need trash mobs

Raid instances need trash mobs for several reasons:

  1. Helps with pacing of raid content. It slows down the raiding group so they can’t blow through content as fast. Part of the problem with the 10 & 25-man ToC instance is that we complete it too fast. Without any trash mobs to better pace the time between boss fights, we get done with it super fast and then we’re bored. Adding more trash to a raid dungeon to slow down the pacing to a more appropriate speed is going to be better than just needing dozens of bosses to keep people busy. It also helps with pacing of new content that you are struggling on. For hard mode ToC, a guild can get really demoralized for going into an instance and killing basically nothing – and leaving with nothing but a huge repair bill. If there were at least trash pulls, then at least you are accomplishing something when you go in the instance, and maybe earning some of that repair bill back in trash loot/money.
  2. Provides content where players are more forgiving. Doesn’t necessarily require new models or super interesting unique abilities. We’re much more forgiving of trash mobs being repetitive but not forgiving of bosses being repetitive. It’s a great way to add content in a way that doesn’t demand as much from the development team (you can re-use art models, and you can have multiple packs that are the same mob types with the same abilities).
  3. Gives raiders some rewards even if they don’t kill the boss.  Killing trash in the past has provided things like: chances for random loot, patterns, money to pay repair bills, and sometimes even reputation. There were instances in the past where we went in before we were able to kill the bosses. Why? To farm the trash mobs for their random drops, reputation, or whatever other goodies we had a chance of getting from there. You can have decent incentives to want to kill trash mobs if the instance is designed well. If you are wiping a lot on that boss, then at least you got something out of killing the mobs leading up to it. While the bosses are less difficult now than they were in BC, it doesn’t reduce the importance of killing trash mobs for guilds who are learning new bosses & wiping a lot on it.
  4. Breaks up type of encounters to sometimes alternate between easier and harder mob types; shorter & longer fights; bigger & smaller numbers; having to actually use crowd control on trash. Trash mobs can sometimes be interesting encounters in their own way! Going into an instance and having everything kinda feel the same can suck sometimes. Going straight from boss to boss to boss is actually pretty repetitive without something to break it up. Going from boss to trash to boss means that you shifted between really short fights (usually on the trash) to longer & more intense boss fights. Trash mobs can still be challenging & require interesting strategies sometimes, too! Some of the AQ40 trash mobs had really interesting effects and were really challenging and interesting, but as you got better at the instance, it became easier to blow through those and you felt a sense of accomplishment just at getting faster at clearing the trash packs.

If trash in instances is so great, why do people complain about it so much? It usually has more to do with it not quite being designed right. Possible problems with trash:

  • Sometimes, there is too much of it and it slows down the pacing too much. An example of too much trash is Freya. Freya is too trashy (yes, I wanted to find a way just to say that)…
  • Can sometimes be too repetitive, but that’s usually only a problem when there’s too much of it.
  • Can sometimes be designed poorly (too hard or too easy), or designed in a way that is more annoying than fun.

In conclusion, as much as people love to hate on the trash mobs in instances, having mini-pulls between boss pulls can really be a great addition to a raid instance and can help it feel more epic. I miss trash mobs when I go to ToC 10/25-man, because the instance just flies by at an inappropriately fast pace.  You can mix up how much or little there is for each boss, which can also make things interesting & different – with having different pacing between bosses. However, too much is sometimes worse than too little. ToC makes me miss trashy instances, and I’m actually going to appreciate the trash in Icecrown Citadel so much more than I ever appreciated it before.

Posted in Patch 3.3 WotLK

15 comments on “Why raids need trash mobs
  1. Lath says:

    I also don’t mind a bit of trash because it gives raiders a couple of minutes to dash off and go get a drink or go to the bathroom. As long as only a couple of members do that at once the rest of the group can keep on moving without having to wait around for everyone to click yes to the ready check.

  2. Megami says:

    I’m probably in the minority but I love the no-trash concept of ToC. I wouldn’t want every raid to be like that but after certain parts of Ulduar (looking at you Freya) I’m happy just to be able to go from boss to boss.

    Of course, raids now are nowhere near as trash-heavy as I remember them in Classic and TBC. I just get so bored during trash, and I think it’s even more frustrating to wipe on trash and get a repair bill when it’s basically just filler. I’ve been in horrible pugs where people wipe the whole raid because of auto-running into trash or something else going wrong.

    The druids in my guild used to make a drinking game out of trash deaths actually, 1 drink every time a certain mage pulled aggro and died haha.

    I understand it’s a necessity, but for me, less is more. 😀

  3. Chezza says:

    I feel that one major reason that people complain about trash mobs is that people don’t want to engage in the necessary monotony that is sometimes necessary to achieve something. Yes, I see people whining about trash mobs the same way I see people whining about other necessary tasks that are drudgery.

  4. Lissanna says:

    but if the mob pulls between bosses are designed well, they shouldn’t feel like drudgery. Freya’s trash felt too long because it was too long – but the trash before deconstructor isn’t so bad because it’s just 2 packs…

  5. Chipster says:

    You can’t be a proper super-villain if you don’t have hordes of mindless henchmen willing to throw themselves on your enemies’ swords before allowing the would-be heroes to confront you.

    Would would have to be a pretty lame villain if you can’t find at least one person to get themselves killed on your behalf. Real leaders delegate non-important tasks, like suicidal attacks on superior foes.

  6. vallen says:

    It’s not a proper raid unless there’s a suppression room!

    Totally agree with you Liss, no trash makes instances feel trivial (TOC is a prime example). Not to say you want trash like AQ but a little bit of trash is necessary.

    Trash in WOTLK has gotten very aoe zerg which really defeats the true purpose of trash. The point of trash is to introduce mechanics that you would see on the upcoming boss so that you have a taste for what to expect once you reach the boss.

    I’d like to see trash become more control and management vs aoe zerg come ICC and beyond. As long as there is minimal amounts of trash they still serve a valuable function in raiding.

  7. Megami says:

    Oh the suppression room. I remember people would always auto-follow someone during that awful gauntlet, and of course they would get stuck somewhere and we’d have to clear back to them. And if you didn’t have any rogues log in that day you were SoL!

  8. scaresome says:

    I think we found the amphitheater in Zul’Drak and Nagrand so much fun that they modeled TOC after it. It’s one of my favorite places to play.

    I think Utgarde Keep is the best instance in the game. It has varied trash, patrols, surprises (those little jumpy guys).
    The Nexus is just a pain and feels too long, by the time you get to those little flowers that pester you; you want to be hurrying to the end.
    Violet Hold is wonderful – it’s pace is nice and quick.

    In all, I agree with you; if we have to run to the bosses there should be trash. If they are coming to us (amphitheater, toc, vh) then there should be no trash.

  9. scaresome says:

    And kudos to Chipster, great comment.

    As a pugging healer, those first trash pulls give me an idea of the quality of group I have!

  10. lyrae says:

    I too agree with Liss.

    One thing that strikes me about ToC and why Bliz can justify having no trash is the arena format of the raid. Similar to the quest line in Nagrand whose name escapes me. Other than that, the format does not work.

    On another note, now that I only pug, I can raid in one evening. I skipped Ulduar. I can’t commit more than three hours in an evening. The chances of getting back into the particular Ulduar pug to finish the raid is extremely low.

  11. Relevart says:

    I’d like to see an option to turn off trash in an instance. Make this a reward for successfully clearing all trash in an instance without a single raid death. That way you’d be proving that you could do it and the guild/raid will be able to choose whether they want the benefits of the trash.

    In my old guild, we had all the patterns and our guild bank was more than full for repairs. Trash for us was a time sink that slowed our progression, even if it only cost us one boss attempt.

    In addition to the concept of not wanting the reclear the same trash repeatedly is the concept of low time players. I hate to sound casual, but my play time definitely groups me into that category. However when I play, I’m anything but casual. Play time should not exclude me from content given that I play for 10 or so hours a week. I understand there’s a question about where to draw the line, but I feel like ToC gives me, a casual, a chance to play like the hardcore raider that I am without committing to a 4-5 day a week for 3-4 hours raiding schedule.

  12. Lissanna says:

    If you added half an hour of trash to ToC, it would take 1.5 hours to clear instead of the 1 hour it takes to clear now.

    I’m not asking for 10 hours a week worth of trash mobs to kill. I’m just asking for better pacing between encounters.

    Right now, my guild (who wants to raid 3 days a week) is limited to raiding 1 day a week because we can clear ToC, VOA, & Ony in 2.5 hours (or less) and then we run out of worthwhile content to do. Then, we’ll do 10-mans which takes up maybe an hour or two of time on another day, and then there’s nothing else to do. For people who want more than 1 day a week worth of raiding content, we’ve been pretty disappointed with WotLK because there is so little to do at any tier of raiding, except briefly for a couple months in Ulduar.

    Hard core these days seems to actually mean that you raid less because you blow through the content so fast.

  13. Alaron says:

    Ulduar was fantastic, trash-wise, though Freya and Hodir needed a bit less, and Thorim possibly a bit more. (Oh, and pre-nerf Ignis trash was brutal.) The only trash that was annoying, really, was the big guys in the middle that had to be split up and dps’ed down simultaneously, which took way too long, coordination wise. ICC would feel really odd without trash…the guy’s the FREAKING LICH KING, and he has no army? 🙂

    Anyway, I’d be happy if we could just stop trash from respawning, even if the boss hasn’t been downed.

  14. vallen says:


    I actually don’t think that’s a fair statement that current content only takes a day of raiding and there’s nothing left to do.

    If your guild is only doing TOC25, VOA25, ONY25, you’re essentially not doing any hard modes encounters. If your guild chooses not to participate in that content you can’t say there’s nothing to do.

    Blizzard’s done a good job of providing a mix of different raid environments for casual/moderate/hard core guilds. If your guild fits into a casual guild you’re naturally going to have less content to participate in.

    My guild currently raids on a 3 day structure which consists of ONY25, VOA25, TOC25, TOGC25 (minus anub) + Ulduar 25 hard modes. It eats up all 3 days + we do optional 10 mans on a 4th day if ppl choose to.

  15. COLDBEAR says:

    hell yes

    BWL trash was fun and a challenge, esp. right before and after Vael.


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