Where did the 25-man guilds go?

The current raid statistics (on sites like WoW  progress) say something about the new popularity of 10-man over 25-man raiding. While I expected there to be fewer 25-man guilds than 10-man guilds in Cataclysm, the differences in numbers of boss kills for each type of raiding is something I really thought was interesting now that we’ve had more time to see the stats emerge.

I’m in a more relaxed guild in terms of play-time, and we took a break from raiding over the Christmas/New Years holidays. We have recently gotten back into raiding, with this week being only our 2nd week of raiding 25-mans. We have 6 bosses down so far in the 10-man normals, and 2 bosses down in 25’s. Our guild is happy with our steady progress, because we made the decision together to let our real lives (instead of pushing progression) be our focus in the first couple weeks of the expansion. While it’s hard watching world-first kills finishing the content, it helps to keep a sense of perspective on how your guild is doing. When using ranking websites, our two 25-man boss kills over the last 2 weeks put us at 12th on the server for 25-man progression (but having 6 10-man boss kills still has us at 20th on the server for 10-man raids).

The bigger differences between 10 & 25-man raiding numbers seem to be with the entry normal-mode raiding (where a lot of guilds may have killed one to six 10-man bosses but haven’t pushed far into progression, and not many guilds are running 25-mans at all). For more end-bosses in normal-modes, and for hard-mode content, the spread between 25-man and 10-man is more attenuated, due to the much smaller number of guilds who have pushed further into the end-game content.

Lets look at the Wow Progress stats for 25-man raid versus 10-man raid boss kills (world-wide):

  • 4,000 Magmaw Kills in Normal 25-man, and 30,000 magmaw kills in Normal 10-man.
  • 1,000 Nefarion kills normal 25-man, and 3,000 Nefarion kills in Normal 10-man
  • (The WoW track website keeps the same trend for the intro to normal-mode encounters even if the numbers come up different)

Not that many guilds are doing hard-mode progression yet for either 10-man or 25-man, where the numbers are much more even:

  • WoW progress: 940 Halfus Hard-mode 25-man kills versus 1121 Halfus hard-mode 10-man kills
  • (The wowtrack website actually puts 25-man Hard-mode kill numbers ahead of 10-man hard-mode kills for basically every boss).
  • At the hard-mode level, there isn’t enough data for either of them to be really accurate.

So, basically, if you feel like your guild is behind the curve – you really aren’t. There are more guilds that are less than 6/12 normal-mode than there are guilds who have killed anything in hard-mode content. People getting world-first 13/13 Hard-mode kills make everyone else feel behind, but that’s more of an illusion than reality.

In addition, if your guild is still managing to pull together enough people to run 25-mans, then you are doing great – because a lot of guilds just aren’t running 25-man content anymore. It feels like 25-mans (at least at this point) are more of a dying breed, though we could see a resurgence of 25-mans come back if larger guilds only running 10’s at this point start having enough members raid-ready to get running. We are managing to keep together a “casual” 25-man raid group, which feels like it’s an endangered species in Cataclysm, and I’m so happy that we’ve been able to keep our “family” together in the larger raiding environment that I enjoy.

UPDATE: someone on twitter sent me a link to another set of stats that is traking progress of 10 & 25-man progression, that they are calling more reliable, but still shows the same trend of A LOT more 10-man than 25-man guilds overall.

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23 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Keep in mind that the wowprogress ranking are highly flawed for guilds that killed bosses on 10 man before they did it on 25 man. It’s super hard to make numbers judgments for who is and who isn’t doing 25 man. However it’s no surprise that there are many more 10 mans. They’re easier to put together, but the long established guilds haven’t gone anywhere.

    • Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes the numbers are a bit borked, but who can we really blame for this? Not the guilds and not WoWProgress and the websites. We need to rally on Blizzard to get the data out there for other sites to process or do it themselves. Also the whole idea of the progress sites are a bit of a joke after the initial wave.

      Which is more impressive a guild that power grinds it’s way to the top and then once content is defeated does nothing and takes a vacation, or the guild that week in, week out goes and kills bosses?

      IMO the guild that consistently raids through the duration of content is more respectable than the ones that shoot to the top and take a break. So not only does blizzard need to have the “Guild” kills represented on the guild information it also needs to show a count of how many times that guild has killed a given boss during that tier of content at the very least.

    • Lissanna
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Even with some missing data for 25-man raiding guilds, the difference between 30,000 and 4,000 guilds for a Magmaw kill is still unlikely to be attributed only to data-loss (which is one of the reasons why I picked out a couple different bosses – even when the data didn’t support my point directly!). Just the fact that a lot of guilds are having to kill bosses first in 10-mans before running them with their 25-man groups is concerning in it’s own way.

  2. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    My guild has been around since the 40 man days (even tho there has been 2 name changes in that time) and with Cata we honestly don’t do 25mans as its not worth the extra hassle, instead we have 4, yes 4 individual 10 man groups we have only been raiding for a month and are at 9/12 with a server 3rd Al’Akir now if we had to coordinate 25 people in 1 raid a week we would be no where near as far but with 4 10 mans running every week…

  3. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    We were barely scraping by with 25 and usually pugging a bit in WotLK. We decided to go 10s for Cata. I can see that we might try 25s again down the line when we have more raid ready. Such as running 2 concurrent 10s on the same night, not using alts on different nights. I am not holding my breath though on that. Gratz on keeping the 25s going. I like 10s but also like the fun of 25s too. Some day I hope to get back into them.

  4. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Endangered species seems like the right term.

    I have a feeling in 4.1 we’ll see a bigger buff to 25man raid rewards in some way or another for the next tier, atm there just feels like there isn’t a big enough reward for the headache, unless you REALLY love 25mans.

    Atm the difference is far to subtle, 1:5 loot ratio vs just over 1:4 isn’t much of a difference sadly, and I’m not sure what they can do to improve it, its already a PITA to do loot in a 25man raid. (with multiple heavily contested items I swear loot can take longer than a boss kill >.<)

  5. zeddy
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    We have quite a few 10 mans in our guild, but there are the same amount of 25 mans including a couple casual 25 mans starting up. Progress is much slower for the casual 25 man since we have to pug (from our guilds) players whom have to learn the encounters again. But just got omnotron down on 25 and magmaw on a more dedicated 10-man. I think also 10 mans are more popular because they are easier to control.

  6. Tsukiko
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I see several 10-man guilds (including mine) that are struggling to keep a roster, yet the 25-mans are going strong, maybe because they have more space to recruit people and more liberty to sit them without causing a guild-wide drama.

    I think that’s one reason they’ll keep going strong, maybe stronger than 10-mans. They’ll also progress faster than guilds running one or two 10-man groups.

  7. Lyna
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m the raid leader for a fairly large guild. We did 2-3 nights a week of 25 man raiding in Wrath. Sometimes as many as 2 25 man groups (the second was a mix of late night folks and alts).

    I know we’re really focusing on 10 man raiding and only have a one-night-per-week 25 man. I expect that to continue. We reserve Tol Barad plus either BWD or BOT for 25, and the 10’s run anything else they want. I post which is reserved for 25 and the 10’s do the other stuff (I coordinate with the 10 man raid leaders to keep everything nice before I post). We run 25’s on Friday night, so Saturday through Monday is open for anything.

    At the time it was announced I thought the new “flexible” lockout system was bad, and that’s only been confirmed since Cataclysm launched. 25’s are more difficult to organize and the fights are all more difficult but the loot is exactly the same. You get *more* loot, but it’s enough more loot per person to justify the additional organizational and tactical difficulty. So I’m deliberately doing fewer nights of 25 man raiding. I’d rather spend the time doing 25, but the quantity of loot difference isn’t worth the difficulty.

    Let’s get into that a little more. Organizationally, 25’s are more difficult because you need to get 25 people to leave a spot open on their personal schedule to raid. As anyone who’s tried to schedule a meeting in an office can tell you, every person you add to a meeting reduces the number of available timeslots by an exponent.

    Tactically, there are two issues. First, a 10 man vs a 25 man is 60% less likely to have someone disconnect or lag out during a fight, simply because there are fewer people. Second, there are many one-screwup-wipe mechanics in this tier of raid content (Interrupts on Halfus, lava spout on Magmaw, various mechanics on Omnitron, etc) and you’re less likely to have one of 10 people screw that up than you are one of 25. Finally there are various spread out-group up mechanics that are far easier on 10 man, simply because while the number of people changes the size of the room does not. Spreading out is easier because you don’t have to run as far to find a good spot, and grouping up is easier because you don’t have to run as far from your good spot to the group.

    After every fight we’ve done on 10 I’ve thought, “Wow, that’s going to totally suck on 25 man”. There aren’t any fights we’ve done in 25 that haven’t been vastly easier on 10, in terms of wipes-to-learn or in terms of repeatability.

    I’d much rather be able to run the same content in 10 and 25, simply because I’d like to not have to worry about who’s locked out of what.

    The only reason we run 25’s anymore is for guild cohesiveness. It’s a nice weekly event we get a bunch of people to do. Otherwise they really don’t provide good value for effort and aren’t as much fun really.

  8. Araquen
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    My guild is actually trying to transition *into* 25 man raiding. Our goal is to be able to go in as 25 on Day 1, and then have smaller 10-man teams gnaw on progression bosses later in the week.

    Nothing aggravates me more than losing traction because we are two people down. Even if we lose 5 in 25-man content, I can still get two 10-mans going. And frankly, I miss the flavor of a 25-man run. There is such a rush seeing 25 people working together to get a kill.

    And frankly, we need to normalize the impact of our more “casual” raiders. We run semi-hardcore, and it’s beastly when 6 of 10 people are coming in to raid dressed to the nines and four are at the threshold due to IRL.

  9. jurik
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I find this interesting, because of a few factors:

    * the majority of the 12 normal mode fights are a bit harder in 10 man (they can be done very sloppy in 25 man, losing half a dozen people and still scoring a kill, but generally must be executed correctly in 10 man — having personally done both sizes, I feel confident in my assessment here) — notable exception here with Al’Akir and Elementium Monstrosity which both have crowding issues.

    * in heroic mode, it’s pretty well accepted that most fights are significantly harder on 10, with the notable exception of al’akir.
    * for most bosses, the loot is the same ratio (2:5), but for certain bosses the ratio is MUCH better on 25 (Cho’gall, for example, drops 8! pieces of loot, including 3 tier shoulders, Argaloth drops 6 and with how lottery-esque he is, there’s a better chance that the loot won’t rot on 25)

    If you can scrape together 25 raid-worthy people, doing 25-man raiding is definitely a more rewarding activity. Yet, as you point out, it seems 10 man raiding is leading by a significant factor.

    Perhaps the fact that the raiding this tier is harder than any tier in Wrath (save maybe the first few weeks in Ulduar before it was nerfed) has more to do with this.

    I wonder, also, that less people are raiding in general: in Wrath it was the only thing to do in PvE after about a week at 80 because heroics were such pushovers. In Cata people are still progressing through heroics a month or more after hitting 85.

    • John
      Posted February 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I think the issue is “If you can scrape together 25 people”. At least in my guild, we’ve traditionally been a 25-man guild. However, we probably have 15 *good* raiders, which puts you in an awkward spot. Do you try to grab some of the slackers, and even pug some people, or do you just go with a 10 and know that you’ll be good. On Tues I was in the 25-man, and we got Magmaw and struggled (and failed) Omnotron. Then on Wed we went with 10 (we just didn’t have enough for 25), and we got Conclave, Omnotron, and Maloriak.

      Probably if you had 20 good raiders, you could have 5 people that were just ok. But if you have 15 good, 10 slackers just isn’t going to cut it.

  10. Tray
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    I believe your numbers might be off. Granted the last time I checked was two days ago I am almost positive no one has killed Magmaw on 10 man heroic yet. Wow progress gives many false positives on 10 man heroic kills, and the best 10 man guild in the world is only 6/13. It’s being discussed and debated if the remaining bosses are even killable right now as they stand. World of logs is a better place to check data in this regard. You might see more normal mode 10 man kills than 25 but remember this includes things like alt runs and pugs. In general most guilds are still 25 man in size but also choose to partake in the 10 man fun.

  11. Jornk
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Blizzard has to make design changes based on the number one rule of business… “Know your market”

    WoW has been out for over 6 years now, and the average WoW player is now 6-7 years older, and has been playing the entire time. 6 years is the difference between graduating high school and settling into your career. 6 years is the difference between going to college and starting your family. Life happens, and time available to play becomes more of an issue as responsibilities grow. Back in 2005, the average age of WoW players was said to be 28. So you are talking about about a majority of your customers now being mid 30s. Careers, starting a family, and home ownership have entered the picture.

    Things like the flexible raid system are meant to let the now casual, 35 year old gamer experience the content. I’m happy that I can move to a different group if my “Tuesday night run” fails after Magmaw. I’m happy that I can sub into a guild Chimaeron kill the night after I PuG myself into a BWD that doesn’t get the full clear. Letting me be a part of multiple groups also affords me the ability to keep my gear on pace with the “core raiders” of the guild AND satisfy my own personal level of acheivement.

    To summarize, time spent in game is the issue, quality of the attempt matters, and it is easier to produce a quality attempt with a smaller group size.

    More loot isn’t the answer, if Blizz wants people to run 25s, they’ll need to put the “heroic” modifier on it or something, and add an “uber” modifier for the 25 man hard modes. Gear progression maybe looks like:

    1) Normal Epic
    2) Heroic Epic (10 man hard modes and 25 man normal)
    3) Uber Epic (25 man hard mode)

    • Lissanna
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Well, that was the gear quality distribution for WotLK (for the most part). They “equalized” gear between 10 & 25 to make 10’s more attractive.

      • Jornk
        Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        haha, yeah… They succeeded! 10s are a little too attractive now!

        Outside of tier tokens, 25s provided a completely different gear set in WotLK…. people had to run both 10s and 25s to attain BiS items. Not only that, they had to kill hard mode bosses in those respective group sizes as well to upgrade to the heroic versions of the item.

        What I am suggesting is for them to use the same items and just add a additional modifier for all drops, not just tier tokens. You get your BiS piece, and then you upgrade that piece via killing the same boss at a higher level of difficulty. This is assuming (as they did in WotLK) that 10 man hard mode kills are equal in difficulty to 25 man normal mode kills. I think this might be the only way for Blizz to make 25s attractive again.

        From what I have seen, Cata shattered more than just Azeroth. On each of the servers that I have characters, I have seen many of the top guilds split into smaller guilds to run 10 man content for the exact reasons some of the other comments have mentioned. “Why go through the hassle of putting a 25 man group together when we can get the same loot with greater ease?”

        My personal opinion:
        I’d be fine if they did away with 25 mans, and I don’t really get amped up over hard modes either.

        • Lissanna
          Posted February 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          yeah, but making 25’s have higher ilevels (even if same stats) just means that people have to run 25’s to get “better” gear, which ends up de-valuing 10’s too far.

          I’m still convinced that there’s no such thing as “separate but equal” raid instances…

          • Jornk
            Posted February 2, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            I agree, you cannot make various group sizes equal. Given the same boss mechanics and space available to move around, a 25 man group will always have a greater level of difficulty.

            With that said, shouldn’t greater difficulty deserve greater rewards. Haha, maybe they should just make the 25 man group size “unlockable” and force people to complete content on 10 man.

  12. Onomaris
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    25 mans are NOT always harder. There is a link in Lissanna’s post that shows per encounter that shows the relative difficulty difference in 10 and 25 man. It depends on the encounter, but overall other than fights with space contraints, I don’t see how most or all 25s are harder, considering back in wrath (which I know only holds so much weight for comparison) 10 strict raiding was considered much more difficult. For example, how long before LK was killed on H ICC 10 WITHOUT having 25 man gear?

  13. Treetard
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    In the 10 vs 25 argument, you are, unfortunately, sadly mistaken.
    These statistics are fine, but they are not entirely accurate. In the 10 vs 25 argument, the clear difficulty curve rests on 10man content, and especially shows itself on heroic content. This is a generally accepted truth, not a theory.
    The cold honest facts are that boss damage, ability damage, and number of tanks is EXACTLY IDENTICAL on 10 and 25. Check all the logs you want, everything hits just as hard. The ONLY difference is HP scaling, with little exception.
    Healer to tank ratio is way better in 25 man, and the extra DPS healing is easy to cover with ground heals, which only increase in output with more people standing in them (this actually buffs stacking mechanics in 25), and thats just from a healing perspective.
    DPS composition in 25 is just better, period. % of DPS vs support roles in 25 is better. Heroic tokens are guaranteed drops, vs chances to drop from hardmodes in 10. I wont even get into the monkey wrench that adding an additional tank, (sometimes 2) throws into a 10 man comp-wise.
    25’s have way more tank and healer flexibility, higher damage output ratio, relatively the same damage taken ratio, and the added effect of built in efficiency for ground heals, making them far and away “easier”.
    In all honesty, the hardest part of 25 mans is getting 25 warm, decent playing bodies online, and while I feel for the people who have to organize them, organizational requirements and difficulty are completely different problems and should be treated seperately. It is flawed logic to think that organization should be held accountable for the massive mechanical advantage of a 25 man raid.

    • Lissanna
      Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      My original post does not speak to boss difficulty. It only speaks to organizational difficulty and social desirability of the raid sizes. The only thing my data shows is that fewer guilds try to run 25-man content. It’s a barrier to entry in terms of the desire & ability to get a group of 25 people together in a raid group to start trying to clear content.

      One of the websites reports differences in encounter difficulty, which is NOT addressed in my post at all. Boss difficulty seems to be encounter-specific, with some encounters favoring 10’s and some favoring 25’s. However, difficulty is confounded by the fact that some guilds kill the bosses first in 10-normals before they try them in 25-normals (due to being able to get the 10-mans organized prior to having enough people to run 25’s).

      So, I can’t speak to encounter difficulty. In the end, Blizzard has the ability to make bosses as easy or hard as they like, that’s totally a factor under their own control.

      If I had to guess, I would say that the difference in # of 10 & 25-man guilds is mostly social and organizational in nature. Gear can be used to increase social desirability of a raid size, but it ends up being bribery for overcoming organizational difficulty, and it’s hard to know when you tip the scales of social desirability too far in forcing one to be perceived as “superior” to the other.

      • Onomaris
        Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        well, I think the lack or or dwindling number of 25 man guilds, especially more casual/less hardcore ones, is due to the fact that it is more difficult to organize just because there are more people, and unless you truly prefer the feel of the larger raid size, it’s not worth it since you don’t ‘have to’ to get the best gear. Some players were in 25s simply because they wanted the better gear, and not because they preferred the larger format. Although I also think as time goes on, it’s possible we may see more 25 man guilds cropping up. It’s still early in the expansion, really.. and some people are still getting over the heroic dungeon hump.

  14. Jornk
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    @Treetard

    What you are saying proves only my point? You are correct when saying DPS throughput is higher. Yes, healing can be more efficient. However, this hardly makes for an “easier” encounter IMO. HP scaling of the boss causes need for these higher throughputs, but also a greater need for survivability. Bosses become marathons instead of sprints. 5 minute encounters become 7-10 minute encounters. The longer the fight, the more likely a lapse in focus is to occur. Statistics can prove the correlation between time and a person’s ability to focus. From what I have seen so far, you cannot go into autopilot in Cata like you did in WotLK.

    Also, I don’t see were you are coming from by saying there is a mechanical advantage. 25 man encounters typically have extra adds and a higher degree of chaos (random mind controls and extra debuffs) than 10 man encounters. These additional mechanics make 25 man bosses (typically) more difficult than the 10 man version.

    I do disagree with your point on organization difficulty. Managing 2 groups in a 10 man setting is far easier than managing the movements of 5 groups in a 25 man setting.

    I appologize to Lissanna and everyone else in this thread for spinning off topic and turning this post into a debate. I have been in both strict 10 man guilds and strict 25 man guilds. I’ve played the role of raid leader in both sizes, and 10 man runs have always felt “easier”. This is why I have been trying to push the idea that difficulty (organizational or otherwise) is causing more guilds to switch to the 10 man group size.

    I am happy that you have been able to keep your 25 man group going Lissanna. Best of luck to you and guildmates.