Now that I’ve gotten rid of the big, black cloud hanging over my head, I can talk about some things I am really looking forward to in WOD. The first of these is the change in raid sizes. It is no secret that I was really unhappy with the initial split of 10 v 25. Like everything in the game, I went through several stages of grief, including: Angry posting and cursing, as well as bargaining and trying to find a compromise, and depression over what I thought was going to signal the loss of 25-mans forever when Blizzard chose to do nothing in MOP, and acceptance of the loss of many 25-man guilds from the World of Warcraft as 10-man guilds largely replaced all but two of the dozens of 25-man guilds we started out with on my server before 10-man progression raiding was implemented.
Through all of the ups and downs, I have remained an active raider in a 25-man raiding guild. I never have done much in the way of 10-man raiding. The 10-man raid size was never my thing. It is with that larger context in mind that I wanted to share my thoughts on the changes for raiding in WOD. While I have great sympathy for 10-mans having to transition to 20-mans, I don’t have a sense of perspective where it would make sense for me to try to represent that population. Instead, I’ll focus on my own transition from 25-man to 20-man raiding.
Here is a brief recap of what raiding in WOD will look like:
- The current LFR system will stay in place. This will use current LFR loot.
- The current 10-25 man Flex mode will now be a called Normal-mode and will be flexible in size between 10 and 25. You can choose between LFR loot and and master-looter.
- The current Normal raiding will now be called Heroic. It will be flexible in size between 10 and 25 raiders, and you can choose between LFR loot and master-looter.
- The current Heroic raiding will now be called Mythic, and will be limited to 20 people only.
- The raid sizes other than Mythic will also be cross-realm capable, and it looks like each difficulty is on a different lockout (meaning you could get 4 chances of loot – one off each raid size).
As a 25-man raiding guild, my guild will likely do the following content:
- Our main raiding size will be the new Heroic flexible size. We will likely run with between 20 and 25 raid members in Heroic.
- We will kill some Mythic bosses. Whether or not we kill all the mythic bosses in a raid tier will depend on lots of different factors.
- We will likely have some normal-mode Flexible size runs for our alts during times when we have alts who are raid-ready, and we could potentially start with normal-mode Flexible in the first raid tier while people are still gearing up. We will be unlikely to run LFR as a group, though individual members are welcome to run it on their own.
We will have to make some tough decisions along the way:
With a roster of between 30 and 32 people, we will have to be careful about how we recruit between now and the start of WOD raiding. We will want to start WOD raiding with a roster between 25 and 27 people. This means that most of the time, our Heroic flexible raid will be at (or close to) the maximum 25-person capacity, but that we won’t be sitting a huge number of people on Mythic nights that require no more than 20. We have to shrink our roster a little bit, but since people naturally come and go around the time of expansions, it means we have room to let our roster attrition down to a comfortable place by just halting recruitment at the point where we’re mostly done with SOO raiding.
I am happy with this new system of raiding.
When I knew that “separate but equal” 10 v 25-man raiding wasn’t going to be possible, I wrote multiple posts suggesting we drop down to one 15-man size. This was before Flexible raid sizes were possible. However, with flexible raid sizes, I see how 20 people could be desirable for a max-tier raiding. The most hardcore guilds are still often 25-man guilds. The changes don’t really impact people who would never hit Mythic-level raiding.
While the changes prevent dabbling by guilds into killing 1 or 2 mythic bosses, it clearly shows where the division of difficulty should be divided: The hardest difficulty can be tuned for a single raid size, and mechanics that would fail in 10-mans can be used in 20-mans. It also allows two 10-mans to be combined into a single 20-man, and doesn’t require 25-mans to cut huge chunks of people from their rosters. I basically get what I want: A single raid size at the most hardcore end of raiding. It also still allows people to do 10-man normal-mode raiding if they really want to. Seeing as how only a tiny percentage of the WOW player base will ever raid Mythic difficulty, I believe that even with some short-term growing pains, this new way of raiding is going to feel better for most people in the long-run.
Suggestions for easing the transition.
- To Blizzard: The costs of server and faction transfers need to be reduced around the time of the expansion transition to ease the burden on guilds trying to recruit new members. The 10-man teams who have to add 15 more people to their rosters will only survive if the costs of transferring are worth the risks of joining a group that may show instability early in the transition. If two guilds on different servers want to merge, the costs of doing that merger is often prohibitively expensive. So, if a huge factor in the survival of current guilds comes down to the ease of bringing in people from another server, these server transfer costs needs to be something Blizzard considers in the upcoming months leading to the expansion.
- To guild leadership: Guilds need to be open to their members about what the plans are for how to deal with the transition. Guilds need to plan early, so that the expansion transition doesn’t catch anyone by surprise. Any transition for a new expansion can be difficult. There are always new things (both good and bad) to deal with as the content changes. Guild leadership needs to communicate early and often. If the guild plans to recruit more people, then get all the members involved. If the guilds are going to lose people, then communicate early about how that is going to be handled. Whatever unique problems that the expansion poses for guilds, be clear to your members about how you will handle the transitions.
- To players at large: Plan in advance for what raiding you really want to do in the next expansion. This transition will be a great time to join new raid groups, help shape the direction of your current raid groups, or help with recruiting new members to your team. If you are returning to the game, the expansion transition will be a great time to find new guilds who have opened their rosters.
In conclusion, I think Blizzard made the right choice in their changing the raid sizes to have one single end-game raid size. Using the flexible technology for every other raid size also allows a lot more flexibility and choice. In the end, the change in raid size is one of the things I am looking forward to the most. I appreciate that Blizzard was able to finally fix the failing 10 v 25-man raid size problem. I look forward to seeing the future of raiding.