Raiding in Cataclysm

This is what everyone is talking about right now, so I may as well add my two cents. I’m sure that everyone has heard the news about how raiding will be changing during Cataclysm. The general points are:

  • 10 and 25-man raids will share the same lockout
  • 10 and 25-man raids will be equally difficult (or easy)
  • 10 and 25-man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25s will drop more of it
  • Normal vs. Heroic mode will be chosen on a per boss basis
  • The plan is to have multiple small raid instances rather than one large one

Before I get into the big changes, I have to say that having two small raids rather than one big one (a la SSC/TK) is excellent. I loved this in BC and I’m glad they are bringing it back. It was nice to have a change of scenery when raiding rather than do the same raid over and over again. It also provides a nice option for people who get stuck at a certain boss. If you’re stuck, go try the other instance rather than bang your head against the wall for hours. So that change gets two thumbs up from me.

Now onto the more controversial part of this news. 10 and 25-man raids will share the same lockout and drop the same loot. Eep. That is quite the change. Many bloggers have already weighed in on this, here are the main points.

Herding Cats
Restokin, Spinks and You Yank it you Tank It think that this will kill 25-man raiding because of the effort required to sustain a 25-man guild. 25-man raids are much harder to organize and keep running than 10-mans. It’s easier to find 9 other competent people and teach them to work together than 24. If there isn’t a good enough reason (better loot, harder bosses) to do 25 mans, who in their right mind will put in the amount of effort required to run them? Sure, there will be those players who are really dedicated to 25-man raiding who will continue to run them, but I think the number of those people will decrease. This will make recruiting and retaining people in 25-man guilds even more difficult.

Good news for 10-man raiders
Blueberry Totem and Kae at Dreambound think that this is fantastic news for 10-man strict raiders. Currently, the strict-10s are looked down on a little bit – 10 mans are easy, do some real raiding in 25s! Now really, 10 mans are not easy. They’re easier for 25 man guilds, because they outgear all the encounters. But if you were to walk into a 10man with the appropriate level of gear on, they wouldn’t be a walk in the park. I’m happy for the 10-man raiders. I am completely fine with 10s and 25s dropping the same loot, and I am happy that they will be as close in difficulty as possible. I’m not just happy for the 10-man raiders. When I walk into a 10man in my 25man gear and steamroll the place, there’s not much of a sense of accomplishment – I realise that the bosses are dying quickly at least in part due to my raids superior gear (and the ICC buff doesn’t hurt either). However, while I like this idea, I can’t help but think of the point above. 25man raids will continue to be more difficult (in an organizational sense), but no longer have better rewards. So what’s the point?

Good News for Progression Raiders
Stabilized Effort Scope thinks the loot equalization between 10s and 25s is fantastic. 25man raiders will no longer have to run 10mans in order to have access to certain pieces of loot. 10man raiders will no longer be unable to get loot only available in 10mans. I can see his point. Having BiS items (usually trinkets) only be available in 10 mans when you are focused on 25mans raiding is a pain in the ass. Righteous Defense points out that progression raiders will no longer have to run two versions of the same instance in order to gear up as quickly as possible. No more being forced to run 10s and 25s in order to get as many emblems and as much gear as possible. I have somewhat mixed feelings on this. Right now, in my burned-out, pre-expansion slump phase, spending less time raiding sounds good. However, when the expansion comes out and my interest in playing is revitalized, I might feel differently.

More Alts?
Blizzard seems to be pushing people towards raiding on alts. Gear is super easy to attain right now, so people are able to raid on multiple characters. The changes in Cataclysm seem like they are pushing this as well. You have to chose between 10mans and 25s on your main, so raiding time will be limited. After you’ve cleared everything, go do it again on an alt. Or, as one of my guildies suggested, you no longer have to devote all your time to raiding, so go out and buy Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 instead. 😛

What about the Guilds?
This is the biggest problem I’m having with the announcement. I raid in two 25-man guilds. While the thought of running 10s instead doesn’t bother me too much, the thought of what this change will do to my guilds does. I’m afraid this change will cause guilds to fracture. I like raiding with most of the 24 people I play with. I like being able to have small 10 man teams but still get together every week to have a big raid with everyone. This isn’t going to be possible anymore.

So, I’ve got mixed feelings about the changes in store for raiding. I’ll have to wait and see how they play out.

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