I Told You So: The Decay of 25-mans, Part 1

On the day Blizzard announced that 10- and 25-man raids would share the same lockout, I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t like the sound of that.” When they announced that the raids would share the same loot, I said flat out, “That will be the death of 25-man raids.”

"Trade Chat" by Neko-samma

For the next several months, the discussion about the two popped up in a lot of places: my guild forums, the official forums, Twitter, blogs; heck, even Trade chat took a break from linking things inappropriately to talk about the change. Some people were really heated on one side or the other (which I think is pretty silly; it’s not about which one is better, it’s a matter of preference and opinion), while some didn’t care. Most sat in the middle, reserving their full opinion for when we actually saw how this would work out exactly.

Well, I’ve seen it. And my opinion remains unchanged.

I prefer 25-man raids. People tend to say, “The only thing that makes 25-mans harder than 10-mans is organizing it all.” That’s neither true nor false; it’s just an incomplete picture.

Yes, 25-mans are harder to organize. It is a million times easier to organize a 10-man if that’s your plan from the beginning. Finding 10-15 semi-reliable people who can make up a pretty decent composition is a cake walk for an experienced raid leader, and not too complicated for an inexperienced one, either. Wipe recovery takes less time because there are fewer people to recover, and having one hybrid dps/healer in your raid makes it a versatile environment for moving through bosses with different mechanics. Getting 25 people together at the same time and keeping them invested in a raid for a few hours is certainly a challenge.

But there’s so much more to it than that. The reason 25-mans are harder, all raid-forming considerations aside, is because there are 25 people. No, I’m not being stupid; follow along with me. In a 10-man raid, if one person fails to perform either in the meters or in raid awareness, it’s darn easy to spot: they’ll be the one whose dps is consistently holding you back during burn fights, or whose target continually dies, or whose mobs always go awry. Out of 10 people, one bad egg is going to shine like a glowing, shimmering Star of Fail.

In a 25-man, that person isn’t necessarily going to stand out as being consistently bad unless they’re either really dreadful or you’ve been alerted to the issue. You could have someone who is inconsistent in their performance but does just enough better than a couple of other people to keep their inconsistency hidden for a while.

This matters because having 25 people also means that there are more opportunities to wipe. This seems common sense, but really think about it for a minute: if you have 10 people, there are only 10 people who can wipe you. Even if you can only get 7 or 8 solid, consistent people in your raid, the odds are in your favor. In a 25-man, however; you’re going to reasonably have more lower- to marginally-performing raiders, so the pool of likely wipers goes from 2-3 to 5-6, not counting bad luck or a moment of indiscretion from one of your good raiders. Even if Blizzard really has tuned every raid to be the same level of mechanical difficulty for both raids, I think they are hard pressed to account for this difference.

If a 10-man raid and a 25-man raid go up against the same boss with relatively the same ratio of good to mediocre players (and luck not included), I think it’s fair to believe the 25-man will wipe more times than the 10-man raid in conquering that boss. Here’s the kicker: I don’t have any problem with that. For me, that level of difficulty is what makes raiding a challenge, and therefore, makes boss kills feel like achievements.

I know everyone doesn’t share that opinion, and I wouldn’t expect them to. Some people hate that aspect of 25-man raids, and for them, 10-mans are certainly the way to go. It doesn’t make them less accomplished in my eyes; they just like different aspects of raiding than I do, and I think having a choice to raid the way you want to is phenomenal.

However, while I’m not ready to say 25-mans are dead (not by a long shot; I know lots of 25-man guilds who are raiding and succeeding!), the ability to choose to raid in a 25-man setting is getting harder. This post is already longer than I intended, though; so I’m going to slap a part 1 sticker on it and explain why I say that tomorrow.

Continue on to I Told You So: The Decay of 25-mans, Part 2.


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4 responses to “I Told You So: The Decay of 25-mans, Part 1

  1. Agreed. It is very hard to herd the cats for 25 man. With the guild only achievements, that puts more pressure on making sure all are guildies and not pugs.

    We struggled mightily to go 25 in Wrath. We gave up the fight for the expansion already and do 10s. We are working on our 2nd 10 now, but not there with alt players and other mains. Mainly due to our shortage of healers (don’t even get me started that ‘why’!)

    Makes me wonder how pugging raids will fly. Of course when alts are raid ready, that may make them more viable, but I have not seen many pugging raids yet in Trade.

    Nice post. I am watching them as well…Too bad they didn’t try do do a medium raid guild…a 15? Hmmm.

    • battlechicken

      Yeah, I’ve seen a few pugging attempts, but none that I thought had any measure of serious success behind them. Getting 10 random people together and making headway in a progression raid sounds like a serious headache to me!

  2. What really makes 25s enjoyable for me IS that level of coordination. There is a more epic true team oriented feel for me when all 24 people around me experience a collective aha! moment – where everything clicks and everyone pulls off their job and lives.

    To each his own, but our guild’s 25s success is a team success when we down a boss, where 10s always feel like they lend more toward individual performance. In both scenarios you have to have raiders who perform well at whatever progression level your particular group is, but in 25s I always feel like we have a greater sense of that true team mentality than I have gotten out of a 10.

    For the most part, as long as your raid, regardless of size, is relatively progressive (not out-gearing the content) – most bosses are conquered because everyone lived. Sure there are some fights at both 10 and 25 size that can be pulled off with someone(s) dead, but more often than not you need everyone alive for that first success. Something about 25 people getting to that point is more satisfying to me personally.

    I certainly understand that not everyone feels the way I do about it, and I like the ability to choose! I’ve been quite discouraged with the number of folks switching to 10s that is seems possible we may lose 25s entirely at some point in the not too distant future.

    • battlechicken

      That’s where I sit, too; and what prompted me to finally post this (it’s been stewing for a while) was the announcement that my 25-man guild would become a 1 group 10-man guild. About 3 hours or so after I posted this morning, I discovered that I was not chosen for the progression team, which is a major bummer.

      While I promised to give a second 10-man being organized by a raider with the support of one of the officers (although he, along with all of the officers, will be in the first group) a chance, I am terribly disappointed by the turn of events here.

      I also love the collective a-ha! when it all comes together in a 25-man, and if we remain here, I will miss it.

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