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The Evolution of Raiding Capacity in World of Warcraft

Posted Sun, Jan 27, 2013 by Xerin

Ragnaros

In World of Warcraft there used to exist such a thing as a forty man raid. These raids were difficult, required large coordination, and raiding guilds were few and far between on each server. You had you’re A team, players who attended each raid, roughly 30 to a guild. Then there was your B team, about twenty players who had gear and spotty attendance, but would work out to fill in the last few rolls. They’d generally roll or fight for the last few invites. Then you had the rest of the guild, the untold number of other players hoping that for some reason all the other Rogues had the flu and it was their one chance to shine.

In The Burning Crusade, things changed. Forty man guilds were no more and twenty five was the new number to beat. You now had about 20 core players, 10 exchangeable, and a long list of casuals waiting for a spot to open up hopefully one day. There were more and more guilds forming, since getting twenty five people to meet at 8 PM server time is infinitely easier than forty.

In Wrath of the Lich King, things changed even more, offering up ten man raids as an alternate mode. This gave smaller guilds the ability to just, well, invite anyone online to go raiding. The twenty five man guilds continued on, fighting against the forces of evil for better loot, but the ten man option was an attractive, although less efficient, route to glory (well, less efficient once they put ten and twenty five man raids on the same lockout).

Lady Nazjar
Cataclysm changed things for raiding by making 25-man and 10-man loot the same.

In Cataclysm, they made it where both ten and twenty five man raids gave the same amount of loot. That effectively removes anything but prestige achievements from the twenty five man versions. This means that doing a ten man or a twenty five man is ultimately the same, it’s just harder to get twenty five players on, but the encounters can be slightly easier with more players (giving more room for error). This began the downfall of twenty five man raiding.

Now, in Mists of Pandaria, players sit and ponder the fate of twenty five man raiding. Is it forever gone and ten man raiding permanently replacing it, or will something come along to make twenty five man raiding worthwhile again? At the start, it seemed like twenty five man raiding was a dying art, but now it seems that Blizzard is introducing Thunderforged loot, which have an increased drop chance in twenty five man raids.

Does this give the playerbase a reason to run twenty five man raids again? I’m not exactly sure. If Blizzard is transparent with how much of an increased chance then there may be hope that it’ll return as a viable method of raiding, but without knowing how much of an increase it is (and if that increase is even a noticeable difference) then it’s hard. WoW players don’t work well with random numbers, if a group runs a 25-man and gets no Thunderforged and then the next ten man gives them one, then obviously the chances are higher in 10 man groups and there is no point in running a twenty five man group.

Is this the solution to the problem? I’m not exactly sure. The statement that Blizzard makes is that this provides incentive, but to me it seems that the value doesn’t overcome the logistics of organizing 25 players together.

Dragons come in multiple flavors in WoW, from big to small, but most can be taken on by 10 or 25 players.

So what is the solution? We can’t say make the loot better in twenty five man raids because that would put is back to where we were before, where guilds who couldn’t field 25 players together would never be nearly as competitive as those that could. Yet, at the same time, without that kind of incentive there isn’t much of a reason to run twenty five man raids. There has to be a line drawn somewhere that satisfies everyone, without making 25 man raiding mandatory but appealing.

I’ve always been a fan of the idea of different armor skins depending on the difficulty. Cosmetic prestige is the best prestige because it doesn’t unbalance the actual raw combat, but rewards players for putting that extra effort in. I’m also a fan of customization, let the 25-man raids drop tokens for free services like transmogrification or let them drop specialty gear for transmogrification.

Any way you look at it, giving something to the 25 man raiding guilds out there is better than nothing, but I do feel it’s a problem that will need to be addressed with a more permanent solution as we continue to move forward in Mists of Pandaria.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.

It is a huge project for players.

I have always liked larger raids. It is way more fun, in my opinion, to have 25-40 players working together toward a singular goal. I hated the day I saw that 10 and 25 man raids shared the same lockout. I was even more disturbed by the fact that 25 man raids were getting the same gear as 10 man raids were. There has to be something done about that. I know there is something that could be done to give the spark back to 25 man raiding. Many good guilds splintered off because it was just easier to set 10 man raids up. It's not always easy to organize 25 people to be on time for raids and to have everything they need to perform optimally. For the trouble Blizzard should give back something to keep 25 mans from falling even further. I would think better chances at mount drops or other vanity items would be nice. I also think 25 man only skins would be a good start. I know something can be done to help keep 25 mans going. I just hope it is done soon before more good 25 man guilds go to 10 man.

It is a huge project for players. But I like it.

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