This post was written by a long-time reader and commenter, Kayeri, who is active on many Druid blogs. She writes now about a concern that affects her personally, and many others.
This is something that has occurred to me from time to time in various forms and I’ve even seen it referred to on some of the many blogs I read, without ever addressing it directly. So Bell has generously allowed me to air my concerns and perhaps we’ll get back some ideas worth thinking over. What really catalyzed this post was a frustrated comment made the other night by our guild’s best tank, a protection paladin, before she logged for the night.
“Without 25’s I can’t improve my character and if I can’t improve my character, why play the game?” This concerned me deeply, because in the year I have known her, I have never once seen her express such intense frustration. If someone like this can be driven to that level of frustration, it’s time to get this out in the open and talk about it.
When Blizz first announced it was implementing the dual 10/25 man tracks for raiding, I was thrilled. I’d always felt a sense of incompletion in Burning Crusade as my guild wasn’t (and isn’t) large enough to do the 25-man content and complete the story arc of that expansion. That was not going to happen in Lich King… hurrah for Blizz! Then they told us 25-man loot would be better than 10-man. I shrugged it off at the time, because undoubtedly 25-man content would be more difficult than 10-man. I was still riding the high from being able to do the entire expansion storyline.
Well, the more difficult encounters at 25-man never really happened. The encounters, for the most part, are on par in difficulty. Yes, there can be slightly different mechanics or additional adds thrown in for the larger raid, but in overall difficulty per player, IE how hard each player works during each boss fight, is not significantly different in 10 and 25. With the exceptions of Patchwerk and possibly Kel’thuzad, I really am working no harder in a 25-man than in a 10-man.
So why the loot difference? Encounter difficulty is the crux for me. Better loot should be rewarded for more difficult encounters which means I should be working harder in 25-man encounters than 10-man to earn that loot. It is definitely more difficult to coordinate 25 people than 10. That’s a given. Herding 25 cats is obviously harder than herding 10. But is there any other reason? During the encounter, you’re doing pretty equivalent work whether its 10 or 25. Is that what Blizz intended with the dual raid track? I don’t know, honestly.
The effects on the 10-man raid guild are not good. People leave because they can’t get top flight gear. The last 4-6 weeks have seen the largest population drop we’ve ever experienced. People, including me, have started pugging more to get better gear. That means less time working together and the guild’s teamwork has suffered for it. Also, 10-man guilds are recommended as ‘gear-up-and-move-on” guilds, and that’s not what we want to be. Worst of all, it has been seen in general chat when assembling pug raids on our server, “Don’t bother psting me if you’re in that 10-man Naxx crap!” It’s not frequent, but it is happening.
So is there a way to balance things so the 10-man track can access the gear they need to be the best they can be without reversing course and hurting the 25? The one thing we all have in common is we want to be the best player/raider we can be. To do that, we all need the best gear we can get our hands on. 10-man raiding guilds are handicapped in that by size alone. And the plain fact is, I love my guild. I’ve cultivated genuine friendships there. I’ve hosted guildies in my home and visited other in theirs. It’s an atmosphere I feel comfortable in and that matches my needs. I don’t want to leave and I won’t. If there is a balance point out there, I’d love to find it, because I want to enjoy my guild AND have the best gear I can get my mitts on.