Zoinks! In case you haven’t heard Blizzard is making significant changes to progression raiding in Cataclysm. You can read Nethaera’s full post here, but the short of it is this,
- 10 and 25-man raids will be of similar difficulty and share the same lockout timer.
- 10 and 25-man raids will drop the exact same loot.
- 25-man raids will drop more gold, loot and badges.
- There will be smaller raid instances, but more of them.
I have to say I’m somewhat surprised by these changes. This could all but mean the end of 25-man progression raiding. I was just in a guild that disbanded because they couldn’t get 25 people on. The guild I’m in now was recruiting because they were having trouble getting 25 people on.
Ten man raids are a lot easier to organize and manage. You’re less likely to have multiple players of the same class/spec in the raid so the chance of you having zero competition for your gear is high. Also, Blizzard seems to be trying to get as many, if not all, of the 25-man buff into a 10-man raid, so you might be able to better plan your 10-man team around more diverse class composition.
The key will be just how difficult 10-mans will be and how much more rewarding the 25-mans will be. Will that alt-group be able to get through the new 10-man raids, or will you need your A-team? How similar will the encounters be? Right now in ICC there are a lot of encounters that require the raid to spread out. This mechanic is trivial in 10-man, but needs to be carefully managed in 25.
25-man teams might be able to gear up faster and progress quicker, however, both 10 and 25-man will now be going from point A to point B. Will it really matter how fast you get there?
In the same expansion that Blizzard is implementing changes to make guild management and recruitment easier (guild leveling, talents and looking for guild), they are also reducing the incentive to run larger guilds and raids.
One final thought, raids are going to be smaller in scale. Instead of single 11 boss instances we’ll see multiple five boss instances. I suspect this gives raiders the option to do more things during their raid week, and it probably keeps pugs alive giving them a chance to clear an instance in one night.
Like everything else, I’ll want to see it in action before I make a final judgement, but we just might see 10-mans as the big thing in Cataclysm.