The addition of the “Thunderforged” items in 5.2 has sparked a lot of discussions on 10m vs 25m raiding. Large scale raiding as we know it is dying off. The number of 25m raiding guilds in the world is shrinking due to one simple reason: The onerous task of organizing a 25m raiding guild doesn’t come with enough rewards to make it worthwhile for most people. Having managed a 10m raid team for almost 3 years and having to deal with how unbelievably stressful that was, I can only imagine how bad it is for 25m raid leaders.

I don’t think this is really news to most people. Given two choices that yield identical rewards and the only difference being scale of the encounters, players will overwhlemingly gravitate towards the option that requires the least investment. Those two choices we have right now are 10m and 25m and unsurprisingly players are choosing the option that requires the least administrative commitment. People want to spend their time playing the game, not sitting around waiting for the last 2-3 people to show up.

In order to get people to participate in the larger raid sizes, Blizzard has historically gone with one of two methods:

  • Make it the only raid size available.
  • Offer substantially better rewards.

Neither of those are the case now. With 10m and 25m offering the same rewards, there’s nothing left to entice players into 25m raiding beyond simply wanting a bigger experience. Blizzard has come out and said that their ideal solution would be to simply convert to one universal raid size (15m has been thrown around a lot) – but that isn’t something practical for the players. So the question is how to get 25m groups into stable condition without destroying one raid size or the other.

Enter “Thunderforged” items.

I don’t think it’s enough to attract the large “swing vote” in the player base that simply goes where the item levels are. We don’t know what the exact drop rates are yet, but they’d have to almost be a guaranteed drop in 25m for it to be worth it. And if you go that far, why not just do it properly? Consider:

  1. Split Lockouts: Split the Normal and Heroic lockouts for both 10m and 25m.
  2. Change Item Levels: Make 10N drop loot at X item level. 10H and 25N would drop loot at X+13. 25H would be X+26.
  3. Identical Loot Tables: 10m and 25m must have the same loot tables. Just different power levels of the same items.
  4. Legendaries in Both: Legendary items must still be available in both raid sizes. I cannot tell you how unbelievably pissed I was when Val’anyr wasn’t available for 10H groups in Ulduar.
  5. Keep 10m Challenging: 10m raids must still be challenging for groups using the loot intended for them. 10N would be the same difficulty relative to items dropped as 25N.
  6. Exclusive Achievements: You can’t get 10M achievements – including meta – wearing 25M gear. Can be implemented using the item tag system.

Some of you may notice that this bears a lot of similarity to the design used in Ulduar. There’s a reason for that. It was a great system. The only problem with it was the different loot tables between 10m and 25m. That meant 25m raiders were forced to do 10m for their best items in some slots. That should never happen.

It also retains the illusion of separate progression paths. Those players who play 10m purely for the more intimate experience retain their progression path. While this may not be as difficult as 25m in absolute terms, in relative terms it will still be a challenge. This would essentially be Blizzard implementing what the players called “10-Strict” in Wrath.

Unfortunately there’s one underlying reason why Blizzard won’t do this: Resources. It would require a lot of additional testing resources to implement the model I’m suggesting. Obviously Blizzard doesn’t want 25m raiding to completely die (at least not yet), but I don’t think they’re willing to go as far as to make it the only source for the best gear.

We’ll see what happens, but I’m not holding my breath.


  • Helistar says:

    Actually, my memories of the Ulduar model is that it DIDN’T work.
    - separate lockouts => at the beginning you’re forced to run BOTH 10m and 25m to get more access at stuff
    - 13ilvl difference: 25m raiders had a big boost when going into a 10m, for some fights, they were facerolls. There’s also the problem of valor gear: at what ilvl do you sell valor gear? 10m or 25m? If 10m than it’s useless for 25m, if it’s 25m then it becomes equivalent to 10HM, so OP for 10m.
    - identical loot tables would mitigate the forced reruns after the initial “farm” is done.
    - achievements: this means cutting 10m out of the 25m achievements (and not the opposite, since 25m can use their normal gear in 10m).

    And there’s an additional variable now: LFR. That would mean a new tier covering a ton of item levels, worse than what happened with Ulduar+ToC+ICC, the stat inflation would be utterly insane.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      You’re right. LFR does cause some wrinkles. There are a number of ways to solve that depending on what you wanted to do. The spread of item levels doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things if you design with that intention though.

      In terms of vendor items, there’s a few different approaches for that too. You could nuke them entirely and only have item upgrades, have a separate currency for 10/25 which allows you to buy diffrent levels of the same item, or possibly other solutions.

      Now that I think about it there isn’t really a reason to split the lockouts if the gear in 10m isn’t desirable for 25m. So that could stay.

      I think you missed the part where I said “achievements would be split locked by item tag”. 25m N gear wouldn’t have a “10m tag” on it.

  • Buraan says:

    There were plenty of good things about Ulduar, but I would have to say that the 10 and 25 man split was not one of them.

    Ulduar had interesting things in terms of difficulty, allowing “hard mode” bosses, which were triggered in much more creative ways than they are now, and bosses that didn’t need a hard mode, didn’t have them, instead of what we have now where bosses that they can’t come up with something interesting to do, simply do more damage whilst having more health. Not to mention a hard mode only encounter. Personally I felt that during ulduar, clearing normal mode felt more satisfying than it does now, as it felt like the actual content, and the hard mode stuff was extra.
    The seperate loot for both 10 and 25 man helped alleviate the problems of not having reforging, allowing more variations in stat itemization for the same slots. Even the hard mode gear wasn’t just the same stuff as normal simply labeled as “heroic” in pretty green writing, (which is the same writing as “raid finder”…ooooh wow).

    The 10/25 man split in ulduar basically meant that 25 man was the content that people competed on, it was where the race was run. 10 man were second class citizens, 25 mans had to run more raids as they had to clear 10 man, which in some guilds created drama over which 10 man group you would find yourself in. 25 man was the only difficulty where you could get legendaries adding to the woes of 10 man guilds. Not to mention that 10 man content, though it may have been tuned properly for a raid fully in 10 man gear, was trivialized by the vendor gear being 25 man normal ilvl, and 10 man guilds grouping together or pugging the 25 man version of the raid. 10 man in that case became simply “not hard”. The reason 25 man guilds thrived was because there was so much incentive to run them. Players like myself didn’t really want to be in 10 man guilds because of this, and strove to get into a 25 man guild. There were even plenty of 10 man guilds that were “recruiting to go 25 man”, which sometimes seemed perpetual.

    If Blizzard were to go back to that model, in today’s age, similar to how it is in korea, I personally would dread having to recruit up to 25 man again, and have the usual drama of also running 10 man in our spare time. ilvls would be insane by the end of the expansion and i’d wager that most of today’s competitive 10 man guilds would go back up to 25 man. Adding some sort of loot tagging restriction as you mentioned would be totally weird and counter productive, there isn’t anything else in game that makes the gear do that… they could opt for the challenge mode style down scaling of 25 man ilvl gear to match their 10 man counterpart, but that wouldn’t stop 10 man being the thing that 25 man guilds did in their spare time for extra gear, being 2nd class citizens again.

    I’d say that if they want to make 25 man more attractive, the candy(carrot) on a stick method doesn’t work if you want to also keep 10 man on relatively equal standing, and reasonably respectable. They either need to do something to make sure that 25 man feels more fun and exciting, or if you wanted some sort of carrot that wasn’t going to make things inferior, make it like, 25 man trinkets get cooler proc animations or spells or fancier transmog perhaps, but then I suppose you’d have people that love that sort of thing up in arms also…but at least you wouldn’t have messed around with the difficulty balance between 25 man and 10 man.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      10m doesn’t have to be “equal” standing though. 10m groups in Wrath didn’t care about 25m beyond how they could game GuildOx’s “10m-Strict” rules, and the fact that we didn’t have Legendaries.

      10m doesn’t need to be protected from changes to 25m beyond simple things like having access to the same items, even if they’re a lower item level. Although it makes more sense from a 25m perspective to not split the lockouts in this case.

  • gallego says:

    Couple of issues:

    having separate lock outs doesn’t solve the 10man / 25man issue because most 25mans would feel very pressured to also run 10mans for an extra chance at loot which is a far greater reward during progression than the iLvL difference.

    Its a myth that 10mans are easier than 25mans, that is just not the case. While its very real that 25mans have a greater administrative headache than 10mans, that is a completely separate issue than difficulty. And the “but we face rolled when we went down to 10man” is really a product of you bringing the 10 best of your 25man raid. 10man raids that have just enough raiders to field the raid have the same percentage of not so good players and its often a greater hinderance in 10mans where there’s less low responsibility roles in the encounter to give to those raiders.

    There’s far more just have enough to field a 10 man raid guilds than just have a enough to field 25man guilds out there and bringing back such an iLvl swing will likely break up many of those raid groups. You’re causing more damage with this “solution” than benefit. Its really no different than the problem of moving everything to a 15man.

    Whats interesting about all this “make 25s worth it” talk is that the proposed rewards are not directed at the people how carry extra burden (raid leaders). There’s no extra burden on the non-organizer in 25 man than in 10 man, in fact there’s less because there’s more room for them to hide is low responsibility roles. The compensation for the extra burden of running 25mans should be directed at those that pay that price. Make flasks and feast buffs free for 25mans? Make cauldrons for pre-potting pots that only work in 25mans? I don’t know, but giving raiders a greater iLvL drop has never in my experience caused people to create less drama and be more punctual and reliable.

  • Tailswish says:

    I have to say that while I normally agree with you, I think you have the nostalgia goggles on for this one. You can’t just go from what we have now back to “25s get better loot” without being a slap in the face to 10-man groups.

    I prefer 10-man. It just feels far more friendly and close-knit to me than 25. I really don’t want to be put back into a position where I have to choose between getting the best items and doing the raid size I prefer (or even better, if we’re going back to separate lockouts, feeling like I have to do both).

    Maybe 25-man has its problems, but I really don’t think going back to the days of 10-mans as second class raiding would solve anything, other than shifting the “balance” back the other way. I find it funny how 25-mans are supposedly dying, and yet all we hear are complaints from people to that effect, people who wish they could find a 25-man group, or fill their existing 25-man group. Seems to me like there are plenty of people interested. They just need a better way to find each other.

  • Discotheque says:

    We should push for 15 man raids. Three difficulties to design/tune for without the added difficulty of balancing certain spreading/stacking mechanics between 10m and 25m. The 25m raid teams seem to consistently have 30-35 active raiders with 3-4 tanks, making the shift to 15m much easier on the guild. The largest challenge I can see would be to split into two evenly balanced teams or have an A team and a B team. 10 man guilds would have the hardest time with the change, although I think the pain of having to recruit and train new raiders is far more attractive than becoming 2nd class raiders again.

    LFR could be better or worse depending on role availability. Assuming a 2 tank, 3 healer, 10 dps setup, 2 healers would now service 20 dpsers instead of the 17-18 they do now. Tanks would be the choke point for LFR queue times. Maybe adding an OS selection when you queue as a tank, allowing you a wider range of possible drops. This together with a much shorter wait time to join an LFR might convince more players to dust off their tank specs and queue.

  • Discotheque says:

    6* healers would now service 20 dpsers instead of the 17-18 they do now.

    > >

  • Mowse says:

    I wish they’d just go 15 man and get it over with. Creates equal work for both guild sizes to deal with, no more 10 vs 25 is harder bullshit with the ego stroking, and it’s fairly even logistically speaking. I understand the need to step away from 40 mans, but honestly they should have never even made 10 mans to begin with. I’m not really sure why they stepped away from the 25 man raiding format, although I have led a 10 man raiding guild since Cata, and have to say I really prefer it to 25 simply for the fact that it feels more challenging to me – everyone has to pull their own weight. Running 25s for the years before that was a really frustrating thing because you always had 5-6 people who were dead weight, and in most cases it didn’t matter so it felt unfair.

    I am probably wrong, but it feels like maybe the real problem is simply not enough people play anymore. My server has gone from high to medium, to low on some bad days – we have been struggling to find ONE healer replacement for 5 months, and that is recruiting on all channels (realm forum, guild recruitment, general, mmochamp, etc). And even if you do find 25 people, the quality of raider stock seems to have dwindled considerably : /

  • Baxtien says:

    Wow! I wish I saw this when it came out [is 3 weeks late "necro-ing" a thread?]!

    Anyway… I don’t think I could more *strongly disagree* with the sentiment of separate lockouts!

    Been there, done that. Saw a guild crumble over it.

    3 days on 10 man to get gear you didn’t really want [you wanted the 25 man gear]. You *needed* the gear to make more progress in 25 though.

    Then 3 days in 25 “making the progress”.

    The 25′s are *amazing* with great synergy and tons of fun! But they became “clique-y” because you’ve really got 2 floating 10 mans in there [we also had to deal with "rotating" extras in and out of one or the other 10 man - so a few benched every week for 3 days].

    Long story short: While it’s always a “choice” to run 6 nights a week… it didn’t feel like much of a “choice”.

    They should not “reward” 25 player *in any way* – it’s it’s own reward. Any “tangible reward” will seem more like a “punishment” to those in smaller groups – probably about equal to the reward given.

    However, having said all that… I seem to remember [and this may be mistakenly - so feel free to correct if I'm wrong] that there were 6 pieces of loot per boss that dropped in 25… vs 2 in 10. Giving out the equivalent to “30 man” worth of loot. With all else being equal – it gets those people geared up *slightly* quicker but doesn’t touch ilvls in any way [and thus balance will be easier to maintain for blizz]. If that is *not* currently the case, perhaps something like that would be a “soft incentive”.

    The secondary benefits to 25 man are less mats for feasts per raider [1 soy for 10/25 feast - double ingredients to feed 2.5x the people] and less DE’ing of gear [the greatest bane of 10 man imho].

    This is my “rational” reply to the ‘Why the Ulduar worked’ (It really didn’t – sorry).

    Following is a “pipe-dream suggestion” about how to keep larger raids alive, effectively transition to larger groups, etc.

    Disclaimer: It may create more problems than it solves – but maybe a good idea in there somewhere?

    An even better solution than this talk of separate lockouts and distinct raid sizes would be a system where you just “make a group” and the encounters get tuned based on how many people are in the instance.

    So you could go 10, 13, 25, 37 whatever [40 max i suppose, to keep things simpler for blizz]. The point – perhaps a max and min – but no “fixed size”. A couple people need to go – the rest want to push on? Maybe they can make the encounter smart enough to count your group on a pull? Perhaps you need to zone-out/zone-in. But the raid difficulty can adjust and you can carry on.

    Encounters would be difficult to tune for them, but lets pretend they could do it [ideal scenario].

    It would need enough DPS requirements so that you didn’t skimp on DPS, enough healing requirements so you didn’t skimp on healers… and enough stuff to tank.

    Make encounters “proportionate”. Like… why do we need 2 tanks on a 10 man fight – and only 3 on a 25 [vs 5]?

    Having the “proportionate” # of tanks would dilute the need to ramp up damage being dealt to the tank/tanks raid, since you wouldn’t be able to stack so many healers per tank [having 5 taking damage vs 2 - just comparable damage to 10 man - *may* make the "encounter damage dealt to group" aspect easier to tune].

    They would scale # of adds, health and damage dealt per add, perhaps frequency of certain mechanics – if the first 3 items didn’t work?

    The possible reward might be – intentionally or not – the “wiggle room” to bring 1 more healer or 1 less dps in a large enough group [it's sometimes hard to get that last heals or needing that fourth tank to use his undergeared off-spec]. Perhaps you favour a proportion of loot that is greater in a larger group – to make up for the difficulty of having a greater # of people master the “hopefully” balanced mechanics.

    So that 2 pieces that drops from 10 may be 3 at 14, 4 at 18, 5 at 22, 6 at 25, 7 at 28, 8 at 30/31… i have no idea how that would look or what would be fair… but you get the idea.

    Perhaps this is just dreaming… but it would be a far better solution [if possible] to the 2 separate lockouts and the eternal 10 vs 25 argument.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *