Lament of the 10-man Raiding Guild

I had a long post halfway written about my thoughts regarding the state of raid progression with regards to Blizzard’s philosophy towards content accessibility, and how it has changed over the course of wrath.  However, the more I thought about what I wanted to write, the more I kept hitting on certain points that I felt strongly about.  As such, I deleted pretty much everything, and settled for a singular angle.

TL;DR, I hate 25-man raiding, I love 10-man raiding, and 25’ers should stay the hell away from my 10-man dungeons.

Back in BC, my first raiding guild was <Ironwill Mercenaries> on US Arygos.  We were a nice little group that, despite our recruitment shortcomings, had Kara and ZA on farm status, but nothing else.  Because of our inability to field 25, all that we did week in and week out was Kara and Zul’Aman.  We’d clear both with reasonable success, and I loved the intimacy of 10’s for our guild.

Then Wrath was looming, and in preparation, our guild expanded into 25, and when the expansion hit, it was uncomfortable, and the guild had troubles on naxx.  Then it crumbled and fell apart.

Likewise, <Exiled Legion>, my current guild, experienced a reverse of that situation, starting off as a 25-man when I frst joined, but got downgraded to a 10 when a bunch of people left that team.  Again, I liked the intimacy of 10 compared to the morning raid team, which had 25.

Here’s why I don’t like 25’s.

This past week, our guild celebrated our first rotface kill on 10-man mode.  The only thing was, it was with the 25-man team.  Compared to the evening 10’s team, they are far more geared, and have a wider variety of players to choose from to optimize the group performance.  It only makes sense that in a 10’s setting, they would be the first to conquer particular content.  They’ve done so with various Ulduar bosses, and pretty much all of ToC.

I can’t help but feel a little jaded about the whole thing, that the 25’s take credit for kills in modes that should be trivial to them.  I’m not trying to knock my guild in particular, but I tend to think it’s the same thing with all 25-man guilds.  Their main goal is to do 25-man progression, but they only use 10’s as a means to an end.

Granted, my 10-man team isn’t even supposed to be a 10-man team.  It’s supposed to be a 25, but due to struggling to recruit for 25s, the evening team is stuck gearing out on 10-man content, and as such, underperform compared to the morning 25s.  As such, our kills in 10 are as meaningful to the 25’s kills in 25-man mode.  But when 25’s step into 10 territory? Where’s the satisfaction in that?

This isn’t just a local guild thing.  How many of you remember the world’s first Lich King-10 kill?  Was it done by a 10-man guild?  I dont’ think so.  Does it even matter now that the Lich King-25 world-first has come around?  Not a single bit.

This is where Blizzard screwed up.  By having both 10 and 25 modes available, dedicated 25-mode guilds are making 10-mode progression trivial, and not only are 10-man guilds suffering as a result, they are simply being wiped out of existence.  People gravitate more towards the 25-man because the loot is better.

An argument here is that 25-man is harder to organize, and as such rewards adequately.  However, due to the sudden trend of epeen and the emergence of gearscore, “phatter lootz” has become the de facto incentive for choosing 25 over 10.  Likewise, gear progression for 25-man guilds are spread all over the place because of itemization issues leaning towards jumping back and forth between content and 25/10 modes just to get specific gear.  As a result, 10-man mode is merely a stepping stone instead of an actual viable means of progression for guilds.

While dedicated 10-man raiding guilds do exist, they are few and far in between, and many of them still rely on 25-man gear to clear 10-man content.  It’s a bit of a shame, really, since the availability of 10’s has made seeing raid content much easier, but instead has turned 10’s itself into a red-headed stepchild in progression guilds.

Frankly, while 25 is now the be-all end-all of raiding, I lament in my corner, yearning for the days when I could rofflestomp kara on a weekly basis with a bunch of people I immensely like, instead of a LARGE bunch of people I hardly know.  I lament for the amounts of effort I put into ensuring that my 10-man team succeeds, all the while the 10 best members of a 25-man team takes the glory.

The phrase I hate most when heard in chatter in guilds everywhere?  “We can’t do 25, so we’ll have to settle for 10.”  I don’t want to settle for 10.  I want to DO 10.  If this is the attitude that 25-raiders take when it comes to 10-modes, then frankly, they don’t deserve the accolades for clearing 10-man content.

I’m not exactly sure of what can be done to remedy this, but all I know is that the 10-man guild is a dying species, and it’s because they’re getting cannibalized by 25’s.  It depresses me, as I am forced to say goodbye to days past, and to say goodbye to guild intimacy.

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27 thoughts on “Lament of the 10-man Raiding Guild

  1. I know just what you mean. My guild has been fighting with the same issues – in fact I blogged about it recently too. We are a strict 10 man raiding guild, but we get guildies who want to PUG ICC25 for better gear or for things to do on non-raid nights. I have friends in 25 man guilds who lord their 10 man achievements up, but what do you expect running 10 man with a bunch of geared raiders who you can pick the best team from a bigger pool of people. I too wish there was a better way of showing the fact that you did your 10 man stuff with only 10 man gear. In fact, you should not be allowed in 10 man instances with 25 man gear. That would show them! None of my raider colleagues has set foot in 25 man ICC (most have not done 25 man TOTC either) and we have killed up to Sindragosa. We are proud of our achievements and wish that others could realise just what it means too.

    • There are already achievements in place for doing content with specific gear restrictions, but those aren’t really held in high regard compared to normal mode firsts and hardmode firsts. While things like Gevlon’s “Ulduar in ilvl 200 blues” is a nice feat, it’s not exactly memorable compared to Paragon’s 25 LK HM kill.

      Iunno. As Roguewind says, it’s mostly a social problem than a design problem. I tend to agree with that.

  2. I wonder, what would be better? I realize you said you don’t know, but it’s out there.

    Do we go back to 25-man instances with no 10-man entry AT ALL? There are entire swaths of content I never saw in BC because we’re at best a 10-man guild, and sometimes getting 10 together is a pain.

    The one thing that jumps out at me is the gear disparity. You’re right, people gravitate to the epeenier gear, whether they use it or not. So why not remove that divide? Make the rewards from 10 and 25 man instances the same.

    I wanna see the shitfit that guilds like Ensidia throw as they go stomping out the door – THIS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO THE LEET 25 MAN GUILDS. :-P

    Of course, you realize that this is meaningless if Blizz secretly favors 25 man content as the sweet spot, and thus are biased towards greater rewards to the “major league” players.

    Well, I’ll hang with you, fellow junior birdman :)

    • Removing the divide altogether will theoretically skew the balance towards 10-man raiding, as it’s much more difficult to get a 25-man team together than a 10-man. I’m willing to settle for a divide, just not one that is as severe as it is right now. Something like reducing the 13-point ilvl difference down to say, 6 or 7.

      With regards to the ilvl differences between tiers of progression, it shouldn’t be such that 25-man tier a content is the same as 10-man tier b content. It just makes the 10-man mode more of a stepping stone towards the 25-man equivalent.

  3. “…yearning for the days when I could rofflestomp kara on a weekly basis with a bunch of people I immensely like…”

    Here! Here! I completely agree with you. My Kara days, although fairly short compared to most since I was “carried” by my friends who cleared Kara before I even hit 70, were the most enjoyable days for me since I was in a guild with my friends — people I know, have played with before, and “immensely like”.

    Hopefully Blizzard can see that 25s killed the 10-man based guild and provide us with some exclusive 10-man action in Cataclysm.

    • I am all for the idea of exclusive 10-man dungeons. It lets 10-man guilds to do content without having to worry about comparative modes and progression. Back in BC, de facto raiders bragged about their ssc/tk and bt/mh progression, while the 10-man raids were still challenging enough for smaller guilds to tackle and be happy with. I’d like to see more than two next time around, and perhaps an easier way to progress between both.

  4. This idea isn’t original with me, but I don’t recall where I saw it (but it was in the past couple weeks). I’d like to see 10-man instances automatically lower the gear values of raiders to no higher than the highest possible gear available in that instance.

    For example, if you enter ICC-10R with gear having an iLvl above 245 (or whatever the max is for ICC-10R), that gear is automatically recalibrated for that run to iLvl 245 stats. No more milkruns, no more EZ mode to farm gear. Controversial? Yep. Ninety-five percent of WoW will hate it, because it’ll be like epeen surgery. But those of us who enjoy raiding for the sake of progression rather than raw loot, would love it.

    • The only response I remember from the dev team is that such a calibrated system is difficult to implement with the game code. Perhaps in future expansions (maybe after cataclysm even), they can get it done.

  5. I believe someone else out there suggested that 10 and 25 man dungeons share the same raid lockout. That way you’re kept to one form or another. That may serve as a potential solution.

    I, personally, don’t want that. I like doing 10-man stuff with my guild and having the option to pug out some 25-man stuff. But I’m fortunate with the guild I’m in, as we all (mostly) know each other IRL. Our biggest drive is the social factor.

    I dunno, I just don’t see the problems that other people seem to observe with the current setup. /shrug

  6. @Kestrel

    That was me with the tuning down idea that I actually stole from FFXI.

    Anyway, I think this is more of a player problem than a game problem (see epeen). Personally, I’d like to see a partial reversion to the days of separate 10/25 content. I loved in BC that if you wanted full tier eq, you had to go to different dungeons with different raid compositions. So, why not make a hybrid of the old and the new for Cataclysm?

    10 man raid for gloves and boots. 25 man content for the rest of the set. Make a 10 man mode of the 25 raid, but no tier pieces drop. Basically, if you want a 2set bonus, run 10 man. If you want 4 set bonus, you have to run 25 also. No tier x.5 gear. I understand that some people like doing 10 man and others like doing 25, but if you want the BiS gear, then you gotta do the harder content. Sure, there’s some drops in 10 man, but not tier gear.And none of this using emblems to buy tier gear BS. If you want tier gear, you gotta raid. Emblems should be used as a way to buy better than the previous content gear to use before you get the upgrade from the new raid.

    And for those that love hardmode, put in “tier enchants” that drop only in 10 or 25 hardmode for those bosses that drop tier gear. Basically, if you beat that mob on hard mode, a tier piece drops (as in normal mode) and an “enchant” drops. It only works to upgrade that slot of that tier loot. If you’ve already got the tier piece, you only need to use the “enchant” to upgrade, but someone else in the group can roll on the actual piece of gear that dropped.

    As for lockouts, yeah, make them run concurrently. There’s nothing like doing a 10-man raid on wednesday and have your healer and MT ditch out on you on thursday because they want to do the 25 version. I say make 25 HARDER. Make it so you want to do 10 man a few times to gear up for the 25. Then add some real dimension to the 25 fights instead of just “stay out of the fire” or “spread out”.

    I think the game needs to make a distinction between players. That distinction is gear rewards. If someone plays more often and does harder content, then they should get better rewards. Unfortunately, some people are all about the epeen. The best thing blizz can do to stop this is to put an end to addons like gearscore. If you give some people a ruler, you can bet they’re gonna whip it out to see whose is bigger.

  7. I know what you mean, but if you want to do 10 mans then, well, you can. My social guild focuses on 10 man content only and we gear up from 10 mans FOR 10 mans, which is as it should be. I don’t mind that my gear is ilevels behind – I shouldn’t need the extra stats for 10 mans. Don’t get me started on some of the gear slots lacking in 10 man loot though…

    However, it becomes really obvious what a difference the gear makes when 25 man raiders are running 10 mans. We have two guys in our guild who run mainly 25 mans with a raiding co-alition, while we run only 10mans. They had some spare time and we were short, so they joined us tonight and we downed THREE new bosses, and had a fair whack at Sindragosa. Now, they are both excellent players and are very experienced raiders, but their level of gear just trivialised the jobs they were doing and made everyone else’s jobs a heck of a lot easier. At equal levels of skill gear DOES mean more dps, and when you are rocking on some hard mode 25 man gear, you are just going to be better than someone at 10 man normal level.

    Overall though, I am entirely glad that Blizzard implemented 10/25 man raids. As a small social guild who raid more for the social aspect than anything else, we could only get as far as ZA in TBC. Now, four raid tiers in and we are able to see everything on offer. OK maybe not every boss – but I’m determined we’ll see the Lich King at some point :)

    If you are in a 25 man raiding guild then those 25 man raiders ARE going to be doing 10 mans as well. More loot is more loot right? If you really want to focus on 10 mans there are guilds around who do it. Personally I think 10 mans (without boosted gear) are more challenging as there is less room for error and fewer options for optimum raid synergy.

    • I also like the way they made everything available in 10’s. But with the social trend gravitating towards 25, you just don’t see as many 10-man guilds that take progression somewhat seriously. On my realm, there are absolutely no noteworthy 10-man guilds alliance-side. Not a single recruitment thread on the forums either. It’s a shame, really.

  8. I ran a random today with a fellow Kingslayer. I asked him if he got it in 10 man or 25 and he replied ’10 man strict’. I was impressed. I got mine in 25 and our 10 man team has their drakes, but we are all decked out in 25 gear. When asked why strict, he replied that he didn’t want the hassle of 25’s, like he had in BC.

    I have respect for guild that only do 10 man raids. I love the closeness of the 10 man and I feel like a much more valuable member of the team in 10’s, but I also really enjoy a first kill in 25 man.

    Have you tried for stuff like Herald of the Titans or Dedicated Insanity in 10 man? Raids with strict gear requirements would be cool achievements for your 10 man. And, would give you a way to stand apart from you 25 man team.

  9. My boyfriend and co-GM is absolutely frothing to get us into 25s. I really prefer 10s, it’s much more close knit and less hectic. But since the gear isn’t as good, as soon as we can field a big enough team I’ll be expected to make the switch. It’s very frustrating to me.

    I also don’t like the expectation that to PuG whatever content as a 10 man I ought to have loot from the 25 version already. I’m kind of a believer in having the right gear level to do the content, not overgearing it to the point of making it completely trivial. I get that most PuGs want to maximize efficiency and compensate for the non-skills of poor players, but I don’t like having my perfectly adequate gear criticized for not being excessively maximized.

    • It’s interesting really, yes gear is ‘better’ in 25 mans but if you are doing 10 mans only you don’t NEED the gear. At least you shouldn’t. If your overall goal for the game is to get the best gear or the highest ilevel gear available then 25’s does it I suppose.

      I just don’t get it myself, even if I wasn’t primarily interested in raiding for the social aspect I would be more interested in the achievement aspect than the gear.

    • Yeah, Len, that’s really the thing. I don’t care about the gear. I care about achieving the result I want (whether that’s killing a boss, clearing a raid, or getting an achieve). If I have gear that lets me do that, great… if not, I need to work on it.

      I don’t have an epeen that wants waving around Dalaran.

  10. I for one also prefer 10-man raiding.

    However, I acknowledge that 25-man raiding is where the glory of world firsts should be. In my opinion, 25-man heroic is harder than 10-man heroic strict.

    • I don’t mind that, I guess. It just comes down to my opinion that 25-man guilds shouldn’t get credit for 10-man kills, is all.

  11. I definitely get what you’re saying, Krizzly. That’s why when I went looking for a raiding guild, I joined a ten-strict. We gear from tens too (with a bit of crafted stuff on occasion). Now that we’re starting to tackle hard modes, we’re getting 264 stuff. Our gear is equal to the challenge. It makes recruiting a bit tougher because we need to seek out people who very specifically want ten mans ONLY but want to do ten-man progression. They’re out there, we just have to look for them diligently, and most of our recruitment comes from off-server transfers. I’m sorry to hear you don’t have options for this on your server.

    I do think tens and twenty-fives should share a raid lockout, so that it would be an actual choice of which progression track to take, not “there is one progression track, but you can fart around in the ‘lesser’ one for giggles and extra badges.”

  12. I’m a 10 man raider. I had to change guilds a lot. Usual reason is 10 man guilds are mostly 2 types:
    – stepping stone to 25 man, duuh. “We’re raiding 10, working on getting enough people to start 25.” As soon as they “move on” to 25, I have to leave. I’m not interested in 25, the guild stops being a place for me.
    – casual friendly guild. Too many of them suffered plague of “bad side of casual”. Fail players who won’t be kicked because “they’re friends” even though they show no slightest ray of hope they’re gonna improve at all. Players always late, or not showing up, and “lol no big deal it’s just a game” or “srry but I have a life”. Players giving up if it’s stopping to be faceroll content. Basically many times I dropped such guilds because “screw it, even pugs are better”.

    What’s wrong is not only separate lockouts, it’s also the loot ladder where normal 25 loot is better than 10 man hard mode loot or next tier of 10 man! So most people will be captured by 25 man guilds because why work hard for 10 man heroic items if I can slack in 25 normals and get better stuff?

    All I hear is “25 mans have better loot because they are tuned for it, they require more dps / healing / hp”. And what did prevent Blizzard from “tuning” 25 to less OP loot?

    Not even mentioning in many tiers of raiding 25 gave great trinkets while 10 gave crap. Remember grim toll? Illustration of the dragon soul? Solace? Satrina’s Scarab? There’s much more than only item level to push players towards 25 mans. Most 10 man guilds I was in struggled with the same problem, all good players gravitated towards 25 mans, transforming the guild itself, or leaving, and you were left alone, or with useless people.

  13. I hear ya – I like 25 mans for teh epix feel of it, but having recently “downgraded” to 10-mans I feel they’re undeserved. The increased intimacy and reliance on teamwork, for me, makes them as valuable as 25-mans and, in many ways, better. But it annoys me the short shrift they seem to be given these days.

  14. I have to put in my two cents here. I’m in a strict 10-man guild and I play a Assassy rogue. It is painfully obvious to me that Blizz MEANT for you to go to 25-mans in addition to your 10s. Why?

    Rogue daggers in 10-man (normal) only content – ilvl232s from the Icecrown heroics, and from 10-man TotC. There are NO ilvl245 daggers available in 10-man content. The QuaelDelar doesn’t have a dagger, and the first one you can get in 10-man ICC is off of Putricide, which many guilds have not killed. So basically, I cannot upgrade from my ICC5 daggers until I kill Putricide. Messed up, no?

    I hear that there is a similar gap for healy shields. Yes, I could get upgrades out of 25-TotC, or even right off Lady Deathwhisper 25, but I don’t do 25-mans! C’mon! Us 10-man only players want upgrades too!!

  15. Krizz, long time lurker, first time commenter.

    I think you hit the nail on the head on this one. This is EXACTLY how I feel about 25’s. To a T.

    I hope they improve this “gap” in cataclysm, because I do not WANT to do 25’s.

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