It’s time for that post. The one I’ve been trying not to write for a year on 10 man raiding.
I feel so strongly about this, but it has never turned into a blog post because I was pretty sure I would piss off everyone I know, and I don’t really like making people mad. I like and respect a ton of people who raids 10s, including a pretty damn badass group on my own server with a nice bear. But as I was agonizing, my friends said, “It’s a blog, it’s for your opinion.” So: this is my opinion. I’m honestly sorry if it makes you mad and I welcome you to disagree with me in the comments. Here goes.
Scott “Daelo” Mercer’s Cataclysm Post-Mortem was one of the most depressing things I’ve read in the past year.
Q. What do you think worked best?
We’ve been reasonably successful with our tuning across all four raid difficulty modes.
Are you…. are you kidding?
That is really how the devs feel? That they were successful?
I personally would say 10 vs 25 tuning was the biggest failure of Cataclysm.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate 10 mans themselves. They make people happy, and I like seeing lots of people happy. I happen to enjoy the game more when a lot more people are raiding and enjoying it (see: I support & like LFR). I really don’t prefer 10 man raiding myself, I love 25s. I honestly find that 10 mans feel like two 5 mans stuck together. But 10s are nice to have around. They have a place in the game, and it’s a much cooler place when it’s not kiddie style ICC 10 man fights.
The problem is that Blizz has also decided to pretend that 25s and 10s are exactly the same task.
They are not the same task. They are not even CLOSE to the same task.
Mechanical Differences Abound
You can probably find some people who think 10s are harder, and a bunch (like me) who think 25s are inherently more difficult, but I doubt you’ll find anyone who argues that they’re the same. Not even devs, I hope, although Scott Mercer’s comments have me a bit depressed about the fantasy land they’re living in.
The problem is that when you hand 25s and 10s the same encounter, we are going to find completely different parts of it difficult.
1) When X people have to not fuck up, even if X people is the same percent of a raid, 25s have it harder.
This is ye olde “More people have to do it so it’s harder” argument. This sounds a bit like the Pask “10s are 25s without 15 bads” argument, too. But that’s too simplistic a look at it.
The fact is, more people performing the same task is more difficult.Theck has done maths on this of course:
It’s always more difficult to coordinate a larger number of people. On each cycle [of H Ultraxion], there’s only 2 people who need to succeed [at Hour of Twilight], instead of 5. From a simplistic math modeling perspective, where every player has a probability p of not screwing up, the 10-man has a p^2 chance of succeeding, while the 25-man has p^5. Remember that p<1; even if you make it a pretty generous 95% chance of not screwing up (p=0.95), the 10-man has a 90% chance of success and the 25-man has a 77% chance. That’s on each cycle, too.
Imagine that your raid has 10 people of EXACTLY the same skill level. 10 Melorees. Verses a raid of 25 Melorees, and Meloree has a 95% chance of pushing his button right. The raid with 10 Melorees has a 90% chance to succeed. The raid with 25 Melorees has a 77% chance to succeed.
That is not a skill difference. Precisely the same level of skill involved in both raids.
That is a sheer numbers difference. When 25 and 10 people are set with the same task, it is harder for 25 to do it.
2) When there are X things to do, and X is the same for 10s and 25s, then 10s have it harder.
Also known as the Sinestra and Nef argument. And OS3D. And Halfus. I remember (super awesome world ranked badass 10 man raider) Sunnier‘s response to hearing about 25 man Spine. “Three tanks?!” Why, yes, we can afford to have a feral kitty capable of moving into bear for the end part. This is not something a 10 man guild can contemplate. Anything involving X things to tank where X > 2 falls straight into this category.
The flagship examples for “10 is harder than 25!” all involve mechanical differences where 10 just has less people to handle any given task. I’ll admit it; that is definitely the most challenging part about going back to do things on 10. Incapacitation abilities that can affect healers are always a problem; they will cripple a 10 much faster than a 25.
10s, here is your victory, and it is a pretty big victory. I admit it. We sometimes have a lot more people to throw at a task.
3) When the raid has to spread, 25 man raids have it much, much harder.
I remember talking to a friend about Hardmode Yor’sahj and was walking her excitedly through what my guild had done to deal with ooze combinations. I loved working through which ooze to kill based on what you thought your raid comp could conceivably handle. “So, on this combination, obviously you can’t leave red and green both up, so pick one to kill, the obvious target is green.” She was kind of confused. Wait– on 10 man, you can and should leave red and green up simultaneously. Well… of course.
Have you ever done 25 man H Baleroc with more than like, 3 melee? Compared it to 10 man? Yeah… I may or may not still tank in Firelands every week specifically to avoid being melee on that fight.
Heroic AC phase 2. Remember using ALL your raid marks and then dropping colored flares, and hoping against hope that your ranged will remember where to go when three hours later, the RNG gods favor you with appropriate frost orb targets and you finally, finally see phase 2? Oh, and of course, Heroic Al’Akir. Remember lightning pizza pie slices? Oh, wait, I guess a lot of 25 man raids don’t — it was certainly a lot easier to pull it on 10, get the kill, list it as your progression for recruitment and move cheerfully along.
Right. Positioning requirements of almost any kind are more punishing to 25 man raids, and positioning requirements for the entire raid are the worst of all.
4) Tuning went completely out the window for 10 man raids at the end of the expansion.
This is really the kicker. All of the above, frankly, aren’t nearly as big a deal with nothing hits nearly as hard and nothing really hurts in 10 man. I think that the mechanical differences between 25s and 10s now are pretty low, enough to make me enjoy 25s more, but not enough to really be worrisome. They are close enough that I can (for example) read Sunnier’s blog for heroic fight strategies and tips.
The damage intake and damage outgoing tuning is a much bigger problem.
I feel like it was much closer in T11 to “even”, competitive tuning. It was pretty bad in T12, especially with Staghelm being a joke and with Rag phase 3 completely neutered in 10 man.
And in T13, the tuning is worst of all. I hear things like “Well, H Ultraxion was easier, but we have harder fights too!” I’m sorry, but that is bullshit.
You have HARD fights. You do not have any HARDER fights.
Let’s talk about some of the fights in T13 that piss people off the most. Yorsahj is easier on 10 due to mechanics. I get that. OK. So let’s talk about a different fight: Ultrax. We stressed the hell out about that DPS check. He was a gatekeeper boss on 25. He was a gear check boss. I actually liked him; I felt like he pushed me really hard to play my best. And… then it turned out that he was Morchok on 10.
The only difference was numbers. There is almost no mechanical difference. Just plain, old numbers.
I’m not saying he was easy on 10. I’m sure he was a hell of a challenge. But he was not the “one GCD will cost you the fight” challenge that he was on 25. And the sole difference– the only difference was, quite simply, his health pool.
Here is the only difference between H Ultrax 10 and 25: Each damage dealer in a 10 man raid was expected to put out 82% of the DPS of each damage dealer in a 25 man raid.
82%. Call it 85% with more healers DPSing in 25.
Wow. This is how they define even tuning. Heroic Ultraxion. That is how they define success in making 10 and 25 man raids “equal”.
How many DPS check fights have we seen, 25 man raids? How many? There have been several on each tier. H Rag phase 3, Ultrax himself, Spine tendons come to mind as very recent examples. How many of them have been DPS checks on 10? Any of them? … Bueller? 10 man had DPS checks back in the day. I guess Blizz forgot to put them into T12 and T13. My only guess is that they are balancing all the 10 man raids around 3 healers while balancing 25 man raids around 5.
You know, I’ve asked some devs about this.
They’ve said, “I think 10 man raiders generally find 10 mans about as hard as 25 man raiders find 25 mans.”
This is true, I’m sure. It’s also a crappy excuse.
I’m going to try to make this point while being as un-insulting as possible, and I’m going to fail, but here goes. Different tasks present different levels of difficulty to different people. There are people who find normal raids really difficult. There are people in LFR who find it as difficult (or more difficult!) than I find H 25 man raids. I’m sure that the tasks I find challenging in raids are pretty easy for the better players in my own raid. I’ve shocked the hell out of Kerri telling him that I think something easy is “pretty hard.” I’m pretty sure that the World Top 10 would find my raid’s failures at things they consider to be easy, laughable. (I know Moshne considers our failures laughable.)
But that is completely beside the point. “How hard do you think this task is?” and “Is task X the same as task Y?” are two completely different questions!
Blizzard rewards X task with Y achievement. The reward is for task completion, and 10 and 25 are not the same task. They are mechanically (and tuning-wise) not the same.
The problem is that they are rewarding two completely different tasks with precisely the same rewards, and systematically removing all levels of differentiation between them.
Really? “We’ve been reasonably successful with our tuning across all four raid difficulty modes”? I’d like to know how you define success.
If you compare “fight length” across 10 and 25 on a fight with an enrage timer and you find a huge discrepancy, you have not succeeded in tuning. If you see 10 man raids overwhelmingly killing with ease one of the hardest bosses in the tier on 25, you have failed at tuning. If you see 25 man raids dropping to 10 man to achieve not one but two kills in a tier, and not bothering to go back on 25 due to what the entire community considers exponentially harder difficulty, you have failed at tuning. If you see 10 man raiders stuck on a boss that 25 mans found more difficult, you have also failed. And if 10 man raiders are stuck on 1 boss and 25 man raider are stuck on 3, that’s not fair.
You have not succeeded. Ask any of the 25 man raiders who have quit this tier. You haven’t come even close to succeeding. And if you’re not going to work on it… I ….. I don’t know what to say.
I had some hope for the future. I thought I’d still be raiding 25s in MoP. Maybe I was wrong.
Make room for me on the “10s are killing 25s” bandwagon — I know Moshne saved me a seat. I’m hopping aboard.