Cataclysm Post-Mortem: 10 Man Raids, Equality, and Tuning

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.

Dear Blizzard.

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.

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90 Responses to Cataclysm Post-Mortem: 10 Man Raids, Equality, and Tuning

  1. Meloree says:

    I will have you know that my success-rate for pushing buttons is much higher than 95%, thank you very much.

    • anafielle says:

      I know! I was thinking that as I wrote it. I’m sorry! I’ve misrepresented you!

      Thing is, (and you know this) I always mentally measure player skill & success in “Melorees” — so I KNEW I was going to use you as the example…. but Theck had used 95% in his original post. I was trapped. =/

      The real Meloree has a 99.99% success rate :)

      (Fortunately it’s not a raid of 25 Ana’s or they’d never get through Hour of Twilight alive.)

    • Moshne says:

      I’m offended that I wasn’t awarded a unit of measurement. Can level of disappointment in a system be measured in Moshnes? I suppose the Moshne would be equivalent to 1, and you’d be a fraction of a Moshne, I’d rate you somewhere around 0.7 Moshne with this blog post.

  2. MysticalOS says:

    Where i give 10s credit. T11. By far T11 was much harder on 10 man for most bosses. Most stand out are sinestra, nefarian. I will ignore flat tunning bugs like maloriak for first week cause blizz actually addressed those. Chimereon was a 3 tank fight more or less, 10 mans certainly had to creatively gimmik it with a plate melee dps to be the “break” tank. I don’t think this really made fight harder, but it did cause then to really need that right comp to pull of strategy here. Conclave was a pain in the dick on 10 man with no rogue or any real self healing dps class. then you have to go 3 heals, 2 tanks, and 5 dps split between 3 platforms. Flowers would get hard quick if you didnt have 2 strong aoe dps on anshal’s platform. 2 tanking magmaw on 10 man was fun heh. I could write books on nef and sinestra. Brutal on 10 man.

    All that said, as you said, blizz solution to fixing this. was tier 12 and 13? They decided the best way to fix 10s being harder was to always make them easier?

    Looking at DS, i can tell you. 10s tell you morchok is harder? Load of crap. can’t be 2 healed? yes it can, easily, long as they don’t have to move/soak. Argue about buffs? 25s get sunders, 8% etc, on both sides? who cares? who hits this guys enrage? get over your meter epeen. That doesn’t matter on morchok. All in all i say this fight is balanced

    zon’ozz? one claw, boss is tanked right next to it, it’s practically cleaved down, less adds up in black too. Dps check wise though zon’ozz was probalby the cloest tuned in both difficulties though, i can honestly say 10s and 25s were both hitting kills on berserk on this at first. depending on comp, void bounching was harder on 10 man, i give them that because it wasn’t within their luxury to stack mages/shadow priests to solo soak ranged bounces, so thus they actually had to take twice the raid hits that actually dealt any damage, furthermore, that damage was double since it was only soaked by half instead of the entire raid. this i do give 10 mans over 25. but it’s not as big as it sounds when you factor in how much less damage he does on 10 man, esepcially to tanks. I’d say this fight is slightly in 25s favor but not violently in their favor.

    Yorsahj. He was a fairly tight dps check for 25 man, even after the tuning adjustment that even blizz realized was out of line. Dealing with ooze combinations was certainly different. 10 man has luxury to take more greens, 25 has to be careful with this selection. The biggest diff on this fight was tank damage. Tanks take so much less damage on 10 man it’s not even funny. they often 1 tanked it and trivalized dps check even more and bring the tank damage up to about the level of 2 tanking it on 25 man. But as usual this pretty much crapped on enrage. Enough said there.

    Hagara. Harder on 10 man. with 8 pillars instead of 4, they can’t just magic x it and have the phase instantly end for lightning, so this phase was a bit more of a pain to heal and certainly lasted longer. Would i call it earth shattering night and day difference though that made the fight too hard for 10 man, no. It just wasn’t as easy as 25 man. but none the less i give 10 man their credit for this fight. not that a slightly harder hagara makes up for a million times easier ultraxion.

    enough said? from day 1 this fight NEVER had a dps check on 10 man. People killed it on like 2-3rd pull when it was progression, with a half minute to spare on berserk, and these weren’t even top end guilds, these were guilds with missing dps buffs and everything else. 25 mans even tanks were reforging hit/expertise, throwing dps trinkets on, healers were dpsing the boss for 5 min. and your early kills were always at berserk.
    now since the buff the dps check on both 25 and 10 is a joke now. so the fight difficulty between the two has lost that huge gap, but none the less it did matter even if it doesn’t anymore. and looking at those kill time comparisons of 10 vs 25 is disgusting. (obviously ignoring the bad parses from ret paladins doing 200-300k dps that are in the top spots on both charts)

    Blackhorn. I heard 10 mans cry about ship coverage. easier for 25 mans to soak. you do realize that on 25 man there are 2.5x as many barrages going toward the ship right? And moving around is still involved because if same section gets multiple in a row diff people have to get it? Both 10 and 25 were hitting berserk, and struggling with the regular fight mechanics (and fun bugs, bugged fire anyone?). i say this fight was probably the most balanced on 10 vs 25 in DS. you can argue about having more stuns for sapper, but then we’ll argue what a joke the sappers HP was on 10 man. That goes as far back as heroic rag where you complained we could stun all 8 of our herioc rag adds, yeah, our 1.1M adds when yours died from two arcane blasts. but anyways.

    Fun one. all a 10 man had to have to do 2 2 2 pre tendon nerf was easily doable by just good play. i mean if you had 5 hunters on it wasn’t gonna happen but that’s not good play either. But with a pretty good comp, with at least 1-2 really strong burst out of 5, tendons were going to be a joke in 2 burns, heck, pre nerf 10s were getting it to 20-30% in first burn. 25 mans, had to literally sit x class, and bring in y alt to pull this off. skill quite frankly was only half the kill. unless you wanted to do 2 3 3, with the only 2 happening with hero and pots, you were completely stacking your comp because someone rolled a weak class for spine. This was a huge tuning bug. how does blizz fix it? they nerf tendon health by 15% so 25 mans are about in the same place 10 mans were BEFORE the nerf. but 10 man also got the nerf, os now 10 mans are utterly shitting on tendons. I’ve even heard of a 10 man burnig a tendon in ONE burn. Yeah that’s not easier at all. Also lets look at mechanical stupidity. in 25 man, grip grabs 3 targets, AND it’s cast TWICE as often. lets look at this for a second, 10 man gets 1 grip every 32 seconds. 25man gets 3 every 16? that’s balanced? we get 6x the number of grips as 10 man but only have 2.5x the people? not only that, it takes teh SAME amount of health (in percent) to break the grip. so 10% per grip, we kill a corruption in 160 seconds to your oh, 320 for yours (unless your arcane mage likes to blow shit up and does 30% damage in one grip, but that’s his fault not encounters) How many of you 10 mans caught this encounter difference? tanking. Oozes have a ton less health on 10 man, so much less that the damn things will simply die off just from tank beating them up. They eventually die this way on 25 too but not nearly as fast, and certainly not fast enough to get enough residue down, whcih means more dps redirected to oozes instead of priority targets. more oozes will be on the 25 man ooze tank vs 10 man, bank on it. So 25 man might have a feral dps druid go bear to help at end. you want to call this broken that we have a ton more oozes then you do and not enough residue on the ground yet? so we have a bear stay by plate tanking oozes our dps are killing for third plate while ooze tank kites the rest? i bet when your ooze tank starts kiting there is already enough residue down, not to mention less oozes on platform.

    madness, i’ve seem compeling argument this is harder on 10 man. pasks favorite argument is “10 mans had 3/5 end bosses harder then 25 man”. nope. 2/5, madness is NOT the end boss. spine is, and i just covered that. so :P and the irony is, out of those 3/5 25 had that were harder, 2 of them were the hardest fight this expansion. So that’s weakest argument I ever heard. back on topic of madness. for the dps check, 10 man pretty much had to 1 tank, their dps check was actually very tight on this, they pretty much had to have a bear tank, or a gimmick impale tank and no 2nd bearcat at all, such as a ret, shadow priest or rogue eating the first impales from each platform. just to make the dps check. This is certainly tougher. so I give them a little on this one.

    but that’s 2/8 in total that were slightly harder on 10 man. but several that were way harder on 25 man. to the point where combined. 25 man progression took a lot longer. Imagine if a 25 man guild didn’t spend 70-80 pulls on ultraxion when 10 mans breezed through it in an hour and got to work on boss 6 how some of the progression went. 10 man spent a little longer on hagara, but not nearly as long as 25s spent on ultra. and certainly not as long on spine as a 25 man would have. heck if it weren’t for the tendon nerf, most 25s would just now be killing spine on the count of 10%, MAYBE. depending on their burst class to non burst class ratio.

    • Theck says:

      Morchok is far, far easier on 10-man. Can you 2-heal it? Probably, but why would you? Our alt run *4-healed* it for our first kill, before the nerfs, on our 2nd week in the instance. The enrage timer is utterly pathetic. It’s not a whole lot harder on 25-man, but we were at least seeing the enrage with the appropriate number of healers.
      Solution: Buff Morchok 10H health, such that a DPS check *exists*, and you could get the two fights to a similar difficulty level.

      Yor’sahj 10H tank damage was a joke. We’ve been 1-tanking it since before the nerfs, because why wouldn’t you? Any moderately competent tank can use cooldowns to survive the stacks, because they’re heavily undertuned. And the extra DPS helps trivialize the difficult DPS checks.
      Solution: Make the debuff hit harder, such that you actually need 2 tanks.

      Ultraxion DPS check was, again, pretty weak. And the mechanical differences on this fight favor 10′s (fewer people to screw up).
      Solution: Again, buff his HP and you could get comparable difficulty levels.

      I could go on, but I think the point is becoming clear. It’s not that the 10-man fights are inherently harder to tune. Blackhorn, Zonozz (to a lesser degree), and Hagara all demonstrate that it’s possible to make encounters that are roughly similar in difficulty on each setting, with roughly similar mechanics. But they seem to keep dropping the ball on DPS checks.

      • anafielle says:

        Yeah. I honestly conflated the two a bit more than I should have in my post; mechanical differences and tuning errors are two very very different problems. Mechanical differences can’t be avoided but they’re honestly not that big these days; tuning errors make them a much bigger problem than they should be.

        DS was so poorly tuned. T11 was much closer between the two raid sizes. That’s what frustrates me, seeing how fucked up DS is — you know, hoping the devs are working on fixing it– and then hearing a dev say “Oh, we’re so proud of ourselves, we got it right!” NO, you didn’t! Grr.

        PS: Omega, I’d tell you to post your summary and link mah blog on the wow forums, but they’d take away your green text :P

      • Recom says:

        Have you tried solo tanking Yor’Sajh with anything but a blood DK the first weeks ? It was possible of course but put a lot of pressure on healers. Also when you’re saying 10 men guild should leave green and red at the same time, I don’t recall seeing ONE video of a guild doing so, green and red is a lot harder than any other combination and there is absolutely no reason to do so, I’m not sure why you’re clamming to do that… The real difference on Yor’Sajh was he’s health pool which put a lot of stress on DPS, while it was more a healer fight in 10 men.

        The same thing goes to Ultraxion, in 25s it is clearly a DPS check (and a pretty tough one) but on 10s it is a HPS check, not many guild were able to 2 heal it past 5min30 on the first weeks which in the end make the DPS requirement harder in the theory (6min vs 5min30).

        I’m not going through all the bosses to prove my point but IMO 25s and 10s are balanced around different aspect of the game, 25s is more likely to be a DPS check because you have more healers so HPS check wouldn’t make sense, while 10s is more of a HPS check. In the end, 25s got some really challenging fights (Baleroc, Ultra and more) but 10s got some stupidly hard ones too (Nefarian above all else, Ultraxion for healers the first weeks, Rhyolith because of it’s fucking RNG) so I agree with you when you say it was not perfectly balanced overall but everyone got its own share of difficulty.

        • Recom says:

          typo : not many guilds were able to 2 heal past 5min30 on the first weeks which in the end made the DPS requirement harder that it is in theory (6min vs 5min30).

        • Theck says:

          Yes. We solo-tank Yor’sahj with a paladin in our 10-man alt run. It’s still trivial. As mentioned earlier, 7 stacks of the debuff is still less damage than 3 stacks of the buff on 25-man, which is the standard strategy. A paladin has glyphed Divine Protection to soften the last 10 seconds, bubble to clear stacks, AD/GAnK for particularly dangerous situations, and potentially two resistance cooldowns (Sindragosa’s Fang and Mirror of Broken Images) every minute. Our paladin doesn’t have either trinket, so we make do with AD/GAnK/DP, and generally don’t have problems with the tank. If anything, we have more problems with DPS dying. I also don’t think we do Red+Green though.

          I can’t speak to Ultraxion, because we 3-heal it. I always assumed that was because our alt run healers aren’t that great, and we’d have to do it with two druids or druid/shaman if we wanted to do it with 2. I’ve heard that a Holy Paladin is overpowered on Ultrax though, so maybe that’s the difference. Mel might have more input here, since he’s the one who did the calculation, and he’s also done it on both 25′s and 10′s with roughly equivalent DPS and Healers.

        • Theck says:

          Actually, now I remember. We don’t do red+green on Yor’sahj. We actually tried that for a few pulls, and while it does work, it’s also a lot touchier. If you get the positioning just right, it works great. But one person out of position can screw it up, so it just ended up not being as reliable as brute-forcing the less cheese-able combinations.

          • Recom says:

            My point of view must be biased as we are not a top 100 guild, which means some of us are better than the rest of the guild.

            Doing 10 men raids with some of the best players in the world is obviously easier than 25 because you have 2,5 times less people therefore lowering the error factor close to 0.
            I remember Paragon’s post stating that Ragnaros 10 hm was a joke compared to its 25m version but that is true for the very best, for every one with less skill it was very hard.
            What I’m trying to say is that 10men IS hard for good players because they are “only” good and 25m is even harder to match the needs of the best people in the world.

            Now about the rewards : I think 10 and 25 men should be split in 2 leaderboards on progress sites but stuff should remain the same as some 10m raiders don’t like 25.

            To be really honest, I’m actually considering going back to 25m raiding for MoP because I’m tired of struggling with raid comp and stupid abilities like Nef cinders which are plain sadism in 10m…

  3. Pliers says:

    For Ultraxion, to equal the burden on 25m dpers, a 10m raid would have to 9 man the fight. That’s INSANE.

    By simply showing up with 10 people, you trivialize the enrage and dramatically ease the burden on healers by reducing time spent in the danger zone, all while having far fewer opportunities for failure. Theck provides math behind the (somewhat obvious) concept that “no one can fail” severely penalizes you for bringing more people. Using a 99% chance of success, a 10m is more likely to make it to the end of the fight than a 25m is to make it past the 3rd hour of twilight.

    Something you didn’t emphasize is the fact that reduced health pools and decreased chance of failure combine to allow a 10m will see further into the fight on an average attempt, and spend more time in combat than a 25m. Not only is the burden lighter, but they’re more efficient and productive too.

    • Pliers says:

      to allow a 10m to see* damn proofreading.

    • anafielle says:

      Yeah…. I didn’t really go into detail about the effect of all the nerfs 10 mans get. But you are right, seeing into the fight further on a given attempt is so important.

      There is just not enough to be said about the Ultrax tuning. I know it’s just one fight, but frankly that is the ONE FIGHT that they could have made “the same” for 10s and 25s, and not only did they not, they gave 10 mans 85% or less of the task we had. It was just insulting. It showed us all how much Blizz cares about 25s– not at all.

      I honestly was pretty floored to see Theck’s math (as usual) because I honestly thought that the fight would be even if 10 and 25 had to do precisely the same task. It’s not, if each person has a given chance to fail, then 25 will inherently have a harder task ahead of them. But… we know this, haha.

      You should see the anecdotal “evidence” I took out because it was too mean. I had this long email from someone you and I both know about what it was like to see 10M H after spending years in 25H ….. it was pretty depressing.

      • Esoth says:

        I’m not sure it means they don’t care about 25s. I think the tuning on 25s was perfect but they fucked up on 10s. For people that think challenge is an important aspect of gaming (me!), you could say they don’t care about 10s.

  4. Keldion says:

    Excellent article. I felt disappointed by the low tuning of Dragon Soul, and even more so with the challenge disparty between 10 and 25.

  5. kalbear says:

    I don’t see how this could offend. Well, I’m sure everything could offend, but the notion that 10s are as difficult as 25 can’t be that important a conceit, can it?

    Sigh. It can.

    I think I understand blizzard’s motivations and speak, and this won’t be any salve – but perhaps you’ll understand. When they said “We’ve been reasonably successful with our tuning across all four raid difficulty modes”? You’re right in asking what their definition of success is.

    Here’s my guess. They expect heroic 10 to be easier than heroic 25, and if it is not it is a failure in their tuning.

    They want heroic 25 to be the hardest difficulty in the game. To the point where it can and will be significantly different as far as blocking fights go compared to 10 man.

    They want it so that when a 25 man fight doesn’t reasonably compare to a 10 man (3 tank fights, fights that separate players, fights that require a far harder comp) that those fights err on the side of easiness for the 10.

    They don’t want 10 man guilds to have huge roster and backups and all that; they want reasonably tight rosters and that means 10s can’t have stacking at all. For 25s, anything goes.

    Now, does this mean that all that talk about ‘similar difficulty’ was bullshit? Yes, yes it does. But we always knew it was going to be BS. We knew Blizzard said they’d try, but what I think we didn’t understand is that Blizzard wants, more than anything, for players to play the thing they like the most first and foremost, then get the rewards. And if that means they play 10s instead of 25s for those rewards, so be it. They’re fine with 25s being a niche that only the truly hardcore play because those hardcore want that challenge anyway; they’d always do the hard thing because it’s hard. If someone told them the hardest fight was on 10-man they’d do it that way just to show they could.

    So T11 was in their minds the biggest failure – not because some fights were almsot impossible in 25 compared to 10 (ohai Alakir) but because some fights were almost impossible in 10s. That could not, should not do. T12 was much better though still somewhat inconsistent. T13 appears to be spot on.

    My gut feeling is that they want about 3x the guilds doing heroic 10s progressing compared to the ones doing heroic 25 for all but the end boss fights. So for every kill on 25 you get 3 kills on 10. And they’re probably happy with more.

    Now this probably does mean the end of 25s. Not in MoP, but soon after. I think they’d be fine with that if it means that people are playing something they enjoy more. My gut feeling is that Blizzard doesn’t understand that doing something hard also means you rationalize how great it was to do said hard thing even more, and when you make the hardest stuff go away you lose a lot of people who no longer can rationalize why they play. It’s much harder to tell yourself that what you’re doing is to show how great you are when people don’t have to work nearly as hard to get the same rewards; at that point it becomes the difference between touring Nepal and deciding to climb Everest. Sure, there will be some that want to scale that mountain, but for most of us? We’re happy to be tourists.

    • MysticalOS says:

      Well the issue with all that, is that’s definitely not what they want. If they actually WANT one to be harder then other, then it’d reward more, intially it did. They felt it should award more valor, it should award higher item drops. But then they took that away little by little. Now. 25 mans get LESS loot per body then 10 man, less mounts and other vanity items per body then 10 man. SAME reward in terms of gear quality, achievements. and for what? harder encounters and worse logistics? THAT is a failing of design. Unless their intent is to REMOVE 25 mans by killing them slowly, i say they failed.
      Fact of the matter is, it’ll never be rgiht until they stop treating them the same. both need their OWN realm first for one thing. They need to cut the crap with item drops not being the same per ratio. If 10 man gets 1 token and we get 3 all, it’s broken, we’re getting too many. But if we only get 2, that isn’t fixing the problem that’s reversing it. but that goes with the balane issues. it comes back to doing it wrong. They consider 10 being harder a failure, but 25 being harder not a failure. they consider 25s getting loot favor a failure but not 10s getting loot favor. you see the trend here? Something is wrong with this picture. For loot to be fair. we need to get 2.5 tokens, or rathor, a 50/50 chance to get a 2-3 so it comes even by average. same for say a mount off an end boss such as ragnaros or madness. 2-3 mounts on a 50/50 cycle. 1 mount off rag was total BS. 2 off madness is better but still BS cause it’s still stiffing 25s over in the ratio. It needs to be wrong if an encounter is harder for ANYONe, not just if it’s harder on 10 man. IF they want them to be equal. If they cannot make them email, then they need to stop pretending they are. They need to seperate them again, seperate the achievements, the realm firsts, titles, the works. Because thats the only way anyone is going to be happy. Equal, or apart.

      • kalbear says:

        “Well the issue with all that, is that’s definitely not what they want. If they actually WANT one to be harder then other, then it’d reward more, intially it did.”

        This is a false statement. Wanting one to be harder than another has nothing to do with rewards. Point of fact they could easily desire that the hardest thing did not provide better rewards simply to make sure that as few as people as possible were compelled to do the hardest thing there was just to get better rewards.

        Why do this? To figure out exactly who does like 25 man raiding because they like 25 man raiding. If you get less stuff and have a harder time doing it, it’s pretty tough to think that that would keep anyone other than the folks who really like it doing it.

        And…that’s my theory on their choices.

        “They need to seperate them again, seperate the achievements, the realm firsts, titles, the works. Because thats the only way anyone is going to be happy. Equal, or apart.”

        I don’t think that’s true either. And I especially don’t think that Blizzard thinks that. I suspect that the vast majority of the fanbase is fairly happy with 10s giving as good of loot and achievements as 25s. That one of the reasons you’re seeing an exodus to 10s and so many 25s failing is because people simply didn’t have that much fun doing 25s, at least compared to 10s. You certainly don’t need 10s and 25s to be equal for those 10s players to be happy. And for the most part the people still doing 25s are happy with the difficulty, just not with sharing their glory.

        Except how much glory do they share? Sure, the world rankings tie both in – but wowprogress does a fine job tracking exclusive 25-man kills without any issue. It’s similar to what it was like back in the day with WotLK with 10 man only guilds – 10-man only guilds could track (and did track) how great they were compared to each other, and they were happy with that. there’s no need for blizzard to givee special recognition in game for this, and per my earlier point that might be counterproductive; they don’t want to make people play things they don’t have fun playing.

        Now, where I will agree with your gist is this – this SUCKS HARD for 25 man. It’s harder to recruit. It’s harder to convince others to do this really hard thing. It’s more painful to get things like vanity gear for your players. It’s all much harder than it was. But none of that means that things must be equal or things must be apart. Things were not equal and not apart with WotLK, and there was not a lot of complaining from the majority about that; if anything, the biggest complaints were from 25-man raiders who felt compelled to run 10s too. Well, now you don’t have to worry about that.

        • Beruthiel says:

          Kalbear -

          Do you raid 10s? Not to sound dismissive, but so much of your commentary sounds as if it comes from someone who doesn’t fully understand the continued challenges that 25 man raiders face in light of the imbalances. It is so much more than being harder to recruit. So much more.

          I would also like to point out that it was Blizzard that said things should and would be equal for both raid sizes. But they could not deliver on that, and frankly they should stop trying to do so because it’s done nothing but cause consternation for both raid sizes throughout the course of this expansion. I do think that things like “Realm First” achievements need to be seperated – becasue thins are not equal. And it’s unfair to everyone to have a competitive achievement like that on an uneven playing field.

          I don’t think anyone raiding 25s thinks that 10s should be put back to where they were in WotLK. But Blizzard put a carrot on a stick to keep 25s viable, and with each content patch this expansion has lengthed the rod, making that carrot seem less and less appealing to those chasing it. If Blizzard cannot make them equal, as they have stated multiple times was their intent, they most certainly need to be seperate if the intent it to maintain the vitality of 25 man raiding.

          • kalbear says:

            Beruthiel, I was a raiding member of Skunkworks. We raid 25s on two days a week and they recently got US 101 on HM Spine. On 25m, not 10. We killed HM LK 25 at 25% and had US 70 kills of him and Halion. Kyth was our guild leader for a while, and we’ve had plenty of players from top 20 guilds in the ranks.

            I understand the difficulties fairly well, I think. As an example, Skunkworks had done 2/8 HM early on before the winter break. Bunches of people went absent and they had to do 10s, and they cleared 4 new HMs in 10s with alts and mains on fights they hadn’t done before – in one week. It took them another 2 months to get all that cleared on 25s.

            So yes, I’m pretty well aware of how big the gulf is in difficulty between 10 and 25. The recruiting thing is the thing I’m least aware of because skunkworks has always had a big advantage there; being a niche guild means that people come to play regardless of the 10s vs 25s, so the reducing population of 25s doesn’t affect us as much.

            “I would also like to point out that it was Blizzard that said things should and would be equal for both raid sizes. But they could not deliver on that, and frankly they should stop trying to do so because it’s done nothing but cause consternation for both raid sizes throughout the course of this expansion.”

            I’d like to point out that Blizzard said this at the start of the expansion – and have not said a single thing about it since then. They also never said things would be equal – they said they’d try to make it so that the difficulty levels were similar. And in T11, they largely did. My point is that T11 was not nearly as popular and it was disliked by a lot of 10 man guilds because of how hard it was (especially fights like AC), and I think that changed Blizzard’s mind on how hard they needed or wanted to make 10 man fights.

            By the time T12 rolled around, Blizzard had absolutely no interest in making them equal difficulty (I think) They didn’t even state as such. They wanted to make 10 mans easier than 25, particularly on hard modes. This is the only reasonable explanation that makes any rational sense for the balancing on 10s vs. 25s since T11. As pointed out, it is incredibly simple to see how undertuned fights are on 10 compared to 25. Now, you can assume Blizzard is incompetent, but I assume they’re doing something by design – and that design means certain things.

            Their design means that there will be no true ‘hardcore’ DPS checks for 10 man. Probably because of things like lack of guaranteed buffs, lack of class stacking ability for most HM 10 guilds and reasonable variance in makeup. This is by design. They do not want to force HM 10 man guilds to bench half their roster.
            Their design means any fights with a lot of required roles (such as three tanks) must be made easier, and if that mmakes it almost trivial compared to 25 man so be it.
            Their design means that they are totally fine with end bosses being significantly easier and realm firsts going to 10; this isn’t a big deal as it’s not a true achievement value and has no special rewards or titles any more.
            Their design, ultimately, means they are not in any real way interested in making it balanced. They want to have all of the above as options for fights in 25 man HMs to challenge the top players, but they’re not willing to make it so hard for 10 mans that they can’t do it. Their solution is simple but effective: they’re going to make 10s significantly easier than 25s in many ways.

            If Blizzard cannot make them equal, as they have stated multiple times was their intent, they most certainly need to be seperate if the intent it to maintain the vitality of 25 man raiding.

            I agree. I also think that the intent is no longer to maintain any vitality of 25 man raiding. I think their intent is to maintain the vitality of raiding, and if that means having two sets of difficulties and letting players choose which one is harder, they’re fine with that. If that means making the rewards for 10s that much better than 25s so that those who are primarily seeking rewards don’t play something they don’t like, that’s fine too.

            See, I think we basically agree with each other. I think that 25s are going downhill fast and that they will eventually be phased out, and that’s going to suck for a lot of people who like them more – but I don’t see this as something that is going to be fixed. I don’t see them going back to mixed achievements or making things more equal. If they say they want to do that, their actions prove them to be lying. I don’t see them as desiring to preserve the vitality of 25 man raiding because that’s not their goal at all. Their goal, as always, is to maximize how many people play their game. If that means 25 mans go completely away they would do it right this second. As it stands, I think they are fine with 25 man HMs being very, very hard and challenging the best of the best and supporting those – but their primary focus being LFR and 10 man guilds.

            And yes, that sucks. Yes, it means Blizzard is changing their mind from what they stated. Yes, it means the likely death of 25s as they become less and less popular. I just don’t see Blizzard being that upset about that, and complaining to them that this will kill 25s is like complaining to a doctor that their antibiotics will kill a bacteria. They already know.

  6. Daraxis says:

    One issue that neither Ana or previous commenters have brought up is difficulties in class spread in 10 vs 25. I’m not even remotely going to suggest it accounts for flat out Ultraxion-style differences in tuning, and I’m not sure whether the argument even has a place when you’re talking about heroic modes (which often *are* about stacking the raid with the best classes for the job).

    I’m simply saying that in smaller guilds keen on heroic modes it’s not as easy to cover all the buffs and debuffs in a 10-person raid, not to mention the cases where a certain class is best for a certain encounter. Small example: our first heroic Yor’sahj kill happened with our warrior tank (main tank for 4.3) and our healers *fought* to keep him up during purples. The following week our DK tank (absent since 4.2, tanking in Firelands gear) made it look stupid easy.

    I certainly agree that often the 10 vs 25 balancing has been a joke, with huge swings in favour of one size or the other depending on the encounter. Just an additional point I thought I’d add.

    • MysticalOS says:

      Didn’t forget, it just doesn’t matter in enough places. I think that’s the point blizzard makes on the undertuning in fact. they design the fights on 10 man so they don’t require the buffs, but they overshoot it. they flat out miss the goal and overkill it. in a 10 man alt run, we killed ultraxion in 5min30 sec without a few buffs, we had mostly caster dps and no 8% spell damage. that’s almost as big as being down a man with how many lost damage from that. But it flat out didn’t matter. This is the only reason i can think of in fact where blizzard intentionally undertunes 10 man, but i swear their baseline for it is chosing the weakest possible dps spec in existance, then pretending 10 man has 6 of them. then use that for baseline. I’m sorry but 10 man guilds are not raiding iwth 6 frost mages that have 0 raid buffs. 10 mans are missing some buffs, but tuning the fights like they have 0 of them. Furthermore, it may be hard to get ALL the buffs, but i still think it’s a 10 mans responsiblity to make sure they get what they can for their comp to work if they are a seirous main run. Blizz had NO PROBLEM telling 25 man guilds that to kill spine not only did they hav to have 100% debuffs, but they HAD to have a ridiculously stacked burst damage raid to earn a kill. But they want to hold 10 mans hand to ensure on that very same fight as long as they have a couple burst damage, maybe a rogue and an arcane mage, it didn’t matter what the hell the other dps were, and they could still get a kill, pre nerf? that still follows down same streak that they flat out bend over backwards to make 10 mans work, and ignore the problems 25 have even if they are literally game breaking. Our guild had no shot in remote hell in killing spine before tendon health nerf, and it had nothing to do with skill or strategy, it was flat out tuning problem. We aren’t a guild that will ask 10 people to sit for being the wrong class or tell them tit’s their duty to have multiple end game raid classes on the ready in case blizzard breaks tuning on a fight.

      • zothen says:

        I dunno. I believe that we were closer than that to a kill on spine pre-nerf. We had just figured out how to get 2-2-2; we just didn’t have enough practice time to make it dependable. I think we would have had it down in a few more nights of attempts at most if the tendon nerf hadn’t happened.

        • MysticalOS says:

          the math wasn’t there for it pre nerf. not with our comp. we could do first plate in 2 burns with hero, and pots, and BOTH burns had 2 min cds up (since we were still slow on aboms. Despite that, 2 was barely. When we were learning and progressing just to get first plate down to a 2 burn it was using everything. and in an actual kill strat, you cannot use everything there, you need it later. you’re not considering if on pace, we souldn’t have 2 min cds up again. we won’t have hero for all of them (and most certainly not use it on first), on 3rd plate we’d be down a dps (diran) who’d be bear, etc. We didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell in 2 2 2. 3 3 2 was the likely scenario and honestly that would have been near impossible with our numbers pre nerf, with our comp. Maybe if we subbed in some alts, but we had 9 sub optimal burst dps classes that weren’t pulling the numbers for 2 2 2, heck i bet if we ran our CURRENT numbers from tendons, with our perfected strat, and ran them against the original health, they still wouldn’t amount to 2 2 2. i don’t see how you can survive 2 sets of 3. The fight would be entirely too long. There’d be over 100 oozes up and healers would be oom long before then. Could we have corpse cannoned it in about 500-600 pulls until 3 3 2 workd by some miracle. probably. but repeating it, heh. good luck. By no means was this a reflection on the players, it was clearly a tuning issue, as you said we were getting there on the execution. But the tuning was apsolutely broken. even now post nerf, the burns take effort on 25 man. on 10 man they are an utter joke now since they were hardly broken to begin with.

      • Esoth says:

        “in a 10 man alt run, we killed ultraxion in 5min30 sec without a few buffs, we had mostly caster dps and no 8% spell damage. that’s almost as big as being down a man with how many lost damage from that.”

        What alt run was this? We have 8% spell damage every week thanks to Ruentes’ hunter’s pet. I think the only buff we are missing is 5% spell crit. We also normally only have one caster so maybe you’re talking about something else :p

        It’s actually fairly easy to get all buffs, or at least all essential buffs, covered on 10. That was the purpose of their buff consolidation at the start. For a progression 10 guild, buff coverage really shouldn’t be an issue or an excuse. If you are missing important buffs you fail at basic guild roster maintenance.

    • anafielle says:

      You are correct. That is a big issue for 10s that I didn’t bring up at all. Actually it was a pretty big omission on my part. I don’t know if this will be a satisfactory answer but I’ll try anyhow! :D

      I think that letting people succeed with suboptimal class balance is a compelling problem that the devs have to solve for normal modes. People should be able to play what they want. But for HMs, I think that is not true anymore, and to be honest I think it is untrue for both 10s and 25s.

      You are right to point out that having a single suboptimal-for-a-fight class in 10s has a much bigger impact on your raid, but we juggle in 25s too. I totally understand your anecdote. I will tell ya, we blow LOH / ret cooldowns on our warrior too on H Yorsahj and then the DK makes it look easy :) Damn DKs. But I’ll trade with some of my own.

      We are a 25m guild that is firmly 3 nights a week, with a small roster, ~US 55. We have definitely had a lot of times when we have carefully worried about class balance and buffs: ALL of the time. The transition from H Rag (which we 3 healed) to H Zonozz (which we 8 healed) was very unpleasant for our healing roster. There is the obvious example of me, the retribution paladin on the tank blog. I went ret for Dragon Soul. Then there is my raid leader, who is an ele shaman, and certainly would prefer to be DPSing– but who has healed probably more than he has DPS’d the last three months. We need the totem, we always need the totem, sometimes we need two totems. Then of course, the favorite fight of the 25 HMs, Spine. We killed it without turning to alts– only because we killed it post-nerf. So: we worry a LOT about class balance, we recruit very carefully, and we make heavy use of offspecs. That is how you compose your raid for hardmodes. 10s and 25s both stress out.

      I honestly don’t think it’s that much easier for a raid with 25 unless you have a huge bench or a stable of alts. We don’t choose to do either one. Some raids– on 10 and 25– run a big bench, or turn to alts. That is sometimes what you have to do for hardmodes.

      Anyways. Is this as flexible as a 10 man has to be? I don’t know… I don’t know. It is hard to compare because 10s and 25s can feel like apples and oranges.

      I know I have seen the VERY competitive 10 man on my server, Sunnier’s guild, turn to alts to stack for a fight. Progression wise, I wonder if a 10 man guild and a 25 man guild who hit HM fights at the “same” time both have to twist their raid to about the same percentage of class stacking, or if the 10 man guild is just vastly more crippled. I honestly don’t think so, but I am biased.

  7. It’s not just a hard mode problem either. One of the promises of the new structure with 10/25 would be that it would benefit casual guilds. If we didn’t have enough folks show up for a 25 man raid, we could just run 10s.

    My guild ran 25s for the first few weeks of DS, but then with the holidays and such we lost a bunch of raiders and are only now getting back to 25s (we ran either 1 10 or 2 10s in the meantime).

    Our first time looking at Ultraxion with 25, we realized that dps have to soak Hour of Twilight. That’s a lot of micromanagement for a casual guild, especially when we’ve been going for weeks with not having to worry about the mechanic at all (in 10, one tank soaks and it’s easy).

    If 10s and 25s were equal, we wouldn’t have to relearn this fight (figure out rotations for dps soaking based on their cooldown lengths). This is a mechanical difference (in my mind) beyond something happens more often or has more hp. It’s a responsibility that dps doesn’t even have in 10 (normal).

    • anafielle says:

      I had not even thought about how difficult that makes it to transition down to 10 and then back up to 25.

      You bring up a good point and that makes me sad :( The 10 and 25 thing WAS supposed to make it a smooth transition both ways. But guilds that drop to 10 for a bit, as you did, and then move back up to 25 when the roster gets bigger, should not have a culture shock or re-learning time moving back to 25. I have rarely even heard of anyone making the transfer back up and so– big grats, that is tough and I hope it works for you! 25s are fun :( I want everyone to love them :( The movement should never be one way, down to 10s and never back.

      Thank you for the story! And good luck!!

      • Thanks for the well wishes! We’re still wobbling between running 25 and 2-10s, and I suspect we’ll be in that mode for awhile before we’re solidly doing 25s again. I like the combined raid lockouts for this reason; it gives us flexibility that if we start on Wednesday with 25, but Thursday only have 20, we can go to 2-10s and aren’t stuck trying to pug 5 additional people (and vice versa, if more people show up later in the week, we don’t have to bench the extras). I think the lockout changes are GOOD!

        But there’s no way that the raid sizes are equal in difficulty. Even as a casual raider with only 2 Madness kills under my belt, I can see that. We did a full pulls on HM Morchok with 25, laughed, and put it back to normal. Progression will be done in 10s, at least for DS. We’ll see what the balancing looks like in MoP.

  8. saltyquacker says:

    If you want to boil it down, Blizzard wanted to give similar raiding experiences to both 10 and 25 man formats. I give them a lot of credit, but I also have a lot of critisisms.

    Basically, if you want to get down to it, the tuning differences between the two formats I call the Battle Res factor. 25s have way more room for error in that regard, so the 10mans get more eniancy with tuning. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to lose a derper, or even worse the encounter bugging and killing someone and forcing a wipe; conversely, I love it when shaman die in 10mans. Being able to pull 3 people back into the fight at once is kinda IMBA when I compare it to 10man raiding.

    T11 taught them they couldn’t design encounters with 25man raiding in mind solely, and then copy-pasta and scale it down to 10 people. Good luck doing V&T without a sub rogue, or Conclave without a mage or DK. Recruiting was horrible, because of buff and token balancing, not to mention useless drops from bosses, and people chasing their unicorns the whole tier. 10man logistics + encounter parity was a fucking nightmare. Thank god I 10 competent raiders. Would I trade it for undertuned 10man raids? Hell no.

    T12 and T13 were the result from that learning, and adding legendaries into the mix. Oh joy, I’m so glad I dodged that bullet.

    Yes, I agree, 25H should be the pinnacle of respect from the raiding community, and I am fine with it being a niche circle. The players that respect and appreciate it will keep coming back, as long as Blizzard doesn’t get lazy.

    If I come back in MOP, I will be raiding 25man heroic content. Raid leading 10man content is the only way I would do 10mans.

    • anafielle says:

      “25s have way more room for error in that regard,”

      Absolutely, positively false. This is true in 25 normals and in LFR. It is not true in a single 25 man heroic. Why? Because our DPS races are tuned way tighter than yours.

      Come back and tell me that after you have spent an evening wiping Spine, or Madness, or (obviously) Ultraxion on the first death in the raid. Sometimes it’s not even worth losing the time and brezzing someone, better to hit it again with all 25 people alive. I absolutely admit that 10 mans have legit arguments for what makes their content difficult. Some of them have been brought up in the comments. But the “brez factor” is not one of them, not by a long shot. Not when 25 DPS and healing requirements are tuned so very, very much more tightly than 10 man raids. You cannot lose 3 people in a 25 for every 1 in a 10 man- that is not how heroic mode raiding works.

      I commented on the raid comp concerns above. That I would probably give to 10 mans, although I’m pretty sure that is the price you pay for doing hard modes. “Good luck” hitting Spine H 25 without a bursty comp, either. It’s difficult to compare, but if you took a 25 man and a 10 man raid at about the same progression level, I suspect that they both have bench concerns and raid composition concerns. I’ll definitely give you this one though, I think it’s harder for 10s to form the right comp, but I also think that’s life in hard modes. We get to suck it up, some of us gear alts, and hybrids are hybrids.

      “Yes, I agree, 25H should be the pinnacle of respect from the raiding community, and I am fine with it being a niche circle. The players that respect and appreciate it will keep coming back, as long as Blizzard doesn’t get lazy.” <— While I appreciate you agreeing with me, it's not really about being the pinnacle of respect =/ I went back to do Sinestra on 10 and I was pretty floored at how hard it was. I wish that the achievements were separate so that everyone could brag about what they did– and if the 10s were tuned appropriately tightly, they would have some serious fucking bragging rights too, just like they did in Tier 11.

      • saltyquacker says:

        In a perfect world, nobody would need Battle Reses either way. BR helps you progress deeper into the fight, which is enormously helpful when learning an encounter. It doesnt give you a free pass.

        I’m not trying to justify the fact that 10man heroics are easier by waving the BR flag, they are easier because they have to be. There are some raiders, myself included, who wanted to do 10man heroics because they were still sufficently difficult, while being doable without a lot of the bull that goes into 25man heroic progression and pounding nails through our (figurative) penises.

        I killed Vashj, Kael, Illidan, and Mu’ru pre nerf. I cleared all of WOLK’s craziness when it mattered. Maybe 10mans are a way to keep those dedicated players who are done with the 25man retardation. /ramble

        • MysticalOS says:

          “they need to be easier?” not if they provide the same reward. they need to either be the SAME for SAME reward, or DIFFERENT for DIFFERENT reward. that’s the whole argument. blizz needs to commit to one or the other. not make them have DIFFERENT difficulty for SAME reward, otherwise,what is the point of doing the harder version. THAT is discussion and debate, always has been. You know how hard it is for a 25 man guild to recruit when someone can take the easy route on 10 man instead?

          • kalbear says:

            not if they provide the same reward. they need to either be the SAME for SAME reward, or DIFFERENT for DIFFERENT reward.

            You keep saying this and saying it louder and louder as if that makes it true. It doesn’t.

            Different tasks do not need different rewards based on their difficulty. There are plenty of examples of this already in WoW – some of the hardest grinds do not reward anything special other than a warm fuzzy. Not all achievements are valued the same. There is nothing, nothing at all that says ‘if this is harder it gives a better, or different, or special reward.

            Now, you might want it that way – but that doesn’t make it so. And it appears Blizzard fundamentally disagrees with you.

            not make them have DIFFERENT difficulty for SAME reward, otherwise,what is the point of doing the harder version.

            The point is to be able to say that you did it on the hardest difficulty. That you beat the hardest stuff in the game. 10 man raiders can’t say that no matter what they think.

            Now, if your motivation is to do the hardest stuff BECAUSE it gives you the best rewards, sorry; that’s not what Blizzard believes any more. You should do the hardest stuff because you have the most fun. If you don’t have the most fun playing the hardest raids, the simple answer is don’t do the hardest raids. If you’re motivated by gear, 25 mans are not the place for you. I don’t see how blizzard can make this statement any clearer to you.

  9. Rades says:

    About the 85% dps comparison – this makes complete, utter sense when you consider that the 15% you’re talking about is not a matter of skill or ability, but a matter of MISSING BUFFS. A 25-man team is assumed to have every buff. My 10 man team, for all of Dragon Soul, has not had Blessing of Might or Ferocious Inspiration, and I’m sure other buffs which I don’t know of. I think it’s easy to overlook as a 25m raider – I mean, you didn’t even mention this in your actual post – but not having certain buffs is a nightmare for 10s. Our Frost Mage DPS was a good 3-4k lower than normal on our last raid night, because our Warlock was absent, who provides a certain buff the Mage needs (spell crit, I think?) And the lock is our only raider who can provide that buff.

    So there might be a DPS difference, but don’t insult 10s by dismissing this and implying that 25m players are expected to be better. It’s not the case at all.

    • MysticalOS says:

      15% might have been an average, but some fights are way more leaniant then that. Besides 10 mans still make a choice in buffs they have or don’t have when they essemble their team. you won’t get 100%. but you seriously can’t come up with a paladin, then think that should be designed around you? if your 10 man has only 4-5 classes in it, you’re doing it wrong. Like i said earlier, a lot of us raid both 10s and 25s, i can tell you from EXPERIENCE. even missing buffs, the dps checks are non existant. we got a faster kill on heroic ultraxion on less geared alts in 10 man H missing buffs then a 25 man stacked well geared 25 man group with all the buffs.
      if a frost mage is losing 3-4k dps from crit he’s feeding you a load of bull, he was missing something else or messing up and feeding you a line of bull, or just had crappy rng that pull, which happens. also did it occur to your mage that if they were fire, they’d have 5% crit, AND do better dps? complaining about missing buffs when playng the wrong spec is a poor excuse. I’m sorry but NO ONE raids this tier as frost. arcane and fire is what’s played.

    • kalbear says:

      “this makes complete, utter sense when you consider that the 15% you’re talking about is not a matter of skill or ability, but a matter of MISSING BUFFS”

      Sorry, but you simply didn’t read the article, didn’t read the linked articles and didn’t understand the statements and math. You’re talking from complete ignorance. 85% is not all just buffs. And even if it is, so what? Hard modes in 25 man aren’t about running gimped comps because you and a few friends want to run 10 paladins or whatever. Ultraxion didn’t require just all raid buffs – it required all raid buffs, all consumables, healers to DPS, tanks to have a max DPS set and then, hopefully, get a bit lucky.

      That’s not remotely the same on 10 man. Really, Ultraxion on 10 man was a loot pinata compared. To use my guild’s example, they killed Ultraxion HM on 10 man with two alts and a horrible comp without buffs in 30 seconds less than the enrage. They killed Ultraxion a month later just barely, after getting significant loot upgrades along the way.

      It’s just not comparable. It’s not remotely close to the same difficulty. It’s insulting to think that. Ultraxion isn’t a hard DPS check in 10 man, not even close.

      • Pliers says:

        “And even if it is, so what?”

        I think you’re confusing defense of your valid belief in the gap between 25m and 10m with *blindly* defending it. If the buff loss were to cover the damage difference, nothing else you listed would be relevant.

        • kalbear says:

          I think you’re confusing defense of your valid belief in the gap between 25m and 10m with *blindly* defending it. If the buff loss were to cover the damage difference, nothing else you listed would be relevant.

          No, I’m saying that ‘missing all possible buffs’ is not a valid defense. And when I say missing all, I mean it – you would literally have to be missing basically every single buff to get that 15% difference.

          Which means you’re running one of the weirdest raid comps ever. And if you feel that this should be a reasonable baseline – that a 10 man with no buffs at all should be as hard as a 25 man with a perfect comp and having healers DPS – then I don’t know what to tell you other than you and I agree completely; this is how it was ‘balanced’, and it makes it clear that blizzard is not interested in making it fair. Similarly, if you feel that 10man should be able to bring whoever you want regardless of the viability of spec (like frost mages or a bunch of melee on a ranged-friendly fight) and feel that’s ‘balanced’, well, you’re in agreement with me on where Blizzard is balancing things – which is to say they’re not.

          That sort of thing seems perfectly reasonable for normal modes. It’s not a reasonable way of thinking for hardmode content in my mind, 10 or 25 man.

    • Pliers says:

      I checked out your most recent WoL for your DK, Morgion, to see what raid comp you ran. You had everything covered (though it had 11 people, so I don’t know who was swapped when). I assume you’re referencing a different night (I’m not trying to be snide or sarcastic). What is your standard raid comp?

      Missing buffs will certainly account for some damage loss for a 10m, but it’s rarely going to be anywhere remotely close to accounting for the gap we’re talking about. I don’t know if it’d even be possible to come up with a viable raid comp that would come up short 18% damage for each and every member of the raid due to missing buffs. 10 druids is the worst I could come up with (aside: is an awesome tool for seeing what buffs you’re missing, in case anyone reading this cares).

      • Meloree says:

        I’m pretty sure that 10 druids (assuming that you use both feral kitten and boomkin as DPS) has enough buffs to get past that hurdle. Mostly because earth and moon and faerie fire are close to enough on their own.

    • Meloree says:

      Ana linked this post (conveniently, by me) in that section as evidence:

      I’ll summarize: Most DPS produce at least 75% of their fully raidbuffed DPS naked at a target dummy. 10m is being asked to get from 75% to 82% of potential output, and 25man is being asked to get from 75% to 100%.

      The 15% you’re missing cannot be accounted for by buffs, unless you assume that 10-mans don’t get to bring any buffs. Also, I’ll note: you have a Frost Mage. This would not be tolerated in a 25H progression guild, you simply can’t afford the lower DPS.

      Further, if your mage had been Fire, he or she would have provided spell crit. If your mage had been Arcane, he or she would have provided Ferocious Inspiration.

      So, in conclusion, the missing 15% cannot be accounted for with buff setup, it’s *not actually possible* to be missing enough buffs to explain that discrepancy.

      Also – you raid without any hunters, shaman, death knights, mages, or paladins? That’s got to be atypical for a heroic progression guild.

    • anafielle says:

      Wow so many comments……

      I’m sorry Rades. I had a response written up but I feel like the other commenters have probably responded enough. It is nice to have some disagreement since my comment section is sometimes kinda echo chamber y. Thank you for the response. :) I completely, vehemently disagree, but I think you can tell that from my post so I won’t rant more. I appreciate the input.

      • Meloree says:

        Hrm, we did sort of pile on there. I mostly meant to point out the evidence-post that appeared to have been missed.

        • Rades says:

          I’ll just reply to this most recent one, instead of trying to summarize.

          The inclusion of having a Frost Mage – completely not my point. If you want to talk about “valid” raid specs and whatnot, that’s fine, but that’s not what I was getting at, and is really a separate topic altogether. I was talking about buffs. The top-tier 10m heroic guilds also wouldn’t allow a Frost Mage for reasons of Fire (or even Arcane) being superior – in this, 10 and 25 are the same.

          MysticalOS, it wasn’t just missing spell crit that hurt our Frost Mage in the way that missing crit would hurt anyone – it has to do somehow with how Frost Mages have to attain a magical 33% base crit, for their Deep Freeze? Or something?? I honestly don’t know exactly how it works, but it’s a bigger issue than simply the loss of a beneficial buff. I guess an analogy would be, it’s not a Prot Pally losing Fort – just extra HP – but instead losing a buff that put them at CTC cap, something they calculated for in their gearing and, having lost that buff, suddenly fall under their ideal stats.

          Pliers, we may have had all buffs covered on our last run, but we only got our Retadin within the last month. So everything until now, we’ve gone without Blessing of Might and Ret’s 3% dmg buff. Sometimes due to people sitting or people being unable to make it, we do without things like Brittle Bones, Fortitude (which doesn’t affect DPS, sure, but it still sucks to deal with) or even without Bloodlust, which sounds absurd but really isn’t that hard to believe.

          As for our usual roster, maybe it’s easier just to list what options we don’t have? Ele Shaman, Feral Druid, Unholy DK, Demo Lock, Fury Warrior, BM Hunter, Fire/Arcane Mage, Shadow Priest…I think that’s it, though maybe I’m forgetting some. Now granted, I could go Unholy DK instead of Frost DK, but this really doesn’t solve buff problems because we’ve now just lost the buffs I brought as Frost. And maybe our Hunter goes BM instead of SV to bring us Ferocious Inspiration. That’s all well and good, except the fact that his DPS is now about 30-40% lower.

          Finally, Meloree, yes our Mage could have provided himself the Spell Crit buff he was missing. He wouldn’t need it, mind you, because he wouldn’t be playing Frost which needed the crit to begin with. (Again, not talking about “valid specs” – just the fact that we can’t cover all the buffs we need.) And if he went Arcane? Well, we’d have that 3% dmg buff, yep. Of course, then we’d be missing the Spell Crit again.

          I’m not even saying that missing buffs account fully for the difference between 10m and 25m DPS checks. It’s too hard to possibly measure exactly what that should be. But what I AM saying is that you absolutely do have to take that into consideration. I mean, progression without Bloodlust? Sometimes on 10m, it’s necessary.

          • MysticalOS says:

            So you’re saying, because you’re on 10 man, you should play wrong spec, purposely lose raid buffs your group NEEDS, and then complain about balance? there is still no reason at all your mage was frost. The only thing frost provides is replentishment, but you already had it in your comp, so this was your mages fault, not the raid size being 10 man. Fire also needs that crit. Fire does more dps, that crit would have benefited ENTIRE raid. tell your mage that raiding is about working as a group.

            You’re arguing about losing buffs going from frost to unholy as DK. You lose NOTHING having your mage change specs, frost doesn’t give a damn thing but lower dps and no useful buffs. The hunter loses 40% dps going BM, wow i didn’t know the specs were imbalanced. our top level hunter making parses as BM must be doing it wrong then if his dps is so much higer then the average.

          • masith says:

            I think the problem with this argument is that it is fine amongst more casual guilds but there is no 10man guild that is seriously pushing heroic progression that doesn’t make sure it has the majority of the buffs covered. This may require a little more planning for 10mans but is a factor for 25mans as well, we have certainly had hunters spec BM for specific buffs on some progression nights this tier.
            If blizzard tune fights around the idea that 10mans will only have 50% of the raid buffs available then that is a huge advantage for any 10man guild organised enough to bring 90% of the raid buffs.

          • zothen says:

            Your mage has no idea what he/she is doing. As Myst pointed out, NOBODY plays Frost in a heroic progression fight this tier. This applies to both 10 and 25 man format. Frost brings nothing to the table in a PvE setting. No raid buffs. No debuffs. Weak personal cooldowns. Lower personal output. Your mage is just being stubborn and you are foolish enough to let them walk over you in the name of playing an innappropriate spec.

            Arcane Tactics affects the entire raid. This is a major buff. Fire’s Critical Mass debuffs the boss and boosts the dps of the entire raid as well. This is also a major buff. Even if you play Arcane/Fire like a moron it will still outperform Frost for personal output. And if you spend just a small amount of time practicing it and if you use cooldowns properly, it will significantly outperform Frost. These are just plain straightforward facts about the class, and this is how the class was designed. A mage who shows up to a heroic T13 raid as Frost might as well be wearing unenchanted PvP gear and have a fishing pole equipped.

            And that’s fine and dandy for normal mode or LFR raiding. But not heroic progression. If you feel “heroic” modes should allow for a participant to neglect their role so badly, then I think you will find yourself in very rare company. And it also pretty much invalidates any other arguments you have regarding heroic tuning and balance.

  10. Nightwill says:

    Amazing post and notes. Thank you and everyone else for the great read/info!

  11. Arazu says:

    #1 also leads to cases like heroic ragnaros, where 10mans are completely mindblown that 25mans can have 5+ people die to something as simple as Engulfing Flames and still win. While the encounter was still bleeding-edge.

    • MysticalOS says:

      Pre nerf, impossible. you’d hit berserk. Post massive health nerf and damage taken nerf. you could battle rez 3 sure, if you lost 5 in phase 4 sure. if you lost them early fight no, not even remotely. In fact if you lost anyone before phase 3 burn you might as well wipe it
      But since we’re talking about post nerf. 10 mans were getting 1 meteor for half the effort of 25 mans early on. the dps check was so much lower. but FYI, 10 man could lose 3 people and still make the kill just as easily, when the berserk was increased from 15 min to 18 min on top of the health nerf, as long as you had tanks and healers and someone who knew how the hell to do dreadflame, the fight length apsolutely didn’t matter, for either group.

      A lot of mechanics took more coordination on 25 man. on 10 man the sons were free for all, on 10 man we didn’t assign shit, we just attacked shit close to hammer first and didn’t worry about it. 25 man had stun assignments knockback assignments. dps assignments as well as split scond desitions about what side floater group went to that needed most help. seeds were harder on 25 man. you got 8? we got 20, iwth SAME damage buff stacks and same spread range. it takes 2-3 together to kill someone, on both 10 AND 25 man. guess what, that was much easier to see happen on 25 man. Meteors were a little more unforgiving on 10 but they certainly weren’t a hard part of the ffight, stand in one place, when it gets close, knock it back. herp. if it targeted same side 3 times in a row. you might have to move a little. but having 1 meteor vs 2 is still vastly easier, even with more bodies on 25 man. 2 meteors meant twice the frost patches used and twice the cluster risk in one being accidentally used, or a meteor eing in a shitty place when tank is dragging him to roots. you know how big of a difference running rag across room is with 2 meteors vs 1?. I’m going to guess you never actually did this fight on 25 man. I have, on 10 and 25 man heroic, numerous times, when it was current content, and when it was farm. Trust me, 10 man is much easier, for pretty much one reason, much lower dps standard. and yes. i’ve had 10 man kills were people were aweful and 3 people died. you know what, it doesn’t matter at a point, it really depends on WHEN in fight they die. i happened to know on 10 man you can get one meteor with someones face in dirt the ENTIRE phase on 10 man, before DS even came out. easily. unless you flat out screwed up transition and had 2 full health scions or something. I could go on but i’m pretty sure it won’t matter. people who only raid 25s or only raid 10s are biased. Some of us that do both know better.

      • Arazu says:

        Sorry to hurf your blurf, but my guild was US-28th for that tier and there were a number of 25mans that killed rag before us that had -several- engulfing deaths. I was speaking from experience. We definitely could not lose 3 people at any point (and still can’t, since we still sell). Yet we saw more than one log where a 25man lost a hilarious number of people to the exact same mechanic.

        • Moshne says:

          [citation required]

        • Esoth says:

          What the hell are you talking about? You said “where 10mans are completely mindblown that 25mans can have 5+ people die to something as simple as Engulfing Flames and still win.” And you claim this is pre-DS release? There is no way the P3 timer is lax enough to allow this. Unless you are seriously class stacking or way over gear the place (DS gear), losing one person and having him immediately brezzed meant you weren’t likely to get through the P3 burn without extra meteors.

          We don’t care what your 10m guild rank is, show some data or people will continue to think you are talking out of your ass, even if you didn’t use phrases like “sorry to hurf your blurf”. Myself included.

  12. Kitmajere says:

    As a 10 man co-raid leader whose group has done respectably this expansion (US 28 overall, US 9 for 10 man) I would like to say that I *want* 10 man to be as hard as 25. I want to feel as good about myself and my group as I would in a 25 man and not that I somehow cheated to get my gear/mounts/titles. I am extremely frustrated when I get flak from 25 man guilds for doing “lol 10 mans”.

    I would, however, disagree in any overarching statement that Blizzard completely failed at tuning the two raid sizes over the entire expansion.
    T11 – This one was a fairly even mix, with 10 man being markedly harder until nerfs were implemented. I did progression as both a 25 man and a 10 man here and while Al’akir 25 was definitely a joke compared to Al’akir 10, so was Sinestra 25 compared to Sinestra 10. Man, having half of your healing core get an orb was awesome. Cho’gall was certainly easier on 10 man, but Nef was harder in 10.
    T12 – Blizzard fucked this up big time. I was extremely disappointed at the lack of balance, with the only harder fight in 10 man being Beth’tilac. I do think that 10/25 Ragnaros was much more equal than Paragon made it out to be with their silly comp of like 3 druids (try gearing that out in a 10 man, lol). It was probably harder on 25 though.
    T13 – This tier’s balance also leaned towards 10 man being easier, with a few notable exceptions that should be kept in mind when deriding 10 mans.The first is Hagara which is just a JOKE on 25 man, but was very awful on 10. Madness is also *much* more difficult on 10 than on 25 by all accounts, with more raid comp stacking required in 10 since 3 healing/2 tanking was borderline impossible originally, so had to be gotten around using a bearcat or spriest/rogue to take impales, or to figure out how to 2 heal it. Spine was reasonably balanced between the two, with tight comp stacking required on both – for 10 man you had to bring your sub rogue/arcane mage with the legendary/plus another legendary and then buff them as much as you could with your remaining two dps and the same occurred in 25 man but with more arcane mages and sub rogues needed (which sucked more since it likely required alts, but I just like to reply to that – 25 man=3 tanks, WTF? Warmaster is also similar in difficulty in the two sizes. The biggest issue is for balance was that Ultraxion (and to a much lesser extent Yor’sahj/Zon’ozz) is a complete joke on 10.

    So really, the big failure occurred in T12, and to a lesser extent T13. T11 was a failure going the opposite way, but Blizzard rectified it, bringing that tier to respectability. Nonetheless, I remain cautiously optimistic that Blizz *can* make the two difficulties somewhat similar (not for every fight, but overall as a tier). Whether they chose to do so or not remains to be seen. (Perhaps with the buff consolidation that they intend, that silly argument for lesser dps checks in 10 man can finally go away too!?!)

    • anafielle says:

      Thank you for your comments! I was hoping to treat the situation in as fair a manner as I could and I definitely appreciate hearing it from the opposing side. I would agree that the failure was way, way more evident in T12 and T13.

      My major issue with the post-mortem that was posted was that I saw a movement towards making 10 mans easier and easier, which I don’t think is fair at all to 10s (as silly as that sounds coming from a 25 man raider) — and so to hear that they felt they had succeeded was so infuriating when I felt they had moved entirely the wrong way. Maybe if they move back towards something more like T11, they would succeed.

      I also have the constant example of SWTOR to compare it to, which — although that game has done so, so very many things wrong, so many that I’m probably quitting– has taken the stance of balancing the opposite way and intends to make 8 mans just a bit *harder* than 16s so that the logistical challenges of 16 counter the strategic “ease” of 8s, creating something much more like a competitive balance. It’s a much better idea to tune the damage more closely and make 8 mans a tad bit more difficult, thus evening us out a bit.

      Buff consolidation is a HUGE, HUGE part of that as you correctly point out; it would absolutely make 10s and 25s closer if both raids could be depended upon to have all the same buffs much more easily.

      Thanks :) (edited a bit)

  13. Vosskah says:

    You know, that’s interesting. I was reading your post and thinking: “Yup, she’s right.” You had identified the same fights I had that would be more difficult in 25s and your tone was fine. I know you prefer 25s and I respect that. Too bad it was derailed after that and basically set the stage for some good old fashion 10s bashing. Wow, MysticalOS. Seriously? You’re that threatened that you need to write 8 replies to this post? By the way, I noticed your wonderful spelling and general communication skills. English is my second language and this made me twitch.

    “Where i give 10s credit. T11. By far T11 was much harder on 10 man for most bosses. Most stand out are sinestra, nefarian. I will ignore flat tunning bugs like maloriak for first week cause blizz actually addressed those. Chimereon was a 3 tank fight more or less, 10 mans certainly had to creatively gimmik it with a plate melee dps to be the “break” tank.”

    Anyway, let’s get back on topic.

    *yawn* I’ve heard all that crap during Wrath.

    Fact is, I will agree with you, Ana. Right now, considering the current fights and their boring mechanics (created so that the fights could be lowered to LFR level), some 25s are probably harder. Alright, you’re ignoring that legendaries are far more prevalent in 25s or that 10s have a lot more issues with specific compo, loot variety (can’t believe we just now got everyone their 4set after clearing DS for 3 months! We also saw the caster mace ONCE in Firelands in 5 months of clears, damn RNG!) and buffs. All of this does not matter as much as it feels like an injustice and I am completely on your side with rectifying a tuning issue like this one. We, 10 man raiders, have been on the receiving end of ill advised tuning (btw, that’s the correct spelling, Myst) (Sarth 3d impossible without 25 man gear, H LK, etc.) and it’s simply not fun. And aren’t we playing this game to have fun?

    I do not wish ill of the 25s even though it’s not my raiding style. I simply wish that the fights be as equal as possible so that we can all enjoy raiding in our own way. I also wish that I wouldn’t have to read another post (or in this case, the comments) where fellow raiders are being patronized to simply for choosing a different format.

  14. anafielle says:

    Firstly, I just told him he can’t respond to this, because I’m trying to limit the fighting in my comments. So I’m leaping to the defense of MY friend. MysticalOS = Omegal = the warrior tank in my guild = a green text MVP poster on WOW forums. He is also the author of Deadly Boss Mods (among other addons). If you use DBM, then think again about the relative skill at spelling *down to the letter* of someone who codes the single most used, most critical addon in the WoW raiding world — if not the entire game– not to mention one of the most efficient and well written ones. Overlooking what someone has to say, someone who has a pretty damn detailed and numbers-oriented look at how WoW abilities work – on both levels- just because a couple words are spelled wrong, is a pretty short sighted attitude.

    I am not letting him respond to this comment — I told him he couldn’t because I’m tired of fiting in my comments box that isn’t mine. But this is MY comment box, so I get to defend him. Disagree all you want, but passion for a topic, and lots of comments, is something a blogger should understand. That was a pretty unnecessary low blow.

    …. Anyways. Having said that –

    I don’t want to be repetitive, but I will tell you much of what I told a previous commenter. Thank you for your comments. (Um, even though I was just mad, that was friend defending. This is the serious part.)

    I was hoping to treat the situation in as fair a manner as I could and I know it got very heated. Mostly in the comment section. Yeah…. I heard that I was the instigator of some twitter fiting and I didn’t even want to poke my head in. I really, truly appreciate you and others like you commenting with opinion from the other side, because to be honest, that is far more interesting than the echo chamber. So I truly appreciate it. I wasn’t just talking out my ass at the start when I said that I have SERIOUSLY worried about how even mentioning this topic would sound and the comment box has pretty much fulfilled my fears.

    I doubt that it can even be discussed civilly without 25s feeling like 10s are killing them (which they are) and 10s feeling like 25s are patronizing them (which they are.)

    Unfortunately that’s the pickle Blizz threw us all when they decided to merge achievements and then adjust the tuning like they have. So sometimes we HAVE to talk about it.

    My major issue with the post-mortem that was posted was that I think we can all agree that 10 mans have moved in a direction that is less-fun in T12 and in T13, and if the devs think this is success…. we should all be disappointed. And the 25s certainly aren’t the only ones who got shafted… we just feel like we are because we are on this side of the grass. The dying side. Ultrax is a really awful example for us, but I also think that serious 10 man raiders would have liked to see that fight– would have risen heroicly to the challenge– but Blizz never even gave them the chance.

    We all lose.

  15. Pingback: RE: Ghostcrawler’s Cataclysm Post Mortem « Elemental Entropy

  16. Esoth says:

    I just want to address something that might be a bit more tangential to this post, but relevant to the broader topic. That is: the myth that 10s are harder because individual performance matters more.

    An individual in a 10s group does have a higher percentage of raid contribution than an individual in a 25s, obviously, but that doesn’t mean they are stressed more than those 25s groups. At least, not at the top end of progression raiding content where balance and bragging rights exist. For typical (+/- 1) tank/healer/dps ratios of 2/2/6 for 10s and 2/6/17 the DPS are looking at 16.7% contribution of non-tank damage in 10s compared to 5.5% for 25s. So a single person could get away with slacking a bit more in 25s than in 10s.

    But that only matters if you are allowing slacking. For tough, tightly tuned content, you don’t. You can’t have one DPS playing at 85% efficiency in either raid size if you are requiring 95% (as an example) raid DPS efficiency. You could even make the argument that this makes 25s harder since the chance of having one DPS fall below the threshold and cause a wipe is higher than in 10s, simply due to more people. I’m using DPS as an example here, but the same thing applies to healing, tanking, and overall raid mechanics. On progression Ultraxion, before the 5% nerf and when DS loot acquisition was fairly small, the tuning on 25 H was so insane that many guilds (ours included) was actually getting into the cast time of his berserk spell to finish him off. This means that not only do each of those DPS have to be operating at +99% efficiency, but we also had to draw on tanks and healers as significant sources of damage. If anyone botched an HoT or a Fading Light it would likely mean a wipe. Hopefully you can see why each individual being less significant than they would be on 10s doesn’t matter here.

  17. sam says:

    the problem with having this discussion is it flips if you change the group you are talking about.

    For Hardcore raiders who view raiding as serious business, 25 mans are harder because of the management involved. Most players are going to do things well no matter what the raid size.

    For Casual guilds 10 mans are harder because people aren’t as serious about what they are doing and they have a lower performance. For these groups 25 mans are easier because it’s easier to carry a few underperformers.

    I’ve thought for years that the Devs biggest mistake was the idea that Serious Raiders and casual raiders were going to do the same thing. I completely agree that if they think they got tuning right they’ve lost thier minds. Probably because LFR has bumped all their player’s participating metrics far beyond anything they’ve ever had.

    • Pliers says:

      “For Casual guilds 10 mans are harder because people aren’t as serious about what they are doing and they have a lower performance.”

      I think that’s a ridiculous statement. If it’s at all true, it’d be because a 25m guild that isn’t hardcore is going to have some serious trouble keeping its head above water. 10m guilds have plenty of amazing players. To characterize them all as not being serious or full of worse players than 25m raids is offensive and inaccurate.

      • kalbear says:

        I think you misunderstood. Let me try and sum up. I could be wrong too.

        When you’re doing seriously hard work, 25 man is harder than 10 man because there is more chance for any one person to fail given equal skill levels of everyone, as indicated in the original post. If everything is the same – chance for any one person to fail, mechanics – 25s are more stressful and more difficult just because it’s less likely to get everyone doing the right thing all at once.

        When you’re doing casual playing, 10s are harder than 25 given the same skill level of players because the individual contribution of one person is a bigger overall percentage in 10s than 25. So if you have someone having a bad day, it’s harder to make up for that elsewhere.

        • sam says:

          almost. 25 mans are harder for hard core guilds because of management issues. A finely tuned group of 10 people is easier to manage than a finely tuned group of 25 people. More people means more logistics, more personal issues, more drama.

          you were dead on on on Casual. In a casual guild there will always be someone underperforming. It’s a group of people that get on for fun and everyone hasn’t min-maxed thier every slot before starting the raid.

  18. First of all – thanks for this post, anafielle. I can tell you’re fully aware of the can of worms you’ve opened, but I respect you highly for tackling it head-on. I wrote a small rant on my own personal blog about this recently (link), as well, as it’s something I feel pretty strongly about.

    With regards to your first point–that tuning has been tremendously bad this tier–I agree whole-heartedly. Killing Ultraxion H with my 10-man group? Sure, it felt good, but we knew that it was a fight that could only be considered a bucket of piss compared to what our rival 25-man guild were struggling with at the time (we were both 4/8H at the time; we had Ultraxion, they had Hagara). The fight was massively under-tuned for 10s, and was, quite frankly, a disappointment.

    You briefly touch on it, but I believe that [i]flexibility[/i] carries way more importance than you make it out to be. I’m a Paladin tank (surprise surprise), so for Spine, our Warrior tank was assigned to blood kiting. She was getting [i]destroyed[/i]; having a Feral Druid hop into Bear and do their magic would have made this [i]infinitely[/i] easier. Really, it would have made a massive difference.

    Some fights I feel like we’ve got the interesting part of. Hagara? Great on 10s. A really good fight; requires you to be sharp, think quickly and “make the bad go away” as fast as you can. It was designed [i]well[/i] on 10-man, not so much on 25-man.

    I would have liked to see some fights be harder on 10-man than they are now, without a doubt. That said, I think the bashing of 10s right now is completely unfair; we’re raiding [i]very[/i] hard content, and still, we’re looked down on. I’m not necessarily trying to seek pity, but I would at least like a kind of [i]validation[/i] of what I do; that the content is genuinely hard, and that we, too, struggle with progression.

    Finally, in closing …

    Make room for me on the “10s are killing 25s” bandwagon — I know Moshne saved me a seat. I’m hopping aboard.

    I don’t think this particularly adds anything. I think saying “10s are killing 25s” is patronising and entirely unfair to the bulk of 10-man raiders who play because they prefer the format. I know I do, and wouldn’t trade my 10-man guild for any other. I appreciate you tackling the question, but I disagree with your conclusion.

    • masith says:

      While it’s perhaps a fairly flippant way of putting it, I think it is valid to say that the existance of 10man raids in their current format are killing 25mans. I don’t blame 10man raiders for this it is not their fault but in what way is stating that 25mans are dieing cause of the existance of 10mans looking down on 10mans? If anything it’s much less patronising than the rest of the post which explains why 10mans acheivements aren’t as hard as 25s.

    • Moshne says:

      Being that it is my quote, I feel I should clarify. The current 10m paradigm is killing 25m. It isn’t something inherent in having 10 people running the content, but the way it was implemented, and Blizzard’s refusal to rebalance problems when they show up.

      The numbers are there, throughout this expansion the number of guilds progressing through 25m content is dwindling at an alarming rate, and 10s have increased since T11 despite an overall drop in subscribers.

      I don’t have some deep-seated hatred of 10 man raiding. I don’t prefer it, and I don’t find it fun, but I don’t have to. Where my problem arises is when Blizzard created 10m with the illusion of equality and then failed to deliver on it. When problems were exposed, they failed to correct them. This is something that should upset 10m raiders just as much as 25m.

      • kalbear says:

        Actually that’s a good question. Why are 10 mans killing 25s?

        I think that the big issue is that they both drop the same gear and one is easier than another, and the majority of players will go to where it’s easiest to get their shinies. If that’s the case, is it so bad that 25s are less popular? I’m not sure it is. If 80% of the people doing 25s were doing so not because they liked the format but because it was the way to get gear, I’m not sure that them leaving 25s is a horrible thing.

        Now it’s probably the case that things aren’t equal enough so that people do what they prefer to get their shinies – it’s still too easy in 10. I’m just not sure that even if somehow you made 10s exactly equal in difficulty that that many people would choose 25s. I’m kind of thinking now that unless you make 25s significantly easier to get gear from (at least more of it) you’ll have people showing their preference for 10s due to all the missing hassles. Or you simply make 25 content less difficult and make 10 mans the real hard thing to do – but in that case I think you ruin the culture of 25s.

        I dunno. I think that it’s probably Blizzard’s intent to kill 25 man raiding in the next expansion or two. It makes sense to get rid of it compared to 10s and allows them to do a lot more interesting mechanics that don’t have to change so weirdly between two formats. They could presumably do a hell of a lot more raids that way too. It sucks and I think it’s somewhat short-sighted, but I think that’s where they’re going.

        • Omega says:

          Recruiting. Take for example ultraxions tuning. 10 mans were 5/8 much easier then 25s were. It’s easier for 5/8 to recruit over 4/8. that’s a pretty big differencce of “join us and wipe on ultraxion, or join other guy and be half way to getting gunship down already”. When one is easier then other, one is also more progressed then the other. Some people don’t care about the format, just the race. If you’re shooting for realm first, why not go for the guy that’s further ahead?

          One of the biggest aspects of raiding for many is competition, ranks, Realm first, wowprogress, etc. These things don’t decimatinate based on raid format. Equal reward equal progress. It is progress that trumps format or preference for some. I know some that prefer 25s that still do 10 for the sake of being first.

          • kalbear says:

            I don’t think that’s correct, Omega – wowprogress already discriminates based on 25s vs. 10s progress and the 25-man guilds that recruit are definitely stating what their overall rank is as well as their 25man rank is.

            Recruiting is hard in 25 mans because they tend to have higher attrition and you have to manage a lot more people; I don’t think it’s harder because of the race. I’ve never heard of a 25man raider who is competitive going to a 10man hard mode raid because they’re more progressed. They’ll go because they like the team and have a position, but if they like 25s more? They’ll stay with 25s.

          • masith says:

            Maybe at the very top level but certainly at my guilds level (7/8 HC 25man) we notice a huge influx of applicants whenever we have a period of decent progression and having spoken to new recruits I would say 75% of the time they tell us they were looking for a guild at a certain level of progression and didn’t really care if it was 10 or 25.

        • masith says:

          I think a big factor in killing off 25mans is how hard it is to return to/move up to 25man raiding from 10man. Back in the TBC era once a guild had cleared Kara the incentive to become a 25man guild was the ability to see all of the rest of the content. Despite this it was a notoriously difficult time in a new guilds life and many failed to ever expand beyond 10mans.
          Nowadays the only incentive for a guild to expand from 10 to 25 is a preference for 25man raiding. It takes a very commited officer team and a very loyal core to make this transition. Especially as even if 25mans were slightly easier a guild is likely to find take a hit in progression at first due to having to recruit a couple of warm bodies to make up the numbers at first. This makes it very very hard for new 25mans to form
          This problem is then compounded because if an existing 25man ever has a period when it is struggling for members and decides to drop to 10man for a time it will find it hard to ever go back to 25s. The longer the guild raids 10s the harder it will be for it to return to 25s.

        • Moshne says:

          You don’t have to make it easier, but you need to incentivize it.

          “Why are 10s killing 25s?”

          The primary is that it is extremely easy to switch to 10s from 25s. This isn’t fixable, the nature of the beast is that when a roster decreases due to normal attrition (and would normally kill a 25m guild rather than transform it) they turn 10m as an alternative, or as another step towards guild death.

          The more insidious part of this is when 25s are not properly incentivized. If two fights give the same reward and the same illusion of prestige, then absent a strong resolve to raid 25s, there is nothing holding you to do it. This causes things like dropping to 10s to do Al’Akir, or Ragnaros. In the case of Ragnaros, 10m was actually incentivized better. Not just because of a much easier route to Realm First, but because a full 10% of your raid obtains the vanity reward per kill. Many 10m guilds fully kitted themselves out in mounts before the tier ended, only the most dedicated of 25m will ever get everyone the mount.

          This is symbolic of the entire system. If there is no incentive to raid 25s, you have a ratchet effect. What I mean is that the system only goes one direction 25->10. It is almost impossible to turn a 10m guild into a 25m. There are a few very distinct exceptions. If you believe people are only doing 25s because they have to, this isn’t a problem. But if you believe there are people who prefer 25s, this is a particular problem. This is an issue because no matter your desire, there is a dwindling pool of 25 teams to choose from. As much as people pretend it isn’t the case, you can’t simply “be a 25 man raider” at your choosing, you need a guild, and guilds need leadership, and leadership needs incentive to exist. If the game doesn’t positively reward the extra administrative hassle associated with leading a 25m guild, then those that prefer the format have nowhere to go. Some of those players will just suffer along in a 10m despite preferring a bigger raid. Myself, I’ll quit, and I won’t be alone.

          This isn’t meant as a threat, it is just a fact. I’ve lead a 25m (and for a year 40) guild for five years. I have no desire to go down to the lower format, I’ve just never enjoyed it. If Blizzard sees us as a small enough minority to write off, that is their decision.

          • masith says:

            I agree with everything you said here the sad thing is I cannot think what Blizzard can do to fix it now. The vast majority of the playerbase raids 10s now so Blizzard are not likely to provide much better rewards for 25man, from a business point of view they would probably be crazy to do so..
            I suspect the only way they could save 25man would be to make it easier than 10man. Unfortunatly due to the increased difficulty of current 25mans outlined here the vast majority of the 25mans left are guilds who raid for the challenge. Whilst personally I much prefer 25s, this is why I put in the effort to lead one, for the good of the game and the community I wonder if it would be better for Blizzard to just accept the death of 25mans and merge the raid sizes into 15man.

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  20. Newtonium says:

    I’m a 10man, formerly 25 man raider. I switched mostly because I don’t see many 25 man teams only going twice a week or raiding at the times I need.. In fact in fire lands, we attempted to go 25 and couldn’t because we found it impossible to find the numbers (we raid 10:30pm-1:30am pacific on fri and sat). I am the GM, raid leader, and main tank of my guild.
    I do believe that 25 mans are more difficult than 10 mans. I do not necessarily know what the definition of “tuning” is in this case, but they are more difficult. So, how does Blizz fix this? Do you want them to drop higher item level pieces for 25 man? I believe it is mostly in the mechanics, not necessarily on the health or dps checks. I do not believe there is physically a way to keep 10s and 25s the same difficulty, they inherently cannot be equal. 1 is not the same as 2.5.

    #1 Getting 25 people together consistently and keeping down turnover is more difficult. In this case, I believe Blizz has come up with the right answer for this – they drop a higher ratio of gear per player. I believe that the reward (more loot) fixes the problem (turnover). Higher ilvl gear doesn’t do anything in this instance.
    #2 Ultraxion and DPS requirements. Is it reasonable to say that 25 mans can put out more dps per player than 10 mans simply due to buffs? If I fail to bring a Mage or shaman to my raid in 10s, I go without heroism. Maybe I can bring a Druid to heal or tank and a hunter but he’s MM (flavor of the month for 4.2) but no boomkin for 5%… It’s a struggle for us every week, and we ultimately miss out on at least 2 buffs which would be expected in 25 mans. I don’t know if a 15% drop in dps is right or not, just that the requirements by its very nature has to be lower because of the buff and debug system.
    Note – as a similar situation, heroic
    Morchok is a logistical nightmare for us because we HAVE to bring a rogue for feint and a plate for the 2 stomp soakers. (kind of like your example of having room for a spare OT) I believe Morchok is still only 2 take 2x damage on 25s, right?

    #3 Positioning – definitely harder on 25mans. There’s no argument here. I don’t have any solutions either – would yorsahj have been better tuned if red / yellow did more damage in 10s and green didn’t spread in 25s? I guess for
    Yorsahj that would be better and more evenly tuned. Allows the 25s to stack with green red but the 10s couldn’t and took a little extra damage because of them getting to spread (so healers couldn’t use rain and holy radiance and sanctuary on 10s but could on 25s)? the other solution would be to make green spread 5 yards on 25 but 15 yards on 10s.

    I think the last point is about motivation. I believe that you’re saying that people are moving from 25s to 10s because they are easier. People would rather raid the easier one than the more difficult. You’re saying that your motivation though is that you prefer 25 man because of the comraderie? Or because it’s more challenging? Prestige of 25 vs 10? What do YOU think is the reason you do 25 instead of 10s?

    I fully support Blizzard finally acknowledging that 25s are not and can not ever be the same as 10s.

  21. Donken says:

    So blizzard needs to understand that their most hardcore players are going to want to do 25m raiding. Additionally they need to realize that 25m is generally going to be more difficult than 10m in hard modes. Here is my proposal. Keep most things as they are now but tune the gear in the following manner:
    T11 10m R – 359
    T11 25m R – 365
    T11 10m H – 371
    T11 25m H – 377
    T12 10m R – 374
    T12 25m R – 380
    T12 10m H – 386
    T12 25m H – 392
    You get the idea after that. This gives blizzard the freedom to design the encounters so 25m is the most difficult without making it seem like you can’t be competitive in 10m. The problem with wotlk was that 10m difficulty and 10m gear rewards were so low that it was silly to persue. As for LFR I guess it would come in 6 ilevels below the 10m reg mode.

    One thing to note that is even if 25m hard mode had a SINGLE item level difference from 10m HM think WAY more people would do it, because everyone wants the best stuff in the game, and being 1 ilevel away would likely be enough motivation for a lot of people playing.

    • Omega says:

      Meh that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone really. Just acknowledgement of the differences and seperation of the achievements, or at very least realm firsts. 2 equally skilled guilds shouldn’t shouldn’t feel ripped off cause some different raid size got realm first for no other reason then encounter being a lot easier in their format vs yours. Or they pushed through progress faster, thus found it easier to recruit. Etc.

      Equality is never going to happen. granted blizz made pretty terrible effort, but even if they tried, it’s still not going to happen. Sooner they realize there is no equality, happier everyone is going to be. 10s and 25s shouldn’t hate on eachother at all, they should both hate at blizz for screwing both of them up the entire expansion. :)

      I also miss when encounters creativity wasn’t hampered by format “equality”. Who remembers High king? Warlock tank, mage tank, moonkin tank. Creative positioning etc. Now imagine what that fight would have lost if htey had to make it 10 man compatible? You get bosses like Hagara. Don’t get me wrong, Cata had some amazing fights, ragnaros especially. But this equality goal sure does hamper creativity. Even in wrath, it was ok for fights to be different. 25 man halion had additional adds. Why? because they COULD design a fight to actually put a 3rd tank to work on 25 man. They didn’t have to balance around 10 mans when they didn’t have to be the same. I think that’s what i miss the most. Fights that were DESIGNED for 25 people. Not fights designed for 10 people, then had their HP upscaled to 25. WTB true 25 mans back.

  22. Sil says:

    Wow this post was offensive to 10-man raiders.

    Having raided 10 & 25-man simultaneously there are clearly fights which are harder with 25 people and fights which are easier – and I mean way easier. To think most fights in 25 are harder is completely delusional.
    Theck’s math analysis was interesting but sometime it is the opposite. Sometime the question is how many people can screw up and in many encounters more people can screw up in 25 than in 10.

    Personally I also prefer 25 to 10 but Blizzard killed 25-man raiding the day they put a single ID for 25-man and 10-man. Eversince it all went downwards and on my server all 25-man rosters have huge problems. Being tired of canceled raids I went 10-man. It isn’t a magical cure, there are still canceled raids but on the whole quite less often.

  23. Hello!

    I actually came across this blog while venting my frustration about the situation. I’m a guild leader of a 25-Man guild on Maelstrom (US) who has been around since early Wrath and I can say there’s not much of a reason to even bother putting in the time, effort, and blood and tears in preparing and managing a solid 25-man raid group.

    We’re stuck at 4/8HM in Dragon Soul and regressing due to people finally losing interest in the game, which has gotten to the point of it being very hard to recover from, if possible. Those looking for more progression are realm transferring, leaving this realm even more of a unskilled shithole that it already is, and in the process ruining the last 25 man guild on the entire realm (yes, we’re the only 25 man guild out of both factions).

    Hopefully blizzard does something to balance out the two raid sizes, or change up the rewards to make it more appealing than the easy route, no risk, 10 man guilds.

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