Steerage class raiding

Also posted on BigHitBox

This topic has been on my mind, subconsciously, for a while, and it was sparked into life yesterday. The basic premise is the question:

Has Blizzard created a classed society of raiders by making 10 and 25 man raids, and creating different loot tables therein?

The answer: yes

Hold on a minute…how can I state that so bluntly? Because, in my mind, that’s exactly what they have done. Now, many people will disagree, and many will also call me a whinger and QQ’er. Fair enough. Do me a favour then, and read this to the end before commenting “Less QQ plz”.

The facts then, or what may pass as facts:

  • Blizzard wants to support small raiding groups
  • Blizzard wants to support large raiding groups
  • Blizzard wants two parallel raiding progressions going on
  • It’s not Blizzards intention that you gear up in 10’s for 25’s (re the parallel progression)
  • Blizzard wants reward to match difficulty
  • It is generally agreed upon that 10mans were tuned harder than 25mans

If a normal and heroic raid are supposed to be tuned to be roughly equally difficult, why does the inclusion of 15 extra people yield significantly better loot? Blizzards intention of increasing difficulty via hard modes does nothing to alter that scenario really. Ghostcrawlers comment that hard mode 10-man loot is better than standard 25-man loot is a small pittance tossed to the 10-man crowd. The current situation is that you get better loot for the supposed extra headache of having 15 extra people to organise/control.

The result of that may well be that 25-man raiders do the 10-mans when fully geared, both for the achievements and for the loot, before heading back to tackle the 25-man hard mode. This leads to 10-man raids as nothing but achievement suppositories for heroic raiders. The normal raiders don’t get to do the reverse however, so if you’re solely a 10-man raider, good luck trying to get those extra achievement points.

Another point is that people who actively prefer 10-man raiding, for whatever reason, are forced to never be “the best they can be”, something that bothers many and ultimately leads to ambitious players migrating to the larger raids. Skill is worth nothing without gear.

Furthermore, you can argue that the 10-mans, if properly balanced, are going to become ez-mode raids when fully heroic geared people start running them. Even now we see this trend, where people gear up in the heroic raids, only to own the normals. Except that the normals currently are vastly harder than the heroics. When Blizzard fix that however, the end-user experience for a 10-manner is more than likely to be diminished if they have to bring heroically geared people. The challenge simply goes away…and some of us do like challenges.

In their attempts to incentivize both forms of raiding, they are setting the stage for 10-mans slowly bleeding to death as a separate entity. Instead, they’ll become the “kiddy pool” of raiding, where the undergeared or the “too casual” people hang around. Anybody worth their salt is in the “proper raids”. It might be painting a dark picture some will argue, and to a certain extent I agree. However, the question remains fully valid:

Why must I feel like a lesser raider, solely because I consciously choose to raid with my guild rather than a larger group?

While some of my guildies only raid 10 mans, others dont, and the gear disparity is visible, since heroic gear is better than normal gear period. So because I don’t PuG, or have a raiding group, I’m forced to perform less, to pull my weight less?

Quoth my favourite crab monster ( Bluetracker and full thread):

If your contention is that 10 player raiding is harder than 25 player raiding, then we disagree. The logistics of managing 25 players in our minds outweighs the “marginalizing individual effort” that you mention. I could see a way to have 10 and 25 drop the same loot but also share a lockout. Anything else will just kill 25 player raiding IMO, which is not something we want to do. We do however want to support 10 player raiding, and that means making the difficulty more appropriate for the rewards. If that isn’t challenging enough for you, we do have the 10 player hard modes.

The above is a Ghostcrawler quote. Here, he proposes a solution that would eliminate most of my problems with the current raiding situation. It has drawbacks as well of course, so let’s have a look at some of the pro’s and con’s:

A shared lockout will preclude people from raiding as much as they could possibly like. If you’ve done one, you’re out for the week. End of story. Critics will call this “enforced casualness”, and yes, that’s what it is. If you clear it all in two nights, you have nothing else to do for a week, and yes, with the current amount of content, that plainly sucks if you want to raid 5 days a week. However, there are quite a few more raids upcoming, so the raiding blight will not last forever.

A shared lockout will preclude the heaviest emblem farming, as well as shard farming. It’ll increase prices on shards, and it’ll mean less epics from emblems. So you can’t gear up your alt as quickly by being pulled through Naxx anymore. Big deal.

It’ll furthermore force people to actively make a choice with whome they raid. Yes, that’ll probably kill off a lot of PuGs off the bat, but in the end you’ll still be able to PuG your favourite raid.

The burning question is then: What incentive is there to continue doing heroic raids? Well, achievements for one thing. Titles another? A third alternative could be a cosmetic difference to the tier loot. 10 man is bluish and 25 is reddish perhaps? “My character looks horrible in blue, but red…oh yeah baby!” Vanity oh vanity…don’t we all love thee. Before anybody starts pointing fingers, look at the multitude of people who grind away to receive that title, or that mount, or even that special pet…I know, I’m one of them.

Ultimately, raiding should be about choice of format/people rather than a gear-choice. Bring the fun, not the gear. Currently, the normal raids are the “second class” of raiding, perhaps harder than the “first class” (though not by design), but always with worse loot. It seems the inevitable fate of every 10-man group to ultimately lose their best and brightest to the better rewards of the heroic raids.


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