Blizzard today announced a big, big change to the way that raid lockouts will be managed in the future. The full link is here, but the TL;DR version is:
- The 10 and 25 man versions of an instance will share a lockout. In a given week you can do the 10-man or 25-man raid, but not both.
- The 10 and 25 man versions of an instance will drop the exact same loot. The 25 man will drop more of it, and possibly more Emblems as well. 25-man raids will still be the most efficient way to gear people up, if you have the numbers for it.
- The 10 and 25-man versions of an instance will be tuned to be very comparable to another in difficulty.
- The first few raid tiers will have multiple smaller raids rather than one huge (Naxx) raid. You can hit all of them each week, or alternate to vary your raiding experience.
When you read the comments about this, the change is largely applauded by the community. Sure, there are varying opinions and there are some who think that this is the end of raiding as we know it. I think the same things were said when we went from 40 to 25 man raids in BC, and then from 25 to 10/25 in Wrath.
Here’s the point of view from me – the GM of a casual raiding guild that struggles to get 25 every week.
On one hand, for our core members, its great. If we do 10-man raids, we don’t have to fret that we’re a half-tier of gear behind players who are doing 25-man raids. We’ll all have access to the same loot. Sure, the guilds that run heroic versions will have better gear, but that’s not a problematic issue.
On the other hand, its going to force me to make a decision. Currently, we walk the line between 10 and 25 man content. We run 10-man ICC with our core group on weeknights, and then desperately try to get a 25-man raid together with the whole guild on weekends. We can do this because 10 and 25 man raids are on separate lockouts.
This change is going to force me to pick a direction. Either we’ll focus on 10-mans every week or 25-mans every week. Since we currently have trouble getting 25 regularly, it would seem logical to focus on 10-mans. Ideally we’ll be able to field two 10-man teams every week. If not, though, then there are a lot of guildies who will be left out in the cold.
Right now, when we fail to field a 25-man team, and our core group runs 10-man, it excludes a lot of players. We hate to do it, but its the bind we’re in. Fortunately, those players can usually PuG ICC 10 or 25 and get some rep and maybe some loot and still be satisifed. Under this new system, I think PuGs will be harder to come by.
The only people who will PuG will be players who do not run 10 OR 25 man raids with their guild. Running either one gets you saved to both. So who will be in PuGs? Players who are guildless? Alts? Players who are not good enough to be included in their guild runs? That doesn’t sound like a healthy PuG culture.
So, if we focus on 10-mans, I worry that our membership will dwindle as the players outside the core group will leave to go to guilds where they are included in raids and are not dependent on PuGs. That would make me sad.
My hope is that we get a burst of player activity when Cataclysm drops, and we’ll have enough to do 25 mans and it won’t be a problem. Fingers crossed!