Thinking on Raid Bosses in Cataclysm

I was thinking about raiding with the new raid lockout rules.  There are some interesting aspects of this that deserve some thought.

(As an aside, I’m sure that there are much smarter people than me who have already done this and come to better conclusions than I did.  I’m equally sure that someone in the comments will point this out to me.)

First – we have been told that both 10- and 25-man raids will drop the same gear.  Thus, a main tank in a 10-man raiding guild will have access to the same gear as a main tank in a 25-man raiding guild.

If that change makes it to live, then a main tank in a 25-man guild will not have dramatically higher health or mitigation than a main tank in a 10-man guild,  unless Blizzard re-does the raid buff system so that the extra buffs make a huge difference, which I doubt.

So a 25-man raid main tank has only slightly higher raid-buffed health than a 10-man raid main tank.  That means that a 25-man raid boss cannot hit significantly harder than a 10-man raid boss, otherwise the tank gets one or two-shot. That in itself is a big change in raid design.

The problem is that a 25-man main tank has access to anywhere from 5-7 healers, where the 10-man main tank only has 2-3 healers.  We know that Blizzard doesn’t want 7 healers just spamming heals on the tank.

Hmm… interesting.

If the 25-man boss doesn’t hit any harder than the 10-man boss, the extra healers make the tanking trivial.  If the 25-man boss hits much harder than the 10-man boss to account for the extra healing, then the lack of better 25-man gear makes the 25-man tank squishy.

How does Blizzard design around this?


We’ve been told that health pools will be made much larger.  I think that this implies that they will be much much larger, large enough that a tank at 10-man level can take many hits from a boss without dying.  If that is true, then a 25-man raid boss can be tuned to hit harder, because even with the harder hits the tank can take several without dying.  For that to work the health pools will have to be surprisingly big.

Alternately, this change could reflect a different raid design philosophy.  If a 25-man raid has 6-7 healers all focused on the two or three tanks, then the fight may be trivial.  But if you give all those healers something else to worry about…

Maybe raids in Cataclysm will have a lot more unavoidable raid damage.  I don’t mean more pools of fire/slime/lava/shadow on the floor.  Maybe more adds spawning or multiple mobs requiring dps to control/kite/evasion-tank/pet-tank/etc…  Remember that all classes are getting larger health pools.  It might not be out of the question for a rogue or shaman to have to pick up an add and off-tank for a few seconds.

If that is the case, then even in a 25-man raid most of the healers are needed to handle the raid damage, so they can still only spare 2 or 3 healers to focus on the tanks.  Then the 25-man boss doesn’t have to hit any harder than the 10-man boss.  In the 25-man encounter, maybe there is more chaos going on around the raid that requires the attention of the healers.

I’m just speculating.

I think that the tank gear is going to be a main influence on raid encounter design.  What are some other ways that Blizzard might handle the fact that 10- and 25-man tanks will have the same gear?


6 Responses to “Thinking on Raid Bosses in Cataclysm”

  1. 1 Mr.T
    May 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I think its not that difficult. You just make sure that the 25 man encounter has a very short enrage or significant in fight distractions (adds with very large health pools) which could translate to lesser healers, add some additional splash damage that keeps the healers busy. The boss hits are softer but the focus is to keep the raid alive and beat the enrage timer.

  2. 2 Johnny
    May 4, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Remember bliz said a bigger emphasis will be on removing debuffs as well and dps classes won’t be able to help out (ret pallies with cleanse for instance) so a couple of healers may be on debuff watch

  3. 3 Hamacus
    May 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Also note that most healing classes are getting talents that help them heal better on the run or shield/heal groups of people. As a Priest we have a talent that pulls people away from bad stuff that is being proposed and no I still am not going to heal stupid….unless it’s me.

    That said, I agree that there is probably going to be a whole lot of shaking going on in Cataclysm (Pun intended) that will keep all of us very busy. I for one look forward to it.

  4. 4 Kae
    May 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I started commenting, and then it got so long that i just turned it into a blog post instead 🙂 Linked you here:


  5. 5 Quench
    May 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I’d hazard a guess that the bosses in 25 man will swing more often than they do in 10 man, they could even have a dodge debuff like in ICC that is different in 10’s than in 25’s.

  6. 6 Strikyn
    May 5, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I’d imagine that if Blizzard’s plan is to have both 10 and 25 man dungeons drop the same gear that we’re all looking at this wrong. Bosses aren’t going to hit harder and require more healers. There’s already a healer shortage out there. But what do we have too much of? DPS. My guess is the bosses in 25’s will have short enrage timers (as Mr.T said) and much larger health pools.

    But I’m no Blizz developer so I guess we’ll see!

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