I've never been really bothered about the annual Blizzard Covention before but this year was different.
With a vested interest and a number of unanswered questions, I eagerly awaited what was to be discussed during the Raids & Dungeons panel. Blizzard have been extremely coy about their intentions for the 10/25 raiding split apart from the introduction of the shared lockout.
Any leader of a successful 25man raiding guild is waiting for the answer to one simple question ... What is going to be the incentive for continuing to run large raid teams?
And the answer we got ... "er, we're working on it"
It's the answer I hear all the time from my development team when they don't have a solution and are fresh out of ideas.
The response was backed up with the oft used soundbite ... "you choose to run 25man because it's what you find more fun" ... and this would be fine in a world where all things are equal, however they are not.
It has already been proven in the beta that in most instances the 25man encounters are significantly harder than there 10man counterparts. The reasons for this are not just the obvious ones which can be 'fixed' with tuning (incoming damage relative to group healing throughput, dps requirements, boss health, boss ability strength, etc) but also logistical challenges that are not so easily balanced.
For example, in one encounter there is a main mechanic (and associated achievement) where the raid has to spread out to avoid chaining. This has been found to be trivial in the 10man configuration but due to the size of the playfield, virtually impossible in 25man.
It's exactly these kinds of scenarios that 25man guilds relish but only when there is some kind of reward for the extra investment required to overcome them. As it stands there is no incentive for guild leaders and raiders alike to make the extra effort (in the latest testing it seems even the 'more drops per person' mindset has been removed).
Blizzard have set themselves the Herculean task of balancing 10 and 25 man raiding to give everyone equal choice. If they pull it off then they can justify not rewarding larger raids in preference to smaller ones. On the other hand, if they don't, they have practically signed the death warrant of 25man raiding.
To me it's a stretch too far and I am waiting for the announcement of some unsatisfactory and hastily put together reward package for the 25man scene. Quickly followed by tears from the 10man community feeling like the second born son.
Time will tell.
by Griearth on Dec 20, 2010 at 03:17 PM