So Blizzard have released their “Raid Ethos” overview for Cataclysm .. and while I am still in the virtual picket encampment outside their offices over the terrible things they are doing to my beloved Restoration spec.. I do like what I am seeing. Namley that 10 mans will be equitable with 25 mans for the upcoming expansion. Check out the full post here

From my biased point of view I like what they have been saying, but there are ups & downs.

Pro’s:

  • 10 Man raiders will finally stopped being punished for not raiding 25’s – Also means (time permitting) that it should be easier for us to run several groups
  • Means that smaller guilds will still be able to compete with larger guilds

Con’s:

  • Means we need to make a weekly choice between 10’s and 25’s. We couldn’t for example clear a run with 10 then say on an unusually busy night “oh lets go do a 25”
  • Will mean our pool for “progression runs” will be even more broken if anyone decides since they didnt down the first x number of bosses last night so they pugged, which is the same problem we faced in TBC
  • May also mean a slow death for 25’s when people decide that it is just all to much effort for 1 or 2 extra pieces of loot a week

Unsure:

  • Of the fact that they dont want the intro raids to overshadow quest & heroic gear/highlights (I will come back to this)
  • Gating. Yes it means content is streached out. For a bottom rung raider like me .. who cares. But it does extend the top end who might be able to get it done quicker. I don’t see why one play style should be cramped to accommodate another.
  • Smaller multiple raids vs longer involved raids (again I will come back to this)

I like the idea of equal loot mostly because it will allow players to play the type of dungeon they enjoy without feeling penalised for it. But having 10 man & 25 man share a raid lockout is not in the best interest of small, casual or social guilds either.

Smaller or Casual guilds often require that their members be available for one type (10 or 25) and that barring that selection they are free to pug whatever they want. With those guilds they often have more playeyrs then spots but the players don’t mind missing a week in 10 or 25 because they know tey can pug the other.

In a situation where it comes back to don’t pug at all .. I think that we will see more problems erupt in smaller guilds or casual guilds then you did at any time during Wrath, I forsee rampant Guild breakdowns and poaching like was seen at the end of TBC because by being withheld from the main guilds run one week or two in a row will become a much much bigger deal than it is currently.

With Wrath guilds can still progress and players not in a progression run can still hold themselves in reserve for the team/guild without being unable to raid at all that week .. from what I am hearing Cataclysm will change that, and I don’t think its for the better, at least with what I know so far.

Smaller multiple raids vs longer involved raids

To Quote Blizzard: ” We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week. “

On this topic I am torn, and it will of course be determined on how things turn out. For example .. say we head into a short run, its over and done with quickly. 4 or 5 bosses feels more like an instance than a raid and any raid with only 1 boss always feels a bit like a pinyata prize party. So shorter raids, even if there are multiple raids .. feels less like an epic experience than it does an easy way out to make things easier on all involved. But personally I enjoy the longer Raids, even the longer instances for that matter. To this day my Favourite all time instance is Blackrock Depths, it was truly an epic experience .. now granted I wouldn’t want to run it as a daily random everyday BUT as a dungeon it is still one of my favourites and the same holds true for longer raids like Kara & Ulduar.

In Wrath they gave us a great tool for longer raids – the ability to extend dungeon lockouts. Blizzard gave us a way to extend raids and our progression through them. You could extend it week after week so long as you killed at least 1 boss in the intervening week. Great Idea for longer raids. Then, I think it was one patch later, they introduced Raid Weeklies. Considering the bosses to kill for these were usually the first or 2nd boss .. and you would never know what was coming, made it a worry to extend raid lockouts .. BUT it didn’t make it impossible since you had options between 10 & 25 man. Having said that should they keep “raid weeklies” this will make it easier with short dungeons then longer ones as you should be able to clear 4-6 bosses far more quickly than 11 or getting to a situation like “aww crap its gonna be Marrowgar .. and we had extended our run last week at Sindragosa”

I hope that Blizzard makes a decent mix between Epic and “Time Constrained” (TC) dungeons and raids so that everyone can be kept happy. While Blackrock Depths is great (and something like I would love to see implemented again) I would rather do Utgarde Keep as a quick dungeon before I go to work as my daily. Wrath has had a fair balance of Epic vs TC raids – you have the longer Naxxrammas, Ulduar and Icecrown and 5 shorter raids. Its dungeons like all those from TBC though are all TC friendly with no really epic feeling dungeons. When you invade a keep or dungeon filled with multiple bosses and sprawling labrynths it feels like the adventure you immersed yourself in to play .. you are the hero with his band of caompanions taking on all the odds. On the other hand I don’t get that feeling when I do Onyxias Lair, Gruul’s, Eye of Eternity or Trial of the Crusader – they hold nothing to give me that “epic feeling”. Lets hope that Cataclysm can balance out the two

Of the fact that they dont want the intro raids to overshadow quest & heroic gear/highlights

Blizzard Quote: “In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience. ”

As a player that loves to follow each and every questline I heartily approve of the fact that they want people to enjoy this experience and to see a decent reward from a leangthy or challenging questline. But the fact is not everyone agrees with me. Some people just like to get to the top and then max themselves out – like those who laugh at people who do older raids (ie Classic or TBC) because it is no longer top content. Having a clear structure of gearing Such as Raids > Dungeons > Quest (on average) allows those who are not interested in everything else to simply shoot up to what they are after.

Still even if we disregard how people like to level or gear .. Raids should promote better gear and they should overshadow heroics and quest rewards. Because as fun as 5 mans and quests are they can be done at your liesure whenever you want, where raids require at least a minimal amount of concerted effort, a greater challenge overall than what quests or heroics provide, and simply more people. If people are already ignoring stuff now because its rewards are not as great as the raids they can do what will happen when the raids they can do are not as good as a quest or dungeon upgrade?

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