10 vs 25

One of the things I’m mulling over is whether 10 or 25 man raids make the most sense for Cold Comfort.

The benefits are fairly obvious: less people means less management (and less drama, but this is going to be a “drama free guild”, right?  *cough*)

The downsides are a little more subtle.  Depending on what you’re trying to get out of raiding in WoW, 10 man may be perfect for you or forever one step removed from where you want to me.

Firstly, a myth needs to be dispelled.  There are two progression paths in WoW since WotLK was released, not one.  It doesn’t go Naxx-10 to Naxx-25 to Ulduar-10 to Ulduar 25.  If you choose to take that route, you’ll will find the content easier because you’ll be constanly getting small upgrades to your gear, but it wasn’t the intended path.

The 10/25 split was to give guilds choice.  If you want the epic feel and massive buff list of a 25 man raid, do that.  If you prefer a small, close-knit group of people whose play styles you know intimately, do 10 man.  Choose one path, and recognize that at any given point in the game, there is a different end point for each progression path.  Ideally, the rewards would be the same, and the choice would end there.  But the QQing masses wouldn’t have that, and so Blizzard chose to differentiate the loot in the two paths.  To be fair, I’m not sure I could have come up with a better solution (other than perhaps something like the Shirt of Uber that they use on the PTR – just scale up gear in 25 mans by a flat %)

In patch 3.0, the end point for gear was ilevel 200 armor and ilevel 213 weapons for 10 man, and ilevel 213/226 for 25 man.  In 3.1, it’s either 219/226 or 226/232.  Note two things: 3.1 raid gear is 1.5 tiers above 3.0 raid gear, and the gap between 10 and 25 has shrunk from a full tier to a half tier.

What you have to ask yourself is whether you are comfortable deafeating all the 10 man content and having best-in-slot from 10 man Ulduar, or whether you will always feel that you have further to go if your guild only does 10 man content.  Considering what your raid gear does for you outside a raid, I would hope the former.

Outside of a raid, your gear lets you do solo content (for which even all-ilevel 200 was OP), heroics (which are easier with better gear, but at present certainly don’t require anything beyond Ulduar-10 to make them a cakewalk) or PvP.  In Patch 3.0 there was an issue with PvP itemization, leading to people running Naxx-25 so that they could dominate in arena.  From what I’ve read, PvP itemization for Season 6 should address this, making PvE gear an acceptable backfill, but not something that will dominate over resilience-laden gear obtained via PvP.

In short, there is nothing in the that requires Ulduar-25 gear except Ulduar-25 hard mode.  Everything else can be breezed through if you are kitted out in Ulduar-10 gear.  Uldaur-10 hard mode would certainly be easier with Ulduar-25 gear, but is that the point?  Wouldn’t it feel better to beat Algalon hard mode using only Ulduar-10 gear?  Blizzard certainly seems to think that doing so is worth recognition – there’s an achievement to beat him using nothing higher than ilevel 226, in order to differentiate between people who can really beat him vs those who need to overgear the encounter to do so.

If I ever seen someone sporting “_Name_, Herald of the Titans”, I’ll know that person really has the goods.

So, other than waving your e-peen around, what exactly is the benefit to heroic raiding?