Resurrecting the 25 vs 10 raid size debate – does size matter?
Several posts on blogs lately and twitter buzz sparked me to throw in my 2 cents. As an advocate (some may call me an evangelist) of 10 man team raiding, it hits home.
Rewind a bit.
In my very own history, I didn’t even play this game when the eipc 40 man raiding was so big. In TBC, I raided for fun in 10 mans, and learned what it even meant. I learned how to heal and dps in Kara with a group of experienced friends. In Wrath, I dipped my toes in 25 man raiding for the first time, joined a 25m raiding guild. I raided 4-5 days per week for months until the leadership flaked out and our guild disbanded. When we reformed the guild with core members left behind, we made a new team and new goals, we vowed to stick to multiple focused 10 man raiding teams. We ended the expansion with 2 core 10 man raid teams, similar progression, and our frost wyrm drakes from ICC.
Now to be clear, we currently raid 3 days per week (2 required, 1 optional), 2.5 hours per night and are not hardcore in our teams like other guilds set on raiding 5 days. We expect a hell of a lot of professionalism from our raiders though. We raid with limited time because of our jobs and lives, most of us are over 25 years old. Â We have high demands to meet our progression goals. We call is casually hardcore, not casual in our progression or demands, but with limited raid time requirements.
But the bottom line is that we chose several 10 man raiding teams as apposed to one single 25 man. Why is this?
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what your preference is. Neither is better than the other in terms of raid size, both drop the exact same ilevel loot now. However, I will tell you my observations as an officer and raid leader and what I do / don’t like about both. Maybe you share the same, or maybe you’ll give 10 man raiding a chance if you were against it before, still others are used to the feel of 25 man teams and prefer it. None of these options are wrong :)
My observations with 10 man raiding:
- Some 10 man encounters are significantly harder than 25 man. For example, Cho’gall with the mindcontrol interrupts. Or fights where you simply can’t afford to lose a SINGLE person on 10 man but you can pull it off in 25 man with 1 less healer or 1 less dps (not counting hardmodes).
- You will lack buffs in 10 man raids, this can makeÂ encountersÂ also harder based on raid composition. Missing a mage? Yeah noÂ intellectÂ buff. Â Missing a pally? Yeah no Kings or Might. Missing a hunter or shammy and have high nature damage? Yeah.. no nature resist. This is easily avoidable in 25 man raiding. Â Raiding as 10 mansÂ are very setup-dependent, and the favorable raid composition changes between bosses as well, this makes it difficult to have the optimal group setup with 10 mans. You have a hell of a lot less options. Of course, with hunters now able to bring pets who can supply missing buffs this Â helps, but what if you don’t have a hunter?
- I much prefer the intimacy of the 10-man environment. You really KNOW your teammates. There isn’t aÂ massiveÂ roster.Â You probably know their personalities, better than in a big 25 man team.
- Vent / Mumble / TS is easier to listen to! With 10 mans, you also don’t have as much massive chaosÂ on Vent. I remember on blood queen on 25 man, at some point I muted vent so I could actually focus on healing. It was one person talking over another person about bites here and there. And I hated it. I notice in 10s, even with a few people speaking up on the fight, it’s controlled and easy to manage and I can hear everyone clearly.
- There is more responsibility for each member of the 10-man team. Every 25-man raid team that Iâ€™ve been a part of, itâ€™s really easy to â€œcarryâ€ a couple people (except hardmode content). In 10-man, each person has to work to their maximum potential in order to succeed under all circumstances. You can’t carry ANYONE in most fights, this is a challenge that I love. The demand on every single player is key to making the fights.
- Some say 10 mans are easier to manage (roster wise) some say theÂ opposite. I say, in our setup each team has a 13 man roster (1 extra tank and 1 extra healer both with GOOD raiding offspecs and gear) and we normally have 1 standby per raid night. Even this is kind of rare. Most of the time something comes up and so and so had to work late. We have a very good balance of standby and confirmations, it’s much better then managing our previous 25 man roster. And because we raid 2 days (required) per week, most of our raiders are consistent in signing and showing up. I’d say 95% of the time the same, full team is there.
- It’s easier to get 10 players together for a 10 man raiding team than 25 man. Yes this is true to an extent. It’s easier, in general, to gather together 10 players for a team than 25. That is very true. But the same difficulty applies to both, good luck in gathering GOOD players. You can carry 1 or 2 mediocre players in a 25 man team, you can carry ZERO so-so players in a 10 man. If you are aiming for 25 SUPERAWESOME players, sure this is more difficult than gathering 10 SUPERAWESOME players, but it’s hard to find good players… period.
- 10 man teams are great for guilds with altaholics. Several (uhmm read this as most) of us have raid geared alts. Our 2 teams actually raid on 2 different sets of raid nights. In the super rare occurance that someone’s PC has blown up (we had 2 of those this week), we have alts from the other team to fill in out our team. GEARED raid alts. Â Let’s just say that team 2 is focusing on Cho’gall the entire week, that left their main open for Blackwing to help out team 1. We find the balance to be easy with 2 teams like this. Especially when half the guild has 2-3 raid ready characters. Â We also run 1 weekly alt / social run for mains who are available due to their team’s focus that week and alts to continue their gear progression.
- 10 man progression requires higher ilevel gear than 25 man.Â You can see it here, in general you need better gear for 10 man progression clears. Why is this? My guess is that some encounters are just easier on 25 man teams, likely due to the team composition limitations in 10 man teams.
- Despite all of this, 25 man teams are still topping progression charts. Why is this? Maybe 25 man teams are still seen to be “hardcore”, maybe the pro players only flock to the Vodka’s of this world. Or maybe this is simply due to the error in the data collection, after all the achievements are the same between 10 and 25s, and most progress sites have problems to measure in Cataclysm.
No matter which way you cut it, both raiding team sizes require dedication, punctuality, and skill in order to progress. However, for our guild, we prefer the balance and joy we get from dual 10 man teams. Â We have a healthy alt community in our guild, and find 10s to be ultra challenging with some encounters and allow us to raid different days with different teams (and full and backup if needed). Thankfully with a guild full of adults with heavy lives, this works well for our mature raiders. This may not be the same for all teams out there.
My only recommendation is to remain open minded and look at both options as options, not with the eye that one is better than the other. The biggest piece of advice that I can give is this, if your guild is established and working in one or another raid team format, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T CHANGE IT. If you are setting up a new guild or resurrecting a fallen guild, it’s a good time to look at how it could be and have an open mind to both options. One isn’t more l33t than the other.