Cataclysm? That’s just another word for Disaster right

I have to admit, I’m worried already. Not about the “lol smite” direction of the Priest class or by the removal of the Path of the Titans but by the way raiding seems to be going.

I didn’t like the idea of only being able to run an instance on 10 man or 25 man when it was announced. I like the ability to help out friends by running 10 man Onyxia even though I’ve already killed her on 25 man and I believe that removing that ability come Cataclysm takes a way a bit of the “multi-player” aspect. Now it seems to firmly put the emphasis on alts, which is fine if like me you have lots of them, but I know plenty of raiders who only have one character. Oddly enough, it’s nearly always a rogue (they must be a strangely addictive class).

Then comes the news that you will be able to divide 25 mans into up to 3 10 mans. No no no no. The potential for chaos this could cause is worse than the zombie plague of 08. To illustrate my point, let me tell you a story.

Back when Ulduar was cutting edge content, we were working on Freya plus three. Now for some reason people just kept doing all sorts of stupid things, not controlling their aoe, standing in beams, hugging the person exploding and the like. The raid got more and more mutinous. Half the team kept whining that we were obviously undergeared and that we should just kill one add, kill her and move on. The other half were determined to keep going and since the officers were in the latter group, we eventually succeeded.

Now had that been Cataclysm, no doubt the officer led group would been clamouring to divide the raid and conquer. Sure, we would have got that kill a lot faster but it’s hardly fair on those that get left out. There is always the risk that whoever is making the groups cherry picks the best players (which makes sense if you want first kills) but that can destroy the harmony of the guild as a whole. No one likes feeling left out.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth remembering Karazhan and trying to divide the guild equally into two teams each week. In fact I have at least four separate screenshots of people accusing me of bias and generally being a bitch because of their perceptions of the team I put them in. The thought of doing it on the fly, in the middle of a raid where people are already frustrated and pissed off is a nightmare.

When you couple that with the words of Ghostcrawler himself..

Remember that in LK the 10s were specifically designed to be easier (with a couple of exceptions where we messed up) and many players ran them with the loot they earned from their 25s, further exacerbating the problem. Given the complexities of some encounters, realistically it’s probably not possible for every single battle to be of exactly the same difficulty in both 10 and 25, but we have a lot of room to bring them closer together.

and my heart sinks even further. It’s likely that some content will be harder on 10 man and some on 25 man. Now if you’re pushing for server firsts or even just to beat the guild closest to you on the progression list, taking the path of least resistance is the way to do it. For the sake of argument lets go with the first two bosses being easier on 25 man, you clear them and then the third boss is considerably easier if done on 10 man. So you divide the team up into three, getting over the logistical problems like turning two tanks in your 25 man into 6 tanks for three ten mans and dividing seven healers into little pieces. Now A and B manage to kill the boss no problem, but C struggles. Drama ensues. Someone gquits after having a screaming row with three officers and comes back two days later after their tantrum wears off.

To further add to the drama, lets assume that the guild closest to you on the progression list is a 10 man only guild. They are behind because they don’t have the luxury to scale up to tackle the first two fights which are easier on 25 man. Because they are behind, a couple of their crucial players apply to a guild they perceive as being better. So much for a level playing field.

On top of that, I don’t believe that content which is “not equal” should generate the same rewards. Obviously the problem here lies in the fact that whichever is easiest will probably come on a boss by boss basis, but the hardest stuff should always yield the best reward. Otherwise it’s like handing out gold medals to everyone who enters a race even if they come 15th (a primary school I briefly attended did just that –  my father almost had a fit when he discovered the kid who crossed the finishing line about 4 minutes after I did, got the same reward).

Yes, I’m horribly cynical but I swear I didn’t start out this way. Being an officer in two raiding guilds over the last 5 years has shown me all sorts of depressing things the dregs of humanity will do for gear. Raiding for a lot of people is about loot, how fast you can obtain said loot, what sort of loot it is and so on. I’ve experienced guild life from the most casual to the server first level and the people in those guilds behaved very similarly to each other, whether we were talking Naxx or AQ40.

I suppose I don’t like the idea that Blizzard are trying to sell a level playing field, when it’s obvious that there will be a myriad of pitfalls for raiding guilds to fall into.

Personally I prefer 25 man raiding. 10 people is family and friends around a barbecue on a Saturday night. It doesn’t feel epic or exciting to me. I like my raids to be as multi-player as possible. However, I realise and accept that not everyone thinks like me but I don’t believe that Blizzard’s solution will keep many people happy in the long run.

25 mans assuming you have secure leadership, could potentially still have the upper hand because they will be able to always take the fastest path to first kills. That won’t make 10 man guilds who have been sold a promise of equality happy for long. 10 mans could possibly work out as being more challenging that 25 mans across the board, that would force people like me who want a challenge to move to a format I don’t particularly enjoy. Not sure how long that would sustain my interest. Are there enough raid leaders and competent tanks for a massive shift to 10 mans? My guess would be no, but selfishly if push comes to shove, I have a pet raidleader who also doubles as a pet tank.

Yes, it’s still the alpha and a lot could happen between now and Cataclysm going live, but I have to admit I’m losing excitement on a day by day basis. Yes, we coped with shrinking raid size in the Burning Crusade, we coped with running ToC four times per character in one reset and I’m sure we’ll cope what ever happens in Cataclysm but…..


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