10M guilds and raiding: Part 1 – now and back then…

I am a die hard 10M raider. I was raiding strict 10M in Wrath (for those that don’t know jack about it, it’s raiding 10M only content with 10M only available gear; that back in Wrath meant raid comp issues, gear level issues as well as gear itemization issues – the great lack of 10M trinkets for casters back then is prime example). Back then, we were the underdogs, the often mocked “lolformat” of raiding. We did it because it was challenging as hell (strict LK HM kills pre 4.0 = 3 total) and because we preferred the intimacy of 10M close-knit group. As well, 10M being far more easy to organize and run, it was easier on me as GM and Raid Leader.

As noted elsewhere here, I was pretty excited about the intended raiding size changes for Cataclysm; 10M and 25M sharing same loot and same lockout? Yes please. No more belittling of our efforts and achievements, no more needing to prove ourselves. As well, with the gear and the format being on par between the formats, bigger pool for recruiting players for roster (which was constant struggle in 10M, as well as to remain on various “strict” rankings). This coupled with guild experience and guild perks felt like really the good and proper move towards more FnF style of raiding and actually good step forward in the PvE direction.

With T11 normal cleared and Wyrmus heroic beating the dust, I think I couldn’t be more wrong…

Personal update

At one point at the end of Wrath, I kinda decided that I do not want to be GM anymore, that I don’t have the willpower to go on anymore. was disbanded and some people fled server, and two guilds were created on Shadowsong as it’s successors. One of CP officers and the coming-back-to-game GM from before CP decided to roll on with new guild and I was offered a Raid Leader officer spot in the new order. Since I liked the way these two people work and we shared the general view on things, I was thrilled to accept and be part of something new. So came into existence. The idea behind is to provide “Adult friendly” highly focused raiding scheme as well as social hotspot to hangout and chill after work. Pretty much the same thing we did in   a guild with many interesting personalities and progress of 11/12ICC-HC. Well there we were, recruiting pre-Cataclysm, trying to trial the people in and out of outgeared and outpatched content, prepping ourselves for what was supposed to be the Golden Era of small size raiding.

Please note that for the following intents and purposes I am using our guild as the reference in my posts. By that I mean the format – we keep non-alt raiding roster of 12 people and we pride ourselves to provide enough raiding for everyone on the roster without necessary sit-outs; we do not sport 17 people roster to rotate people in-and-out to stack classes, buffs or trivialize mechanics. We unfortunately don’t have Resto druid or Lock/Mage or Rogue and didn’t have for longer period of time since Cataclysm launched, yet we worked our way around that.

Illusions shattering

The reality check was kinda harsh though. We immediately found it hard to recruit anyone – most 25M guilds split into smaller 10M teams and even those pushed off the raiding roster stayed in their old guilds to take advantage of guild perks and level as well as hoping to make the cut “later”.  Many people from “pro” 25M guild came and went on pretty much soon and I realized one thing as we progressed into content with the Wrath 25M raiders on board:

There were 2 possible shifts for 10M raiding for Cataclysm; it could either be balanced as it felt for the 25M overgeared raiders going 10M for fun and points, a faceroll lolcontent basically, or it could’ve been shifted on par with the tougher and challenging 10M strict raiding we already had experience with.

Having healed and progressed normal content from i346 to i359 gear-wise, I can say that the latter is definitely the truth. 10M raiding now is very close to what the 10M strict felt like in Wrath and those 25M raiders were actually kinda blown away by that. Imagine that, you have to work now for 10M gear. I laughed a little when a Rogue suggested healers should do Magmaw spiking because he is loosing dps time if he does it.

We talked about this in /o lately as we killed Nefarian and Halfus then on hard, that afterall it seems we know what we are doing. Yes, yes, praising myself sucks, but no one else is gonna do it. Let me elaborate though – you can see guilds splitting, quitting disbanding left and right (especially lately) and people hitting brick walls whining how hard content is as 10M (not saying that does not happen in 25M, just really don’t follow the scene) whereas us in don’t find it that much harder than it used to be. We just rangered on the same way and with the same goals and approach like in Wrath and here we are,  standing strong and looking forward to hardmodes. Not saying there weren’t any speed bumps along the way, misjudged recruits and other mishaps, just saying that even after all that shit dropping down and hitting the fan, we made it here.

The actual T11 content

I like it difficulty wise, except for few bosses I like the mechanics. There are some old bad habits that come from ICC times, some class balance habits that simply can’t be helped (because fixing them means screwing more things up), but there as well are some good things on current raiding scene.

  • Same as with Discipline priests in ICC, healer composition makes wonders. This was most obvious pre 4.0.6 whenHoly Paladins trivialized most fights to the extent of making a kill or wiping. They were not necessary, but the mana effectivity and sheer throughput of their healing was something to stare at at awe (especially playing resto shaman in bluish gear). Having Holy Paladin on our squad rocketed our progress a fair bit.
  • Interrupting situation is dire. For example fights like Halfus or Maloriak pre-nerf as well as Nefarian are nightmare for 10M raiding guild like ours at this moment. For example, I have one dedicated interrupter at hand and pillars on Nefarian are mostly done on the mechanic of tank and healer hitting their interrupts and praying something will work. The upcoming fix in 4.1 however is godsend and a proof that Blizzard listens.
  • Majority of theorycrafting is less valid. Most of theorycrafters around are in 25M guilds and adjust to their raid compositions and buffs and healer compositions. We don’t have that luxury and we heal what we can, when we can. On the upside, it’s far easier to manage assignments of 3 people than 6-7 to avoid any overhealing and mana-wasting. However, either I am doing it wrong, or plain simple gear guides for 25M raiding don’t work all that well for me.
  • Homogenization of gear – definitely a good thing. I can now plan and contrary to the doom and gloom point above use the theorycrafting breakdown of trinkets, enchants and whatnot made by 25M raiders, because nowadays I can get the same gear as them. Not only same item level (screw that to be honest) but the same type of loot.
  • Loot quantity – I feel this as major setback for 10M raiding at the moment. As much as the gear is the same, bosses always drop the same. And with 2 items dropping per boss, it’s getting old pretty fast. For example we haven’t seen Shaman shoulder token off Cho’gall (4-5 kills me guess), not a single helmet from Halfus (upwards of 10 kills methinks, armory is down so can’t check), Atramedes is quite stubborn with not dropping ranged weapon. The only caster weapon (beside 2 trash swords for Holy Paladins) is my mace from Cho’gall. Didn’t see anything else. But hey, we keep sharding the same belts, bracers, robes every week. Is this the same for 25M raiders, or does your drop-table actually allow for faster gearing?

The state of art

Repeating once again – I am happy with the overall overhaul and difficulty of things as they are. The step up from LOLmode-impossible from wrath 10M to challenging content-overgearedlolcontent-challenging heroic content is nicely done and nicely follows the progression feel as it should, but…

Thinking about it, can’t say my wishes/hopes for Cataclysm 10M raiding were fulfilled or that I am completely happy with the state of things. There definitely are things I’d done differently and few things that I think should be changed in order to make the whole raiding more appealing to the masses. But that’s for another post, another time. For now, let’s stop the excursion to the life of 10M guild here and not get into details, yet.

PS: My spellchecker is not working atm for some reason, so bear with me before I fix it:)

About Rahana

Long time player, former hardcore now casual raider. Talks into everything, does not pay attention to exact theorycraft numbers. View all posts by Rahana

10 responses to “10M guilds and raiding: Part 1 – now and back then…

  • Pad

    Really nice post. I think you hit the nail squarely on the head, although I see a distinct lack of adoring description of your new GM…😮

    I agree with the comment about difficulty level, there is a sense of achievement when something new goes down, a glance at the (completely empty) mana bar and a “phew!” makes it all that extra special. Not Alakir though, I hate that guy.

  • alacranmex

    I switched guilds in cataclysm from a semi-hardcore 25 to a casual 10.

    My old 25 still raids 12 hours a week and my new 10’s guild only 6 hours a week. It’s funny but we are at the same spot in progression.

    I think what you did in Wrath was more difficult in all honesty. The 232 and 251 gear had some really bad trinkets and very poorly itemized gear for resto shaman. I feel for you!

    About the 25 vs 10 gearing, I don’t think you are doing it wrong. Their spell selection should be quite different than ours and therefore will weigh their secondary stats differently.

    • Rahana

      Well I know guilds raiding for 5×3 and not having normals cleared yet, so it definitely is not about time. I’d say that winner is whoever got the stubborn healers who sticked with it when the Cata style hit us as well as someone to motivate them enough and prepare the squad for content that is actually hard, at least compared to ICC times.

      I wouldn’t say Wrath strict was more difficult than 10M raiding now tbh – it was different and it had it’s bad aspects, but not much harder per se.

      • Kae

        I actually would agree that time commitment plays into progression, assuming everything else is roughly equal (namely, player skill and reliability, as suggested). If my guild had more days on its schedule, we’d very likely be further in progression… but we’re happy with 3 days and make the most of our time.

        Reliability definitely does factor into progression, though. If you can’t get the raiders to stick it out, regardless of their role (interrupts, tanks, kiters, healers, dis-spells, etc) then you’re constantly having to recruit and retrain (and regear) your raid, which will set back progression.

        • Rahana

          Of course, if all things equal, time commitment plays into progression. My point was merely that actually knowing what you are doing and being stubborn enough to stick through the thick and thin makes most difference nowadays, with most people hitting the brick wall of failed and/or false expectations of Cataclysm raiding scene, after being victims to ICC pugfests for almost a year.

          It’s actually godsend to have the “core” of TBC (or older raiders) who understand the turnover is always there and that raiding game is not simple as last 3 months of Wrath were (or whenever the majority of people playing the game got into raiding).

          Borsk actually posted a great post about this yesterday – http://borsked.com/2011/03/29/the-raiding-bubble/ in case you missed it, worth reading!

  • Charles

    I’m mostly enjoying 10 normals so far, but I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of raids being balanced for both sizes. From where I’m standing there just doesn’t seem to be the sort of real commitment on Blizzard’s end to aggressively and proactively balance 10-player content in the way they do for 25-player, especially for heroic modes. And despite the increasing moves towards making buffs/debuffs/etc more available, we’re finding it harder than ever to supply the raid with basic, basic stuff like replenishment. I’m still carrying Drums of Forgotten Kings in my bags!

    Despite all the complaints about “homogenisation”, classes and specs are more unique than ever which makes fine-tuning encounters very challenging for a raid that can’t be expected to bring every useful class/spec. And despite gear being the same across raid sizes, playstyle is still very different between 10 and 25 player modes – healing most especially. I love 10-player raiding and I think Blizzard does too, but I think it’s going to get harder and harder to design fights to a consistent level of challenge so long as they’re catering to what are essentially two entirely different gameplay modes.

    That’s just my ‘feeling’, though, and I’d love to be proved wrong.

    • Rahana

      Yeah… simply putting 10 and 25 design as equal and just either dumbing down or increasing the numbers bosses dish out will never work, which is one of the major things I mind now, but they are definitely material for solo post.

      I think homogenisation in the current game design and where it is heading (despite how much I hated in Wrath) is way more needed now. If the encounters are tailored to suit 25M group, despite all best laid plans buffs will be missing in 10M. We simply can’t put togehter the ideal roster. I feel your pain on the buffing front, we raided without replenishment for long time before we got this great SP on board, we still raid without intellect buff of any sort – since Blizzard in their wise mind never made the int buff scrolls live. We have 3 pallies and a druid on roster, so our Drums are catching dust in the GB *knocks on wood* WTS Drums of Kings, pst:)

  • Beruthiel

    Just a note on your paladin weapon! There is a mace from Nef (I know – lacks haste!), but there is also a very nice spirit/haste sword that can come from Al’Akir – it’s just a matter of the random loot gods putting the right stats on the right item:)

    • Rahana

      It’s not much about what drops where, even counting on some drop or holding out isn’t in my nature (tune-in for “BIS philosophy” rant next Tuesday:) ). Whole To4W instance is so popular in my guild that whenever we should go it, people almost tend to “DC”😛 and quite frankly, the instance imho is not worth it for “random” loot, no matter how great the properly itemised things are.

      • Nefernet

        Very nice post. I wrote a bit about this topic a few weeks ago, and times were hard at the time for 10s heroic progression, and I was maybe a bit bitter.

        You wrote it very well.

        And about To4W, in my guild we call it Throne of the four shards… It says pretty all we think about it…😀

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