Keeping 25s Alive

I was reading this post at Unwavering Sentinel with different ideas on how to keep 25 man raiding alive. It’s something I’ve been thinking on and off about both from the perspective of a GM and as a normal player.

At the heart of, we should first analyze what makes a 25s player want to raid 25s. 10s is easier to manage. It’s difficulty varies from 25 from encounter to encounter. And you’re not as likely to cancel raids because you can usually rock 10 players (although 25s is more forgiving in this regard since running shorthanded a player on 25s isn’t going to be crushing as down 1 on 10).

For me, more is fun. I love large scale engagements. I prefer working with the army as opposed to the special forces group. More macro than micro. Maybe I really like raiding with 24 friends because I don’t want to leave 15 people I know out in the dust.

I get that players like the closeness and intimacy that 10s offer. Personally, I’m not looking for nor am I really interested in that type of stuff. I figure if you get too close to someone and know them too well, you’ll get irritated or annoyed at something. More players means you don’t get personnel fatigue from being with the same select group of people over and over. But that’s not a raid size matter (it’s more leaning towards guild size anyway).

The developers have recognized that they haven’t done enough to inject enthusiasm for 25s. One of the solutions that have been implemented for Mists is that even though the loot between 10s and 25s will remain the same, 25s will gear out faster. Instead of 5 drops per boss, we’re getting 6. All things considered equal, a 25s group would theoretically have a decked out raid faster.

We’re going to examine the solutions presented by Zellviren.

Solution 1: Make 25-man have specific rewards

This is singlehandedly the absolute best solution to revitalize 25 man raiding bar none. By making 25s the main route for the best loot, those players motivated by the flashiest and most powerful gear would have no choice but to enlist in a 25s guild.

But we all know that’s not an option on the table. This was something that was done during Wrath. Separate item levels between 10 and 25.

Solution 2: Make 25-man have specific achievements.

One could take this a step further and maybe add a guild achievement for a clear on 25 in addition to a 10. Of course, the unfortunate part of this is that it wouldn’t be possible at all for a guild to obtain every guild achievement. Maybe make it an either/or thing. If you clear it on 10, you get the toast for a 10 man raid. If you clear it on 25, you get the 25 one instead. But once you get one, maybe have it set that it’s not possible to get the other.

Solution 3: Creating “guild alliances”

I don’t know about this method. From a technical stand point, it wouldn’t be difficult to modify at all. But as a GM, it can be politically difficult to entertain the idea of cross raiding with a different guild. Who gets to quarterback the raid? How is loot going to be handled? If all hell breaks loose, it’s not uncommon for fingers to start pointing at each other on blame. It’s a solid idea but my guess is that human nature would work against it.

On the other hand, I’m a cynic.

Solution 4: The 25-man raiding “pool”.

A queue of raiders presents an interesting tool for GMs and raid leaders. It helps resolve calling raids based on attendance. In addition, it gives free agents out there a chance to throw themselves out in the world and see what else is out there. Maybe their server has limited progression or there aren’t many large guilds around. It’s like a match making service that’s one grade higher than LFR. However, I feel that this is more of a bandaid solution than one that would truly revitalize 25s.

What about removing the lockout?

One thing I want to propose with regards to lockouts is to remove them entirely. Instead, use the raid finder style of loot lockouts to limit gear acquisition.

Give players the ability to run as many bosses as they want in whatever raid size they want, but limit item rewards to their first kill of that week.

Say I’m on a weekend 10 man group. We clear out all of heroic Dragon Soul. The 25s group runs during the weekday and Monday rolls around. They find out that Peter Lafleur, one of the healing priests in that group, has national dodgeball championships that Monday and isn’t able to come in. Instead of resorting to a pug or a possibly undergeared alt, I can offer up my main priest instead. I’ve cleared out all of the bosses in Dragon Soul rendering me completely ineligible for any loot but that’s okay because I can still help out my fellow guild members.

Actually, some additional icing on the cake would be to allow gold drops to keep recurring. I wouldn’t mind raiding and farming bosses as an income stream.

The possible counterpoint to this is how would achievements be handled? The achievement with the 4 platforms on Deathwing normally takes guilds 4 weeks to get. Being able to reset and re-engage Deathwing anytime means they’d be able to nail that achievement inside a day. I’m not sure how to reconcile something like that because it gives raid groups the ability to re-attempt achievements anytime they want instead of waiting out a week for everything to reset.

If the idea of unlimited lockouts is too extreme, perhaps the moderate idea of one 10 man and one 25 man would suffice. During Wrath, we ran both 10s and 25s to maximize gear drops for our characters. But if it’s restricted to only one chance on obtaining loot, we’d be able to pick and choose a raid size at our discretion.

It’s just something to think about. For you who raid 25s, what is it that motivates you to do that? Why do you think you haven’t switched or would never consider shifting down a size to 10?

Player’s Choice Raid: Your 5 Picks?

Let’s fast forward a few years. The 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft is about to hit. To celebrate 10 years of WoW, Blizzard has decided to create an instance filled with 5 bosses of your choice that have their stats and levels modified to whatever the current levels are. It’s a Trial of the Crusader style of an instance. You’re locked in a large arena with no way out.

It’s you, your friends, and your wits.

You get to pick any 5 bosses from any raid instance or outdoor raid boss in the history of the game.

My picks (Trial of the Insane)

  1. Mimiron
  2. Archimonde
  3. Nefarian 1.0
  4. Professor Putricide
  5. Kil’Jaeden

Mimiron’s been a favourite of mine. It’s like 3 mini bosses in one who then Voltron into a combined beast at the end.

Archie’s a huge headache. It took me a long time to get him down and is one of the most satisfactory kills I’ve ever picked up as a raider.

I’m interested in seeing what a post MoP Nef 1.0 encounter would look like. He gets a refresh and picks out abilities based on class (and maybe spec) during his phase 2. In a way, you get to pick your poison against him based on the lineup your raid brings.

Good news everyone! You get to pass plague around all over again in the level 100 version of the raid against Professor Putricide! Is your raid organized enough to automatically divvy themselves up based on which colour debuff they receive? Do they know who is dirty and who is clean?

Lastly, Kil’Jaeden. The boss I’ve worked on the longest in my entire raiding career. Heroic Zon’ozz was close but came up short. Learning to utilize the pet dragon, the positioning, handling all the incoming abilities was like a symphony coming together and making pitch perfect music.

What about you? Which 5 bosses would make it on your Player’s Choice list?

Help! Need Your Resources and Links!

I’ve been asked by my overlords to compile a large list of resources and links for WoW players. The internet is just too damn large. There’s new blogs starting everyday and sites being abandoned or taken down almost weekly. It’s a little bit much even for me.

So I’m requesting reinforcements!

Blogs.  These are typically sorted by class. But I know there’s a few that write about more than one class. For example, although Restokin closely identifies with druids of the resto and balance variety, there’s some advice on other classes. The stipulation though is that the blog must continue to be active and predominantly about WoW. Last updated 2011 doesn’t count. I won’t care if there’s stuff about the occasional League of Legends frustrations but it’s meant to be list of WoW resources. Even non-class specific stuff for gold and transmog would be welcome as I don’t know much about those either.

Strategy sites. Sites like Learn 2 Raid, Icy Veins, and Tankspot would fit nicely here. I’m sure there’s others out there.

Podcasts. I don’t listen to any podcasts at all. I’ve never gotten used to that medium. I like being able to read, scan, and skim. Can’t really do that with podcasts and I find that I have to listen to a bunch of stuff I have no interest in (such as hunter changes) before we get to the good stuff (raid and healing). However, if you have any favourites, please send them my way.

General news. This one’s more or less locked down. MMO Champion, WoWHead news, and Curse are the big ones.

Others. Character development tools are cool (WoW Reforge, Ask Mr Robot). General recruiting sites or forums. Guild tools. Basically anything that’s WoW related that might not fit other sections. I can create a second category for them.

Anyway, I’d greatly appreciate any resources you can provide. Feel free to comment below or email me as well.

[VIDEO] Mists Beta: Videos from the Vault of Mysteries

Managed to queue into the second half of Mogu’shan Vaults on beta this week really late at night. I figured while these attempts were still fresh on my mine, I could at least get some pointers and notes down along with the recorded video. Apologies for the 720p. I found out that my bottleneck’s my video card (GTX 460, looking to get a 670 later on).

Didn’t actually take down Will of the Emperor. Got to within 2% left before the raid buckled. It’s fairly repetitive and you get the idea of what’s going on. I’ll keep making notes and additions with any changes or insights I get later on as we get into the expansion itself.

My favourite encounter by far is the Spirit Kings. Just so much going on with both covering the raid and making sure you don’t get screwed by specific player abilities. Elegon’s a visual beauty, too.

I’ll get the first half of Mogu’shan Vaults up in a few days. If you can’t wait, you can see them on my Youtube channel.

5 Year Blogiversary (And beta keys for you)

EDIT: Sorry folks, keys have been distributed out. Thanks for your feedback and thoughts!

Technically, the 5th year anniversary of the blog is tomorrow. In previous years, I’ve always wanted to offer something back to the community as a way of saying thanks for sticking around and your support. This year, I actually do have something I can hand out.

10 Mists of Pandaria beta keys

I know it’s late, but that’s why I wanted to get this post out a little early to maximize time. If you’re interested in a key, drop me a comment here or email me (Contact form at the top).

Tell me what part of the expansion you’re looking forward to and what topics you’re interested in reading about from Joe or myself.

Do me a favour, and double check your email. If you’re on Twitter, put your username there so I can reach you that way as well. I’ll pick get in touch with winners sometime tomorrow morning.

After you’re done with your response, I highly recommend you visit TwizzCast and give my buddy Twizz’s podcast a listen. A public thank you from me to him is in order as without him, I wouldn’t have any keys to give away.

Five years. That’s a long time. That’s 5 years of me keeping you occupied during your coffee breaks at work (or just your work in general). I feel bad for slowing down your productivity :(. But really, thank you to everyone for reading the posts here, sharing your perspectives, and being awesome in general.

I deem you all honorary bros.

P.S., If you haven’t stopped by my Youtube channel recently, I’ve uploaded 3 MoP raiding videos from Mogu’shan Vaults in LFR if you’re interested in seeing what you’ll be up against. You’ll be able to see examples of me standing in bad stuff while wrestling with text messages from one of my Resto Druids Disappointed smile. Not intentional, I promise.