Thunderforged: Will it Breathe Life into 25 mans?

The new Thunderforged item concept adds another two levels of items into raids. Only available to items that are non-tier. Not sure how the slight stat allocation of Thunderforged compares to the set bonuses that tier provides, but that’s not the object of discussion here.

Much of the feedback Blizzard received was around 25 man raiding and how to proportionately reward those who eagerly go through the logistical challenges of organizing them (y’know, hopeless idiots like myself). 25 mans are gradually diminishing. Top guilds Vodka and Exodus merged resulting in the loss of another prominent 25 man guild.

Coming to the PTR in the near future will be a new designation of item type in Normal and Heroic raids for non-tier pieces. Each 5.2 raid boss will have a chance of dropping this new designation of a particular item that’s 6 item levels higher than their counterparts. These higher quality versions will be called “Thunderforged”. This means that there will be five variations of some items. You’ll now see a 5.2 raid item of LFR quality at item level 502, the same item in Normal quality at item level 522, the item in Normal Thunderforged quality at item level 528, the Heroic version of the item at level 535, and the Heroic Thunderforged version of the item at level 541.


We’ve also received a lot of feedback regarding 25-player raids, and have been looking for ways to address some concerns. Ever since we changed 10-player raids to drop the same item level as 25’s, we’ve seen a steady decline in 25-player raiding. This isn’t surprising. A 25-player raid takes an extra level of logistical commitment for the officers of those groups. It’s unfortunately easy for a 25-player guild to collapse down into a 10-player guild, but very unlikely for the opposite to happen. However, we like 25-player raiding and don’t want to see it go away. Like many players, we love the epic feeling that comes with banding together more massive groups to battle powerful foes, we love that there’s opportunity for those groups to try out new players or unusual comps without causing a huge burden, and we want to support the larger raiding guilds. That said, we’re also concerned that over-rewarding the 25-player guilds-if, for example, we went back to a higher item level across the board for 25’s, as was the case for Icecrown Citadel-would feel like a slap in the face to the many 10-player raiders out there, who are the majority of our Normal and Heroic raiders.

To attempt to navigate this minefield, we’re going to try having Thunderforged items drop more frequently in 25-player raids. They’ll be somewhat rare in both cases compared to the standard versions that’ll drop, but they’ll be even rarer in 10’s. Overall, a 25-player group will be more likely to end up with a slightly higher item level after several weeks of raiding.

This isn’t going to have much effect on the guilds that already run 25 man raids. Conquest has survived some of the worst ordeals in it’s history. 10 man raiding has never been a long term solution in any fashion and it never will be as long as I continue to run it. The players and the leaders have no interest in it all and that resiliency has helped us.

Have to admit, reward incentive here with the Thunderforged is cool. It’s a neat compromise to the whole suggestion of adding a completely different level of gear between 25s and 10s (the Wrath style). I’ve seen cases of 25s dropping down to 10s but I have never seen a 10 man raid step up to a 25 man raid which continues to be active. If you happen to be the architect of such a move, give me a shout!

More importantly, is this going be enough to influence players to make the switch from 10 to 25? I don’t think so. My guess is no. The interactions I’ve had with the 10 man players is that they have no interest in the logistical maintenance that’s required at the 25 level. There’s a strong preference for the closer intimacy that’s offered.

This change seems to be targeting the players that like having the best stuff available. They raid a set amount of hours a week and they want to really maximize their return on their time investment.

What about the leaders? As I said, it’s a cool reward for the few that brave the logistical nightmares. But if you’re a 10 man raid leader, is it enough to consider to make that shift? I’m not sure about that. Seems to me that the players already comfortable where they are don’t want to take that leap. I gather there’s large number of players that aren’t raiding purely for the gear level (but I acknowledge that there are some who do).

During Wrath, 25s were the dominant raiding force. The challenges there offered undoubtedly better geared compared to the 10 man counterparts. With this in place, 25 man raiders have a better chance of securing better gear compared to the 10 man raiders. The 10 man players won’t be shut out. They’ll still have a chance at it but it won’t be as strong. We’ll have to wait and see what the frequency of the Thunderforge drops are going to be.

I took a quick poll on Twitter to see what other people felt.

Here’s what you said:

Yup, I figured that was going to be the case for quite a few players. What else?

Also understandable. Doesn’t matter how good the rewards and incentives are. Sometimes there is no price that’s high enough. next?

So not exactly eager to look for a 25 but won’t resist if the current leadership decides to go that route. That’s fair. It does lower the barrier slightly. And this change does seem to go after the players that are either on the fence or virtually indifferent.

Oof, I hate hearing about situations like that. Players joining a guild expecting one kind of experience only for that to be abruptly changed soon after. It’s crappy.

That’s unexpected. So in the grand scheme of things, there is an extremely slight chance that it’s enough to split a 10  man (maybe not break it).

What are your thoughts on this addition? Is it enough to give you a reason to start looking around for 25s? Are you or your raid leaders suitably incentivized to give 25s a shot or look for a guild to merge with? Or does nothing change and the status quo is maintained?

8 thoughts on “Thunderforged: Will it Breathe Life into 25 mans?”

  1. Blizzard is in a tough spot. I don’t think they could do anything to make me seek out 25s except introduce non-10 player content. 
    One thing Blizzard could do is look at the challenges of a 10 man guild trying to become a 25 man guild faces. Shameless plug, bu tI talk about this a little on the blog today:
    – Honorshammer aka Ted

  2. The one problem that I’ve always had with this debate is this: While 25 mans are harder to organize (which really isn’t that true in a guild full of people that really love raiding, they’ll be there, there’s no “herding” necessary), 25 mans are also much more forgiving.
    You have one guy not pulling his numbers in a 25 man?  That’s fine.  There are 5 people that are pulling more than enough to make up for his lack of DPS.  Have one guy that can’t stay out of the fire?  That’s fine.  With three battle rezes, you have some wiggle room.
    You don’t have those luxuries in 10 mans.  One bad dps?  Good luck, you probably won’t get a kill (I”ve seen it on Elegon this tier).  Guy can’t stay out of the fire?  He has one chance to learn.  After that, he’s dead for the duration…. 
    Yet, I never hear people say, “10 mans have less room for error, they should be given something.”  Nope.  We’re not and that’s fine.  But this idea that 25s should be rewarded for simply being a 25 is wrong, in my opinion.

    • Darthkeller On the flip side, anytime there is a spread out mechanic, 10s have more real estate to work with because we use the same rooms as the 25 man fight. Plus in fights that really stress the individual it’s statistically more likely someone makes a mistake with 25 than 10.
      Whichever raid size is harder or easier is the subject of pages and pages of debate. What is not in debate is that 25 man raiding is struggling. I’m glad Blizzard is trying to address it. I don’t think this particular idea will accomplish their goal, but it might serve to stem the bleeding some.

    • TedtheThird Darthkeller I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment fully, Darth. At the 25 man level, DPS checks are going to be horrendously tight. The 10 man level I’ve found to be a little more relaxed because of the numbers difference between 10 and 25. The reason being is that 10 man groups are extremely limited in which classes and compositions they run that’s why the DPS checks aren’t going to be as tight otherwise guilds with slightly non-optimal comps won’t be able to compete with the guilds that have players with multiple alts (and are flexible). There’s been periods where I’ve actually had a full roster but was tempted to deliberately go shorthanded on a heroic boss because they weren’t able to pull off certain mechanics (Arcane Resonance, Amber, Teron Gorefiend, etc).

  3. Guilds that jump from 10 to 25: Ceraphus’s guild <PoN> does this every expac because they don’t enforce or encourage their raiders to level up quickly.  I believe he’s discussed this on The Sundering before where his raiders take weeks & months to be ready for the first tier, then want to immediately jump into the second tier upon release, without the benefit of the farmed gear, or even finishing current tier normal progression. 
    I think Ted hits it right on the head in his counter to Darthkeller. Plainly put, we’ve lost players who couldn’t cut it in 25s and they went on to full clears in 10s.  Perhaps the environment rejuvenated them, but more likely the logistics of the fights better fit their skill set. The other thing I’ve heard from honest 10-man leaders is “it’s not that we’re good, just that we’re consistent”.  A 10-man can be just 10 people, a 25 is usually around 30+ raiders to accommodate schedules, etc. I only bring this up because I agree with Moeshe’s point in his response to the official forums; that having the gear itself be thunderforged instead of dropping an item like the crystallized upgrade deal in Firelands means that progression-minded raids will keep their starting line-up in on farm because of the slight chance that gear they need could drop.  It will also mean that off-sets are build at a slower pace as thunderforged gear is not supplimental to the normal set of drops (the boss still only drops 6 pieces, not a 7th piece), and clearly the thunderforged would go to a main spec upgrading those few ilvls versus an off-tank or tank-dps, etc. 
    My suggestion: Give 25’s the higher ilvl gear we got in WotLK, and compensate 10s by giving them 3-day lock-outs.

  4. Viktory As a 10-man raider, I have a few problems with the 3-day lockout system
     1) If there’s content that I can do, there’s content that I WILL do… In other words: If I can kill a boss every 3 days (and a lot of guilds are like this), we will run the same content every three days.  BURN-OUT HERE WE COME.
    2) Most “official” wow sites list Method as the #1 guild in the world.  How many “world first kills” do they have?  ZERO.  The first guild to kill every boss this tier (they weren’t first on every boss, just the first to be 16/16) was Paragon.  However, because Paragon was a 10-man, no one counts that as “real raiding”.  If you change to a 3-day lockout, you DESTROY any chance of 10-man being “real raiding”.  “Of course Paragon killed everything first, they got to raid every 3rd day instead of 7th….”.  No thank you.
    TedtheThird I agree that 25s are struggling.  But placing a carrot on a stick won’t fix it.  If you think it will (and I’m not accusing you of thinking this, just go with me here) look at the Call-to-Arms in heroics.  During Cata the queue for heroics was 30+ minutes long for DPS.  They introduced the CTA system.  The times went down.  Today, they are…….. 30+ minutes long.  In other words, sure, this will make 25s more appealing today.  But, that appeal will wear off and they will still have to deal with the actual problem, not just the symptoms.
    What is the problem?  I don’t know.  I’ve only been in a few 25 man guilds.  All in all, I’d say the problem IS NOT 10 man, or 25 man, or 40 man, or whatever…. I’d say the problem is WoW.  It’s old.  People are going to quit.  Unfortunately, they aren’t being replaced by the hardcore raiders of Vanilla/BC, they are being replaced by those who played Pokemon when they were 15 and are now in their late 20s early 30s…. Different player.  Different mindset.
    I think the second problem (and again, this is all opinion) is MoP.  Sure, it looks pretty and all that.  But the gating of gear behind dailies, the grind, all that, has turned off people that might have joined a raiding guild and that would have worked up to a 25 man guild… Just a thought.


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