One of the quirky tweaks/ features about raiding in Wrath is that every raid instance now has both a 25 man version (heroic mode) and a 10 man version (normal mode), and the raid leader picks a mode before anyone zones in.
There has been some debate about whether 10 mans are easier than 25 mans. Some encounters scale better than others, and the hardest raid encounter currently in game (Sarth+3) is hardest in 10 man mode precisely because it doesn’t scale down well.
Blizzard’s original goal was that they should be of similar difficulty, but the 10 mans would be more accessible because of it being easier to get 10 people together than 25.
What this means is that if you have the time and the raid group available, you can run all the raid content twice every week. You could argue that this is a cheap way to make an additional 10 man track — in TBC Blizzard created 10 man raid instances that were designed from the start for 10 man groups. You could also argue that the requirement that every encounter needs to scale for both 10 and 25 man groups puts too many restrictions on encounter designers; some of the intricate 25 man raid encounters from TBC might never have been invented if designers had to make them scale down.
But I have a lot of fun in our 10 man raids. I think it’s been a boon for the 25 man raid group also. Oddly enough, even though I’m kind of bored of the current raid content, I don’t think having run it in 10 mans as well as 25 mans made that boredom happen faster.
I’m looking forwards to running more 10 man nights in Ulduar, and here are 11 reasons why.
1. Keep the keener raiders busy on off-nights. Some people just like the game and want to play more often than their raid group’s 25 man schedule.
2. Learn the encounters more quickly. Especially for a technical encounter, it can take a few attempts before people really ‘get’ it. If you have the opportunity to run 10 mans alongside 25 man progression raids, you get twice the chance every week to learn the raids.
It means that everyone has more chances to practice taking different tanking/healing/dps roles in an encounter that provides them (eg. tanking adds vs tanking the boss, healing the tank vs special healing assignments, kiting/ crowd control vs killing adds vs any special role).
I know our 10 man raid killed both Kel’Thuzad and Malygos before the 25 man raid did. And as a result of that, at least 10 people in the 25 man raid knew those encounters well before we got to them.
It also means that people get a chance to practice other raid roles, like raid leading and tank/healer assignments. Both of those are easier to practice in 10 man raids, especially if you are with friends and in a less stressful atmosphere.
3. Get to see different encounters. This is probably more applicable to casual raid groups like mine but in any fixed schedule, some people can’t make some days. For example, I don’t raid on Thursdays because I meet some friends at a pub quiz.
Via 10 man raids, people get a chance to see and learn content they might miss on 25 man raids. And vice versa.
4. Quicker Gearing. On first stepping into a new tier, raiders who run both 10 and 25 man every week will be able to gear up more quickly. It’s not guaranteed that 10 man Ulduar loot will be any better than 25 man Naxx loot – in fact it probably won’t. But if people do have any gaps in gearing, they’ll fill them faster if they have the option of using either.
From what we have seen of the loot tables, it looks as though drops from hardmode 10 man Ulduar encounters will be superior to non-hardmode 25 man. This is another reason to encourage the 10 mans to go gear themselves up and learn those hard mode fights.
5. Gearing for off-specs. Because of all the extra loot that you can get from running the instances on both 10 and 25 mode, it’s likely that people will be able to snag 10 man loot for their off-specs. This is more of a perk for hybrids, but it is good for everyone if raids never stall for lack of geared tanks or healers.
6. People can bring alts. 10 man raids very quickly shift to ‘alt nights’ after people’s main characters have all the loot that they wanted.
7. More accessible for smaller guilds or groups of friends. Not everyone has a 25 man raid group to hand, and it is easier to get a 10 man group together. Assuming you have a few friends who raid, it’s very quick and easy to get the core of a 10 man group together.
8. Profit! There’s cash, badges, and maybe even rare crafting recipes in them thar 10 mans. Once the raid is on farm (ie. lower repair costs), a weekly 10 man run can be a fun way to earn gold to cover 25 man raiding expenses.
9. Challenge. Usually the 25 man raids are harder than the 10 man equivalents. But that doesn’t mean that 10 man raids don’t pose a challenge, and the hard modes are likely to give even progression guilds a run for their money.
10. Practice playing off-specs. In the new dual spec world, 10 mans offer an opportunity to practice playing different specs.
11. Friendlier environment. A 10 man raid will usually be a lot less regimented than the 25 man equivalent. People tend to be chattier on voice chat because there are fewer people to interrupt. It’s a smaller group, and that usually means a friendlier, more relaxed feel. For some people, that’s just more fun!