Sunday, January 11, 2009

How heroic are heroic raids?

As I mentioned, Friday was my first "heroic" 25-man raid to Naxxramas. And I was a bit surprised that on the first try we already cleared the plague wing. While we definitely advanced slower in the 25-man version than we usually do in 10-man, the encounters themselves didn't appear to me all that much more difficult in heroic. So where is the "heroic" part?

It turns out that the real heroes in pulling a 25-man raid off are the guild officers and raid leaders. Very few guilds consist of people who are 100% focused all of the time, and raid leading in many cases resembles herding cats. The more cats, the more difficult it becomes. But the most difficult part is assembling the raid. You'd need to be very lucky if there are exactly 25 people turning up, and they have exactly the right class mix for a 25-man raid. That is especially true in a guild that does various activities, like heroic 5-man dungeons, heroic 25-man raids, and normal 10-man raids. Unfortunately taking five 5-man groups, or two-and-a-half 10-man raid groups, does not make the perfect 25-man raid group. You basically would want more than 5 healers, and less than 5 tanks, in the heroic raid.

I can understand why some top raiding guilds would be disappointed that heroic Naxxramas isn't much harder. But then I can also see the advantage of it being only slightly harder than 10-man: The average guild spans a wide range of players with different raiding skill, experience, and gear. Getting 25 people together at all isn't trivial for most guilds. Expecting that those 25 are all the world's best raiders would be asked too much, unless you run one of those guilds where everyone who isn't 100% focused immediately gets /gkicked. If you decide on a 25-man raid, you necessarily take those 5 players with you which with some justification wouldn't have made the cut if you had organized just two 10-man raids. I'm saying that in a total non-judgemental way. Actually I'm happy that large raids give a guild the opportunity to do something together with people that aren't necessarily all prioritizing raids in their virtual lifes. So ultimately it was probably a wise choice of Blizzard to tune the 25-man raid difficulty to allow for a few undergeared or less focused people.

What do you think?

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