Small Group Raiding in WotLK

As Bliz­zard announced last week, every WotLK raid will have a small-raid (10-man) option.

So if there are (guess­ing) four endgame raids at launch, each will have a 10 and 25 man ver­sion, cre­at­ing a com­plete­ly par­al­lel path to the cur­rent 25-man raid­ing stan­dard. Every sub­se­quent patched-in raid will fol­low the same design. No more of this “two raids for small group raid­ing, eight raids for big group raid­ing”. All 10-man raids will be able to phys­i­cal­ly vis­it every raid instance, see every boss, gear up and progress along a sim­i­lar path, and ulti­mate­ly see the entire expansion.

This is like ice cream in dig­i­tal form. Strike that, this is like a pack of ice cream wolves wear­ing ice cream shoul­der-can­nons run­ning through the streets, shoot­ing ice cream fire­works every­where. This is sim­ply the best news since the game was released.

This raid design change is a much, much larg­er change than shrink­ing large-group raids from 40-man to 25-man. This is huge. This is an attempt to change every­thing about endgame raid­ing, not just the encounter size. And although I know that my lit­tle essays are read by beau­ti­ful and intel­li­gent peo­ple, and I know that Bliz­zard did­n’t read my post on raid sizes, but… It’s just absurd­ly freak­ish that they’re doing exact­ly what I wished for, even though I did­n’t think they would until WoW2. (That alone made me feel weird while writ­ing this. If you’re read­ing, I love you too, Blizzard.)

I strong­ly sus­pect that this will cre­ate inter­est­ing (and for my guild, extreme­ly wel­come) social reper­cus­sions through­out endgame raid­ing cul­ture. Main­ly because the loot still won’t be the same. The 25-man ver­sions will prob­a­bly be a half-tier or full-tier high­er than the 10-man ver­sions. Oh no!

But real­ly, who cares? This is good news for every­one involved, both large-group and small-group raiders. For my guild, if you’re the kind of per­son who absolute­ly needs the best loot, then nei­ther of us is going to get what we want by you being a mem­ber of my guild. Yay! We’re fil­ter­ing each oth­er out! What dif­fer­ence does it make that my EndgameA loot isn’t as good as a par­al­lel EndgameA loot? They both allow access to our next EndgameB. That’s it. That’s the whole game. Small-group raids can basi­cal­ly ignore 25-man raid­ing now, as they only have bet­ter loot, and not more encoun­ters, more sto­ry, or more of any­thing except people.

But what about the “10-man is nor­mal mode, 25-man is hero­ic mode” stig­ma? We’ll encour­age it. Please, fic­tion­al-Mike, go swim through the con­stant churn and dra­ma that is the hard­core raid­ing guild expe­ri­ence and leave my hap­py small-group guild and all those like it alone. We’re not hard­core enough for you, and we wish you luck and good fortune.

My guild will just con­tin­ue on in our own lit­tle raid­ing utopia, recruit­ing friend­ly peo­ple and con­tin­u­ing to have fun. Except this time, we’ll be run­ning all the con­tent in the game. We don’t have to choose between social and explo­ration any more. We’ll see the final boss of WotLK. We’ll see the con­clu­sion of every sto­ry thread.

Great days are ahead!

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