Cataclysm has been out for about a month now and all of the tier 11 raid encounters have been defeated in normal mode by the hardcore guilds. Now they’re working on heroic modes and are more than halfway through there as well. You can check the current progress status here, at the time of writing, 9 of the 12 bosses have been defeated in heroic mode.
25-man: Still rocking it with the hardcore guilds
Here’s the surprising thing, most of that fast heroic progress wasn’t done in 10-man. It was done in 25-man. If you take a look at the 25-man raid progress charts you’ll see Paragon on top right now with 9 of 12 heroic bosses down and a hundred others who have made to at least 1 heroic boss in 25-man mode. If you look at the 10-man raid progress charts you will only find 34 guilds who have actually gotten to 1 heroic raid boss and you’ll find that none of these have made it past 2 bosses.
Why is this? Well, most likely this is just caused by incorrect data gathering. The achievements for 10- and 25-man raiding mode are now the same which makes it very difficult for sites such as GuildOx and WoWProgress to track the actual progress accurately. Hopefully this will be a problem these sites can circumvent with clever sci-fi data gathering techniques inspired by shows such as Star Trek.
The possible bugs of current progression display techniques is not what I want to point out here though. My point is, remember when Blizzard changed raid lockouts so that 10- and 25-man would share the same lockout? Remember how everyone was saying that no one will ever do 25-man ever again since it’s just more difficult and less rewarding? Well, obviously all of that was just plain wrong. There’s tons of progress being done in 25-man mode by hardcore guilds and not so hardcore guilds and with the information we have right now, it actually seems like 10-man could be the harder version of the two.
10-man: No longer a push-over
10-man… harder than 25-man? Yes, really. According to this data compiled by GuildOx and presented on WoW Insider, we can see that people needed to have a higher average item level to defeat the same encounter in 10-man than what they needed in 25-man mode. Quote taken from the article follows:
- The average ilevel is higher for almost every single Cataclysm raid fight on 10-man than on 25-man. That is, the fights were first overcome by groups in higher ilevel gear on 10-man than on 25-man. Ascendant Council seems to be the only real exception to this rule.
- There’s a lot more data for heroic 25-man encounters than heroic 10s. Some fights don’t seem to have had many or any clears on 10 for this data push.
And that’s not all to consider either.
In 25-mans you are pretty much guaranteed to have all your bases covered when it comes to buffs and debuffs, which in turn will optimize your dps, heals and survivability. In 10-man you might not have that luxury. In most cases you are likely to miss out on one or two buffs or debuffs, but if you really have a terrible setup you could potentially miss out on a third or more of all the buffs and debuffs out there. This of course, can be avoided by careful planning on the part of a knowledgeable raid leader (tip: RaidComp).
When it comes to interrupts, kiting, silencing and all that other utility you might need for certain fights… 25-man wins again. In 10-man you might not have a frost mage or hunter with you (highly unlikely since hunters are so awesome, but still) then what are you gonna do when you need to kite? Cry, that’s what you’re gonna do. 25-man? Of course there’s a hunter somewhere in there! There’s 5 even, look at all those lovely hunters, ready to kite for the raid, bringing the win!
Then again the same with interrupting you’ll have a lot more people and a lot more people able to interrupt. What happens when your one interrupter misses to interrupt in 10-man? Well, most likely, something pretty nasty – that’s usually why you have to interrupt. In 25-man though, you’ll have more people able to pick up the slack of others who might miss a beat or just plain die when they shouldn’t have.
And that brings me to another point, deaths! In 10-man if two people die that means 20% of your raid team has disappeared. That’s quite significant… In fact, it’s so significant that if you’re not overgearing the content, you will most likely wipe. However, if you lose two people in 25-man, you’ve only lost 8% of the raid and you will most likely be able to carry on fine.
I’ll extend this logic a little bit further… In 10-man you’ve lost half of your team and are absolutely finished when 5 people have managed to die from some mechanic they should have payed more attention to. If 5 people screw up in 25-man you’ve still just lost 5 people, but 5 people don’t carry nearly the same weight. You are most likely just fine and on your way to finishing the encounter.
My own experience
We begun raiding in Cataclysm in our guild by starting with 10-man, purely because we didn’t have 25 people geared as fast as we had 10 people geared. We downed 4 bosses pretty quickly and after that we were ready for 25-man.
We went back and defeated the same 4 bosses in a much quicker fashion then we had defeated them for the first time in 10-man, even though most of the team had never seen the encounters before. Sure, us officers and the raid leader were a lot more sure about the tactics this time around but we had a fairly clear view of the tactics already from the start in 10-man raiding.
In 10-man we hit enrage timers a few times and we had healers go oom, the performance requirement per person seemed to be a lot higher and I ended up with the impression that whenever there was one mistake everything went south.
In 25-man we managed to down bosses with half the raid dead, or most of the raid dead even. We had some people outputting dps-numbers which would’ve been shameful by Wrath of the Lich King standards and still it was fine.
Personally, I feel 25-man is the new 40-man. The encounters are designed to be less restrictive in terms of performance requirement and you are basically expected to see a few dead people here and there.
If you want more difficulty and want your personal performance to matter more, then you should raid in 10-man mode… and on that bomb shell, this post ends!