Exams are done, for better or worse. I hallucinated spiders on my keyboard.
A day and a half to recuperate, and then Friday is moving day. And then no internet until May 5th! Oh noes! Such tumultuous change.
I’ve been awake for all of twenty minutes after sleeping all day (yes, literally) so thoughts are a little polar bear manifesto at the moment.
So two general thoughts.
I was at a friend’s place yesterday, so I tried out WoW and sure enough there was no lag to speak off. Well, I mean I was on a laptop and they were torrenting and stuff, so I was sitting at around 250ms, but still. No lag spikes, no disconnects. I got to raid again!
I could have stuck with arcane, but meh. I don’t dislike any mage spec, and if I hadn’t gone frost a hunter would have had to go Survival. And frankly, having tried survival myself? I would never, ever inflict that on someone. Besides, the hunter in question has been die-hard marksman his entire WoW career. Warlord title, never once specced beastmaster throughout the entirety of TBC, you know the type.
So with a frost spec in hand, I shipped off to Icecrown Citadel and found out the hard way which mobs can be stunned and which can’t. Nothing is as heartbreaking as watching your 26k damage spell turn into a 5 second stun that deals nothing. Imagine blowing all your cooldowns as arcane, slamming arcane blasts into a boss, and then freaking out because everything’s critting for 2k. Then you come to the horrible realization that you’re casting rank 1 arcane blast for some reason.
That is how much it hurts.
Still, having a permanent Dribbles (I call him Dribbles, capital D, and don’t you forget it) to follow you around is plenty awesome. If only he would stop despawning whenever I took a portal or loading screen to somewhere. There were a few times where I noobed it up, forgot to summon the thing, and then he missed out on the wave of raid buffs.
Sorry Dribbles. I shall try to not be a terrible frost mage next time. You know, that little guy is truly the immortal one around here. Standing in whirlwind, casting happily along with 50 stacks of mystic buffet, and doesn’t afraid of anything.
Tangent: raiding as a frost mage is extremely strange, thematically. I am a frost mage, a master of ice and snow, the midnight sun and hot springs. And yet, in order to raid optimally, I have two roots and one snare. Both fire mages and arcane mages have access to those, plus frostbolt, and they can spec for even more.
It is very strange.
So 10 and 25 man raids are going to be normalized. They share lockouts, heroic modes are chosen on a per boss basis, and even the loot quality is exactly the same between the two, as is the difficulty.
Look, everyone from Tamarind to Honorshammer has bemoaned the fate of the 10man ghetto. You could either raid with the big boys in 25man, get the best of the best loot, experience hard core fights, or go 10man and be held in contempt as scrubs by fellow players and even the game itself.
10man raiding never really felt like raiding an instance for 10 players. Instead, we were traipsing through 25 player content that was lobotomized for us. Whenever we ran into difficult fights, we’d look at and research the fights on tankspot and elsewhere, to find strategies we could use. There we would watch a holy priest with val’anyr effortlessly healing through hardmode Anub’arak using nothing but shield and renew to keep the entire raid alive.
This strategy didn’t work. Not even close. Using nothing but renew and shield to heal someone results in that someone dying four or five seconds later.
It isn’t easy being a strict(ish) 10 man guild in Lich King. Our raid comp is nowhere near ideal (no shaman, for instance), and without the gear 25 man raiders use to carry themselves through 10man content we have to use some extremely weird strategies to defeat bosses sometimes. We’ve had to use Death Knights to juggle kinetic bombs and tank the shadow bolting boss, for instance.
For example, last night I was the only caster DPS in the raid. Me and a lone hunter made up the entirety of the ranged DPS. At least the druid got to be boomkin for the first four bosses, but after that it was full time tree.
Anyway, point is, 10man raiding never really was 10man raiding. It was 25man raiding with less players and worse loot.
I didn’t (and still don’t) care nearly as much as my fellow guildmates do. Being able to raid with 10 people trumps any consideration such as loot; doing 10man raids with 10man gear made for some interesting difficulty curves; and the respect of faceless others is so unimportant to me that the colour of my toothbrush is more important.
It’s easy to see where they’re coming from. Clearing ToC-10 and wondering why an iLevel 200 trinket is still best in slot. Watching strat videos just to watch the elite core of a 25man guild take the best possible raid comp into a 10man instance and crush it effortlessly with gear that is more than twenty item levels higher than your own. On and on and on. That gets frustrating after a while.
10man raiding can be difficult. It has been in the past. Remember Zul’Aman? There was nothing easy about it. Even the perfectly optimized 25 man raiders would head in there and struggle.
I suspect Blizzard’s goal with cataclysm is the same goal they had with lich king: offer 10man raiding as a legitimate thing to do.
Will this change sound the deathknell of 25man raiding?
I posit the question: why on earth would it? People who want to raid 25m do so, and suffer no penalty nor benefit from it. People who want to raid 10m do so, and suffer no penalty nor benefit from it.
Raid leaders shifting from doing 25m to 10m raids in order to lessen the stress of their job! Oh noes! So they have more fun raiding?
People who currently raid 25m, but don’t actually like it that much due to the social strains (or maybe they just do it for the loot), will be able to raid 10m without feeling like a ghetto raider and have more fun with their friends!
People who currently raid 25m and actually do enjoy it will be able to keep doing what they love in huge epic battles!
I don’t see a downside anywhere.