Monday, May 12, 2008

Wrath of the 10-man Raid King

So they announce that Wrath of the Lich King will have all raid dungeons have both a 10-man and 25-man mode, with 25'ers dropping better loot.

I'm a big fan.

Reflecting upon my experience in 10-man raids to date, having cleared kara (save for netherspite), I've got two paths for progression into additional content. And its additional content that will help keep the game invigorating and avoid the burnout.

Zul'Aman. We're trying this one out. Seems to be just a drop out of reach for my guild. Perhaps repeating Kara enough to finish out our gearing would make ZA more realistic, but I'm thinking that its just a smidgen too much of a gap between Kara-clearing and entry level ZA.

The other progression option is 25-man content, specifically Gruul's Lair. Biggest obstacle to this is coordinating the schedules of 25 people of the right classes, specs, and gear (not to mention attitude, maturity, patience, and friendliness). This has also contributed to some Kara burnout as we have had to have some people sit out on the first raid night of the week to allow additional players to gear up in hopes for a second Kara team and then 25-man action. If 25-man dungeons weren't on the table, we would probably just be sticking with our 10-man team.

Feeling pretty refreshed at hearing the news that 10 people is sufficient to go through all Lich King raids.

Two things I'm hopeful for:

  • Smooth Transition. By the time a group of 10 can basically farm the first dungeon, they should be ready for entry level in the next dungeon. I liken this to when we started Karazhan. When we started, we were just able to squeak out beating Attumen and just putting our toes in the waters of Moroes' pool, and gradually progressed from there. But we were able to enjoy some success relatively quickly. Our transition to ZA has not been quite like that, with the gearing requirements being very close, but just a tad too far out of reach.

  • Team Composition. I hope that there's no big changes from one dungeon to the next that would make you have to split up your team to move to the next dungeon. For instance, don't make the first dungeon be a 2-tank encounter, and then put in fights in the second dungeon that flat out cannot be done without 3 tanks. Likewise for gimmicky fights that are near impossible without one specific class or spec. Example would be putting a fight like Illhoof into the second dungeon. A team without a Warlock clears the first dungeon, then discovers that you pretty much can't do the second dungeon unless you had a 'lock from the beginning.

Maybe I'm being too hopeful or too restrictive in my accessibility requirements, but overall, I'm greatly encouraged that Blizzard is thinking about players with my level of casualness. I think there's a large quantity of players like me who approach with a mix of hardcore interest in learning the game and mastering our character's capabilities and role, while taking raids casually where loot and progression, while nice and exciting, is secondary to finding people you enjoy spending time with.

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