The bullet points from Bashniok [MMO-Champion]:
- Hero Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
- Valor Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)
It’s almost cliche at this point to say the response to the Cataclysm raiding changes has been nothing short of loud and far from calm. When you do something as drastic as announce these kinds of changes, you have to expect this type of thing. Frankly, I’m not surprised that people on all sides of the Casual vs. Hardcore vs. CasualCore vs. Hardsual are all mad. There are so many loose ends and questions that it’s hard to point fingers and be mad at anyone.
The best response? Be mad at everything.
Everyone is trying to predict or put an expiration date on their guild or their style of raiding. I think it’s too soon to be numbering the days of 25 mans as we know them, but the path to that point is possible, so that’s what people are going to be looking at.
Since there are so many different kinds of guilds out there, I find it best to just address these changes from the point of view of an upper-middle tier 25 man guild (9/12 Heroic ICC25, Frostwyrms in 10 man). One of the drivers for 25 man players is inter-guild/intra-server raiding competition. If you are competitive by nature, you are always measuring yourself against your peers.
Can we do better? How are they doing better? How close are they behind us?
Viable competition requires a couple things:
- A common starting point and a common end goal
- Rules for competition
- Level playing field from team to team, match to match
Achieving #3 in an MMO is very difficult due to it’s very nature (intentional diversity between players). A football team might have players at many different positions, but every team has the same number of them on the field at a time. It’s true, some modify that (3 linebackers/4 lineman vs. 4 linebackers/3 lineman), but the quality of play is dictated by the talent (and to a lesser extent, the strategy).
Keeping that competition going means that separate progression tracks for 10 and 25 man need to be maintained. It might be the same boss fights and the “same difficulty” using the same loot, but the number of raiders is significant and a completely different game is being played (in terms of competition). Denoting if a kill was completed on 10 or 25 man in some fashion is essential.
Many have talked briefly about what exactly Blizzard can do to make 25 man raiding attractive? That’s where Hero/Valor Points enter into the discussion. First off, I don’t really care what they’re called. They could be called Hero Cookies or Unicorn Points for all I care, it all ends up meaning the same thing, it’s just in a different form.
With that being said, here’s what I think needs to happen to give 25 man raiding an edge:
A 25 man raid will provide enough Valor Points that no 5 man raiding is necessary to become point capped in a given week. Likewise, it will be impossible to reach more than 50% of the cap by only doing 5 mans. A 10 man raider will only be able to achieve 75% of his points cap from the 10 man raid.
Gearing to prepare for the first tier of raiding is one thing, but having 25 man raiders (and even 10 man raiders) step back all the way down to 5 mans in order to improve their character is clunky and uninteresting. Those numbers can go up or down, my intention is only to keep with Blizzard’s statement (more points/loot/gold from 25 mans).
The one thing missing from this whole “points system” (or what I’ve been affectionately calling Emblems of Frost: Blizzard DKP) is that it does not reward progression the same way a guild does. A guild can enter a dungeon, kill no bosses, but generate dkp based on effort. If points are tied very closely to gear progression, is the increase in point gain from a slower progressing (potentially) 25 man raid going to be enough to keep people coming back?
The “goal”, again, is to have 25 man raiders getting more stuff than 10 man. Right now, they would have to double (or more) the number of drops in 25 man to equal that ratio out. Also, with a greater number of raiders, competition for a piece is going to skyrocket (especially for the cloth wearing classes). A 10 man raid might run with a warlock, a mage and a priest. A 25 man could easily have 2 mages, 3 warlocks, and 2 priests, all (potentially) after the same drop.
A good solution would be double drops or multiple instances of the same item on different bosses, but I’m sure many of you have better ideas than me (the guy that competes with basically no one for gear).
Points are the same way. Because the logistical challenge of organizing a solid, consistent 25 man, they are likely progress more slowly over the life of content (speaking at the middle of the progression pack, not the bleeding edge). Killing half the bosses in a 25 man as compared to a 10 man should be worth the same amount or more points.
Continuing to go on talking about the changes upcoming is very hard to do. I was round when they announced the change from 40 to 25 man raids. The same doom and gloom was strewn across the internet guilds were going to collapse, raids would be too easy, etc. All of that never came to pass and the raiding scene has been better for it.
Making an optimistic prediction about the new changes can be done, but it’s more of a stretch as the possibility still exists for the tuning to be off. None of that is anything we’ll know until the first week of Cataclysm. Until then, it’s really not worth dwelling on or getting an ulcer over.
We still have much more to see on the raiding front (especially the guild advancement system).
In other news, as predictedscheduled, Strength of Wrynn was increased to 15% recently. After a night of under-manning our farm content (all on heroic mode), it’s easy to say that ICC25 Heroic will be puggable at 30%. That isn’t for at least 3 months, though, so not much to worry about there.
I should have went through my google reader before posting this earlier this morning. Zarhym responded to some of the honor points concerns, this quote was the most concerning to me:
There are advantages and disadvantages to both raid sizes. The larger raids can feel more epic, yet the smaller ones tend to have less loot drama because there is less competition per item that drops. The smaller raids in some sense are more hardcore, because there are fewer opportunities to include novice raiders or folks who just aren’t carrying their weight.
So for those keeping score at home, here’s how it breaks down:
- More “epic feel”
- “More” loot/points/gold
- More loot drama
- More logistical concerns (Bench management, scheduling for 30+ people, etc)
- Little to no loot drama or loot system required
- “More hardcore” environment (not carrying players)
- Smaller raid size means easier alignment of schedules
- You might gear more slowly.
- Missing one player impacts your raid more than in 25 man, the same bench concerns still exist.
So for swimming through a river of guild management, 25 man raiders get a more epic feeling raid and faster epics (maybe). They’re really going out of their way to make 25 mans sound good!
For what it’s worth, the whole “Carrying 10 players” thing is a result of the encounter tuning. It has nothing to do with raid size. You can make an encounter difficult enough to challenge 40 people equally. It’s on Blizzard to make sure that a fight is drawn up that way. Just because I can 20 man a fight, doesn’t mean 25 man raiding is casual. Make the fights harder.
But they can’t do that. So with this system it seems their implying that the 10 and 25 player modes will be tuned equally, but to do that, they’re going to make the 25 man versions easy enough that you can carry people through. This just perpetuates the “small core of good players” problem in 25 man guilds. Those players will be more inclined to leave whether they “enjoy” 25 man raiding or not.
“Epic Feel” isn’t enough. Zul’aman felt epic to me and that was a 10 player zone. Sarth 3D 10 man was epic and even Ulduar 10 had its epic moments. It’s all in the zone and encounter design.