Harsh toke, guy!
Maybe it would be more accurate to add a suffix to my title. Maybe "...and that's okay!" or something, but the point is a very real one for me.
I have been raiding since TBC, and I remember just how difficult and harsh it was to try to get into a 25 group. After doing Karazhan and Zul'Aman, my guild had two 10 groups but were incapable of getting a 25 group together even for the rest of T4. At one point, we managed to get a group together (between three 10-person guilds) and do Magtheridon but that took an epic effort to find enough people who weren't already spoken for by the 25-person guilds. Trying to get into 25 guilds was nigh-impossible (at least on my server) as by the time I started raiding, Black Temple was the flavor of the day and nobody wanted to have to gear up a new tank through T4 and T5.
As a raid-officer during TBC, I know exactly how hard it is to put together 25s. No question there.
When Wrath came out, the idea of choice was a superficial one at best - 10s were both vastly undertuned, the gear was a hand-out and in many cases, inferior to the gear you got in 25s. How many 25s raiders do you know who ran 10s to fill in that BIS piece vs. 10s raiders who ran 25s for BIS trinkets? 10s were absolutely the red-headed-middle-step-child of raiding in Wrath, but there was a lot of potential there, and it allowed for guilds and smaller groups to see end-game content.
Cataclysm went further in consolidating the 10s and 25s by rewarding the same gear from both while providing a small incentive to do 25s over 10s. The main controversy here was that both raid sizes shared a lock-out, and trust me, this was an incredibly good thing for many of us.
In Wrath, as a competitive raiders, I had to do both 10s and 25s every week, to maximize my badge count as well as getting a shot at the BIS loot that I had no access to in 10s. This made raiding a chore, and seeing the same content multiple times in the same week was incredibly frustrating in addition to having to do daily dungeons and weekly raid challenges. Anyone who did T9 in 10s, then H:10s, then 25 remembers just how stressful, frustrating, and time consuming it was to stay competitive.
So, what do we have with Cataclysm?
- 10s and 25s share a lockout
- 10s and 25s share the same loot-tables
- 10s and 25s provide (roughly) the same difficulty level
- 10s and 25s share the same content in terms of raids, bosses, cut-scenes, etc.
In this kind of environment, there are still a few factors that matters in making a decision about whether you do 10s or 25s:
- Prestige (25s)
- Intimacy (10s)
- Competition (25s)
- Ease of organization (10s)
- Speed of gear acquisition (25s)
- Difficulty of execution (25s)
Given this - why do we still see 25s dying and 10s thriving?
Because raiding in Warcraft is driven as much by developers as it is by the open market of ideas. Blizzard created the environment, and the WoW player-base chose 10s overwhelmingly as the raiding size of choice in Cataclysm. From hard-core progression oriented 10s groups that pushed content and finished the hard-mode raids in a competitive time-frame with 25s to casual raid groups that worked for five or six months to clear a raid on normal mode, 10s was where it was at in Cataclysm.
Given that 25s are more difficult to organize and execute (issues that are Human Resource problems in nature), and 10s are easier in that sense, I have a lot of sympathy for 25s. Officers in 25s are much better at wrangling their staff together and explaining and organizing their fights than officers in 10s. I've been in both situations and I know exactly how much easier it is to build and train a 10s group.
So, do I actually care about the woes of 25s? I'll be honest: I kind of don't, but that's okay.
I'm sure 25s don't really care about 10s complaining when we complain.
- We can't class-stack as easily
- We don't have access to all the buffs and debuffs
- We wind up wasting tier tokens due to a lack of class diversification
- We have such difficult recruiting due to the number of 10s guilds raiding
- One person's performance being 10% of output makes it nigh impossible to carry on progression
They don't see these things as an issue for them, their deep rosters allow them to overcome these issues much more easily.
We can both complain about our individual raid-size issues and with the decline in the number of guilds tackling 25s, recruitment is certainly a huge, huge problem for them. You have my sympathies, but I certainly don't think 10s are the reason for it in a deliberate or malicious way - it's a market-place of ideas, and ideas sink or swim based on what people want.
If the general player consciousness says 10s is the way that a majority of raiders want to tackle content, there isn't a whole lot Blizzard or the 25s can do to make a change. This has happened before - 40s became 25s, and now are becoming 10s. Fans of the 40-player raid-size still complain about how 25s aren't like how it was, and 40s were the truly epic raids. At least 25s are still around, provide challenging content, and remain the tier of competition across the world.
As a 10s raider, I enjoy my raid-size and don't really want a whole lot more than what I have. The problems of roster management in 10s is very different, but I'm not going to blame it on the 25s - they have their own problems to deal with and I wish them the best of luck. But I do hope that they don't feel it necessary to demean and ridicule 10s in order to make their point - I'm sure that's not their intention.
I might not care about your problems, my brothers and sisters among the 25s guilds, but I still love you as fellow raiders. Even if you might scorn my affection as a lowly 10s raider. ;-) <3