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Ready Check: Super (raid) size me!

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Kara or BT, everyone can get in on the action and down them some bosses. Srsly, that punk took my pink Huffy 10 speed.

It never fails. Every time I say something about raiding, I get comments about how people miss the old 40-mans, how the 10-man to 25-man transition doesn't even make mathematical sense, or even how everything should just be 5-mans. (Is that even technically a raid?) So today we're going to chat a bit about raid size and what it really means.


Looking back through the annals of raiding history, Blizz has spent some time trying to decide what the best raiding size should be. Off the top of my head I recall there being 10, 15, 20, 25, and 40-man raids over the course of WoW, with the 25-mans being the latest editions. The first limitation on raids is the number must be divisible by 5, since that's the smallest group unit in the game.

The 40-man raids seemed like the fairest from a math standpoint. You had 8 classes back then, and thus you could, in theory, bring 5 of each and everyone would be happy. No rogues and hunters kicked out for other classes, although good luck finding 5 shaman on the Horde side. The biggest complaint about this raid size is that there were just too many people. The pond was so big and the fish so small that you would end up with a core group that actually beat the content, plus a group that was just along for the ride. Whether you liked 40-mans or not seems to be dependent on how you viewed the coat tailers. If they were friends or people you just enjoyed playing with, then the 40-mans have a rosy hue. But if they were just there for the lewts, the 40-man feelings are typically sour.

Gear was also a pretty big issue since 40 people is a lot of mouths to feed. Even guilds that tried to be fair and impartial with DKP or other point systems would have to do a bit of Loot Council'ing in the end, just so the tanks would be geared enough to handle the content. Even if there had been a class token system that's all the rage now, I still think this would be the case.

On the other extreme, 10-mans seem a bit too small to me. Don't get me wrong, I think Kara is awesome and the content/bosses/loot are very fitting. But would it feel epic to down Illidan with only 10 people? If we could do it with that few, why doesn't Akama just grab some supporters and do it without us? I also have more than 9 friends in the game, the direct result of the 40-man days. So you end up running 2 10-man groups and people like tanks and healers rarely ever get to play with their other tank/healer friends because of class balance. Then you have this whole Group A vs Group B competition that never works out well.

The 20 and 25-mans seem pretty good to me. There's enough room for class variety, like more than 1 of each class, but not so huge that a fist fight breaks out over loot. It also feels epic just looking at all the people that it takes to down bosses. Now, before you think I'm just some sort of Blizzard wall licker, I still don't think they're the most ideal raid size evah. Does 25/9 = a whole number? Not for me it doesn't.

What I would like to see is Blizzard go with a bit more raid balance before traditional grouping size. Decide how many of each class you want and then have that many slots to go around. For me, I think 3 of each class is the key number, based on both buffs and raid jobs. What class isn't good in groups of 3? I can't really think of one. So if I have 9 classes and 3 of each, I get 27. Sadly, I'm not sure I want 3 groups of 9 on my raid screen. /deflated

What do you think is the best raid size? Should we continue to be limited by the 5 people per group restriction?

Marcie Knox has been raiding for a guinny squirrel's age. I apologize if I offended any of my readers with my ignorance. Rodent racism shouldn't be taken lightly. And if you can tell me the more common name for a guinny squirrel, I might just feature you in a upcoming article.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

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