There is a plethora (and yes, I look for places to use plethora) of interesting information about how raids and raid lockouts will be designed in Cataclysm and how they've learned from what worked and didn't work in Wrath in this forum thread. Ghostcrawler exposits:
- The developers believe that current raid design (separate 10/25 man lockouts) effectively asks raiders to raid twice as much if they want to maximize their emblem gain, which helps cause player burnout and boredom.
- The ability to kill a boss in separate 10/25 man lockouts is 'nothing sacred' in terms of changing the design, since before Wrath it wasn't even possible.
- Current design accounts for maximum emblem gain per week, because many players will attempt to gain the maximum of emblems per week. Changing the raid lockout means that this design can be altered.
- ToC's four lockouts was far too many.
- The designers expect more gearing up from quests and heroics (as well as crafted items) before people start raiding in Cataclysm.
- The feeling is that the burnout caused 'in some of our most dedicated raiders' from feeling forced to run both 10/25 man content every week to stay competitive is a compelling reason to change the design away from allowing that.
One of the things I find most interesting about this thread is this statement:
To be completely honest, I don't think this goes far enough. I think Blizzard needs to rethink the policy in TotC and ICC of every fight having a heroic mode with heroic loot. While I find myself agreeing that having to run the content in 10 and 25 causes burnout, I'd like to add a posit that feeling like killing the end boss in a raid is not an accomplishment but just a stepping stone to killing him again in a couple of months but harder is just as difficult to swallow. Having four or five hard mode rights in ICC (the Ulduar model) would make those fights feel more special than just throwing the toggle and grinding it all all over again.
One of the reasons I was so excited this week for the new raid lockout system is that while I do feel constrained to raid the content twice a week on my main in addition to trying to run it on various alts on various servers, I do also like to feel that the option to see content from various angles was there. Changing the lock out to effectively work on a boss by boss setting (as was mentioned earlier in this post, there's nothing sacred about killing the same boss twice in a week) frees you up to experience 10 or 25 man content in a variety of ways.
Furthermore, having the opening tier of raiding be smaller, 5 or 6 boss raids means that you can clear one in a smaller chunk of time. Even now, a full clear of an outdated raid like Naxxramas takes a couple of hours even if you steamroll the place in 277 gear just because the instance is large, full of trash, and has up to 18 spots to hit. (Of course since you can skip right to the end bosses you don't need to full clear it.) Having raids be more manageable in size when working on introductory content (especially since every new expansion needs to be designed with the goal of the first tier of raiding being educational in terms of raiders learning to raid) means less time spent in the same place while avoiding ToC "round room" issues. Combine this with the flexibility of, say, running Bastion 25 but Firelands 10 in a week or killing the first bosses in Bastion on 25 but then splitting up into 3 10's to let as many people as possible see the Cho'gall fight is pretty interesting design to my mind.
Frankly, yes, I at least felt compelled to run 10 and 25. I did it because the emblem costs for tier pieces were extremely high. 60 for shoulders and gloves, 95 for everything else. If they can reduce these kinds of costs with the new design, and provide the flexibility that the new system seems to encourage, then my previous objections are more or less answered and I'm in support of it. I'll still prefer 25 man raids over 10 mans, but reducing the obligatory grinding is a move I can definitely support.
That's probably true but I still want to know, man. Come on. Little hint here?
Seriously this is the crux of the matter for many people. Pretending that raiding and raid issues aren't about getting the gear (I still cry that I never got an Armageddon) is disingenuous. There are a multitude of reasons why people like acquiring gear... to look cool in cities on mounts, to be OP and smash faces in both PvP and PvE (who hasn't enjoyed the sensation of massively outgearing a heroic?) and of course because gear makes it possible to clear harder content and get more gear. Balancing the gear situation between 10 and 25 man content is going to be a very delicate situation here, and partisans of each raid size are going to feel slighted no matter what occurs.
Also, let me go on record now agreeing that ToC was too many lockouts. Four? Madness. Absolute madness.