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1-30-2012 @ 2:17PM
Let's set aside the issue of whether one raid size may be inherently "better" than the other. Let's look, instead, at how actual players are actually making decisions.1) 25-mans are harder to organize. For all the reasons listed in the article, it's easier to manage a smaller team. It stands to reason that - as per the article's thesis statement - those willing to lead are increasingly likely to lead a smaller group. Put in context of Blizzard's philosophy, 25-mans are therefore less accessible than 10-mans.2) When raiders could do 10-man and 25-man in the same week, many players felt compelled to do both raids in order to maximize their gear. In 25-man raiding guilds, the groups could break up for 10s. In 10-man raiding guilds, players would try to find PuGs. In Wrath, our 10-man core would host a PuG; this combined the worst elements of playing with people we didn't know and a raiding style we didn't like for a consistently miserable experience. Blizzard doesn't want people to feel forced into doing both and (for this and other reasons) combined the lockouts.3) Similar to the previous points, when 25-man raids provided better rewards (whether better gear, more points or more drops) players would feel compelled to complete the content that would maximize their returns. Blizzard normalized the rewards (Legendary shard drop rates excluded) in order to allow people to choose based on play preference rather than rewards.4) Blizzard is constantly juggling the tension between being inclusive not just in social and gameplay aspects, but in technical aspects as well. Players want better graphics but they also want to play on aging machines. My system has never handled 25-man raiding well; the improved character models and game engine enhancements people expect are going to require further compromise. People with systems that could barely handle 25s pre-Pandaria may need to step down to 10s while people that could only do 10s may stop raiding altogether. Blizzard is already exploring ways to maintain the player base; players who would feel compelled to stay in 25-man raiding but need a system upgrade to do so, may just stop raiding altogether.When we look at all of the above, we see that Blizzard is consistently removing the need for players to feel forced into 25-man raiding and, as was the point of this article, when players are allowed to choose their preferred raiding size, the majority of the population chooses 10-man raiding. Previously, Blizzard tried to shoehorn people into 25s through various incentives; the remaining incentive (faster Legendary progression) simply isn't enough. I'm sure there are arguments that could be made, such as 10-mans being undertuned and therefore more attractive to some players, to support the idea that Blizzard is (intentionally or not) promoting 10s over 25s. I would argue that 10s are not inherently easier; I would also argue that, if 10s were easier, you're not going to find much success in a "harder" 25-man raid by forcing "weaker" players to step up to a harder level.The bottom line here seems to be that, with a greater emphasis on player choice, players are quick to abandon 25-man raiding. I feel for those that prefer the larger raid sizes and, inconveniently, would require a larger player pool to choose from. This is evolution at work; 25-man raiding seems to have been kept alive only by Blizzard imposing competitive advantages, and I don't see it being in Blizzard's philosophy to go back to that model. In the absence of Blizzard's influence, player support simply doesn't justify further developer support, and I see us going exclusively to 10-man raiding post-Pandaria.
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