Once upon a time, the only raiding in WoW
was 40-man raiding, and we did it uphill, both ways, and flasks went away when you died. And we liked it. Later on in Classic WoW
, some 20-man raids were introduced in the form of Zul'gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, and they were generally seen as successful.
So successful, in fact, that when Burning Crusade came along, there were no more 40-man raids - only 10 and 25. At the beginning, the only 10-man was BC's entry-level raid, Karazhan. Everything else, from the small T4 raids (Gruul, Magtheridon) on up through T6, was exclusively 25-man. Notably, Gruul and Mags returned the same quality of rewards as KZ. Eventually a second 10-man raid (Zul'Aman) was introduced, with roughly a T5 level of difficulty, and of rewards.
Blizzard noticed that people really liked these 10-man raids. And so it came to pass that in the current expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, every raid instance is available in both 10- and 25-man versions. However, in a departure from all previous tradition, the 10- and 25-man instances at the same tier (which is to say, T7, at the moment) reward different levels of gear: Naxx-10 gives you ilvl 200 epics, whereas Naxx-25 rewards you with ilvl 213.
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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding