Bleh. My last post about AVR - which I still think is a game-changer - was overshadowed by the news that Blizzard plans to start having shared lockouts for 10 and 25-man raids, and will try to tune gear and difficulty to be the same for both raid sizes.
WOW... that's big stuff. I'm sure there's already 50 different blogs about this already, but it can't be ignored, and I've been too busy to read what others have said so far. At any rate, here's some of my thoughts on the planned changes.
1. The possibility of having 4 days of main raiding, most likely still 25-man raids, and not feeling 'forced' to do 10-mans in addition to that as I do now. Given that most of my guild does 10-mans on heroic, there is some implication that if I don't also do 10-mans I'm not adequately preparing/gearing. I know, the 'really' hard core guilds will still run multiple full 25-man raids (or 10-mans) so they can prepare for world firsts, but even for a 'normal' guild, it's hard to pass up all those badges, practice, and gear. It might be nice to not feel forced to log on for a full raid nearly every night.
2. 10-man guilds don't have to feel like second class citizens.
3. If you really want to, it will be easier for 'hard core raiders' to feel ok about raiding with their real friends as opposed to what happens in 25-mans (inevitably there are people you don't like but you put up with for the sake of the raid/guild).
I DON'T LIKE:
1. It's easier to do 10-man raids. They may tune the difficulty, but I suspect most guilds are likely to pick their 10 best raiders and go for progression. Most guilds, even server top-5 guilds (like mine), tend to have at least 4-5 players that just aren't the caliber of their guildies. One could easily sideline them, form the best team or two, and progress more quickly through 10-man content.
2. Either there will be NO advantages to 25-mans (you can get the same stuff in 10-man) OR 25-mans will still be 'better.' Blizz is trying to walk the line on this one, but I don't buy it. They'll put more gear per player in the bigger raids or allow legendaries only in 25-mans, or different colored mounts, or something. Either way, 25-mans will still be superior, or if too similar disincentivized. Which means....
3. This could spell the death of 25-mans. I didn't raid 40-mans, but I know I would lament the loss of the 25 man raids and have always felt like killing a boss with the larger group to be the more exhilerating experience compared to the smaller 10-man raids. I'm pretty sure Blizz still wants us doing 25-mans, so it will be interesting to see how they make them worthwhile without making them the only Big Boy Raid available.
4. Additionally, there's a lot of other logistical problems. The balance issues will be huge. Homogenization could be an issue. If Blizz wants 10-man raiders to feel they're getting all the buffs, then 25-man raids will be subjected to more and more overlapping buffs and less of a feeling of each player bringing something valuable.
All in all, I have mixed feelings about the proposed changes.
Honestly, I hope they can make all this work, but I also hope they don't kill 25-man raiding - I'd still love to feel good about the 'big' raids and have a reason to keep doing them.
As far as the other raiding news, I'm happy with gating as Blizzard said, and I imagine all but the most hard core will be able to accept it. And even then, I think that in having to wait for content the 'hard core' will benefit in not simply finishing the content and then being burned out/bored. Kinda like opening ALL your presents on Christmas morning and then finished 30 minutes later. I always preferred opening a few presents a few days before, then some on Xmas eve, then some in the morning, and finishing a few more later with other friends and family.
I'm also ok with multiple shorter raids, could be cool to have locations with different 'feel,' but I also hope they have at least one 'epic' instance in each expansion. I'd prefer 4-6 boss instances to the single room instances we got in Lich King.