I apologize in advance for lack of posting. I know I have like, no readers, but still. Dead motherboard resulting in dead hard drive resulting in tax returns completely gone makes not for a happy Tomaj, though, and certainly prevents me from being able to make consistent posts.

So, everyone says there’s more drama in 10-man raiding when you have multiple groups than there is with 25-man raiding. To a degree, this may be true, but only if people are completely unwilling to bypass any sort of “competition” or seeing one group as the “bad” group. All in all, there may be less drama overall with 25-man raiding, especially with a good loot system (DKP and SKG being among the better), but at the same time, it’s a hell of a lot harder not only to handle, but also to manage as a raid leader, and moreover, maintain a full 25-man roster.

Thankfully, we’ve finally made the final push into strictly 10-man raiding (Baradin Hold aside, assuming we’re able to do so in 25-man, and Alliance hadn’t decided to take over Tol Barad in that small time frame where we raid). Still, most of us agree that we are more than capable of being able to clear the content, regardless of some minor issue. Now despite what a friend over at Sente Theater Presents has said regarding 10- vs. 25-man raiding is this: 10-man raiding is usually much more difficult because the requirements are that much less lenient.

When you are in the position of 10-man raiding groups, you’re more or less forced to bring your top players to the encounters, in all possible aspects. While buff-stacking is largely much more difficult to do, there’s actually more overlap than one would think. For example, do you bring a destruction warlock for Blood Pact and Replenishment if you have a priest and a retribution paladin in the raid (Fortitude and Replenishment)? What about a frost death knight for Improved Icy Talons and Horn of Winter if you already have a shaman (Windfury, Strength of Earth and the addition of Healing Rain)? Stacking buffs has become almost infinitely easier, with very, very limited buffs being unique to certain classes.

Ideally, you’ll still want to make sure you have as many buffs as possible, but given the nature of buff stacking, as opposed to Wrath of the Lich King or, worse, Burning Crusade, it’s laughable. Granted, you don’t want to stack too many of the same class to prevent not having the right buffs, but one would be surprised how little might be missing in a 10-man raid. For example, our makeup for 10-man Magmaw and Omnotron was missing only four things; spell critical chance on target, increased bleed damage taken by the target, critical strike chance for raid members and physical vulnerability on the target. Only one of those would have been made up by our hunter changing a pet out, but it really doesn’t make a huge enough difference to matter, since the bosses died anyway, and one of them would have been largely unnecessary since we only had one person with any bleeds (our protection warrior). We’re not a min/maxing guild to that extent. And why all the links? To emphasize just how easy it really is to provide certain buffs/debuffs.

While I will admit that MMO-Champion’s Raid Comp Calculator is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have certain buffs (i.e., Replenishment for your healers), it also goes to show how easily you can get most, if not all, buffs and debuffs needed for a raid. I’m of the opinion that stacking a 10-man raid has more than just buffs and debuffs to consider. First and foremost, it comes down to what your guild prefers to do. After that, it requires your raid group to be able to pay attention and do what’s needed. Then, of course, it comes down to the skill of your raiders and DPS and Healing output, since this is largely one of the things that will make or break your raid, even without considering buffs and debuffs.

Take, for example, Conclave of Winds. Odds are, one or two of your healers aren’t going to be able to benefit from Replenishment for the majority of the encounter. When we killed him, I actually only received 8851 mana from Replenishment. That’s enough for one Greater Heal and some change, given that Greater Heal costs a little over 7k mana if I remember correctly (maintenance day at the time I’m writing this, so I can’t be sure). Of course, other encounters (Cho’gall, Maloriak, Chimaeron, Magmaw, Nefarian, Valiona/Theralion), you want to try to have Replenishment available. So even if we don’t have our normal restoration druid, we do have mages with frost specs that can provide replenishment, or destruction warlock, or retribution paladin, depending on who’s available on any given day, though we are sadly lacking in consistent shadow priests.

But to continue with my earlier points: 25-man has another downfall that I personally feel that Sente missed, but I’m all too keenly aware of; it’s much, much more difficult to figure out who fucked up in a 25-man raid, and even in 25-man raiding, one player death can result in a raid wipe. Though it’s largely a non-issue at this point, this can most easily be seen during the Argaloth encounter in Baradin Hold toward the beginning of the expansion. One player death would easily result in a wipe (assuming no battle resurrections) due to that much lower DPS and hitting the enrage timer. But seeing where the cause is from (no dispels, no healing, standing in fire) is much more difficult to actually catch, especially on the fly, whereas it’s easy to tell what happened in a 10-man.

Even so, after my experience in Burning Crusade, and then in Wrath, I think that 10-man raiding has largely been much more enjoyable for me. It has its perks, and its downsides, truth to tell, but overall it’s a more comfortable environment for me. Moreover, people have an easier time in 10-mans with their hardware setups than they would in 25-man due to huge amounts of spell effects in 25-man as opposed to 10-man, which means they can perform much better in 10-man. On a personal note, it means an easier time getting video footage for boss kills (though, with my new processor and motherboard, I don’t even get a noticeable framerate loss anyway, which is a huge boon).

To that end, though, I do think that 10- vs. 25-man raiding is completely on your guild and what they prefer to do. Any raid should be able to be done with almost any composition, in either 10- or 25-man mode, it just means that you need to be aware more than you would in 25-man (not that you shouldn’t be aware in 25-man!), that’s all. Still, it could be argued that 10-man is more difficult than 25-man raiding because you can’t afford screw-ups like you might be able to in 25-man, never mind the DPS and healing requirements are that much higher, especially for healing.