It’s no secret that I hate 25-man raiding. Actually, “hate” may not be strong enough a word. I absolutely cannot stand 25-man raiding. I loathe it with a passion. For me, from the standpoint of a raid leader, it’s a management headache. From the standpoint of an officer, it’s a nightmare. From the standpoint of a holy priest, it’s quite possibly one of the most boring things I can do. However, Blizzard has determined that in their continual efforts to try to get people to do less popular content, they are doing three things with Patch 4.2. First, they are lowering the cap of Valor Points. Secondly, they are giving fewer Valor Points overall for raid instances, and Tier 11 normal content will only provide Justice Points; hardmodes will still give Valor Points. Lastly, 25-man raiders will see an increased benefit of Valor Points from raids versus 10-man raiders.

Patch 4.2

While Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual discusses the changes to Conquest Points, it actually brought up a discussion on Twitter regarding the Valor Point cap. There’s a lot to be said regarding all of this, so I’m hoping I might be able to cover all the bases with it. I also hope that I’m not alone on the front of my opinion, but even if I am, then so be it. Still, it bears discussing that the Valor Point caps are extremely awkward when it comes to how Patch 4.2 is lining up in terms of gearing out your character (or alts).

How the Valor Point cap will affect you.

First and foremost, the Valor Point cap is being changed significantly:

  • The maximum number of Valor Points which can be earned in a week from any and all applicable dungeons and raids is now 980, down from 1250.

    • The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Rise of the Zandalari dungeons remains at 980.
    • The maximum number of Valor Points awarded for completing Heroic dungeons remains at 490.
    • The number of Valor Points awarded for killing a boss in the Firelands is 70 in 10-player mode, and 90 in 25-player mode.
    • The number of Valor Points awarded for killing Occu’thar in Baradin Hold is 35 in 10-player mode, and 45 in 25-player mode.

In essence, this means that, in a 25-man raid (prior to any guild perks), a 25-man raider, clearing all content (Firelands plus Occu’thar) is 675 maximum Valor Points. After guild perk, this is 742 maximum Valor Points. That’s still short of the 980 Valor Point cap, meaning that one would need to run either set of heroics at least two times in the course of that week. Not so bad, really. Contrasted to 10-man raiders, who only get 525 Valor Points without perk, and 577 Valor Points with perk, this means 10-man raiders will have to run either set of heroics at least three times through the week. Still not so bad, but even so, that’s one extra heroic that a 10-man raider needs to spend outside of raids (which can mean anywhere from one hour to four, or even more, depending on queue times and quality of group), in order to get the same Valor Point gear that the 25-man raiders get.

In the end, regardless of the size of your raid, unless you are clearing a significant portion of the content, and also clearing all of the heroic Tier 11 content on a weekly basis, you will need to run heroics in order to be able to obtain your Valor Point gear.

*EDIT* As an aside, should the guild perk “For Great Justice” not apply to Valor Points, this still leaves 10-man raiders at a disadvantage of one extra heroic over 25-man raiders, with the totals going to four and three, respectively.

So? 25-man raiders deserve more!

To me, this is a slap in the face to 10-man raiders. Not only are some encounters much more punishing on smaller groups (read, Nefarian, Ascendant Council, Heroic Halfus, etc.), but the amount of effort put into the raids themselves is really not all that different. One might argue that 25-man raid leaders and officers have to put in a lot more effort than 10-man raid leaders and officers. To a degree, this is true. On the other hand, for the raider that is neither a raid leader nor an officer, there is little to no difference. Moreover, having those extra people in a 25-man raid means there’s more room for error, not to mention having additional tools to be able to save the raid or a tank when in dire straits. Being in a 10-man raid means that there is less room for error (partially due to lacking buffs/debuffs 25-man raiders have), and even one death has a much more profound impact than one death in a 25-man raid. Additionally, it also means that people in a 10-man raid really have to step up to their A game, whereas you can afford to carry someone in a 25-man raid with little to no extra effort.

25-man raiders do deserve more than 10-man raiders just by virtue of having more people. However, I think this should be limited to gear drops and gold. Over the course of a month, this could mean that 10-man raiders are spending as much as 16 hours or more outside of raids in order to be able to obtain the same gear that 25-man raiders can get from just Valor Points. In the course of three months, that can total over 48 hours’, or two full days’, worth of time spent outside of raids in order to be able to obtain that gear. I don’t think this is justified, because I know for fact that officers and raid leaders do not spend that much time outside of raids preparing things for their 25-man raids in the same time frame.

Conclusion.

I prefaced this with stating that I hate 25-man raids, and why. I am of the opinion that 25-man raiders do deserve more gear and more gold for downing bosses in the 25-man area. They do put in a tremendous amount of effort. They do deal with management headaches and loot nightmares and all that. A 25-man raider does have to coordinate with more than nine other people, meaning that the impact can be either minimal, or a raid wipe (not that this isn’t true in 10-man, as well, but “minimal” mistakes happen… minimally). However, the frustrations of being a raid leader or an officer are typically the same, whether you are in a 25-man raid or a 10-man raid. This is speaking from experience here. How often they occur is something else entirely.

What this may end up doing is making people feel forced to go back to 25-man raiding in order to be able to maximize their Valor Points and minimize the time they have to spend in heroics that no one really wants to do. This brings me full circle, in showing that Blizzard is trying to forcibly get people to run content that is either stale (Tier 11), recycled (Zul’Aman), absurd (Zul’Gurub) or faceroll (329 Cata heroics). The most interesting point on this is that, previously, they weren’t too keen on people visiting old content – yet in Wrath we got Onyxia 2.0; we have Nefarian 2.0 and Onyxia 3.0 in Blackwing Descent; ZA, ZG, Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep all got revamped for level 85 heroics; and we’re even seeing Ragnaros 2.0 with Firelands (why, oh why, did they give him legs!?). Granted, I’d pay to see the lower side of Karazhan, but that’s neither here nor there.

I wouldn’t know how to fix this, but in the end, it seems that Blizzard might be trying to cater to too many crowds. I understand wanting to keep both raid sizes viable, and keep them (overall) equal in difficulty while still keeping rewards for 25-man raiders above those of 10-man raiders, but I wonder if this is taking a step in the wrong direction?