The Ten Man versus the 25 Man
I am in a very tiny guild. We only have 6 people at level 80, and only 8 individuals total. I have had friends ask to join our tiny little guild from time to time, but it's not going to happen. We are unlikely to ever grow, because our roster is limited to a gang of friends who hang out together on friday and saturday nights around a table full of minis. Many of them even went to high school together (a concept completely foreign to me, for the record - I moved way too much for that!)

So how is it that we are able to raid at all? Well, those among us who have larger social networks (and if you hadn't noticed I am one of those - thus the Circle of Healers project) have put forth a lot of effort into building alliances with other individuals we know, as well as guilds. These alliances have enabled us to see quite a bit of 25 man content on a fairly regular basis.

But somehow, Ulduar just burnt me out.

Maybe it was the officeering duties that dragged me down, or the state of the leadership. I'm not sure, but those are all good topics for another day.

Today, however, one of our guildies sent an email to the other 5 of us asking if any of us were planning on participating in the 25 man raid currently scheduled by the greater alliance for tonight.

And not a single person was interested.

Half of us are ex-raiders from the Vanilla WoW days, and when they came over to my server and made alliance toons, they had no real interest in raiding anymore. But Kara and a good group of friendly alliance members warmed us all up to it, and for quite some time, we were all back into raiding.

Yet now, the majority of us have no interest in running the 25 man content anymore. Now that Blizz has enabled us to see everything we'd want to see on 10 man mode, we just can't see the point.

Back when I was new to raiding, there was something truly epic about 25 folks all packed together, trying to take down a boss. I'm sure the 40 man versions were even more impressive (as long as your computer could handle it!)

But that sense of "epicness" has long since worn off for me, replaced by the dull boredom that comes with the vast amount of organization needed to get a 25 man off the ground. The strange thing is, I normally love organizing things. I love the attention to detail, and group dynamics. Perhaps if I were in a raiding guild with enough members that I had choices for people to fill in various slots, it would be different. But instead I'm always in a situation where I simply have to take what I can get to fill out a 25 man - and it's not fun.

From a non-leader's perspective, there's the issue of individual accountability. Look, let's face it - people like to be singled out for praise, and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that (unless you ask Gevlon). It's a lot more difficult to note individual strengths in a 25 man group as opposed to a 10 man group.

Personally, all organization efforts put aside, I find 10 man content to be more challenging. You can lose a few people in 25 man and still be okay - the same cannot be said for 10 man. Unless you are overgeared for the location, quite a bit of precision in execution is needed for ten man, arguably moreso than the 25 man equivalent. 25 mans need to have a bit more leeway and tend to be a bit sloppier (at least, the non-hard modes), and I would argue this is partially due to connection and system requirements. We always had people disconnecting during the Heigan dance in 25 man naxx.

Regardless, I haven't sworn off 25 mans completely... I'm just struggling to see the point anymore. None of us are trying to compete with others progression wise, we just want to have fun.

Here are some of Gordin's thoughts as to why 10 mans are better than 25 mans:
  1. "when you do your job well, there are more chances for people to ruin progress because they can’t do theirs
  2. there is a lot going on
  3. your character is less unique and feels like less of a contribution
  4. it might be too easy (??, like naxx??)
  5. someone is prob going to rub you the wrong way
  6. feels like work
  7. with that many, at least a few wont like the pace
  8. rather just hang with friends that won’t care when you swear and you can talk openly about other stuff too
  9. less drama
  10. loot is faster
  11. I like pie
  12. Feels a little more like home
  13. Doesn’t feel forced"

So what do you think? How much do you think quality leadership affects your choice? If you prefer 25 man content, what are your reasons? If you prefer 10 mans, share yours! I'd love to hear some thoughts from others.
23 Responses
  1. Gordin Says:

    People talk a lot about the "end game"..but what really is the end game? I suppose it is downing every boss in the highest level raid zones enough times to have the highest iLevel gear. What if you cannot do that? What if you are limited to the size of your guild and average amount of time each individual contributor can spend? For me, my 'end game' is really to relax and have a good time. Some days that is just running other people's alts through ZF or having my alt run quests (i am terrible at alting). It is so hard to put my finger on exactly what makes the 10 man so much more enjoyable than 25 man but I suspect that it revolves around the simple concept that when the material is no longer enough to carry the enjoyment level, 9 friends accompanied by penis and flatulence jokes fills the void nicely.

  2. Michael Says:

    May I skew the discussion just a little bit? As I am slowly approaching the 'end game,' I know a day will come when I will partake in my first raid. Using your experience with 10 and 25 man raids, where would you stick a beginner like me?

    I think the safety net of a 25 man raid would be nice as it would take off some pressure, but 25 seasoned players is also a large audience for a massive fail. What are your thoughts?

  3. Vinenaro/Araat Says:

    Well, while I am sad I wont be seeing many of you guys anymore in 25 mans, I understand where you are coming from. I have prefered smaller raids since they created them. I loved Kara and ZA, and now I love 10 mans of all sorts. You really get to know people and just have fun, and organization is just soooooo much easier. Unfortunately for me, my play time is incredibly limited and my guild has not run a 10 man in like... a year. So here I am, stuck with what I get. Oh well!

    P.S. Friends are the only reason I still play WoW, social interaction is where it is at.

  4. @Gordin

    I enjoy your perspective on what "end game" actually entails. For me, it's achievements and rep grinds and quite a few of those things I know you hate! But i DO want to be to see a lot of the things the game has to offer - which entails the newer content, which is usually brought about in higher end raids.


    I personally think the easiest way to jump into raiding at this juncture is to start out with 10 man Obsidian Sanctum. It's fast, most everyone knows how to do it and it's not too hard to explain, and it teaches you some of the basics - how to not pull things you shouldn't, how to stay out of the fire (literally), situations in which you will take damage even if you haven't really done anything wrong, getting aggro on adds, and needing to bring them to the attention of the tank or off tank, that sort of thing. And then of course, there are all the buffs, debuffs, and damage things to consider. OS, to me, is like a mini-raid.

    Some people, like our beloved Kurtis, feel more comfortable in the 25 man setting, because there is a lot less importance placed on individual performance - if you screw up, its much more likely that the entire raid can make up for your weaknesses. In a ten man, there are a lot of situations where the loss of just one player can mess up the entire fight.

    That having been said, for you specifically, I think it will be better for you to start in 10 man OS or 10 man Naxx - mainly because it will be a lot easier for us to get a group of ten folks together with whom you are comfortable to learn how to raid properly. In a 25 man, there are likely to be a lot more impatient people who will just get frustrated with someone who is new.


    See, this is what happens when you start shacking up with someone! Much less time for your wow-friends ;)

  5. Fulguralis Says:

    LoL @ Vine. Your guild is running 10-mans with Jess. You apparently haven't checked the forum my dear co-officer. You've been too out of the loop, plus we formed it when you were on hiatus. We'll let you know if a spot opens up though.

    Our guild alone only has 8 people interested in raiding last time I counted. We're just not a raiding guild and I'm okay with that.

    (If they didn't block me at work, I would totally berate you on the forums too, but, alas, I'll have to hijack Jess's pretty site)

    @Jess and article - Totally agree. Being a team sports coach/fanatic... the same is true not just for gaming. There is a "right" size for every team effort and, for me, in football it's 11, in basketball it's 5, and in gaming it's 10.

    The only thing larger raids had going for them was the epic-ness and the lack of other options. If you're hardcore, the cons of the larger raids are probably a lot easier to overcome (forced attendance and such being a big one), but for the more casual crowd, they're just a headache now. Just too many pros to 10-mans to ignore.

  6. Kurnak Says:

    I understand you. I'm also in a cozy little guild where most of the times we can't raid 10man because we don't have enough people and the firendly people from our "associated" guild is all busy doing TotGC or Uld25. While you enjoy organizing I was just "promoted without asking" to raidleader. I guess nobody else wanted to do the job and I was the most experienced raider. Back in the old days I was in the 40man content. And yes, it was truly EPIC. 40 people running in MC battling against a single Core Hound was awesome... but also confusing. A lot of FX flashing here and there, the raidUI showing green bars going up and down... sometimes too much to cope with.
    While putting up a 10man band is fairly simple (2 tanks, 2 or 3 healers, fill in with a mix of ranged and melee dps, no need to check for special classes) I've never organized a 25man run, and if raiding 10man already burnt me out in the past I don't want to imagine doing 25man content... specially if there's an amount of pug players. I've been in raids where there're only 2 or 3 people of a given guild, and most of times we just known people from another guild (our "associates"), but still the run works like a charm. Players are seasoned veterans and know their job, so there's no need to know the rest of the people if they're doing what they're supposed to do. It also relieves stress from the RL. I really love these "semipugs", you know people will know the dance, be responsible and drama will be almost zero. On the other hand we have the "pure" 25man pugs... oh my goodness... I've only tried a few times and everytime I ended fed up of so many wankers ruining the game.
    So, yay for the 10man runs even if the loot is not so "├╝ber". I prefer enjoying the game than ending wiht a new shiny sword but stressed. I choose fun over gear.

  7. Jong Says:


    I like 25 mans, because it drops better loots than 10 mans.

  8. Gordin Says:

    @MissMedicina - I really love new LOVE LOVE, but the hardness of 10 man outweighs the planning needed for an easier, 25 man run. I can't wait for Citadel..10 man =)It almost feels safer to fail in a smaller, closer group. When was the last time someone dropped from a 10 man because of a wipe..i know it happens, but overall? I think everyone takes a much more personal stake in the game. Gordin likes this. @Kurtis - i dig that he likes 25 mans. I mean, it's really nice to be able to have the options. So many games don't put out this kind of spread.

  9. Adgamorik Says:

    My only beef with the 10 vs 25 is that there isn't comparable items in each raid. I'm running 25 ToC (leading a guild alliance raid) for the sole purpose of picking up a tank cloak - since I didn't get one from 25 Uld. I love our 10s - love our hard core 10 man guild, and love that I'm not required to run with a bunch of other people just to finish off the final bosses.

  10. I think if everyone were completely honest with themselves, the biggest argument in favor of 25 man over 10 man is quite simple, and I think Jung laid it right out - GEAR. The gear is better in 25 man, as it should be IMO.

    But what I've been asking myself lately is this... if I'm only running 10 mans, do I *need* the better gear that comes from the 25 mans? No, I don't. You get better gear in 25 man because it is assumed you need better gear in a 25 man in order to progress to... the next 25 man. The gear you get in 10 mans should be sufficient to progress to the next 10 man.

    I think this is one of the design flaws that Blizz made... the idea was that 10 and 25 man raids would have separate gear progression paths. The truth is, it doesn't matter, because folks still want the best gear possible. Maybe this is where the badges really come in. What you've got right now is people who clear out all possible raid IDs in a week - both 10 and 25 man versions - in order to get more badges. I know that's what I was doing for awhile.

    Lots of food for thought.

  11. Vinenaro/Araat Says:

    Yes.... women sure do take alot of time. She wanted to spend tonight with me too, and it as the first time I had to explain "raiding" to her. yeah...

    i sure as hell do know you guys are running 10 mans, but there is not a spot for me! So for me, there is no 10 man outlet. That is what I was referring too. I might inquire around tho, perhaps one of my friends has a 10 man ToC or ulduar group that needs someone...

  12. @Vine

    You know, if you found a group interested in doing that, I would come with you on Jbelle and do some healing. I'm totally sick of all this dps crap, I havent healed anything for 2 weeks, and I'm bored out of my mind. The Sunday night group has a ways to go before we hit ToC for sure. As long as it's not on Sunday night, and doesn't go too late or too long, I would join in. Maybe you should put your organization skills to work ;)

  13. Vok Says:

    I've recently giving up 25-man raiding (at the end of Ulduar) and put together a 10-man group. We are having an absolute blast, doing things we'd never do in 25s.

    We're progressing slowly through the Ulduar Hardmodes (up to Mimiron) and Heroic ToC (Faction Champs) at the same time. We only raid two nights as week, which is bliss, and the environment is really relaxed.

    We've even implamented a rule that no one is to read strats for 3.3 - we're going to figure the fights out for ourselves.

    Making the switch has made me fall in love with WoW all over again and I'd never go back to 25-mans now.

  14. Chirri Says:

    I enjoy both about equally, for different reasons.

    10 is easier to get together - fewer people needed, just easier to fill slots, and of course a more cohesive feel amongst the members present.

    25 has just about EVERYONE in it - which means that there's a higher % of the guildies I actively enjoy doing things with present. They say amusing things on vent, they perform pretty well, they're a little more laid back than we are on our 10 mans (because yes, you can be a little sloppier on 25s, though that's one of the Cons to 25s for me as a healer).

    I'm actually not as focused on loot as one might expect of a 25 man raider.

    My guild is a "certain size," and at it's current size a 25 man is the only option that allows the vast majority of us to participate in a single event together on a regular basis.

    So that's really what I like 25 mans for more than anything else - I get to participate in something together with everyone I see in guildchat each day or week. The sense of community and cooperation among that large a group of people. Were I in a smaller guild then yes, a 10 man would fit the bill perfectly for me as well.

  15. moarhps Says:

    There was a day when I could say "I prefer 25 mans" with a clear heart, but WotLK has really killed the distinction for me. My first thoughts on why I love 25 mans is that I love how much harder they are and I love the epic feel when you down the bosses for the first time. I actually don't care about the gear at all (some better pieces drop in 10 mans, which makes me nuts).

    I find that there is just as much a need for personal responsibility in 25 mans as in 10s. If you get hit by the yeti, you still wipe us. If you die in a fire, we're still not going to have the DPS to get the portals down before a second Mistress spawns. It's just a matter of having 25 people not being able to screw up instead of 10.

    I -like- that 25s are harder to organize, harder to keep together and just... well, harder! When you succeed it's that much sweeter. We've almost completely lost the "epic" feel to downing pretty much anything now and gear is so hilariously easy to get, but I guess at least there's a challenge to killing a boss with 25 people wearing blind folds and hopping on one leg. LOL

  16. Mongrr Says:

    I completely agree with the assessment that Gear will always play a deciding factor in whether or not many players opt to do 25's over strictly 10's.

    Personally, I feel that many players these days pay far too much attention to the iLevel of gear, and don't actually look at that stats on the items. Just because an item has a higher iLevel, doesn't always mean it's a *better* item for your class/spec to use.

    I also agree that the gear from 25-player raids is not required to do the 10-player content. For some of the harder 10-player bosses though, like Algalon or Firefighter, not every guild running 10's out there is going to be able to do that in simply 10-player level gear. Doing 25's to supplement your raid's gear can help give the guild the extra edge it needs to see content it may not see otherwise.

  17. @Chirri

    Hey - I tried to post a comment on your blog, and the authenticator thing, where you have to type in the funky word, is not properly sized, so I can't type in the word in order to post my comment. I believe The Unconventional Priest had a similar problem for a few days. Hope you see this!

  18. Chirri Says:

    I have returned! And temporarily remedied the situation. It'll take me some time for a permanent fix, but in the mean time, I'm prepared for comments now. (But oh man, comments from people I don't know IRL? /panic)

  19. Chirri Says:

    Oh hey. While I'm at it... Thank you for letting me know! lol I'm a dork. Sorry XD

  20. Shamrockgirl Says:

    I actually like both depending on my mood. we run both in my guild so i get my choice from week to week or i can do both. 10s are definitely a bit more casual and i think tend to be more fun, but i'm with Jong on the loot argument... 25s drop better loot.

  21. Kayllnn Says:

    The main reason people run 25 mans IS gear. I also want to run it for the achievements, I don't want to be left behind =(. Sure I have cleared ToC 10 man a million times, running it since release, but I want achievements and better gear. It is awful I know, but honestly I think Blizz should simply stop putting out 25 man content and only introduce ten mans, then I wouldn't have the option of torturing myself for better gear.

    Another thing, my guild has about 30 or so individual persons who could raid on even more alts, the 25 man outlet allows us to hang out all together, but I like doing VoA, OS, or Ony in this manner. One boss with my guild as a whole makes me happy, and then we can split into teams for the longer nights of raiding.

  22. Hinenuitepo Says:

    I like both.
    You make valid points about 10-mans, and there's some good comments on 25-mans here.

    I guess one of the best things about the bigger raids is when a tough boss is finally downed, the shared 'rush' is multiplied even more! ;)

  23. Zan Says:

    I had written but not published a post not long ago about 10 man raids and why I so desperately wish to switch to 25 man raids.

    In a 25 man raid, you make up approximately 4% of a raid.

    In 10 mans you shoulder 10% of the weight. There's more stress on each member of a 10 man to preform.

    Everyone shoulders more burden, everyone has to pull more weight, and it hurts even more when we lose one person. Our progression requires our best players to be present and on their A game. When someone is down or exhausted, it shows.

    Sometimes we go without certain class buffs. We usually don't have heroism / bloodlust or totems because we don't have a shaman. We don't get the casting haste buff, we can't count on presences of a shadow priest or the druid based + to hit buff. Sometimes we go without the int buff (there's no drums or scrolls to replace int or heroism/bloodlust), or soulstones / healthstones.

    I've had to bench my little Healadin for my alt Shaman several times on Faction Champions because a bloodlust, cleansing totem and grounding totem help so much against the enemy comp when it includes a shadowpriest and a warlock.

    We work so much harder for inferior rewards. To the 25 man raiders, we're inferior DPS, inferior tanks, inferior heals. We're filthy casuals. We're scrubs with a scrub leader who can't find enough competent people to run 25 mans.

    If only we could clone ourselves and have 25 of us who are used to carrying 10% of a raid, we'd collectively give 250% instead of 100%, and we'd rock.

    I feel right now it's only a matter of time before my team's strongest members decide they want better rewards than 10 man raiding has to offer and move on.

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