OK, it’s not really breaking… we heard about this yesterday. I’m not the first on my block to blog about this. Still, the blogoverse is all abuzz with the latest Cataclysm announcements regarding raid lockout changes.

I’m sure you’ve read the details elsewhere, but to recap:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items. HOORAY! Does this mean my raiders don’t have to feel like second-class citizens anymore? Because I think that sounds awesome. I’ve done 25-man raiding and 10-man raiding. While I agree that 25s are more difficult to organize, I don’t think the fights themselves are necessarily more difficult. True, there’s often more going on, and more people means more opportunity for mistakes. But it also has more room for mistakes than a 10-man. When I was raiding 25s on my rogue, if I wound up tanking the floor, it wasn’t the end of the world. In our 10 -man team, the fights are less forgiving and each member is crucial. A lost dps or two can mean a wipe. So it’s been frustrating that if my raid team wants the really good gear, we have to pug 25s.

As for the higher quantity of items dropping for 25s, I’m OK with that. They have more people to organize, so give each of them a somewhat better chance at the loot that drops. Extra badges points (see below), extra gold, extra loot? Fine. I’m just pleased that I’ll finally have a chance at the same quality of gear that 25-man raiders enjoy.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout. I’m less sure exactly how I feel about this. Mostly, it won’t affect me personally, since I run 10-man raids. I’m geared well enough to run 25s, so I could pick one up from time to time, but I just don’t. I’m too spoiled, I think, by my own raid team. We’ve built a close-knit team that’s friendly and relaxed, and while we naturally can become frustrated when we’re learning something new and wiping a lot, it’s never the kind of stress and infighting I’ve seen happen in 25-man teams.

On the other hand, we have used 25-man raids to do weekly raid quests when we were saving our 10-man ID to work on a tough boss (Yogg-Saron, I’m looking at you!). That’s a special circumstance, though, and not too important. And while it was nice to know that I could pick up a 25 if I wanted to, if the loot’s the same, the motivation for doing two versions of the same raid is certainly diminished. At any rate, the more I think about this change, the more OK I am with it. I know a lot of 25-man raiders are screaming about it, and I know some people are predicting that it means the end of 25-man raiding. I think people who want to raid 25s will still do so, but even if it does mean the death of the 25, honestly, I’m just not sure I care.

Goblin LFW!

As for the rest of the news — the similarity in difficulty, the Normal vs. Heroic, and smaller raids — that all sounds good to me. So does the other bit of news released last night: Emblems will be replaced with Valor points and Hero Points. So we get points instead of emblems, and they will be downgraded (Valor >> Hero) as new tiers are released. Much simpler, and I’m totally fine with it.They’ll be capped, and I wonder what the cap will be like, but since I spend my highest tier emblems as soon as I can afford something, I’m not very concerned. I do wonder about the future of that money changer in the Underbelly, but she’s a goblin, after all. I’m sure she’ll find some way to turn a copper.