OK, before you begin reading this, you really do need to read Vonya’s post over at Egotistical Priest. What I have written here was originally a comment on her post, but I discovered that I was nattering on for WAY too long, so I decided to make it a blog post. As this is a response, I am not going to talk about the things Vonya has already discussed: that would just be boring and silly!
First and foremost, I have to admit that I am not even 80 yet (shock horror, I know!), so I don’t have personal experience in either of the Wrath raiding frontiers. However, I have to say I have always found the ‘elitism’ that sometimes happens in the raiding community to be mildly revolting, and what Vonya is talking about here falls right into that category.
10 man raiding has always been viewed with an un-necessary level of condescension. The ‘lolKara’ phenomenon does NOT take into account the fact that Kara was actually a difficult raid for people who were not overgeared for the encounters. As many people have stated, 10 man raiding requires a level of co-ordination which many people do not give it credit for. People can slack off in 25 mans easily (I myself have been guilty of that on some occasions – shhh!), while it becomes very apparent in a 10 man when someone isn’t pulling their weight, and it has a huge effect on the raid. Does anyone remember the trouble of Moroes when the raid wasn’t in full epics? The crowd control, the healing… it was not an easy fight. Tanking the fight in itself was difficult at the time. I don’t think I have ever been more frustrated with a raid boss, bar Felmyst (why did the middle have to look the same as the top or bottom!)
This ‘lolKara’ attitude has well and truly carried over into Wrath. 10 mans are viewed as PuG material, and a guild is not a true ‘raiding guild’ in most eyes unless they are raiding 25 man content. This may just be a carry over from when most raid content WAS for larger groups, but it is a disturbing misconception that really needs to be rectified. 10 man raiding is not explicitly easier than 25 man. This is bleedingly obvious when people are reduced to spouting ‘x encounter is harder on 25!’; ‘y encounter is harder in 10s!’ Clearly the encounters can not be perfectly tuned to be of equal difficulty in 10s and 25s – there are too many external factors. It’s not about particular encounters, it’s about raiding as a whole. People zoom in on specifics and lose focus of the argument at hand.
I have to say I agree with Aelinna (see her full comment on Vonya’s post) regarding drops being of a better quality in 25man raiding:
“I must say I think it’s a managerial reward. If 10s gave equal loot to 25s, most people would stop doing 25s and those that did want the larger setting and (arguably) greater challenge would find it very hard to do so. It isn’t about dissing the 10s, it’s about survival of the 25s. Blizz love the 10s, after all that audience is larger => creates more revenue. The 25s, especially the insane ones like old Naxx or SWP, are a PR piece in comparison.”
Basically the greater reward is there for the ability to get 25 (sometimes more after swap outs, etc) people together into the same room and have most of them focus for a few hours. It isn’t necessarily because the difficulty is that much higher.
My totally uninformed opinion – i.e. based upon what I have read and heard rather than what I have done - is that both levels of raiding are equally difficult. Each presents its own challenges. I arrived at this conclusion simply because too many people are vigorously stating that their level of raiding is harder (and therefore requires more skill – a less explicit form of epeening). 25 man is not the sole haven of good players, nor is 10 man the home of noobs. The difference lies entirely in the amount of people a guild or PuG can field.
Edited to remove an errant apostrophe. I so hate finding the wrong ‘its’ in something I wrote!