The Plight of the 10-Man Guild

by Jon on September 14th, 2009

Editor’s Warning: This post is long. If you don’t like em long you can skip straight to the good stuff here.

I’ve been the acting guild and raid leader for <Specced for Awesome> since the mid-TBC era. We started out as an extremely casual guild and delved headfirst into Karazhan with our motley crew of 10 or so raiders. Most of us had never raided before (that one time where I lolcleansed a ZG pug in vanilla doesn’t count). We dabbled in 5-mans here and there but Kara was that first hit of the hard stuff. We were hooked.


Months later we were clearing the entirety of Kara in one night. So what next? We naturally attempted to jump right in to Zul’Aman where the Amani trolls proceeded to have their way with us. ZA was challenging to say the least. Kara was (and still is) a great instance but it wasn’t really giving us the fix we needed. We really had no choice but to head into Gruul’s Lair and Magtheridon’s Keep if we wanted to progress. There was just one problem: we were a 10-man guild and these raids required 25.


So we did what we had to, we upped our recruitment efforts. We recruited pugs from heroics and Kara runs, we advertised in trade, solicited the unguilded and even braved the dreaded realm forums. It took a guild merger/acquisition but we finally got the numbers we needed.

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  1. Being in a smaller guild myself, I’ve not quite understood the gear gap between 10s and 25s either. I’d never considered the idea of 15s. Hmm…

  2. While I too am grateful the option exists to raid solely 10mans you’re right, the system is flawed.

    I don’t think I’m too big on the 15′s approach though it does have its appeal. I think there are other changes I’d rather see them make first though.

  3. 15 man might be small enough to escape the F*tard theory….

    I know that I’ve watched two different guilds get destroyed because of the epeen of wanting to be “big” raiders, and it would be nice to NOT have that showing up anymore.

    I have noticed that 25 mans are a lot easier from the skill POV– it’s just when each pull takes 15-35 minutes of prep, you simply can’t get as far, even if it’s easier. (My claim that they are easier is based on this: take the ten worst players of a 25 man raid group. Assume they fill the roles for a ten man. Think they can clear a ten man version of the 25 they’ve been clearing?)

  4. Ara permalink

    Here here.. I agree pretty much 100%

    but you knew that already since we’ve talked about this before

    I think bigger than the issue of raid size is the issue of reward vs effort. It doesn’t matter to me how big or small Blizz makes the bigger raid size, as long as they even out the rewards for the smaller raid size in a more sensible manner.

    If they want to keep 25 man raiding, I have no qualms about it, but your example that 25 man FL shouldn’t be a loot pinata with better gear than 10 man Mimiron is spot on (we didn’t spend a month working out our strat to FL, amirite?).

    They could create multiple tiers of raid size (10, 15, 25, 40…whatever) and just let guilds decide how they wanted to spend their time.

    In a big guild that likes to always raid together? Go ahead and hit up Ulduar 40, for all I care, just know going in that your loot (depending on hard modes etc) is likely going to end up looking like what I get from my 10 and 15 man raid time, you’ll just see more of it.

    Of course, this would raise the concern of “how many lockouts per week do we want to give raiders” and the underlying concern “how many of those lockouts will hardcorewtf raid leaders require their guilds to complete each week” but those are mostly social questions about how players choose to play, not how Blizz designs the game for everyone else.

  5. Origamislayer permalink

    Having essentially been where you are and seeing my guild self-destruct (and taking my friend and GL out of the game in frustration) when we were recruiting to try and get into 25s, I agree completely.

  6. @Syrana – the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. =)

    @Shayzani – I’m curious to know what kind of other changes you have in mind.

    @Foxfier – I agree. It’s not just the difference in loot level but the e-peen deflation that comes with being a strictly 10-man guild. Obviously it doesn’t affect everyone, but to some it’s a big deal.

  7. @Ara – I wouldn’t mind seeing them go with a custom-definable raid size system. Just scale the numbers up proportionately and limit everyone to 1 lockout per raid instance.

    @Origamislayer – we’ve been through the same thing. Our guild at its peak population was upwards of 50 raiders and has gone down as low as 5.

  8. Alexis permalink

    I agree on the loot table thoughts. There is no difficulty between the two raid sizes with the exception of personnel management.

    However, I don’t necessarily agree with the 15 man raid proposal. Not necessarily due to scalability reason(that seems to make sense), but as a substitution of the 25-mans, I think it might actually remove some of the flavor. I can only say this after the Cataclysm discussions and announcements regarding guild benefits.

    Most of the problems smaller guilds(even established larger ones!) have with 25 man raiding is recruitment. For now, the only draw you have to a given raiding guild is the talent the guild contains. Since the talent is inherently with the player, this makes for a very liquid environment. Players can come and go, quickly diminishing the guild’s status and attraction.

    In the next expansion I do see a lot of that changing with guild bound benefits such as heirlooms, talents, etc. This adds a level of attraction that hasn’t been present before. All of a sudden the 10-man guild that has been established is more attractive than the 25-man upstart that only exists due to some wild disband scenario. Hopefully some of everyone’s recruitment woes may disappear as you search through the armory for that one guild that has all the goodies you’ve been looking for.

    The “flavor” I referred to earlier in the 25 man raids, really balances on the idea of different combinations of race/class availability. Chaining together abilities(ie fire mages of old) and general creativity is limited along with the player base. This touches on another subject entirely as so many things tend to get hit with the nerf stick, but I’m definitely a fan of the 10/25 man seperation ;)

    For the Alliance.

  9. I can relate in part to this tale. My guild started off very small in WoW classic, we formed an alliance with 4 other guilds to run 40 mans, however as some of those guilds has problems, the natural state of things saw us start to collect new members, until we were running 40 mans ourselves. We tried to remain casual and feel we did, of course attrition saw us lose folks who wanted the more hardcore which was fine as we never were going to be a hardcore guild.

    TBC came along and hitting 10 man and leaving out others who were slower to level was tough, and we saw attitrion, until we turned our guild into a alt guild and folks moved onto larger raiding guilds, however that only lasted 4-5 months and folks longed for the sense of community our guild offered so we reformed and to my surprise we had 25 folks ready to go and we hit T5 and T6 content with ease.

    WotLK is great because it has allowed us to continue in 25 mans, but you are right it does require 30 or so active raiders to guarantee the raids happen, I would even say you need up to 35. Now some 25 man encounters do have different abilities than 10 man counterparts which does make them more challenging. However I never understood 25, I always thought 20 would have been more natural to be honest.

    But if you are a casual guild, I can only stress, never compromise on your sense of community, that will keep you a long lasting guild, and it has kept ours running for almost 5 years now in retail, 6 if you include the original closed beta.

    Great story!

  10. You summed it up nicely. To be honest with you I want the loot of 25 mans but I much prefer to do 10 mans. Some of them I find to be more challenging than their 25-man counterparts. If 3 people in your 10-man die it’s devastating. If 3 people in your 25-man die it’s just an annoyance. 10s are a lot less forgiving in some ways even though the encounters have less health and deal less damage.

    As a tank while I love that 25-man bosses actually have a chance to completely mash my face in and have their way with me more than the 10s do, I much prefer the 10s and find them more challenging. 25s feel too much like a zerg to me. I’ve done many but enjoyed very few.

    Not sure I could weather the storm of QQ from the hardcore about the smaller raid sizes, but it’s definitely an idea. I don’t mind 25-man loot being a little itty bit better, but I don’t like it being a lot better. :/

  11. When TBC was on the verge of coming out and Naxx was just released, I was in a small guild that at most could gather up 25 people online at the same time to do raids. This didn’t stop us though as we took what we had and went for what we could.

    It was hard yes and slow but we were able to go up to Garr in MC and this was with 25 back in the day…before all the new talents changes and such. It just takes the understanding that this is for fun,and to just have fun and do your job.

  12. Dalanoth permalink

    I completely agree with you, but the 40 man raids were good because there was basically one thing in the whole instance, things like Nax or Toc should have a 15 player choice but other things like OS or VOA should stay at 25 man or even make a bigger one if you wanted…u know what i meen though, some raids would be good as with 15 players but others would be best off staying the same.

  13. Funny how almost every commenter said what I was thinking and what I’ve heard over and over again. Most people enjoy the 10-mans, but want the 25-man loot. And one of the reasons we’re doing 10-mans and I don’t need to go back to 25′s.

    So many good points.

    I don’t know about the 15-man thing… certainly has merit. Seems to me that it’s just easier for Blizzard to say that all of 25-man instance is this item level. Not that it’s right, just easier.

    But the advantage of 25-mans really should be a greater chance for that boss to drop your loot. If 2 items drop in a 10-man 10-item loot table for a boss (20% chance your item drops), then 5 items should drop for a 25-man 10-item loot table boss (50% chance). That in and of itself is probably sufficient enough reason to want to run 25′s. You still have the same chance in the raid to get an item (20% assuming one item per person), but it’s more likely your item will drop.

  14. <3

  15. Having tried 25-mans I would say that they are fun, but personally I prefer the 10-mans. I feel my contribution matters more, they are much easier to organise and run (who would have thought it would take so much longer to release and run back in and buff up, just because there are more people in the raid group??) and it just feels more social in a smaller group.

    I would’ve thought 20-mans would be the more logical size – it is a double 10-man (though probably not for the tanks), but in the end I’m not fussed as I like the 10-man format. Though I do completely agree about the loot – it is weird that it is better than 10-man. You would have thought that if you scale up the number of people in the group and scale the boss health and dmg output accordingly – then they won’t need better loot as well. Ho hum!

    Great article

  16. I think that getting rid of 25s would be a good thing. The 40 –> 25 transition was hard at first, but then people got so used to it, the mindset is now “what’s a 40-person raid? That’s too many!”

    So going into a 25 –> 10 should be about the same.

    But then again, I’m a very intimately social person, and the large groups are nowhere near as fun as smaller ones. I don’t like raiding with people I tolerate. I like to raid with people I *gasp* like. And I get far more of a choice in doing that in 10s than 25s or 40s.

    If I go back to WoW with Cataclysm, I have no doubt that any raids I experience will be 10s. I will only go into 25s if my friends refuse to run the 10s, but I’ll be vocal about it being the wrong direction the whole time.

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