Not dead, but might as well be

August 13, 2010

I find today that Greedy Goblin has come to an unpleasant conclusion about the future of raiding. Well, unpleasant for some. And I realized upon reading it that he was describing my experiences, along with the statistical backup to my personal anecdotes.

Sites like WoW Progress track guild progression (along with pugs like Gevlon’s). You can readily find your rank and figure out where your progression stands compared to everyone else. And what it showed is that his 25-man pug hit the top 1/3 on its first time out, and they only stopped because they ran out of people before they could beat more bosses. They could have done better, and probably will in the future. But them’s the breaks, in pugs and guilds too sometimes.

What does this mean, when the supposed advantage of being in a guild doesn’t apply? When you might as well just pug it?

Blizzard merely acknowledged the fact: most guilds are 25-incapable, and it cannot be fixed by simple nerfing. They nerfed ICC to the ground by the 30% buff and the result is: trade chat pugs progressed to 8/12 and guilds did not. To be 25 capable as a guild, you must be hardcore, or huge. So if Blizzard wants to keep the guilds meaningful (and they want as it is an important selling point to socials and boost-demanding M&S), they can’t continue nerfing. They must scale down raids. Since 10-men and 25-men will give the same loot and share lockout, the raiders will have to choose. For social guilds it’s unthinkable to go with a trade pug instead a guild run. This kills trade pugs since they were formed by good raiders of social guilds.

So: trade chat pugs progressed to 8/12 and guilds did not. The horde guild I’m in has progressed, technically, to 10/12 and 1/12 heroic, although they may not do that every week; boss #10 (blood queen) they just got a couple days ago, after all. I suppose Gevlon would call this guild hardcore, though I wouldn’t. Many of the trade pugs don’t take two days to accomplish what they do, since most of them couldn’t possibly reform on another day.

Looking at the guild I’m in now, I can see how they progressed during the gradual increase of the Icecrown buff of pity, although I didn’t arrive until pretty late in the run.

5% (applied March 2nd): They were at 4/12, no change during March.
10% (March 30th): They went up to 6/12 during April.
15% (April 27th): They went up to 8/12 during May.
20% (May 25th): They went up to 9/12 during June.
25% (June 22nd): No change during July. No help from me, ha!
30% (July 20th): Picked up the Blood Queen 25 kill on Wednesday.

There’s no point at which the buff increases and a boss goes down right after. At least a couple weeks pass before anything changes. The essential point remains; even after the huge buff, trade pugs can equal or do better than the efforts of most guilds. And it does explain why Blizzard chose to do the 10/25 shared lockout.

To really kill the 25-man raid, though, they would actually have to stop making the content. Social guilds will continue to feel the pressure from their socialites to keep running 25-mans. There will be some conflict between them and the competent raiders who want to actually finish the raid content in 10s, but this is social crap. I expect the socials will win most of those fights. Besides, 25-mans allow more room for the teeming multitudes of dps that won’t or can’t learn to do something more useful.

Perhaps he should have called it ‘the end of trade pugs’. Or perhaps ‘the end of social 10-mans’. I wonder if competent raiders in these guilds will be able to resist the social urges to run the 25 and do worse on progression. I wonder if I’ll be able to. I get this futile notion that the KOTOR MMO would be a great escape, but I doubt it…the social disease is everywhere.


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