(Blood Princes down!)
I'm a little late to the party here, and no doubt you've already seen the commentary around the place. There have been a couple of major announcements today about raiding and the award system in Cataclysm, but first, some Tree Druid news.
They're considering extending the cooldown on Wild Growth again (blue post on MMO-Champion's blue tracker). I'm still not sure as to why - but if they consider it overpowered and want to nerf it, they usually try to balance some other way. Maybe this is the price we'll pay for getting some awesome buffs with the new Tree of Doom?
Changes to Raid Groups
Firstly, and more controversially, this blue post. I'm not going to go copy and paste the whole thing since a lot of others already have, but here's the summary from MMO-Champion:
- 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.
There have been a wide variety of reactions to this news from the "YIPPEEEEE!!1" to the "ZOMG RAIDING IS OVER DOOM GLOOM!". At the end of the day, Blizzard is a company who wants to make money, and to do that they are aiming to make the game accessible and playable by the largest number of people possible. It may be unfortunate, it may mean the death of hard-core raid guilds (although I doubt they will disappear entirely), but at the end of the day, Blizz Wants Your Monies (and mine, and that guy's over there, and his mum's).
I've read loads of blog posts about this today but I think the two that really summed it up well were Avalonna and Larísa. Avalonna makes a great point (among plenty of others) that the change in difficulty may well be in the upward direction (although on past performance I'd be surprised), and Larísa argues that having even rewards for both 10 and 25-mans isn't fair to the people who have to go to all the trouble of organising and leading 25-mans. There's a reason the world firsts are usually done on 10-man.
Do I like the idea of having to choose 10 or 25 mode? I'm not sure about that yet. The leadership of my guild are super-happy over this change, though. We currently raid 10-man because they don't want the stress of having to manage 25 raiders (or at least I gather that's the reason). I think they also fairly frequently lose players to 25-man guilds, because as much as people say that they're not in it for the loot, there are plently of players who like to be on the top of their game and the 25-man loot is the best. At least with this planned change small guilds won't necessarily lose people to larger ones purely for gearing reasons.
This is the quote that I found I really liked in the new proposed system:
Overall, our goal is that you make the decision between whether to raid with 10 players or 25 players based on what you find fun and not because of the reward structure.
I for one love raiding with 24 others. It just feels more epic somehow. I love 10-mans too, don't get me wrong, but I have been missing 25-mans. There don't seem to be any casual 25-man guilds on my server, though, and the group I am with now are awesome, so I'll stay put. We'll keep beating through having fun and get to Fatboy Arthas sooner or later.
Are you happy to stay in the group size you're raiding in now? Do you think 25-mans should still have the advantage, reward-wise? I'm hoping there will still be mounts or titles available for the different group sizes.
Changes to Reward System
The Reward system (or badge/emblem system) for Cataclysm has been announced in this blue post. There's going to be points this time instead of emblems or badgers.
From the blue post:
- Hero Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
- Valor Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)
- Honor Points -- Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points.
- Conquest Points -- High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. (currently called Arena Points)
They will also be downgraded and a new rank introduced above when a new tier of content is added, like how it happened in Wrath.