Last week when Ulduar was released we did what almost every guild has done so far and immediately made the switch to 25 man Ulduar. The decree had gone out that we would no longer be doing old content as most of us were quite fed up with doing so. But aside from the 25 man attempts, one brave set of intrepid explorers stood apart from the others and declared their intention of being a scouting party for the rest of the guild. These valorous souls, including one plucky priest you all may be somewhat familiar with (hint: it’s Dueg), decided that they would be the vanguards, the first to plant a dispenser deep into Ulduar’s frozen heart. Yes, we made a 10 man.
We picked out some of our better raiders and being the only regular healy priest (making me the best healy priest in the guild, woo!), I got to get in on this group. With our weapons held tight and our hearts beating a staccato rhythm, we delved deep into the frosted halls of Ulduar. Our spells landed with dexterous precision and our blades sung to the tune of battle as we were able to down 10 of the 13 normal bosses in the raid, and got plenty of attempts in against Mimiron. Some great loot was picked up and there was much frivolity and hilarity among all of us on vent. But aside from the loot and the lawlz, there was another reason for us to get a jump on the zone. Experience.
Something that I find more than stellar with the new raiding system is the concept of 10 and 25 man zone that are the same, just tuned differently. However, the fights are usually almost exactly the same as far as mechanics involved with only a change to hp or number of mobs or damage dealt is changed. This is important because basically it allows you to run a 10 man Ulduar and see all the fights the same way you would see them in 25 man. It allows you to learn the steps to the dance that is the encounter before you go to the big gala ball that is the 25 man version. You get enough raiders who know what they’re doing on 10 man version and you should be able to start taking down 25 man bosses easier despite gear deficiency.
But does this cheapen the 10 man experience? For some guilds that are smaller with maybe only about 12 to 15 active raiders on at a time, 10 mans are a god send. You get to see everything there is to be seen, but you don’t have to go through the hassle of wrangling 25 people’s schedules. Some may say that 10 mans are actually more challenging because every single one of your raiders has to be on the ball and know what they’re doing or else you’ll ride the fail train all night long. This used to be true, but with Ulduar’s release it feels like Blizzard is trying to do away with that and make 25 mans the most challenging content in the game. 10 mans are no cakewalk compared to it, but 25 mans aren’t the zerg rush they used to be either.
So the way I see it, 10 mans are going to truly become a stepping stone for getting into 25 man content. Not just because of gear limitations but because they will be sneak peeks into how the 25 man raid will work in terms of where to expect burst damage, what fight needs more focus on heals or dps or where to move, etc etc etc. By instilling these experiences into your raiders before they reach the 25 man level, they will be able to better handle whatever comes their way. It certainly helped with us.
Last week we were terrible in 25 man content. We went three nights and only downed 2 bosses. We only had one ten man group going at this point who had cleared out the Siege of Ulduar area before we got to our second 25 man raiding night and on that night you could tell who those people were. The ten people were more vocal on vent, able to let people know tips and procedures that had been mapped out the previous nights when we did the work on 10 mans. You could still see people struggling as they got the necessary experience, but you could also begin to see things click into place. Those people who had already been in the 10 mans were also the ones consistently surviving till the end of the fights.
This week we have two 10 man groups scheduled and the one with the most newer members went in Tuesday night before our usual Wednesday raid night. As a ten man they were able to advance past the Siege of Ulduar area as well and move into the Antechamber portion of Ulduar. Then on Wednesday a curious thing happened. So many people in the raid had actually had experience not just fighting but also downing bosses that we appeared to know what we were doing. We one shotted Flame Leviathan, Razorscale and the Deconstructor and I think we only wiped on Ignis about four or five times while working on strats and placement.
I believe that we’ve progressed so far from last week (going from only killing two bosses to one shotting three and clearing two new ones in one night) because of the ten man experience that more of our guildies have under their belts. It has made a difference and we’ll most likely schedule two more ten man groups to go in next week as well, though I don’t think we’ll be doing it again after that. It is worth mentioning that Blizzard has tuned some of the bosses via nerfing with the mini patch they did, but it still surprised me to see one shotting going on. So tell me, gentle jerkwads, is your guild practicing on ten mans or is it business as usual and they’re only interested in 25 man content? Drop me a comment and let me know!