I went sooo totally crazy with parenthesis there! [raises hand] Parenthesis-five!
Anywhoodle, I'm not a GC hater. He's just a guy trying to do his job the best he can. He's generally quite nice, reasonable, and clearly very smart. But this time he and his team have made a bad decision (yeah, I said it!), and now he's stuck defending it to an increasingly angry mob. An angry mob who hasn't been fed (a new raid instance or any new content or the promised class balance changes or even new freaking dances!!) in a loooong time, and their collective belly rumbles for fresh meat at the smell of GC's drawn (metaphorical) blood.
The thread I'm talking about can be found here. C'mon, you knew I was going to get into this debate.
Don't be fooled by the initial post. This thread doesn't turn into a debate about whether 10 or 25 mans are harder than the other, despite appearances. That ship has already sailed with Naxx. What this thread is really about is the investment/reward equation between the two styles. Ghostcrawler makes a valiant attempt to defend the path Blizzard has already locked into (they aren't going to delay 3.1 another 2 months to retune everything), but I gotta say that it looks like he's getting battered in this debate. From my perspective, it looks like he's forced to defend a weaker position, and after all of the responses in that thread, he must realize now that they've made a mistake.
What is this weaker position? Here are the choice quotes:
"We have positioned our 25-player content as more difficult and therefore capable of generating better rewards. Managing a group of that size requires a little more effort and we figured if the rewards were the same, we'd steer pretty much everyone towards 10-player raiding. At this point we don't want to do that. "and
"I understand your point on the 25 loot being of higher item level. However we explored this issue quite a bit and I still believe that some non-trivial number of players just prefer the larger raids. How can that be?
[lists some ways 25 man raids are more epic]
So for those reasons, and a few others, we think the smartest design is still just to let players decide if they prefer 10 player raiding or 25 player raiding. Some have a small group of friends and want to not have to put up with the weak links or undependables. They like the pressure it puts on every player to perform. Others have large, social guilds and like to assemble 25 players together. They may be more tolerant of being able to bring the 25th player along even if he isn't stellar. They may like all of the reasons I mentioned above. It's just a preference, just like Horde vs. Alliance is a preference. "
Is it just me, or did he just completely contradict himself there? One side of his mouth is saying "no one would do 25s if they had the same loot as 10s", while the other side is saying, at the same time, "many prefer 25s because they are more epic and will do them anyway". Which is it, GC? You seriously can't have it both ways on this one. There is no wriggling out. Maybe his left hand should tell the right what it's typing.
To illustrate, here are some of the key responses. Believe me, there are literally hundreds more in this vein, and I have yet to see a strong rebuttal to the thrust of these claims.
"So if this is true (i.e. a non-trivial number of players prefer 25-man) then why would giving out the same loot in 10-man as 25-man "kill 25-man"? If people like 25-man for the reasons you listed above, they'd do just fine. "
"The conceptual basis you're describing is great - people should be choosing the path they actually want to play - but instituting a charity tier in 25s makes appropriate risk/reward tuning for 10s extremely hard to do. If you want to put anything nice in the 10-man path, you get the choice of making the encounter trivialized by 25-man gear or out of tune for 10-man gear."
"If you make it easy for 25-man gear, you can't put in a decent reward. Because it's easy. If you make it a challenge for 25-man gear, you can provide a cool/rare reward, but you're making the encounter too hard for the gear in the 10-man path - it's effectively additional 25-man content. "
"I really like this idea. Yes, 25 man raids recquire more organization, but why can't the reward simply be more of the same loot? Give a 25 man instance 3x or 3.5x the loot drops of a 10 man, but make it all the same loot.
Right now, I'm in a 10-man guild. We don't have the players for more. We're all RL friends. And I'm chafing. I know there is better loot out there, and that we could have that better loot easily, but it means breaking the core purpose of the guild: all RL friends. And the only reason it is 'better' is because someone decided the challenges involved with organizing 15 more people is worth an entire tier of loot. In the first tier, it's the differance between having Heroic gear and real Raid gear. "
"So by following this line of logic wouldn't it make sense to allow equal gear to drop in both sets of content since, as you have stated, people who prefer to raid in a 25 man setting would continue to do so for the reasons listed above and equality of gear would not be a detrimental factor.ZING!
I'm not a huge fan of the notion that the determining factor in whether or not I can access better loot is the number of people I can bribe to log in on any given night. "
"[difficulty of organizing 25 people is ]Often mentioned by raiding guilds for why they deserve better loot. But the flaw with it? It only applies to their officers, their key members, the ones who have to do the right thing. Much of the rest? Clockpunchers, who merely have to not do the wrong thing.PWNT!
If anything, 25 man raids result in a greater amount of loot in the hands of less deserving individuals than the reverse. "
"So correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that the only reason for 25mans dropping way better gear is because it's harder to get 25 people together? because honestly, it's much harder to get 10 players that are capable of doing the encounters properly than it is to get a successful 25man going. a loss in dps for a 10man is much more significant than a loss of a dps in a 25man.
So really, the higher level loot is justified by the "difficulty"
of getting 25 players together? "
And that Batman-style pounding of GC's concepts and contradictions was just the first 2 pages of the thread after he posted.
I can't tell GC how to dig out of this hole immediately, because frankly it's too deep for this patch. But next patch is going to be a big opportunity to get this right.
It seems that if GC and his team want to keep raiding tiers the way they are, but the only reason 25s are a tier higher is because of organizational challenges, then the only way for him to be logically consistent (rather than hypocritical) is to only reward the raid leaders for the extra organizational challenges. So raid leadership gets gear a tier higher, while the other 21 people in the raid get gear a tier lower. At least that one isn't a self-contradiction.
Another suggestion thrown out there is: if the only reason loot is a tier higher is because of organizational difficulties, then why not give both instances the same loot, but make 10-mans slightly harder than 25-mans to compensate for the organizational challenges? This would work OK, but would probably be a nightmare to balance and actually implement.
From my perspective, the best solution is to have the same loot drop in both 10 and 25 man versions of the instance, but allow 25-man groups to gear up faster overall as compensation for the organizational difficulties. If 10-man bosses drop 2 items per kill, 25-man bosses should drop at least 6.
Problem solved. Everyone is happy. No one is getting anything handed to them that they don't earn, and no one is being left out as a second-class citizen just because of the size of raid they prefer.