Why bother with 25-man raiding?

“Because I like it” doesn’t really seem like much of a response in this current age of dwindling 25s guilds. If I like it so much, why doesn’t everyone? Or, more importantly, what is it that I like about 25s so much that means I am completely disinterested in 10s?

Because really, when you come down to it, 10s are easier. They just are. It is way, way simpler to get nine other people in the right place at the right time than it is to get two dozen (which is in itself infinitely and incalculably easier than it ever was to get thirty-nine), which is a simple fact of logistics. The loot is the same, the acheesements are the same — so why bother with the extra hassle?

Well, I have a few reasons, but they basically all boil down to my personal preference. I know a lot of people who raid 10s very successfully, and in fact my family does so, hordeside. For the most part, though, it’s just not for me, and here is why:

25s are less controlled.

90% of WoW raiding is Do Not Stand In Bad. It used to be Do Not Stand In Fire, but then Supremus’s blue fire just freaked everyone out and they did not understand it, so now we have the much more general “Bad” descriptor to encompass fire, poison, shadow, fire of other funny colors, random sparkly shit that will still kill you, and anything else that might make the ground change color that has not been expressly stated as a good place to stand.

That’s great and all, and like many social misfits who play WoW I totally enjoy my personal space, but the barely-controlled chaos involved in jockeying for position in fights that require you to keep your nasty, nasty germs away from other people is just a juicy jigsaw puzzle of placement fun for me.

25s make my facemeltery way more melty.

…Look, more people in the raid means I am more likely to end up with Dark Intent or Power Infusion or any other delicious, delicious buff that makes me that much more badass. Group composition is a fine and delicate art, and in smaller groups it’s just not always possible to make Raid Buff Bingo. That is cool! But man, I will take the big shiny shiny stack of buffs every time. I’m not ashamed. I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed either.

I like the big booms, okay. I can’t help it. I’m human, I’m DPS, it happens.

25s are less personal.

With the exception of a few very notable fights (Archimonde, I’m looking at you and kicking you square in the balls), a single person’s mistake in a 25 can get swept neatly under the carpet. Oh, you should totally recognize that you did wrong and take steps to make sure you don’t make the same mistake again, for sure — but let me be perfectly honest: the blame game is my very least favorite part of this game. Well, okay, that’s not true, world PVP is my least favorite part of this game but oh man the other thing? That’s real close.

I did off-night Srs!Bsns! 10s through Naxx and Ulduar in Wrath, and while earning my ironbound drake while it was current content was awesome (and I am still mad I was a day off a Sarth kill and missed out on a plagued drake), it was some of the most emotionally draining and generally exhausting bullshit I have ever been a part of. Whenever something went wrong, everyone knew exactly who it was and people got vicious about that shit. There’s a constructive way to approach criticism that I personally find easier with a larger group of people.

25s feel like a greater accomplishment.

I admit that this is highly subjective. I totally own this. Some people feel oppositely, that without Raid Buff Bingo 10s are quantitatively harder. I’m fairly sure that this is in fact actually true! But getting all of those pieces to move well together — my god, have you ever tried to direct offense in AV? — is something downright Sisyphean.

What it boils down to is that while my greatest accomplishment was 5-man, my first seriously hardcore raiding was in BC, which was 25; vanilla fill-ins didn’t really count, because everyone picked up a few server-friends to fill out giant-ass raids. Most of my best memories are of 25s, and that’s so informed my perceptions and my playstyle that raiding 10 just seems unfinished to me, like a piece is missing.


Cross of Vengeance vs. Kael'thas, March 19 2008.

Or, more specifically, fifteen pieces.