The trickle of Cataclysm news continues! A little earlier on, Blizzard released some information about which way raid progression is going in Cataclysm. As with every single announcement I’ve seen regarding the next expansion I appear to be simultaneously shocked, pleased and confused. I’m going to cover the key changes individually – Opinion Mode Activate!
- 10 and 25 man raids will share the same lockouts. I am… surprised. This seems to me to be an attempt to further Blizzard’s pro-guild concept for Cataclysm. It’s a net gain for guilds, I think – more on this further down. I am concerned about players pugging raids though. I know Blizzard wants us to do everything as a guild, but I suspect the majority of guilds lack the organisational ability or dedicated membership to get things done. Every guild I’ve been in I’ve usually had to search for non-guild (Pick Up Group) raids if I wanted to see the inside of any raid portal in a given week. The problem with this is that pugged raids usually don’t progress very far into current-tier instances. If you’re only going to have a chance to hit 4 bosses in a given week (assuming your group is basically competent), the solution is to do the 10 and 25 man versions. This route is closed to you in Cataclysm. Good for guilds, bad for lone wolves or those not in ‘proper’ raiding guilds with a regular slot.
- 10 and 25 man raids will be very similar to each other in difficulty, and will drop the exact same loot. 25-man will drop more loot and gold to reward the greater organisation required. This pleases me! Speaking once again as a member of guilds who have never been able to successfully field 25-man teams, it’s always frustrated me that the best quality of gear has always been out of my reach because we can’t get enough people together. I’m fine with heroic gear being unobtainable because a group isn’t skilled enough to handle heroic difficulty encounters – that’s fair. Always being a half-tier behind because we don’t have enough people isn’t so good. This is another thing that’s good for guilds – 25-man raiding groups being able to drop down to 10 for a couple of weeks if there’s not enough people.
- For the first tier or so, there will be multiple smaller raids rather than long 11-boss raids. Okay then! This seems… fine. Alright, I have no particular opinion on this one.
- The objective will be for players to enter first tier raids wearing 5-man blues and crafted gear. Works for me. Players will still have to run 5-man dungeons but won’t require a completely purple character sheet to avoid being laughed out of an entry-level raid. Well, in theory anyway. Players continue to irritate me with their unreasonable gear elitism.
- This was a separate announcement, but since it’s still relevant: Emblems will be simplified. There will be Points of This Tier and Points of Last Tier. These will be Hero Points (last tier) and Valor Points (this tier). When a new tier begins, all Valor Points will be converted into Hero Points to prevent stockpiling. This is an excellent change! It rids us of the current system of useless older-tier points (when new content is released, currently useless older points can be used to buy last tier gear) while making the system easier to comprehend. Both will be capped at a maximum number (I assume to prevent absurdly stockpiling Hero Points for when next tier is released), and Valor Points will have a fixed maximum number that can be earned per week. How well that will work depends on what the cap is, how easy it is to reach the cap and how expensive gear is. Roll on open beta, I need answers! (Also, “Emblems” do sound better than “Points”…)
This is pretty much all good news for guilds. I don’t think for a minute that this will be the death of 25-man raiding as some commentators have predicted – 25-man is still the way to go if you can put the group together. More drops, more emblems and more gold. I am concerned about the effect on those of us who are pugging raids, but I guess the solution to that is ‘get into a good guild!’ :P