Tag Archives: strict tens

The more things change

Purple dragons and pretty flowers are in no way misleading to the content of this post.

It took me some time to think about writing this – first, whether I wanted to write it, and second, how I’d go about doing it. It’s a strange topic with a lot of emotions tied up in it. It wasn’t a big deal, and it was a big deal – and it was somewhat freeing, and it was also an incredible downer. It felt like a kind of failure, and it also felt like one of those things you build up into being a huge thing and then it just isn’t.

About a month ago now (I’m just guessing) – our formerly strict tens guild decided to let our strict designation go. Earlier we’d made the decision to keep it when an in-guild vote yielded an exact tie. After a few more months of working our way through the “stale content doldrums,” the vote came up somewhat differently. The guild was overwhelmingly in favour of forgetting it, and so we did.

What’s funny about it is that it hasn’t effectively changed our gear at all. Most of us who hadn’t done so have poked our noses into an ICC pug to see what the fuss is all about. I didn’t win a lick of gear, and our pug wasn’t good enough to down Rotface so I didn’t even sniff the instant-drama magnet DFO. I personally enjoyed my brief foray into the larger version of ICC. Marrowgar didn’t really feel very different. Lady Deathwhisper felt much like the ten-man heroic version of her fight, except with more adds (and more tanks to pick them up, and more people to burn them down). I have to admit that I liked the 25-person Gunship quite a bit more. It really felt like a real battle with all the cannons lined up there and so many people flying back and forth. It’s an encounter that didn’t translate as well to the ten-man version.

My overall feeling was one of being underwhelmed, though. Of course, I was in a pug: somewhat disorganized and dysfunctional and not apt to succeed. I’m sure being in a great guild run is a different beast! It just reaffirmed for me that I am interested in tens exclusively, and I’m okay with that.

The guild has taken it in stride, and it’s business (time, har) as usual for us. Fsob made a joke about how we were now ranked 114th for progression on the server. Good news, guys, we’ve killed Marrowgar! Others were over the moon to be able to finally bring their many alts with achievements into the guild. That definitely helped me realize that it was the right decision at this point in time. With waning interest in ICC, it’s important that people can explore any options they feel like – an ICC 25 pug some night we aren’t raiding, or whatever. This became increasingly apparent was I’d hang around in trade, see a pug advertised – “They are looking for a mage!” and then realize that of course, I couldn’t go, and neither could many of my guildies. It started to feel like a weight.

The strict ten movement was an important one I still wholeheartedly support. I love being part of a group of people focused on tens, intent on proving that tens can be done in gear available from tens. If you don’t believe it, just ask Kae – her guild was the second strict ten in the world to down H LK recently!

I’m still all for that, and our guild will still raid tens exclusively come Cataclysm. Especially with the shared lockouts between them, this is going to be a non-issue for us. I feel that what we were aiming to achieve has been done – shared lockouts and shared loot is an open recognition and an admission from Blizzard that the way that tens scaled was unfair. Never again will people who like 25s have to farm tens just for emblems, or for a specific drop that isn’t available at their preferred raid size. Never again will I have to sigh and mentally adjust my DPS numbers and BiS gear “downwards” from what is recognized as “the gear” to have – because I know I can’t have that gear, can’t push those numbers, and will have to settle for what I can get my hands on.

As I have said before, it’s not about the gear specifically, it’s about parity. I think there are still plenty of people who want to raid 25s and will still do so. I sincerely hope it to be true that everyone can raid the size they want. I know some people really don’t like tens. I really don’t like 25s. Cataclysm has a place for all of us, and I can’t wait! I’m grateful that this isn’t a debate our guild will need to have again. No one will ever need to be restricted – we’ll all raid together. No one will be excluded from the guild because of what their characters may have done in the past. Maybe we’ll never be in the top ten rankings again with the growing popularity of tens, but that’s okay too. I believe we’ve accomplished what we set out to do in this expansion. Although we’re still working on H LK, we won’t be designated as a “strict” guild when we do it, and I am okay with that. Our contribution served its purpose – and we remain completely unchanged in essence and fact.


Counting the Reasons

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Back when there was much discussion going around about the changes to ten and twenty-five person raiding, I wrote a post detailing how excited I was about the changes and why they were a fabulous thing for my raid group. … Continue reading

Still Very Important

We interrupt your regularly scheduled painful pug discussion to talk about something else near and dear to my heart. (Okay, pugs aren’t always near and dear to my heart, but you know what I mean).

The other morning, I was sitting at my desk working away when I happened to glance over at Twitter. 35 new tweets? Something must have happened. Yes, this had happened.

25 and 10-person raids will now share a raid lockout, and drop the same items.

Maybe I don’t talk about it very often here, since this is where I write about my masochistic aim to heal every Tom, Dick, and Harry of WoW, but I’m the GM of a strict ten-man guild. I wasn’t always the GM so I can’t take credit for conceiving it, but I inherited it a few months ago and it is going strong. I’m even going to blow our own horn for a second and say that we’re 20th in the US for strict tens progression. We’ve done 9/12 heroic modes, we’re working on heroic Putricide and Sindragosa right now. After that, The Lich King! Top twenty is not the absolute pinnacle, but we definitely don’t have anything to be ashamed of when comparing ourselves to other strict tens guilds. Business Time is a hard-mode focused¬† tens guild full of some of the best players I’ve had the privilege to play WoW with. Moreover, they’re all people who deliberately choose to eschew twenty-fives, although the twenty-fivess offer better loot and more emblems. They said to themselves, “Yes, I could get better loot by going the other route, but that’s not what I want to do.”¬† For those who might be unfamiliar with it, ten man guilds typically measure progression rankings using Guild Ox’s “strict” ten man definition. Essentially, when you kill a boss on 25-man (in the case of current progression, Marrowgar 25) it puts up a flag for Guild Ox, you’ve had x number of people in the guild kill Marrowgar 25. This was done in order to prevent people “gaming” the system, and it means that we can have a limited number of people in the guild with that achievement (seven or less). Right now we’re sitting at six. Of course it means that those six people can keep running ICC 25 to get gear, but I think only one person in the guild actually does do ICC 25, possibly two.

Staying “strict” hasn’t always been easy. It means that when we’re recruiting people, we have to keep an eye on what they have or haven’t done, because we could inadvertently exclude ourselves from the rankings. Yes, the rankings are just e-peen, but progression raiding has a component of e-peen. It’s part of how we’re able to attract people to join the guild in the first place. “Yes, it’s ‘just’ ten mans, but look! We’re pretty good for people doing ‘just’ ten mans!” Finding folks who want to join a strict tens guild is also not easy. On a few occasions, I’ve gone after adverts on the recruitment forums – people who specify that they want their guild of choice to be running tens because they really enjoy tens, and I’ll say, “Have you thought about a strictly tens guild?” Sometimes, it even works! The rest of the time, people might not be rude enough to laugh in my face, but they may as well be. The underlying understanding is, “Twenty-fives are real raiding,” but I’m often unconvinced that they don’t just mean “Twenty-fives have the best gear drops.”

It’s always been something we emphasized in BT, that we get loot to raid, not the other way around. Committing to tens raiding means giving up any hope of ever seeing that best-in-slot trinket that EJ has shown will maximize your DPS. It means knowing that you’ll have to work twice as hard to get equivalent gear, but you’ll get badges about twice as slowly. It means that when we downed The Lich King on 10-man, with our 10-man gear, it was a huge deal to me. A twenty-five man guild can go strolling in and do the same thing with their better gear, and I’ll be honest, I don’t consider it as great a feat or as big an accomplishment. It just isn’t. When you overgear an encounter you can guarantee heavier healing from your healers, higher DPS overall from your DPS, and greater survivability from your tanks. The encounters are supposedly tuned for the level of gear they reward, and I believe that largely they are.

The DPS requirements for Heroic Saurfang are brutal. The healing is incredibly unforgiving. It’s heroic for a reason, and I’m so proud of our guild for doing as well with the heroic mode challenges as they have done. All strict tens have been asking for is parity; for the recognition that what we do isn’t a joke, that just because it takes fewer people, doesn’t mean that it’s “easy mode.” I would have been willing to accept the same items dropping in tens as in twenty-fives, even with just lower ilevel and stat allocations. People who do strict tens aren’t looking to take anything away from people who’d rather do twenty-fives. I believe that’s true. I wish I could say the same of all the twenty-fives raiders I’ve encountered, concerned with making sure their e-peen is gilded while leaving those of us who have chosen a different path out in the cold.

Yes, I said “different,” different, not lesser. And that’s been our gripe all along. You can argue difficulty levels until you are blue in the face, but I firmly believe that tens place the responsibility for raid success squarely on the shoulders of each and every player. If one of your two healers dies in a ten man, you just lost 50% of your healing. If a DPS dies, you’ve quite likely lost the DPS you needed to beat the enrage timer, unless you completely overgear the instance. Sure, I might think that ten mans are easy too, if I were running them in my 25-man gear. I’m starting to get really great gear now since our guild has been beating hard modes every week. We’re gradually upgrading our T10 pieces to be sanctified, and each time we do it is not a cakewalk. These are hard-won tokens. They drop from Saurfang, a fight difficult enough to punish all but the most on-the-ball raiders – one missed taunt, one blood beast not carefully controlled, and he gains enough blood power that it probably spells a wipe. When he drops a token we have earned it! Likewise with heroic Blood Queen – she’s pumping out a massive amount of damage and with our current raid DPS we make the enrage but only if everyone bites their intended target on time, and nobody screws up.

Understand that I’m not saying “Boo hoo ten mans are so hard, poor us,” not at all. We like them to be hard. I love the challenge of tens, which is to me, a challenge in play and not a Human Resources challenge. I don’t think I even know twenty-four people in real life I would happily say I’d like to spend three hours listening to. Why wouldn’t I want to raid, with people whose company I enjoy, doing content that challenges us? That’s what I’m already doing, and Blizz is recognizing that what we’re doing is valid and worthy of reaping the same rewards for effort expended. Many people have spoken up about this, pretty much every blog I read has weighed in to say something. I’m not looking to be excessively controversial – what it comes down to is that I’m all about having fun in this game, and I don’t want my fun to interfere with that of other people. I think that people who want to do twenty-fives, can and will still do them. If people stop doing twenty-fives because tens are what they enjoyed all along, then there was something broken in the first place, and I just can’t bring myself to feel bad about it. I’ve spent this entire expansion sifting through gear to find “not best-in-slot but good enough” gear I was able to obtain from ten mans, trying to convince potential recruits that tens were worth committing to, and watching people wearing twenty-five man gear steamrolling ten mans and laughing about how easy they are. It gets old. I think this can best be summed up by a whispered conversation I had with a mage on my server.

Mage: Hey, are you guys recruiting?
Me: Yes, but we really only need a heal/dps hybrid right now.
Mage: lol aw damn, I have bandages!
Me: Heh, yeah, I know how it is to be a pure DPS when people mostly want hybrids.
Mage: Well keep me in mind ok?
Me: Yes. You should know though (I had a fair idea that he hadn’t researched us at all at this point) that we’re a strict ten man guild. We only run ten-mans, we never run 25s.
Mage: lol why would u do that
Me: Because we like it.

An irrelevant point is that the mage ended this conversation by saying something like “Good luck /tapthatass” to me… (I really don’t know, don’t ask). But if I never have to have that conversation with anyone again with them asking, “lol why would u do that?” then that in itself will make these changes worth it as far as I’m concerned. I have many reasons for doing that, I’m happy to expound upon them at great length.