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Blizzard Talks Cataclysm Progression Refinements

Well this is an interesting way to start the week and will surely create quite a bit of debate!  Blizzard has announced major changes to raids with Cataclysm including the merger of lockouts, both formats dropping the same exact items, and more.  Read on for the full details.

Quote from: Nethaera (Source)
We're continuing to refine the raid progression paths in Cataclysm, and we'd like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!

The first of the refinements being made is that we're combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn't apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.

We're designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we'll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They'll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items. Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.

Dungeon Difficulty and Rewards
10- and 25-player (normal difficulty) -- Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop the exact same items as each other.
10- and 25-player (Heroic difficulty) -- Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop more powerful versions of the normal-difficulty items.

We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you're able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.

We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week.

We do like how gating bosses over time allows the community to focus on individual encounters instead of just racing to the end boss, so we’re likely to keep that design moving forward. We don't plan to impose attempt limitations again though, except maybe in cases of rare optional bosses (like Algalon). Heroic mode may not be open from day one, but will become available after defeating normal mode perhaps as little as once or twice.

In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience.

We design our raids to be accessible to a broad spectrum of players, so we want groups to be able to make the decision about whether to attempt the normal or Heroic versions of raids pretty quickly. The goal with all of these changes is to make it as much of a choice or effect of circumstance whether you raid as a group of 10 or as a group of 25 as possible. Whether you're a big guild or a small guild the choice won't be dependent on what items drop, but instead on what you enjoy the most.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We're eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!


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  • #1
    it will be very interesting to see how these work out.
  • #2
    The thing about combining 10 and 25 into the same lockout has to be a delayed April Fool's joke. That is the single worst thing I have ever heard of Blizzard doing.
  • #3
    okay, so if you can get enough people, going 25 will yield a higher quantity of drops. but if you can't get 25 people, you can still run with 10 and get the same, albeit fewer, drops. i kinda dig that.

    i dont mind the lockout merge. i don't like running the same raid twice a week anyway. this will alleviate some of the repetitiveness.
  • #4
    At a time when old school players are quitting in droves this maybe the stupidest thing Ghostcrawler has ever done. Tuesday clear the 25 man, guess what raiding is done for the week for your main. Asinine to say the least.

    With healing going back to BC stress levels (remember when every guild posted "we need healers" in BC every week) have to wonder what GC is smoking these days. 0-10
  • #5
    sorry, is a really stupid plan. I have eight 80s at the moment and do 15-35 raids a week and absolutely love raiding. This will cut my raiding in half...grrrrrrr
  • #6
    @ Lazare
    Try the AFK world for a while , will ya ? Ö
  • #7
    I have to agree that combining the raid lockouts is quite possibly the worst thing that they can do. Despite the increased # of drops/badges/gold, I still see 25-mans going down the toilet in lieu of the easier 10-mans as the increase really means nothing.

    Single Boss Hypothetical Example (doing this generically, not accounting for actual drop %):
    10-man: 3 loots, 2 badges, ~100g = 33% loot chance, ~10g each
    25-man: 6-7 loots, 5 badges, 300g = 24%-28%, ~12g each

    Despite the "increase", you have more competition for loot and more people to divide the gold between. So at the end of it, you're still going to have the same, if not less, chance for loot and get about the same amount of gold. The only real "bonus" is the additional badges. That's it.

    I can't wait to start reading the elitist threads when this gets implemented.
  • #9
    If it goes this way things will really suck. I can see maybe locking out one if you do the other. But making 10 man loot equal to 25 man will only destroy more guilds. The same loot in 10s and 25s will end it for me, the challenge of 25s will no longer be there.
  • #10
    I'm confused... first he says
    "That closeness in difficulty also means that we'll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They'll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items."

    Then right after he says
    "Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items."

    so the items won't be exactly the same?

    "No other object has been misidentified as a flying saucer more often than the planet Venus..." 
    X-Files Ep: 3x20 - Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'

  • #11

    What he means that 10man and 25man raids will have the same loot on the same difficulty. Heroic versions of these dungeon will have a scaled-up version of non-heroic loot from either 10man or 25man.
  • #12
    are you for real this is the dumbest thing blizzard will ever introduce in to the game locking out both 10 and 25 is a freaking joke if this is implemented blizzard will loose a lot of players me included so i hope they change there mind or they will be sorry for the stupidity they are going to cause and i for one will not be back to the game what a shame and thanks for f..... up the game
  • #13
    Interesting change.

    The merger might not be such a big deal taking in context of all the other changes coming in Cata. We know there are going to be more raids available early on than in previous expansions, prob 3-5. With 2 versions of each raid that means if you full clear in one night (assuming raids are not just hole in the wall encounters) you have to raid almost all of the week on just one toon to clear them all. With every new raid added that strain on your time only gets greater. Even with one version of each a raiding guild will still have enough content to raid at least 3-5 days of the week. After 5 years there are not as many players raiding over 2-3 days a week as there used to be. Blizz has the traffic stats to study and I am guessing that they've taken the decision to target that slightly more casual raiding majority.

    From a fan of gaming though this is great news. It means you can enjoy other games (diablo 3, star craft 2 & star wars for example) and most importantly real life without truly sacrificing progression or your desire to get the most out of WoW.
  • #14
    Really? You punks that keep complaining that they are changing "your" game need to chill.

    @ Angelrock

    Blaming Ghostcrawler for everything is idiotic to say the least. You talk as if he is out to kill this game just to screw you. He didn't make a single choice in this matter alone, if he was even consulted at all. Blaming the guys who report changes as if they are the only ones making the choices is stupid.
  • #15
    If you run 25 mans you will be out of luck. Most guilds will go 10 man to reduce logistic problems. With gear being the same for both why help out the 20th-30th in strength in your guild. Some guilds have already went to a 10- man hard mode system. Mine has for one. We will still do 25's but by invitation only.

    GhostCrawler leads the team who made these changes. He is first most to blame for them although his whole team should be too. It is our game. Many will leave it as a result of GC's idiocy. Do not dump on me for stating facts that are evident to all and have already shown themselves on the servers.

    My guess is they could not balance the 10's to the 25's because of the healer changes. If you remember back in BC having 3 healers spamming heals on the MT and even then having him getting one shot at times.Easiest fix is make most guild have to go ten man then and only the strongest will do the 25's. This is only an educated guess though.
  • #16
    This hopefully will stop those who clear content on 10man first before they go and clear it on 25man just for the world/realm first.

    Oh and I bet there's gonna be a 10man World/Realm first and a 25man version as well with this change. Or just a plain world/realm first for any of the 2 versions.
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