10 vs 25 comparison

So we decided to take a peek at the 10-man side of raiding. The plan was to run a 25-man normal mode raid in tandem with the hc 10-man up to Ragnaros in order not to waste any legendary pieces and get the valor points.

We picked a balanced (performance-wise) raid comp that could deal with the first six bosses, made a slightly modified comp for Ragnaros, and went to beat some pixels to the ground.

Onwards to the bosses:


Our setup

The feel of the fight was very similar to 25. A lot less was happening in the first phase, making things clearer. The numbers seemed about ok, though we could have afforded to put much more dps upstairs from the start, easing the last phase a bit.



Our setup

The boss was mostly a matter of not dying and then distributing loot, just like in 25. Not dying seemed to be a bit easier though, with less damage and less stuff going around. Not that you'd have enough combatresses here to handle the mass suicides happening in 25 anyway. 


Lord Rhyolith

Our setup

Not really any major differences here either. Incoming damage seemed to be a bit lower than in 25, especially from the avoidable stuff, since you can actually see something in the 10-man. Interestingly Liquid Obsidians still only restored one stack upon reaching the boss and the amount of spawns is lower than in 25-man. It probably doesn't make a lot of difference in practice though, since it won't be a problem if you do the boss properly.



Our setup

More or less the same encounter, just with fewer people and easier and clearer positioning. Random deaths to dogs when healers are sleeping hurt slightly more on 10, since you can only alt-tab once (as opposed to three times on 25) without penalties. Bruteforced it all the way through like proper champs.



4/7 recap

It should be noted that the first four bosses all felt very similar between the different raid sizes, i.e. find a working tactic, do not die, collect loot. Not dying seemed to be easier across the board, simply because there is less stuff going on at any given time. Beth'tilac is the only one with any real throughput check, but it's lenient enough in both 10 and 25 not to be a problem if handled correctly. Frankly they are not different enough, and not hard enough, for there to be much point in debating the difficulty differences. 




Baleroc the Gatekeeper

Our setup (Rakez wanted loot...)

Here's the first boss with meaningful differences between the raid sizes. In 25 we ran with two tanks and four healers, careful torment + debuff positions, and an elaborate enrage plan. We just barely met the dps requirements for the fight. We saw most 10-man guilds doing it with one tank and two healers, so we figured we'd do that and have plenty of dps left over.

We had a few deaths with two healers (quite looked like four-healing in 25), and noticed that we actually had enough dps left over to do two bosses at the same time. We picked up a third healer, which completely trivialized the healing. After noticing no one was keeping up sunders we proceeded to loot the boss.

The main difference is that in 25-man you are short on dps and short on healing. You can't really compromise from either -- and if you do take five healers you need a hell of a plan for the enrage. In 10-man you can either run with three healers and only worry about dps, or run with two healers and only worry about healing. You also don't need to worry about the debuff positions for Tormented too much, since there's plenty of room to go around and only one crystal to soak.

Not only was this fight clearly easier in 10-man, it didn't really even have the same feel to it. Somehow forcing three healers and about 5% more health on the boss would have done wonders.


Majordomo Staghelm

Our setup

What happens when your tank forgets to turn on AD on the first scorpion slash and dies? You proceed to one-shot the boss and collect loot of course!

The fight plays (or rather, you should play it) much like the 25-man version. You maximize time on the damage/healing buff by not taking damage, which means Majordomo spends most of his time leaping around in cat form. The notable gameplay difference is that only three Burning Orbs spawn. They are an absolute pain to deal when they spawn in multiple clusters in 25-man, which simply cannot happen with only three.

The biggest problem though is that the boss has way too little health. With a completely failed pull, we still beat the enrage by about a minute and a half. It also felt like a two healer fight, and we were running with three. In all honesty, the boss could use a good +25-30% hp buff.

The fight feels more similar to the 25-man version than Baleroc, but because the numbers are so ridiculously off, Majordomo has to take the cake for being the boss with the largest 10/25 gap. You really should be able to do the 10-man version rather easily even if you dropped one healer plus one dps and went 8-man. That's just silly for the penultimate boss of a raid tier.



Our setup

The dreaded Ragnaros. Without giving too much, the fight *feels* very much the same, as it should. On the surface it's seems like nearly the same encounter, but under the hood you see some differences.

It's unclear why, but for some reason the Magma Traps in p1 do less damage than in 25-man. Doesn't seem like a big deal unless you've clocked hundreds of deaths in p1 to traps that are synced poorly with Hand or Wrath of Ragnaros. It really isn't a huge issue even counting that, but immediately noticeable and rather peculiar. Maybe we're just doing it wrong.

Phase two is pretty similar. Aoeing the Molten Elementals down is possible with a reasonable comp and spreading really shouldn't be an issue with an acre of room to go around, and in all honesty should be about a million times easier than in 25. We like to blow stuff up though, so we just aoe'd through like in 25-man, with plenty of overkill.

Sons of Flame in the intermissions perform quite differently. They're made out of paper in 10-man, but boy are they fast without proper control. Eight spawn in both raid sizes. In 25-man and in the first intermission in 10-man the Sons are completely controllable. The second intermission in 10-man however has the tanks tied up with the Scions, and some guys occupied with Blazing Heat, which means that you'll have to figure some stuff out on the fly. Depending on the raid comp the difficulty can vary greatly with the spawn spots. If the Sons spawn in clusters, they'll die to aoe instantly (really). But if they have a good spread, this portion can be more challenging than in 25-man.

Without going too much into detail on p3 and p4, there's again a number problem. The boss has too little hp, and what's a nerve-cracking dps race on 25 is a walk in the park in 10 that doesn't even require Bloodlust/Heroism. Moreover, looking at the Dungeon Journal you could easily think that handling two meteors in 10-man should be equal to handling five meteors in 25-man -- after all, they both occupy 20% of the raid. In practice it simply does not work this way. The boss has proportionally so much less hp in 10-man that it more than makes up for lost dps time. Anyone close to killing Ragnaros will know how big of a role this plays, and how everything else ultimately turns out to be meaningless.

To be fair though, RNG does play a slightly bigger role in the 10-man version. And there aren't many things more annoying than RNG that you weren't good enough to handle.




Further thoughts

It's immediately obvious that there's a much greater degree of clarity and control in the 10-mans. Thinking logically, this should help quite a lot with the learning curve and avoiding mistakes, but that's not really something we could say our little skirmish 'proved' in practice. We already knew what the encounters were about and what the flame to avoid looked like -- relearning to accommodate differences is very different than learning from scratch.

A theme of more significance that you can clearly see in the three harder bosses for this tier is that the dps requirement is much too lenient in 10-man. This means that you don't really have to cut the amount of healers, which ensures relaxed gameplay for the healers while about half of their 25-man brethren are taking beta blockers just to be able to see clearly. The other half is naturally on the bench, sitting out for the extra dps. Perhaps this is a backlash from what we've been hearing about T11, but it really doesn't work as it is.

Proper tuning has repercussions though, since class balance has a huge impact when you're forced into two-heal and solo heal situations. And that's not even a stretch -- don't be surprised if you see a druid solo healing Ragnaros 10 hc before this tier is over. Might or might not happen, but at least it seemed plausible enough. Try doing that with a shaman. 

This leads us to the fact that the gap between an optimal setup and the wrong setup seems to be quite a bit larger in 10-man than in 25s. If the encounters are really hard, you'll need a proper setup. Guilds shooting for a world first should always be expected to come up with one, but those below, the ones without alt raids, will be left hanging. If the encounters are tuned for the 'average' setup, guilds who can afford the optimal one will steamroll through them.

If we were really playing 10-man, we *would* have a close to optimal setup. Even right now, scaled down from 25 to 10, we would have about 14 players and 30-ish fully raid-capable characters. The difficulty and tuning we're concerned about is for that scenario, not for the level where you're simply enjoying the game with the hand you've been dealt.

You should always keep this in mind when reading feedback from top guilds, whether they are playing 25s or 10s. The game is very likely quite different for you and your raiding group.


Now that you've read all that, come discuss the matter in this thread but remember to stay civil, trolling and flaming will not be tolerated.


Only 2 healers on ragnaros? Impressive...i think o.o I'm guessing this is to handle the sons more easily?

Why unholy on Baleroc? For AMZ or improved AMS?

Great read, thank you Arx.

I don't want to lower the merit/accomplishment of 10-man guilds but because of the current balancing and what you just described, a server first done on 10-man Rag will certainly feel "undeserving" to me.

I really think Blizzard should remove server-first FoS from 10-man and let it only on 25-man. It will not change much in the game but only shout a clear statement that 25-man is the format where the true hardcore PVE competition lies.

Let's not joke each other. The 10-man competition exists but it's not even close to 25-man. In football it's like comparing League 1 and Am championship. Again I mean no disrespect for all the 10-man guild out there but it's a fact, the best players and the best guilds play 25-man.

Even if 10 man competition is low atm a surefire way to remove everyone of the guilds that compit in 10 man is to remove the ach. I think that they shuld instead change some of the ways a bossfight works instead of trying to make the same fight in 10 man as in 25 It can never happen..
On great example of a big difference between 10 and 25. Interupts. In 25 man guild a interrupt rotation is mostly not needed because they have so many that can do it so it will always be interupted. In 10 man on some fight you must have a rotation.

A other example is if you would need 1 or 2 tanks on a fight. in 10 man if you run with 1 tank that is 20% more dmg that you can put out because one tank is dps. In 25 man it is only 6,25 % more overall dmg output. Same goes for if you can pull or add one extra healer. It makes all the difference.

So i say instead of deviding all the nr in a fight with 2,5 instead have things that is uniqe for 10 and the same for 25 and by that way makeing em as hard.

Epitok & coffeblaster,

That's all well and good, but if blizzard were to handicap 10m raiding by stripping away all the achievements and such, then they would need to re-balance their servers and shut down low population ones after moving the players on them to another realm.

I come from a low population realm that has zero, I repeat, ZERO 25m raiding guilds on it. In-fact, there are only 9 guilds period (all 10 man) that have killed any firelands bosses at all.

So while talk about how Blizz should only reward and focus on 25m raiding is fine and dandy for the top 50% of servers with the populations to support 25m raiding, the bottom 10-50% of servers with low populations would be left in the cold.

Now you could argue that Blizzard allowing a realm to exist that struggles to support even a single 25m raid is just stupidity on Blizzard's end and should be fixed - and I would totally agree. However, it's still a problem and I'm just pointing it out.

Well, you talk about the present. But looking back in the past you can see that in T11 the difference in the "race upon bosskills" in 10 man was a lot more behind the 25 man due to bosses beeing really impossible to kill or just to kill using exploits.
With T12 coming up it changed a lot and many were suprised to find some of the top 10man guilds in the worlds top rankings.
If you consider this and think about the future i guess there will be a change and that the time will come when most guilds will compete on 10 man.
Maybe even some players of Paragon will join the ranks? Who knows?

Either way good job Arx. I would like to hear it from another point of view cause your overall message is: Both bracket's bosses can be done easily. This is the position of yourself having content cleared. Most of the players may think different.

maybe others guilds raid 10 mans because they don't have enough ppl to raid 25

Don't get me wrong, Ragnaros is a very hard boss on both 10 and 25. But you're right in saying that I think the first 4 in 25-man and the first 6 in 10-man were too easy. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion about it -- I'm not surprised at all if the majority thought all seven are too hard.

@coffeblaster :

You acknowledged that the fights can never be equally hard in both formats. Right ? So there should be different achievements don't you agree ? And what I expect Blizzard to do is to make a clear statement in favor of 25-man CONCERNING HARDCORE PVE competition.


I love that 10-man exists. It's fun, it's more accessible, It's easier to organize and it can also be very challenging. And like you said on low pop server it's the only way to raid for some people. But I feel that there should not reward the same *Ach.

I'm not complaining that 10-man exists. It just that there should NOT be the same Ach and FoS for FK that's it.
I'm sorry but as it is now a 10-man guild who gets a Baleroc HM kill before a 25-man guild gets a Baleroc 25 HM is not a better guild. That's sad but it's the truth.

@Epitok That is Not what i am saying. I am saying that they can be equally hard if they just see that just by taking away some % of the overall dmg aint gonna work. They need to see that for them to be equally hard they might need to change some things in a boss design. a fight in 25 man is only hard becuase people are always stacked up. Add a debuff in 10 man that makes it so that people also have to stack up there.

And what you said to @apinksquash dont make any sense, if it works one way it have to work the other way. In t11 many fight was harder in 10 man. Then all kills on that fight shuld not count only the 10 man.

Edit: Moved to correct topic.

lol, well obviously they are going to face roll 10-man when they know every strat and know what composition is the best. But it isn't about how easy 10-mans are compared to 25-man content when you're raiding in full 25-man gear and have the resources of a 25-man guild. As a 10 man only guild bosses will drop TWO items, and guess what? If you don't have that specific person that needs it, it will be DE'd or Off-specced. Not taking anything from Paragon or anything because everyone knows they are the best hands down. I just don't think it's an accurate way of judging the difficulties.

It's funny when people post stuff without reading first

Even more funny are people who miss the link to the thread where the topic is supposed to be discussed and post their tl;dr rants to comments.

You can't really compare the two raid difficulties... they are seperate things...
And what paragon did isn't really a comparison... most of them are 391 hc geared... i doubt that any 10man guild has so many hc items, and the most significant difference is that they had already beaten the fights and knew what to do every single moment... However, I do agree that there can be some bosses that are easier on 10man mode compared to 25, but they aren't much... propably just baleroc. my 0.02 euros.

I´m completely satisfied with that comments. I´m raiding 10man and oh well, its easier for us THIS time. I can live with that. Taking away the achievements is bullshit though, because all that could change with future Patches. Maybe Blizzard will stack some HP to the last Three Bosses and it actually can be balanced! a fact that was never supposed to happen. Be happy for the work Blizzard made here.

Along the lines of hai2u, the original post seems to neglect the gear curve scaling (or gating) between 10 and 25 when commenting on the requirements of dps and hps outputs.

I think gear levels require a mention, as exhibited by the world first 10m Sinestra kill, 2 months after the 25m Sinestra kill, the scaling of Cho'Gall being too demanding until a minimum gear level reached - http://www.paragon.fi/blogs/what-difficulty (I am using 'raid effort' as a measure of gear as well as strategy and execution - which is my understanding of the term) to demonstrate this minimum gear level.

Furthermore, using a continuation of Sinestra who offers gear comparable to N Firelands, with shard of woe being a shining light, a maximum of ~16(+3 into the release of 4.2) Sinestra kills available to the top 10m guild and 24(+3) Sinestra kills for 25m meaning 32(+6) vs 144(+18) pieces of loot. On the assumption that drops are near perfect, the top 10m and the top 25m guilds have even footing at the start of Firelands, however, in a non-perfect case assumption, the magnitude of the ratio between beneficial:non-beneficial gear I believe would be much higher in 25m compared to 10m. At especially the top level (but affecting those playing across the board), I think you can start to see what is happening; that this gear level curve growth is being taken into account in the tuning of encounters between 10 and 25m. For nitpickers, I will agree that 2 pieces of loot per class-spec combinations are probably not game breaking by themselves, merely the cherry on top, or one of many required extra edges that will make a difference on isolated small, but raid-summatively large difference.

Using (unclean?) simulation numbers, maximal dps increases by ~3k/10-15% from 359-->372 and again by a further ~7k/15-25% (wide variance approximated for the legendary) from 372-->391. If the Sinestra example is furthered to model gear difference, there can be perhaps a 5% discrepancy for missing certain 372 upgrades, perhaps a further 10% discrepancy, discarding the fact that presumably all players are yet to reach full BiS gear, discarding the yet to be available legendary and introducing the intermediary 378 gear level. From this, I would come to assume a 15% gain per player for the 10 vs 25 gear level difference. This works out rather nicely as a 15% x 6 dps combination on Baleroc would almost make up for the "lost" dps most guilds seem to run this boss on. Not to mention that the 3rd healer would allow huge leeway with shard tanks, movement minimisation and stack gains, and would most definitely "trivialize" this encounter.

Of course the exact numbers are most likely not accurate, yet they demonstrate the point that IF bosses are tuned in the way I believe they are with regards to an *adjusted* gear level curve, it would perhaps explain the difficulty difference described in the original post between 10 and 25. I say *adjusted* as all bosses should become easier with more loot. (I am sure there is a whole other conversation on how some guilds were supposedly skipping certain T11 heroic bosses because it was too much hassle for too little gain).

This would seemingly bring up the question, if 10m IS so much more easier as made evident by the original post, why would 25m guilds not just go for the 10H Rag kill? (Al'Akir anyone?) They would have a small (or large depending on drops and distribution) gear advantage and should be able to kill Ragnaros without having to face the clustered terrain filled with overlapping abilities, or worry about the healing pressure.

Do all guilds have pure 25m guild integrity, focusing all efforts on a 25m kill only? Is the gear advantage minimal and not as effective as I believe it is leading that to mean 10m tuning and difficulty is in the same place as 25m?

I have respect for the best team in the world but I don't believe that 10m teams are more than 15% (by loot) + X% (by your claims that 10H Rag is easier than 25H Rag) behind you, especially with the several teams (I would imagine) selecting the absolute optimal raid composition for the encounter to race for the world 2nd kill.

Signing off with pensive ambivalence,

Since it seems that without proximity there's darkness, let's re-iterate this. A person on MMO-C did a armory-crawl of the 10 players Paragon used for their 10man Ragnaros kill and compared their average gear level to that of Hordlinges latest kill. Paragon had an average gear level of 378,1 while Hordlinge was at 378,6.

QED, the gear argument is moot.

10's are tuned fine.

It's all well and good for you guys, but for us that live in the real world, and have real jobs and can only raid 9 hours a week, we don't really have the time to sit and bash at something all day every day like you guys. Nice write up don't get me wrong, but making comments on 10s vs 25s, regardless if you're talking about only for your guild or not, should be totally disregarded. 99% of us still need to get up at 5am and earn a wage before we can come home to do this and we don't have a ridiculously high item level.

Good read I guess...

Thank you for the comparation, it's always good to know what the people think. But when I read this kind of comparation it's akways look like "What I do it's more difficult than what you do" ... no numbers, no data ... it's only what you think. Only one example, when you say that the learning curve in 10-raid is better than 25-raid, it's easy to demostrate that it's not true in 3-phases boss like Ragnaros or in a run-against-enrage boss like Baleroc, if a healer dies in 10-raid version due to a own mistake(or a DPS) you usually must to declare the "wipe" so nobody can continue testing the encounter so that try is not usefull for the raid. The probability of the mistake is greater in 25, the impact of this mistake is greater in 10.

Thanks for the article.

10man guilds are NOT 25man guilds that cherry picked 10 players out of a pool of 40. 10man guilds have only 10-14 players to pick from. Put that well in your brain.

Ridiculous.... srsly....

Best setups+ best players+ 3P!C H4Xx0R equip ~~
I mean... how many 10 man guilds have for example two GOOD EQUIPPED moonkins for ragnaros? O.o


Actually, they are.

Were is the shadow priest? :(((((((((

If you had actually read the article, you would have noticed that we are talking about difficulty for world top guilds, who most certainly should have access to two geared moonkins and more or less identical gear to this scenario.

From now on I'll start banning people who reply about the article without reading it first.

Feel free to disagree, but be civil, and read the article first.

moderated: read the article.

they've 7 moonkins well geared

moderated: keep it civil.

oh, and those "10 man world top guilds" you are all referring to - who are they? Name them, please. Does it make you a world top guild just because you're on 6/7 HC already? To me it doesn't seem there is any top 10 man guild currently out there, otherwise there would be another Ragnaros kill in by now.

10man guilds in the top 20 (10 and 25man combined rankings)


10man guilds in the top 21-40 (10 and 25man combined rankings)

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Rank 41-60 there are 9 10man guilds that I wont bore you by listing as this post is already long enough.

Ps. that means that 21/60 (more than 1/3) of top 60 guilds are 10man.

In response to the QQ'ing, these are some of the numerous top guilds that are being refered to with the term "top 10man guilds" so instead of moaning that there are no top 10man guilds remind yourself that www.wowprogress.com does have some uses after combining 10/25 ranks ^.^

Source of ranks: www.wowprogress.com