A use for the Harvest Festival

16 September 2010 § Leave a comment

Just a really quick note to point out something that may get lost, what with the recent news of currency conversions, the rumblings of Patch 4.0.1, etc. You may have noticed that Harvest Festival has started again on live realms. The bad news is that it doesn’t have anything this year, and so, although it was one of the first holidays implemented by Blizzard, and I think celebrating Grom Hellscream is interesting, there’s really nothing else to do. The good news is that our stats have become so inflated that Harvest Nectar may be a better water than anything else in the game (and the corresponding food for classes with a lot of health).

Basically, the top level mana drinks (Kungaloosh, Honeymint Tea and Mana Strudels alike) restore 19,200 mana. Harvest Nectar restores 2% of mana every sec for 30 secs, so 60% mana. So, if 60% of your total mana is more than 19,200, or in other words if your total mana is higher than 32,000, then you’re better off with the Harvest Nectar, and you should go stock up outside of Orgrimmar/Ironforge. Of course, Mana Strudels also increase your health at the same time, but that’s normally a minor concern. Equally of course, we don’t actually drink all that often these days. Still, I think it’s worth to carry some Nectars – at least until we can get our hands on some Eggnog!

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One set, one spec

4 April 2010 § Leave a comment

Let me bring you back to a time long long ago. When Varimathras was helping Sylvanas rule Undercity. When Sylvanas looked like a banshee, and not even remotely like the kickass Dark Ranger she is now. When to quest in Barrens you had to run everywhere – no mount at 20, no flight points every 5 metres: you just walked, backwards, on one hand, singing bootcamp songs, answering questions in /general about Mankrik’s wife, AND YOU LIKED IT!

Back then, the ultimate gear level, and the ultimate coolness, was to complete your class set. I’m talking about the dungeon set, of course – which for priests was the Devout set. The most interesting part of class sets, back then, is that there was one set per class, period. That was Blizzard’s subtle way of saying what your class role was. You’re a shaman? Forget Windfury weapon, and lightning bolts, your role is really to heal, as anyone who looks at the set bonuses of The Earthfury will quickly understand. The game was a lot simpler then, and it was clear that most classes had one role and one role only (when it was not one spec and one spec only) for endgame raiding.

Fortunately, Blizzard realised this was a bit of a constraint, and starting from the Burning Crusade, they began to work on multiple specs for each class – an effort that continued and became a lot more comprehensive in Wrath of the Lich King. I will spare you the issues with game balance, and multiple roles, and hybrid taxes – suffice it to say that, to veterans like me, the class balance is in a FAR better place now than it’s ever been: there’s room for improvements, but the road Blizzard has already travelled is pretty impressive.

As they expanded the variety of roles and specs, the developers started offering multiple class sets for each tier. So priests got a healing set and a shadow set; paladins a tanking set, a healing set and a dps set, etc. Sets however were not associated with specs, they were associated with roles. So, pure dps classes still had one set; priests had two, as do warriors and DKs; shamans, paladins and druids instead got three sets, as each tree of these classes supports a different role. Even then, the association was not perfect: druids had three sets, when technically their talent trees supported four roles (tank, healer, ranged dps and melee dps).

The result, as it stands today, is that you have multiple specs (or in the feral case, even multiple roles) that are supported by one set. Here’s where Blizzard’s success in creating multiple viable specs is coming back to bite them. Blizzard’s gamble was to create specs that felt different, but were reasonably close in terms of endgame dps that choosing amongst them would be a matter of choice. Sure, the min-maxers would always go for the one spec that provided even a 1% advantage – and some of them actually have the skill needed to squeeze that additional 1%. But for us common mortals, the difference in specs becomes so trivial that it really becomes a matter of choosing a spec that is more interesting for our playstyle, or the raid composition of our raids, or our interests outside tha raids.

The problem? Different specs place different values on different stats – this is part and parcel of specs feeling different from each other. Disc and Holy Priests may both be healers, but the interest Disc has in spirit is minimal, while conversely Holy’s interest in crit is less pronounced than its Disc cousins. Arcane mages value haste over everything else – Frost mages are less interested in haste (Frostbolt is already faster than Arcane Blast) and more in crit. This is compounded by the issue of set bonuses, of course. I don’t think ANY holy priest in a raid has ever used the T8 4-piece bonus in a raid – unless there were no Disc priests in sight.

This, of course, is not a new problem. Blizzard’s answers, to my knowledge, have fallen into four categories:

1. We don’t want players to look all the same, so the set is not the best gear. Uh. What? Have you checked the loot from any raid instance recently? In 99% of the cases they are recolor of one of the set for that armor class – so clothies get recolors of priest, mage or warlock sets, etc. This of course saves time from the art department, and avoids (mostly) the clown looks that we’ve seen in the past. But yeah – “looking different” cannot be a serious reason, given other actions by Blizz.

2. We don’t want the set to be the best in all slots, to encourage players to try out different offset pieces. The reality is that most people use any of the million available online sources to find out: a. which set bonuses are worth getting; b. what pieces are worth getting; c. what offpieces are best-in-slot. So, really, the competition for the same pieces is still there, and everyone is still going for the same pieces. If anything, tier slots have a slightly better chance to drop than most other pieces (thanks to the token system), so competition for those is, on average, less.

3. Developing more sets would require more man-hours from our team which would translate in less content or more time between content patches. I don’t want to belittle the time it takes to develop items and sets, but I’m not sure how much of an additional resource burden the multiplication of sets would be. Currently, we have 19 sets – having one set per spec would boost that to 30. That’s 11 more sets, or 55 more items to design. However, these items would be variations on a theme, mostly moving the item budget of one stat into another, etc.

4. Tier progression should not just be increases of the same stats in the same percentages – having different sets cater to multiple specs mean that one tier can be heavier on crit and the next on haste, for example. I would love that, but again, it’s not happening. If I just take T9 and T10 for priests, the same slots have haste (gloves and legs), while the others have crit – and all have spirit. So in effect, T10 IS basically just T9 but more.

In Cataclysm, two developments may make all of this moot. Reforging will allow Tailors, Leatherworkers and Blacksmith to partially reallocate stats. What is not clear to me is whether they will be able to do this to their own items only, or to anyone’s. If the latter, then sure, the issue of different stats will partially go away. Also, the simplification and elimination of some stats will arguably make things easier: Armor Pen not being there will eliminate a big barrier between enhancement shamans/hunters, but also across hunter specs.

If reforging and stat simplification doesn’t work though, it would be great if we could see one set per specialisation line in Cataclysm – or at least if we could get some more discussion from developers about it (in the vague chance that someone from Blizzard actually reads my blog…. I know, might as well wish for the moon, right?). There is something about collecting and wearing your own class set that still makes you feel better, and to be perfectly honest I love set bonuses of any type (makes you feel like you’re getting that little extra boost). However, part and parcel of specs playing differently and feeling different is that they need different stats, even when they are performing the same role. So it would be great if Blizzard could go further down the road they travelled, and give us this variety.

Better late than never

23 February 2010 § Leave a comment

As you probably noticed, I didn’t manage to get anything up during maintenance – nor during the following week, or the one after… The reason is quite simple: I found myself with a lot of free time, so I caught up with playing – and ended up with no time for blogging. See, blogging is normally something I do when I have a short break in my work day, or while I’m cooking something or waiting for something: in other words when I have about 10 minutes free. Ten minutes is too short a time to log in and do anything meaningful – and there’s only so much surfing on the internet I can do. So, ironically, when I have a lot of free time, I end up blogging less, because I’m playing more.

Enough with the intro, let’s get on with some updating. First things first: we got Sindragosa down. We cleared the whole instance last week, then extended the lockout so that we could start straight with Sindragosa. The fight is an interesting twist on the traditional dragon fights – in fact, it is actually not that dissimilar to Sapphiron in many ways, but the addition of the Frost Tomb mechanic makes it unique enough. The slightly annoying thing about it is that the really hard part is phase 3, which triggers when Sindragosa goes below 35% health. That means there’s a LONG setup time: for a long time, we had periods of 6 mins of relatively boring fight to get to the meaty part. Add to that the fact that during those 6 mins there’s a ton of things that can go wrong stupidly and kill one or another of your raiders, and you have a lot of time wasted before you can actually learn. I hope to actually put up a post about Sindragosa impressions.

This also means we got to see the Lich King: in fact, we spent a full day on him. So far, I really like the fight: it is extremely unforgiving of mistakes, in a way that is reminiscent of Algalon. We got as far as phase 2, managing (once) to kill the Val’kyr before it took off with her hapless victim. We are probably going to extend the lockout this week again, to be able to work on him more. If I had to be completely honest, I doubt we will manage to get him this week: I feel we’re still very far from having everything under control. If that’s the case, I also wouldn’t want our raiders to get burned out on the fight before its time – so it may be better to reclear this week, even if that means spending less time on the LK, and then extending it next week. I guess we’ll discuss it a bit and then decide.

In other raid news, our resto druid, Marjoram, decided to take a WoW break – it’s always a pity when one of our raiders needs to leave us for real life reasons, but of course it’s completely understandable and I wish him the best of luck for everything. The good news is that two days before Jarbel, the dps warrior who raided Ulduar with us, had let us know he was ready to come back into full time raiding. Jarbel is one of my favourite WoW people: we started raiding in June 2004, when he was an officer in Hand of the Forsaken and I was a fresh 60 priest. He took some breaks, switched mains (from warlock to holy priest to dps warrior) but he’s really a great guy, so I’m quite happy to have him back. So, our line up now is: Pally tank, DK tank, Disc priest (me), Holy/shadow priest x2, Resto/Enhancement Shaman, Enh Shaman, Ele Shaman, Aff Warlock, DPS Warrior, Rogue (and I suck at rogues, so I actually don’t know anything about Killetheth’s spec – as far as I’m concerned he’s specced into ZOMG LOTSA DAMAGE).

This week I’ve also taken a hard look at my alts, and made sure their gear was in good shape. I now have six 80s, most of them with dual specs, some with a modicum of pvp gear – so I’m trying to keep something ridiculous like 12 gear sets up to date, gemmed, enchanted etc. I think it’s no surprise when I sometimes realise I have completely forgotten to upgrade one piece or another of the various 12 sets (like upgrading pvp sets, or using emblems to upgrade secondary spec sets, etc.).Thegood news is that this week I managed to do Vault10, Vault25, and the weekly raid quest with all of my toons – which means the badges have started flowing!

Torjin, my mage, got into an ICC10 raid with some guildies. We killed Festergut and tried Rotface, so it was an ok run. It started pretty badly, with a lot of disorganisation, and a fairly unpleasant raid leader (the type that accuses the other raiders for all wipes without looking at his own performance). Irons and Malicent, the two guildies who are regulars in that run, are awesome, so I managed to blank out the raid leader and focus on doing my job. I got a nice upgrade, a haste helm, which helped me in the ongoing quest to get Torjin’s hit rating down. It is now finally down to 6% from gear, which is 12% with talents – which means I FINALLY need to swap pieces in for bosses. Torjin is also trying to complete the Loremaster achievement, and I’m seriously running out of Kalimdor quests… I’m finally happy about his dps: he won’t be topping charts, but he does well enough that I can confidently offer him as a replacement dps for various friends’ run.

Parocles, the shaman, finally replaced his horrid Naxx10 boots (with the crafted Ulduar boots, which are still a decent upgrade) and Naxx25 belt (with the Frost Emblem belt). I also managed to get him the Love’s Fool achievement, so he’s still on track for the violet proto-drake (I need to start doing elders, though). He also came in for Lady Deathstrike for the ICC10 run Torjin was in, given we had only one DK as physical damage. My dps on Parocles is still a lot lower than it should be – but it’s geting better. The problem here is my gameplay: I’ve never played FPS games, and I’m still a keyboard turner – that is barely acceptable as a healer or a ranged dps, but a serious drawback for a melee dps, imho. I’m getting better, now doing a mix of mouse and keyboard movements – Parocles is really my experiment and an attempt to challenge myself to play a bit differently and better, so again, I’m quite happy with how that’s working out.

Alteria, my paladin tank, mostly improved her healing set: emblem shoulders and T9 helm, and now her set is decent. I’ve been musing about switching to using her for my 10man healing, given how much better paladins scaled instead of Disc priests – but I’ll only do that if I really have to. No matter how much I love my alts, Tsark is and always will be my main, and that will change only if I realise that Holy paladins really ARE that much more powerful and could help us get through the content a lot better.

Kleraton, my boomkin/resto druid, is the alt that saw the least action – and thus the least upgrades. For the boomkin set, I’m a bit loath to break the 2T8/2T9 set up I have now. I think I’m gonna wait until 2T10, which should happen in a couple of weeks, unless I get lucky with Vault drops. On the resto side, the 4T9 will stay with me for a long long time. I also went to ICC with him too, and scored a pair of haste legs – I may switch around my resto pieces and get them to work for the resto set. I really like resto healing, but I feel I need a lot more practice with him with both specs – the boomkin spec in particular I need to get more used to, as I still miss too many eclipse procs (I’m seriously thinking about power auras)

Gramlor, my latest 80, got T10 gloves in Vault10, and then the T10 shoulders from emblems – making it my first character with any T10 and the first with a T10 set bonus to boot. Ironic that it had to be my latest 80, but hey, that’s the nature of the RNG loot from vault. Also, remember when I said that sometimes I don’t check the gear sets of my characters and thus it gets completely out of whack? Gramlor had 19% hit from gear when I started this week…. Now he’s down to a more manageable 11%

Finally, to conclude this latest update on all my toons (which people probably don’t care too much about…), I’m happy to report that my new laptop is working a LOT better than my old one. So maybe I can manage to improve a bit my situational awareness by actually, you know, SEEING the ground shit, and not just guessing where it is based on the three weird pixels moving over there. On the other hand, no more “sorry, didn’t see the void zone” excuse for me…

Of Battered Hilts, missing off-hands and the role of 10-man raiding

15 December 2009 § Leave a comment

Patch 3.3 has been out for a week, and I think it’s safe to say it’s been a resounding succes. The new dungeons are fantastic, mixing some nice lore, great art, fun fights, and good loot – and in the case of Halls of Reflection Heroic, also a fair bit of challenge.

The Dungeon Finder tool is great: queues for dungeons go from negligible if you have a tank in your group to still acceptable if you are a dps. You do find the occasional asshattery (needing on the Frozen Orb in the end is the typical example), and whenever Oculus is the random dungeon I always have people leaving the group (why? It’s been nerfed to hell and back, you can basically sleepwalk through it) – but this changes nothing about the greatness of the system and the fact everyone seems to be doing Heroics, these days. I still need to try the tool out for lower levels, but I hold some high hopes for it still. Because of the Dungeon Finder and the new dungeons I’m actually dusting off some alts I hadn’t used in a long while and gearing them up, relearning how to play them, etc – so bravo, Blizzard.

Icecrown Citadel is a bit more of a mixed bag. I like the fights, and I certainly like the art and atmosphere of the place. As I said in my last post, I would have liked a bit more challenge – which I’m possibly going to find in Heroic but I’ll have to wait months before knowing for sure. And yes, I’m sorry, I’m still grumbling about that, because I cannot believe that Blizzard would get the “select your own difficulty level” thing so right in Ulduar, and so wrong in ToC and Icecrown.

There is however one thing that Blizzard did that left me scratching my head – so of course I’m going to vent about it here. Last Thursday, I went through the new Heroics for the first time on Tsark – and a Battered Hilt dropped. We all rolled, and I won it (which is fairly uncharacteristic: Tsark normally loses most such rolls, unlike some other of my alts – but I digress). So, giddy with excitement, I started up the new questlines, going from one place to another and collecting all the saronite, and the hammer, and forging the weapon, and getting into Sunwell. The questline is really fantastic, and reinforces my idea that crafting your own weapons, or armor, by collecting many different pieces and moving from one place to the next, is really one of the things I like the most in this game (and makes me pine once more for the lack of legendaries in 10-man, but anyway). I finish up the questline, and get my Hammer of Purified Flame. I knew that was an upgrade over my lllumination, so (still giggling to myself and excited), I equipped it – and realised my offhand was really a bit lacklustre. See, I’ve had the Illumination staff for a while now, and before that I was lucky enough to have the Icecore Staff, which dropped on our very first kill of Hodir oh-so-long-ago. So, the only offhand I kept in my bank was an Igniter Rod, which means something about 2-3 tiers behind current content.

That already surprised me, because I’m normally careful to keep my offhand up-to-date even when I’m using a two-hander. I wouldn’t take it over someone who would actually use it straight up, but if there’s one thing that 4+years of raiding have taught me is to stock all sort of alternative gear in your bank – because it’s bound to stop dropping the minute you need it. But hey, we could just have been unlucky and not got any good offhand to drop, right? I jumped onto wowhead, and checked what was available in ToC10/ICC10 – and I got my surprise.

Nothing.

That’s two full tiers of raid instances where Blizzard has decided to put NO offhand at all. Worse actually – they put two offhands, but they both have hit rating, which is a bit of a wasted stat for a healer. Now, in the same two tiers of instances, the 25-man raiders get THREE offhands for healers – and one more with hit! I don’t want to blow this out of proportion: I am now trying to get the offhand from Halls of Reflection, and I can try to get also the one from Onyxia. They are ilvl 232, so will be one-two tiers below top expansion gear (which will be ilvl 258 for me, Heroic 10-man ICC), but I’m sure that’s not going to hold me back. However, it does underline two points for me.

The first is that the mechanism for assigning loot to the various bosses is mysterious and (in my humble opinion) in need of fixing.I know of raiders who would prefer to focus on 25-man who had to farm Razorscale 10 for the Eye of the Broodmother. The paladin tank in my raid was complaining about the Ulduar10 gear being badly itemised for his tank – and had to resort to going to 25-man to gear up. Offhands for priests have been conspicuously missing in not one, but two consecutive tiers of raiding. The proposal I made for re-distributing loot along different lines would partially solve this – but really, this shouldn’t be needed. I’m surprised that the game developers haven’t seen these holes in the loot tables – and I suspect there may be other considerations at play, which I don’t know and cannot guess.

The second, and more general point, is that Blizzard still hasn’t decided what 10-man raiding should be. Is it something to do on a non-raiding night? You get 10 people together with your friends list, and just hit whatever instance is the current one, and get some gear. Is it something for casuals? People who really don’t want to spend a lot of time wiping to bosses, because this is a game: they just want to relax, chat with friends, get some purple pixels. Or, is it a full progression path? A way for people who prefer playing with tighter groups, who enjoy multi-tasking more to experience some endgame challenges and problemsolving.

Clearly, what I would like to see is the development of this latter option. I don’t want to deny the casuals their raids – but to me, that’s what normal modes are for. Normal modes are fantastic to gear up alts, and to literally get 10-people together at the last minute and hit an instance, and relax for a while. For all the fault of Trial of the Crusader, it was nice to be able to bring alts through it without having to be prepared and super-geared (and I admit that the shortness of Trial of the Crusader helped too: even a group of alts wiping a few times would get through the place in a couple of hours).

Right now, 10-man hardmodes are somehow stuck-in-the-middle. They are beyond the reach of a casual group, who doesn’t want to invest the time needed to master them. However, they still don’t offer a full progression path to “hardcore raiders” (assuming I want to call myself that): there are still slots that you need to fill with 25-man gear, and you still cannot get the excitement that comes from creating legendary weapons. All the same, you still see achievements that seem to encourage you to use 10-man as an exclusive path.

My guess is that Blizzard is still unsure about how to treat 10-man raiding. That’s (of course) quite alright – in primis because 10-man raiding is new, and so Blizz developers are still experimenting with it a lot. Although 10-mans started in BC, they were little more than stepping stones (Karazhan) or catch-up raids (Zul’Aman) then, and certainly not a full-fledged progression path. Wrath fleshed out the concept a bit more, but I think the developers have not yet had the courage to go full speed on it, and let 10-man stand on their own two feet. I would love to know more about their process, and whether we are going to see the 10-man concept develop further for Cataclysm. Part of it, of course, depends on how many players are currently “hardcore 10man” raiders – this is data that Blizz could easily have, for example checking how many players have a fair amount of hardmode 10-man achievements but little or no 25-man (most people I know will go along to a 25-man, and so have the “instance completed” achievements, but little more). I would love to have some developer input on this, but I’m really not sure about how to grab their attention (and this is hardly something that I can condense down to a 2-line question to submit to the developers…).

A modest proposal

3 December 2009 § 5 Comments

Next week, we will have a new tier of raiding available – and I can only add my voice to the choir saying that it’s about time. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to leave a raid instance behind. I’m also quite excited by the information and videos I’ve seen about Icecrown Citadel – the potential for a great instance is definitely there, although (as you know) I have my doubts about the gating system.

I want to make a modest proposal, regarding the structure of 10-man vs 25-man raid instances. I know it’s too late to change Icecrown, but Cataclysm is not that far off. That, and I need a new post for my blog, so hey, here goes.

The Current Situation

The way I see it, the split between 10-man and 25-man was one of the smartest moves Blizzard made. Talking to my friends, some prefer the 25-man challenges (more epic fights, more people to socialise with, more leeway to change specs/roles, less stress if one person dies), and some the 10-man ones (tighter commnunication and organisation, no deadweight raiders, more multi-tasking). That, right there, is the definition of success, where the choice between one or the other is purely up to personal taste, and not self-evident superiority. While I may get into heated discussions with my 25-man friends about the fact that 10-man is harder, I think we’re moving to the point where the hardmodes of both raid sizes are comparable – and some are harder in 25 (Thorim, with his placement issues, is easier in 10), and some are harder in 10 (Sarth 3D is the poster child here – or was, when you actually had to fight it and not zerg it). Blizzard decided the 25-man will have better loot. Basically, they are giving 25-man a loot bonus to reflect the organisational challenge of getting 25 showing up on time, with their gear and consumables and specs and glyphs at the ready, and then keeping those same 25 people out of fire patches for the entire duration of the raid.

The second big novelty of Wrath raiding were hardmodes. They were introduced with Sartharion, then extended to most Ulduar bosses. I think this has been a bit more of an unexpected change, i.e. something Blizzard introduced with one encounter because they thought it was fun, and then realised it could easily extend to become much bigger. So, there’s been a bit more experimentation on hardmodes. Hardmodes normally drop loot one full tier above the normal mode bosses. With Trial of the Crusader, it was decided to make the hardmode loot the same as the normal mode loot – just one tier level higher, so basically with more stats/gem slots.

So, let’s take a simple example. Let’s look at Northrend Beasts and one piece of loot from 10-man and 25-man both.

10-man 25-man
Normal Icehowl Bindings – ilvl 232 Belt of the Tenebrous Mists – ilvl 245
Hardmode Icehowl Bindings – ilvl 245 Belt of the Tenebrous Mists – ilvl 258

The proposal

I’d like Blizzard to move to a system where the direct upgrade of normal, 10-man loot is in normal, 25-man – and the upgrade of hardmode, 10-man is in hardmode, 25-man. In other words, to go back to the Northrend Beasts example, I would like loot to look like this:

10-man 25-man
Normal Icehowl Bindings – ilvl 232 Icehowl Bindings – ilvl 245
Hardmode Belt of the Tenebrous Mists – ilvl 245 Belt of the Tenebrous Mists – ilvl 258

The ilvl of the various drops won’t change, and neither will the number of items Blizzard has to create – so both game-balance and development time issues should be unaffected by the change. So, what would be the advantages of this system?

  1. More focus from the player’s perspective.  I suspect players are much more polarised on the 10 vs. 25 debate than the normal vs. heroic one. I’ve heard a fair amount of players complain that Blizzard is “forcing” them to do 10-man to get a specific item, when they would rather focus on 25-man (and viceversa, of course). This way, the loot tables will be more independent, and players would spend more time playing however they like.
  2. More encouragement to conquer hardmodes: right now, the incentive to kill something in hardmode is relatively small. Improving the items you already have by one tier is relatively less interesting, to me, than tapping into a whole new loot table with items that cover different slots/stats combinations.
  3. More fundamentally, it would make 10 and 25 man a lot more equal – to the point where even legendary weapons could be itemised for 10-man raids, too. I’m extremely sad that even though we have conquered Ulduar and killed Algalon we never had a chance at crafting a Val’anyr – and the same is going to happen for Shadowmourne for Icecrown Citadel. I’m not complaining about the actual item or its stats – I’m sure Icecrown weapons are going to be better than Val’anyr (so much so that some people are destroying Val’anyr on fairly trivial bets). However, creating weapons like that is a fantastic goal, and gives a sense of accomplishment like very little else in this game. It’s a raid achievement, and an incredible morale booster. As my last post showed, I still consider my Benediction quest as one of the pinnacles of my career, and I can remember still the excitement our raid felt as we all pitched in to create our Sulfuras, or our Thunderfury. This new system would allow for the presence of a Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings in 25-man hardmodes, and of a Mallet of Younger Princes in 10-man hardmodes – lower ilvl, same idea, similar quests.

The biggest objection I see is that 25-man bosses drop more loot than 10-man – and so often have a bigger loot table. However, looking up the ToC bosses, the difference doesn’t seem enormous: Beasts have 12 items in 10, 15 in 25; Jaraxxus has 13 vs. 15; Champions 10 vs. 15; Val’kyrs 13 vs. 15; Anub’Arak 17 vs. 20. I’m not sure if having 3 items drop from a loot table of 15 vs a loot table of 13 really increases that much loot repetition (and by the way, why is the Champions loot table in 10-man so much smaller?) – I could calculate that, but I’m too lazy :-D.

Ultimately, I think the choice between the current system depends very much on what is the distribution of the population among the 4 possible combinations (10N, 10H, 25N, 25H). Most players act in more than one case of that table – so if the overlap is more 10N-25N, then the current system is probably preferable. If instead the overlap is more 10N-10H and 25N-25H, then moving to what I suggest would increase the enjoyment of this game on everyone’s part.

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