It’s the eternal question of WoW raiding, possibly responsible for more forum battles than any other. Is 10-man raiding harder or easier than 25-man raiding?
Well, today marks a fascinating and glorious step in this ancient argument’s history. For the first time ever, thanks to Paragon’s decision to go 10-man, we’ve got serious hard evidence of how the world’s top guilds do when they swap from 10-man to 25-man.
And when there’s hard evidence and Serious Statistics to be done, there’s only one man to turn to: the Bringer of Math And Pounding Headaches himself, Theck, who today has written a very scientific examination of all possible hypotheses about the new world firsts –
“Now, looking at the data we have, the first two situations seem to match. Paragon progressed a little faster than the 25-man guilds, and there was a large gap between Paragon and the other 10-man guilds during progression. The gap has also closed rather quickly, though probably not quickly enough for 10-man to be too much easier than 25-man. Our data seems to be consistent with “10 roughly equal to 25″ and “10 slightly easier than 25,” with the additional assumption that the 25-man guilds are more skilled.
But the data is flat-out inconsistent with the third situation. Paragon didn’t trail Method, and the progression gap isn’t remaining very large (though it is non-trivial, given how few 10-man guilds have finished the instance so far). Despite the progression gap, the data simply doesn’t seem consistent with 10-mans being significantly harder (again, given that 25-man guilds are more skilled).
Now, you might quibble with me here (and rightfully so). “Theck,” you might say, “you’ve decided that 10-mans weren’t harder, but you did so based on a conjecture – namely, that 25-man guilds are more skilled. What if the inconsistency isn’t due to the difficulty, but due to that conjecture being wrong?”
That’s a fair point, and one we should address. So let’s make the counter-hypothesis. Let’s assume that all of the guilds in question are equally skilled. What do we expect to happen then?”
It’s a rare and beautiful thing to see such an apparently subjective point as raid difficulty addressed with actual logic, rigor and data, as opposed to forum rhetoric. And Theck does a brilliant job here, in a post I know I found absolutely fascinating.
I won’t spoiler the results – although I will say that just because Theck’s a 25-man raider, don’t expect any bias in that direction. So, if you want to know the answer, at least for MoP, backed up with Actual Data – go, read, learn.
Do you think Theck’s got it right? Graphs and formal proofs optional
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As usual, when a new patch hits any game including WoW there tend to be some… unexpected features. In WoW Patch 4.3 and Dragon Soul’s case, the unexpected feature included a loot bug which allowed many of the top raiding guilds – if they so chose – to cheat the system and gear up far faster than expected.
Many of said guilds, including Paragon, arguably the world #1 guild at the moment, did so. Blizzard promised swift punishment for those who exploited the system, and so it came – not only the removal of all loot, but also an eight-day ban for all involved. Eight days might not seem that much, but it will remove all those who are being punished from the first week of Heroic raiding, potentially costing them world-firsts.
There’s some argument that the punishment is too harsh – but Rank 4 Healing Touch argues, in a detailed and persuasive post, that it’s actually not only fair but necessary –
“Just because something has glitched in the system does not give you the rights or privilege to abuse the system or break a law or rule. There are guidelines imposed upon you as part of being in this game (or life for more important matters) and you are bound to adhere to them. Those long documents you probably ignore each patch update and click “agree” have something to do with that. If there is a bank error in your favor and $10,000 dollars accidentally gets placed into your bank account it is not yours.
If you falsely believe you have any right to that money and spend it then legal action will be taken against you as you are in fact stealing. You know the money isn’t yours nor should you have access to it so flying in the face of that knowledge will get you in trouble. If you do the right thing and report the excess of money immediately the bank will correct the error and everyone goes on about their business.”
This issue’s already controversial, and R4HT’s comments already include a range of opinions, includiing one person saying the punishment was far too soft. Whilst I don’t agree with every point made in the post, it’s well-argued and persuasive, and presents a compelling case that the punishment did, in this case, fit the crime.
What do you think? Too hard, too soft, or appropriate?
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I’ve rarely read as heartfelt and powerful a post on WoW as Vixsin’s editorial on the place of Resto Shamans in really top guilds today.
If you don’t know of Life in Group 5, it’s written by Vixsin, a resto shaman healer with a very, very hardcore, top guild. They’ve been working on Heroic Ragneros in the Firelands – a kill which Paragon completed recently with no shamans at all in the group. And as Vixsin progressed through the end-game content, she started to wonder if the reason why was that, no matter how dedicated and competent the player, her class was actually not capable of holding its own:
Night 2 came along and over half of our 9-person healing team sat on the chopping block. And the first ones to go were … the 2 Resto Shaman. Not because of skill, or seniority, but because we are Shaman. It was hardly surprising, but nonetheless, it felt like being punched in the gut. It marked the first time that I have ever, in my raiding career, been sat because of my class.
And the interesting thing about it was … I understood why. Running through the rational side of my brain was the list of reasons why it wouldn’t be as easy a fight for me as it would be for another healing class
This is a long post, but it’s worth reading through in its entirety. Vixsin goes through the entire situation, from the controversy and blue reaction to the Paragon kill, to her own personal experience, to what can and should be done about the situation.
It’s easy to dismiss any player’s complaints about their class as “whining” or “QQ”, but the fact is that particularly at the top end, WoW is a very competitive environment full of extremely motivated, hard-working people giving their all to be the best. Notable class disparities really hurt that – they discourage players who are otherwise at the top of their game. And it’s really interesting to read such a well-argued and powerfully emotional piece from someone who is, frankly, so far ahead of me (and most of us, I suspect) in her level of gameplay.
What do you think of the Paragon “no shaman” kill? Is there something that needs to be fixed here?
_Quote taken directly from Vixsin’s post.
Find Life in Group 5 at http://lifeingroup5.com_
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