I’m not talking 5-man heroics here. We’re talking heroic raids.
In the pre-Cata days, we differentiated between a normal and a heroic raid by the number of participants.
10-mans were normal.
25s had an additional twist to the encounter that made it more challenging, on top of corralling an additional 15 kittens in the box.
With Cataclysm, we have seen Blizzard move towards the mentality that the number of people in your social circle should not dictate which difficulty level you have access to.
And with the exception of the shared lockouts between 10 and 25s, I agree with this thought process. There’s a whole ‘nother discussion about that, maybe some day we’ll come back to it.
So the fights are basically the same between 10 and 25, just with a little less wiggle room on 10s for any one individual to fail.
Nowadays, a heroic raid is more akin to the hard modes introduced in Ulduar. The interface changed in later Wrath and is a lot more intuitive – you select heroic mode just like you would for a dungeon instead of pushing a giant red button that clearly states that you should do otherwise or perform some other oddity during the encounter (don’t kill the heart!…fuck, we’re doing it hard mode now).
And again, the fights are the same between 10 and 25. So Heroic Halfus requires you to kill all the drakes on both raid sizes and you don’t have to dance through any additional hoops just because you have more pixelated bodies in the room with you.
My guild started strong in Cata as a 25-man raid guild and moved to 10s recently when attendance dropped.
We went from barely fielding a 25 to running 3 groups of 10s across 5 nights.
The idea is that one group was Heroic ready. It is comprised mostly of main characters belonging to some of the more experienced raiders in the guild.
The second group was very close to heroics. Alts of the experienced members from the first group (and my main, dammit!) were placed alongside others that needed a little more experience or gear but were otherwise proven to be competent raiders.
And the third group was for people that wanted to raid but may not always be aware of the difference in their perceived ability and actual performance or people that are newer to the guild. Also for people that have too many alts. A lot of gear and a lot of experience is needed.
All three groups have officers and experienced players present. All three groups have an alchemist for cauldrons and an enchanter for sharding. All three groups have comparable raid composition and buff variety. All three are capable of completing normal modes.
The first two groups are named according to the raid leader and the third group is named after a notable raiding guild (perhaps for inspiration, I wasn’t part of the naming committee).
The idea was that the first group would spearhead the heroic attempts, the second group would be about 2 weeks behind in progression, using what the first group learned, and the third group would do whatever they could. First two groups would focus on progression and the third would be more relaxed.
So far, the second group has out performed the first group.
In the first group we’ve had some last-minute changes to the roster as real life intrudes, but nothing so drastic that we had any excuse to roll over and die.
Yet the second group has Heroic Halfus down and the first group gets into screaming matches during normal Atramedes.
Group one has attempted some heroics, with painful consequences. Even reverting to normal mode, fights that should have been cake left egg on our faces, including not being able to down Al’Akir after several attempts.
Group 2 downed Al’Akir in 4 tries. (My previous post said 5 or 6, I have been corrected by someone that actually kept count.)
Parses were taken of the fights and there has been some comparison analysis started between the two groups.
With the small pool of data available, it looks like our biggest issue is tank disparity. To avoid duplicating tank classes we had to split the tanks with more emphasis on class than on skill/experience. We’ve had one tank perform at a lower level than anticipated and another perform better. With a little creative shuffling we should be able to remedy that situation.
Classes and skill aside, the first group has more… “independent” players. I think that’s probably as tactful as it’s going to get.
Something about that specific combination of personalities (half of which are still present in the second group) makes for an explosive setting. On top of that, we have a healer that AFKs all the goddamn time. Literally in between every other pull. Doesn’t say anything, just misses the ready checks. So that gets on everyone’s nerves and doesn’t help diffuse anything.
On the whole, the situation works out rather nicely for me, with the exception of listening to people throw their Jenga sets.
(There was a rant in vent accompanied by a hand or mouse being slammed on a desk. Someone asked if the ranter knocked down their Jenga and it stuck.)
My priest is in the floundering first group and my mage is in the more successful second group.
The most important thing out of all of this is: Arioch got a heroic raid kill before Selwyn!