Having the same difficulty between 10 and 25 player raids has been something long asked for by what seems like a growing portion of raiders that really enjoy raiding but donâ€™t enjoy organizing 25 people. I count as one of those type of raiders, and for a long time avoided large raids once 10 players were introduced, just because of the complications they bring. There are many players that want a harder more challenging fight than the current 10 player raids provide, but are not up for interacting with an addition 15 players.
What would it be like if this was implemented in TBC?
This balance of difficulty will make that group of players very happy, as they were forced to participate in something they did not like just for the chance at better gear. Many players participated in 25 player raids simply because the loot was better, not because they wanted to be in a 25 player raid. Which brings us nicely to the second point. Now that the difficulty will be balanced more evenly between the two raid sizes, loot will be the same between the two sizes as well. As long as the difficulty is really maintained this is a good thing. If however one is easier or harder than another then players will migrate to that size raid.
Be prepared to read a lot of negative feedback from hardcore raiding guilds about this equalization however as they will see it, and probably rightfully so, as a further degradation and simplification of raiding. To the hardcore raider putting together, organizing, and controlling 25 players is part of the challenge of the game. While I completely agree with that statement, personally I still prefer 10 player raids for exactly those same reasons. For players that work and have jobs, dealing with employees, co-workers, and clients gives me plenty enough social interaction, management, and conflict management in real life, the last thing I want is dealing with it in game.
One of the positive things about sharing loot exactly though is that in theory Blizzard will have to produce less loot and therefore can spend more time on different looking and acting loot. Right now a lot of time is spent balancing two different levels of loot and trying to make them different enough for the different content. Now the loot can be the same because the difficulty will be the same.
Next up, Blizzard has stated that they are really aiming for several smaller raids to start off with rather than a single larger raid. This is apparently to make it easier for players to get in, complete a raid, and get out before they have time issues. While in theory this is good, it does create issues. As we all saw with ToC when a raid gets too short and does not require a time investment, players start treating it like nothing more than a heroic instance with better loot. As such it becomes constantly pugged with people groups as something that can be dropped at any time. Far too many people started treating these short raids as trivial too quickly and they never stuck around in them.
Now onto the far more dicey of the core issues, that of a shared lockout for both the 10 and 25 player raid. I can understand the need for this since loot will be the same in both and therefore being able to go in for two chances at the same items in a one week period would allow players to gear up too quickly. Even though I can understand it, I am pretty sure players will not be that happy about it, I know that I am not. When doing raid progression in a game, I prefer to focus on one character at a time. Up until this point there has always been enough to keep busy on a character for at least a month or so before you really have time to move on to another character.
In this new setup with a few smaller raids, it seems likely that you could be done all the available raids in a few days and still have the rest of the week open for raiding. However, since your character is now saved to a shared lockout you can not simply find an alternate size to go to. You will need to have an alternate character to go to another run. This will probably not hurt hardcore raiders as they tend to have multiple characters but will hurt casuals as they will not be able to participate again in a raid until the following week.