How 25 man raids are going the way of the 40 man raids

It seems to be a common theme for a lot of guilds - unable to attract good recruits, or even any recruits.  The lucky ones who pick up the stray person who left from a raiding guild to forge out on their own - be it for personal reasons or returning to the game or change of raid time - are fortunate, I guess.  But I was reading what Beru wrote about Exploring the Continued Vitality of 25 man raiding, and thought about why things changed.

She postulated a few things:
  • Did the introduction of 10 man guilds kill the 25 man guild?
  • Did making the gear from 10 and 25 the same kill 25 man raiding?
I have to admit, that both of those things did kill the 25 man raid.  But the interesting thing for me and my guild is, that going from 25 man raiding to 10 man raiding has actually increased our progress.  And the reason is because now everybody has to pull their weight, and it's easier to see where mistakes are made.

Lissanna also wrote about Why two raid sizes are worse than one.  She proposes the idea of 15 man raids - which is larger than a 10 man but to me, is not really that much different!  Because she says, with the dying 25 man raiding scene, Blizzard will not want to continue to make content for that level anymore - especially since raid finder seems to work well now as the larger raid group.

Image from's interview with Tom Chilton

Let's look at the 40 man raid for example.  Back in Vanilla, you could get away with being a bad healer or a bad DPS because most of the time there are other people there to pull you through the content.  But there weren't that many 40 man guilds out there, because there just weren't that many people.  So Blizzard decided that 40 mans were no longer viable and decided to cut it to 25 mans.
No more 40-man-raids, because 10 and 25 players raids still feel epic. “What we realized is: it’s not really the number of players that makes it epic, it’s the quality of the content and what you do with this content and what you do, to make players be part of this content.”
- Tom Chilton
So many 40 man guilds collapsed as people scattered around trying to find somewhere to fit in, and there were divisions because if you did have a 40 man guild and you started 25 man raiding, what did those other 15 people do?  Obviously they went somewhere else.  So then was the age of 25 mans, and it was rare to find a casual 25 man raiding guild.

Then came the change to 10 mans.  This was to allow the smaller guilds to participate in raiding whereas before they had to form some kind of guild alliance or pug their way into a 25 man raid.  But they made the loot of 10 man less than that of 25s to compensate, to still reward the 25 mans the extra effort and coordination that it took to get that boss down.  In my opinion those were the golden day sof 25 mans.  The days of Ulduar and ToC.

Then they changed 10 man loot to be the same as 25 man loot.  I agree with Beru, that was the 25 man killer.  Why would you want to do 25s and wait for people to get on when you could quickly grab 10 people and do the same thing?  And of course, those people who were better players and wanted to only play with the better playres - those people  could splinter off in their 10 mans and even form a new guild with those elite 10 and progress - maybe even faster than a 25 man.  And of course, then all these 10 man guilds began to pop up and pull away even more raiders, so that you have lots of little groups of guilds with 5-9 people in them who raid, and each of those as well as the 25 man guilds is trying to grab that new player.  There are so many more guilds now, and all those players are "raiding" which means they aren't out there in a bigger guild boosting the big guild raiding numbers.

There will always be natural decay.  People find other things to do, get jobs, have children/families, get bored of the game.  When these players leave, those holes can be hard to fill.  People are looking for people with the raid experience and DPS/HPS/TPS (Tank Pretty Sweet) that is similar to that which was lost.  And when you're at the high end, you're not going to find many of those.

So what happens to those 25 man guilds who can't recruit to keep their numbers up?  They turn into a guild of 2 10 mans.  And then the few who get left out are reserves and stop turning up?  And then those who want to go to do 25 man... go to another guild.  You can see how a guild dies from these sorts of things.

So how can you stop these things happening to your guild?

To be honest, I'm not sure if you can.  It really depends on the core, the foundation of your guild.  A group of people who are together to raid, to achieve that kill, at any cost, will do really well if they all work on the same mentality.  But with a few no shows, and raiding collapsing, people get frustrated and want to find somewhere that looks more appealing.

Baby boomer vs Gen Y

This kind of behaviour can actually mimic real life.  Think of being in a raiding guild like working in a job.  You're new, you work your way up the ladder in the workplace, and when you get to where you like you can stay and perhaps put in years of service to the company that offered you all the training.  That's a typical baby boomer mentality, or so they say.  Or, you can be more like a Gen Y - who comes in, brilliant and smart, stays for a while, and then sees a newer, better opportunity somewhere else, and leaves after a year or two.  It seems to me, that being in a guild is a bit like company loyalty.  This place trained me, gave me opportunities, and I want the opportunity to give back and share what I've learned and help the company.  I'm no baby boomer, but I'm no Gen Y-er either.  But what I am trying to get across is that if you have a guild full of Gen Ys, you're going to end up in trouble sooner or later, as they come and go, and the leadership changes that can go with it as people move in and out of the guild.  If you are in a guild that has a foundation of baby boomers, who have been there a long time, who have commitment and loyalty, then you will find that your guild will survive, and may even succeed, if there is the core who remain true to the foundation on which the guild was laid.

Of course, that means you have to be HAPPY in the guild you are in.  If you're not happy, then it's never going to work.  As an officer in a guild, how do you make sure your players are happy?
  1. Involve guildies in decision making - people who feel like they are a valued member don't like having decisions made about them.  This may mean putting polls up in guild forums, offering a couple of options if a change is coming, but it allows everyone to have their say.
  2. Keep them informed - nobody likes to be a mushroom
  3. If you are an officer, act responsibly - don't have rules for officers/yourself and different rules for everyone else
  4. Outline rules of raiding and guild conduct clearly before people first join - it will save them disappointment and anguish later and also avoid misunderstandings, especially with things like raid loot
  5. Trim the weeds - every now and then someone will make the guild a miserable place for everyone.  These people need to be removed, but it should be a joint officer decision, and not the decision of one person as it could just be a personality clash
  6. Make sure everyone knows they are valued and are treated that way - everybody should be respected.  Sure some people may not be as good a player or as reliable as others, but they bring other positive things to the guild - maybe they farm mats, or they are there as backups, or they are good at morale boosting.  Rather than focussing on the negative, try to look at the positive aspects of a person.  If everyone feels like a valued member of the guild then they are less likely to leave.
I wish everyone the best with their guild through these difficult times.  It is sad for me to see some of these long standing guilds collapsing, and I hope that my guild continues to survive for at least a while to come.


  1. Since I've been palying WOW, the Frosties has been the best guild I've been in. I'm a baby boomer and like you said, if you're welcomed and included, you feel the need to contribute. You also feel the need to be loyal as well, who knows, there may be a time when you'll get the call up for the heroic raid content.


    1. @Ayelena - You know I was thinking of you when I wrote one of those points before :)

  2. Interesting post Navi, I always enjoy when you write about raiding. I feel like I'm an honorary Frostwolf of the farming mats cheer leading kind! Go Frosties Go!

    1. @TotA - you know you would always be welcome to hide in our guild as a social alt unknown to everyone, except me of course!

  3. This is partly why I stopped raiding. At the start of Cataclysm our guild was pretty split down the middle in terms of people who wanted 10 man and people who wanted 25. Things got really ugly and it took all the fun out of WoW for me.

    I want to get back into raiding for MoP as I do miss it but I prefer the "epic" feeling of 25 mans. For example I was at my old guild's first kills on both 10 man and 25 man hardmode Anub'arak and the difference between the two was immense. We killed the 10 man quite a bit before the 25 man and it was so much easier.

    Looking at the raiding guilds on my server, though I think I'll have to settle for 10 man.

    1. @Erinys - I also miss 25 mans. I like to play with EVERYONE, not just a few, and it was fun in a large group - more like a party, and more social if you know what I mean! But 10 man seems to be the way things are heading...

  4. We were a rare 25 man casual guild during wrath. We did not get to run a 25 every week, but we sure tried. We then would run 10 mans throughout the week with alts.

    For Cata we decided on going the two 10 man approach after some of our core went "hardcore." We had some success but eventually group two felt left out and we were left to rebuild.

    We are currently a 10 man, with a second group forming. I have tried to get the guild back up to 25 man; but most people resist the size. They like the consistency and accountability of the smaller team. We have been going strong and cleared 8/8 as casuals.

    Not sure if we will ever go back up to 25 even if we have the numbers. Most people seem to really enjoy the 10 man experience. I am trying to see if we can do previous tiers as 25, but it seems most of the people around me are not interested.

    1. @Logtar - this sounds just like my guild. We were 25 man during Wrath, and we just did normal modes, not hard modes. We also had a few people want to go more hardcore so we made 2 hardcore groups. At the moment we're just hanging in there with attendances for both, but that doesn't allow for holidays and sickies since we don't have much backup. All our other players who didn't make it into the 2 10 hardcores (and we thought we'd have Friday Saturday runs for those guys) seemed to disappear except for 3 people, who are now probably going to have to replace those who are slowly disappearing. I miss 25s, and wish we could do them sometimes.


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