GAMEBREAKER have been keeping readers abreast of the world first progression both via updates during the week subsequent to the raid’s opening on October 9th, and via Legendary Episode 97′s brief discussion. And, at 00:43 London time on the 11th of October, Europe’s Method downed Will of the Emperor, taking World First 6/6 Mogushan Vaults 25HC, with another EU Guild, Envy, taking second place. This pushed Vodka into third, and Blood Legion into 4th place. There was a time lapse of almost 12 hours between Method’s World First and Envy’s World second, but a great achievement for both European guilds to surpass the delay.
But, on Thursday October 13th, when Legendary was recorded, one guild had completed Mogushan Vaults Heroic by downing Will of the Emperor. That guild was Finland’s renowned DREAM Paragon, who had blown away the competition, coming in world 4th on the second boss, and world first for every boss thereafter. DREAM Paragon had completely demolished the EU’s delay and blown the rest of the guilds out of the water. So why the lack of a fanfare?
Paragon were raiding 10-man. They converted after losing many of their key team to Dragon Soul, which sounded the death knell for many a raid team, but had been looking into the differences between 10-man and 25-man raiding as early as Firelands, doing Cataclysm’s second raid tier with both sizes to assess the difference.
Naturally, 25-man has more inherent issues than 10-man. It is simply more difficult to organize, structure and lead 25 people than it is to do the same with ten people. It’s also harder to find 25 people, plus a bench, than it is to find ten. Paragon gave themselves an additional level of difficulty, recruiting only Finnish-speaking players, effectively limiting themselves to Finland, and some nearby areas.
Paragon’s investigation in Firelands yielded some interesting results, notably that “A theme of more significance that you can clearly see in the three harder bosses for Firelands is that the dps requirement is much too lenient in 10-man. This means that you don’t really have to cut the amount of healers, which ensures relaxed gameplay for the healers while about half of their 25-man brethren are taking beta blockers just to be able to see clearly.” They also add, discussing the prevalence of avoidable damage in Firelands, that “Not dying seemed to be easier across the board [in 10-man], simply because there is less stuff going on at any given time.” It will be interesting to see if they are able to muster a 25-man raid team, or whether other guilds such as Method, Vodka or Blood Legion form 10-man teams to give informed feedback on the comparative difficulty between the two sizes.
In the meantime, will 10-man raiding ever be taken as seriously as 25-man raiding? One difficulty of taking DREAM Paragon’s admittedly remarkable world first seriously is the lack of competition. They were beaten to world first on the first and second bosses, by US guilds Fierce, Crimson Blade and Swims in Lava, but thereafter dominated the leaderboards. Were some of the other big-name guilds to field 10-man teams, would the competition be taken more seriously? Perhaps. But it is possible that 10-man raiding will always be seen as the easy option.