Renaissance has moved to 10 man raids for the upcoming x-pac and does not have plans to continue raiding 25s for expansion. Thanks!

I made a prediction that some guilds would transition from 25- to 10-man raiding for Wrath of the Lich King. This announcement serves as one confirmation of this reality. I find it particularly unfortunate on a personal level, because it comes from Danny–one of the leaders of the second place guild on our server. Realistically, they were the only on-server competition my guild had throughout TBC. We only beat them to Kil’jaeden by one week. And they are, thus far, the only other guild besides mine on Proudmoore to have cleared all of TBC. However, Infamy and Risen have both killed Entropius, which is still one of the most difficult encounters the game has yet offered (even post-nerf).

So it is disappointing that the server is losing one of its best 25-man raiding guilds to 10-man content. Proudmoore’s overall raiding quality will be taking a step backward with this announcement. I will not pretend to know why they decided to make this transition, however. I imagine some of their reasons are personal and I will not make assumptions for their part.

However, I can make assumptions about why other guilds at their level may make this decision to transition.

Why Would Sunwell Clearing Guilds Switch to 10-Man Content?

Completing Sunwell was an extremely unique experience for raiders and raid leaders alike. Thus far in the game, and in my time playing MMOs in general, there has been nothing more rewarding than managing to clear the hardest raid dungeon WoW has yet to offer. To complete it is a testament to a guild’s leadership and its members’ collective devotion.

At the same time, however, the experience was extremely stressful. This stress often tested the tempers of a guild’s members, leaders, or both. And it was largely caused by Sunwell’s heightened difficulty and some ulterior conditions. These include:

  1. The need to micro-manage raid composition to successfully defeat the Eredar Twins, M’uru and Kil’jaeden. Especially M’uru.
  2. The need to recruit because of #1.
  3. Summer attrition, and the diminished pool of eligible recruits to replace people during the summer.
  4. M’uru and Kil’jaeden being sometimes difficult to repeat.
  5. And, later on, attrition caused by people taking breaks in light of Wrath’s impending release.

I don’t feel I need to justify each point with an explanation They have been discussed to death on my blog, on other blogs, on the EJ forums, on the official WoW boards, and casually amongst the raiding crowd. Clearly, however, these issues have burned out swaths of hardcore raiders and likely driven them to consider playing in a more relaxed atmosphere.

No matter where guilds hit walls: on Felmyst, the Twins, M’uru or Kil’jaeden, tensions rise and tempers flare. Because Sunwell is so difficult, any perceived deficiencies in other players’ performance will result in highly critical and accusatory discussions, which have the potential to lead to bitter sarcasm or wild expressions of frustration. There are very good reasons why M’uru is fondly nick-named “the guild killer.” Kil’jaeden himself has similar monickers.

So it can be easy to imagine just how many raiders and raid leaders take a step back after six months of raiding Sunwell to ask “Was it worth it?” For some, it most certainly was. I don’t personally plan to switch or have my guild switch because I found the experience entirely rewarding. For others, however, the experience may have been too stressful for them to have any desire to continue with 25-man raiding. Not if they can defeat Arthas (or get defeated by Arthas?) and witness the closure of Wrath’s storyline in a much more relaxed atmosphere with nine other people.

The Future of 25-Man Raiding on Proudmoore

I must admit I am concerned for the future of Proudmoore. As Renaissance is the only other guild on the server to have cleared TBC entirely, I am worried people will view our server as a generally less desireable destination for raiding. For this reason, I am hoping the other top guilds will better compete with us in Wrath. I also wouldn’t mind an entirely new guild arriving on the scene to compete, much like we did in TBC. Certainly, with plenty of guilds turning away from 25-man raiding, I imagine there will be a large number of free agents on the market at the start of Wrath. It’s just a matter of someone stepping in to recruit these people and lead them well.

That said, Lunacy is not going anywhere. We will continue to raid in Wrath, and we will try to place reasonably well on WoWProgress. I don’t expect to compete in the top twenty in the U.S. region, however. It was never my goal to be one of the best in the world, though placing in the top 50 in the U.S. while raiding only twenty hours a week is certainly something we hope to do on occasion. Either way, you can expect us to be at least an anchor in Proudmoore’s raiding community and we hope we can continue to attract decent raiders to the server.

Thank You Renaissance

I wanted to use the last part of this entry to thank Renaissance for their commitment to raiding and competing with us on Proudmoore during TBC. Without you, I don’t think we would have pushed quite as hard as we did. And if not for the disappointment we met when you beat us to Illidan, I don’t think we would have gone into Sunwell with as much fervor and determination as we did.

Your presence was a motivating factor that helped us to refine our core raid and improve. The atmosphere you helped develop during TBC has led us to create a very strong vision for the future of our guild, and we hope it will allow us to continue pushing our progress efficiently into Wrath. Your departure from 25-mans is a huge loss to Proudmoore’s raiding community.

I hope those of you who remain in Renaissance to raid 10-mans in Wrath can enjoy the experience and the change of pace. Thanks for the competition in TBC and I hope to see many of you around in Dalaran this November!