An open letter from 25-players guilds of the French Realms to Blizzard's Management.

T
his thread is like a cry for help. It might end up into a troll and may even not be read by those to whom it is intended, but it will at least have the merit to exist. This letter is a testimony of a period which will soon be over, a gaming mode that will eventually cease to exist.

W
e want to talk about 25-player raids.

T
his format was introduced in Burning Crusade. It's now been three entire extensions over 5 years that it is used as a reference format for PVE, whether HL or not. Our purpose is certainly not to debate about the alleged superiority of one or the other raiding formats as this debate would not be relevant and would be doomed to fail, each party defending tooth and nail its backyard. This indeed is not even the issue. Reasonable minds have for long understood that 10-Player and 25-Player raids are two completely different gaming experiences. The purpose of our letter is therefore simply to pull the alarm bell to defend the raiding mode we like.

H
ow not to notice the gradual collapse of 25-player raids realms? A quick glance at the French Realms brings in interesting findings that could easily be extended to the European and global community. Among the 37 French Realms, 12 still have a raid playing in a 25-format for both factions and 13 have this format in only one of the two factions. The last 12, a third of all French realms, do not even have a single active 25-raid ! This fact is just freaking.

A
nd this is not just the result of a metaphysical issue, discussed by a team of fanatics who would be persisting in an unsustainable way of raiding. One would be blind not to see that the death of 25-player raids is the consequence and also the cause of realms desertification. No one can deny the fact that 25-guilds have always the cornerstone of a realm and are an important (if not major) element of the social architecture which cement the rest of the system.

N
ow what did we see since the release of Cataclysm ? A bunch of "reforms" that have led to a strong alignment between the two raid formats. This was mainly done through a series of privileges granted to 10-raid in an attempt to bring it to the same level as 25-raid, by releasing successive "nerfs" which reduced the advantages previously granted to the 25-mode and which contributed to compensate organizational difficulties. Again, our purpose is not to argue about the respective difficulty of the two formats but to make the following observation: a 25-player raid requires tremendous logistics as compared to a 10-player one, it requires the establishment and management of a much wider community. This alone should justify that 25-raid be granted certain privileges. 25-raid players and 10-raid players do not play the same game, do not have the same rules, do not require the same investments, are not equally accessible, making it unfair that the final result be exactly the same for both modes. The truth is that 25-player raids constraints are no longer recognized.

T
his injustice, paired with the irresistible human instinct that pushes us to always chose the easiest path led a good number of WoW players to choose the 10-player format at the expense of the 25-player one. There can hardly be another explanation to the phenomenon we are all currently witnessing : nothing and we mean absolutely nothing has changed for the 25-player raid since Cataclysm was released besides the harmonization of the two raiding formats. And yet, even if each single fight in the game was to be of equal difficulty between both raid formats, the 25 mode would still be much more difficult to implement. It is simply way more difficult to secure a regular roster of 25 players of equal gaming skills as it is for 10-players. And there is no room for debate here. With this in mind, some players which were used to playing in a 25-player format felt trapped by the harmonization of loots and achievements imposed by Blizzard. They felt trapped in a roster composed of some 'weaker' players that were slowing their progress when this is inherent to such a large community of players. The convergence of the two raiding formats which now share the same ID have led to a 'switch' of this category of players towards the 10-man format, not because they enjoy it the most, but because it is now the best option to satisfy their wish for a faster progress with equal rewards and achievements. The difficulty of organization of 25-man raids is obviously responsible for this switch, and not the fact that the difficulty of the fights would be different in one or the other format. The next step for 25-man guilds was as simple as logical : they had no other choice but to be less demanding when recruiting new members, pushing further the heterogeneity of their roster in terms of gaming skills, further frustrating the skilled players and often leading to the disband of the guild. The situation now is also that a number of 10-man players were forced into adopting this raiding mode as there is no longer a single 25-man raid active on their Realm. Is it really fair that in this case, some players are forced into paying an extra 20 euros (the price to pay to migrate one character to another realm) to keep playing the game they love ? Should we really be delighted to see a part of these 25-man guilds stop raiding or even stop playing? What will happen when the only option we have left will be the 10-format versus the LFR tool?

“W
hy fighting for that?”, you may ask. Why persisting in a path which seems to lead straight to an inexorable decline ?

W
ell, because we love our 25-man format. We love this epic sight of a band of savages rushing bosses, the complete mess of some fights, sharing a guild channel or a vocal communication tool with dozens of other players. To sum up we love belonging to a large community. And we believe that 10-player raid would never bring us the same experience, would never make us feel that way. We fight for the only raiding mode and the "lifestyle" that suits us in this game. Our cry will probably seem excessive to some of you. Others will say that sounds too soppy.

W
ell, whatever!

S
ince the release of Cataclysm, lives of 25-player raids abruptly changed. We were in a game, source of entertainment. We ended-up in the purgatory. Our goal is no longer to play but to survive. To recruit rather than to go progress. Constraints rather than pleasure. And so, day after day we see more and more 25-player collapsing, whether it be (and indeed they were the first to fall) guilds trying to balance friendship, some sort of a family with a good atmosphere, or high-end competitive ones, often in the top-world PVE rankings.

A
re we doomed to be the passive witnesses of the collapse of entire communities of players which we have taken care to build and see growing over the years? Is it really, as it seems to be, in your plans to put an end to our gaming mode ? If that's the case, well tell us once and for all. You do not have the right to let the situation rot like that! We don't want to worship to the gods of Luck in hope that we can keep playing: the recruitment luck, the chance of being "born" on the right realm ... .

Y
ou do have to realize that behind those pixels, are real people. The disband of a 25-player guild is not just a statistic you won't have to worry anymore, but a group of human beings who have chosen to share their passion with a large community. Imagine the distress (because that's the word) of some of your elder players who see the guild they have always known and loved now collapsing or who are forced to migrate or to change their faction to keep playing the WoW they like. And please, do not reply that we can play using the new cross-realm real ID. We all know that this is a drop in an ocean, an ersatz of what a guild life is like. Besides, let's be honest, former players of a disbanded 25-man Guild usually end-up stopping the game because they no longer have interest in it.

I
f the phenomenon was only punctual, we could use history to explain that deaths and births of 25-man guilds is something normal. Like those great civilizations! But this is not the case here. Very few new truly viable Guilds of 25-player raid were recently created, while those disbanding are numerous. And it is certainly not the LFR tool that will make our future brighter! How could you allow the establishment of such a parody of what a 25-player raid truly is? How can you imagine that new players will go to the 25 format after seeing this insult to their intelligence that is the LFR? What image will the 25-player raids have in the coming months/years?

W
e are in fact not asking much from you: give us back our peculiarities. Give us tools to continue to have a place in your game, whether real ones or cosmetics. Recent and future (MoP) functionalities show everything or so seems to be possible: equipment with different skins but same statistics, modulation of a player's stats (the MoP dungeon rushing), account-wide achievements, links on loots rather than on bosses (LFR). Everything shows that these tools already exist, it only remains to set them up. Here are a few and simple ideas : common achievements for 10 and 25 raids, but with a mention of the format, “first realm” separate achievements for both 10 and 25 formats… As we said, it would be very simple to set up while being a great step towards a differentiation without a depreciation of one or the other mode, and would make the 25 format attractive again without disdaining the 10 fomat. The 25-man community is at your disposal if you lack ideas and be sure that our intentions are to remain reasonable. It is time you stop messing the game: the winners of the 400m steeple and 10000m may well not stand on the same podium, they still each have their own medal!

P
lease, consider our letter with care, it comes from real people, your fans. Players that have been behind you for a very long time, but who can no longer accept the pressure that is put on their shoulders since Cataclysm, who can no longer accept having to merely survive in a game they struggle to keep loving, and who just seek to be able to have fun playing your game ... again.

Signed,
French 25-raid guilds

Redactor : Renaissance
Signatories :