A welcome change to 10man raiding this expansion was the attempt to make the 10 and 25man raiding feel similar. In order to do this Blizzard made the decision to have each flavor of raiding drop the same quality of gear. While I really enjoy this decision, I think some improvements can be made on the system.
Currently boss loot tables are very large. Every boss has a table that is 12 items large. As a rule of thumb, the 10man bosses drop 2 items per kill, and the 25man bosses drop 5 items per kill. I understand that this is a simple ratio of players per kill getting loot this model assumes 20% of your raid will get a piece of loot per boss. Assuming that the stars align and everyone gets what they want off the boss, you raid needs to kill the five times before everyone’s main specs are taken care of. This is a fallacy and only works in an ideal world, but the world (of warcraft) is hardly ideal. Yes I am still making that joke.
The problem we are running into on our 10man heroic raids is that we seem to be getting the same items a majority of the time, or never seeing items that several people in the raid could use. I realize that the loot is based on random numbers, but I feel that the 25mans raids get a better shake at the loot table for a couple reasons:
1) Representation. Every boss has loot for most combinations of class/spec, but a 10man doesn’t necessarily have all those combinations represented. For the longest time, we did not have a person in the raid that could use mail intellect gear in our raid for their main spec. If mail int gear drops, it immediately goes to waste unless someone could use it for offspec that they would play for 1-2 encounters. Given that the 10man raids are trying to balance raid buffs with class composition and tier token distribution it can be very difficult to have all the gear that drops go to people who can use it.
2) Tier Tokens. The 10man heroic bosses that drop tokens for tier gear all drop 1 token per kill, while their 25man counterparts drop 3. Compound this with the fact that the token can take one of three flavors and the classes that use these can be imbalanced based on raid composition. We have 5 people vying for Vanq tokens (which is half our raid). the 10man suffers a disadvantage not only waiting for RNG to drop the token that your raid needs for an upgrade, but also that the 25mans receive more tokens per player on every kill. 25mans have a better variety of drops, and get more per kill.
3) Probablity. In 25mans, a raid gets to sample a bosses loot table 5 times, and conversely 10mans get to sample that same loot table twice. In any statistical measure, the more samples that you can take from a set, the more likely those samples will resemble the how that set is distributed. If every piece of loot has an equal chance of dropping from a boss, then every piece of loot should see an equal distribution in those samples. Given that the 25man raid samples takes more samples from that set, they are more likely to see all the given possibilities that that set contains in comparison to 10man raids. A 25man raid will be more likely to get gear that is designed for a certain class/spec than a 10man raid will.
With 4.2, legendaries are going to enter the picture as well. Blizzard has stated that the 10mans will have access to legendary items, but it will take them ~2-2.5 times more time to create them via whatever shape the process will take. I am guess it will be a shard/fragment type acquisition process given that is the model chosen for Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel. I am disappointed in this that the 10mans are already suffering a gear gap in relation to 25man raiding (albeit much smaller than Wrath), and this gap is going to widen in Firelands.
I guess you can take this all as just QQ, but I am proposing a few possible solutions:
1) Have 10mans drop 3 pieces of gear per boss, but the 3rd slot has the possibility of being the same as slots 1&2. 25man raids already have this feature enabled, as our 25mans have seen 3 agility staffs drop off Heroic Halfus, and 3 caster maces off Nefarian. Having a 3rd available loot drop will help the 10man sample more of the loot table than they can currently while still giving similar probability that nobody needs the extra piece and it can be sharded. Also, seeing as Firelands is going to have less bosses than the current tier, I assume that the loot tables are going to be bigger, which gives the 10man even less access to the whole table over time.
2) Remove the Conq, Vanq, Prot type from the Tier tokens. It is frustrating seeing the same type of token dropping and being used for offpsecs when there are others in the raid who still need it for their main specs. Based on how this tier of raiding has gone so far, many would argue that 10man heroic raids are more taxing on the raiders and raid comps, and the extra gear could help 10man progression catch up to 25man progression. I would also entertain tokens that were binary instead of trinary; there are 10 classes in the game now, why not just split them down the middle and make a “of the X” and “of the Y” which serve 5 classes each?
3) Normalize 10man and 25man legendary acquisition. When I read that 25man raids would be in the fast lane in terms of legendary creation, it was a slap in the face to 10man raiding. It made me think back to when Blizzard stated their intentions to remove a lot of the parity between 10man and 25man raiding, and legendary creation favoring the 25man raid negates that intention. I realize that legendaries are supposed to be rare and unique and difficult to attain, but biasing the speed at which you acquire them is a bad decision. It takes a village (or a guild, or a raid) to do something great, why not include everyone in the raid in that creation process and then impose a cooldown on how often that process can be repeated? I realize that Blizzard is trying to bottleneck legendaries so that 10man raids don’t just become fragment factories, but there are more elegant ways of doing this than just hamstringing the 10man fragment drop rate. As stated before 10mans already suffer from bad probability of getting things that they want, this just amplifies the problem.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully we can have a good discussion about alleviating this problem.