The announced Cataclysm changes to 10/25 raiding, from loot to lockouts, have caused quite a stir amongst the WoW blogosphere (what a surprise!). There's been a lot of grumbling going both ways, and both the serious 25 and serious 10 raiders have their valid points about the issues.
As a very casual raider (one scheduled ICC-10 raid night per week, where I bring either my hunter or druid, depending on what we need), I'm fascinated by these changes. There are many things I like about the changes, and a few things I was initially disappointed about - but have since come to embrace.
Same Loot in Both 10 & 25This is probably the most controversial change. Personally, I love it. It's pretty much the only reason I try to pug into 25-mans - for the loot. (I do also like new fight gimmicks, but more on that later.) Finally no more deep sighs as I finally get into a VOA25 only to see six other hunters in the raid already! Not that hunter loot ever drops anyways, stupid Toravon...
Shared Lockout IDsInitially I was disappointed by this change - Blizzard was removing my ability to run both raids? This seemed like a punishment, like we had two toys and they were taking one away. But then I realized I was looking at it the wrong way. It's not so much "We're taking away your right to run both versions! Rawr!" as it is "Now you only have to run one version! Enjoy!" It really made me realize how grudgingly I'd been trying to run ICC 10/25 on both my characters each week, just to keep up with the frost emblem / loot curve (not to mention the daily heroic on each). Unsurprisingly, I think that's why I've also been a bit burned out on my 80's lately - other than the weekly raid kill and my weekly guild run, I haven't pugged any other raids at all the last few weeks.
Same Loot On 25, Just More Of ItI'm...skeptical this is going to work. Until exact ratios are announced, I just don't see the headache/stress of trying to pug into a 25 man raid being worth it. There'd have to be WAY more loot dropping for me to try to run a raid on 25 instead of 10, since on 25 you have to deal with people AFKing or dropping group, more people that just fail at their class, and more competition for drops. Plus everything just takes LONGER. Summoning, forming up, buffing, figuring out roles...it just doesn't seem like it'll be worth the effort.
25's Roughly The Same Difficulty As 10'sSurprisingly, I will miss this about 25's. I did like how 25's felt different than 10's. Not because the fights were necessarily harder (on the contrary, I find there's much less room for error in 10's) but because any new fight tricks/mechanics were different. I LOVE additional things to deal with. My favorite thing in the game right now is Cycloning mind-controlled players on Deathwhisper-25. Seriously. Which is sad. But a close second is taking control of Darnavan when he breaks free and kiting him to the back and re-rooting him, or rooting Blood Beasts and saving panicking players, etc. I guess I just like spontaneous, extra responsibilities and new things to do. :\
I could, of course, do hardmode-10's to get these extra mechanics - I hear Deathwhisper mind controls on hardmode-10. But there's a big difference between a few extra tricks and the incredibly merciless, unforgiving nature of hardmodes. If I was in a dedicated raiding guild? Sure, we could try it. We'd have the patience and confidence in each other's abilities to give it a shot. But in a pug? Eeeek, probably not.
Aside: saying that either size raid is easier or harder is silly. I think you really have to acknowledge that 10's have less mechanics but also less room for error, while 25's let you be a little sloppier in exchange for dealing with a few extra tricks. Neither is more, or less, indicative of skill or competence.
In Conclusion1) I like the loot in 25's because it's "the best" available
2) I dislike the greater loot competition in 25's
3) I dislike "having" to run ICC 10 and 25 just to keep up with my pugging competition
4) I dislike the slow nature of forming 25's and the extra chaos simply from having more people
5) I like the personal responsibility to perform well & not fail in 10's
6) I like the extra mechanics in 25's (or hardmode 10's)
These changes will satisfy #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5. The only thing I'll miss come Cataclysm will be additional fight mechanics, since they won't be in 25's and I highly doubt I'll be doing hardmode-10's. But it's worth it to be able to pug raids for the best drops without having to endure the terrible soul drain of finding 24 other people, let alone keeping them all while the raid forms. Awesome changes.