So maybe you’re taking your first steps into raiding, maybe you’re an established 10-man raider and wondering what all the fuss is about over heroics. Today, I’m going to give you a bit of advice on the general differences between normal and heroic raids from my experiences, as well as how our playstyle differs as a result!
There’s probably a few of you out there who are a little clueless about heroic raids. Why are 10-mans seen as inferior to 25-mans? Why aren’t they “recognised” as much by guilds like Ensidia and Method? And why won’t people accept your 10-man achievement for a 25-man raid?
Well, the latter kind of people don’t exactly endear themselves to me, or my guildmates. But as for the others – well, to put it simply, 25-mans are simply more difficult. In a post-3.1 world, Blizzard have achieved what they didn’t quite manage with 3.0, which was to have a clear seperation in difficulty for the two levels of raiding;
- Easier: 10-man raids.
- Moderate: The majority of 10-man hardmodes, 25-man raids.
- Difficult: 25-man hardmodes.
In 3.0, OS10 with 3 drakes was actually harder than OS25 with 3 drakes, simply because of restrictions on raid composition (ie. which classes/how many tanks, healers, DPS to take). Now 25-man hardmodes are as intended – more difficult than 10-man hardmodes, just as 25-man raiding is harder than its 10-man equivalent. So the reason that all these “world-firsts” are for 25-mans is simply because cutting edge guilds thrive on the difficulty of those encounters, and the 10-man equivalent of any given achievement just doesn’t carry quite as much kudos as the 25-man version. Not only do 25-mans require better gear (and give out better gear) but they also require more co-ordination, organisation and require more people to perform well.
So, that’s the basics explained. How do we play differently?
Here’s an example of my healing done from a recent 10-man Emalon fight;
Notice anything? Well, there’s some stuff which is just perfectly ordinary. Penance occupies the top slot, as normal – every time the tank took damage, Penance was my first port of call. Renew also took care of a lot of healing while I was running in and out of the lightning AoE. But then things start getting interesting.
- Greater Heal > Flash Heal: I’m actually healing up more with Greater Heal than Flash Heal! Over the course of a three-and-a-half minute fight, I used only three Flash Heals. Between PoM/Renew/Shields and Penance on a 6.5 second cooldown, I barely need to use either of these spells and when I do, Greater Heal is more useful for a 10-man encounter – I might just Flash Heal to top off the the tank before an AoE.
- Shield Glyph: The 13% from the shield glyph is simply thanks to me throwing out so many shields. Emalon is a very short, intense fight – the boss will only take a few minutes to die, but a lot of AoE damage gets put out with Chain Lightning and Lightning Nova. Because of the short fight time, I wasn’t afraid to throw out a lot of shields. I ended up having 7 or 8 raid members shielded every time the Nova went off, which made the job a lot easier for the Resto Druid in the raid (we ran with two healers).
- Low PoH Percentage: For a fight with a lot of AoE, you might expect me to be using Prayer of Healing quite a bit… but check out my shielding! It took care of most of that AoE. Because it’s a 10-man, I was able to shield almost everybody in the raid in advance of AoE, meaning that a lot less healing was required afterwards. We’ll talk about this in a bit more detail later.
Now sadly, while I did run VoA25 as well this week, I completely forgot to screenshot the stats from that fight. That doesn’t, however, stop me from talking about it. What was different in my playstyle?
- Flash Heal > Greater Heal: As a 10-man raider, Greater Heal is a really useful tool for when Penance is on cooldown. As a 25-man raider, that health deficit will probably have disappeared pretty quickly, because you’ve got another healer on the tank. So GH simply becomes less useful – the only time I’d use it is when the tank is going to take extreme damage, like Plasma Blast on Mimiron.
- Higher PoH Usage: The first thing you need to appreciate when rolling out shields in a 25-man raid is that you can’t shield everybody. It physically cannot be done. Because of this, there’ll be more raid “damage” flying around, and so more healing will be needed! This is where PoH comes in, and you’ll usually be able to help out in that department.
So, there we have it! Next time you change raid size, give some thought to how you need to switch up your play and I guarantee you’ll be a lot more useful to your guild. 🙂
PS. Apologies for the lateness of the latest update. I’ve been moving back into my family house after the end of my first year of uni, so things have been a little hectic! Naxx 10 bosses will be up soon in the guide, and I’m hoping to start with a new guild next reset after my old one disbanded, so there’ll be lots of lovely Ulduar screenshots for you. I’m considering doing my next post on addons/UI.