Ulduar is a great raid instance, from what I’ve seen of it. The main problem I have with the place is that it, like other Wrath instances, is split into a 10 and 25 man version. In my opinion, 10-man raids often feel more fun. It’s easier to communicate, not as laggy, among other good things. I don’t see the benefit of having two versions of the same instance versus a different raid altogether. Variety, my friends, is indeed the spice of life. So despite the fact that Ulduar is way way way way better than Naxx, and consequently more like BWL and BC raids, the general atmosphere of raiding feels lacking.
How did BC and pre-BC raiding differ from the Wrath situation?
In vanilla WoW, the progression path was typically from the 20mans to MC/Onyxia to BWL to AQ40/Naxx. This meant that any guild had to be a 40-man raiding guild to get the highest tier of gear. In essence, this didn’t change in BC when you had to be raiding BT, Hyjal and Sunwell to get tier 6 stuff. Blizzard’s new philosophy is wanting to make the raid content (at least the normal modes) available to everyone. But to me there’s no comparison between having a Karazhan and a Magtheridon and having a Naxx25 and Naxx10. Two different instances always wins out.
Gear progression works the same way, except now a whole tier (ilvl 219 gear from Ulduar 10) is wasted, in addition to valor badges that will do absolutely nothing since anyone raiding the 10man Ulduar will be getting better gear. Those raiding Ulduar 25 can effectively skip the 10-man version, instead going from normal mode to hard mode. Does this system have any advantage over, say, creating two raid instances, one 10man and one 25man?
Hard modes are there so we’ll do them…
But they won’t compare to knowing that there’s a whole other instance waiting once you finish the current one. I remember when I played my Resto Druid in pre-BC days and my guild finally downed Ragnaros. The next raid night, we were in BWL. We were moving up, to bigger and newer things. This feeling is basically nonexistant for me in Wrath. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Ulduar and raiding it is a lot of fun (partially due to how awesome my guild makes it). But to me, “progression” doesn’t mean the same thing anymore. Now it feels more like it’s about gear than feeling ready to explore a whole new place.
Ulduar reminds me a lot of BWL anyways
To me, BWL represents the best aspects of WoW raiding: variety in both trash and boss fights and interesting mechanics (except for the 3 drakes, who were a tad dull). Naxx was the opposite of this; its trashh was completely AoE-able and the bosses were glorified tank and spanks. Ulduar is a step forward, but I hope Blizzard returns to the old system of separate 10 and 25 man instances. 25man Ulduar is already harder than its 10man cousin, so what’s the benefit of having it be the same instance? Yes, it lets more people see the “top content” but if people were really motivated to see content, I think they’d get past the difficulty and take a peek around anyways.