So a few guildmates and I were talking after the raid last night and the topic of strict tens came up. For those that are unfamiliar, a strict ten guild is one that runs only ten man ICC — its members do not take part in ICC 25 pugs. Specifically, the official explanation is as follows:
The 10-man strict rankings show the achievements of pure 10-man raiding guilds. A ‘pure’ 10-man raiding guild is one that does not participate in 25m progression content. We recognize that 25-man guilds or guilds that regularly participate in 25m pug runs often have a distinct advantage since they can gear up at accelerated rates and move faster through 10-man content. Consequently, our 10-man strict rankings exclude guilds which access any 25-man content that offers higher ilvl gear than what the current 10-man normal content provides. If you are a 10m guild that has members which want to run 25 man pugs then the ‘strict’ classification is not for you.
Guilds will be excluded when they earn any Icecrown Citadel (ICC) 25 normal kills or any TotGC 25 hard-mode kills. Guilds must also have their 10M Progress World Rank be better than (lower than) their 25M Progress World Rank.
We have added a special trigger for the ICC 25 normal kills that will exclude a guild from strict rankings when 8 players achieve it over time. For example, if your guild pugs ICC 25 normal then you will be excluded from the strict rankings when a total of 8 players in your guild participate in the Lord Marrowgar 25 normal kill. Please ensure you discourage your guild members from participating in any ICC 25 normal and TotGC 25 hard-mode runs if you wish to remain on the strict rankings. Also be sure minimize the recruitment of players that have previously achieved these kills since they will contribute to the guild total, regardless of when they achieved it. VoA 25 and Onyxia 25 are exempt from the criteria and can be run without risking your 10m strict rankings.
The goal, as I understand it, is to run 10-man content with gear that is available from that content. 10-man content is made easier by having available the greater item level and to a lesser extent the greater item variation of the loot from the 25-man dungeons. There seems to be an assumption on Blizzard’s part that people will run both 25-man and 10-man versions of the content, in the sense that 10-man content really is scaled to be run with 25-man gear. 10-man strict guilds in a way are thumbing their nose at Blizzard, saying in essence “We are a ten man guild because we like ten man content. We don’t want to run twenty-five man content.”
I have a lot of love for that idea. I’m not sure if I’ve written about it in the past, but I enjoy ten-man content far more than I enjoy twenty-five man content. One of the several reasons I enjoy it is that the sheer numbers of the twenty-fives makes it far more likely that someone in the group will be a jackass. In our latest twenty-five man pug, for instance, we ran into a hunter that had all-PvP gear (which is why Leafie is practically begging our guild leaders to use Elitist Groups rather than GearScore), and worse, another hunter who thought he knew everything and talked constantly. Neither one do I have any desire to raid with again.
But this is not simply a matter of pugs. In our efforts to become a twenty-five man guild, our guild has accepted into our ranks a few people who I really would rather not run raids with. One was a tree druid who simply had no raid awareness and at best lackluster healing. He was the one I wrote about a while ago, who couldn’t ever get out of Sindragosa’s blistering cold. The second was a warrior with a paladin alt (or vice versa), who like the hunter last night simply did not know how to shut up. Over his last few weeks in the guild, he kept screwing up in raids. He was very well geared, but he couldn’t back that up with his play. (For example, on Saurfang — which is heavily biased toward melee — he couldn’t beat my lesser geared mage. He didn’t even come close).
So if I had to do it all over again, and if I had that opportunity, I would have seriously considered joining a strict 10 man guild. I think I really would have enjoyed it.
The topic came up because of Vidyala’s Well-Dressed Paladin contest. Vidyala runs in a strict 10-man guild. I commented that some of the gear in Traxy’s paladin disguise was simply not available to Vidyala’s guild, because she can’t run 25s. (Vidyala has also told me that Traxy has better pants in her pally disguise than her guild’s holy paladin, because those pants have frustratingly not dropped for her). I then commented that despite this lack of gear, Vidyala’s guild was ahead of us in 10-man progression; they’ve downed heroic Sindragosa and we have not.
That was a mistake.
The reaction was not “hey, that’s neat”, or “wow, that’s quite a feat” (which is how I think about it). The reaction was intensely defensive and negative. They started talking about how 10-man strict was invalid, or a farce, or I don’t know the exact words they used but it was clear they thought it was illegitimate. Here were some of things they came up with:
- You can get ilvl 264 items through badge gear (yes, but in a strict 10-man you have fewer opportunities for badges).
- You can get frost badges through running heroics (I honestly don’t understand this criticism).
- You can game the system by getting ilvl 264 gear in 25-man ICC using your permitted 8 kills (not to any reasonable extent).
- You could have a 25-man Kingslayer in a 10-man strict guild (in theory yes, in practice highly improbable and so what?).
- You could get Shadowmourne and be in a 10-man strict guild (uh, no f’ing way).
I hope those examples provide an image for how ridiculous their criticisms were. They were totally divorced from reality.
I have to wonder about this, because these are normally good-thinking, smart and intelligent guildmates. They got us 10/12 HM in ICC-10. They’re not stupid. Why are they so threatened by the idea of a strict ten that they react in immature, illogical and overly defensive ways?
It wasn’t as someone from a strict ten guild was in their face saying how much better they are. (Although, to be perfectly frank, any strict ten guild that has downed heroic Sindragosa can absolutely make that claim. There are 44 of them in the world.) I guess to them that’s implied — that the strict tens think they’re doing a purer thing. But, of course, no one was making that claim at all. I certainly didn’t claim that it was purer. I think it’s a very interesting challenge, sort of akin to the group that’s trying to get as far as possible wearing ilvl 200 blues. It had to be themselves thinking that up on their own and then being defensive in reaction to that assumption.
It was an ugly thing.
In any case, strict tens are likely to lose their meaning in Cataclysm, with ten-mans dropping the same loot as 25s, sharing lockouts with 25s, such that there really won’t be a meaningful distinction between a guild that only runs 10s and one that occasionally does 25s. I think that’s ultimately a triumph of those who organized and ran strict 10s, and a recognition that guilds that decided to focus on 10s had real value in the game.
A part of me wishes I could have taken part in that.
edit: Vidyala offered her perspective here, a few months ago.