Carnage: The Art Of Raiding In A 16-Man Operation

For those that have had the chance to join an operation, chances are it was completed in 8-man. The majority of raiding guilds have also focused mainly on 8-man content. Prior to The Terror From Beyond and Nightmare Explosive Conflict, it was not an uncommon argument of which was harder, 8 or 16. With the new operation and difficulty mode, the argument was effectively ended. 16-man raiding is more difficult, but it can also feel more rewarding.

The Argument

Two things can make a fight difficult, the programming of the fight and the people you raid with. When operations were first being tackled, people argued which was harder; 8-man teams argued that the life of the bosses were not scaled linearly, meaning the overall DPS require was lower. 16-man raids, and BioWare, stated that 16 people are just harder to pull together and require extra coordination – so the life of the fights should be lower to allow for the extra, inevitable, slop. Essentially, it is easier to find eight great players than it is to find 16.

Carnage 1 - Kephess 0.

Carnage 1 – Kephess 0.

The first few weeks of Carnage was done in 8-man raiding as the early movers waited for the rest of the team to reach 50, in addition to some intense recruiting. At the time, we had fairly lively arguments with the top 16-man of whose content was harder. We challenged them to drop to 8, they challenged us to move up to 16. We did end up moving to 16 (permanently) a couple weeks later. In the end … they were right.

An Example

The move to 16 does not just produce more health on the bosses, but you will find the bosses hit harder, the sense of crowdedness causes mistakes, and indeed – you do inevitably have to carry some weaker teammates. The best example is The Terror From Beyond found in the operation of the same name. Not only were there double the number of anomalies, but each anomaly had twice the hit points and hit for twice the amount. The end result was not double the amount of healing, but quadruple – with only twice the amount of healers. Scalability continued to be a problem in the slightly newer EC Nightmare mode until both the tanks and the Kephess fights were nerfed to allow extra time on the enrage timer.

To further examine the difference in difficulty, check out the progression spreadsheets for EC Nightmare 8 man, and EC Nightmare 16 man.

One only needs to look at the sheer number of guilds who have killed Kephess in 8 vs 16 and the dates that he was actually killed, to see a huge difference. (Note: I cannot vouch for the accuracy nor that the 8-man spreadsheet is kept up to date beyond December 14 – however the 16-man is kept up to date by me.)

16 and strong!

16 and strong!


Most “hard-core” raiding guilds don’t raid for loot. That may seem like a strange statement, but the truth is the gear is only a means to an end. The real reward is the accomplishment of defeating your foe. Occasionally, a single fight can take weeks of progression days (a day focused on beating a previously undefeated boss fight). That celebration of when you have finally mastered every facet of the fight – and you let out that little giddy cheer when the fight is beaten – that is what we raid for. I am not diminishing the accomplishment of those great 8-man raids, but when an 8-man raid moves up to 16, there is no denying you are tackling a whole new animal and when you do, there is no denying that sense of accomplishment becomes just a little greater.

Thoughts? Let me know below in the comments section.

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9 Responses to “Carnage: The Art Of Raiding In A 16-Man Operation”

  1. Maris says:

    Interesting read. One thing that my guild/ops group currently struggles with is scheduling raids for a time where everyone can attend. I would only imagine this would become increasingly difficult with a 16-man group. How do you get around scheduling conflicts? Do you have more members available in the guild to fill empty spots and if so, do you have a set member rotation?

    • Nibbon says:

      We have a few days we have set for raiding and for the most part it is the same people. However, we have backups that are ready to step in to fill a few spots in case someone cannot make it. We do not have a rotation of people and typically use a best available at the time selection process. This does not always mean the best players available, but sometimes the best classes we need in order to do what needs to be done (a balance of range and melee DPS, for example).

      If something more critical, like a tank or healer, is missing – a few of the officers have alts that are fully geared that can be brought in to fill those gaps – thus we usually have more backup DPS than we do healers and tanks (they are a ton easier to recruit).

  2. GaddockTeeg says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that either 8 man or 16 man is harder. Both provide unique challenges that the other doesn’t have face. 8 mans have to deal with the restriction of class slots. Healing is much easier when you have the luxury of bringing one of each class and two of whichever they want. Also, if one dps dies in 8 man the group is down 25% of their damage, if one dps dies in 16 man it’s only 10% their damage (not accounting for healer and tank damage). If a dps dies in 8 man Nightmare Firebrand/Stormcaller it’s a wipe because you’ll end up with two double destructions. I don’t think it’s fair to say that either is more difficult than the other. I really think it’s a playstyle choice and if someone is a quality player they will succeed regardless of what size raid they’re in.

    • Nibbon says:

      I appreciate your opinion. My opinion, which is all this article is, is from the perspective of having raided in both 8 and 16 – and that I found 16 to be more challenging.

      There are a myriad of reasons why this could be – and I list most of them above. The fact is, the fights aren’t tuned correctly in most instances – and spike damage is harder to heal through, even if there is less total damage per healer.

      Two examples:
      1. For incorrectly tuned – you have the TFB irregularity phases – where you have the same amount of irregularities to kill in 8 and 16 – the difference is in the amount of life and the damage output of each irregularity. In 8 man, we literally don’t have to assign any DPS to specific orbs, because you can kill them so quickly that it doesn’t matter. In 16 man, you have to have nearly perfect execution, as everyone has to get to their assigned orb and often a second one (since the tanks and healers have trouble killing one on their own). Additionally, the orbs hit about twice as hard, with twice as many people to heal = 4x the amount of damage with only 2x the amount of healing. So each healer is putting out twice as much healing as they need to in 16 than they do 8.
      2. Spike damage example I will leave generic – sure you have 4 healers, but everyone is working with the same health pools. Imagine a fight like foreman crusher, with his berserk phase, where instead of hitting for 4-5k a hit like in 8, he is hitting for 8-10k. that’s 5-6 hits in 8 vs 2-3 in 16. A mistake by the healers, there, and the tank is much more likely to die (not that this is a particularly hard fight).

      I’ve done every fight in the game in 8 vs 16 – there are a few that are easier in 8, but the vast majority are a lot harder to pull off in 16. You can owe this to the fact that if I do 8 man, I bring my top 8, while when I do 16 – I still have my top 8 but have to fill in with the next best 8. This is true. However, there are clear examples, as above, that make 16 man harder.

      • Nibbon says:

        Sorry I meant – there are a few that are easier in 16. One of those would be the puzzle boss in Asation.

        BTW – to speak directly about the tanks, since you brought them up, they are way way harder in 16 man.

        1. The people kitting in the middle (2 instead of 1) need to cleanse or they get one shot in 16 – in 8 it does about 18k damage (36k in 16). So that is a lot less forgiving.

        2. People need to figure out where their bubble is in both 8 and 16 – but in 16 you actually need to make a choice of which is the correct, in 8 you only need to find the one that is up.

        3. I’ll reference the spike damage issue for why tanking in 16 is harder – and list those problems:
        a. You can heal through the tank getting a single destruction or the firebrand debuff (incinerate, I think?) in 8 but not in 16
        b. The cleave is essentially off GCD, and can come instantly after a hit – thus the spike damage can be really high – in 8 this does have the damage and is less critical – in 16 this often kills the tanks.

        4. Losing a person in 16 will also wipe you – as you pretty much need all 4 people for each shield (except the kiting tank) in order to kill the encounter – leaving an add up is a wipe and you won’t really have time to make up for a full dps (or healer, or offtank).

        • GaddockTeeg says:

          I do understand that in many ways 16 is factually more difficult than 8 but I don’t think it’s fair to say that the inverse is true either. I’m not diminishing your article, you make good points, I’m just saying that an 8 man group faces many different challenges than a 16 man one. The sheild phase for tanks is unquestionably harder and yes the tanks do more damage but there are also 6 people to take double destruction so a single person out of position is far less likely to wipe the group. I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong I’m just saying this doesn’t have to be a black or white issue. Very nice article btw. I look forward to more.

          • Nibbon says:

            I agree that 8 and 16 have different challenges – and I am not trying to diminish the difficulty that some great 8 man guilds face (and defeat). However, when you collectively look at every fight, 16 man is more challenging. I do not think it is exactly as black or white as that – but when writing the article I decided to just take a stance.

            Depending on how you set up your groups (or how many ranged DPS you have) you can also make it so you have enough people on stormcaller for two DD. Personally, when we did tanks in 8 man – we would push firebrand to make stormcaller only have one DD – and then on firebrand’s last 20% we would swap everyone so they are standing on stormcaller.

            Anyway, thanks for reading :)

  3. Photobomb says:

    Even though i may never raid (just never was my cup of tea, I do enjoy FP’s though), i still love reading articles like this as they are entertaining and informative; as raiding concepts can be applied to just about every aspect of the game.

  4. Elidhu says:

    Nice to see you joining the team dude. Will we see you in the podcasts also? Would be great to bring some hardcore opinions into the mix!

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