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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.