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Thread: Mythic/Heroic Historical Raiding Timelines & Availability

  1. #1

    Default Mythic/Heroic Historical Raiding Timelines & Availability

    Update (6/11/2015): Flaws in my data collection method were pointed out and thus addressed below. The by change is that the total number of groups from previous expansions is lower than expected.

    Many people might remember the very beautiful graphs recently created that give insight into how long particular raid tiers or zones have been active throughout WoW's history. If you haven't seen them, they're worth a look below!

    Given the upcoming patch 6.2 release after what seems to be another early raid tier cut short too early, I thought it would be interesting to dig into the numbers a bit and see whether my hunch is actually correct and how the current raid zones and raid tier stack up against those in the recent past.

    Since I have little to no artistic ability, the data is presented in spreadsheet form (if you wish to copy it and improve upon it yourself) or in basic graphs as seen below. Still, I found the information somewhat interesting and hopefully others will as well.

    Note: All the following data focuses solely on "completion" of a particular raid zone AT THE HIGHEST AVAILABLE DIFFICULTY ONLY (MYTHIC NOW, HEROIC PREVIOUSLY), as recorded by the community tool While there may be some inconsistencies in the recorded data, it's safe to assume we can at least draw some basic conclusions from this information.

    Additionally, some information is extrapolated as noted in the spreadsheet. I elected to use End Dates for particular zones that expired at the end of expansions based not on the full release of the next expansion, but based on the date of the pre-expansion patch that would've dramatically altered that current raid tier progression numbers. Again, such things are stated in the Notes field of the spreadsheet if you care to view them.


    Days Active

    The first chart illustrates the overall number of days each zone is active and considered the "current tier" of raiding. I've also included another interesting tidbit which is how the number of encounters within raid zones (and later raid tiers) are impacted by the activity lengths.

    We can see that Blackrock Foundry at ~140 active days is near the bottom of the list, but slightly above the lowest activity contenders of Ulduar and Terrace of Endless Spring, both at 112 days. Terrace of Endless Spring is easily the most comparable to the current zone of Blackrock Foundry, as both were "final" zones released at the end of the first raid tier for the expansion. However, Terrace with only 4 encounters doesn't compare well to the 10 encounters of Blackrock Foundry, which brings us to the next chart...

    By chunking together all zones with a particular raid tier we get a better idea of the timeline that Blizzard likely considers along with the community when discussing raiding, but just as important it gives a better sense of the allotted active days given per encounter in each particular raid tier.

    We can see that the current Tier 17 of raiding is somewhat in the middle of the pack in terms of days active around 198 total, compared to the lesser comparable count of 154 days for Tier 14 with Mogu'shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring. What is quite telling then, is the allotted Days per Encounter across each of these raid tiers; suddenly Tier 17 of Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry drops dramatically to the third lowest at 12 days per encounter, preceded by Tier 14 again at 10 days and finally the bottom of the barrel by far, Ulduar at a mere 8 days per encounter.

    Most raiders from the Ulduar days would certainly agree that Ulduar wasn't given even remotely close to enough time to breath before the next raid zone was released, but these charts truly illustrate just how sped up the entire thing was.

    What's also well known by raiders but is interesting to visualize once again is just how dramatic the jump in days active is during each "final tier" of the expansion.

    During Wrath of the Lich King both Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader were cut extremely short (at least Ulduar was relative to the scope of the zone) only to be finalized with ICC/Tier 10 which nearly tripled the days active period of either of the previous zones in that tier.

    While not nearly as extensive, the jump from Tier 12 (Firelands) to Tier 13 (Dragon Soul) is another hefty jump of roughly 77% more days active for the final tier in the expansion. The same trend continued from Tier 15 (Throne of Thunder) to Tier 16 (Siege of Orgrimmar) with Siege of Orgimmar lastly over twice the days active of the prior zone (and the allotted days per encounter is close to double as well).

    Expanding on the beautiful graphs displayed at the top of this post, we can now delve a bit into the actual completion rate of these zones and raid tiers: Given the time spent on these zones, how many raiders or raid groups completed them?

    We start by simply looking at the quantity of raid groups that completed each zone while it was current content:

    The immediate outlier that is noted right away is of course Dragon Soul, with over 10,000 groups completing the Heroic clear of the zone. My memory is shady but my understanding is WoWProgress will halt data collection once a particular raid tier is no longer current, and thus I must assume that data is correct, but it seems extraordinarily high so I suspect something is fishy. (If anyone has any insight into why the numbers would be so high, please let me know.) (Shown to be false, data has since been correctly updated to reflect appropriate date range.)

    Outside of Dragon Soul, everything is more or less on a spectrum with some highs and some lows, but the other major outlier going the opposite direction is of course Blackrock Foundry (followed closely by Terrace of Endless Spring). As noted in the spreadsheet, this number is extrapolated based on recent daily kill counts and expected patch 6.2 timeframe, but at a mere 583 completions this will place Blackrock Foundry as the least completed raid zone in recorded raiding history.* (*For which we have data.)

    Perhaps not so surprisingly, the second least completed raid zone happens to be during this raid tier as well with Highmaul at around 1482 completions. (No longer accurate, Terrace is lower).

    Next we'll look briefly at the zone completion rates by the percentage of active raid groups at the time of those raid tiers:

    Not so surprisingly, the trends here follow closely to that of the completion count by quantity above, with a few minor exceptions. These percentage numbers give a more accurate indication of the "difficulty" (or more appropriately, the difficulty in conjunction with the days active length for the zones). Noted outliers from the previous chart are ICC which had a particularly difficult end-boss in The Lich King and Trial of the Crusader, though my measurements I opted to use the Tribute to Dedicated Insanity and Tribute to Insanity achievements, respectively, to represent "completion" of that zone since otherwise the crossover of 25-man raiders into the 10-man setting due to non-shared lockouts just ruins the data completely. Additionally for Ulduar, the "final" challenge in that zone for most groups was Alone in the Darkness, which was completed by merely 10 groups before the next zone was released.

    The last chart I have prepared thus far gives an indication of the approximate number of players that were present for the first initial completion of a particular raid zone:

    Please keep in mind these numbers in no way represent the population of the raiding community involved in these raids. These are only approximations, and only account for the number of people that were present for the first recorded kill/achievement that signifies "completion" of each zone.

    Having said that, I think the data is somewhat interesting. Again the trends from above seem to continue, with Dragon Soul at the top though here we have Icecrown Citadel Siege of Orgimmar as the second highest completion rate among players. Conversely, once again Blackrock Foundry is virtually tied as the lowest on the list, with roughly 11.6k raiders present for the "first kill" within their groups. This is a ridiculously low quantity of people relative to previous zones and raid tiers, with the second lowest completion quantity of players just before Heroic Sha of Fear in Terrace of Endless Spring at 11.1k.

    And of course if you are curious about these numbers "by tier" rather than "by zone," it can safely be assumed in most cases that simply evaluating the lowest number across all zones within a tier will provide that information (so Blackrock Foundry for the current tier, Terrace of Endless Spring for T14, etc).

    What Went Wrong?

    While I'm sure more interesting charts and data can be whipped up from this information, at the very least we can begin speculating on why the numbers are so dramatically reduced for the current raid tier as we continue through Warlords of Draenor.

    Without question, my own opinion is the hard lock on 20-man Mythic raiding that Blizzard implemented this expansion is the major culprit here. It should've been plan as day from anyone with two brain cells to rub together that this limitation into one raid size -- and the larger of the two sizes no less -- would cause untold headaches and difficulties for a huge swath of the raiding population and the community as a whole. Regardless of how each of us may individually feel about the (in)ability for Blizzard to "properly balance" two differing raid sizes for Mythic content, this raid tier should illustrate plain as day to Blizzard that for the longevity and interest in high-end raiding, issuing a 20-man ultimatum on the community was a very poor design decision that caused untold turmoil.

    Unfortunately, this design decision to limit raid group sizes is only further exacerbated by the choice to shorten the length of the raid tiers to such an extent. Releasing the next raid tier when merely (an assumed) one percent have completed the current raid tier is incredibly short-sighted to put it nicely. Even the least completed raid tiers in the past had roughly 20% higher completion rate than Blackrock Foundry will have when the next patch (presumably) hits in a couple weeks (and most raid tiers saw 300 - 400% higher completion rates).

    If nothing else, we can see that these design decisions on the part of Blizzard only further emphasize the focus of the game away from high-end raiding and towards the more casual aspects of the game. For the record, I have absolutely nothing wrong with casual players who love to mess with their garrison, do dungeons or CMs, trade, PVP, explore, or whatever else they find enjoyable in lieu of "high-end" raiding. However, these choices by Blizzard to continue to disregard the small but dedicated percentage of the player-base that does enjoy high-end raiding content feels like so many little stabs in the back every time such a decision is made.

    I also understand that non-raiding players may need more content at a faster pace than the particular raiding progression of the tier is trending toward. Yet it should be well within Blizzard's capability to actively choose to break apart components of larger patches if need be, so that 6.2 can come out with the casual content and 6.25 or whatever can include the next raid tier in a few more months when it's more appropriate.

    I emphasize the word "more" above because it's important not to lose focus on the numbers we're actually talking about here, and again how this data illustrates the general failure of a single, 20-man Mythic raid size. At the current new kill rate of Mythic Blackhand of about 6.28 per day, another 2 months (say 50 days) would add another ~314 kills to the total, or around 900-1000. Or just to be generous, let's assume another big nerf hits the encounter or the rate of kills increases at a faster and faster pace, and thus we'll double it to 12 new kills per day average. +600 kills gives a total of around 1200 total completions for Tier 17, meaning even if the zone was extended by an extra 2 months until late August (putting the total days active of the zone around the average of 200ish for many previous zones), that would still only be a mere 2.11% completion rate within the raiding community.

    That is still well below every other recorded raid tier in history by a significant margin (around 26% fewer completions than Tier 14, the next historical lowest). Still, it would at least provide the opportunity to the more active high-end raiding members.

    Anyway, I thought some of this data was interesting and worth sharing, and I'd be curious to hear what others have to add on the subject!

    I also don't have time to delve into that aspect currently, but given the trends seen above with Mythic raiding present and past, I am also curious how these trends pan out with other difficulties such as Normal (now Heroic).
    Last edited by Kulldam; 06-11-2015 at 01:19 PM.

  2. #2


    This was an awesome read and way better than what I would even expect to see on front page MMOC. Well done.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Kulldam View Post
    My memory is shady but my understanding is WoWProgress will halt data collection once a particular raid tier is no longer current, and thus I must assume that data is correct
    If Firelands is any indication, they stop collecting data at the end of the expansion. (check the date on the latest kills. It is the same as Madness.) Of the 7945 guilds that completed Firelands, only ~1750 did it before November 29th, 2011 which was the release date of Dragon Soul.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Boggyb View Post
    If Firelands is any indication, they stop collecting data at the end of the expansion. (check the date on the latest kills) Of the 7945 guilds that completed Firelands, only ~1750 did it before November 29th, 2011 which was the release date of Dragon Soul.
    Even less than that I think, as the geysers were nerfed a week before DS came out.

  5. #5
    VI Recruit Kytae's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    San Francisco, CA, US


    I just wanted to add a quick chart to your interesting post: here below you will find the time it took for the first guild to kill the last boss of each raid. It did not seem to take too much time for the top guilds to kill Blackhand compared to previous raids, suggesting that he is not specifically harder than previous bosses. You are therefore probably right about the 20-man raid being the main factor explaining that low success rate.

    Last edited by Kytae; 06-10-2015 at 07:23 PM.

  6. #6


    How common are soul crushing nerfs to tiers in the middle of an expansion? Firelands was gutted pretty badly midway through, such that my plebeian guild with its likely 3-4/7 heroic limit ended up 6/7 heroic giving us a huge leg up going into Dragon Soul in regard to gear. If that wasn't par for the course, that could have been a big part of the inflated Dragon Soul numbers.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Boggyb View Post
    How common are soul crushing nerfs to tiers in the middle of an expansion? Firelands was gutted pretty badly midway through, such that my plebeian guild with its likely 3-4/7 heroic limit ended up 6/7 heroic giving us a huge leg up going into Dragon Soul in regard to gear. If that wasn't par for the course, that could have been a big part of the inflated Dragon Soul numbers.
    Depends on how hard people bitch?

  8. #8
    VOTE ME RAID LEADER 2012! Takaoni's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Minneapolis, MN


    I hope you send this to blizzard - maybe they'll Ion you.

  9. #9


    My firm belief is that the destruction of high end 10-mans really screwed blizzard more than they realized it would. Granted, had 10 man mythic still existed I doubt you guys would have had to recruit me so I wouldnt have known any of you (sad panda face) but the 10 man raiding seemed greatly preferred by most people that I knew anyway. I believe the numbers would support that too, 10 vs 25 man. It was a lot easier to manage a roster, recruiting, absences, flakes, etc. Less stress on raid leaders means more fun for raid leaders (I would have to assume). Hell my previous guild broke up strictly because of the 10 to 20-man change.

    What completely KILLS me is that one of their main "justifications" for getting rid of 10 mans and going strictly to 20 mans was so that they could supposedly create these rich new bosses that just couldn't be designed for only 10 people. For example, remember how sha of pride had 4 prisons in 25 man but only 2 in 10 man? They were supposedly supposed to create these new bosses where having 20 people meant more things going on for more people, just like sha of pride. This quote is directly from Lore on the official forums:

    We chose to put Mythic at 20 largely for the function of raid design. One of the biggest issues we're currently facing with 10-player Heroic raiding is that of raid composition. It's impossible for every group to have every class, and often that means they're lacking in certain tools, which in turn means that we can't design encounters around those tools (or if we do, it becomes extremely frustrating for the 10-player Heroic guild that suddenly needs a Paladin for Hand of Protection).

    We want to be able to use those sorts of mechanics again. Those of you who have been with us for a while might remember things like Mage tanks on High King Maulgar, or Priests using Mind Control on Instructor Razuvious. We want it to be okay when, say, the Paladin can use Hand of Protection to clear a dangerous debuff, because we can reasonably assume that most guilds will have at least one Paladin in their raid. We like it when someone gets to feel awesome and have a special task on a fight because of class abilities that otherwise wouldn't get much use.

    We can't do that when we're designing with a 10-player raid size in mind. We don't think we'd be able to get away with it at 15 either. At 20, it becomes a lot more acceptable for us to say "you should probably bring a Mage to Spellsteal this." And honestly, that's just one example of the sort of encounter mechanics we can start to utilize in a larger group size.
    Ok that sounds great on paper, but keeping in mind what Lore just said above, lets look at each mythic BRF encounter and see how it wouldn't have worked as a 10 man:

    Gruul - You would still split into 2 groups. No difference at all between 10/20 mans
    Oregorger - No difference at all between 10/20mans
    Blast Furnace - split into 2 5-mans instead of 2 10-mans. Do you HAVE to have a priest to Mind Control the adds? I didn't think so but not sure.
    Hans/Franz - No difference between 10/20 mans
    Flamebender - MAYBE 10 mans couldnt handle 4 dogs all focusing a player at once. I'm trying to be lenient towards 20 mans
    Kromog - MAYBE 10 mans couldn't handle 3 pillars at once. Again being lenient
    Beastlord - No difference at all between 10/20 mans
    Thogar - No real difference between 10/20 mans. Less adds probably...again being lenient
    Maidens - This is probably the one fight that might be different. There is quite a bit going on in this fight with 1 person soaking the blade dashes, 1 person with ritual, 5 people on the boat, dealing with dispels and penetrating shot, and the sanguine orb thing, etc. BoPs aren't needed but boy do they really help. This is probably the one fight where I would say it might be a lot different with only 10 people as opposed to 20
    Blackhand - From what I've seen this fight wouldnt be that much different as a 10 man. Maybe he would have to focus 2 ranged instead of 3.

    Unless Blast Furnace requires a Priest for mind control, everything Lore said about bringing certain classes was a complete lie and almost none of the fights in BRF would have been any different as a 10 man compared to a 20 man. No encounter requires a BoP, or a spell steal, or a mage tank...nothing.

    Part of the reason I decided to try out 20 mans was because Blizzard said that with only 20 mans they could do a lot more balancing and things with the raids that made them more fun and exciting that they just couldnt do while trying to make an equal 10 and 25 man raid. The problem is they just flat out didnt do that. Oh no...on blast furnace you split up 10 and 10 instead of 5 and 5...that was simply brilliant design!!! Meanwhile most guilds are struggling with maintaining the 20 man raid size.

    I think the real justification was that they were either too lazy or too cheap (or both) and didn't want to take the time to test/develop 2 separate raid sizes. Now as a result a lot of people I know quit the game, others were in top end guilds that broke up shortly before or after killing mythic Blackhand, and then those top end guilds started swallowing up players from less progressed guilds and screwed those guilds over. I simply cannot believe that they didn't see this coming...

    Ok rant off and time for bed

  10. #10


    Awesome write-up. You should post this on MMO, if you haven't already. I think it would give people a lot of insight.

    If I would have to guess, the decision to consolidate raiding into uniform team sizes likely came down to cutting the costs of balancing the encounters twice. In return they promised more engaging and better balanced encounters.

    I think they were well aware that making that sort of decision would cause a stir in the current raiding structure , and I can't fault them in picking the 20 person size. It would have a less severe impact than, say, picking 10. If Blizzard chose 10 over 20, most of the then-existing 25m teams would have had to split, necessiting twice the raid leaders to keep the same amount of people raiding. The impact of that would have been more profound.

    Ultimately, I think, now that the decision was made each of you will have to figure out if what Blizzard gave you (in the purported better encounters) balances vs. what they took away (the two team sizes).

    For me personally, it was well worth it. I think they delivered in their promises, and I think Blackrock Foundry is, overall, the best raid they've done. That said, I'm sure finding and managing the extra 10-12 people is probably quite stressful for raid leaders. I think 1-2 years from now that will be an afterthought.

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