Class balance for 25 man raids?
I'm sure many raiding guilds go through this but how do you determine what classes you take for a specific 25 man instance?
Do you take at least 2 of each class? Do you not take a particular class?
I've always been against raid stacking and wanting a class balance to a raid long as the classes are available to be taken.
We have alot of members in our guild currently which makes us able to stack the raid against almost every encounter. But usually we have atleast 2 of each class except for hunters where it can be pretty common to just have one in the raid.
How we determine what to take is mostly up to raidleader/classleaders and are encounterbased but raidstacking isnt really used after that first one or two kills.
We take our best players - simple. If an encounter is a hell of a lot easier with less melee DPS, then we may sub out some rogues for competent ranged DPS. But on the other hand, I would rather have one of our really good rogues on a melee unfriendly fight then a sub-par Mage/Lock.
We do often sub out a healer for DPS or vice versa depending on if the encounter is healing intensive or DPS race. But I wouldn't call that "Raid stacking" as its making maybe one or two changes for an encounter.
2 prot warriors
4 dps warriors
2 resto druids
1 feral druid
2 elemental shm
1 resto shm
3 holy priests
3 shadow priests
We basically pick our group from there. There's always some differential in skill but our guild is small enough to avoid too big of falloffs - it's mostly apparently in gear when deciding between a veteran rogue that's decked in kara/gruul/mag/ssc gear vs one of our new draenei shadow priests who just dinged 70 a few weeks ago.
It varies depending on fights, but we usually rock 8 healers, 2 prot warriors + 1 feral druid, and then 14 dps from the mix above (almost always 2 shadow priests if we can manage it).
I believe Gurgthock posted in another thread, something like this, in regards to an (almost) ideal setup :
 Druids (2 Feral, 1 Resto)
 Paladins (all Holy)
 Priests (2 Shadow, 2 Holy/Disc)
 Shamans (1 Resto, 1 Ele or Enhance)
 Warriors (1 prot, 1 hybrid, 1 pure DPS)
We usually follow a similar if not exact template, mostly bringing one more warrior to the expense of a feral druid and sometimes an extra warlock for a mage, or an extra rogue/mage for a hunter. Healing wise, we use anywhere from 7 to 9 healers depending on the nature of the encounter, more specifically including 3 paladins and 2 shamans, filling the rest with restoration druids and/or holy priests.
I'm not at all a fan of raid stacking myself, in fact I consider it quite terrible in terms of having to be forced into it, but truth be told, most of the encounters in TBC are so tightly tuned in their current form, there is just no room for compromise, if you desire some solid and steady progression that is.
As for maintaining class balance, I think its quite clear that some classes are simply more important, so to speak, than others, usually because of their added utility, e.g shadowpriests. This of course creates a problem in the long run (more of a social one), leaving several people from classes that were considered "a must have" pre-TBC but not as good today, on the bench, but hopefully it will be addressed by better tuning the existing encounters in addition to talent reviews and of course creative content design.
I'm wondering about people's philosophy on class balance as it applies to healing. You want some spammers and some fat heal cancellers, but are there hard numbers of each we should be shooting for? Is it wise to try to have people do things they're not ideal for when the classes are weird?
We've been killing gruul with some regularity, typically with 2-3 pallies, 2-3 holy priests, and a mixture of tree druids and resto shamans. Usually 7-8 healers total, and typically holding a flasked tank to at least 16 growths and unflasked to 14. Last night what we had was 1 holy pally, 2 holy priests, 3 tree druids, and a prot pally healing, with the holy pally being replaced by a holy priest after a RL issue. We've had folks healing out of their standard role before when needed, most notably holy paladins pretending to be gheal-cancel priests, I guess I had thought a heavy dose of tree hots could fill the role of the spammadin somewhat, but it was just a disaster area. Eventually a druid stopped with the tree business, did his best paladin impression, and we scraped by. Does this setup sound workable, or should we not even try to run without a couple holy paladins?
Paladin buffs are too big a deal to justify not having 3 in every raid group, despite how good their healing is.
Obviously, Gruul is going to hit rather hard after a certain number of growths, so it seems to me that in your particular case it wasn't a setup problem but rather a healing strategy problem which you eventually sorted. Whether that particular setup could work in other encounters is entirely up to you to judge, however I would personally recommend a better mix of classes due to the reasons I mentioned in my original comments.
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