Solution: Bring back 25 man only.
So basically, before we had 25 and 10 man raids separate entirely. There were two 10 man raids and the rest was 25. No option at all.
In Wrath, we were given two sizes for each raid, with separate lockouts and different quality gear drops. We were given a choice in which size we wanted to run, but many people still felt they were "forced" to run both sizes to optimize their gear.
In Cataclysm, lockouts between both sizes were merged and both sizes share drops and achievements. People now pick 25 man less than 10 man.
I don't know about anyone else, but to me this tells volumes about the playerbase's will to actually run 25 man raids and manage 25 man guilds instead of 10 mans. When given the option, most people left 25 man behind. To me, that tells me people aren't as interested in 25 mans as you thought they were, or else they'd maintain what they did before.
This sounds exactly the same as the World PvP issue: people claim that removing this or removing that or changing X and Y would make people engage in it more, when in fact it's the players who avoid it to begin with as long as they can.
The probelms become when you're in a 25man guild, and wiping repeatedly on a boss like Ultraxion HM, and you and the entire guild know that if you split into 10mans you could trivially kill him, you have a problem. But the second a guild breaks into 10mans, you often lose a lot of your raiders that are in the guild because they want to do 25mans, and then you lose half the guild and end up being a 10man guild because Blizzard horribly tuned 25s vs 10s.
The only thing Blizzard needs to do to save 25mans is to evenly tune all the bosses, which they failed at miserably with dragonsoul.
I didn't know that not adding direct incentive means that a form of gameplay dies.
There is no direct incentive to do the Ironman Challenge, and yet characters achieve level 85 with nothing but greys.
There is no direct incentive to attain Transmogrification gear, and yet Transmogrification lives.
There is no direct incentive to gank people, and yet World PvP, while not as grand as it once was, still exists.
There is no direct incentive to participate in Roleplay, and yet people craft intricate and detailed stories and adventures.
There is no direct incentive to learn about the lore, and yet WoWwiki & WoWhead are among some of the most visited World of Warcraft domains.
There is no direct incentive for many things that players actively take part in, and yet much of the game is alive. It's because they enjoy it.
Blizzard doesn't have to shove bonuses and prestiege into every parameter of the game in order for it to be relevant and enjoyable, "alive."
To take the "server only" approach that you have taken I will phrase it like this.. My server went from like 30+ 25man raiding guilds in TBC to 15 or so in Wrath and now down to 2 in Cata. Your idea that Cata had more 25man guilds than TBC is backwards and silly.
---------- Post added 2012-03-19 at 01:23 PM ----------
25mans dropped from being out numbers 4-1 during Wrath to being out numbered 11-1 in Cata.
---------- Post added 2012-03-19 at 01:26 PM ----------
If they kept loot the same, rewards the same and only separated achievements then the 10mans would have what they want and the 25s would have what they want, which is recognition for their extra investment.
If you complete the Iron Man challenge at the very least you get to post or talk about it on the forums, you receive recognition. (like the guy that supposedly got to 85 first doing the challenge was on the front page of mmoc.)
That is all that it would take to revive 25mans in my opinion.
If you like to raid 25 mans and you have a raid that is all that should mater. What others on your server or other realms are doing shouldn't. I know on my server at least there has been a splash back of new 25s popping up. Some time away from them has made ppl want to do them more. They are slightly easier in some ways and offer up just a little more loot and that appeals to many players. The ppl that like to show of and try to flex their epeens for others love them too, bigger numbers in 25s and 15 extra ppl to see them.
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---------- Post added 2012-03-19 at 05:51 PM ----------
A lot of guilds simply took their 10 top raiders from their old 25man guild and increased their performance, maintained top loot and rewards, and lowered their investment, effort and headache.
To me, this does not signify that players will chose 25man when when or if everything is equal and instead it signifies that players will choose the "path of least resistance."
This is also why I wish for a separation of achievements, to appeal to the vanity in players seeking prestige. The players that dropped to 10man so that they could down more heroic content will again be interested in 25mans if the achievements specify which version if the encounter they defeated. Not to mention the ability for 25man guilds to clear both sets of content and obtain both sets of achievements.
---------- Post added 2012-03-19 at 01:58 PM ----------
it could die anytime anyday! Look what happened to 40 mans raid? Nobody's doing it expect for guild run, achievements! Anyway, 25 mans is alot responsibility, time consuming. Do you honestly want to continue 25 man cuz it's easier and more rewards?
What I would really like to know is what would it hurt to separate achievements?
If you are a 10man raider can you tell me if it would bother you if your achievement specified that you did it on 10man and mine specified that I did it on 25man?
you can still raid 25s. i do. 25 mans arent dead. and if/when they are dead, blizzard isnt responsible. the players are.