So for the most part I have not raided in WotLK. The few raids I have been in have been mostly PUGs. I have yet to focus on raiding as I want 9 level 80s, 1 of each of the original classes first. It was a goal I set for my self shortly after launch of tBC. I got 5 to 70 before the expansion hit and I have 5 now, interestingly enough only 3 of the my current level 80s were 70 before WotLK.
I started to dive into raiding in September/October of 07 so tBC have been out for 7-8 months, I also had taken a little time off from WoW that August and played Vanguard a little bit. I will save my rant about crafting profession for a full crafting profession post because it would derail what I want to talk about here.
I have listened to a some commentary from others around the inter-web about raiding comparing and contrasting Vanilla, tBC and WotLK instances. Even though I did not get farther than Lootreaver before getting burned out of raiding due to guild drama and other things, from what I can tell raiding was at it best in tBC.
I am certainly not going to say raiding has failed in WotLK but it almost seems that Blizzard learned form some mistakes last time around with removing some of the inane barriers to entry that made recruitment hell in the mid-later stages of tBC raiding. However this time they went back and made the same mistakes that were in the Vanilla.
The problem is sprawling single instance raids.
Now when I ask people tell me their favorite 2-3 instances, especially if I limit it to Vanilla wow the instance that is almost always on that list is Scarlet Monastery. When I ask why the reason in the end boils down to the wings. You could run any of them at any time after you get the key from the library. Why if this instance has been around for so long has the structure not been reused? Naxx could have been retooled into 5 instances with 5 separate raid IDs at the end of each wing you get a fragment of the key to unlock the last 2 bosses. So once you accomplish each wing and get a key to unlock the last the next week you could start with Kel if you wanted to. I think if there had been 5 discrete entry points each week it could have helped some of the burn out. Then each wing/part would be just a little bit longer than the OS and eventually EoE raids. This would have been 7 small discrete raiding opportunities, rather than the 1 monolithic and 2-3 short runs if you also include VoA.
Patch 3.1 comes out and we get the next big installment of raiding Ulduar. Yay another 10-14 bosses of linear hell that has no breaks or true wings.
In the future especially for Icecrown citadel what we need are 2-4 discreet raiding opportunities per raid tier, like how TK and SSC were in tBC. Hell as with the description of an improvement for Naxx would be acceptable. Make it so that to attack the Keep you have to raid first the Dungeons to get the first half of the Gate Key, then you have to Raid the wall/towers to get the second half. Finally you have to raid the courtyard to get at the Keep. Now at the end of each of these you find/attune to a phased secret passage so that next week you can get to the Keep without having to repeat the previous wings to take on Arthas eventually. Now what this also means is that each layer can get progressively harder. Even though you can continue on it is not always the wisest decision.
The more discreet the raid instance the greater opportunity for more styles of play to partake of the content. In the end I really think Raid IDs are the source of the problem. I have suggested ways to improve them in the past and I will again here on this blog at some point or at least my spin on the issue.
In the end PUG-able and or Casual accessible does not need to mean easy and or face-roll wins. It just means that the content must be designed intelligently so that it can be attempted in more discreet elements. I do not use small because that is not necessarily the case, I use discreet to imply time rather than size. Karazahn needed to be a winged instance as well. It felt like 2-3 instances in one. From the map Blizzard has for Ulduar it as well should have been 2-3 winged instances.
All I can say is that at least I have had much more fun running VoA and OS in one night than to run and grind away at Naxx. Even if we wiped a few times in both it was less soul crushing than wiping half-way through Naxx. Because in Naxx after a wipe you think: “oh god what have I got myself into we are only X bosses in out of 14 what the hell are the rest going to be like? Well shit there goes my raid ID for the week.”.
I apologize for the somewhat broken stream of thought here. I may come back and re-edit it a few times. There has not been any new posts for a few days and I wanted to get something out.