This patch I have raided with a wide variety of players from my guild. From first time raiders to raiders that have been doing it since vanilla. From people that you never need to explain things to to people that you need to explain the same fight to each week because they keep forgetting. From people with lightning reaction speed to those you hope do not get targeted because they take forever to react.
I guess that is part of being in a casual guild. We have all types and we let all types play.
It is with this experience that I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot more wrong with raids then just labeling it as simply as "it is too easy" or "it is too hard".
The true fact of the matter is that raiding is too easy and too hard.
Which one is just based on your personal raiding experience. For me I think it is just right. I have some raiding experience, not vast amounts, but I am surely no rookie either. Raids, as they are now, seem to be designed for me and people like me, what I like the call the average player.
Blizzard is adding the LFR to try to introduce an easier raiding experience for the lesser experienced players but I don't think it will work. It will suffer the same problem as the LFD does and it does not actively address the problem with raiding.
If you are one of those "raiding is too easy" people this makes it easier.
If you are one of those "raiding is too hard" people you have not seen hard until you try to do a raid with 24 other people that have no way to communicate and no desire to work together.
The problem is that the player base is not on the same level. We are all individuals. I think raiding is just fine. Some think it is hard. Some think it is easy.
Blizzard also seems to have forgotten that not everyone has been playing since vanilla. They design each raid as if the person playing has done the raid before it and needs something that is more of a challenge.
This makes entry level raiding a little more difficult for people that never did a raid before. Try explaining all of the council abilities of the elemental monstrosity to someone that never raided before and you can feel yourself talking to the proverbial brick wall. I can see the deer in headlights look on their characters face even, it is that telling.
Stay out of the fire type mechanics are old school. There is so much more going on that stay out of the fire goes unsaid, it is assumed that everyone knows that. You know what they say about people that assume right? And what about fights like monstrosity of hodir where stepping in the fire is a good thing sometimes? Can you see the splatter on the wall of the new raiders head exploding from that little tidbit of information?
I think the best way to cater to all classes of player, new and old, skilled and not, is to start all raids at the beginning.
Develop every raid as if it is the first raid ever. Make all raids have some actual content to them, 15 or 16 bosses. They can easily be nondescript big baddies just to fill the space. We are used to that.
How it would be done is the first boss of every raid would be simple tank and spank with one simple mechanic. Stay out of the fire. Or move when the ground starts to rumbles under you. Or stop casting when he yells. You know, simple mechanics but just one of them.
The second and third bosses might add another little twist. We will have fire and something that needs to be interrupted. Or something that requires everyone to stack and then spread back out.
Forth boss would start to teach about phases. Have them act one way until 75% health then another way until 50% and then back to the first way until 25% and back to the second way for the last bit. All while throwing in two different two sets of mechanics at the people, one for each phase.
Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth bosses will fill out the basics of the learning process. Fifth will go back to tank and spank, but introducing the enrage timer. Sixth shows the enrage timers with two or three mechanics. Seventh has three phases, all with different abilities and mechanics. Eighth boss will throw everything the beginner needs to know all together. Four phases, each with different mechanics. Stack up and spread out things, while staying out of the fire. An enrage timer and introducing... adds.
Ninth fight could be a council style fight (with multiple enemies) or a machine type of fight (like FL or even alys where people have to fly through the air). Something that introduces something different or a unique challenge.
Tenth fight is where things start to get a little harder, sort of where the level of raiding is now or a tiny bit harder. More phases, adds and kill orders, all along with the standard basic mechanics which even a new raider has learned a large majority of from the earlier bosses.
The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth would all be increasingly complex with higher requirements from tanks, healers and damage dealers, all while doing a mix of mechanics in various phases and transition phases.
Fourteenth fight will be gimmick time. Every raid needs to have one of them. Something that is completely new as far as a mechanics go along with the normal array of mechanics.
Fifteenth fight will be complex. Various phases and transitions just like LK or Rag or basically any well designed last boss should be. Something epic in the true sense of what an end fight of any raid should be.
But wait, there is more, there is a 16th boss.
The 16th boss has a two hour timer that starts the second you open a door after the 15th boss goes down. You only have 2 hours to beat him and he makes the 15th boss look like the 1st boss. He will throw every mechanic at you like they are going out of style.
His mechanics will also be randomized so deadly boss mods will not help you here. You need to be the best of the best when it comes to raiding to react. Will he cast the "stack up or your dead" thing now or will he cast the "be at least 7 yards apart of you're dead" thing?
This boss will require thinking on your feet, it will require everyone to do their job about as perfect as perfect can be. A world first for this boss will be bragging rights for a long time because if .1% of the player base ever downs him it will be a lot.
This boss is for hard core only. Seriously hard core. It will have no loot, it will have no story line tied to it, it will be purely for bragging rights only. But it will come with a title because if you are going to brag you need something to brag with right?
The basic idea of this design is that it starts slow and easy and ends hard and challenging. It gives something for everyone. Hard core players will mow through the first 10 bosses like a fat kid though his birthday cake but they will be rewarded for doing that by having some real challenge later, a challenge worthy of the best players in the world. Average players like myself will also go through the first bosses easily and have fun in the 8-14 range before we get to bang our heads on #15 for a while and even when we down it #16 is most likely something we will never beat. The part time players and the bad players, if you wish to call them that, can still pug and maybe be able to go four deep, maybe even 8 or 10 if people carry them.
Everyone gets in, everyone gets their own level of challenge, everyone is in the same raid. No "easy" looking for raid version, no "hard" heroic version. Everything is in one nice package for everyone to experience and the best part is, the learning starts at the beginning for everyone, so if you never stepped into a raid you can learn as you go and if you have been raiding a long time, you just got yourself some nice easy loot.
If they ever want to introduce hard modes again, do it like in Ulduar. Let them be activated in the same raid everyone raids in. Nothing better then having fun rolling on who is going to press the "do not press" button on firefighter attempts. Now that... is how raiding is should be.
Raids can be made bigger and more inclusive without what some call "catering to the bads". It can be done by teaching people as they progress through the bosses so that even someone new to the game gets a chance to learn as they go.
In the end they will still have their 7 boss raids like they are doing now but those 7 will be harder and the ones leading up to those 7 will teach people that are new how to better handle those 7, should they ever make it there.
Easier raiding and harder raiding. All in one raid. That is what I think raids need to be redesigned into.