With 5.2 knocking on the door and being the vast majority of casual raiding guilds are not even finished with the current raid tier there are going to be some rough moments in the coming weeks for some casual guilds and their respective raid leaders. But those problems are nothing you can not handle. Don't panic.
Many casual guilds are in the position mine is right now. We have not finished this tier yet and it is the reason we think the new raid is coming out too soon. My guild is 8th on my server, a server that has only three guilds that have even finished current content. My server is not exactly what you would call a good server. Hence the reason we do not have more progression, there is no decent player base to recruit from and with no good players to choose from, you have no choice but to play things from the casual approach.
The thing is that it is not just my guild on a bad server. The story I just told is what the majority of servers are experiencing. The average casual guild is somewhere in heart of fear right now or maybe just starting terrace and will not have this tier done by the 26th. Just a simple fact.
Don't Panic: I've been down this road before.
Being I have experienced this before I will share my opinions on how to handle it for those that either never experienced it or are new to raid leading or raiding in general and are not sure what to expect.
The last time my guild had not beaten the last boss of a raid tier, or at least been working on it, when a new tier came out was back in Ulduar. Blame it on ulduar being huge and us not extending lock outs, just restarting each week, or blame it on ToC coming out roughly 15 minutes (slight exaggeration maybe) after Ulduar was released. Either way, we were only 10 deep in Ulduar when ToC came out and there were a lot of issues when that happened.
I was not the raid leader at the time but I was an officer. Some people wanted to stay in Ulduar and finish it up. Some people wanted to move on to ToC. Some people wanted to do one night on ToC and one night on an extended lock out of Ulduar. The raid team was torn apart with everyone wanting different things for different reasons.
It actually almost tore the guild apart. We thankfully have the faction champions to thank for that not happening. We got to them easily but no one liked them. No one wanted PvP in their PvE and we did not even do many attempts at it.. That fight made the decision for everyone. The raid was so boring and that fight was so annoying that we, as a group, decided to go back and finish ulduar because at least that was fun and we could buy some of the higher gear with emblems to help us on our way should we get stuck.
And that is what we did. We went back.
While there is no saying that there will be a horribly designed fight that does not fit PvE in the new raid what happened back then does show something about how this situation can be handled.
Don't Panic: You are not done with T14 yet.
So you will not get all the feats of strength for completing it while it was current content. Don't feel bad, neither will I and I know if my guild raided more than the short time we do we would have finished this tier 2 months ago. But the game is not all about bragging about when you did things or how well you did them. It is about having fun doing it, even if you do not do it as much as others. That is what casual raiding is about.
Throne of thunder will be out soon but that does not mean you need to rush into it. You can dabble in it, like I intend to do. Have one night raiding for the new raid and have a second night to go back and finish off T14. In a few weeks, if you get some bosses down in throne you will have some higher raid gear. Even if you do not get any bosses down you will have some LFR gear and some valor gear to give you a nice little boost which will make T14 a lot easier and you can finish it off.
Also, for the first time ever in the game, a raid that is not an end game raid is getting the blanket nerf treatment. There will be a 10% nerf to all T14 raids. So the average casual raid guild should be able to finish T14 with little fuss thanks to a small nerf and some extra gear.
So do not stress running into throne. Split it up and finish T14. Let the easier fights thanks to the nerf and gear give your team some additional confidence so when you switch to T15 full time they can feel like world beaters, even if they are, what some might call, a month behind.
Don't Panic: It is called casual for a reason.
Sometimes casual guilds need a gentle reminder what casual means. It does not mean bad, it just means you move at a relaxed pace. Where a hard core guild or more dedicated base might get 14-15 attempts in during 2 hours and that is only part of what they raid, the casual guild will get 8 or 10 in two hours and that is all they raid because they are not rushing it.
Casual guilds take their time to talk about attempts and find a plan that works just for them, not what the video on you tube said because it is what they thought was best. A casual guild will move at their own pace and there is nothing wrong with that. Do not fall into the abyss where you think things are horrible because you are still doing T14 stuff when T15 is out.
You will need to reenforce the casual mantra to your raid team when the time comes. No worries, we will get there. Explain to them that if it takes you two or three weeks to get into throne full time that means you will have two or three weeks of more gear, valor gear and LFR gear. You will have two or three weeks of more experience as a group and you will have two or three weeks of success to walk into the new raid with.
When the time comes, you will down the bosses in throne and the raid will be around for six months at least so taking an extra two or three weeks before getting into it won't really hurt any. Lets face it, most casual guilds did not go in and down stone guards as soon as it came out. You took a few weeks to down it as a casual guild using those few weeks to get some valor gear and some LFR gear. Just like my guild did before we downed it the first time. Then after we downed it the first time we went in and one shot the next boss the first time we ever saw it. All thanks to that wiping on the first boss for a few weeks while we got some gear which in turn made the rest of the raid eaiser.
So skip the wiping for a few weeks while getting the LFR gear and the valor gear and just finish off T14 so when you step into T15 you are more geared to handle it and that first boss might take 9 attempts instead of 90 and you will already be in the gearing process which will make the others easier as well. Be casual if you are a casual guild and enjoy rolling through finishing T14 while you get a little step up on T15 gear wise. That is the beauty of being casual, no rush.
Don't Panic: This raid tier is different from anything we have seen in a while.
The lack of progress by many casual guilds this raid tier is a shock to the system of many. Even the first raid tier of cataclysm which many complained was way to hard people had much better success at. From my personal experience this is the worst progression my guild has ever done in a tier, percentage wise, and we are not alone. Many people from guilds all over the game, social, casual and hard core, are all saying the same thing.
As I said, this is the least progression I've ever seen and going through my memory of the guild the last time I can ever remember hearing of this little progression, percentage wise again, was back in vanilla, when raiding was for the most extremely hard core. Back in the day when if you lost a tank your world was a life of hell because now you needed to go back and run all the old raids again to gear a tank to help them catch up because there was no quick and easy catch up mechanic for gear.
Lowest progression rate since vanilla? Having to do previous content to gear up as there is no instant catch up mechanic? Starting to sound a little like the game is going full circle, don't you think?
At least now the catch up mechanic is a lot better than it was back then. With some valor gear, and nerfed previous raids, we can all catch up. Just understand that blizzard is trying something different. They are trying to bring vanilla back with the modern benefits and so far I think it is working out okay. Even if my alts still hate it.
The key is, don't panic, everything will be fine. Now go finish T14, we have a new raid starting soon.