Amid all the talk that Blizzard is dumbing the game down, blah blah blah, I can say with certainty that raiding in Mists kicked our butts more than any raiding since Burning Crusade.
When I say that Mists raids were hard, the typical troll response I get is that my guild is “bad”. Thing is, we’re the same people that raiding together since BC, and we weren’t bad before.
Just for comparison, here’s our raiding history. In Burning Crusade we were just learning to raid, so we were way way behind the curve, and I didn’t include that here. Once Wrath hit, we had a full team and were raiding right from the start. Here’s how we did (10-man normal modes only – we never do heroic)
Wrath of the Lich King
Naxxramas: Released October 2008, Cleared January 2009
Obsidian Sanctum: Released October 2008, Cleared December 2008
Eye of Eternity: Released October 2008, Cleared March 2009
Trial of the Crusader: Released August 2009, Cleared September 2009
Ulduar: Released September 2009, Cleared March 2010
Icecrown Citadel: Released December 2009, Cleared April 2010
Summary – for most of Wrath we were on schedule, finishing each tier (10-man) before the next tier was released. We did get bogged down for a while in Ulduar – specifically on Yogg-Saron, which took us months
Bastion of Twilight: Released December 2010 Cleared June 2011
Throne of the Four Winds: Released December 2010, Cleared June 2011
Blackwing Descent: Released December 2010, Cleared June 2011
Firelands: Released June 2011, Cleared December 2011
Dragon Soul: Released November 2011, Cleared March 2012
Summary – We were just a hair behind in this expansion. For most raids, we cleared them up to the final boss and got stuck, then killed that boss as soon as the next tier was released and we got some gear upgrades. We never gave up and never felt defeated.
Mists of Pandaria
Mogu’shan Vaults: Released October 2012, Cleared February 2013
Heart of Fear: Released October 2012, Cleared April 2013. Stuck at Garalon for months.
Terrace of Endless Spring: Released November 2012, Cleared April 2013
Throne of Thunder: Released March 2013, Cleared: Never. We got stuck on Horridon and our raiding collapsed after that.
Siege of Orgrimmar: Released September 2013, Cleared July 2014 (flex only)
Summary – you can see how we hit a wall in this expansion. We were way behind, never coming close to finishing a tier before the next tier was released. We always needed LFR gear from a higher tier to clear the previous tier.
Since the raid team in Mists was essentially the same as the raid team in Wrath and Cata, it looks to me like the raids were just plain harder for us in Mists. Either that or the particular mechanics in this expansion didn’t play to our playstyle, and we weren’t able to adjust.
I also feel like LFR hurt our raiding mojo. Players stopped learning boss fight mechanics because in LFR you could ignore them. There was little personal responsibility for damage avoidance and team play because LFR trained the players to overlook that. Every time we showed up for a raid, the mechanics and roles had to be re-explained. This was definitely laziness on the part of our players, but I put much of that on LFR.
I’m not sure if we’ll even be able to field a raid team in WoD. Mists really left a sour taste with a lot of our players, and I would not be surprised if the “extended breaks” for some of our players at the end of Mists turned into full retirements.