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So, I suspect a large number of people are waking up this weekend to a situation they’ve not found themselves in before: if you started early on the new Raiding Content, you’re doing rather well. In our case, for instance, the above ranking’s not correct as GuildOx isn’t counting our third boss kill last night. If it did, we’d be ranked #20th. If we didn’t know already, the difficulty curve for instancing’s changed.

This is, I think, not a bad thing. There will be those who will lament this change as further ‘dumbing down’ of the content (undoubtedly) but I would counter this with the following: Blizzard wants more people raiding. This time around, it’s the only way you can get Tier. It gives raiders a genuine advantage over non-raiders and places a sizeable incentive on the entire 10/25 man process. If you like your progression presented in a linear fashion, this is how it works for us:

Heroics -> New 4.3 Heroics -> LFR -> 10 Man -> 10 Man Hard Mode
(if doing larger raids, please replace 10 with 25)
It also gives those who raid earlier in the week a statistical advantage at present, which should not be overlooked. With no Hard Modes until next Tuesday at the earliest (and currently no real idea of how hard they will be) this is a brief and glorious time in the Sun for those of us who get how mechanics work quickly and have a team of people who can adapt and apply their abilities in the 10 man situation.
I find myself thinking on reflection that actually, these fights work really well. There is a decent balance between damage mitigation and grasping mechanics: yes, you need to not stand in sh*t but conversely you need to be able to move and damage in an intelligent fashion. The boss mechanics themselves are well-executed yet not overly complex too: all four bosses we tried last night were fun, easy to grasp in tactical terms yet presented a level of genuine difficulty. I’d go so far to say that last night was some of the best boss mechanics I’ve seen since the early days in MC: teamwork is paramount. Warlord Zon’ozz (aka the PONG BOSS) is a great example of 10 people being a) aware of themselves and b) aware of each other to build a stack of a debuff that then is used to boost dps. Yor’sahj the Unsleeping forces the raid to choose which abilities to deal with by leaving mobs up (which is a concept I love) whilst Morchock’s a deceptively complicated opening encounter. We had Hagara the Stormbinder sub 50% before we called it last night and I confidently predict when we go back on Sunday not only will we have lost our Top 25 status but she’ll be dead in short order.
The biggest shock for me however was the gap in complexity between 10 man and LFR. The ‘introduction’ to raiding diminishes pretty much all of the finesse needed to complete these bosses: hug and nuke, and you’ll manage. However, and I am amazed to find myself saying this, the tactical understanding I had of Harara from LFR translated really well down to our group, to the point that we got the entire fight far quicker than I suspect we would have done having come to it cold. As a result I’d urge everyone who can to go stick themselves into LFR if only to understand what you’ll have to expect if you’re coming to Dragon Soul for the first time. Plus you have a chance of 3/5 bits of T13Lite and 250 Valor Points to boot. It would be rude not to!
Added bonus last night? TWO EPIC LW PATTERNS \o/ Hunter and Boomkin/healer legs FTW. Frankly that was worth the trip alone… :D

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