So I really liked this topic :http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/1846931#1846931
The OP of that thread pretty much states: Give everyone a chance to play the whole game.
Why is raiding limited to the small portion of the playerbase, the "hardcore" PvE crowd that has the patience, dedication, and teamwork/coordination to excel at and complete MMO raiding?
I agree 100% with yesyouconn. Why spend countless development hours and resources to create a few hours worth of content that only a small fraction of your community will ever see?
So, my answer, using the ever popular World of Warcraft as the baseline:
Blizzard got it 1/2 right with the "standard" dungeons and the "heroic" dungeons.
That way, the standard ones are easy enough where everyone can run them and complete them, but the heroic versions take skill, coordination, and a higher gear level. By completing these heroic dungeons, you get better rewards.
The reputation grind to unlock the heroic mode is a little too much IMO.
The questions is, why haven't they done the same for raiding? Have standard and heroic difficulty settings for raids.
The standard raids are much easier then the current ones, but the gear levels are much more comparable to the heroic 5-person dungeons.
Put Tier 4,5,6 gear into the 3 tiers of "standard" raids and put the Tier 7,8,9 in the "heroic" raids.
This way, everyone has a much better chance of at least seeing and experiencing the content, but the "hardcore" raiders who possess the dedication, skill, coordination, and effort to do the "heroic" raids end up with the greatest rewards.
It'd be a PERFECT opportunity to bring back some of the older raids too. Make "heroic" versions of MC, BWL, AQ40, and NAX for groups of 25 level 70 characters. Even bring back heroic versions of ZG and AQ20 for groups of 10 level 70 characters.
Or even take out the Tiered gear from the standard raids, just put in the non-Tiered armor and weapons, and save the better stuff, the Tiered gear, for the Heroic raids.
Anything that get's more people playing and logging in is a bonus. Anything that let's people enjoy content is a good thing. Sure, when someone asks "So has your guild killed Illidan?" You can say "Yes, but only on standard difficulty."
Or balance the gear so that the highest Tier raid on Standard difficulty gears and prepares you for the lowest Tier raid on Heroic difficulty. Re-using content is fine, and if anything going through standard Raid Tier 1-3 then going back through on Heroic Tier 1-3 is much better and less mind-numbing then hitting the same raid week in, week out for months, then FINALLY moving up the next Tier.
What do ya'll think? Casual raiding with less powerful rewards for non-hardcore players who want to raid and see the content and turn the raids we have in now into the "heroic" ones for the uber-guilds who want (and deserve) the best PvE gear.
I mean scroll down the thread and find Pappy13's excellent summary of what raiding in WoW requires. He's 100% accurate. I know, I've been there done that.
And for those who can take it, who can make that commitment you HAVE to give them the best possible PvE awards.
But why not make an easier path to raiding? Because it's easier, the rewards aren't as good, but at LEAST you get to see the content!
The only thing Pappy13 missed is the hours spent reading the strategy guides and listening to raid leaders read you the strategy guide they have alt-tabbed before the pull. By going through the raids on "easy mode" you at least get experience with the set up, the basic strategy, etc. but you actually have some room for mistakes and improvisation.
That way once you get to the "Heroic" raids you can pick up on the strategies and the timing. There is very little, if any, room for mistake on the current raids. Like Magtheridon for example. One person fails to click the cube in time, game over. Wipe, wasted time, money, frustration etc.
Some of us really like raiding but really HATE how it completely owns your life and play time if you want to excel at raiding. I'd be 100% perfectly O.K. with not getting the best gear through raiding because we didn't tackle the "Heroic" mode. I'll leave that to the real hardcore raiders, I just want to have fun w/ my guild mates and see new and interesting things.