There were basically two parts to every raid - logistics and tactics.Civil War Man wrote:Yeah, that does fall in line with what I've heard. Apparently during Vanilla and even BC one of the biggest barriers to progression was less the difficulty of the bosses and more the existence of other guilds. Namely, guilds regularly got stuck at certain tiers because guilds that were further along in progression would poach their most promising members to fill out gaps in their roster, because it was easier to recruit geared players from the previous tier than it was to start re-running all the previous tiers to gear up a new player or an alt. So a Naxx guild might recruit a Warrior from a guild doing AQ so they have enough tanks for 4 Horsemen, causing the AQ guild to do the same with a BWL guild, which then does it to a MC guild, and now the MC guild has to gear up a new player from scratch to replace the tank that left.
Early WoW raids were heavy on the logistics: getting 40 people together on time, farming the avalanche of mats for consumables, crafting the gear necessary to live through fights. It was a time-consuming, soul-crushing process. However the actual mechanics of the boss fights were fairly simple: healers, cleanse the raid. Offtank, pull this add away. Rogues, interrupt. Etc. In fact, a lot of the difficultly in raids came from the fact that you had such a large group to manage, hence the use of mods like decursive for clearing Lucifron's raid-wide debuff.
And yes, because of the size of raids and the tiered system, poaching was horrendous. Feeder guilds were destined to run Molten Core and Onyxia forever, because once a progression guild got into BWL and AQ, nobody wanted to go back to MC and Ony to gear up newcomers and alts. It was worst for warriors, because for most of vanilla warriors were the only class that could tank reliably.
In BC (and especially Wrath), raiding shifted strongly from logistics to tactics. Resistance gear became less important and eventually dried up. Consumables became more generalized and easier to farm. Raids became smaller. But individual bosses became harder. Teron Gorefiend and Kael'thas demanded a raid pay attention to their mechanics. If you were asleep at the wheel and you got ghosted, your raid wiped. Something like Mimiron's Firefighter mode couldn't possibly have existed in vanilla wow - the punishing mechanics would have played havoc with 40-man groups.
Poaching was still horrendous in BC though, especially in the early days when attunements were still in place. Raid attunements in BC were a goddamn nightmare, demanding each and every player character complete the proper quest chains, in order, working their way upwards through BCs raid tiers. As a result, if you were a couple men short on Kael, you had to find someone with the attunements already done (and willing to lock themselves to your raid) or you called it for the night. Raid guilds poached hard because nobody wanted to go run old raids just to get new guys attuned.
Wrath did away with a lot of poaching thanks to 10-man raids and the badge system, and frankly Wrath had some of the hardest bosses in wow history. 3-drake Sarth (before zerging became possible) the aforementioned Firefighter, Alone in the Darkness, and Heroic Santa Lichy were goddamned bone-crushing. Not to mention drake achievement runs. But because entry-level stuff was made easier (like the Naxx revamp, or Lord Marrowgar as the intro to ICC) people began to piss and moan about the days when "raids were hard." Except most of them really weren't all that hard, apart from the job of cat-herding an entire guild to do what you wanted.
Then Cataclysm hit and you maniacs you blew it up but that's another rant.