It just wasn't something I was really very interested in doing. I mostly logged in to farm the nerfed Firelands normals, but we pretty much gave up on trying out heroic progression. Killing the same stuff over and over again in hopes that the few things we needed would drop was extremely tedious. Beth'tilac was the first boss we killed in Firelands and she never did drop a single tanking sword. On the other hand, our rogue got kitted out in his BiS for every slot, so that's cool.
The point being that I was pretty much totally bored with WoW and couldn't be bothered to log in. Patch 4.3 has done a lot to address that, at least for the meantime.
Part of that has been the raid finder, and I'm forced to admit that I was completely wrong about it. Basically my thinking was that all mechanics would have to be nerfed to the point of irrelevance, thus robbing the encounters of any sort of inherent ability to be engaging. Socially, the raids would be poorly organized and raid chat would be the linguistic equivalent of the pus drained from a festering, poisonous boil (sorry for that image).
The first of these predictions was correct, but I've underestimated my fellow humans when it comes to the second. I've done a few different LFR jaunts, both on my hunter Peregrina and my priest Andaviel, and more than anything else it's been pretty quiet. To be honest, I do most of the talking! I do things like try to engage with other people there, make jokes, what have you, and I haven't had much luck with that. But it hasn't been a whirling cesspool of misspelled epithets and and trash-talking about overall damage done, so whatever! Well done, population of the raid finder queues in my battlegroup.
I've also been enjoying the new heroics. I don't have a whole lot to say about them: they feel easier than the troll heroics did on release, but whatever. They're pretty fun, and generally visually engaging. I like the mechanic for the shade of Sylvanas the best, requiring as it does some modicum of organization and halfway competent DPS.
The real meat of it though, the normal-mode raids with the guild, has really been the big bonus for me. Raid nights this week have been fun, damn it! I'm looking forward to logging in next Wednesday night and clearing out the first four and then taking more shots at Ultraxion. There's been more chatter in vent, discussion of how we're doing the different boss encounters and dealing with specific mechanics, teasing each other about stuff: all the fun parts of raiding in World of Warcraft.
The difficulty curve is really strange. We wandered in and killed Mor'chok the first time we pulled him, and I think we wiped 4 or 5 times total between Yor'sahj and Zon'ozz. Hagara took another 5 wipes on her own, and then we ran into Ultraxion and he is a really surprising brick wall of a gear check. One of our raiders was actually really upset about this: we're raiding Dragon Soul normal modes with Firelands normal modes gear, and our best pull got him to 14%. That's a pretty significant debt to make up.
Now, I think we'll kill him next week, but I think the way we'll do it is by going to two healers. I don't like making my healers take on roles that aren't really the ones they want to play, but I honestly don't see another way to do it. I talked a bit with someone in raid that had killed him, and they were sitting at almost 170k raid DPS (for a 10). We seem to be averaging around 140k raid DPS. And I really don't think we're doing bad with the 378 gear we've got. Our DPS mains seem to be pulling between 20 and 26k, with an average around 24. I think the drops to 20 are in large part due to bad RNG with fading light, but I should check that in the logs.
Anyway, as you approach that 5:00 mark, it seems to me that the damage very quickly ramps up, such that you're going to be wiping at around 5:30 regardless of the number of healers. Dropping down one healer shouldn't be a huge deal.
The important part for me is that we were having fun, even with the wiping to the gearcheck boss. I've also cleared the place out in the raid finder - the last two encounters are pretty fun. I don't think this particular guild is going to clear out Dragon Soul on heroic, but I think we'll finish our rogue's daggers and I think we'll get a few heroic modes down. I'm pretty happy with that.
I recorded a video of the Hagara kill, which means I'll need to finally find a video editor I like and address the compression issues. It was the first encounter that really seemed at all worth a video though. I will try to have that up in a week or two.
Oh yeah! I'm also going to be - gosh. I'm sort of embarrassed to say this? Like it seems silly that anyone would want to listen to this. But on the off chance someone would, I will mention that I'll be chatting with Hydra and Fimlys on the Twisted Nether Blogcast Saturday night, 10:00 P.M. CST. So if you're super bored I guess you could have a listen!