I know I'm not going to make much impact with an idea that Blizzard apparently scratched out completely, but still. Ready Check: I miss Karazhan reminded me of the raiding in The Burning Crusade, and I don't mean the late stages when nothing required attunements. I mean the real raiding.
A wanna-be raider in The Burning Crusade had to do these:
- Get attuned to Karazhan. This involved doing several quests, nothing comparable to Old Onyxia Attunement... And you had to do 4 Level 80 instances. No, silly, not Heroic. Normal. You know, the ones people never do nowadays. You would be surprised how many people were not attuned to Karazhan.
- Get several factions to Revered to enter Heroic Dungeons. This might sound surprising to WotLK children. "What? Attunement to Heroics?" In a sense, yes. There were several factions per instance areas. For example, being Revered with Thrallmar/Honor Hold would unlock Shattered Halls, Burning Furnace, Hellfire Ramparts. For other heroics, you had to grind them to revered as well.
- Farming your Heroics. Yes, Badge rewards were again handed out. But there were no daily dungeons in the beginning. And given that you had to grind a certain faction to revered just to unlock some heroics, Badge Gear held its value.
What this system accomplished was making player ask questions before jumping into raiding. "How do I get attuned?" The attunement started in a rather secluded part of the Shattrath, Lower City. So, it wasn't something you'd stumble upon just about leveling up. This simple part, this little nuance, was the difference between average Joe SlackaLot and John Serious. Do you think there's a single player level 80 now that hasn't done all of the level 80 instances? I don't think there is. So still, about half the playerbase hadn't done the quest for Karazhan. Why? They didn't know how to look up for it.
A problem we Raid Leaders often have nowadays (And even before, but especially in Wrath) that we have raiders that are not autonomous. I remember my first TK raid as a Rogue. Our rogue CL opened up a trade window with me and told me the boss was immune to poison, and offered me stones. I knew Void Reaver was immune to poisons so I had some sharpening stones with me. I showed him my stones in the trade window, which amused him, and told me "You passed the first test!".
How often do you have raiders who did in fact read up tactics and watched some videos?
Attunements served thus to eliminate people who didn't even ask how to get attuned (Or, as some applicants would say "Didn't bother with it, seeing I don't have a guild yet"). Of course there were still a lot of slackers among those who were attuned, but the process still ate up a vast majority of clueless chimpanzees.
The problem with current structure is that, 10/25 raids, while mostly PuGable, are still difficult enough for said people who wouldn't even bother with attunement. If Wrath has hurt anything, it's the health of the Raid Leaders, who were suddenly facing a horde of players with good gear, but needed to be led like sheeps.
A lot of raiders commented how, outside of Ulduar, Wrath-Raids lack the "Ooo" mystic aura of the old raids. Enterring Karazhan was something. Being buffed inside TK, in the tiny entrance, where the patrol was just outside, was something. It was different from todays' raids which feel more like easy battlegrounds. It depends on the premise that, there will be guildless players who are willing to bother lead a PuG and carry others on their shoulders, just to get the new gear.
It worked in Wrath. Not saying it was best, nor that it was pleasurable, but it did work. Will it continue to work in Cataclysm? I do doubt that. There's already people asking for ridiculous amounts of GearScore for public raids. And to be honest, if I were playing still, I would do the same. When I made PuG raids, it wasn't for the best of my server, it wasn't a benevolent action, to help people see some content and get better gear. If I wanted to PuG ICC, it wouldn't be because I wanted to progress: It would be because I wanted to farm it, and farm it with people who have farmed it before.
If you don't have ICC gear by now, too bad. It's not hard to get it, not hard at all. People complain on forums "How can I get ICC gear when I can't get into PuGs?!" Erm. Get into a good guild, maybe? PuGing raids, especially final content, was never easy. Most Naxx PuGs would fail, almost all Ulduar PuGs would fail. TotC was a mistake, as everyone else agrees that TotC in Ulduar gear was easier than Ulduar in same gear. People were spoiled with the easiness of TotC, and now complain they can't PuG raids.
Raids never used to be PuGable, and while I can't read Blizzard's intentions, they make it rewarding for Guilds, now especially with Guild Leveling up.
In a sense, GearScore helps nowadays to create the same 'Absolutely Idiot/Not Absolutely An Idiot' buffer of the attunements. If you haven't got ICC gear right now, you haven't done the instance yet, and seeing how it's out for several months, most ex-TotC guilds are already working on Heroics or LK. Simple as that, you weren't a member of a good guild. You might be a skilled player, sure, but the easiest way to cut down on the awful people that cause headaches to raid leaders is to make sure anyone who were not 'skilled' enough to clear ICC several times already, not enter at all.
The problem with Wrath wasn't that everything is accessible. Most stuff were not really accessible by a majority on their original release. But there's an illusion of accessibility. This upsets people when they realize they can't actually access the content. Sure, there are no attunements required! Yehoo! But you need to have a guild to enter ICC. That, or you have to have ICC gear to join a PuG.
So, bring back attunements.
So that we can go back to judging people with their ability to look up a seven-steps-quest.