In the last post, we concluded that Transient players are not likely to be converted into Extended players. But they still need an endgame. Further, we have seen that the current Transient endgame--which is basically run 5 mans for points which can buy Extended endgame gear--has had a negative effect on the Extended endgame.
The Transient endgame needs to become a First Class Citizen. Or at least as close to First Class as we can get without destroying the Extended endgame. Luckily there is a good model for a Transient endgame: Pickup Raids.
Pickup raids have a number of good qualities. It's the latest content, the latest storyline, the latest artwork, the best gear. So what are the elements necessary to make Transient raiding successful?
1. A Specific Difficulty Setting
Extended raiding is meant to be difficult. You're expected to wipe, to kill bosses slowly. Your team becomes greater than the sum of their parts as they work together over the course of several nights.
Transient content has none of those advantages. It needs to be easier. Having a separate difficulty setting, let's call it Easy, decouples Transient tuning from Extended tuning. Transient raiding can be tuned separately. As well, it's not just lower dps or healing or tanking requirements that go down. A separate difficulty setting can also adjust or remove mechanics which are too unforgiving for a Transient setting.
Adding an Easy difficulty setting is the best way to go here. As well, an Easy setting will benefit those guilds at the lower end of the Extended spectrum.
2. Automatic Group Creation
In my view, Transient content is crippled without automatic group creation. Sitting around in Stormwind spamming trade chat with "LF 1 Tank" is a horrific waste of time.
For Transient content to work, there needs to be a Raid Finder.
3. A Barrier to Entry
The final element a good Transient raiding system needs is some way to tell players that they are ready or not ready for the content. There is a reason mods like Gearscore came into being.
There are two ways of doing this: attunements or gear checks. What I would suggest would be a combination of the two. An attunement quest chain to get into the first (and only the first) tier of raiding.
Second, if you look on the WoW armory, there's a really nice "audit" tool that tells you if you are missing gems or enchants. I would have an audit tool built into the Raid Finder, and you cannot sign up unless your character passes the audit.
4. Flexibility in Completion
Transient groups are not stable. You might not kill all the bosses in one group. You need some way to kill bosses with multiple groups. The flexible lockouts that already exist are probably good enough.
The only improvement I can think of might be a system where you can create raids where deeper bosses are dead, but early bosses are not. I.e. If you've killed Ragnaros, you can still join a raid which has the first few bosses up, but Ragnaros does not spawn. I don't know if this will be too weird, but the other option is joining a raid which is already at the final boss and getting stuck with only one boss kill that week.
I think that would be enough to get a solid Transient raiding system up and running. Having Transient raids drop the same item level of gear as Extended raids (even if less gear drops) keeps the Transient endgame on the same footing as the Extended endgame.
A first class Transient endgame would help WoW immensely. Transient players would have an endgame that that fits their playstyle. Even Extended players would use a Transient system for alts or times when their mains can't raid. And it would provide a perfect opportunity to get rid of all the excessive mechanical baggage such as valor points, multiple raid sizes, and multiple item levels of gear that the raid game has accumulated. A chance to go back to the simple, clean roots of raiding. Get a group, kill the boss, get some shiny loot.