Nice post Agg. Clipped it out to this one section to target one specific issue.
The mystery of how to tackle a boss.
Fights being largely formulaic.
Mechanics not deep.
How much of this is related to the amount of "scouting" out a raid beforehand that is being done? How often do we really see a guild or raid team go into a new raid "blind"?
I'm not saying that you, personally, have never gone into a raid without some pre-existing knowledge about it. What I'm saying though is that, I'd guess that a significant amount of the raiding population watches videos, reads previews and tactics, and generally "scouts" out a raid encounter before going into it. It's almost like playing Streetfighter or Mortal Kombat against the computer over and over and over and over and over...... ad nasueum. At some point you're going to say "Sh*t... I'm tired of beating up Scorpion for the 100th time just to get to Shao Khan." And at some point, even THAT is going to get tiring.
So...... how does a developer come up with interesting and unique content to overcome this "thing"?
Random phases? Varying fights (like the Stage in Kara)? "Gimmick" fights like "Chess Match"?