And yes, this is long, and my $0.02 it has been a while since I actually hopped in to don my tinfoil and ramble.
Q1; Sorry I know this has been beat to death, but still a question on the show.
There are so many woes to the shared loot in ds, and those of us that do 10m only feel the impact more. Granted my guild stopped raiding a month or so ago until mop. For us at least the shared loot had not been favourable to us at all (mind you we have cleared 3x a week with the same 10 people since 4.3). We had no vial of shadows drop at all, 2 str trinkets, 1 tank ring, and a mix of the other rings and such. On top of only ever getting 1 heroic hand of morchok of that because we would get the same one shared loot(which I am extremely pissed as main is frost dk). Some of those shared loot items are bis, a huge jump over some of the others, and shouldn't be there.
In ds the shared loot shouldn't even been there; t11, sure that had plenty of bosses to adjust it well. Or, had the loot per boss not been dropped from 3 to 2 (10m) from t12 to t13. On top of, 5 of the 6 bosses that drop shared loot, also drop tier as well, which further adds to the dung pile. Keeping it at 3 instead of 2 would allow: 1 slot for tier, 1 slot for boss only table, and third to be boss w/ shared table. (or mix for slot 2&3)
I agree, a solo queue would make a great stepping stone between the two gaps. Not a whole lot to say on it really but would be interested to see this with the ability to queue with friends. You can already do normal bg's with a group as easy as solo with little impact over all. But being able to do this with friends without the whole having to get an rbg group would pique more interest in rbg. The friends that started out just 3 or 4 pick up more along the way (or want to) and start an rbg team when before all they would do would be an occasional reg bg or arena.
NO! NO! NO!!!11! The weekly raid quests was okay for the fact that they gave the emblems, but unless it was just kill x boss it was just a headache. Although, if they make them just kill x boss, it becomes boring and would be mandatory so you have the maximum amount possible. If they did some gimmick it changes the fight which can be fun a time or two, but as you said some weeks it just wasn't worth the time to waste specially during progression. Which leads to more heart, head, and toothaches.
Now if the reward was great, again it would feel mandatory. If it wasn't substantial enough then it wouldn't get done and drama would happen because can only kill the boss once a week now compared to wrath. The currency changes from then to now have a major factor in it as well, since the cap comes into play. If I get capped from raiding, why should I do a weekly that makes my life harder. And if it isn't vp than what would be substantial enough to warrant it? Those bonus loot tokens that are coming? Again that would just turn into mandatory and defeats the whole purpose. Weekly raid quests should just stay dead, or be for content that isn't relevant. Maybe t15 they come out and t14 is in rotation to get people to do them, would be understandable, but anything during a progression tier is just a hindrance. BUT BRING BACK DAILY HEROIC QUESTS!!!!
The portals as you said wouldn't solve the problem of just standing in org, I agree on that completely. It would just take that same amount and disperse it else where. Think outlet gates on a river dam opening, still same amount of water but it isn't going far. But there still shouldn't be a reason why they could not be there. Quality of life should be a big concern, and taking away something because too many was just standing in one city, but yet when they are gone it completely floods everyone to one city. Just like the reforger changes in 4.3. There is no logical reason for every major city to not have all the services, granted some specialized things should be localized, but still.
After my guild stopped raiding a while back we all went to other games, myself I chose to go back to eq2 and QoL things like this are real noticeable after picking that up. Every city, town, zone all have a portal device that can port you to any zone. Due to this people actually spend more time out in the "real world" instead of the major city. Every major city has every service as well so getting things done isn't a major hassle. Sure people still stay in cities or the guild housing, that will happen no matter what, but in all honesty I encounter way more people doing things outside of a city at all level ranges more than I do in wow. Mind you, I am on one of the highest pop servers in wow.
Gear resets like that need to happen for players that are late so there is some kind of ball park range for catch up. Now in cata that reset was retarded and poorly planned. There is no reason why the full bis gear shouldn't last until the last little hump before raids. Shouldn't be optimial, but like you said it doesn't feel too bad in beta atm. I haven't played it in a bit last time I played was when L89 cap hit. Even by then which I stopped @ like 80% into 89, I had only really gotten just a few odd and end upgrades over my hm ds gear.
It is likely that will probably be 90 and still have some of my 410/416 ds gear on still. That is okay, the flow felt good so far, and a natural progression happens, not a shit storm that happens soon as you step foot into mount hyjal thing again... When tbc came out I was raiding t4 still in most of my t3, and what little upgrades that came before we hit the raids a'runnin. Most t3 wasn't replaced til L67+ anyhow and even then some was still only side-grades. In wrath we was doing 25m < a week after release and most of us was still rocking 4p t6. T6 wasn't really replaced til 77+ and it still felt right. We get to cata and our 10.5 is replaced 20 min in. I think some still have this stuck in their head, assume that is how it is going to happen in mop, and give up on it. I think blizz learned a bit on cata, or at least I hope the dumb cunts did. It should flow better this time around, and if we had the item squish, we wouldn't even notice that much because we would be too rattled to grasp it fully.
Open floor raids can be done well, but for instance look at t12. Had there been some linearity to it, at least enough to divide it up some. Then, it could kind of pull you through and have a sense of accomplishment, but it didn't. It just felt like you was starting over after every boss and you turned around to see. The other raid zones are just a big battle field with walls guiding your way. I think they just quite haven't struck the right note for how to fully do a big open raid. Had fl had 2 levels to it probably would have felt better, just the biggest pitfall to open raids like that is trash implementation. FL had less trash overall than some previous tiers but felt like more because of the way it happens. Often it feels like there isn't as much when you cant see it all from the door, and the fact people had just came off of t11 where there was ~20 trash pulls across 3 instances, and you have to get almost that much to get 1 boss in t12. Whereas before it would be sometimes an hour between bosses but it didn't feel like it because was being driven by the walls.
There is no need for it for a while, the engine is still fairly capable and has much potential to continue. If they was to just put out wow2 they wouldn't stop making content for wow for a good while. And yeah eq2 never shared the fame that eq1 did, it had a huge following at first, had decent play, but was not very polished. It shouldn't have been released when it was as it was pushed out to put the running against wow.(those of you that don't know, eq2 came out a few days before wow) It had failed because of that, and by all means it isn't or wasn't a bad game, and had many world firsts in eq1 /2 but because they split the focus to make a second one, both suffered. Both are still going eq1 is on xpac #18 and eq2 is on xpac #8 and both still hold a decent subscriber base, nothing compared to wow, but that matters little.
Wow would be free to play completely (sub model+micro-trans still there ofc) and dwindling to nothing before it would make sense to stop producing xpacs and just scrap it completely for wow2. Even if wow2 came out today, you would never get the full subscriber base to follow. On top of that the development time taken to create an entirely new game could have been spent working on doing things to wow now. A new engine doesn't mean a new game has to come out, that can be patched into a current system, new models would be better done here than wow2 as if updated they could roll over at some point later on. Wow2 would never see the height of the market of just continuing to add onto wow unless it was 10 years down the road and wow was no longer supported. Which would mean some other game would have had to captivate the market completely. Rift is coming out with an xpac, cough cough... Trust me 13 years of playing mmo's and in the industry; sequels are rarely the answer, it is better for both business and the consumer to improve one game and keep it going than it is to create a sequel and then convert its subs over without paying dearly.
I think along similar lines, could open up a big window for things such as, class quests, cosmetic stuff, etc. Maybe if they did something like that we could finally get away from all these legendaries that have no bloody place in the game.
For the next batch of clones, under NO circumstance, do you tell them they are adopted. Lesson learned - July 2007.