Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
 
How far are you in Naxxramas?

After Nihilum "finished" Naxxramas 3 days after Wrath of the Lich King came out, there was some discussion of whether raiding was too easy. But then there was a long silence, and while some other top raiding guilds repeated the feat, the majority of players hasn't even seen Naxxramas yet. My guild did their first raid last Friday, before I was level 80, so I didn't even sign up. And on that first trip they killed one boss (Patchwerk), and got the second boss (Grobbulus) of that part of Naxx to 25%. Which, in my opinion, is quite reasonable. Kill the first boss on the first trip, but don't immediately have the place on farm.

So from this and similar anecdotal evidence it seems that Naxxramas is well enough balanced. A typical raiding guild (not the ultra-leet) will find the encounters challenging, without them being frustrating.

So, how far are you in the "new raiding"? Visited Naxxramas yet? Found it too easy, just right, or too hard? Would you say that, provided Blizzard adds some much harder raid dungeons to the game afterwards, Naxxramas is at the right difficulty level for an "entry level raid dungeon"?
Comments:
The difficulty of Naxxramas really depends on whether you have cleared the lvl60 version of the place.
The core of our guild, who are "hardcore" cleared the place (10 and 25) the second week after WotLK launched.
The more casual members (people without Sunwell gear) of the guild formed their own group and cleared the place yesterday. Most of them had cleared the place before TBC, though.
To me, it seemed easier than Halls of Lightning or Occulus heroic.
 
I haven't been there yet, but my guild cleared it in a half-PUG on the first Sunday after release. Their comment "This boss is hard, he didn't die on first pull" probably describes the place pretty well, because that's the kind of a comment about difficulty that wouldn't sound out of place in a normal 5-man instance run. so yes, it's probably right on the money.
 
Naxx 10 - clear
Naxx 25 - 3 bosses left, first raiding week
(my guild killed Brutallus one week before 3.0 and Kil'Jaeden one weeb before WotLK, most of us didn't know Naxx40 )

Naxxramas is really relaxing, you don't have to worry about perfect buffs, positions etc. It's nice after a hard day, just chilling with friends and killing some bosses but I can see myself getting bored pretty soon.

Imo the difficulty problem isn't just Naxxramas. For players who like some challenging encounters there isn't a lot to do besides some achievement stuff. Even healing heroic 5man instances didn't feel different than healing 5man normal instances (in lvl 70 BT-gear) and I would really like "heroic" to feel different… they already look the same.

- Ben
 
I wasn't there yet, as I just started playing again, but my guild finished Naxxramas (10) last weekend from what I got told. We've been to Naxx before, so I guess some experience in there made it easier. Guess we will take a shot at Naxx (25) once more people reach 80, as we don't have that many active raid members anymore (still a lot playing WAR or moved to some hardcore raiding guilds when we more or less went inactive during BC).

As we've never been a real hardcore raiding guild, some encounters are easier for us, than they've been before with 40 people. Less people means less room for errors, but in fights where even one error counts, it also means less risk of failures in general.

I guess most more or less hardcore raiding guilds should be able to beat this now, which is good. Raiding felt too much like work before.
 
So far I have only ran a bunch of regular dungeons. None of the tank healers in my casual guild are 80 yet...
 
Well, so far I haven't been to Naxx myself yet, but on my guild's first attempt of the ten man they cleared spider wing and two bosses in plague wing. One or two in the raid had been to old Naxx and in TBC we were a casual guild who finished ZA and Gruul/Magtheridon before 3.0, so we aren't hardcore by any definition. Compared to how Kara was at the start of TBC this seems like a clear step down in difficulty, which IMO, is probably the best direction for entry level content.

/N
 
We have our first raid scheduled for Wednesday. I did tank Sartharion in a 25 man PUG yesterday though (!)
 
Your guild sure likes a challenge it seems :). Patchwerk and Grobbulus are some of the harder fights in Naxxramas, so if you guys started off with them, it's not a surprise they didn't manage to clear multiple wings on their first night like some other guilds do.

My guild cleared both versions of the dungeon, but we are somewhat more hardcore, having cleared all of Sunwell before the expansion and killed Brutallus before patch 3.0.

Overall I think Blizzard got the balancing right for an entry-level raid instance. Some of the bosses are relatively hard, such as most of the construct wing bosses, some will die on the first couple of pulls. Karazhan was too hard early on in my opinion and I think it discouraged a lot of people from raiding. Yes, Naxxramas is "easy" for some, but in my opinion that's a good thing to start off with. There will be harder content in 3.1.
 
We cleared all 25-man instances this week (Malygos was the last, Sartharion with only 1 add), and we are not even close to "hardcore". All 10-mans except Malygos (both our raids downed him on 10-15 try this week) on farm since 2nd week after expansion. We had some officers in almost full Sunwell gear (most of it came from nerfed Sunwell), but average level of gear was t6+ at 13'th October. We raid 4/7, not even once raid time exeeded 5 hours.
So, I think, raiding in it's current state is VERY easy. Maybe, we got lots of 80's shortly after release, but, in fact, it takes like 6-7 days in total to become a bit undergeared level 80. But t6 level gear is more than needed to clear naxx-10 and get far more reasonable gear.
 
It depends on realm too.

I play on slow-progress rp realm, no guild killed KJ before patch 3.02 and only one guild managed to kill M'uru (and collapsed right after that feat).

Now of course two or three guilds cleared Naxx 25, several more cleared Naxx 10. But I didn't saw even moderately succesful Naxx PUGs yet. My guild has 8 80's so far, and we planned first trip to Naxx for 18/12. We were decked with Badge/ZA gear, so most of it got replaced already. We raid once, sometimes twice per week, we do minimal raid balancing, we don't stress. I hope we will clear Naxx and gear up before Ulduar.

Many guilds on my realm will progress similarly. Guess we don't draw competitive people, mostly those looking for a friendly atmosphere.
 
when your guild killed patchwork, which is one of the major gear checks in naxx, your guild is capable of clearing naxx within 2-3 nights. at least gear wise. the number of nights only depends on how many raiders have seen naxx pre bc and know the encounters so the learning curves are flatter.

so i for my part cleared naxx in 10 and 25 man version, but my guild is quite hardcore and 90% of our 200 members play since wow release in 02/05 and cleared naxx pre bc.
idling in dalaran i already see pug groups looking for members to do 25 and 10 naxx runs. so i guess naxx is quite good at what it is thought out to be. an entry level dungeon for everyone.
 
I love reading these comments where people claim they are not even slightly "hardcore"! I would really enjoy seeing what percentage of WoW's playerbase actually even did Gruul! I bet you would find a surprisingly large portion never even completed Kara for that matter.

Anyone who plays the game 5 to 6+ days a week needs to realise that is pretty hardcore. There are people that don't even spend that amount of time at work earning a living. I responded to a comment somewhere else with a person describing how easy it was to get to 80 with their Death Knight and asked them for their time played since character creation. It came in at 4.5 days which I suspect is not even that impressive compared to some, what was the scary part is that when I worked out how much "free" time he had between release day and level 80 (so not including his sleeping, working and eating time) he had spent approximately 80% of his "free" time playing WoW. I'm not saying that is wrong as one can spend their free time however they please but spending 80% of it on one activity falls under the description of dedication and is by no means casual.

The "hardcore" and "casual" labels seem to have the posts moved on them all the time but everyone should take a look at the amount of free time they have, and how much of that free time is spent playing. For me, even a solid 3 - 4 hour session in just one evening is very heavy going but maybe I'm just a lightweight ;)

Personally I feel Blizzard have hit the nail exactly on the head and catered for the vast majority of the playerbase. Remember there are 11 million subscribers World wide and to create content which can't be completed by 80% of that would be foolish of them and pretty selfish of people who fall into that 20% to expect. The problem Blizzard have with making very challenging content is that they have to reward that content with powerful gear and as you are probably all aware, people will moan and call for nerfs if they feel this gear is unobtainable for them as for something to be classed as difficult the majority will fail to ever achieve it.

If it's all too easy then take a break and try learning to play the guitar while you wait for the next content patch ;)
 
IMHO, being "hardcore" is not just about the quantity of time spent, it's also about the quality. I know some hardcore players who spend less than 3-4 hours per week, but do have high-rated Arena teams, clear heroics, raid or even engage in heavy RP.
 
"If it's all too easy then take a break and try learning to play the guitar while you wait for the next content patch ;)"
It was my post you replied for :). Actually, you hit the nail here :). I DO learn to play guitar, while I am waiting for my raid leader to compose raid group :) If there are some delay - well, I won't complain, cause I have pretty good thing to do :) "Afraid to shoot strangers" by Iron Maiden ATM (love that song).
And, as you also said, from now on I personally will spend much less time playing, cause, well, I completed content.
 
I did my first Naxx (10man) run 2 days ago. We only killed one boss though, and failed the gear check on Patchwerk, actually due to healers running oom and not because of the enrage timer. (I guess that still counts as bad DPS though.)

Just 2 bosses probably isn't enough to get a good picture of the whole instance, but what I saw felt a lot like what a 10man version of MC probably would've felt like. The hard part about MC wasn't the bosses, but getting together 40 people who didn't just want to get carried through for easy epics. Hell, I did the place with 30 people a few times and it was no problem. I hope Naxx 10man turns out to be what MC should have been like.
 
We cleared Naxx10 in our first week. Some of us already knew the spiderwing, so this one was clear after 20 minutes. The rest took a bit more time, all in all we took about 11 hours over the course of three days. Much of this was because of boss explanations and beginner faults, so we expect to clear it in two days next week.
So far it was entertaining, not too hard but not too difficult considering its an initial raid. I suspect raids consisting of people who have still difficulties with "move out of the fire" might find it really challenging. But thats good for learning! IMO the average player doesn't learn "move out of the fire" if the penalty for failing is 3000 damage that gets healed by any competent healer. The penalty has to be an instant and very messy death to show him without doubt that it was he who messed up royally.
 
My guild cleared all of TBC save Sunwell before the WotLK bridging patch, and all of Sunwell except KJ after that.

So far we've been running informal raids in advance of our official Dec 16th raid start date. In that time we've cleared Naxx 10 and got 9/15 in Naxx 25.
 
I'm loving naxxramas 10. In the past in order to raid my group of friends has had to split up and join various raiding guilds as available. In Wrath though we have been able to form our own small raiding guild and begin clearing through content. That said, being used to the struggle from Molten Core/Karazhan, Naxxramas does feel easier. Over two nights of raiding we're cleared Arachnid Wing, Plague Wing and the first two bosses in Death Knight wing. We would have downed four horsemen but we had to pug a healer and he just couldn't get the rotation down. The fights are dynamic and require learning, but a good raid leader and attentive players makes it easy.

The real test of whether or not the content in wrath is too easy will be how quickly the next major patch is released. If the next patch drops in February then my guild's relaxed progression will probably feel just right. Right as we have gotten bored of farming naxx10 the new content will come out. On the other hand if the patch does not drop until march/april we'll have a lot of bored player's accounts going cold.
 
My guild never saw Naxx before I joined. We went in for the first time last week. We cleared two wings in the first night and the other two the next raid night. Last night they had 3 bosses left. We are not new to raiding but the farthest we got in TBC was SSC and we never fully cleared that before the guild sort of fell a part. We are not a hardcore raiding guild but we do have "hardcore players". which means we don't enforce strict raiding rules but we have quite a few players (myself included) who put in about 3 hours or more a day in the game (hey its cheaper than going out to the bar :P ) Either way the raid was fun, I didn't feel like a piece of my soul died when I went in like I did in karazahn prenerf (that place was hell at TBC release).
 
Crap the above was for Naxx 10 man (we don't have 25 level 80's yet)
 
We finished 10 man Naxx last night. Not one raider had more than 2 pieces t6. we are defiantely not hardcore. 3 nights a week. only prob we had was sappiron, and we fixed that with a couple pieces of FR gear.
 
My guild newly formed two weeks into TBC from the remnants of two guilds that died deep into Sunwell. In the third week after WotLK's release we started raiding 25-man Naxx and cleared it out completely in 4 sessions of 3.5 to 4 hours each. It's really pretty easy if you go with a reasonable amount of experienced raiders. Gear and experience on the raiding front were lacking with some of the team, but it simply didn't matter as the bosses kept tumbling over.

10-man Naxx should not be talked about much, we cleared it out in one go.

25-man Archivon is ideally pugged. Sartharion is pretty easy and soon everone will pug it, like they will pug Naxx. Malygos is a bit more of a gear and play check, but also very much a "enjoy the buggy crappy interface of your dragons in phase 3 check" as well as vague disconnects a la Felmyst that screw you over.

Bottom line, I'm loving WotLK. I got sorely burned in Sunwell, which was Blizzard's way of communicating you had to be retarded and enjoy bashing your skull against a brick wall for months in a row to see all raiding content. Here we are in WotLK and I've seen all raid encounters after a month. I'm nearly done gearing up my warlock. I'll soon switch to my druid and perhaps death knight, deck them out in a month or two and then just take a nice break and go see what LotRO's Mines of Moria is about. May also go revisit my Warhammer character. I love it. No more in the grinding mill for ages. Now I know, that's one's own choice, but WoW always had a way of making you forget what was healthy and real fun and instead getting you in bad habits. Crack for the gaming geeks like me... it just got a whole lot healthier. Now let's just hope they do not listen to the "hardcore" (what a joke, being "hardcore" at mashing a few buttons and moving out of stuff on time) and make things stupidly difficult again in terms of 25 people having to hit button X at the same time... Or at least let us hope I'll be wise enough then to not bother!
 
I'm saying naxx difficulty is right where it should be. I ran naxx(10 man) over the weekend w/ my guild / pug as my guild is just starting to hit 80. I started naxx wearing level 80 blue gear obtained mostly from heroics. No epics. The guys I ran w/ had similar gear. Our main tank however had about half epics. We made it up to Grobbulus before we quit, which is almost done. We one shotted a lot of bosses including patchwork, but we also wiped many times on some bosses. 4 horsemen and the boss that makes you run between the green lava bursts were probably the worst.

So come next weekend my guild will probably clear naxx (10-man) so it gets the thumbs up from me. So why are so many people whining that it is TOO easy? Here is why. WoW only involves SO much skill. Anyone who can listen and follow directions off youtube or wowwiki can raid. The rest is entierly up to gear. People who are whining about naxx being too easy most likely hit 80 with in days, ran heroics and have atleast a few epics when entering naxx. They also probably know the fights from old WoW as well. If they want a challenge they should try and run naxx in all green gear, and blizzard should give an achievement for that too.

Yes we one-shotted patchwork, but I was the OT and I died at the second when patchwork enraged at 1%. If our dps had been any slower we would of wiped. Had we had better DPS due to better gear patch work would of been a push over.
 
Naxx is very well tuned. Much of it is about teaching basic's of raiding. Stand here/don't stand here, move when this happens, etc. I really like the place. None of the fights require 20 minutes of explanation. The final fight is the hardest and it only have 3 phazes. None of this 50 phase fight like sunwell. I like having 10 and 25man versions of dungeons. Blizzard did a good job. I also like the amount of available content. I can finish the game while spending a reasonable amount of time at it, say 10 hours a week instead of 40. (part of this is reducing consumable cost). People are correct in saying Naxx was the best dungeon Blizzard made. Sunwell is the hardest but naxx is the best. The did a great job making the fight mechanics work on 10 and 25 and 40.
 
Cleared 25man Naxx on the 23rd of Nov. Got 25man Malygos the next week. Still working on Sartharion with 3 drakes up though.
 
Cleared up to Malygos. 20% on 10 man version and 30% on 25 man is our best so far. We were being punished for not class stacking. This week we are bringing in two Death Knights and sitting out some of our best shaman and paladin healers in favor of more druids and priests. Huzzah!


Instructor Razuvarious and 4 Horseman were the only bosses that we hit snags on in the 25 man versions. Instructor due to not having a 2nd Spriest (a holy priest had to farm up spell hit gear for the next raid to do it well enough to complete). 4 Horseman took about 6 attempts to learn dance.

Saphiron and Kel Thezad (sp) were both 1 shots.
 
"a holy priest had to farm up spell hit gear" -- that's very old school :) I did that in vanilla.
 
@ Shalkis

"IMHO, being "hardcore" is not just about the quantity of time spent, it's also about the quality. I know some hardcore players who spend less than 3-4 hours per week, but do have high-rated Arena teams, clear heroics, raid or even engage in heavy RP."

BullS*&# alert! You can't spend 3-4 hours per week on this game and be even close to lvl 80 right now. Not statistically possible. Let's face it, this game is about time more than the quality. To obtain Arena gear, one usually has to run BGs for decades to get a reasonable amount of resilience or buy the blue resilience gear, which requires honored reputation with a number of factions. This all takes time. Also, clearing heroics means at least 1-3 hours each, depending on the heroic. For WotLK heroics, at lvl 80, this theoretical "non-hardcore" person wouldn't even be close to running heroics, much less be able to run more than 1-2 per week. Even though raiding is much easier than in TBC, it still takes many many hours of running heroics and obtaining at least marginal gear to perform in raid situations. Also, heavy RP requires time, and you're not really immersed at 3-4 hours per week.

Maybe once you spend countless hours doing all the things above to get good gear and know people on your server, you can spend 3-4 hours per week, but it takes DAYS worth of time to get to this spot.
 
@ amaifi

Heroics in WotLK take 30 minutes to an hour max. Although your point is still valid. Time played trumps almost everything. However if all your time played is bg pvp or running regular dungeons you aren't going to have much to say for yourself. Raiding and Arena reward the most, and the more time you raid/arena the better your gear will be.
 
My guild, which was a semi-casual (4 nights a week for 4 hours a night) Sunwell Raiding guild in TBC, cleared the 25 man version of Naxx this past Sunday. In total, we spent 9-10 hours in the zone. We will be looking at 25 man Malygos this coming week.

My thoughts on this are kind of twofold. Is Naxx too easy? Well, for a guild that had *any* amount of success in Sunwell (pre-nerf) where one person DCing mid-fight would wipe you, the zone may seem "easy"; for anyone that had *any* experience with Naxx in the 40 man version, the zone may seem "easy". That being said, for a guild that struggled through Sunwell up through the end of TBC, Naxx is a very nice break. For guilds that never saw MH/BT until the nerf, or never saw Vashj/Kael/Archimonde/Illidan dead before the nerf (which is the majority of the guilds raiding...I mean more people killed the first bosses in MH/BT than killed Vashj/Kael) I think the instance is tuned really well and will probably take those guilds up until the next content patch to completely clear.

Blizzard has already stated that they made Sunwell too difficult. I, for one, am happy that they opted to cater a raid zone to their core audience and not the elite 1%. Sunwell had to be one of the most frustrating zones that I had ever encounted. It required 100% of your players to be perfect 100% of the time, which is just flat out contrary to human nature. Naxx was stated to be a starter zone for the expansion. A stater zone should not cause you to continuously throw yourself at something for weeks before you win (Gruul pre-nerf anyone?). It should be a zone where your top players may clear it with ease, but your average level of player (also known are your core base)will find a good balance between challenge and reward.

Will my guild get bored, having cleared about 99% of the content less than a month after the expansion? Being part of the leadership, this is a quesstion that I have been asking myself with some regularity. The answer is: I don't think so. Many members of our guild have already sighed with releif that we weren't staring down another Sunwell. Our guild make up is working adults; we all have jobs/families that need some of our attention. We are going to be able to parse down our already limited raid schedule and just raid a couple of hours each night until the new content is introduced. We will fill that time with leveling alts, and hosting "alt" runs that a great majority of our guild will take part in. That being said...I do hope that a content patch isn't much more than 4 months out, because I do worry about attrition out of boredom. I expect that the next zone is going to be about the difficulty of SSC/TK v.1. Which should provide more challange to the "elite few", and be adequately difficult for everyone else.

So, overall, no, I do not think that Naxx was "too easy" if you take it for what it was supposed to be. Entry level content available to everyone.
 
Last week was our guilds first official raid week. We cleared 25 man Nax/Sarth/Archavon in the first two days. Maylgos died the second day of raiding after that on our 4 day rotation. We are our small servers top guild and many of the players are very hardcore, for instance our raid leader got the realm first for hitting 80. However, despite some players lamenting such quick clears of content many are relieved they can spend a night or so doing more extra-raiding activities like heroics, quests, reputations, crafting, etc...

Like Ben above, my guild killed Brutallus the week before Big Patch went live then cleared Sunwell the week after. I was the main tank for these encounters and to be honest the "fun" that most raiders seek to experience jumped quite a bit after. Perhaps the nerfs were too extreme by small margin, but it didn't matter. I was happy to see the struggling, less established guilds making good headway and seeing the content. After all, many of those guilds also had very skilled players, but simply lacked the structure or consisetent numbers to progress quickly. Nax continues the post Big Patch trend. Any PUG, let alone a guild, of reasonably skilled players (reasonably as in understands the basics of their class and role in a group) can make headway each week without the overhead of tremendous consumable farming or previous instance loot harvesting. For an entry raid, it borders on perfect. The last two encounters will test casual guilds without breaking their morale.

- Sev
 
Let's face it, this game is about time more than the quality.
I never claimed otherwise. But if your time is limited, you can get a lot more out of the game by focusing on the quality. Even the factor of three time reduction you mentioned in your example is quite significant.

To obtain Arena gear, one usually has to run BGs for decades to get a reasonable amount of resilience or buy the blue resilience gear, which requires honored reputation with a number of factions. This all takes time. Also, clearing heroics means at least 1-3 hours each, depending on the heroic.
Someone's clearly stuck in a pre-WotLK mindset. But even in TBC, getting Honored was accomplished during the leveling process, and if you started at TBC release, nobody had resilience gear anyway. And a heroic taking more than an hour was an anomaly even in TBC, even for a PuG. 3 hours is only possible if you're compensating for lack of quality with quantity.

Also, heavy RP requires time, and you're not really immersed at 3-4 hours per week.
So if you spend less than X hours it's not immersive RP? How do you define X?

Maybe once you spend countless hours doing all the things above to get good gear and know people on your server, you can spend 3-4 hours per week, but it takes DAYS worth of time to get to this spot.
And now we get to the core of the argument. Knowing the right people in a multiplayer game is a vital part of attaining quality play time. Those 3-4 hour-playing people have been on the server since day 1, and know a lot of people on both Horde and Alliance. They're the kind of people who get greeted and offered spots in heroic groups and even raids as soon as they log in.
 
10 man naxx does seem a little on the easy side, but it is nice to be able to do some "raid"-content without bashing your head against a wall for weeks.
My small guild ran naxx for the first time two weeks after WotLK release, it took us two sittings to clear (3 wings on the first evening, military wing and saph/KT on the second).
Most bosses went down on the first or second try, Grobulus took the longest (4 tries if memory serves).
Given that non heroic naxx is probably alot easier than 25, I still felt like we got ahead too fast, taking into account that the last time I (and many of the others) actually raided was back in AQ40 in vanilla.
Only two people had ever set foot in the original naxx and even they only had experienced a few bosses first hand.
Its nice to have an entry level raid, being able to do the content with people I actually like, instead of being forced to group with 24 strangers, but I do hope that Blizz will be able to turn out more challenging 10 man raids in the future.
 
Shalkis:

3-4 hours a week, even just leveling to 70 would take a full year (rough estimation based on 8d playtime which I consider a fairly good speed). For a long time Honored was not enough for Heroics in TBC either and revered was considerably more effort. As for doing raiding in less than 3-4 hours a week, clearing Karazhan took about that time for a well-prepared group and would not leave any time for arenas, heavy RP, heroics or even just grinding a bit to get the gold raiding requires. If you what you meant was that these players only do one of those activities in their weekly playtime, I must say their progress would seem rather slow.
 
8d playtime to level 70? That sounds like a lot. Pre-TBC, leveling to 60 took around 4 days /played, and that was before the increased leveling speed and with no rested XP. Pre-Wrath, leveling from 60 to 70 took around 2 days. Again, with the original leveling speed and with no rested XP. And no Recruit-a-friend, obviously. As I said, looking at a leveling guide might be an enlightening experience.

And yes, I did use "or" instead of "and" in my original post. And I did include the time spent acquiring consumables in raid time. However, dailies significantly reduced that time, and you could actually gain money during farming runs.
 
6d played or 8d played is really rather unimportant, even if 6d sounds low to me. No need to sound condescending, I know about the leveling guides and tried to estimate based on a no-time-wasted-to-actually-enjoying-the-game type of /played time. The time is still considerable and it was just a fairly rough estimate. The point still stands that just the leveling alone at that rate is going to take a very considerable period of time, whether it is 9 months or a year or more.

Focusing on quality playtime amounts to something without a doubt, but seems like you are greatly exaggerating the effect. If you have first-hand information about how exactly this is supposedly achieved then give the details out in the open. Otherwise you're just sounding like yet another elitist who's spouting nonsense about how the ones who are smart and have their 1337 skillz can have their cake and eat it too.
 
One place to start would be the article about time management in raiding. While reading it, keep in mind that it speaks of time management on guild level, and if your guild does not require 100% attendance, individual time contribution can be significantly less than the amounts mentioned. For example, my guild had people with around 25% attendance and thus played around 4 hours per week.

However, there is one big caveat: a "hardcore casual" play style is very much an Achiever(in the Bartle archetype sense) play style, where the breakneck pace is actually part of the fun, rather than a distraction from it. As elitist as it may sound, it is not for everyone. But I'm not claiming that it's impossible to enjoy the game any other way.
 
Yeah so basically if you are in a frequently raiding guild with dedicated raiders and your attendance is low you're still freeloading a bit on the real core's more dedicated efforts. I happen to be well aware of guild time-management matters as I have had to face these issues myself and consider myself at least partly of the Achiever type.
 
My guild finished heroic naxx last night. All 1 shot first kills except Thadduis. We killed KJ pre-nerf. We are a smaller guild so we had to wait for all our core raiders to get 80. MT was last! Only me and a few members of our guild have naxx 40 experience.
 
We have been clearing naxx for 3 weeks :/

Was server and alliance firsts for all the major boss kills (Sarth with 2 drakes so far), I still actually enjoy it even though it's so easy, Malygos is a really good fight and the challenge is what you set yourselves really, the achievments for naxx are a really good challenge (and we are still short of allot of them). We only killed KJ post nerf but allot of our core raiders had experience in naxx beforehand (having killed KT first time around), and some really fast levelers, I personally took 3 days 7 hours to get to 80 so our group was there pretty quick, even as I re-rolled from rogue to shaman (resto) for Wrath and had almost blues to start with coming into Wrath it was still quite easy slog to 80. Probably the most enjoyable expansion I've ever played (and I've played a few in my 10+ year MMo career).
 
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