*NOTE*: Please do not reply unless you have read the entire thread including all reasoning.
Please do not reply with one word answers that disagree with anything in this post. If you wish to disagree, please give reasoning as to why my ideas and/or other's ideas do not work, and whether they should be scrapped or perhaps modified.
Please be constructive.
Let me start off by saying that I feel, having 10/25 split lockouts AND Cross realm raiding for current tier content (with certain restrictions to prevent deaths of guilds etc.) would be beneficial to both Blizzard AND the community as a whole.
One of the strongest times in WoW's raiding scene was during Wrath, when we had split lockouts, allowing people to do so much more content, communities were exploding with pugs of all sorts, guild recruitments were at an all time high. With the release of Cata, from my personal experience on the server of Blackrock, the community that Blackrock had built over the years, completely died. Let's face it, to do well in Cataclysm, you had to be in a guild, an idea that Blizzard promoted with their new guild structuring etc. This absolutely killed off the pug scene, that and not having split lockouts meant that people couldn't pug raids every day of the week.
During Wrath, as anyone from a decent sized server would know, every day of the week, you'd be able to find multiple 10/25man raids running, GDKPs, pugs killing Heroic bosses, everything. The moment Cata dropped, all trade is filled with these days is guild recruitment spam for 10man guilds that are all crumbling and dying. Even major 25man guilds are dying these days, guilds that have been around for a long time. It's suffocating the raiding in WoW, which may not seem like such a big deal on its' own, but as an MMO, this game is built around playing in a community, and if the community is not there, the game becomes stale.
I believe this could be fixed with some minor adjustments that wouldn't take much effort at all, the coding is already in the game in both Korea and China. Split lockouts again for all raids (Old content as well) as well as Cross Realm raiding for current content.
These changes would do the following, a) allow a greater number of players to merge with the community again, instead of being 'stuck' in guild raids, players would be able to pug so much more content; b) cross realm raiding via websites such as www.OpenRaid.US
, or even a Blizzard promoted method (Something to be worked upon), would forge friendships and allow players to find guilds/groups that are better for them personally.
This would be beneficial to both Blizz as it would increase the number of server transfers, as opposed to decreasing, via a few methods, restriction to benefits of being in a raid group would be one, if there were guild perks that applied specifically to raids/BGs when in a guild group, I can't think of any, but I'm sure there are ways, obviously realm first achieves would require everyone on the same server, or maybe preventing people from using bonus rolls unless the player is on the same server as the majority of the group, and if there's no majority, the same server as the leader.
eg. Players 1-7 are from realm A
Players 8-10 are from realm B.
Players 8-10 are unable to use their bonus roll, or even set the host realm as the group leader's realm for the method of deciding whether they can use bonus rolls or not. Small things like that, that wouldn't really affect much as a whole, but would encourage people to group up on the same server.
Obviously also the other benefits of being on the same server as other players, being in a guild as a whole.
I may have rambled on a bit, but I can only see this as a positive improvement if re-implemented correctly.
On the topic of loot being a higher iLvl in 25man, my personal belief is that it should be, but 25man should maybe even drop less loot per person than 10man, so the loot is stronger in 25man, but there's less of it, or some other solution that prevents favouritism, but also prevents players feeling the 'need' to run both modes every week unless they're in the top 10 in the world.
Maybe have 10man loot be able to be upgraded to 25man standards via a cost of 500-1000 VP per piece, whilst having 25man drop less loot.
Another method for loot would be to simply have both modes as the same iLvl, but have a tag on the items to denote whether it's a 10man or 25man piece for the purpose of gear colouration. There are so many gear colouring options that aren't used ingame but have been designed, Green DK Tier 11 comes to mind, options like this could be split into 10/25man with the addition of transmog, thus adding more reason for people to get out in the community and do the other mode because they find one colour's version particularly 'siiiiiiiiiiiiiick'.
I'm sure there are many ways to do this, but the main point I'm trying to make is, there needs to be some kind of change as lots of guilds are dying, communities as a whole are dying.
The cross realm change would also assist highly with raiding on dead servers, servers where there's only 10-20 level 90s on at any one time could then find groups for current content instead of being walled in to only having LFR available.
This is just my opinion, but I know a LOT of people, both those currently playing WoW, as well as previous players that believe split lockouts and/or similar changes to be highly beneficial and that they would like to see them re-implemented.
I think maybe also for players that have trouble running 25man, there should be a video option for 25man raiding on a low end computer that can turn off spell graphics hitting the boss, atmospheric effects, things that aren't really necessary, it auto turns down your settings to minimums, but is set to the correct settings for showing ground/spell effects/mechanics that matter to the boss in particular. Like a toggle switch on the Ultra slider scale thing at the bottom, or a checkbox.