Once, during Tier 6 I had wished there was such a thing as Heroic Mode raiding. My reasonings for this were mostly because I felt that it could be a little more difficult in an optional way. Back then my hopes were that it wouldn't be an increased item level (we were barely even aware of the concept of item levels then) drop, but either simply additional items, chance at trash epics from the boss, or vanity items/mounts. I never wanted it to be a required thing to go above and beyond. Blizzard needs to understand the definition of "required" - they claim many things in the current game, i.e. the 6000 vp requirement, are "optional." Yeah, so is uninstalling my game client and unsubscribing from WoW. That's also optional. Basically, the moment something assists in the progression of the core majority of a raid group, it is then required. Failure to do these things means you will struggle to find a guild and/or keep your raid spot in a guild such as ours or better.
The burden on the player is the perspective I wish to hone in on for my reasoning that my original opinion and wish for the game to change would have been, or in fact still be, successful. The idea of layering content by tier and then by item level does not add any benefit to the game. In fact, it is a net loss of content.
Quick Recap of History before I move on:
dungeon tier + 4 raid tiers
6 world bosses
dungeon tier + 3.5 raid tiers
2 world bosses
4 raid tiers
8 raids, 10/25 each
0 world bosses
Activated Hard Modes in T8
Heroics T9, T10, Ruby Sanctum
3 raid tiers
5 raids, 10/25 each
0 world bosses
3 raid tiers
5 raids, 10/25 each
5 world bosses
If there was nothing to do in WoW at max level, or if everything was achievable with little effort, quickly, and painlessly then the game would lose a lot of its subscriber base. The slot-machine style addiction is seeded in anyone based off the constant progression. So the burden factor on the player in Vanilla was toggled on time-investment. Anything was achievable given enough time in Vanilla WoW and progression paths were rather independent of each other. That has shifted now to a state where you are in a perpetual race to start the next race. One never felt completely "rushed" in Vanilla or TBC. This idea came about in WotLK when the era of rapid change began. The game takes new shape every couple months when a new patch hits. The absurd frequency of drastic changes to nearly each class and more makes it feel as though you are at your breaking point for burning out.
Now, considering all of the above there we do need to have ample ambitions within the game that can be achieved. Heroic modes give a next step beyond completing the content. However, they are at the expense of simply having more content tiers or fights within a tier. Blizzard has been unable to deliver the quantity of content in recent expansions because of having to tune fights for 3 different difficulties, each tier. In WotLK they experimented with a variety of types and then settled on the modern format. It does save on development time to require less encounter designers and additional encounters. Adding some extra damage and a mechanic or two to an already existing and themed boss is far easier.
What this method has done though, bizarrely, is to convince players that they are getting to do more content when they really are not. The progression race never truly contains Normal, they are now just a front-loaded roadblock for any raiding guild who is not one of the Top 10. If instances were tuned linearly with difficulty ramping up, or even if scaling simply were adjusted (number crunch plz?), then US Top 200 could be working on the same playing field as the Top 10, and simply just not finish it as quickly.
The need for WoWProgress standing and World of Logs Ranking is a cancer and scourge upon this game. It's created a hateful community full of bad advice, resentful behavior, and negavitiy all around. I've been partaking in this for a while now and it's been incredibly stressful as a guild leader. In Vanilla and TBC it was much easier to run a guild full of raiders because there wasn't this constant outside pressure to progress to maintain rankings. That's exactly what it is - an outside pressure. In the first six tiers of WoW, all force for progression came from within the guild-- people's personal desire to progress moreso than seeing their names on a website.
So why are the rankings and stuff connected and why would removing Heroic help that? Simply put, it will solve it entirely. When on patch day people begin a 13 boss instance without Heroic mode ilvl gear-- they will progress through that instance. The better guilds will kill more bosses than the less skilled or more casual, but it is within the same ilvl and the same lockouts. The mini-gearing phase doesn't need to happen, which means the Top 10 can't mix with alts in 10 raid groups and gear-stack an ilvl 522 team on opening week. This takes that top guild only mini-super-gearing-phase to an end and puts all of us back on the same progression path.
How to tune it? I think, if we use ToT as an example, I say we keep the first 6 bosses how they are. Bosses 7-9 then get tuned up to be roughly 10% harder than they currently are. Then the final 3 bosses are 20% harder. This gates an instance via difficulty and gear requirements rather than the wall of a difficulty unlocking normal-mode gear-padding week.
This could vary and be shuffled up as well. If they ever listen to players about linear progression again they'll find it good to add more difficult Optional side-bosses like Ouru, Bug Trio, and in a completely different "super-duper heroic" way, Algalon, Sinestra, and Ra-den. The reason Ra-den doesn't count in his own right is that he's at the end of the Heroic mode progression itself, which in a dual-layer sense makes him a redundant difficulty other than the fact that he's after Lei-Shen only. Remember, unlike Sinestra and Ra-den, Algalon could be accessed once you had the key, that's all it took.
So basically, I'm coming down on this argument from the view that Heroic Modes are redundant, difficulty can be more variable within a raid, and that heroic content doesn't count as double content-- that's not a fair assertion by Blizzard. Whether it be called Normal or Heroic is not my concern as much as having one raid lockout type, variable levels of difficulty. It is not what I want to have the current type, variable level of lockouts by difficulty.