Icecrown Citadel (ICC), current crown jewel of the World of Warcraft raiding world. Lair of the Lich King himself, this immense dungeon promised to offer raiders new and exciting challenges unlike any they had encountered before. Having spent the last month and half assaulting this dungeon twice a week on 10 man difficulty, I have come to realize that it does, as promised, offer challenges. Challenges that stand the core logic and coherency of the game on their head, spin them around, and kick them over, all while laughing maniacly.
Let it be known that I have only been party to the defeat of 4 bosses in ICC 10, and the attempt of 3 others, thus I will be using the first 4 bosses as my primary source. I have noticed a serious incongruency that threatens to frustrate and alienate many members of the raiding community; an incongruency that has poked its ugly head from beneath the shadows before, but now seems to be coming out in full swing. It is near impossible to defeat the first 4 bosses of ICC 10 with the same raid group. Specifically, the group that defeats boss 2 cannot defeat boss 4. How can this be? Here is how.
The issue lies in the DPS makeup of the group. Boss 2 requires a balance of melee and spell casters, as some of the mobs are immune to spell damage (and reflect all spell damage dealt to them, which can quickly kill a caster if missed), while others are immune to melee damage. This also presents an issue to paladin and death knight tanks, since the majority of their abilities deal spell damage. It is very doable, however, as long as there is a balance of melee and spell casters in the group to eliminate the appropriate mobs. How then is such a balanced group unable to defeat boss 4? Consider this. An ICC 10 group, at minimum, will have 2 tanks and 2 healers, leaving 6 DPS. In order to defeat boss 2, there must be 3 melee and 3 spell casters.
With that in mind, we come to boss 4. The primary challenge of this boss is that he accumulates runic power as a result of various raid actions, and when it reaches 100 he casts a debuff that will ultimately kill someone (while healing himself). To avoid this, adds have to be kited, raid members must stand 10 yards apart, tanks must be quick to taunt from one another to avoid melee hits while they have a certain debuff, etc. The bottom line is, melee DPS = bad in this fight. There has to be at least 4 spell caster dps to handle kiting adds, plus if you have more than 2 melee on the boss, his runic power will accumulate too fast and the debuff of doom will ultimately wipe the raid. Thus we can come to the conclusion that a group who defeats boss 2 cannot defeat boss 4. Unless you have a DPS that is dual spec melee/spell caster (which can only be done by druids and shamans and is very rare), you have no choice but to switch someone out, which isn't fair to anyone involved.
It is not fair for Blizzard to give the player the choice to be whatever class and variation of that class they choose, then create a raid environment that is overly class specific. While they did make dual specialization available - a great feature in my opinion - the success of a raid should not depend on it. It is a feature - an OPTIONAL feature - and thus no part of the game should rely on it. Another issue in ICC arises later with bosses that require only one tank. What if your tanks have been focusing soley on their tank sets and don't have an ICC worthy DPS set to switch to? Then likely your DPS will be lacking, the boss will hit its enrage timer, and the raid will wipe. Either have every boss in a raid require 2 tanks or make them all capable of being defeated by 6 DPS.
The bottom line is ICC 10 is unbalanced, and in such a way that has the potential to cause serious issues within raid groups. Balance it out Blizzard!