So, we're not a top guild by any means, we're casual leaning a bit towards progression oriented, but we finish content at our pace, and by the time we're pulling a boss, there are a ton of guides, videos and a lot of information uploaded to the usual suspects - certainly far more information is available to us than is in the Journal. Alternate strategies, ideal specs and glyphs, all that sort of thing.
With all that knowledge, you would imagine we could clear content with no problem, and yet, let's look at Nefarian.
The accepted ways to doing this fight were just not working for us. Phase 1 and Phase 3, the way they were planned and executed by most guilds just did not work for us, so despite knowing everything about the fight, we had to develop our own strategies to balance our particular raid composition and our particular play style.
- I don't know anyone who runs Nefarian on normal mode 10 man with 3 tanks and 3 healers, but we do.
- We put Nefarian in one corner of the pit while the adds are kited over the majority of the center while everyone else more or less stays put, instead of putting him in the center.
- Rather than play the rotating game with Ony, we just plant her butt in the middle of the raid and let everyone deal with tail slams.
- We Hero in phase 1 to make the transition to phase 3 that much faster while still getting 3 crackles before Nefarian lands for the second time.
And it took us (a brutal) four straight nights of work to get to that point. We didn't have roots, reliable CC or any other means of gathering the adds up so we used a third tank. We were having too much trouble with fire with Nef in the center, and it took excruciating amounts of wiping over and over again sub 20% till we come up with a way that worked for us. We really had to unravel the fight despite knowing everything about it in every possible way.
We've done the same on most of the really complicated fights - our Cho'gall positioning is fairly odd, for example, but it's perfect for us. We don't spread out as much on Al'akir as most 10-mans do, instead preferring to have double healer coverage. We don't have all the DPS swap to kill Sparks in phase 2, I manage them on my own as Retribution.
All these little tweaks and adjustments that have to be made are done on the fly, on the ground is what raiding is all about. The fights require us to make these decisions not based on "I know what this boss does so I know how to deal with it," but rather, "I know what this boss does, but lets figure out together, how we can manage it."
That right there, is why I love raiding. The team-work and friendship that grows out of that is really, really hard to get over.