When comparing the new Mists of Pandaria expansion to the previous Cataclysm expansion, one of the biggest differences is how difficult the Heroic dungeons were. Most players still remember the Cataclysm Heroics, being difficult enough to make these instances hard to do with a PuG group. The difficulty of these heroics, along with other factors, lead to a huge decline in subscribers, since some players reached maxed level and did not want to spend time wiping on these heroics for hours on end. With nothing else to really do in the game, they decided to just stop playing. This is vastly differs from the experience of Mists of Pandaria, where the dungeons are almost ridiculously easy. Having these Heroics being easier definitely seems to be what works best for this game.
Obviously, players are only going to continue to play if they have things to do. This means having introductory content at max level that all players are able to do. The truth of the matter is that most players are casual, and do not want to spend their time in this game dying over and over again. But does this mean that there should be no difficult five-man content? I don’t think so. Something I would like to see is having there be a version of dungeons that are easy enough to run through the dungeon-finder tool with a group of random players, which would be as difficult as the Heroics that are currently in the game. However, I think it would be interesting to have a version of these dungeons that are tuned more like the Cataclysm Heroics, if not harder. This would give players who enjoy that hard five man content something to progress into.
This sort of system is already in place in a way, with the Challenge Mode dungeons, however, the only difference is that the Challenge Mode dungeons do not give any progressive rewards. I do like how the Challenge Modes are set up right now; they are a great idea, but it would still be interesting to have another difficulty, one that is more difficult, and rewards players with more powerful rewards.
I may be the only one who feels this way, but I just think it would be interesting to have different ways to progress through content. In PvP, players have the choice of doing either Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas, giving them a lot of choice of how they want to play. However, for raiders, there gets to be a point where the only choice players have is going into raids. What I am suggesting is having a form of dungeons that are just as difficult as raids, while still having the easier introduction content for casual players. This expansion is all about “playing your way” and this is an idea that definitely feeds off this mentality, though it is unlikely because it will involve a lot of balancing and tuning these dungeons, and it may not be as popular of a progression path as I think. Oh well, just an interesting idea.