Okay, a slight break from your regularly scheduled Ret Paladin QQ-fest ;).
A significant number of bloggers, pretty much those who have been lucky enough to find and stay in a raid instance which doesn't crash every 5 minutes, have been commenting on how easy raiding has become in 3.0.2. Mr Big Bear Butt esq. says he "can no longer take pride in saying [he] downed something in Kara", echoing this post on Mystic Chicanery bemoaning the ease with which Voidreaver was dropped. Firelights' Guild has downed Illidan and HonorsHammer similarly cleared BT in record time.
The common theme is not criticism of how accessible these Raids have become, though there are many other blogs which have done just that. Instead there is a tendency to lament the fact that these instances simply don't present much of a challenge any more.
This is of course down to the changes brought by the latest Patch. The simplicity is partially due to the sheer DPS increase for some classes in the latest build. Ret Paladins are the most obvious example, but with the possible exception of Warlocks the same appears to be true for all classes. However the most significant impact could be the changes to Burning Crusade Raids brought in with the new patch:
To coincide with the upcoming new talents and mechanic changes for classes in the next patch, we are making some adjustments in existing raid content to provide a smooth transition when the upcoming patch is released. The creatures and bosses in raid dungeons that were introduced in The Burning Crusade will have their health reduced (30% reduction), and most will have their standard melee damage output reduced as well, but their spell and ability damage are not being changed. These changes are being made in all raid dungeons from Karazhan to Sunwell Plateau as well as the outdoor encounters of Doom Lord Kazzak and Doomwalker. On top of this Illidan is also doing his part and will stop casting Shear on players.(Source)
In addition Crushing Blows and the Sunwell Radiance buff were removed, sidestepping many of the gear and timing issues some Raid Encounters presented. The reasoning behind this was simple: the crushing blow mechanic was no longer appropriate given the changes to Warriors and Feral Druids, and with healers anticipating mana issues with the downranking nerf a shorter fight was appropriate. But if the impact of these adjustments have caused players to no longer find the instance a challenge are they good changes?
As video game players, casual or otherwise, all of need both a genuine challenge and a sense of accomplishment when overcoming these challenges in order to stay interested in a game. However one cannot exist without the other, and so if the challenge is gone just how long can we stay interested in a game?
In nerfing the instance to this extent Blizzard may have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot before they release Wrath of the Lich King. Server stability issues (a distinct worry for my in the Beta, and it seems that they have migrated to Live) won't help any, and any imbalance in PvP will only serve to increase the churn amongst those players secure in their position at the top for the last couple of Seasons. The great Achievement Rush of 2008 can't last forever (there aren't enough of them for a start) and there probably isn't enough challenging content to appease the masses. Unless ad-hoc Raid encounters against 20 Ret Paladins count.
The rumoured Pre-Wrath World Event, and Wrath itself, probably can't come soon enough.
Sometimes though, downing a boss still feels awesome.