Larisa recently commented on my last post to note that my intention of making larger instances goes against the currently published Blizzard motivations to create smaller more PUG / short raid night friendly instances. While I do believe short instances can be effective if they are correctly themed and scaled to be the size they are. The pumping station that was Serpent Shrine Cavern was sensibly scaled to around 6 bosses reflecting its limited size and scale; similarly Tempest Keep felt correctly sized at four bosses as a command module of a starship. Scaling beyond this however as a full starship or operations centre we would have expected to see more:

Perhaps for Tempest Keep we might have expected an Engineering Section, an armoury or weapon section and navigation / command; for Serpent Shrine areas for breeding and training, multiple control sites and then the pumping areas themselves. Instead we saw small disconnected areas with no logical motivation behind them (what role did the bosses in SSC or TK actually play in their areas?).

Instead we can have a more thematically correct instance (think Zul'aman or Zul'Gurub) but in an accessible way. Rather than building a monolithic instance like Icecrown Citadel with 12 sequential bosses (effectively) vs 3-5 interconnected instances.

Our Icecrown model becomes something akin to:

............................--------- Plague Wing ----|
Ramparts -------------|.........................|
............................|-------- Blood Wing----- x---- Frostmourne ---- Lich King
Nerubian Tunnels --|.........................|
.............................--------- Frost Wing------|

Sorry for the dodginess of the diagram, essentially we have two entrances into the instance each as a separate instances, We then have the interior wings (either gated as their own instances or a single instance) and then the final wings. Thus progression is available for PUGs as they can approach these in small parts, being saved to a semi-fail PUG will not totally lock you out of the instance (provided you can approach the other entrance).Similarly guilds starting the instance don't feel tied to a single boss that is stopping progress and we can build in exceptions.

Furthermore if our instances are thematically based and linked in we can do funky things with boss ordering (a large scale version of the Iron Council) allowing us to create scaling difficulties before hardmodes.

A base boss in each wing may drop 1 item and 0 tokens with the end wing boss dropping 1 and 1 token. If we approach them in reverse order (thus activating a scaling hardmode like Flame Leviathan) the end boss drops 3 items and 2 tokens with the others scaling similarly. This gives us a reason to do things in a non-standard order.

Taking ICC Plague Wing this would be something akin to:

Engage Professor Putricide with Precious and Stinky
Engage Professor Putricide with Precious or Stinky
Engage Festergut with Stinky
Engage Rotface with Precious
Engage Professor Putricide
Engage Fester/Rotface

So our regular modes are their boring selves. However we can engage the bosses with additional difficulty to increase their rewards and difficulty. The Hardmodes would of course stack with these effects making fights that scale towards a difficulty like Lich King.

For progression guilds the best approach to these instances is to hit the hardest normal modes first and then work in a balance of hardmodes scaling uptowards hard hard modes. Loot rewards those willing to make the effort and try new things rather than simply approaching bosses in a linear order.

We can then further tie in other instances towards this. Our two tier 10 instances might have an interlink that lets you skip the outer instance of the other instance. Again this gives flexibility to a guild to approach instances in new ways.

It needs more thought, but I think I prefer approaching instances as a thematically linked and interesting group of raid locks rather than distinct and unlinked raids that may not further the story we are seeking.