Deathwing is dead.
Actually, he's been dead for a couple of weeks now. I'm just damned tardy in my progression updates these days.
My guild, Mountain Top, cleared normal Dragon Soul for the first time just before the 5% Power of the Aspects nerf hit at the end of January. Sadly, I wasn't there due to a family crisis, but I'm proud that our guild managed to down Dragon Soul before it's difficulty was reduced. And we managed it despite losing key members of the team and not having a regular raid night.
Did I mention we're recruiting?
I got my own first Deathwing kill on the first week after the nerfs, and am going in again tonight for my third. We've also begun working on Heroic Morchok, whom we got down to 10% on our first night before time constraints forced us to kill him on normal difficulty so we had enough time left to clear the instance that night.
At the beginning of this expansion I set a raiding goal for myself; I wanted to clear each raiding tier while it was current, something that I didn't manage to do in Wrath of the Lich King. With Deathwing's demise at the hands of my Shaman I have now managed to accomplish that on the last two of the three raiding tiers this expansion.
I view Raiding Progression as a very personal thing. As much as I share the accomplishments with my guild and couldn't do it without them, I look at the raid bosses I've downed as my measuring stick as to how well I've experienced the content and how I am personally progressing. I was enormously disappointed that I didn't clear all of Tier 11 while it was current, only going 9/12; I didn't get Nefarian or either of the Throne of the Four Winds encounters down before 4.2 brought the nerfbat to them. Despite that disappointment, I'm very happy to have accomplished what I have done.
I promised myself that I would not make this post a discussion on the difficulty level but I need to at least mention that compared to Lich King, Nefarian or Ragnaros, Madness of Deathwing was a hell of a lot easier. It didn't take my guild very many attempts to finally kill him. I think I saw about five pulls on normal difficulty before I got my first kill. Even Ragnaros after the savage nerfs that he received seemed more difficult than Madness.
The question that I pose to you, dear reader, is: Was the Madness of Deathwing encounter inherently easier than previous end boss encounters, or did it simply seem easier because the vast majority of us had already seen and defeated a simplified version of it on the Raid Finder?