Would you really think you had? The fact you have killed a boss 30% easier doesn't mean you have become Paragon, far from it.
Either you are twisting my words here or you didn't understand what I said.
Let me make it clearer by an example: We were slowly but surely progressing on spine of deathwing when the nerfs started rolling in. Beat spine when it was nerfed by 10%, and Madness when it was nerfed 15%. This made us feel cheated. We did not feel that we had succeeded in killing those bosses the way they were meant to be killed, it even borderlined on a feeling of shame, as there was another top guild on the server that beat both at 0% 3 weeks earlier.
That guild and ours were the two competing ones and this time we were slower, wich was injury enough - yet Blizzard forced their hand holding on us, making our accomplishment 15% weaker than theirs.
This doesn't make us into Paragon, wich is a strange, veiled insult aswell.
What I obviously meant was that we never had the chance to complete Spine or Madness at 0% before the nerfs started rolling in, and therefore couldn't pride ourselves with the feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that we had defeated the same encounter the top guilds in the world had - even though we did so later than them wich of course is to be expected.
And before you go all "but! but! you could turn off the debuff!", we both know that doing something hard without having sh*t to show for it is pointless. On top of that, it risks us falling behind some much worse guilds that would utilize the nerf.
There is no sane reason to do it, you either defeat the bosses before the nerfs, or you fall in with the crowd that didn't make it before the nerfs rolled in.
Picture a group that is stuck on a boss at 30% hp constantly for, I don't know, two months. They'll definitely consider it progress when they finally move past him, and it's fine. For you that's not true progress because they didn't kill the boss on its hardest version, and it's a valid point of view as well, but that can't be a reason to block people from moving on, particularly if we keep in mind what the developers have seen when this happens: while there are guilds out there that have the will to keep on trying for as long as it's required, it's a rare treat in most other guilds, and they eventually give up.
While I have always understood the point you are trying to make, this is where our opinions differ fundamentally, wich is strange to me as you also claim that you are a since-release vanilla player like myself.
The nerfing wasn't there at all for the first few years, and I never saw the end of Sunwell in TBC. Did that make me mad? No. A bit disappointed, yes, but there was no option - you either had the skills/tenacity to do it, or you didn't. People had respect for the Sunwell because it was hard, and we respected the few players that completed it, and rightfully so.
If we were to take the same scenario today, then all anyone would have to do is wait for your employer (Blizzard) to make the instance trivial, in order for me to reap the same rewards as those who put in blood sweat and tears to complete it when it was hard.
This, to me, is winning by having a cheat forced down my throat that I never asked for, and foremost it doesn't differentiate me - let's say that I'm one of those players that beat it at 30% nerf - from the players that beat it when it was actually hard.
This has taken the "grown up" feeling away from the game completely, and the whole thing stinks of a soccer tournament for 7 year olds where everyone gets a trophy simply for participating, even though one team won with 18-0: "don't be sad my child, everyone's a winner here!". Trophies for all participating 7 year olds are fine, but Blizzard needs to understand that WoW isn't played by 7 year olds.
I haven't had a genuine Vent/TS screamfest with my blood pumping with adrenaline so much that I almost fainted since about 4-5 years back. That feeling simply can't be accomplished today, because I don't trust in the encounters not being trivialized in order to please the bottom of the barrel.
Killing C'thun in Vanilla is still the best feeling I've ever had, because I knew that very few would accomplish that wich we had worked so insanely hard to accomplish. Today, I know that wether or not I complete something early with maximum effort won't matter squat, because it will be trivialized so that everyone can go around with a title wich some have earned the hard
way. It's worth noting that there have never been more to do in the game, and there are 3 raids out currently, yet it feels as if you won't be pleased until everyone and their grandmother is able to beat all 3 on Heroic.
It saddens me and it has driven me away from raiding completely. Not because I claim to always be the one to complete raids early, but if/once I do I don't want to have that accomplishment taken away from me, the same way that I don't want to diminish someone else's accomplishment by doing something when it's 30% easier.