In a post on the official Blizzard forums today, Community Manager Bashiok confirmed the existence of eight total raid bosses in patch 4.2
seven in the Firelands, and one new boss in Baradin Hold, all with unique models, animations, and effects. (No word yet on how many will have stubby little feet.) Further, it has been confirmed that Firelands, in Bashiok's own words, "is the
raid in 4.2," and will be available for testing soon as part of the "aggressive development cycle":
Yes, Firelands is the raid in 4.2, and 7 is the total number of bosses.
We think 7 is our current ideal for number of bosses in a raid. (We launched Cataclysm with two full raids of 4-6 bosses each.) We're also spending a lot of time making the Firelands bosses as awesome as possible - - creating unique models, animations, effects, sounds, etc. etc. Previously a lot of bosses were larger versions of existing models, which was fine, but that tradeoff is made somewhere. We shift to making fewer but more epic boss fights and there's a tradeoff somewhere. We're concentrating our efforts into a smaller number of fights so that each fight is bigger and better, they're still obviously going to be extremely challenging, but once it is on farm you're not having to spend two, three, maybe four nights just to clear it because the raid is so huge.
Bashiok goes on to give further insight on the content development process as it applies to new raids, suggesting that future raid patches will be much like this one in content and scope:
Our ideal situation would, of course, be to launch as many raids as possible with this current ideal number of around 7 bosses, but that's not something we're ever going to promise. We'd love to be able to produce unlimited amounts of content anywhere, not just raids, for that matter. We think one raid per patch with around 7 bosses is a super solid experience, though, especially with how much effort is going into Firelands. We don't think anyone is going to be disappointed.
On a side note, the whole daily quest thing hasn't sparked much excitement yet, but with the preview going live here in a few hours (and BlizzCast 16) hopefully we can impress how awesome that's going to be, too.
Again, there's a pretty aggressive development cycle for 4.2, so it's not going to be very long before we're on the PTR, and not very long (comparatively) before release.
While more content is always nice, I'm quite enthusiastic about the "seven raid boss per patch" sweet spot design. The super-raid design of patch 3.3 was a little much -- by including so much content into one raid, it often took two to three nights of play to achieve a full clear. And best of all, I love the idea of using original models -- the design of Marrowgar was awesome, but finding the same model in Halls of Origination ... well, it just felt a little cheap.
[EDIT: Updated to reflect there will be 8 raid bosses: 6 in Firelands, plus Rag and 1 in Baradin Hold.]
The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on the new quest hubs. Plus, new Tier 12 armor!