So many 4.3 news, so much to comment on... but I don't think I will talk about most of it. Some things I either don't have a very strong opinion on at the moment (such as the tanking changes) or I prefer to see how they play out in practice before raving about them too much (such as the transmogrification feature and void storage). However, there is one piece of news that immediately sent my mind reeling, and I'm surprised that it hasn't spurred more commentary so far: that Blizzard intends to include a raid finder akin to the dungeon finder in the next patch. Maybe everyone's brains just locked up in horror at the thought.
Here's how I imagine it will go:
First off, 25-mans will see a sudden revival. The main selling points of ten-mans are that you don't need to handle as many people and that it's easier to limit your group to your best friends. However, if the organisational part is handled by an automated system and you're going to group with nothing but strangers anyway, you might as well select the option that gives marginally more loot. Assuming that players of all roles will follow this logic to an equal extent, 25-mans should also have shorter queues, considering that the tanks to healers to damage dealers ratio is slightly more favourable in 25-mans.
Nonetheless, I expect queues to be an issue, more so than for five-mans. Or rather, I expect that they'll always be either fairly short (less than an hour, maybe even less than half an hour) or long enough to equal "not gonna happen". The reason for this is that due to the length of raids, people are a lot less likely to be interested in doing them at all times of day. If your faction just won Tol Barad and you want to do Baradin Hold, you'll get a group fairly quickly. (On a side note, if they do make it cross-server, which they probably will, how will it handle things like Baradin Hold? I assume that you'll only be able to queue while it's being held on your server.) Evenings in general are going to be popular as well. But if you queue up during anything but prime time, don't expect to get far.
Then comes the nitty gritty of the actual runs. Finally the system tells you that a group has been found! We all know how annoying it can be when you click your ready button in the dungeon finder and then slowly watch the group time out because one person was AFK. Now imagine this with ten or twenty-five people. Good luck not going mad while trying again and again!
Upon zoning in you'll probably discover that about half your healers are actually damage dealers. The problem of people signing up for a role that they don't actually intend to play just to get a faster queue is not new, but in five-mans it rarely turns out well for the deceiver because it's very obvious whether they are doing what they're supposed to do or not. But in a raid with six healers? I reckon that a lot of players will be willing to take their chances that nobody will notice.
If you do notice that someone has tried to "cheat" their way into the group, how is vote-kicking going to work in a raid? I imagine that getting ten to twenty-five people to agree on things is going to be quite hard.
Just like in the dungeon finder, I expect most people to zone in and not say a word. I can already picture tanks charging in with no consideration for the rest of the raid, just like they often do in five-mans... except that in a raid they'll end up dying that way, and then maybe drop group.
Most people will probably just stand around and wait for someone to tell them what to do, with maybe one or two going nuts with excitement about being in a raid with so many people, spamming chat, changing appearance and bouncing off the walls until they pull something - basically similar to what you see in the starting cave in Alterac Valley.
One or two experienced players are likely to speak up eventually and will try to get some sort of coordination going. People will ignore a lot of what is being said and maybe even go AFK. Just when the self-appointed leaders think that they're ready to pull, someone will drop group and need replacing. Eventually someone will start the fight and the entire raid will wipe horribly the moment the boss does his or her first special, as hardly anyone paid any attention to the strategy.
After the wipe, ninety percent of the raid will lie around on the floor, not bothering to release, while spamming the surviving mage or hunter with requests for a mass res. People will leave. New ones come in. Rinse and repeat for a while until the leader loses patience and the whole thing falls apart completely.
Cue lots of complaining on the forums about how raid finder groups are impossible, at which point the content will get nerfed like never before, because the guys at Blizzard are proud of their raid finder and want to make it a more enjoyable experience, and anyway, you clearly can't expect groups to talk to each other or try to coordinate through those complicated encounters!
Cynical, me? Maybe just a little.*
*Disclaimer: I don't think that a raid finder would be completely awful. For example I can see it being a nice convenience when it comes to running Baradin Hold, which many people do pug already anyway. However, generally raid content hasn't been designed for a team of random people who want to have as little interaction with each other as possible, so I foresee a lot of pain in the future if the devs once again try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Before and after
2 hours ago