One of the things about 5-man content in the time of WotLK is that it was largely accessible to anyone. Any of the 5-man content could easily be PUG’d except for one of the ICC 5-man instances in the last tier of content, and most of them could be finished in somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour at most. A lot of the raiding content was difficult, but people who didn’t want to be doing end-game hard-mode progression still had an option of running new 5-mans during the content release (and they didn’t need raid gear to clear 5-mans).
Right now, with the ZA and ZG heroics, people are reporting that they are spending 2 or 3 hours in the instance trying to clear them, and PUGs are really hit-or-miss in terms of whether you complete it or give up at the first boss. After taking a peak at the content, I’m pretty sure they missed the mark on what ZA & ZG were supposed to be. ZA and ZG should be content where average players are still capable of running it, even if they don’t have full raid gear epics.
I am okay with raid content being hard and somewhat exclusive. I’m perfectly happy to have raiding content be long and grueling (I spent like 6 hours one day raiding a single instance in LOTRO a couple weeks ago). However, I’m not really okay with 5-man content feeling long and grueling. Even if it’s “hard”, it should be relatively fast to clear. Both ZA & ZG have too much trash, since they also have a lot of bosses. The target should be for people to be able to get done in an hour or less for 5-man dungeons. Any 5-man taking longer than an hour (unless you are wiping repeatedly) is too long for people. A 5-man version of a raid we used to run shouldn’t really feel like running a raid, it should feel like a fun 5-man where you can just calmly hang out with your friends for a quick trip down memory lane.
The new random PUG dungeon finder tool should go along with a set of dungeons that can actually be done by people who PUG 5-mans on limited time schedules because the 5-man content should be end-game content targeted at people who can’t raid. People who don’t raid want to be able to go in and not have to commit a 3 hour time block to clear content. Even people who raid really want short things they can do in the ~hour or two they may have free before/after the raid. Instead, the ZG and ZA instances are huge time-sinks that I haven’t even been able to run due to my schedule not allowing for setting aside 3 or so hours on either a raid night or a non-raid night.
I like my raids long and epic-feeling BUT I like my 5-mans fast and straightforward to give me a fun break from the grueling raiding end-game process. ZA and ZG just don’t feel fun because they’re just so long. 🙁