Interesting, and inviting news from Blizzard. It appears that in order to use the LFD for a dungeon, you must find it first. Also, there may be attunements put in the game again!
Looking to Cataclysm, maybe you want to know that, for normal dungeons, players must discover the dungeon in the world prior to access it from LFD tool. It is possible that you could see attunements for heroics and raids (which would be similar to the one of Karazhan). Developers arent sure yet of whether they use attunements or not. However, heroic dungeons at level 85 would probably have more gear requirement (in comparison) than heroic dungeons at level 80.
We’ll start off with the LFD tool. I think this is great news. There have been several times when I have been in a PuG group that has wiped, and it takes an extra 5 minutes for everybody to get back into the dungeon, simply because they can’t find their way in, or have never been there before, so don’t even know where it is on the map. It encourages a bit of exploration, and less of a “just get me there” attitude. To top it off, this will even allow Blizzard to use more quests to guide folks towards the instances, much like they did with Utguarde Keep and the Nexus.
In accordance with this news, there is also the statement that there will be more strict gear requirements for Cataclysm Heroics than there will be for current WotLK Heroics. I’m not really sure how to take this. I do understand that there are several folks who far overgear the heroics, and don’t really want to run through an instance with somebody in quest greens and blues; however, everyone has to start somewhere. Again, this may be how the quests leading up to the normal dungeons themselves can come into light, and provide quest gear that can get you started where you need to be, providing you with the ability to gear quicker through the Dungeons, and not through emblems as it is today.
And the last topic, which I’m sure will be a contested one within the current Casual environment of WoW, is the fact that Attunements will be coming back. I applaud this change, and truly hope that it comes to be. I loved the questline leading into Karazhan, it really gave you a backstory to the Raid you were about to attempt. If I had the capability and time to raid more, I am sure that I would have enjoyed the quests leading up to Mt. Hyjal through Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Caverns. I had gotten up to the raiding portion of the Black Temple quest line as well, and really enjoyed it. Maybe it is just the lorenerd in me, but I really like to pick up the backstory before I go slaying demons and dragons. It also gives you a little feel of accomplishment, as others know that if you are wearing gear from that raid, that you went through that line of quests to get there first. I wouldn’t consider it “epeen flexing” as in my mind it is more of a lore perspective, and the impact that I had on the environment. I really don’t feel like it should be thought of as an invisible wall, but instead a way to better understand the environment that you are about to enter.
In addition to the lore aspect of these attunements, it will also allow Blizzard to refine their phasing technology, and make the area feel as if you had actually affected it in some way. Say, you had to work on a quest where you eventually had to blow a hole in the wall of a cave in order to get into the Vash’jir instances. Only you and others who had opened that hole in the wall would be able to get into that instance. Now, I do understand the logisitcal problems that larger guilds will have with this, since all who want to raid, will have to complete the quests or attunement first. However, maybe this can be simplified by using a gating system much like the new Icecrown Dungeons did. For example, in order to get into the Vash’jir Raid instance, you must first complete the dungeons leading up to it. This would work with both the new rule of having to find the dungeon, and providing some backstory and lore to proceed the raid.