Before I start, the usual disclaimer: these are my personal opinions, yours may be different. Also please keep it in mind that I'm writing this as a solo player who has only grouped once before for a dungeon in WotLK and never in BC.
Advantages of the new LFG tool
- Solo players such as myself finally have a way to experience 5-man dungeons like never before.
- There's no need for a guild in order to create a group.
- The tool allows anyone to get into a group incredibly quick! Thanks to the new cross-realm technology, queues are so short that you barely have enough time to do anything until you get thrown into a dungeon. I can't speak for specific dungeons but that's how it works for random ones. The first time I queued up, the confirmation dialog came so quickly that I missed it due to not being ready. The next queue came just as fast, under 1 minute.
- Linked to the above point, you no longer have to waste 30 minutes - 1 hour spamming the trade chat for a PUG.
- The LFG tool puts you right inside the instance which means that "noobs" like me don't have to make a fool of themselves by admitting they don't know where the entrance is. In addition, it saves you a lot of time because you don't have to travel all the way to the instance and then wait for slow-ass group members to show up.
- The LFG tool allows all players, even casuals, to experience a lot of content that they would have otherwise missed due to being afraid to group with random strangers.
- It makes PUGs cool and safe. Cool because you don't need to know anyone in the group and as a consequence it allows shy people to be more at ease. Safe because of the voting feature where you can choose to kick out from the group anyone who acts like a jerk.
- Because all the pre-dungeon logistics are taken care of, it's easy to jump right into the middle of the action and finish a heroic in 30 minutes - 1 hour, as long as it used to take just to form a group before patch 3.3.
- All this efficiency allow people to run more dungeons in the same amount of time than they used to. Which also translates into more loot and cheaper mats on the AH. For example Frozen Orbs have dropped on my server, in the few days since patch 3.3 went up, from 30 gold to less than 10 gold.
- The new loot option, in addition to Need and Greed, which is Disenchant, also makes enchanting mats more common and cheaper. Of course, this new option only applies if there's a disenchanter in the group.
- If the random group that you are in is very good, you can choose to complete other dungeons with them, without disbanding, by having the party leader queue the group for another dungeon. How cool is that?
- It allows casuals who care about achievements to accomplish a whole lot of them. In only 2 heroics I got about 10 new achievements.
- As a further incentive to use this tool, we get the Perky Pug as a reward for grouping up with 100 random people.
Disadvantages of the LFG tool
Unfortunately there are a few things that are missing from the LFG tool. They're not exactly major disadvantages but life would be even better with them.
- You can't use the LFG tool for raids. That's very sad because I was hoping to finally jump into some form of casual raiding without having any affiliation with a guild.
- You can't use the LFG tool for older dungeons/raids such as BC or Classic. I would have really loved to be able to group up for some of the older dungeons. Even though I can solo most of the 5-man BC dungeons, that's not the case for raids. For example it would be totally awesome if this tool allowed us to queue up for a Molten Core or AQ raid.
At any rate, despite these minor issues, I declare the new LFG tool a major success. It's probably one of the best features that any patch has introduced in a long time. It opens up World of Warcraft to so many players who had never considered grouping due to various reasons and, I dare to suggest, it removes some of the stigma that surrounds casuals and solo players. The only question that I have is why the hell didn't Blizzard implement this earlier, like in Classic or at least BC? Beggars can't be choosers though and I salute Blizzard and thank them for this new feature.
If you can think of other cool features and/or disadvantages of the new LFG tool that I haven't covered, please drop me a line. And enjoy pugging like never before!