Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 04, 2010
Cultural differences to the Dungeon Finder?

You might have noticed that I didn't make predictions for 2010, I'm not a big fan of them. But I read those of other bloggers, and found this funny bit in Spinks' predictions: "A few months down the line, it will be generally agreed that the dungeon finder is more successful in the EU and Taiwan than in the US. No one will dare to comment on why this might be, except to bitch that the rest of the world is cheating by having a less individualist culture." Of course discussing it already makes the prediction fail, sorry Spinks, but I do find the subject interesting. Do you think the Dungeon Finder is more successful outside the US because of others having a less individualist culture?

Playing on European servers, I must say I'm positively astonished on the huge success rate my PuGs have. Over 95% of my PuGs up to now managed to kill the last boss and get the reward. And I did PuGs of all levels, not just level 80 heroics. My mage already got 20 emblems of triumph and isn't 80 yet, and that's just the rewards from the first random dungeon of the day. My pally is in his 60's, and already gained several levels just by dungeon runs. Of course my level 80's are using the dungeon finder as well, but more often than not in a guild group, where succeeding doesn't come as a surprise. While the competence level in PuGs is more variable, I rarely had the case that somebody was playing so badly that we couldn't do the dungeon. I experienced some wipes, most often from bad pulls, but very few people quitting after a wipe.

Is that any different on US servers? What is the success rates of your random PuGs found with the Dungeon Finder? Do you think it is true that the Dungeon Finder is less of a success in the USA?
I rarely have groups that fail when I use the LFG tool. Out of 20 groups I would say maybe one or two aren't successful.

With the average gear level of players these days it's hardly a surprise that random PuGs have high success rates. I would say anyone above a 3.5k gearscore is already overgeared (or at least above par) with every heroic in the game minus the Ice Crown ones. With triumph badges/crafted epics/boe epic someone can reach a 4k gearscore the same day they hit 80.

So I see this as less of a matter of "this region has better players" or "this region is more indivualistic" and more of a "the average player is overgeared for heroics" type deal.

Sure you'll find the ocassional bad player but honestly as long as the tank and healer are competent enough to do their roles you could have all 1.5k dps in a heroic and still get it done. (Remember when 2k dps in heroics was awesome? :p)
I am of the opinion that gaming is a lot more mainstream in the US than in Asia/Europe, and so you have a bigger pool of bad players in the US.

Just conjuring some numbers to give examples: In the US, you might have 33% great players, 33% average players, and 34% bad players, while in Asia/Europe, you might have 45% great players, 45% average players, and 10% bad players (of course that 100% in Europe/Asia is way less than that 33% in US).

You have lots of pensioners playing WoW in the US ... how many pensioners would play WoW outside US (with all due apologies, but I expect that the average young adult would have better game control than pensioners).

Another more controversial opinion: Most Americans I have met have this "I know what's going on, I'm @%#&in good" attitude, while Asians seem to have a more, "I probably don't know stuffs, so I'll be quiet and listen" attitude.

So perhaps it is cultural.
Not hard to guess who'd be a better learner. Confidence is good, but over-confidence is a killer.

Apologies for the blanket opinion, but that is what I have experienced from my rather limited interactions in the past.
How exactly do you define "successful" as far as dungeon finder groups go? Percentage of server population who uses it? Percentage of successful clears?

With the exception of groups which get Occulus for the random and everyone just quits immediately, I've not had a single failed pug besides Halls of Reflection. It seems to be because you can now get all of the gear you need within hours of hitting 80 to do T9 equivalent DPS. There is no such thing as "not geared enough" as far as heroics are concerned. With that exception of Halls of Reflection, as it seems to be tuned just right for people wearing current gear.

As far as player percentages using the tool, those are numbers that Blizzard would have to officially release to form an sort of realistic theories about.
As someone in the US, I've run at least one heroic a day since the dungeon finder came out and haven't had a single one fail yet. I've had people drop group on harder ones like Halls of Reflection but we always replace them and always get it done. Thus far the Dungeon Finder has been a huge success, aside from tanks deciding that a 20 minute run through CoT takes too long and dropping group.
I'm seeing the same success rates on a US server, or even higher. And this is on low level dungeons as well as heroics. Other than Gnomeregan, of course.

I think people are unwilling to let go of their assumption that "other players" are incompetent mouth-breathers.

Or maybe the complainers don't realize that there is a common element in all of their failed groups.
Groups I have rarely fail, despite when people are playing badly. Even with a hunter who is meleeing without a pet, our progress is only slightly slower than normal.

The only times we ever wiped so much that we couldn't continue was more due to the LFG system matching us to a dungeon that was too high level for us (I'm still convinced Mara Orange is bugged, putting level 40-41 players in a dungeon with 45-46 bosses) and that's hardly the players' fault.

And even then, we were still making progress, even if it was so slow that we lost and replaced several people by the time we got halfway through, and I eventually ran out of time and gave up.

(In the US)
I also play on a European Server and do a lot of instances via dungeon finder, about 4 per day since it was released. Before that I did about 2 runs per day using the old LFG tool so I have some material to compare. I'm sorry but my conclusion isn't so positive ;)
Compared to the past I wipe more, my successrate (100% with the old tool) is no longer perfect. Finding a group takes longer, it seems the other servers in my pool had much less tanks than we had. The average player is about as good as before but there are some few players present now that make me lose my faith in humanity. You see people running around in greens and epic frostresistance gear. They didn't buy it because they thought it was good, they knew it was crap. They only wear it to fool the dungeon finder to get faster access to icecrown instances. And then you end up with people in Halls of Reflection heroic doing 600 DPS. You also see healers/tanks who openly try to blackmail their group ("We will do all the achievements for this instance, otherwise I won't heal/tank and you will be forced to wait 15 minutes to kick me"). Also the amount of ninjalooting (for example a tankdroid in epics who rolls need on everything he can, blue or epic) has gone through the roof. People team up in groups of two or three people to make kickvoting them harder or impossible.
Having done all the achievements from this instance I was never scared of Oculus before. Usually everyone who went in there knew the instance or was taught it well enough to succeed. After having it done three days ago I absolutely dread this place. When you enter it at least three people will leave instantly, so wait a bit before wasting your buff materials. And then I ended up with DDs who insisted on doing Ruby Void, got on a green dragon and simply pressed "1" until the first Shift, which was when they died. Repeatedly. A bit later one of them left and we tried it again with the next guy who also had no clue and no interest to learn anything. A bit later the next left. Still no success. A bit later I couldn't control my temper any longer and simply stated that we wouldn't do any void and my trusty tank would now choose a red dragon. The third idiot left. Now we had three 'normal' idiots and after one or two additional wipes one of them grasped the concept of a bronze dragon and we managed to three man it after the usual death of the others. I left the place after a bit more than one hour with over 50 gold repair costs.

After all those disasters I implemented a new ruleset for myself:
1.) Before the first pull I will inspect everyone. If I see frostresist anywhere its a kickvote. If that fails, I leave. Thats no problem for me, I run instances with five different toons so no waiting time for me.
2.) If there is any attempt to blackmail, kickvote or leave myself.
3.) I will only do Occulus if I know at least two other people in the group. Otherwise I will leave because chances are that even waiting 15 minutes and then doing another instance would save me a lot of time.
4.) Zero tolerance. People in the dungeon finder are like small children, they need guidance and clear rules or they won't grow to be decent. If I see someone rolling need on something as small as a book of glyph mastery I will armory them and if they are no Inscriptor there will be sharp questions and a single warning. Another mistake and the guy is out.
5.) Everyone who gives a vocal indication of needing help with mastering his character will be helped. There is no greater thing than seeing someone go from 400 to 2000 DPS in a matter of minutes because of your advice.

In any given party of mine there is a 40% chance for me being the healer and a 67% chance for my fiance being the tank. This is power I intend to use. Sure, it won't make much of a difference. But if everything goes to hell it damn won't be my fault.
I have no idea where some people seem to get the impression that the Dungeon Finder experience in the EU and Tw is bounds and leaps ahead of US. I play on both US and Oceanic, with the majority of my DF groups thus far done with Oceanic players, and I can still count on one hand the outright disastrous experiences. Most are good, some are amazing, a few lackluster. I suspect that the high rate of success I've been experiencing (and perhaps everyone else's) with the Dungeon Finder is related to the percentage of well-equipped and knowledgeable players using the tool this soon into the Icecrown Citadel cycle. I would be more interested to see how the experience would change as more wings of the Citadel opens, thus making the Dungeon Finder's daily allotment of 2 emblems of frost less attractive to geared players. Would groups then be mostly composed of properly-equipped players with the occasional "under-geared" character? And would these groups be less successful overall as you would expect?

-Svartalve (Bronzebeard), Hræsvelgr (Thaurissan)
3 80s, 2 of them geared for ICC; the other for ToC 25. Have never, ever not completed a last boss when I've started combat on him or her. Yes, there have been a (very) more than 5%...that have fallen apart for one reason or another (today for instance, a heroic AN dissolved after the first boss kill--no wipes, one death. Everyone (all from different servers/guilds) left except me, and I was top DPS, so it wasn't because of me.

So no...the dungeon finder is no less successful in NORTH AMERICA than it is in EU or Oceania.
I'm on US server.

The 5% boost to hp/damage/heals is a decent 'buffer zone', but generally the pugs i've been in work fine regardless.

I do however find the occasional group where one person is very bad at teamwork and the group either falls apart, or survives despite the set back.

An example was a regular mechanar just last night as a pally tank. The DK was queue'd in as dps, refused to get out of his motley tank gear and spent the first 5 minutes insisting that my prot pally was really dps (he used damage meter to 'prove' i was doing too much damage to be prot). Lets just say the group soon fell apart, not because they couldnt do it, but because they didnt want to listen to this one DK.

Perhaps that is an example of the individualism you refer to.

Other than that I usually find myself 'carrying' the group when instancing while levelling (prot pally or living bomb mage doing upwards of 40% of the groups damage dealt). Maybe I'm an individualist myself?
The level of fail I find on US LFD groups is typically determined by the attitude brought into it. For reference, I play on US-Eonar, Vindication battlegroup. I typically find more defeatists on my Horde toons than I do my Alliance. I do usually end up with more of the least popular instances (OK-Occ-HoR) for my Frost random daily than the likes of VH-Nexus-UK-Gundrak.
I'm on a US battlegroup (Bloodlust, which is of course the best battlegroup) and my LFG group success rate is.. well, I've had one failure, out of probably 40-50 groups. That one was a Heroic Halls of Reflection that just couldn't get through the trash waves and eventually called it.

Most of these 40-50 have been on my main, a healing priest. Well, I queue as "heal or dps", but I haven't dps'ed yet. Except the time I was with a DK tank so overgeared that I switched to shadow mid-CoS and finished the instance with no healer.

But I have done a few on my blue-geared mage and DK alts, and a few on my 40-ish druid and my in-his-teens paladin.

I hear horror stories from people saying "most" of their runs fail, and I have to wonder, how? I think if anyone has a success record that poor, you have to consider that the one common factor to all those failures is you.

I will concede, though, that a good healer (which, immodestly, I think I am) can skew the success rate significantly.
I'm finding something very very strange. At 80s, groups are fantastic, rarely fail, are usually very focused.

15-62, groups were great also, people really seemed to enjoy themselves.

But god, right now my DK is 72 and tank so I find groups quickly but I'm constantly meeting the rudest, short fuse people. Yesterday I had 17 unsuccessful pugs. People leave, no reason, insult, bitch, whine and so on. Why? Northrend instances are great, short, great loot to level with - everything you need, but people seem to be at their worst. Yesterday after two pulls in the Nexus I asked for a pally buff - not rudely, politely and a standard question. The pally said "Why dont you STFU and pull". I did, and then left.

I've found I can't usually do the daily (for 2 EoTs) until after 11pm UK time. I'm not going to make the obvious conclusion that it's the holidays and by this time the kids are in bed, but.
I think Spinks is being humourous - any difference in the success of pugs is likely to be imaginary and cultural differences are most likely to be estimates based on the Euro forums VS the U.S ones.
I think its next to impossible to fail in any of the original Wrath instances with most peoples average gear level being so high. I think this feature will be even more used to level through Cataclysm, so predictions of an American demise are short sighted.
I ran the new instances in heroic mode a few times with my deathknight on a European server.

I think I did about 10 runs of which 8 weres successful. Pretty good average if you ask me. Especially since those three are supposed to be the hardest ons.

One of those runs had a tank who was asking "does anyone else feel like tanking"? I should have stopped right there, it was a terrible run.
Big Bear Butt and Dechion recently blogged about an occasion of ninja looting.

OK, so far just another day in the blogosphere - until you have a look at the comments.

While most commenters were saying something along the lines of "bad luck, mate" a couple proudly proclaimed US server Dethecus' bad reputation.

Now have a look at the Dethecus official forum.

There are a lot of proud griefers enjoying the fact that people from their server upset other players in the battlegroup.

I can see the fun side of making a player called Dethknighte qq on your server forum.

But my point is I don't think any non-US servers behave quite like this.
Did I completely misunderstand his quote?

Because it seems to me that he is talking about the success of the Finder tool forming a dungeon in the first place, and not of the formed group actually completing it... Meaning that he implies that somehow the average USA player is so stubbornly individualistic that she does not wanna join groups, while the average European and Taiwanese are, again, somehow, less bothered with their individuality and thus more ready to sacrifice it for others/group success.

Not to go into the whole "using individualistic in that context seems quite silly, vague and misguided for effect and appearance of intellectual prowess" criticism I would address to him, but hey, cmon, wouldnt such "individualism" already have *shown* itself in the previous 5 years of USA playing WoW, instead of only becoming obvious during a kind of test run of a tool made for easy accessibility...?

Besides, is it not a fact that for the first time *ever* in WoW, there is a LFG tool that completely lets you run dungeons alone (without a guild or premades, or even any in game friends), without obligations, without regards for others' "well-being" (considering loot needs etc) making it a truly *individualistic* tool in present shape and form?

I am baffled :)

And happy New Year Tobold!
I have spoken quite a bit on this subject, but I have had PuGs on two different Battlegroups, and with the exception of the time it takes to get in there, it has been wonderful.

I have had some bad experiences, but overall, I would probably consider myself a "Badge Farmer". I don't mean to be, but when you make it that damn easy, what do you expect?

I happen to be one of those lower geared folk out there, mostly ilevel 200 and 219, and my DPS is about 1800 with my warlock, so I would agree with Bigeyez.

My server was particularly difficult to find healers or tanks for, and it is nice to see that in some groups other people can help or even pick up slack for those healers and tanks that may be less then wonderful.

I don't have a percentage, but the times wiped at any level is very minimal. One or two out of 20 for me would be accurate.

I have PuGed at level 15, 30-40, 60 and on two 80's. All about the same percentage of bad PuGs, with lower being a little better success rate. I believe this is because more people know the lower level dungeons and they are a lot less likely to get a bad pull or whatever.

I think Spinks is just wanting to get some attention. ;)
I've done three PUGs with the Dungeon Finder now, playing on an EU English language server. One at 20 with my Priest playing the healer, one at 47 with my Warlock and one at 67 with my Hunter, both DPS.

All three were successful, with the dungeon being cleared to the last boss and the Achievement being, erm, achieved.

It was apparent that most of the players in most of these PUGs were speaking English as their common, but not first, language. We had some wipes, some quits, some kicks, but none of that stopped the PUG eventually succeeding.

My personal play was good as a healer, which is the role in a group that I really know well, although not from WoW. As DPS it was probably adequate as a Warlock and poor as a Hunter. I got the strong impression that as long as the DPS didn't get in the way, get agro or get anyone else killed it really would make no difference at all whether they were skilled or incompetent. No-one pays any attention to what other DPS characters are doing unless they die, get someone else killed or ninja loot.

My problem with doing the PUGs is that they are really boring. The dungeons may be well designed or interesting but who can tell? All anyone wants to do is go through them as fast as possible to get the loot. If there's any interesting gameplay, I can't spot it. It's either mow everything down or follow instructions to avoid scripted events. Totally uninvolving and uninteresting.

I found all my three PUGs to be less absorbing and interesting than the same time spent doing "kill ten rats" type quests, but with the added irritant of being enervating and irritating. In a dungeon group I like to go slowly, stop between pulls, chat, discuss tactics. That's how PUGs used to be when I did a lot of them a few years ago in other games.

The automated, soulless, efficient nature of the current model makes it a very unattractive option.
The thing I see as the problem and the success of the new LFG tool is that it turns grouping into a purely goal oriented mission. PuGs are becoming more successful because more people are entering them with that mentality. You are there to run the dungeon and get the loot, then leave and never see these people again.

And that's the key. Traditional PuGs made of people from your own server tend to have a social aspect to them. These people live on your server and you might need to group with them again. As a result, people stress over the relationship, which causes more fighting between people with different personality types, and more failed PuGs.

In the new PuG system, no one cares about the social aspect, they just focus on the game side.
have no idea where someone would come by the idea that the new LFG system isn't a "success" in the U.S. What does that even mean?

In any event I run four 80's through various dungeons daily and only a very, very small number break up at the beginning. I've never yet had a group that didn't finish once it started. Of course I can not account for every player in my battlegroup, but I'm a very heavy player and I would think that if there were such a problem in the U.S., I would have witnessed it long since.
I'm at Thrall and play Alliance with my mage. I have been usign LFG and LFR since it came at I think only in 2 or 3 we didn't finished. Usually everyone knows the fights and are well geared.

Only think is that it takes usually 10 to 15 minutes to get a 5-man group. LFR tooks much longer.
In his post, Spinks also writes about "the shattered social fabric of the game." In my opinion, the new LFG system is the very example of it. Just look at Bhagpuss' and Jason's post above me, they describe it very well.
I play on Alleria US and so far I had one 'failed' run(tank and mage got into a spat and mage decided to tank the final boss, wipe with boss at 2% :) ) and a few 'false starts'. However, overall the experience has been quite good. The queue times do not seem very long either on my level 80s running heroics or my level 70 running regulars.

lots of comments so far with much difference of opinion on the OP's question.

Wickedgirl makes some fair comment, but I think she's missed the point of the question. It's not the success rate of *finding* a group to run a heroic, it's about actually succeeding in completing said heroic.

Whether the successful completion rate between the US & EU/TW servers is different will only be borne out by actual figures rather than personal experience of each. Personally, I doubt there's much difference between the success rates, although again this is only from personal experience.

My main is a pally tank who through some sweet gear and a hell of a lot of practise (and of course the obligatory anti-nerf bats from Blizz <3) am pulling over 3k dps. I've done a pile of dungeons since DF came out and have always completed one started, although I have found that I'm normally top or 2nd on damage/dps. I don't care too much as long as I finish. If I can help lower geared people gear up then all to the good.

My primary alt, a holy/shadow priest is a different matter entirely. I tend to be lazy with him and have very varied results. I've healed everything successfully up to HoR, where I just couldn't keep up with the damage in the waves. Luckily it was a part guild group with a boomkin/tree and we just swapped. Worked nicely and we missed the 3 minute achievement by under 5 seconds >_<.

Put in perspective though, I've also seen some of the horrors of the new system - the loot whoring, demands and blackmailing. Nothing too savage since I don't need the gear(although it seems EVERYONE needs on frozen orbs now. Odd, huh?) but quite annoying, especially when you see a full epic geared player rolling need on gear that the all blue player desperately needs.

Overall, I love the DF. Going in as a dps is frustratingly slow, but you do end up getting a group. Tank or healer? Instant entry. Well deserved for those who are willing to do the hard jobs (sorry dps but it's true!) Just wish there were more about so the queue time wasn't 15 minutes +....
On Silvermoon-US (and our Battle Group) it’s been a huge success. I’m also in the 95% success rate category – honestly, we’re only breaking up under extraordinary circumstances (it usually takes 3 or more successive wipes on trash before we break – otherwise, people are generally sticking with it), and only Heroic HoR consistently gives my PuGs trouble (either by bugging out or by simply being too hard to handle).

As a healer, I’m getting groups usually within 30-90 seconds of queuing up, which means people are definitely using it. It’s only when partnering with my wife (DPS) that our wait times climb to 5-10 minutes. I’m healing tanks who run the full range from 1500 – 2800 GS (from fresh 80 to ICC-geared), and that’s been fine. Indeed, with better-geared tanks, I usually put out a PoM and Renew on the tank and then DPS with the rest (throw up a few DoTs and lolsmite for ~600 DPS) to keep myself from getting bored.

I don’t know how it will look in 6 months, but so far I’m pretty sure people are using it regularly. In fact, I’d still argue this was basically the biggest content patch ever, because now more people have access to and *are using* using more content than they ever did before.
I think the success rate in the US is pretty high. Certainly if people TRY its quite easy. But some people will leave if there is a wipe, regardless of the causes of the wipe. As long as the tank is competent and the healer can find his ass with a map, you can get through it without too much pain.

What's annoying is when there is a wipe and people just quit.
My main has had almost nothing but positive experiences. Even the new heroics are smooth sailing. However, several guild-mates constantly complain of being matched with morons that neither know the fights nor their character classes.

Playing alts at lower levels, the experience is more noobish -- people needing on items that are useless for their class; tanks not holding aggro; dps stealing aggro, people not knowing what an LoS pull is, and so on.
I have a 100% success rate with random group finder. I've done enough to have run with ~75 different people.

I am however a very well geared tank who can heal if needed (paladin) and check the lead box. I have not completed every group with all the people I started with but I have completed every random dungeon I started in a reasonable time.

It totally kicks ass and has given me a huge amount of enjoyment with much less time investment (30 min chunks of time rock)
Im in the US and have had 90% or more success rate as well. I have to agree, failures are usually Oculus or the new 5mans. Other than the occasional jerk or guy that's clueless on how to play his class things have been pretty smooth.

I agree that some people are way too impatient. Leaving on the first wipe even though the group is good and maybe just pulled some adds at the wrong time. Or the guys that attack inexperienced players and try to kick them.

Its like there is this new breed of dungeon runners that only want to steamroll content and not take the time to help a newer player out. Sometimes they just need a little direction and everything works out.

For example, I had a 58 shadow priest in a run this weekend that didnt know to use mind flay and was wanding instead. I cant imagine how you could get to 58 without using mind flay but he started using it after some friendly advice and we finished the run with no issues.
I'll get back to you next year on this one. My criterion for more successful isn't just about completing the instances, it's to do with what percentage of the player base is using the tool. And we won't know how that works out yet for a few months.
I've always maintained that if you frequently find yourself in PuGs that fail, then the common denominator is YOU.

My PuGs rarely failed even without the LFG tool simply because I was willing to step up with a "plan" and mark mobs and quickly explain boss fights.

Even a skilled player who steps into a PuG but isn't willing to make sure the other players know what to do is going to fail.

So I would say that if YOU are willing to do that -- then YOU will always experience much more successful PuGs.
Just to chime in - I only play on US servers and my experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

This past week I've played dozens of groups from level 15 to level 80. The only problem is usually when the tank is geared/spec'd properly, but that is only a problem late 60s and 70s. Had a few rude players: DPS that afk without saying anything, tanks that overpull without waiting for the group, Barrens chat like convos. But overall, it has been a great success.

Love playing all my alts in groups now. Basically, I cycle my heirlooms to the toon with the most rested XP and group up on that toon until he is out... then move on. I figure most will be to 80 by the time Cataclysm comes about.
It's more fun to talk about the times where I carried the horrible group.

I've never failed a dungeon with a PuG (except Oculus, because after so many people leaving I did as well), and I've only wiped maybe 2 or 3 times since 3.3.

But, it's a lot more fun to talk about how I did 45% of the overall damage as the tank, versus talk about how yet another PuG went by successfully.
That shadow priest had to be somebody's kid brother or something. I mean, someone spent the talent points to get mind flay and shadow form, but didn't know how to use any offensive spells? That's hard to swallow.

When I find problem people I usually run into people who join the lfg as tanks who have no intention, ability, or desire to tank because it gets them into groups faster when I'm on my healer. Stupid dps people don't bother me too much, as they can't do too much harm, but when tanking I've had some very, very marginal healers. Having to pop shield wall and last stand during a regular old trash pull in a normal isntance was disconcerting, to say the least.
I've had mostly good groups and I play on several different US servers. While I've read many horrifying tales from others about their LFG experiences, I haven't experienced anything to that degree. Though I have certainly ran into a few ninjas, impatient players, and more than a few rude players. My success rate is about 70%, I'd say.

I'm not sure about cultural differences, but I wonder. In most of the situations where my LFG runs have failed I see each player trying to be an "independent hero" and thus fail to work with the group. Either the tank pulls half the instance and can't handle it, or the DPS goes nuts even when pulling aggro causes a wipe, or some other maverick is "checking out" the other room and runs back with a pack of mobs. In just about every case my failed runs come from a failure to work as a team. I'm not sure if that is from a cultural difference or just from being randomly hooked up with strangers.

As for Taiwan groups being more cohesive, I wonder about that too. As someone who lived in Taiwan for many years, I can say that you just have to watch them driving on the road to see that they don't naturally fall into some happy, cooperative state!
I play on Aerie Peak, Nightfall battlegroup.

My priest alt made lvl80 on new years eve (bad year, dont comment). On saturday I had 4/5 tier 9. On sunday, triumph rings/trinket. Somewhere in the middle I got my dog pet too.

As you can state from above, I did *a lot* of randoms. In a very short time window. And on some holidays. And I had like the most horrid luck on getting groups. Of course my concept of 'success run' is not as loose as 'we got last boss, we succeed!'.

The new LFG thing (refuse to call it lfd) has brought to me the very worse of wow players in at least half of my runs. Yeah, you down all the bosses, but not before wiping or taking a long long time 'cause of ninja afkin', dps doing pathetic or me running oom 'cause people won't stay out of DTK blackholes. It's hard to heal through stupid when you're undergeared.

Melee hunter. Pally tank that exorcism with 5+ mobs beating him. Rogue with 67 points on sub (and that managed to miss Honor among Thieves!!!) that d/e a ilvl200 epic glove 'cause his deadly ilvl213 one 'is better' ('again, nothing for me', he said after we kill ymiron). The worst DK ever: didn't roll diseases, never used pestilence, did 1k dps and was sporting 4/5 tier 9 and the PoS axe!

Of course, loads and loads of no-tanks that (think that) respecced tank for insta queue that do one pull in OK and wipe due shadow spiders, pull all 8 dwarves right before the cave on HoS and wipe. Twice. Then leave saying 'healer sucks!'.

I scored ~250 badges in less than 3 days. And believe me, it was nowhere a walk in the park.

I'm not from USA; and usually I try to listen to people when they're willing to share something. What I do get a lot from these randoms is that 'I'll roll on whatever I want', even if you try to explain that +spirit isnt good for paladins, or if that's a downgrade for them. Or 'my 15 bucks, I play the way I want'. Or the mentioned DK from above, that insisted he had to use the red drake 'cause it was the only one missing for his achievement (omfg I pity the fools that grouped with him on green drake).

Someone should totally create a wow-heroes clone that allows you to rate other players. At least you'd have a player to bash people after ultimate fail runs.
The only one I ever have issues with is Heroic HoR. You have a lot of people trying out tanking specs for the first time which is perfectly fine for the "normal" heroics but HoR is a whole new ball game and if you don't know what you are doing you are going to get everyone killed.

Overall though I would say 99% of my heroics have been successful using the LFG tool (I play on US-Mal'Ganis)
I've never had an unsuccessful LFG tool group (NA server) so I'm pretty happy with it. The majority of people I see are quite over-geared for the dungeon so the LFG-tool groups are usually a cake walk.

The only problem I've found with using the LFG tool with leveling characters is people who choose the random dungeon but really have a specific dungeon in mind so they quit the queue once they see what dungeon they've been assigned. So you usually get thrown back into the queue a couple of times before you get a group of people that want to do a particular 'random' dungeon.
Here's a couple of the issues I've found with the new LFG/Random dungeon tool:

- Need before Greed appears to be bugged. I've been prevented from rolling Need on items that are an upgrade for me & I've been able to roll Need on items I can't use.

- As Kiryn says, the Maraudon instance seems to be under-rated, pitching you against much higher level MOBs.

- Some people have an issue with certain dungeons so they quit as soon as they port in.

- A lot of warriors, druids, death knights and paladins are signing up for the tank role because the tool lets them and it gets them in a group faster. I haven't seen the same thing for healers, though it wouldn't surprise me.

- Some of the bosses that earn you the completion reward are too early in the instance (eg RFC). Making it difficult for players who need to visit other areas of the dungeon for quests.

Other than that I think the tool is working well (I've complete 95+% of the dungeons I've started) and any perceived differences between regions are just that ... perceptions.
I agree wholeheartedly with those commenters that pointed out how bad the Dungeon Finder has been for the social aspects of WoW, outside of existing guild structures.

I never had a problem with PUGs before, but it took much, much, longer to actually build a group (my "vetting" usually consisted of no more than asking the random stranger wanting to join my group a relatively simple question: almost everyone who managed to produce polysyllabic replies turned out to be great companions).

The DF has been a huge success in that Blizzard have achieved exactly that which they set up to do: easier access for everyone to the game's instances. But it is also, perhaps paradoxically, a significant further step in the "soloification" of WoW. Yes, you actually "play" with others, but would you call Diablo a MMO?

The biggest loss, to my mind, is that of the friends list. My friends list used to be a huge asset, a place I could turn to for solid instance backup. But now, what's the use? Just picking up an extra random is so much faster.

Sorry, perhaps this is the topic of a different post, Tobold?
My experience with a 74 Rogue (DPS), 34 Paladin (Tank), and 23 Priest (Healer) has been like yours, mostly A+. This is on Dalaran, Stormpike battlegroup, US servers. Groups are efficient and tolerant. We get the job done and even want to continue together. I don't know what the trend is, but if my experience is representative, then there's no cultural gap at all. Post an update later, if you find something out in your analysis of the comments of other means. Cheers, Daniel
I haven't had much with experience the LFG tool yet (lack of time) but have run a few instances on it on my main to get my Merrymaker achievement done. In that time I remember doing at least 5 instances and all were quick and successful. For the most part, the group was competent and knew what they were doing. My overall experience was good. I think the only thing I notice is that using the LFG tool people are all business and no one really talks anymore other than to say thanks at the end.

I've yet to try the LFG tool on my horde characters which are in a different battlegroup (Shadowburn) from my main (Bloodlust) so I've yet to see if my impressions stay the same.
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