"I give every dungeon at least one wipe before leaving. This applies to my tank and other toons as well. If we do wipe, I evaluate how we did. Taking Halls of Reflection as the popular example, if we wipe before defeating the first boss, I'm out. If we wipe on the hardest/final waves, I'll give it another try and reevaluate the situation (kick as needed, etc.)."- Bornakk, World of Warcraft CM, responding to a thread about what random dungeons scares players to the point where they'd rather wait out the 30 minute deserter timer than attempt the instance
I've been running some off-peak random dungeons of late, which has made for some odd demographics. My mage has a 4.8K gearscore (albeit inflated with some PVP items) and is good for somewhere between 3-4K DPS depending on buffs and group tactics. These numbers are at least double what a typical DPS would have managed at Wrath's launch, but now I find myself pushing to improve my play if I don't want to come in 3rd or even 4th on the damage meters.
Today's random daily group featured a trio of players from some raiding guild on another server. They arrived with gearscores in the mid 6000's and server first raid kill titles, and they proceeded to pull insanely large numbers of mobs at once (including trash with bosses, etc). Midway through the run, the tank noted that the other random DPS, a hunter, was doing less DPS than him. Now, in principle, less DPS than the tank is a bit embarrassing, but the tank in question was doing 2.5K DPS in HUK by pulling 10 mobs at a time and spamming AOE damage abilities (go go Pally tank). In that context, relatively few people can really fault the hunter for posting a "mere" 2.3K DPS in a random PUG attempting the game's easiest heroic 5-man dungeon.
I stayed out of the argument because there's no reason why the three raiders couldn't have kicked both the hunter and myself and finished the instance without us. The reality of the situation is that he was dead right when he said that something was wrong with this group - the three of them really did not belong in entry level 5-man content. The only reason why they were there was because Blizzard bribes them with Icecrown-quality raid emblems.
The sad part is that the queue times on lower level instances, where there is no raid loot to be had for showing up once a day, are only slightly worse in my experience than the queues for max level random heroics. In other words, Blizzard no longer needs to trivialize this entire content format in order to make it viable - the random cross server grouping system is doing enough to ensure that it is possible to run instances.
Reflecting on a challenge
I actually intentionally run the notorious HHOR once a day before my random daily, so that I can have the random shot of doing it a second time if it comes up as my random dungeon. Part of my interest in the zone is the loot - the caster off-hand is the only 5-man instance drop that would still be useful to me - but a bigger part is that it's the last real challenge left in 5-man content.
Because of this, it's pretty common for one or more players to immediately drop group the moment they zone in. If the group does wipe, we're certainly going to be looking for a new tank or healer, or disbanded. The only reason why a wipe is not an immediate disband is that many of the DPS are looking at lengthy queues to try something else, and a group that's missing one member gets top priority at replacements. I'm actually a bit surprised to see blue text admitting that this is how things are, because that's not exactly a selling point of the much touted dungeon system.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not the best player I could be, and I'm not willing to put in the effort that is required to beat the more difficult content. I was in a 40-man guild that killed Nefarian back in the day, and the experience of downing a boss just isn't worth multiple nights of wiping to learn a single fight to me personally. Even so, I'd like a bit more challenge than watching some raiders 3-man an instance.
Back before the random dungeon finder, it was not uncommon for a group to wipe once or twice on a boss before figuring out how to beat the encounter. Sometimes they just couldn't get it and the group disbanded, but sometimes that group, which was starting to look like a fail, managed to pull out the win. That's the level of challenge and investment I'm prepared to sink in this game, and it's a level of difficulty that the actual content - which has been largely unchanged over the last year and a half - is capable of supporting. Thanks to the way Blizzard has the incentives set up right now, though, that style of gameplay is basically dead.
This is disappointing. There is a need for an entry level gear path for newly level-capped characters, but I'm not convinced that teaching players bad habits in trivial content is the right solution to the problem. Unfortunately, it's both the easy solution and the popular one, so it's looking like it's here to stay.