They placed it below Karazhan in the progression ladder? That is disappointing. I think a 10-man placed at mid-kara difficulty to begin and progressing from there would have been much more well-received.
Personal reading of that is that it'll be easy to get into the zone and complete at least some of the content (and distinctly smaller in scope too so quicker) but that there'll be some optional bits, the mentioned escort quests for example or bosses like Jindo in ZG, that offer added challenge and reward. Effectively trying to put in a combination of an easy grab 10 people and go instance and something else for the post Kara but not 25 man raiding groups to do, assumedly with the usual niche hooks (enchants, crafting, unusual drops, skill books or whatever) for those that don't need the usual gear but would like a reward for going.
I can see the logic behind making ZA not part of a 10-man progression that starts in Karazhan.
Currently, Karazhan is part of progression, and currently it's where the majority of each server's raiding population is. I know at least in my little corner of my server, everyone's in Kara; I know a handful of people that aren't part of a regular group.
Thing is, I know my Kara group has plans to eventually step into SSC/TK, and drop Kara from the schedule once we no longer want much of anything from it. That's our plan for progression: Kara -> Gruul/Mag -> SSC/TK -> Hyjal et al, if we get that far.
Most of our raiders are not hardcore. We're serious players, we're skilled for people of our level of play, but the general consensus is that we want to avoid raiding more than 3 nights a week.
My point, which I'm making in a roundabout way, is this. For a casual raiding group like us, putting in ZA as part of a definite parallel progression path from Kara essentially leaves us with a choice of either a) dealing with the headache of organizing ZA groups from what will probably be a pretty cohesive 25-man raid by that point, along with trying to fit it into the schedule despite people's desire to avoid over committing themselves to raids, or b) skipping ZA because it just doesn't fit into the schedule, and we'd rather work on 25-man raid bosses with the nights we do spend raiding (since 25-man raids involve our whole crew, and help us progress along the main progression sequence, whereas ZA is likely to be like ZG or AQ20: hopefully some nice gear and some fun fights, but ultimately a sideshow).
Blizzard doesn't want ZA to be neglected, and they're listening to players complaining about what a headache Karazhan is, logistics-wise, so they're making ZA more accessible.
I don't know that that's necessarily the answer. Kara is very accessible; as I said, I know very few people that don't raid Karazhan.
The only oddball idea I had was this: if ZA is more accessible than Kara (no attunement, possibly a shorter lockout, smaller size making one-night full clears feasible for even fairly casual groups once the fights are mastered), but a step up in difficulty and loot...
I certainly wouldnt have picked it as being more casual then Karazhan, sure their are some classes shortchanged in the gear department, But between badges,heroics,arena, honor rewards and tradeskills their is a ton of epic choices before you even get to Kara.
Perhaps I was hoping for the aq20 to Kara's zg, Some alternate gear, overall a bit harder,trade skills and spell books. Something that helped guilds who had kara on farm make progress into 25 man zones.
Well its like ZG... you will zone in and have the option of moving towards 4 bosses however you want, after doing one you can stop and do the others another day, then once you finally kill them all you can do the final bosses.. (or atleast thats how I understand it)
Im kind of disapointed at how... replicative of ZG its seeming, sure it will be fun to start with, but I doubt some 'weekly' quests will be enough of an attraction to keep it desirable, there will need to be something unique.
True, casual doesn't mean easy. Guess I'll just have to wait and see. I agree with people that shoehorning ZA into the Kara -> Gruul -> Mag -> SSC progression chain would probably be a mistake - but equally I hope Bliz doesn't intent for it to be ZA -> Kara either.
(Also, I'm kind of sick of troll instances. ZF, ST, ZG, ZA...blah. Sick of trolls. Sick of orcs. Sick of bugs. Isn't it about time we got another human instance? )