Community Manager Lore has released some additional clarifications on the differences between the cross-realm functionality being added to the Raid Browser in patch 5.4.2, and the new Group Finder being introduced with the new expansion in patch 6.0. These two features are entirely different things -- the Group Finder is an all new feature being built from scratch. This new Group Finder will allow players to find and create groups for any content at any level.
The cross-realm functionality in 5.4.2, however, is just that -- cross-realm functionality. Currently, the Raid Browser
only allows players to see other players from their own realm. In patch 5.4.2, players will be able to see cross-realm players as well -- something that is similar to what the popular addon oQueue already accomplishes via the BattleTag system. Follow after the break for the full post from Lore.
Since we're still seeing some confusion about the Group Finder, let me try to clear up what I can:
There are two completely separate developments going on here. One is the cross-realm functionality being added to our existing Raid Browser in patch 5.4.2. This is totally unrelated to the new Group Finder we announced at Blizzcon. Basically, we discovered that we could pretty easily add cross-realm browsing to the Raid Browser for 5.4 content, so we've done that in 5.4.2.
6.0's Group Finder is an entirely different thing being built from scratch. It'll allow you to find or create groups for basically any content you can think of, be it raids, dungeons, PvP, questing... heck, you could start a group for running laps in Dalaran if you wanted. It also won't be hidden away someplace that the majority of the playerbase won't notice -- it's gonna be a lot more front-and-center.
A lot of players are drawing parallels between our new Group Finder and the oQueue addon, and that's a perfectly valid comparison. We've been thrilled to see how people have taken to oQueue for finding organized groups, especially in 5.4, and feel that's the sort of thing that the game really should be providing to all players. We're not trying to "kill oQueue"; in fact, a lot of us use it ourselves. We just think that cross-realm group finding should really be part of the core game.
Considering Blizzard's Raid Browser still lacks a lot of the functionality and perks of oQueue, it's unlikely we'll see the addon meet its demise with patch 5.4.2. How the addon works in conjunction with patch 6.0 and the new Group Finder feature has yet to be seen. Until then, players can safely continue grabbing groups with the addon, or via the Raid Browser -- and enjoy the fact that there will now be players from other realms on the Raid Browser list.