Initial Impressions of 3.3

Patch 3.3 was released on Monday. Initial impressions? GREAT. The new instances are a lot of fun, partially because they are interesting and chock full of lore and story, but also partially because they are simply new.

As a guild we ran through the dungeons on regular difficulty Monday night, purposefully avoiding strategies or videos. And it was spectacular. I really miss the excitement of not knowing what to expect. Speculating what a boss will do because he looks like a caster, or panicking when the ice cave starts to collapse, or absolutely losing it when the Lich King shows up to find out who's messing around with his stuff? That's really fun stuff.

The night was tarnished slightly when we were escaping from Arthas and the entire instance glitched in mid-flight, freezing all our characters but strangely still allowing us to type and chat. It was pretty amusing, because even though we and the mobs were all frozen, ARTHAS WASN'T. And we were forced to just stand there and watch in dread as he slowly, slowly approached. In the end, he arrived at our location and just stood there, which did make for some funny screenshot potential.

Since then, we've ran it on regular a few more times to gear up some guildmates with nice weapons, and also on Heroic a few times due to the oddly-weighted-towards-ICC-dungeons Random Heroic tool. Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron were reasonable if slightly unforgiving heroics (yes DPS, you have to actually follow instructions like moving away from poison novas or stopping DPS while you have the debuff that reflects your damage), but Halls of Reflection is a whole different case. We had trouble with that on regular, and on Heroic it's murder.

We eventually realized we could hide behind the bosses and LoS pull all the adds into the side rooms for the tanks to grab, but even then it's pretty iffy. There's some kind of crazy priest shadow explosion, there's mages flamestriking, the riflemen are dropping frost's chaos. My druid got insta-gibbed numerous times when the tank didn't grab aggro on the mobs right away, since HoTs ticking aggroed all the newly spawned mobs straight to my poor flimsy tree face.

Looking back, I have to say my fondest memory of the new instances was on my first time through Halls of Reflection regular with my Hunter, running up the ramp near the end and seeing the Lich King just destroying Sylvanas. Someone started typing something along the lines of "What do we do now?" but SCREW THAT, I was already charging. Bestial Wrath, wolf charging in, arcane shot/hand rocket/Darkmoon Card: Death away! Come on! He's right there! We can attack him! HE'S KILLING SYLVANAS!!

I realize now that at that point in the instance, I was 100% engrossed in the game. I wasn't thinking about strategies, or threat management, or cooldowns. I was part of a covert strike force infiltrating the Lich King's lair. I was finally able to see and fight the Lich King, and by all appearances, needed to do so NOW. If he had turned around and just obliterated me...I would have been perfectly content with that.

Well played, Blizzard. Well played.