In a word… WoW!

Tonight, we went and accidentally did the three new 5 man instances.

Well, it was an accident on the part of myself and Cassie.

I’ve intentionally not read or viewed anything at all about the new instances previous to going. No PTR stuff, no videos, no pictures aside from what was shown at Blizzcon and a few screenshots showing a chamber with a dangling Frostmourne hanging over an altar.

No strategies. No walkthroughs. No “this is what to expect.”

For once I wanted to just see it, cold, up close and get to react to it.

My one regret was that I was in vent and didn’t have game sound turned on for most of it, but hey, I’m a blabbermouth in vent. I fully intend to join LFG as a silly little solo pugger, just so I don’t have to listen to anything other than game sound next time around.

It was an accident, because we expected to take a few shots at the first of the new 5 mans, The Forge of Souls, and see what we could do. After that, we expected to have to leave to put the cats to bed, our son to bed, and watch the season finale of Top Chef.

Just prior to running The Forge of Souls on my Druid as tank, I ran it once on Horde side as a Ret Pally. We set it up, went in, and the rest of the group had seen it the night before, so they had some basics to share. It let me see the fights, and gave me some respect for it even on normal, because the guys I was with are pretty damn good, and the fight against the final boss left two DPS dead at the end, with the Tank dying simultaneously with the boss. And this was on normal mode, and the guys had downed Onyxia 10 with ease a few weeks before. Clearly, something to take seriously.

On Alliance side, I gathered up the same group of us that had wanted to do it last night, and failed from being unable to zone into the instance. I’d promised we’d try a second time, and everyone was up for the challenge.

I went in as the Tank, and it was an unfamiliar sensation to truly know nothing about the actual abilities of the mobs aside from what I’d seen once. But I had a lot of faith that we’d be, well, overpowered.

Improvise, adapt, and overcome. Especially the improvise part.

We went in on the normal setting, looking to learn the ropes, and the thing that really struck me was how long the run up to the first boss seemed, when the groups of enemies are spread so far apart on long, narrow ramps. It really was quite fast to go from the entrance to Bronjahm, but it felt slow, if you know what I mean. It felt as if I should be taking the trash seriously, because of how spread out they were.

One thing I noticed is that the arrangements of the groups meant that almost every pull consisted of some ranged casters that don’t come when you pull, spread out far enough that you can’t blanket them both with a simple ‘run and gun’, or as I prefer to call it ‘charge and stun’ attack.

I found myself, much more than normal, spending my time watching threat levels across all the targets, satisfied that I had aggro and were marking kill orders rather than pin down one mob specifically.

I found it best to mark a ranged caster, charge him and lay down a heavy initial threat level on him, target a distant ranged caster while still Swiping local targets, thrown down a Growl and Feral Faerie Fire, drop back to local Skull to gain some more Threat level distance over the DPS, and then with a safe margin Charge the second or, if there, third ranged caster and pin him down better.

Really, it was group aggro control, the way I liked it from the bad old days of Burning Crusade, when it felt like flying fangs of feral fury spinning around and twisting viewpoints to keep an eye on the two legged lunch and just having fun.

Now, next time I’m going to play with something you may remember… Crowd Control. I think there were many situations where solid coordination and the effective use of Crowd Control would add… fun to the encounters. It’s almost as though they spread out the mobs enough that the designers are asking us to please, just think about using CC. Just for fun.

There are several situations that Crowd Control would have actually added to the smoothness of the run, but I’ll get to that later.

We faced down Bronjahm, I shared the tips I picked up from my horde side friends, and sure enough, easy kill. I was shocked to learn we were getting an Emblem of Triumph for each boss kill. This is normal mode, right? Cool! AND loot? Well, dip me in butter and call me corn!

We moved on, facing the same kinds of trash, with the addition of a couple Spectral Wardens, that are pushovers but they can fear you, so pounding them is not only fun, but a sound tactical idea.

We went on and faced the final boss, and I found that, aside from remembering that he summons many, many, many adds at times, and that he drops puddles of evil goo that you don’t want to stand in, and that he does a mirror soul on a target that causes damage he takes to be shared with the player just like the Eyeball boss of Violet Hold… I couldn’t remember anything else about the fight. 

Still, I had a few plans for what I could remember, such as calling out when someone was hit with mirror soul so we could stop DPS, and to watch for the purple circle that looks like a well and drag the boss away from it, and to call out for everyone to fall in on my position when the army of ghostly adds appears so they all come to me and get their little spirit butts handed to them.

We tried it, and well… I guess it went well, because we won handily, although sadly I somehow allowed dear Cassie to take a dirt nap. Still have no idea what killed her, either.

Well, that was it. A lot to digest, a great new instance, a lot of fun. Time to go.

And Elystia says, “And now we jump in this convenient portal right here to go to the second instance in the chain, Pit of Saron.”

Umm… well, okay. Sure.

In we go… and there’s all sorts of cool stuff, there’s a big ass dragon flying around and a huge wide open space filled with things, and Jaina Proudmoore, and wow, this kicks ass.

It’s day two of the Patch. That’s as far as I’m prepared to go in terms of spoilers.

I will say this.

We are, all of us, in gear that comes from drops in ToC, Heroic ToC, some 10 man Naxx, a few Ulduar 10 drops, and mostly Emblem of Conquest gear. Maybe one or two pieces of Triumph.

We cleared all three instances, in normal mode, without a single wipe, without having any idea of what was coming at us. We took it as it came, we reacted and tried to think our way through (although I think Jardal and Kaelynn cheated and were reading strats from somewhere!) but in the end, we won.

Even that last bit at the end of Halls of Reflection, and DAMN that was exciting and awesome and fun! Woo!

I’ll tell ya, we almost let him kill us just to see what would happen. If you’ve done it, you know what I mean. Damn, that’s tense when you’re all rushing “Kill him now, kill him now, get the fat one, shit Arthas is almost here, crap, go go go! Now RUN!”

God, that’s just a great series of instances to run back to back to back.

Here are some tips for Bear tanking it, for those of you that are raring to get in there, but haven’t yet done it.

First, be prepared to remember the kill order. Don’t hesitate to mark, and remember, if they wear cloth or heal the enemy, kill those bastards first. If they are ranged and don’t pull, you don’t have to get in their grill to hold them, but you DO have to use your Feral Faerie Fire and ranged Growl to keep them on you, and stay over the healer aggro. When in doubt, Feral Charge and make it up close and personal.

When dealing with fast runs, remember your strength; kiting and tanking on the move with your butt, and a moving AoE Swipe that hits 360 degrees. By all means, gather them up and drag them after you. In the Halls of Reflection, be prepared to search for ranged healer or casters, mark them with Skull to tell the DPS to focus only on them at first, and then do a run around the room to gather up the moveable mobs and bear swipe them on the fly and kite them/Feral Charge them into your designated kill target. Make solid use of Growl, because sure as heck if you spend a few seconds gathering up other mobs, the kill target will have time to get off at least one shot on someone else if you’re unwary.

Mostly… have fun in there. It’s a freaking winter wonderland for a Bear tank, and also for a Tree druid.

Mobility is our key strength. It’s our bread and butter. Yes, melee DPS wants us to stand still, and you’re a professional, so do it, and be consistent in how you pull so the other players know if you’re going to be facing the mob, or turning it to put it’s back to your group.

But always be prepared in there to make the fights mobile, to drag them around out of poison and toxic waste and the paths of boulders and wells of souls and gauntlets of adds standing in collapsing tunnels and roomfuls of waking adds and all sorts of other awesomesauce.

I can’t help but feel this was what I was missing. My only regret was in not marking CC targets, and using it in my tactics. I really, really want to do that again. Yes it’s slower… but it always gave me a strong sense of, well, “playing with my food.”

I really miss that. I think I’d like it back.

I hope you’ve had the chance to get in, and to see it all for yourself. I believe that when you do, you won’t be disappointed.

25 thoughts on “In a word… WoW!

  1. One piece of advice: Life as a tank is much easier if you put all your highest ilvl gears on when your looking for a random group with the dungeon finder. First time i went into HoR we sped through it with no problems, everyon was at 3-5 k dmg. second time i called the group after the 3rd wave because i could tell we wont be going anywhere. From difficulty point of view i love HoR but the other 2 are kind of cakeish, maybe the frozen tunnel can be a challenge the first time.. but not really. I wished the first dungeon was at the third dungeons difficulty and the next 2 somewhat higher, i ran through all 3 of them in the first day on heroic mode and thus are already done with all the new 5-man-content. 5-man-content in WotLK remains trivial, only HoR reminds me of the good times i had wiping on magisters terrace.


  2. I absolutely love playing “Sex Machine” in the Forge of Souls on Bronjahm and Bach’s Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor on the last part of Halls of Reflection. 😉 Very creepy on the second one. Yet so fitting!


  3. Heroic HoR is difficult and I think that makes it great.

    CC is a godsend here. It is pretty tough to overpower this instance in the way that we are now accustomed to running 5-man dungeons.

    As most of the difficulty comes in fights with undead NPCs, a priest for Shackle and a Paladin for Repentance and Turn Evil make life worth livin…. so to speak


  4. Forgot to add that on HoR that he waves on the first gauntlett are timed so if you dont down them fast enough you’ll get another spawn on top of you. I was just unlucky enough to get a PuG with the highest DPS topping out around 1750 and it took us forever to do it and even cleared the last run from Arthas just as he wiped the group and that was on regular. lol The last fight is a DPS race but the requirements will be challenging on heroic for some people that want to do it but can’t get above that 2k dps mark.


  5. We actually found it easier to stand in the middle for the first gauntlet in H:HoR. However we did hunter ice block trap one caster and priest shackle another, then the rest of the adds are easy (or…easier) to pick off. Definitely not a cakewalk.


  6. Went in yesterday after the Frost badges. It felt like a Mini Raid. It was good fun to go in and not know what was going on. Sure we wiped a bit no more than three times for all three dungeons. I am sure we could have researched it. However it feels a bit more exciting when you dont know what the heck is going on and you are with a good group of players/friends.




  7. I had a lot of fun with all three, though the trash enraged me at first. The second time I di them, I started having someone counter the spell of the furthest caster so I could group them up a bit better. My favorite boss is Ick in Saron. It’s like playing tag.

    The soul devourer kills my priest buddy every time we go. First, DPS decided to burn him down with his reflect thing on her. The next time, she decided not to move out of the beam of death because she thought it was the ghost summoning. His abilities sound too much alike.

    The first gauntlet of HoR was tough. LoSing in the alcoves feels like cheating, so I tank in the doorway as a compromise (middle is terrible). No matter what, it’s pretty hectic and feels epic. The last fight in HoR felt easier for me, but was pretty damn cool nonetheless.


  8. I chain ran all three on heroic last night. Didn’t know anything about it, just went with one guy from my guild. Left the other three up to the new tool to find, and man did it find us a powerful group. I went in slow and easy, marking skulls and X’s, but two of the dps were not paying any attention to it, and was just out to steam roll the content with our 245 level gear. I was kind of disappointed at that. A ret pally died, several times over the three instances. He once said “man, Druids need some better aoe threat or something man”. I didn’t bother responding. By the 2nd instance, I quit marking and just started busting my butt trying to get all these casters on me, and it was a work out. More then it should have been.

    We wiped one time over the three instances…when the healer fell off the ledge while running away from Arthas. The second time our famous ret pally died yet again during the gauntlet (he put down consecrate before the mobs would get there…insuring they all attacked him before I could land a single move…), and we just barley made it out before Arthy caught up to us….it was a true nail biter, and really fun. Great new instances, the new tool for finding groups is FANTASTIC (at least for tanks, press the button and BOOM you have a group), but pugs are still pugs. Hard to tell what you will get.


  9. I went in on my druid with a team of fully 245+ geared people, and it was still a challenge. We ended up taking almost 3 hours to clear the 3 new heroics. We had a shaman in the group, so for most bosses we just blew bloodlust and overpowered them before they did anything funny. Still I found myself popping brez in the middle of the boss fight several times.

    Having multiple casters in trash groups was the worst part. I think the range buff to Swipe is exactly because of this.


  10. My favorite fight out of the 3 instances is the Tyrannus fight at the end of Pit of Saron (the tunnel gauntlett is fun and hectic too). I like using the strategy of kiting him over the ice patches to slow him down and then just having dps (especially ranged) pick him off. I have a prot warrior so with my Warbringer talent. I was charging him to start the fight then kiting him over to an ice patch then Intervene to zip over to an ally and get myself off the ice patch forcing the boss to keep moving across it. By that time my charge is off CD and I can rinse/repeat. It was so much fun taunting him when he turned to get one of the dps to keep him coming toward me. It was basically range tanking. Every time I needed to get some more agro on him I would just charge in and smack him with a few sunders and then Intervene across an ice patch to another group member. OMG I had so much fun playing with him.

    Tanking was kind of a pain on Halls of Reflection due to sometimes getting several casters and a shooter at once and PuG DPS not staying on the same target but on my healer priest I just kept at least one of the ranged shackled and it wasn’t that hard.

    Overall, wonderful group of instances. Good job Blizz!!!


  11. I did the first two on heroic opening night, but couldn’t get into the last one before we all had to go to sleep to avoid getting fired the next day. We didn’t use CC, really, but when we did IC-10 last night, we used a lot of shackling (luckily it was me — Disc priest — and shadow priest). As a matter of fact, on a couple of pulls, we were using two shacks, ice trap, and a pali fear for CC. And only stopped there because our group didn’t have any more CC that applied (poor locks, all the CC and none of it for undead.)

    With all the trash and CC, it really feels like MC meets KZ. For anyone who actually remembers MC and KZ.
    .-= Phelps´s last blog ..Rubber, road. Road, rubber. =-.


  12. In Halls of Reflection, no running around is necessary (at least not before the actual running around part). The bosses don’t activate until all their trash waves are dead, so you can just all pile up out of LoS in the corners of the alcoves. (My group and I went in blind, too. We figured out that trick after the first wipe.)

    Devourer of Souls was an amazing fight to learn on the fly. Soooo much going on. I’ve done it 3 times now and have a firm grasp on everything that can happen, finally.

    And yeah…that last flight…on Heroic. Insane.


  13. I hate the trash in all 3 instances. My solution to spread-out casters in BC was to use line of sight to bunch them up, every time. I really liked the strategy it added to the pull. The “ooh” and “aah” of big wide-open instances is nice, but there’s a distinct lack of corners for me to use .


  14. I’ve only made it through FoS. And on my mage. Tried it on my bear but we kept wiping on the first boss (one of our DPS was probably a little undergeared for it, AoE kept killing him). But last night we did it on heroic and our druid heals stayed quite busy, but we made it through the first boss. Healer got feared into the purple typhoon stuff near the end, but we got him. Then the last boss in FoS went down pretty easy. Not sure how hectic it was for healing, but I didn’t drop any lower than 75% at any time. It was pretty crazy, but fun.

    Also did a random LFD with 3 guildies to get two more. HToC and it went smooth. I like the setup. I will be using it quite a bit.
    .-= Naturalregis´s last blog ..Pug it Up =-.


  15. BBB,

    This was undoubtedly the most fun I have had in an instance in a long long time. Healed reg on my shaman and it was fun, but then ran it on my hunter… OMG i got to use a freaking ice trap!!!! There was CC!!! I got to do something more than spam explosive shot and black arrow!!!! This dungeon(s) are what 5 mans should have been all along. I started playing in BC and learned 5 mans in there, but never really understood from a lore/story point of view what any of it had to do with the big bad guy of the game. This made us part of the story. Any time you’ve gone into a 5 man, there is an feeling of yeah we can beat this without thinking. But at the end of this one, oh man. Blizz deserves a christmas bonus for this one.


  16. We almost wiped on Bronjahm because one of the guys told us to turn our music and sound up so we could hear him… Most of us were laughing so hard we could barely do our thing, but we got our groove back on and only lost one person.

    If you play without sound and music (which I never understood. 😛 ) please, just the once, turn it on for him.

    Was nice to go in without knowing the whole thing. Except my paladin has, for some reason, a suicidal urge to jump into the Lich King’s giant soul smoothie maker at the bottom and jam it with her bubble.

    The next one in the chain is kind of a pain.. I hate gimmick fights where just being in the room gets you in trouble (Hodir? I’m looking at you here, and I am NOT happy), but the boss goes down so fast that it doesn’t REALLY matter. And I got his hammer, ugly though it is. Was expecting something looking more like a giant version of the Mass of McGowan or something rather than a jawbone on a stick from a weapon named ‘The two ton hammer”.

    Then we walked out, and the head in the middle turned to look at us. Eeek! Minor panic…

    But you’d think that the place, with all those giant saronite nodes around, would have more minable saronite. Especially with the goob that spends the entire fight chucking them at you…

    BTW, did anyone else think that the Tyrannus guy was actually the dragon? I didn’t realize there was someone on its back until the second time we were there…


  17. Oh, Halls of Reflection is awesome!! The whole concept was amazing!!! Wave after wave before you can go find out wth Jaina’s doing running after Arthas… and then finally catching up with them… and the final run… omg, it was just SO exhilirating… we were on Vent going, “He’s getting close, must kill FASTER!!!!” We had accidentally set it on regular rather than heroic… so I will be going back…

    but WHAT an instance!!! The whole concept is unlike any other! Way to go, Blizz!


  18. Halls of reflection is very tuff on HC.
    I had a huge repair bill by the end but it was great fun to strategize, analise, and re-try!
    Ohh also the new dungeon system alows you to portal out to where you were summoned from go repair then automatically portal back, its amazing!!
    (Click on the green eye in your mini map to try)

    In the end we put 2 dps on one of the ranged mobs to burn him down and let the tank pick up the rest.
    If we had a lock i would have been tempted to use a voidwalker on the other ranged mob to make life even easier..
    I had to innervate two or 3 times i think just to help get the healer through it but it was great fun!

    Thanks blizz for making dungeons tricky again 8)


  19. I ran it with my favourite group last night, on normal, none of us had read anything about it. We did it slow, watched ourselves and communicated like there was no tomorrow. Except the Maverick and Iceman waves-o-mobs in the last instance (you know what I mean) where I just shouted at them to shut up and let me heal!! But we had so much fun!! and it was hard, not super-duper-we-can’t-do-this-hard, but I had to think about what I did to not get aggro from the mobs again – and this was Normal!! Can’t wait to see what happens on Heroic!!


  20. I LOVED these new 5 mans. I bear tanked them on heroic cold; knowing nothing about the fights except that someone told me ‘trash is more significant’. I felt as a bear tank I was good for more than putting up mangle and soaking damage, and there was a real use for feral charge. You described it well as “flying fangs of feral fury spinning around and twisting viewpoints to keep an eye on the two legged lunch and just having fun.” I did it with a pug group from other servers, and we did wipe twice out of the 3 instances, but it was the most fun I’ve had in ages. Especially the escape from the Lick King run. My epic moment: tanking the ghouls with 10% health and frenzied regen on cd, brez the healer and innervate her, pop back into bear and down the last mob, OMG Lich King’s getting closer RUN RUN RUN – Nitro boots for the win! (yes I tank in nitro boots; I’m that stylish) Keep up the good work on the blog btw.



  21. So, I ran it first time, no strat, fresh out of the box on heroic today.

    Holy crap did that lead to some stressful pulls. We totally had fun, don’t get me wrong, but OMGOMG run from slime OMG he’s chasing me OMG He’s throwing rocks at me OMG the lich king is coming, etc.

    Also? The first boss of Halls of Reflection? First two bosses, to be exact? A pain on heroic.


  22. @BBB, agreed, I posted pretty much the same (and without spoilers, too!).
    Now that you got reg under your belt… go give Heroic a shot in the arm.
    You’ll be out of your seat and on your feet screaming in that final part of the final instance!
    Talk about cutting it close! I believe we were but mere seconds away from a wipe and we pulled it off with very, very careful gaming and CD selection.
    Looking forward to your post about doing it Heroic!!
    – Iron
    .-= Iron´s last blog ..New Heroic 5-mans Revealed =-.


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