Patch 3.3: Initial impressions

So last night was my first real foray into the game after 3.3 went live. Enough of my mods were borked on Tuesday that I didn’t do anything other than one “random dungeon” run (ended up being ToC) with a bunch of guildies. I intended to go as my off-spec (Arms) but for some reason my menu-bar descided to go away, and I couldn’t swap specs, so I just put my DPS gear on, swapped stances, and tried to inflict as much pain as I could. We made it through, though my contribution was relatively minimal. I did end up getting the Edge of Ruin though, so now I need to contemplate going fury, as I have Marrowstrike as well. Might be amusing…

So anyway, my thoughts on what I’ve experienced of the 3.3 fun so far? I’ll break it down a bit by category.

Random Dungeon Finder thing.

I just stone-cold PuGged a group with it. I know alot of people don’t like PuGs. I’ve had a few where they were incredibly bad myself. But I actually would somewhat try to PuG a bit before the patch anyway. Why? Because as a tank, I want to be prepared for the unexpected. While runs with guildies almost always go more smoothly, they’re also much more predictable. As a tank, I want to stay on my toes, how better to do it, get 4 other people who may not even be from your server?

I drew Heroic: Drak’ Theron Keep. Group was actually pretty good, 3 were geared similarly to me, one a bit lower, either a well-geared fresh 80, or someone with a few heroics already under their belt. Everyone seemed to know how to play, and we walked through, only lost one person once on a range-pull where I didn’t pay attention, and Bloodrage was on CD.

So my overall impression?  After only one use, very, very impressed.  It worked smoothly, I found a group very, very fast (matter of seconds).  I also like very much that it simply ports you to the dungeon, and then back to where you were when done, much like the BG system.  It cuts down alot on the wasted ‘travel-time’ as well as the gold spent on flight-point flying.  While I was initially somewhat skeptical of the concept, I think this one works excellent!

New 5-mans

After the run above, I was curious to see some of the new content, so between guild-chat and vent we soon had a tank (myself), a healer, and one DPS.  I grabbed the quest from Apprentice Whats-her-name, and took off for the (all of a sudden on my map) Death’s Rise FP.  I flew up to Icecrown Citadel, and looked at the sights.  Visually, very impressive, I have to say.  Not that the whole area wasn’t pretty neat in the first place, but I love the general feel of the architecture of the structure.  (I still hate questing in the zone, but it’s fun to look at!)

We decided that since neither myself, nor the healer had ever done the instances before, we were going to do them on regular, plus I’m looking to try and farm up a shield upgrade, and I’ve got my eye on the one from HoR.  We pugged in the last 2 slots, getting a warlock, and a DK, giving us the following group:  Tank — me, warrior,  Healer — guildie, holy pally,  DPS — Rogue, guildie,  ‘Lock, PuG,  DK, PuG.

Forge of Souls

Quick, short, 2 bosses.  Very cool theme, looks awesome.  I like the pathing, nothing terribly complicated, and there’s the 20-slot bag that drops, so overall, I like it, probably won’t bother again on regular though, doesn’t seem to have anything terribly difficult from a tank perspective.

Pit of Saron

Visually much less impressive in general, but still enjoyable.  Some of the trash packs aren’t all that easy to pick up as a prot-warrior, but then I was also dealing with a trigger-happy DK who only wanted to whine about wanting to go kill more stuff and getting a hilt, and telling us all how easy this is, all the while residing comfortably below me (the tank) on the DPS meters. 

*Note:  I know meters aren’t everything, but I also know that there’s if you’re a DPSer and can’t keep ahead of your tank on the meters, you’ve got issues.  Also, it really helps if you attack the mob that the tank is attacking, so the tank isn’t constantly having to try and grab up the ones you’re pulling off to wherever you happen to drag them.*

The fights themselves, just your basic don’t-stand-in-bad-stuff, move the boss outa the bad stuff deals from a tanking perspective.  By the end of this run I had had all I could take of the DK, I actually tried to put him on ignore, but apparently you can’t do that to a party member, at least one not on your server.  So we took a short break, the DK got bored and left, and when I got back we got another guilldie to fill in for Halls of Reflection.

Halls of Reflection

Visually a pretty neat instance as well.  The event to kick it off is pretty neat, though hopefully we don’t have to sit through it every time.

The first part of the instance sets up sort of like the gauntlet think in HoL, where the guys come unfrozen and attack.  They do it in waves.  The fun part?  It’s a round room, a la ToC, but much smaller.   And every wave of 4-5 seems to have a mage and a hunter type in it.  As all good tanks know, there’s only one good way to deal with multiple ranged mobs.  That’s line-of-sight pulling.  But wait, we’re in a round room!  Never fear, there’s a raised platform in the center with this altar like thing in the center. of that.  Basically, you need to try and play ring-around-the-rosie to draw everything in, then spam every AoE ability you have as a warrior to keep everything’s attention while everyone else kills it.  But wait, there’s more, since you’re running around this altar thing LoSing the mobs, your healer has to really pay attention as well, since you’ll LoS them as well.

This encounter lasts through the second boss, and is probably the most challenging of the all 3 instances.  I’ll have to think about it a bit, but the LoS-behind-the-altar strat doesn’t lend itself at all to the abilities of a warrior, so I’m going to put some thought into possible alternate strats to use, but I’ll need to test those out.  The bosses themselves aren’t terribly tough, and other than a bit of kiting on the second boss, nothing special is required.  Off course neither the caster, nor the tank shield dropped for us, so I’ll be going back for them again…

Then comes the fun part.  There’s a confrontation with Arthas, and you all have to run away.  You run up the path, and there are these walls of ice that form.  Basically, you want to put your back on the ice-walls, and pick up the waves of undead that Arthas throws after you.  Word of note, be careful, you can accidentally get on the wrong side of at least the first wall, leaving you useless to your party…

On normal mode there were I believe 4 walls, and the waves get more intense as you go on.  Basically, you need to keep ahead of Arthas, and that’s about it.  You run out onto a ledge, and the ship pulls up and blasts the cave shut, saving you from Arthas.  And that’s pretty much that.

I haven’t gotten to see the new raid yet, but I’m sure it’s equally impressive, and will provide hours of progression-wiping excitement for all.  I’m looking forward to going in and having a crack at it.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with what I’ve seen of the new patch.  Some of the features are very well done, and very useful.  The new instances are fun, and while somewhat challenging, shouldn’t prove overly daunting.  I’m happy.

Thank you Blizz!


2 Responses to “Patch 3.3: Initial impressions”

  1. Quick tip for HoR…. Look left. See that alcove where boss number one is standing? Stand there… have your ranged and healer stay on the left and right out of sight. Then the mobs get filtered down into a nice easy to deal with group. Its still painful at times, but its a LOT easier than running around in a circle.

  2. Aye, I have since heard that that is a much easier way to deal with the encounter, though I haven’t actually had a chance to try it out just yet. My other thought had been to run up to the priest, and use Shield Bash, and (depending on LoS issues) Heroic Throw the mage, and charge the hunter. That should pack up all the casters nicely, but if you can get them to come to you, all the easier!

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