Disorientation

Consider this entry a brief public service announcement for those running the new Icecrown Citadel 5 mans, the Frozen Halls, using the dungeon finder tool. Inevitably there will be a wipe and you may have to make the flight-of-shame back to the instance and may not know where the instance portals are. So where are they? I’m here to help with some useful pictures to guide you back to your corpse.

This is what you'll usually see upon release.

After turning around, head towards the Citadel.

Fly towards the right side of the Citadel.

There will be an open door/hallway on the catwalk of the 2nd level.

Fly through the hallway and enter the appropriate portal.

And there you have it. Simple, easy, and hopefully you won’t be doing too many flights back to your corpse. Oh who am I kidding? If you’re pugging heroic Halls of Reflection you’ll be doing it a lot.

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Faceplant

Remember prior to 3.3 going live and everyone was /facerolling the heroic 5 mans in their uber premade gear? Everyone thought that EVERYONE was going to instantly gear up and start roflstomping through the first four bosses in Icecrown Citadel. “Welfare epics” was a phrase tossed around pretty liberally and the elitists were on the verge over quitting the game because the casuals were going to get a free ride into Icecrown and take their spots in raids. Yup, it was going to be as easy as walking teleporting into the instance and receive all the epic loots you could ever hope for.

Fear not, the new 5 mans are appropriately difficult in heroic mode. A fresh 80 is not going to be able to waltz into any of the heroic wings of the Frozen Halls and get free epic loots. At least not unless they’re carried by 4 exceptionally well-geared and experienced people. The difficulty curve of the 3 wings is steep enough to where you can’t faceroll your way through them. Take heroic Trial of the Champion and notch the difficulty up one at each wing and that should give you a pretty good idea of what you’ll be facing. If you thought heroic ToC PUGs were bad, just wait until you try to PUG the Frozen Halls.

Each of the bosses in the various wings of the Frozen Halls are not straight forward encounters and cannot be burned down without regard for mechanics like the regular heroics. You’ll need a good tank, good heals, and dps that are not brain-dead. Each of the encounters feels more like a raiding-lite encounter where positioning and mechanics cannot be ignored; wipes will happen.

Blizzard has also infused a metric-ton of personality into the first two wings of the Frozen Halls and the instances are gorgeous. Make sure you have your in-game music enabled when fighting Bronjahm, you’ll thank me later. Another word of advice: be careful in the Forge of Souls, you can fall off the cat-walks and should it happen, you’ll be making a flight-of-shame back to the instance.

Why Frostmourne isn't with the Lich King we'll never know.

Eventually I may bother writing up some strategies for the bosses, but at this point I’ve only encountered them once, and my epic-fail group couldn’t finish the Halls of Reflection (the pug’d in healer was terribad).  I spent a lot of time admiring the floor of the boss encounters as my poor rogue was having a case of faceplants. I think the only boss I didn’t die on was Scourgelord Tyrannus and Falric, but I shouldn’t count the time that I got roflstomp’d by my party when I was soul-linked on the Devourer of Souls. (Yes, stopping dps IS important =)

Outside of finally getting to check out the new 5-mans I have made two important discoveries: mutilate is producing obscene amounts of DPS and the dungeon finder tool is the best thing ever added to WoW, period. If anyone complains about the tool and/or doesn’t see the use for it, they’re not using it to the fullest potential. As has been stated elsewhere, you don’t have to PUG to use it. You can form a 5-man and then queue for either a specific or random dungeon. Once everyone selects their role and then selects Enter Dungeon you’re instantly teleported just inside the instance from anywhere in the world.

Better yet, should the need to repair or offload items for bag space arise, you can click on the dungeon finder icon on the mini-map and teleport out of the instance to wherever you were prior to entering. Once you complete that business, you can then click on the icon again and teleport back into the instance. It really is awesome and saves a lot of time. It is also very profitable if you use the tool to chain-run random heroics, especially if you have a great group. After the initial reward of two emblems of frost and 26 gold, each random dungeon after will reward two emblems of triumph and 14 gold.

So yes, other than spending wayyyyy too much time reconfiguring addons, I’m loving patch 3.3. I’m thinking I might just run through HoR on normal so I can at least see the end of the instance ^^;