With the new Looking for Group (LFG) system implemented by Blizzard at the tailend of the Wrath of the Lich King era, running Instances has become quite common, even tedious to some. Instances are now the new Farm Zones for WoW players, so you barely see any 80s out on the field doing some decent farming, even for Gold. So why write about one’s first run through the endgame Instance/Raid zone, Frozen Halls?
Well, first is because I hate doing Pick Up Groups. No, I’m not anti-social, at least in that psychological problem kind of way. Like I have explained – even insisted – to my Guildies, I abhor PUGs because, with over 10 million players, there’s bound to be many real-life whelps, and I can’t handle them, proud hothead that I am. I pay to have fun, not to have some snotty bastard call me a weak noob for having weak gear simply because I don’t go dungeon crawling much.
The second reason is because I haven’t had that much fun in a long while in a WoW Instance.
Because all of the Guild 80s other than me PUG one way or another (and have the little doggy to prove it, too) , they’ve been through FH more times than I’ve ever whacked, say… Rivendare, solo. They knew the routes, knew the bosses, and are geared quite decently. Only the Priest wasn’t a Guildie (and he was damned good), and we had our IMBA Rogue, our even IMBA-er Hunter GM, and our Lead Tank, so I was fairly confident this would be a nice run.
True enough, most of the run went smoothly, with the occasional bad pull. The run with the crashing ice was… exhilarating, to say the least. Run like a bunch of screaming mimis, then pause to do a beatdown, then do it one more time.
Surprisingly, up until we got to Halls of Reflection itself, we never wiped. I think we only wiped, and this even technically, once because we got a bad roll on the mobs and, suddenly, I was down, then another was, until Ryu was the last being standing and, well, there he goes. We would “wipe” around two or three more times before we finished it and I’d say those mobs gave us more grief than even the bosses before or after them. Bastards. May they rest in pieces.
I think what made it really amazing was the much-talked-about run. You know, the one where you RUN AWAY LIKE CRAZY from Arthas, who’s walking casually to you like some psycho axe-murderer and you have to keep these mobs away from Jaina Proudmoore as she tries to bring down the walls between you and safety. The Guildies kept repeating to the Pally-in-attendance (read: me) that he shouldn’t even think about trying to whack Arthas. The good-natured ribbing by the non-Guildie Priest was met with also-good-natured retorts from the Guildies to not encourage said Paladin-in-attendance’s more suicidal tendencies.
Let me tell you that I have NOT been that scared in a long while in WoW. Frustration is common, so is anger, and the occasional thrill of victory (like those two Wintergrasp victories led by Ria, and on two different Avatars, too). But fear? I am a Hammer of the Light; why should I fear darkness and death?
Yeah, well… that big guy with the weird armor and big, glowy sword is scary enough, it seems.
I mean, seriously. That was plain SCARY. Yes, yes, when you’re in the middle of combat, especially against big lumps of putrid flesh like those Abominations, you barely see anything. But since we’re used to moving around and placement as members of ECO, I was, on that last wall, on the left of the mob so I can SEE Arthas walking. And, bloody hell, is he NEAR?
Believe me when I tell you that if we had Vent on, I would probably have been screaming, “OMG HE’S GETTING CLOSE OMG OMG WE’RE GOING TO DIE HURRY HURRY HURRY HURRY AND DIE YOU STUPID FUCKING ABOMINATION WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG TO FUCKING DIE?!”
I mean, I SWEAR that last Abomination took its own sweet time to DIE. Five geared players, two of them doing indecent DPS, me the Paladin specializing as anti-Undead, and IT TOOK ITS OWN SWEET TIME TO DIE.
But we got him. Yeah, we did. Then we ran like screaming little girls down the last few yards of the corridor and into the ledge.
The other thing that I think made this whole place awesome was the STORY. One of the things I lament about Northrend was that the focus to getting to 80, as well as the demands of gearing when you do ding level cap takes the fun out of the story. You… feel this need, somehow, to just breeze through the quest’s flavor text in a, “yah, yah, yadda yadda, just tell me what the hell you want or need, where to get it, and how you want it done,” kind of way.
I think that’s why I tarried in Wintergarde Keep and the Dragonblight because there was, well… story there. And Thassarian had, in my opinon, a very well-written quest chain (and that guy’s probably the only high-level member of the Ebon Blade I’d roleplay as someone Larsion respects the most. Not only did he give me decent gear that’s also badass, but his storyline was engaging and the end ‘cinematic’ quite nice as you watch the big, bad DK get scrubbed by his sister. Not only is Thassarian badass, he’s got good character development right there). And, I’d say, why the Angrathar chain was awesome. Death, destruction and drama, nevermind how long it was.
I guess it was a bit funny, if it was IRL: there was Jaina talking to the ghost of Uther Lightbringer, and the one Paladin in the team with her – me – was busy TAKING PICTURES. Asshole. For the second time you come across the ghost of the First Paladin, the founder of your Order, and all you could think about was TAKE PIX? Where the respect, yo?
And, yes, there was drama. I don’t know how the Horde side of the whole thing went, but seeing Jaina trying her very damnedest to look for that last spark of Arthas, the man she loved, in the Lich King was… well… you could almost pity the girl. Especially as Uther, with very little time left, had no choice but to tell her bluntly that Arthas was already gone, at least the one she loved. In the end, you almost felt like she wanted to be killed by the Lich King’s variant of the Sith Force Choke.
Yes, I know you other 80s with your nearing-completion sets of Tier 9 gear have been through it dozens of times and its probably passe now for all of you. Many of you probably already say, “HoR AGAIN?!”
But, hey, I just got here. And even if I did it again and again, you can’t deny the fact that, in terms of challenges and story, Frozen Halls is one well-made and -written Instance and Raid zone.
Also, the dead Gnome via Sith Choke. I swear, the idea of an undead battlesuit – zombie Bonta-kun? *shudder* – ridden by a Gnome, of all Races, was… hilarious. But hey, I want one of those for Anarcaine.
And I wish I was faster with the screenie. Wasn’t able to catch that death hold on the gnome.