Howling Fjord - Town

“In my restless dreams, I see that town… Silent Hill.  You promised you’d take me there again some day… but you never did. Well, I’m alone there now… in our special place… waiting for you.” – Mary, Silent Hill 2.

In a way, I did see Howling Fjord in my dreams.  They were not pleasant ones.  When I participated in the beta as my priest, I remember the running around.  The having to find certain mobs.  Competing for named ones.  Doing quests that were quite unpleasant, such as trying to find the NPC selling the freshest meat per pound that patrolled up and down a path.  Ugh.  Not my cup of tea.

Not to mention when I was doing these quests, there was so much lag, you couldn’t take more than two steps before getting a “You have been disconnected” message and a boot to the log-in.  Or you could get my super favorite “World Server Down”, because somehow even though people wouldn’t be in Shattrath, those who were also got a super awesome kick in the face.

Even without the lag, and as I stepped into this area for the third time (first time as my blood elf priest on beta, followed by my draenei death knight), I felt this urge to kill rising.  I disliked this area because it had been so crowded (and honestly, the Borean Tundra didn’t feel this way at all) and because everything had been so spread out.

But… it actually wasn’t that bad.

I think it had to do with the fact I had essentially done these quests before, coupled with the fact my gear going into beta and my gear going into WotLK was a little different (such as the beautiful pants of “let’s throw all spirit gems into it”), I was actually pleased with my progress in the area.  I found myself zooming past people who didn’t know you could loot the item even without tagging the mob (and sometimes, I’d just take what was really mine… come on, I’m a champion).

The Howling Fjord to me is a very lovely zone.  There’s a burning forest, a plagued village, a dig site filled with dwarves and gargoyles, a mountainous area with runed golems, and dwarves who would like you to lobotomize them for they are ridiculously crazy.  You get to covort with pirates, watch a man terrified get eaten by his pet polar bar, and help a reef bull and reef cow fall in love to repopulate the devastatingly ugly species.  And if you’re Alliance, you might get squished by the Lich King.  But everybody gets to fight Vrykul, which to me is the “new troll” (as in, you kill more Vrykuls than Trolls… look at all of those Zul-instances!).

Utgarde Keep:

The instances here, the Utgarde Keep and Utgarde Pinnacle, are interestingly designed.  I like Utgarde Keep because it’s small and simple (like most of the instances in this expansion are), however, you can still seriously mess yourself up.  For example, one mob in the Keep likes to throw on a barrier that causes damage to whoever hits it: if you keep hitting it, you will take damage.

Nothing bothers me more as a guild leader, or just a knowledgeable WoW player, than to see people wailing at it, expecting a heal.  If you notice your green bar go down and you don’t have some kind of DoT, you’re doing something wrong.  It means you’re doing one of a few things…

  1. You’re standing in a void zone/flame patch/laser beam/something that causes damage environmentally.
  2. You’re getting cleaved.  Why are you attacking from the front anyway, stop parry gibbin’ the tank!
  3. You’re getting whirlwinded.  Didn’t you notice the twirly dance of death?  Jesus!
  4. You’re hitting something that reflects damage — a gimmick I expect WotLK to use more often, just like #1.

Honestly, in any circumstance when I see someone doing that… PUG or not, I let that person die.  You’re expected to be somewhat focused on anything you do.  If you’re not, no one will take you to a raid, I promise… seeing as that whole “necessary class” thing was done away with, I’d rather take 7 mages to a fight than take a stupid rogue that doesn’t know any better.

Enough said about that though.  The first boss is pretty easy on normal and heroic… and for a fun achievement on said heroic, don’t break the icy tombs.  The only issue with this is that your DPS must be smokin’ to do it before you start doing your raid instances — and you take some bad damage if you’re not getting out of the tomb.  Then again, I suppose you could just trinket your way out of it?

The second boss is kind of a given if you’ve done Karazhan and you are familiar with the Romeo and Juliet fight.  You want to drop both of them at or around the same time because if one is left up, the other one will go crazy (and you can’t hurt it, ‘cuz it’s invincible).  It’s easy enough to do it, but watch out for Skarvald the Constructor.  Sometimes, he’ll charge you.  Sometimes when he does that, he might also pop you one right in the face… and if you’re unlucky, you might die if you get hit by a shadow bolt volley before it.  Just be warned.

Finally, your third boss is good ol’ Ingar the Plunderer.  On normal, it’s not too difficult— be prepared for the AoE damage your melee (and silly ranged who hug mobs to see how close they can get before getting bopped) will take from Smash— and by the way, it hurts real bad.  What also is majorly annoying is his Staggering Roar, which does around 2.5k damage to everyone plus interrupts.

The heroic version of this fight has very little room for error, as most of his attacks may one shot a DPSer.  The Shadow Axe he throws will DESTROY your melee (and anyone else who thinks running into a spinning axe is fun).  Just be wary of that.  Overall, for a priest, it’s not too difficult— throw a CoH once in a while, keep PoM and Renew active on your tank, and preheal Greater Heal just in case of some spike damage.

The Verdict for Priest Healers?

More than likely, not your most difficult healing instance.  If your DPS is smart, you won’t have a major issue.  You might spam CoH more than you really want to if they’re not.  Otherwise, keep on your tank with the heals at your disposal.

For discipline, you might need to use Prayer of Healing more than you’re used to.  You don’t have Circle of Healing, so watch your mana usage as you don’t gain any of it back unlike Greater Heal or Flash Heal.  This is only speculation, as I haven’t had the time to do discipline healing yet… but we’ll see!

This is it for now.  Next post, I’ll discuss the Borean Tundra.  I’ll also discuss “The Relationship Factor” for recruiting and why my stomach turns when I see it mentioned in an application for our guild (or hopefully, ANY guild).