So I mentioned that my guild won a Blizzard screenshot contest and we are now in beta .. well enough of them finally downloaded it yesterday so that we were able to try out a dungeon. We thought hey we are all 80 lets see how we go in the new dungeons .. and barring the Tank pulling once when everyone was still out of LoS and me forgetting to heal myself at one stage (not used to using the ingame UI, I’ll admit I am addicted to Grid) it went very well.

In fact we 4 manned normal Throne of Tides with a Prot Warrior, Resto Druid, Balance Druid and a lvl 85 Hunter (Hunter because that is our guilds other main tank and his warrior was the only 80 he had brought over). Now we went in prepared, 3 of us in ICC gear, 1 in 85 heroic gear, buff food, flasks etc.  While wtching the tank throw himself at an unkillable mob for 5 minutes that simply threw him back every time was amusing, it wasn’t what I was really trying to watch. I was trying to see if these new dungeons were as hard and problematic as everything I had been led to believe.

Considering our group make up .. it wasn’t particularly hard or challenging. We had a few times where the tank went after a crowd controlled mob rather then the loose one, and a few times where my heals slipped up (like forgetting t pre lifebloom the warrior as he charges in and watch him get one shot before I can get back in his range), and a few where the dps didn’t actually run out of stuff or crowd control something. The tank never suffered from loss of aggro, the dps quietly went about their jobs using aoe only when it was useful .. and barring a few times when I forgot to heal myself I kept the group alive without scratching my mana reserve or having to pop tree form to save us.

I feel that had we been in quest greens and blues it may have been a different story .. from what I have encountered of non instanced mobs I would say the same. As a dungeon its is definatly harder then those we were exposed to in Wrath, though probably not as intensive on the exact set up of pulls that wa required back before TBC dungeons were nerfed. I think they have managed to find a balance between the two that will work .. but I will have to test a little further before I commit to that statement.

While I have no doubt that by the time the first post Cataclysm patch comes out most groups will plow through the heroics without a worry just as we were in Wrath after everyone was Naxx geared I shodul state that I am not worried about that. The Wrath model for gearing past dungeons worked .. and much better then previously. In TBC youd send hours grinding battlegrounds or Kara to have the gear to be able to tackle dungeons .. at which point you were often overgeared, and in Classic we had city sized dungeons that had dozens of bosses and took hours to navigate. But back to the train of thought I think that Heroics this time will provide the balanced stepping stone into raiding that both TBC and WOTLK missed (can’t comment on Classic as I wasn’t here for that).

At any rate some of my fears over healing in Cataclysm are dieing a good death but think I will need to see how the heroic modes go and how my druid will cope after hes past level 80 and suffering from gear scaling  – but next week, once I’ve returned from our Guilds first ever real-life meet up since we started .. well almost 4 years back now.