Boy, is it awesome.
WOW post incoming, probably incomprehensible to the non WOW crowd.
My guild has been smashing itself into the Lich King over the past 2 weeks and I must say that it has been one of the most enjoyable parts of this expansion so far. This fight is hard, wonderfully so. It brings me back to the early days of WOW, where fighting a raid boss for 3-4 weeks to get the fight down was not unusual and we had to plan and prepare to find ways around the specific mechanics. Certainly it is true that those old fights were hard because largely we were incompetent but nonetheless the experience makes me remember the first days of WOW raiding in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair moreso than most Wrath encounters.
I find that the combination of challenge and cinematic elements is what intrigues me the most. Putting in a dps and execution check is one thing, making that check be a flying undead monster that grabs a random player, carries them to the edge of oblivion and tosses them off (unless you stop it!) is magnificent. Having the Lich King put heinous diseases on people that must be dumped onto his own hideous creations to destroy them is great. I LOVE the idea of getting taken into Frostmourne to do battle with an evil creature there to secure my freedom. This battle has all the hallmarks of a brilliantly written final epic battle from a fantasy movie or roleplaying campaign. The enemy we are facing has been taunting us, throwing his minions at us and making our lives unpleasant for over a year and now we corner him at his throne on the top of a pinnacle of ice and do battle. Just delicious.
ICC has actually been very well designed. The early bosses are quite easy and many PUG groups wander in and have success with them. The wing bosses are noticeably harder and very few people are able to beat them outside of guild runs. Then we come to the Lich King himself... and he tears people apart. It is a fitting way to end an expansion; a boss with 6 phases who requires a combination of good gear, good basic skills and substantial practice to nail down his many mechanics. The *big* exception to my enjoyment of this zone is limited attempts. Practice is a huge component of being good and to be denied the opportunity to practice is frustrating. Hardcore guilds will still use alts and 10/25 settings to max our their tries while smaller guilds are stonewalled. This mechanic has not been successful and needs to go.
We have the Lich King to p5 (p3? Depends how you count it) now and we just need a bit more practice to seal the deal. 5 10 man Strict guilds have defeated him so far and we are hoping to be the sixth. Best in the world we are not, but contenders we do hope to be.