And now, impressions.
Northrend is awesome.
I started off in Howling Fjord, since it seemed the less populated of the two. And I'm really glad I did, since it felt epic, and and all brand new. The whole Vrykul questline(s), starting in the first area, and going into the icy fortress in the NW corner, blew me away. The attention to detail is fantastic, and I notice little things constantly that I think add huge amounts of flavor.
Utguard Keep was fun, if not a little worrying. I like the new models, and the overall design was good (I'm not bothered by linear design, as long as it seems reasonable). The length left something to be desired, and the difficulty was non-existant. Difficulty I assume will increase as I stop outgearing content (somewhere around heroics?). Length - I can't even imaging the heroic taking long. I understand that PUG'ers don't want a two-hour commitment to an instance; but on the otherhand, the length of time it takes to form a group / travel / summon may easily eclipse the amount of time actually spent playing.
Anyway, with a few runs of UK woven in, Aertimus and I finished (presumablly) all the non-bugged quests, got our 130 quest achievement, and headed to Borean Tundra.
I'm very glad I didn't start in Borean Tundra. It generally feels like various bits of Westfall, Sithilus, and Shimmering Flats stuck together, and the overarching plot felt far less cohesive then in Howling Fjord. Nonetheless, we ran Nexus a few times and did our 130 quests there.
Nexus was interesting. The first time in, we went counterclockwise, and ended up doubling back on ourselves (making it take far longer). When we did it again, we turned it around, and had a far smoother trip. I like Nexus for the varity, and the length is more appropriate.
I also got the chance to run Azjol-Nerub, Ahn'kahet, and Drak'Theron Keep (at level 72).
AN was even more supershort. I spent more time running then fighting. Boss one just felt like trash on a timer, two was intimidating (but not hard), and three was intereresting, but fail-proof. (Our healer got locked out the last time we were doing him, and I just rode out the encounter bandaging inbetween phase changes). I predict this will be the new supershort Slave Pens Equiv.
Ahn'kahet may be my favorite so far. Big, full of mobs, and cool bosses. Not to mention the XP is great, and most all pulls can be doubled/trippled up. Hopefully this one will be a popular heroic as well, since its right next to AN.
Drak'Theron was also pretty cool, with a ZA feel to it. The final boss's skeleton phase was a faceroll, which was disapointing.
The one thing that drives me crazy about virtually every boss, though, is the unnecessary and prolonged phase changes. I spend 3.4 seconds attacking the boss, before it does a 10-30 second float away / immunity shield / burrow, while adds spawn that you kill in 8.2 seconds, which brings you back to the begining (after another 10-30 seconds). If phases were changed after so much time, rather then by % health, that would at least give insentive for groups to DPS hard. As it stands, I spend more time in phase transitions then in phases - which is boring.
Oh, and I started on Dragonblight questing. Aert and I are going to try finishing up one zone completely (Instance Quests, Quest Achievement, Exploration) before moving on. We figure this way, we'll leave higher level zones to come back to at 80, for more gold.