Sometimes, yeah. 8.4 was already not that bleak in the first place, but I feel like Armsmaster vs. Leviathan made up for what bleakness was there.
Now that some time and a not-that-bleak chapter have passed, I do feel like 8.3 was not defining a new norm for the story, it was just… concentrated bleakness. The Wormverse has had bleak sides throughout the story so far, and it does feel like a major part of the setting, but no other chapter has been as thoroughly hopeless as 8.3. It was just a lot more than I was used to at once, and the fact that I was subjected to it for about five hours due to liveblogging it (this might be why it sounds like some of you were surprised by me finding it so bleak). When I wrote the end-of-chapter post for 8.3, I was worried that this kind of bleakness would be the new norm. Some dark themes and bleakness is fine, but I don’t think I could enjoy reading another 8.3 for five hours every few days.