After a long hiatus, I spent the last two nights running an actual, current, relevant raid - Hellfire Citidel.

Some may argue that two year old content is hardly ‘current’, and that’s true but it’s the most current on offer! The last time I properly raided - so not LFR - was waaaay back in WotLK when I was main tanking Naxx on my Warrior. Since then guild implosions and lack of direction has meant just LFRing my way through endgame. LFR is great for seeing the denouement of an expansion (I really liked finishing off Deathwing and Garrosh that way), but it is in no way comparable to raiding with a guild.

Luckily for me, my new guild Frostwolves decided on a one-last-time Achievement run through Normal HFC, and I’d just managed to edge over the 690 gear score limit. So I was kindly invited along and it was a blast. My main focus was not dying and getting my rotation and the fight mechanics right, as I realised my DPS output would be pretty lowly. Even knowing that it was kind of staggering to see Mythic geared people putting out at least 5x the DPS that I was. So I guess you could say it was a carry - but at least it was with Guildies!

We rolled through the first 6-7 bosses, and I stayed mostly alive (only dying early to Reaver). Probably largely to Guild Leader Navi’s healing generosity, but I was pleased to be more-or-less coping. The sheer power of the DPS meant trash was being obliterated which is fun to watch, and many of the bosses seemed easier that on LFR thanks to the lovely control from the tanks and smooth blanket of healing from the, uh, heals.

I was kind of surprised at how the mechanics of the fights were fairly readable, despite my not having seen any bosses after Gorefiend. I had the advantage of being able to focus on mechanics more than contributing a huge DPS output, but I still felt it was mostly clear what was going on and I think I managed to keep my rotation pretty clean. DBM and Wowhead research helps enormously, as does the occasional instruction and whisper from the more experience team. Some of who managed to whisper mid fight - amazing skillz!

It wasn’t until Xhul’horac that a major challenge arrived, with the complexity of the debuff mechanics meaning we were forced to wipe repeatedly in order to keep the achievement alive. On around the 12th attempt we managed to just scrape through, literally by the skin of our teeth. That unique and thrilling feeling of having accomplished something tricky with a group was palpable - hoots in Discord and many !’s in raid chat. I suspect that feeling is why people keep raiding - working as a team to overcome a challenge is a magic feeling. Even if for me that challenge was mainly about doing the right thing more than contributing a huge amount to downing the bosses, it still felt great to get the achievement done.

We got all the way to Archimonde, and had two attempts at the achievement before having to stop for the night. Hopefully we can pick that last one up next week. I was treating these runs as a bit of a test to see if raiding in Legion was something I could invest some time in. Come Legion I will be able to start on a vaguely level footing, so given how fun this was it seems worth trying to earn a spot in Normal Raiding.

I’m also super pleased that Frostwolves seems a good fit - there was no finger pointing and a generally good and constructive atmosphere. It was really nice to hear some of the invited guests (from other guilds and servers) give a special shout out to Navi for organising the runs - a sign of respect and a nice reward for hard work. Fun to be back on the horse, or in my case the toy-pony.