It all began in Mogushan Vaults and normal modes went by without too much of a problem as we would expect. I want to make a special note for Elegon normal because it actually took some effort in the first week and was somewhat challenging. The real test of heroic began a week later and we managed to take down Stone Guard Heroic fairly quickly despite the numerous problems plaguing the encounter including crystal interact bugs and chains spawning at the 25 man rate.
We then moved onto Feng and actually struggled a bit running into a multitude of problems and the boss took a bit of time to get down, with the kill only coming in the last raid of that first week. We had two heroic bosses down but we weren't really that happy with the current performance of many of the guilds damage dealers. The first tier of an expansion is usually the most difficult because the gear gap between entry gear and raid gear is quite severe. This falling short continued for a while as we got stuck on Garajal due to under performing dps and not being able to hit the required numbers targets. The frustration was beginning to grow but we continued to plug away at it because we knew Heart of Fear would be releasing soon.
Heart of Fear normal released a bit later and we swept through the normal modes without any real effort and this for me was the turning point in this tier for us because right after killing Shek'zeer we went into MSV and instantly killed Heroic Garajal. This kill was our lowest ranked heroic kill in the entire tier at West 633 and from this point forward things really began to kick on.
After Garajal we understood that Spirit Kings was a serious step up in difficulty and as it was our last raiding day of the week we decided to skip straight to Elegon with our understanding it was much easier in comparison. We were correct in our understanding and one hour after killing Garajal we also took down Heroic Elegon. The mood in the camp had completely changed as thanks to that little bit of gear boost we were pushed over the line in taking down two more bosses.
This pattern repeated with Terrace of the Endless spring releasing on November 14th, the following day with the extra gear Spirit (Reset) Kings Heroic went down after just 115 pulls in total. We were really pleased with that as we were aware that a lot of guilds were taking much longer in both time and pulls . We were beginning to think we were doing something right and this was being was being reflected in our results. We proceeded to push on and four days after taking down Spirit Kings we quickly dispatched Will of the Emperor with a West 244, taking off the best part of 400 ranks from when we were stuck on Garajal.
After the initial problems of MSV progression the guild was on the up and this was reflected in our progression in Heart of Fear. Nothing really bogged us down in the instance to any extent and we moved through it quite quickly. This is probably because at around the end of MSV progression we managed to get our hands on a disc priest, a spec which was incredibly powerful. The only boss that actually gave any problems at the start of Heart of Fear was actually Blade Lord despite it not being that difficult. This was quickly rectified with the disc priest and the fight was trivialized, the difference was night and day.
We continued raiding through November and into December taking out 5/6 in Heart of Fear with a particular highlight being Amber Shaper taking about 10 pulls to kill because we had worked out a completely fool proof tactic where all the responsibility was on our tanks shoulders. Christmas was approaching and we had the choice of the last few days of the year to put some time into Shek'zeer progression or attempt the much easier Lei Shi. In the interest of time we decided to take down the latter and it went fairly quickly. With that we had arrived at December 20th and would stop raiding for the rest of the year and return in January.
We came back to raiding after Christmas and the momentum we had built up before the break continued with us taking down Protectors, Shek'zeer and Tsulong all within the space of two weeks, leaving us at 15/16 Heroic and ready to tackle the Sha of Fear.
We were confident going into Sha having performed to what we would accept as a decent standard for ourselves on some of the previous boss kills. Killing Sha was a long old slog with the final kill coming on Feburary 24th with 1 reset spare before Throne of Thunder was due to be released. The kill date was 41 days after our Shek'zeer kill. During this time we were plagued with what I would call "Endboss Syndrome", attendance began to dip (Animorf needed to buy an alarm clock) and it felt like for a long time we weren't really getting anywhere. Thankfully however the boss did die and we managed to get the Cutting Edge Sha of Fear.
Usually in Solaris we are very strong at rekilling a boss for the second time and often never really had problems in achieving this. I can however say the reset after we went with a different setup to try and get everyone the Cutting Edge FoS and failed, managing to wipe at 400k hp on the best try. This left a weird feeling in the camp as we were both extremely happy at getting the kill but severely disappointed about not being able to repeat it for our other members. We were also feeling quite tired after having over a solid month of progression and all that would start again in a week with the release of ToT. Unfortunately this would have dire consequences that would ripple into Throne of Thunder progression.
With hindsight though our World Rank didn't change between Shek'zeer and Sha so I guess that was just the time required to kill the boss, which was a much more relatively difficult encounter when compared to its 25 man counterpart. (LOL HUDDLE RAID COOLDOWNS AND ACTUALLY THORWING THE BALL TO EVERYONE).