With our relative success in Throne of Thunder we had plenty of time to prepare for this tier at least half of the bosses were fully tested and we had a good understanding of everything up front.
Heroics opened up and we were off to a quick start with a fairly blistering pace through the first part of the instance with the only boss that really slowed us down was Norushen. Pre nerf Norushen in that first week had a fairly high damage requirement and was a really tight encounter to execute. This slowed us down for about a third of the first raid in that reset but afterwards our quick progression continued. We continued past Galakras once Bubber had learned to aim the cannons to take Iron Juggernaut down with an impressive World Rank 34, our highest ever kill to date.
With a bit of time left in the raid we managed to get some pulls in against Dark Shamans and originally used the tactic where you don’t split them with our best attempt at the end of that raid coming to 8%. We returned later after discovering the 3 tank strategy and it only really took a handful of attempts at that point. This was the first boss we took a killshot of in the instance because we didn't feel the other bosses had a difficulty level high enough to warrant it. This is the sentence where I say Nazgrim took 3 pulls and we move on to the rest of our lives.
Next up was Malkorok and after a bit of flip flopping on 2 healing or 3 healing we decided to 3 heal it as we noticed our dps was sufficient to manage and most of our wipes were caused by the healers just not being able to keep up on those early wipes and we found our health just being chipped away and damage would seep through the miasma barrier.
The tactic flip flopping would start somewhat of a trend for the next few bosses with our rapid clearing there just wasn't a high level of external information which would allow you to identify the easiest strategy from a group of different strategies. Being closer to the forefront of progression greatly increases the difficulty of the bosses because of that regard.
At this point we knew we were now entering the hard part of the instance and the difficulty of the bosses really began to ramp up with Thok. This was the first boss that would end up taking over 100 pulls to defeat and I honestly think it would have been a fair lot lower if we had gone in with a completely optimal setup. We had 1 paladin only and no paladin tank to solo tank the encounter so we were a bit handicapped over groups that were running 2 paladins and able to solo tank. This wasn't all bad news however because our use of a warrior tank meant he could spec into burst damage cds and mega reck bladestorm the bats with high vengeance meaning they were alive for about 5 seconds. A bit more flip flopping on the strategy of where to stand and a fair bit of some people getting hit by the yeti and the boss eventually went down.
Thok presented a challenge but the next boss would present an even greater challenge and an even large amount of strategy flip flopping. Blackfuse in terms of pulls took an incredibly long time clocking in at 279 pulls, this was a result of picking a strategy early trying it for 30 pulls thinking it wasn't working and then re-evaluating it and trying something else. This continued for a bit until we just said fuck it and carried on with the strategy we were on at the time which involved as few mine waves as possible because we genuinely seemed pretty incapable of handling them.
With a couple more tweaks including changing tank setup after I think about 25 pulls as we realized a DK tank was incapable of killing the Shredder without an absurd amount of stacks and fine tuning positioning and the ever so annoying conveyer belt team the boss eventually went down. The upside of the strategy that we used however was that the boss died very quickly in terms of kill time when compared to a lot of other guilds from log comparisons.
I am going to be honest and say that no one at all was looking forward to attempting Heroic Paragons of the Klaxxi. The entire fight just seemed like one incredible giant clusterfuck throughout the entire encounter and we were right for thinking that. However it turned out that Heroic on 10 man at least wasn't actually that difficult, most of our wipes coming from things like people being 1 shotted with scorpion up from multi shot. It got to the point where we knew if someone died early it was better to wipe it because we would need a combat res later into the fight. After a relatively short number of pulls compared to the last few bosses Paragons quickly went down and we would move onto Garrosh.
At this point everyone was really happy we were finally seeing the higher world ranks we knew that we could achieve with slightly extra levels of effort/being prepared. It is unfortunate then that writing this is where the journey of the 10 man Solaris team would come to an end. The guild would eventually continue being reborn as Solaris 2.0 a 25 man heroic raiding guild which will be covered in the next chapter of our journey.
What happened to the 10 man team isn't easy to pinpoint exactly but i'll try my best to say what I think happened at least. We started progression on Garrosh and things started to go well for a while it was clear that he was a fairly extreme step up in difficulty from the previous bosses and to be fair with the nerfs that came later it was clear that the boss was perhaps a bit overtuned on 10 heroic compared to 25.
Progression began to slow down after a while and we kind of got into a rut where it felt like we were going nowhere. Christmas was approaching and people were eager to get the boss down because several people announced that they would have to take breaks because of exams. We succumbed to this pressure and began extending lockouts to rush and try and kill Garrosh (Problem 1). With extending lockouts progress still didn't really seem to go anywhere and frustration began to set in, numbers from certain DPS just weren't coming up to par, we had been unlucky with trinkets and some other loot not dropping but the numbers were still inexcusable.
It was at this point when our frustration was at it's highest that Blizzard made an announcement that really crushed any remaining spirit that we had to continue. The announcement that 10 Man Heroic raiding wouldn’t continue and all serious raiding would be shifted into the single 20 man format. Don't get me wrong this was a good change for the overall raiding scene but the announcement literally couldn't have come at a worse time. The guild had recovered from situations similar to the Garrosh rut in the past because we always knew that we were good enough to get it down later and there would be a future to what we were doing but this was really the final nail in the coffin this time. I honestly believe had this announcement not come or had not happened that the Solaris 10 man team would still be raiding to this day.
For Solaris 10 man the journey was over.
If you have read this far or you know anyone from the 10 man team, you will know a lot of effort went into making this guild better over the years. I (Ragthor) had practically been in the guild since the beginning along with Joan/Valeria and to see the journey rapidly end like this was quite distressing. On a personal level it took me a bit of time to find the enthusiasm to play the game again.
Looking back several mistakes were made on Garrosh that really ended up resulting in the collapse of the team. If you aren't close to killing a boss NEVER extend the lockout, it is simply never worth it, don't get caught up in your own hype and think you are better than you are. Our rapid progress through the beginning of the instance had made us feel invincible, couple this with self imposed time pressure and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Looking back i'd say the tier was still a success we had begun to achieve what we set out to do all those years ago back at the end of Wrath of the Lich King but for now the journey was over.
Several months after the end of 10 man Solaris a new impetus was given to the guild and it was decided that it would be reborn as a 25 man guild under the guise of Solaris 2.0. Hardly anything survived from the original group with only 2 members (Verdeth/Joan) returning to be part of the new team. This was a completely different team and the guild was reborn with a wave of new members and a lot of effort from people like Haver and Joan who would be integral to the rebirth of Solaris.
Head over to the next chapter to read about the rebirth and continuation of the guild.