The fine folks in Insidious Nagrand-US (my guild) needed a 10th man for the end of some Dragon Soul hard modes, and I was lucky enough to be online at the same time.
Dragon Soul hard modes are just that, hard. Timing, patience, and a little luck are needed – and all the team needs to be pulling their weight. Like the previous tier a single screw-up can be very harsh, although I get the impression that the GunShip encounter has more tolerance for mistakes than the gimmick fights (…use magic button now…wheee…). Unfortunately due to not playing regularly for almost six months my character’s raid gear is far from the level needed for hard modes, and I didn’t know the fights well at all. I was under performing completely, and it frustrated me.
When I joined they were doing the LootShip where a Death Knight can actually perform some useful duties. The Sapper can be death-gripped and icy-chained, the improved anti-magic shell can help with the explosive swirls, and spreading diseases amongst the mobs on the deck is good too. All that would have been great except of the all so poor dps that I was presenting to the raid. It was embarrassing, and after a few wipes I turned off my damage meter, as I couldn’t look at it anymore. Better to just concentrate on the task at hand.
The DK’s gear level was equivalent to gear from normal mode in the previous tier of raiding, with the odd hard mode upgrade thrown in. I’d guess average around ilevel 380, where it should be wearing ilevel at or just below 400 – a huge gap. Nothing really from Dragon Soul at all, which reflects the two or three times that I’ve participated in a raid.
Not knowing the fights is something that you can’t address easily when the reason I have not played is that I didn’t have time to raid. I’ve watched every vid the guild has posted, and even still read the strats and patch notes, but there is nothing like doing a fight 10 times to understand the mechanics. It takes familiarity to breed excellence. After 10 attempts I was actually getting the death-grips, using the AMS at least once, and also still (mostly) being where I was supposed to.
Would I do it again? Yes. I’m hoping my noob-effort was forgiven and the fact that they were well warned in advance about my lack of exposure was known – and each effort at LootShip was better. I’m even considering trying to get a night a week to play around in the LFR game, so that at the very least I can get the basics of all the boss mechanics down.
End of xpac might be late to start doing raid casually, but I think I’ll still enjoy it. To my guildies I say thank you, you carried my ass exceedingly well, and never hesitate to boot me from the raid if an experienced player comes online.