I always love the opening nights of a new Raid. Balance issues are still being tweaked, you can't navigate the place blindfolded or say the boss emotes before they do.Trash is somewhat a mystery. Sure you can find Boss strategies from the PTR, but rarely do they cover trash. Even with the PTR videos, there is still a period of adjustment of adapting those strategies to the strengths and weaknesses of your own raid.
I was running a little late (again) but I managed to get into the zone before the first boss, Hellfire Assault. This boss encounter reminded me a bit of the old days of Mount Hyjal or what I thought SWTOR raids would look like. You don't fight one big guy, but instead are challenged by small, powerful groups of enemies. The biggest thing for the tanks was picking up the big Bezerkers before they smashed one of our poor healers. We had the gates breached in three attempts which was already much better than our opening night in either Highmaul or Blackrock Foundry.
Fel Reaver, sorry, Iron Reaver, landed shortly after we breached the gates. This was a fun fight. Troll and I swapped when we got marked for Artillery but outside of that it didn't feel like a very hard fight. It only tooks us two to three attempts to get him/her.
The first two bosses went down so easy that we debated turning it up to Heroic to see if we were already ready for that. We weren't. We didn't even get through 25% of the gates before one of the Fel AoE mobs wiped us out and we went back to Normal.
Kormok was the next up and from the looks of him, I was expecting another Tectus type of fight, but this was very different. We hadn't really studied up on him so we just went in with only a basic understanding of the fight. It didn't go well. We called it a night happy to have killed two bosses on our first night and everyone studied up on Kormok before we formed up Thursday.
Knowing the fight better was a big help. There is one part of the fight where Kormok will punt his tank way far away (what does he think I am, a Gnome!). We would land in one of the fel pools and die. My first death was atttributed to a Neural Silencer. I get them from Blingtron from time to time and use them, mostly because I don't want them taking up inventory space but also in case some enterprising player on a World Boss or PuG wants to have a little fun. I honestly forgot I had the bloody thing on, but when I got knocked into the fel sludge one of our priest tried to pull me out and she couldn't. I turned off the Silencer for our next pull. During the pull I noticed that there was one area of the room near the door that didn't have any sludge. I recommended to Troll that we point the boss that way when he slapped us. Sure enough, we landed but took no further damage. Kormok went down that pull.
I hadn't done much reading on Hellfire Citadel, trying my best to avoid spoilers, so it was with a mixture of surprise, excitement and nostalgia that I discovered part of the Iron Council was none other than my old BC pal Gurtogg Bloodboil. Gurtogg was one of my favorite fights in BC because it played to one of my Paladin's few strengths at the time, outrageous threat generation. Bosses in BC were immune to taunt, but you had to taunt swap Gurtogg because his swings reduced your armor. It meant the tanks had to carefully control their threat so they could switch him.
This version of Gurtogg harkens back to the original. He still does the armor reducing thing but he also has the rest of the council: Dia and Blademaster. It took a couple of attempts to work out the taunt swap. Initially, I was being too conservative with my stacks and calling for the switch too soon. Once, we increased the number of stacks I took, we got Gurtogg down no problem. But he's only one-third of the encounter. We wiped twice to the enrage time because we couldn't get Blademaster down fast enough.
The problem was I initially had Blademaster and Gurtogg and when we switched, Blademaster went with me. That took him away from the Cleave damage but also put him next to the Dia which reduced the damage he took even more. We got that sorted and two pulls later, we had defeated the Council.
We were pretty happy with four bosses on our first week in Hellfire.