Until last night, my butt was incomplete. Because it didn't have a Rusted Proto-Drake permanently attached to it.
After much struggle with scheduling (including a death in a key guildie's family!), we managed to get two nights in a row on Yogg hard mode, and finally downed it, completing the Glory of the Ulduar Raider achievement. Me and my butt are very, very happy.
For those interested, here's the story of how we did Yogg Hard mode (One Light in the Darkness) with just Thorim helping us.
Originally, our group makeup was:
We struggled with Phase 2, needing things to go very well with the RNG to down the brain in two portal phases, which I would consider necessary for victory here, as the raid begins to run low on sanity if Phase 2 goes on too long. We would send myself (the DK), the dps warrior, the ret paladin, and the resto shaman down into the brain room, which gave us full coverage on debuffs.
We made it to Phase 3 a few times this way, but always lost people due to poor positioning, loose adds, or failure to look away during the lunatic gaze that reduces your sanity. Basically, we would always be behind on tentacles and run ragged, often with a few people dead, by the time we made it to Phase 3.
The turnaround for us was a night where the dps warrior couldn't make it. We could bring a second ret paladin in his place, but that paladin didn't have the gear or experience on this fight that the warrior brought, making us doubt the chances of getting the brain down in 2 portals. Then our Guildmaster, the resto shaman, hit on an idea: she would do the fight as Enhancement and the priest and druid would 2-heal it! The healing requirements are not all that intense compared to, say, Firefighter, and having an extra dps in the brain room had the potential to be a huge buff to our ability to clear the phase quickly. And best of all, any dispels needed on the portal team could be covered by the shaman/pally combo!
It took about an hour and a half of attempts with this new setup to win. Most of the attempts were wiped not by user error, but by terrible luck with all of the randomized aspects of the fight, such as tentacle placements, targets of Yogg's abilities, and placement of the floating skulls in the portal rooms. One particularly bad attempt found me constricted just as the portals spawned. I was quickly broken out, and ran toward the portal, thinking I would make it. Instead, I was feared by Yogg just long enough to miss the portal. The next attempt, we zoned into the portal room and found that both sets of floating skulls were positioned such that there was no way to dps the targets without losing sanity non-stop the entire time. Randomized screw-overs like that were the most frustrating and disheartening part of the experience. We could play perfectly, and still be wiped by the random number generator, which is clearly > all. I'm not a big fan of that. Yeah, hard modes are supposed to be hard. But they should challenge your ability to play more than they challenge your ability to have good luck. And I think Yogg Hard goes a little too far in the luck direction.
But we did it! We are now in the top 40 US guilds that only do 10-man raiding according to Guildox, and join a group of only about 50 of such guilds to have earned drakes. And we managed this rank despite constant difficulties getting together our hard mode groups due to a string of RL events that made the attendance of many of our roster of only 12 raiders sporadic. Though it took us a month between downing Firefighter and One Light, we actually only spent a grand total of about 7 hours spread over 4-5 nights working on it. That's only 3 normal-length nights of attempts. I'm pretty proud of us.
I know my guildies don't even know about this blog, but I still want to thank them for their friendship, skill, perseverence, patience, and class throughout this entire journey to our drakes. They are an incredible group of people and players that make this game worth playing for me, and I would never have enhanced my butt dragonally without them. I can't wait to fly around REALLY FAST alongside them again!