As recently posted I have left Khaz'goroth with 4 of my toons and transferred to Icecrown US. I immediately began scouting for guilds, but guilds that needed hunters were hard to come by. I had almost given up hope when a person I met in a PUG suggested I should apply to Ultima Ratio. Ultima Ratio is one of the server's top Alliance guild with 6/13 heroic completed which was well ahead of where I was hoping to land. I had spent the last few weeks farming ZA and ZG to turn my last remaining blues into epics. To be honest I didn't hold much hope when I applied, but nonetheless in the faint chance that my lack of heroic raiding experience and gear level may be overlooked, I put effort into my application. It literally took hours to prepare. I didn't want to leave anything to chance. I wanted to make sure that Ultima Ratio understood that I understood my class and had great raid etiquette, and most importantly that my lack of Cataclysm heroic raiding experience came from a combination of things outside of my control.
Well, as it turned out they like my app. I joined Ultima Ratio and have since been invited to a week of raiding. Ultima Ratio cleared both Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent (except Sinestra) with their usual progression of 6 fights on heroic. I was only asked to sit on heroic Valiona and Theralion and heroic Magmaw, staying in on Heroic Halfus, Chimaeron, Atramedes, Maloriak and normal Omnotron, Ascendant Council, Cho'gall and Nefarian.
Initially I wasn't very happy with my performance. I died early on, on heroic Halfus (aggro after a tank dropped), and D/Ced during Ascendant council. Throughout the rest of the fights I was lucky to be middle of the pack at times, mostly near the bottom (but never lowest of the DPS). I did discuss my performance with one of the raid leaders, and he felt that my performance was, although not spectacular, considering the circumstances, quite solid. What circumstances you ask? Well, first of all my gear level was considerably lower than the rest of the groups, with only a 2-piece bonus and still four ZA epic pieces equipped (melee, ranged, shoulder and bracer slots). On top of that I had never done any fights on heroic, and never seen either Nefarian or Cho'gall. I had attempted Atramedes and Ascendant Council but never killed them. I did spend the 2 days after joining UR, prior to raid days, watching all heroic movies multiple times, but theory can only teach you so much. And lastly, I raided both days as Survival (not a negative, just a circumstance). I must say I felt very happy with the fact that I did not die to any particular boss mechanic, even on fights I had never done before, proving that researching fights helps a great deal.
I did take heart in the fact that both of the Cho'gall attempts I was the top hunter DPS, but that may have more to do with the fact that it is quite Survival friendly (as was heroic Maloriak, another fight I did pretty well on). With 4.2 scheduled for release on the 28th rather than this week, I have the opportunity to test my Marksman skills once more before Firelands hits. I am hoping to improve on my numbers this week.
I have since changed my main spec to Marksman and spent the last few days practicing shot priorities and strategies on training dummies and ZA runs, with promising results. I must say it was an absolute pleasure to raid with Ultima Ratio. They were extremely professional during raid and have been extremely supportive. I feel like I have gained some level of acceptance already. I was not expecting to receive any gear, so to be rewarded with 3 heroic pieces including (heroic tier chest) and the tier helm (I now have achieved 4-piece bonus) was a huge surprise. At least gear is no longer an excuse for me.
Keep on hunting,