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RIP were formed before classic WoW launched as a guild with a mission. It was to unite players, most of whom had played vanilla WoW back in the mid 2000's and complete the goals they were unable to complete back then, most notably to kill Kel'Thuzad. Although the leadership and members had experience in Classic WoW, we had almost no members with a significant amount of private server experience.
Phase1: Stage 1 was to recruit a roster of like minded players, and when the game began we were ready to go, with a roster high on warriors and rogues and low on hunters and druids. In other words, not a slave to the meta, but most certainly playing with the meta in mind. Our first goal as a guild was to level up and get everyone ready to go into Molten Core and Onyxia. As with most things RIP do, we wanted to walk the middle line between casual and hardcore, so we set a fairly generous timer of 10 weeks into Classic to be 60 and ready to raid. Of course, some of our members leveled faster than others, and some were present on the horde first Molten Core clear, which was made of a mixture of fast levelers from multiple guilds. Once we were all leveled and ready and we took our first all RIP teams into Molten Core, we cleared the place with ease, and then moved on to clear Onyxia with a little less ease. For those of you that didn't kill Onyxia in the early days of WoW Classic, she was a bit buggy with fireballs that hit multiple targets not reseting threat correctly, and her targetting of people by GUID and not by threat as intended.
With Molten Core clear, our next goals were to make sure we were prepared and ready for Naxxramas. Some thought us mad preparing for Naxxramas in Phase 1, but we predicated the majority of the content up until Naxxramas would be easy for prepared and experienced raiders. RIP had a policy to require the preparation of a Black Lotus a week (up to 50 from each individual raider) that went into the guild Black Lotus bank. These Lotuses would be used to flask tanks for the first few weeks of Blackwing Lair, for the first few weeks of tanks on Twins and Ouro in AQ40, but were mostly used to flask the raid in Naxxramas. With everyone preparing the lotuses and other items, we now simply had to farm Molten Core and Onyxia and wait for more content.
Phase2:It wouldn't fit with the RIP ethos to have a scouting schedule, and mandatory times for an announcement to go out to being ready to pull a world boss, but Phase2 did bring us Kazzak and Azuregos. We had someone scouting online when Kazzak spawned for the third time on the server, and we rapidly assembled a squad to take him down. Sadly he never did drop the premium loot from him for our raid leader Zufer, the shadow damage pants, despite us killing him several more times in later phases. We also got a kill in on Azuregos, but for the most part Discipline, an alliance guild dominated the world bosses in the early days of Mirage Raceway.
Phase3:We got more fresh content more to the taste of RIP with the release of Blackwing Lair. Our low numbers of hunters came to bite us, as one hunter had to quit WoW for personal reasons, and another couldn't make the release week of BWL. This left our first BWL raid starting with a quick adventure into Molten Core to grab a tranq shot book for a fresh recruit. With that out the way, we entered Blackwing Lair. Despite many raiders having nightmares from Vael and Chromaggus from Vanilla, our primary challenge was Firemaw. This turned out to be a common problem across guilds in general, but with 5 wipes on Firemaw, 1 on Chromaggus and 1 on Nefarian, we cleared out BWL in our first week. After the first couple of weeks, we were able to easily clear BWL, MC and Onyxia in our raid schedule.
Phase5:Our next big 40man challenge came with the opening of the bug den in Ahn'Qiraj. We were very much prepared for this. Our first wipe came on Viscidius, as we worked our way though AQ40 in the natural order. The slime died on our second pull. We took a wipe and some flask drinking from our warrior tanks to down Twins. Although we got Ouro down in one, we took 4 pull to down C'Thun, including a wipe to a particularly poor initial pull strategy which let us learn what the maximum damage number in classic WoW is. After a second week to refine our strategy, we added BWL back to the schedule, and a couple of weeks after that had AQ40 down to a single night, which let us get back to clearing all the content we had on the agenda.
Phase6:Naxxramas. What the entire build up had been for. After a lot of mathematical preperation on the tanking and healing assignments, we wandered up to Patchwerk and one shot the abomination. Then we learned what happens when a trash pack uppercuts a tank into Grobbulus and had an unfortunate early encounter with him !. That didn't stop us one shotting him on our first proper pull. Gluth provided a little more of a challenge, but we learned the kiting to clear him without world buffs after 3 pulls. Then we finished up the night by downing Thaddius and Noth.
Our second night saw us tackle the spider wing, clearing Anub on the third pull, before one shotting Faerlina and getting Mexxna on the third pull. We then discovered dancing wasn't our guilds strong point, you could say we danced like Dad's, as it took us seven attempts to get our moves in order and kill Heigan. This made Naxx the first raid we couldn't clear in our first week of efforts.
Our second week we were aiming to tackle bosses we hadn't yet killed. On our first night we headed straight for Loatheb. It was an expensive night, and we learned why most guilds ended up making sure they had world buffs for this, as we one shot both Noth and Heigan, but then spent the rest of the night and a lot of shadow protection pots, and killed Loatheb on our 14th attempt. With the second raid of week 2, we went to the military wing, one shotting Razuvious and Gothik before spending some time learning but not killing Four Horseman.
The third week took us back to the military wing to try and clear our the final boss of the wings that had still eluded us, and the practice the previous week paid off as we killed the horsemen on this visit. This put us at 13/15 before Christmas and New Year imposed a small break where we couldn't assemble a full raid, and so while we got some farming in, we weren't really in a position to make progress.
Once we had the full team reassembled, it was time to get quick at clearing the wing bosses so we could get some tries in on what everyone was saying was the biggest challenge in Naxxramas, Sapphiron. After two weeks perfectly our wing clears we got to Sapphiron with enough time to have some serious attempts on the dragon. We quickly learned why healing stacking is important, at least before the full raid had a lot of frost resistance. We came back the next week with as many healers as we could muster, marking Sapphiron as the first boss which we felt we needed to make raid compositional adjustments for. With those adjustments, as well as the use of many a shadow and frost protection potion, we killed Sapphiron. Sadly, depsite being told once Sapphiron is down, Kel'Thuzad would just fall over, we didn't find that to be true.
So one final progress week we returned, this time clearing everything in the wings except Loatheb on our first pass, and coming back with some world buffs to clear the fungal monster, Sapphiron and then finally getting the lich down on the second week of trying. After several weeks of farming Naxxramas, to allow everyone in the guild to make sure they had killed every boss, and to assembled the shards for an Ateish some members decided they had achieved what they came to classic wow for. This made the guilds focus change from classic WoW raiding to preparing for the Burning Crusade, where we await our new adventures.