** Disclaimer **
I'm writing this because a few people have asked me about HK. I'm no one special. People ask me because I'm online a lot and I talk in guild frequently. To be up-front, at the time of this writing, I haven't even earned an official raid roster spot on an HK roster. I've been raiding HK on the backs on a lot of folks who put in many difficult times. This isn't any kind of proof of my own ability. Some of the things below I failed to do before zoning into HK my first time. So, if you want to stop reading now, please do! But, I'm hoping it can help a few people as while I can't promise that you'll be raiding immediately -- I can promise that you'll be ready for it!
Getting Ready for Hammerknell Fortress
So you want to free Hammerknell from the wrath of Akylios? Great! The dwarves can certainly use the help. But before you run into the fray, let's make sure you're ready to assist.
Firstly, there are some HK-specific requirements. You'll need:
300 HIT/FOCUS, IDEALLY 320+
That might seem like a lot, but it's really easier than ever to obtain. You can run 10 mans, buy crafted (check out the Gaiscioch Marketplace!), or even scrounge up enough inscribed for Planar Conquerors. You'll have 300 no problem one you add the runes. Master Dungeons are also a good place to get some very nice starter gear.
Note: Akylios will debuff you for -40 focus. This means that you really want 360 focus, but there's no viable way to get that high before you start raiding HK unless you're willing to collect enough Greaters from repeatable quests outside of the zone.
WATER RESIST: 170 INNATE
You need to strive for 170 water resist with zero buffs. Although you can raid the first floor with no water resist at all and only Akylios
requires the max, you should strive to get your resist up ASAP. This means 4 simple, but time-consuming things.
1) Get a Barnacle Encrusted Sigil and fill it with water resist essences. While technically you can do a couple of the final bosses with less just fine, if you don't have 170, you are at sigificant risk of dying to Akylios -- and it's unlikely the raid leader will want to swap people between bosses. You will slot otherwise less ideal essences to accomplish this, but the resists are most important. This sigil is just to equip on fights that need it.
2) Have shoulder and chest slot items with water resist on them. You can rune on the fly (you'll be spending money or mats if you're a Runecrafter to overwrite every run) or you can have alternate gear that you keep water resist on and swap in for the fights that need it.
3) Get the water resist PA.
4) Have water resist potions on you. While this isn't innate, you want to be prepared, right? If you can make them, bring some in case someone else needs them.
Secondly, there are the general raid requirements to keep in mind. There's a good guide about this on the site already, but to cover the basics here, be ready to go before the raid time with:
1) Know your class. That sounds elitest, I know -- but the more roles you can fill, the more valuable you are. If you're a mage that can DPS, Tank Heal, Group Heal and Archon, well....you're a lot more valuable than "just a DPS"! This is especially true for new raiders, since you're least able to contribute good DPS compared to everyone else that is already geared! And speaking of gear, make sure you have the best runes you can for your class! Work on "the big 3" (Dragonslayer Covenant, Icewatch and Order of Mathos). Glorified with these 3 gives you the best in slot choices for 3 items (legs, head and belt)
2) Know the fights. Ask questions. There are plenty of guides out there. Everyone knows you're new if you are. There is no shame in being new. But the ease of random experts and overgeared 10 mans can lull you into the habit of simply trying to learn as you go. HK can punish you for that. Worse, in several of the fights, HK might just punish the entire raid for one person's mistake. I recommend reading: http://www.riftstrats.com/hammerknell-fortress/ (Challenge: One of the bosses may require you to have a role just for the encounter...which? What is best for your class? Do you have it ready to go?)
2) Have consumables. Have your set of consumables stocked and ready to go. Be prepared to switch them out during the raid as the fights require (might need more endurance, int or water resist). Don't forget little things like faction food that gives easy modifiers.
3) Heal your soul. HK has a healer inside once you kill Murdantix (also a general goods vendor), but zone in with 100% soul health! When you run back by this area during the raid, heal up again if you have any soul damage.
4) Fill your planar charges. Work on getting your max charges if you haven't already. Spend the planarite on the 3 extra consumables you can carry with you.
5) Focus on the mechanic. If your raid leader gives you a specific job to do, ignore me. But if you're left to fill a "general" role like DPS, focus on the mechanic first and your DPS second. Once you have the mechanic down, then adapt your optimal rotation to fit it.
Now, go out there and get the dwarves their city back! Oh, and don't forget to jump...