Raiding and You: The Basics

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Raiding and You: The Basics

Post  Dithrica on Fri 11 Sep 2009, 1:24 pm

Courtesy of Nixx.

Introduction:

So you want to raid, eh? Whether you're a fresh level 80 or a more seasoned player looking to try something new, raiding can be a great experience. Raiding allows for you to come together with 9 or 24 other players and work as a team towards a common goal, usually a boss kill. It can be a great source of countless hours of fun and a great sense of achievement as far as video games go.

Formerly a pursuit primarily for those with great amounts of free time or fortunate work schedules, Blizzard has been working hard to open raiding more and more to the casual gamer. With WotLK and the advent of normal/hard modes, raiding is more accessible than ever for casual and hardcore gamers alike. There is no better time to start raiding than the present!

Something to remember is that while you can get carried through content, it's never a good goal. Not only does it typically end in drama, but the odds are if you're getting carried, so are a few others and it will over all diminish your raiding experience. Raiding is a team sport and the other 24 people in the raid are counting on you to do your part and pull your weight. Raiding will work best when you do it with the motivation of working with the other members of your raid to down the boss and not for your own personal gain. Ultimately, you will get out of it what you put into it. This guide is intended to help you maximize what you can put into it.

Getting Started:

First and foremost you'll need to find a raiding guild. There are a few things to consider before joining a guild to ensure you and the guild are the best possible fit for each other. Most guilds have websites for their guild that offers a variety of information about them, including raid times, loot system, progression, and current class needs. There is typically a sticky with a list of sites in each individual realm forum. You can also make a thread in the guild recruitment forum or your realm forum and see who bites.

Your play schedule - Naturally, the first and probably most important thing in a guild is a match between your available times and their raid times. Make sure you can attend all of their raid nights for the full duration comfortably with no regular obstacles to raiding. Whether a guild asks for 50% attendance, 100% attendance, or no attendance at all, your goal should always be 100% attendance.

Loot systems


- As much as I disagree with it, I can't deny that some people raid solely for the loot. It's a terrible reason, but I'll reserve judgment. Whether or not you're one of these people, the loot system of a guild can be important. I'll just cover a few common types.

Loot Council- Generally speaking, if you have a good guild with a good group of officers you can trust and your goal is progression as fast as you can manage, you'll want a loot council. In a loot council all drops are divvied out by a group of members, usually officers, known as the loot council. They have sole control of the loot and typically (or rather ideally) will attempt to distribute the loot in the way that best benefits the raid as a whole. If you happen to have a ton of gear and a new recruit who shares drops with you has much less, you may go awhile without seeing a drop. However, the general idea is that by gearing them up, they can fulfill their role much more effectively and that you, with extra gear, can already fulfill the role quite effectively.

DKP - DKP, or "dragon kill points", are a form of currency used to purchase loot. Typically a raider will earn DKP for attending a raid and killing bosses. Depending on the guild, it may be given to members who remain on stand by (are ready to jump into the raid at a moment's notice) even if there was not a spot for them. There may also be DKP penalties for a variety of things including being late to the raid, unprepared, or whatever. DKP is itself a fairly varied loot system and I won't bother covering all the variations of it.

Free rolls- Exactly what it sounds like. Loot drops and if you can use it, you can roll on it.

Getting In!

- Now that you've made a list of possible guilds, it's time to get into one. Most raiding guilds will have an application process done through their guild website. This may seem tedious, but remember, the guild is just as interested in deciding if you're a good fit for them as you are. Take time and fill out the app as completely as possible, try to keep it formal and at least run it through a spellchecker. Under no circumstances should you lie on your app. More, now than ever it is very easy to check things like your raid experience. If you lie, you will almost certainly be caught, even if not before you get in, shortly after when you don't live up to the image you painted of yourself. This can not only keep you from getting in that guild, but other guilds as well. Remember, this app is your first impression and the time and effort spent on it will pay off.

If your app is rejected, do not throw a fit and yell and shout. If they do not give you the reason, contact an officer of the guild and ask them why and what you can do to fix it. Even if it doesn't get you in that guild, it can help you in your continued search.

Before the Raid Begins:

Know Your Class! - One of the simplest ways to make yourself a more effective raider is to spend a bit of time reading up on your class, learning it inside and out. WoW is a game of numbers and math, especially for DPS. Fortunately for you, there's a great community of theory crafters out there who have already done the hard part for you and figured out all the numbers. It's just up to you to read them and learn them. Blizzard provides class forums and many players have spent a fair amount of time making stickies that summarize all the need to know info for your class and spec. In addition to those forums, there are many excellent 3rd party forums available for free. The forums of Elitist Jerks are one of the best collections of theory crafting available. In addition there are many class/spec specific sights that are focused entirely on your chosen role!

Consumables! - Flasks, food, and pots. The three primary categories of consumables and some of a raider's best friends. These should
be considered mandatory for all new content and anything that isn't on ezmode farm. There's no good reason to say no to free stats. Specific rules may vary by guild, but even if they're not required, it's probably a good idea to use consumables for any boss you've wiped on in the last 2-3 weeks, even when designated as farm content.

Do Your Homework! - Perhaps that's not the best phrase to encourage you with, but an important aspect of raiding is knowing what to expect before you make the first boss attempts. Sites like Bosskillers and Wowwiki offered detailed information on abilities and strategies for nearly every boss encounter. Spending just a few minutes reading these will give you a heads up on what to expect and how to deal with it which can be an important edge when attempting more difficult content. This is a very simple and quick thing you can do to greatly increase the effectiveness of early pulls.

During the Raid:


Vent - Not much to say here, but generally speaking vent should be kept quiet while killing everything, even trash. The only exceptions should be if you have something to say crucial to the success of the raid or it is the absolutely most mindless activity ever (ie clearing Naxx for the 2000th time).

Wipes - Wipes are an unfortunate, but inevitable part of raiding. There's a few things to know regarding them that can make a lot of difference between downing a boss tonight, tomorrow night, or next week. It is not a wipe until the raid leader says it is. If you are not the raid leader, you have no business using the word wipe during an encounter. If you are dead, do not release unless a wipe is called and do not AFK. Both of these make it much more difficult to use battle resses. Instead, you should probably be thinking about things like why you died and how you can not die and be more useful in the future. Battle resses and Reincarnate should not be used without the approval of the raid leader. If the wipe is called, immediately stop what you are doing and find a convenient way to die. If you are a healer, this means STOP HEALING IMMEDIATELY. Release and run back, mana up, and rebuff as quickly as possible to minimize down time between pulls.

Raid Awareness - Regardless of your chosen role, raid awareness is a crucial skill every raider should have. Raid awareness means not standing in fire. It means staying spread out or grouped up when necessary. It means noticing phase changes, portals you need to go in, and whatever else the encounter calls for. You should know exactly what is going on in your raid at any given time during the encounter.

Long story short, if you are dead, you are not helping your raid. Except on Gorefiend.

Addons and 3rd Party Meters:

Addons refer to any number of 3rd party modifications for World of Warcraft. These addons can do a variety of things ranging from making your UI more aesthetically pleasing to increasing combat functionality. The vast majority of these are completely legal to use with the game and many will help increase your effectiveness in a raid setting. We'll touch on a few here that are very specifically tied to raiding, but there's a whole plethora of other addons available.

There are a few choices for boss encounter addons, the popular ones being Deadly Boss Mods (DBM) and BigWigs. These mods do various things mostly related to boss fights. Typically they'll add timers for boss abilities, warn you if you're standing too near or too far from someone, or other information critical to your ability to kill the boss. While less crucial to raiding than in the past, as Blizzard has made attempts to include most of the timers and important things in the game, they can still be very helpful and I'd highly recommend at least owning one that you can turn on as necessary.

Healers may wish to grab one of the major healer tailored addons, Grid, Clique, Healbot or Vuhdoo.

Recount is the most popular of the in game meter addons. It provides detailed breakdowns from fight to fight of things like DPS, healing done, deaths, and damage taken. There are other options such as Recap or SW Stats, though Recount is, at least for now, the most popular.

Similar to Recount, WorldofLogs.com, WoW Web Stats and WoW Meter Online (WWS and WMO respectively. Links in Useful Stuff) provide a detailed breakdown of a variety of statistics for a particular encounter. These three are far more detailed than Recount and can be an incredibly useful tool for evaluating your performance, particularly for DPS.

Decursive - This is a very easy to use addon designed to make cleansing as easy and quick as possible regardless of class. If your class can cure an affliction, regardless of what kind, this is a NECESSARY addon.

Keybinds and Macros:

Keybinds - All spells, abilities, and macros you regularly use should be keybound. While not always critical, especially for DPS, there are really no situations in which clicking and keyboard turning will prove superior to binds and mouse movement, though there are plenty of times when mouse movement and binds will prove superior (high movement fights and PVP). It may feel awkward and clumsy at first, but it's no different than learning to walk or ride a bike. You just have to take some time to get used to them and get a feel for them. Don't be afraid to redo any binds you later find that are out of the way or just generally don't like. Do make sure you take time to get used to them outside of raids, PVP is a great way to do so.

Macros - A macro is a custom button of sorts that allows for many slash commands to be executed simultaneously. It can be used for custom emotes or random mounts or any number of things, but one of the most common and useful applications is for combat. You can make macros of things like key cooldowns to activate the cooldowns and your trinkets all at once for a gigantic heal or pop all your tanking cooldowns and perhaps a warning that they've been activated. Overall they can really help streamline combat and make you a more efficient raider.


Last edited by Dithrica on Thu 24 Dec 2009, 10:53 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Raiding and You: The Basics

Post  Dithrica on Fri 11 Sep 2009, 1:25 pm

Healing: (Credit: Stormoon)

This is killing me.

HPS means crap.

Assumption:

The raid wishes to down the boss.

If your assumptions or goals are different, then I guess none of this applies. Yet, if your primary goal is to top meters than let me suggest your goal is self defeating, in that those who progress faster and get better gear will in the end beat you at your own game.

Misconceptions:

1) Total raw healing a reliable gauge as to which are the best healers.

2) HPS is a reliable gauge as to which are the best healers.

3) Overhealing is bad.

4) Overhealing is good.

5) Specing for max healing is good.


What does make a good healer

1) Being able to heal and follow the rest of the fight at the same time.

Healing is not easy. Players with tunnel vision should not be healers. Pick a dps class with the simplest rotation and play more pvp to get better. You must be able to run and heal at the same time. You should be able to notice who is going to get in trouble before your UI lights up. You must be able to notice dbm warnings and watch your UI at the same time.

2) Thinking ahead.

Spamming WG, COH, or CH does not make a good healer, although sometimes that is all that is asked of you. Good healers think ahead. Where is the next damage coming from and who is it going to hit? In a raid with great healers you don't hear, "I couldn't get a heal on them in time," very often. Sure there are times when the most prepared healer isn't going to save someone from their own stupidity or bad RNG.

3) Standing in the right spot.

This actually is a combination of 1 and 2. Good healers position themselves to be in range of the people they are responsible to heal and are aware ahead of time when that positioning might change. Good healers don't stare at their UI while getting cleaved, rained on, or bathing in green crap.

4) Don't blow your mana for meters.

While non-healers might think you rule for topping the healing charts, it's pretty non-impressive to anyone that has a clue what you've been up to if you. If someone is down 3K health and is in no danger of taking more damage, don't bomb them with a healing touch. If a dps is down 3K with a HoT on them don't flash them. Nothing irritates me more than a priest that spams CoH like it's going out of style on targets with druid HoTs on them and then ask for an innervate.

5) Know your other healers.

Cross healing is a killer when used rampantly. What good are you if you let someone die because you were trying to squeak some more healing in on someone else's responsibility while yours died? Yay, you topped the charts and wiped the raid. Nice work. But it's more than just healing responsibilities, just knowing your other healers and what their responsibilities and abilities are. There are times when they will need help. As an example, on council I healed the rogue and mage tanks. There were times when either the rogue got away and the tank got out of range for me to heal both of my responsibilities and someone would pick me up. There were also times when the mage tank got hit by something really nasty. I couldn't always keep my hots up and re-top off the mage, and that's when others would jump in.

6) Over-healing can be a great thing.

If mana isn't an issue and you are still able to keep yourself out of crap and land timely heals, over-healing is a no-brainer. Go for it. If you are over-healing and going OOM, dying standing in stuff, or missing timely heals stop over-healing and start playing well.


Conclusion:

I could go on and on, but raid success is highly dependent on having healers that have a much greater grasp of healing than HP bars and recount. Raw healing and HPS is an indicator of who is pressing buttons, not who is pressing their buttons correctly. If you have super low raw healing, you are either under-geared or not trying at all. If you have super high raw healing, there is an equally good chance that you are a bad healer as a good one.

Lots of people will have no idea if you are a good healer or a bad one. However, in good guilds working on real progression there will be people that do know. You can kid yourself and others only so far before somebody notices.

Tanking: (Credit: Aerlinthe)

There are two things that really differentiate bad tanks from excellent tanks. It all comes down to reaction times, and awareness. Whether you can theory craft better than any tank, keep up the best TPS rotation, etc, it doesn't matter if you are slow and / or if you tunnel vision.

Tanks have 2 jobs during any raid they are in.
A) Keep the mob(s) on you.
B) Stay alive.

Threat

The first is done by a few things:
1) Correct rotation to maximize TPS as much as possible.
2) Gearing correctly.
3) Reaction Time and common sense


The correct rotation is normally something that is not hard to pick up and should be come 2nd nature very very quickly. There are some variations such as Sword and Board procs where you need to throw in an extra shield slam, but it really all just comes down to prioritizing abilities. For a warrior its normally opening with snap threat (slam and then revenge if its up), then getting those 5 devastates up, then starting your rotation prioritizing slam and revenge and filling in with Dev when the others are on CD. Also make sure that you Heroic Strike as much as you can without dumping too much rage that you cant slam at next opportunity.

Gearing correctly is now a lot more about staying alive than TPS but there is some advantage to gearing for TPS when possible. It used to be that too much avoidance would rage starve you so you had to balance stam vs. avoidance vs. tps. Now typically you can just gear for best upgrades, gem for stam on most slots unless you can activate a red gem slot for a good bonus (Stam/dodge/parry, not like 2 shield block rating). As it stands right now gemming/gearing for dodge is more beneficial but that will be changing soon. When possible for warriors you want to get some shield block value to increase slam damage and thus increasing threat through slams. Granted Str is now a good boost for TPS as well, but not enough that you would want to gem it IMO.
For now the biggest thing to do to make sure you have decent TPS is to get as close to expertise and hit capped as you can without sacrificing other stats. Very rarely would I recommend gemming for either but you can't completely neglect either of these stats.

When it comes to reaction time and common sense, its just not being bad. If you know a mob is going to spawn at X location, you should probably be standing at X location ready to pick it up. If you know that another tank is in danger of dying you should be ready to taunt as soon as he dies, or taunt before so he lives depending on the situation, and not wait until the tank dies, the mob kills 4 people, and then you taunt. It comes down to awareness as well. Besides the obvious not standing in fire and %%@! like that, you should be knowing whats going on at every part of the fight. Know where your healers are, know where the next mob is spawning, know what the boss is going to be doing next, etc.


Staying Alive

When it comes to staying alive there are a few areas as well:
1) Gearing
2) Awareness
3) Cooldowns

Gearing as tank now is a little more complicated than it used to be. First and foremost get to 540 defense any way you possibly can. Full defense gems and enchants if you have to, just get to 540 defense. Once you are there you need to start trying to balance avoidance, stamina, block value (pallies/warriors), strength, while getting as much hit / expertise as possible. The hardest thing is knowing how to balance because there is NO right answer. Is 1% dodge or 1200 health better? It depends on the fight, there is no concrete answer. Now 1% dodge is less than 5000 health, and probably 3000 health, but at what point can you definitively say its now better than X amount of health? It just comes down to instinct, and also what boss it is. Some fights will benefit stam over avoidance (magic damage on the fight)? Some fights shield wearers will benefit more (dual wield bosses). Some fights avoidance (typically hard hitting but purely melee (Vezax, though you need to have enough stam to live through surge hits).
As of right now, though changing I believe with 3.2, dodge is going to be better % per point than parry. You miss out on the parry haste but thats a pretty negligible amount of TPS gain for the bigger benefit of avoidance. Typically any tank will benefit greatly from gemming straight stam, though druids can do agility as well because of the increased dodge, armor, and TPS gain from agility. Good red socket bonuses can definitely warrant a dodge gem, but yellow slots and blue slots should be pretty much exclusively stam (again I am not sure on druids in every situation). JCing is great for this because you can get those good yellow socket bonuses with just using a 41 stam gem.

Awareness comes down to pretty much staying out of things that every other raid member has to stay out of, like fire, void zones, etc. But as a tank you have to realize there are times that you can sacrifice some additional damage on yourself for raid survivability. Mimiron is a great example, considering you have people already healing you, why not go run over a few mines so that DPS doesn't when you have very little danger of dying from them. (Don't do it during plasma blast). Awareness differs greatly from boss fight to boss fight, but regardless you always need it. You absolutely have to know whats going on all around you, but also TO you. I'm at fault as is every other tank to paying attention too much to what is going on around me and not what is going on to me. You need to know who his high on threat, where you need to go next, where the next mob is spawning, if anyone is too close to you, if you are in the right spot, etc, but while doing all of that you need to see the void zone under your feet.

Cooldown usage is a minor area but something to touch on quickly. It applies a lot to current DKs but less once 3.2 comes. I can tell you from experience 30 minute shield wall CD was not fun, and you ended up just never using it b/c who knows when you would REALLY need it in that next 1/2 hour. But now with all CDs < 5 minutes you should know by instinct when you should be using them. A fight like GV (probably a DK tank) needs to be popping CDs on surges, as well as be able to call out for raid CDs as well (GS, bubble sac etc). Other times you can use CDs just when you know a boss is going to hit hard (Unbalancing Strike on Thorim), or a healer goes down, or on a fight like Mimiron when I am running from a frost bomb, through fire, and some mines in the way, I popped shield wall.



Some other things to just touch on but not categorize:

Flask of Stoneblood all the time, no exception.
Some sort of AP reduction and melee slowing needs to be on the boss 100% of the time. (IE Demo Shout and Thunder Clap).
Commanding shout needs to be kept up, though a DPS warrior specd 5/5 into imp shouts is a better choice than a tank if it is possible.
Tuskarr's Vitality Boot enchant, everyone in the game that doesn't have a talented movement increase should have this, tanks are no exception.


DPS:

When it comes to DPS, oft times there seems to be a somewhat misguided consensus that the golden rule is "Biggest numbers win!" While as DPS it is important to do as much damage as possible as that is your job, the actual golden rules are more like "Dead DPS = 0 DPS." and "If your raid wipes, your DPS is 0."

Not Dying - First step towards being good at DPS is realizing you have quite a bit of control over whether you live or die. Part of this falls under the awareness category, but part of this is realizing that in life or death situations you need to help the healers keep you up. Most classes and specs have something they can do to help improve survivability, do not be afraid to spend a GCD casting Power Word: Shield or other similar survival enhancing techniques. Perhaps the most important part of this is that if you were given a healthstone, you should never die with it still in your bag. Ever.

Threat - Your threat is your responsibility. Even if the tank sucks, you should never pull threat. When you pull threat from the tank, you jeopardize just about everyone in your raid. Your healers have to scramble and blow tons of mana to try and keep you up, the boss will be out of position, and the other DPS and healers may start dropping either because the boss is now in the wrong position doing small AOE or multi target moves or simply because you messed up the entire aggro table. If you are DPS and not the person who pulled aggro, you should be making sure that you still do not exceed the tank so that he may regain aggro as quickly as possible.

DPSing beyond DPS - While your primary job is to do as much damage to the boss as possible, there are other things to consider. The most important of these is that if you have an alternate assignment such as DPSing adds or whatever that may not be as beneficial for your personal DPS, it is far more important to complete that assignment than obsess over your own DPS. If the raid wipes, your DPS is 0. If the raid wipes because you were too worried about your big numbers to do your job, your DPS is -5,000 for the rest of the week. Everyone enjoys putting up big numbers and a lot of people like to compete with others in their guild, but remember, the success of the raid should never come second to your own personal ambition to top the meters.

On a related note, if you can cleanse anything at all, even though you're DPS, please have Decursive installed and a working understanding of how to use it.

Conclusion:
As I said earlier, you will get out of it what you put in. Whether you play with a group friends in some bottom of the barrel guild just for fun or are pushing for world firsts, the advice and guidelines above will see you to the most successful raiding experience possible. This guide is mostly to set beginners straight and if you take what is taught here to heart, your growth as a quality and desirable raider will not end with this guide.

Useful Stuff:

- For addons:
Curse: http://wow.curse.com
WoW Interface: http://www.wowinterface.com

- For strategies:
Tankspot: http://tankspot.com
Bosskillers: http://bosskillers.com
WoW Wiki: http://wowwiki.com

Youtube is also filled with how to videos for a variety of boss encounters.

- For theory crafting:
Elitist Jerks: http://elitistjerks.com
Shadowpriest.com: http://shadowpriest.com
TankSpot: http://tankspot.com

- 3rd party meters
WoW Meter Online: http://wowmeteronline.com
World of Logs: http://worldoflogs.com
WoW Web Stats: http://wowwebstats.com

Recommended Addons:

- Boss Encounters
Deadly Boss Mods
Big Wigs

- Cast Bars
Quartz

- For Healing
Grid
Clique
Healbot
Decursive
Vuhdoo

- DPS Meters
Recount

- Threat Meters
Omen


Credits:
Healing section - Stormoon, level 80 druid, Quel'dorei
Tanking section - Aerlinthe, level 80 warrior, Quel'dorei
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