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Hey guys, after reviewing feedback on the boards for good raiding tips, we're ready to show off our first iteration of our 'Raid Tips Guide'. We'd like everyone to take a pass at what we've written and provide some more feedback, to ensure that this guide covers as much as possible, is still very user-friendly, and most importantly makes sense and provides valuable information.
On that note, please have a look. ;)
Taking part in dungeon raids can be an adventure and a challenge for those participating. Raid dungeons take careful planning, coordination, knowledge, capable leaders, and skilled participants to conquer them. We have created this primer based off of community feedback to provide players with some tips on how to best organize and run a successful raid.
Selecting a Raid Leader
The raid leader can influence everything in the guild from recruiting, guild gathering (herbs/mining/recipes), to global guild plans. A capable raid leader is a player who is highly knowledgeable about the game’s mechanics, layout of the dungeons, and the specifics of each class’s role in a raid setting. Having this knowledge will help them to be effective at managing and organizing players of each class. It’s important that they are capable in problem-solving, should any disagreements arise between raid members. It’s also important for the leader to be able to remain calm when things go wrong and encourage raiders to continue the battle.
It can be beneficial to designate several qualified raid leaders in the guild.. This can help divide up the issues one may face when taking on the large responsibility of being a raid leader. Having multiple raid leaders is also helpful during times when a key leader isn’t able to log into the game.. Alternate leaders can then step into the role and ease any anxieties that a group might feel due to absence of their normal raid leader. .
Create a Guild Raiding Calendar
Consider creating a calendar of raid times that takes advantage of when your guild has the most members available. Let guild members know well in advance when a raid is scheduled to occur so that they can plan accordingly. You can create a sign-up sheet and ask players to sign up in advance. That way you will know who is showing up and can organize the raid effectively. There are also free website calendar programs you can use on your personal guild web site as well. At the very least, it’s always beneficial to create a forum post with the raid schedule for members to be able to plan their attendance accordingly.
It’s often a good idea to schedule raids around the times that the raid dungeons reset. You can see when each dungeon resets by following the link below. You should also try to pick times that align with the play schedule of the majority of the guild. Be flexible with your start and end times and be prepared to substitute people in and out as the raid progresses, since people may either arrive late or need to leave early from the raid.
Raids Spanning Multiple Days
Most raids can be completed in increments. Initially, when a guild makes their first attempt at progressing through a raid dungeon, it can often take several hours to advance from boss to boss. As the guild begins to learn each encounter and perfect their raiding technique, players will find that the time it takes to complete the raid dungeon is significantly reduced. Many guilds work toward this goal so that they can cut down on the time investment of a particular raid dungeon and also schedule in others.
It’s important to try and schedule raids with plenty of time to allow for completion, otherwise the dungeon will reset on its scheduled day and you’ll have to start from the beginning. Consult the Raid Calendar when planning your raids to help make sure that you can complete as much as possible before the time of reset. Most importantly, be patient with yourself and your guild if you find that it takes some time to learn a particular dungeon, especially if you’re at the point where you can’t complete the dungeon before its reset.
Selecting the Raiding Dungeon
Initially you want to focus on raiding dungeons that benefit and better equip the majority of players. Once you have built up your guild’s equipment and gain experience working as a group, you can work to take on more challenging dungeons.
Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS), Zul’Gurub (ZG), and Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj (AQ20) are all good places to begin. Upper Blackrock Spire allows 10 players to be in the instance at one point in time, while Zul’Gurub and Ahn’Qiraj allow for 20 players. From there many guilds head to Molten Core or Onyxia. Both of these encounters allow for 40 players to be in the instance at one time. Once those dungeons have been mastered, players often challenge themselves with Blackwing Lair (BWL), and Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (AQ40). Last but certainly not least is Naxxramas, which currently, is the most challenging raid dungeon in the game. Blackwing Lair, Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and Naxxramas also all allow for 40 players to be in the instance at one time. If you’re looking for a non instanced experience there are multiple outdoor raid encounters located in many points throughout Azeroth, These can prove to be fun, challenging, and random. Keep in mind, since the outdoor raid bosses are not instanced, you may end up competing with other players for the victory. You can follow the link below for more information on the outdoor raid encounters.
While World of Warcraft comes with many raid interface options, some guilds prefer to use specific 3rd-party add-on programs. Check with your guild to find out if they have any preferences on what add-ons their members should be using. Make sure that anything your guild uses or suggests does not violate the Exploitation Policy before you install it. Also, make sure you’re careful when downloading programs from unknown sources and always make sure that you’re running the latest firewall and anti-virus software available.
Voice Chat Programs
Some guilds also use 3rd-party voice chat programs to organize and run their raids. They typically create a specific channel for their raid and have members join the channel. The raid leader then gives instructions via microphone and players can listen through their headsets or speakers.. Make sure that if you decide to use these types of programs that you do not use anything that violates any of our in-game policies.
Learning the Raids
Prior to the start of a raid, make sure that the entire raid party knows which boss encounters are on the agenda. If the raid leaders are familiar with anticipated encounters, make sure that information is shared with everyone in the raid. Most often, guilds will have a section in their forums or website strictly devoted to strategies for every raid dungeon and boss encounter for their members to use as a reference. Understanding the fight is always half the battle!
Raid Materials (Mats)
There are many items that can be useful to have when raiding, such as resistance potions, flasks, healing potions, mana potions, repair bots, and so on. These items are generally referred to as consumables. Some consumable items are most useful when given to a specific class, while others are items that everyone can take advantage of. In many cases, guilds will stockpile several items for their members to use. In order to have all the consumables needed for the entire raid party each week materials will often be collected and made available prior to the raid starting. At the highest level of raiding, this becomes very important.
Get It Put Together First!
· Make sure that guild members bring their required items to the raid such as: resistance sets, correct equipment, potions, bandages, reagents and so on.
· Make sure guild members have their required dungeon keys, if needed. Remind everyone prior to leaving for the raid location.. Example: “Don’t forget your Onyxia key!”
· Sometimes providing lists of items needed for each raid dungeon can help members better prepare ahead of time.
Repair Before Raiding
Make sure guild members repair all of their equipment prior to raiding. This point can’t be stressed enough. Having to place a repair bot shortly after a raid begins because a member or several members have broken gear can become expensive.
Having multiple repair bots is always helpful in case the need to repair arises.
Before raiding, each member should know, understand, and agree upon the loot rules. Having this aspect of the raid understood by all will help prevent loot disagreements.
Many guilds feel that it’s a good idea to assign a very trustworthy player the role of master looter. The raid leader can set this option by right-clicking on his or her character portrait and selecting the master looter option. The master looter needs to always have as much available bag space as possible since they will be the primary looter. Having a master looter generally protects the guild from the possibility of someone taking an item without the permission of the guild.
Starting the Raid
Determine an exact start time for the raid and start inviting people to the raid prior to the raid start time. This time can be used to make additional checks on supplies and allows people a chance to finish up anything they need to do prior to the raid beginning. Make sure all of the raiders are at the designated starting spot prior to the start time.
Pick a spot for raiders to gather. On a PvP realm it can be dangerous to head out to the dungeon one by one. Instead, it’s recommended to gather somewhere like a flight path before heading out. After the group is ready, start out. On PvE realms the staging point is less necessary because there is no danger of being attacked by the opposing faction, unless one of your own members decides to flag PvP.
Warlocks can summon players to the desired gathering point. In order to summon a player, the warlock will need a soul shard and the assistance of two other players in their raid party to click on the summoning portal. It’s a good idea for guild members to offer their warlocks help from time to time in gathering soul shards.
Water & Food
One thing mages love to do is to summon food and water for the raid. Okay, maybe they don’t love doing it, but it is something that is important for the raid. Give your mages plenty of time to create food and water, as it can take a while depending on how many players are requesting this service.
Good raid leaders should have great organizational skills. It’s important to look at the raid member’s panel and move all of the classes and groups around until you find the group setup that works best for your raid. Being flexible and adapting as the raid progresses is also important. Often times it’s necessary to make changes to your groups during the raid, as members come and go, new bosses are reached, or if something is simply not working.
Fighting a Boss
Fighting a boss can be one of the most exciting parts of the raid dungeon, but it can also be one of the most frustrating. These encounters are designed to be challenging, so remember to keep things positive, and have fun. Victory will come with some patience and focused play time.
Buffing the Raid
Make sure everyone is buffed prior to the fight. Buffs are the spells that add benefits to another player’s statistics. These include such spells as mark of the wild, prayer of fortitude, paladin blessings, arcane intellect, and others. This is a need that every buffing class should be well aware of, and the appropriate materials/reagents (if needed) should always be on hand.
Before fighting a boss, make sure to have your warlocks’ give soulstones to select party members so that they can resurrect in case of a wipe. Generally speaking, soulstones are used on resurrecting classes that are not capable or resurrecting themselves. This can help a raid group recover from a bad pull or other miscalculation much quicker and get the raid progressing again.
Explain the Fight
The raid leader or appropriate leader for the raid should explain to everyone what the raid is about to do. This is especially important if you have people that are new to the encounters. Give them any necessary warnings and share common mistakes or errors they should avoid. Ask for questions and answer any questions you can prior to the fight beginning. Make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do. It’s also good training for future raid leaders and a refresher course for anyone who might have forgotten the specifics of the fight.
Issue a Ready Check
Before the fight begins, make sure everyone is at their computer. You can see if someone is AFK in the raid if they have an AFK symbol next to the name floating above their head.. You should also perform a ready check. You can issue this by using the command “/readycheck.” Raid members will be prompted with a dialogue box. If someone is AFK, do not begin the fight until they have returned.
Pull the Boss
After the ready check, alert the raid that the fight is about to begin and send the puller out to grab the boss. In some fights multiple players will go out to pull. It depends on the encounter you are facing. Generally hunters, warriors and (on occasion) rogues do the majority of pulling.
If everyone knows their roles, the fight should go fairly well. However, it may take some time for everyone to adjust to the strategy involved in defeating a boss so try to be patient. Trust in the group to do what’s needed to get the job done. When the boss is vanquished, be sure to stick to your looting plan, award the loot from the boss to the selected players, and move on to the next challenge.
There are many classes that are capable of escaping death even if it’s at the aid of another class. Paladins can use divine intervention (DI) on another player (preferably one that can resurrect) which effectively kills the paladin but removes the target from combat for 3 minutes. Warlocks can cast a soulstone on another player which will allow that player to resurrect themselves. Shaman can use reincarnation to self-resurrect and then resurrect others.
A wipe is defined as the entire raid dying to a monster or boss. Before resurrecting, make sure the fight is entirely over and all monsters have returned to their spots. Otherwise, when players resurrect they could re-aggro the mob(s).
Wipes can be very demoralizing to a group that has been progressing well. Players must endure repair costs, have lost time, and must get back their momentum and enthusiasm for the task at hand. Players can become very agitated and start placing blame if they feel justified in their anger. It’s important that the raid leader(s) take control of the situation and get everyone back into focus. Players must take the time to be resurrected or run back to the dungeon from the graveyard and gather at a staging point. They then need to spend time recovering their health and mana as well as begin recasting all of their buffs so they can try again. A well trained guild can learn to shrug off these setbacks, overcome them, and rebound fairly quickly.
Try to reduce downtime. Too much time consisting of players going AFK, taking their time returning after a wipe, or even setting back up after a previous battle can add a considerable amount of time onto the guild raid.
Some bosses or mobs can be skinned. The skins gained from these raid areas can be very valuable. Make sure there’s someone selected before the raid who is going to skin (and has the right skinning skill and tools), that the person is trustworthy, and that they send the skins to the appropriate trustworthy person to hold for the guild.
It’s a good idea to have class leaders for each class. They can help lead the groups of classes in a raid. This helps take some of the load off of the raid leader’s shoulders. For smaller raids this may not be necessary. The best thing to remember is to do what’s best for your guild.
When the Raid Ends
Oftentimes when the raid ends one or more mages will begin opening group portals so that the raid party can port back to one of the major cities. That’s the quickest way for everyone in the raid to exit safely and move on to whatever they have planned next, whether it’s doing some PvP, taking part in another dungeon run or just logging out to spend time with the family.
After Battle Summary
It’s always helpful for the raid leader or officers to do an after battle summary. Inform members how the encounters went. Point out how well everyone did, and offer suggestions on ways everyone can continue to improve. This should be supportive, encouraging and informative. Often times the best place for this type of summary is on your guild site forums.
Just so everyone understands the type of feedback we're looking for, here are a few examples of what could be very helpful.