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Paking part in dungeon raids can be an adventure and a challenge. Raid dungeons take careful planning, coordination, knowledge, capable leaders, and skilled participants to conquer them. We have created this primer based on community feedback to provide players with some tips on how to best organize and run a successful raid.
The raid leader can influence everything in the guild from recruiting, to guild gathering (herbs/mining/recipes), to global guild plans. Capable raid leaders are highly knowledgeable about the game's mechanics, dungeon layouts, and the specifics of each class's role in a raid setting. Having this knowledge helps them to be effective at managing and organizing players of each class. It's important that they are capable problem solvers, should any disagreements arise between raid members. Leaders should be able to remain calm when things go wrong and encourage raiders to continue to overcome their obstacles.
It can be beneficial to designate several qualified people as raid leaders in the guild. This can help divide up the workload 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. This way, you will know who intends to show up and can organize the raid more effectively. There are also free web-based calendar programs you can use on your personal guild website as well. At the very least, having a regular raid schedule can allow guild members 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 here. 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 need to arrive late or need to leave early from the raid.
Raids Spanning Multiple Days
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 additional events and raids. Until your raid group reaches that point, it's good to remember that most raids can be completed in increments. A boss kill is usually a logical stopping point for a raid group, before continuing on another day.
Still, 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 it is reset.
Selecting the Raid 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 gained experience working as a group, you can work to take on more challenging dungeons. 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 antivirus software available to prevent the risk of a trojan or some other malicious program from being accidentally installed on your computer.
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 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. In many cases some classes have very specific tasks they need to perform in order to ensure the success of the raid group. It's important for everyone to have easy access to this information ahead of time. 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, reagents for your class, 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!
Repair Before Raiding
- Make sure that guild members bring their required items to the raid, such as: resistance sets and specialty gear, 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.
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 still helpful in case the need to repair arises.
Before raiding, each member should know, understand, and agree on the loot rules. Having this aspect of the raid understood by all will help prevent loot disagreements. If you're unsure as to whether or not to loot, ask.
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.
Players are often asked to make a main assist key in order to target the correct monster in an encounter. An example of a main assist would be a warrior who is engaging a particular monster. Players in the raid will assist that warrior on the target of the warrior's choosing until it has been defeated, and progress from there. By doing this, a raid group can systematically control the pace of the fight as well as control where the most damage is being given.
In order to create a main assist key you will need to create a macro. To do this, type /macro and click "create new." Select an icon and name it "Assist." Then click okay. That icon should have appeared in your macro menu. Click on the icon. In the box appearing on the lower half, type /assist and then the main assist's name. Drag the icon onto your bar. When you press it, you will target whatever the MA is targeting. There are also add-ons that allow raiders to more easily tell whom they should assist.
Creating Chat Channels
Many guilds find that creating multiple custom chat channels can be extremely helpful. Creating a separate channel for each class, for example, allows them to communicate and coordinate class-specific tasks without filling up the /raid channel with information that will not apply to most of the raid. For instance, warriors might discuss tanking targets while paladins decide blessing assignments in their own, class-specific chat channels. This will free up the raid leader to continue to give general directions to the entire raid without interruption in the raid discussion channel. To create a new channel, simply type /join newchannelname.
Additionally, right-clicking on the chat window tab allows you to customize several of your chat settings, including the text color of each chat channel. Many players find it useful to designate different colors for each channel to help them easily spot important messages.
Starting the Raid
Determine an exact start time for the raid and start inviting people beforehand. Some guilds pass out invites 30 minutes to an hour in advance. 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. It's important to find a positive way to encourage members to show up on 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, such as at a flight master, before heading out. After the group is ready, head out to the dungeon entrance. 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 for 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.
While warlocks can summon players to the desired gathering point, be mindful that when a raid is scheduled to begin at a certain time, all players should be either at the starting point or in the instance and ready to go. Summoning a few stragglers is often acceptable (or summoning the inevitable person who forgets their key or resistance gear); summoning the entire raid from a major city or town is extremely taxing to the warlocks in your raid. The shards they spend summoning fellow players could be put to better use on healthstones, soulstones, and other spells during the raid. It can also put the summoning group in danger should they be in a PvP area.
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. Provide the mages with mana regeneration buffs (paladin/shaman/druid/priest) to help this process go faster.
Good raid leaders should have great organizational skills. It's important to look at the raid 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. It's often 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. This can help a raid group recover from a bad pull or other miscalculation much quicker and get the raid progressing again. Do not waste a soulstone by using it when the raid is wiping. Make sure it's ok to use one. It's often a good idea for warlocks in the raid to coordinate and stagger their soulstones so that there is always someone with the ability to use one should there be a wipe. Once you grow more familiar with encounters, extra soulstones can be applied to key classes during boss fights, to reduce the need for druids to use their Rebirth ability.
Explain the Fight
The raid leader 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 and answer as many questions as you can prior to the fight beginning. Make sure everyone knows what they're supposed to do. This is also good training for future raid leaders and a refresher course for anyone who might have forgotten the specifics of the fight. Emphasize that when reviewing plans for a fight, it helps if everyone focuses and avoids unnecessary chatter. When your voice chat or raid chat is full of unrelated conversation, the actual orders tend to get lost in the clutter. It's important to have people review specific assignments in a clear manner without mixing it in with long discussion.
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. Players should avoid going AFK just before boss fights, and if they do go AFK, announce it to the raid beforehand with an estimated time to return.
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 paladins using a bubble pull handle this task.
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. By sticking to the looting plan, you can save valuable time.
Druids are capable of resurrecting characters during battle using their Rebirth spell. Many people refer to this as a "battle rez." Priests, shaman, and paladins are unable to resurrect a player after the battle has started. Raid leaders need to make decisions during battle as to when and where the druids should use their battle resurrections. The decision depends on which boss you're fighting as to who is most needed. Sometimes healers such as priests are needed back in battle, while other times a warrior, rogue, or hunter is needed to return in order to mete out the damage necessary to ensure a victory.
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 monsters.
Wipes can be very demoralizing to a group that has been progressing well. Players must endure repair costs and lost time, 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, if needed. 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.
There are many classes that are capable of escaping death or allowing another player to escape death in the event of a wipe. 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 use a soulstone on another player, which will allow that player to resurrect himself or herself. Shaman can use reincarnation to self-resurrect, and then resurrect others.
Set and Meet Goals
Set measurable goals. Sometimes when wiping on a boss repeatedly, it is easy to lose sight of progress, as some people see a wipe as complete failure. Focus on what went right and use "benchmarks" to show the guild progression. On Onyxia, you can use her phases each time you make it a little further and point it out - "Good job, everyone - we got to phase 2!"..."Good job guys we got to phase 3!"...up until the point she's defeated.
Try to reduce downtime. Time wasted on players going AFK, being slow to return after a wipe, or even setting back up after a previous battle can add a considerable amount of time onto the raid, which can sap morale. Working on techniques that minimize downtime after wipes, or in between pulls, can be as valuable to a raid group as learning strategies for boss fights
If only a few players die in the middle of a fight, rebuff the dead with 30-minute buffs so you don't have to drink as much before the next fight. As your water is likely conjured, and therefore free, don't worry about drinking a lot. As soon as you're out of combat, regenerate mana up to full (after buffing).
Use the /rw command (raid warning) for important announcements. People tend to notice these announcements more than the text that appears in chat. This can be very useful when moving into the different phases of an encounter or when coordinating movement in a battle.
There are two opinions on the use of breaks. Some guilds provide a break within their raids so that players can eat, drink, stretch, or take care of other tasks. Other guilds find it difficult to get everyone back at the keyboard when they have a break. Sometimes players take too long or don't come back. You can try working breaks into your raids, and cancel them if you have any problems. One thing to try is to inform everyone to be back by X server time. A good time to have a break is after killing a boss. You can say, "everyone be back within X minutes, after which we'll continue on to the next boss."
Make sure any recipes that drop go to proper profession users. If there isn't a set person for a profession, pass out the recipe in a fair manner. Some recipes can be saved by a guild appointed officer in his or her bank and handed out later. Another option is to use a special tab in the guild bank with permissions set to officers only. People can request that officers withdraw the important recipes and mail the recipe to the proper person.
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. Make sure the corpses are looted so that the skinners can skin.
Zul'Gurub has a valuable herb, Bloodvine, that herbalists can gather for a variety of crafted items. Make sure to decide who is responsible for looting the herbs for the raid and how they will be used or distributed. The designated looter will need a special item called a Blood Scythe, found inside the instance, in order to gather Bloodvine.
Many dungeons have specialized ore nodes that are necessary for use in some professions. Blackrock Mountain has some Dark Iron Mines. Zul'Gurub has Souldarite mines. The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20) also has some special mines available. Make sure someone is designated as the official raid miner so that there is no disagreement over the mining nodes.
It's a good idea to have class leaders for each class. They can help lead each group 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...It's important to coordinate what portals are open so that it is convenient for raid members to get on with other tasks. It's also important to make sure no one is left behind.
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. Oftentimes the best place for this type of summary is on your guild-site forums.