“Essential Reading – Part 1”
Whether you are someone who is just taking their first steps towards raiding or someone who is an experienced raider and wants to further improve their performance, this Raiding Guide will point you to the right direction in order to find the necessary tools to optimize your knowledge and gameplay.
We will try to keep this section as up to date as possible with all the latest news and changes. Though, please keep in mind that this guide is by no means exhaustive and there is a large number of websites and resources on the internet to help you with optimizing your character for raiding.
Where to start
Choosing your character
The first and most important decision you will get to make is what class and spec you will play.
The four distinct roles that you can choose from in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest is:
While this may seem obvious for a veteran raider, there are multiple ways that can help you make this decision.
The most common ones range from “What does the team need?” to “What is overpowered at the moment?” and while both questions are legitimate they come with their own problems.
a) What do you want to play?
The most crucial question. Most players have some preferences between being a healer, a tank or a DPS (ranged or melee) and this is a part that is not to be neglected. A happy player often leads to the results that are expected.
b) What can you play?
This question concerns more the players with experience. You may have a vast knowledge of the “melee playstyle”, you seek some change and you decide to go towards ranged and find that you are, at first, unable to give the same results as before. As often, there are no shortcuts. Going from one type of class to another needs practice, consistency and work ethics.
c) Know your limits
Rather than a question, this is something that you need to consider. You may think that you are really good at something because someone told you so, but this could have been in a particular environment at a certain difficulty. You may be a perfect Heroic Raider but a below average Mythic Raider. So when the time comes for you to create your new character or take the next step in your raiding career, it is necessary to (or learn to) be as objective as possible towards your own particular set of skills.
As a side point, be extremely careful if your choices are based on the performances of one particular combination of class / specialization. You may find that your character will get nerfed at one point and then, if you stay in the same state of mind, you could find yourself going from class to class and playing the catch-up game rather than the game itself.
It may be a valuable learning experience for multi-classing but it could end up with you getting tired of that meta-game and eventually to burnout.
Choosing where to invest time and effort is an excellent skill to learn at the start.
Learning the basics
a) The right resources at the right place
Knowing where to find basic information is a key to a good start. As such, here are some starting points.
• The list for most if not all community discords: https://www.wowhead.com/discord-servers
• A list for all basic classes guide: https://www.wowhead.com/classes
b) The right state of mind
• It should be obvious to everyone that in order to learn something new, you need to be receptive to the idea of learning. This can and will be applied at every step of your raiding as the focus and dedication needed to learn new tactics and apply your class to the rigor of those is one of the many difficulties you will encounter.
• Learning to “play” is arguably the most difficult task in the high-strung environment that is raiding. Stress, anticipation, excitation, adrenaline, … We all react differently to those substances / sensations but having fun and playing relaxedly is an important step that is too often ignored.
“To judge, you should know
To know, you should learn
To learn, you should love
Which requires a lot of time,
patience and respect”
- Be patient, be steady. A steady performance is often regarded as better than a “once in a blue moon” one. As such a progressive learning curve is expected of everyone. It is different for every type of content that you’re tackling, as such, learning how to be consistently good is a basic skill that goes a long way.
- Respect your teammates, even temporary ones. This will be talked about a bit later.
The Critical aspect of learning to raid is often talked about. Sometimes to announce that you need to be self-critical, to be able to take constructive criticism, etc. The fact that this is an exchange is not.
By learning how to be critical of your plays, your judgement calls, etc. You will learn how to judge yourself appropriately and obtain a starting point on how to discuss it with others.
c) Teamwork makes the Dream Works
We have looked at the basics of “dealing with yourself”, it is important to make a note that a dungeon or a raid requires others to complete them. And for that objective to be obtained there are a few basic skills that you’ll need:
- The ability to communicate
A microphone or a chat box is not there to sit pretty. It has to be used.
Learning how (and when) to use them is an important skill to develop over time. Talking about what you’re doing right is as important as understanding what you did wrong. And while none of those require long winded explanations, it is necessary to learn how to do both.
- To respect your team
You will only go so far alone, knowing that you can make a mistake should indicate to you that it is true for everybody in your team. Respect the idea that we’re all humans and are present for the same objective.
- To learn to move on
Mistakes happen, you will make one ( as everyone in your team ). Do not get fixated on those. Learn to let go and back at it later when it is time to communicate with your team.
Once again, all those skills take time to nurture and will develop differently for each person. It is important to know who gets fixated on a mistake so you can help him/her to let go but this can only happen if you have an understanding (even basic) of the individual.
Of course, the level of necessity will change depending if you’re in a random group or your usual team but those three points should be at the forefront of your thoughts when you’re playing with them.
Setting up your UI
While a UI is something personal, there are some common threads that need to be followed.
Here’s a bad UI example:
- No possibility to see the feet of your character means it is almost impossible to react in time.
- The Spread of information is enormous. Between the left, center and right your eyes won’t be able to interpret everything correctly.
– Important messages should be interpreted as soon as they appear, not as soon as your eyes wander on them. That small gap of attention can cause problems.
– Having an enemy casting bar is not a problem in itself but it needs to be placed accordingly and, if possible, paired with a tool indicating quickly if it is interruptible or not.
– Making your eyes wander too much will cause visual fatigue that much quicker. Take care of yours.
- While having a redundancy of information can be useful if your UI looks like this. (Meaning : Multiple places where you can find the same information so you don’t miss it) It often leads to overlapping and cluttering, as such, it is not recommended.
– An exception to this are abilities effect trackers, having an indication around your character and above the enemies nameplates is a useful interaction.
A good UI is one that gives you the information you need in a place where you’re comfortable to read… after a while at least. Note that getting inspired by someone else’s UI is completely fine and should be recommended when you have no idea where to start. Just don’t get carried away by adding too much information that you need and that other player does not, or the other way around.
It is important to state that it takes time (once again) to get used to a UI and it is something that shouldn’t be done every week. Take the opportunity of a new character/expansion/patch to evaluate if you need to work on it.
In the end, when it comes to an UI, you should aim for clarity and open space.
- Have a threat meter installed like Details! – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/details
- Have a boss mods addon installed like DBM or BigWigs – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/deadly-boss-mods or https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/big-wigs
- Have ORA3 installed – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/ora3
- Method Raid Tools – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/method-raid-tools
- Weak Auras 2 – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/weakauras-2
- RCLootCouncil – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/rclootcouncil
Regarding DBM and BigWigs, not Every bit of information sent to a player is useful. take great care to filter things that are not going to affect you.
- ElvUI is a very popular, modular and highly configurable user interface addon – https://www.tukui.org/download.php?ui=elvui
- Pawn helps you evaluate items in comparison with your current gear – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/pawn
- Decursive is a cleansing mod intended to make affliction removal easy, mostly for healers, mages and warlocks – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/decursive
- SW Raid CD monitor displays progress bars for currently active cooldowns – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/sw-raid-cd-monitor
- Healer Stat Weights for personalized, accurate healing stat-weights in real-time. Will be explained in the “learn to sim” section – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/healerstatweights
- Simulationcraft simplifies the process of generating a Simulationcraft profile for your character. Will be explained in the “learn to sim” section – https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/simulationcraft
We highly recommend installing the new Curseforge client or to run the WowUP client to keep your addons up to date. The second one doesn’t have an installation, instead you just run it every time you want to update your addons. If you don’t have the required add-ons fully updated and active during raids may result to your removal from the raid.
Master your character
a) Defining a master
While this is obvious, it is by no means a trivial task to become the master of a character. The speed at which it can happen varies from person to person and it is constantly readjusted by patches and expansions.
Even the definition of mastery is fluid, you could be a master of the DPS aspect of your class while being knowledgeable, at best, of the tanking and healing specializations.
The only constant is the work put into that character. To that effect, we assembled a few guidelines in order for you to reach that point.
- Take your time
- Learn how to know where to look for what is expected from a character. (Logs and Sims Analysis)
Some people would rather be thrown into the waters of raiding to learn in this environment. And while this is a valid option for advanced players (i.e.: People who have already mastered one or more classes), It is not recommended if you are trying to reach that state with your first character.
Let the class become “second nature” to you. By attaining that state, you’ll feel much more relaxed and able to pay attention to the mechanics of the raid; thus being less prone to tactical mistakes.
Behind this elongated sentence hides a simple truth: The concept of mastering is never over. And it is by observing your own performance, theoretical or practical, against others that you’ll be able to improve even further.
All classes have a Discord channel, each with a varying amount of members and multiple sub-channels dedicated to specific topics regarding that class. In these channels you will find all the help you need in most cases as most members are very helpful and knowledgeable, so here they are:
- Death Knight: https://discord.gg/acherus
- Demon Hunter: https://discord.gg/FelHammer
- Druid: https://discord.gg/dreamgrove
- Hunter: https://discord.gg/Trueshot
- Mage: https://discord.gg/makGfZA
- Monk: https://discord.gg/peakofserenity
- Paladin: https://discord.gg/HammerOfWrath
- Priest: https://discord.gg/WarcraftPriests
- Rogue: https://discord.gg/Ravenholdt
- Shaman: https://discord.gg/earthshrine
- Warlock: https://discord.gg/BlackHarvest
- Warrior: https://discord.gg/Skyhold
- Weak Auras: https://discord.gg/wa2
- Tank Chat: https://discord.gg/fGzZSA5
Each of these are maintained by class community leaders and are excellent resources for anyone, new and even veteran to the game.
Being able to adapt quickly to a situation and the ability to “see” possible optimizations while maintaining a perfect execution of the mechanical demands of a tactic is a quality needed for every Mythic raider.
Learn to track mechanics as well as you track your Cooldowns, Timers, etc.
Just to hit the nail on the head a bit more, it is important to never forget that becoming a master is always a work in progress. As such, Acknowledging that you’re not the best and aspiring to become good enough is an excellent first step.
It is also important to note that while talking about the idea of mastery, the basics are, after all, the foundations upon which you’ll develop into a raider, do not forget to keep those updated.
Learn to R . A². I . D .
Behind this silly pun hides 4 crucial points that should be at the top of your priorities when you decide to start.
Being reliable is not only having the ability to produce the results of a specialization (DPS = Damage, Healing, Tanking = Surviving) but also becoming the player that is asked for when a more or less difficult task appears. Do not be afraid to take those charges on your shoulders, don’t shy away from those. A reliable player is never overlooked.
b) Adaptability and Awareness
The ability to adapt to quick changes in tactics even after 300 pulls is a necessity in modern raiding. Sometimes, a simple tactical tweak will prove to be the way to get the so desired kill.
Do not be lazy, do not let muscle memory dull your awareness of what is happening on the screen.
Those 2 skills combined will make you a better player and a better teammate.
Very often things will go off from the prepared tactic, be ready to use your own judgement call to survive a mechanic, to be called upon for a soak (even sometimes a sacrificial one), all for the sake of victory.
It is important to make a point right now: Improvisation does not mean forsaking the established tactic to push harder for a better log / better ranking. Doing those kinds of acts makes you unreliable. See point a).
You will die in a raid. More than once or twice. Being resilient and able to persevere through countless wipes are qualities that you need to develop.
There is a huge difference between a resigned-to-die player and a ready-to-die one. Keep your mental state steady, use the breaks offered by your RL wisely. Do not obsess over the previous deaths, learn to go to the next pull without any weights.
Here are a few useful links with boss specific raiding guides. Most of the time we are using these channels to see tactics and execution for each new boss we’re fighting.
- FatbossTV – https://www.youtube.com/user/FatbossTV
- Stankie Gaming – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Cv9vePYR7CRGBj91rxWbQ
- SignsOfKelani – https://www.youtube.com/user/SignsOfKelani
- Limit Guild – https://www.youtube.com/user/Tagzz440
- Echo Guild – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUiTgN-8IS9btyZN01ioy_A
We will keep adding more resources as we go, so stay tuned.
It is also good to mention that while not really mentioned in this guide, a quality needed is competitiveness but the degree to which it is looked after differs between contents.
Raiding is demanding, it can even be taxing or draining and I feel it is important to mention it before you start walking on the Path.
Congratulations, you’ve made it here. You may agree or disagree with some of the points, I mentioned. I just hope you found some interesting information and I’ll see you in the following guides dedicated to simulations and logs which can be found here.
Welcome to Gordian Knot!