For many players in World of Warcraft, organized raiding can feel like a daunting task. In my nine years as a WoW player and raider, I’ve come across a vast spectrum of players from casuals to hardcore to elites and seen huge changes to the game in that time. Yet one thing always remains: those who are afraid to take their first steps into raids.
Raiding remains the ultimate end-game content in WoW even with the latest expansion adding more options such as Mythic+ dungeons, so not participating can feel like missing out. Not only that but it can be an extremely rewarding activity in terms of gaining a sense of accomplishment through working with a group of like-minded people to overcome a difficult challenge.
In this article I’m going to go over the basics of raiding for beginners looking to get into organised raiding and will focus primarily on the role of damage-dealing classes, although a lot of information here can apply to the other roles as well. The piece you are about to read is not designed to be an ultimate guide, more of an introduction featuring ‘general rules of thumb’ along with some useful resources.
If limited playtime is a factor or you can only play outside of prime-times, don’t worry, there’s a group out there for you. Check the in-game guild finder, ask in chat channels and browse the official realm forums. You are not the only player who also has a job or family commitments, you just have to find them!
Before you even set foot inside a raid, there are some things you should be prepared to do above all else. Organised raiding requires a lot of communication, and so it is standard for raid groups to use free voice software such as Teamspeak, Ventrilo or Discord. Even if you don’t want to use a mic and wish to remain silent, you should have the ability to listen to your raid leader. He/she will have a lot of instructions to give both before and during boss fights, and a successful boss kill can depend on instant communication. To expect people to type everything out just for you is unreasonable and impractical.
Secondly, you’re going to need some addons. Many raid groups will have a list of mandatory addons such as Deadly Boss Mods, which is essentially an audible and visual notification mod that tells players when they need to react to something important. Maybe a boss has cast a debuff on you and you’re about to explode, damaging everyone nearby. DBM ensures you don’t miss it. Addons like this are simply too good not to use, and even the best players make use of them because we’re all human, and humans make mistakes. For a list of WoW addons, check out this site.
Thirdly, know your class. While a raiding group’s entry requirements will vary and not always depend on gear level (sometimes a good attitude and friendly disposition is all you need), optimizing your character to be the best it can be is really important. You might be having fun pressing any button you like when questing, but in group content you’re going to need to be a lot more mindful of what abilities you’re using and when. There are plenty of resource sites that offer well-written, informative guides for how to most optimally play a certain class and spec. Taking a look at Icy-Veins is a good start.
There’s also character stat buffs to consider. Every class specialisation can perform better or worse depending on which stats your gear has. Maybe you need a lot of Mastery or Haste, or even a good balance between the two. This is considered to be min/maxing but if you want to bring as much to the raid table as possible, it’s necessary. Further improve your important stats through the use of consumables, such as buff food and flasks. Ensure your gear is enchanted and gemmed where available. WoW is a game of numbers; not only will these things combined improve your character’s efficiency, but it will show your fellow raiders that you’re taking their time seriously.
As for gear itself, it’s fairly easy to get your character’s iLvl up to minimum requirements. Dungeons, LFR, world quests, Class Order Hall rewards and Professions will all help you obtain a good set of gear to get you started. All you need is a bit of time and luck. One thing I will say is this: level your artifact weapon as much as possible and look out for relic upgrades, as these will hugely affect your character’s performance.
Outside of knowing your class there are some general rules that can and should be taken into any raid. These rules are not always relevant, but are useful to keep in mind if you are new to a fight and don’t know what to expect.
Unless you’re playing a tank role, never stand in front of a boss. Bosses can often cleave or have some kind of frontal, area-of-effect (AoE) attack. If the boss is a dragon, expect there to be a breath attack. A good tank will always face such bosses away from the raid group, don’t make their job harder by ignoring this fundamental rule!
With that said, standing directly behind a boss can sometimes be a bad thing too. Dragons – or any boss model with a tail – may tail swipe, dealing damage and knocking you away. If you are playing melee and are unsure, stand to the side.
Another common danger to be aware of is puddles. These can take the form of patches of fire on the ground, green goo or purple void zones, and while there are definitely boss fights where standing in such things are a good thing, generally speaking you’re going to want to keep an eye on your character’s feet and move out of any such puddles spawning beneath you to avoid taking unnecessary damage. A dead raider is of no use to anyone.
Debuffs that cause your character to damage others around you are also common. It could be that you are afflicted with a pulsing damage aura, or that in X seconds you will drop a puddle (particularly annoying during a fight that requires your group to be standing close). The aforementioned DBM addon will help with this, but glancing at your UI to check for debuffs should be something that, over time, becomes second nature.
Some bosses will summon additional monsters (adds) into the fray. Generally these are not to be ignored, but focused down once your tank has picked them up. Your raid leader will probably call out whether to kill them or not, but if you see others attacking them, maybe you should be doing the same.
Last but not least, if a boss (or add) is casting a spell that is not immune to being interrupted, interrupt it. Better to be safe than sorry. These casts can be anything from healing spells to flat-out raid nukes, so always keep your eyes open and fingers at the ready!
If there’s one thing I truly believe in, it’s that good preparation leads to confidence. Even regular raiders get nervous heading into a brand new raid for the first time, so don’t let nerves put you off. Head on over to YouTube and search for guide videos on specific bosses you will be facing. Nothing compares to experiencing the fight for yourself, but getting a general idea of what a boss fight entails can help immensely when it comes to knowing which strategies to employ or specific dangers to be aware of. Is there a particular place you should stand during the fight? Which boss abilities affect you the most? If videos are not your thing, check out the written guides over at Wowhead for an overview.
That’s all the advice I have for now. The most important thing is that you choose a raid group that suits you and that you find other, like-minded individuals to enjoy raiding with. From social/casual to hardcore/elite, there’s a guild out there for every one, so why not take the plunge? Raiding with the right group is fun and rewarding, and I wish you all the best of luck!Related: Legion, New Player Guide, organized raiding, raiding for beginners, Raids, World of Warcraft