You've recently hit 80, or have been at 80 for a while and now you want to try your hand at raiding. Where do you start?
First, get rid of the Pre-BC mindset that raiding is all about farming crafting mats, faction rep, gold for consumables, and requires you to devote all your online time to progressing through that next boss. Raiding has changed a lot since BC, and even more since vanilla. You do NOT have to be a seasoned raider to come and raid with us, but you DO have to do some work to prepare.
This post is an attempt to compile some information about preparing to raid into a single resource.
So, where to start? Start by letting a Raid Leader know you want to raid. You can do that by a whisper, in-game mail, a forum post or through forum mail. There are multiple ways of contacting the RLs, so make use of one of them. If an RL is unaware of your desire to go, what do you think the chances are that you'll make the invite list?
- Take the time to research a raiding spec for your class. That piecemeal spec you put together while leveling is probably not optimal for raiding. Your PvP spec is probably not optimal for raiding. Don't know where to turn? Ask your Raid Leaders; we can point you in the right direction.
- Gear yourself up. Heroics now drop EoT's, which are used to purchase T9 gear. There is no excuse to show up on raid day with quest blues or heroic epics. This is not to say you need to be in 5/5 T9, but it is now easier then ever to get the gear you need in order to be effective. Running a few heroics each day for 2 weeks will get you there, as will the gear that drops out of the new Icecrown 5-mans. Saying "I don't get to raid, so I can't get the gear I need" is badly outdated. Farming heroics for emblems is more time effective than raiding any day of the week. Run the heroics, get the emblems, upgrade your gear. Confused? Need gear advice? Ask your Raid Leaders; we can point you in the right direction.
- Dual-spec. If you are a hybrid class (Paladin, Warrior, DK, Druid, Priest, Shaman), think about putting together a DPS/Tanking or DPS/Healing spec, and appropriately gear both specs. We have been historically short on properly geared tanks and healers, so your chances of getting a regular seat in the raid increase quite a bit if you're flexible. Not sure which choice is right for you? Ask your Raid Leaders; we can point you in the right direction.
- Know when the raids happen. Be in-game and prepared, even if you're not on the invite list. Sometimes people cancel at the last minute, or (rarely) no-show. If you are not around, we can't take you along. Even though we have guild alliances we can pull from, we strongly prefer to take guildies first. If you are dual specced as a tank or a healer, that doubles your chances of being asked to come along, because finding an extra dps is a lot easier then finding a properly geared tank or healer. Not sure about when the raids are, or what it means to be prepared? Ask your Raid Leaders.
- Take the time to research the fights. There are tons of resources out there. Read up on the boss fights, and watch the videos. Don't step into a raid with no understanding of what to expect. This is not saying that you need to study for hours and take notes (that's the RL's job ;-p), but at least a quick read would be better then nothing. Don't know where to find that information? Ask your Raid Leaders.
- Download the appropriate mods as part of your preparation. These vary according to your role, but should include Deadly Boss Mods (DBM), Pally Power (if you are a Pally), Healbot (or your healing mod of choice, if you are a healer). Omen (a threat meter) is also helpful, but not as necessary. Decursive is also helpful if you are a dps class that can dispel/cleanse/cure diseases.
- If you have not been invited week after week, ask the Raid Leaders why. It may be as simple as we didn't know you were dual spec'd, or as complicated as your dps isn't high enough to make the cut. The important part is to open a dialogue so that you are both on the same page. This is not to say that you will like the answer, but it gives you something to work on. Don't complain about never getting into raids if you have never asked the reason why. Is your dps not high enough? Ask the Raid Leaders how you can improve that. Is your gear not good enough to tank or heal through progression content? Ask the Raid Leaders how you can improve that.
- Ask questions. Don't just assume, ask the Raid Leaders.
Notice a common theme here? The Raid Leaders should be your go-to sources for everything involving guild raids. Even if we don't know the answer, we should know a) where to find the information, or b) know who among our raiders has the strongest knowledge about that topic. Unless an RL is in an instance, he or she will always take the time to answer your questions. Be patient, as he or she is typically involved in multiple conversations while online, but they are never too busy for you.
Some notes on resources
In general, the best raiding resource out there for spec and gear is Elitist Jerks. It's also the most confusing if you're not used to winnowing the wheat from the chaff, and it's weakest on healing. Even most of the 'specialty' websites out there, however, tend to lag behind the curve from "EJ" - or even are downright wrong.
Strat Fu and TankSpot are also good places for raid strategies and videos, along with other useful discussions of raiding.
The gear-rating sites WoW Heroes and Be imba! are also good guides for evaluating what level of raiding your gear says you could be ready for. Those sites are only rough guides, but they can be a good start.
See the officers' roles listing on our main page to find the raid-lead officers.