The Inky Guide to Raiding
Greetings, fellow Moonwell Dancers! It's me, Inky, again. If you've read my sage feline advice, you are well on your way to being a happy and well-adjusted member of the guild. I have not been sent by Mirenna to messily devour you in an least three weeks, and you even remember to read the guild message when you log in (most of the time).
You want to start participating in the raids, but are you ready?
Raids tend to be a much faster pace, with more challenging monsters. Even the so-called "trash mobs" can easily wipe the raid if individuals get sloppy. You are expected to be fairly self-sufficient, but most importantly, you are expected to be prepared.
Having said that, everyone makes mistakes. So if someone (say, an unnamed but well-known night elf hunter) backs up and aggros an adjacent group of monsters, be forgiving.
Moonwell Dancers Rules
Rithilir says that running a raid seems a lot like herding cats. (I bit him for that remark: Everyone knows cats are extremely well mannered.) Much of the time, these raids are an event, especially for the newer players. Everyone is excited, and everyone is looking forward to the fun.
Because raids are more demanding, there are some tighter guidelines to try to ensure that everyone has a good time.
1. Help the Raid Leader
The job of raid leader is demanding. It is his or her job to coordinate everything that happens in the raid, to manage the boss loots, and sometimes to make some hard choices. Be respectful. Be patient. Be helpful. It is much harder than it looks, so if a raid leader makes a request or makes a decision, listen to them.
It is OK for you to make a suggestion or ask questions, but especially when asking a question, be patient for a response. There's a good chance the raid leader is trying to manage five or six conversations at once. (Which is Rith's excuse for why his dps is usually below the healer's.)
2. Website Calendar
For many of our raids, you have to sign up on the Event calendar to even be considered for participation in that raid. Among qualified characters, participation is based on the queue, with one important caveat: At some levels of difficulty (the tougher raid instances), there generally needs to be a certain mix of character classes to survive. If you are the third hunter to sign up, even if you are 7th on the overall list, there is a good chance you won't get to go.
Almost everyone misses out on a raid once in a while for that reason. Is it disappointing? Sure. But you will get your chance, I promise.
(Mirenna here: You have to register on the website using a valid email address in order to even sign up for events. That email address is used to send you your initial password and notifications of events that are specifically "announced" by raid leaders.)
3. Be on Time
When you are late, that means you think your time is more important than the time of the other 9 players. It is hard for me to overstate how rude that is. The raid leader has enough to worry about without the extra stress of adding waiting list players only to have someone log on moments after the updated raid group is finalized. Then he feels guilty, you feel persecuted, and no one is happy.
If invites for a raid begin at 7:15 PM server time, be online and ready by 7:15 PM server time. Better yet, be at the raid location then. It really isn't that hard to do, and it gets back to showing respect for your fellow guildies, and especially for the raid leader.
If you know you are going to be late, either give up your spot or let someone know when you will be available so there's time to work around the potential conflict. And if you are late and get left out, remember that you will find the person responsible staring back at you in the mirror.
(Mirenna here: Inky really hates lateness, probably because Rithilir always seem to forget to feed her right before a boss fight. I'm a little nicer, so let me put it this way: The sooner a raid gets started, the sooner we smite the bosses and earn some nice gear.)
4. Right of Refusal
For leading edge raids (like Heart of Fear and Mogu'shan Vaults, currently), the raid leader has the right of refusal. That means that if he thinks your character is not ready for the rigors of the raid, you may get excluded even if you have signed up on the calendar.
It is okay to be unhappy about this, but it is better to ask questions like: What gear do I need to survive here? What skills do I need to improve for me to be ready?
Sometimes you need to be extremely well-geared and experienced to participate in a progression run. Sometimes your character just isn't the right class. Would Rithilir like to go to Heart of Fear? Yes. But we often need a geared healer, and that means Mirenna goes instead.
Make sure you have more than enough consumables to endure several wipes (as sometimes happens even in frequently-visited dungeons like Mogu'shan Vaults). That means lots of healing and mana potions, class-appropriate flasks, and so on. Many times, guildies will make flasks or consumables for you, but don't count on it: Be responsible for your own inventory. Don't worry too much about Tomes of the Clear Mind for on-the-fly re-speccing: A number of us have the Yak mounts that sell them. Have enough food and drink in case there isn't a mage involved in the raid.
6. Review Strategies
The era of fast leveing and dungeon runthroughs has led to an unfortunate side-effect. Players become accustomed to winning against virtually every boss. Try that approach in a raid and you are likely to get repeatedly hammered. And the players who know what they are supposed to do will resent you for it.
Many web sites do an excellent job of discussing strategies for each of the major raids, including ones we have not yet tackled as a guild. Read them before going; if you can watch a video, even better! Try to get a sense of what other characters need to accomplish during a specific boss fight so you don't do things to undermine their success.
For the raid veterans and officers, please try to remember your first attempt on that boss.
Even when someone has read the strategy and really tried to understand what to do, seeing a boss fight for the first time is usually quite different from reading about it. So please be patient with players new to a raid.
Having said that, I will *of course* be happy to messily devour them if you like. Seeing gnomes try to outrun me on their cute little legs is almost better than catnip. *Inky pounce*
Ask! Ask! Ask!
Always on casual raids, and often on progression raids, we will review a boss strategy right before the fight. This is the time to ask questions. Though the jaded veteran players might be champing at the bit to "go go go", I much prefer spending a few minutes clarifying tactics than having someone afraid to ask a question, leading to a crucial mistake that kills us.
The Raiding Experience
Raids are a bit different from 5-person dungeons.
1. Fast Pace
The first thing you will notice, especially your first few times in Mogu'shan Vaults or Heart of Fear, is the fast pacing. Part of this is adjusting to the natural pace of experienced players in frequently-visited venues. Part of it is simply getting accustomed to new settings and a larger team. This is part of why being prepared helps. If you have a sense for what is coming, you're more likely to do well.
If you are a character who provides buffs (like a priest's Prayer of Fortitude or a paladin's Blessing of Kings), try to remember to re-buff people before the buff expires (Mirenna seems to have trouble with this).
And, of course, don't forget to re-buff individual characters after they die. To be on the safe side, just re-buff Prymusunum every ten minutes. He's going to die during the raid at some point, anyway.
3. Guild Bank Repairs
If the event is on the calendar, there is an excellent chance that when you repair after the run, the guild bank will cover your expenses. However, listen to the guild leader. Depending on the number of wipes, you may use up the amount allowed (which is currently 250g for any guild member).
4. Master Loot
Prior to any raid starting, the raid leader will choose the "Master Loot" option. This means the raid leader decides who gets what loot. In Moonwell Dancers, we work by discussion and main spec / off spec rolls.
The first roll is for main specs. Many characters now have dual specs (for example, a paladin who can tank or heal). If you have dual specs, make sure your main spec is known to the raid leader before the raid starts. The raid leader will ask for rolls, and the highest roll wins the loot. Keep in mind that if you roll inappropriately, your roll may be ignored.
If no one's main spec wants the item, the raid leader will ask for off spec rolls. In Moonwell Dancers, it must be your off spec and it must be the correct armor type. For example, a boomkin druid can roll on melee dps leather for their feral cat off spec, but the plate dps wearer cannot. If (and only if) no leather wearers want the item, then those with different armor types are permitted to roll on the item.
One other point: We do lots of raids. You will get many chances to earn loot. If you have already won a number of items on a particular run, you may be asked to consider passing. Loot can sometimes feed our worst instincts, so look at it this way: The better geared all the raid-runners get, the deeper into tough raids we will be able to progress.
Sometimes, a harried raid leader will forget to choose "Master Loot" before a boss fight. If that happens, everyone should pass on all loot, and the raid leader will again conduct discussion and rolls. If you win, the raid leader will direct you to go pick up the item. (Mirenna never forgets to master loot, of course.) *snicker*
Every raid boss of the "current tier" earns you Valor Points. This currency can be used to purchase gear that ranges from 1250 to 2250 valor points (and often has a reputation requirement for one of the Pandaria factions, as well). In other words, you earn them. Numerous guildies can direct you to the various vendors where you can make those purchases.
Prior-Expansion Raids (e.g., Black Temple, Naxxramas, Ulduar, Firelands, Dragon Soul)
Every once in a while, an odd fit of madness overcomes the Moonwell Dancers. Usually in the twilight hours of the pacific coast of the United States, the members living there suffer a strange compulsion to seek old haunts and deliver retribution to once-hated foes. Soon, the whole guild is caught up in the frenzy. And "RAWR": an old world raid is born. Or hatched. Or something.
The normal loot rules and such do not usually apply here. These are fun romps into well-loved (or once-hated) places, and if an item strikes your fancy, it is usually OK to roll "Need" on it for your transmog set. As always, if you aren't sure, ask before taking something, especially if you know a friend who has talked longingly about the item in the past.
These runs are generally zerged; that is, only for certain bosses is any semblance of a strategy pursued. Even so, if the raid leader says something, make an effort to pay attention.
Enjoy these runs when they happen. They are a blast. And they offer you a chance to see content for the first time.