Monday, September 28, 2015

Starting Raiding In Warlords of Draenor

Atherne asks:

I've been thinking about this and have decided to try Raiding. I'll need to gear up an appropriately leveled character. Yours is the first Wow blog I ever read because I was looking for tips for my Paladin. My thought is, I always play Paladin, Shadow Priest and Warlock well in dungeons, so I should pick one of those for a first try. Any advice? Also, what Raid should I try first to see if I do well and like the format? Thanks!

I've decided to respond in a separate post so that I can get input from other people, especially people who are currently raiding in WoW.

I would suggest picking the character and specialization that you like the best and are most comfortable with. The only hard position is tanking, as tanks are generally held to a higher standard than everyone else.

The way I see it, there are three paths you can take:

1. Looking For Raid

Just sign up for LFR with your character. I would follow the Legendary quest, as it takes you through all the current raids in order.  It's pretty much like a dungeon run, only with a lot more people. You can read up on the fights in the Dungeon Journal, and that will give you a decent idea of what's going to happen.

If you sign up as DPS, your queue time will be fairly long. You can sign up for multiple wings to help with this.

This path is the easiest to get into. You can do it on your own time and on your own schedule. It's also the least rewarding path, though. However, you will see all the content and get your feet wet.

2. Pre-made Groups in the Group Finder

Here you would find a Normal Mode group for the raid you are interested in. Start with Highmaul if you can find it. You will probably need to watch some video guides, as it is expected that you will know the fights.

In some ways these might be the hardest groups to join, as these types of groups are often leery or unwilling to take completely new players. As well, most people are focusing on the latest raid, so it might be hard to find groups for the older raids.

The advantage here again is that you can do it on your own schedule. However, there's no guarantee that you'll find a group willing to take you on a specific day.

3. Find a Guild

Here you have to look for a guild which does Normal raids at a regular day and time where you can attend. You'll probably have to apply on their website, or at least talk to an officer in-game. Here you'll have to do whatever the group is currently working on.

From an organizational standpoint this is the most work. As well, you'll have to raid on a specific schedule. However, this is also the path which is most likely to be successful for a new raider. Because you are willing to commit to the guild, the guild is willing to commit to you, to invest in training you in how to raid.

This is also the most rewarding path, in my opinion. Working on mastering fights as a group is what raiding is all about to me, and this is the path which exemplifies that. But there's no doubt this is also the path which requires the most commitment from you.

The most important part here is to make sure you are compatible with the guild you choose. That your schedules match, and that you like the atmosphere in the guild.


Those are the options as I see it. LFR and Group Finder are easier schedule-wise, but does put a little more burden on you to learn fights and improve on your own. It's much easier to learn how to raid from an existing raid guild, and is also more rewarding, but the price is that your time is no longer fully your own.

Note that if you choose to look for a guild, you can still do LFR until you find one.

Thoughts and tips from other readers? What would you do if you were completely new to raiding?


  1. I think I would ask why she wants to get into raiding. If she just wants to see the grand environments and the stories they contain, LFR will be fine, but otherwise it has very little to do with what I would call raiding. So if it's more about the experience and interacting with other people, a guild is probably the way to go.

  2. Thanks for all of this, it helps a great deal. I wasn't sure you'd see my comment since it was a few posts back, but the concept was stuck in my mind.
    I like to try all content in a game, and raiding is a big piece I've never done because the point of entry seems pretty steep, and it is my impression that people are pretty unforgiving of learning curves. You've given me some strategies to help narrow that curve.
    I love dungeons because I enjoy the way people of various classes can work together to defeat common enemies. Since I play every class, it has always let me know when I'm playing it well.
    You can certainly solo games, but the very best experience of playing your character comes when you use abilities that assist in a group. When all goes well, its sort of magical and definitely rewarding.
    I'm going to give it a try. Thanks again for the advice!

  3. I think LFR is a good place to start to get a bit of confidence and get an idea of the basics of raiding. The bar is set very low, and the encounters are very forgiving. With 24 other people, you have to be extremely good or extremely bad (like AFK for the whole raid) to stand out in any way.
    It sounds like it's more the group aspect you're after, so a guild that raids together sounds like the ultimate goal. Finding a guild that matches your requirements would be the next task. I'm in a casual raiding guild where it's fine for me to sign up for 1-2 of the four raiding nights. Sometimes nights are designated progression, so it's limited to the core raiders who are more regular attendees, and that works for my situation.

  4. Thanks, Blackdemon, I will definitely start with LFR. It's a bit like job hunting, they want you to have experience and you want them to take you on and give you experience. I'm pretty sure part of the application process for Raiding guilds is what Raids have you done? Starting in a big crowd at the bottom of the experience pool I think will be a good thing for me.

  5. Hmmm to be honest I would NOT suggest to start with LFR. The LFR experience is not even remotely similar to that of a raid. The social part is an important part of raiding, and LFR does not have it at all, being more like a glorified heroic-dungeon zerg.
    The best suggestion is to look for a guild who raids normal mode casually, with no attendance requirements and with no high expectations on the skill/engagement/experience of new recruits. The kind where a chat with one officier is enough to get invited.
    Another possibility is that sometimes you see guilds making announcments for "discovery mode" normal raids, this allows you to contact people who are in the same situation and if you act nice, maybe get invited into the guild.

  6. Atherne,

    LFR is the best start point, but you're not "raiding" in LFR, you're completing the legendary quest chain and gearing up incrementally to a degree. At the same time, look for a guild with low entry requirements (I.E. "Casual" guild) that raids and join them.

    Next is the big question. Why. Why do you want to raid? The best answer, really, is to maximize your skills at that character. Gear is of value in that, but it's only a tool.

    There are three directions to go from there.

    Direction 1: You fully develop your character and are better than anyone else in the guild. At which point you decide to join a more hard core guild.

    Direction 2: You develop your character and are pretty good or the best, and decide to stay with the guild becaue you do "well enough" and don't want to join the big leagues.

    Direction 3: You are mediocre and never develop your character's potential. A casual guild will keep you, a hard core one will sideline you. There will be some in the guild that constantly push to weed out the mediocre players, but the very definition of a "casual" guild generally keeps them in.

    If you opt for direction 1, use 3rd party websites to document your progress (Like, for example there are many sites.) to establish a paper trail you can use as evidence as to why a harder core guild should accept you.

  7. I would recommend against LFR as a primary objective as well. If you're just looking to see some more of the content and breeze your way through then LFR will be fine. However, based on what you said it's not going to give you what you want in terms of challenge or social dynamics. And LFR can turn new raiders off of raiding because of the toxic attitudes.

    But if you see it as a stepping stone it can be a good place to start. It lets you see the raids, see what running with 20+ other people is like, and you can easily disappear into the crowd in earlier raids (HM / BRF). In most cases you can ignore mechanics and still succeed in LFR, but doing your best to follow mechanics and learn the fights here will give you invaluable experience.

    I'd strongly recommend finding a guild as soon as you can. If you can't commit to a static schedule then look for one that raids casually and is willing to train you; flex raiding has made this a lot more common than it needs to be. If you can commit to a schedule then great! Look for a guild that is willing to take a trainee, but I'd avoid any that are too hardcore. Ask for their progression, and if they're into heroic already while only raiding a couple nights per week, then catching up and meeting their standards may be a daunting task. Your best bet is a guild that raids 1-2 nights per week, that cares equally about progression and social connections, that fits with your schedule, that is willing to train you, and that is still working on normal difficulty.

    I know that seems like a tall order, but there are plenty out there. We've taken on two raiders like yourself already. If you happen to be on Alexstrasza, feel free to pst me: Aesirkin. Otherwise, just watch trade chat for posts and make an occasional "looking for guild" post yourself. And whatever you do, make sure you have a nice long conversation with the recruiter and get all your questions answered before joining. If they're unwilling to do that, then imagine how your training is going to go!

    Good luck!

    1. Never fear, LFR isn't my primary objective just a way to begin. If I think raiding is for me, I'll look for a guild to run with. I've no characters on your server, best of luck to you as well.

  8. So, Helistar and Smokeman, a Raid isn't like a more difficult and longer dungeon? Tougher mobs and bosses with more hitpoints and creative ways to kill you? Also in theory better gear drops and other rewards?
    In reality I can't quite picture it, and what would make people dedicate hours of time several nights a week to go do the same thing over and over. That is part of what has kept me from raids, but I think I want to see for myself, at last. I feel I can do my homework and go in and be successful. I will keep an eye out on the servers I play on for a casual guild that might work if I find I like Raids.
    I appreciate your advice!

    1. Raids have way more people, this allows for something that you see in dungeons, but to a lesser degree... Not everyone in the raid really needs to put in any effort. Some of them can just skate. In LFR, the number of people that can skate is quite high. Of course, this starts to be less as you get to the last few bosses.

      "what would make people dedicate hours of time several nights a week to go do the same thing over and over"

      You're not doing the same thing. Your situation will always be a little different as you get better in gear and skill. Also, you're constantly evaluating your performance and thinking up ways to improve. To that end, you can think of the raid itself as the validation phase of the self improvement process.

      This goes back to the reason someone wants to raid... if it's JUST to see the final content, then skate through LFR. If it's just for gear, then do Taanan Jungle for apexis gear.

      But if it's to push yourself and take glee at every tiny improvement, then join a raid guild and bash on the same bosses every week.

    2. Don't worry, I won't skate. I never skate.

    3. Paradoxycally, it's quite hard for me to give "useful" advice. I jumped into WoW when a RL friend decided go get back into the game. He was a relatively HL raider in Vanilla, was known on the server and was returning because some old-time friends asked him if he wanted to be back, but in a casual guild. I just joined in, being accepted because of the good old "he's a friend of mine" introduction....
      The guild was an "semi-hardcore" guild, which meant that we tried to progress, but without any particular pressure or requirement, i.e. exactly the perfect place where to learn to play. The leader was a PUG-master, always able to fill up the 25-men group with friends, random people, rerolls of other raiders. He may not have been the best player, but he certainly had awesome social connections, having played the same character on the same server since launch.
      I was brought in a raid even if my stuff was not optimal, not to mention my skill. I made mistakes, but when the whole atmosphere is that of "improve" and not "blame" this pushes you to learn and get better instead of running away. It's certainly due to this background that I suggest to find a guild and say that the social aspect is central in raiding, but at the same time, having found myself in the right place at the right time, I cannot really provide help on how to find the right guild.
      As for which class to choose: pick the one which has the mechanics you find more interesting, knowing that for dps (usually) melee are at a disadvantage compared to ranged, because you have 3/4 of your screen filled by the boss' ass.... Ah, and in any case whatever class you choose will be less interesting than the one I was playing: feral druid :P

    4. My main is a Feral Druid, but she isn't the one I would send in. I hear you re: looking at the bosses big behind. Particularly ogres with those tantalizing cracks. A little distance is a good thing. Yesterday I thought I'd go with Paladin because they have good survivability and utility in groups, but today I'm back to thinking Warlock.

    5. Well, considering the state of the class today, I wouldn't probably as well. The advatage of druid/paladin/monk is that you can play all roles without having to relevel a character. If you have all three classes at a decent ilvl nothing stops you from trying all of them. Raid combats, being a lot longer, play out differently than dungeon bosses, so the gameplay changes between the two.

  9. If you want to raid, I would suggest finding a guild as soon as you're geared enough to join a decent one.

    Pickup raiding is not fun. The standard of play is much lower, and it takes far, far longer as people leave after every wipe. As well, most PUG leaders are not good at keeping a raid rolling.

    For a while, I raided in a regular group on one character and did PUGs on another. Often a pickup group would only do 4-5 pulls in the time it would have taken my guild to clear the entire dungeon. Not the way I want to spend my evening.

    As for what class you should play, mostly just pick your favorite. If you're decently skilled and come to raids, most guilds will like to have you. That said, not many guilds will seek out melee dps. Healers and ranged dps are both in demand.

    1. I'm in PUG dungeon groups all the time and am used to the variability in groups. Ah, but those rare groups that work smoothly together. That's what I'd like from a raid.
      I appreciate knowing what type of dps is useful that will help me decide what character to toss into the maelstrom.

  10. Atherne, I'll echo what most people have said -- do *not* mistake LFR for raiding.


    "what would make people dedicate hours of time several nights a week to go do the same thing over and over."

    A mistake you're making is assuming that you're going to clear the whole raid each week. You won't.

    My Mythic guild that raids two nights a week (and is one of the top two night guilds in the world) is only working on Mythic Mannoroth (12th out of 13 bosses). We don't expect to finish Mythic Archimonde for probably another month. That means it'll take four months *total* before we manage to kill every boss on our chosen difficulty. And that'll still put us in the top 100ish US guilds, period, out of about 1000 who are doing Mythic bosses.

    Raid progression takes months for most guilds for the difficulty that is relevant for them.

    P.S. You can add my Battletag of Balkoth#1847 if you'd like -- my main is Alliance but I have a reasonably geared Horde character as well if you'd like some help/advice.

    1. Here we see that I can't picture what a raid is like, not having been in one. Time to watch some YouTube videos!

    2. I'd suggest searching Youtube for Fatboss. They make the standard boss fight videos for WoW. They'll certainly give you a feel for the complexity of raid boss fights.

      I would suggest using LFR to work on your legendary ring for whichever character you decide to go with. Most guilds aren't going to consider you for their main raid team as a serious raider without it or without a good amount of progress on it. (That said, you might be able to get in on guild runs for alts.)

      If you decide to start off as a dps pick a ranged class. As with most MMOs the boss fights tend to be more punishing to melee dps than to ranged dps.

    3. I watched about an hour of a video of Highmaul normal. It certainly let me see how differently the raid instance functions than what you'd see in a dungeon. The need for coordination, timing and communication is way beyond what I've seen before. I can't picture how anyone could survive for a moment if they weren't fully prepared and engaged in the fight. Most interesting!

    4. It's a lot of stuff if you are new to it all. For many others though it is just the continued push for more and more mechanics-based boss fights over the years. It will be crazy at first, but given time you'll learn all the boss dances' pretty well.

      Most people run a boss mod and mods such as GTFO that let you know when you are standing in the bad stuff. It has simply become a race between the mod makers and the game developers in wow, That race drives some of the complexity of raiding, thus the push for making LFR be 'tourist mode' where minimal competency is needed to succeed on almost all the bosses.

    5. Yes, it's vastly different from dungeons -- each raid boss fight can be as or more involved than an entire dungeon. Practice helps make sense of it all, though.

      And I'll repeat my offer -- if you want to add me on BattleTag I can help you get started in Normal raiding, at least (assuming our schedules mesh even slightly).

  11. One option somewhere between finding a guild and pugging through the group finder is to use - people organise raids there, usually a few days in advance, so you have to plan your time a bit, but it doesn't require a regular commitment.

    There are usually groups their aimed at beginners, and quite often the same group continues to raid together for a while, so you can even get some of the same sense of progressing as a group that you would with a guild.

  12. You can also use a site like OpenRaid. The benefit of that is that some groups advertise that they are for less experienced raiders. It gets past the gatekeeping that you'll find in the Group Finder.

  13. Will take a peek at OpenRaid once I get my item levels up. I am not at minimum yet with anyone. :(

  14. What does "I am not at minimum yet with anyone" mean?