Well with Ulduar in full swing and guilds downing new bosses and getting new loot left and right, the game has taken on all new meaning for a lot of people. Raiding is back in style with long lost people from my guild returning and others trying desperately to find slots to see the new action. People are scrambling for new tier pieces and to make the grade in order to prove themselves effective raiders. Through it all, however, there’s been one underlying theme that’s becoming more and more prevalent: This shit ain’t easy.
Yes, raiding is hard again. Though they’ve brought nerfs in to soften up the obviously overtuned encounters in the zone, this zone is quickly proving itself as a place to separate the weak from the strong. It’s telling people what needs improvement and whether or not they’ll be able to advance in the game as a whole with the group they’re currently in. Raiders have had time to check all the changes that came with the new patch whether it be talents or tweaks to spells or whatnot. However, just understanding how to use your character’s skill set is only part of the equation. You must know the basics of raiding, and it is on that subject that I will pontificate today. So let’s get back to basics, starting with…
When you show up for a raid, it’s important that you’re prepared to be the best raider you can be for the evening. A big portion of that is what is referred to as min/maxing, which is the idea that you get the maximum effect out of your character with the minimal amount of effort while raiding. This of course takes preparation and can’t be accomplished within twenty minutes of showing up for the raid. You must do research and find out what works best for your character in order to become all that you can be. This may mean undertaking month long rep grinds (sons of Hodir, anyone?) or spending 100+ gold on enchanting mats in order to have the best possible enchants on your weapons or your armor. What it comes down to is that you want to be able to squeeze the most benefit from your gear and enhancements that you can. If not, you’re losing effectiveness for not just yourself, but the raid as well.
A lot of people don’t seem to get this for some reason, but consumables are important. It goes hand in hand with min/maxing except that you can change out what consumables are currently working for you on a basis of need. You’re having trouble with mana? Get a flask that gives you an mp5 boost. Raid members dying because your heals don’t have that extra oomph you need? Nosh on a little spellpower enhancing food. These are basically extra buffs that can only be had if you put the effort in to get them. With most guilds having different members maxed out in all the professions, there’s no excuse to not being able to find a cheap way to buff yourself up on these. And if you have to hit up the AH and spend a little extra scratch to get it? Well, you won’t be thinking of that when you pick up those new tier tokens.
Know Your Class
This one may seem pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised at some of the horror stories out there involving people who just simply do not do the research necessary to find out how to effectively play their character. I personally knew a holy priest who eschewed Flash Heal, considering it a worthless spell and therefore completely skipped over the new Serendipity when speccing. I’ve also heard of balance druids who didn’t know what innervate was and other sorts of crazy things that made them lesser raiders because they simply take the time to do the research. So I’m begging you, take the time, read the posts, find out how to play. Your raid will thank you for it.
Be Raid Aware
Also known as Don’t Stand in a Fire, this one may be the most important point on my list. There is absolutely no fight in Ulduar where you can simply run into the bosses room, stand still and start casting. All of the encounters require you to be aware of what’s going on when and where and force you to move and if you don’t, then your raid will most likely be scraping you off the floor. Even the trash has a tendency to throw things around that if you’re standing in for too long will spell death and demise for your character. But raid awareness isn’t just being able to move when a glowing pok-e-ball appears beneath you. It’s also knowing who your tanks and healers are, who has priority if multiple people are dying (Dueg) and who is expendable in that sort of situation (everyone else). It even comes down to knowing what abilities the bosses will cast and when in order to better use your cooldowns. Know your raid, know yourself, know your situation.
Mark Your Loot
This is one that I believe is oft overlooked in the raiding community but still somewhat important nonetheless. Before you enter a zone, you should know what loot you want from which boss and prioritize your needs based on that. There’s no worse feeling than blowing all your DKP, or dropping to the bottom of Suicide Kings or losing a next up spot in Loot Council or whatever on a midling upgrade and then seeing a BiS item drop on the next boss. Not only that, but marking your loot beforehand and knowing how it plays for your class can let you know when it’s best to let something go and when to dig in and really try to grab it. This is especially important for tier tokens because you might have a better item equipped and not know it because the stats aren’t right in front of you, which may end up with you getting something that someone else can make better use of (sorry Reyk, but hey, at least my shadow set is improving, right?).
Don’t Be an Asshole