Topic Building a Better Raider [Guide]
Edited by Kazistrasza on 2/17/11 11:36 PM (PST)
III. Personal Responsibility
IV. Your UI Setup
VI. Your Class
VIII. My Choices (Examples)
IX. Ending Stuff
Hello and welcome to my simple guide to Building a Better Raider! The purpose of this guide is to help new raiders, though old raiders may pick up some useful tips or tricks just the same. I'm assuming the reader to be relatively new to endgame content, with minimal or no previous raid experience, but the general idea of how a raid works.
This is written generically, not aimed at any role or class, because a good player can step into any role or class and perform well. In Cataclysm, Bliz has re-designed the workings of groups to place equal value on each player. Anyone not playing up to par or making big mistakes can cause the group to wipe in the end.
A quick bit about me: I've raided in all 3 expansions plus in the original WoW, at some point on all three roles. Because of this, I've seen the concept of raids evolve from 20-minute boss fights to 5-minute mechanic-based fights, to 5-minute ignore-the-mechanic fights, and now back to 5-minute mechanic-based fights. I may not be 13/13 in Cata, but I definitely know what I'm talking about.
Before you get started you need some good resources. No one actually sits down, looks at all of their skills and talents, and number-crunches their way into the perfect spec and rotation on their own. No one walks into the boss' room and simply says, "Oh, you're named Magmaw, so I bet you spawn adds and eat tanks." I'll give you the types of resources you want and a few examples.
<Elitist Jerks> is a group of skilled and knowledgeable players; they're among the best at what they do. Their guild website features publicly viewable forums with all of their number crunching, theorycrafting, and so forth presented and summarized in FAQs and guides that really help to learn not just what you should be doing, but why.
Youtube is an amazing phenomenon of the 21st century and contains all the videos you could ever need. Spend a lot of time there.
There are a LOT of great class- and role-specific forums out there on the Internet. Googling "<class> forums" or "<role> forums" will probably find you several. TankSpot is a great example of one of these.
You should also find yourself a good general information site on WoW as well as a blue tracker you really like. I personally use WoWHead for both of these.
More than anything else, your best resource is a knowledgeable and helpful friend, so try your best to make some, be it in your guild, in /2 (you’d be surprised!) or elsewhere.
Edited by Kazistrasza on 2/17/11 11:37 PM (PST)
III. Personal Reponsibility
In economics, there is a concept known as “due diligence”, meaning the proper work and research you do before taking an action to ensure that it is the best (or at least a pretty good) action to take. This is how you should approach raiding.
Before you walk through the swirly raid portal, you need to know the fights. Go to read the fights. Go watch the fights. Don't just pay attention to your class or role. It is always a good idea to know the entirety of the fight and what everyone else is doing as well, so you can be that much more aware and prepared.
You don’t want to show up to your blue book history final without a blue book or a pencil. You should be no less prepared for raid. Look up the flasks and food buffs you need. If your guild is full of amazing ladies and gents, you can often get them to help you out with either good deals on the flasks/food buffs or the mats to make them. My best friend in my guild has provided every food buff I have used so far for free. Remember how I said you should make some friends? ^_^
The most important thing of all in your personal responsibility is punctuality. If your raid leader posts that the raid will start at 8, you should be online with nothing else to do no later than 15 minutes before hand. This way when invites start going out, you’re prepared and ready to go. This also gives you time to get an emergency stock-up run to the AH if need be.
Make sure that if you’ve told them you’ll be there, you actually will be. If your guild uses the in-game calendar for events, click “Tentative” if you’re not sure, rather than “Accept”. Life and personal emergencies do happen, in which case you should tell a guildie if you know them outside the game or ask a friend that plays to log onto your server and pst someone in your guild for you, but you should otherwise be there at raid time.
IV. Your UI Setup
How you do your UI is entirely personal choice and comfort. What works for a lot of people may not work for you. In fact, with the improvements Blizzard has made to the built-in UI, many people use simply that. Due to this, I'll just give you some tips and examples.
There are a LOT of AddOns out there for your UI. Some of them completely revamp everything including action bars, bags, etc. Some of them are as simple as showing you a new kind of raid frames. Experiment. If there’s something you wish you could do with your UI, like move those bars from the right side of the screen over to the left, or move your experience bar to the top of your screen, etc., ask around. Believe it or not, but Trade channel actually has a few nice guys that will tell you if they know of one similar to your description.
Edited by Kazistrasza on 2/17/11 11:37 PM (PST)
Setting up your keybinds is important, too. While you default get the action bar filled with 1 to = and the remaining action bars (IIRC) unbound, I strongly recommend not using 1 to = and click casting the rest. Use key combinations around your keyboard hand’s position. Use the letters too! Using shift gives you twice as many keys to bind, and control gives you 3 times. Just because T is auto-attack doesn’t mean Shift+T can’t be something entirely else!
Use keybinds that make sense to you. If you play multiple characters or have specs for multiple roles, keep your key-binds as similar as you can. For example: Shift+N is always my mana cooldown when I'm healing. D is always my interrupt and Shift+D is always a secondary interrupt, silence, stun, etc. If you only play one character or role, that's just as fine. You can make it work around your character more. Shift+F could be Fear. Shift+R could be Entangling Roots. T, Shift+T, and Ctrl+T could be your three sets of Totems.
The most important thing is that you get used to your keybinds. Try to avoid changing any important ones the day before a raid, so you have time to adjust. And for anything you don’t have a keybind for and will be able to click-cast, put all of those skills in the same place.
Macros often sound intimidating to new players (and even some old players). They're actually very simple to do. If you're a PvPer, you probably already know all about them. They're something every player should use. Afterall, the Devs didn't design it all for you to simply ignore. I'll show you some examples so you can see how to amke your own.
We'll start with simple announcements for skills. If you’re using a skill, such as Light Well, or a major tank cooldown, or just opening a Refreshment Portal for everyone to click, and want to automatically say something to get people’s attention, this is how you would do it:
Replace <Skill> with the skill you are using. Including the #showtooltip causes the game to show you what skill is there, rather than the regular macro tooltip.
Next, I’ll show you two ways to link two skills together. This can be useful if you want to always use two cooldowns together, or if you have two spells that will always be cast one after the other (or should be). This first one will simply use both skills. It’s important that at least one of these two does not activate the Global Cooldown.
The game will by default show you the information for Skill1, but by putting Skill2 after the #showtooltip, it shows you the second skill. This is useful if you need to use two skills in order (e.g., Blood Tap then Bone Shield), where the longer one has a different cooldown or resource requirement.
This next macro will, the first time you press the button, use the first skill, and then become a button for the second skill. In case you don’t need to use the second skill and want it to go back to the first skill if you don’t, I’ve shown here how to add a 5 second reset (which you can edit to any other number or simply take out if you don’t need).
Next, we’ll look at Focus macros. These let you essentially target two creatures at once and are very useful for interrupting and crowd control. I recommend making a macro that is nothing but “/focus” for setting your focus so you don’t have to type it. Now here is a macro that will use your skill at the target, but if you hold Ctrl when push the button, will cast it at your focus. You can do this for shift and alt too!
Lastly, I’ll show you how to do a mouseover macro. Mouseover macros are mostly used by healers, but sometimes it’s nice to put your own quick personal heal, bubble, buff, or whatever you want on a mouseover to use on a raid member in trouble. Mouseovers save time by requiring only one input (the keystroke) versus two (a keystroke and a click).
Edited by Kazistrasza on 2/17/11 11:38 PM (PST)
VI. Your Class
This goes along with your personal responsibility, but it is important enough to get it's own section. Know your class! Read every spell in your spellbook. You need to know how every skill works and doesn't work, how quick or slow they are to activate, how expensive they are, etc.
Know your rotation. Go look it up. I promise it's out there. After you look it up, PRACTICE!!! You can't afford to sit in a raid staring at your action bar to know which button to push. All major cities have practice dummies. Go practice your rotation on them over and over and over until you can do it with your eyes shut (within reason, you still need to watch for cooldowns and procs). If you're a healer, you obviously can't heal the dummies. But, you can heal the other people getting practice time in. Pretend in your head how much damage someone might be taking based on their class/gear, and practice healing accordingly.
Learn how to gear. <Elitist Jerks> do endless amounts of debating, number crunching, and simulating to determine what stats are worth how much to what spec. They don't do it for nothing, so use it. If you're stacking Mastery to no end as a Destruction warlock, you're probably going to find yourself doing very little damage. If you're stacking Parry on a Prot warrior, you're probably going to find yourself taking more damage than you need to.
Know the different buffs. Many of the old buffs were normalized and there is now a limited number. Learn which buffs you have. Learn which buffs other classes have. There's no reason to be using Blessing of Kings on your paladin when there's a druid standing right beside you. In fact, that druid is probably /facepalming at you as you do it.
Lastly, re-read all the skills in your spell book that aren't in your rotation. Look at the really interesting ones. The ones like Demonic Circle. The more often places you find to use these skills effectively in place of doing nothing or doing less effective things, the more pro you will look to your raid and guild.
So now you’re finally ready to raid. I’m not making this a guide to raiding, just a guide
to being a better raider, so I’ll leave you a few helpful suggestions:
*If your raid leader calls for a wipe, you have a quick and simple decision. If you have already used Heroism/Bloodlust/Ancient Hysteria/Time Warp/That Amazing Raid-Wide Cooldown, kill yourself as fast as possible. Life Tap as low as you can. Jump in the lava. Hug the slimes as tight as you can. If you haven't used the above abilities, try to get a Soulstone out if it came off cooldown mid fight, look at your Ankh timer, Shadowmeld if you can rez. Anything you can do to minimize the time between attempts is good.
*Try to avoid talking in vent unless it’s really important. Pst your raid leader or type in /ra, but if you’re new to the core, no one wants to hear your voice. Sorry, but that’s how it works.
*Focus as much as you can. It may only be a game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the bathroom, feed the cat, put dinner in the oven, etc. before the raid starts
so you can go uninterrupted.
*Practice good awareness. Since you learned your class, rotation, etc., there's no excuse to not be able to watch for additional stuff in the fight. Fights are full of things to stand in or (mostly) not stand in, adds that you don't want to be anywhere near, reasons to run away from other people or group up on someone. You should always try to know which people are standing around you, or at the very least the people with the important roles in each fight (healers, tanks, Spell Stealing mages, etc.).
*Make sure you have whatever AddOns installed and functioning that your guild uses. Most guilds use Deadly Boss Mods and Omen. These are a good start, but some loot systems require other AddOns.
*If you have another character or spec that your raid leader doesn't know about and you think it would make the fight easier, send them a pst. They'll most often say not to worry about it, but the fact that you're offering looks good.
Edited by Kazistrasza on 2/17/11 11:38 PM (PST)
*If someone tells you that you're doing something wrong, don't get defensive. Best case scenario: they were right and you learned something that made a big impact. Worst case scenario: they were wrong and you simply tell them you'll have to play with it outside of raid because it isn't helping at the moment. "ZOMG I R GOODS I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING" is the fastest way to get kicked from your raid and guild.
*Your raid leader is "always right". Sometimes you've done things in a PuG and it's worked better. Sometimes your raid is doing something that doesn't make sense to you. Go with it. If you wipe 4 or 5 times, pst your raid leader or someone you have a good relationship that's higher in the guild that might make a suggestion for you, but make sure you approach it the right way. If nothing else, wait until later in the week and say something when no one is frustrated.
*Guilds and raids, much like any organization, have their own politics. Make one or two buddies in your guild that are officers or highly respected in the raid core. It will make your life a lot easier.
*Pay attention to how long each fight takes. Manage your cooldowns based on this. You want to use DPS cooldowns often, but not when it would mean you don't have it for a burn phase. You want to rotate at least your weaker tanking CDs, but not when it means you won't have enough for the big damage phase. You want to save your healing CDs for the big damage phase, if you're having a hard time keeping up before that, ask for someone to toss a HoT before popping them.
VIII. My Choices (Example)
For this I'm just going to give you the resources and Addons I primarily use so you can see the kind of stuff I'm talking about. You certainly don't have to use any of these, though I suggest getting stuff similar to these. Resources first:
Elitist Jerks - As mentioned, contains all the theorycrafting and numbercrunching you could ever need.
Wowhead - Great resource for looking up items, mobs, spells, etc. Also has a nice blue tracker.
MMOChampion - Has a nice blue tracker and news section for updates as well as some nice resources.
WoWWiki - Nice when you want to read some lore, read a fight, or just read in general.
TankSpot - Great site with good forums about the game in general, they do great videos on fights.
Youtube - Obvious. You can find all the videos you need on here. I personally look for Cynical Brit, Yogscast, and TankSpot videos myself.
Curse - They have every Addon you could possibly want. Period.
I use the default raid frames. I've also used Grid in the past, which does similar things.
I use Recount to keep track of various data in the run from damage, to interrupts, to dispells, to heals. Similarly, I use Omen for a threat meter to know where I am in relation to other people on boss' threat lists. I set both tall enough to show 5 people (or with Omen, 5 people + the pull threshold).
I use Deadly Boss Mods to keep track of what is going to happen and when in fights. I keep warnings and expiring timers as close to the middle of my screen as I can so that I can't miss them, but also don't prevent myself from seeing fire.
I use Quartz for my cast bars and timers, integrated with latency to have better chain-casting.
Postal, Auctioneer, AtlasLoot - Other Addons I use for other stuff. Postal does mail. Auctioneer does the AH. AtlasLoot lets me browse loot. Completely optional for PvE, though I recommend them all.
Others you can are things like XPearl or TitanBar that allow you to change up your action bars and everything. Again, you don't *have* to use any of the ones I've listed here, but you should look for something similar.
IX. End Stuff
Thanks for reading this guide. I try my best to keep this up to speed. If I have made any mistakes, typos, etc., PLEASE tell me so that I can fix them. If you liked this, found it useful, or think it could help other people, please vote it for sticky (top right corner of the forums) and/or post a reply!
You have a 5% gap in your dodge/parry percentages. Are diminishing returns not as big as a deal as everyone claims?
"Use keybinds that make sense to you. On my warlock, my banish is Shift+B, and on my paladin and druid, the rez is on Shift+R. One important thing is that if, like many players, you have multiple characters, try to keep similar skills on similar keybinds. If E is your interrupt, make E your interrupt on ever class with an interrupt. If Shift+C is your CC, then Shift+C should be the CC for every class you have. This way, if you’re asked to bring your alt for a particular fight, or to fill a gap due to certain members of your core being absent, you don’t get caught in the heat of the fight thinking, “Fear was on F, but where’s Repentance!?” If you have Dual Spec (let’s face it, you really should and it’s only 10g now), keep as many of the same skills in the same places as you can. Innervate can be the same key for both Feral DPS and Resto, as can Consecration for Prot and Ret. "
I cannot Stress this part ENOUGH.. this is HUGE for anyone with multiple alts. Not to mention obvious things like SHift B for banish
No one seems to know you can bind the entire left side of your keyboard to shift+ ..
All your skills should be bound to the following keys with exceptions of professions, and hearthstone.
Shift + Q, W, E, T, Y, A, S, D, F, G, H, Z, X, C, V, B, I
Thats 37 binds. I use all of them.
(R, Shift R are still for reply modes, B bags)
@Turagant: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I figure with all of the skilled players complaining about unskilled players and all the unskilled players complaining about content/skilled players' attitudes, I might as well put something out to help boost average skill level. If you think it's good enough, vote sticky for it.
@Stompee: That has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Please refrain from off-topic replies.
@Jeslis: Yeah, so many people just bind shift+1 to shift+= and ctrl stuff and don't use the actual keys. If you're just doing PvE you can get by with that, but it's just ineffective.
5% is about as high as you can go without the DR kicking in too hard. Also, my dodge jumps a lot higher while in a raid setting also due to the 5% agility increase, while my parry doesn't increase as dramatically from the 5% strength. Extra Hold the Line procs help out immensely as well.
Thanks Zaph! I'll definitely figure out a place to stick in the more detailed stuff about UIs. The logs and parsing stuff is a bit more in depth than being a basic guide. At that point you're getting doing more of the work yourself than simply utilizing resources, and that requires a bit more advanced user. This is meant for the average Joe that got to 85, has done some heroics maybe, might have did a little bit of WotLK, and is looking at how to get up to expected level in a raid.
85 Blood Elf Paladin
This should be given sticky status Blues.. Come on. Then when someone complains about the current Cata raid tier needing a nerf we can just link this thread and say - Fix yourself before you ask for the game to be fixed...
Okay, so rather than throwing in more details than necessary into the UI section, I just added a section at the bottom with examples of the websites and Addons I use for people to see what kind of things I'm talking about.
Ah, the innocent.
That you think this will work is endearing. =)
(they're just going to say you didn't tell them anything and/or that they've already read it and are doing everything correctly. One in a million, will the person actually go "Oh, hey, i didn't see that, thanks.")
That being said, it doesn't mean we can't try. Make this thread sticky, blues.