Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stay out of the Stupid - Basics for the Beginning Raider

To a new player, level 80 raids may seem incredibly intimidating to get involved in. Fortunately, because of some relatively recent tweaks to the game, it's become easier than ever to hop into a raid, ready to go.

I just hit 80! What do I do now?

Congrats on hitting 80! If it's your first character, it's an incredible achievement. Now, you have a lot more options open to you to get started on raiding. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; you are probably still wearing some blues and greens from questing and dungeons. They will be very easy to replace using a feature most of us didn't have when we were leveling...

The random dungeon tool.

Chances are, you started using it at a lower level to find groups to get dungeon quests done. This is good... but it's even better at 80. You can now queue up for random heroics. Instead of just dropping gear, bosses will also drop triumph badges, which you'll need for later. The dungeon tool will also give you additional gold, and 5 triumph and 5 frost badges for your first random of the week.

Heroics may seem a little scary at first (they sure were for me!) but don't worry too much. While you may get the occasional person who will throw a fit that you're not doing 10k dps, people will, for the most part, be understanding that you're a fresh 80. It may even help if you say (especially if tanking or healing), "Hey, I just hit 80, so could you please be gentle while I gear up and learn?" Most people will be glad to slow down for you.

Now that you've started to collect badges through the Random Dungeon tool, you should start learning how to play your class. The official forums are a good start, but Elitist Jerks is a fabulous resource for all classes, specs and roles. They will explain what glyphs you'll need, the standard cookie-cutter spec, the gems and stats that will help you optimize your class, what gear to look for, and so on. They'll also give you the basic rotation for your spec, so you can be the best you can possibly be.

What do I do with all these badges that I've gotten, then?

So, now you've probably been running randoms for a while and have a nice pile of badges to show for it. In Dalaran, there are vendors in your faction's quarter where you can trade badges for gear. Normally, I try to replace my worst items first, so it will be easier to find groups later on. For instance, if you have the choice between replacing a green or a level 80 blue, chances are you'll want to replace the green first.

I have some okay gear now... where do I go from here?

If you are in a guild, see if you can get into a lower-end raid. They are, in order of easiest to hardest: Naxxramas, Ulduar, Trial of the Crusader, Icecrown Citadel.

Naxxramas and Ulduar would be ideal to start with, if even just for experience, but if you have the gear for it, Trial of the Crusader is a quick raid that drops plenty of good gear that can help you get ready to join people in ICC.

Okay! I'm ready!

Let's first make sure you're all gemmed and enchanted. Are you? Good!

Before you go, let's get you a little something to help you along first.

While this may seem like a cheap addon, Deadly Boss Mods? is incredibly useful for players with tunnelvision (like myself... all I see are boxes and pretty green numbers) to warn them to get out of the stupid, when a boss is about to punch you in the face, and all the nice warnings you'll need for boss fights.

What is the stupid, you may ask? "The Stupid" is one of the terms used to describe avoidable AOE damage. This means anything from black circles of pain on the ground, the pokeballs in Ulduar (really. Look at them. They're pokeballs!), or the fire in ToC. Don't stand in it. Chances are, it's not a buff. There are a few exceptions, like during the Hodir fight, but only if it's specified beforehand.

Another good resource to use is Tankspot. Watch Tankspot boss videos before fighting a boss for the first time. It will tell you everything you need to know about what the boss does, the phases of the fight, and what your roll will be in taking him (or her) down.

Some raid leaders (such as mine, bless her heart) are also more than willing to explain the fight beforehand, so it would be benificial to download Ventrilo so you can listen in. The raid will also probably be doing callouts too (Tank B, taunt!), so even if you don't have a mic, try to have it anyway so you're able to hear what's going on.

Is there anything else I can do to make raiding easier?

Yes! If you haven't already, there are plenty of interface and combat mods you can use to make your job easier.

I have a couple suggested over at my smaller blog, Penance, which can be found here. Those are mainly aimed towards healing, but a lot of the mods can work wonderfully for anybody.

If you're still curious and want to add more, check out Curse. I can't tell you which addons you MUST use, as, for the most part, it's personal preference. Find which ones work right for you.

All that's left now is to hone your skills by practice, practice, practice.

Happy raiding!

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