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Guides: Preparing to Raid

By James A on October 08, 2008

Preparing to Raid

One of the most common questions asked by players who are new to end-game raiding in World of Warcraft is what is needed in order to be prepared to raid. While some of the things needed to begin raiding are obvious (such as proper gear and equipment), others are not so obvious, or commonly overlooked (consumables). So, if you’re new to raiding, or maybe you’ve been raiding for a while and are looking for some new tips, then keep reading. By the end of this article, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need in order to be prepared for raiding.

The first area of raid prep is perhaps the most obvious: gear. If you just hit level 70 a few days ago, you are most likely not ready to just dive into Karazhan or Gruul’s Lair. Players beginning to raid should have fewer than three green-quality items, and the rest should be blue-quality or above. These can be attained through dungeons. Players should start with normal-mode instances, and then working up to heroic mode. The final bosses in Heroic dungeons all drop at least one epic-quality item, and all bosses drop one Badge of Justice.

Badges of Justice obtained from heroic mode instances can be saved up and used to buy significantly better gear than what you would normally find in 5-man instances. Since most instances have between three to five bosses and in combination with a daily quest in Shattrath City that awards two additional badges for completion of the day’s instance (chosen at random), it’s possible to obtain seven badges from a single run. So when running heroic instances daily, one can assemble a good set of armor within two weeks.

'When the chips are down and the enrage timer is close, preparation can make all the difference.

One other thing to keep in mind is that The Burning Crusade has been out for quite some time so it is rather simple to find players that out-gear an instance and “hitch a ride.” Most servers have dozens of Pick-up Groups (commonly referred to as “PuGs”), who run through instances like clockwork. A PuG is a group of players who have no connection other than that they all happen to want to run a particular instance at the same time. If you are a brand-new player and able to talk your way into a successful PuG, then you should have no trouble gearing yourself in a relatively short period of time.

The second area of preparation lies in consumables, and they are perhaps the most overlooked, yet absolutely vital, necessity in raiding. There are five types of consumables available for raiding – item enhancement, food, flasks/elixirs, potions and bandages.

Item enhancement consumables are things such as mana oils and sharpening stones. Determining which one is most desirable for you depends on the class you play. For example, if you are a mage or warlock, you are most likely going to desire something like Superior Wizard Oil, a consumable with five charges, each charge lasting one hour and enhancing your spell damage. If you play a warrior, you would most likely benefit more from Adamantite Sharpening Stones, which increase weapon damage and critical strike, or if you are a rogue, poisons are the best thing to use. All item enhancement consumables last one hour and do not fade if you die.

The second type of consumable is Food, gained through Cooking. Everyone can learn this as a side-skill, and given how beneficial food buffs are at level 70, every player should have it maxed out at 375. Food buffs are gained after eating a specific type of food for longer than ten seconds and give stats such as +20 agility and spirit, +30 stamina, or +23 spell damage and +20 spirit. These buffs last for 30 minutes and you lose them if you die so if you are going to an instance that is new to your raid and you expect to be dying a lot, it’s a good idea to bring a full stack of twenty or more.

While prices vary between servers, flasks are typically cheap and well worth the gold

Flasks and elixirs serve the same purpose, but function completely differently from each other. Elixirs come in two varieties: Battle and Guardian. Battle elixirs enhance your offensive stats, such as: attack power, spell damage, critical strike and agility or strength. Guardian elixirs enhance defensive stats such as: armor, stamina or intellect and spirit. You can only have one of each type of elixir active on you at a time. Elixirs last one hour and you lose them when you die.

Flasks, on the other hand, last for two hours and they persist through death. You can only have one flask active at a time, and having a flask active means you can’t use any elixirs, because flasks of all types count as both Battle and Guardian elixirs.

In most circumstances, I find that it is both cheaper and more practical to use a flask instead of elixirs because depending on your server’s economy, a stack of five elixirs will cost just as much, if not more, than one flask – and that’s just for a stack of one type (be it Battle or Guardian). Elixirs are always weaker than their flask counter-parts – for example, if you play a rogue, the ideal elixir for you is the Elixir of Major Agility, which grants 35 agility and 20 critical strike rating. The Flask of Relentless Assault, however, provides 120 attack power – throw in the fact that the flask will last a full two hours regardless of how many times you die; the flask is a better deal, hands down.

The last fourth consumable type needed for raiding is potions. Potions give a short-term benefit and have a two-minute cooldown. The most commonly used type of potions are mana potions and healing potions, which provide an immediate recovery of either mana or health. However, there are also other types of potions that provide short-term buffs, such as the Haste Potion, which increases a player’s haste rating (attack speed) by 400 haste rating for 15 seconds, or the Destruction Potion, which increases spell damage by 120 and spell critical strike chance by 2% for 15 seconds. The important thing to remember is if you use one of the potions that buffs you; it will also trigger the cooldown on the healing and mana potion, so you must make a decision on if you want a damage increase, or an emergency health or mana boost.

And finally, the last consumable type needed is bandages. First Aid, like Cooking, is a skill that any player can pick up, and it can be a life-saver. Many classes that are capable of healing, such as priests or shamans, don’t train up First Aid because they can heal themselves. However, in a raid setting sometimes self-healing can be problematic especially in mana-intensive situations. In cases like these, heal-capable classes benefit just as much from bandaging as any other class does.

Other than bringing enough consumables to last the raid’s duration, it is vital to make sure that your gear is completely repaired before entering a raid instance, and that you are fully stocked on such needed items as ammunition or reagents. This is especially important for classes that depend on reagents for vital skills, such as candles for priest’s Prayer of Fortitude, or paladin’s Divine Intervention or various blessings.

Begging in Azeroth is about as profitable as begging at an Ayn Rand convention.

Now, in order to obtain everything needed for a raid, you must do one of two things – gather all the needed materials yourself (assuming you are an alchemist and can make your own potions), or buy them from another player. Most players buy their materials from the auction house. My guild, for example, raids Mount Hyjal and Black Temple, and the materials I use in each raid typically cost me about 200 to 250 gold per raid – I play a rogue, so I usually buy 20 Haste Potions, 1 Flask of Relentless Assault, and half a stack of food.

The best way to farm gold in a hurry is to complete the daily quests for the various level 70 factions, and the best of these factions to run dailies for is the Shattered Sun Offensive. Their base of operations is on the Isle of Quel’Danas, and almost all of the quests there give between ten and twelve gold each. It’s rather easy to make over 120 gold in an hour there, and gain Shattered Sun reputation at the same time, which can give some impressive rewards once you become exalted with them.

When everyone is prepared for a raid with all necessary consumables, it easily makes the difference between a boss kill and a wipe. Being fully prepared for a raid also sends a message to your fellow raiders that you are serious about wanting to progress through content and that attitude often is more significant to a raid leader than having a full inventory of shiny epics. Besides, being fully prepared to raid eventually leads to those, too!

The Shattered Sun Offensive wants you to help them exorcise some demons, and they pay well