Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. I had planned to finish the title with "Not by the hair on this Dwarf's chinny chin chin!!" but I've been foiled by the T5 hood. Sad.
Many moons ago, I covered what a healing lead needed to get their 25-man off the ground and into mob-infested content. Today I'd like to look at the other side of the coin - what it takes to get into a 25-man raiding guild as a healer.
There are two common paths into 25-man raiding. The first is bum a ride with your Karazhan groups to Gruul, Mags and onward into infamy. This is pretty ideal since everyone you're playing with is continually at the same level of progression, like gear and raid faction rep. You should also have some experience playing with your fellow healers, at least in pairs.
The second way to get into 25-man raids is to transfer guilds, typically because your current one has been unable to progress for whatever reason. This isn't always an easy process, especially since guilds can be as picky as they choose and it's up to you to make a good impression. Since this is probably the most difficult way to get into 25-mans, I'm going to cover what you need to do to be successful at getting your foot in the door from entry to end-game guilds. Right after the break, that is!
General Healing Applicant Guidelines
As it stands right now, raiders can either apply to a guild on their current server (Realm Forums ftw) or hit up the WoW LFG Forum for some hawt transfer action. Either way, here are my tips to help your post attract the guild you want:
1) Be clear in the title and say exactly what you're looking for. Your goal is to make it easy for guilds to find you. Here's an example: [H-PvE] Holy Paladin LF MH/BT Guild Have Vials You always want to indicate which faction you play. The server type you want is important if you're looking to transfer. After that, put what kind of class you are and which content you're looking to get into. Then close with any important information that would make you more desirable than the next Joe.
If you don't have Vials to tout, use this space for the time zone you want to play in. An example is [H-PvE] Holy Paladin LF T6 CST Guild If you only put Pally LF Raiding Guild, you're wasting people's time. Plus "Raiding Guild" is another way of saying you're trying to get into Kara. If that's not your intent, you've probably just missed out on some good opportunities.
2) If you're going to post on an alt, make it one that's the same class and faction. Posting on a gnome toon will get you Alliance replies because pictures > words.
3) In the body of your post, write a paragraph about yourself, including how far you've currently gotten in raid content and what times/days you can raid. If you're posting from an alt, include a way for people to request your armory profile and/or WWS reports. Normally this is done via an email address or asking them to contact you in-game.
4) Bookmark your post so you can easily find it again later. Also, check back and bump it once a day if it's not on the 1st page. Within 24 hours, your post will be on page 5 or 6 of the LFG forums. The default forum setting is to show by most recent post, so if you don't bump it, people won't see it. A good time to move your post to the top of the pile is right after work/school lets out. A lot of people can't view them during the day and normally spend a bit of time before raids catching up on WoW tasks.
5) Don't just stop at making a post. Read through existing guild recruitment posts in your free time. It takes a lot of time and energy for guilds to search for people and sometimes they can miss really good potential recruits. Be proactive and reduce the chance of that happening.
6) Always log out in your raiding gear and be sure to provide a link, like from WoWHead, to your normal PvE spec if you're swapping talents a lot. Otherwise guilds can't do a decent preliminary analysis and they're going to have to ask you for the info anyways. If it comes down to you and another person vying for a single raid spot, be sure you're making it easy for them to pick you.
At some point you're going to need to fill out an application for a promising guild. The bottom line here is to take it seriously. If they ask open ended questions like "What makes you a good candidate for our guild?" give them at least a full blown, 5-7 sentence paragraph per question. And in this case, more is definitely better as long as it's positive. This is not the place to bring up that your last GM was cyboring with your SO or that there's some mysterious reason why your current guild won't bring you along on runs. While these might be important for maintaining honesty, save the drama related items for the interview where you can better explain the situation.
If you feel like you are at a definite disadvantage at something, just mention it in passing with a positive spin. A good example is if you're undergeared. I see a lot of "I know I don't have the gear like your current healers, but what I lack in epics, I make up with skill!" Instead, highlight the different ways you're trying to improve your gear. "Just so you know, I'm only about 5 heroic badges away from [Item X] and I plan to have that slot upgraded by this weekend." is a thousand times better, maybe even a million. Not only do we know that you recognize your weakness, you've done research and are actively improving the situation. That's all win right there.
If the guild lists minimum requirements to apply, be sure they know you meet them and if you do not, don't bother applying. If they spell them out somewhere on the application with the option for your to acknowledge them, great. Otherwise, include them in a response to an open-ended question.
T4 Raid Applicants - Getting into a Gruul's, Mags, and Early to Mid SSC/TK Guild
At this point, you should have at least downed Prince, if not cleared all of Kara. Those that have only done heroics will have a tough sell, but it's not impossible. An ideal candidate will be exalted with the Violet Eye so they have the top ring upgrade. Most of your gear should be PvE epics, with only a couple of key PvP pieces. If you can't get the mace from Maiden or Prince, you should at least have [Hammer of the Penitent] from Mech (priests/druids) or [Lightsworn Hammer] (pally/shammy) from Shattered Halls. Ideally you'd have the S2 mace, [Merciless Gladiator's Salvation], since the next best mace is off Vashj, though.
The next place I look is trinkets and ranged slot items. These are often forgotten about and if you see someone wearing green crap, you know they don't pay attention to details. [Rejuvenating Gem], [Essence of the Martyr], [Scarab of Infinite Cycle], [Lower City Prayer Book] and [Ribbon of Sacrifice] are all good choices at this level. Only the gem and the ribbon require raiding experience, so there's no excuse not to have these covered. Likewise, all of the librams, idols, totems, and wands you need for the bulk of your raiding career are out of 5-mans. You should have them by now.
Ahhh... The land of gems. First and foremost, +healing is your primary raiding stat. If you're short on red slots, I expect to see orange and purple gems in the remaining spaces. The only exceptions I can think of are 1 good yellow +crit gem or blue +spirit gem, depending on which flavor your class prefers, or a priest with 1 quality blue +stam gem to compensate for wearing a dress. And by "good" and "quality" I mean rare (blue item linked) gems or higher. If you show up with a 1g Teardrop Blood Garnet, you're not going to impress people. There are only 2 healing metagems, Bracing and Insightful Earthstorm Diamonds. I've used bracing without any ill effects, but the gem requirements can be tough for a Priest or Druid. Either meta works well.
Enchants are another thing that take effort for people to maintain, and are a good indicator of who is dedicated to raiding. The main ones are chest, bracers, legs (thread), and weapon. For Shaman and Paladins, this also includes shields. Optional enchants are cloak and boots. If you're an enchanter, ring enh's are a given. For me personally, I expect to see the best enchants available. This means +81 healing on your weapon, +30 healing on bracers, and the epic healing thread. The chest should be either 6 mp5 or +6 stats. If you go with +100 mana, I'm going to ask how many 1.4 min or less boss fights you plan on coming across.
Other factions' rep is also important. From a healing standpoint, being exalted or close to it with Aldor/Scryer and Thrallmar/Honor Hold are necessary. You'll want the former for the helm inscriptions and the latter for the shoulder glyphs. Run 5-mans or buy your rep off the AH until you get there.
From a professions standpoint, right now healers will be ahead if they have 375 Enchanting or Jewelcrafting. The former is an +40 healing boost and the latter gives you +26 healing, +12 spi, and/or +12 spell crit. I prefer to see Aldor Mooncloth Priests at this level, too, which gives them the uber pants thread and a leg up on raiding gear. In Patch 2.4, I'd add Alchemy to the viable professions list with the Redeemer's Alchemist Stone, a +119 healing +40% increase on mana/healing pot trinket. But if you're a 375 BS/Mining pally, it's going to be a hard sell.
From an overall stats standpoint, at this level you'll want to be sporting about +1700 healing and 150 mp5 or 500 spi. Pallies should be in the early 20% holy crit range. If you haven't already, now's the time to become familiar with your Elitist Jerk's Class Mechanics thread. Here's the ones for Holy Priest, Resto Druid, Resto Shaman, and Holy Paladin. The easiest way to navigate them is to read through the summary post at the very beginning and then skim the last 5 pages or so to get caught up on the latest theory crafting, much of which is about Patch 2.4. Be sure you note when the Summary page was last updated so you know what pertains and what might not.
T5 Raid Applicants - Getting into a 3/4 TK and 5/6 SSC Guild
And then the bar gets raised a bit higher. Besides all of the things I covered in the T4 section, this is the point where skill and dedication begin to slightly outweigh gear. This means that equipping a slightly undergeared healer isn't as hard since guilds at this level have most of SSC on weekly farm. There are a couple of exceptions, though. Off the top of my head, I'd list bracers, weapon, and helm as pieces you can't expect to pick up in TK/SSC. Why? Because either the upgrades are off the last bosses or they don't exist at all until MH/BT. Have your bracers from Kara/ZA, your S3 weapon, and your T4 helm if you plan on being a solid performer. Current badge gear doesn't have your back, either, so don't go running to the cosmic wind chime looking for answers.
One of the biggest issues at this level are the healers that think just because S3 gear is a higher item level, it's fine for raiding. If you're decked out in PvP gear and haven't raided since pre-BC, you're going to either need to display some serious 5-man skills or have someone to vouch for your abilities before you can expect to find a place in this level of raiding. It can be done, but it's a tough path. You're better off hitting up the early SSC'ers so you know if you even like 25-mans.
Be prepared to eat, drink, and rub on consumables like you've never done before. This is about the time "Buffed to the Teeth" becomes the gold standard in raiding. My plan is to cover this is great detail next week, so I'm not going to punish you now with my thoughts on the subject. Just know they're important at this stage of the game.
With the guild killer bosses still in effect until the next patch, there is usually a strong recruitment for people that have enough out of early TK/SSC to be a contributing member of a 3/4, 5/6 guild. This is because those at this level who are stuck on those bosses will slowly loose people to attrition or MH/BT guilds until they figure out Kael/Vashj. This isn't a bad thing at all unless you get an "imminent disband" vibe from them.
You'll want in the neighborhood of +1900 healing, 200 mp5 or 500 spi, and the mid-20%'s on crit, if that's your thing, to hang with these guys. This is really the point where Priests need to be aware of their buffed hp's, too. About 9k hp is a good goal to shoot for to combat general raid damage.
T6 Raid Applicants - Getting into a MH/BT Guild
Up until this point, what level of guild progression you best fit into makes sense since it's a linear path. If you've cleared one tier, you're probably good to go for the next. With the current attunement situation, this logic breaks down at MH/BT. You have 2 kinds of guilds here: the ones that are progressing and those that have downed Illidan. And as an applicant, it's really important for you to understand the difference and know what you're getting into.
A guild that is progressing through MH/BT will be spending 2 nights a week on T6 farmed bosses and the remainder of the raid nights on new bosses. Because of this full schedule, they will typically only be looking for applicants that already have their vials. If you meet that qualification, expect people to be beating down your door with links to their recruitment information. The other upside is you'll get to progress and learn new content with them.
A guild that has already downed Illidan will spend about 2 nights a week clearing farm content. The remaining evenings are available to do attunement runs or anything else. Thus they're willing to take applicants that don't have their vials but have already completed the prereq's for the BT attunement quest line. What this means for you is quick access to T6 gear but you'll miss out on learning the fights with the rest of the group. This can be particularly hard on some people since there's a good chance you'll be responsible for a number of raid wipes until you learn the content.
But no matter which type you go after, neither will be farming T5 content on a regular basis, so have everything out of SSC/TK that you can't live without. For my guild personally, the hardest T6 pieces to get our hands on have been chest and shoulders. Plus I wouldn't get my hopes up on the trinket off Illidan. Be sure you're already covered with T5 or equivalent in these slots. This means you should be rolling with around 2k healing, 220 mp5 or 600 spi, and 25% holy crit. Some of the fights in MH/BT will require +10k hp, so make sure you can hit that with buffs.
Besides normal healing gear, you'll eventually want 365 buffed shadow resist gear for Mother Shahraz. You'll need Hearts of Darkness to actually make the stuff, but if you can work on the rest of the mats, it'll show you're serious about contributing. This shouldn't be your first priority unless you already meet the rest of the requirements and have some extra time/gold.
The advent of Patch 2.4 will eliminate the vial restrictions for attunement but in order to get the really good healing rep ring, [Band of Eternity], you'll still need to get the vials and complete the quest line. The Sunwell will also extend the weekly raiding schedule back out to 4+ nights a week, so expect both MH/BT and SW to be on weekly farm until WotLK.
In order to raid with guilds at this level, and perhaps even with T5 guilds, expect to provide WWS links of you in 25-man raid action. For our guild, they're not optional. While it's fine to just link one that someone in your guild has posted, be aware that it will stop working after 2 weeks if they don't have a paid account or it isn't being hosted locally. Check BRK's WWS How-To (plus my DBM work-a-round if you use it), and record your own. Since you'll have a copy of the combat log, you can post the raid info and link it anytime you need to. I recommend you have at least 2 raids of information available.
And so ends my tips on getting into a raiding guild. Tune in next week when I cover consumable theory and if you are looking to kill some time, my About the Blogger interview is up. Two posts by me in one day? Yep! It's like heaven, I know...
Marcie Knox has been healing lead for over a year, including old school AQ40/BWL/Naxx. She has suffered through holy priest and now basks in the glory that is healadin. Her pally is currently living la vida loca since she still needs a few more TK 5-mans to get stoopid Sha'tar rep. Again. Buying flasks is painful, but apparently not painful enough.