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WoW Rookie: Preparing for your first raid

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When it comes to advice for new players who want to get into raiding, it sometimes seems there are two schools of thought. The first is exemplified by the members of the Council of Verah Srs Bsns, which is filled with terse guild officers grinding their teeth over loot distribution and old-schoolers who started raiding back when grinding for flask and pot mats took as long as the raid itself. Their pre-raiding checklists tend to be ... long. The other camp, the l33tspeak PugGerZ, sees WoW as a series of pickup raids in which the raid leaders and boss mods issue connect-a-dot instructions on where to go and what to do -- and if that's too confusing, there's always the strat video. On the other monitor. While you're starting the encounter for the first time.

As always, the truth about raid prep lies somewhere in between. Yes, more resources to help raiders raid exist than ever before -- and despite that, yes, you still need to come prepared. How to do that? Join us after the break for a whirlwind look at preparing for your first raid.

One note before we begin: This guide is all about the basics. We're here to prep new players without overwhelming them. We warmly welcome further advice in the comments -- but remember, our focus here is simply on getting started!

So you're considering raiding ...

Are you ready to raid?
Why do you want to get into raiding? What kind of guild are you looking for? Are you ready to raid? Asking yourself some key questions will help you figure out which direction you want to go as a WoW raider.
Do you have time to raid?
Work, school, family, other hobbies ... Raiding is supposedly an intense pursuit. Do you have the time it takes to be a successful raider? The short answer: Yes, you do have time. If you want to raid, somewhere out there is a guild that will work for you.
Raiding and time management
Make no mistake, raiding requires a commitment of time. Fortunately, time management is an art, and you can make refinements to your schedule that allows you to reach a balance that suits you.
How to apply to a guild
Most "srs bznz" raiding guilds require an application to take a look at a new player, check out their gear and get an idea whether the player is viable for that guild's content.
Your application and trial membership
Understand the two-way courtship between players and raiding guilds to maximize your chances of landing in an enjoyable, compatible raiding group or guild.

Time for your first raid

Be prepared. What holds true for Boy Scouts and players just getting started in five-mans holds true for raiders, too. Crank up your standards a notch, and you'll be on the right track.

Know your class. The basics should all be ingrained and natural at this point. Brush up with our Class 101 guides (scroll to the bottom of the section for a complete list).

Have the right gear. You've been gearing up in heroics, haven't you? And you're kitted out with enchants, gems, glyphs and enhancements in every available slot?

Tune up your spec. Our class columns (linked from the menu at the top of WoW.com – see Class) will set you straight on the must-haves.

Stock up on supplies. Aim to be self-sufficient: reagents, food, water, stat food with a spec-appropriate buff, bandages, pots, flasks or elixirs, ammo ...

Be on time. If you miss the time a group traditionally sends out raid invites, you'll most likely be replaced.

Know the fights. The days of heading into raids just to see what will happen are over. You have nine to 24 other people depending on your ability to understand and execute the encounter plan. Look up the bosses on a site like WoWWiki.com or watch YouTube videos of the encounters, so you have an idea of what to expect.

Have the right addons. Like them or not, mods are a part of raiding. There is plenty of debate of which mods are best for their purpose, but most guilds generally expect a few essentials.

Be ready to communicate. Voice communications are expected in most raiding groups. Ventrilo is the usual standard, but your group may prefer TeamSpeak or Mumble.

Know your raid's rules for loot distribution. Some raids allow anyone present who needs the gear that drops to roll for it. Various Dragon Kill Points (DKP) systems are common among guilds. Be sure you know what system your raiding group is using and understand how it works before you begin.

Listen up. Once you've gotten under way, pay close attention to the raid leader. Be aware of basic raid terminology. Most importantly, make sure you understand your specific role in each encounter. It's definitely preferable to slow up the raid by asking questions before an encounter than it is to slow down the raid by causing a wipe.

That sounds like a lot -- but when all's said and done, it's more like putting on a clean outfit, wrapping your gift and showing up at the party on time. So ring the doorbell and get that party started!

Rookie tip of the week

Admit it: Those loading screen tips are kinda cool -- so let's create our own! Each week, we'll include a reader-submitted tip designed to help leveling players. Come on, lend a fellow player a hand ... Send your best tips and tactics for levels 1 through 80 to lisa@wow.com. (Include your character's name so we can give you credit!)

We need your beta screenshots

We'd love to show you more changes to leveling content coming in Cataclysm -- but alas, rookie-level screenshots and details aren't as popular as the goblin and worgen newbie zones or the high-level content. Are you in the beta? Share your level 1-80 screenshots and details with WoW Rookie readers! Email screenshots to lisa@wow.com.


Recent articles of interest to rookies and fresh level 80s

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from game lingo for the beginner, to joining your first guild as a mid-level player, all the way up through what to do when you finally hit level 80.

Filed under: Raiding, WoW Rookie

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