How To: Properly Pickup Raid

I just had the pleasure of finishing a pickup raid with Fallen Heroes (Locks and Mages are in need for them by the way) in Karazhan. I was one of several pickup players that needed for their semi-Guild run. Several minor events happened throughout the evening that I wanted to share with everyone and I think it’s good practice for these general rules to be observed. We’re now in a stage of WoW where it’s possible for Karazhan pickup raids and Gruul’s Lair raids to be formed with ease. Many higher tier Guilds no longer have these instances on their raid rotation and new members tend to be forced to gear up via their own means. Sometimes, this means joining various Guild runs that need 1 or 2 spots filled because they don’t have enough players around.

1: Determine loot rules: I think this should always be the first step before you step in on a run. Figure out if it’s a free roll. In most cases, some Guilds want to gear up specific players which sets certain pieces of loot off limits. A typical example would be an item like a King’s Defender being reserved for the MT. Today I had some random scrub Paladin who joined the raid. We weren’t able take down Shade due to a plethora of reasons (I’ll explain in a second) so we opted to skip right to Chess. He asked if he could roll on the Defender as well as other pieces that he could wear after he zoned in. He was flatly denied and tried to argue for option to roll. This is a case of asking for too much, I think. Chess is free loot. He could’ve had a shot at the Healing Shield that might’ve dropped. But after much private harassment to the raid leader, he said enough, was removed. It’s impolite to accuse someone of being a bad leader in WoW and not knowing how to do encounters when that player is completely epic’d out and the arguing player’s dressed in blues.

But regardless, my point is that loot rules should be firmly established to players who are attending even if they’re in the Guild or if they’re not.

2: Watch Threat: There was no Paladin around for Salvation buffs. The raid had to pay extra careful attention to the amount of DPS they were doing. It’s not difficult to ease off the trigger for a few seconds as the Tanks are doing their thing. Some people are just trigger happy for no reason. What happens next? They die. Most players would learn. But not all of them. When we first zoned in and began to work our way towards Opera, there were the skeleton pulls that flank that corridor leading to the stage. The first thing I barked out was that there was no Paladin, which means no threat reduction so pay attention to your aggro. Sure enough, a Shadow Priest pulls aggro and gets nuked. A Hunter pulls aggro and gets nuked (FD was on cooldown). After we clean up and res, we move on to the next bunch. I reiterated the fact that we had no Paladin. I made a mental wager that the same Shadow Priest would pull aggro again. Sure enough, he died yet again. This time I caved in and dropped Tranquil Air Totem instead of Grace.

In a case like this, it would be made even more embarrassing if you as the outside player were to make such sloppy mistakes. Since the Guild doesn’t know you and the kind of player you are, there’s going to be an automatic assumption that you have no idea what you’re doing. If you DO know what you’re doing, then you’re just an idiot. Remember that you are a guest and that you want to make a fairly good impression to the people you are running with the side outcome of running with them again in the future. Even if it was the worst run ever and the Guild isn’t capable of doing, you never know when you could use their services. Maybe a player in that Guild has a super rare enchant or crafting recipe that you can use. Chances are, they’ll remember you as a stand out player and they just might waive their nether fee.

3: Do Your Job: Come on, don’t insult our intelligence. Just because a raid isn’t able to completely outright destroy a boss does not mean they’re not aware of what’s going. With today’s tools, breaking down and analyzing raids has never been more easier. Leaders can determine what went wrong, why, and whose fault it was.

Take the following example from Shade. I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a spell interrupt fight. Our raid makeup consisted of 2 Warriors (pummels), 1 Rogue (kick), 1 Mage (counterspell), and 1 Resto Shaman (me and my rank 1 earthshock goodness). I daresay that’s plenty of spell interrupts to go around. Some players were tasked to certain schools, other players were told to FFA it to avoid cooldown issues and the like. Unfortunately, we could not kill Shade. But I think I know why:

Our mage did absolutely nothing. At least no spellcasters got within range of Shade for HIM to counterspell us.

4: Leave for the Right Reasons: Sometimes certain raids will carry on fairly late. It’s understandable that some players need to step out because of it. Maybe they have to work the next day, or they’re students like myself who are cursed with 9 AM classes. Here’s a BAD reason to leave:

“I died 9 times. I’m tired of wiping. Bye.”

Sorry, but you can’t expect loot handed to you on a platter. No one in this game owes you anything. If you can’t handle dying 20 times a night, then you’re obviously not ready for raiding. A simple test like Karazhan helps determines those that aren’t ready for raiding and those who will flourish. If you’re one of those players who have float from Guild to Guild wondering why, perhaps you should take a step back and examine yourself. I do not expect the Shadow Priest to remain in the Guild for much longer with an attitude like that.

Oddly enough, the Shadow Priest bolted after the 2nd attempt on Shade just as we were in the process of skipping over him and moving straight to the Chess event. We were able to flawlessly execute the dreaded “Battle Ressing Druid and Hellfiring Warlock” combination to bypass all of those mobs. Our Holy Priest received his Headdress and I think the Rogue got that neckpiece which had a lot of stats on it.

Follow the above steps, and you will have an enjoyable time with the game no matter who you play with.

[Special thanks to Adino for his assistance in compiling this column.]

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Depending upon your dps on the skellies, it may have been the onus on you to drop tranquil air. In lieu of a pally, threat reduction takes precedence. Gimp players do more damage than dead ones. Should they be able to control their aggro? Yes. But during a real deal raid run, you’re goal is to down bosses, not put out the leet dps. If you were fighting a timed encounter, then sure. Otherwise I am guessing the loss in dps due to deaths cost more time than the loss due to a change in totems.

  2. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to put down the tranquil air. Myself and the other healers would’ve benefited from the increase from Grace of Air.

  3. Huh? Grace of Air does nothing for healers, what benefit is increased agility to healing? Tranquil Air reduces the threat you put out through healing and DPS and is far more useful for that pull with the skeletal ushers you describe. Even if there is a tank in your group, you drop tanking totems (such as strength of earth) near where they’re going to be tanking the mobs, then move well back and drop tranquil air for the ranged DPS and healers in your group. This way, the tank(s) in your group will not be in range of your tranquil air totem.

    Secondly, those skeletons you’re talking about are special: They need two tanks to build threat on them at all times and for all other players to be below those two tanks on the threat list. The reason is because they perform a special ability on the MT which freezes them, at which point they switch aggro on to whoever’s second below the tank on the threat list. Later on in Karazhan’s life, Blizzard has nerfed them so that they can now be shackled, making them a lot easier to handle. Previously, they were immune to shackle, so when you pulled two, you had to tank each one and have the two tanks build aggro on each other’s target at the same time.

  4. Oh, and Pummel, Kick and Earthshock all do damage to the target in addition to interrupting spellcasting. Mages’ Counterspell ability merely interrupts spellcasting and does not inflict any damage to the target. This is why it will not show up on WWS damage out logs. You can verify this by searching for Shade of Aran kill logs. Let me know if you can find a single record of a mage using Counterspell.

  5. Was referring to Wrath of Air, not Grace, thanks for the correction.

    And that’s very odd. I could’ve sworn CS’s showed up in the combat log. I know I’ve seen it recorded in other engagements. This interesting. Need to look it up.

    AI remember the day when the skellies couldn’t be shackled and needed two tanks on them at all times. It was like a boss encounter unto it’s own the first time we tried it.


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