Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Copra, a priest from Thunderhorn EU, asked the writers of Matticus such a great question that I thought I would share it with all of you. In his words:

The question is, how on Earth (or on Azeroth, depends on your preferance) are we newcomers going to learn the group dynamics, the class or the requirements of Boss fights? By cutting us out of the instanced content that is the tutorial to raiding 60s, 70s and later 80s instances, there is little hope that the burned out raiders will get replaced by players who are as skilled or as motivated.

Any hints on how to gain that experience early on and how to ‘impress’ the raiding guild leadership before you hit the cap and start making a fool of yourself with your gear and skill?

To share a bit more background, Copra is coming into Wrath of the Lich King with a bit of a disadvantage. He’s a fairly new player who is not yet at the level cap. And yet, Copra, you must take heart! Even brand-new players can break into raiding. However, you can’t really get into a raiding guild before the level cap–the game starts at max level for a raider. Yet, people can, and frequently do, level up new toons and join raiding guilds with them. Here’s my suggestions for getting yourself ready to raid in a few short weeks.

Tip #1: Level fast.

The content of Azeroth and Outlands is enjoyable in its own right. If you had a different in-game goal in mind, I’d say go slow and enjoy the scenery. However, if you want to raid seriously, the first and most important thing you must do is reach the level cap. In order to do this most efficiently, I suggest taking on the kind of quests you can solo. No instances, no group quests, no stopping. When you hit 58, go to Outlands. When you hit 68, go to Northrend.

If you join a guild during the leveling period, understand that you’re teaming up for company rather than instance runs or old-school raids. It might seem like a good idea to have higher-level players run you through stuff, but the XP gain per hour is not nearly what you could achieve with the same time spent questing on your own. The best type of guild to join pre-80 is what’s called a leveling guild. Essentially, these organizations are fun, casual associations of people who like to share the same guild chat.

Tip #2: Save your money.

You can reach level 80 in your underwear–no really! It’s not recommended, but I’m sure there are players who will do it for kicks. It is important, however, not to spend your time or resources acquiring gear at 60 or 70, particularly the craftables. Once the content goes by, its craftables and BoE items quickly become obsolete. You’ll spend days tracking down Frozen Shadowweave, and the return will be negligible. Your gear from quest rewards will be enough.

Tip #3: Hold off on crafting professions.

Most of the gathering professions, with the possible exception of mining, can be raised to the cap while you level without any inconvenience whatsoever. However, the crafting professions are an enormous pain in the booty. My advice is to take either herbalism or mining and skinning as your professions and sell all the proceeds. Bank and bag space are at a premium when you’re leveling fast. At max level, you can decide what your crafting profession(s) need to be and worry about it then.

Tip #4: Respec for success

Research your class a bit, and as soon as you hit max level, spec into the role that is most desirable for raiders. Sometimes there’s one right answer for a class, but most often, you have multiple viable options. I suggest a dps or healing spec. While a tank finds all the pickup heroics he wants, raiding guilds always have too many. I do not recommend a tanking spec if you’re looking to break into raiding on the late side. Healing, however, tends to be in demand, and most guilds can sneak in one more dps. For a class that would be attractive to raiding guilds, my money is on Alliance Resto Shaman. In contrast, rogues and warriors would probably have a more difficult time breaking into raiding late.

Tip #5: Once you hit max level, PuG, PuG, PuG

Many people hate pickup groups. Don’t be one of those players! Sometimes you will meet nice people and great players. At the worst, you’ll learn a lot, because you’ll be working hard to compensate for other people’s mistakes. These max-level PuGs are where you will do your learning. There will be growing pains, but it’s worth it. PuG for 5-mans, heroics, and Naxx-10 if you can. If you’re lucky, someone will recruit you for their guild.

Tip #6: Research your class

Read voraciously about your class and spec. There are a lot of places with good information. Read WoW blogs! If you’re here on Matticus, you’ve made a good start. I predict that in a couple of months there will be a rash of “gearing up for Naxx” posts. Read them and follow the advice. When I recruit, one of the things I check for on someone’s armory is class knowledge. Have the right gems, enchants and spec–it will open doors.

Tip #7: Spend your gold

You’ve been using those gathering professions to make money, right? Now is the time to spend it. Improve your gear by buying BoE blues (that you will then fully gem and enchant). If you’re rich enough, now is the time to level a crafting profession. Make sure it’s one that gives your class a special advantage.

Tip #8: Apply to a Naxx-10 guild

By the time you hit 80, the first wave of raiders will have moved past the first tier. However, my experience with TBC tells me that there are always guilds out there that focus on the first instance. There are still active Kara guilds now! Find a Naxx-10 guild that’s no more than halfway through the instance. That way you will get to do all the learning with them. What you don’t want is a more experienced guild. You want to be there for a lot of the first kills so you can have the experience that goes along with all the wipes.

Tip #9: Apply to a Raiding Guild

With Naxx-10 cleared a few times, you have probably gained the basic skills of a raider. Now is the moment to apply for the next tier. This likely means switching guilds. Of course, you’re going to be quitting your Naxx-10 guild respectfully, right? Part of that means not taking uber loot if you know you’re leaving soon. Apply to guilds on and off the server. Look for an organization that has the chops to do 25-mans but isn’t too far beyond Naxx. You might even move laterally, over to a Naxx-25 guild. Alternately, if your Naxx-10 guild has the skills to move on in the 10-man bracket, just stick around and progress with the same group! 10-man progression provides a real alternative in Wrath to the mega-guilds.

Tip# 10: App to Impress

If you do decide to change guilds, make sure that, in your written application and/or your interview, you communicate your enthusiasm for raiding and for the new guild. Nothing impresses me more than effort–make that guild application shine. Note: monosyllabic answers bad, demonstrated knowledge of class good.

And just remember–nothing is impossible. If you have the will to work toward a goal, you will succeed. I bet a player could start today and be ready for raiding in a couple of months. The other lesson is this–the World of Warcraft is immense. If you’re willing to spend time looking, there is always a guild to suit your needs.

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