This post was written on february 28th 2011. Even if the raids have changed, the following still holds true I feel.
So it’s pretty official now. I’m raid leading again. I’ve done it in Vanilla, BC, Wotlk and now Cataclysm. I know I promised myself never to do it again last year, but the awesome people in Walk the Plank made me believe in raiding again and the awesompeople in Eff the Ineffable allow me to do things my way wich helps me not go crazy. Overall, its been an enjoyable experience.
So I’m writing this today with the hope it will help some of you out there in small guilds who want to raid but are not quite sure what to expect. We started out in Eff believing it would work a bit like Wotlk and well… we got a surprise. I hope some of our experience can help you out as you start raiding.
1. The gear jump is brutal
The first thing that jump to my mind is that the gear jump between heroics and raids is nasty. Thought the jump between normals and heroics was hard? This is way worse. And to make it worse there’s no gearing bosses this time around. In the previous expansions there was always three or four easy bosses at the beginning to help gear people out but not this time.
Well… there is the Told Barad boss but if you count solely on him to gear you up you’re going to be waiting a very long time.
This means in effect that you need to be on top of gear when you get in there. You should have 346 items in all your slots and crafted/valor/reputation epics where you can. Going in with someone in mostly 333 gear is asking for trouble… You need to have those reps farmed and those epics crafted.
2. Your healers need to be epic players
It used to be that the tanks would take the brunt of the damage and raid damage could be largely avoided if people didn’t stand in bad. Raid wide, heavy AoE damage was rare and only happened for short periods.
Not anymore! This time around everyone takes damage all the time and to make sure it’s fun, you cannot always be clumped up. Healing a whole raid that is spread out while keeping the tanks up is not an easy task. But it is one your healers need to be able to handle.
3. You raiders need to be patient
Remember when I said there’s no easy bosses to farm? This means that you get right into the thick of things and you can’t expect fast progress right off the bat. Halfus, Magmaw, Omnomtron are all bosses that require practice, raid awareness and good execution to down and you can’t afford to be sloppy.
This means wipes, and lots of it without a real feeling of progression.
4. Raiding demands to be dedicated to raiding
This is the big change I believe. BC started off with offering Karazhan as a place where small casual guild could go enjoy raiding. A lot of them never went past Karazhan and they were fine with that. Wotlk took this further and made raiding accessible to everyone.
Cataclysm goes back to an older model. If you want to progess here you need to take raiding seriously. You cannot just head into BWD and expect to down a few bosses for fun. Sometime down the road that may happen but right now, if you want to be raiding the new content you need to be serious about your raiding.
This is my most important advice to small guilds. If you’re interested in “once in-a-while-for-fun” raiding wait out until the content gets easier. Don’t burn yourself wiping.