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Making the Jump: So you want to be a heroic guild?

April 04th, 2013  /  Category: making the jump, Raiding  / 

Welcome to Part 1 of the “Making the Jump“. This is the first in what i hope will be a series of posts, over the next few weeks, looking at the differences/difficulties faced by guilds and players when making the step up from normal modes to heroics.

When all is said and done, the success or failure of your attempts to progress in heroic modes will come down to player ability, but there are a number of ways that your guild/raid leaders can nudge attitudes in the right direction to aid success.

The first and most basic of things that should be a baseline requirement when transitioning into heroic modes is the management of consumables

Raid Consumables:

Each raider should always show up with enough stacks of their preferred raid food (ie. max stat, not just any old food), and flasks to last for the entire night.

As well as the long term buffs provided by food/flasks, the other raid consumable of note should be potions. In normal mode guilds, these have a tendency to be forgotten, or be seen as a single use option during pulls (especially when the content is on farm or you have enough gear that enrages are of little concern).

In heroic modes, pre-potting (using a potion just prior to the start of combat to maximise opening burst and also, enabling a second pot during the encounter) should be a matter of course.

The tips above are quite basic and likely to be things your raid is doing anyway. But if not, they will provide valuable improvements to your play.

Now the easy/incidental stuff is out of the way, lets look at a couple of the more major roadblocks that hit people when they first start to try hardmodes.

When bringing new players into heroics (and it’s something my friends and i have done more than a few times over the years) the main difficulties seem to be the amount of damage that flies around AND the enhanced mechanics.

Raid CDs:

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As mentioned, when new players first hit hc modes, the amount of damage that is pushed out onto the raid can be overwhelming. With a whole new raid, there is a good chance you’ll be dead before you even get to experience the mechanics of the fight.

Although i’ll cover raid CDs in more depth when it comes to discussing healers, there is a lot to be said for understanding what is available to you, and when they are needed.

The first idea your raid needs to let go of is that of the all conquering “O SHIT” button – CDs are a matter of course in heroics, not a backup plan if it all goes wrong. If you try to save them, you’ll die before you get chance to use them.

The second idea you need to let go of is “damage reduction CDs are a healer job” – If you have them, get them on a bar, and be ready/willing to use them.

Enhanced Mechanics:

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The third and final idea you need to give up on when starting heroic modes is “it’s all about the numbers”, again this is something i’ll look at again in the DPS guide, but the extra difficulty in the mechanics of hc raids, mean that you will HAVE to get to a point in your play where the DPS/HPS/Threat or Mitigation just happens and you are free to concentrate on the rest of what is happening.

If you absolutely have to tunnel vision your bars to keep up, you may not be ready for the big leagues just yet.

Raid Composition/Buffs:

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As well as ensuring you have plenty of CDs available, your raid should also try to maximise its compliment of buffs. Buffs have previously been shown to provide more benefit to a raid than a tiers worth of gear (http://wow.joystiq.com/2010/02/04/scattered-shots-skill-vs-gear/)

Although in normal raids, the good old “bring the player, not the class” mantra works a charm, heroic raiding isn’t quite the same kettle of fish. You won’t have to be quite as regimented in composition as you once had to be, but you’ll still want to go into battle with as many of the major buffs/debuffs as you can get.

Finally… In addition to changes designed to enhance your raids in combat performance, heroic raids simply require more practice. The next two tips focus on getting more learning out of your raid time.

Pulls:

Simply put, the more pulls you have, the more chances you get to improve/get a kill. Ensure your raid remain focussed after a wipe, and corpse run as quickly/efficiently as possible. Try to keep breaks and dawdling between pulls to a minimum. It may seem like only 10/20s saved per pull, but over the corse of 30 pulls/wipes, it adds up.

Wipes:

Although the idea of raiding is, at its core, NOT to wipe. Knowing how to die quickly when a wipe is called adds in to the principle of increasing your effective pulls. RLs should be attempting to get comfortable identifying when a pull has gone south enough to be of little use, and calling for wipes (rather than just waiting for it to happen as a matter of course). When a wipe is called, all surviving raid members should be looking to die ASAP, unless they have aggro drops and the ability to Mass Res.

Most of all remember… keep at it. “Everyone falls the first time!”

Thanks for reading and tune in again next week for Part 2: The cautionary tale of Skjald! As always, feedback/commnets are welcome (below).

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