Raiding 101: Know Your Class
This series of posts about raiding is aimed at people who are interested in joining a raid team for the first time, and learning what it takes. If you are an experienced team raider then you may find some useful information, but it is more aimed at showing people the basics that are required before joining a team.
Know Your Class
That statement, says a lot, but few understand exactly the extent with which you should know your class, or exactly what that means.
You could be forgiven for thinking that you know your class by the time you ding 90 (soon to be 100), but let me tell you that reaching maximum level is when the process to get to know your class ONLY BEGINS.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Some basic definitions before we begin…
- Race: your characters basic appearance, traits, history and lore are determined by your choice of race e.g. Draenei, Human, Blood Elf, Orc etc.
- Class: the type of job or path of study that you choose for your character e.g. Paladin, Monk, Warlock, Warrior etc
- Spec: the specialisation that you choose for your character e.g. Holy Paladin, Mistweaver Monk, Destruction Warlock etc
- Role: your specialisation determines your role for your character e.g Healer, Tank, DPS
All of these basics you will have chosen right at the start, and while you may have settled into one spec or another – either way you should, by the time you reach maximum level, have settled into a spec and role if you are intending to raid.
The Importance of Choosing a Main:
One of the delights of World of Warcraft is the great variety from which to choose – to enjoy different styles of gameplay, different race starting zones etc, and experiencing the content through different roles, races and classes. If you decide that you want to raid, and have yet to attempt joining a team, then introduce yourself to the idea of specialising in just ONE of those characters. It may happen naturally for you that you find your main early on in your WoW journey, or if you’re like me – it may take reaching maximum level on three different races/class combination before finding the one that you enjoy the most.
Now there are players out there who profess to play several top classes well, and while this might hold true for some highly experienced players – if you are starting out with raiding – trust me on this one – SPECIALISE. You will never play 5 classes as well as you can play 1, especially when you’re starting out.
Know Your Class: Enter the Spell Book
Go to your spell book, and look at each and every spell listed there. When you first ding 90 on a class, I’m willing to bet that for many players – if they go to their spell books and open them – they may find at least 1 or in some cases 2-3 spells that they gathered along their leveling journey that they have never even used.
Now start at the beginning and look at each spell – and without hovering over them:
- Can you recall the exact purpose of that spell?
- What is that spells cooldown time? (If you use it, how long is it before you can use it again?)
- Does the use of that spell affect other spells in a negative or positive way?
- Does that spell ‘proc’ a passive effect that would then affect your subsequent spells?
- Can you, without looking at your spell bar, activate that spell by using a keybind?
- How does that spell interact with your current trinkets ?
- How can that spell be improved by the use of potions/flasks?
- Do you know your passives and your RACIAL passives too? (racial passives are in the general section of your spell book).
If you’ve been totally honest with yourself, and you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, then you’re not ‘raid-ready’. This is an exercise that even regular raiders should do, to keep refreshing their knowledge…because guess what? Blizzard like to change stuff! Blizzard like to change stuff regularly! Suddenly your 15 second cooldown might be 30 seconds, or 10! Or the effect of it might last longer, or shorter, or be more potent. What’s my point? Don’t stop reading your spell book. Know that sucker backwards!
Know Your Class: The Locker Room
You need to know, what the statistical priority is for your class. Don’t be that player who doesn’t know that he needs intellect rather than agility. If you are really, super shiny NEW to the game, then start with Ask Mr Robot. The reason I say ‘start’ with Ask Mr Robot, is because it is exactly that. A STARTING POINT.
Start with the recommendations that it makes, until you get to know your stats better. Once you have a better idea of INTELLECT>CRIT>HASTE etc (or whatever is relevant to your class), then begin to test out what nets you better results. My point is look, read, learn, and listen. Go to MMO-Champion and read the forum threads for your class…it’s a goldmine, often you can find the most helpful information in the comments section (top tip!).
Know Your Class: Be the A+ Student
If you’ve mastered knowing all your spells, passives, cooldowns and rotations, now you need to go and be an extra SWOT and know your glyphs and talents like the back of your hand. It’s only when you know exactly all your skills that you can bring to an encounter that you can begin to dissect it and plan what you are going to do. It’s not uncommon for raiders to carry at least 2 stacks of Tomes of the Clear Mind in order to swap out glyphs and talents before each boss encounter.
Know Your Class: Know your Encounter
It’s one thing knowing how your class functions, and the role that you play. It’s another thing entirely to understand an encounter and the mechanics involved before you even start. You will need to execute the best possible performance with your character – within the confines of the given encounter which might mean vastly different playstyles from one encounter to the next. There is no place for complacency in raiding, be prepared to challenge your own thoughts everytime you enter into combat, and consider that they is always a better way of playing that encounter. Never stop learning.
That’s enough to be getting on with today – and I will be covering the following in upcoming posts (in random order):
- Finding the right guild and guild forum applications
- User interfaces and keybinds
- Reforging, Gemming and Enchanting and even Food Buffs (yay noodle carts!)
- Addons for raiding
- Gaming hardware and peripherals
- Does raiding suit your lifestyle?