Raiding 101

Kaeson Mass Resurrection (Raids) Leave a Comment

On this upcoming Tuesday, September 20th, the first raid of the Legion expansion will be released! The Emerald Nightmare is a three-winged, tier 19 raid instance with seven bosses and gear drops ranging from item level 835 to 895. Perhaps you’ve heard about this whole “raiding” thing, and although it sounds intriguing you’re still a bit intimidated and don’t quite know where to begin.

Raiding is simply a specific form of content in WoW in which a large group of players works together to kill a series of bosses and enemies. Besides getting gear, mounts, and other rewards, raiding is considered one of the best forms of content in game because of the fun social environment that it creates. Not sure where to start? Keep on reading!

The Basics

Raids are designed for max level characters – that’s level 110 for the Legion expansion. However exceptions do exist, such as players who go back and solo old raids to farm specific rewards. There are four difficulty levels for each raid, as follows:

LFR, or Looking for Raid, is the simplest and most casual form of raiding. After queuing through the game’s automated group finder, 25 players are grouped together from across all realms to encounter a single wing of a raid instance, similar to randomly queued 5-man dungeons. Several key mechanics are removed from each boss fight in order to make LFR much easier. Because LFR pairs together random players, it can often be quite interesting to see the dysfunction in each group, however it is still one of the best starting points for players who just want to get their feet wet with raiding.

Normal and Heroic modes are pretty much the standard forms of raiding. The difficulty of raids on these modes is more intense than LFR, and generally requires a bit more communication among group members. The difficulty of these raids scales based on the number of players in a group – 10 is the minimum, and 30 is the maximum. Usually the boss mechanics between Normal and Heroic are the same, however Heroic tends to be a bit less forgiving with stronger enemies.

Mythic difficulty is the pinnacle of raiding, and is considered the most challenging mode for truly hardcore raiders. Unlike Normal and Heroic, the difficulty does not scale – it is set at 20 players. Boss mechanics are heavily intensified and one player’s mistake can often be lethal to the entire raid group.

Classes and Roles

Each boss fight in a raid has different mechanics that players will have to face. Each class and spec has inherent strengths and weaknesses when it comes to different fights, but don’t worry about it too much – just play whatever class you enjoy!

Each spec can perform one of three different roles. Open up your talents tab (default hotkey N) to view what role your character is.

Tanking is usually a lead role. Tanks lead the charge into battle and absorb damage by keeping enemies fixated on themselves. There are normally only two tanks in a group, regardless of the size. Being a tank requires extensive knowledge of each encounter, and should generally be avoided by any new players.

Healing is considered the most stressful role. Responsibilities include keeping raid members alive, particularly the tanks. Healers generally consist of about a third of a group’s makeup, however this varies drastically depending on their gear, skill level, and the difficulty of the boss fight.

DPS or damage dealer, is the most standard role. It’s broken into two types – ranged, and melee. Ranged DPS is a great starting point for new raiders, since they tend to have good visibility of each fight. Melee DPS fight closer up near the boss, and they often deal with different mechanics than ranged do.

Finding a Group

LFR is the easiest raid type to enter, since the game automatically pairs you with other players through the group finder queuing system. However for other difficulties, players will need to group up and then enter the raid’s physical entrance in the actual world.

Guild groups are very common, and this is the best way to enjoy raiding. Most guilds setup dedicated times each week to run specific raids. Since everyone is on the same realm, you’ll be able to trade with teammates, and share resources through the guild vault. Be sure to follow through if you commit to a raid time! If you’re looking to join a guild, great places to get connected are on the Official Guild Recruitment Forums, on the WoW Guilds Subreddit, through online sources such as WoW Progress, or most commonly by just asking around in game using trade chat.

Another type of raid group is a PUG, or a Pick Up Group. This style is very impromptu, and anyone can start this type of group by using the in game pre-made group finder. Be sure to read the group listing’s description in order to have all the info about expectations and requirements before joining a group.

Guilds who need more players or more players of a specific role will often use the pre-made group finder to PUG in more raiders to supplement their team.

Learning the Fights

One of the most crucial parts of a raid is the actual fights themselves. Unlike dungeons or world content, it is actually necessary to do research ahead of time in order to fully understand how each boss fight works. A very simple way to read about each encounter is to use the in-game dungeon journal to see detailed summaries of each role’s responsibility, as well as information about each spell and ability that bosses can use. For more in-depth guides, try watching the videos made by Fatboss or stay tuned for detailed guides here on the PDQ.

Gearing Up for Raiding

Have you read our guide on gearing up in Legion? Be sure to come prepared to raids with the best gear you have. Some groups may not even accept you into the group if your item level is too low. To know which gear will benefit you the most and the priority for stats on your gear, use tools such as Ask Mr. Robot or class guides on Icy Veins.

Additionally, you will need to supplement your gear with enchantments and gems. Researching your class will provide you with specific information about the most efficient choices for your spec.

Cloak, neck, and ring enchants give you increased stats, and can be crafted by an enchanter or bought off the auction house. You should always try to max out your enchants to increase your raid performance, but what type you will use is dependent upon your spec (see the above links about stat priority). Cloak enchants increase primary stats – intellect, strength, or agility. Ring enchants increase secondary stats – versatility, mastery, haste, or critical strike. The first version of these enchants is “Word of STAT”, which at a lower price gives +150 in a specific stat. Alternatively, “Binding of STAT” costs more, but gives +250 in a stat. Neck enchants are a bit different, in that they provide unique bonuses, so be sure to read up on what is best for your spec. Shoulder and glove enchants are also available, however they give bonuses to professions and have no direct impact on combat.

Any gear you receive that has a socket should be filled in with gems, made by a jewelcrafter. The cheaper basic gems give +150 in a secondary stat, while the upgraded versions give +250 at a higher cost. Additionally, the Saber’s Eye gems give +200 in a primary stat, but are limited to only one being socketed at a time.


Flasks are consumable items made by alchemists. They provide a one hour buff to primary stats, and persist through death. You should always have a flask active while raiding.

Battle potions can be used once during a fight to provide a temporary boost to your raid performance. Once again, what you use is dependent upon your spec, so be sure to check out the linked resources above.

A common practice with battle potions is called pre-potting. The idea is to “cheat the system” so that instead of only being able to use a potion once during a fight, you can actually use it twice. The secret is to use it once at the beginning, just 3-5 seconds before the boss is pulled. The 60 second cooldown will activate, however once the encounter begins you will have a nice boost to your DPS. After the cooldown completes, you’ll still have one use available for during the fight. Most raid teams will use addons (discussed below) to synchronize boss pulls on a timer, that way everyone can pre-pot at the same time. For the timing of the second potion, be sure to listen out for your raid leader to call for a push in DPS.

Any classes that use mana, especially healers, should be sure to have an ample supply of mana potions. Leytorrent Potions channel a regeneration, so use it in a part of the fight that requires no mobility. Alternatively, Ancient Mana Potions regenerate much less, but can be cast while moving.

Ancient Healing Potions are also a good thing to have on hand, just in case you get in a tough spot and a healer can’t get to you quick enough. Warlocks can also provide healthstones to players instead.

Food is also very important, and can make a huge difference in increasing your raid performance. The four types of Legion food are snacks, light meals, large meals, and delicacies. The higher quality foods cost more to make, but they provide a primary stat buff of up to +375. Sometimes in place of food, players can use Lavish Surumar Feasts. Althought feasts do not provide the highest performance available, they do offer a much cheaper option for progression raids on fights that you’ll probably wipe on anyways. (Quick sidenote – providing public resources such as feasts is a great way to make friends quickly while in a raid group!)

The Defiled Augment Rune provides a +325 one hour buff to all primary stats. Right now they’re pretty expensive on the auction house, but if you can afford it than it’s a nice buff for your character.

Make sure to stock up on Seal of Broken Fate each week so that you can get extra chances at loot! You can see what loot drops off each boss by looking through the in game dungeon journal.

One last consumable to keep on hand while raiding is Tome of the Tranquil Mind, or alternatively the public verion, the Codex of the Clear Mind. Made by scribes, this item allows you to change talents while in a non-rested zone. This can be extremely useful for off-the-cuff changes to talents while in a raid.


Almost all raid groups will require you to have some form of external third party programs and even if they don’t – they are still massively beneficial for you to use.

Addons can be downloaded from the free Curse client. Addon creators can post their creations for the community to use. Although these programs do not alter the actual content of WoW, they can use tools in the game’s interface to provide helpful tweaks and additions to make raiding a bit easier. Addon creators are not directly affiliated with Blizzard, but as long as they abide by the guidelines then addons are completely okay to use. Some of the must have addons for raiding are as follows:

Deadly Boss Mods is an amazing addon that provides heads up displays, countdown bars, and other warning systems to alert you of upcoming mechanics on a boss fight. Each component is customizable to provide you with complete control over the system. BigWigs is also a popular alternative.

Skada creates a small box with a ranking system to show how much each raid member is contributing with DPS, healing, etc. This is important to show how well you are performing compared to other players. Recount is also a popular alternative, however I find it to be less accurate.

GTFO is a pretty universal addon. It simply makes a loud noise to alert you whenever you are standing in fire, fel goo, or anything else that you shouldn’t be in.

Some fights or classes may require specific addons, so ask your raid leader for more info.


Most groups that run on a regular basis tend to use some form of voice communication. Popular free applications include Mumble, Ventrilo, Teamspeak, Discord, and Curse Voice. If you are running with a guild, make sure to download and setup your programs ahead of time. If you plan on running with any PUGs then be sure to have them all ready to go in case they’re needed.


There are several different types of loot distribution modes, so be sure to understand exactly what they mean before joining a guild or running with a PUG.

Personal Loot is the most common type of loot distribution. It was recently overhauled during WoD, and a few other changes were made at the launch of Legion. Essentially everyone has their own random chance at getting loot. If you get something that is a lower item level than what you currently have equipped, then you can trade it to another eligible member of the group. However if it is an upgrade, then it becomes soulbound.

Master Loot is another common type of loot, in which one loot master gets all the loot and then decides how to distribute it to the rest of the group. This is often done with in game dice rolls or determined by comparing who needs the gear the most. Be warned – this style of loot distribution can lead to quite a bit of drama!

Group Loot is the classic style of looting, but is pretty uncommon in today’s raids. Looted items pop up with a box and players can select “need” or “greed.” The game then randomizes rolls and automatically distributes rewards to the player that wins.

Some groups, particularly PUGs, will put certain pieces of gear on reservation, meaning that if it drops then it is reserved for a specific member of the group, often the leader. Be sure to look out for this in the description of groups in the pre-made group finder before joining.

Raiding Terminology
  • PvE – player vs. environment; the type of content that raiding is
  • Lockout – the limit of killing each boss in a raid only once per week per character per difficulty; you can still kill them multiple times but you will not receive any loot
  • Tier – bracket of gear and item levels for a group of raids; The Emerald Nightmare and The Nighthold (to be released in 7.1) will be Legion’s tier 19 raids
  • Wing – section of a raid with a group of bosses
  • Flex – the system that scales Normal and Heroic difficulties based on the number of players
  • Item Level – the average rating of how powerful a gear set is, displayed in the character tab
  • RL – raid leader
  • Spec – specialization such as Holy Paladin or Protection Warrior
  • OS – off spec; for example someone who is usually a tank that can also heal
  • MS – main spec
  • Role – tank, healer, or DPS
  • MT – main tank; the primary tank who handles most of the tanking mechanics on a boss fight
  • OT- off tank
  • Mobs – mobile units, aka enemies
  • Pat – patrol or group of enemies
  • Aggro – who an enemy is attacking; in theory the tank should always have aggro
  • Trash – any enemies in a raid instance that are not part of a boss fight
  • Adds – any enemies in a boss fight other than the boss itself; usually adds have to be killed before the boss is
  • Pull – engaging in a boss fight
  • Strat – strategy to kill a certain boss
  • Mechanics – anything you have to deal with in a boss fight, such as avoiding fire or stacking at a specific point
  • DPS – damage per second; HPS is healing per second
  • DoT – damage over time ability such as Serpent Sting; HoT is healing over time ability
  • AoE – area over enemy ability such as Blizzard
  • CC – crowd control abilities such as Freezing Trap
  • Pots – battle, health, or mana potions
  • Pre-pot – making the most of your potions by using them twice; explained above
  • CD – cooldown abilities such as Tranquility
  • Externals – external protections on a player such as Blessing of Protection
  • Hero/Lust – the big push of a fight in which cooldown abilities such as Timewarp are used; the 10 minute debuff from hero-ing is reset whenever a boss fight begins
  • LoS – line of sight; LoS pulling is when you aggro something, hide around a corner, and then it runs to you
  • Wipe – when everyone dies on a boss; often intentionally in order to hurry up and die so that everyone can reset and try again
  • Stack – moving to a specific point together
  • Interrupts – using abilities such as Kick to prevent enemies from casting harmful effects; usually a responsibility of melee DPS
  • Ninja – someone who abuses the loot system to steal loot and then leaves the group
Other Random Tips and Unwritten Rules of Raiding
  • While using voice programs, minimize non-related chat in order to keep the channel clear for the raid leader’s instructions.
  • Never be afraid to ask questions! Each group uses different strategies, so be sure to clarify if necessary. It is always better to ask a question than to look stupid when you mess up.
  • Listen to the raid leader’s instructions. If you are told to wipe, then don’t keep trying to fight – you’ll just be wasting everyone else’s time.
  • Be adaptable to the group’s needs. Being willing to play an off spec to perform a different role can be helpful to the raid group as a whole.
  • Remember, it’s just a game – be patient, have fun, and ffs don’t stand in the fire!!!
Kaeson on Twitter
Content Writer - World of Warcraft
Hi, I'm Kaeson! I enjoy raiding on my worgen hunter and serving as an officer in my guild. In my free time I monkey around with web app development and other programming projects.

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