Raid Strategy

by Sangha

 

“There's always a bigger fish.'”
Qui-Gon Jinn

The following is a collection of common raiding tactics. They are borrowed heavily from our experiences in other games and some knowledge of this common "raid lingo" is much appreciated, if you're new to raiding.

Please feel free to discuss and add feedback in our Raiding Discussion thread.

Main Tank

The character getting beaten by the main boss (let's call the boss "Darthwing Duck")

Off Tank

The secondary tank(s), usually tanking adds (see below) or being the emergency tank, if the main one dies.

Aggro and Threat

To "have aggro" means, you are the guy who's attacked by the mob. Every mob has a very good memory who attacked it and actually also, who healed someone in a group. Both creates "Threat" which is internally noted down on a "Threat List". The guy highest on the list wins the full attention of that particular enemy. Which is good for tanks and bad for everyone else.

Especially damage dealers have to consider, how much threat they produce (and usually get extra abilities to "drop threat", which means, they should use that liberally to do more damage before the tank loses aggro. If a damage dealer gets aggro and dies, as a rule of thumb, it's their own fault.

This is especially true for a boss pull. When the tank attacks, he usually needs a couple seconds to build aggro, so be careful with unleashing your full amount of annihilation at the start of an encounter and also, wait with attacking until the tank has positioned the boss (the tank can not produce a lot of aggro while doing this).

Tank and Spank

This means an encounter mostly consists of the most basic raid strategy: The Main Tank grabs the boss, the Damage Dealers shoot and slices it down, while the Healers keep everyone alive. This does not mean the encounter is easy. Some of these battles have a very short enrage timer, so a high DPS output with everyone concentrating on their ability rotation can be crucial.

Five Second Rule and Pulls

Tanks usually need a short amount of time, to build some initial and firm aggro on a target. If a tank needs to reposition a mob, don't start attacking, until the boss is at its place. After that, waiting a couple seconds to let the tank use his cooldowns and proc abilities.

This is especially true, if the tank grabs a pack of mobs and AoE tanks.

As a rule of thumb, if a damage dealer gets aggro from a mob he shouldn't, it is his own fault, not the tank's. This can happen easily, if a damage dealer outgears the tank. It's wise to always consider one's aggro and use aggro reducing abilities if necessary.

Tank burst aggro got better than when the rule was invented, so typically it's more of a 2 second or 3 second rule nowadays.

Nuking

Nuking is unleashing your full amount of annihilation. So "Nuke that effin' Darthwing" means, put out everything you have, now, all cooldowns and stuff.

Enrage

Lots of bosses have either an "Enrage timer" or a certain health level at which they enrage. This usually means, they do a lot more damage than otherwise. A common tactic here is to do mellow damage while the boss is "normal" and do max damage with cooldown abilities and items when he goes "enraged".

Adds

All enemies, which aren't bosses, sometimes they come in packs, too. Technically it means "additional mobs that join during the fight", but it's used in both meanings by now (See also "Trash mobs")

Taunt

A "taunt" is an ability every tank has with some cooldown. It moves him on the first spot of the aggro list again. So every couple seconds (usually only used in emergencies) he can peel off an attacker from someone else.

In a raid, this should never happen in a normal situation, since damage dealers should control their damage. There are exceptions to this, like enemies randomly switching aggro.

Tank Switch

Some bosses need a "Tank Switch" for strategy reasons. Which means two tanks are taking turns.

A typical example here is, they put a stacking debuff on the tank which prevents healing increasingly. So the second tank has to taunt and take over. When Tank A's debuff stacks vanished, he grabs back aggro with a taunt. And so on.

Another variant of a tank switch is as a fallback procedure or to create extra aggro: Tank A starts tanking and uses all his cooldown abilities to do extra damage and thereby threat. Tank B taunts and does the same. Tank A taunts back after that and so on. The result is, Tank A is on the first place of the aggro list and Tank B on the second. If this is executed properly, damage dealers can go absolutely crazy on their damage output.

Hugging

Another common tactic often necessary is "to hug". Example: Darthwing Duck has an ability that causes 50k damage, which is split to everyone near him. So, it's wise to "hug Darthwing", which means everyone positions himself near the boss, because the damage gets spread across the raid instead of fully hitting the tank, which makes the tank pretty much dead.


Also, hugging is generally a great idea for the healers and damage dealers, if the enemy is not doing a lot of area attacks. Healers get area heals and it's a lot easier for them to keep everyone alive, if they position themselves on one spot. (also, it makes us all feel warm and cosy inside, especially Q...)

Tank Healer

A healer assigned to heal only the main or off tank.

Raid Healer or Cross Healer

A healer assigned to heal the raid with single and area heals. (If in doubt throw the tank a heal too, because a dead tank means a dead raid usually...)

Buff and Debuff

A buff is a helpful ability used on oneself or a friendly member. A debuff is a weakening ability used on an enemy. Bosses do that, too, they "debuff a player" or "selfbuff" or "buff an add" at times.

Dispel

Each healer class has an ability to remove debuffs from a group member. (Some strong debuffs can not be removed, though.) While in a normal flashpoint these are used rarely - usually it's enough to just heal through a fight - in a raid encounter, this "dispelling" can be crucial.

To the point that the raid leader might appoint one or several players to just focus on the task of removing debuffs.

As a rule of thumb, it makes sense to prioritize dispelling over healing or damage in most encounters.

Focus Fire

In a raid enemies are exceptionally strong, so they are taken down one by one to reduce incoming damage. If the raid leader or the tank declares a focus target, only attack that one, until it's dead. No exceptions.

Target Focus

Unrelated to the above. You can "focus" a group member or an enemy. (Alt+F by default) This makes this character appear with their own portrait. A very nice trick to keep an eye out for the tank or whoever you want to watch. Or keep it easy to target a boss, while you have to occasionall kill adds on the other side of the dark cave.

Tank Assist

This means trying to only hit targets that the tank is attacking. This is done for self preservation. Whatever the tank attacks, is usually tanked well (tank has high threat) and the odds the enemy suddenly decides to attack you (the squishy sage let's say) are greatly reduced. One way to do this: Focus the tank (Alt+F). Click the tank portrait. Use "Get target's target" (Alt+T). Great trick for PvP, too, btw!

Kiting

Kiting means getting an enemies aggro and then evade his attacks by moving away from him or in circles. Sometimes it's necessary to slow the enemy for that or break line of sight, if it's a ranged attacker (see below).

Trash Mobs

Usually, between the big boss fights you fight groups of relatively weak mobs. In a raid, this can also be a difficult battle, though, for which you need a precise tactic.

Interrupts

In a lot of fights enemies have casted abilities that are interruptable. Every class has one or several interrupt abilities.

These should be prioritized over damage abilities. Usually this can prevent a lot of damage to the tank or the raid. In some fights, the raid leader might ask several players to do this in a certain order, so there is always a player with an interrupt that is not on cooldown.

Pull and Puller

Pull is the initial start of a fight. In a raid it is crucial that only the tank or designated pullers start fights. Pullers are players designated by the raidleader to lure mobs to the killzone, for several tactical reasons.

A common example is several enemies, that get weaker when they are positioned apart. So player A drags mob A to the one corner, player B drags enemy B to the other.

Another reason to have a designated puller can be speed. With trash mobs it can be very efficient, if one player (usually a ranged attacker) pulls the mobs one after another to the tank, who taunts the mob off the puller. While the raid kills the enemy, the puller can already grab the next mob.

Line of Sight or LOS and Corner Pulls

Enemies are incredibly stupid. When someone has their aggro, they follow him blindly.

So a common tactic for example to bunch up several mobs for a nice AoE bombardment is to first grab their aggro (it's important no one else attacks or heals, because the tank has not established a firm aggro grip on the mobs at this point), then run around a hard obstacle or corner, aka break line of sight.

Miraculously, they line up on one spot, which makes it easy for the tank to build more aggro on them and fun for the damage dealers, who really see a *lot* of pew pew pew numbers floating around. This is referred to as a "corner pull"

Markers and Kill Order

Characters with important roles (sometimes the tanks, sometimes others) and notable enemies get marked by the raidleader (and only him - or an appointed assistent). This makes explaining things during combat a lot easier. ("Focus fire the blaster now!")

Sometimes the symbol markers are used to define a "kill order" even before the battle. ("Ok, first we take down the red fire, then the green blaster, then the star...")

Raid Frames

The "operation look" for the party frames. Very useful, especially for healing. You can configure these, too, for example to make the health bars bigger and very, very easily visible. In preferences you can also set those to be displayed at all times, which can be very handy for PvP or flashpoints.

Team Speak

The voice chat software we use for raiding. It's absolutely necessary to install this, even if you don't have a microphone or don't want to speak yourself. Usually during fights or boss explanations it's common curtesy to remain silent, unless you have to contribute some vital information.

Generally, a healthy signal to noise ratio is very important, the more people talk, the less everyone can concentrate on the important stuff. That being said, having some fun on teamspeak is obviously awesome, especially after a couple beers.

The Wipe

A wipe is a 100% dead raid. (Sometimes, smart shadows and scoundrels might vanish at the last moment, but let's not get technical...)

Raids are designed to be difficult. So, especially at our first tries with average equipment available, we will encounter a lot of difficulties. Please bear that in mind and try to prepare for raiding (bring buff food, get a nice PvP or hardmode set, check out strategy guides for your class, chat up guildies to craft you purple level 50 stuff for the equipment slots which are still mediocre...).

There will be moments where we die and die a lot at that. This is normal and the learning curve we have to work through while getting better at strategies, teamwork and communication. It's very important to stay positive, not blame "the tanks" or "the healers" (or another popular choice "the raidleader").

While tactical suggestions can be very valuable, sometimes a strategy works perfectly fine, but needs a lot of practice to be executed properly. Please respect the raid leaders decisions when to stick to a tactic and when to change it.

Whatever is your personal opinion, please put your maximum effort into it. (As a lil historical example...the first room of blackwing lair in WoW was really, really difficult...you had raids consisting of 40 people and they had to work together like a precise clockwork. In my guild back then, this one room took us 1 1/2 months to master. And no, raiding got a lot more "casual" since then, so it won't happen here.)

Also, keep some credits for repairs and consumables, because raiding usually gets you some great equipment, but you lose money. That's the nature of things.

At all times...have fun, there's nothing more fulfilling in a game than to beat that very, very difficult foe you worked on for several raid nights as an awesome team (and yes, that realistically might happen).

Coming soon: The Leroy, Human Bombs, Positioning, Suicide, Linked Damage, Tank&Spank, Random Aggro, Aggro Pingpong, Spreading the Raid, Killzone, Proc, AoE