About the author: Jazzy is the Ambassador of Empire and Royal Emissary for Banking. He has been raiding consistently since Dragon Soul in Cataclysm always pushing the hardest content available. When not raiding, Jazzy will likely be working on a new spreadsheet project or making yet another D&D character that most definitely will be Gnome.
General purpose of this document
My name is Jazzy. I am one of the Main Tanks for Empire. I have been raiding consistently since the end of Cataclysm and in that time I have found one of the greatest issues facing a raid team is the difference in expectations between those running the raid team and the rest of the team. This difference can be a great source of friction within a team.
This document isn’t meant to override any specific team’s expectations for its raiders. Instead, it is a general resource meant to clear up some misconceptions about the amount of work necessary from raiders when they are wanting to raid at a given level. If you have been raiding for an extended period of time, you may think you already know most of what I am going to describe. However, I would still advise giving it a read to make sure you are doing all the necessary things to make your raid team successful. This document may also be a helpful starting place for newer players when deciding what level of raiding best suits their desire/time/ability.
When LFR was introduced at the end of Cataclysm, it was heralded as “Raiding for the masses”. And it was. Players barely needed any fight knowledge and a formalized “team” wasn’t necessary as the group finder just made a group for you. With the barrier to entry so low, LFR is ideal for people who don’t know where to start to get into raiding at all. As for expectations, minimum item level is the only requirement. If you want to go the extra mile, read the dungeon journal so you have a general idea of what the boss is going to do. If you are looking to raid at a harder difficulty, I would recommend using LFR as a way to see the barest version of a fight. Pay attention to what the bosses are doing. Likely that mechanic that barely tickles in LFR will do serious damage on Normal and kill you on Heroic or higher. Use LFR as a learning tool with the training wheels on.
While LFR is raiding with training wheels, Normal difficulty is where the fun begins. On Normal, boss mechanics matter and may kill the raid. Before stepping foot into Normal, I recommend having a read through the dungeon journal to see the differences between LFR and Normal. There are likely a few differences that will require some coordination from the team as a whole. As for expectations, fully enchanted gear with proper stats will be required for this and harder difficulties. A general knowledge of the fight is required. However, that knowledge need only be limited to the mechanics that affect your role in the raid (Ranged, Melee, Heal, or Tank). Some outside review may be necessary such as watching a strategy video especially if recommended by your raid leader.
At a heroic level, complete knowledge of the fight is a must. Fight mechanics often have interactions that require a higher level of coordination than on Normal. Reading the dungeon journal for mechanics that apply to other roles is a plus. For Heroic and Ahead of the Curve raiders, complete knowledge of the fight (phases, adds, stack vs. spread mechanics) is vital. Properly statted gear with enchants and gems is also required. At this point, you should have already seen the Normal fight either personally or through watching a video. I can’t stress enough how helpful kill videos are, especially those of your class/role in a fight. Some play outside of raid for gearing up may be quite helpful but is not required at this level.
For Mythic and Cutting Edge, you need to have a serious conversation with yourself. This level of raiding requires a lot more than Heroic and Normal. You have to be at the top of your game and that takes time and practice. You need to be prepared to spend long hours, often multiple weeks, attempting the same boss and making precious little progress. The amount of time Mythic progression raiding takes is often grossly underestimated. Preparation for a fight goes well beyond reading the Dungeon Journal and watching some kill videos. You need to know how your team is going to deal with each and every mechanic of the fight. That requires coordination and communication. Listening to the raid lead is an absolute must. Your team should have a meeting before the first pull to go over the fight with everyone listening and asking questions so that everyone is on the same page. Clear and concise communication during the fight will lead to less frustration. Preparation for each fight includes Log review to see different timings of abilities, movement, optimal CD usage and the like. Knowing all of this information before entering the raid is the key to progress. Besides longer raid hours, you will need to log in between raid time to do dungeons, farm reputation, quests, etc. Additional preparation may include farming for gear in content such as PvP or Mythic Plus and this can add many hours to your preparation outside of raid.
Hall of Fame Raider
The Hall of Fame is meant to be hard. There is no way around it. The difficulty is the point of this achievement. What separates a Hall of Fame raider and a Mythic raider is the speed at which they can learn mechanics and their endurance throughout an arduous progression. Very few people have the patience, ability, or drive to push this hard. A hallmark of a Hall of Fame raider is their ability to do the same thing for all 100+, 200+, 500+ pulls of a boss fight to get the kill. In case you haven’t heard me say this, Consistency kills bosses. The expectation for Hall of Fame raiders is everything mentioned above as well as a personal dedication, drive, and desire to work as a team to get that elusive boss kill. The gear is a necessary part of the equation, and this may include farming many hours for gear outside of official raid times. But the true requirement is endurance and skill. This means being brutally honest with yourself. Very few people have the ability to be a Hall of Fame raider. A full team of Hall of Fame raiders is even harder to find. Outside of the true “Professionals” that play this game, this is the best of the best. With large amounts of time, practice, knowledge, patience, and a bit of luck you could be a Hall of Fame raider. But it requires exponentially more effort than anything other raid difficulty.