I Can Haz Raid Awarenezz

Today I’m going cover one of the very basic skills needed for raiding and that’s Raid Awareness.  For those on a tight schedule there is TLDR version at the end of the post, however, if you still find yourself dying in fires, please read the whole thing.

What is Raid Awareness?

If you’ve ever been on an unsuccessful raid you’ve probably heard someone utter the phrase, “Raid Awareness People!” While no one wants to get called out for not performing, raid awareness is one of the fundamental skills necessary for successful raiding.

So what exactly is raid awareness? Simply put it’s the ability to perform your class function while executing the mechanics of each boss encounter.

Tunnel Vision
One of the biggest mistakes novice raiders make is having tunnel vision. Usually this affects healers most because they have all those health bars to worry about, but it can be a problem for dps and tanks as well. Tunnel vision is where you focus on performing your class function and are oblivious to the events happening around and to you. Unfortunately tunnel vision usually leads to your death, and possibly a wipe.

Keeping you alive is not just the responsibility of your helaers. The bottom line is you can’t dps, tank or heal when you’re dead. While it’s important to perform your class function, it cannot be prioritized over the other events happening both around and to you. If you’re going to die in an encounter you want it to be from things that were completely out of your control, and not from things that could have been avoided. When you die in a fire, or void zone, that is something that could have been avoided. An example of bad luck or uncontrollable death was Koralon the Flamewatcher when it was first released. It was possible for fire to spawn underneath you and have Burning Breath applied to you at the same time. Nothing you could do about that, and it has been fixed so it can’t happen anymore.

Developing Raid Awareness
So how do you develop raid awareness? First you need to become familiar with the mechanics of each encounter, and be ready for any buffs, debuffs and abilities the boss might throw at you. In the same way you watch the cool downs on your abilities you need to be watching for things like fire, adds, special abilities, etc.

For example, in the Lord Jaraxxus fight random raid members will get the Legion Flames debuff. You may get it, or you may not. You should go into the encounter assuming that you will get it. Not only should you assume that your going to get it, but you also need to be thinking about how you’re going to handle it. If you’re not sure how best to handle something ask the raid leader for advice. The success of the raid should not be dependent on the right people getting affected by debuffs.

Becoming Self Reliant
Perhaps the single greatest thing you can do is learn to be self reliant. You’ll be amazed at how much better you do if you are able to recognize key events and react to them before the raid leader calls them out. When the guild was first learning the Heigan encounter I attempted to follow others during the dance phase because I didn’t know where the safe spots were. More often than not I would die because I was too slow to move. Ultimately I realized that in order for me to succeed I needed to learn where the safe spots were on my own. It took a few tries but eventually it became old hat.

Having an addOn like Deadly Boss Mods installed, and learning how it works can make a world of difference.  The great thing about DBM is that it’s good to go right out of the box with no assembly required. It has timers, audio warnings, and displays information in big type in the center of your screen.

In the Twin Valkyr fight DMB displays a timer that shows you how long until the next significant event. When I see the timer get to about 6-8 seconds, I know to position myself next to a portal in case I have to changes essences. When the event does occur DMB plays an audio warning and displays a big message in the center of my screen telling me which event and which essence I should have.

Raiding is a team effort and these fights take a lot of coordination and a little luck. Bad things happen and even the most proficient raiders make mistakes. The big thing is to understand what mistakes were made and how to fix them.

The days of the pure “tank and spank” encounters are long gone. Every fight is a gadget fight that involves adds, crap spawning on the ground, crap falling from the sky, and generally a who lot of movement and running around. The good news is that these encounters are scripted and it’s the same adds, the same crap spawning on the ground, the same crap falling from the sky, and the same movement and running around. We have the ability to learn and adapt, the NPCs don’t. At least not yet.

TLDR Version
  • Understand that your class function is not your only job in raids.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to stay alive. It’s not just the healers job to keep you alive.
  • Know the fights and anticipate what might happen before you start.
  • Become self reliant.
  • Bad things happen, we all make mistakes, but we need to fix those mistakes too.

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