Karazhan Group II — Preparing for Kara

How do you prepare to go to Karazhan, if it is indeed your first trip there? I wish I had known the answer to this question the first time I went. My first trip to Kara I was definately the “noob.” I recieved an invite to go with a good raiding guild, as they just needed an extra dps, even if it wasn’t the best quality. While I didn’t cause the group to wipe, my dps was abysmal, and my gear while good, could have been better. I didn’t have any enchants, didn’t bring any pots (alchemist), or poisons (rogue). I didn’t know any of the strategy, and basicaly tried to stay out of the way unless I knew I wouldn’t screw things up too badly.

Contrast this with today: I run raids, perform loot master duty, provide strategy, make potions and poisons, and consistently bring the high dps to the raid, even though I’m not always #1 on the damage charts. How did I progress to this point? I read up on the things I needed to know to play my class better. I also read up on the other classes and raid strategy, and soon I was organizing and leading our Karazhan raids. Do I know everything now? No. Do I ask for other people to explain fights if I know they can do a better job? Yes. But the point is taking the time to find the resources to understand how the raid works paid off, and now I’m going to share those tips with you.

Things I didn’t know when I started raiding, but wish I did

1.) Every person in a raid is important

When I started raiding, I believed that tanks were the most important people in a raid, followed by healers, and then DPS. What I’ve discovered is that everyone in a raid is equally important:

The tanks need heals to stay alive; the healers need fast dps so they don’t run out of mana, and the DPS needs the tanks to take the damage so they can kill things without being one or two-shotted.

Tank fail = dead dps = wipe

DPS fail = no heals = wipe

Heal fail = dead tank = wipe

See, it’s a triangle, and if any part fails to do its task, then the machine breaks down. Is this the only way to wipe? No, but on a boss, it’s the most common.

2.) DPS classes tend to need the most improvement

Hey, I’m a DPS too; so here’s why I say this. If a tank makes a mistake, or a healer makes a mistake, there’s an immediate consequence, such as a wipe. If a DPS class makes a mistake, it usually goes unnoticed (unless you break crowd control). Also, mobs outside of raiding usually have significantly less HP and armor than the ones in Kara. This means that the super fast way you kill a mob outside of Kara may not be the best way to kill one inside. To be successful in Kara, pulling somewhere around 500 dps minimum is a good mark to shoot for. For more information read this article on Blessing of Kings (it’s a series of five articles if you want even more info).

3.) Melee and Spell Hit are your friends

Tanks and DPS. Most of the mobs and all of the bosses you will fight are going to be 3 levels higher than you. Melee, and ranged non caster dps (Hunters!) this means missed hits; casters, this means resists/partial resists. That may not sound like such a big deal, but for damage classes this means less damage output, and for tanks, this means potentialy missing at a bad time (aka, grabing aggro on a boss that resets aggro). Not everyone needs to cap out their hit rating, but this article on blessing of kings has some good information on the subject, as does this follow up.

4.) Bring any reagents, potions, poisons, elixirs, etc. you can use to improve your performance

I’m a rogue and an alchemist as already stated, I bring my own pots and poisons to a raid, and having read the stats, I can tell you that those two items contribute to at least 5% of my total dps. That may not sound like a lot, but if you do just one million damage (and that’s low for even half of kara) you’re talking about an extra 50k damage. Healers, bring mana pots. Warlocks, come prepared to make healthstones; mages, bring on the buffet; paladins, we need 30 minute buffs! All of these require reagents, so come prepared!

5.) Upgrade your gear

If you’re mainly in blues, I’m not talking about farming instances for new gear. I’m talking about enchants and gems. By simply gemming, and placing permanant enchants (enchanting, leatherworking, blacksmithing, reputation, etc.) you can improve your stats almost as much as a new piece of gear would, and sometimes, even more. My next post will have recommendations for classes for Kara; take a look at it and find the stat(s) you need the most help with, and use Thottbot and Xornot’s Gem Finder to boost your stats. Unless a socket bonus helps you, ignore it and use the best gem for the stat you need in that slot. If you can afford it, blue quality gems are easy to find on the auction house, but I save those for epic items, or items I won’t easily replace.

6. Listen to your raid leader

I’m not saying this becuase I’m a raid leader, I mentioned this becuase raid leaders are responsible with the task of researching or learning all of the nuances of the pulls and bosses. If they ask someone else to explain something, then listen to that person. Even if it has nothing to do with you, listen, because it will help you learn the raid, and all of the roles that everyone plays to work together. Basically, if the raid leader, or someone appointed by the raid leader is talking, be quiet and listen.

7.) Review your performance

I always run a WWS report on any raid I am in, even if I am part of a pug. This way I can compare what I did to the numbers I normaly get, and to the other people in my raid. If I see that a person who’s wearing similar gear to mine perform substatially better or worse than me, I investigate further to see why. It’s much easier to rate your performance when you are looking at unbiased numbers, than it is to try and remember every fight. Am I missing or being resisted at too high of a percentage? Then I should add some more +hit. Am I being parried a lot? That means improper positioning in the fight (I should be behind the mob!)

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