Raiding 101: How to Prep for a New Raid

Every time a new raid releases, there is always a checklist of chores to knock out before zoning in to make sure that your character is as prepared as possible for the first raid night of the patch. However, the amount of time and benefit in character power you receive from these chores is not always the same.

Today we’ll be looking at 5 of the common “laundry list” of tasks that accompany a new patch, and discuss some of the decision-making that goes into effectively using your time in preparing for a swift start to the new raid.

Table of Contents

1. Campaign Quest

With each major content patch comes an expansion on the current story of the game. This, of course, comes in the form of cinematics and the new raid content, but it has also become standard procedure for there to also be a multi-stage quest chain in the open world following a progression of the patch’s main story. The checkpoints and conclusion of this quest chain have often resulted in a reward that is highly valuable for improving your character strength, though not always to the same degree. These rewards have ranged from the ability to acquire legendary items, or even equip two legendary items, or unlock a reputation vendor to purchase sockets, as well as a rare consumable item to create a powerful crafted item. Regardless of what the specific case for the next patch may be, it seems to be a safe bet that completing the campaign quest chain as early as possible will remain a valuable use of time before a new raid.

2. Mythic+

Mythic+ keystones are paramount towards raid preparations. Even if the items dropped in keys are often weaker than those from raids, there will always be a collection of specific items, usually trinkets, that are extremely valuable from dungeons. You are usually best served spamming the appropriate dungeon on low keystone levels and using currency (usually valor) to upgrade the item, since trinkets are cheap to upgrade, and often the only gear slot competitive with raid gear. However, if you have the time and group for it, doing the highest keystones available to you is a great way to save on valor and even replace a piece of gear that is falling behind the progression curve if you get lucky.

Additionally, the first few weeks of a raid tier is always the period of time where the highest number of people are playing the game and actively looking for people to play with. This is a great opportunity to find people to push keys with long term if you are interested in that, or even recruit for or apply to a new guild.

Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming Dragonflight Season 2 Weekly Route and Play Like the Pros articles for importable routes to help you optimize your Mythic+ sessions.

3. Trade Goods

All specs and roles have a handful of consumable items that provide some combat benefit. Having your potions, flasks/phials, whetstones, and other items ahead of time is important to ensure that you don’t run out during raid time and lose time pulling a boss. If you don’t know what consumables you should be using, then there are plenty of updated resources to provide this information such as your appropriate class Discord or Wowhead guide.


4. Boss Preparation

Tons of YouTube channels make great overview guides for new raid bosses before they release, and update them with any missing information almost right away. Watching these can familiarize you with a boss without having to have seen it before, but also can help formulate a strategy for a boss that is specifically suited to your own raid team. Lots of guilds watch a specific boss strategy guide together in Discord before pulling the boss, as it takes about the time of a single pull, but can prevent many more than a single wipe.

Boss preparations also include updating your UI and WeakAuras before raid time just in case something broke in the new patch, and many players like to have an exhaustive WeakAura pack that accompanies the new raid. An author named Reloe typically makes a popular choice for all-encompassing raid WeakAuras each raid tier.

5. Streams and POVs

Watching a boss guide with clips of footage from PTR can be great, but given that bosses often change, sometimes even substantially, between their tested version and what ends up making it into the live game, there is no substitute for watching someone else learn a fight in real time. Finding a streamer actively working on the next boss that your raid team is interested in is usually pretty easy, and watching progression from any point of view can be invaluable, but the best way to learn from whom you are watching is if they perform the same role as what you will be doing for your guild, and ideally on the same class and spec. Even though timings and mechanics recognition are universal, every spec often has their own unique way of handling them.

For a quick way to find numerous player POVs during the Race to World First (RWF), check out our RWF Live Global Coverage or browse our Aberrus leaderboards to find raiders streaming their progression!

Closing Thoughts and Bonus Items

Finally, raiding is a team effort. Putting in as much work ahead of time as you can towards benefitting your raid team will go a long way in both increasing the efficiency of your group, as well as earning the respect of your teammates.

One extremely valuable thing you can do before a patch launches is to participate in the PTR raid testing of the new raid’s bosses. These are available to everyone, but often only during specific timing windows for each difficulty level. Many guilds schedule raid testing time for their entire raid team together, and this is a very valuable experience for a high level guild, but even players in less serious environments would benefit enormously from taking part in raid testing. You absolutely do not need to have an entire guild group with you in order to participate. Many guild groups are constantly looking for extra people to fill in for missing spots, even in Mythic testing, and this can be an excellent way to make new connections and even find a new guild to apply to.

All in all, raiding is fun because it’s about overcoming difficult challenges as a team. Many players enjoy quantifying their performance in tackling these challenges through all kinds of metrics like pull counts and guild ranking, but, whatever atmosphere your raid team carries with them, there is no doubt that your fellow raiders will appreciate having a highly prepared teammate in their group.


About the Author

Zephyr has been playing WoW since August 2005, shortly before TBC launched. Zephyr is a raiding enthusiast who enjoys every melee DPS spec, but their first and favorite class has always been Rogue. Outside of WoW, Zephyr is from Atlanta, Georgia, and enjoys playing tennis and piano.