I want to be a raider, but I don’t know where to start. How can I be sure my group is successful and not waste my time?
Forward and Back Enthusiast
DEAR FORWARD AND BACK ENTHUSIAST:
Welcome to the world of raiding. It can be a challenge, but congrats on taking the plunge. It won’t be easy, but now is the best time to start. The current raid tier is one of the easiest to get into, especially in preparation for Stormblood. For a brand new raider, there are five key things to remember when joining (or creating) your own group:
YOU MUST BE WILLING TO RESEARCH AND PRACTICE YOUR CLASS OUTSIDE OF RAID
I know, I know. You know everything about your class. There’s no need to do research, you could probably do your rotation in your sleep! Or you’re on the complete opposite end of the spectrum where you’re picking up a brand new class because you know it’s what you want to do, or maybe you love your current class but still feel you can do better. Regardless, it is important to know your class 100% – in and out when joining a raid group. Now, I don’t mean that you won’t learn new things as you raid, but if you don’t build a good foundation don’t expect the house to hold. Look up guides, watch videos of other raiders and how they optimize the class, run dungeons with the mindset of squeezing in that extra GCD before a mechanic or keeping regen up during every boss fight. Every little thing that you learn now you will be able to build off of later in more difficult content when it really counts.
PREPARE YOUR GEAR (which may mean lots of Gil)
This goes along with researching your class, but really deserves it’s own spot on this list. Create your BIS (best in slot) early and stick with it. Ariyala’s Gear Calculator is a great place to start, or you can compare gear from vendors and decide what stats work for you. This helps alleviate a variety of problems. The first is accuracy caps. That new belt may look shiny, but if it drops you under your required accuracy you won’t want to use it. The second is to avoid confusion or “stealing drops” from the rest of the raid. If you share gear with any other raid member (i.e tanks, healers, Ninja/Bard, etc) knowing what drops you each wants will save you a lot of heartache later. That doesn’t mean you won’t want the same drop (such as rings), but it does mean that you are more likely to get the drop you want if you are willing to pass on what you don’t. Thirdly, by checking your stats early, you’ll know if you need any crafted pieces or not, and can plan accordingly. I, for example, rely on a crafted healing ring to meet accuracy requirements. My raid’s BLM uses a crafted bracelet, and so on. Prepare early and you won’t be fumbling for optimal stats later down the line.
DECIDE WHAT YOUR PERSONAL RAIDING GOALS ARE
You have to know going in what you want out of your raiding. Do you want a casual group that raids to have fun but may not progress very fast? Do you want a hardcore group that raids consistently and expects near perfection for quick clears? Or something in the middle? I personally fall into the mid-core category: a group for those who raid after work and seeks progression but does not exhaust ourselves trying to clear. Now, you may not know what you want out of a raiding group just yet. If that’s the case, try to plan based on your perceived schedule and experience. You can always adjust your goals down the line if they’re too much or too simple as you raid.
FIND A GROUP THAT FITS
You’ve checked your gear, killed that dummy half a dozen times, and know what you want out of a raid group. Now here comes the hard part: finding seven other people with similar goals (and schedule) as you. If you’re running solo and have no desire to lead your own group, Party Finder is a great place to start. Market yourself honestly, and be willing to talk with people. If you see a group looking for what you play, then talk to the leader. Ask around your FC, especially if there are other raiders. While they may not have room in their group, they may be able to help you find others in the raiding community that do. Be proactive with your raid search. Sub in for groups. Queue in Raid Finder or host your own learning parties. Even if you don’t clear, you are getting experience. Some leaders will bring brand new people into old statics if that person has proven knowledge of their class (see research above), and is willing to learn.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP (OR LEAVE) IF IT’S NOT WORKING
You’ve finally joined your first raid group, but a few weeks in, things aren’t working out. Maybe it’s personal. Maybe progression isn’t happening as fast as you’d like. Maybe the group’s goals aren’t what you expect. Communicate – either to the person directly or to the entire group. If you feel that you’re not being heard, or don’t feel comfortable talking to the entire group, then take your concerns to the raid leader. That is what they signed up for, after all, and – assuming you are being mature about the whole thing – most are more than willing to listen. If it’s a disagreement with another player, talk to them directly, or work past it during raid.
If that doesn’t work, or you realize that your own raiding needs are not being met, then do not ever be afraid to walk away. Some groups just don’t work out, either as a group or with certain people, and that’s okay! The worst thing you can do, both for the group and yourself, is to stick around and hope that things get better. If you decide to leave, try to give the group as much warning as you can, even if it’s only a few hours. Move on. Start looking for a new raid group that better fits what you want, but try to do so as tactfully as you can. Any doors you slam now may come back to smack you in the face later, so be careful!
All of these ideas apply to someone who is looking to be a part of a group, not lead. Check back next week where I tackle the creation, progression, and needs of someone looking to lead a successful raid group.
For now, enjoy your search and I wish you luck! 😀