In a mirror post from the guild Discord server, I wanted to post the document I put together for the first raid tier of Shadowlands! Since I can’t post a PDF here, the entire wall of text will be posted below. Thanks!
Hello everyone! With Castle Nathria release approaching, it’s a good time to share what our raiding plans, philosophy, and guidelines will be for the upcoming tier. The initial focus will pertain to the long term plan (~1 month after raid release) and Mythic raid progression, and then double back to discuss the near term plan.
For the raids, our overarching goal is to have an enjoyable and fun raiding experience while simultaneously clearing the most challenging content available at a good pace.
This goal itself will be a challenge, as the 78th consecutive wipe on a Mythic boss might not be very fun and can be frustrating. However, I believe that by outlining our raiding plan and following a set of guiding principles we can raid effectively while keeping positive attitudes and morale high. The specific raid milestone goal for this tier will be achieving Cutting Edge and killing Mythic Sire Denathrius. I recognize that this is highly ambitious and CE is something we did not get on any tier in BFA, but I think we can do it. After chatting with a number of our guildies, I know a lot of people would like to aim for this goal. We are not going for a Top 100 or even Top 500 speed for Mythic clear, and ultimately we might not achieve CE. But having a clear milestone helps give direction and something to look forward to.
Between pull problem solving: We will be sticking to two 3 hour raid nights for Mythic progression. Knowing that, we need to make the best use of our time during the raids. One of the ways to optimize that is quick pulls so we can get more attempts in and increase our mastery of fight mechanics. We are not going to have a strict and formal debrief after every single pull, but rather I will seek to quickly ask and discuss three prevailing questions:
- What happened? Identify the cause(s) of the wipe. Miss a soak and raid got blasted by too much damage? Failed to kill a priority add?
- Why did it happen? Once we identify what happened, find the reason that it happened. Did the assigned person to soak miss the soak, or was it an “anyone soak” and we weren’t positioned close enough to get there? Were we out of position for killing the priority add, or did we not have enough DPS hard switch to the add?
- What do we do to stop it from happening again? Quickly talk about how to fix the problem. This step could take the most time, but we don’t need to spend 5 minutes each pull figuring it out. Assigned person miss the soak? Cool, try not do to that again and onto the next pull. More DPS needed on add? Sound good, perhaps switch a DPS cooldown or two or add another person to attack the mob and next pull.
Going through this process should (in most cases) be a very quick process and cut 5 minute down times into 1 minute downtimes. I recognize that every situation will not be as simple as some of the examples, and occasionally we’ll need to spend some extra time for complex situations, but the general template should go a long way to increasing our efficiency.
Mid pull voice communication: Minimize the amount of voices calling out over Discord during the pulls. Generally it should be limited to the tanks, one raid leader calling out upcoming mechanics or actions, a healer calling cooldowns or actions when appropriate, and occasional individuals calling out a specific action (i.e. “I’m grabbin it” for the food on Shad’Har).
Post wipe etiquette: Please listen and see if we have battle rez on a healer available so we don’t need to spend time releasing and running back. Please take the res quickly after the mass res goes out and get your personal food buffs. If we need to run back, please don’t take a 3 minute break and wait for a res. This leads to the next item:
Scheduled raid break time: We’ll take a dedicated 5 minute break approximately half way through the raid for people to regroup, grab a snack or drink, use the bathroom, whatever. Obviously if there are emergency situations you are free to take care of them and the raid will wait, but try to pre plan your break around the intermission and not post-wipe or during trash clearing.
It’s okay to make mistakes in progression, but it’s not okay to berate people for making those mistakes. It is also okay to speak up and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Mistakes happen, and sometimes they are the direct cause of the wipe. As outlined earlier, we’ll figure out what happened and sometimes it could be one person messing up that kills a pull. Identifying who made the mistake and why is very different than criticizing and berating that person for making the mistake. Often the person will already feel bad, and shaming them does nothing productive. If you do make mistakes, please try to learn from them and try not to repeatedly make the same mistake. If you are unsure of how to correct it, feel free to ask and I or somebody else will be happy to help out.
Keep it light and keep it fun! Speaking for myself, I don’t raid to be miserable for 3 straight hours. I raid to have fun with my friends. I enjoy chatting with you all, making dumb jokes and references, a Maxon Motivational Speech before killing Vexiona, and things like that. Trash clearing is a great time to keep things fun while we all play together.
Planning: Copying from my pin on the #raid-planning channel, “With Castle Nathria opening soon, we made a few new channels on the discord to help consolidate where information is located. The intent of this channel is to post raid planning items like strategy videos, guides, and links to spreadsheets. Down the road, this channel might also be used highlight specific parts of fights with Warcraft Logs screenshots (such as outgoing boss damage during certain windows, pictures of how we were positioned for a certain mechanic, etc.), and also posting role assignments for certain fights (upcoming examples include seed drops for Artificer Xy’mox, add CC on Huntsman Altimor). To minimize clutter, let’s try and keep most of the discussion about the raiding or questions to the #raiding channel. Thanks and can’t wait for the new tier!”
Preparation and Consumables: As a guild, we will be providing cauldrons for the raids for flasks. All other consumables, such as food, weapon oils, and potions, will be the responsibility of the individual to bring to the raids. Fully enchanted gear on all available slots is also expected (for the start of the raid tier with rapid upgrades, non-epic enchants are suitable to start). Please come to the raid with everything you need for that night ready to go so we can get started on time. We have many players with max leveled professions who are willing to help craft what you need, so reach out to your guildies if you are having issues gathering materials or acquiring your consumables. If you’ve read this far, send Eurylokhos an in-game mail that says “consume husks” to check your reading comprehension ;).
Bind on Equip Items looted in guild raids: We are keeping the policy of all bind on equip items that drop in guild raids to be traded to fund guild raiding. If you loot one, please trade to myself (Eurylokhos / Alcinous), Neps, or Prolixity and we’ll sell it for guild gold. If there’s an upgrade available that you want, our current thoughts are that guildies can buy it directly at ½ AH price and we’ll use that money for the guild bank.
Attendance and Promptness: WoW is far from the only activity in everyone’s life, and we recognize that; people cannot make every single raid night or be available exactly at raid start time. However, to respect everyone’s time and especially as we go into mythic progression, communication about availability is crucial to efficient progress. On raid nights, we intend to start pulling trash or bosses exactly at raid start time. We have made a new #raid-attendence channel on the discord, and we’ll use this exclusively to post messages about availability, potential conflicts or being late, and inform raiders of the plan for who is coming that night (this becomes more of an issue when Mythic tightens up to a hard cap of 20 people.) If you know you’ll be unavailable days in advance, please post about it (ideally at least a day in advance). Similarly, if you know that day you’ll be running late, please also post in this channel so we can make arrangements to start on time.
Gear trade: If you get an item of loot that you are willing to trade, please trade to Neps / Eury / Prolix and we will distribute it.
Right now, we have a lot of interest in raiding within the guild which is awesome! Even with the normal / heroic cap of 30 people, we have much greater than that number who have expressed a desire to raid with the guild (~45 people). As such, at the start of the tier, we will be having an overflow raid dedicated to account for our difference between the raid size cap. Currently, the plan is for the second raid to run on Thursdays (at the standard start time of 7PM pacific time); this will allow for some strongly geared alts to help fill out the overflow raid for a good group composition. We will keep the same general principles and policies for this raid as the Tuesday / Wednesday raid. Once we get ~1 month into the raid tier and mythic starts, we aim to keep the overflow raid going so everyone has a chance to keep raiding. Depending on the success and player retention, it’s realistic that this raid can also move on to Mythic bosses. This is a new idea we are trying this tier, so there will be a learning curve in how we best manage to run this raid. For the initial weeks, we will post who we plan on going to the overflow raid and what nights everyone should plan for. For questions about this, contact myself, Neps, or Prolixity. For week 1, we will have the overflow group on Tuesday (raid release) and on Thursday.
Resources and Contacts
Class guides and tools: A lot of us have decided to try something new for this expansion and that’s great! With the current approach to raiding, there are a ton of valuable resources on classes and their changes that everyone should brush up on. While it can be a mixed bag depending on the author, websites such as icyveins or wowhead can provide a lot of information about how specific specs work. Other websites such as wowanalyze can pull directly from logs, and you can use them to evaluate ways to improve on specific fights. Warcraftlogs also has a lot of great information, as you can look at aggregates of what other people are using as talents for specific fights or gear / enchants.
Professions: Unsure about how we’ll build this, but we might try to post some sort of organized sheet that helps list who has what professions and crafts available.
Contacts: List of guild contacts and information
Neps: “El Jefe”, mains a Blood DK named “Nep”. Contact with questions about guild / raiding policies, attendance, etc.
Mature / Hanzo: Founder and leader, mains a DK named “Mature”. If you think what I’ve written right now was long, check out his blog https://eightyearsinazeroth.blogspot.com/
Eury: Raid leader and planner, author of this document. Mains a shadow priest named “Eurylokhos”, got CE in Ny’alotha. Contact with questions about raiding and raiding / dungeon resources.
Prolix: Raid co-leader, planner, and healer extraordinaire. Mains a priest named “Prolixity”. Contact with questions about raiding
Thank you for taking the time to read this; if you weren’t able to tell, I’m very excited to raid! Finally, I just wanted to end by saying that I know I’m not perfect and every strategy or plan won’t be pure gold, so we’ll maintain flexibility in how we approach various encounters and we’ll be open to different ideas. -Eury