; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/18/2012
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Being a raider is tough work, but what is even tougher is learning how to become one in the first place. This World of Warcraft raiding guide is designed to help new raiders gear up, find the best gems and enchants, and identify the correct consumables to bring to raids.
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Gearing Up For Raids
After reaching level 80, raiding hopefuls are going to have to put in some hard work to bring their gear up to a level appropriate for raiding. As a general rule, one should only enter raids after obtaining a complete set of level 80 superior quality gear from heroic dungeons (Item level 175 and higher). Many epic items can be crafted by various professions, including the less obvious rings and necklaces from jewelcrafters, and caster offhands from the Inscription profession. Blacksmiths can craft an epic weapon for nearly every class and spec. The most important thing to keep in mind when gearing up in preparation for raids is that it is often expensive, and aspiring raiders have this early opportunity to show their dedication by putting the time and gold in.
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Making Your Gear Better
In addition to just getting gear, potential raiders need to further enhance their gear with appropriate gems and enchants. Gems are easily obtained from jewelcrafters and the auction house, and prices aren't so high that the extra effort can't be put in to obtain superior-quality gems over uncommon quality. As for enchants, most guilds require their raiders to use all high-end northrend enchants. A few items cannot be enchanted, but you can find other item enhancements for them. Shoulder enchants for PvE are obtained from the Sons of Hodir faction (guide to gaining reputation with the Sons of Hodir).
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Use the Best Gems
A lot of inexperienced raiders make the mistake of always matching socket bonuses with their gem choices. What they don't realize is by doing this they are often limiting themselves. Each class or spec typically has one gem that will almost always give them the most throughput if used in every single slot. Of course, you run into issues with meeting requirements for meta gems, and sometimes you need to use gem slots to reach caps, such as hit, expertise, and defense. Barring those situations, you may also run into times where the socket bonus is actually worth getting. By way of example, 9/10 times it is best for a DPS Death Knight to put Bold Scarlet Rubies (16 Strength) in every gem slot. Sometimes, though, the socket bonus is worth getting because it gives 8 or more strength. If it were a blue slot, you could instead put a +8 Str / +12 Stamina Twilight Opal in that slot for a throughput of 16 strength and 12 stamina. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of socket bonuses is a personal choice, but don't feel like you always need to match them!
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Gear Enchant Guide
One of the biggest mistakes new or aspiring raiders make is not enchanting their gear. Believe it or not, though, the simple enchants really add up, and it is well worth the, admittedly considerable, gold costs to get them done. The cheaper end enchants (tagged by "good) are much easier to obtain than the higher end ones (tagged as "better), so each player needs to decide for themselves whether then want to spend the money for the better enchants or do "just enough" with the cheaper ones.
Potions can be used once per fight. Once they are used, they have a 2-minute cooldown, but will not become usable until the next fight. You can, however, use one before a fight begins and again once you are fighting a boss. Most people think that the only players that need potions are healers and casters when they need mana, and maybe sometimes a tank or DPS to catch up on health. This is certainly not the case - there are a plethora of potions out there that give buffs to all classes, you've just got to find them.
Potion of Speed - Fantastic potion for any DPS to have - melee or spellcaster. Increases haste and therefore DPS (for most classes and specs)
Potion of Wild Magic - Incredible DPS Caster potion. Increases spellpower and critical strike rating by 200 each. Should be used by any DPS caster prior to entering a fight and/or during the fight assuming they don't have mana issues.
Indestructable Potion - Best for a tank to use prior to entering a fight, and/or at a predictable rough spot during a boss fight.
Crazy Alchemist's Potion - Should be the potion of choice for any Alchemist (requires 400 skill) as it restores as much health and mana as the runics, and has a chance to also apply any other potion's effects. While random, this proc can be a lifesaver.
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Raiding Consumables - Flasks
The majority of raid guilds require their members to use consumables during raids to increase their stats and performance. At the top of this list is flasks. They take the place of a Guardian Elixir and Battle Elixir. Unlike elixirs, though, Flasks persist through death, making them ideal for raiding. The current end-game flasks are:
Unless you have bad issues running out of mana, its best for healers to use Frost Wyrm.
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Raiding Consumables - Food
The majority of raid teams will provide Fish Feasts at the beginning of boss fights which give 46 spellpower, 80 attack power, and 40 stamina. This usually covers the food needs of the entire raid. However, sometimes raiders need to use different food in order to achieve certain things, such as a hit or expertise cap.