Thursday, April 9, 2009

Raider preparation for 3.1

I've been feeling a little fidgety about 3.1. On one hand, I'm a hardcore farmer at heart. I love nothing more than seeing a bank full of potions, food, and consumables, all ready to go. On the other, I know there are changes coming in 3.1 that will mean I shouldn't pile up entire bank tabs of flasks. So I haven't.

But I feel like I should be doing more. That I haven't prepared properly. It's making me antsy. I don't like it! So, I sat down and thought about all the things that raiders would need to sort out before 3.1 is released. I thought I would share, in case others might get some use out of it.

You can grab a printable shopping list style version here. Yeah, I'm weird :P

1. Stock up, but don't go nuts


Have a stack or two of normal food/water just in case you're without a mage.

Will you be using Feasts? Who will be carrying those? (they are BoP) Even if you are using Feasts in your raid, take a stack of your chosen food as a backup.

Have enough food in your bags for the first raid; plus enough in the bank for a couple of days. AH prices could be brutal at first, and supply could dry up temporarily - don't get stuck without any!

Flasks, elixirs, potions and scrolls

Again, have enough in your bags for one raid, and enough in your bank for the first few. Don't be caught short.

Don't go crazy stocking up on flasks & elixirs - in 3.1 herb nodes will drop more herbs meaning they will be cheaper and more plentiful. Have some saved, but not a whole bank tab full.

Remember that changes to mana regen plus the fact that you will be learning fights may mean you will use more mana pots than usual. Consider taking more than you normally would. You may also prefer to take some regen consumables (eg mp5 flasks) to begin with. While learning Naxx I used mp5 flasks, but once I got used to the instance and could manage my mana better, I swapped to spellpower. It might be good to have some options in your bags.

If you're a 10 man raider, you may not have access to full raid buffs, so you might like to take a stack or two of scrolls just in case. Fort can make a big difference.


Make sure you have enough money on your character to pay for a few nights of wiping!

You may not get much time to farm or do dailies, and you don't want to be stuck with no cash, or have to borrow. Now's the time to do a few days' worth of dailies, or sell off some old bank items to pad your wallet a little.


Have you considered the glyphs you'll be using in 3.1? Buy or get a friend to craft you the ones you'll need. Take a couple of each just in case you decide to swap a couple of times. For example, I might use Innervate at first, but decide that I'm doing ok without it, and swap to something else. Or I might struggle for mana and think "boy I wish I had an Innervate glyph right now!"

Not sure which combo to use? Here's some help:

World of Matticus
Nerf this Druid
Armor and weapon enhancements

Take these with you into the raid, so that as soon as you get an upgrade, you can immediately enchant and gem the item without having to port/hearth and come back to the raid. This saves time and frustration, nobody likes waiting around for people to enchant their gear!

Consider the items you might need - enchant scrolls/mats, leg armor, spell threads, cut/uncut gems. Buy them now while they are cheap! The prices are sure to peak at release, if only temporarily.
Bring a spare meta gem in case a new headpiece drops for you.

Go to Sons of Hodir & Wyrmrest and purchase a spare shoulder/head enchant to keep in your bags.

2. Mods, UI, macros

Mods & UI

Which of your mods are stable for 3.1? Which ones will need to be replaced? Do it now, don't wait until 3.1, you could end up with a mess.

Check Curse and WoWInterface to see if your essential mods have been updated for 3.1. If you update your mods now, you'll have time to tweak them, instead of wasting time later.

Is your UI what you want it to be? Now's the time to jump in and fix it up - when Ulduar comes out you may not have time. You want to jump in with a UI that is functional and won't cause you frustration while you're trying to learn fights. Check out No Stock UI for ideas on how to streamline your screen real estate.


Do you have all of your macros in place? This is something else that you need to get into place before 3.1 so that you don't have to mess with it on the day.

Useful pages to help with macros:

World of Matticus - A Guide to Mouseover Macros
Wowwiki - Useful macros for druids
The Druid Wiki - Macros and Addons

3. Talent point wipe and Dual Spec

Your primary spec

Do you know how you intend to spec in 3.1? Plan it now, so you don't have to fumble with it when you log in on the day.

Which glyphs will you need for this spec?

Your secondary spec

Make sure you have 1000g put aside for dual spec.

Plan your second spec - balance or feral? Another healing spec? Hybrid? Tanking or kitty dps? Raiding or just for fun?

If your dual spec will be for raiding:
  • Caps - hit, defense, etc. Does your offspec set measure up?

  • What holes are in your gear? What do you still need?

  • Examine gear lists and mark down your wishlist items.

  • If you don't get your preferred item in the next couple of weeks, is there a heroic or badge item you could get as a backup?

  • Gem and enchant everything in advance.

  • If the consumables required for your second spec are different, make sure you pack them!

  • Create an offspec outfit in Outfitter/Closet Gnome/Item Rack (etc) so that you can swap to that gear quickly during the raid.

  • Which glyphs will you need? Take some extras just in case you want to juggle different ones.

  • Do you know your rotations? Go test them on the capital city target dummies.

  • Set up your macros etc in advance, and practice them.

  • Ask people for some tips and advice on playing that spec.

4. Delicious epics

Loot wishlist

Look over the loot lists (eg on MMO Champion) and identify possible upgrades as well as noting the items that you're not interested in. Make a wishlist. Consider set bonuses and whether or not you want to keep them, or how you would juggle items around.

Get RatingBuster so that you can judge items on the fly. Looting is what takes the most time in raids - if you know what you're looking for beforehand, and have RatingBuster loaded, it will save a lot of time.

Load up on high ilvl gear (duh)

It kinda goes without saying that everyone wants the highest level gear they can get their hands on - but I'm talking about the first boss in Ulduar, Flame Leviathan, who is fought almost entirely from vehicles. The vehicles' hp scale with the ilvl of your gear, irrespective of whether it is the right gear for your spec. For example, I would be better off wearing a level 226 feral ring than a level 213 resto ring, because it will give my vehicle more health.

So grab as much high level stuff as you can to fill up your gear slots. Work out what your Leviathan set is, and make an Outfitter/Closet Gnome/Item Rack outfit for it so that you can change quickly for that fight.

DON'T throw out your 213/226 gear if you want 10 man achievements!

If you are primarily a 10 man raider or you're interested in completing the 10 man achievements, make sure you don't throw away your ilvl 213 and 226 gear as you pick up upgrades. The achievement "Herald of the Titans" requires that you not wear any items higher than 226:
Defeat Algalon the Observer on Normal Difficulty without anyone in the raid wearing any equipment with an item level higher than 226.
Keep this in mind when you pick up your new equipment.

5. Strats

Read over the basic strats to see if there is anything you will need to pay particular attention to and what that will mean to you.

Will there be heavy tank damage? Heavy raid damage? AOE dodging? Silences? Poisons and curses? Crowd control? Will you have a special role in the fight?

Strat sites that you may find helpful:

Strat Fu
MMO Champion

For a druid specific article, read WoWInsider's Shifting Perspectives' preview of Ulduar.

6. For officers and raid leaders

Items to make your raids run smoothly

Consider bringing some extra materials or reagents for items that your raid members may need. For example, I often get asked to make pots but the person doesn't have any vials.Consider those frequently-made items and if you can spare the bag space, perhaps bring some along to ensure people don't waste time hearthing to gem or enchant their gear, or make consumables. Most people should bring these items to be prepared, but there's always someone who gets caught short, and if you can help them out, it will speed up your raid.

For example:

- raw blue gems
- enchant mats
- leg armor
- thread + a few eternals
- vials
(note: thread and vials are available from mammoth mounts also)

One person can be assigned to be the pack mule (I like this job), and ensure that they have a few stacks of gems, enchant mats, vials, spare flasks and pots, feasts, flares, essential reagents, repair bots, etc. This may be unnecessary 99% of the time but I like to be prepared.

An officer or two should also be assigned to carry abyss crystals. Make sure you state the policy on these too - are they free for all? Paid? DKP? Only for BiS items? Only for particular ranks in the guild? Arguments will slow you down.


Do you have your loot system sorted? If you use DKP, have you set/adjusted your prices? Are you resetting before 3.1?

Are there any contentious items that may cause problems - items that may need to be exclusions or exceptions to the DKP system?

Have you discussed how to handle offspec loot now that dual specs will mean people can make better use of that gear to help the raid progress? What are the priorities?

If a fragment of the legendary mace drops, do you know how to handle it? It's very hard to decide who should get it at the moment, since we don't know the stats or other possible procs, but as the fragments can drop from even the first boss, you should at least have a vague idea of how you'll handle it. MMO Champion's page on the mace can be found here.


What's your raid's focus? Killing stuff ASAP? Trying the hard modes straight up? Doing some of the achievements straight away, or ignoring them? Work this out beforehand. If you intend to do some of the achievements in the first week, make a list of them and their requirements so you don't have to spend time looking up the possible achievements. Mark the ones you intend to go for and the ones you intend to ignore or come back for later.

Communicate to the raid team which achievements you will and will not be attempting, so that nobody gets upset because they thought you'd be doing them all in the first week. Set your priorities and goals, communicate them clearly, and stick to them.

Are there particular steps you are taking to prepare for patch 3.1?


Notabear said...

That's so obvious that I didn't even think of it. Clever tree, indeed. <3

Anonymous said...

Checklists are great! Don't ever let anyone tell you any differently!

Thanks for the info!!!


Bell said...

Hey, just a heads up, as far as I know, Outfitter has ceased updating due to new addon rules. Great post though!

Jae said...

Thank you very much! This is perfect - I'm sending all the guildies over to read up and get their butts in gear. :D

Pixielated said...

Awesome post Keeva, thanks so much for taking the time to write all this up, it will be a huge help to myself and my guildmates.

Keeva said...

You're welcome guys :)

@Bell: I know, it makes me a sad tree. But it shouldn't break (knock on wood), so I'm going to stick with it for the time being.

Animagis said...

Great write-up; a few little changes and insights about 3.1 that I was not aware of yet.

Anonymous said...

ily Miss Keeva. As always a good read, and heaps cool graphics.

Why aren't you a designer?

Odynae said...

Ohhhhhhh a list...

You are my new best friend. <3

I'll be posting a link to this on my guild forums, thank you!

Ghostie said...

Witch wai 2 uLduar?