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A raid group is a large group of players made up of up to 8 parties of 5 players each intended to allow adventuring in areas (mostly difficult instances and PvP) needing large groups. Members of this group only get experience and loot from actions in their local party, unless the experience or loot results from a raid-based quest or mob.
Joining/leaving a raid group
To join a raid group you are invited by the raid leader (or the leader's assistants) just like joining a party. The raid leader will then assign you to a party within the raid group.
To leave a raid group you simply leave your current party.
Unlike normal parties, you will not leave the raid by logging out.
Chat in a raid group
All members of a raid can talk to each other using /raid (or just /ra).
You can also talk to the members of your party within the raid group normally (using /p).
As of Patch 1.11, the Raid leader and his/her assistants are able to use the raid warning command /rw. This is used the same way as any other chat channel except that this appears in the middle of the screen with an "into focus" text effect for instant commanding of all members of the raid, playing a sound effect in the process. This style was later added for various gameplay warnings and notices in Wrath of the Lich King (the most notable example being the No-fly zone warning a player receives when flying over Dalaran).
Raid group management
Many raid groups are formed from guilds. This means that using the pre-existing guild tools raids can be scheduled and announced to fit with the raid timers.
Most serious raid groups have a website associated with them and this again helps with the organizing of raids and also has the added benefit of allowing a medium for applicants to apply to the group.
In the game itself many serious raid groups use modified interfaces and game files to further organize their raid. As of patch 1.10 many of these modifications were disabled by blizzard however many mod developers still have tools available to players who want to take on the high end raid instances and particularly providing help with the scripted battles that may have particularly difficult stages that logistically cause raid leaders many problems. Omen is a good tool for threat management and BigWigs is great for end raid instances.
However in the default Blizzard interface pressing O on the keyboard brings up your social panel and on the raid window many features are available. Firstly you can organize the raid groups by dragging the members around the window into the slots available. (Dropping a player on top of another will swap the two players). Dragging the name of the group (in yellow at the top of the group) off the raid window will put a status bar of that particular group into the main game screen.
Raid group setup
A raid leader should arrange the players within the raid to make optimum use of effects that benefit the group they will be in. This strengthens the overall group, and can be essential to beating hard encounters. What follows are some general guidelines; specific encounters may have requirements of their own.
Class abilities that benefit a party
Abilities that directly benefit the player's own group, rather than outside groups, such as targetable buffs or spells.
- Druid – Tranquility, Tree of Life (Restoration), Leader of the Pack (Feral), Moonkin (Balance)
- Hunter – Aspect of the Wild, Trueshot Aura (Marksmanship), Ferocious Inspiration (Beast Mastery), Furious Howl (Pet)
- Mage – Ritual of Refreshment
- Priest – Prayer of Healing, Vampiric Embrace (Shadow), Vampiric Touch
- Paladin – Auras: Devotion Aura, Sanctity Aura, Retribution Aura, Fire Resistance Aura, Concentration Aura, and Shadow Resistance Aura
- Rogue – None
- Shaman – Totems
- Warlock – Blood Pact
- Warrior – Battle Shout, Commanding Shout
Group types and classes
Main tank group
This group will usually have the highest priority for a raid leader. Ensuring that the main tank receives all possible beneficial auras and effects will help the tank survive better, increasing the chances of success. A typical group would consist of:
|Paladin||Main Tank, Off-Tank, DPS, or Healer Devotion Aura|
There are many variations on this arrangement depending on the encounter. Molten Core and Blackwing Lair will typically require a paladin or shaman providing fire resistance. Temple of Ahn'Qiraj may need a hunter giving nature resistance. Reducing the damage the tank takes through Devotion aura or appropriate totems, along with the stamina increase of blood pact, will be the primary considerations for this group. A druid in Tree of Life Form can boost the healing the main tank receives.
Physical DPS groups
|DPS Warrior||Battle Shout|
|Paladin||Improved Sanctity Aura|
|(Alt) Druid||Leader of the Pack|
Generally, each physical DPS group will have at least one warrior providing battle shout, and one marksmanship hunter providing trueshot aura. Hunters without trueshot should preferably be placed with one that does. DPS Paladins can use Improved Sanctity Aura which increases the groups damage by 12%. A shaman can assist with totems such as Windfury, Grace of Air or Tranquil Air Totem. If a feral druid is in the raid and not needed for healing, they can provide a strong damage boost in feral form. Where encounters require, a member may be added to provide resistance auras. A priest for Prayer of Healing can be helpful if the group is taking damage (rogues often take significant cleave/AOE damage in fights.)
Mages and warlocks benefit from having a Moonkin form druid in the group for extra DPS, if one is available. A paladin with concentration aura can prevent spell interruption in encounters where casters face AOE damage. A shaman might also use Tranquil Air Totem and Mana Tide Totem. A priest for Prayer of Healing can be helpful if the group is taking damage.
Healers can benefit from paladins for concentration aura, and shamans with Mana Tide Totems and Tranquil Air Totems. So long as healers use a functional Raid UI, there is normally no need for them to be in the same group as the players they are assigned to heal. Group heals such as Prayer of Healing and Tranquility are nice, but should be weighed against the benefit from other abilities that can be provided.
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Raid composition (raid comp for short) refers to the different specs and classes in a raid which through class synergies contribute to the success of the raid. This can be analyzed via an addon and a much-used webpage on MMO-Champion.