You have carved your legend across four continents, slit a thousand throats, looted a veritable fortune in gold, and completed a million (at least it feels like you have) quests on your march to glory and level 80, so what do you do now? The answer, of course, is raiding. This handy-dandy guide is here to provide some guidelines for what you’ll need to begin raiding. We’ll cover everything from gear to grub to stats, so there’ll be a lot to digest, but we’ll try to keep it simple.
I hate to do it, but we have to start on a down note. If you just hit level 80, the chances are that you’re not really ready to begin to raid. Your gear is not up to snuff and you may have neglected certain skills which give you a boost whilst raiding. I just want to tell you that it’s ok; most people fall under this category. The fact is, you’ll have to grind quite a bit (actually, quite a lot, to be more precise) to be really ready to begin raiding. So, the quicker you mentally steel yourself to this fact of life, the better it’ll be for your mental health.
The first, and most important, item for raiding is your character’s stats. I’m not going to throw a bunch of formulas or quantum physics at you, because if you’re like me, you start getting a headache thinking about any math harder than figuring out what to tip the waitress. I’ll give you a few numbers and leave it at that. Anyway, the two most important stats for you when you begin raiding are hit rating and expertise rating.
Your hit rating decreases your chances to miss in combat. You’ll need a minimum of 99 hit rating to begin raiding. This is the threshold at which your special attacks (sinister strike, mutilate, etc.) will hit. This 99 hit rating assumes that you have all five ranks of Precision. If you do not have enough points, then augment your gear with some +hit rating gems (such as a Great Dawnstone or Smooth King’s Amber; both yellow gems) along with an enchantment. Some +hit enchantments are Enchant Gloves: Precision, Enchant Boots: Icewalker, and Enchant Weapon: Accuracy.
Your expertise decreases the enemy’s chances to dodge your attacks. This is vital in that every missed shot greatly reduces your DPS (damage per second), which is your function in a raid. The magic number for you is a 26 expertise (214 expertise rating). You can increase your expertise through enchantments (such as Guardian’s Twilight Opal or Guardian’s Dreadstone, both purple gems), talents (if you’re combat specced), or general gear bonuses. Just remember that all this expertise talk assumes that you’re attacking a boss from behind. If you attack him from the front, he can still parry you. Besides, you’re a rogue. Let the knucklehead warriors fight from the front. A rogue’s blades are meant to be stuck in a foe’s back.
Talking to your new best friend, Braeg Stoutbeard.
To begin raiding, you will want all your gear to be blues, and by blues, I mean high level blues. A level 60 blue item doesn’t count! The sad fact is that you need good gear to raid, but that you get the best gear in raids. A nasty catch-22, so what to do? There are several ways to get decent enough gear to begin raiding. One method is to buy the items you need from the auction house (if you got the dough to do so). A second method is faction rewards. The four main factions in Northrend have decent gear at honored or revered, and a great piece of gear at exalted. It might take awhile to grind out that reputation you’ll need, but the end result is worth it. A third method is crafting. Most rogues take leatherworking as a craft as that it allows you to make better armor as you level (and allows you make some coin in the process by selling the pieces you make). With leatherworking, you can make some really good gear to get you to raiding goodness. For really good patterns, you’ll want to talk to Braeg Stoutbeard. He’s a dwarf trader that can be found in Dalaran outside the leatherworking shop. You will come to love and almost worship him. In fact, you’ll be willing to go out on a date with him and then go home and meet his mother. He provides some nice blue patterns that require a leatherworking of 420 and some sweet purple patterns that require a 440 leatherworking skill. For blues, his Eviscerator’s style of armor is damn good. The most notable is the shoulderpads, as that good shoulderpads are as rare as an honest politician. For purples, his Trollwoven Girdle and Trollwoven Spaulders are must-haves. The downside for this is that you’ll have to kill and skin the equivalent of a large continent’s worth of animals.Once you start raiding, keep an eye out for any upgrades to what you’re wearing. Normal rogue guidelines still apply. Look for bonuses to agility, stamina, attack power, hit rating, expertise, and critical chances. Once you get a better piece of gear, use it!
Gems and Enchantments
To begin with, you’ll need gems and enchantments that affect your hit rating and expertise. Once you hit the numbers you need for those stats, you’ll want to look for gems that increase your attack power, agility, hit rating, expertise, and stamina. Red gems to look for include the Bright Cardinal Ruby or Delicate Cardinal Ruby. Yellow gems that are useful are Glinting Monarch Topaz, Glinting Flawless Ametrine, or Pristine Monarch Topaz. Finally, blue gems to keep an eye out for are Balanced Twilight Opal, Balanced Dreadstone, Shifting Twilight Opal, and Shifting Dreadstone.
For enchantments, you’re looking for the mostly agility bonuses and increases to attack power. A great enchantment is Enchant Chest: Powerful Stats, which increases all your stats by 10. For cloaks, look for Enchant Cloak: Major Agility, which adds 22 agility. If you’re unable to afford them, then go for a lesser enchant. These enchants listed are the top-of-the-line enchants, and, therefore, very expensive. You’re better off going for a lesser enchant (such as Exceptional Stats or Superior Agility) in the short term as that you’ll be upgrading your gear.
For leatherworkers, you can add Fur Lining: Attack Power to your bracers, which adds 114 attack power! See, skinning dead animals pays off.
Bandages and Healing Potions
By this level, you should be able to make Heavy Frostweave bandages. There is no excuse if you can’t. While you’ll have healers on raids, their primary focus will be on the tanks. Keep a good supply of bandages and healing potions on you. You’ll get healing (unless the healer hates you), but you’ll be expected to help them out by not dying.
If you haven’t learned cooking before now (I didn’t learn it either, so there’s no shame), then do so now. At higher levels, you’ll be able to make food, such as Blackened Dragonfin or Dalaran Clam Chowder, which gives you a bonus to certain stats if you eat for more than 10 seconds. These bonuses usually last for an hour.
Flasks, Elixirs, and Scrolls
For scrolls, you’ll want to carry some scrolls of Agility, preferably Agility VIII. Scrolls do stack with flasks and elixirs. You’ll want to carry a few as that scrolls usually last for 30 minutes and raids go for much longer than that.
Elixirs are broken down into 2 types, battle and guardian. Elixirs last, on the average, for an hour. You can only have one of each type of elixir up at one time. If you have a battle elixir up, and you drink a different battle elixir, the second elixir will replace the first one. Battle elixirs are the useful ones for us rogues. The only useful guardian elixirs are one that add health or resistance. Useful battle elixirs are Guru’s Elixir (+20 to all stats), Elixir of Mighty Agility (+45 to agility), Wrath Elixir (+90 attack power), and Elixir of Accuracy (+45 hit rating). The main downfall of elixirs is that if you die, then the effects of the elixir goes away as well. Since you’ll be new to raiding, you’ll be dying….a lot. You’ll die so many times, you’ll think a dungeon floor is the most relaxing bed you’ve ever slept on.
Flasks are a different story. Flasks count as both a guardian and battle elixir, so you can have the effect of one flask at a time, but no elixirs at all. The upside is that the benefits of a flask do not disappear upon your eventual demise, but continue to last as long as the original duration, which is normally 2 hours. The best flask is the Flask of Endless Rage, which adds 180 attack power. A lesser flask is the Flask of Relentless Assault, which adds 120 attack power.
All in all, it takes a lot of time, effort, and gold to properly get ready to begin raiding. If the grind gets too monotonous, then make sure you do something fun to break it up. Hopefully, the suggestions above will help steer you in the right direction. Good luck!