Updated Sun, May 08, 2011 by Messiah
Many players raid or aspire to raid in World of Warcraft since it is viewed as the reason to get to the endgame in an MMO. To be successful in a raid as a player you need a few prerequisites such as gear, coordination, and an understanding of the basic strategies and tactics used in a fight. While many players use the terms Tactics and Strategy to mean the same thing, and really they are very close in meaning, there are some differences. Before going further let’s take a look at how I define tactics and strategies.
Realize up front that when I say that everyone uses the terms interchangeably, I mean even myself. Notice that almost all the guides out there for raid boss fights are called Boss Strategies? That is because of the similarity in definition and in most cases they can be used interchangeably. For this discussion though I want to get specific.
Both words come from a military background can be summed up as follows:
Strategies – Based on the General, and referring to the overall goal. The “what” that needs to be accomplished.
Tactics – Based on arranging for, maneuvering during, and fighting specific battles. The “how” to win a given situation.
Therefore when referring to strategies they are more of an overall view of things, the basic overall plan used to achieve a goal. Tactics will vary on a fight-by-fight basis as they change depending on the individual boss’s abilities and mechanics. This means that really when we are talking about boss strategies they should be called boss tactics since they are an example of a well defined “how” to deal with a single fight.
So knowing all of that, when you look at raiding there are actually a very limited number of overall strategies used, and they tend to be very similar from encounter to encounter. This occurs because the number of possible “what’s” you need to accomplish is very limed, in that there are not that many different strategies to work from. Which are used will depend on the boss and its abilities but then that becomes the tactics of the fight.
A great little write-up about the differences can be found here: The Major Differences Between Strategies and Tactics, and How to Avoid the Risk of Interchanging Them. It is by Tom Varjan and talks about them in a business sense, but demonstrates the differences and ideas very well.
Back to the main point now, many players get into raiding and may not even have a basic understanding of what they should be watching for in a raid. What can make this even worse in WoW is that there are a large number of players that started raiding in the WotLK expansion that learned to raid through brute force and overpowering encounters. There are also those players that are just starting to raid that do not know the basic strategies used for raiding simply because they have not raided in the past. Lastly, there are seasoned raiders that can probably explain every single tactic for each individual boss in the game in detail.
No matter where you fit in, beginner – WotLK overpower – Raid Veteran, a refresh of the basic raid strategies used in World of Warcraft is a good idea every once in a while. In fact the basic strategies found here can be used in almost any MMOG since they tend to be extremely similar from game to game, with only fine details changing the exact tactics you need to use in a fight based on the boss or the game you are dealing with
Before going into the basic strategies for raiding, there is one overall thing that needs to be kept in mind.
Many players get so focused on what they are currently doing whether that is tanking, healing, or DPS’ing, that they forget to watch what is going on around them. While being able to focus on a task is a great ability, doing so in a raid very quickly means your death. Pretty much every strategy revolves around you actually paying attention to the environment and having good situational awareness and reacting quickly to changes around you.
Remember that no matter what role you fill in a group, when you are dead you are not filling it. DPS players especially need to remember this as they have the worst reputation of any class type of trying to stack fight statistics (DPS numbers) instead of moving to avoid incoming damage or effects. Dead = 0 DPS!