[Guide] Getting Started in Raids
Guide to Getting Started in Raids
Raiding is the highest PvE type content in Guild Wars 2. Requiring top level play and co-ordinated groups, it’s easy to get scared off of even attempting them.
But fret not! With a persistent attitude and willingness to learn, you’ll certainly be able find yourself regularly clearing raid encounters with minor difficulty. All it takes is a bit of practice and consideration of your fellow players.
Since this is a long document, obligatory
Get voice comms, choose a class and meta build, gear it, learn the build, learn a fight, join a teaching group/guildcough[VFX]cough, bash your head against VG / Trio / Escort until you win and progress further from there.
Step 1: Install Voice Comm Tools
If there’s a raid leader willing to teach, they will likely prefer to talk to you over voice communication tools. Don’t be stubborn about this; many raid mechanics require the entire group to be aware, and text doesn’t cut it for a lot of new people. Not only that, typing while fighting is an added difficulty for the commander. Even if they’re good enough to continue their skill rotations while saying orders in chat, it’s an unnecessary risk since voice comms is much easier to use.
You don’t need to talk if you’re shy or don’t have a mic. Just being able to listen is a major help.
If you intend to PUG, be sure to install the programs and know how to use it before you start looking for group. Needing to install a program after joining a group will force up to 9 people to wait for you and I’m sure those other members are just itching to start by the time the group fills up.
Step 2: Pick Your Class and Build
And unlock your Elite specialization completely (unless you’re an Engineer).
If you haven’t been around for a while, you probably won’t have 5 Ascended geared characters just waiting to be used. While multiclassing should be your end-goal, starting off with only one class will let you join in the fun much faster. Choose your favourite role to take in a raid fight, gear that one up first, learn it, and then move onto gearing a second and onward.
A brief overview of the current raid meta uses for the 9 professions:
Every group always wants at least one of each:
- WARRIOR: As Berserker, Might-stacking Phalanx Strength (commonly referred to as PS), banner support with defiance bar breaking. Overall difficulty is low; Warriors are rarely given “extra” mechanical tasks in raids and can mainly focus on skill rotation.
- REVENANT: As Herald, boon duration and fury buffs, and defiance bar breaking support. Depending the groups, Revenants can be used for protection too. Overall difficulty is low; about the same as Warrior since Revenants are also rarely given extra tasks other than attacking.
- RANGER: As Druid, healing sustainment, plus Spotter, Spirit of Frost and Grace of the Land for offensive support. Overall difficulty is high; Rangers need to be observant of allied positioning and their HP bars to make sure people who need heals are getting it. Rangers may also have additional assignments to them for certain fights.
- MESMER: As Chronomancer, high-to-permanent Quickness uptime and Alacrity boosts, with reflect and boonstrip utility. Overall difficulty is high; Chronomancers are often made into the tanks, which requires knowing your positioning and evade/block timings, all the while maintaining your skill rotation. If someone else is tanking, or the boss has a different kind of tanking mechanic, then Mesmer is easier to play since there’s few other tasks and they can just focus on the Quickness rotation.
The remaining 5 are mostly damage focused and you mix and match them as needed for each fight.
- NECROMANCER: As Reaper, condition damage dealer and mob control support. While solo condition damage is lower than Engineer, paired with additional Necromancers allow them to do the dreaded Epidemic bounce, which clears additional adds summoned by bosses much more easily, not to mention ticking up conditions on the boss. Overall difficulty is moderate; Necromancers are occasionally given extra tasks, but for the most part can just focus on harming. Managing any minions and co-ordinating properly with other Necromancers adds a bit more to the learning curve, but nothing most people can’t handle.
- ENGINEER: As regular Engineer (not Scrapper), condition damage dealer and control skill options. Overall difficulty is high; while Engineer extra tasks are probably about the same as Necromancer, your rotation is several times more complex and will take more practice than any other class to master.
- GUARDIAN: As Dragonhunter, power damage dealer, protection support and reflect utility. Overall difficulty is low to moderate; Guardians are typically second choice for tank, which can raise the difficulty on them for particular fights. Otherwise, their extra tasks should be quick to learn and the rest is just knowing the damage rotation.
- THIEF: As Daredevil, power damage dealer with party defiance bar breaking support. Overall difficulty is low; you’re just there to cause lots of pain and not much else.
- ELEMENTALIST: As Tempest, power damage dealer with a bit of heal and stun break support. Overall difficulty is moderate-high; Due to the jack-of-all-trades nature of the profession, Eles can get tasked for a lot of different things to fill in the gaps of the composition and the rotation is the second most complex next to condition Engineer (though to be fair, it’s a very far second).
These are the most common and accepted uses of the professions. While many other build styles are possible and quite usable (Healing Tempest, Daredevil Tank, Power Engineer, Condition Druid, etc.), if you intend on PUGing a raid at any point of your game lifetime you should know deviating from the norm is hit-or-miss depending on the group you find yourself in, and you’ll have higher odds being accepted by taking on the role of your chosen class as explained above.
As such, learn the most common take of your preferred class, then gear and learn for other builds to add more flexibility.
Step 3: Gear Up
You want at least Lv80 Exotics in the stat combination of your build style. For power builds, this will be mostly Berserker, for conditions, it will be mostly Viper’s and for healers it will be mostly Magi’s. For quick gearing up, theTemple Armors from Orr will give you access to Lv80 Exotics, but keep in mind you cannot remove any Runes placed into them, so think twice about it.
And while Lv80 Exotics are acceptable, you’re more likely to get into PUGs or guild raid runs being at Ascended level. The best place to get those is undoubtedly Fractals. You can use Fractals to both gear up and practice what it’s like being in mechanics-based team fights. You may need to craft a few pieces of Ascended as you slowly up your Agony resistance here as well.
Generally, the best order to gear would be:
Weapons -> Torso -> Leggings -> Helmet -> Arms/Feet -> Arms/Feet -> Shoulders
Trinkets and backs requires other work, but are probably going to be the first Ascended pieces you acquire. You can use Laurels, Guild Commendations, or Fractal Relics for your Amulet, Rings and Accessories. Backs you can either craft or farm Bloodstone Fen or Ember Bay and buy the Blood Ruby Backpack or the Lava Skull Backpack.
The GW2 Wiki is undoubtedly the best resource for finding Ascended gearings in the stat choice of your flavour.
Step 4: Practice Skill Rotation
Every single class has one, and for your class of choice you need to know how to do it while taking on a fight. The only one you can’t really practice is healing with Druid, but the rest you most certainly can.
Even if you think you’re already really good at your class (and why wouldn’t you, if you’ve been clearing Tier4 Fractals with relative ease for your gear), it helps to give it a whirl, put it to the test and see how you stack up. The DPS golem is where you can do just that.
If you don’t know how to get there, in Lion’s Arch, head south from Marriner Waypoint into the red portal icon. You will now be in the Aerodrome. Head into portal at the top-right near the bank and there you go.
Summon a golem, give your rotation a try and compare yourself against Quantify’s benchmark for each class and their most accepted builds.
Don’t worry if you find yourself excessively lower. That’s normal, for the first few times, as your probably didn’t learn all the tricks to your rotation in previous PvE. Study the videos displaying each class’s skill usage and replicate it best you can from memory until it becomes automatic.
If you aren’t using +stat infusions and you’re not eating food for your tests, you should aim to find yourself at 75-80% of the numbers they show. In all honesty, even lower than that is probably still okay, as you’ll rarely ever be able to do the full DPS Golem rotation in an actual fight. So long as you have the rotation committed to memory to the point where you can complete it without thinking or staring at your skill cooldowns, you’re in a good spot. Even better is knowing how to resume rotation when a boss mechanic interrupts you.
Step 5: Read / Watch a Fight
OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED
The raid fights have a LOT to each of them. While you can totally just throw yourself into the fire (assuming every member of your raid squad is okay with it), at least having an idea of what to expect will help loads, and raid leaders, even those leading a training run, will probably appreciate if you took the time to look into the fight yourself.
Dulfy is my pick for best site on raid fights overview. The GW2 Wiki also includes quite detailed pages as well. If you joined a guild for raiding, they may provide their own learning resources, so be sure to ask if they have any. Quantify also includes videos of fights in their profession build pages, so you can see from the perspective of the class you’re playing as.
Step 6: Join a Raid Guild
OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Static groups will tend to be stronger than PUGs, for the obvious reasons that people learn each other’s playstyles and can read each other’s actions in a way you probably can’t do with people you just met. Static groups will also tend to progress further together.
The unfortunate bit; many raiding guilds have requirements like “Must have killed at least 2 raid bosses”, or “At least one character fully geared to meta with killproof”, which are tall asks if you are just starting out. It’s kind of like entry-level jobs in real life requiring a Master’s and 5 years of experience, yet somehow wanting you to be 22 with fresh exciting energy.
The other consideration is making sure that the raid times of guild line-up with when you can go for a raid. After all, if you’re in Australia, but the main leaders are the Eastern Standard Timezone…it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to group with them very often.
If you need to get your feet wet and you want a group to be accommodating to newbies, there was a post a few months back that lists guilds that teach raids. For more up-to-date guild finding, /r/guildrecruitment/ is a fine resource. The official forums is another place to find a group. Just shoot an in-game mail to the contact provided.
Then there’s always searching in-game. The raid LFG panel, or the Aerodrome lobby are possible locations to look at for finding a more consistent group to run with.
Also just gonna vouch for [VFX] and [Aura] as being the super best and most awesome raid teaching guilds. Totally not only because I’m leader of [VFX] or anything…and not only because I’m friends with the leader of [Aura], no, not at all…
Step 7: Join a Raid Run
The moment you’ve been waiting for! Whether it’s with a guild or with a PUG, there’s one big thing to keep in mind.
When you’re starting a raid fight you’ve never done before, only join a group that is specifically labelled training, practice, casual, newbies welcome or similar such statements. Failure to do so will lead you into a very angry group of 9 people. Please be considerate; we know you want to start enjoying this content, but everyone in the squad must be onboard with the idea that they may not get the kill. Raids are NOT easy the first time around, and if you lie about your experience you will waste 9 other people’s time. Don’t ever be that person. The only thing you’ll do is piss off nine other players who are going to piss you off and we’ll all be angry when it could’ve all been avoided.
In fact, don’t lie about your experience at all, even in training runs. There are times I’ve been forced to kick people from training runs because they claimed to know the fight so I’d give them a pass on using voice comms. Then when the fight comes it’s very evident they don’t know what they’re doing. I would’ve perfectly been fine with it if they were upfront at the start. But I wouldn’t want to help or play with anyone that’s lied to me. It’s just dumb.
If you’re rejected out of a group, don’t take it to heart. Consider politely ask the leader why you got kicked. If they respond politely back with reasons, try to understand where they’re coming from. If they don’t respond or are rude in response, ignore it and move on. It’s not worth getting worked up over.
With that out of the way, here is my personal take on each raid instance. Note these thoughts are very subjective and opinion-based.
Raids To Try First
There’s really nothing to this. You won’t be able to do the cave run portion if this is your first raid since you need a raid mastery for it, so you’ll just be with the majority of the team, killing mobs, watching the ground for mines and using soft CCs on Wargs. Boss fight at the end is roughly equivalent to a low-to-mid tier Fractal boss. Leyline Gliding mastery is a nice to have for more flexibility on your role, but very unnecessary, especially if you’re using the Mesmer portal strategy.
A triple one-by-one boss fight, where you can use the environment to give yourself major advantages. There aren’t too many extra mechanics; Necromancers or Guardians need to CC Saboteurs, Revenant deals with mortars, and classes with burning skills like Guardian and Elementalist need to be ready when Narella gets oiled up (obligatory kinky comment) but the rest is just standard stack and attack.
Vale Guardian (VG)
I would actually rank this higher in terms of overall difficulty compared to some other bosses, but VG I feel makes a perfect starting point for what to expect in raid boss fights. It has it all; group composition considerations, positioning, defiance bar, extra mechanics, and somewhat strict DPS check. So even if the learning curve is overall higher than some other fights, it gives you a perfect picture for what’s to come, which provides experience that Escort and Trio can’t give. Condition dealers and healers will need to know how to watch for and run to green circles, tanking class will need to know the timings and positioning of running around the arena, Mesmer should know how to boonstrip and every class should be aware of their knockbacks, pulls, chills, cripples and immobilizes for Seeker management.
Once you clear one of the above ones, you’ll unlock your Forsaken Thicket mastery track. Be sure to level up those masteries before attempting some of the later raids, as they can really help.
Quick thoughts about the other raids, in order of release.
Probably my pick for the most simple fight, and a logical next boss after clearing VG. It’s just straight DPS for the majority, with a few other mechanics.
Necromancers, Engineers, Revenants, Rangers and Eles will want to know how to do a soft CC rotation as they may be assigned to hold a Charged Soul. Eles will want to know how to clear Spectral Darkness orbs before being assigned to it, as it can screw with your rotation and positioning somewhat until you’re used to it.
There’s only one thing that breaks a Sabetha run and it’s not knowing what directions are north, south, east and west at all times. Spend too long getting orientated and you’ll miss your green bomb throw, or worse, walk into a flame wall as you rotate your camera around.
Thiefs and Eles are normally picked for smashing cannons, so you’ll want the Explosive Launch raid mastery before using those classes in this fight. Rangers and Necromancers should be prepared for flak kiting duty. Warriors should be good for Timed Bomb baiting and clearing away from group. Every player will want to be good at determining directions and using their special action key, as most groups will have a randomly assigned green bomb. Check your minimap or use an overlay like TacO if you want assistance for that. If you have a really strong squad member who can bait the green bomb onto themself every time, the rest of Sabetha is a simple fight.
This is probably my pick for “most likely to fail”. Slothasor is all about personal accountability, which means if even one person fails at understanding the fight, they will kill the rest of the group. The Slubling role is mostly simple once you understand pathing, and typical assignments include anyone not Mesmer or healer. Everyone should be ready to tank and know how to safely drop volatile poison.
Specialized roles will see Mesmers doing pulls and dropping reflects, Guardians dropping reflects, Necromancers for projectile denial and mob control and potentially Elementalists using Focus and Revenant using Ventari for more projectile denial during the chaotic last 20%, if your group needs it. Necromancers will need to watch their Epidemics so they don’t accidentally kill an allied Slubling.
Pretty straight-forward, as far as raid fights go. Scratch that, this probably edges out Sloth as being most likely to fail because of the personal accountability thing. There’s few class specific mechanics, but there’s a lot of general mechanics that everyone will need to know.
You’ll want the Forsaken Thicket Waters mastery before getting into this, and you will absolutely need to know your class’ CC rotation for the sacrifice mechanic, even if your class is not traditionally meant for defiance bar breaking. After all, if your Warrior or Revenant is targetted for sacrifice, you still need to help them out. Mesmers and Guardians will need to know how to reflect to break Matthias’ shield bubbles, Ele can help with Sand Squall if you’re desperate. Ranger and Necromancers should also be ready to pull downed bodies out of damaging fields when the situation calls for it. Eles will need to help clear icy patches with burning. As with Sabetha, orientating yourself correctly will be required so you always hit the clean fountain with Corruption.
Stronghold of the Faithful
Keep Construct (KC)
For me, tied with Gorseval as your next target after defeating Vale Guardian. Similar to Gorseval, KC is mainly a DPS check, and power is by far better than using a condition build here.
Rangers and Revenants should be ready for Core Construct pushing duty, and Mesmer needs to know how and when to Focus4 if the orb pusher is having any difficulty. Every player should know what to do when fixated and how to respond in emergencies (ie, staying away from the other fixated person when unlucky spawn or DPS isn’t high enough to burst the other in time).
Pretty easy fight, in all honesty…if you’re not tanking. If you’re tanking, this will be hell and I highly recommend NOT doing Xera as tank until you’re ready to lead the group. Everybody else, just listen to the tank. Each tank does this fight slightly differently, so following the tank’s orders is the highest chance of success.
You’ll need Leyline Gliding to even attempt this fight, and Forsaken Magic raid mastery can help you out as well. Mesmer (or other tank) should be extremely proficient in understanding the fight, what to do at what points and how to accommodate variations in DPS, as well as knowing when to evade/block Xera’s most dangerous attacks while still keeping up their skill rotation. Eles should be ready to do ranged shard clears on command and Necromancers should be good at mob clearing. Every class should know how to push Exquisite Conjunctions into Unstable Ley Rifts. Every player should also be ready to shield from the deadly attack; my method is wait until the message that Xera is poised for the deadly attack, count to 5, then toss it up. Don’t get trigger happy!
From there on, you should be well on your way to clearing raids more regularly. Happy raiding!