So now that you've decided Raiding is for You, here are some things you can do now to prepare.
Build for Flexibility
“Be Prepared” is not just a Boy Scout motto, it’s a good motto for raiders, too. Try to be flexible in the classes you can bring, the weapons you use, and the roles you can play.
- Bring both a melee option and a ranged option. This is classic raiding wisdom. Sometimes we get encounters that are particularly punishing for folks fighting in melee range. Sometimes the opposite. Be ready for either!
- Buff your team. If your class can share buffs, bring them!
- Know your utility. Can your class blast a field? Break a breakbar? Strip boons? CC trash mobs? Reflect projectiles? Dodge, dash or teleport to a safe spot? In Guild Wars 2 there’s a lot more to combat than DPSing, tanking or healing. Learn about and master the special utility your class can bring.
- Bring multiple builds and gear sets. Prepare at least a couple different roles your class can perform in a raid. Have the builds and gear sets all set to go. Practice the builds ahead of time so you are familiar with how they play.
- For weapons and trinkets, go Ascended. Ascended weapons are noticeably more powerful than the exotic versions; try to bring ascended versions for your key dps and healing weapons. Ascended trinkets are also noticeably better than exotic and relatively easy to obtain using Laurels or Guild Commendations.
- For armor, focus on stats and runes. Exotic armor is probably good enough, especially in the first raids. More important is to carry armor sets specifically tuned to the roles you plan to cover, complete with appropriate runes.
Something new with HoT: armor purchased with WvW badges or karma will be salvageable! This makes it a lot cheaper to carry around multiple armor sets, and you’ll be able to salvage those expensive runes if you end up replacing an armor set.
Plan to run around (or away)
Positioning and spatial awareness have always been a part of successful raiding in MMOs; it’s one of the key things you have to figure out as you learn an encounter. The developers have warned us to expect lots of this in GW2 raids.
GW2 combat puts a premium on evasion. Remember Nochtli in Dry Top? To beat him you need to run, dodge, jump, teleport, or pop stability. Usually all of the above! This is a great place to practice your movement skills.
Dodge is one way to evade, but also you’ll find the Evade effect on some weapon skills and utilities. And don’t forget your leaps and teleports (which often work while stunned)! Super speed can be very helpful too, due to the way normal runspeed steps down when in combat.
Prepare to break that bar!
The Breakbar mechanic coming in HoT replaces the Defiance “CC immunity most of the time” mechanic that GW2 bosses have rocked since launch. Breakbars are much less finicky than Defiance, and come with a new, easier-to-interpret UI.
The breakbar appears below the target’s health bar. The metallic, “wood screw” graphic means the bar can’t be broken (yet). Typically you’ll need to do something to advance the encounter (DPS the boss, interact with a raid mechanic, etc.) before the breakbar becomes breakable.
When the bar turns blue, break it ASAP! Something... important happens when the bar reaches empty (although exactly what varies from encounter to encounter). For example, breaking the bar might be a required step to advance the encounter to the next stage, or the boss may become vulnerable to a certain type of attack. For some encounters you will have a limited time to break the bar, and failing to do so in time will unleash a powerful attack from the boss.
Bring some CCs to “attack” the breakbar. In the encounters we’ve seen so far, hard CCs break the bar faster than soft CCs.
“Hard” CCs (disables):
- Freeze (Ice Bow #5)
- Petrify (Basilisk Venom)
“Soft” CCs (reduced movement or action):
Finally, don’t forget your noms
Every little edge helps in challenging content. Bring level 80 food and maintenance buffs for your class and roles. And keep an eye out for new foods and maintenance buffs in HoT, possibly specifically designed for the raids!