- "Leading a raid can be like herding cats, but by the graces, they're your cats."
- —Stylean Silversteel, TCG
Raids groups are a way to have parties of more than 5 and up to 40 people, divided into up to 8 groups of up to 5 players. The terms "raid" and "raiding" primarily and traditionally refer to PvE raid-specific instances. Raid instances require playing as a team, and are designed to be the most challenging and entertaining PvE content available in the game.
As party leader, a player can convert their group into a raid group by accessing the "Social" Panel, selecting "Raid", and choosing "Convert Group to Raid." You can do this also by right-clicking your character portrait and selecting "Convert Group to Raid" from the menu. From then on, any new players invited to the group will join the raid group (up to a maximum of 40). This requires at least 2 people (ie. a party). A person alone cannot form a raid group.
While in a raid group, players do not receive credit for completing quest objectives unless the quest calls for a raid. Players also receive an experience reduction for any mob killed while in a raid group. These are to prevent players from creating very large groups in order to complete normal quests or other game content intended for parties of 5 or fewer.
Instances requiring a raid are subject to a raid timer, which means that defeated bosses within the instance will remain so until the instance is reset (typically once a week).
The intended number of players for a raid instance has varied greatly in the past, with the most extreme setup being 40-man raids, eg. Molten Core and others in vanilla-era WoW. Since Wrath of the Lich King, all new raids have been introduced in a 10-player and a 25-player version. In Mists of Pandaria, Flexible Raiding was introduced with the Siege of Orgrimmar, allowing anywhere between 10 and 25 players, and in Warlords of Draenor, the flexible scaling technology expanded to all difficulties except Mythic, which is 20-man only.
Raiding as end-game content
Raids are designed as activities for people whose characters have reached the maximum level. As the game does not permit further increase of skills, or introduce new abilities, the only avenues remaining to enhance a character lay in better gear and other rewards only found in raid instances.
Almost all raid events and bosses require that the raid members have particular levels of gear and skill, expressed as dps, damage mitigation, and/or healing ability. In addition, a majority of such bosses also require the group use particular, sometimes unique tactics. While occasionally those tactics mirror those used by smaller groups, they often require things that smaller groups simply don't have the diversity to do.
Given these unique requirements, most raid boss encounters require some amount of practice to defeat. Sometimes the peculiarities of a boss encounter are such that being vastly overgeared/overlevel will not permit the raid to ignore the designed tactics.
Raiding guilds are guilds that devote some or all of their collective time to playing in raid instances, defeating (or practicing to defeat) raid encounters. They have the advantage of being able to get to know the abilities (or lack thereof) of their various members, and adjust their tactics accordingly. They also have a shared investment in the success of not just that raid, but future raids as well, a feature that "pick up raids" lack.
Raiding guilds often use additional measures to enhance their chances of success, notably Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, and particular addons that provide timing, threat, and other services not available in the base WoW client.
Raiding guilds and time commitment
There is some academic discussion about the concept of raids as they currently are designed in major graphical MMOs, primarily centered on how much of a player's time they consume. A typical World of Warcraft raid can take 3-4 hours once the group is able to complete it, and can take much more time over many sessions to get to that point. Basically, that it can take up as much of one's time as permitted. Generally, though, practical considerations (work/school schedules, fatigue, etc) will place limits on how much time a group spends raiding.
One of the more extreme examples in the history of MMOs is a Final Fantasy XI raid that lasted 18 hours before the players decided to quit.. Many boss fights in World of Warcraft contain an enrage timer to ensure that a single fight does not last too long.
Given the amount of time involved to be successful, there are some game developers and academics that feel that raiding can be a focus for obsession, impacting a person's ability to care about real life goals and accomplishments. Players should be aware of these factors when deciding if they want to get into raiding or to what extent they want to get into raiding.
Starting a raid
The leader of a party can convert the group to a raid by clicking the "Convert to Raid" button in the Group window. At this point it becomes a "group of parties" with up to 8 parties, each with 5 characters. The leader of the raid can drag characters between groups to move them to different parties; this was traditionally done to achieve some strategic goal such as distributing shamans and paladins to share totems and auras or warriors with rogues for but Blizzard has phased out this strategy. The leader can promote other characters, which gives them the abilities to invite and kick from the raid and also use the broadcast raid warnings (using the "/rw" command). A good site to use to determine appropriate raid makeup is http://raidcomp.mmo-champion.com/.
See Raiding for newbies for further details.
- Main article: Raid AddOns
There have been many mods produced specifically for raiding.
10 and 25-player
Lower Blackrock Spire(changed to 5 man dungeon in Cata, revamped and heroic mode added in WoD) Upper Blackrock Spire(changed to 5 man dungeon in Cata)
Zul'Aman(2.3.0) (changed to 5 man dungeon in Cata)
10 and 25-player
10 and 25-player
- Vault of Archavon
- Chamber of Aspects
- The Eye of Eternity
- Ulduar (3.1.0)
- Trial of the Crusader (3.2.0)
- Trial of the Grand Crusader (3.2.0)
- Icecrown Citadel (3.3.0)
10 and 25-player
10 and 25-player
- Mogu'shan Vaults
- Heart of Fear
- Terrace of the Endless Spring
- Throne of Thunder (5.2.0)
- Siege of Orgrimmar (5.4.0)
- Instances by level
- Raiding guild
- Raiding for newbies
- Raid AddOns
- World boss for available and removed outdoor encounters
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Raid groups are no longer necessary to enter pre-Mists of Pandaria raid dungeons. Enemies in these raids that previously required more than one player to defeat are now more easily dealt with by players battling alone.
Info on the official WoW site: