Here’s some basic combat advice.
Staying alive is the single most important thing you can do in organized raiding. The benefits of avoiding unnecessary deaths outweigh nearly anything else you can contribute. Lasting longer during a pull and being consistent from pull to pull allow you and everyone in your raid group to familiarize themselves with various dangers and aspects of an encounter. Becoming familiar happens a lot faster if you’re spending more time in combat and less time running back and recovering from a wipe. Until your raid leader calls a wipe, this should be your first priority.
Above and beyond anything and everything I can suggest to someone who wants to be a better raider, the most important piece of advice I can give is avoid avoidable deaths.
Hamlet’s post on Raid Awareness distills the essence of what raid leaders the world over attempt to convey to their raid groups on a regular basis. This explains why survival matters more than pretty much anything as well as it can be done.
Stay behind your target.
Many bosses have attacks that affect those in front of them. Dragon breaths, cleave effects and so on usually only hit those in front of the boss.
Bosses can also parry your attacks, but this only happens when you’re in front. You’ll do more damage behind your target. Unless there’s a strategic reason to be in front, don’t be in front.
Stay on target.
A large portion of your damage comes from basic auto attacks. It’s important to remain in range of your target as much as you can. Use and plan your movement abilities to ensure that you’re attacking as much as possible.
Ranged and Healers
Always Be Casting.
Often referred to the ABC rule, as a ranged damage dealer or healer it’s important to be casting some kind of spell as much as you can. This can be difficult during movement periods, so minimizing how much you need to move is an important consideration as well.
It’s a good general rule to assume that casting the wrong spell is better than not casting a spell. Especially if you’re learning a class or spec, make sure abilities you can use while moving and “filler” spells are always easy buttons to press and be pressing them if you’re not sure what to do. You can use the cast time to plan your other abilities and get back on track. Healers be sure to have easy access to an efficient healing ability.
Plan your cooldowns.
If you have an idea of how long a fight is, you can easily figure out how many times you can use your cooldowns. Healer cooldowns should primarily be used when they are needed. Damage cooldowns should be used as often as possible, but it’s important to keep your potion, trinkets, and Heroism or Bloodlust in mind as well.
- Using cooldowns along with potions or trinkets will yield more overall damage than using them all separately.
- Delaying a cooldown to pair it up with something is a good idea if you…
- don’t sacrifice a use of that cooldown.
- can still use it before reaching the target’s Execute phase.
Reaching the Execute range sooner is a raid DPS gain, so it’s not a good idea to wait to use them during that range unless it’s very soon or you have a very powerful execute ability.
Plan your attacks.
Always try to keep your next 2 or 3 button presses in mind. Knowing what you’re going to press ahead of time will make it easier to react to procs, movement, and other changes in combat, and keep your attacks happening instead of having delays while you fumble for the ability you need to use.
Try to plan for changes in your combat situation. If AoE or movement are necessary soon, it may be beneficial to delay abilities that can be used or are needed for those situations. As Enhancement, it can often be beneficial to use other abilities instead of Lava Lash if you need to AoE soon.