Making the Transition: Casual to Progression

Or vice versa!

I’ve been around.  I’ve done stuff.  I’ve seen… things.  I’ve raided everything from Karazhan to Firelands.  I’ve raided casually when I felt like it, to hardcore “berated if you don’t show up” heroic raiding.

My experiences are likely unique based on the people I’ve raided with, but the lessons learned are pretty universal.  First, let’s talk about moving from a casual environment to more progression oriented.

Casual to Progression

The biggest difference to expect between a casual raid to that of a progression raid is you can expect that your performance (whether it be healing, dps, threat production as a tank, cool-down use, consumables use, etc.) to be under the microscope.  Mediocre playing likely won’t fly.  You can also expect to be talked to regarding ways you can improve your performance — and not everyone is able to deliver feedback in a constructive way.  It’s important that you have a thick skin if you really want to get into progression raiding.

Here’s some good habits to get into for progression raiding:

  • Optimize your spec, glyphs, gems and reforging.  Everyone typically can use some help in this regard.  Hunters are fortunate and get Female Dwarf‘s optimizer.  Use it. Love it.
  • Read and watch lots of strategies. I prepare myself by watching Tankspot and Learn2Raid‘s videos. Know the fights before walking into them.
  • Spend time with a target dummy.  If you’re DPS, time yourself to 10-million damage on the Raider’s Target dummy.  Most fights in Firelands won’t require more than 6-7 million damage per player, so make sure you’re getting there as quickly as possible.
  • Learn how to read raid logs.  It’s an art, and can be super confusing. World of Logs is my choice.
  • Know your class, and your roles inside a raid.  If you’re a hunter, there’s tons of resources out there to make you a better player. You can find most all of them linked somewhere off of WoW Hunter’s Hall.
  • Always carry your own food.  Feasts might not always be available.
  • Always carry your own flasks.  Cauldrons might be on short supply, or you might miss it.  Best to be prepared.
  • Carry potions.  Lots of them. If you’re DPS, pre-pot before fights it would make sense. (which is an entirely different discussion for a later time)
  • When in doubt, ask questions.  It’s better to ask and prevent a mistake than make one and get reprimanded later.

Progression to Casual

So you’ve figured out that progression raiding is no longer for you.  That may be because you’re not into raiding several nights a week, or if real life has caught up and is demanding more of your time.  Whatever the reason, you’re likely in for a culture shock.  Making the transition to casual from progression is easier from a preparation standpoint, but from my experience, difficult for the mindset shift.  You already have the good habits I’ve mentioned above, but you have to prepare yourself to wipe several times on something easy, expect to hear the fights explained several times, and if you’re recently from a progression standpoint, feel like you’re carrying the raid on your shoulders. (Not really, but sometimes it can feel that way)  Gear will be slower to get, but hopefully you have more fun getting there — after all, the pressure’s off.  Enjoy it.

Ideally everyone finds a raiding team that fits their play style – there’s lots of options out there. It could even be found in some hardcore progression guild’s alt-run on the weekends.  I ended up doing that for awhile, and enjoyed it.  There’s a raid team out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of taking the time to find the right one.

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