Intro to Raiding

Best. Raid. Reward. Ever.

Best. Raid. Reward. Ever.

Author Edit: This was written before the large-scale class revamps that accompanied Helm’s Deep.  The general principles should mostly be accurate, but the particulars, especially regarding traits, likely are not.

I’m writing this for those people who have played in groups before, whether small or full fellowship, and want to get into raiding.  Raiding might seem like it is just like other group instances, only with more players.  In some ways this is true, but raiding is a bit more involved.  I will cover how to know if you’re ready for a raid, what to bring to a raid, and how to behave while raiding.  Assume from here on that I am referring to tier 1 raids.  Obviously, if you are attempting tier 2 raids, you shouldn’t need any sort of introduction to raiding.


Test, Testing, One, Two, Three

Are you ready to sit for hours on end, losing over and over, getting little to nothing in tangible gains and growing ever more frustrated?  If you answered yes, congratulations, you are ready to raid!  I am only partly joking.  Raiding, as a rule, is not easy, no matter what anyone tells you.  It may have become easy for some, after spending a long time raiding with the same people, getting their raid gear, and becoming much better players than when they started, but rarely is a raid easy.  You will need to put in the time and effort to get comfortable working in a large group of other players and you will need to be prepared for the fact that you often will not be successful in completing a raid.  Like all things, if you want to become good at it, you must practice.

Regarding your in-game counterpart, the gear check is relatively simple: is raid gear the only possible, significant upgrade to the gear you have now?  If the answer is no, then you probably should try to acquire better gear first.  Look to crafters for teal gear, check reputation-based vendors, or peruse skirmish camp NPCs.  If the answer instead is yes or mostly yes, then you pass the gear check.  If you’re lucky, a group might carry you even if you are undergeared.

Beyond gear, do you know how to play your class in the way the raid needs?  The best way to know is if you have been able to fulfill that job in a smaller group.  As a guardian, have you been able to successfully tank for a full fellowship?  As a minstrel, have you been able to keep a full fellowship alive and out of danger for an entire instance?  As a hunter, do you pew pew enough?  Ask these sorts of questions.  If you’re uncomfortable and / or inexperienced in a role, definitely say so.  Do you have the class traits required for what a raid group wants you to do?  I have been in raids where hunters did not have all of their CC traits, rune-keepers did not have damage traits, and so on.  Not only did it make for awkward conversation, but we had to plan around such things.


It’s dangerous to go alone…

If you’re now reading this far, you think you are ready for raiding and want to find out what how to prepare.  First, if at all possible, do research on the specific raid you’ll be running.  There are guides out there for most LotRO instances and many videos of successful raids online.  Take advantage of that and learn all about what you will be facing.  It’s no substitute for actually doing the raid, but it’s far better than going in blind or trying to learn all about it from the raid leader two minutes before trying it.

Have the necessary consumables.  We’ll start with character-centric ones.  Always always always have a respectable amount of all four types of draughts / salves that you can buy from Healer NPCs.  Disease, fear, poison, and wound debuffs often play a large part in LotRO instances of all sizes, but in raids, not clearing them can result in wiping the raid.  Trust me, although I get a chuckle out of times like this, you don’t want to be the one person who didn’t bring wound draughts to Ost Dunhoth’s wound wing.  LotRO devs were not trying to be subtle.  Beyond that are morale and power potions, cooked and trail food, and class-specific items mostly made by scholars.  Whether these are necessary depends on your class and how you’ve geared your character.  It doesn’t hurt to have them.

Group-wide consumables are used by one character and affect their entire fellowship, but not the entire raid.  The first and possibly most important is hope tokens.  Many bosses and entire instances have varying amounts of dread present.  Sometimes a hope token is necessary to avoid randomly cowering before bosses in addition to stemming debuffed stats.  The other group-wide consumables are warding and battle lore.  Everyone uses them, but they are of dubious improvement at times.  Generally the stats they boost are already fairly high for most raiders.  Even though only one person per fellowship needs to use these group-wide consumables, it’s common courtesy to take a turn providing these items instead of making the same two or three players always do it.

To close this section, I want to talk about traits.  To be blunt, only class and legendary traits matter.  Racial traits are woefully underpowered compared to the others, so whether you have those is irrelevant.  Many will exclaim the importance of virtues, but honestly, they’re not necessary.  Only tanks I think should definitely work on virtues.  Virtues are mostly defensive in nature and only the tanks should be getting hit in most instances.  Even when the entire raid might be getting hit, gear can make up for lack of virtue ranks.  Don’t misunderstand, they are helpful and provide good bonuses, but they’re a nicety, not a necessity.  I’ve successfully completed tier 2 challenge content on-level with players who had rank 3-5 virtues.  Before raiding, make sure you have all the class and legendary traits necessary to complete your primary role, whatever it may be.  Ideally if your class has a secondary role (champion tanking, hunter cc, etc.), you should get those related traits as well.  If you are unsure about how to trait for a particular raid, ask.  Someone will very likely know.


Peas and Queues

Finally, how you behave in a raid can have a profound effect on whether you get to raid again.  Most of this will fall under the category of common decency, but I find it’s not as common as one might think.  If your raid is using voice chat, whether it’s the horrific in-game version or an outside alternative like ventrilo or teamspeak, try to keep the channel clear for instructions, especially after combat has begun.  Keep chatter to a minimum and if you need to call something out, use names.  Your voice might not be recognizable, particularly over game sounds or when someone is concentrating on what they’re doing and only half-listening.  Say “Heals on Bilbo” or “Adds on Sam” rather than “Heal me!” or “I’m being attacked!”

If you join a group for a raid that you have never done before, be sure to inform the raid leader either in /raid chat or in an IM.  You might think it embarrassing to single yourself out as inexperienced, but the alternative is worse.  If others know you are new, they will explain the fights and give you more leeway in making mistakes.  Saying nothing and trying to play it by ear may land you in hot water when the rest of the raid thinks you are experienced, know the fights, and are still messing up.  Honesty up front is the best choice.

Listen to the raid leader and do what he or she says, even when you think they’re wrong.  Coordinating twelve or more people is not an easy task and having multiple people giving directions, suggestions, or arguing in chat will only result in confusion.  The leader has a strategy they are trying to follow and if things go wrong after you do your own thing, they won’t necessarily know if it was their strategy that was flawed or if you messed up.  Let the strategy succeed or fail on its own terms.  If you feel the need to voice opposition, do so in an IM.

When things go wrong, and they will from time to time, remain calm.  Nobody likes hearing a stream of profanity or screaming over voice chat when things go awry.  It only adds to the tension when things need defusing instead.  If you were the one who messed up, feel free to own up to it, but don’t call anyone else out.  That puts others on the defensive and causes a breakdown in decorum.  If you notice someone consistenly making mistakes, tell the raid leader in private and they can deal with it.  Beyond that, just follow Wheaton’s Law and you should be fine.  If you don’t know what that is, consult Brother Google.


That should cover the most basic items.  I could go into greater detail, but that shall have to wait for another time.  Feel free to leave comments, questions, corrections, compliments, walls of text, and bribes below.


  1. Andang /

    This is a great start for anyone wanting to get into raiding. Great job Tapkoh!

  2. randomjohn /

    Only thing I disagree with is the comment about ignoring virtues. You can put a lot of extra stress on the healers by having low mits and getting hit by collateral damage. If nothing else, it demonstrates that you’ve put the time and effort in on your toon to be taken seriously. Also, when you do start doing the more-serious T2 and Challenge raids, you’re going to need them.

    • Limm /

      Totally agree, randomjohn!

    • Tapkoh /

      First of all, I never said to ignore virtues. You’re grossly, and incorrectly, oversimplifying.

      Second, you’re conflating virtues with mitigations and thus make it sound like I advocate low mitigations by extension. Not the case at all.

      Third, virtues are not necessary to max your mitigations. You can do so through gear and buffs alone, but virtues help. That’s why I said they were a nicety and not a necessity. Yes, if you want to min-max, you will of course level virtues so you can gear differently, but this isn’t a min-max guide.

      Fourth, I already stated in the article that virtues are not needed and I stand by that. To elaborate, when I was part of a raid alliance, half the members never bothered with virtues. They were at whatever rank they were at and they weren’t going to put effort into it. We cleared 3/5 of Orthanc t2c before I left them for unrelated reasons I won’t go into. If virtues were needed, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Maybe (and most likely) we would have had an easier time if they did have better virtues, but it didn’t stop us.

      Lastly, you’ll notice that I even said that tanks should focus on virtues, which is quite the opposite of “ignoring.” Please read more carefully or at least do not put words in my mouth.

      • Limm /

        Hey Tapkoh, I think randomjohn meant no offence, it could be that when you said you didn’t think they were necessary it was interpreted as “you can ignore them.” It’s just a matter of interpretation of that paragraph. I can’t speak for randomjohn, but I didn’t mean any offense to you by my comments.

      • Tapkoh /

        I’m not offended. It’s incredibly important to me that I get my point across and that others can articulate that point, even if (or especially if) they want to argue against it.

        Therefore, I hate misunderstandings and tend to go on a crusade to eliminate them and find the root of the problem. This probably makes me seem offended, as I do come across rather forcefully.

        In this case, misquoting me to that large a degree worried me and I thought warranted a longer reply.

      • Limm /

        This is in reply to your last reply but for some reason there isn’t a reply button (can I say reply one more time? lol). Anyway I just wanted to say as a fellow writer (despite my often horrible grammar I did get a degree in it, lol) I totally feel ya on wanting to make sure your point is coming across correctly. That is one of the fun things about writing, and also one of the challenging things, making sure that your words on the page are doing exactly what you want, and that your ideas are interpreted as you intend them to be. It’s funny because some words (and further, novels, articles, etc) can interpreted differently by others, one of the joys of the English language I suppose. 🙂

      • randomjohn /

        ohai, welcome to the interwebz.

        I have to say, you don’t want words put into your mouth, which is fine, but you also can’t ignore the fact that in English, at least, there are connotations to verbal communications. If you want to conflate issues, let’s talk about the ability of regular raiders to get by with minimal virtues being conflated with a new raider trying to make a good first impression. Or let’s talk about your conflation of whether I misquoted you (which you claim I did), or paraphrased. The latter, which I confess to, admits the possibility of interpretation.

        I don’t feel particularly compelled to keep going on like this – I have no hidden agenda, I took minor exception to an otherwise good article and it seems to have gotten you all bent out of shape. Lesson learned. I’m genuinely surprised by how defensive you got about this and will do you the courtesy of not risking offense by commenting again, lest you face the possibility that a reader disagrees or innocently misconstrues your pearls of wisdom.

        Have a nice day.

      • Tapkoh /

        Regarding misquote v paraphrase, point taken. Regarding low virtues, if they had them while doing t2c content, they had them when clearing t1 content while inexperienced, so I don’t believe your point there works.

        I may appear bent out of shape or defensive, but I do not feel either way. Like I said in another comment, I hate misunderstandings. Saying I said to ignore virtues is a misunderstanding. Only my first and last points were about that. In between, I was arguing points about virtues based on what you said, not further trying to pursue the “ignore virtues” point or personally attack or anything. My apologies for giving that impression. I should know better by now not to assume everyone knows me and my writing style.

      • squiggle /

        If you’re concerned about precision in communication you should know that what your comment makes you sound irritable and sententious.

        And you should re-write your article. Because randomjohn wasn’t ‘grossly, and incorrectly, oversimplifying’. If you say about virtues ‘but honestly, they’re not necessary. Only tanks I think should definitely work on virtues’ and that they’re ‘a nicety, not a necessity.’ you are suggesting that players feel free to ignore them. You just are.

      • Tapkoh /

        In hindsight I am aware of how it made me sound. I said repeatedly that that was not my actual mindset and randomjohn and I reached an understanding off-site. Now I have a reminder to be more careful in my wording and readers should know that if I sound like a jerk, I didn’t mean to. I would appreciate future readers not bring it up again just because further discussion will not yield anything.

        As for virtues, you have mostly correctly summarized my point, but you are incorrectly equating it with what randomjohn said. If I had to put my point in one line, it would be “Non-tanks can ignore virtues if they want.” That you basically arrived at that conclusion means my point is coming across. Others made it sound like my advice was that everyone *should* ignore virtues and randomjohn made it sound like I was saying players should ignore mitigation. That is what I took exception to.

  3. Kaleigh Starshine /

    Very nice, especially the part concerning heeding the one wearing the starburst brooch [The leadership button :)] That also applies to those with experience, sometimes even experience with leading, and soon there are three or four voices trying to give instruction at once.

  4. Limm /

    Great post! Everything was pretty spot on IMO (except for the virtues advice, I think everyone could benefit from having their virtues up). There is one other thing I might add, although maybe most people know, but some may not- make sure you have the target assist window enabled (for some reason it isn’t automatically). It is especially important for DPSers so you aren’t hitting the wrong target which can be really bad. To turn this on press O (Social Panel) go to the raid tab and check the raid assist window button. 🙂

    • Limm /

      One other thing I like to recommend, at least for ranged DPSers, is to enable skill target forwarding, that enables you to click on your ally who is set as the raid assist target (works best when your raid assist target is a DPSer, not your tank) and hit whatever they are hitting. It’s also useful for healers to healing & dpsing through one target. Not 100% useful in every situation, but it’s handy for certain times. 🙂

    • Tapkoh /

      (except for the virtues advice, I think everyone could benefit from having their virtues up)

      I didn’t say otherwise. I said they were beneficial, but not necessary. I even said tanks should actively work on them.

      • Limm /

        No worries, it just came across differently in the article, especially this sentence: “Many will exclaim the importance of virtues, but honestly, they’re not necessary.”

      • Limm /

        Anyway what I mean to say is just that I think they are worth the grind for any class. I agree tanks should work on them, but I also think anyone of any class who wants to be at their best should work on them too. I don’t mean to disagree with ya, just giving my opinion. 🙂

      • Tapkoh /

        I think the problem here is that people are reading too much into what I say or trying to find out what I’m “really” saying. I am far too direct and literal for that to work. If I thought virtues were useless and unimportant, I’d say so. What confuses me is when readers equate “not necessary, but helpful” with “never level them.”

        Eventually people will either read this comment or figure out on their own I’m not one to try to veil my opinion like that.

  5. Hadford /

    Thanks for the tips. I have not done very much raiding, but maybe I can use these tips some time soon. Thanks!

  6. Great work Tapkoh! Now I know what to do but I doubt I will ever get much chance to raid due to time zone differences and finding someone other than Rolf to accompany me.

    It is good to finally see someone writing about Raids. I hope you write more 🙂

    Have fun

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