Have you ever went to explain a fight to your group and there were a few new players there when most of the group already knew the fight? You might just say sometimes simple along the lines of, this is your priority target unless this is out, healers save cooldowns for this moment and tanks make sure to switch on three and use cooldowns for this, oh, and don't stand in the fire.
When you are with people that have done a fight before a description like that could sum up nearly ever fight we do in any raid we have ever stepped foot into. Breaking it down to the absolute basics raiding is simple, but really it is only simple once we know what we are doing. Learning it still takes time, lots of time and effort for many. There is a lot more to it, a hell of a lot more to it.
With new raids out and many people seeing bosses for the first time my prepull explanation is more a short story than crib notes. Some fights, even more so the longer ones could even reach the lenght of a novel before the first pull. But I am not going to go into basics of explaining an entire fight in this post, I am going to stick to the one simple basic rule that we probably all learned in our first raid, don't stand in the fire.
At face value don't stand in the fire seems like something simple enough. If there is fire under your feet, move. Jobs done. Right? Wrong.
I am going to start at the beginning of BRF for my first explanation of what I mean when I say there is a lot more to don't stand in the fire. And basically it comes down to knowing when the fire is coming, were it is coming, and how long until it actually get there.
That first big brute carrying boxes from one end of the room to the other that you run into in BRF, the one that hits tanks for a metric ton of damage and requires them to tank switch and then turns and blows some fire breath because he hasn't brushed after eating some seriously spicy mexican food on the raid every so often.
I know you know exactly who I am talking about right? I've seen him wipe raids, I've seen him wipe LFR, he can be one dangerous mofo. But only if you are one of those people lacking in raid awareness really. Otherwise he is a breeze.
Every time we pull him I give my group a gentle reminder. "There is absolutely no reason for anyone to ever get hit with the fire debuff, it is completely avoidable."
Every pull I see half the raid get hit with the fire debuff from him. It does not matter to me that the healers can handle it, nope, not at all. But what does matter me is that the healers should not have to handle it. It is a 100% completely avoidable bit of damage as simple as don't stand in the fire, or fire breath in his case.
If the tanks hold him left and right and all the damage dealers and healers are to his side he will always turn to the side to breath. All you need to do is move, either to the left or the right, and his breath will go down an empty hall way and no one gets hit.
See, simple, avoidable, and still half the raid gets hit by it every single time even if I remind them before it is pulled ever week. No one should ever get hit by the fire.
There is a second little tib bit that they should know. He hits the tank, and anyone else in front of him, for a metric ton of damage, as I mentioned. So when you side step the flame, step to the side of the tank that is not currently tanking. That way when he turns back to the tank and does his move he does not one shot you.
There is so much more to raid awareness than just don't stand in the fire. Part of that is how to avoid the fire being under your feet to begin with. This first large trash mob in blackrock foundry works as the perfect example of what I am talking about. It is a mob everyone of basically any skill level can get to and it has simple telegraphed moves. Once you can do him without ever taking even one tick of fire damage from the breath you are well on your way to being one of those, elusive it seems, raid aware players.
Raid awareness is about that, reading those moves. We all might know to move from the fire, but does everyone know that you could completely avoid being hit by roughly 80% of the fires in the game to begin with.
Nearly every single boss will have some sort of emote when he is doing something and with deadly boss mods or big wigs or whatever addon you use, and you should be using it, it will announce the move the boss is telegraphing is coming your way. In nearly all of those circumstances you can start to move before that fire, poison, void zones, or what have you ever makes it to you. So basically when it lands you are already in the process of moving out of it. You could be all the way out when it lands, half way out when it lands or only a little bit out when it lands but one thing for sure is that you will not be dead center of it when it lands meaning you have a shorter distance to run to get out of it and you take less damage. This means less work on the healers and possibly a longer life for you. Two very good results if you wish to kill things instead of them killing you.
Even better are many of those things that bosses will throw at you are so heavily telegraphed that the second you are notified it is coming your way you can move and it will land at the spot you were at when it was announced because it does not follow you. Those are my absolute favorite don't stand in the fire mechanics and you might be surprised how many of them there really are in game. I love them because they are 100% completely avoidable. When I look at logs I like to see who gets hit by those and have a nice little conversation with them. Nothing mean, just telling them, as soon as you are targeted, that is where it will land, so move, and you will not get hit by it. Simple really. I love any mechanics where you can effectively take zero damage from it because it has a travel time, it will not follow you, and you have more than enough advanced notice to move before it gets to you.
Remember, the main objective of any damage dealer is to aim for tops on the damage done list and bottom on the damage taken list while following the appropriate fight mechanics. Being raid aware is a lot more than moving from the fire "after" it hits but learning when and how the fire hits so you can move out of the fire "before" it hits.
Do you know the number one difference between a "good" player and someone that just plays? The good player won't get hit by that fire from the brute at the beginning of BRF. Not because he is trying to be uber or anything, but because he was trained correctly that you should never take avoidable damage unless absolutely necessary.
Raid awareness is more than just moving from something when it happens, it is moving from something before it happens. It is the most basic of basic things you can learn to begin your journey to become a raider, or at least a decent one. The game is in desperate need of new raiders. I know my server is crying rivers for people that can even manage normal modes nevertheless heroic or mythic because most people fail in one of two places. Raid awareness or execution.
Raid awareness needs to be learned first in my opinion. You get no practice tanking the floor boss and with no practice you can't really get practice at execution. You will never get better at doing your job, be it healing, damage dealing or tanking if you are dying to avoidable damage. So I think learning how to avoid the avoidable is the first step on your journey to moving up the ranks. Once you have mastered living, then you can master your role.
Some people like to use the excuse that "how can I learn if no one will let me into a raid". I hate to say this but I must, you can learn, the power is in your own hands if you are willing to go through the sometimes hell it might take to learn. There is this tool called the looking for raid and you can learn a lot in there.
I read all the time about people on the forums saying that the looking for raid is not a stepping stone into raiding. They are right, it is not intended to be that, it is intended to be tourist mode, story mode, what ever you choose to call it. But that does not mean you can not learn from it. Any player that actively wants to become a raider, wants to move into normals and then up to heroics and maybe someday into mythic has to start somewhere and the LFR is a great learning tool, if you are willing to let it be so.
Right now you might be calling me crazy, but trust me I am not. A little weird, a slight bit touched, but most definitely not crazy.
That big brute carrying the boxes with his mexican burrito fire breath is in LFR, you can learn to avoid that there. The trains are being called by the operator in LFR and you can learn to avoid them there, even if the pattern is "slightly" different. The iron maidens will still have turrets spitting fire balls all over the place you can avoid and bombs covering the entire ground that are also 100% completely avoidable. Plates on hans and franz, stampers too, and they all work the same and can be used to learn to avoid them. There are so many simple, albeit less damaging or less threatening, things that are in LFR and if you choose to use it as a learning experience instead of just saying, "screw it, it won't kill me here" it will help you become a better raider and increase your over all raid awareness.
Lets face it, there are only so many mechanics we can ever see. New twists are added, new looks, new flashy graphics, and different presentations of it, but avoiding something coming through a room (trains) has been used before and will again, dodging a breath (brute) has been used before and will again, part of the floor lighting up showing danger (hans and franz) has been used before and will again, avoiding bombs and fire balls (maidens) has been used before and will be used again. I think you get the idea. Anyone that has been raiding a while has seen nearly everything we have had thrown at us before.
That is why you see some guilds move along fast and others take longer. It is not so much that one is actually better than the other, so to speak, but it is that one has experienced that fight already and they adapt quicker to it so they can beat it faster. They beat it faster because they had the raid awareness to adapt the mechanics a lot faster so they did not need to spend as much time learning the fight and could go straight to beating the fight.
Our rotations are always changing. With tier sets, nerfed abilities, buffed abilities, added abilities, removed abilities, changed abilities, special circumstances, and so forth our rotations are a living breathing entity that we always need to adapt and adjust to. So doing our jobs as healers or damage dealers or tanks is a process which we are always learning and will always be learning.
But raid awareness is different because once you learn to not get hit from the breath by the brute at the beginning of blackrock foundry it will always be the exact same ability, it will not chance, never, not in a million years and not when we see a boss doing in three tiers from now in a raid called Lady Azshara Hobo Barbeque where we need to retrieve the uneaten part of bobs left foot.
Raid awareness is more than just don't stand in the fire, it is learning how not to end up in the fire in the first place. And it is a skill unlike any other in game. Once you learn it that skill will stick with your forever and make you a better gamer and everything you do in this and other games like it just a little bit easier. Because when learning new fights you will just say, oh yeah, this is like bonestorm, I got it, and know the mechanic instantly and how to handle it instantly so you can work on your rotation instead of learning a new mechanic.
Learn raid awareness first. That is the most important part of being a raider. At least as I see it. Everything else comes after, because if you don't have raid awareness, you don't need to know your rotation to tank the floor boss.