What is Heroic Raiding like?

OK, I’ve got a confession here – whilst I’ve been a WoW player since a month after the game came out, I’ve never done any Heroic-level raiding. Indeed, I’m expecting to set foot in my first current-expansion Heroic raid in a week or so.

I suspect that’s the case for a surprisingly large number of people. Heroic raiding has become more accessible as time has gone on, but still, only a small percentage of the player base of WoW or any other game plays at that level.

That’s why I found today’s post from Malevica at Type H For Heals such interesting reading. She’s just started Heroic raiding herself, and today she writes a lengthy post alternating between advice and personal experience, describing in detail what to expect if you’re making the jump from normal to Heroic-mode raiding

“. When an encounter is really stretching your team’s limits, when your tank is fractions of a second away from dropping dead and when those green bars just don’t seem to ever want to come up again you absolutely have to pay attention the whole time. Glance at your chat log and someone might end up dead. Fail to spot an enemy spell cast and don’t hit your cooldown in time, someone’s dead. Stand in the fire for a second too long and your HPS will be zero for the rest of the fight.

And it’s not just paying attention, it’s also having to constantly think. There’s so little time that you can spend just mashing the same button and waiting for a big blue DBM warning; instead you’re watching timers or learning to feel the fight so you can be ready for the next big thing to come at you, switching spells and healing targets on the fly, and working out what your fellow healers are doing.

And let me tell you, this gets exhausting. We raid 9½ hours per week spread over three nights which isn’t much by some standards, but we generally raid hard for those hours with quick re-pulls after wipes and as little downtime as possible. By the end of good progression nights I’m quite often completely frazzled and no use to anyone for a while afterwards. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, but it’s hard work, mentally, and if you can’t keep it up for the duration of the raid then you’re just going to be wasting time by the end. ”

Malevica has put a lot of time and effort into assembling her thoughts in this post – it’s an unusually well-structured read that I sailed through despite its length. She covers a lot of points from the personal to the practical, and whilst some of them have been repeated elsewhere, others (like her extensive discussion on motivation) are both novel and useful. It’s focussed on healing specifically, but covers a lot of ground that will be useful to everyone.

I’m going to be reading through this post more than once in preparation for our upcoming trial by fire!

So, how many of us ARE hardcore Heroic raiders, and how many are more casual? Let me know in comments!