There comes a critical moment where every level 50 player finally says to him or herself, “It’s time for me to try my hand at an Operation.” This choice can be motivated by any number of reasons — a desire to test yourself, a humble request from your guild, even something as base as coveting another player’s Operations-only armor. It’s important to keep in mind that Operations are an advanced part of The Old Republic’s end-game, one that cannot be rushed into as soon as you reach level 50. If you are brand new to the end-game, we highly recommend that you read our previous guide for new level 50 players.
This guide is specifically oriented to the slightly less green, those players who are geared and ready but nonetheless find themselves ignorant of what exactly an Operations raid will entail. Raiding can be an exciting venture into uncharted territory. It can also be a nightmare and an embarrassment for the unprepared. This primer will help you sharpen your skills with the ultimate goal of securing a raid spot.
In your personal and professional life, punctuality is a virtue. Showing up on time to a planned Operation is no different. If you want to get on your raid leader’s good side, then the best thing you can do is be punctual and dependable. If the raid is supposed to start at 7 PM, then be online and in Vent at 6:50.
After punctuality, make sure that you come with consumables. While stims and adrenals may seem like a small thing, you should always take advantage of any statistical upgrade the game gives you. Consumables have been a benchmark of MMO raiding for years, and not having these items is the easiest way to be tagged as unprepared. Unless you have chosen Biochem as your main crafting skill, then you will want to purchase Exotech stims. If it is cost effective, you should also consider purchasing Exotech adrenals. Most groups raid for between three and five hours, so two stims that persist through defeat should be enough to last the raiding session; how many stims you need will be more variable.
Lastly, repair your gear before the raid begins. If you are coming from running Daily missions or Flashpoints, then odds are you have some modest equipment damage. Beginning a raid with every Operations member at 100% equipment durability ensures that the group will not need to stop for a raider who prematurely suffers broken items. This may sound like nitpicking, but preserving the momentum of an Operation run goes a long way toward making the raid a success.
Know Your Role
The most common error among new raiders is an inability to correctly play their class. Beyond general crowd control etiquette, each type of class — damage dealers, tanks and healers — have very specific rolls that they, and they alone, can fulfill.
The Old Republic has large and sometimes complicated “trash” mobs that precede most Operation boss encounters. Often times the raid leader will use target markers on enemy NPCs and assign each raid member a CC (crowd control) mark to better deal with these packs of enemies. Mind Trap is an example of a CC. Dealing with a group of enemies one at a time is more manageable and less prone-to-disaster than pulling them all at once. Tanks, healers and DPS should all know their assignments, as well as the order in which the pack is to be defeated. Breaking a CC or damaging the wrong enemy is an easy way to cause a group wipe. It is also worth noting that you can keybind target markers in the Preferences menu, allowing you to label enemies more efficiently.
This may come as a surprise, but damage classes have more responsibilities than just dealing damage. Interrupting enemy abilities, using crowd control and damaging the same target as your tank are all habits you should be familiar and comfortable with. Furthermore, understanding how “threat” mechanics work is essential for all raiders, but it is the mechanic most easily messed up by damage dealers. Educate yourself on how threat works and how your class is affected. The Old Republic bestowed threat-reducing abilities to almost all damage classes for a reason. Good raiders understand that they can inflict massive damage without pulling the boss away from the party’s tank. A good rule of thumb is that, in the event you do pull boss aggro, you should temporarily stop dealing damage.
New tanks must understand that not only the pace, but the very survivability of the raid falls squarely on their shoulders. Raiders playing the tank role have increased responsibility. They often control enemy positioning and must maintain threat on large packs of enemies when crowd control is not an option. It’s no coincidence that raid leaders tend to play the tank role. As a learning experience, first time tanks would do well to “guard” a DPS member that has aggro issues. These are usually melee DPS that are too impatient to wait for the tank to pick up a new target. Bounty Hunters and Troopers that like to splash entire packs of mobs with AoE damage are also good candidates for a guard, but they will likely be too far out of range for the ability to be effective. If other players are constantly pulling the boss off of you, stringing taunts together on the pull will help you keep threat. If his single target taunt and mass taunt abilities are both off cooldown, a tank can taunt for 18 of the first 21 seconds of any encounter.
Resource management is the greatest problem facing rookie healers. Some encounters can last up to six or eight minutes, during which inopportune resource bankruptcy can easily lead to a wipe. A good way to prevent over-healing or wasting resources is to split up the raid among two or more healers. 8 player groups are conventionally divided into two healing groups, with one healer responsible for 1 tank, 2 DPS and themselves. It is also appropriate for healers to suggest that players group up on them for AOE heals, increasing the efficacy of healing during particularly intense periods of raid-wide damage. Healers should make use of the interface editor to adjust the scale and positioning of their raid frames to best suit their needs.
When attempting an encounter for the first time, it’s wise to ask if you have a specific healing assignment. Sometimes one or two healers will focus on the tank while the others heal the rest of the raid party. Remember, good communication makes for good healing and dead bosses.
Four Letter Words
Etiquette is something that usually goes undefined, but it is far from unnoticed. How you conduct yourself over voice chat can and will determine if you are asked back to a raid. You might be the best player performance-wise, but if you supplement your play style with verbal barbs or snide remarks you will find yourself bouncing from raid to raid in search of a home.
At some point, everyone feels frustration in their raiding career. Maybe you do not agree with the direction that your guild is taking, or maybe you think the strategy your team is employing for a tricky boss leads to endless and unnecessary wipes. There is a right way and a wrong way to address these issues. If you’re a fan of cheesy 80s cinema, then you’ll remember what Patrick Swayze told the bouncers in Roadhouse — “Be nice.”
It is entirely your choice whether or not to heed this advice — but remember that keeping the high ground goes hand-in-hand with keeping a cool head. Let someone else act like a jerk. With this said, keep in mind that you (probably) haven’t sworn a blood oath to your guild or raid team. If you get a bad vibe from your team, or you think it and you may be a bad match, then help finish the raid and later politely move on to another team.
Etiquette also extends to your ability to understand and abide by the loot system your guild uses. If you don’t know or understand that system, then ask the raid leader or an officer how it works beforehand. This ensures that come item drops, you do not slow things down — or worse, make a critical error in judgement.
Min-Maxing and Class Research
Operations research is an absolutely critical part of being a good raider. It takes two obvious forms: learning how to get the most out of your class, and learning the finer points of each Operation.
“Min-maxing” is a term you may hear thrown around a lot by raiders discussing their gearing choices. Certain classes benefit from “stacking” certain stats while minimizing less valuable ones. Debating the finer points of class construction is a popular pastime of online forums, like DarthHater’s very own Think Tank. Not all of us are math geniuses, but the glory of the internet is that we don’t have to be. Some of the most dedicated Ops players have donated their time and know-how to expanding the player base’s collective knowledge, all in order to better help the raiding community at large. It may end up costing you some time to research, and some extra credits to move mods around, but the performance boost is worth the investment.
Beyond statistical analysis, the Internet possesses a wealth of valuable Operations-specific tips and tricks. For example, the Gharj encounter in the Eternity Vault Operation is not friendly to melee DPS, due to the heavy AoE damage his stomp ability inflicts. In order to avoid damage, melee DPS usually need to momentarily run away from Gharj. However, Sith Assassins and Jedi Shadows can use either Force Shroud or Resilience to mitigate all damage. This is the type of knowledge you should seek out and add to your repertoire.
Sharing the knowledge you have learned is also an important part of a successful raid career. There is nothing to gain by hording survival techniques from other players. Helpful raiders do more than just show up for loot night and then disappear into the shadows. “Initiates” that go on to earn “Raider” status are those that understand the team mentality and care as much about the team’s success as their own. Good luck and good hunting!