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Raids 101 - An Introduction and FAQ (not a guide!)

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This is a short article meant to answer some simple questions about raids. It is not a guide – Dulfy has written really good guides, and you can find them gathered in this forum thread by Susimusta.

Let's start with the basics.


What is a raid?


A raid is an instance where up to ten players enter together and defeat bosses. So far, it seems like each raid wing will have three bosses. Think of them like ten-man dungeons.


What raids do we have so far?


At the moment there is only one raid – the Forsaken Thicket in the north-eastern corner of Verdant Brink. Judging by the success of this first raid, though, it's safe to assume there will be more raids in the future – but, as we all know, ANet are... kinda slow.


So far the Forsaken Thicket has two «wings», Spirit Vale and Salvation Pass. Raid wings are equivalent to the paths of dungeons – you choose one when you enter, and based on your choice you will face different bosses and challenges. The raid wings are completely separate in the sense that they don't re-use any bosses or fights; each boss has its own loot it drops, although all bosses in Spirit Vale drop the same raid currency, Magnetite Shards.


Do I have to clear the entire raid in one go?


No! During the raid, there will be several checkpoints, usually after you defeat a boss or complete a major event. If you leave the raid, then for the rest of this week whenever you enter, you will go right back to this checkpoint. All bosses that were killed will still be dead, etc.

Which checkpoint you start at depends on who enters the raid instance first. For example, if you have not beaten any bosses this week, but a friend of yours who has beaten two bosses enters, you will be able to join them into an instance where two bosses are dead. This means that it is completely possible to kill the second or third boss in a raid without having killed the first boss this week.

Looking at it from the opposite perspective, you can also go back and re-do bosses and events you have cleared this week if you join on someone who has an instance where these bosses and events haven't been cleared yet. This is nice to max out on raid currency, practice old bosses, get achievements, help people get their completion or just chill out.


When exactly is the raid reset?


Raids reset on 1:30 AM CET on Monday mornings; that is, half an hour after the daily reset between Sunday and Monday.
Once the raid resets, all progress is cleared, all enemies will have respawned and all rewards can be gained again.


What bosses exist so far?


In the first released raid wing, Spirit Vale, there are three bosses:

  • The Vale Guardian, an energy guy much like the Thaumanova Anomaly.

  • Gorseval the Multifarious, a huge mutant ghost chicken.

  • Sabetha the Saboteur, a really mean human bandit with a flamethrower.

These bosses are often referred to as VG, Gors/Gorsi/Gorse and Sab, respectively.

In the second raid wing, Salvation Pass, there are also three bosses:

  • Slothasor, a very sleepy fire-breathing sloth who is angry that we stole his mushrooms.
  • Three dudes (technically two dudes and a dudette).
  • Matthias Gabrel, an evil man from a mysterious organization.

I'm not sure these have "common" names yet, but Sloth, dudes/trio and Matthias (maybe Matt?) should serve well.




How hard are raids?


Fair warning – raids are far harder than any other content in GW2 so far. While most content can be done with a random team with no communication, raids need specific roles filled and require heavy coordination between team members. All raid bosses are also timed – this means that you need heavy DPS, because the timers are tight, and when they run out the bosses will enrage, making survival almost impossible.

That is not to say that only the best of the best can do raids. With experience and teamwork, anyone can beat the raids. However, the following are probably «absolute requirements»:

  • TeamSpeak or other voice chat.

  • Read guides! While it's fun to experience things for yourself, when it comes to raids they are very complex, and there are a lot of other people waiting for you. While it's expected that newbies will take a bit of time to get used to the raids, that does not mean that you should go in there with no clue about what will happen.

  • Willingness to adapt and use builds specifically designed for raids – check out the guides in this subforum!

  • Use food and utilities. At the very least the «second best» types of food, but if there's anywhere you want to use the best food available, it's here.

  • All your trinkets (minus backpack) should be Ascended. Getting Ascended trinkets is very easy if you know how to do it (feel free to ask). Exotic Viper trinkets are also good for some classes, but are quite expensive.

  • All your armor and weapons should at the very least be exotic – but every piece of Ascended helps a lot. Especially weapons should be Ascended as a huge priority.

  • You need proper Runes and Sigils. Runes and Sigils are a very important part of any build, and should not be skipped at any cost.

  • Patience! Raids take time, and victory is never guaranteed. There will be many wipes.


Specific roles?


It has finally happened - Guild Wars 2 has finally started using tanks and healers. In raids, the bosses will always aggro on the player with the highest Toughness, no matter what, and so this player becomes the tank. This also means that if you don't intend to be the tank, you should not have any Toughness on your gear, or at least communicate with your tank to ensure that they have more than you. Aggro is completely binary - if player A has 1400 Toughness and player B has 1401 Toughness, then player B will always have aggro as long as they are not downed.

The tank has a difficult role - they must position the boss, move it as necessary, and ensure it does not cleave other players.

In Spirit Vale, having a tank is only necessary on the first two bosses, as aggro does not really matter on Sabetha due to her mechanics.


Since damage in raids is heavy, constant and wide-spread, having a healer to heal up the team is usually almost mandatory. The healer's job is to refill health bars, both topping off anyone who's taken a bit of damage, and burst healing anyone who's taken heavy damage.


In addition to tanking and healing, group support is very important. Warriors and Revenants are great at providing the team with Might, and Chronomancers provide the extremely valuable Quickness boon. Other buffs like Fury, Protection and class-specific buffs like banners, spirits, Empower Allies etc. etc. are also all very valuable.


For the DPS-related classes, both Power-based and Condition-based builds are powerful in the right situation. In particular, it is mandatory to have a couple of Condition-based players for the first boss of Spirit Vale, Vale Guardian, as one of the enemies that spawn during the fight is almost entirely immune to damage except from Conditions.


Finally, break bars are hugely important. You may have seen them on world bosses - blue bars that you must deplete by using crowd control (CC) such as Stuns, Dazes, Knockbacks, Fears etc. On raid bosses, these bars must be broken extremely quickly, or bad things will happen - and it is everyone's job to help out with those. That means that it's your job, too!


An important thing to be aware of is that currently, every class has good raid builds available to them. This means that, yes, you can bring any class to the raid! However, not all builds work so well for raids, so it is important that you check out raid build guides or otherwise use builds specifically designed for raiding. Also, teams usually need a variety of classes and roles filled, so having too many of any single class is usually not that good - so the more classes and roles you know how to play, the easier it will be to get into a raid group!


The two best sources of raid builds are this subforum as well the website MetaBattle.


What are the rewards?


Every time you attempt a raid boss – even if you wipe! - you get a number of tokens appropriate to the raid you're doing. For the Forsaken Thicket, this currency is Magnetite Shards. These shards can be exchanged to a vendor for a variety of powerful, cool and/or valuable items, including Ascended equipment with stats you cannot get anywhere else currently (e.g., Ascended backpack with Viper's stats).

You are limited to receiving 100 Magnetite Shards per week. Note that just clearing a single raid wing will not be enough to get you to 100 Magnetite Shards, so you will have to go back and help others defeat old bosses, do bosses in both wings, or just spend a lot of time wiping and getting shards that way.

In addition to shards, every boss you defeat will leave behind a chest, much like world bosses. You can loot this chest only once per week per boss.

The chest contains 2 gold, a considerable amount of experience, random pieces of rare and exotic equipment, a chance at ascended equipment or miniatures, and a Legendary Insight, a special item used to craft Legendary Armor. You gain double gold from bosses in raid wings that were only recently released. The chest can also contain various collectibles, based on what collections you have unlocked.

A semi-important note on rewards - nothing in the entire raid is affected by Magic Find. Nothing. Thus Magic Find food and buffs are completely wasted - but on the bright side that means you never have to worry about "Should I get damage food or loot food?".


Wait, Legendary Armor?!


Indeed. The Forsaken Thicket has a collection associated with it, and completing this collection will give the player a set of Legendary Armor – the Envoy Armor set. However, be aware – this collection requires doing the raid a lot, and at the moment of speaking the collection cannot even be completed, as it will require the player to complete all the different wings of the Forsaken Thicket – and so far only two wings have been released.

This means nobody has the Legendary Armor yet, so nobody knows all the facts about it. It is exciting, though!



Anything special I should know about the raid?


Dead players are dead, and cannot be rezzed, not even with a Revive Orb. You cannot enter the raid at all unless you are in a party that has had its type set to «Raid»; this is done from the little menu above your party window. There are no waypoints inside the raid – instead, there are Ley Rifts that you can travel if you have unlocked the mastery in the raid masteries category.

These masteries do not unlock until you've killed at least one raid boss, but once you've killed one boss (no matter which), all the Masteries will become available for training.

There are two masteries associated with Spirit Vale, both fairly quick to train and costing only one Mastery Point. The first mastery is the one that lets you use the Ley Rifts, while the second one is a specific mastery for the last boss battle of Spirit Vale, and is quite useful to have. Additionally, there's a third mastery associated with Salvation Pass that will help a lot on the last boss of that wing, although it takes a bit more experience and three Mastery Points to master.

You will also need the Updraft Use mastery for the second boss, and having Stealth Gliding is quite useful for this boss as well. It is good, but not necessary, to have the Blazing Speed Mushrooms unlocked. No other masteries are used for Spirit Vale.


I see people «Selling cleared raid» and promising «Three chests you can loot». Is this a good deal?


No! These chests are not the chests that drop from defeating bosses (these chests can only be looted by those that defeated the boss themselves), but rather three small «normal» chests that contain a few random pieces of not-very-rare loot. The main reason you would want to loot these chests at all is that they contain items that are used for the Legendary Armor collection – however, these items will not drop unless you've unlocked the collection by defeating the first boss of the Spirit Vale, the Vale Guardian.

If someone offers it for free, eh. It's still not that great, but it's a good opportunity to go in and see the raid area. Never bother paying money for it, though.


I see other people «Selling [name of raid boss]». Is this a good deal?


Depends, but probably not. In this case, you will join the party, and the team selling the boss will nine-man it (or eight-man it or what have you), and you will get any achievment or loot that they would have gotten. However, as this usually costs you a lot of money, it is not worth it for the loot alone. If you want to spend the gold for achievments, collection items or swag points, that's up to you.

Some people also sell the «Eternal title». Eternal means that you will defeat a specific raid boss with no members of the party dying. However, be aware! Anyone that does not enter the boss area will be killed, so if you are buying the Eternal title you will need to enter the fight area and stay alive, which can be challenging if you don't know what you are doing.

In general, I am skeptical of selling and buying raids, but it's not illegal and it is a choice you can make if you believe it's for you. Just don't try to do it for the loot alone, absolutely not worthwhile. Also, be aware that although most people are honest, there are scammers out there too, and ANet will not "interfere with group politics".


Is LFG raiding a thing?


Yes, but it's sometimes tricky. LFG raids often require their participants to be geared, experienced and so on. LFG raids can be quite nice, however, and sometimes you meet quite cool people – but it's a bit random what sort of people you'll get, and sometimes it's really hard to get into a group at all.

A lot of LFGs will ask you to «link Insights». This means they want you to link the Legendary Insights you have gotten from defeating raid bosses. If you ask me, this is a really stupid system and serves no real purpose, so feel free to cheat – this website lets you create chat links that will let you «link» any item you wish.

However, it is sensible to start with guild/community raids and try to learn from there. Finding a stable group to raid with can be difficult, but can be quite nice.

If you are looking for LFG raids, they seem to be most common on the days right after and right before raid reset, that is, Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays, but this isn't a hard and fast rule.


Are raids fun?


Yes. If you think that raids are for you – go out there! Explore! Have fun!



Edited by Nag
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Updated with some build links. Keep in mind that just mindlessly following builds, while often a good start, is not enough in itself - you should know your class and feel comfortable playing it. Comfort levels matter!

6 hours ago, Fatal said:

need community raid days! love the guide!

I like this idea a lot. Unfortunately, I'm usually busy most of the week between work and writing a paper, otherwise I'd organize this myself... having beginner raids where people can get a feel of the raid is definitely something we need.

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I've added the fact that Magic Find does nothing in the raid - no regular mobs drop any loot of any kind, and all other loot is in chests (that are completely unaffected by magic find). Just so nobody ever has to worry about that ^^

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I threw in some updates with regards to the second raid wing, Salvation Pass. Also, the Adrenal Mushroom mastery is no longer necessary - ANet removed most of the Adrenal Mushrooms from the raid, and instead made it so that all your cooldowns reset when you wipe, which I think is a pretty cool move by them.

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