How to get into a hardcore raiding guild in WoW.

Bryan Hatch

May 9, 2015
So, you want to get into a hardcore raiding guild, but you apply and get denied for whatever reason. I can help you refine your tools to give you a better chance. Who am I to give such advice? I have played WoW for almost 10 years and been in hardcore raiding for 9 years. Having filled a recruiting officer position for multiple hardcore raiding guilds, I know what we look for, and what will invariably make us reject your application. I will also explain this (hopefully) in a way so people new to WoW can understand what I'm saying. Let's start with the easy stuff first.

1. Have a decent gaming rig, with a good internet connection.
This is an easy way to increase your chances in getting into a hardcore raiding guild. Yes, it costs money, but if hardcore raiding is your goal, then you MUST have these. I have personally passed up many potential guildies due to this problem. We cannot afford a guildie lagging, disconnecting, or reacting too slow to the situation during a raid.
Helpful Hint: Turn off automatic updates before going to any raid. It would be an awful shame if you start having issues due to some program/s or even Windows updating while a guild is checking out your potential.

2. Use needed addons.
If you have step 1 covered, then you have enough RAM to use the addons you need to play your character to the best of your ability. The more addons you use, the more RAM you need. I have overhauled my user interface (UI) multiple times to make me a more efficient raider. Am I shoving addons down your throat? No. However, hardcore raiders are needed to react as quickly as possible as efficiently as possible. If an addon helps you react faster, or perform more efficiently, use it! There are no bragging rights to running WoW without addons...period.

3. Know your spec and how to play your role.
This sounds like common sense, but rejections happen quite often because the applicant is somewhere between average and good, has a spec that doesn't work for their play style, or tries to show off and messes up their role. If your role is to be raid heals, heal the raid first then and only if it isn't detrimental to your role do you pick up a few heals on main or off tank. Never overextend yourself to impress your recruiter. We are the top raiders because we know our roles and pick up the slack when we can without sacrificing anything.
Another aspect to this is your spec. You can have a goofy spec all you want (most of us don't care) as long as you can perform well using it. If you are heals, your heals need to be top notch. Have a goofy DPS spec? Great, if you can pump out the damage. Tank spec not common? No problem if you can keep the hate from everyone that is trying to pump out as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time. If you can't fulfill these criteria, respec to something more common, and learn to play it. Originality only wins you points if you can perform.
Helpful Hint: Find a YouTube video of a hardcore raiding guild downing a boss that's close to the gear level you are wearing and compare your DPS, heals, or threat generation to someone playing your role in the video. This will give you a good idea of how far off you are compared to them. This video was chosen because it is a good to great example of almost everything I talk about in this guide.
I am in no way affiliated with Paragon, SteelSeries, Warcraft Movies, nor Blizzard Entertainment

4. Have the gear.
This sounds counter intuitive, so let me explain. You need the highest level gear you can get. Some hardcore raiding guilds will help you get the gear from the first raid of the expansion, but most won't unless that is the content they are currently progressing through. If you are applying well into the expansion, find multiple normal raiding guilds to get in good with and be Johnny-on-the-spot when they need to fill a role. I have used this tactic when starting over on another server or when leveling alts in a guild that doesn't revisit content. Yes, you can PUG (pick up group) higher level raids, but that tends to be a crap shoot on whether you will get anywhere or not. Whatever your tactic is, just get the gear or wait for the next expansion and level fast.

5. Have and use the VOIP (Voice Over IP) program they use properly.
This means set up Ventrilo, Teamspeak, Razer Comms, or whatever ahead of time and test to make sure that its set up properly. The setup isn't really a big deal unless you are so technologically ignorant that you know you will frustrate your prospective guildies to no end if they are the ones to help you. However it shows initiative to have it all set up and ready to go for when they do their "test" run with you. Some guilds may not let you in on their conversation. This is common too, but don't worry too much about it. Some of the conversation will be about you, but most will be just chatter.
This brings me to the easiest way to get rejected. If you are allowed on their VOIP server during a raid, do not talk during a boss fight unless you are communicating important information. I cannot express this enough. Chatter hinders important information being communicated in the heat of the moment. Hindering that information could lead to a wipe (everyone dying), and that will obliterate any chance you had at joining the guild. I refuse to recruit someone who either gabs during a boss fight or doesn't respect that wipes cost people gold (in repairs and consumables) and wastes our time.

6. Make sure you can make their raiding times.
More common sense? Yes, sorry. These are mistakes people have made in the past that influence us to reject them. Guilds aren't going to reschedule their raids for one person.

7. Have excellent situational awareness.
Another way to put this is don't stand in the bad stuff! This is a HUGE mistake that many people make or is a fault we can't look past. Yes, we hold it against you if you didn't notice you were taking damage by doing something (or not) when it could have been avoided. Due to the arguments I've been a part of, and subjected to, I will explain further. If you willingly or unknowingly take damage, you waste the mana and time for the raid healer. The raid healer, usually, has to make a choice between letting you die, or healing you. I will cover both scenarios. They heal you and you waste their mana keeping you alive making their job harder because of GCD (global cooldown), spell cooldown, and reducing the mana they have throughout the fight. They let you die, and you can't perform your role throughout the rest of the fight. Remember, our guilds see content and bosses before anyone else does. We are the ones figuring the fights out. Your damage/heals/threat generation are needed. Either scenario is just hastening another wipe on a progression boss and wasting gold and time. Yes, you should treat the test raid as a progression raid.

8. Be raid ready on time.
Yeah, this sounds vague so I will explain what it means. Raid ready means have everything repaired, your extra gear (if you have an off spec that doesn't use the same gear as your main spec), all consumables, and anything else you might need during a raid on your person and ready to walk into the raid location on time. Hearthing during a raid because you forgot something, or showing up late is not acceptable and will result in rejection.

9. Know the fights to the raid you are going in.
Seriously, this is HUGE and a vast majority of people get rejected because of this one point alone. A hardcore raiding guild is probably not going to take you on a progression raid (a raid where they are trying to figure out new bosses) to test your potential. Even if they do, get to know as many fights as you can before they take you into the raid. There are multitudes of places you can get the information on each and every fight in any raid but the latest progression bosses. If you have to, know them all, so they can take you to any raid and you will be prepared. We will not tolerate a prospective guildie being lazy and not knowing the bosses to the raid they're going to. Even if you've never raided there before, knowing the fight and what to expect will earn you leeway. We never explain a fight that is on farm (a boss easily downed for gear) before we pull. We only explain which tactics we are using and what special jobs are done by whom. If this isn't covered, then they are using the most common tactics to down the boss and you are expected to know them.

10. Be as efficient as possible.
This sounds like common sense as well, but this is the hardest to achieve since WoW constantly evolves.. This one area is where you can show off the most skill. By this I mean pop cooldowns, drink potions, make sure buffs never run out during a fight, etc. These things will surely separate you from the pack. Have a bit of damage? Pop a healing potion, don't make heals waste their time on a low amount of damage. Is it a long fight and you are a mana user? Use a mana potion as soon as you can without wasting any beneficial effects. There are so many ways to improve and be more efficient that it would take days, if not weeks, to list them all. Efficient choices between options will show that you mean business and will separate you from the common raider. Remember, combat logs and addons will tell us everything that you do and will show us even the small stuff that you do to be excellent. When it comes to efficiency, it all matters.

Hopefully, armed with these tips, you can prove yourself to be better than everyone else vying for that one spot we have open and fix any mistakes you have been making in your previous attempts. Maybe one day you will be in a video of a guild achieving a world first, or achieve whatever goals you are chasing.