Congratulations! You have been accepted into a guild. That’s you done isn’t it? Unfortunately you are only half way there. Now comes the proverbial, “trial by fire!” You must generally prove that you are the well rounded, skilled and mature raider that you claimed to be on your (perfect) application.
This trial period varies from guild to guild but generally lasts between two weeks and a month. The very top guilds usually have longer trial periods than less hardcore/advanced ones as they need to make sure their members are there for the long run.
So what can you expect during this trial period? Well if you have been accepted into one of the top guilds on your server or even better, then expect to be thrown in at the deep end and told to swim! They will expect that you know what you are doing and do not need to have your hand held. This may sound scary but if you have prepared well then you have no need to panic. Just follow these simple tips and you will be a fully fledged member in no time.
What is the first rule of surviving a trial? Turn up on time for raids! There is nothing more certain to grant you a swift kick from your new guild than showing up late and holding everyone else up. Better still, turn up 10 minutes early and be ready at the summoning stone (until guilds get the summon perk) to help get things sped up. May seem simple but you would be surprised how many trials fail because of turning up late!
The second most important element in passing a trial in any World of Warcraft guild, let alone a high end one, is to know all of the boss fights inside out. If you expect to turn up for a raid in a decent guild and hang around for twenty minutes while the raid leader explains the mechanics of the fight then you have another thing coming. That is not to say there will not be pauses to discuss tactics but these will focus entirely on the strategy and will assume perfect knowledge of the boss’ mechanics (i.e. does he throw pools of poison around? Does he spawn adds – if so how many and who tanks them? Etc etc.)
So how do you learn a boss inside out? The internet is your friend here! There are tons of sites with info on all the boss fights but the best one is WoW Wiki. Just type in the raid or boss name into the search field and up will pop all the known information on it (make sure you read the entry with “tactics” after it otherwise you will just be reading about the lore of that particular boss!) Pay particular attention to the role that your class will have to play and the strategies that other guilds have come up with as you will be likely to use them.
You should then watch any embedded videos on the wowwiki entry and then head over to Warcraft Movies. This is the main website for World of Warcraft movies and is a great source of boss videos. Just type in the fight that you are looking for and try to pick a video that shows the fight from your class’ point of view. This will help you work out where you should be moving during the boss encounter and any class / role specific events that you should pay attention to.
Then there are the elementary mats and pots that you must bring to the raid.
Think you are going to need two flasks? Bring four. Ten pieces of +strength food? Bring twenty.
By bringing more than you need you will never be in that embarrassing position of having to ask members for handouts. It looks awful if you turn up unprepared. This goes for health/mana potions as well. If you can then bring repair bots and feasts/cauldrons. Providing these for your new guildies will endear yourself to them and help your trial be successful.
Hand in hand with this goes being properly enchanted and gemmed. As a previous guild master I cannot tell you how mad it made me when a trial turned up with less than optimised gems and enchants. To be honest you are unlikely to even have your application accepted by a serious guild if you are not running with the best enchants and gems possible. Lack of gold is not an excuse. If you want to be taken as a serious raider then you have to be serious about raiding. You must max out your character and give yourself the best chance of helping out the group. If you are short on gold then go farm or use the auction house to make money. There are plenty of great guides and ebooks out there to help you. I know that extra +10 intellect will not make or break a raid but if everyone in the guild had the same attitude then you would end up with 25 people * 10 intellect which would make a difference. If you need advice on enchants or gems head over to our forums or check out the class sections.
Another thing that will help ease you through your trial by fire is having the correct addons optimally set up. If you are applying to a good guild then you will know that you need Deadly Boss Mods, Grid, Recount etc but have you made sure that they are set up to help you the most? Some of these addons are tremendously powerful and can make boss fights much easier when configured correctly. For hints and tips check out our addons section on the top menu.
There are a few other tips for surviving your trial and they are fairly obvious. Make sure you repair after a wipe if possible without slowing the raid down. You do not want to be on a progression night and find that your gear is red after five wipes and then have to run to repair it and make everyone wait five minutes. This will seriously piss off the raid leader. Make sure you have vent or teamspeak set up properly and test your microphone before the raid to avoid any potential problems. Don’t afk or slack on trash. It will be obvious and will not impress. Then there is the whole topic of how to interact with other guildies during your trial but I think I have rambled enough and it deserves a post of its own!
So to summarise I think the main point is be prepared. Research your bosses, buy your potions and enchants, sort your addons and turn up on time and you will sale through your initiation period. Good luck!