Hey there guys!
As you can see, I got accepted as a social, just waiting on the guild invite. So, I wanted to post here, and open a discussion about when/why/what is a good time to say: "I'm no longer a casual, now I'm a raider."
First and foremost, I'm not at that point. I'm nowhere near it. I run a GeForce 5200 which doesn't have PS2.0 support, so something like Maly would melt the card. I'm also on a shared PC, which is the reason for my odd (and sometimes outrageous) playtimes. This post is primarily about Xynae, and at which point she is good to go. But it doesn't have to be. I'd like to open this topic to others, to compare and investigate their characters, and to learn when is a good time to say: "Ok, I'm all good, time to get my raid app on!"
One day soon, I will have my own PC, and it'll have Pixel Shader 2.0 support. But that won't make me ready to raid! Lich King has changed so much about classic raiding, and it's no longer about "Right, I have 250 pts of Fire Resist, I'm good to go!" - now it's about "Is my hit capped? What's my max rotation on single targets? Why is my MP5 ticking for less than it should?"
So many stats to watch, so little time!
Let's start with the basics. How many Heroics do you ned to run, in order to get the gear/tokens you need to cap your stats pre-Naxx? I've done some calcs, and come up with this:
Average 5 bosses per instance = 7 badges (taking into account the double badge drops from higher-end instances)
2xDailies = 3 Badges (taking into account the Timear quests which give rep items instead)
This should give you an average of 17 badges per day, by doing ONLY the dailies. Obviously this number fluctuates a bit (usually between 14 and 19). This would take an average group about 3 hours (counting the time taken for wipes, summoning, reagents and repairs). If you average out your playtime to 5 hours a day, there's usually time to sneak in another Heroic run (something short, like Nexus or UK is good). That should put you on approximately 20 badges a day.
Given that the gear you need takes approximately 300 badges, you're looking at 15 days hard heroics grinding to get every piece of badge gear you can. That's not terrible, 2 weeks and you're geared. But, want to do it faster?
Give yourself five days of solid play. By solid, I mean about 9 hours+. In this time, you can cap almost every heroic dungeon in a single day (with the possible exception of the longer ones, eg: CoS). If you cap EVERY dungeon in a single day for five days, you get approximately 50 badges (including dailies) This would, after 5 days, give you more than your total required badges for all your gear (maybe allowing you to pick up something extra, such as a nice off-hand or cloak).
But don't get cocky! You have the gear, now you need the STATS. Huh, you ask? Why don't I have the stats yet? I have the gear, right?
Enchants, item enhancements and gems are -required- before you can even SNIFF at the gates of Naxxramas. EXPECT TO SPEND LOTS OF GOLD in this stage. Often the item enhancement you want isn't available from a live player, and has to be auctioned. Some of the really good stuff, is also (naturally) really rare. So, here's a golden rule for you, so you don't get lost spending every copper on things: Don't buy the best on gear you're gonna upgrade!
Settle for the minimum. Buy blue gems instead of purple. Buy an old-school Burning Crusade Meta with rep, rather than buying a Lich King meta for 1200g+. You're going to need just enough to push your stats over the Naxx entry point. You don't have to be the top player in your gear bracket! You should, ideally, be able to crack the Naxx barrier with about 1200g TOTAL.
Of course, you could always ignore all this, and get carried. But where's the fun in that? You're not getting the chance to farm your heroic achievements. You're not getting the practice with your rotation. You're not getting quality time with the other members of your guild who are trying to gear up as well.
Personal relationships play a MASSIVE role in raids. People are FAR more inclined to forgive your random pull of X mob while DPSing Y boss, if you know them. So remember this other golden rule: Screw your guild, you screw yourself.
I look forward to the discussion here, and I also look forward to meeting all you aspiring raiders on the road to gear!