The Raider's Backpack
What you carry in your backpack on a raid will fall into three categories. Gear, Potions(or pots), and Consumables (Yes we know that pots are consumables, but we prefer to differentiate them). We'll tackle these categories in the following order: Pots, Consumables, Gear, and then talk a little about how much empty space you'll typically want to have in your bags.
Pots come in 6 flavours; health, power, diease, wound, fear, and poison cure. In addition to the potion varieties; diease, wound, fear, and poison cure pots also come in slaves which can be used on other players. While this makes salves an incredibly usefull tool, there are other factors regarding playstyle (both yours and of the other raid members) that need to be analyzed before you decide which pots to stack up.
Health and Power are essential for everyone. Don't even think about it, just have them. Now certain classes have the ability to cure themselves and others of various effects (eg. hunters can cure poison; Captains fear; and LMs wounds) so they don't need to carry one type of pot. Their ability to cure others is where the first calculating comes in. Not all players of those classes actually use their abilities to cure their fellow raid members. So you will need to find out if they will cover a type of curing or wether you need to bring your own cure (Generally Captains are fairly reliable with curing with LMs being a bit less reliable and your average hunter has a 50/50 chance of realizing that they can cure themselves, let alone others).
The second thing to weigh is wether or not to bring salves instead of potions. Timing is critical when curing with pots because all 4 types of cure pots go on cooldown when you use one. This means that you might decide to remove a disease from a champion, only to get hit with a poison and be unable to cure yourself. Additionally you need to know if you will remember to use the salves on the other members of your raid, and if it will affect how well you are doing your job. If you can manage curing without affecting your own performance then you might as well do it. Avoiding getting hit while still on CD will take practice and sometimes, just can't be done.
Consumables come in 4 major categories: Food, Tokens, Scrolls, and Class items. Food and tokens are the most usefull so we will focus on them first. Now then, thanks to the changes to cooking in Volume 3.1, food comes in 3 types: A (max In Combat Regen, Min Out of Combat regen), B (balanced in and out of combat regen), and C (Min In combat regen, Max out of combat regen). Knowing what type(s) of food to bring and how much will allow you to do your job more easily and free up bag space. You are obviously going to want type A food for raids since I'm sure you've heard of (or done) some long boss fights where health and power managment are critical. But what you probably haven't realized is that you are also going to want type C! Type C food will allow the raid to move more quickly through the instance, eliminating trash and quickly regenerating for the next pull. Since trash fights generally don't stretch on for a long time, having Out of combat regeneration boosted (which always ticks faster and larger than in combat regen) will greatly speed up the time you take to get to those encounters where you will need to switch food types.
Since the change to Radiance gear Hope Tokens have once again become invaluable for raiders. You will want to be carrying a stack of +5 Hope Tokens to buff yourselves and counter Dread. Some encounters will strip hope from members of the raid (The Balrog in the Rift), so you will need a steady rotation of Tokens to keep the Dread in those situations at bay.
Scrolls are used to buff yourself temporarily. They come in a somewhat wide variety of flavors so look around before deciding which ones you want to carry. Scrolls are not a neccessary part of the raider's gear so choose carfeully between having some, and having more space for loot.
Class Items (like Triple Traps, Fire Oils, or Shield Spikes) can be a decisive factor in your effectiveness for an encounter (e.g. Some raid encounters are completely immune to common damage, so a Main Tank Guardian should use shield spikes to make their shield attacks do Westerness or Ancient Dwarf Damage). But using these items may not always improve your effectiveness. So find out before hand if you need to bring anything or if having them will just waste space.
Gear, the need for extra gear is really class dependant. Some classes will need some extra weapons and LIs in case they want/need to switch roles and others won't need to bring any spares (e.g. Hunters). Just ask the leader ahead of time and they'll tell you if there is any possobility of you needing extra gear. If you need to bring it, then remember that this is eating up quite a bit of space (if you have extra armour and not just 2 other LIs) so adjust how many consumables your carrying and your loot rolling accordingly.
Empty space is important because otherwise you won't be able to hold your loot. Now remember that you won't be getting stuff from every mob and that you will need room for more than just vendor trash. If you don't have the bag space when you win that First Age Axe then you cannot take that First Age Axe(but you can quickly empty a slot in your bag and then loot the corpse to pick up that oh so shiny First Age Axe).
Your raid UI is can vary depending on what role you have. Are you the leader? Then you're going to need see basically everything. If you're a healer you'll want to see everyone's vitals, but a champion or burg probably won't. But there are many basic things that everyone will need to turn on.
First up is the target assist window. There are two ways you can turn this on. The first is to go to your social panel (the O key is your default shortcut) and go to the raid tab. Then check the box at the bottom that's by the words "Show Target Assist Window." Option 2 is to go to your settings in the menu and turn on the target assist window under gameplay options. After you turn the window on you'll probably have to use ctrl + \ to move the window out from under the chat window (you might have a big enough screen that it doesn't defaultly pop up under there). We'd
recommend putting it in either the middle of the top or the middle of the bottom of your screen; but as always, player's preferences will be the deciding factor there.
After that's done you'll want to turn on target of target so you can see what your target is targeting (it's pretty self explanatory). Go to the gameplay options and check the box. You'll want this on no matter what so that: if you are the tank, you know who the mob you missed is chasing, if you're the healer you know who to heal, if you're the leader you know who to blame(either for not getting aggro or for not managing their aggro), if you got aggro you know before they start hitting you and you can run towards the tank (if you run away then you can't blame anyone when you die).
Third, unless your raid is using a third party chat system (Ventrilo ect.) you will need to turn on the in game voice chat. Even if you don't have a micraphone, you need to turn this on in order to be able to hear the people (mostly the raid leader) who do have mics. If you are using a third party system then you'll probably already have it set up, or you'll just need to ask the other members of the raid to walk you through setting it up. If you are using the in game voice chat, you'll probably need to turn all the other sounds down (in the volume settings) as the voice chat tends to be a little soft.
And now we get into preferntial stuff, like the directional indicator, skill target forwarding, and auto move to target. Our advice on this is to take what you think will actually be helpfull for you. If you often lose track of targets, you may want the directional indicator or auto move turned on. Skill target forwarding is great for everyone, but you need to see if it suits you. If something just doesn't really work well for you, then don't use it. However we do recommend that everyone at least try skill target forwarding. It's not as essential for some classes, but healers almost universally love it.
Basic Raid Etiquette
Voice chat priority is most important during actual combat. Voice chat priority is basically the idea that unless you have been told to report certain combat states out loud(e.g. I'm out of power), that you do not talk over the raid leader or target assistant(s). This may extend to any downtime you end up having while in the raid and is entirely dependant on what the raid leader says, for if it's a PUG of Helegrod then chances are that they'll be explaining what comes next for everyone and will therefore want the chat clear for their explanation so always check with them at the beginning.
The basic principal of listening to the leader and following their orders is the most important one when it comes to raiding. Raid members that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing have a very high chance of a) causing wipes and b) getting kicked. Raid leaders will always take the time to explain how and why every unique part of the raid is done the way that it is for new people. Listen carefully to those explanations and then listen carefully for the orders that are given in the fight (e.g. do not attack mob x) and follow them immediately.
Another thing that you can do to be more helpful to both the leader and the healers is to stand directly on or behind the leader and try to stay in that position while moving (unless of course you are told not to). Keeping the entire raid in closer proximity makes switch healing easier (since the healers won't have to move) and also helps the leader keep track of everyone without having to pan their camera around too much.
When asking beginner questions it is better to give them all at once instead of slowly one at a time. Whenever you are asking questions, remember to always be polite when asking and to thank whoever answers you. Now most people will not mind at all if they have to stand around for 10-20 minutes while the new guy has everything explained to them. There might be some "pr0" who feels like their time is being wasted but polite questions and thanking people for their answers will help reduce the irritation felt by that "pr0." Most people will, however, start to get annoyed when you ask the same question 3+ times and especially if you can't give them at least a clue as to why you're missing what they are saying. There's a big difference between: "What do we do on the dragon?" X3 and "What do we do on the dragon?", "Could you go a little slower, I missed a lot of that.", "It's still too fast, could you type it out?"
Then there are the two chat channels you have at your disposal in a raid and what you use each for. The first is the raid chat (/ra) and it speaks to the whole raid. Use this for asking questions, particularly at the beginning of the raid. The second is the fellowship channel (/fellow or just grab it in the drop down menu) and this has two main uses. Firstly, if you only missed one detail of what you're supposed to be doing, ask in the fellowship channel. Secondly, use this for arranging fellowship maneuvers. Keep in mind that some leaders will set up the maneuvers themselves for all groups, but if you know the other members of your group and can pull off more complex maneuvers just clear it with the leader and go to it.
When you have no idea what you are doing, well firstly you should've just asked "what am I supposed to be doing?" but since you're in the situation here's our advice. Stand right next to another person of the same or a similar class and follow the tried and tested Monkey See Monkey Do technique. If neither one of you knows what you're supposed to be doing then the chances of things getting interesting just went up 50% because there was probably a breakdown in communication at some point.
Finally there is the problem of dealing with a situation that will always arise for every raider at some point. How you handle yourself after making a major mistake (enrage the balrog, pull the extra mobs, pull the boss before everyone is at full health/power ect.). This will happen to everyone at some point and your conduct at such a point will be a major part of how the other raiders see you as a player. We advise that you immediately admit to making the mistake (if you realize that what you did was a mistake) and say sorry it won't happen again (mistakes are always bound to happen, probably few and far between, but it's the attitude and intention that counts here). If you don't know that you caused whatever happened then just answer honestly when the leader is trying to figure out exactly what happened. Since in our theoretical example you will have made an error (although in reality you will run into this situation and and not be at blame) just say that you didn't realize that, and that it won't happen again.
Keeping you're speech short and to the point will help you get it out, and help everyone else with not wanting to rage quit because of their repair bill (of course only our hypothetical "pr0" is considering this, you know how "pr0"s are -.-). Absolutely do not attempt to blame other players, that is the kind of behavior that causes people to dislike having you in their raid. And if you feel uncomfortable with this whole little sub section imagine how we feel trying to write it! Actually remember that this is the internet, and your conduct in such an informal and anonymous setting speaks volumes about your character and the other people in the raid will know it.