Personally I like to live my life by the words of Sir Francis Bacon: Knowledge is Power. In raiding, knowing what people are talking about can mean the difference between looking like a newbie or looking like a quick learner. For this reason we've but together a lexicon of raiding lingo for those of you who are looking to get into raiding.
First let's go over a couple basic abbreviations you'll encounter in raid chat. Each of these stands for an important raiding concept, so it's essential that you familiarize yourself with them.
Abbreviations of Note
MT: Main Tank This term refers to the main meat shield of your group. With three tanking classes currently in the game you can't be sure exactly who will fill this role, and most likely there will be more than one. For Karazhan, as an example, a raid group will normally employ two tanks so that they can be prepared for every fight.
OT: Off Tank When raiding chances are your group will focus on one target at a time. When this is not possible, it is necessary to have a tank take charge of keeping the other mobs busy. His job is not necessarily to kill the monsters, more to just piss them off enough so that the rest of the raid can focus their damage on slaughtering one mob at a time.
MA: Main Assist I have seen hunters, rogues, heck even the occasional dps warrior fill this role. Essentially, the main assist is in charge of pulling mobs to the raid. If you are assigned as main assist, chances are you will be pulling one mob toward a designated main tank who will then pummel the target into submission. The MA might also be the one marking targets for the raid. More on that later.
MH: Main Healer The main healer in the raid is most often in charge of keeping the Main Tank or tanks alive. Yes, there will be other healers in the raid, but normally a healer with the greatest amount of experience will be chosen to focus their efforts on those on the front lines of battle. I say normally because each raid is built differently, and some may not even designate a main healer.
DPS: Damage Dealers DPS as a statistic stands for damage per second, but in raid speak, the DPS are those that dish it out the pain while the tanks keep the target busy. This group is usually divided into two groups, melee and ranged. These are also the most numerous members of the raid, as well as the most interchangeable. While every raid will need tanking and healing, the DPS members of the raid can vary greatly depending on what the group requires.
CC: Crowd Control There are several classes in the game that have some method with which to keep baddies at bay. Mages can use polymorph, priests can shackle, rogues can sap. You get the picture. The CC of the raid will usually be assigned a specific target to control. This assignment should happen at the beginning of the raid. If you are a CC member of the raid, make sure to ask what your assignment is ahead of time. A CC mix-up can mean a wipe, which means a grumpy raid.
RFI: Roll for Interest For some raids using a specific loot distribution system, this term will come up after you have killed a boss, or at that occasional moment when a piece of epic loot drops at a time when you have not downed a boss. If the shiny epic is something you can use, and it will be better than the piece you currently have, then do a /roll to show you would like it.
DKP: Dragon Kill Points Some raids run using a system that includes DKP. Basically, DKP are points given to you for every boss you help defeat. These points are then saved up and used to purchase the items that drop. For instance, say I have been running with a raid for a month, and every time we drop a boss I get 5 points. My current DKP total is 100 points. At our most recent raid, there was a lovely wand that dropped, and I wanted it, so I spent my 100 points on that item and went home with my shiny spoils. I would then have to save up DKP so that the next time an item drops that I want, I will be able to buy it. There are several types of DKP systems, so ask around and someone will let you know how they assign points.
While not abbreviated, there are a few terms thrown around the raid that you probably should be familiar with. This isn't a comprehensive list by any means, and there will eventually come a time during a raid when you will hear silly phrases like "grab a butt cheek" and you'll have to ask for clarification. This is more of a jumping off point than anything else.
Raid Leader This is the raid organizer, the big honcho, the jefe grande. Many times this will be a member of the core of the raid, a main tank or main healer for instance. Any information, instructions, etc. you will get from him/her.
Kill order In raids, as in some of the newer dungeons, there will be large groups that you will have to face. Normally the raid leader or the main assist will mark targets for the raid using the targeting symbols (the lucky charms icons) Blizzard recently added to the game. Some raids will have a designated order in which they want to take down the mobs, and they will usually have this set up either as a standing guideline or something that they set up at the beginning of the raid. If no apparent kill order seems to be in place, I always ask, especially because I most often play a DPS role.
Buffing assignments Those classes that can buff other players will be expected to do so at regular intervals throughout the raid. The raid leader will let you know which group you are responsible for, or if you are responsible for buffing the entire raid, which can happen in the smaller 10-mans.
Boss Gear This refers to the set of gear that will help you do best in the big fights. Many times it means equipment with increases to landing hits against your target or added stamina. Some bosses might have specific attacks that require resistances to fire or arcane or nature damage.
Trash mobs Monsters that are not bosses are often referred to as the trash of the instance. The difficulty of trash in raids varies greatly, and they usually drop green items and those pieces I like to call "shop food," the grays that will help pay for your repair bill.
You now know how to speak like a raider. You've gotten ready to raid. Now comes the fun part. Jumping right in and seeing what it's like. Not to worry, WoW Insider is there for you, and we will finish up our series by letting you know how you can survive your first raid.