Well, as the Defiant side is getting closer to getting a 10man or two formed, I thought I'd post what I am doing to get raid ready. Again, this is what *I* am doing, and I am far from an expert, but some people may find it helpful. Anyhoo.
1. First and foremost, I have read this:
I've read it more than once, and I think EVERYONE who wants to raid needs to. Fog gives a clear picture of where our heart should be, and where it should not be. We all need to understand that if we want to raid in the family.
2. I practice, and then I practice, and then I practice some more.
Getting experience with game mechanics has been crucial for me. Running T2s and DRRs (daily raid rifts) is an integral part of getting ready to raid for me. T1s and DXRs (daily expert rifts) will help, of course, but there is a leap in difficulty from T2s to raids, just like there is from T1s to T2s, and I feel like I need to be fairly competent doing T2s (for the most part *shakes fist at Plutonus*) before I can think about raiding. Plus, the more plaques of achievement I get, the better gear I can get.
3. I learn the minimum requirements.
See your character panel for hit/toughness/focus requirements. I aim for that, and if I am not there, I research what I can get to boost it. For me, it's focus, so I look at gear (gloves tend to have focus, as well as weapons), the focus planar lens available from the rift faction vendors, runes, etc.
4. I work on my gear.
I'm sorry if this is blunt, but going to a raid in a bunch of greens/blues (generally speaking) isn't the greatest idea. Drops from T2s, DRRs, stuff you can buy with plaques of achievement and marks of ascention, and the epic crafted sets are all things to look at and aim for. I set specific goals gear wise, and learned what I wanted, and then went for it. I have been trying to get two sets of gear, one for dps and one for healing, and I have two source engines, one for each. I've worked hard on those, doing DRRs daily for the Inscribed Sourcestones so I have been able to fill both belts with the rift faction vendor lessers. They help. A lot.
5. I learn my strengths and weaknesses, see how I am doing, and try to improve.
How do I know how well I am doing? Well, seeing if people live or die as I am a healer, but I also use a parser to see what my healing output and efficiency is, and what my dps is. I know you can't live on parsers alone, but they are a very useful tool. For example, I ended up dpsing on a boss fight last night, and my dps was only 374. That's not good for a dungeon, and would be horrid for a raid. I have to improve that IF I want to dps in raid. However, I know that my best role is a tank healer and healing is my focus, so I work on that first and foremost, but I also know I need to try getting my dps up too. (I use the Rift Junkies parser which is available on their site below, and very quick and easy to use, Adren uses ACT.)
6. I look at my role, my builds, my rotations,
It would be all well and if I wanted to play some less-than-normal build combination, and everyone needs to find their own niche, but if I want to raid, I want to maximize the tools available for my class. This means some research, and some trial and error - and it also means knowing what you want your build to be able to do. If I want to go for tank heals, I'm not going to be running around with a Shaman/Warden build.
7. I research - yes, this IS work.
I look up information on classes, builds, and raids on our forum, the rift forums, and some other forums. I also try to watch videos on the boss fights for any raid I know I am going to at least a couple times each, so I have some semblance of a clue what to expect when I go in. I'll include some links at the bottom of the post.
8.I talk to people
Yeah, I know you are all shocked, me, talk? But in all seriousness, I talk to people who have experience with the raids and get their thoughts/opinions, etc. That doesn't mean I am going to do things exactly their way, but hints like "Watch out, the ground AoE those plants do will also slow you." I find helpful.
9. I make sure I have the right potions and consumables on me.
I try to roll with 2 stacks of drinks, a stack of mana pots, a stack of healing pots, burning powerstones, burning manastones, elder tablets, and brightsurge vials at all times. I also have a medic, and now am keeping 3 Aspects of the Ancients on me in case it's a really bad night or for some reason, I have no planar charges. That may be overkill, but I have gotten called in to things at the last minute, and wiped a lot. LOL.
10.I give it a try
I've been lucky enough to do a few raids with a few guilds that I know. I've gone in on some raids where I have been a semi-effective member of the group - sometimes having success, sometimes not. (Darn you, Anrak, darn you!) Other times, I've been taken by the hand, told not to worry about doing anything, and just watched people kill stuff while trying to stay alive. Most of the time, I walk out going "Okay, so I need to work on this, and this, and THIS..." etc.
11.I have fun
Rift is a game. If I'm not having fun, I either need to take a step back, or stop playing it. Period. Raiding should not be tedious and horrible, it should be fun, although until we get things going, it may be a bit frustrating. (Have I said "Darn you, Anrak!" yet?)
Hope that helps. Please, add your thoughts/suggestions, etc. Again, I don't know very much, so I'd love to hear other people's thoughts. I was also sent a rather long email on how to get a guild raid ready by one of the members of a hardcore raiding guild, if anyone wants to see that, I can share that too.
And some good places for research:
http://forums.riftgame.com/forum.php - the Rift Forum
http://www.riftjunkies.com/ - Rift Junkies, I watch a lot of the raid videos on RJ, and I have the parser from them.
http://www.riftstrats.com/ - Rift Strats
http://ciderhelm.com/ - his Rift raid stuff isn't quite complete, but so much good info on that site. If you want to tank...