I don't have a coherent Ascended set yet. Also why sword and board for support buff mesmer? Where can I learn more about rotation?
https://snowcrows.com/raids/training/ the page also have builds
I recommend watching guides for each raid. Also, the difficulty does not go in order by boss/wing. I'd say learn some easier encounters first.
Some easier encounters (IMO at least) are Gorseval, Samarog, and Keep Construct. I'm sure other players can give you more feedback on which bosses are easy as well, but learning easier ones and working your way up is a good method.
Additionally, not to discourage you, but mesmer is a bit more difficult than some classes. I'm not saying dont try it, but you might have an easier time learning the encounters on a different class first. I'd suggest Dragonhunter or power soulbeast.
One more thing, you can practice rotations in the aerodrome. The more comfortable you are with your rotations the easier it will be to focus on mechanics. Ideally, you want to get to a point where you don't really need to constantly look at your cooldowns (easier said than done I know).
Either way, good luck. And try not to get discouraged by unpleasant interactions with more experienced, less patient raiders. Those are probably unavoidable but if you find a training discord I think that will help out.
I'm not tanky, I just feel tanky.
1) Learn your class or whatever classes you want to play. Learn why certain classes use certain gear, weapons, skills, and rotation. For your question, support chronomancers use sword+shield because sword has the best damage and shield provides alacrity, and a block for when the boss has a tank mechanic.
2) Learn the raid through the wiki and videos. It helps having an idea of what you would be getting into and some different mechanics of the bosses.
3) Join a training group. Groups like the Raiders Inn have training runs meant to help new people get into raids. There are also training groups that get hosted in LFG or other groups that are willing to accept new people, so long as it is not on a difficult boss, you can play a role they still need, and you’re open and honest about it. Don’t try to fake KP unless you know 100% that it won’t come back to bite you.
It depends how you play and approach the game. I have seen some progress from new to raid seller in 6 months. The fastest way to learn and get better is pug but if you cant take toxic behaviour, join trainjng guild and progress slowly. You dont need asc gear to play. Watch videos, guides read snow crows build website. etc. they have good build there to start. Good luck
Death is Energy [DIE] in EU
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Thanks for the tips. The daunting part for me is finding a group, I'm not sure I'm stable enough in terms of when I play to be part of a consistent group. I'm also a little scared because I don't have a lot of concentration on my gear and it sounds like for mesmer I need that to maintain buffs? Like that's my one role is giving everyone alacrity?
Are any of the raiding groups big enough that they PuG a lot, like I could just get on and it'd be likely I'd be able to get a group together?
If you plan to begin raiding you need to be prepared to change your gear stats to ones that are suitable for your role in the group. One of the biggest mistakes new raiders make is thinking they can join raid groups with their existing open world builds and be successful. In general if they do this, they will contribute much less to the group than other members, sometimes even making the raid harder simply by being there, and therefore other group members will be toxic. Honestly, if you are not in a position were you are able/willing to change your gear you are not ready to raid.
For support chrono you will need some concentration on your gear. Exotics are fine if yoiu cant afford ascended yet. Support chronos main purpose is to provide 100% uptime of quickness and alacrity to the squad which are 2 of the most important boons in the game. (might and fury being the other 2). Their secondary purpose is to provide a small amount of damage and bring CC to help with breakbars.
If you check snowcrows website that is linked above you will see the optimal setup of gear which will give you enough boon duration to buff properly. I would reccommend taking slightly more concentration that what is suggested there, to account for your mistakes while you are still learning.
As for getting a team, there are many guilds that have open training runs, where you dont need to show up consistently every single week, and can just join the run if its at a time that works for you. However if you do this, you will progress slower as you wont be able to consistently practice bosses and mechanics.