Here we are on the eve of Mythic Nighthold and the beginning of the end of the Tier 19 progress race, having to start off this interview with some bad news: it seems a number of Chinese top guilds, including interviewees A Stars, will not be joining the race for the first few days of their servers going up as it conflicts with the Chinese New Year celebrations. We hope to see them back and at full speed as soon as possible in the race and that they have a good time during the festivities!
On to brighter things, we recently talked to a few members from A Stars, whom we formerly called Allstar during Emerald Nightmare progress. Here are the raiders we talked to:
迪斯马森——Dis, The Guild Master
战神——Warlord, Officer, Finance, Logistics management
Crusher, Officer, Vice Raid Leader, Tactics maker
翔云——Flycloud, Officer, Raid Leader
愤怒鸟——AngryBird, Raider, Streamer
老K——Bluewind, Raider, Main Tank
And, before we start, a huge thanks to 旋转传奇 aka AndyIce for getting us in touch with the guild and translating!
Despite your guild being relatively new it has some very old roots, tell us a little about its history.
Warlord: The guild today was created by merging three guilds: Stars, Power of Creation and The Forgotten Name. For now, the official name is A Stars. PoC and Forgotten Name were both top guilds in China, and Stars, as you all know, got a long hardcore raiding history.
Bluewind: The loot systems and the lockout systems are all same as the US/EU in Patch 7.0 and 7.1.
You get new raids and weekly resets two days after US/OC servers and one day after EU, and it’s been like that since forever - how do you handle the fact that you’re so far behind before you’ve even started?
Bluewind: We also don't have our own PTR in CN-WOW (even no account) and the 2 days after US, the race does get a little inferior for us. Honestly, that’s really bad. About using bugs to kill some bosses, we're more disgusted. In our opinion, that’s shameful. But we have to say, Blizzard and Netease (the WoW operator in China) have to bear some responsibility - for example, in CN-WOW, they basically do not pay any attention to the use of illegal means of killing bosses at all.
Flycloud: We complain! No other way! But, starting 2 days later can let us check the order of the bosses or check some videos on YouTube.
Do you think there’s a difference in raiding culture between Asian guilds and US/EU ones?
Dis: There's not really a difference, for we’re all WOWers. An interesting thing with CN-WOWers is some weird names for their characters. For example, a Mage is the BlizzSon, a Warlock is the CandyMachine.
What do you think of the current Asian raiding scene?
Crusher: We don't know much about KR-WOW. They are currently relatively sluggish, so we were not paying much attention to them. For CN-WOW, there are 4 or 5 guilds on the top level. They raid 10-12 hours per day when the race begins.
At the moment you’re pretty dominant in the Asia rankings, finishing in 1st place in both Emerald Nightmare and Trial of Valor. Why do you think you’re doing so well in Legion, is there something you do that other guilds don’t?
Crusher: Despite lots of our raiders having no experience the very top end of World raiding, we do have a better roster than other Asian guilds. They’re good at their own characters and got really great passion for these races. The Asia 1st is a matter of course when we got these. Passion, focus, unity, that’s all we got.
What did you think of EN and ToV as raids and the bosses there?
9night: All of Emerald Nightmare and ToV’s first 2 bosses were a disappointment, but Helya Mythic was a surprise for us. Compared to the loot, she is much more difficult.
Helya seemed to give you a lot more trouble than any boss in Legion, to the point that you even had to switch tactics after the WF kill video was released. What was so problematic about her?
Crusher: Honestly, we just joined the 3rd phase when Method downed Helya. Due to the lack of awareness of the 3rd phase, we had been using 5 healers and weren't thinking about the berserk. When we got the video, we found out that we have to reduce one healer and use Shadow Priest’s Mass Dispel if we wanna down her in that reset. So, we changed our strategy and got more DPS. For the entirety strategy of 3rd phase, we got into lots of discussions, but the idea was not much different from Method and Serenity's.
Most US/EU guilds look at EN and ToV as basically a “warm up” for Nighthold. Do you agree that it’s going to be the most important raid so far and will determine who the “real” no.1 is?
Crusher: We heard about that, but I think that REAL or NOT depends on Blizzard. Their attitude is everything. They are serious enough about it to make Nighthold look like the most classic raids such as ULD or ToT.
You’ve tested the Nighthold bosses, do you expect them to be better than what we’ve seen so far, both in terms of difficulty and mechanics?
27: Gul'dan! After all, he has the unknown phase. In the past, bosses who had unknown phases were all EXCITING. Imperator Mar'gok, Archimonde, Garrosh Hellscream, you name it.
What do you think of Legion so far, both in terms of raiding and in general?
Crusher: The Artifact, the M+ Dungeons make the game much more interesting, but Legendary items, eh, Exorsus talked about that. And we quite agree with them. Blizzard do not pay much attention to PVE, but we have to say, it’s the main feature of the MMORPG. I’ve played the game for more than 12 years with great enthusiasm and energy, but I feel that they treated WOW like such a beggar in the past few years. Not alarmist, but I did feel it.
What has your legendary item situation been like so far, did your players get everything they needed in time for EN or later ToV?
AngryBird: The whole system is completely based on luck. Any guilds can feel it. That’s one of the most disgusting things in Legion.
Do your players have many alts so you can switch to needed classes or do you prefer to have a larger member roster with fewer alts?
Flycloud: We all got 1 or 2 mains and 6-7 alts for the race. We have to get some good item levels on all the characters and it’s really tiring, but it’s the only way to get you to the top level. This kind of mode limits the numbers of the roster, but I think Blizzard can't come up with a better way to replace it.
Any shoutouts? About the raid, the game and the fans?
AngryBird: I'd like to mention the rise of Streaming, with it the PvE Race got a lot different. Honestly, for tactical secrecy and more reasons, the raid stream is basically impossible. But the most critical period is in that moment of progress. The WOWers all over the World are focused on the race, like NBA Playoffs and MLB. For now, most of the Chinese guilds gave up the idea of the World 1st. They chose to stream in exchange for more attention, not only for the popularity, more for the benefit (a lot of money). Maybe it's better in the long run for Chinese servers.
We chose to close the stream for the first 3 days on Mythic Helya. When we joined the 3rd phase, another guild, Alpha, was barely able to get into 2nd phase. Even though we got the advantage, the fans were all looking at Alpha. Although we do not regret the first few days off the stream (if we live it, it means our opponents can check our strategy, maybe save a lot of time for them), but this is still a question worth pondering.
We'd like to thank everyone. Our fans, our opponents, Blizzard and more. Thank you.