Well, it seems it's mandatory that every progress race have it's own "creative use of the rules" moment. Top US guilds were treated to a double reset of Mogu'shan Vaults Normal mode last week, as the brilliance that is Blizzard planning struck again. The raid was available a full two hours before the actual weekly reset happened, and so some guilds cleared as much as they could, getting as far as downing Spirit Kings and then the instance reset, giving them another run at the loot from the bosses that they killed. A number of US guilds did this (it wasn't possible to do in the EU) but the most relevant to the progress race are the top 3 guilds, namely Blood Legion, vodka and Exodus.
This echos last tier's LFR exploit but is far from the same thing, and will have a much smaller impact on the race (and not just because no one has been banned) since the number of items gained is much smaller. It is also important to note that the guilds didn't exploit anything nor do anything "illegal", although it was pretty obvious that maybe getting two resets on the first four bosses isn't such a legit thing to do. The same thing happened in tier 11, the first of Cataclysm, when European guilds had time to clear Normal bosses on Tuesday before the raid reset the day after.
On the other side of the pond something similar (but slightly less severe) is happening with Valor points - with the EU having VP resets a day after release, it allowed guilds to farm up to 1k points before the reset, something the US couldn't.
This does, however, highlight other problematic issues with this raid tier, which may have been part of the reason these guilds thought it necessary to get an edge. Several additions in the latest expansion are jeopardizing the fairness of the upcoming Heroic race, namely:
- The Black Market Auction House is a huge problem, with Heroic items from the final raid in this tier (which won't be open for another month or so) popping up on it for purchase, including weapons, and the randomness of these spawns completely skews the capabilities of the competing guilds (for example Seita from Paragon has Heroic level Terrace of Endless Spring - the final instance in this tier - boots).
- The BMAH prices are also extremely random, as it's system of blind bids works in favor of low population servers, where there is less competition for the high powered items that randomly com on there.
- World bosses are an issue since there is little to no competition for them on low population servers, and some people have even taken to joining friends on these servers through Real ID (and in turn those friends can bring their friends in etc.) to either help out or perhaps get some loot (some of the World boss loot is higher ilev than Mogu'shan Vaults Normal).
- The coin system, allowing another loot roll on a boss and even more RNG to the system, making luck an even bigger factor.
Now, all of these things don't necessarily mean that the race will be decided by them, but it does show a remarkable level of uncaring on Blizzard's part (especially the double reset issue), and taints the race at least a little. But we can still look forward to some stiff competition and some exciting kills, as long as the bosses aren't too easy.