Here we are, at the end of the very first ever Mythic tier of raid progress and an old face has come back out on top. The race in Highmaul, the first part of Tier 17, pulled us back to Cataclysm and the days when Paragon and Method were clashing for the No.1 spot, and it ended just like the old fights - with the Finns coming out on top. After an expansion in 10 man raiding where they had very little competition and took home all of the endboss World Firsts, Paragon have returned to the main competition, and this time it was even more crowded and had the most serious competitors ever in a progress race. With all the hardcore progress guilds in one place with Mythic, the future seems bright for WoW raiding, with no more silly discussions on what is harder and which raid size is the real challenge - although we almost fell into a similarly annoying argument with 7/7 or Mar'gok firsts. Luckily Paragon cleared away any doubt as they downed Butcher before anyone else could down Mar'gok.
We talked to GM Seita: (Prot Warr), Vereesa (Unholy DK ), Devai (Marksman Hunter - Stream), Yliajo (Enhancement Shaman - Stream), so let's hear what they have to say on Highmaul and their victory.
Imperator Mar'gok World First by Paragon
First off, congratulations on both the World First on Imperator Mar'gok and the first 7/7. How does it feel to be back in a wide competition, unlike your previous triumphs in 10 man where you really didn't have much competition? How does it compare to your older wins back in the 25 man days?
Seita: This win feels good especially because it was our comeback to the "big league". The game has changed and developed a bit since we last competed in 25man. Everyone will be always going for the next level in their preparations trying to top the other guilds. For Highmaul we were more prepared than we have ever been in the past for any instance.
How difficult was it to get the guild in a position where you were able to not only compete but also win against the larger and more established guilds in this bigger raid size?
Seita: It is extremely difficult to find quality players who are from Finland and can put in the time needed. In the current roster we have 8 people who were completely new to the guild, 5 of which came from Depraved. We were "lucky" to get such a large amount of players from one source and it made the transition a lot easier.
Were you surprised that you managed to get the WF at Mar'gok, especially since you yourselves said you wasted a lot of time on Butcher and the other guilds had the member and item level advantage?
Seita: I wasn't surprised that we got the world first on Mar'gok, we were really well prepared for this raid instance expecting to get the World First. Wasting 8 hours on Butcher kind of sucked and was "depressing" for the overall atmosphere for the day. When we started making good progress on Mar'gok things changed for the better for the rest of the progression.
At what point did you decide to switch over from Butcher to Mar'gok and why?
Seita: After wasting 8 hours on Butcher on Thursday we decided it was a time for a change. Butcher is the most un-fun boss in this instance, wiping there started to eat our raid morale a bit. We could have killed Butcher on Thursday if we stayed there but in the end it was the right call to switch to Mar'gok to really play the game and not just bash our heads into the wall.
A close wipe on the Butcher
After you downed Imperator, was there a lot of pressure to quickly kill the Butcher fast as well, before any other guilds could get Mar'gok or were you just going for closure for yourselves and to have a clean instance?
Seita: After killing Mar'gok everyone was really hyped and we rushed to Butcher to get the kill out of the way. We knew we could kill it as we got some good tries in on Thursday already .
Your bench isn't really deep, you basically killed all bosses with the same setup/people? How much more difficult do you think that made the encounters, not having access to different options and classes?
Seita: We made our comp with the last boss in the mind, it is quite clear that the last boss is the hardest and matters the most. So we picked the comp we thought would perform the best for the last boss. Maybe it hurt us a bit for Butcher but in the end it didn't matter too much.
Luckily for all of us we didn't have to listen to an endless debates about what's the "real" win in Highmaul, Mar'gok WF or 7/7, what are your thoughts on that?
Seita: If you look at the fights side by side and what guilds are required to do to beat the encounters Mar'gok is the only one that matters.
What would you say the class status is like at the moment for Mythic? Any standouts and OP classes?
Seita: The overall balance is quite good at the moment, but a lot of the classes have their gimmicks where they are extremely strong. There isn't one class to rule them all currently, most of the specs have something they shine in, you just have to assign the roles properly for everyone. Of course there are some specs that are too much in the middle of the road and don't see much play currently.
The fight seems very intense in its final stages, especially with the added extra Mythic mechanics - just how difficult was it, both from a strategic and a personal-skill standpoint?
Seita: It was easily the most difficult boss in the instance. The fight lasted around 17 minutes and a lot of things can cause the raid to wipe in each phase. The longer fights are usually more difficult as it's pretty hard to play 17 minutes without failing.
Yliajo: When a boss fight is over 15 minutes long, all the mechanics in the encounter can be intense. Especially the ones in the last couple of phases. You don't want to mess it up when the first 10 minutes have been great in a particular pull. When you have the required DPS and healing, Imperator Mar'gok comes down to survival and doing the mechanics.
Cho'gall showing up in the last phase
Where would you rank him in WoW's endboss pantheon?
Seita: Doesn't rank up there in the epic bosses category, if a boss dies after a couple of days of pulling it hurts the credibility of the boss a lot in my eyes. I think Mar'gok had great potential, but in the end the numbers weren't up there, the fight didn't require perfect execution from everyone in the raid.
Vereesa: Not very high up there and not very worthy of an endboss title.
Yliajo: I really don't see Imperator Mar'gok as an endboss per se, but he put up a decent fight as an entrance tier boss.
What do you think of the raid overall, as a complete package? Where would you rank it in Wow's history?
Seita: I think many of the bosses in this instance had a lot of potential to be good if they just would have done some things differently and if the bosses would have been more difficult for us. It is hard to say that a boss or an instance is great if everything gets cleared so quickly. I would say this instance was at least better than MV,HoF,ToES if you look at the "recent" instances.
Vereesa: SoO > ToT > Highmaul
Yliajo: Better than Dragon Soul that's for sure. As a starting instance Highmaul has been pretty good overall in WoW's history.
The "leaked" image with you being in a late phase on Mar'gok was a game changer - everyone thought you were stuck on 5/7 and far behind the other guilds but that image drew attention back to you. Then there was the DPS list on the final killshot as well. Was this just something you weren't worried about or were they actual mistakes to leak those images, do you think they impacted the race?
Seita: Some of our new members didn't know the code of conduct during progression when it comes to keeping everything a secret and that you can't trust anyone outside the guild with any information regarding the important bosses. Leaking the damage meters right after the kill was a bigger failure than letting people know there is a P4 in my opinion, you can figure out a lot of the fight and the way we did it just by closely analyzing the meters. I'm pretty sure this won't happen again :)
The dreaded "leaks"
Let's talk about Enhancement Shamans on the encounter. You seem to be the only guild that geared an Enh Sham specifically for Mar'gok - when and how exactly did you find out and decide this was one of the best classes for that encounter? Would more of them have helped get the boss down even easier? Do you think the other guilds' lack of geared Shamans was part of the reason they killed it later/still haven't killed it?
Seita: From the testing we did on beta on different bosses etc, we knew that enha had the best sustained aoe in the game. If you read the dungeon journal about mythic Mar'gok it was pretty clear to us that you could use enha here to it's full potential. Mar'gok's sustained aoe was the only reason we brought enha to our comp for the full 7/7 mythic clear. To our surprise enha was really useful in the secret P4 too.
Now that you're back in on No.1 do you feel more pressure to sustain it, with the coming Blackrock Foundry raid being the second part of Tier 17?
Seita: Going in to Blackrock Foundry isn't going to be any different than going in to Highmaul. We will do everything we can to kill the last boss first.
Devai: I feel absolutely relieved about gaining the throne "back". We had a brand new roster for the progress. Sure we farmed some SoO together, but everybody knew the tactics already and were geared to the teeth. It wasn't really a good test to see how your roster performs. Now that we are on the top, I'm pretty confident about the next tier since I saw the new roster in action and everybody proved themselves worthy. Now that we know each other a bit more I think we are going to have bit better performance at Foundry. Foundry will most likely be a bit more challenging which is good for Paragon. We tend to do really good on harder fights.
Vereesa: There's always pressure for the #1 spot, but with our strong finish in Highmaul I'm personally not very concerned.
Yliajo: We will be pushing hard again for the upcoming instances. I hope other guilds will give us a good race for Blackhand's head.
What was the most ridiculous/Funny/Stupid tactic that you tried?
Vereesa: In our despair, even after having decided to stop attempting The Butcher, we tried out a tactic where the boss would be tanked in the small puddle near the sewers with the raid behind him and a single Rogue doing all the soaking. Needless to say it didn't seem to work very well and we went back to working on Mar'gok.
Yliajo: Puddle Butcher tactic which we tried for a few pulls. Really hard to manage the DPS required for the boss with that tactic.
Any specific complaints about mechanics of a certain boss or anything else in the raid itself?
Yliajo: I would say that Ko'ragh's abilities can be somewhat confusing to some guilds. When you need a certain amount of magic and physical damage and it can be difficult to some raid comps.
Which was your favorite boss and why? Which boss do you think had more potential but wasn't quite tuned right?
Vereesa: Mar'gok was definitely my favorite, but that's not to say any of the bosses were very interesting to start with. Tuning, I'd say, was mostly spot on with very few exceptions.
Yliajo: I actually liked Kargath. He was easy, but a decent entrance boss. I really liked the part when you get to go to the arena stand as an enhancement shaman :D
Devai: Brackenspore and Imperator both where my favorites. Brackenspore could have been bit more challenging, but still the boss had a lot of different things you needed to handle raid-wide and on a personal level (yeah, I was a fireman).
Imperator was a really long fight with different mechanics. As a hunter you had some extra responsibilities. It always gives me a good feeling when you actually need to play the game if you know what I mean, not just root in some place and do perfect rotation. I think it was a really good end boss for the instance. Devs did a good job on the boss and left us a nice surprise in the end! I was actually surprised in a raid for the first time in a long time.
A fair amount of mines.
And now here are some questions from the fans, posted in the comments of the progress article:
Sejta is considered to be "THE bear" since that's been his main since Ulduar. What factors made him change to warrior this tier considering that in the past he has always played druid even if the content have seemed to favor other tanks?
Seita: Warrior was better for the last boss which played a big part in my decision. Warrior really shines in situations where you can use Shield Block to its full potential, that is when you are only tanking 50% of the time. For example, on our Mar'gok kill the boss hit me 176 times: 123 blocks, 38 parry, 13 unblocked hits. Before, when I played my Druid, it was always the best offtank or the best tank overall in my opinion, this time Druid wasn't the best choice for any tanking role.
After realm connections Paragon ended up on the same server as ScrubBusters who seemed to go extreme with buying tons of 665 gear. Did that affect the auction house a lot and was it difficult for Paragon to get the boe's they wanted?
Seita: We got the gear we wanted, after all there were 4 weeks to get the gear before Mythics.
Who are the tacticians in your guild, both those behind planning itemization, budget and raidcomp and those behind boss tactics? Do they work together? How does it usually work?
Seita: I usually do the ground work and then ask for other officers (Alzu, Fragi, Verdisha) on their opinion if this is the way we really want to do things. When we are going for a new boss we usually have a bit of an idea on how to do the boss based on what we did on the beta. After every pull everyone is free to give their input on how the fight could be done better. Usually Jhazrun is the most opinionated of the members and always has some ideas worth trying out. In the end I make the decision on what we will spend our time on.