Sure Mythic has technically started, but you know WoW raiders, everything happens at the last possible minute! So we thought we'd do an interview with some of the contenders for the Mythic crown and give the top two a pass, because really, we've heard enough out of them already. :) So here we have the newcomers to the above-10man game Paragon with quite a legacy behind them, represented by GM Seita; Exorsus, the No.3 from Russia, represented by GM Alveona; ScrubBusters with their semi-hardcore schedule and No.7 placement in SoO, represented by GM Halby and TG Gaming from Germany and the No.6 in SoO, represented by GM Rocky.
What is your favorite feature in Warlords and why?
20 man Mythic raids for sure. I've been saying that 25 man raids should be squished and 10 man removed completely since Cataclysm. We will see how it will affect hardcore raiding soon enough.
I'd have to say the Garrison system has been the defining and most fun feature so far. Personally I think it seems very well thought out, from Follower missions to invasions to the mostly useful and fun buildings. It lets every single player make interesting choices!
Flexible raid sizes are a great feature. They let us raid with whoever is available and willing rather than picking and choosing. On top of that, no-flying is surprisingly enjoyable as it makes the world seem so much more engaging, especially when playing in groups. We all quested our way to 100 on several characters so it was nice to travel through Draenor together.
With the flex system implemented on Normal and Heroic, as well as the separate lockouts, just how insane (and perhaps frustrating) has this first week of gearing up everyone and their grandmother been?
I think it is natural part of progress raiding and there have always been guilds competing who can take the preparations to the next level.
This question is something Blizzard tried to fix many times, however due to many reasons there are no obvious fixes for such a problem. As for me, the current type of lockout is fine, considering you can at least always change your setup in every raid. First week was really intense, no doubt, but it's some kind of "arms race" in WoW, which is kinda funny!
From a guild member's point of view, it's been a tough week and a massive grind. From an officer's point of view it's been absolutely insane. We have to single out and thank Rage (and also a very new member, Tyani) for dedicating many many hours of their time to raid setups and dealing with the massive effort of making sure everyone on the team gets the proper items. Getting the best possible gear for heroic/mythic progression has of course always been part of progression raiding. The pulling together and pooling resources part is also fun in my opinion. A system that required less of a time effort during normal week for hardcore guilds might be nice, but seems impossible to implement without taking away content from raiders.
We anticipated what it would take to clear four heroic raids and everyone prepared several characters accordingly, so we had very few issues (each clear took 3-4 hours). We set aside an extra evening for normal mode clears, so it turned out less hectic for us than it seemed to be for other guilds. It was also nice to get a feel for how of our newer raiders react to a more serious atmosphere, and see how they play multiple characters.
The Garrison missions and salvage yard have some pretty good quality loot available, even Mythic with a chance at warforged and sockets, but on a somewhat random basis. Do you think this has any chance to in any way affect the race if a guild gets very lucky with the drops?
Salvage itself is not a big problem, because you can buy those BOE epics anyway, but raid loot from Mythic from the last boss before Mythic has even started? That's terrible. It will affect this progression for sure.
The above mentioned things definitely play a part in the gearing process and are random to a certain degree, but preparing for content includes putting in an effort to maximize the chance for the good stuff. If every guild puts in an equal effort in acquiring gear for the members, the race will probably not be decided by someone getting lucky on a follower mission or something of the sort.
Getting extra items from garrison missions has been nice, but the way in which the information was presented to us going into the expansion was really poor. For example, there still is no clear answer as to when we should be getting certain garrison missions, so it’s all been up in the air a little bit in terms of how to prepare in order to min-max these items. Will this affect the race? It will be a big surprise if it does, as your guild will have to get extremely lucky, but of course having better gear will always help on a progression encounter.
How big of an impact do you think the newly formed Mythic guilds will have on the race? Do the already formed previously 25 man guilds have an edge over the 10 mans who upgraded?
To be honest I don't know which guilds are newly formed for 20man raiding or if they are competitive. I would assume that the race is between the top 25man guilds in SoO and us as far as western guilds go.
Not going to make any predictions, but pretty sure we will have a lot of surprises in this content!
An advantage previous 25 man guilds might have is in the area of managing a larger number of players. Having been in a 10 man guild before, I know how much more time is required. As far as predictions go, I can't really say. I try not to make predictions that can get shoved in my face later ;)
It’s unlikely that any of them will impact the actual world first race, with the obvious exception being Paragon. However, some might have a go at our personal ranking. Regardless, we look forward to having some more competition on page 1 on wowprogress because it had been dying out for a long time. Rankings are generally affected by the hours guilds are willing to invest rather than the actual difficulty of the content. It’s quite possible Highmaul will just be a rush tier.
Aside from the terrible launch and subsequent issues, how would you rank Warlords overall in WoW's expansion lineup?
I like most of the things they did with this expansion, can't really say where I rank it yet, but it's up there among the best expansions so far.
As a RL and GM of a top guild it's hard to rate this expansion before we've seen at least 1 raid content in Mythic difficulty. Other than that this expansion looks nice design-wise.
Warlords of Draenor is a strong, back-to-the-roots type of expansion with many clever new features. So far, I'd place it at the top alongside Wrath of the Lich King and hope the final tier turns out as well as ICC did.
Putting aside the problems at launch, WoD has definitely been one of the better, if not the best expansion to date in our opinion. It’s hard to say at this point (still being in the honeymoon period and all), but it is certainly a good one!
What do you think of the boss mechanics in Highmaul based on Mythic testing?
Highmaul is an entry-lvl raid dungeon, it's not really something complicated. Probably only the last boss will do the job, but even a super easy mechanic-wise boss could be super tightly tuned, which will result in many wipes. Lets wait and see!
Most of the mechanics in Highmaul seem pretty straightforward, we'll have to see how the encounters have been fine-tuned, though. There is only so much the encounter designers can come up with, but having seen Blackrock Foundry on the PTR as well I can say they definitely still have stuff up their sleeve. As for Highmaul, the final boss seems quite complex and should be pretty difficult to overcome. We're looking forward to it!
A lot of the fights in Highmaul are really unique; if you look at Brackenspore it has some really interesting and new mechanics for example. Even so, the difficulty of the instance is not the highest. Other than the last two bosses, there isn’t much of a challenge outside of the standard DPS / healing checks. Imperator Mar’gok in particular could be, logistically and practically, a very difficult and interesting encounter, although less so post-nerf.
What's your favorite boss from testing, and which do you think has the biggest potential to be great if tuned properly?
In the first instance Mar'gok at least has potential to be a Lei'Shen kind of boss.
Talking about Highmaul my favorite boss is definitely Twin Ogron, I love bosses with more "arcade" mechanics. The boss could be easy, however it requires more personal skill and could be really hard with proper tuning.
In Highmaul, my personal favorite from testing has been the Butcher. It may seem a bit dull, but I like tough DPS checks, it makes everyone hit those keys especially hard! In terms of the whole tier, The Blast Furnace could turn out amazingly fun if tuned properly, definitely my favorite Boss from testing. The idea of cooking up a Boss monster and trying to make it as weak as possible is pretty awesome to me.
Imperator Mar’gok was a very fun and engaging encounter on Heroic, it also has the biggest potential to be an extremely difficult fight on Mythic if tuned correctly. Having multiple difficult phases which round off with an explosive final phase is always very enjoyable, particularly when it concerns the last boss of an instance.
How do you feel about the full year+ of Siege of Orgrimmar raiding during the wait to Wod? Would a filler raid like Ruby Sanctum have helped?
A full year of SoO was a bit too much, but the extended time in SoO helped us to transition from 10man to 20man without rushing it. So it kind of worked for us as we were building our team and getting to know the new players. A filler raid like Ruby Sanctum would have definitely not helped at all, RS was an instance of one easy boss which died on heroic before the servers came up in Europe, maybe if the boss was made extremely hard and nearly impossible to kill with full SoO gear it would have been something to spend time on.
Not quite sure that Ruby Sanctum could help in such a situation. But for example for me ~8 months delay from progression to progression looks like an ideal delay. Talking about SoO - it was quite frustrating for some guildmates, but as for me it's not so bad, at least you could relax from raids for some time! :)
The downtime definitely put a strain on the guild and made quite a couple of members get restless. It's hard to say if a filler raid would have helped that. Of course it's always fun to have new stuff to do, but it would have been at the expense of the WoD release date.
Raiding for 2 hours a week wasn’t a big issue, we have a great social atmosphere within the guild so it didn’t feel like a chore. While adding a filler might have been something to excite people for a while, progressing on something new for one night wouldn’t have really added anything. Besides, we had an amazing guild meeting in the middle of summer that fired up the community quite a bit.
It's been mentioned that WoD might only have two raid tiers (if the next expansion is ready fast enough), would that be a good or a bad thing?
Doesn't really matter when the expansion shifts as long as they keep releasing new raid instances often enough.
Really depends on timing. But I'm fine with 2 content patches unless they will last 1 year each. New expansions are always fun, so getting them faster is something I'm looking forward to.
What matters most to a hardcore raider is the time between raid tiers and less the name of the expansion, so if there's only two it doesn't matter that much as long as we don't have to wait too long for the next.
We would rather have 3 good tiers, but we don’t want to wait a year for new content. So if 2 good tiers mean 6 month content patches + a new expansion that isn’t bad at all.
With Mythic being brand new and this being the first tier, how excited are you for this race, in comparison with previous ones, especially with the field of competition getting significantly bigger?
I'm definitely more excited now for Mythic raids than I was going in to MoP. I'm not really well informed about the raiding scene in Asia but I'm curious to see what kind of crazy things they can come up with. Asian guilds might be able to do some serious stacking and react to the class balance changes better if they have more than one mythic raid team in the same guild, but I'm not sure how their guilds work these days.
"Hell, it's about time!"
Last tier was the first for the guild and was very successful in terms of the final ranking, considering we hadn't been around before. We are probably even more excited now though, as we gained a lot of strong players and are eager to see if we can perform even better. With the new single-raid-size for the highest tier it won't be easy, though. We'll see, making bold predictions is never wise!
Everyone being together in the same raid setting is probably one of the most exciting things of this expansion. It really does open up a lot more competition and allows for great tuning on the encounters (finally!). Hopefully we can look to keep or improve upon our current ranking with the increased amount of opposition guilds.
How Have the prepartions for woD and highmaul been going so far?
I'm currently happy with the roster we've got. In total we have 21 raiding players: 11 who played with us in progress raids before and 10 new players who have been performing really well in the beta and live raids. I'm confident this roster will be good enough to be a serious contender for the #1 spot. For Highmaul we did 5x 30man hc (and normal) to funnel gear for the mains which seemed to be common amongst the top guilds, some guilds with a bigger roster who were gearing more players than us went so far as having 6 raids.
Speaking of preparations, I want to mention something that makes me really worried:
1) Black Market Auction House with Mythic loot from the NEXT raid dungeon is completely bulls**t. This should be removed from the game or at least fixed so that these items are only available there once this loot is available via the raid itself.
2) BoE madness. 11 slots covered via BoE items? Really? Please don't do such things again :(
3) 669-670 guild ilvl before Mythic raids started when Mythic bosses are tuned for such ilvl could result in closed content before EU servers are up. Blood Legion and Midwinter, do us a favor, wait a bit for your EU friends!
The preparations so far have gone alright. Every one of the members leveled up several alts to unlock the Garrison and be able to funnel gear into the mains. Building the raids and coordinating craftable and BoE-epics took quite some effort but we're quite happy with how it turned out. Trapping all those Clefthoofs in Nagrand got old fast, though!
We basically figured out exactly how everything worked, including nerding the s**t out of followers and what line ups people would want. We have had countless of hours in garrisons maxing out all the materials for crafting 3x double upgraded items for every raider. People were so keen on this expansion that at whatever point you logged in the night the majority of the roster would be there. We also had the luxury of not losing too many longterm SB players quitting in the endless Siege of Orgrimmar farm. At the same time we had a few new interesting faces join that worked themselves in the roster nicely. We are hoping there will be enough bosses that are actually hard so we can catch up when we actually start raiding. However it seems Highmaul might not put up much resistance at all.
A big thanks to all four guilds for talking to us, and good luck to all of them in Mythic!