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The Asian World First Situation: An Explanation - Update and Further Clarification

Article originally posted on Manaflask

Update:
For those of you not reading through all the comments, in talking to several enthusiastic Asian community members in this comments thread they have convinced us that the terminology for the World First Race is indeed a troublesome one. We still stand by what we wrote below, but the term "World First" itself is very problematic. We wanted to retain the traditional World First Race name, but since Asia can no longer participate in it due to Blizzard changing their rules, it seems unfair to keep the name as it no longer reflects what it really is: A World minus Asia World First Race. Even though it will be sad to see the full World First Race go, we need better terminology to describe the reality of the progress race of today. We still don't feel "West First" is entirely correct and will be looking into different naming conventions to more clearly and accurately differentiate between the Asian race and the rest of the World.

We apologize if we offended any Asian players and we absolutely did not intend to diminish their top raiders' achievements, we were merely trying to keep a tradition alive - which was the wrong thing to do. We hope next tier the terminology will be more clear and representative of the actual races - as that's what they are, two separate different races. We're open to suggestions on what those terms for each race should be. We are currently (and temporarily) using World (West) First and Asia First as nomenclature, but we're not particularly happy with that.

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With the recent 10 man Paragons of the Klaxxi kill by Asian guild Apocalypse there's been quite the "debate" going about what constitutes a World First, what gets counted and what doesn't so we thought we'd clarify our interpretation of the situation.

We here at Manaflask cover the World First race. There is only one race and anyone in the world can compete. Unfortunately for Asian top guilds, Blizzard have chosen to change the rules there. They felt these changes - separate lockouts for 10/25 man raids, thus enabling more gear; significantly higher item levels in 25 man as well as 8% hit point and damage increases on 25 man bosses to try and offset that - was what their subscribers in Asia wanted. We cannot regard Asian guilds as competing in the same race anymore, even if they did have more difficult bosses in 25 man, there is simply no way to accurately gage whether this brings them to equal footing with other guilds considering their rather large gear advantage (both in ilevels and extra loot from 10 mans). In 10 man the situation is even worse, as their difficulty is the same as for other world guilds, but Asian guilds still have access to higher level loot (and more thereof) and so the fights become significantly easier.

So then there are two solutions: one is to simply split the race in two and say West first, Asia first. We do not feel this is accurate or fair to the guilds still competing in the same race as we've had since WoW started. Our view is that there was a World First race, then Blizzard decided to take Asian guilds out of it. It is not the guilds' fault (and their top guilds are not too happy about the way this has turned out), but the fact that a number of guilds can no longer compete in the World First race does not mean we can abolish it and call it something else. There are still guilds from all over the world participating in the race and simply because one section of them can no longer do so does not result in the race ceasing to exist. There will be people who say "whoever kills a boss first in the world is the World First no matter what", but we strongly disagree with those people. A good example of why is exploits - if a guild uses a cheat to obtain a WF and it is found out, it is no longer considered a WF. The same thing applies to Asian servers where Blizzard has put the guilds into a similarly advantageous position. There are arguments to be made that advantages exist even now, with the US having a day's head start over EU the same way as EU has Asian and so on, but these things have always been part of the World First race - we have accepted them ever since we started tracking World Firsts. The other problem is that this new situation is not as clear cut as a 24 hour advantage - everyone can understand that there was a day or two head-start for a certain region and they can take that into account when looking at the rankings, but with different gear levels and quantities, as well as differently tuned bosses that is simply impossible.
And so we differentiate the kills by World Firsts (which don't count Asian guilds) and Asia Firsts (in the same way we count US and EU firsts). We will be adding an Asia First column to our tables in the next progress race, it is simply a matter of space on the page and the fact that we do not have sufficiently detailed sources for Asian kills aside from their very top guilds. We will, however, have rankings for Asian guilds at the end of the race.

In summary, we do not want to tell you what is a correct interpretation of the facts here, we are merely trying to explain why we cover the race the way we do. You are free to disagree and we hope you continue following the World First race, no matter what definition of it you choose.