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The Core: Blood Legion's Riggnaros

Article originally posted on Manaflask

Officer, raid leader, Marine, we have a pretty special one on our hands this time with Blood Legion's Riggnaros giving us some insight into his WoW career and life, as well as giving us the exact stats on the kill times for the two Dragon Soul Challenges and how all the guilds did.

He also reveals one of the most dangerous things a serious WoW player can, and it remains to be seen if the community can ever look at him the same way again: he LIKES Pet Battles. Queue Dramatic Chipmunk.

Tell us about yourself a bit.

My name is Charles and I am 28 years old.  I currently live about an hour east of Memphis, Tennessee.  I have been playing WoW since late Vanilla and have been a Raid Leader since starting raiding in TBC all the way through current content. In my early WoW career I was still enlisted in the United States Marine Corps which proved to be quite the deterrent to hardcore raiding. I finished my active military service as a Staff Sergeant (E-6) in 2009 when I decided to pursue other goals outside of the USMC. My time in the Marine Corps totaled 8 years and it proved to be one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It provided countless life changing experiences and is something I will never be able to forget, nor would I want to.

A lot of people don’t really understand the attachment I have to my times in the Marine Corps and often question why I reference it or refer to it during conversations, using examples, etc. I don’t really expect everyone to understand it, but just realize that it holds its own place within me and it will never ever go away. It is part of who I am and a direct cause of many of the things I have been able to accomplish thus far in my life.


What's your WoW history been like so far?

I started out playing WoW after returning from an Iraq deployment in 2006. It was pretty hard to balance hardcore raiding while being on active duty, but I did what I could and had lots of fun in the process. Prior to playing WoW I was pretty involved with the Halo FPS scene. I even did some MLG events back before it was quite as popular as it is now. Nothing super amazing as far as results, though. I think the highest our Halo 2 4v4 team finished was 24th in the Open bracket at MLG NY in 2006. My WoW career has covered the full spectrum, from total noob to pushing World Firsts. I have met countless people, made dozens of friends, and have enjoyed almost every step of the way thus far. Even with all that I still have lots of goals set to accomplish.


Halo 2 Montage from Iraq

My previous guild history isn’t a long laundry list of guilds. Pretty short for the most part, considering we’re talking about almost 6 years of raiding. With that said, below is a pretty detailed background of the handful of guilds I have been a part of:

Duality (2006-2009) - This was a guild that I joined initially with a friend of mine in the Marines. It was my first serious raiding guild, and shortly after joining the GM/Raid Leader/Main Tank left and I ended up picking up all of those roles for the first time. I learned quite a bit pretty quickly and it progressed from there. This was definitely a guild that made the most impact on myself throughout my time spent with everyone. I went through it all with this guild: breakups, reforms, solid ranking boss kills, horrible ranking boss kills, server firsts, not so much server firsts haha, and everything in between. All in all, a huge thanks to everyone who was a part of this guild. Shout outs to Ratanna, Regz, Derg, Lutz, Lik, Bond, Maglio, Nymph, Flexx, Crelix, Ikno, Buski, Drury, Zhou, Omikron, Promi, Serkit, Drz, Chinchi, Alvis, Rayye, Angelzor, Nohots, Pedwik, Freede, and countless others that I could go on and list for hours!

Impervious (2008) - I had a short stint in this guild for a total of about 6 months. It was a solid guild and had several solid people, but ultimately I just did not mesh well with them whatsoever and ended up going back to remake my former guild, Duality, after only a few months. Shout outs to Jhasa, Kenpachi, and Biq!  Miss you guys man, you should keep in touch!

Forlorn Legacy (2009-2010) - With ICC progression showing me that the guild I had made (Duality) wasn’t really capable of doing what I wanted with the game I decided to join Forlorn Legacy with the hopes of being able to compete for US/World 1sts. My time in total with FL was about 10 months. During this time I spent the majority as a Raid Leader and Officer and took part in most of ICC heroic progression and Halion. I enjoyed this guild a lot and sometimes wished things would have played out differently. More than anything, my fondness for the guild was due to the people, but that was vastly offset by the environment. However, with that said I met some people in the time I was there that I still talk to today and created pretty solid friendships. Shoutouts to Claydin, Balrouge, Aurelius, Thae, Ayli, Endz, Ang, Crews, Altima, Galleta, and several others that I am sure I missed.


Blood Legion (2010 - present) - During ICC farm I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to be pushing for top kills it would require the efforts of everyone in the guild WANTING to push for top kills. You couldn’t have 5-10 people wanting to push things hard and the other half not really caring. That said, I decided to join Blood Legion in the fall of 2010. Upon coming to BL I had a pretty rocky transition, mainly due to being a tank in a top raiding guild. It just isn’t quite a position that is easily stepped into on ICC farm. You have been used to clearing content with your previous guild for going on a year now and then you’re faced with new positioning, new strats, etc. Of course no one likes waiting for the new guy to get caught up on how to do things and all that jazz, but it ended up working out. Soon enough t11 got underway and things worked themselves out quite nicely.


I assumed the role of Raid Leader/Officer during T11 farm. This occurred right as the guild was having a pretty large turnover. However, we rebounded and recruited solid applicants and were able to keep the ball rolling with minimal loss. That is not to say it happened without hardship. We had a rocky road for a few months there, mainly due to leadership direction changes and mixing in so many new people so quickly. Firelands (T12) ended up wrapping up our leadership / raid turnover and several months into farm things finally got into a steady flow. From that point forward we’ve just been working on getting better as a guild and doing everything we can to improve our roster going into MoP.


What do you think makes you a good raider, why are you a core part of your guild?

Tough question. I think a lot of this ties back into my military background. I joined the Marines when I was 17 and was there until turning 25.  Almost every bit of my adult life was molded into a very refined and disciplined view on how things should be. It may not be the most popular way to handle things, but at the end of the day it gets the job done. I am here to do my part within the guild and ensure that everyone else does their part as a team and help maintain an atmosphere that promotes equality among each and ever person within the guild. You are only a strong as your weakest link and raiding as a whole is a team game. No one person is going to do it on their own so you have to make sure everyone understands the importance of having traits such as accountability, integrity, dedication, solid judgement, and most importantly discipline. Sometimes that doesn’t make me a likable guy, but it keeps things in running order.

I take the game and my performance very seriously and want to be 110% each and every time I zone into a raid. There is a fine line between being strict and crossing the line and being someone who is unable to maintain unit coehesion. That is the line you have to balance in order to produce effective results. By no means am I perfect and I have made plenty of mistakes, but thus is life. You just learn from them and use them for both you and your guild to get better.  

When its all said and done everyone is just like everyone else. Everyone wakes up the same way and puts their pants on just like everyone else. What separates people is their will to succeed and their work ethic they are willing to put forth in order to make it happen. 


What was your favorite moment in WoW?

I have too many to list tbh. I enjoy the game quite a bit even after playing it for so many years. I would definitely have to list several off as ‘top’ moments just because I can’t reduce it to only one. Obviously goals and expectations continue to grow as your WoW ‘career’ does which leaves some of the earlier memorable moments less recognizable to some haha.

- Getting a server first Immortal run back in Naxx 25 in WotLK. This was in a competitive-but-no-so-good guild that I had made back in TBC/WotLK, but we took that server first from another one of the guilds on the server that was usually the one to get any server firsts.

- Winning the Blizzcon Live Raid at last year's Blizzcon. There were alot of people who just didn’t understand our guild and how it works. Firelands was really a huge transitional period for our guild and our lack of results during that tier led to quite a bit of discontent among most of the guild. Blizzcon allowed us to showcase what we knew we were capable of and

- Finishing T13 content. There was quite a shroud of ‘grey area’ around the T13 race due to the LFR bans on other guilds, but regardless I was very happy with how our guild performed and finished. We still know we can do better and will continue to do our best to improve as a guild going forward.

-Worldwide Dragonsoul Challenge. This is something that happened very recently, but is something that is also very very large on the magnitude scale. The major three head to head PvE races that have occurred thus far (Blizzcon, Method v vodka, and Paragon v BL v Exorsus v STARS) have paved the way for something much larger. I could definitely see it turning into some sort of monthly PvE Raiding ‘racing’ league or something that could be picked up by Twitch.tv and any other company willing to be involved. PvE raiding has a lot to offer in that regard that I think a lot of people aren’t aware of. The game itself isn’t just investing time, there are very few guilds that can do what people have seen in the races to date thus far. There is a certain skillset that is required and it can produce a very legitimate e-sport if someone was willing to set up a league of sorts. I mean the total for views on our Worldwide race was over 75k if you include all the different countries involved. It clearly has a following there if it would be handled correctly. 


Getting hyped for Worldwide DS Challenge

We actually already have been making a leaderboard of sorts on our site in regards to what has been done thus far:

OVERALL:

1. Stars – 1 h 12 m 57 s
2. Blood Legion – 1 h 13 m 31 s
3. Paragon – 1 h 14 m 8 s
4. Экзорсус – 1 h 17 m 36 s
5. Method – 1 h 18 m 54 s
6. Vodka – 1 h 19 m 10 s

Here is the fight by fight breakdown:

Morchok:
1. Blood Legion 3:34
2. Stars 3:42
3. Экзорсус 3:43
4. Paragon 3:48
5. Method 3:49
6. Vodka 3:56

Zonozz:
1. Paragon 3:57
2. Blood Legion 4:05
3. Method 4:15
4. Vodka 4:21
5. Stars 4:40
6. Экзорсус 4:42

Yor`sahj:
1. Stars 5:43
2. Blood Legion 6:01
3. Vodka 6:05
4. Paragon 6:21
5. Экзорсус 6:47
6. Method 6:57

Hagara:
1. Vodka 3:36
2. Blood Legion 3:40
3. Экзорсус 3:41
4. Stars 3:42
5. Paragon 3:44
6. Method 4:51

Ultraxion:
1. Paragon 4:36
2. Vodka 4:41
3. Blood Legion 4:46
4. Stars 4:53
5. Method 5:11
6. Экзорсус 5:12

Blackhorn:
1. Blood Legion 5:40
2. Stars 5:48
3. Экзорсус 5:53
4. Paragon 6:03
5. Method 6:08
6. Vodka 6:23

Spine:
1. Stars 9:34
2. Paragon 10:19
3. Vodka 10:19
4. Blood Legion 11:07
5. Method 11:10
6. Экзорсус 11:18

Madness:
1. Stars 13:12
2. Paragon 13:19
3. Blood Legion 13:21
4. Vodka 13:54
5. Method 13:56
6. Экзорсус 14:14


What was your favorite boss kill (regardless of whether it's WF or not) and favorite raid?

Favorite Raids are Black Temple, SSC/TK, Sunwell (almost all of TBC tbh lol), ICC and mainly Ulduar. Ulduar is my hands down favorite just due to the ‘epic’ feel it had and also how non linear and gear dependant it was. The Heroic activation of each boss was also unique and fun (ie Vezax / Thorim / Freyz / Iron Council / etc) and having a Heroic only fight (Algalon) was pretty cool. Algalon itself even had a super awesome feel to it. I hope they are able to produce another instance in MoP that could be in a conversation regarding the best raids.


What are the best and worst features of your main class?

I love Death Knight tanking. I am sure our Frost/Unholy DKs would provide a different answer to that, but as far as Blood goes, I think it's very solid atm.  I enjoy the fact that it is a very ‘manualized’ spec and requires constant decision making due to lots of short cds and reactive mitigation. Don’t take that the wrong way either, each tank class has its areas that separates players from each respective skillset (noob/average/skilled players), but I just enjoy the feel that the DK has to it moreso than the other tanking classes. I like runes and how they work as well as the concept/lore of the DK as a whole. I played a Feral Druid prior all the way from Vanilla until switching to my DK during Ulduar, and I had lots of attachment with it also. If I was forced to pick though, I would go with my DK. ;)


What would be the single most important thing about playing your main class well?

One thing about Blood Legion is that we don’t really put a high emphasis on “Mains”. I mean people have a “main”, yes, but we expect people to be able to play alts as well or very near the level of mains.  

Everyone at this level of raiding is expected to be able to do the required things (ie. High dps/hps, not stand in bad s**t, use cd when required, etc). We expect people to have and maintain multiple characters so that our raid has the flexibility to bring in what we need to without having to maintain a roster of 50+ people.  

For example, I have one of each tank class, DK/Druid/Warr/Pally, and strive to be as efficient on each as possible. This allows us to have the best option possible filling a tank role (ie Pally on Domo / Warr being best for kiting / DK for impales / etc). The same thing applies to our healers and ranged/melee dps. This allows us to gain that slight edge by having people be versatile in class options and allowing us to maintain only a 30-35man raiding roster.


What makes your guild special, what separates it from the other top guilds?

I can’t really speak on behalf of other guilds, but I know our guild has a level of organization, depth, and discipline that is about as refined as it can get. Also, our guild isn’t really one that you’ll find a lot of people who dislike the game. Most people here still enjoy playing and doing things together on a nightly basis. There are many different ways to be successful at this game and we know that. Our methods are proven and work well with the group of people that we have, so we just focus on doing what we know we can and letting that put us wherever we end up.


What is your favorite game outside of WoW?

Sc2, Halo 1/2/3/Reach, LoL, Dota, and Mario 64.


Would you say DS was a successful dungeon overall (regardless of the drama surrounding the WF race at the start)?

I think the instance as whole was very successful, but one thing that really hurt it was the Madness encounter. I felt like it was a really bad decision to not add a heroic only final phase (ie Lich King / Ragnaros / etc). It was the final boss of the entire xpac and had everything to gain and everything to lose.  

Spine was a very hard/technical fight at the time and it left the door wide open for Blizzard to close out the Xpac with an epic fight that would provide players with a huge sense of epic victory over the xpac’s final villain, much like that of ICC and Heroic Lich King. Instead Madness just felt like a placeholder. You come off of a fight in Spine that has your guild beaten up and pushed to the limits already, but here everyone is, ready to strap everything back together for one last showdown against Deathwing himself..... only to find out you kill the boss in < 70 pulls and there is nothing really that changes on Heroic other than a few extra adds.

To elaborate on some of the instance in specific:

Yorsahj pre nerf was one of the most awesome and unique fights they’ve had in a while. Being able to pick and choose which ooze combos you wanted to deal with each and every time added a very cool element to the encounter.  

Ultraxion felt very epic for this tiers ‘Patchwerk’. Yes, it was very straightforward, but having a dps check fight like that near the middle/end of the instance is always fun. The best part is just the fact you’re on top of Wyrmrest temple fighting off this huge dragon and every second mattered.

Gunship made up for the ‘lootship’ stigma it had associated with it from ICC. This tier it was quite a bit harder and had some really cool and testing elements along with it. However, I guess that only applies if you were doing the fight correctly and not being one of those guilds that did something like pull the adds or boss into the cabin to avoid certain phases of the fight all together with literally -zero- negative tradeoff.

Spine was one of the most intense fights to date. You will have a lot of people talk with disgust about it, but tbh it was very very well tuned and designed. If anything, the tendon HP could have been tweaked to allow the fight to be done with different raid comps, but regardless, that didn’t have anything to do with how well you had to start and stop dps on all of the other parts of the fight (Corruption HP / Bloods / Amalgs / Grips / etc). When learning this fight we had a very sub optimal comp in and spent the first 2 weeks doing 2-3-3 pops while using Solar beam to negate the adds exploding. However, contrary to what some people may have thought, this strat wasn’t an ‘auto-win’. It presented us with a different problem than having to squeeze in the tendon damage. It left us with a new issue of having more bloods up than you can possibly manage on the 3rd plate. That being said we had some BRUTALLY low % wipes on the final pop that were soul crushing. To cap it all off, just after those low % wipes the hotfix was applied and put us back at square one, wiping on the first plate trying to devise a new strat. Nonetheless, we pushed through and got it done. Looking back it was a fight where we had a lot of good memories and some not so good, but memorable nonetheless.  

What are your thoughts on the beta so far?

Too early to tell tbh. I will reserve judgement until the raid testing starts. I do enjoy the new abilities and such, but I know theyre going to change 10 more times before the final versions so I’m not getting to happy or sad just yet.


What are you most looking forward to in MoP, aside from raiding?

The new additions - Challenge Modes mainly, but also the pet battles stuff haha.


What do you think about the new talent system, both in general and specifically for your main (and maybe alt) class?

I’ll have to see how it works in the raiding environment before drawning any kind of serious conclusion. From what i’ve seen on beta thus far it seems quite unique. I like the idea that most of the choices are ‘balanced’ and will be a fight dependant decision. That allows a lot more of a personalized feel to each and every fight.


What's the biggest change coming in MoP and is it good or bad?

The biggest thing in my opinion is throwing in a completely new class (Monk). I think that it’s going to be very hard to balance a 5th tanking class into the mix when it seems that they had a hard enough time keeping four classes balanced. The same thing can be said with healers. It is something that will be a huge challenge for the designers, but hopefully they learned from the Death Knight introduction and are able to make it much less painful.  

Outside of that I think the talent changes and new abilities are going to be a large change. However, those are things that we’ve seen from previous expacs, so it wont be too rough to adjust. It will still be a interesting transition period for each guild though.

The challenge modes are something that also have a lot of potential, but they will have to be handled correctly by Blizz in order to keep them legitimate and not turn into something that isn’t taken seriously. Hopefully they work out very well in the 5mans and are able to transition them into the PvE raiding scene.


Would you say raiding (and the game in general) is going in a better direction or not and why?

I know there is a very split decision on this from most people. You’ll have your camp who hates the game but continues to play it, making everyone else suffer through their disgust. Then you’ll have your group of people who enjoys playing and likes spending time on the game.

With that said, I think that anyone who is able to look at things logically can see that raiding is continuing to be refined and become better and better. Each and every person has a more involved role in todays raiding (for the most part - lol arcane mage) and I think that will continue to be more and more the case. What I mean by that is talking about things like raid cds, tanking cds, and things of that sort. I may be a bit biased because of playing a tank and comparing how my job is now to what it was back in TBC is night and day difference. Fights like Heroic Lich King, Heroic Rag, and things of that sort are what offer examples of how raiding can continue to get better and better as time goes on. It just comes down to the Blizz devs and how well they can produce something that is challenging without making it ‘impossible’. I know I am excited for Mists Raiding and hopefully they can deliver.