The Nightmare was a short one, but the race was still exciting and the Russian crew from Exorsus made the best of it, downing Xavius a mere 17 hours after entering the raid for the first time. Now at the very top and looking ahead to Nighthold (and perhaps Trial of Valor) we caught up with Guild Master Alveona and Nurseos to chat about the first Legion raid.
Let's get right to it, this was THE shortest an endboss has lived and a (maximum difficulty) raid lasted. Since it was the first raid of the expansion, are you ok with its short duration?
Alveona: I would not call this content the shortest one, because for us it was 4 weeks of a really hard work. The raid itself was expected to be short, but not THAT short probably. From my PoV the optimal duration of a raid is around 5-12 days. If it’s shorter, the excitement probably won't be that big and if it’s longer everyone starts to have issues in real life.
How do you feel finally getting that World First on an endboss?
Alveona: That’s something we’ve been working on for a really long time, for example i’ve been raid leading in Exorsus for more than 5 years. I wouldn’t call it unexpected for us for sure, a lot of our members were certain that we are able to push for it with some proper execution and planning.
Nurseos: As usual, like after after any race, just smile a little wider.
You've been around a long time and always among the top guilds, did you have any different preparations for this expansion and raid?
Alveona: Yeah, this time preparations were really huge. Class setup, addons, weakauras, mythic+ groups, splitraids etc were assigned and prepared before the Mythic week.
Nurseos: In fact, it was the first time when each member of the team did everything he could on 100% – raid tests, spending a lot of time on alpha/beta. So when Legion was released, everyone knows what to do. Want to believe that it will stay the same way.
Did you have any roster issues in the time between expansions? It seemed like you were the most stable of the top 3 guilds going into Legion.
Alveona: We’ve actually lost around 8 raiders compared to Archimonde firstkill, however found fresh blood that resulted in a pretty decent roster after all. The only major issue we had was the loss of our officer and main healer, due to some urgent real life issues.
You decided to skip Heroic split raids in favor of just going right through Mythic, which turned out to the the best course. Did you know/expect the raid to be easy and felt you already had enough gear to get to the end or did you plan to dip down to Heroic when you got to a hard boss?
Alveona: The initial plan was to go to Heroic if we got stuck somewhere, but after a while we understood that that wasn't going to happen. Another reason why we skipped Heroic was lack of super upgrades in this raid. For example, most of the raid trinkets are useless (hello Blizzard, the time has probably come to buff them?) and due to the fact that there’s no set bonuses the only thing we could get were some ilvl upgrades.
Was there a boss that had the potential to be among the really good ones in WoW history if tuned better?
Alveona: I would say that Il'gynoth and Xavius had such potential with proper tuning, especially Xavius if all the datamined abilities were present on Mythic difficulty. Overall, all of the bosses could provide some challenge with some tougher tuning. For some reason, some mechanics were trivialized on live (e.g. Nythendra mind control mechanic and adds on Ursoc).
Did you know the exact order in which you’d be killing the 4 non-linear bosses in from beta and did that order hold up?
Nurseos: Na, we got up and checked the WP to see which bosses are already dead on US. Usually it gives us a plan for the first bosses where we have an option to choose where to go.
Obviously Xavius was undertuned, but do you think Cenarius was well tuned for the penultimate boss of the raid?
Alveona: Compared to the whole raid dungeon his difficulty was just fine. I would say the first bosses could be buffed up a bit along with Xavius to make sure the entire dungeon lasts 3-4 days of progression for top guilds.
Do you think the system that’s been going on a while, where only the last two bosses are any real kind of challenge for the very top guilds, is a good one?
Alveona: If the whole Mythic raid would be tuned for top tier guilds, semi-hardcore guilds would suffer a lot from drastically long progressions without any meaningful results in the first few days, which could lead to guild break-ups. The current system seems fine for every type of player.
How soon did you realize that this was not going to be a difficult boss and that you were almost certainly going to get the WF on it?
Alveona: I was 99% sure that there’s some kind of secret phase. Because of that, we wasted a lot of time on Xavius. We were discussing how to optimize everything to make sure we stay alive until the 4th phase etc. However, after 3 or 4 pulls we reached the last phase and suddenly some of us just thought “what if there’s no phase 4?”. After that we simply switched to single target damage specs and crushed him.
Nurseos: When we first time saw his 3rd phase, that had no difference with Heroic. I know that lots of our members was waiting for some kind of a secret phase, as it was with Mar’gok at Highmaul, I don’t know why, but I was sure that this boss is like Deathwing at Dragon Soul – few changes, lots of epics in the end in a short time.
Do you think it was simply a matter of your and other guilds’ item level being too high that messed up the duration of the race or was the tuning simply bad in general?
Alveona: Both. The first 4 bosses died so fast because of ilvl and Xavius was simply undertuned. With proper ilvl I would say Il’gynoth could have stopped a lot of guilds for 1-2 days.
With your video released we can talk about the details of the fight, which part do you think was mostly "wrong" in terms of tuning and what would you do to fix it?
Alveona: HP numbers were lower than intended. For example, if there were 2 adds in the 1st phase it could lead to some issues with corruption stacks, however with current tuning getting only 1 add was not a real issue at all. Other than that I would say the main “wrong” part were the Mythic abilities themselves - there are almost NONE. Ysera's buff change for mythic difficulty added almost 0 difficulty so the encounter was just like Heroic with a bit more HP.
Any OP classes so far in your Mythic experience?
Alveona: I wouldn’t say there were any “beyond OP” classes, however some were definitely better than others, such as: Shadow Priests, Prot Warriors, MM Hunters, Fire Mages, Outlaw Rogues.
Aside from the tuning, was the raid a polished experience in terms of bugs etc?
Alveona: We experienced little to no bugs during our progression. I’ve seen some funny videos about Ursoc running on the roof and the Cenarius portal being closed (that video with guys trying to summon the portal is hilarious).
Do you expect Trial of Valor to actually be challenging? Presumably Nighthold will be.
Alveona: ToV is not something we’re really looking for as a race. It’s just a bunch of filler bosses to make sure everyone is not bored until Nighthold. Of course with proper tuning the bosses could provide some significant challenge, but I don't think that it’s the intention. I would not be surprised if US guilds finished this raid before EU servers are up.
If you could change one thing in WoW, what would it be?
Alveona: Remove. Eternal. Grind. Please. PLEASE. On a serious note - implementing Mythic+ raid dungeon difficulty, where every guild has absolutely similar gear and ilvl would make everything way cooler and more competitive. Such a change could lead to making WoW an actual esport, leading to way more attention for the world first race and attracting more players/viewers/sponsors etc.
Nurseos: Bringing back the snapshot.
It seems with Legion reinvigorating WoW it also made the World First race very popular, do you have anything to say to the fans (and not-fans) that follow the race?
Alveona: Yeah, Legion brought back a lot of old players and quite a few of new ones. For now this expansion looks really cool for casual players. I wanted to say thanks to all the fans for the support and our viewers for mythic+ keys!
Alveona: First of all, I want to say thanks to our officer Swix (aka Pomfrey), who was working with me to achieve this goal for more than 5 years, but due to some urgent real life issues missed this progression. It’s his victory too, for sure.
Thanks to all of our raiders for that giant effort they put in to make this world first possible.
And once again thanks to our fans/inactive guild players for the support, flasks, pots and runes.