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The Raiding Pinnacle: Ascension - "US" First

Article originally posted on Manaflask

This first part of Tier 17 brought with it plenty of upsets, and it started with quite the surprise as well. It wasn't Blood Legion or Midwinter that racked up all the early kills when US servers went up, but a relatively new face to the top of the competition - Ascension. With Blizzard recently opening Oceanic servers, Australia, New Zealand etc. finally got to play the game at the same level as everyone else with normal latency. We definitely expected some better rankings for them, but Ascension really took that "better rankings" thing seriously. With four World Firsts, all but one US/OC first and an overall Top 5 placement, they are definitely a player in the highest tiers of raiding now and they might do even better in Blackrock Foundry, so we should really get to know them. It's our first time really meeting these guys, so it's quite the exhaustive (and possible exhausting) interview, so take a deep breath before diving in.


World First Ko'ragh

Introductions!

Relil - Healing Officer - Holy/Paladin. I make sure the healers in our guild are happy, but also know what they have to do in a certain fight. I’m 20. I work two jobs and go to Uni fulltime. My life is uni/work/wow.

Bearwitstick - Melee Officer - Feral Druid. My main responsibility for this tier was putting together the boss guides for each fight in Highmaul. Once the tier started my job was to make sure the melee interrupted on Brackenspore/Imperator and didn't follow Ko'ragh into his rune.

Marssyy - GM - Raid Leader. I do what typically any GM would do. My job is to ensure everyone in the guild is happy, that there is no drama and manage recruitment as well.

Bubbles - Ranged Officer/Raid Leader - Shadow Priest. I am in charge of making sure we are doing what needs to be done in order to kill the boss in a timely manner, which can sometimes consist of Rig-raging at people. I'm 21 years old, from Melbourne, Australia and have completed my Accounting and Finance University degree this year. I made the decision to take a break for a year and a half with plans of starting Mixed Martial Arts after BRF and to do some international volunteering before I become a full-time Accountant.


Tell us a little about the guild today and its history.

Relil - The guild has been around for ages, I don’t truly remember the start. I joined 2 years ago at the start of MoP. This was the point where Marsyy took GM and he had this vision of turning the guild into a hardcore guild. Over the 2 years he has worked hard and took us places we never expected.

Bearwitstick - The guild was formed in BC. In Wrath/Cata Ascension was reasonably successful but only raided 3-4 nights a week. At the start of MoP Marsy took over as guild leader and he wanted to push the guild to become a successful progression guild. Our primary goal back then was to get Oceanic 1st, which we achieved in ToT. From then on we just aimed to improve with each tier and that brings us to today.

Marssyy - Ascension has been around since BC as a casual guild which changed in MoP when I took charge of it. We used to raid 12-14 hours a week in WoTLK / Cata but I always wanted to push higher. I was promoted to GM before Heart of Fear and I started transitioning the guild into a hardcore one. Our first goal was to push Oceanic first which we achieved in ToT, then we set our eyes on the top 10 USA which we achieved in SoO. Finally in WoD, we wanted to get US 3rd, but ended up being 1st, so we are happy 

Bubbles - I joined Ascension at the end of Cataclysm when Dragon Soul was on farm, I was under the belief that I was joining a casual guild that consists of good players. I padded my heart out as a trial and remember being asked to soak on Warlord Zon'ozz, and so I did. I ran out, pressed my dispersion hotkey and was praised for not dying like it was a miracle. It was at that point that I knew I was going to pass my trial. Prior to the Mists of Pandaria release our old GM went on holiday and Marsy's power grew stronger, it was well over 9000. As soon as MSV came out he started increasing raid hours, raiding extra days which resulted in raiders being burnt and some still confused to this day as to what exactly happened to the once beloved Casual guild known as Ascension. Marsy got GM after our old GM came back from his lovely holiday only to realise some sort of demented slave labour was going on in order to get people to raid. And thus, here we are today, Rank 1 US :)


The addition of Oceanic servers has been a long time coming and it's shaken up the progress race quite a bit, especially on the US side of things. Previously you had to raid on US servers with high latency, can you talk a little about that experience and how it changed with WoD and the new servers?

Relil - The oceanic servers did make a big difference; to say that’s what really brought Ascension and Avast up the ladder wouldn’t be fair. Both guilds have exceptional players and I believe both guilds going into this expansion would have held their own purely based on preparation without the lower latency.

Bearwitstick - I was always someone who felt that whilst Aus servers would make a difference they wouldn't make a huge difference. What I failed to consider is all the little things that the ping helps with. If you combine all those little things together across 20 players it makes a huge difference. Things like interrupts/instant spells etc. If we had to do Brackenspore on our old ping, interrupts would've been more challenging. Imperator transitions would've been a nightmare.

Marssyy - Oceanic servers are a nice change for progression and I think they have had quite a significant impact on our progression this tier. Every time an Oceanic player has to interrupt something, it turns into a nightmare. I especially remember Omnitron from BWD with their amazing 0.8sec cast and how it was fun to interrupt it with 230ms. I understand how US guilds might think oceanic players overreact with ping, but I would love to have them play at ping and progress. Just ask how EU players hate ping on beta / PTR servers. It's doable but harder and annoying.

Bubbles - The ping was a HUGE factor as to why we did so well this tier, I couldn't imagine interrupt fights and how we would have went this tier with our old ~200 ping. Especially with our Mar'gok strategy, we haven't seen any other guild do what we did, it's quite awesome. You should check it out. What I am most thankful for is the fact that people cannot blame ping as much anymore, it was the worst excuse you could ever hear as a raid leader, except when Arsyk used his headset falling off his head as an excuse as to why he messed up, that was pretty out there.
 

Before the servers, did any of your players even know what it's like to play without the latency factor? If not how did it feel that first time you got to raid with minimal MS and did you immediately feel that you would do really well in the race when you "felt" the difference?

Bearwitstick - We have a couple of American players in our guild who knew what it was like. For the most part it was an entirely new experience for us. During the first day of Heroic raiding I thought we'd improve a fair bit. I didn't think we'd do this well however.

Marssyy -  We've a rogue and resto druid who are from US / Italy respectively. They used to have low ping, but hated the change for a week, however the lowerpingtunneling service has been a great help for them. I remember when we got Oceanic servers and we did our SoO raid with casters pre-maturely stopping casts because they were used to playing with lag. They got used to it within few nights.

Bubbles - I attended the Blizzard Pre-launch WoD event in Sydney where they announced the servers for the first time. I remember turning to my friends and guildies and we were all having nerdgasms, 10 years! and it's finally here! I was saying we could beat guilds like Duality for sure and I think then someone said Midwinter and I just looked at them and thought they were getting a little too excited. I guess I was wrong.


World First Kargath Bladefist


Obviously the servers were a critical part of your placing so high, did anything else change for you with WoD and Mythic specifically that made you perform as well as you did?

Bearwitstick - The most critical part was our preparation. We prepared the best we ever have for a tier. This is the first tier we had a full group for every Heroic/Mythic boss test. Because of that we were able to formulate good initial strategies for every boss in Highmaul. Our gearing prep was perfect also. We reached our goal of 5 runs and almost all of our players had 3/3 crafted items prior to Mythic Week.

Marssyy -  Yes servers were quite important in Ascension getting high rankings, but we put so much effort into WoD compared to what we did previously. I made Beta Raids compulsory which was first time in guild's histroy. We had 25-30 players online every morning at 3am-9am. We did every single raid test, put a lot of effort into strats, all in all it was the effort which got us where we are.

Bubbles - Servers were a game changer, but truly it was the amount of effort officers and raiders put in. It was the first tier Ascension were able to make all the beta raids, despite being at times like 3:30am, 6:30am and 9:30am. I firmly believe gathering information and deciding what to do with it in the Beta is the most integral part of progression these days as you get to plan your strat and roster properly before you go into the fight on live. Funnily enough, Ascension starred in the Looking For Group WoW Documentary, the part where Blizzard laugh at guilds handling a certain boss COMPLETELY wrong.


You claimed a whopping four World Firsts in the early days of the race. How did this affect the guild and at that point did you think you would be placing as high as you have (or higher)?

Relil - Ascension has always been known for starting really well then falling off. As happy as I was, we tried to focus on the coming fights to ensure this didn’t happen. A big feature for us is the length of Highmaul, Ascension has a curse of attendance on later bosses. Over all tiers I have been in Ascension the later bosses of long raids have lost us ranks not because of personal ability but because of individual unavailability.

Bearwitstick - We mostly wanted to push harder. You can't afford to underestimate any of the guilds around you, the minute you relax thinking you have an advantage is the minute you lose that advantage. When we started progressing on Tectus after killing Ko'ragh and other US guilds hadn't killed Brackenspore yet is when we started to realise that we could get US/Oceanic 1st.

Marssyy -  Getting 4 world firsts before EU guilds started was a nice boost for the morale of players. Players were pumped and wanted to push higher. I remember I wanted to call the raid and players refused to leave, so we kept going, which was the first time it has happened in Ascension's history. Everyone was just happy with our performance.

Bubbles - It was really motivating, it showed how much hard work can pay off. We would not have been able to do that without the testing we took advantage of on the Beta. However, at the time I was always aware how the EU haven't started raiding yet so I was quite scared how well they were going to do and if they were just going to embarrass us. I was more surprised when we woke up and found out the time which we took to kill Ko'ragh was really good compared to the top guilds. Our strats really shined on Ko'ragh and Twin Ogron.


Your stated goal on the Wowprogress page was to get a US top 10 placement. You missed that goal by a zero. How does it feel to be the best guild on both the US and OC servers?

Relil - That feels so outdated, hehe. Our real goal this expansion was US3rd, this was before and after the servers were announced. We did really well this raid but understand the tier is not over, and it will take quite a bit of hard work and preparation to keep the competition off. We have been the top OC guild for about 3 tiers, however now due to the one raid size I feel it to be an accomplishment as well.

Bearwitstick - I think I wrote that WoWProgress synopsis midway through ToT or just prior to SoO. Think I need to update it now haha. It feels strange to be mentioned next to guilds like Paragon/Method/Exorsus/Blood Legion/Midwinter. These are all guilds you admire from afar. So it's a bit surreal knowing that we beat some of them. Overall I'm just incredibly proud of the hard work and effort every Ascension member put in to get us here.

Marssyy -  This was set after Ra-den died that we wanted to be top 10 US in SoO, we ended up with US 9th. We need to update that lol. It feels good to be the best on US/OC servers, but I know Midwinter and Blood legion are going to go insane in BrF so we will be pushing harder than ever to stay where we are. Our goal is still US3rd at the end of this tier, but if we get higher, then we will be happy as well 

Bubbles - Our real goal after our efforts, and servers being announced was US 3rd, Oceanic we never worried about. Getting US first was a huge surprise to all of us. It makes me happier since I met Watcher at the Sydney event and told him as well as the BlizzardANZ team to watch out for us this tier to see what they've awakened with Oceanic Servers. I'm glad we didn't choke.
 

Even though this was clearly your best performance in the race so far, do you think it was also the best your players and guild as a whole has performed or is there a previous tier you feel you did better, but were simply limited by server issues etc?

Relil - I believe the players had the ability but weren’t guided properly. The officer team spent a lot of time preparing and ensuring everyone knew what they had to do on every fight which allowed the players to really shine.

Marssyy -  We ran a strict 22-24man roster which meant making sure everyone was always there and we changed our roster a bit since Garrosh died, so yes our roster did improve a lot, but it was the sheer amount of effort which went into Highmaul got the kills.

Bubbles - Our issues earlier were not primarily due to ping, but Oceanic servers helped majorly by fixing and motivating players to do the best they can due to not being bound to the wheelchair of the old Oceanic Raiding. Issues earlier consisted of not having players willing to make Beta tests because of the absurd time for us in Australia and the fact that we needed 25 players, not 20 which is hard with the Oceanic raiding pool.


When a kill video is released before you've had a chance to get the boss down yourself, do you watch the video to keep competitive with everyone else that's presumably watched it or do you continue on with your tactics and ignore it? How do you feel about guilds releasing videos on difficult bosses before, say, a top 5 or even top 10?

Relil - I love killing a fight without a video, it feels like a bigger accomplishment. Unfortunately when you get late to the party due to videos being up, it is easier and quicker just to follow a good strategy. I feel like there should be a written rule on the number of guilds which get to kill it before the videos get released. e.g. 5.

Bearwitstick - It depends on the situation. Sometimes you will take aspects of the strategy shown and try to adapt it to your own strat, sometimes you will ignore it completely and sometimes you will blindly follow it. In the past we definitely used other guilds kill videos to help us. I think 5 is a good number before releasing a kill video.

Marssyy -  We used to do that back in SoO, ToT, etc. but this tier, since we were up there killing bosses before videos came out, was actually exciting. Figuring out strats or what you want to do on certain fight was a fun change. However, if a guild kills a boss before us and the video is out, we will have a look at it and if it suits us, we might try their strat, but sometimes just go with ours. Just take a look at our Mar'gok p2 strat in the video lol.

Bubbles - We try to watch videos if a guild has killed it before us, but we don't immediately change our strat because a guild has killed it. If something is working for us, we don't feel the need to change it. It also depends on roster and what tanks are being used etc. I admit we didn't realise you could just cleave Tectus and make the fight a joke, we were getting close to doing it legitimately for a while until we found out then killed it in about 5 attempts.


World First Brackenspore

What is it your guild does differently from others that makes it special?

Relil - Our guild is very outgoing, we allow trolling inside the guild. Which means trolling other members of the guild is allowed, this allows us to have a nice joking atmosphere even during raids. During Imperator, for example, when progressing on Cho’gall, the first 3 phases we're just laughing and joking the entire time, sometimes it can be bad and people make mistakes because of focus but most of the time it is just fun, leaves people wanting to raid in Ascension no matter the rank.

Bubbles - It was definitely our preparation this tier, we took advantage of everything we could in the game without the use of other server BMAH's. I believe it showed with our guild Ilvl going into Mythic Week and how fast we killed some bosses.


To what extent do you monitor what other guilds are doing and does it influence you?

Relil - This is one thing which is always debated in our guild. We do. As much as we want to say we just focus on ourselves and whatever happens does. This is not the case; we respect our competition too much to let them slide through the cracks.  

Bearwitstick - I feel like most guilds monitor other guilds to some extent. We initially left Butcher and did some progression on Mar'gok but after we saw that Method and Exorsus had killed it, we decided to concentrate on The Butcher. So they did influence us.

Bubbles - We monitored wowprogress quite a lot, I woke up and checked my phone to see who killed what, not being able to wait until I get on my PC. I felt like it distracted me a little but motivated me a lot. I would not know how well I was doing if I was not monitoring other guilds and if that was the case, where would my motivation be to raid better/harder. I also enjoyed reading Tweets about how much people don't care about Highmaul despite putting in all the effort and raid hours at the start because they were losing. It tickled me.

How would you rate the difficulty and design of the instance overall, compared to previous raids in WoW?

Relil - 4/10: I loved the speed of it only being one week which helps with real life things, but mainly I would love a raid were there was a small amount of bosses in a linear order which were all 150+ wipers.

Bearwitstick - I feel like the only true difficult boss in Highmaul was Imperator Mar'gok. As a hardcore raider I'd prefer a linear instance setup, but I can see why a non linear instance is more exciting for those outside of hardcore raiding guilds. Overall I'd rate Highmaul above MSV as a starting instance.

Marssyy -  I love outdoor instances. Not looking forward to another Orc dark depressing themed instance which is called Blackrock Foundry. Difficulty wise it was 5/10, but much better than MSV or BoT.

Bubbles - 7/10, I believe Blizzard have had a cooler concept with bosses in other raid instances. Brackenspore could have been awesome if they found a way to make the moss being extinguished more crucial and Tectus if the Zerg strat was not viable. I always like a Patchwerk type fight in a raid instance though so Butcher was okay with me.


How would you improve on the overall raid design that is currently in place?

Relil - I would attempt to remove the effect gear has on raiding in a top end community. Which would allow progression to focus mainly on skill and strategy preparation other than the “how many runs did you do”.

Marssyy - I am sure most people love the non-optional bosses style, but I think it's good for some guilds. I mean we made smart choice of killing easier bosses before moving onto harder ones. Gear helps a lot and we decided to do that.

Bubbles - I think multiple clears made the instance way easier than it should have been, but guilds need to go with what Blizzard gives them, and they decided to... bless us with 2 and a half weeks before raid release to cater to a different category of players. Also they could have made the mythic trash a little more challenging since they were trying to play it up.


What was your favorite boss in the instance, which was the most fun and which do you think was the best designed one?

Relil - Favorite boss was Ko’ragh, I really enjoyed how the mechanic worked with the shields and the orbs. Think the fight was really well designed. Imperator was really well designed with the runes, loved the concept of abilities changing mechanics per phase, keeps people on their toes :P

Bearwitstick - My favourite boss is Mar'gok. Each phase presented a new challenge for the raid to overcome and altered the way you had to approach the fight. The most fun boss was definitely Tectus for me. The saddest rock in Draenor crying "Rise Mountains" gets me every time. I feel like Twin Ogron could've been a much better fight if Pulverize was more deadly and the enrage was tighter.

Marssyy -  Tectus because he is just so sad and pissed that another guild is about to kill him so he's 24/7 pissed. Why Twin Ogron is so much easier is what I will never know. Blizzard could've just buffed the damage to make it somewhat harder.

Bubbles - My favourite boss was probably Ko'ragh, none of them tickled my fancy too much but the concept of Ko'ragh was pretty sick as well as the execution of our planned strategy working perfectly made me a happy man.
 

After Ko'ragh did you go back to Butcher and try him extensively or did you head straight to Mar'gok to see if he was a better option? How long did you spend on each of them and did you just pick one and stuck with it until it died or did you switch around a lot?

Relil - We killed Tectus after Ko’ragh.  Once we got to 5/7 we put a few attempts into Butcher and realised our DPS wasn’t high enough with 4 healers. We then went to Imperator and had about 40 attempts. We saw up to the second phase transition then we saw Method got the kill on Butcher and knew it was possible. We jumped over to the Butcher and ended up 3 healing to beat the enrage.

Marssyy - We did around 10-20 attempts on butcher and kept hitting enrage so we decided to move onto Mar'gok and learn the fight before playing the RNG DPS lottery on butcher.

Bubbles - We spent a few hours on Butcher and thought we shouldn't waste time on it and focus on Imperator. With people feeling like Butcher was almost impossible to pull off and that a nerf was coming along I thought it would be wise to move on as it isn't worth the risk head-butting an almost impossible boss to only having it nerfed and a huge amount of time wasted, since the strat was fairly straight forward. As soon as we saw Method killed it we head straight back to it though.


 

Clearly the most difficult boss of the instance, take us through your attempts on him - the weird strategies, which phases gave you the most trouble etc.

Relil - So the worst strat we probably had was a clock strat, which was mine. This clock had the whole raid line up from the boss and move clockwise around the room each time a mine spawned, we had 2 attempts and realised that people weren’t focusing on their positions due to the nature of the mechanics.

Bearwitstick - The first phase and intermission went pretty smoothly. We got stuck on phase 2 for a day trying different strategies. Even though we could reach the intermission we repeatedly lost people to Arcane Wrath so we needed to change the strat so we wouldn't lose people to it. After that point we made steady progress until we killed it. The weird strategy for us was gripping the Gorian Warmage on top of the little adds during intermission to help us with DPS. It was entirely an accident when we discovered the idea. I'm pretty sure Marsy yelled "let's YOLO this s**t" a DK gripped it in and it just seemed to work and we stuck with it.

Marssyy - I just want people to watch our phase 2 and see how stupid / weird it is. We made it hard for ourselves but went with it since it worked for us. We spent a good 6-8 hours on working on the p2 strat which is where we spent majority of our time.


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?

Relil - The extra phase was really easy for us, unfortunately the strat we used to get the kill in the extra phase was the first suggested which we never tried until the kill. The mechanics of the last phase are really easy and just take a while for people to get their heads around; once they got it the room for error is quite big while still expecting a kill.

Bearwitstick - Phase 2/Intermission 2/Phase 3 are the hardest points of the fight. That fortified add is a nightmare and puts so much pressure on the healers. Designing the right strategy for those points of the fight was the most important part. We had lots of trouble getting phase 2 done right. With phase 2 we decided in the end to let players handle wrath spread out. It required each player communicating their personal cooldowns and whether they could soak the next wrath or not. Each phase required a different type of personal skill. Avoiding mines after knockbacks, spreading for Force Nova, Melee not cleaving Force Nova etc etc. So overall it required lots of personal and raid skill, however I'd still rate it below Lei Shen in terms of difficulty.

Marssyy - It wasn't that hard apart from a few players head-butting orbs and force nova. P4 is a joke after you understand how it works. I don't know why it was added; maybe they wanted to make it an even longer fight than it is lol. Maybe it's hard for other guilds, but it's a really straight forward burn phase which becomes a lot easier with gear.

Bubbles - The fight was very important with having a working strategy, including one for how to get rid of Wrath and who to heal at what time etc. There was an extra Mythic mechanic I believe only Ascension players dealt with which was a certain tank purposely aiming "fast balls" from Mark of Chaos at certain players, specifically my poor little Goblin Priest. The personal skill involved is always quite annoying, it's hard to maintain concentration throughout such a long fight so you're bound to have the majority of the players in the raid to cause a wipe at least once.

You spent quite some time on the boss - after finding out about Paragon's secret weapon for the encounter, did you consider gearing up an Enhancement Shaman during the second reset?

Relil - We didn’t use an Enhance Shaman, we preferred to stay with our 24 man comp we used to clear the rest of the raid, and took it as a learning point for next time. The length of the kill was extended purely due to poor play on our behalf.

Bearwitstick - We considered it but we felt we had more than enough AoE with our DK/Warriors/Rogues.

Marssyy - We had a look at their dps meters, but decided not to do it. We just kept our roster same and also stuck with 2 tanking it.

Bubbles - When I saw the screenshot of Enhancement Shaman DPS I cried, mainly because I'm a Shadow Priest and my AoE is non-existent apart from Halo but also because we didn't have any Enhancement Shamans viable to come in. Our warlocks went pad spec (charred remains) and destroyed them though as well as our DK and rogue. I can't confirm but I think my mind sear may have healed the adds.


Where would you rank him in WoW'sendboss pantheon?

Relil - From hardest to easiest: Lei> Sha> Imperator> Garrosh

Bearwitstick - Lei Shen> Sha of Fear> Mar'gok> Garrosh. I can only speak to my recent experience so didn't include end bosses before MoP.

Marssyy - Ragnaros> Lei shen> Lich King> Margok> Sha> Garrosh.

Bubbles - I give him a 6.5/10. I loved Sha of Fear, probably because of it's concept, add waves + ball throwing and Lei Shen, this fight just didn't seem to have anything quite as complicated as those bosses did. Thinking about Blackhand scares me though, it looks like a thriller and not a Michael Jackson one (RIP).


 

What are your thoughts on the BMAH and specifically the server transfer abuses made by some Asian guilds to get a significant item level advantage?

Relil - I think it is amazing they had the backing to do something like that. No doubt if we had the access and money to do that we would have. But I believe due to the unfair nature which it leaves me, not a fan of the BMAH.

Bearwitstick - I don't know the facts on the cost of transfers on these servers. I'm sure if guilds in Europe/USA/Oceanic had the means they would attempt the same thing. In the end most guilds will push the limits when it comes to getting prepared for progression. However I'm not a big fan of the BMAH for this reason. I purchased 660 pvp bracers off the BMAH which were promptly changed to 630 and the gold refunded to me because the pvp season hadn't started yet. I don't see why Mythic raiding gear should be any different.

Marssyy - I see a lot of guilds / players are pissed over Style War doing that, which I understand, but I guess it's their choice of doing it and Blizzard is allowing them, so why not. I can guarantee you if that was available in NA / EU, then hardcore guilds would be doing it, but the problem is it's not so people are mad over it.

Bubbles - I personally don't count them in the race to world first since their iLvl was insane and it would make fights like The Butcher quite the joke. There's no reason to get salty over it though, it's not their fault their servers give them the opportunity to do so.


What did you think of the way the race actually ended up with Paragon coming back on top, with Method having been the big favorites to win?

Relil - I believe both guilds are really impressive, at certain points I believed both could win, so it was very impressive going to bed with Paragon 5/7 and Method 6/7, and waking up to see Paragon 7/7

Bearwitstick - It was good to see Paragon back. I think the previous races suffered without them. Their decision to abandon Butcher and concentrate on Mar'gok was brave and it paid off for them in the long run. I won't be counting out Method in BRF though.

Bubbles - From what I understand Paragon killed it in around 120~ or so attempts without gear from Butcher. That's actually crazy and they deserve world first for it. I would personally rather not allow the final boss be touched in Mythic difficulty before all bosses are down in the instance but that's just my opinion. Good luck to both guilds in BRF, I believe either could get World First and that it comes down to correct decision making during progression.


What do you think of the raid overall, as a complete package? Where would you rank it in Wow's history?

Relil - I think it was a good raid, I like the length due to only having to raid one week. The best part of Highmaul was the difficultly scale, each fight taking longer and longer to progress on.

Bearwitstick - I'll only comment on raids since Ascension has gone Hardcore. ToT> ToES> SoO> Highmaul> MSV> HoF

Marssyy - Ulduar> FL> ToES> Highmaul> SoO

Bubbles - Comparing it to MoP, I'd say it's at the bottom. However, the expansion is way better and I look forward to BRF and think it has great potential.


What was the most ridiculous/funny/stupid tactic that you tried in the entire instance?

Relil - For most fights we had a preassigned strat, from a healer point of view I feel like the strat we used to kill Imperator in p2, was the most ridiculous. Spread out so we could deal with mark of chaos on wrath targets.

Marssyy - Our butcher strat is pretty stupid and we 3 healed it.

Bubbles - Trying to do Tectus legitimately.


The Butcher US/OC First


Any specific complaints about the mechanics of a certain boss or anything else in the raid itself?

Relil - Kargath being a joke, I feel like this fight had some potential, at least hopefully the first bosses in BRF aren’t one shotable.

Bearwitstick - The camera in Tectus' room is still a problem.

Marssyy - Brackenspore auto attacking tanks during breath is 10/10. It's not hard but annoying.    

Bubbles - Camera in Tectus, and the throne side of Imperator.


What did your typical progress day look like?

Relil - Each day is a little different, depending on when people can start. On average out of all the days we raided, we raided about 10 hours a day. 16 hours on the first day down to around 7 hours on the last few days.

Bearwitstick - 5am-9pm the first day. From then on we probably averaged around 12 hours a day. Beginning at 12pm and finishing at 12am. With several breaks throughout the day.

Bubbles - We made a mistake during the mythic week, thinking because of rolling restarts the raid would be open at 3am our time. We woke up at 3am and the raid wasn't out until 5am our time so we rushed into a heroic in order not waste time and didn't do enough heroic clears compared to other guilds falling behind on our gear advantage. I don't really blame us though, I think it could have been a little more clear, surprisingly though most other top guilds knew about it. Apart from that we raided at what time we could agree upon, sometimes starting a little too early and having people being tired too quickly. Which is something we will work in BRF. It's never good for the raid when people start talking about how tired they are.


What was the class balance like in this tier? Any OP classes or less than useful ones?

Relil - From a healing point of view I feel like resto druids are one of the weakest healing classes this tier, a lot of guilds used theirs for a lot of fights, but I was never too impressed with them.

Bearwitstick - I feel both Priest healing specs were strong again. WW Monks were strong. No classes came close to Warlock levels of OP in SoO however. I'd like a buff to Feral AoE.

Marssyy - Class balance is much better than MoP. Well at least warlocks aren't at the top for once.

Bubbles - Balance was good, Shadow Priests I believe were the strongest they've ever been despite our lack of AoE, we're not usually such a strong class so I was happy about that. The change to Mages was quite rude though.

Favorites

Raid instances
Relil - Highmaul – It’s the tier we got US1st :P. Why else.
Bearwitstick – BWL
Marssyy - Ulduar
Bubbles - Ulduar

Boss encounters
Relil – Ultraxion/Lei Shen
Bearwitstick - Heroic Lich King/Heroic Lei Shen
Marssyy - Ragnaros
Bubbles - Imperial Vizer pre-nerf.

Expansion
Relil - WOTLK -  Got me into raiding
Bearwitstick – BC
Marssyy - MoP
Bubbles - BC

Tier set design(s)
Relil - Paladin T14, big favourite of mine, but I’m not a fan of transmog.
Bearwitstick – Stormrage
Marssyy - Dragonsoul warrior set. I can't remember the name lol. Not really big fan of xmog.
Bubbles - N/A.

New Features
Relil - I have a love hate relationship with my garrison.
Bearwitstick – Lack of Flying
Marssyy – Garrisons
Bubbles - Followers, Crafted Gear.

Game(s) aside from WoW
Relil - Just Blizzard games, don’t have time for anything else.
Bearwitstick - Dota 2/CS:GO/The Witcher Series/Dark Souls Series
Marssyy - I don't play anything apart from d3, sc2 and wow.
Bubbles - Dota 2/CS:GO with the boys, Poker and Piano Tiles on my phone.


What are your overall thoughts on Warlords of Draenor and what's your favorite/least favorite feature of the new expansion?

Relil - I dislike the amount of gold needed to keep up with gear, e.g. bloods/boes/garrisons.
I like the loot eligible system with heroics and normal.

Bearwitstick - Favourite is definitely the lack of flying combined with the massive world. This expansion brings back some of its lost immersion. Least favourite is the fact professions are completely tied to daily cooldowns.

Marssyy - So far WoD has been pretty good. My fav is no flying and least fav is heroic 5man grinding.

Bubbles - I really liked this expansion and the Garrison is awesome since it wasn't as straight forward as MoPfarmville was.
Favourite: Followers/mission system.
Least Favourite: The time before raid release, I despise alts.

What do you think of the progress the game has made since it came out, what were some of the crucial moments in WoW history for you and how did they change the game?

Relil - I believe WOTLK in Naxx, was Blizzard's best tier. This was because it allowed some of the less skilled players who didn’t normally raid to access the content which allowed a lot of really good players in the making to start raiding.

Bearwitstick - Raid Finder was both a positive and negative step in WoW's history to me. I liked the fact people with time constraints were able to see the end game content. I didn't like that the best looking sets in the game were on offer to them on top of that. It took some of the reward of high end raiding away. Also I think Blizzard's decision to swap to the single mythic difficulty in WoD is the best decision they've made in years. It's good to finally have the competition even once again.

Bubbles - Oceanic servers after 10 years, straight up. And possibly the ability to min/max these days.


In closing, do you think we're headed in the right direction in top-end raiding, on Blizzard's side and on the guilds' side?

Relil - I think we are but they need to remove the effect gear has on progression. This can be done in a few ways, but allow more skill and strat prep rather than “how many runs of heroic did you guys do”.

Bearwitstick - With the return of a single Mythic difficulty I feel like we are on the right path. If we could remove the arms race with multiple normal/heroic clears I'd feel that would be the final step towards a perfect end game race.

Marssyy - Yes, Blizzard did pretty fantastic job with Highmaul so far. The difficulty is on a good level considering its entry level. Hopefully BRF is a bit harder!

Bubbles - Mythic difficulty was amazing because it crushed the 10 man vs 25 man debate (spoilers, the answer was 10 man being inferior) and increased competition as well ass guilds aiming for the same goal. The 2 and a half week gap was a step back though, it takes out some difficulty in the raid and forces guilds to exploit it in order to remain competitive.