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WoD Silver: A Post-HFC Paragon Interview

Article originally posted on Manaflask

Second place in Hellfire Citadel and Warlords of Draenor overall, Paragon's return to the big raiding competition was successful, but was it successful enough if you ask the players themselves? This final tier of WoD was the most exciting in a long time and Paragon gave Method quite the run for their money and many people actually expected them to win the whole thing around the end of the race there. We spoke to GM Seita about the race and the future of Paragon to see their perspective on all of this.


Archimonde Mythic World Second by Paragon


The race was really tense up until the very end and you finished in 2nd place. Despite not having won it, do you prefer when you're in a competition this close or back when you were cleaning up in 10 man with no real opponents?

First of all I would like to congratulate Method on beating us, we tried our best to beat them until the very end of the race but came up a bit short again. Of course I prefer the current competition over the situation we had in 10man. That said, I might have personally enjoyed the 10man raiding atmosphere more than the one we have in 20mans.

So your first expansion back in the main raiding competition has passed and you are clearly far and away above the rest of the raiding scene, with only Method above and very close. Is there anything you feel you could have done differently throughout the expansion or in the transition from 10 man to Mythic?

One of the biggest things we are still lacking is a consistent "commentator" as we call it, some others could also call it the "raid leader". After BRF we noticed the fact that we could really use someone to commentate and call stuff during the combat, step by step until the encounter is over. We've had different people step up in different phases on different fights to do the job but it would be best if it could always be the same person. You kind of want a ranged dps player to do the job as they have the best view and usually the ranged player's movement is more important/complex than melee. Ranged dps players also need to focus on the moment and their own play less than the healers or the tanks. We made an effort to try to fix this after BRF but it didn’t change too much in the end.

Did you have any issues with HFC preparations, roster etc. or did you go into it as strong as ever? Were there any issues during the race itself?

We had a lot of issues regarding the roster going in to HFC, we have always run a very tight roster and this time it nearly cost us being able to field a 20man raid. After BRF four of our players decided to stop progression raiding, some of them helped us farm BRF and without their help we couldn't have done the weekly clears.

The entire time between BRF and HFC we were looking for new recruits, each of our members asked around their contacts for capable Finnish players who can play during the progress hours in the next race. After all that we got around 5 applicants from which we had to recruit 3 to be able to field a 20man raid.


Prepping for mythics: going through the tactics on Tuesday before the first mythic progress week

How do you feel with your overall No.2 spot in the expansion? Are you still motivated to take the crown back in Legion and would you consider taking on non-Finnish players if it came down to that to be able to compete?

I don't think any of our players are satisfied with second place. We haven't had any serious talks inside the guild yet on what the plan is going forward for the next expansion, how many players of the current roster are still able to push it 100% in the future etc.

Regarding going international here's a quick plus/minus list for it:
+ Solve recruiting problems
+ Improve player quality
+ Increase competition inside the guild
- Decrease in quality of communication
- Harder to create trust/count on foreign players, I probably wouldn't be comfortable running a roster as tight as we have done in the past
- A lot of work

If you look at those points, we have always been a couple of good recruits away from being where we want to be and if we can find enough quality Finnish players I see no reason to go international. If we can't find the players then we need to ask the question if it's worth the effort to see if going international would work well for our guild.

What was your reaction to Method's announcement about not being able to go all out and raid the same hours they were raiding before? Then those two days they actually raidied only a few hours came along, did you feel like you had this race in the bag or did you also cut back on raiding hours close to that third week?

It definitely helped us and during those two days we caught up to them, but it was quite clear that neither of us could kill the boss that week. If they had only two casual raid days for the week the smart decision was to take it easy on monday&tuesday and then push it with new gear in the next reset. We didn't need to cut our raiding times before Method killed the boss, on Tuesday we quit a bit early so everyone would be ready for wednesday.

Recently raiding in general has become almost entirely dependant on addons to even theoretically be able to kill bosses and this tier seemed to go even further down that path. What are your thoughts on this and how much would you say the difference in addons affected the race?

Every instance we have played in this expansion the use/need of addons has been increasing and what you can do with them has also grown in complexity. At the moment it feels like the possibilities are endless and as long as you have an idea for an addon it can probably be done. Personally I think things have gone a bit too far and would like to see some restrictions on what kind of addons it's possible to create.

Boss timers + a couple of basic WeakAuras should be enough in my opinion because nearly everyone can do those. If we continue following the current trend you will need a capable coder in your guild to create the more advanced addons to compete.

When I saw Method's kill video I was amazed at their radar addon, it was masterfully done. It definitely helped them a lot during Phase 2 and props to them for coming up with the idea and turning it into an addon. We play the game by the same rules as they do and it was a failure on our part when we didn't think of this/know what is possible. I actually thought our "addon game" was decent until I saw their video.

Mannoroth and Archimonde seemed like the only "real" bosses this tier, were there any others that kind of gave you more trouble than you were expecting?

The gatekeeper aka Gorefiend but I believe everyone had some trouble with the boss.

This was definitely the most exciting race so far for us viewers, was it also different for you in terms of hype or general attitude towards it? Do the fans getting really excited for you affect your performance in any way?

Personally for me this race didn't feel different, but I never follow the forums etc. when the race is still on. But I can't speak for the whole guild on this matter as I know some of our players can't help themselves and they have to refresh the forums between wipes/during break.

It seems standard now to do a second clear of split Heroics before getting into Mythic. What exactly changed to warrant such a decision, is it just that other guilds were doing it?

I believe we did this in Highmaul and BRF too. The only question you need to ask yourself is what gives your guild the most amount of loot as well as the least amount of wasted Mythic loot? It is always worth going for the extra gear during the first Mythic week and depending on the situation, the second Mythic week as well. The rankings on the early bosses in the instance don't matter at all and if you lose the end boss because you did some heroics, something is really wrong with the instance.

Did you do anything differently in HFC compared to previous raids?

We made sure history doesn't repeat itself and really thought about our raid comp for this instance, in the end I was very happy with the comp we ended up using. In terms of gearing we didn't make too many changes, maybe focused gear on some alts a bit better.

Xhul'horac and Tyrant Velhari were the first really big decision in terms of what boss to go for. What exactly happened there, did you spend all of your time on one boss at a time, switched off, knew which was harder and made a mistake or what?

We started on Xhul'horac but there was a quite annoying timing bug which was causing us some wipes so we decided to spend time on Velhari instead. After killing Velhari this bug was supposedly fixed, but still happening sometimes so we had to come up with a workaround to manipulate the timings for our advantage.

Was there any class that stood out during this progress, like balance druids seemed to be in BRF? Were there some speccs or even classes that were just useless?

There are 11 classes and 34 specs in this game so you can't expect them all to be on equal footing. When you min/max your raid performance some of the specs are instantly out of the question for progress raiding, but at least all classes had a spec or two for cutting-edge raiding. The most important gimmick in this instance was aoe-Grip, you really needed at least 2 DKs for Xhul'horac and Mannoroth (3 was a bit safer, but 2 was enough).

The first boss to survive to 3 resets since Al'akir in Cataclysm, did you feel it was too much? Was he really completely impossible before the third reset or even before the nerfs?

Everything that goes past 2 weeks of 24/7 raiding starts to feel a bit too much. I'd say in theory it was possible to kill Archimonde with the gear we had during the second week, just not with the time we had on the boss. Before the Doomfire&Purity nerfs you really needed a 3 paladin comp to beat the encounter. In the end I think the boss was tuned correctly as you need the end boss to survive the first reset and the start of the second reset in my opinion. The legendary rings also make the encounter a bit more forgiving and doable with any comp for the guilds not chasing top kills.

Did you like the mythic additions to the fight?

The mythic mechanics completely changed how the fight is played and made it unique. Phase 3 mechanics were a bit dull and repetitive if you take into consideration it lasted for about 50% of the total fight duration.

How close were you when Method killed the boss?

When Method killed the boss our best try was around 26%, after that we took about a 10min break and started pulling the boss again. We were confident we could have killed the boss during that raid session if one of our members didn't decide that it was time to go back to normal schedule, which forced us to call the raid early. Our best try for the night ended up being 2.6%.


The best try the night Method killed the boss.

How much of a difference do you think the Legendary Rings make on that fight?

The legendary rings take away the dps requirements of the fight, but you still need to play the mechanics the same way. As always with more gear and dps you will be able to skip a couple of add waves, make the fight more forgiving and shorter so there's less time to make mistakes etc.

How would you rate him compared to previous endbosses?

I liked Archimonde more than I liked Blackhand, Margok or Garrosh if you compare it to bosses in recent memory (the past 2 years). Going further far back I would probably put Archimonde in my top 4-5 with Lei'Shen, Ragnaros and the Lich King. It's pretty hard to put it into perspective when you compare these bosses because it was a completely different time when we did them.

 

Shoutouts:

I'd like to thank everyone who helped us clear the heroics during this progress race.