Interview with Complexity-Limit: Back-to-Back RWF Champions

The Castle Nathria Race to World First (RWF) is over and it ended up being one of, if not THE best events so far in the history of the RWF as a live broadcasted event. As the top two guilds, Complexity-Limit and Echo, faced off at Sire Denathrius, the race had over 300,000 live viewers on Twitch and reached ridiculous levels of tension and excitement. As we all know, Complexity-Limit came out on top and, now that they’ve had some time to reflect on the race and their amazing accomplishment, we interviewed three players, Atlas, Goop, and THD, to get their views on the race, a possible global raid release, and much more.

Table of Contents

Competition and Rivalry

Q: First off, congrats on the back-to-back RWF win! How do the two triumphs compare?

THD: The 2nd win definitely feels better than the 1st and I think a factor of that is the fact that Echo as a guild improved vastly and tried much harder this tier than any tier before. It was also more of a showcase that last tier wasn’t a fluke and that both us and Echo are just insane guilds.

Atlas: The 2nd win kind of validated the 1st win even more now that we won back to back. They both felt amazing for different reasons. The 1st felt great because we finally won after a full expansion of being so close but missing the mark while the 2nd felt great because the competition was so close and we put more preparation into Castle Nathria than any other raid before, so it felt good seeing our hard work pay off.

Complexity-Limit Nerd Screams

Q: When you saw Echo release their logs and the fact that they were at 26% before their reset, did you consider coming back and continuing into the night? Did it affect your sleeping plans or anything else?

THD: It was definitely surprising to see they were at 26%, but considering they had 1 ½ days on Denathrius pre-reset and we had only 1 is probably the reason for that. We saw P3 before the reset and got to see the 1st Ravage, but not the 2nd. Most of the difficulty in P3 comes from Ravage 1 and 2, and with a 26% wipe they probably never did Ravage 1 cleanly before the reset, so it wasn’t that big of a scare. Our sleeping plans were only affected on the day we killed Denathrius, where we forfeited 1 hour of sleep to wake up earlier since we were sure we could kill him before the evening.

Atlas: If we didn’t lose several hours of progression that week to maintenance we would’ve been somewhere around the same point in progression as they were in P3. We knew that Echo got significantly better this tier and they definitely played like it all tier long, so hearing them do well on Denathrius wasn’t particularly all that surprising. It did make falling asleep considerably more challenging though.

Q: There were several moments during the final day where you and Echo were LITERALLY on the same % on the boss at the same time. There were numerous instances of both guilds getting their very best tries in the exact same pull, as Echo would wipe at 13% or 4%, and you would just continue from there to your best. It was certainly one of THE best experiences in any RWF so far for me. I don’t really have a specific question here but it’s awesome so, uh, talk about that!

THD: It was definitely super cool to see both our guilds at basically the same % on the last day but the fact that Echo had a slow reclear really didn’t allow them any time to enter Heroic splits. And so mid-Heroics they sort of panicked and had to just run in the raid since we were so close to a kill, and they effectively had to go in with less gear and attempt to beat us when we were ahead which wasn’t really going to happen outside of a miracle pull. A hail mary for sure, but that was really the only play you could do from their position.

Atlas: With the race being that close, it was really stressful knowing that any personal mistake I made could cost us the race, especially every time we got into P3 cleanly. I think that this tier in particular was one of the most exciting races that’s ever been.

Q: What did you think of the resurgence of the old-school off-stream prog kills/strat building? (Related to both your Council VoD and Echo’s streaming pause.)

THD: That 1 hour of no stream time where we killed the boss definitely helped because when we woke up and saw Echo not stacking for recitals and taking 30+ pulls it was pretty clear they did not put much thought into Council of Blood. However, Echo not streaming for 2 days was a bit strange and while I understand it from the view point of not wanting to release any strategies, in the end both strategies were pretty similar (outside of P2 where Echo did a more front-loaded approach and we took a slightly easier P2 that had difficulty spreading throughout the phase). If P2 was harder maybe it would’ve been beneficial, but since both our guilds were insane we pretty much came up with the same comp/strat in the end with minor differences.

Atlas: With or without a global release, streaming progression has brought about its own set of challenges. At the end of the day we are in a competition, and if there’s a substantial advantage to be had, we’ll take it. With that being said, we’re also here to provide coverage of as much of the race as we can. It feels shitty as a viewer to be locked out of being able to watch the guild you’re supporting. We turned off our streams on Council of Blood this tier and have also done so in the past when we reached N’zoth’s secret mythic phase. Usually if we’ve turned off our streams, it’s been at the end of our raid nights with about 30-45 minutes left of pulls. If there’s something substantially advantageous we can find out during that time, or if there’s a certain strategy that we don’t want to give away (see Council of Blood w/ Dark Recital and correct kill order), then we’re content with not streaming those 30-45 minutes after having already streamed for something like 13-14 hours of the day. I don’t think there’s ever a world where we’d turn off our streams for a majority of the day though; I think that just ruins the entire spectacle that is streaming the Race to World First. With all that being said, it was kind of interesting to me at least having Echo not stream Denathrius. The uncertainty of knowing where they were in the fight and what made them want to turn off their streams in the first place was really mysterious and a little anxiety-inducing for me personally.

Q: There has been a lot of discussion about a global raid release/“leveling the playing field” recently. Do you have any thoughts on how that could be successfully accomplished?

THD: You could have both regions have same resets for the first 1-2 weeks then move it back to the original dates for farm periods, but that would probably be strange to communicate to the mass of players. Blizzard could simply just change the reset times worldwide and allow cross play across regions as well - that way EU and NA players can play together. It is always a great time on the new expansion beta servers being able to play with players from other regions. Also, the tech already exists, considering NA can play with OCE and we can have 250 ping (and we realistically would only have about 100-150 playing with EU). If they ever allow cross-region play that would definitely be when they make a worldwide raid release. I would not like a tournament realm as a solution since I feel like that ruins character progression, which is incredibly important in an MMORPG.

Atlas: I’m personally an advocate for a global release, but it would be really messy for Blizzard to pull off. I sympathize with many people who play on EU that feel like they’ve been handicapped in some sense by having to start later and if I was in that position I would be quite frustrated myself.

Goop: I don't see a world where Blizzard changes lockout times in Europe just to accommodate the RWF, unfortunately. The only idea I've seen so far that makes sense would be for the European guilds to take it into their own hands and come play on NA. The Euros in our guilds raid with <100 ping, and I've never heard them complain once about lag, so I think it would be viable. But obviously this isn't really a solution, more of a bandaid.

Thoughts on Castle Nathria

Q: What was your favorite and least favorite part of the entire race?

THD: My favorite part was Sludgefist for sure, that fight was fun the whole way through and was tuned perfectly. The worst part was definitely when I did Stone Legion for 20 pulls, but I then left the raid to go farm M+ gear and luckily got to avoid the rest of that fight.

Atlas: I think Stone Legion Generals progression was simultaneously my favorite and least favorite part of the entire race. It was hilarious seeing how delirious we started to get because the boss was so unbelievably bugged and some of the funniest moments in progression came from that boss. Morale and guild atmosphere were at a high but so were frustrations and annoyances from doing such a buggy fight.

Q: Your guild had some pretty strong opinions on Mythic Stone Legion Generals. In retrospect, what do you think of the fight now? If the encounter wasn’t as buggy, would Denathrius have even survived to see the second week?

THD: Stone Legion just seems like an unfinished boss. The boss was tested 3 times on mythic I believe and each time it had different mechanics where the goliath was shooting a frontal breath, the skirmishers could be stunned to stop the winds, the crystalize stun was dispellable with mass dispel so you could never soak the meteor. Overall it seems to me like there were just 500 ideas thought of for Stone Legion and they ran out of time and just threw it and said here you go. The encounter was buggy and inconsistent for sure but the worst part of the fight is the spell queueing where a boss can just go an entire minute not doing a mechanic feels weird and ruins the flow of the fight. Denathrius would’ve probably survived until reset simply due to how tight the dps check was in P3. We gained a lot of gear from week 1 to week 2. I think we gained roughly 5 Ilvl.

Atlas: Still a bad fight, it’s a Jackson Pollock of random mechanics mashed together with spell-queue icing on top. It just feels unfinished. Donny 2D would’ve probably still lived to the second reset though, that P3 dps check is pretty real.

Q: Were there any pre-Denathrius bosses that had particularly interesting mechanics that you’d have liked to see expanded, and that might have been endboss-worthy?

THD: Xy’mox was a great boss from a mechanics point of view, with how the portals work and you get these crazy overlaps of all 3 at once, whereas on other difficulties you only get 1. Portal mechanics where you move together as a raid across entire rooms always feel good in my opinion. I remember everyone using the gateway on Kil’Jaeden or on Carapace. It just feels good to just all go as 1 unit through a portal for some reason.

Atlas: Endboss-worthy, not quite. Artificer Xy’mox was really cool though and although it wasn’t a particularly difficult boss, I thought the concept of using those portals to handle all the mechanics in the fight was awesome. Inerva could’ve had the potential to be an amazing boss but the fact that it turned into a “kill her before she kills you” with a sprinkle of “just ignore the jars which are the entire concept of the fight” on the side, turned it into a massive disappointment.

Goop: Xy’mox and Inerva are both pretty cool but unfortunately stuck in “middle of the raid” hell where they are doomed to be irrelevant and undertuned. Definitely not end boss worthy, but I don’t think anything in this raid could have really taken that from Sire.

Q: Sire Denathrius: What do you think of the fight in general and what was THE single hardest mechanic of the fight?

THD: I think Denathrius, despite being a little on the easier side for an end boss, is one of the most fun fights I have progressed on. Outside of P1 where you can sort of AFK every other phase, the fight has you dodging bullet hell with Massacre and is super scary mechanically because you make 1 mistake and you are dead. The single hardest mechanic is definitely in P3, the Sinister Reflections, where he casts Ravage + Massacre + Fatal Finesse and then on the 2nd Sinister he also throws in a Shattering Pain knockback. This mechanic specifically just has the most going on during it.

Atlas: P1 and P2 could’ve been tuned to be a little harder in terms of DPS requirements, but P3 was right on the money. P2 was also just insanely cool. Flying around the room with warlock gateways, mirrors, Hand of Destruction, and Grippyman’s grip felt super satisfying. I think he sneaks his way into my top 5 of endbosses that I’ve done. Hardest mechanic of the fight would have to be the Ravage+Massace+Shattering Pain lineup in P3, he quite literally throws everything he has at you in the span of 5 seconds.

Goop: In terms of visual effects Sire is one of the coolest bosses they've ever made. Mechanics were pretty solid too and other than a weird 20 second window in p3 where nothing happens, I thought the final phase felt like an appropriately difficult phase. Unfortunately p1 tuning was pretty much a joke, and I'm unsure if p2 was undertuned or if our guild just blasted through it so fast because we're insane. Not quite as good as Helya/Lei Shen/Blackhand, so he doesn’t make the top 3, but I think I’d let him round out my personal top 5.

Q: What do you think are some of the best specs for Mythic Nathria and perhaps a little OP right now?

THD: Unholy DK is definitely a bit strong considering it is not only a strong DPS class but also brings AMZ which is just a stackable raid CD and is specifically super powerful on the last 2 bosses of the raid. Besides that MM Hunter and their insane AOE burst was a must for Stone Legion. As for Warlock, hey it always finds its way to sneak into any raid because you just can’t do anything without Healthstones and especially without a gateway on the last 2 bosses.

Goop: Unholy DK is an absolute abomination of a dps spec. Best single target, best execute, 2m raid cooldown, 1m CD magic immunity, immortal, and they can spec a talent that turns them into a ranged dps. What the hell is this creature? MM Hunter is a bit busted as well but they pay for their power by being paper. They could still stand to be maybe 5% weaker though.

Q: Overall as a raid, both in terms of the first of the expansion and in general, how would you rate the entirety of Castle Nathria? And seeing what the raid design team has done with it, has this experience made you more hyped for future Shadowlands raids and races?

THD: The entirety of the raid is either an 8 or a 9 out of 10. Almost every boss was enjoyable outside of Stone Legion Generals, and that boss really is the only reason that this raid isn’t a 9 or a 10. Every boss outside of Stone Legion and to an extent Sun King felt fun to progress on. Definitely hyped for the raids in the future after seeing the tuning on Sludgefist and Denathrius P3 being so remarkably tight.

Atlas: I’d give Castle Nathria a 9/10. It was well tuned, even the early bosses had unique and fun mechanics, and there was a good difficulty curve as you progressed through the raid. The only outlier that missed the mark was Stone Legion Generals, and is the only reason why I wouldn’t give this raid a 10/10. The raid design team has always delivered great content and I’m super excited to see what the future raids have in store.

Goop: Best opening tier of an expansion they’ve ever made. Certainly better than every raid they put out in BFA. Hopefully they haven’t set the bar too high for themselves, I’m very excited to see what’s in store.

Holidays & Streaming for the Masses

Q: The timing of this particular raid was pretty problematic (but you still managed to save Christmas for a lot of people around the RWF race community). Did you really plan to raid through Christmas with no breaks?

THD: I know we would’ve raided right through the holidays because realistically this is the thing we love and a holiday isn’t gonna just make us stop. The family can wait for later and COVID also stopped a lot of travel if you wanted to be safe.

Goop: I think in one of many meetings before the race, someone asked what would happen if the race wasn't over by Christmas. And Max or another officer simply said "then we raid on Christmas" and nobody asked about it again. I think at the end of the day the only thing anyone here cares about is winning, and raiding over Christmas or any other holiday doesn't matter.

Q: The Twitch viewer count was ramping up very high as the Denathrius race was close between you and Echo. Does having 200,000+ viewers affect you in any way?

THD: For the most part most people don’t look at chat / view count mid progression so it probably didn’t put much stress on people. If you can keep yourself fine in front of 100 people i’m sure 200k won't be much of a difference.

Atlas: Public viewer counts/twitch chats don’t affect me personally, I rarely interact with chat during progression or pay much mind to it. However, I would occasionally peek at Echo’s stream to see how close they were getting and once we both started getting deep P3 pulls that’s when it started getting a little nerve-wracking.

Beyond Castle Nathria

Q: Now that the first RWF is behind you, what are some of your thoughts on the various Shadowlands systems in relation to it?

THD: Covenants are and will continue to remain a problem whenever a Covenant or a class receives changes / tuning, as it might shift your best choice and it's going to really suck to have to gather all your anima / cosmetic stuff every patch if major changes are made. Conduits are a big question mark because no one really knows why the conduit CD exists at all, and will it really start to come into play once we get more of our soulbind trees unlocked. Legendaries/ Soul Ash should definitely work like conquest does for PvP where you can miss 1-2 weeks but catch it all up in 1 week. Tthat way you aren’t left behind and when you start an alt you do not have a 4 week timegate to make a max ilvl legendary.

Atlas: Covenants are actually really cool in concept, and I understand the lore reason behind not swapping, but the current iteration of them feels like a missed opportunity. With that being said, a majority of the systems in place for Shadowlands aren’t really that bad and they’ve been significantly improved from their original iterations on alpha/beta. I’m especially thankful that there isn’t some endless grind like AP in the past, and that alts are playable without an unreasonable time investment put into them. Some small tweaks to conduit acquisition to make higher item level conduits more accessible (specifically potency conduits) would be appreciated.

Goop: The game would be a lot better if my covenant abilities were a new talent row instead (minus Necrolord ability because nobody asked for or wants that). Potency conduits are boring and add nothing to any class or spec in terms of gameplay, but some Finesse and Endurance conduits have interesting and/or powerful designs so that’s nice. Legendaries have been implemented in a fantastic way and I wouldn’t really change anything. No AP grind is great I’m very happy after 4 years they finally abolished AP slavery. Nobody enjoyed that whether you were a casual or hardcore player.

Q: Progress isn’t really quite done for you is it? With the new loot system the way it is and your fairly significant debt, are you just going to continue with the splits/sell runs now? How much time do you give yourselves to celebrate/relax before going back in?

THD: Well we are already back to doing 4 split raids on Mythic. The week after we killed Denathrius did a 10/10, 5-6/10, and 2 3/10s to begin gearing up our alts to probably kill Denathrius 3-4 x a week. Just 1-2 days after we killed Denathrius people were already starting keystone master sales and Heroic raid sales to pay back the gold and already netted almost 50 million gold in the 1st week.


About the Authors

Starym is an old-school raider with a wide history of World Firsts under his belt. He is a long-time news writer and interviewer for Icy Veins and formerly Manaflask. Having raided in the Race to World First (RWF) until the end of The Burning Crusade, he has been covering the events since Cataclysm and the RWF has become his greatest passion in WoW. A (Tauren, obviously) Warrior main at heart, when pushed, he will admit to loving Diablo more than WoW and, thus, should be punished.

Vitaminpee mains Guardian Druid/Brewmaster and loves doing competitive Mythic+. She is the Editor and Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer and Discord Partner specializing in tanking classes in WoW and other MMORPGs. Feel free to message her via Twitter for any business-related inquiries.