New Banner, Same Excellence: Interview with Echo on the RWF

In their first raid tier as a newly-formed guild, Echo managed to take a very close second place in the Castle Nathria Race to World First (RWF), creating some of the most exciting RWF moments we’ve ever seen. Today, we chat with the players about their Nathria experiences and future plans.

Table of Contents

Fierce Competition

Q: This was without a doubt the most exciting Race to World First we’ve ever seen and your guild proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, just barely missing out on the win at the very end. As this was your first showing as Echo, how satisfied are you with your first outing?

Deepshades: I was overall very happy about how we performed on most bosses, especially with all the changes that were made to the team including the outside team. However, it was very frustrating to end up second place because all of us are very competitive and nothing except the first place is our goal and makes us happy.

Q: You decided not to stream your Sire Denathrius progress until your reset, which was about a day and 4-5 hours worth of streaming. Can you talk about what led to the decision, whether you think it was the right call and if you think this might become a more common strategy going forward?

Xerwo: I think it was the right call! I understand that it sucks for the viewers and fans but we felt like we had to do it to actually have a shot at achieving the World First. Giving Limit the insight into timers & strategies while they can reclear and attempt the boss with more item level would have helped them progress faster and made it even harder for us to get the World First.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about a global release and “leveling the playing field”. What are your thoughts on this and how it could be realistically implemented?

Justwait: Honestly, this is such a big topic it will be hard to answer in just one question. There are so many aspects to the global release, because there is not only US vs. EU, there’s also Asia which would need a move of 2 days for a global release. The only way a global release can work is if the raids are so easy that they are cleared in a few hours to a day, see: Classic’s global releases for the raids.

Otherwise, there are hurdles that will impact everyone. Tournament realms have been brought up, and I do see them having the potential to fix part of the problem - but in the end we have been playing on the real servers for so long; would it still be ‘valid’? The community might just look at the ‘World First Retail Realms’ and not classify the Tournament realm as such.

So what if we just moved all the weekly resets to the same point? Realistically this would be the ideal situation, but for a company like Blizzard this must be a nightmare logistically and increases the risks of the service being down (why do you think the US has a long maintenance, while EU ones are shorter? It’s because they learn from deploying and patching servers and know where issues might occur).

All in all, there are solutions and ways to make it happen but everything has its ups and downs. It will take time before even a decision can be made, and then it’s still a question whether it would be accepted.

Q:How have you felt about the change to using the 21st Raider strategy, and what are your thoughts on Complexity-Limit going up to 22/23?

Chrispotter: We ourselves also used more than just 1 outside player, I can tell you that after doing the role of healing officer from outside of the raid this tier, I question how I ever managed to do a good job while also playing the bosses. I personally think the outside raid teams are a big contributing factor for why Limit and Echo were just so far ahead of any other competition this tier, and why Limit were so far ahead of everyone in Nyalotha.
I expect it to become the norm for even all top 10 guilds to be using an outside raid team of some kind, within the next 1-2 tiers. Sadly the downside is I have a lot less fun during the Race to World First compared to when I played in the raid, but the objective gain to the raid performance by having players do jobs from outside the raid is too valuable to pass on.

Q: What do you think of the new loot scarcity, especially in Mythic+ and did that affect your race experience?

Dota: Although there may be less loot dropping per activity, the Mythic+ loot in Heroic week was higher item level than expected. You were able to fill in almost all your slots with 203+ item level gear, provided that you played enough. Also, by the 2nd Mythic reset, with the targeted loot acquisition of 2 Vaults and 3 resets of conquest you were probably as geared as ever.

Sire Denathrius

Q: In the morning before your weekly reset you seemed to be at a pretty solid advantage, having revealed your 26% best pull without the benefit of the extra reset’s gear, while Complexity-Limit’s best pre-reset pull was 44%. How confident were you feeling at that particular point?

Deepshades: I don’t think we were ever very confident because we knew Limit would get the reset earlier including the new gear, and Sire Denathrius was a very easy boss that got super easy with more gear.

Xerwo: Limit had less overall time in the first week than us due to the extended maintenance of the US servers, thus the % difference doesn’t mean as much as one might have thought.

Q: You took almost twice the amount of time to re-clear Mythic Nathria than Complexity-Limit did, then headed to Heroic splits. However, Limit then had a few low % pulls, at which point you went back to progress on Denathrius. Could you take us through this specific time in the race, as it seems to have been crucial?

Rogerbrown: It was a time of panic for sure. It always feels horrible when you are reclearing the raid, while your competitors are pulling the last boss. We had hoped that they would be stuck at p3 for long enough, that it would allow us to finish our reclear and some key Heroic splits for players missing big upgrades. When we saw them reaching sub 10% tries though, we decided to stop our Heroic splits - because it would feel even worse to be gearing up in Heroic, while Limit is literally killing the boss. So we went for the ‘hail mary’ instead, even though we were pretty certain that at that point the boss was easily killable and Limit would have to play bad for us to kill it before them (which didn’t happen).

We also learnt an important lesson from this though, as next time if the race comes down to the point that the last Boss dies 1-2 days after the reset, we will focus on our plan and not rush to get the ‘first kill’, but instead go for whatever we think will bring us the fastest kill. If that means we kill the boss 3, 4, 10 or even 15 hours after Limit, then we will have an argument against global release/boss tuning. But the way we approached it this time around stressed us out immensely, caused us to be fully demoralized after Limit killed it and also lost us valuable time, which meant that we killed the boss ~16.5 hours after Limit. The only positive from this situation is that it provided the community a nail biter finish to this race!

Q: There were several pulls where you and Complexity-Limit were at the same Denathrius % at the same time, creating some of the most thrilling RWF moments ever, and even got both your best tries on those exact attempts. How does knowing that you’re so close and progressing on the same boss at the same time affect you?

Xerwo: At that point I for myself was not thinking about Limit’s progression at all. I was really nervous at the start of our pulls because we canceled our Heroic splits, since we saw Limit’s 5% pull. Later on I was fully focused on our progression, but it must have been a very nice viewing experience!

Justwait: As someone who took an outside job this tier, it was nerve wracking to say the least. Most of my job was done when those low percent wipes came in, so it was completely out of my hands, but I did care a lot about the outcome. This must be what professional sports coaches must feel when they watch the team try and pull off a win in soccer, football etc.?

Q: What do you think about the Denathrius fight and its mechanics specifically? Were there any you thought could/should have been tuned harder/easier?

Revvez: Denathrius as we killed him already had DPS stops in the first 2 phases, so the tuning there could have been made a lot harder, especially in phase 1. Phase 2 and 3 had some really cool moments mechanically. The grips from Hand of Destruction together with mirrors and adds on different platforms made for some cool raid movement events. Phase 3 overlaps with pretty much all the spells happening at once was fun, but outside of those moments there was a lot of downtime with very little happening.

Meeres: Denathrius was a cool boss from the Tank PoV. Going from Sone Legion Generals to Sire was super refreshing and good to see how you can integrate boss movement and overall movement abilities like the Hand of Destruction into a fight to make it more interesting for everyone. Being rewarded by good boss positioning felt super nice and made it fun to play. Sadly this dropped off fast in the last phase, where we get pulled around, knocked up without any control, which made the last phase feel way less stressful and intense. Overall I am happy with how tanking on the boss felt.

Q: What do you think were the biggest factors that affected your 2nd place finish? Was it a particular boss you spent a lot of time on, the re-clear, or something else entirely/several factors?

Rogerbrown: I definitely think we were not prepared enough on Artificer. That boss took us significantly more time on both the first kill and the reclear. Apart from that I don’t think our reclear was particularly slow, although of course we can always do faster. The comparison to Limit’s reclear definitely seems big, but they also had a 1 shot Stone Legion Generals reclear, which even to this day doesn’t seem to be that easy to pull off for any guild 1 month into farm. The biggest time loss overall was our Heroic splits efficiency during Mythic week. We could have saved up a lot of hours if we had planned them better and also executed them faster (had quite a few wipes, especially on Heroic Sire). If we had more time in the first week, we could have caught up to Limit faster - and thus progressed Sire deeper into p3. That would mean that we could fully finalize our strategy, cooldown assignments etc. (which is something we did on Wednesday night, after Limit had already killed the boss), and then go for an instant kill of the boss right after our reclear was done. I don’t see any other way we could have won this tier.

Xerwo: I think the biggest factor was that we didn’t prepare enough for the earlier bosses due to time constraints during Heroic week which lead into a slower reclear aswell.

Thoughts on Castle Nathria

Q: What do you think of Castle Nathria as a raid overall? And where would you put Sire Denathrius in the WoW end-boss pantheon?

Xerwo: Castle Nathria really got my hopes up for all future raids to come. Usually the first tier of an expansion is really underwhelming tuning wise, but they did a pretty good job if we exclude the SLG fiesta. If I only compare Sire to the first raid end bosses of each expansion I would say he is definitely one of the better ones.

Q: If you could go back in time, would you prepare any different specs or classes? Like for example Brewmaster as opposed to Complexity-Limit’s Protection Warrior or a second Windwalker, or even more Hunters/DKs? And is there anything else you feel you could/should have done differently throughout the race itself?

Chrispotter: I think I undervalued Holy Paladin - I expected with Power Infusion value included, for Disc and Paladin to be almost equal dps, but even with PI Venthyr Holy Paladin ended up doing a bit more. I also had the impression that Paladin healing output was not quite as strong as it was. I don’t think 2 holy paladins were needed if you had a 2nd warrior for Rallying Cry to replace the Devotion Aura on Sire, but for sure 1 holy paladin was very good to have and we/I made a mistake not gearing one from the very start. As for dps classes I think we used our large roster well to prepare all the good classes we needed.

Q: And finally, a crucial question: who was the weirdest player during progress and who kept your spirits up?

Fleks: Pulling the plug of your PC because you’re scared it will die due to water dripping from the ceiling has to qualify Kush as the weirdest player, or rather moment, of our Race..

Echo seems to have learned a lot from Castle Nathria and have quite a few significant changes in mind for future raids, and with the two top guilds in peak form already, the next Race to World First will be a very exciting one to watch!


About the Author

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.