Limitations on Cross-Realm Mythic Raids: Are They Necessary?



The Castle Nathria Alliance Hall of Fame finally closed last week and cross-realm Mythic has opened this reset, so we're going to be taking a look at cross-realm Mythic (CRM) and whether it's really working out as a system.

Here we'll be examining the timings for the faction Hall of Fame completions in Nathria and previous raids and suggesting possible changes. In order to take a more thorough look at this topic, we reached out to the leader of one of the longest running PUG groups for CRM Mythic raiding, Chris. Chris, (better known as Chrissinger), has been the leader of a CRM weekend raiding group for almost 7 years. The group has had a number of different names, but the community currently goes by the name Why Do Mythic (WDM). Since many of their members hail from different realms, WDM has always facilitated their raids through Discord (and previously OpenRaid). WDM has maintained largely the same core people throughout that time, but has always welcomed new members. For some members, it is their only progression raid group, while for others, it is a place to progress with alts in a more casual environment. Ever since CRM raids were first introduced, Chris and his pals have been pushing their group into the highest level of difficulty as soon as each raid tier opens up to cross-realm. To look at the impact of the timing of Hall of Fame completion in Castle Nathria and previous raid tiers, what better person to ask than the leader of one of the longest-running and most successful CRM PUG groups in the history of WoW?

So without further ado, let’s dive in.




How does Cross-Realm Mythic (CRM) Work?


The way the system currently works is that, once 100 Horde and Alliance guilds have cleared a Mythic raid, cross-realm raiding will be enabled on the next reset. The Hall of Fame part happened last week and CRM for Castle Nathria has opened with this week's reset (which also brought patch 9.0.5). Historically, the system always suffered from another big issue in WoW: faction imbalance. Because of the much smaller number of Alliance guilds pushing in in Mythic, as progress-oriented ones tend to favor Horde due to the higher availability of players there, it takes that side of the Hall of Fame a lot longer to fill up. In Nathria the situation has been both standard/business as usual on one hand and very specific/weird on the other. Firstly, the time it's taken for the Alliance to catch up was roughly the same as previous tiers, around a month after the top 100 Horde were done, and we'll get into the specific numbers later.

The controversial element for Castle Nathria in particular involves allegations of massive boosting on the Chinese servers, as players were paying to get their characters and guilds into the Alliance side of the Hall of Fame, since there were so many slots available. Blizzard even seemingly intervened via NetEase, their mainland publishing partner in China, by calling suspected boosted players directly and asking them questions about boss fight mechanics! You can read more about that aspect here, but this never would have even been an option if it didn't take so long for the Alliance Hall of Fame to fill up, pointing out a pretty big issue with the system. So how much is the Alliance side of things actually slowing things down?




The Numbers:





As you can see, the general lag from the blue team is around one month, with very few guilds having completed the raids at the time the red team hit 100 (12 in the case of Nathria). Given the time it takes guilds that need cross-realm Mythic to open in order to progress to a reasonable degree, this doesn't leave them much time to actually even think of attempting a clear on any tier but the last in the expansion. We talked to Chris, the raid leader of the Why Do Mythic CRM community that raids once a week, as he explained the impact this very slow opening has:

In the past, our raids inevitably devolved into months upon months of steamrolling content that didn’t matter. By the time we were able to walk into Mythic, some peoples’ second or third alts were fully Heroic geared, and the next tier might even almost be out. And it was always just the Alliance population holding us back from being able to do more. Even in Ny'alotha, when we had enough time to farm 10/12M for a few weeks and even prog on Carapace, we spent a lot of time just sitting on our hands in Heroic.

There’s some boredom when farming Heroic for the Nth time is the only content available to us on Fridays. Watching the Alliance HoF crawl along in any given tier is what turns that boredom into frustration. We even considered changing the community’s name to Alliance HoF Waiting Room for Shadowlands.
Chris



The wait would most likely have been even longer this time around, if the boosting reports are true, as over 40 slots in the Alliance Hall of Fame went to Chinese guilds. So what can be done about this CRM situation?




Solutions


The simplest solution could be to make CRM open when 200 guilds cleared the Mythic raid, regardless of faction. However, for Nathria specifically, that would have only sped things up by about two weeks, which doesn't seem too significant. So how much time would be a good fit for the CRM groups to have a solid shot at clearing the content before the next tier arrives?

A sufficiently geared & experienced CR raid team, especially one that raids multiple nights a week, could probably clear any given tier (with emphasis on end-bosses) in 3 months. I can only speculate about WDM’s 1-night/mixed-experience structure, though. I’m not sure what the overall demographics are for permanent and/or semi-permanent cross-realm Mythic raid teams.
Chris





So while the Alliance slowdown is definitely a big factor, it would still mostly not be enough leeway to just make CRM open after 200 guilds cleared the raid. Completely removing CRM restrictions from the get-go definitely isn't an option for many reasons, from the Race to World First, to potential boosting issues becoming even more problematic and so on, so what would be a good time frame?

I don’t think Mythic should open to cross-realm right away, what I would like to see is less restriction. I’m of the slightly more extreme opinion that the HoF should stop at 100 guilds of either faction, or 100 plus everyone else that kills it in the last week (coincidentally, this still would have resulted in the same end-date as just using the Horde HoF this tier). HoF clearly doesn’t have the effect as a faction balance incentive that Blizzard was hoping it would. Leaving it as a special form of recognition for talented guilds should be enough while allowing cross-realm groups to start stepping into more challenging content about a month sooner.

At the current pace, that’d get our cross-realm communities into Mythic about a month earlier, which I believe would be a good thing for groups of all skill levels & Mythic ambitions. Mythic can be very hard for some players to get into, especially those newer to the game or on relatively dead servers. Earlier cross-realm access is a good way to get more people engaged with that content while it’s still relevant.
Chris





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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.