If you watched the Race to World First (RWF) of Sanctum of Domination
or caught her Raider.IO Featured Stream
last week, you will know of Kali
— a healer from the top 3 world guild, Pieces
. Today, we had the privilege of interviewing Kali to reflect upon her recent experience in the RWF. While primarily a Mistweaver Monk main in the past, she competed in her first RWF on a new class and gained many insights on not only Resto Shaman, but the climate of competitive raiding as a whole. We discuss her WoW history, favorite moments of the race, perseverance in the face of gender-based harassment, her inspiration for future tiers, and much more!
Table of Contents
“Always believe in yourself and do not let people who are irrelevant in your life tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. At the end of the day, always try your best; that’s all you can do!”
Q-1: Hi Kali! Let’s do a quick introduction. Please tell us more about you!Kali
: Hello! My name is Kali, and I live in Scotland. I have been playing WoW on and off casually since the end of WoD, and started to play a lot more at the end of BFA! Outside of WoW, I have an adorable dog and cat (she’s a bit evil though), and they hang out with me a lot. My cat likes to walk across my keyboard mid pull, which is not great. I absolutely love reading, and will try and read before bed every night. I love fantasy books. Reading is one of my favourite things to do in my downtime; it is a great escape and I’d love to meet others who are also interested in reading. Music is also a massive part of my life. I listen to music all day every day and I’m always looking for new music. Outside of WoW, I like to try new games with friends, and enjoy time with those I love. Q-2: How long have you raided in Pieces? How did your entry into Pieces come about and was this your first time in the competitive raiding scene?Kali
: I joined Pieces at the end of Castle Nathria
. Even though I haven't been in the guild for a long time, they have made me feel at home and I love being here! Prior to joining the guild, I was friends with quite a few Pieces raiders, doing keys and other content with them frequently. I was suggested to join….so I did! This was very exciting yet scary at the same time, as it was my first time being in the competitive raiding scene. However I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I’m looking forward to learning more in the future and continuing to improve as a player. Being surrounded by other amazing players has only motivated me further to become the best I can be! Q-3: Let’s talk about your passion for healing classes. What is your favorite and/or main class and why? Kali
: I had only really “mained” Mistweaver Monk until the end of Ny'alotha, where I geared a Paladin, Shaman, and Druid so that I could become a better, more well-rounded healer. I have to say that Monk will always be my first love, but I am thoroughly enjoying Shaman. Castle Nathria was my first tier playing primarily Shaman, and I loved it! Recently I have picked up Priest, and am putting time into learning Disc Priest so that I can provide more flexibility in our roster. I think I may find my new favourite healing spec once I can master it. I like the utility a Resto Shaman can bring to the raid including Wind Rush
etc., and I enjoy the healing playstyle. I originally played DPS when I began playing WoW; however, I swapped when my guild needed a healer. I ended up loving it, so I've been a healer ever since. Q-4: What was your RWF preparation like? Did the race meet your expectations? Kali
: As it was my first time in the RWF, I was unsure of what I was going to experience. The RWF was honestly a lot harder than I expected because of the “external” factors that go into it, not just the gameplay. Waking up and having minimal time before the raid starts, to long days and then getting to bed to sleep enough hours for the next day, you are almost running on fumes. I definitely did not prepare well enough for the RWF with meal prep etc., so I was not looking after myself as much as I should have been. That definitely impacted my experience and play during the race. I would absolutely recommend meal prepping for anyone that is in the RWF in the future, as I think that would have helped me a lot! Eating 2 meals in 3 days was definitely not great for my focus. Drinking water and stretching are also so important! Using your breaks as actual breaks, getting away from your PC and not thinking about WoW was very important for my mental health.
Another experience from the RWF is how heavily it impacted my mental wellbeing. I don’t think people realise the pressure, and stress that players are under to perform to the standards they expect themselves to. When I made a mistake, I definitely struggled to shake it off and go again because I expect the best from myself, and I forget that humans make a lot of mistakes! The RWF doesn’t truly start when the raid releases, as so much time and preparation are put into it beforehand, whether its raid testing or discussing bosses, strats, comps etc. There is so much outside time put in by players beforehand, so the time commitment is definitely substantial. During the race, you basically commit your entire life to WoW until the final boss is dead (I literally had nightmares of Painsmith
“The RWF has motivated me more than ever to continue to improve as a player and become as incredible as the other healers in the RWF. I am very competitive, so I’ll always expect the most from myself.”
Q-5: Did you feel that you really improved as a player in this experience? Are there any fights or personal performance moments you’re particularly proud of?Kali
: I feel like this experience has pushed me to improve SO much! Not only that, but it has made me realise how much I have left to learn and refine! The RWF has motivated me more than ever to continue to improve as a player and become as incredible as the other healers in the RWF. I am very competitive, so I’ll always expect the most from myself. This is great for me, as I have been given a chance to continue towards my goals and I’m excited to see my improvement in the next race.
“Having goals to wake up to and people to achieve them with is such a good feeling. I woke up everyday excited to prog on the bosses.”
Q-6: What were some of the things you loved the most about the RWF? What were some highlights for you? Kali
: The race was filled with lots of ups and downs, but I absolutely loved killing bosses or finally getting past a point in the fight where we were struggling. Watching as my team killed Sylvanas
was so exciting. Listening to their nerd screams was hilarious and is what I love about raiding. Working as a team and playing together towards a goal is what I find so rewarding.
Having goals to wake up to and people to achieve them with is such a good feeling. I woke up everyday excited to prog on the bosses.
Another highlight for me was having an interview
, and Meeix
about diversity in gaming on the PiecesGG
stream. This was such an interesting and important conversation to have and I feel like it is a step towards improving diversity in gaming to make the environment a better place. Speaking with these incredibly talented and successful women was inspiring to me, as they are so strong for overcoming the adversities they have faced as streamers/content creators.
I liked doing splits, as they were more chilled than Mythic progression. We got to meme around a lot and have fun knocking our GM and RL Luml
Here’s another clip where we found out that maybe SOME powers on Tarragrue
might not be the BEST powers.
And lastly, Andy
“People putting me down has given me more confidence and made me stronger. I don’t know who they are, but I’ve come to accept that the people harassing me have a problem with themselves, and not me.”
Q-7: Speaking of your RWF experience, we heard you dealt with some toxicity once the race started. What was it like being in the spotlight as a woman in WoW? What was this like for you and how have you dealt with it in the past? Did you feel like it affected your gameplay?Kali
: During the RWF, I absolutely dealt with toxicity and harassment during the race. Accounts on twitter @ing me with my deaths, posting fake nudes, private information etc….it is not a very nice feeling, especially when people could believe the things they are posting. People constantly try to make me out to be a terrible person when I’m not. I would never say or do the things that they try to create about me. Trying to prog when I was crying mid pull was really hard, but this RWF has made me learn and grow as a person. People putting me down has given me more confidence and made me stronger. I don’t know who they are, but I’ve come to accept that the people harassing me have a problem with themselves, and not me.
I’ve been harassed more now than in the past because of the level I am playing at. Playing at a competitive level makes me more well-known and there are very jealous people who only want to tear people like me down, instead of supporting others. People commenting on my voice and my appearance during the race made me feel like I wanted to hide away, but I didn’t, as I wanted to be a strong force for other women. I hope other women feel like they can stream with or without cam. People need to remember that you do not need to be pretty to play a video game. It was definitely not easy; this was my first RWF so it was a huge learning experience, but I loved it! I’m lucky to have a supportive guild that makes it easier, but there were moments where it was very difficult to concentrate. Day-raiding every single day takes a toll on you and not quite knowing how it is until you've tried it makes it hard to mentally prepare. I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to the next race.
Segment on Misogyny on the PiecesGG RWF BroadcastQ-8: Given the misogyny you’ve experienced and witnessed in game, how do you feel about the recent Activision Blizzard lawsuit? Is there anything you’d like to comment on?
: Unfortunately, I’m not surprised about the lawsuit or the stories that have come out the past few weeks. This has been the reality for many for a long time, and has been happening to too many individuals (including men, women, and others) and I hope we are seeing steps to change that. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m hopeful that we are moving in the direction of a more inclusive, equal, and welcoming community for all. I hope my stream encourages other women to pursue their goals in gaming, and to not be afraid of breaking the norm, and recognise it as a safe place for them to be. Q-9: What is your favorite WoW expansion and why? If you could go back in time and bring back any raid tier, which one would it be?Kali
: My favourite expansion would probably be BFA, as that was the main expansion I actually remember and played in. That being said, I miss Legion as I was a WoW noob back then. It was nice to experience things differently and not feel the need to min max every small thing… I remember doing my first Mage Tower challenge and I was over the moon!! :) I am enjoying Shadowlands for the friends I've met along the way, the challenges I have set for myself, and the fun I've had with my guild, but I would definitely go back to older systems if I could.
If I could bring back a raid tier, I would probably say Battle of Dazar’alor
, as I enjoyed those raids quite a lot (I know many will disagree, haha). I have not done many raid tiers, so my options are quite limited. Q-10: If you could trade an ability from any class/spec in the game with your main class, what would you choose?Kali
: I wish I had a grip
(Leap of Faith) on all my healers, as it is probably my favorite ability and I use it on CD. It brings a lot of fun in easy content when I’m gripping my friends off edges, except when I walk off the edge trying to grip them. Not only is it fun, but it can allow you to make insane plays when people walk off an edge or a fight mechanic needs grips! (Sorry Luml
if you are reading this, but it's the truth).
“To the lovely women trying to push into RWF level raiding, please know that there will be a lot of guilds that won't treat you fairly because of your gender, but at the end of the day, the high-end guilds only care about your ability to play.”
Q-11: Would you like to offer any advice for aspiring players looking to get into RWF-level raiding? Do you have any advice particularly towards other women entering this space or things you hope to see changed in the future of competitive WoW?Kali
: On one hand, it’s not easy. Talking to other women in the community about the struggles I have faced has been invaluable. Speaking with Naguura
was very important to me, as it allowed me to finally express some of the opinions I had. It was great to know I was understood and not alone. Realising you’re not alone is a big part of it because the people you play with might not have faced the same challenges. Sharing the struggles with my teammates, getting their support and talking about it has helped loads. I hope to see more women in top end raiding in the future — it is a great experience I wish more women would participate in. If you are looking to get into RWF raiding, I strongly believe you need to be passionate about it and your gameplay. Sitting in Heroic, looking at logs etc. to be more comfortable with your rotation and encounters helped me a lot to learn a new class. Talking to other experienced players also helps, as it will give you insight in their way of thinking, and will contribute to your learning. Be strong and take risks, even if you think you can’t do it, go for it! The worst thing they can do is say no, and most guilds I know will not hold it against you if you are declined. You can always apply again later when you have improved or meet their needs.
To the lovely women trying to push into RWF level raiding, please know that there will be a lot of guilds that won't treat you fairly because of your gender, but at the end of the day, the high-end guilds only care about your ability to play. It is a very rough road to the top, but it will get better. Being in Pieces is one of the happiest times I’ve been in a guild, as I’m treated equally. They do not view my gender as a factor and judge me only upon my ability to perform. There ARE guilds like this! Surround yourself with people who want to support you and see you do well, not cut you down. Do not stay in a guild where you are unhappy, or feel like you're not treated as you should be, the ranks are NOT worth your unhappiness.
Also, surrounding yourself with better players will make you play better; you will hardly improve if you play with the same players all the time. Good players push your limits. Always believe in yourself and do not let people who are irrelevant in your life tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. At the end of the day, always try your best; that’s all you can do! You will make mistakes and that is absolutely okay! Brush it off, and try again. Q-12: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share? Kali
: I would love to thank Pieces for being such a supportive, friendly guild to be in. They always had my back even though I was playing poorly because of the harassment, and they never thought any less of me. Looking back, it was clear they understood it was hard to play under those situations and they didn’t judge my ability to play on that. Thank you to my friends who support and encourage me to push for things even when I am not confident! Thank you to the incredible women in gaming that have inspired me to try my best and push for my goals, as I always looked up to them and wanted to achieve the things they were, and I hope I can eventually inspire others as they have inspired me.
About the Author
(VP) is the Lead Editor & Assistant Producer of Raider.IO, and is pursuing a Masters of Business Administration. Although VP is currently focused on IRL, she specializes in tanking classes and loves competitive Mythic+. She is a Discord Partner and partnered Twitch streamer
, but mostly you can find her editing, doing homework, cooking, playing with her dogs, and catching Pokémon.