Interview with top Chinese raiding guild, Alpha (阿尔法)

We recently got the chance to talk with the Guild Master of Alpha, the top guild from China in Battle of Dazar’alor. Most Western raiders don’t get to know many details about Chinese raiding scene or the guilds themselves, so we were thrilled for this chance to chat with the leader of one of the best guilds in the world about their thoughts on Battle of Dazar’alor, hardcore raiding, and more.

Special thanks to 灵魂复苏 (SoulAwaken) for providing translations and facilitating the necessary communication to write this article. 灵魂复苏 (SoulAwaken) has also been helping us out at Raider.IO with tracking Chinese raid progression for several tiers now, for which we are very grateful!


“We designed several good tactics and saved a lot of time, but we also realized that, on top of basic skills, the reduction of personal errors is crucial.”

Jah (Raider.IO): Hello! Can you please introduce yourself and your role in Alpha?

Duan Fengxian: Hello, I am Duan Fengxian and I am the guild leader and raid leader of the Alpha guild. My main class in the game is Mage. Alpha was formerly a guild called Style.

Jah: How did Alpha get started with competitive raiding? How long have you been pushing for top world ranks?

断风贤: We started competitive raiding with a small group of players who love and enjoy raiding back in Mist of Pandaria. We have been pushing for top world ranks for almost 7 years now.

Jah: Wow, 7 years! That’s great. How similar is your current raid roster compared to what it was back then?

Duan Fengxian: In the current raid roster, there are only 4 people from the Mist of Pandaria raid team, so there is a lot of difference.

Jah: What’s your opinion on Battle of Dazar’alor? How did the difficulty curve feel compared to Uldir and past tiers?

Duan Fengxian: The overall difficulty of the Dazar'alor Raid was relatively low, mainly because the major guilds came up with some incredible strategies to greatly reduce the difficulty from Mythic King Rastakhan through Mythic Jaina. I don’t think Blizzard could have foreseen these tactics, so this raid was cleared within a week.

Jah: Alpha did very well in Battle of Dazar’alor achieving the world 3rd title, but you are far ahead of most of the other guilds in China. What do you think can be done to get more guilds from China pushing raid content at your level?

Duan Fengxian: The number of all-pass guilds on the European servers is more than twice that on the Chinese servers. In terms of national teams, the 9/9M in China has the most guilds; it is quite difficult, however, for China to achieve the world’s first due to the status quo of WoW in China. Because Chinese people are mostly hard-working, and typically work 8 hours a day, it is difficult for them to invest a lot of time in raids, and in the long run there are only a handful of hardcore Chinese guilds with good ranks. I think a shorter battle time for raids (including a smaller amount of trash) will help increase the number of PVE players, and the number and progress of hardcore guilds will be better off.

Jah: What do you think is the most overlooked aspect of preparing for a World First Raid Race? What kind of time commitment does it end up requiring from your raiders?

Duan Fengxian: We were well prepared for the World First Race, and we left no work undone that benefited raiding. It was just maddening to invest a big chunk of time in upgrading the Heart of Azeroth and collecting Azerite gear before the raid opened. This grind would not give us a head start, but without it we were bound to lag behind other guilds. So, I sincerely hope Blizzard can give us hardcore players a break in the future. I also hope that Blizzard will take Chinese players into consideration and stop opening new raids during the Spring Festival.

Most of our team members participated in raiding as professional players after graduation from college and university. We required Heart of Azeroth neck level or 42 to 43, and raided about 12 hours a day.

“We always try to separate the boss encounter into multiple phases of Patchwerk fights.”

Jah: Progression streaming has taken off in end-game raiding over the past two raid tiers in the West. However, we know that Chinese guilds have streamed progression for a long time now. Why do you think it took the other regions so long before following suit? Do you tune in to watch the streams of Method or other West raiding guilds? Has this shaped your strategies?

Duan Fengxian: China's Internet is developing very fast, which puts emphasis on traffic and the fan economy, so many Chinese Internet services are free, cultivating a community of live broadcasts and audiences far larger than that in other regions. In the Tomb of Sargeras tier, our live broadcasting on Twitch attracted a large audience. More audiences and more fans happen to suit the development of guilds like Method very well.

Before the opening of Mythic difficulty and during the rest of Mythic Jaina progress, I watched live broadcasts of Method and other guilds. I think the no-interrupt P1 of Stormwall Blockade and the direct RUSH of Jaina P3 saved us from many ineffective attempts.

Jah: We noticed that Alpha switched to Horde for this tier. What drove this decision? Do you think Blizzard should try to equalize faction balance in end-game raiding more?

Duan Fengxian: We are an Alliance guild from the Rhonin Server. In the past, we turned to the Horde for raiding, and then returned to the Alliance. Since the addition of the Dark Iron Dwarf race in 8.0, we had decided to stay in the Alliance for raiding. However, the limited class options of the Dark Iron race and the nerfing of the Dark Iron Dwarf’s racial ability left us stuck on the Fetid Devourer boss for a while, and eventually lost the Asia 1st place. In addition, the Alliance's PVE environment and number of players are far inferior to those of the Horde, so we decided to continue raiding as Horde in Battle of Dazar’alor, and then use a new batch of Alliance accounts to raid again.

Jah: Did you learn anything particularly valuable from challenges in Battle of Dazar’alor? What sort of changes are you planning to make for the next raid race?

Duan Fengxian: We designed several good tactics and saved a lot of time, but we also realized that, on top of basic skills, the reduction of personal errors is crucial. We will focus more on reducing personal errors in the future. At the same time, we hope that the raids will be harder so that we can have a chance for better results.

“In strategies, we are more likely to choose the simple and effective one.”

Jah: Are there any strategies you can share about how to help a team reduce personal errors?

Duan Fengxian: Our raiders still have a lot of personal errors, so we usually use addons/tools (such as Exorsus Raid Tools, Warcraft Logs, etc.) and videos that we record every pull to help our team reduce personal errors. In strategies, we are more likely to choose the simple and effective one. We always try to separate the boss encounter into multiple phases of Patchwerk fights.

Jah: What is the ideal amount of time that a raid should remain undefeated to give a fair chance?

Duan Fengxian: If the Mythic raid can remain undefeated for about 3 weeks, then we will have a better and fair chance.

Jah: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We’re excited to help share your experiences in WoW with the rest of the world. Do you have any closing remarks?

Duan Fengxian: It's also my honor to be interviewed. The experience I can share is that if every member of the raid team has a deep understanding of each boss and reduces their own mistakes through addons and video data analysis, the raiding time will be greatly reduced.

I wish you all a happy New Year.


About the Authors

Jah is the creator of Raider.IO and wishes he had more time to play more WoW with his guild, Ludicrous Speed (we’re recruiting), but instead he pours his extra free time into continually improving Raider.IO.

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and is excited to have more time now to push for the next MDI with her team: Synecdoche, Oddy, Sham, and Comfykins.