Mythic "Minus" - Mulini's Solo Journey
The art of soloing is a topic we’ve delved into a little before with our Rextroy interview, and there are always players pushing the limits on what a single player can complete.
Today, we explore this topic further with Mulini, a Mythic+ solo player who has been pushing very high keys all by his lonesome. He takes large amounts of time to progress through dungeons long after the timer has expired and has gone up as high as +22! These 6-hour long runs (on average) take significant preparation and scouting to see what is and isn't possible. Soloing is a fascinating process that we examine with Mulini in this interview.
Table of Contents
“You need to have a plan in place for every pull…It's a dynamic environment and you must be able to adapt in a matter of seconds.”
Q-1: What made you start your solo career? Walk us through the very beginnings.
Mulini: When Blizzard introduced the Mythic+ system back in Legion, I had a great deal of fun with it. When they expanded upon the system in BFA, I had been playing my Death Knight for a very long time and I was curious to see if this type of content was soloable. While testing a couple of things for a solo +15, I found out, to my surprise, that it was indeed very doable and I had a lot of fun with it. Afterwards, I was curious to see how far I could push it…is a +16 possible? +18? +20?
Q-2: Did you draw any inspiration from other soloers?
Mulini: A lot of times while doing my weekly or just any key, sometimes with random people, someone in the group would die or even the whole group entirely. Therefore, I had to try to kill the bosses on my own. This was the first time I had the idea of soloing Mythic+, kind of as a joke to myself. You could say I got my inspiration from the community and not anyone in particular.
Q-3: How long does it take from the very start of the process when you decide you want to try a specific dungeon at a certain key level until you finally make it (that is, for those that you do complete :D)?
Mulini: The first thing is trying to figure out whether something is soloable at all, which involves checking logs etc. This usually takes a couple hours. Depending on the affix rotation, I might have to wait for a couple of weeks to get a set of affixes where the run is possible. If the rotation is good, the next step is acquiring the key which, depending on your luck, might take several days. Additionally, I need to try a couple of things beforehand, which is why I enter keys that are 2-3 levels lower in order to see if there is something that might happen which I haven't thought of (i.e. I'm currently experimenting with Darkheart Thicket and the Legion affix turned out to be harder than I originally thought).
Sometimes, a particular boss is too hard at the level I was aiming for, so I have to lower the keystone. For example, with Echelon in Halls of Atonement, I originally aimed for a +23. After around an hour, I decided that it was not possible and lowered the key to +22 where the same thing happened. In the end, I had to settle for +19. Looking back, I do believe that +20 was possible at the time but it takes a lot of concentration since the boss is very punishing for any kind of mistake. All in all, figuring out Echelon took roughly 2 days. The solo-run itself, those which are on the verge of being possible, usually take around 6 hours including bathroom breaks and food breaks.
Q-4: How do you pick which dungeon to focus on for each of your solo attempts, especially given the wide range of dungeon/affix combo choices?
Mulini: In terms of dungeons, there are some that straight out prevent you from soloing them. A good example for this is Necrotic Wake. For this dungeon, the final boss will send you away to do the running part after some time, giving you roughly 30 seconds to kill him before this happens, which, of course, is impossible. So this rules out the dungeon entirely.
In terms of affixes, it's a simple process of elimination. I realized that usually the bosses are the hardest part, which rules out Tyrannical. Affixes like Raging or Inspiring unnecessarily increase the difficulty level which is why I’ve tried to avoid them. Grievous and Necroticare pretty much unplayable while soloing. Explosive and Storming are possible but can get exhausting if you have to do them for 6 hours, while Quaking and Volcanic have close to no impact and are generally preferred while attempting a solo-run.
“The biggest cause of a wipe is not paying attention for a moment…you have to stay focused, which can get really hard after an extended period of time.”
Q-5: What mistake did you wipe to the most? What mob/boss ability or affix gave you the most trouble?
Mulini: The biggest cause of a wipe is not paying attention for a moment. As I said, you have to stay focused, which can get really hard after an extended period of time. In terms of bosses, Echelon gave me the biggest headaches. This fight has really high incoming damage — enormous spike damage paired with 16 minutes of continuous combat. It took a lot of nerves.
Q-6: Did you ever consider/are considering going for a timed Mythic+ key?
Mulini: I tried to play a solo +10 in time, but due to Blood Death Knight’s low single-target DPS, you would need to have roughly 75% continuous boss uptime, which means you would have to, more or less, pull everything from boss to boss while cleaving all the trash in between and also continuing to focus the boss. Maybe you can do 1 pull without a boss, but some dungeons do not allow such pulls (i.e. the Sanguine Depths gauntlet, the Halls of Atonement Shards, Mists of Tirna Scithe maze, etc.). Someone told me that you are allowed to bring up to 4 other players into the dungeon, but that sounds too easy to be true.
Q-7: What would you say are some of the hardest/most important things to do in high-level Mythic+ soloing? What are the things that can wipe you the most from a player standpoint?
Mulini: You need to have a plan in place for every pull — plan ahead what you are going to do in the next 15 seconds or so and keep track of that. For example, as a Blood Death Knight, I need to keep track of my globals so that I won't just die randomly to pure damage and I need to make split-second decisions on whether I might live another global or not. It's a dynamic environment and you must be able to adapt in a matter of seconds. Generally speaking, you have to stay focused during the entire run and keep your cool if something goes wrong.
Q-8: What is the most difficult solo you’ve tried so far and why?
Mulini: Probably Il'gynoth. The boss is really mechanically challenging. On top of that, I had to line up cooldowns perfectly, change enchantments during the combat, etc. Oh, and the fight took over 3 hours. So there was that.
“The main difference between soloing dungeons and soloing raids is that raid bosses require you to play well into their respective enrage mechanic, so you have to figure out how to deal with that.”
Q-9: You’ve recently only focused on Mythic+ exclusively, but after an amazing (and exhausting) Il’gynoth solo back in BFA, are you considering going for some more raid bosses or similar?
Mulini: I recently attempted Normal Soulrender Dormazain in Sanctum of Domination. Due to the design of the boss (playing the chains solo), I barely had any uptime on the boss itself during the chains, not to mention the uptime on the adds. Additionally, the boss moves in a really clunky way, which makes it hard to match the high damage intake. I estimated that this boss would take around an hour of combat to solo. The biggest issue here was juggling between dealing damage to the boss, dealing damage to the adds, and keeping track of the casts while also keeping up with the 30k of required HPS.
The main difference between soloing dungeons and soloing raids is that raid bosses require you to play well into their respective enrage mechanic, so you have to figure out how to deal with that.
Q-10: Do you have any goals to check off the list prior to Patch 9.2? What is your dream achievement to solo?
Mulini: Most recently, I’ve been working on soloing Darkheart Thicket +24 during the Legion Timewalking event. I'm also looking forward to trying a high Spires of Ascension key in the coming weeks. In terms of achievements, my top 3 include being able to solo the final boss of the latest raiding tier, soloing a Mythic boss of the latest raiding tier, and soloing a +30 key.
Q-11: What do you think of Shadowlands in general and what would be a few things you’d like to be fixed in Patch 9.2?
Mulini: Shadowlands is an alright expansion; it’s better than BFA but worse than the end of Legion. I would love to see the devs apply changes to certain mechanics and systems of the game and increase the overall quality. However, I sometimes ask myself why some aspects of the game are designed in a way that they require a patch to improve instead of implementing the fixed version in the first place. Going forward into Patch 9.2, I'd like to see some changes to Night Fae Death Knight that make it less clunky to play. I'd also love for the dungeons to be less linear than they currently are so that you have more variety in terms of trash and the route that you can take.
We'll definitely be seeing more of Mulini in the future as more and more impressive solos arrive, and I for one am looking forward to that eventual +30 solo key! Solo players are important to the overall WoW community, as they show us what else can be done to stretch the limits of the game outside of the standard/intended endgame loops. Sure, soloing Mythic+ or raid bosses may seem a little extreme, and maybe very few people could or would want to try something as “crazy” as a 20 solo key or higher. However, if even a few players see Mulini’s accomplishments and try out a solo of their own, they may realize how rewarding and enjoyable this type of content can be.
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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.