XCC Spotlight: Liquid and AbleGamers
The WoW Esports team has been continuously knocking it out of the park this expansion. First, they introduced a substantial revamp to the entire MDI format that made massive improvements for both players and fans alike. Next, they made The Great Push, the latest style of dungeon competition that brought some new competitors to the scene. Also, let’s not forget the recent Variety Show — a brand new type of event that was a ton of fun and a massive success. If you thought that was all that WoW Esports had in store for us for the rest of Shadowlands, you’d be mistaken! Next up is a two-day Raid Race with exciting twists and turns, all to benefit charity. Aptly named the Xy’mox Charity Cache — or XCC for short — we are thrilled for this next esport event!
The XCC will be pitting two guilds against each other in a head-to-head race through both Castle Nathria and Sepulcher of the First Ones. Liquid and Echo have been invited to duke it out, each representing a different charity. We’re here today to give you an overview of the event, a look at how each guild did in the Race to World First (RWF) for the two raids, and to inform you of the important and life-changing work done by each of the charities. In this segment, read on to learn more about Liquid and AbleGamers!
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The Event: XCC
The Xy’mox Charity Cache is a head-to-head raid race taking place over two days, September 10th and 11th. Liquid and Echo will be racing through both Castle Nathria and Sepulcher of the First Ones on Mythic difficulty with the goal of raising as much money as possible for their respective charities. The guilds will be tasked with killing specific bosses in each raid, with various checkpoints. When a guild reaches a checkpoint, they will earn a cash prize for their charity, and the amount is determined by whether they reach that checkpoint first or second!
The XCC will be taking place on the Tournament Realms (TR), which means the players will have normalized gear across the board. More importantly, the TR gives Blizzard the opportunity to play around with a few extra obstacles; we might see some pretty interesting combos of the Season 4 Fated Raid affixes! In addition to the raid bosses being scaled to a higher difficulty, there will be certain “Curses” applied to the players in real life. What these are, nobody knows…but we can only imagine that they are going to be creative and loads of fun (for the viewers at least)!
The event will be streamed live on the official Warcraft Twitch Channel, starting at 11am PDT each day. There is significant money on the line and we are sure to see some shenanigans, so make sure to tune in.
The Guild: Liquid
Liquid is one of the two guilds that has the privilege of being invited by Blizzard to participate in the inaugural XCC. A formidable guild that has participated in the RWF for numerous tiers, Liquid is the top-ranking guild from the Americas region. During Legion, Liquid became the premiere NA-based guild when they earned US 1st / World 5th in Antorus, the Burning Throne. Even prior to the RWF evolving into the massive streaming event that it is today, Liquid competed for the top spot against the European squads that had historically dominated the high-end raiding scene.
In BFA, Liquid earned the World 2nd spot, behind Method, for every raid released throughout the expansion (other than the two-boss raid Crucible of Storms, but we don’t count that), up until the final showdown in Ny’alotha. After a tremendously hard-fought race, Liquid was the first guild in the entire world to defeat N’zoth the Corruptor on Mythic difficulty, marking the first time an NA-based guild had earned the World First title in many, many years.
Image credit: Team Liquid
Liquid went for back-to-back wins by also earning World 1st in the first raid of Shadowlands, Castle Nathria. This is one of the two raids they’ll be racing through for XCC, so they clearly have some solid experience there! Unfortunately they were not able to hold onto their top spot, as they came 2nd in Sanctum of Domination, and then 5th in this most recent raid of Sepulcher of the First Ones. Their XCC competitor, Echo, was the winning guild for these last two raids of the expansion. Liquid did hold onto the top spot in the Americas for the entire expansion, and they are the clear choice to represent the region in the Xy’Mox Charity Cache!
Having joined the Team Liquid esports organization at the beginning of this year, the guild is poised and prepped to make waves in Dragonflight, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve. But first, join us in cheering them on this weekend as they raise money for AbleGamers!
If you want to learn more about Liquid’s origins, history, and how they became a world powerhouse, check out this comprehensive timeline put together by Team Liquid!
The Charity: AbleGamers
AbleGamers is an extraordinary charity that speaks to many of us. As members of the World of Warcraft community, we certainly understand the value and importance of gaming and what it brings to our lives. Especially considering that we’ve been facing a global pandemic for a number of years now, the ability to connect with others through gaming — or even just to play by ourselves — is sometimes vital to our mental health and overall wellbeing. However, it is easy to take for granted our ability to play games. We don’t often consider the fact that there are many people out there who, for a variety of reasons, face obstacles and difficulty in accessibility into this space.
This is where AbleGamers steps in. The charity’s mission is “creating opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.” They do this through a variety of methods, including training game developers in matters of accessibility, assisting people with disabilities through Peer Counseling, and even engineering custom equipment solutions via their in-house Engineering Research Team.
Accessibility is an increasingly important part of game development, and AbleGamers is leading the charge in this space. They are helping people with disabilities, who are typically at a heightened risk of social isolation, become part of a wider community through play. To support AbleGamers and the important work they do, check out the various ways to give.
Q&A with Liquid and AbleGamers
We had the privilege to speak to Tagzz from Liquid, as well as Craig Kaufman, the Director of Community & Inclusion at AbleGamers. Read on to learn their thoughts on the upcoming XCC!
Q-1: What are your thoughts on the format of the XCC event with the added Affixes, in-real-life Curses, Mini-games, and more?
Tagzz: I think in general kiss/curse style works well in WoW PvE, and the additional ‘real-life’ curses style was very fun when we did it in Sanctum of Domination. Part of what is essential in these sorts of Charity events is keeping the competition light and fun.
Craig Kaufman: From the rules we’ve been able to see so far, I know the XCC format is going to be fun to watch. We’re looking forward to the chaos, it’s neat to know that the RNG and challenges will go towards supporting charity.
Q-2: Who are you partnered with for this event, and what does that mean for you?
Tagzz: We are partnering with AbleGamers. Their mission is “Creating opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities”. Clearly everyone reading this has a special appreciation for gaming, and so we all understand what gaming and the social interactions around it provide you. That’s why promoting accessibility in this space is so important and meaningful. With the pandemic, I think more people have felt the impact of isolation that so many people with disabilities have felt for much longer, and I think that alone should illustrate how important this is to some people.
Craig Kaufman: We are partnered with Team Liquid, it means a lot to us to be supported by such a big esports team. It will be great to see how pros can clear bosses with fun rules.
Q-3: This event will obviously have a very different atmosphere than the Race to World First. How are your players and staff preparing for it?
Tagzz: If Imfiredup getting stuck in the ocean on a tricycle is any indication, not much. But really our selection criteria of who is going to participate was solely focused on people that wanted to because that is much more meaningful (not to say anyone not participating didn’t want to).
Q-4: What else do you have planned for Season 4? What do you think about the Fated Raid System and the Mythic+ Dungeon Pool being revamped?
Tagzz: Not much else is planned, we used the initial release of the 3 fated raids to test a lot of our new systems, tools, and players. But as for now, we are falling back into the typical end-of-expansion farm where we have a more laid approach than to other farm periods since we are not focused on gearing for the next tier. That said, I think most would agree that season 4 is certainly a much more enjoyable format and content patch compared to some of the past expansion “wind downs”.
Q-5: How is your preparation going for Dragonflight and the first RWF of 10.0?
Tagzz: We have been focused on developing systems, tools, and also our players themselves since Jailer, spending probably more time now in just the interim period than what we did altogether on preparation in some of our earlier tiers like Uldir. Of course, we have a few people completely living on alpha too, and it will only ramp up even more once raid testing starts and more builds are released.
Q-6: Tell us about the work your organization does, and why it is important.
Craig Kaufman: Video games connect us to players all over the world and provide unique experiences that other entertainment can’t. At AbleGamers, we know the value of those experiences and work hard to make sure that everyone can find a way to participate. The motto we live by is “So Everyone Can Game” and to fulfill that mission we have to work with multiple industries and partners. Our team works directly with hospitals and players to find accessible solutions and supports developers as they work on future games to make sure they are accessible experiences.
Q-7: Can you describe the programs and initiatives that will be funded by the XCC prize money?
Craig Kaufman: The XCC prize will directly support efforts like our Peer Counseling team, who supports players, hospitals, and facilities across the world. Our Peer Counselors work directly with players one on one to find the most accessible controller/input solutions for a player. Our team creates initiatives like our Powered By AbleGamers Program where we partner with hospitals, living facilities and rehabilitation centers across North America to help disabled players find accessible gaming solutions local to them.
Q-8: If community members want to donate and support your work, how would they go about doing that?
Craig Kaufman: If community members want to donate in support of our mission they can find out the ways to donate and support our mission at AbleGamers.org.
About the Author
Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. She has recently shelved Retail to go back and re-experience TBC in all its glory, but will one day make her way back to the Shadowlands. In her hey-day, Hulahoops could be found raid-leading in Mythic Progression, or competing in the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for 7 years. Judgment isn't just a spell! Hulahoops decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for gaming and esports by joining the team at Raider.IO. In her capacity as General Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!