What does it mean to be on top world of cans? There are many signs of success in the world’s most popular multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). He can be the best player in player-versus-player combat, as judged by the regular tournaments hosted by Blizzard, the game’s developer. They could also be among the world’s best theory makers, which means diving into game systems to improve performance and then sharing their results with interested parties. Perhaps the most famous, though, are the players at the top of the race to the world first.
As covered before on this particular site, Race to World First is a community-run event that occurs every time new content is released in the Wonderful. With each major patch, Blizzard adds a new raid: a 20-player dungeon with the most powerful bosses in the game, linked thematically to the patch’s story. As soon as one of these new dungeons hits the game, a group of higher-level player guilds embark on a non-stop race to become the first group of players to complete the dungeon. The most recent of these came on February 22, when Update 9.2, called “Eternity’s End,” was released with the Sepulcher of the First Ones, a dungeon of 11 fights that culminated in defeating The Jailer, The Big Bad of the Shadowlands expansion.
While a certain subset of players simply wanted to see how the twisted and often hated story would unfold in Shadowlands, and others, like my own guild, prepare for months of slow progression at their own pace, those who are at the height of the game came in this new update. She is poised to take part in what will become the most challenging race to a world premiere since the event became widely known and widely watched.
Most Race to the First World events last up to two weeks. For reference, the latter, in the precincts of domination, ended just seven days later. However, it took 18 days for the tomb to be completely cleared after all was said and done, as the guilds hit a variety of roadblocks that pushed the length of the race beyond any reasonable predictions.
One of those unions was the newly renamed Liquid, which took second place in the last race under the Limit banner. The guild has joined Team Liquid – one of the largest esports organizations in the world, and is immersing themselves in Wonderful For the first time between races. With that came the predictions: Liquid is a well-known name in video games, and it was expected that with the support of such a large organization, gamers would be best placed to reclaim the crown from the European Echo League.
Although Liquid started the race on fire, picking up the world’s first kill of seven of the top eight bosses, the guild faced a wall of exhaustion on the tenth day. To Liquid makes the unprecedented decision to stop playing on Day 18, just minutes before Echo wins the race.
The decision to stop while very close to the end of the race was one that had not been seen by a top racing union for the duration of the event. There were many factors, some obvious to viewers and some happening behind the scenes, that contributed to the decision, which led to Liquid dropping from the first and second places so far in Shadowlands To the fifth in the grave. I spoke to Royce “Bubbadub” Newcomb, Liquid Analyst, to find out exactly what happened, as well as what made this race so different from previous races.
These races are meant to be crazy fast races to the finish, with guilds vying to play at their peak performance levels for a short period of time. However, the Sepulcher of the First Ones edition turned out to be a marathon, and it turns out that most players, at any level of the game, weren’t designed to play for hours upon hours for about three weeks.
I feel like people who aren’t caught up in the race don’t know the support systems behind the players in the actual raid. What is your role as an analyst for Liquid in the race?
Our job is just to make it so that the raiders can show the raid and give their best. Before the race started, we tried to spread a lot of information about the bosses that we knew from the tests. Blizzard did this thing at this level as the last three bosses were never shown in the test. However, we were able to get a lot of ideas in the first eight, and we were also able to share all of those ideas with the Raiders, to make sure we had a good plan. Plus, anytime he had a question, something they needed while they checked out the boss, we made ourselves available for it.
How do you prepare to race to the world first? Specifically with the reintroduction of level sets this time around, which were massive power-ups.
So, the main question was: How do we make sure that we get as many sets of categories as possible [Ed. note: Tier sets are a group of items that give you big power boosts when you collect two and four; for some classes, those boosts added up to around 30 percent damage, a huge number.] as possible? Blizzard was kind enough to share all the info on how the elements fell early on. It gave us enough time to brainstorm and make sure we did what was best and most efficient.
We already created a system to get a single layer of subsequent bosses, like Rygelon and Lords of Dread, when the raid unlocked. And then I’m sure you noticed the huge amount of splits that had to happen during the race – two to three times as much as in the previous races. And I think that’s where a lot of the focus was this time. Just set up the divisions, making sure raiders can go into the division, not really think about it, and kill the boss over and over again.
Let’s talk about divisions. [Ed. note: Splits are when guilds bring in viewers who can trade certain items in order to funnel them to specific raiders; with how WoW’s loot system works, you can trade a piece if you already have it at the same or higher level. It’s very complicated and dumb, for the most part.] Would you and the guild prefer having the Master Loot as an option, so you can assign loot to anyone in the raid, no matter what?
I think the general answer to this question would be yes. However, with the splits, I think it’s an interesting dynamic because it gets a lot of people into the race who wouldn’t normally be part of the race, right? I think we had over a thousand people who just got in to help us race, and we came up with the splits.
So, I think the point I’m trying to make is getting a lot of people involved is actually good publicity for the race. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do a bunch of splits, and I think the main booty will definitely help in that aspect.
How long before the race did you start preparing different characters for the raid? I imagine it must have been difficult to find the balance with so many variables that were not identified even before the start of the race.
The amount of innovation and creativity you have for your class can be very important. So we said, “We’ll keep an eye on what’s good and then Blizzard can change the balance at any time and change our mind about it.” You don’t know which classes will be refined and decremented. So it’s about keeping the options open, but also like making sure you have enough coverage among all your players to cover any boss.
How many characters did everyone recover before the raid?
This level, the number was more than ever. I think most people have three personalities ready to go. A lot of it was because of low class and how we needed to get the pieces In that first week. So it was probably about 80 or 90 characters for 30 people.
This was the first live event where everyone was in person, by changing gears, due to COVID-19. How did that change the preparations for the momentary raid? I know it became an issue later on, but at first it seemed like you guys seemed so happy that you’re all in the same place and that everything is taken care of there.
Yes, it is really nice to be able to see everyone. I think if the race hadn’t gone on, and I had to delay flights and all the negative things associated with a long stay in Boston, I think it would have been very beneficial. I was able to kind of communicate with the raid leaders pretty quickly between pull-ups or breaks. Whereas if you’re at home, they won’t look at their phones and reply to discord messages, stuff like that. They will try to relax and only talk about strategy in the breaks. I would say it helped a lot early on and then when it was just the tiredness and the mental aspect of being at an event for too long and having to constantly delay flights and not knowing when to end. There was kind of some memes going on about where you look, Oh, we’ll be here forever Something. Because it’s ridiculous.
How was the event day for you guys? How many raids each day?
We aimed to start at 11:00 AM, which means everyone has their seats in the voice chat. We were resting for lunch around 2:30pm, taking 30 minutes for lunch, and 40 minutes for dinner. And only then take a few breaks after dinner when the men are more tired. This was pretty much our whole day.
I would say our worst attempts are generally towards the end of the night. We tried a few different things because we noticed the withdrawals were bad after dinner and it was like, maybe for an hour, take a 10 minute break. If attempts are poor, just pause for a few minutes and reset and back in again.
We’d stop at 1:00 a.m., maybe 2:00 a.m., depending on how close we got to the kill.
How was the decision to withdraw before the end of the race made?
I would say we were doing really well at The Jailer the first couple of days. Oh man, this boss has been around for a long time, but basically we were making steady progress the first few days. And then it was very clear from day three, that we didn’t make any progress at all. And he’s like, OK, maybe we’ll go to sleep, wake up and play better. But when it became clear that we were just banging our heads against our coach and hadn’t seen a new best performance for a very long time… I think that in addition to the mental fatigue, it would really come down to the players individually.
I think in a normal race mental health is really a concern because you go 16 hours a day for two or three weeks, if you count the heroic week as well. We decided, OK, so Eko is going to kill the boss here soon because they keep making progress and we weren’t. We understand we’re not going to have the world first at this point because I think Echo has seen the last stage, make the boss less than three percent, and we’re not making progress at all.
I think he made sure we ended up noting that we’re not just here to kill bosses. We are also trying to have fun. At that point, we were basically in that event for an entire month, which is a week longer than any we had expected. I know people really want to go home. We wanted to make sure we were able to get them home and then settle in and continue to drag the boss and kill him once we got home. I think that was kind of the thought process behind it. This mental reset has definitely helped.
Were there concerns that you wouldn’t get second place? [Liquid eventually finished fifth in the race.]
In terms of internal discussions, I don’t think it was a big deal in the sense of oh, we can get second place if we just stay in the action and force ourselves to do it. We basically had two days and no progress on the president. We’ll have to stay two more days and we’ll be able to get a second, or we can go home. If we get second place, we get second place.
With the event going on for so long, no accommodations have been set for this month. Having to change hotels, food won’t be served for a month… There are so many things that are set up, you can’t extend that forever. We just need to have people in a position where they can do their best and we didn’t feel it was worth trying to stay in place in order to do that because of all the extra external factors which were nice. from appearing. So the second place thing wasn’t really a big concern. I think this is important to some, but it’s less of a world first. I know we finished fifth, so that sucked, but we can’t really change that.