Here we are near the end of the fifteenth tier of raiding in WoW, and it's been a big one! Ra-den is still up for most of the top guilds, but he's something of an afterthought for them, as you'll see in the interview. Method came out on top in the 25 man race yet again and finally nailed down that No.1 position after two tiers of domination. We talked to GM Sco (prot Warrior), officer Rogerbrown (Hunter) and members Imsupersdw (Boomkin), Sonie (resto Shaman), Sparkuggz (Warlock), Treckie (prot Paladin) and Vykina (Mage).
It's a really big interview for a really big tier, so take some time out and enjoy the opinions of the current No.1 25 man raiding guild.
The second tier at the top! There's no denying your 25 man No.1 status now - does that put more pressure on you while playing or is it the same thing now that you're the crowd favorite?
Rogerbrown: It does put on a bit of pressure. Mainly because of how disappointed the members of the guild would be if we lost the race after already being 1st for the last 2 tiers. You never know if people will stay strong and fight the next tier, or just start blaming each other for the 'failure' leading to drama and gquits.
Treckie: It does put a lot of pressure upon us to try our best to come out on top again, it's a very different feeling towards a race when you have to try to keep the no.1 position compared to working yourself up to being 1st.
Was there more competition/pressure from other guilds in this tier or the last?
Rogerbrown: I wouldn't say the competition was necessarily harder. It was certainly a different feeling though, due to the nature of this tier without any gating system and also the fact that Lei Shen was considerably harder than Sha/Empress/WotE. It did feel kind of easier in the sense that you could measure more accurately how far ahead you are from each other guild, which you couldn't do as easy the previous tier.
Treckie: At the very top, I think we had more competition last tier, mainly due to the race being 3 smaller races, and everyone starting out fresh on every mini-race. When we were at Sha of Fear for example, like 10 other guilds were there at the same time as us, while this tier a very small amount of guilds felt threatening when the race was closing in on the end.
The whole "overall" World First debate is still going crazy, so could you fill us in on your perspective on this? It's clear that you and Paragon aren't in the same race, but do you feel there's such a thing as an overall World First? And how much, if at all, does it matter to you to get a boss kill before Paragon?
Sco: 10man and 25man ARE separate races. However, a key issue is that the most popular progress tracking site – wowprogress.com – doesn’t differentiate between the two on the homepage. In my opinion instead of showing the top 20 guilds overall it should have a split showing the top 10 guilds in each category. I hope to see something like this happen or perhaps a new website can be adopted by the community for tracking progress ranks – Manaflask?! No reason why you guys couldn’t have a box at the top of your site!! [It's actually already done, just waiting for the tier to end! - Starym]
I personally try and not let it get to me regarding a certain portion of the raiding community considering there being only one race; a combination of the 10 and 25. However, when we look at bosses like the Twins (boss 11) in ToT and we see top 25man raiding guilds wiping on it for 3 days of hardcore raiding, and then top 10man guilds killing it in 3 hours – it gets really frustrating (especially when Blizzard then nerf it by 15% to “bring it to 10man difficulty”). The Twins were the last boss before Lei Shen and when this happened we knew we had a serious disadvantage in regards to getting 12/13 before the 10man guilds. And yes, as I said, I consider the races very separate – so why should I care? However, I was already foreseeing the garbage posts coming out from parts of the raiding community (hi, friends!) about Paragon destroying Method in the one and only race – tired of reading these threads, and probably why I haven’t read any of them for a long time now.
I have a lot of respect for Paragon, they are great players, but unfortunately they are no longer our competitors after switching to 10man.
Rogerbrown: I am not going to lie, I have wanted to get a WF kill BEFORE Paragon for a long time now. I remember even at Dragon Soul, 8 day ban or not, they still beat us by like 15min or something silly like that. Even though I wasn't there for the kill, when I found out, I was like 'damn, we must be cursed or something'. So for me personally, it was a nice feeling managing to get a kill before anyone in the world. On the other hand, whenever we were on a final boss, and we were mainly competing against BL and Paragon, I remember when someone would say on teamspeak 'Paragon just killed it', I wouldn't really feel bad about it. When on Grand Empress someone said 'BL just killed it', I was quite devastated. So to sum it up, not the hugest of deals overall, but sure felt great to finally achieve it once.
Imsupersdw: I never felt like I was racing against Paragon personally. Anyone that knows a little bit of how the encounters work, will know that it's impossible to compare 10 vs 25, they wont ever, ever be equal, so discussing which one is the hardest/who got the overall world first is just a complete waste of time for me. We were racing against the other 25man guilds and that's it. Of course, seeing as wowprogress still has the overall rank, it feels slightly better to see your name as #1 overall, instead of only #1 25man, but it doesn't really bother me that much, since as I said before, people who know how the game works will know that there won't ever be an overall race between 10 and 25.
Sparkuggz: I think there are a lot of people that care more about the label of who got what, where, 2nd, 3rd of 5th outside, inside of US / West / Korea / Asia / EU / Thailand. It's obviously attractive to clear the whole instance first, despite the bracket, but there is a fact that you can never compare the two brackets so that's how it is. I just wish sites like wowprogress would acknowledge this fact and split up the bracket side by side since it's not remotely comparable to kill a boss in either bracket. If Paragon kills it first, they are the god of wow, if any other guild kills it before paragon its overtuned in 10 man. It's just a label in a game, we race to be the first in 25 man, we aren't racing against paragon to beat a boss in a different bracket.
Treckie: To be quite honest, my personal opinion on the matter is that its two completely different races, and I would just hope people would stop ranking them together as if they were the same race. We all know it's a completely different race with so many variables it's impossible to compare in a fair manner, so we simply dont, and if they kill it on 10man before we kill it in 25man it doesnt really have much impact on us. If another guild kills it in 25man before us, that means we know the encounter is doable and we just have to work harder, if it's done in 10man we cant really do much or learn much from it.
But I would be lying if I said it doesnt sting a bit to not get the "overall world first", its just easier beeing able to say world first rather than having to use brackets to explain the raidsize etc.
It was a pretty long progress race this time around, especially compared to the three 1-week ones last tier. Which did you prefer and do you wish ToT was perhaps gated in a similar way to Tier 14?
Rogerbrown: I think ToT was exactly how progression should be. No gating! We basically progressed for 2 weeks, which is quite fine if you ask me. I very much prefer this than 3-4 days of progress every 1 month. It is easier to focus all your energy for one 'push', than split it in 3 smaller ones. Also, the tuning of the bosses was quite nicely done, with the exception of Twin Consorts. As for Ra-den, I am not a huge fan of limited attempts bosses, because of how much it prolonged 'progress'. Even though we were raiding same times as we do during farm, you still had this burden in your head while doing your irl stuff (uni/work) which sucks.
Imsupersdw: I feel like this is how it should be all the time, no gating, even with different instances, let the players decide what they want to raid and for how long they want to do it. I hate gating as much as I hate limited attempts. I just feel that Blizzard shouldn't have any say on how many hours you can spend on a boss, or when it comes to different instances, how many of those you can do, and in which order (t11 vs t14).
Sparkuggz: Longer progress hurts the amount of top guilds because today's raiding demands 16 hours a day or you can't compete. Even we in Method have had struggles keeping this up, before our Lei Shen kill we had several delays of raids due to work for some people, the day of the kill we didn't start the raid before a normal 19:30 time. Faster races are also more inaccurate because of different start times and curve balls thrown at you. A longer race gives you more time to catch up, get ahead and differ from the rest. That's where i think ToT stood out, you had a longer progress where most guilds still reached most bosses around the same time but an end boss like Lei Shen still had huge gaps between kills. I prefer that type of progress where you remove the RNG factors and move more towards pure hard work / dedication and productivity with your time. Gating hurts the game and just takes a small thing like Blizzard hotfixing Twins during a maintance, resulting in several guilds stuck on the boss with Blood Legion and US guilds reaching it first getting a fast kill while we had a headstart, we are back to the start because they are now reaching Lei Shen before us so we have to catch up from our previous advantage.
Treckie: A gated release like t14 is something I hope they won't do again. All in all I think ToT was a great success.
A tier lasting half a week is too short, a week and a half is just about perfect, and we can all go back to work and uni the Monday after that. This tier took another 2 days (not counting Ra-Den) so it was pretty close to the sweet spot.
With only the final three bosses surviving after the first reset, were you happy it could be a short tier or disappointed in the bosses difficulty?
Rogerbrown: I think the bosses were done nicely. If I would change the tuning of any bosses, it would have to be making Iron Qon berserk timer 11 or 10 minutes (making the boss fight actually hard), and Twin Consorts nerf of 5-10% hp instead of 15%. I wasn't disappointed, because I knew that Lei Shen was going to be vastly harder than the previous bosses. And I think 1 week to clear all the bosses before the last boss is perfect. And then 1 more week for the final boss.
Sparkuggz: Pretty happy, no guilds can last progress that lasts forever anymore. The hours you put in are way more intense and prepared then ever before. Progress might have lasted longer in the past, but the guilds work on a whole other level these days. I wish some bosses were harder, I liked how it went from easy to harder, instead of hard to easier. Sadly after killing Dark Animus, you got some free kills up until Lei Shen after the twins hotfix.
Treckie: Personally I was happy that we were seeing the end of the tier soon enough, it felt a bit too fast as we reached Dark Animus, only really having Durumu as a boss taking a while. But then Dark Animus came along and we didn't really know what to expect of it before we reached him, since the PTR testing there didn't really give us much information. We were prepared for the latter bosses to be an issue and in the end the last few bosses were not pushovers. We did waste too much time on Twins rather than Lei Shen due to the tuning of the fight, and them later getting nerfed and oneshotted the following week was a disappointment.
When you started quickly catching up to the US guilds' lead and then got the Primordius WF, was that expected, did it make you feel sure that you'd get this tier down first as well? How sure are you of your performance and the No.1 spot at times like that?
Rogerbrown: I personally don't know why the other guilds were stuck so much on Primordius. We had a very basic idea from the PTR of what tactic we wanted to use, and it worked out quite easily. I guess seeing other guilds being stuck a bit longer on that boss did give us a decent confidence boost. At such an early stage though, the idea of getting the last boss WF is not crossing your head, because it feels so far away still.
Treckie: We know that we don't really have a chance when the bosses are easy, since US has such a head start. We already assumed some of the latter bosses would be really hard, so we geared accordingly, taking it slow in the beginning, doing the altraid boss by boss after each heroic kill to gear up any main that wasnt in the heroic kill.
So we knew we were behind and had to hope for a harder boss later on and hope we could find a strat faster to gain some time. It ended up being Primordius where we gained quite a bit of time, even if I think US were asleep by the time we actually killed it.
Did Blood Legion's Twin Consorts WF bother you or shake you up a little, especially considering what happened in Heart of Fear and Empress Shek'zeer?
Sco: Not really, I knew that both guilds were going to go into the new reset and melt the Twins instantly after the 15% nerf, therefore both being almost equal on Lei Shen progress. What does bother me a little though is the US vs EU reset timings, it can make a huge difference in short gated races, but also in the longer term races like ToT. If, for example, both Method and Blood Legion are close to killing the end boss, the gear advantage that Blood Legion will get from always being 1 day ahead can make a significant difference. We in the EU are just always 1 day behind which is an obvious disadvantage. On a side note; I kind of wish Blizzard didn’t nerf the 25man Twins, they did it so late that we
had already wasted the time and energy on it. The fresh reset gave us the additional gear that we would have needed to kill twins most likely without the nerf. The nerf basically just ensured that the other 25man guilds that were lagging behind were able to catch up onto Lei Shen. I hope Blizzard react faster in regards to these adjustments next time, I think we all felt pretty annoyed that we had spent 3 days on a hard boss, only to be able to go in the next reset after 15% nerf and 1 shot it…
Rogerbrown: It didn't shake us at all. But it did bother us, or I should say me, a bit. Mainly because I feel like we tried quite a lot of tactics on that boss and of course there is no way to know for sure, but it felt like we were 'ahead' tactic wise. I am saying that because of the fact that when we actually reached it again on Wednesday, after the hotfix, we 1 shoted the boss, whereas I think BL took a couple of hours to kill it. Obviously it is not BL's fault, it is how the whole system works with the US/EU server week resets work. Basically it felt like we lost any advantage/lead we had when we reached Twin Consorts, but it didn't get us worried about Lei Shen, because we knew that it would be a really hard boss.
Sparkuggz: No, we knew we would have killed it with the extra gear, when we heard the boss had dropped 15% we were kind of panicking. The fact we KNEW we would reach Lei Shen later, and hoped Lei Shen wouldn't be a walk in the park. When we then reached Twins, pulled the boss and killed it that pull, we kind of realized the undertuning the boss had gone through and felt very strong again.
Treckie: We spent 3 whole days on progressing through that fight, we had very good tactics and a the perfect try a few times, but gear was just behind. We were expecting to make quick work of it with another reset of gear, but it still took quite some effort. We found out the plans to nerf the boss with a whole 15% of its HP, and knew the kill would be VERY easy the next reset. US managed to get it ahead of us though, since it resets earlier for them.
It didn't really bother me that much, cause we oneshotted Twins once we reached it, and we knew BL wasn't far ahead on Lei Shen, but we had to hope he wouldn't go down fast, otherwise we could lose it. US gets the easy bosses first due to resets anyway, this one was no different than losing Megaera or Ji-kun to me personally, its the hard bosses that count.
Vykina: It wasn't too much of a worry, we pretty much knew as soon the nerf went live it would die in a few pulls, when we heard of BL's kill it only confirmed what we were already thinking - not to mention that Lei Shen wasn't going to be a walk in the park so we'd be on somewhat of a level playing field.
From everything we've heard, almost all guilds are praising this one as one of the toughest and best bosses in WoW so far. What do you think?
Sco: Perfectly tuned. Lei Shen required strong strategizing, coordination, maximization and great individual AND team play. The boss was killable in his earliest form with the then current gear levels – but only just! We worked on the boss for a full reset, gradually improving each day before getting the kill. I think that Lei Shen is probably the best tuned end boss that Blizzard has created as of yet. A lot of the other bosses in the past have been more along the lines of ‘come back when you have more gear’.
Rogerbrown: I think this boss is definitely in my top 5 hardest bosses of all times. The hardest part about the encounter was definitely the strategy. With 4 pillars, having to chose 2 abilities for p3, then choosing the order in which you move in p1 and p2 to maximize damage, and then finally how to handle the insane p3 damage combos and movements. Also transition positioning, as well as 'rules' for soaking static shocks and bouncing balls so that players can communicate easier without the need to speak on teamspeak and cause a major cluster of voices. These things, together with insane dps requirements in p1 and p3, and insane healing in p3, made this boss rightfully take a spot in the hall of fame.
Imsupersdw: From all the progress races I've been into, this was definitely the 'toughest and best boss', yes. Of course, only taking into account killable bosses with the obtained loot at the time, let's not bring 0 lights/Lich King and stuff to the table.
Lei Shen felt extremely well tuned, and that's what was so good about it. Prior to our kill we had PLENTY of low % wipes, it was all about fixing those last winds healing and squeeze that little extra personal dps from everyone, and it felt EXTREMELY good when we finally managed that!
Sparkuggz: I think that's taking it a bit too far. The fight needed some good coordination and was well tuned for our gear levels, sadly it also felt like the start of the fight was too easy. All of phase 2 was too easy and you hit the real wall in phase 3. Phase 3 was very well done on 25 man for sure, the way you progressed from 15% to 12%, 10% 6%, 4%, 3% and then getting the kill eventually was a good feeling of maximizing and optimizing your playstyle to kill the boss by playing better rather then by luck.
Treckie: Personally I think its a great fight that tests most of your players' ability to perform. In the beginning there was a bit of a dps race in it as well, we found a few tactics to tweak it a bit, but it wasn't that big of an issue for us. We had quite some theories on how to do the last phase before reaching him (what pillars to run with) and just stuck with it and it worked, so we didnt have to remake tactics for the other phases, and that was kind of lucky (or clever since we figured it out ourselves).
Every tier is different with different amounts of bosses and the amount of gear you can collect, so its hard to judge, but for sure it's top 5 in hardest bosses, especially since it was very polished without any major bug and very little had to be done in terms of hotfixes.
How does it compare with Ragnaros, Firefighter, Yogg 0 etc?
Rogerbrown: Comparing it to previous bosses, I would say that Lei Shen had more room for improvements of dps/healing via tactics than other bosses did. For example on Ragnaros, apart from p2 and the whole 'aoe adds' tactic which allowed you to drop down to 3 healers, there weren't many things you could do in terms of strategy. It was a boss with a really tight dps requirement in p3, which made the whole fight difficult due to the need to drop healers in order to make that dps. As for Yogg 0, I think it demanded quite a lot of initiative and intuition from the players, and the whole 4 hunter taunting tactic was quite insane (I still have nightmares of taunting the same add as Justwait). Overall though, I think because of the game progressing through the years and making always harder and harder mechanics, I would rank Lei Shen together with Ragnaros, above Yogg 0/LK. I never progressed Firefighter so I can't really compare the two.
Imsupersdw: I was on vacation during Firelands, so I can't really comment on Ragnaros progress difficulty since I only played it on farm. Firefighter was extremely tight as well, and is actually one of the encounters I enjoyed the most overall, but I feel it doesn't really come close to Lei Shen. As for 0 lights, I don't think it has anything to do with Lei Shen really, it was unkillable at the time you reached it for the 1st time, as for Lei Shen, it was actually killable, but just extremely well tuned.
Treckie: The game was very different back then, and I personally didn't play at a No.1 contender guild at the time, so I'm honestly not qualified to compared it to Yogg+0 or Firefighter. Compared to Ragnaros however, we didn't have 11 bosses dropping gear prior to him, so I would say we were a bit better geared for Lei Shen than we were for Ragnaros. That makes it quite different, but also we really only had 25people in our roster at the time, being able to swap people around for Lei Shen was pretty important, and we wouldn't have done that well with a roster of 25people.
Take us through the timeline of your Lei Shen attempts, the strategies, the weird attempts, and whether you thought that it wasn't doable at any point?
Rogerbrown: 1st day we mastered p1 and saw first transition.
2nd day we mastered first transition and saw p2.
3rd day we mastered p2 and saw second transition.
4th day we mastered second transition and saw p3.
5th and 6th day we went all out on p3.
Well, that's quite a rough estimation of our progress... of course we saw p3 before the 4th day, but I gave you an average of what our tries looked like. I initially had the idea that p3 would be easy when we first reached it at the 3rd day or so. Then as the days went by, I started realizing that it is actually insanely tuned. We had a lot of 10-15% wipes, and some people started commenting how it is almost impossible and that next week we will kill this boss with new gear. But then on Tuesday, we pushed from 15:00 or so (quite early considering people's jobs/uni), and we started having <10% wipes, gradually going lower and lower. We had a 9% wipe, then a 5.6% wipe, then a 4.7% wipe, then 4.4%, then 2.6%, then 1.7%, and finally around 1-2 hours before we would be forced to kill it normal and go for it the next week, we finally did it!
It would honestly have felt like a failure if we didn't manage to kill it with only 2 weeks of gear. Even if we did kill it first the next week, the thought that we could have done it 1 week earlier would be quite haunting, so I am really glad we managed to pull it off at the very end of the week.
Treckie: Day one was mainly getting the moving of the boss in order, and doing the first transition properly. The debuff between pillars worked a bit different, as in you could reset it at some points, but not always. Once we reached P2 we noticed it was really damn easy actually, just a few things to finetune to reach the 2nd transition and last phase. We even went normalmode to figure out the minimal amount of people you need outside to get the minimal amount of balls.
I don't think we ever said it was impossible, while it wasn't easy doing each phase without losing people, you could easily see that each phase was very doable, we just needed p3 tries without any deaths, so we had all combat resses available for that phase. P3 was a bit harder than expected, but really the main problem was getting there with 0 deaths and 3 CRs, and then we needed a bit of RNG as well.
What's your favorite phase or ability of the Lei Shen encounter?
Rogerbrown: I think the balls of lightning and the helm of command are the two abilities I enjoyed the most. The balls demanded something that we hadn't seen for a long time, specific formation around the boss, but in range for the aoe grip. I really enjoyed making those perfect half circles (it looked cool). As for the helm of command, it felt like you were pushing against a wall that was closing in on you, getting caught off guard by that and having to rush to the warlock portal really got your blood pumping!
Sparkuggz: Phase 3, the rest is a bit underwhelming and really not hard. Phase 1 was only a gear check DPS wise with our tactic, which we made from the start we went there.
Treckie: Transitions with Helm of command for sure, its basically the boss saying "I hate you 3 in particular" and then slowly pushing you off the platform :P
The top three 25 man guilds had some different strategies in the final phase of the encounter. How important a role do you think that played in the final result and, after having seen them, which strategy do you think is the best?
Rogerbrown: I think I would say the 3 tactics have different difficulty to perform, and different 'rewards' for doing so. Therefore I would say that using our harder tactic, it allowed us to kill the boss with as little gear as possible. We squeezed every little juice our 517 Sha-touched weapons had!
When I say reward, I mainly mean dps reward. Considering the gear that each guild had during their first kills, I think our dps was harder to pull off perfectly, but allowed us to do more dps than the others. As for which one I would use during farm, I think BL's tactic is the best for farm. Due to the fact that our tactic demanded many position assignments and cooldown management, which is hard to communicate to newcomers in the fight, leading to wipes because someone didn't soak a bouncing ball where they were assigned etc. BL used a tactic that simplifies a lot of things, but still keeps a stable grid (no heart attacks). As for the tactic that Exorsus used, it seemed more 'brute forcy' than the other two. The word that I kept having in my head while watching their tactic was 'YOLO'! I couldn't see their raid frames/grid, but I think they probably had a lot of close calls with that tactic.
Treckie: Considering the gear difference there is between the kills, I would say that one strategy was best one week, and another became better or more doable the next, we min-maxed a lot of things to make it doable, while we didn't really have to do it that much the second week, due to gear
Everyone noticed Justwait was tanking on your first kill as Brewmaster, what was your reasoning behind using a monk and how did you find out about their advantages?
Rogerbrown: When we started progressing this fight, we instantly realized how crucial it is to minimize the stacks when moving the boss from one pillar to the other. The only thing that makes bosses move faster is the Monk taunt. We initially had Justwait taunt the boss while still being dps, and then the tank taunting off him before it would reach him. After a little time, looking at the dps requirement that p1 had, we decided it's best that we had Justwait switch to tank, and put in another dps instead of our other tank. Later in the fight, we saw how Monk tank was quite overpowered in other aspects as well.
1) The aoe stun on the balls of lightning after they were mass gripped in.
2) The insane damage on the balls of lightning.
3) The insane shields in p3 for the whole raid after doing huge damage to the balls of lightning.
4) The spamable roots for 0.5-1sec on the chain lightning adds.
All of the above developed through the phases, but we first and foremost had him tank because of p1 boss movement.
How did you deal with figuring out wich platforms you were going to level up to deal with the mechanics through the rest of the fight? Did other combinations end up being much harder or were they a possibility too?
Rogerbrown: From the get-go we had the idea to use static shock and bouncing balls. Those 2 seemed quite manageable. After the first 2 days of progress on the boss we thought of any other possibilities that could work out. The only other possibility was switching bouncing balls with chain lightning, but we though that it wasn't worth it, and had already practiced a lot with this static shock-bouncing balls combo to change it around now. If there was one ability that we knew we didn't want in p3, it was overcharge.
Treckie: Like I mentioned before, we discussed it during normalmode PTR what would likely be the best alternative for P3, and based the strategy after that. We were not sure it would actually work out in the last phase or not, but since it did work, we honestly never even tried any other strategy.
Do you feel the legendary metagems somewhat reduced the achievement of guilds that got him after they came out?
Rogerbrown: A little bit, but I don't think it matters that much, everyone got them at the same week. The only thing they did was basically speed up the killing process by 1 week.
Sparkuggz: Yes, the metagems are huge, some classes can gain a 15-20k DPS increase from one gem. That's A LOT of gear we are talking about, a trinket upgrade won't even give you half of that, which is normally considered major. Sadly they added both the RNG to getting this meta gem, but the timing it hit was pretty well timed, right when guilds were about to end content so instead of seeing the first nerf or 5% buff go live, you saw the meta gems come in.
Treckie: Not really, not much more than doing it another week with one week more gear. That's what matters anyway these days, killing it 3 weeks later with so much more gear is already reducing the achievement for those guilds, metagem is a pretty big deal however, maybe you could add it as another week or two worth of gear, from one item.
Vykina: I don't feel as though gear upgrades should reduce the achievement of a kill at all, granted it helps a bunch to be putting out higher numbers, but it still takes a great deal of dedication and skill to kill such a challenging boss in my eyes.
The great Lei Shen vs. Ra-den debate - which do you think was the "real" endboss? Considering you got both first you're probably the most objective on the matter.
Rogerbrown: Lei Shen definitely was a much harder boss. It required more tactics, personal skill, and practice. If Ra-den was unlocked after getting 11/13, I would say that Lei Shen is no doubt the end boss. Now with the way Blizzard did it, which I think is quite horrible, I still would say Lei Shen was the end boss, and Ra-den should be seen as a separate entity from the rest of the tier. Kind of like Hallion was.
Treckie: Lei Shen is the real Endboss. The RACE ended when Lei Shen died, "progress" was still ongoing, but it was no longer a race the way we normally race, and since Lei Shen ended it, he is the endboss. The progress then evolved into taking care of the tries, rather than killing it first, and that's not a game we all enjoy as much.
How do you feel about limited attempts bosses in their most recent incarnation? Does it make sense to have a boss after the "endboss", as Blizzard have stated?
Sco: No, I don’t like it. Wish they had ended this tier after Lei Shen. The motivation for killing Ra-den was low – compare the nerd screams of our Lei Shen vs Ra-den kills. The fight was boring in my opinion, simplified in design because of the actual limited attempts. I hope Blizzard don’t do this again. You want to end a tier on a high (Lei Shen), not a “zzzzz still need to kill that boring limited attempt boss”.
Rogerbrown: I think it is a poor choice. If they want to release such bosses, it would be best if they did so at the next patch, like 5.3. Same was Hallion was after ICC.
Imsupersdw: I hate limited attempts bosses, for me, there's like 0 point on having them. As I said before, Blizzard shouldn't have a saying on how many times we want to pull a boss. I also feel like it reduces a little bit of room for creativity. See this for example:
You have 9 attempts left, and a somehow working strat. After that wipe someone comes up with a crazy idea. On a regular boss, you would instantly pull the boss and try it out, but seeing as you're down to 8, do you really want to risk it and go down to 7 attempts, when you might actually have the working strat for the boss and people is just not executing it properly at the time?
For me, having full room for creativity, to try out all the crazy stuff before you figure out a strat is something that you should be able to do. It's always extremely funny when someone comes out with those so called "RUSSIAN STRATS" :DDD
As for the 2nd question, if they really wanted Lei Shen to be the end boss, they shouldn't have put Ra-den after, and they shouldn't have put the realm 1st achievement as a reward from Ra-den.
Sparkuggz: I like the idea, but the whole what's the real endboss deal and the bugs involved in a untested boss just doesn't work. Ra-den works as a reward boss for finally getting Lei Shen down, but people won't understand that because they see the boss being "last" in the instance. Luckily the boss was at a level where the limited attempts weren't the major issue, they said already it was a simple straight forward boss and it really was. If it had been harder, it would have been a horrible idea to bring back limited attempts.
Treckie: Limited attempts or an attempt counter should not be limiting us from killing a boss, I think limited attempts is a great idea in terms of rewarding more loot or better loot, like in ToC with the chests, or bosses having a higher chance of dropping thunderforged loot if done with x amount of tries left. But as a form of gating us to go back next week, it just mess things up for progress.
Which do you think was harder, Lei or Ra, taking into account the limited attempts?
Rogerbrown: Lei Shen.
Treckie: It's hard to say, but likely Lei Shen. If we had the gear we have today with the meta gems, both of them would have died pretty fast, but in terms of player skill Lei Shen has to take the crown as the harder boss.
In the end, was Ra-den more a matter of extra gear or just a matter of getting more attempts?
Rogerbrown: Both. It took us 2 weeks to get a good idea of the strategy we wanted to use (keep in mind the first week we rushed our 30 tries since it was already Tuesday night, and we had a lockout reset coming up, so we learned less). Having said that, the metagems sure helped us a lot to meet the dps/healing requirements of the fight. I think if we had 50 tries per week instead of 30, we possibly could have killed him 1 week earlier.
Vykina: I think it was definitely just the attempts that we needed, we pretty much had a solid tactic from the get go that just needed both practice to execute perfectly as well as adapting it as we progressed further into the fight.
Treckie: He would likely have been killable the first week with the gear we had when we first reached him, it would have taken a lot more tries tho, every reset just made the boss a whole lot easier.
So, how bugged was/is Ra-den, really? We talking Sinestra level or what?
Rogerbrown: Not THAT bugged, but it had some issues, we reported them to Blizzard and most of them (if not all) should be fixed already.
Sparkuggz: There were bugs and weird things. Often times you wiped to some random thing and were like ?? what the hell just happened. It was obvious some things and bugs weren't tested, I just don't think limited attempt bosses work.
Treckie: They did a good job with Ra-den considering only internal testing, there were still bugs and issues but nowhere close to Sinestra level, the issue was the limited attempts making us unsure if an ability is bugged, or if the tooltip is wrong, or what is going on.
Where would you place Throne of Thunder in the overall WoW raids ranking?
Rogerbrown: I would rate it as top 3 for sure, together with t11 (first tier of Cataclysm) and Ulduar. It has been one of my best experiences so far in the game.
Imsupersdw: Not having raided during TBC prime, I would probably place it at #1, along with Ulduar.
Sparkuggz: Very equal to Firelands, just that Ragnaros was still better than Lei Shen but nothing compares to the old days!
Treckie: I think Throne was a pretty good tier overall, it didn't have that many issues and not that many bugs and fixes even though there were a few, the race was fair and pretty close, I would say it's been very enjoyable as race. But then again that's pretty much what any guild that finishes first would say, so people can rank Throne however they like :P
Which boss was the most fun/interesting and why?
Rogerbrown: I think the most fun boss was Durumu. The beam phase was something really refreshing in terms of mechanics for me. Trying to see within 1 second all the adds and memorize them in order to mark them was quite fun. Also the labyrinth kept you on your toes.
Most interesting was definitely Dark Animus. The first boss to test your math capabilities. The possibilities were endless.
Sparkuggz: Dark Animus was the most fun and exciting in terms of a boss that started to separate the guilds during progress. This boss shows who the fighters really were, sadly I just wish the bosses after had been harder so once you killed Dark Animus you would be at Lei Shen.
Vykina: Despite it not being the best boss for a Mage, the most fun boss for me was probably Tortos, the atmosphere on voicecom was great during this boss, especially Nagura spamming "GET NEW BUFFS GUIZ".
Treckie: I really liked Dark Animus, it's a pretty fun boss, and I like bosses that look so chaotic at the start, and then the further in you come it becomes more clean but keeps its difficulty, just in another form. It's also nice to have the hardest part of the fight be that early, rather than wiping at 10% cause s**t hits the fan. Either you did horribly, and you wiped in 5sec, or you made it into the fight and can make it pretty far, also tactics was nice to powernap to :P
Which boss was the most frustrating and why?
Rogerbrown: The most frustrating boss was Dark Animus, because of how fast you could wipe. We had 20-30% of the wipes within the first 1 minute of the fight. 300stat foods were getting chugged down like it was nothing. RPPM trinkets didn't have enough time to reset, and the same goes for my Rapid Fire. When will Blizzard make 3min cooldowns reset after a wipe?!?!
Imsupersdw: Dark Animus. 10sec long wipes, really. Pull the boss, wipe 10secs after, spend 5mins talking, just to pull the boss and wipe 10secs after again. You would basically wipe because you had too much dot dmg, and some add died early/you pulled aggro, or because you played it extra safe and then some random adds weren't dying in time. Personally, playing a moonkin I had so much fun on this fight, doing the very same opener for over 200 pulls and still the outcome being completely different just because one of your set of dots had some extra crits (which a lot of people didn't seem to understand).
Treckie: The most frustrating boss has to be Twins due to the amount of time we spent on it only to see the nerf make the fight a joke and that we didn't really have to care about optimizing anything, would have liked to have those 2 days back ^^
Vykina: Most frustrating for me was definitely Dark Animus with the typical "oops too many DoTs" or "oops too few DoTs" wipes, can't wait for this fight in farm when everyone is hungry to DoT everything!
Biggest rage moment during progress?
Oh wait… nvm… :D
Treckie: The only "rage" moment I remember is when the dpsers that dot everything with a healthbar have to do single target dps and then get upset when we do tactics that involve them not being able to do so.
Funniest moment during progress?
Rogerbrown: Probably Kuznam's aim at Tortos. I thought it wasn't possible, but we found someone who is worse than Sergio Ramos.
Imsupersdw: Kuznam calling himself Ibrahimovic before we pull Tortos, just to realize that he was actually our very own Sergio Ramos!!!!!
Sonie: If I just had to name one I would say our 1st kill of Durumu HC. The whole raid was dead at the end, everyone went from cheering to Aladya yelling "noooooooooo" when we all died to the enrage and then the achievement pops up and everyone starts to laugh. I feel like we have a very good atmosphere on teamspeak, we have a lot of fun while raiding with each other which I really do believe is important to keep the morale up.
Treckie: The first day on Lei Shen was absolutely amazing imo, the helm of command ability has to be one of the best abilities put into the game, and the boss just doesn't want you to play with him, pushing you off the platform :P
Also people rolling/disengaging off the platform on Lei Shen.
Weirdest/funniest whispers during progress?
Rogerbrown: Some Greeks coming to our server with lvl 1 characters whispering me and the whole greek squad some motivational stuff!
Treckie: A lot of "status" whispers every day on Lei Shen, it's not really weird, but its annoying :P
And a lot of people cheering for us, that's always nice to get whispers about.
What do you think of your competition this tier (and more generally the way the tier is shaping up with the guilds that got Lei Shen)?
Rogerbrown: I think that there are less guilds nowadays competing in the race than there were in the past, but the ones competing for WF (top 5 guilds) are actually growing stronger.
Sparkuggz: Blood Legion was always our main competition, but the Russians are doing some crazy s**t and can never be counted out. But our roster was really really strong this tier, I've never played with as many good players as now. You always had a big handful of players you felt could drag you down a lot, and if I think back at our Firelands roster or before that the improvements overall is just insane. People who compare Method just a few tier's back with now have no idea how things change in guilds. I wish Paragon would still be 25 man, because if there was a time Method could compete, it would be now.
Did the bosses often require special setups?
Rogerbrown: The only boss requiring special setup was Durumu for the Ice Walls. You needed warlocks and elemental shamans if you wanted to kill them. They basically did 4x the damage compared to other classes.
Sparkuggz: Sadly yes, melee was very unfriendly on most fights, not only because of their lack of DPS but also because of certain mechanics where you just rather bring a ranged class then a melee.
Treckie: We had to tweak the setup on a few bosses a bit, but not anything major, for Lei Shen we wanted as many people with immunities though, we tried stacking as many as possible with that atleast.
The craziest tactic you tried?
Rogerbrown: Having tanks on Dark Animus getting ported around from Matter Swap and the Massive adds running through the raid from one side to the other. It didn't end up very nicely :D
Vykina: It's been a running theme in pretty much each instance so far in MoP to try and stack up and out heal a certain ability and this time around it was Anima Font on Dark Animus, someone suggested that we should try to stack up and outheal it. Needless to say it was pretty funny to have made it into the second part of the fight and then wiped instantly from Font spam!
Treckie: The best tactic we tried was prolly matterswapping the tanks taking the massive golems on Dark Animus, it was great fun and worked somewhat, but wasn't very reliable so had to put it to rest ;(
How did you like the boss design overall?
Rogerbrown: I think the bosses were very well made. This tier had a nice variety of bosses. If there is one thing I was disappointed in, it was trash design. Probably one of the most annoying trash mobs I have experienced since AQ40.
Sparkuggz: Very different and a lot of variations. I thought bosses like Dark Animus were going to be horrible, but ended up being one of the more fun bosses to progress on. Overall a good job in bringing 13 very different bosses with mechanics and playstyles. Enjoyable instance overall.
Treckie: Most bosses were pretty original and well designed, I liked the way T14 worked out as well, in terms of different bosses, but while they were fun, they were not all that interesting. Throne, however, has a lot of bosses so when clearing you go from less fun bosses to more fun bosses.
What did your typical progress day look like?
Rogerbrown: First week it was something like this:
Raid start ~12:00
15min break ~15:00
45min break ~20:00
Raid over ~3:00
With some 5min breaks every ~2 hours.
For the second week it was the same, except Raid start was around 15:00, and some days even later depending on players' jobs/uni.
Vykina: For me it always started with my boss ringing me in the morning asking if we'd killed all 13 bosses yet. No joke, he did this every day for around 2 weeks. We'd then pretty much raid for 16 hours with a few small breaks and a longer 45min-1hour food break towards the end of the day. We'd typically get around 8 hours sleep and repeat the same process the next day. It felt like a great weight was lifted after we downed Lei Shen, since Ra-den had limited attempts we could approach it with a more relaxed raiding schedule and my boss could finally stop spam calling me!
Treckie: Raid - eat - raid - sleep.
We started early like 11-12 most days, going on until 2-3 in the night unless we though we could push it, always had 8 or more hours sleep to be ready for next day. And then 45-60min foodbreaks with a few 10-15min breaks every now and then, usually when discussing tactics :P
What was the class balance like in this tier? Any OP classes or less than useful ones?
Rogerbrown: I think this tier warlocks were probably the best class overall. Great survivability, multiple specs being viable for different bosses, warlock portals bringing some insane utility for Lei Shen, and of course TOPPING DA METERS! Overall this tier I think dps warriors, ww monks, hunters and spriests got the short end of the stick.
Imsupersdw: Something like: Do you need a melee? bring a rogue. Do you need more melees? bring more rogues. Oh, you dont have more rogues? bring a DK, still need more melees? better go with ranged. Do you need a ranged? bring a warlock. Still need more ranged? bring more warlocks. Still need more ranged? bring in some fire mages
Sonie: In terms of healing, Holy Paladins are definitely in a really good spot. Personally I think the whole "passive absorbs" mechanic is pretty broken and should be removed in the next expansion. With passive absorbs I mean the Paladin Mastery (Illuminated Healing) and Disc Priests Divine Aegis. The only absorb from healers that should be kept in the game is Power Word: Shield. When progressing through new content many of the abilities do more or less the same amount of damage as your max HP because you are using way less iLvL than blizzard tuned the encounters for. A good example for this is Dark Animus, during the first 1-2 days progressing on this encounter Interrupting Jolt did more damage than what many of the raid members had in hp (it was hotfixed after about 2 days). Absorbs and raid cooldowns become very crucial here and that is why Holy Paladins shine so much.
Sparkuggz: Warlocks, Mages and Boomkins were the strong ranged classes with rogues being more or less the only viable melee you wanted to bring. Hunters and DPS monks were pretty much the class you didn't want to bring because they really didn't put anything on the table. The only reason you ever took a DPS warrior was because of skullbaner.
Treckie: Melee as always are not prefered on most fights, although most ranged (or at least spellcasters) need trinkets to be OP, dps warriors prolly took the biggest hit in our guild at least, barely being used and when they did get a spot then only one, even though we had 3. Warlocks came out really strong this tier though, with insane survivability and being among the best in terms of damage as well (not some s**tty tradeoff like having survivability but doing 50% damage).