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Perfecto, what did you think of the latest raid and the run for the World First?
Perfecto: Battle Of Dazar’alor was easier than we expected, but this is due to the great gear we had from Residuum and the various split runs we’d done. We also had a great roster. For the first time since doing the split after Hellfire Citadel, I think we had such a good team. Back then Method were a bigger guild, a guild that had matured since its member had been together for many years. Since we changed to the new Method, we had many new faces, we had too many faces in general, and we had to change some things. I think now we’re at a point that we can say we’re like the old Method used to be. The more time you spent playing with the same people, the more the guild mature and gets better. People come and go and you get time to check who’s good, who’s not so that you can cover class weaknesses and, in time, build a good group. I’d say that’s what played the most important role to our success, that we had a better roster. If you check out Limit, you’ll see they finished the raid on the second reset, so we were a full reset ahead. It doesn’t matter that they got Jaina two or three days later — I don’t recall exactly the date—, we got her before their reset and we also got her the next day, after the reset. One can think that we were only two days apart from Limit, but, in reality, our race wasn’t close at all. At least that how I see it. As raids go, Battle Of Dazar’alor essentially was a single-boss raid, since most guilds went through to Jaina pretty quickly. There wasn’t a boss up until Jaina that would make you feel you found a wall. So the process was getting to Jaina, dealing with her for a week. That’s what we did at least.
Did you miss Roger at all?
Rogerbrown: Watch what you say.
Perfecto: (laughs) I was calling him while I was in London because we’d reached at a point with Jaina, I think it was on Saturday or Sunday, where we didn’t really know yet which tactic to employ for the last phase, where you need a good tactic to push through, while we’d already tried a handful of things, we had yet to come up with a meaningful plan for success. In such situations Roger would always help with tactics. So I was calling him during our break, I was asking him “we’re doing this and that, what do you think?” but, obviously, since he hadn’t watched how things were going with the boss fight, he couldn’t come up with a solution. Honestly though, I didn’t know what else to do, as at that particular point we didn’t have an effective tactic to use. Definitely, had Roger been with us, I believe we’d have come up with a strategy for getting Jaina earlier on, but I think that when we finally found the one that helped defeat the boss, it actually was the best possible.
Roger, how were you feeling while watching this race from the outside, for the first time in so many years?
Rogerbrown: It was the first time, after many many years, that I wasn’t participating in progress and I was watching as a spectator. It was a weird feeling, because I feel like I know nothing about that raid. Being a spectator is completely different to actually participating in the raid. You miss a lot if you don’t live through that yourself. Now, because I couldn’t watch the stream as much as I wanted, I was mostly keeping track of the bosses they’d defeated, how further along Limit were and early on I was worried we’d lose or, well, they’d lose, seeing as I wasn’t actually in the raid myself. Watching Limit being that ahead, especially after receiving Perfecto’s phone call when he told me “we don’t have a tactic”, I though, uh oh, it must be a gear check and Limit will be ahead with their reset coming up on Tuesday and Method’s following up on Wednesday. There’s always the same question though. Why shouldn't raids roll out at the same time for everyone, why should the Americans always get a 16-hour head-start? It all went well though, they zeroed in on a tactic in time and got it on the last day. It was a weird feeling as I couldn’t really do much, I had a lot of anxiety till I finally got a message from my brother, who was watching the stream, as I couldn’t really watch it at the time of the kill. Than I got more messages and tweets and immediately got back to the stream to check things out. Even though I wasn’t there, I didn’t take part in that, that kill just made my day and I immediately called to congratulate the team.
Roger, other than that, how has life in the army, and far from WoW, been so far? What’s your plan following your military service?
Rogerbrown: Since I lost a progress, I really want to play the next one. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to play in the smaller raid that I think is coming out in April, but I want and hope to play in the next major one. I’m just itching to raid again, even more so after receiving so many messages and tweets saying “we missed you” or “I was watching your stream the last time around and this time you weren’t there”, words that make me want to be done with my military service and get back to it. Overall though I’m having a good time in the army, I’m not bored so far and at least I’m learning how to handle a tank [editor note: Roger is serving in the armour division], so either Sco or Justwait will have to prepare themselves for a reroll a few months from now.
Perfecto: They’re going to be rerolling for the bench.
Now, as for the new, minor raid that’s coming, The Crucible Of Storms, do you have plans, as Method, to cover it the same way, with a livestream, trip to London etc. just like the previous, major raids?
Perfecto: Streaming it is a given, but we don’t plan to take it as seriously, as it only has two bosses and it’s very possible that as we wake up on Wednesday, other guild will already have gone through it. It’s very likely as it seems quite easy, so I don’t think we’ll going through the same process, i.e. sending team members to London and holding an event.
What do you think of those smaller filler raids and their role in an expansion?
Perfecto: It’s the first time we get something like this mid-expansion, as it’s not like before when we had Halion, a single-boss raid at the end of WotLK, neither like Legion’s Trial Of Valor where we had higher ilvl loot. Now The Crucible Of Storm has loot with the same ilvl we found in Battle of Dazar’alor, but if you notice, the new items offer something different with interesting procs for example. It seems like The Crucible Of Storms will be good as it will have you do something different beyond Battle of Dazar’alor for the next few months, as the next full-bloodied raid, we assume, should show up in the summer, so we’ll get new content to stream. But now it isn’t something we’ll be taking very seriously. For me, honestly, even if we never got this raid, not much would really change.
Rogerbrown: What I think is, assuming I get the difference, is that Trial Of Valor was kind of a mini progress. On the other hand, The Crucible of Storms seems to be more of a companion to Battle of Dazar’alor, as if they said “we didn’t have these bosses ready earlier, so here they are, have something to keep you from getting bored”. So I don’t think it’ll have the feel of a proper raid, but it will amount to a few hours of half-serious gameplay, just to kill time. I think tuning is very important in those smaller raids. When you have two bosses you’ll either make the first or the second one easier and the the second one harder or you keep them both easy. In both cases some unsatisfied players, like in the case of Helya where the difficulty jump between bosses was huge and there were people that needed a month to get Helya, they were just stuck there. But you keep them very easy, there’s no point. So tuning is very important for a smaller raid to become a success. Seeing how they went about tuning with Battle of Dazar’alor, I don’t know, I don’t hold much hope. Something’s off when the first 8 bosses in BoD prove way easier than the last.
Usually the best raids are the one’s coming out in the middle of an expansion’s lifespan, like WotLK’s Ulduar or MoP’s Throne of the Thunder King. From what you’ve said so far, Battle Of Dazar’alor doesn’t sound up to par with those. What do you think might have led to the breaking of this tradition?
Perfecto: We have Rise Of Azshara which is going to be the next big raid and that, I think, may be better than Battle of Daza’alor since the developers will have learnt from what didn’t work. They can now see what we’re doing with Residuum and that’s insane. I’ve been with Method 8 years now and I have never done so much preparation before. So many split run, so much min-maxing for a split run, a split run exclusively with plate users or mail users for example, I have never done anything like this before. All that helped us immensely because on the first day of Mythic we had two Azerite pieces on and Azerite pieces are the biggest upgrades you can get. You have two ilvl 415 pieces before even defeating a boss, which means you’re already clad in Mythic gear, essentially before even starting the raid, and this completely changes the raid experience, while making tuning seem irrelevant. But we’d seen the raid in PTR and we’d decided it would be a very interesting raid and yet, with so much gear, we just cheesed a lot of mechanics. It wasn’t even legitimate cheesing, we just ignored them, more or less, as we were way ahead in gear check. Hadn’t we had all that gear, I don’t know how the raid would have been for us. I think we might have enjoyed it more. But since Blizzard gives you the opportunity to get all that gear, you obviously go and do whatever you can to get it. No matter how boring it may seem, you have to do everything. Because if you don’t, others will and you just end up at a disadvantage.
Rogerbrown: The issue with tuning stems from Blizzard’s inability to predict how much gear the guilds will have and then account for it. This also happened at the onset of Legion, that’s why Emerald Nightmare seemed so easy. They hadn’t expected we’d farm so much AP, that we’d have legendaries, that we’d farm Mythic+ that came out the same week Heroic did and, all in all, they just hadn’t expected all of this to the extend we ended up doing it or the gear we’d accumulate. So what happened happened and we beat the raid in a day. Something like that also happened now, but luckily the last boss was challenging, especially compared to Xavius back then. Even so that min-maxing the likes of Method, Limit and other guilds did wasn’t something they had accounted for. Maybe this is due to how complex they make their gearing systems. These system have gotten out of hand, leaving room for guilds to abuse it. With Personal Loot, loot trading and Residuum there is now great flexibility for min-maxing. And we take advantage of that of course.
So what’s your verdict on the changes made on the way loot is procured? Do you think that with Personal Loot the team hit their target or does the issue created by Master Loot remain unsolved, only with more steps and effort piled upon it?
Perfecto: You have more steps to go through essentially. If they changed Personal Loot now and brought back Master Loot, we wouldn’t really have to keep doing all that. Because with Personal Loot you get a lot more gear. When you downed a boss how many pieces did you get through Master Loot? 4? Now the whole raid gets 7 or 8. Surely RNG is a factor, but you still get a lot more gear. Here’s what we did. We got engineering, alchemy and jewel crafting for all our characters, both alts and mains, and then we essentially crafted the items from each profession, before doing splits. Rings from jewel crafting, helms from engineering and the trinket from alchemy. This way we could trade all ilvl 400 items, of all our characters, at the splits and thus give out a lot more gear. This could never have happened with Master Loot of course, as no one would automatically receive loot, it would have to be spread by the raid leader.
How did this all look to you, Roger, given you weren’t around for it?
Rogerbrown: Many others told me I picked the right moment to not do progress (laughs). The preparation needed, for the professions, the gold that was spent, the AP farming, it was all madness. Of course it’s not the first time we’ve had to farm AP but this time it was extreme. Good thing I wasn’t around, I would have been exhausted. I believe that if Method hadn’t achieved this World First, fatigue would have overwhelmed them. Sure, they would have done everything, all this, and it would have amounted to nothin. When you do win, you think that at least the effort wasn’t for nought.
Perfecto: Think of Limit and what might be going through their mind.
Rogerbrown: Yeah, I mean, I believe people at Blizzard will have to start thinking differently as to. how these systems work, AP, Personal Loot or how you can trade pieces. Maybe by removing trade in Personal Loot in order to ease the load guilds take on? In any case, it’s gotten out of hand, that’s what I have to say.
We hope you keep at it with more World First but, we wonder, how does all this grinding and the split runs affect competition? Because if you don’t wink, you just have the effort you poured into it, you get close and yet you have nothing to show for it in the end. Just like Perfecto said, when a group like Method, a well set team that works well and gets World Firsts, keep doing well, how does that work for competition? What kind of will do other guilds have to have to keep working, keep competing for a World First?
Rogerbrown: No one at Method, Limit, this kind of guilds, Exorsus, no need to mention them one by one wants this system. I’d take WoD’s system a thousand times over this one. Back then the only thing you had to do was the raids themselves, split runs hand’t gotten out of hand, there was no titan forging, nothing like that. You got BiS items for your character and on you went. Preparation needed was next to nothing. Now things are in the weeds with unending grinding, AP farming, titan forging and what have you. This essentially helps the top guilds as there are very few willing to invest the time and effort required by them but, at the same time, the whole process is exhausting and stifles competition. It would be better if we had 5 or 6 guilds that really are competitive, would spend little time in preparation and everyone would be kept on their toes, waiting to see who’s going to get the World First. Instead, now, we only have 2 or 3 guilds that are willing to burn themselves out and can handle doing everything required at that level.
Perfecto: That’s also what I believe. Now, look, Limit are like Method used to be back in 2010 when they were trying to get their first World First from Paragon and always ended up in second place. It’s different when you try to get your first World First, you tend to approach the game differently. It’s different for us that we’ve been playing for so long, you wonder why you need to grind so much, deal with Residuum, work on the alts, farm so much AP. But what matters is we have a very good team and we win. But doing all that and end up losing? I don’t know. I can’t imagine what they’re thinking honestly. They even wanted to stream this. They said this would be the last time not to stream and now that they lost they say they won’t be streaming the next one. Because if you stream you are at a disadvantage from the get go. Hadn’t we been streaming, they’d get the last boss even later. Instead of doing it in 2-3 days, it could have taken them a week or so later. Basically all other guilds are watching us. If someone doesn’t try the fight and just watches our stream, one can’t really understand our tactics because our voice com isn’t shared. You’re just watching the fight, the comings and goings. If someone at Limit watches our try though, no need for much, one try would be enough, one can realise what out tactics are. And then they cannot only copy our tactic but they can also improve on it, as they might have a different set up than us. Now, I know they won’t be streaming the Azshara raid, so they will shoot for a World First again, that’s my understanding at least.
Do you think WoW, guilds, organisations, players like you and streamers have anything to gain if other guilds start streaming their World First efforts?
Perfecto: If Limit start streaming, then yes. Exorsus, who have been a very good guild so far, started streaming this progress and they essentially got all viewers from Russia. Now if Limit start streaming WoW viewership will rise so WoW itself will rise as well. But I believe Blizzard have to do something. If Blizzard promote the World First Race, I believe it’s going to be the next step for the whole scene.
Rogerbrown: I agree because the viewer wants to watch the one that will be the first to defeat the final boss. As Method already stream, the only other guild that can actually push viewership is our direct competitors, Limit. Now, if a different guild shows up, that’s just as competitive, it’s OK, but if any other Top 10 or Top 20 guild streams, it’s of no real consequence. So if Limit do stream, it will have an impact on the whole event, but I do agree that if Blizzard get in this, promote it through the channels they control, broadcasting through the bettle.net client for example, or have a role in a whole event like the one at Red Bull Arena, that will help WoW a lot more to rise.
Especially in WoW and in Europe, Exorsus, that are based in Russia, aside or Paragon that are almost exclusively Finns, most top guilds include members from many different countries. Apart from the constrictions in the talent pool focusing on one nationality brings, are there other issues that make it hard for guilds to have players from one country only?
Rogerbrown: I can’t draw from personal experience for this but, I think, having observed many German guilds that were doing well but would later on disband, I think that since in WoW and in a raid team, a large team by definition, if everyone’s from the same country, sooner or later you get infighting. While if members are from many different countries you work to feel more like a part of a team. Not sure I’m being clear with this. If you build a Greek guild, you’ll have PAOK FC fans and Olympiacos FC fans put together, or something along those lines, so cliques can form really fast, hence the infighting. But if members are from all over Europe, like in the case of Method, I think you’re more open in the idea of bonding with other team members. I can’t be sure about this because, as I said earlier, I don’t have relevant personal experience. I do think it depends on the country of origin as well. I just find it impossible to believe a wholly Greek guild could have gotten this far. Something will go wrong and they’ll start calling one another names. That’s not the case with other games, where team sizes are smaller, like in LoL, whose teams comprise of five players, it’s easier to find five people from the same country that will be able to get along, compared to finding 25 for a WoW team.
Perfecto: I don’t agree with Roger. Being from the same country bonds you even more as it’s easier to express yourself. For people whose command of the English language isn’t strong, being in a guild that uses their mother tongue is very helpful, it helps them express themselves. For example The French don’t usually speak English very well, so there are many guilds that speak French, just like in the case of Germany.
This is also helped by the fact there are French and German WoW servers.
Perfecto: That helps a lot, of course. I believe Paragon didn’t have as good a roster as we did. Though I do think they have bonded better as a team and played more as a team. I don’t know whether the same people would be as good at teamwork in a multinational team. Then again leadership also plays a role. Who is Guild Master, Raider Leader etc. matters. But yes, I think communicating in one language, you own, helps. But it complicates recruitment. Finland isn’t a big country. Its population is what? 5-6 million? How can you find enough people? We can’t and we’re multinational, we 've been the best guild in Europe for some time now, everyone knows who Method are. How can you find enough Finns? It’s very difficult. And yet, they did.
We ‘re not at the onset of the expansion anymore and things have more or less settled. What do you think of BfA’s class design and the Azerite system, how does it affect you that play at the highest level?
Perfecto: The Azerite system will change. How it will change we don’t know, but it will change. When the Azshara raid comes online? After the Azshara raid? We’ll see. But the game is just like I remember it from the beta. What they did, essentially, was to remove all artifact traits from Legion. And Legion’s class design was amazing. It had so many passive and active abilities for each class and they didn’t add anything to them. For example, in the case of rogue the only removed abilities. And azerite traits are passive abilities for most class, abilities that they don’t offer anything fun. For the rogue in particular, there is only one trait that can be considered fun, Shrouded Suffocation, which gives you additional combo points if you use Garrote from stealth, so this way you can do more multi-DoTing and it makes the spec more fluid. But most azerite traits that were added are simply passives that you forget they’re even there. In general I believe Blizzard have done a very bad job on this part of the game. I haven’t heard a single person say “my class is very fun now” or “it’s better than Legion”. I’ve only been hearing negative stuff about the class design. And a major factor in this is the commitment of so many abilities to the global cooldown. You can’t really wait another second for your CDs, it’s just not fun. It’s just the class design that’s not up to par, it’s the removal of so many abilities coupled with GCD that ruined class design and I don’t know if they’ll be doing something to fix this at this point or they will just wait it out till the next expansion. Because, to me, as we’re at the midpoint for this expansion, Blizzard don’t seem to try to fix something. I think they’re just waiting to fix these issues with the next expansion. That’s why, what we’re now doing, I think we’ll keep having for the remainder of BfA. As far as class representation goes, in this raid you have three classes that are good: Warlock, Shadow Priest and Moonkin. All ranged and multi-DoTers with incredible damage that somehow didn’t get nerfed at all before the patch, which is what usually would happen before and during the week of Mythic. That’s why you saw that, with Jaina, all kills, not just by us, were filled with Warlocks, Shadow Priests and Moonkins. From melee classes, there’s only one, rogues, but, OK, rogues were always handy. They’ve lots of utility as a class, as they can soak a mechanic when necessary and as they’re a purely DPS class, they get three DPS specs. One of these will always be good for a raid. For this raid there were these four classes, the rest were a lot worse, while the three ranged I mentioned earlier were, by far, the best.
It’s not just Enternity that had questions for Perfecto. Rogerbrown had some too, so he put on an interviewer’s cap and off he went.
Rogerbrown: How was your trip to London and your experience at the Red Bull Arena for the race to Battle for Dazar’alor’s World First?
Perfecto: The trip itself was tiring because I had to get the bus to Thessaloniki and fly from there to London. There was ongoing work on the train track so I had to get a bus to a different train station and board from there just to reach a different station and change trains. When I reached my destination Roger’s brother picked me up…
Rogerbrown: We’re everywhere…
Perfecto: … to get me to my room from which I left every morning to get to the Red Bull Arena. Now, since I was doing progress and in this case I just do my raid, I wasn’t conscious of the fact I was streaming, that stream didn’t include voice comms but I kept the camera on. So I can’t say that streaming was stressing me out. Sometimes when RNG was working against me, I would switch to the chat to write “bad RNG, no crits” and was on tilt with those that were watching the progress (laughs). There were lots of photographers taking photos, there were lots of different voices as the stream’s casters were in the same room but while doing progress, during the raid, it wasn’t much different for me with my being there. What did make a major difference was prior to doing progress, when we had to go through so much content and, moreover, we had to due innumerable split run for Residuum etc., all on Monday and Tuesday before the reset. I was more tired during those days than when it was Mythic time. Let alone the fact that they wanted us to kill the boss again, after achieving World First. So we beat Jaina on Tuesday and after the reset they wanted us to redo the raid to get the second kill for bragging rights. Honestly, I wasn’t interested in a World Second. I was really tired from the trip to begin with and I only got 5 hours of sleep a day. But it’s OK, everything went well.
Do you think that in the future this process, everyone going to the same place like the Red Bull Arena to do the progress, is something that will be happening more often? How probable is it for the whole group to travel to the same place to do the raid and the stream?
Rogerbrown: At this point it’s a positive for us. Like Perfecto said, the guild has bonded well, has matured, we know each other well, most of us anyway, to a good extend and going to a LAN for progress, having the other one. beside you is positive, not detrimental. Was this happening a few years ago, say 2-3 years, maybe there would be some temper flaring after a loss, some infighting. I can’t wait to do this myself as I haven’t had the chance so far. As for a LAN with the whole guild, it’s kind of difficult. Some may not want to though, there are those that prefer playing from home, but if we end up with 10-15 people it’ll be good, I think, because if we’re more there might be too much fuss that would mess with concentration. The streaming and the LAN, as far as WoW’s concerned, are a marathon, as it’s about at least a week during which you play for progress and the process doesn’t really stress you, I believe you easily push past that. Were it for some other game thought, something like Counter Strike, maybe the LAN would have a negative impact, because something threw you off in one round, you lost and you ended up. losing the whole game. In our case, at worst, you cause a wipe by mistake, you still have room to get your groove back. When you’re with other in LAN, every time you defeat a boss you can high five the one next to you, it’s different, you enjoy it, you don’t go bonkers alone in a room. Some just go bonkers and cheer either way though after a World First, others just keep staring at their screen and “oh, we won”, like Perfecto does. “Just another day at work”. (Both laugh.).
Perfecto: «Just another day at the office».
Rogerbrown: Would you travel again to London to play at the Red Bull Arena for progress in the future?
Perfecto: The trip was tiring and I didn’t manage to enjoy it as much as I would like. Some things were done in a rush, determining whether I could make it, how to. I’d get there, what I should be expecting but, all in all, it was a nice experience. Doing the content exhausted me though. I’ve playing for Method for years now and maybe I’m not the kind of person that produces video or streams so maybe the next time around it will come more naturally to me. What I’m good at is playing the game. And having to leave Red Bull Arena to get back to our rooms every night I ended up losing a few hours of sleep each time that, put together, took a toll on me. In general though it was a nice experience and I’d do it again. It certainly beats staying at home.