Three of Method's raiders answered our questions about their World Firsts.
What's your role in Method?
Artzie: I play shadow priest.
Vailaine: Also shadow priest.
Treckie: I'm one of the two main tanks in Method, I play protection paladin.
What did Method do in the way of planning?
Artzie: We had a basic plan that included everyone having at least a second character levelled to 90 before we start clearing normal modes, so that we could create as many raid groups as possible. Other than that, our goal was to become #1 in this progress, we'd do anything we can for that.
What was the gearing strategy?
Artzie: We made five 25 normal raids that cleared 4/6 bosses in normal modes, and four 25-man raids to clear Elegon and Will of the Emperor. We had main characters spread equally in those groups, to optimize loot.
Treckie: That meant multiple groups with only a few mains in each, so they would get as much loot as possible. Since its so early in the expansion, gear is both hard to come by, and very big upgrades, so its important to try to max that out.
What was the average item level among your raiders?
Artzie: I think we entered heroics with 476...
Vailaine: Around 479.
Treckie: About 475 or something.
Is gear a big consideration for World Firsts, or are other factors more important?
Artzie: Yeah of course it is, not that big though. The hardest part is staying focused to the maximum for 10 minutes, that's how long the fights take. Gear helps if the fight is a DPS check or has heavy tank damage.
Vailaine: Having better gear will make the enrage timer easier to beat, but it's really about coming up with a working strategy, then executing it.
Treckie: In a tier like this shortly after the release, gear has a pretty big impact. If everyone had full 489 before heroic progress started, it would be a lot shorter than 3 days... But every guild is in the same situation. There are some bosses that rely on enrage timers, or have insane DPS requirements to get through a phase. That's where gear will help out a lot if you're lucky.
Were there any other things you did in preparation?
Artzie: Buy supplies! I bought a few cans of Monster/Red Bull. Other than that, watch videos from the bosses, think about ideas for strategies for each boss.
Treckie: Sleep well the day before to be able to go as long as possible the first day.
Also, lots of Coca Cola!
How many wipes against each boss?
Vailaine: Stone Guard 3, Feng 12, Spiritbinder 16, Spirit Kings 85, Elegon 25, Emperor 108.
Treckie: Spirit Kings we wiped a lot, quite a few of them were just to get the right combo. Elegon wipes were mostly to mismade calls, or personal fails making us call a wipe because its hard to do when key people are dead.
Will of the Emperor likely took about 100 tries, most were pretty short, calling early wipes because we wouldn't do it in the long run if a healer died early, or when people were trying to learn how to soak/CC properly.
I'm assuming you took breaks to eat, sleep etc.?
Artzie: Yeah we slept pretty much around 8 hours i think between raids, and while raiding we had 45min-1 hour breaks for food
Treckie: And a few improvised 5-10min breaks if we had things to sort out.
Also, after every heroic kill, we ran a normal mode with alts and mains that were not on the kill to get more gear should they be swapped in for later bosses. That gave some people longer breaks every now and then, although none for me personally.
In the Method vs Vodka race, I was amazed at how calm and collected you guys seemed. Do you manage to maintain the relaxed atmosphere when pushing for World Firsts or does the nerd rage creep in?
Artzie: This progress didn't have any rage, it was really relaxing, calm and funny sometimes! Last progress had its rage moments!
Vailaine: Its more people starting to talk a lot on TeamSpeak, which messes up the communication during the encounters.
Treckie: It's not exactly relaxed as a lot is demanded of us during progress, but it very rarely shifts over to rage unless people don't pay attention to what's going on. When we first see a boss there are going to be wipes, to figure out what works and what doesn't, once the strat is figured out, but people fail to do their assignments, that's when rage can creep in...
What do you estimate was the total time taken from start to finish?
Treckie: Somewhere around 35-40 hours, a little less perhaps depending on how you count foodbreaks and when we actually started due to people oversleeping!
Any innovative tactics?
Treckie: We killed most bosses the way it seemed they were intended to be killed, the only boss that had some real differences in tactics was prolly Sprit Kings. On Will of the Emperor you could hardly say soaking sparks is innovative, but the way we did it we had to have many different soakers.
Which were the hardest bosses for you?
Artzie: Spirit Kings/Will of the Emperor took us the most time to kill, they were the longest fights, you had to stay really focused and meet the DPS requirements in these fights
Vailaine: Spirit Kings and Will of the Emperor.
Treckie: Will of the Emperor was about getting a solid rotation of assignements, but once that was done it was just to make it through all the rotations without anyone failing too much.
While Spirit Kings had random elements in it to make it annoying, it did require a bit of coordination, but we could have made it a lot easier for ourselves by switching classes.
Were you concerned about the launch delay putting US guilds too far ahead of you?
Artzie: No, it's always like that in every expansion, we just hope that the bosses aren't easy so the US guilds don't have an advantage!
Vailaine: Always a bit worried since we never know the difficulty of bosses on live, so worst case, everything could be down before we get to raid.
Treckie: It's always a concern when new tiers come. Waking up to US guilds having killed the first few is something that we have almost come to expect. It does show us the amount of time it took them to kill it, making us able to assume the difficulty before we even step into the instance. This helps us catch up a little bit, but unless progress passes one week, it's still a pretty big advantage. When you need to kill your current boss before you can even start the boss they are on, that makes you go crazy sometimes!
Your Will of the Emperor kill was about 12 hours ahead of Envy's, what did you do differently?
Artzie: We were killing adds, they were CCing them from what I've heard. We used a totally different raid composition to them, and a totally different strategy.
Vailaine: We didn't use Ring of Frost to CC the Rage adds throughout the fight, we actually killed the Rages and we used two tanks instead of four.
Treckie: They used the CC strategy we thought would be fixed after Beta testing, and while we tried the strat, we really didnt go all out on it. While I think its very impressive for Envy to kill it so fast after their Elegon kill, I think it removes too much of the fight to be able to skip the sparks from those adds alltogether.
Artzie: Farming dailies... Maybe do a challenge mode or two, cap Valor Points and Conquest Points every week.
Vailaine: Gear mains and alts, get more monks, and relax a bit.
Treckie: Some relaxing before next part of the tier comes out, but of course there's still things to do. Mists is actually turning out pretty fun outside of raiding as well, except the dailies maybe!
How was this raid in terms of difficulty/strategy/etc compared to Cataclysm or Wrath raids?
Artzie: Well compared to Wrath it was harder, I suppose, and easier than the first tier in Cataclysm. Remember we didn't have any dungeon journal back then, so had to figure stuff out on bosses, which meant more tries.
Treckie: It's hard to compare with T11, since progress there was very long. It's likely more like Firelands, without such a high-tuned end boss. The fights all proved to be refreshing, a bit easy unlike Cataclysm. Although they were nice in terms of mechanics, they were still pretty easy to understand, and since they were not that high-tuned there was no real need for innovative tactics.
What's your take on 10-man vs 25-man World Firsts?
Artzie: Personally I don't think you can compare 10man to 25man. Out of all these bosses I've ever met in WoW, the only one that was harder in 10man was Sartharion 3D. It's just wrong to compare 10man with 25man.
Vailaine: It's two different things, people should stop comparing them and recognize that they're completely different things.
Treckie: There is really no way to compare the two, and they should be tracked separately. Sadly WoWProgress automatically merges them, and Blizzard insists on trying to make people think they are the same difficulty. But, no matter how much they try, they will never be the same, for better or for worse.
How's the faction change working out for you?
Artzie: Reaaaaaaaally nice, the Horde racials are far better than the Alliance ones, thank god we went Horde!
Vailaine: To be honest I don't think we would have made it on Spiritbinder and Elegon as early as we did. Those kills were so close that the DPS racials give Horde players the edge once again.
Treckie: The faction benefits are hard to quantify, I still think it was a case of "the grass is always greener", but there's been close kills this tier, so I guess extra DPS isn't bad. I'm sure we would have done excellently as Alliance, although most DPSers will say the complete opposite for their DPS racials!
Were there any classes you specifically wanted to include/exclude for your attempts?
Artzie: I don't think we changed our initial setup for the bosses other than Will. Maybe swapped a healer or two for a DPS but that's it. On Will of the Emperor, we had to include 4 DKs and 3 hunters that were key to our strategy, and we had to swap out shadow priests and mages.
Vailaine: Wanted DKs on Spiritbinder and Will of the Emperor, and shadow priests on Spiritbinder, and, of course, monk healers everywhere.
Treckie: We swapped a few people, but it was mainly just to keep learning and perfecting the strategy, then the boss was dead before we really optimized the classes. A healer went in here, and a healer went out there, some DPS were swapped around, but there was no case of "Class X is really good here, lets bring in all we have". On Will of the Emperor we swapped a bit more, we wanted another DK for control, and another soaker, but thats about it.
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