Day Two of the Battle.net World Championship starts with a bang as two of China’s top raiding guilds, Stars and Supreme Quicksand face off in an exhibition live raid to clear Mogu’shan Vaults with the fastest time. Tune in to the live stream on November 18 at 02:30 CET to witness the competition.
This challenge is sure to test both guilds’ skill and coordination. The competing players will need to plumb the depths of the Mogu'shan Vaults, choosing a raid composition and strategy that strikes a precarious balance between speed and safety. Do they attempt the run with fewer healers than the norm, to edge out their competitors and eke out precious seconds on the clock, but risking a catastrophic wipe? Or do they go with a tried and true strategy, secure in the belief that steady (but not slow!) wins the race?
Each battle presents its own unique challenges, but there are a few that could make or break each guild’s attempt. The Spirit Kings encounter is perhaps the most taxing fight in the Vaults and is sure to be a pivotal moment. We can expect to see both groups play it safe here, because all it may take to secure victory might be succeeding on the first attempt while the other group falters. It’s notable that they will be facing a special version of The Spirit Kings where each foe attacks in the same order, to ensure that the competition remains on an even footing.
Meanwhile, both the Gara'jal the Spiritbinder and the Will of the Emperor encounters will require the groups to divide their damage between their main target and lesser minions. If they devote too little to the boss they risk falling behind on the clock, but if they devote too little to minions they risk becoming overwhelmed and suffering a wipe that could cost them time on the clock… and victory.
Meet the Raiders
Our colleagues in China recently had a chance to talk with guild leaders Bluewind of Stars, and Crayon Xiaobu of Supreme Quicksand, who will each lead their incredibly talented teams against one another in the Dungeon Challenge and live raid competitions. We’ve translated the interviews into English for your reading pleasure. You’ll find that, while these leaders hold each other in high esteem, both are prepared to fight for victory this weekend in Shanghai.
Interview with Bluewind of Stars
Q. To start, let’s talk about your progress through Mogu’Shan Vaults. Are you satisfied with the results? How are you approaching Heart of Fear and future Mists of Pandaria raid content?
A. Actually, we’re not satisfied with the progress we’ve had in Mogu’Shan Vaults, and made a postmortem for this “failure” after we cleared it. It’s a really tough time for us now. Our raid team is composed of veterans and new recruits, as some of the once-hardcore members have become casual. Our team is in the middle of a training period, while their skill level is comparable with that of the veterans, new recruits need more experience. We didn’t consider this as a big issue, while we found out in the end that it really was. This is perhaps why we didn’t achieve the goal we had set for ourselves. Nevertheless, we are working hard for the live raid preparation -- been practicing a lot of Mogu’Shan runs and gave everyone quite some pressure. The new bloods are improving, and our gear is now good enough to meet the new challenge: Heart of Fear. After all, I would say I’m very confident for the next two raid dungeons.
Q. Can you share with us the Stars procedure of learning new boss encounters?
A. We always play hard when we confront a new boss, about 8-10 hours a day, which might be a bit shorter than other top guilds, but what we do more is that we sum-up and ponder over.
Generally speaking, we’ll always take a quick trial of new bosses on PTR, having a brief impression of the boss. But it’s hard to do well on PTR, so we still need to make a plan that we try to cover everything that could happen in the encounter. This always takes us 2-3 days. Once the boss goes on the live realm, we’ll check our plan at the first moment in the live environment and make some adjustments. We always spend much time discussing, but we always enjoy the procedure.
Q. BWC is at hand! Are you prepared?
A. We have done some preparations for the speed runs -- took much time in learning or practicing the encounters. It’s hard to say whether we’re prepared, or whether we can defeat our opponent. As you know, Supreme Quicksand is a top guild that only spent 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 59 seconds finishing 25H Dragon Soul. They are very strong and powerful, but we will do our best to give everyone a wonderful competition.
Q. Are there any effects the BWC competitions will have on your raid progress? Are you looking forward to BWC?
A. There are, of course. The BWC event takes place when the Terrace of Endless Spring opens, so there will be some influences. But the BWC invitation is definitely a great honor. It has always been a dream for me, and for other guild members as well, to communicate with the game developers. So we’ll do anything we can to work with Blizzard for the event. I’m really looking forward to BWC. To compete against great opponents, to attend the convention, it will be an amazing experience for all of us.
Interview with Crayon Xiaobu of Supreme Quicksand
Q: Can you give us a brief introduction for your guild? When and how it was built?
A: Our guild was called SEED, and was reformed into Supreme Quicksand in December 2005. Some of the former guild mates followed me; together with some new blood we established Supreme Quicksand as it is today. Our goal is to play WoW together without a negative impact on our work and everyday life, so here we are.
Q: In a recent live raid event, you beat out five of the top Chinese guilds in Heroic 25-player Dragon Soul with a clear time of 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 59 seconds, and now you make your way to BWC to face Stars. Do you like to participating in competitions like this?
A: Of course we like it. It is really a good chance to show our guild to others, and also to learn from others.
Q: Did you watch Athene’s Dragon Soul Challenge that took place on May 12, where Stars came out the victor? What do you think about your BWC opponent?
A: Yes, I have watched that one. Stars has always been a great opponent, and a coach to China guilds as well. We have been watching them since Patch 1.9, and we learned much from their videos. Their strategies have provided helpful information for our learning of the encounters. After the Dragon Soul Challenge, we watched the Stars live raid video again and again, and we practiced about ten times. But even with better gear we didn’t make it to break Stars’ record. So for the Live Raid at BWC, we know we don’t have enough chance to win, but we’ll do our best to bring a wonderful competition to the audience.
Q: In addition to the live raid, the Dungeon Challenge is awaiting you. Are you ready for it?
A: When we tried the challenge mode right after hitting level 90, we wiped again and again. It is really challenging like the name suggests, but also fun. After some practice, we did our best to find all the possible ways to shorten the time. Now that more raid dungeons are unlocked, we usually focus on the raid part. But we did some homework both on raids and challenge mode. We practiced and made plans for them.