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Uldir Race Day 4: Zul Down, 6/8 by EU and US

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An eventful day in the race as we got yet another World First and Method catching up to Limit on 5/8 and then surpassing them. There were a whole lot of Fetid Devourer kills as well, with most of the top guilds getting him down after that second nerf. We also got two World First videos, Limit's Zek'voz official one and Method's Zul taken from their stream.

Limit's Mythic Zek'voz, Herald of N'zoth World First kill video

We had a direct continuation of yesterday, with the World third Fetid Devourer kill coming in around an hour after our last summary, as Wildcard Gaming got the US/OC 2nd. Some three and a half hours after that Method finally caught up to Limit at the very top, getting Fetid Devourer down and climbing to third place on 5/8, two and a half hours after they started raiding. That actually lines up almost exactly with the extra time Limit used on the boss after Method went to bed the night before. Wildcard Gaming also joined the top around 9AM CET yesterday, making it three guilds alone on 5/8 for quite a while.

While we're on the Fetid Devourer subject, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas mentioned the boss was indeed mathematically impossible before the first round of nerfs, but was killable after it, and that the second hotfix was intended to put him more in line with the difficulty curve of the raid. That means we could have had an even better and more tense race had the second hotfix not arrived, but then we wouldn't have seen any guilds other than Limit and Method down him for a while.

Blizzard LogoIon Hazzikostas (source)

Yeah, the first few hours on Fetid were pretty rough. We do a final tuning pass right before Mythic opens, based on the latest data we're seeing from players in the live environment during the first week of Heroic. That last-minute change simply had some bad math to it, and the result was a boss that was legitimately "mathematically impossible" - sometimes memes CAN come true. The second nerf was a bit different - the boss was killable before that last 10% change, with a bit more gear and with Vantus Runes, but for a boss 5 of 8, a DPS check that required the very best guilds in the world to play perfectly and also get their ilvl to 370+ was just going to be too much, so we made another adjustment and feel pretty good about where it stands now.

We have an internal test team (including a number of folks who used to raid at a world-top-10 level) that helps us immensely with tuning and functionality passes on these bosses, and we complement their experience with data from PTR testing, from Heroic on live, and from past experience and general rules of thumb regarding how much better the best guilds are compared to our internal team. Sometimes we go wrong there - for example, we'd gotten some new additions to our test team right before Kil'jaeden and didn't realize how much better that group had gotten, so when we applied our usual X% buff to account for Method being way better than our internal team, that overshot the mark.

I'm not entirely clear on the second half of the question, but WoW certainly has a core of systems: Level-up questing, max-level repeatable quests, PvP (BG, Arena, World PvP), dungeons, raids, etc. And we've added new pieces to that mosaic over time (M+, some sort of real-time/offline mission system, etc.). We're not looking to change those up just for the sake of change, but obviously where we feel like we can do way better in a specific area (e.g. War Mode to spice up world PvP), we will.

Zul, Reborn really didn't pose much of a challenge at all, as it took Method less than 5 hours from their previous kill to down him World First. They were alone on 6/8 and in the lead for only 2 hours, as Limit also grabbed the kill, proving that the boss wasn't a challenge at all for the big two. Interestingly, it took a long time for the third kill to appear, and it only happened under an hour ago as Wildcard Gaming grabbed the World 3rd US/OC 2nd.

Method's Mythic Zul, Reborn World First kill video (from their live stream coverage)

We also saw some more guilds catch up and get the nerfed Fetid Devourer down, making it a total of 9 that got him down, with the list including OC guild Honestly, EU guilds Memento, NollTvåTre, Exorsus (who have been somewhat disappointing this tier, although they might just be having a hard time on Devourer specifically) and Pieces, as well as Asian guild AFK R, who got the region first on the boss. No other guild has moved from the 4/8 status quo group, which has 36 members progressing on the big hydra-dog thingy, followed by 94 guilds on 3/8 (mostly facing Vectis), 470 on 2/8 and 1014 with only one boss down.

And so day 4 has come to a close, with Method's best attempt at the penultimate boss of Uldir, Mythrax, around 64%, but they were close to the second transition, meaning that the next step will probably get them down to 40ish%. So, today will be tense as the top two guilds, each from one side of the pond go at it, with Wildcard Gaming also on 6/8  and trying to catch up with their half a day deficit. With the timings on the Fetid Devourer and Zul, Reborn kills it seems Method and Limit are actually very, VERY close to each other when  you take out the various sleep breaks, so Mythrax will be very interesting to see, with G'huun being the final face-off, as all endbosses are. 


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