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Aberrus Race to World First Day 7: World 1st, 2nd, Some Harsh Words About the Tier and Much More

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It's safe to say that day 7 was the biggest of the race, as we got our final World First of Aberrus! Liquid's strategy paid off and then some, as they just started blasting when they came back in early, with a strategy ready to go that Echo did not have access to overnight.

We left off the previous day with Liquid on a 37% best, and day 7 saw Echo start catching up in the EU morning. It only took a couple of hours for the EU guild to tie things up (at least as far as we knew at the time) and come in with a 36% best. There was a lot of switching around of Bloodlust timers, as the guild couldn't decide whether to commit it immediately in phase 1, or to use it for the phase 2 adds. After some more tinkering they got the boss down to 28%, seemingly in the lead.


But then came the M. Night Shyamalaniest of all twists, as Liquid arrived to the scene not only 3 hours early, but also sporting a new best of 14%, which they achieved during their 30 off-stream pulls the night before. To make matters even more dramatic, it seems Liquid saved the best for today, as it only took them an hour after arriving to just utterly blast the boss down to 4%! Whatever they figured out during their dinner the night before that made them save their strategy and not share it with anyone, was very much working. And as we found out later, Liquid GM Max specifically said that if they had shown their hand that evening and Echo had seen their strategy, the EU guild would have easily won the race while Liquid were sleeping. All sort of alarm bells started ringing as the kill was imminent, including mine, as this is around when I got a call to get the hell in here, after 4 hours of sleep, as I had to be there when the World First happened!

The hits just kept on coming, as Liquid didn't just luck out and hit one try hard and then fail to repeat it, as we saw another, even lower 4% pull soon after. Around this time Echo had also made a lot of progress, but not nearly enough, as they were sitting at a 19% best. The two top guilds were only 8 pulls apart. Around 10 minutes after Echo's big progress pull at 19, Liquid also had a little bit of progress of their own - a small 3% increase that led them to a 1.8% wipe!

In the meantime, Blizzard also arrived "in" the race, as they fixed a bug that was causing some of the motes players need to pick up invisible, which was a big problem as picking up a certain amount kicks you out of the other realm, and that transition needs to be timed to be optimal. And, when you just need another 1.8%, you really, really need everything to be optimal.

At this point, it was looking very much over for Echo, but the great pulls slowed down a little from Liquid's side, and the EU guild crept closer and closer, first with a 14% best and then, in what had to have been a little stressful for Liquid, down to 6%! The US guild wasn't too worried though, as they had just gotten a new best - only 0.6% better, but still extremely close to a kill.

That was the last surge Echo would have, however, as 8 minutes after those two pulls we had the World First. Liquid had a truly incredible pull 114 with just one dead player at 10%, making it an EXTREMELY smooth finish:

You can check out the full pull and raid composition here, and now let's take a look at those nerdscreams/the upgraded version, nerdhugs!

This was Liquid's third RWF win and raid endboss World First kill, after Ny'alotha and Castle Nathria. We also saw the customary official "gz" tweet:

About an hour after that Echo hit the gas, getting the boss down to 1.8%, mirroring Liquid's path down Sarkareth's health bar, but it wasn't to be quite yet, as it took them another 4 and a half hours of pulls to get that World 2nd.

And here's the pull count vs. health progress comparison chart between the top 3 guilds:


Directly after the raid both of Echo's leaders had some choice words for the raid/tier, with RogerBrown being concise:

And Scripe going into detail on-stream, not sparing any feelings, starting the stream off by calling this a "shit tier":

The discussion over the tuning of the raid continued, and Liquid's Jet had a particularly interesting point, especially considering how the Vault of the Incarnates was handled, with overtuned hard bosses getting nerfed by a lot, all the way through:

While it doesn't take anything away from Liquid's win, this was indeed one of the shortest races in history, IF you want to factor in the 3 days of splits the top guilds did, as only the legendarily short Emerald Nightmare and two starter Mists of Pandaria raids took less time.

Liquid's GM Max also talked a little about the raid's tuning on twitter:

And then a LOT more during his long post-raid stream, which you can find here.

In any case, no one can deny this race was a very exciting one, from the new guilds we got to hear about while the top guilds were off splitting, to the neck-and-neck progress of Liquid and Echo, with Method sitting very solidly in 3rd the entire time, the very decisive strategy and off-stream call from Liquid, and even some pretty close percentages between the two top guilds at the end. You can't really hope for a lot more from a race as a viewer, despite it's potentially short duration.

In the end, on the day of the final World First and World 2nd, here's the number of guilds at each point in the raid:

  • 9/9: 2 guilds, Liquid and Echo
  • 8/9: 2 guilds, Method and BDG
  • 7/9: 4 guilds, Instant Dollars, FatSharkYes, Conspiracy and Skyline
  • 6/9: 3 guilds, Chao Jie, Banhammer and Imperative
  • 5/9: 23 guilds
  • 4/9: 150 guilds
  • 3/9: 316 guilds
  • 2/9: 216 guilds
  • 1/9: 360 guilds.
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Congrats to Liquid! I didn't mind the length of this race, though anywhere in the 7-10 day range is fine for me. No one is denying that Aberrus is easier than previous tiers, but there are a lot of factors that go into that, as pointed out.

Mechanically? Easy. But I would expect this if Blizzard wants to eliminate computational WAs. Finding the difficulty sweet spot of what reasonably can and can't be done without WAs will take a few tiers.

Geared? More than ever. The upgrade system is a great addition for the average player (even if this first iteration is a bit too complicated at first), but it also benefits the RWF boys. I don't think it's been this easy to get optimal gear since they could buy Corrupted BoEs.

Tuning? Honestly, considering they walked in wearing the gear they did, I think it was good. What we saw was basically where the average Mythic raiding guild should be within 2-3 months, if not sooner!

So Aberrus is easier than Vault, but it's a tier that's long enough to allow for the joy of progression while still having a break before the next raid. The most egregious error is having Magmorax as a seventh boss, because I think the difficulty ramps up nicely from Assault -> Chamber -> Experiments -> Rashok -> Zskarn. Perhaps Assault is easier than the first boss, but that's the only other weird difficulty step.

Edited by dembro

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Blizzard doesn't make WoW for the <1% of people involved in the rtwf, so they can have all the opinions on tuning they want, it doesn't matter. And man Echo gets salty when they lose

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