World of Warcraft

Column: Why a too long WoW World First Race is not good

In the last Races to World First in WoW, there was always a duel for victory: Method vs Paragon, Method vs Limit, and now Liquid vs Echo. The guilds behind were usually far behind. Now, in 2022, Echo was able to win the race in the Mausoleum of the First on day 18. And for the first time, co-favorite Liquid was unable to follow right behind.

As Liquid 's raid leader Max explained, over four weeks of raiding, with 16-hour shifts in some cases, gnawed too much at the players. They broke camp early and needed a break until it resumed two days later. This time, not from the event location, but from home. The World First Race simply went on too long. And even though fans want to see a long, epic race, a Marathon to World First is detrimental for several reasons.

The problems of a World First Race that is too long

Comments about Limit's intermittent abandonment show that players have a somewhat distorted view of the apparent "well-paid pros with endless money and time."

The misconception of a WoW top raider

First of all, viewers need to be disabused of the illusion that WoW pro raiders in Race to World First are anything like pro soccer players going to the World Cup. You can never accurately predict the timing of participation in a World Cup (maybe you'll make the finals, maybe you'll be eliminated in the group stage). The criticism of Liquid was that the players should have prepared better. Contracts for location, moderators, technology, flights and so on should have been included in the calculation. However, the comparisons to other sports and events are very lame.

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I have yet to see a World Cup where every team is on the pitch for 14+ hours a day permanently for weeks on end. Teams sometimes have breaks for days, WoW raiders don't. And then there is the misconception of the status that pro raiders have in the eyes of many spectators. The top 5 teams now have support from sponsors and organizations. But that doesn't mean that the players are all set and that there is endless money available for events.

Or do you think a RazeQ from Liquid earns enough money with his Twitch stream and some subsidy from Liquid? Who now cries out and says "of course", it should be said that I just made up the name RazeQ and no one with this Gamertag plays at Liquid. That's how well known these players are, after all, and their streams away from World First Races are correspondingly small. Many have to take time off from their normal work for the World First Race. Two weeks is still okay. But especially for US guilds, who sometimes don't have paid vacation days, three or more weeks are simply not possible - apart from the fact that the entire vacation is to be used up for several World First Races?

If the race can only really be tackled by one or two guilds because it goes on for three weeks or more, the race gets boring. So we have a choice: a longer World First Race and always the same winner(s), or a shorter race and thus more excitement because more guilds have a chance to play at the top. I'm clearly leaning towards the latter.

Nobody wants the lonely top favorite

Let's stay with the soccer comparisons. Do you know what happens regularly in increasingly boring leagues where the same team is always the perennial champion? The league thinks about a fairer distribution of money, play-off modes are discussed for a more exciting championship fight and in the long run spectators don't take the title fight seriously anymore. Something like that could happen to Race to World First, if only two guilds can afford to invest so much time for so long.
In the past, players raided from Echo and the Echo banner. Even then, there were really only 2 favorites for the World First throne - Limit and Method. Source: https://twitter.com/msiUSA/ No one wants to see Echo lonely at the top just because players can half afford to live off WoW and so they can put a month's time into a World First Race. Viewers want an exciting Race to World First. For that to be the case, and as long as there are still only two or three guilds that can afford to pay for their raid squad, the race will never be exciting. That can't be in Blizzard's interest either. After all, nothing is better advertising for World of Warcraft (buy now ) than seeing the game in the top 5 most watched games on Twitch for a month.

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