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WoWMar 10, 2022 10:00 am CT

After one day this Race to World First has been like no other

The Race to World First has gotten underway in the Sepulcher of the First Ones — or at least, we think it has? To say that it’s been a strange race so far might be an understatement. What’s the opposite of blink and you’ll miss it?

Usually, what happens when Mythic difficulty opens up and the race kicks off is that we’ll see a bunch of smaller less well-known guilds burst out of the starting gate and pick up an easy kill or two on the first bosses. For example, when the mythic Battle of Dazar’alor opened it took just ten minutes for the Champions of the Light to fall — to a relatively unknown guild at the time, Big Dumb Guild. Even last race when the Tarragrue was defeated by Soniqs Imperative, it only took them around 18 minutes from the raid opening.

This time, top guilds each spent a full day farming Heroic and Normal bosses for tier gear, trinkets, and weapons. It wasn’t until the second day of Sepulcher being open before the race finally began in earnest, with a guild named The Early Shift being the first to break down the door and slay the Vigilant Guardian. Team Liquid was hot on their heels and snapped up the World First of the great big worm Skolex before going on to get firsts on Artificer Xy’mox and Dausegne the Fallen Oracle.

Why is the Race to World First Sepulcher so weird? It’s all about the tier armor

In the past, these few early kills that small guilds were able to sneak out were because bigger guilds took a little time and collected a bit more of their upgrades that came from the weekly reset. This could be things like checking M+ caches, running weekly quests that can reward powerful gear, or farming the necessary materials to make a legendary item. For Sepulcher the entire first day was spent farming the same bosses over and over again with multiple characters per raider to try and get their two and four-piece set bonuses from the class set tier armor.

The top guilds have been targeting these pieces relentlessly since Sepulcher came out last week. Since you can only trade a piece of tier gear if you already have gotten one for that slot, regardless of item level, we’ve seen guilds offering millions of gold to anyone who can actually help trade them the drops — up to 15 million gold in certain cases. The gold spent on previous races has been astronomical without paying out the massive bounties for traded gear. I cannot wait to see the postmortem from this race to see just how much money each guild spent.

Not only have the top guilds been paying for extra tier gear, but none of them have also defeated the Jailer on Heroic difficulty yet. He doesn’t drop any tier gear, so taking him on not only wastes precious time they could be using to kill more duplicate tier bosses, if they kill him that would also add his loot table to the weekly vault — which lowers the chances that they’ll receive tier in it.

It’s hard not to see why guilds are pursuing tier gear. These bonuses have been incredibly strong — some have even required multiple nerfs in Blizzard hotfixes to bring them in line with other classes. Team Liquid didn’t even go into Mythic difficulty until they had a whole raid with their bonuses.

I think that the change in power levels coming out of Sanctum of Domination was a pretty big factor in this. None of the Domination Shards effects carry forward into Zereth Mortis and the new raid, so all of that extra power that players built over the course of the last raid tier has just been stripped away. Now they need every little bit of extra oomph they can in order to beat some of the timings on the new Mythic fights.

What remains to be seen is just how much emphasis will be put on getting more tier gear after the first weekly reset.

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