More Like This: Vodka vs Method Speedrun

More Like This: Vodka vs Method Speedrun

Forget arenas.

Forget rated BGs.

Give me competitive PvE raiding!

Vodka and Method, 2 of the world’s best guilds, going heads up in the Dragon Soul challenge hosted by Athene for charity. Last time we saw something like this was back during BlizzCon 2011 when Vodka and Blood Legion went at it live with some of their members on a stage in front of thousands of people.  When I watched those two guilds go at it during BlizzCon, the announcers and the overall event was really exciting to watch. Blizzard had some cool camera tools at their disposal and the plays were called by Ghostcrawler and Daelo. Blood Legion took that one after Vodka succumbed to heroic Ragnaros at the end.

If one wanted to devise story lines, there are a few things. The question on everyone’s minds is can Vodka avenge their loss and come back in the latest raid tier? A more subtle angle is the battle between regions: One of North America’s finest guilds vs Europe’s best. No faction questions here since both raid teams are Alliance (although I did find it interesting that Method was planning the switch to Horde).

Vodka

Between Method and Vodka, my money was on Vodka for winning out this one. They have the experience in an environment like this coming out of BlizzCon when they took on Blood Legion. Their strategies for time trials involve a high risk/high reward approach. They deliberately underheal (bring in less healers) in favour of additional DPS. In long run, this strategy pays off with faster kills as long as their raid doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Method

I honestly had no idea what to expect from Method. They’re one of the top guilds in Europe, but without much of an idea of their raid comps or seeing how they plan, I’m not sure what impressions to had. I figured they’d had their own set system and would stick to playing their style of raiding that’s gotten them this far. Nothing super complicated or anything.

Thoughts

Spoilers below. But if you don’t care, go ahead and read on:

  • Nice approach on Mor’chuk with the tanking positions. Most guilds usually tackle the two bosses side by side but with the advent of the timer, both guilds changed the position so that one boss was at the top of the ramp and the other was on the bottom.
  • The wipe on Zon’ozz slowed Vodka down significantly. I cringed but they’ll go on to recover quite well.
  • Both guilds kicking the lore aspects of the instance since it slows them both down (Vodka, especially).
  • Madness of Deathwing: Ouch to Vodka for losing a healer in a weird fashion with the platform jumps. That darn bug.
  • Athene and Kina: Would have loved more commentary throughout the stream on more aspects of the raid encounters as well as additional insight in what’s going on in the different mentalities of the guild as they go from boss to boss.

PvE power rankings

Guild Region Record
Blood Legion NA 1-0*
Method EU 1-0
Vodka NA 0-2

* I ranked Blood Legion as higher on the tie break since they defeated Vodka at BlizzCon live in front of thousands of screaming people.

Here we have the first ever PvE power rankings.

I personally believe that Vodka’s the better guild in the last engagement. The calculated risks they have taken have a potentially higher payoff and there were times where they came really close to clutching out and winning. But all those tiny mistakes and the assorted wipe does add up thwarting Vodka from getting their first win.

Another way to spice it up is adding an Iron man challenge of sorts. Finishing out an instance with the least amount of overall deaths. Wouldn’t just be enough to race the other team, but have to add that extra element of perfection.

To add a little diversity to future events, I wonder how feasible it is to revive some of the “older” raids. On a special server, adjust and inflate the stats of the older raid bosses so that they can remain challenging for the maximum player level.

The concept of a PvE raiding league has some merit. If it were up to me to start it, I’d set up an invitational 16 guild league (8 NA and 8 EU). it would take place over 8 weeks and then lead to playoffs. Each week would have it’s own instance/bosses of the week. Maybe week 1 would be tier 11. Week 2 would then be Firelands. Week 3 would be back to Black Temple. Week 4 could be Ulduar. Great way to recycle the older instances if it their stats could be made. Or the alternative is to lower the stats of the raiders so that they’re at level with the content.

But overall, I’m really impressed. Props to Athene, Kina, Vodka, Method and everyone else involved for an excellent event.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. I really wish I had watched this live stream, but didn’t hear about it until the next day. For the last 4 years I have been wanting competitive raiding, I think it would make a solid e-sport, but I just don’t see Blizz making it a spectator sport for a while to come. If I’m wrong about that I will be very excited.

  2. I think something similar happened back in Vanilla, during the early stages of the Naxx 1.0 patch. I remember everyone being excited to watch the top guilds fight their way through the boss encounters, always competing with each other as they went from wing to wing. The only difference was the fact that this went on for weeks, as Naxx was a very large instance and had a very high difficulty for the time. And that’s not to mention the logistical nightmares of 40-man raiding those guilds must have faced.

  3. Objection: the announcers at Blizzcon ’11 were NOT exciting.  Kina & I talked about how poor the level of commentating was, and you could tell that none of the Blues on stage were used to casting or had planned ahead.  I’m glad Kina got his wish and was able to cast this run himself. 
     
    Competitive PvE would be great.  I think you could even skip the need to do actual raids and just do a ToC style encounter, but randomize the room and the boss on load-in. 
     
    I’d love to see this become a reality, but the truth is, Blizz would be supporting an esport that players couldn’t jump into.  Anyone can play SCII and with enough skill/practice/dedication work their way up to pro rank.  No single player can work their way up to Vodka-level raiding without help along the way. Too many kids would be going into it expecting to be good and create negative impressions. 

  4. Props to them for organising – very cool idea and cool to see it happen.  My 2c is that Athene should really not be commentating PvE content though.  Repeatedly yelling “oh my god” and “that is crazy” into the mic is not helpful.  Talking about how they! could! almost! be! the! same! team! isn’t really useful either.  Kina did a better job and at least seemed to be interested in talking about the strategies and comps.  
     
    Most of what they seemed to be missing was information about the different strategies and teams and the kind of statistics that sports fans are used to seeing.  
    A couple of ideas:
    – How about the teams either lock in their roster for each boss an hour before and secretly share it with the commentators, or even set up an extra person to email their roster to the commentators as they pull the boss if they’re that worried about secrecy?  If they could talk as the bosses were pulled about the fact that Vodka had switched to 5 healers for Yor’sahj and Method hadn’t, that would have been interesting.  On the stream we could see the Vodka mage switching from fire to arcane for Morchok and back again for Zon’ozz, and even that kind of information is interesting to know!  
    – If they could ask this kind of information in advance, how about pulling stats on the number of times each team or raid leader has killed the bosses (even from the armory…), their current raiding schedules, how many hours approximately they have spent practising for this competition… there are so many random interesting facts that could spice up the commentary a bit and make them sound a bit more professional.  
    – The commentators (or their support crew) could set up basic stopwatch timers to count the seconds between kills for the two teams to give us an idea of how far apart the two teams were at boss kills.  It would have really created excitement if they did this, as we watched the time difference go down from boss to boss.  
    – The updates on the number of brez’s remaining is nice, but knowing when they have lusted etc would be useful too.  
    – Strategy differences were almost totally missing!  The H Hagara strat differences and discussion of them was the most interesting part of the whole stream!  
    – I understand that you need to give kudos to the sponsors, but seriously… enough is enough.
     
    Cool idea and props for making it happen!  

  5. Kina was awesome The event was fun and I hope to participate in something like this again. – Koiile

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