With over 220,000 concurrent viewers on December 2020’s Castle Nathria race, RWF has become one of the most significant streaming events out there. Its surge of popularity has been a phenomenon, and even as WoW’s subscriber numbers dwindle, the number of fans watching the RWF continues to grow.
One week after the initial release, on July 13th, the Mythic tier of the raid will be released. As soon as the patch goes live, teams from across the world will begin competing to be the first to complete the raid on the most challenging setting. So, whether this is your first time following the RWF, or even if you’re a seasoned WoW veteran, keep reading to find out more about the upcoming race.
What is the Race for World First (RWF)
Ever since the beginning of WoW, guilds have competed to be the first to conquer bosses in new raids. Over time, these races have become more formalized and organized. With the addition of Mythic tier raids in Warlords of Draenor in 2014, WoW launched its highest difficulty tier of raids. These would be near impossible for non-organized groups to do. This meant that top-tier Mythic raiding became something that only the best guilds could compete for world-firsts in.
Today, the Race for World First (RWF) is the pinnacle of the raiding scene. Top teams across the world compete to take down the most difficult iterations of bosses ever devised. A true team event, RWF race guilds are today far more than just social groups on MMO’s. Instead, they are fully-fledged esports and entertainment organizations, with full-time employees and hundreds of in-game members, all supporting the core raiding team.
Compared to the Arena World Championships and Mythic Dungeon International, the RWF is not an officially organized event. Therefore, there is no controlled competitive environment. Instead, teams compete independently on the same live servers as regular players. This gives the RWF a very compelling and authentic feeling.
A guild will progress through a mythic tier raid during the race, defeating bosses as quickly as possible. A team will have a core of 20 raiders as part of the main raid and numerous substitutes on the bench. These subs will be used if the team needs to try alternative compositions of classes for the raid.
What does it take to be a World First raider?
Guilds prepare for weeks before the event, gathering insane amounts of gold for gearing. To generate this gold, the raiders will spend time ‘farming’ previous tiers, often selling clears to other players for gold. Additionally, non-raiding “social” guild members contribute with gold. In return, they may get some of the unneeded gear from these raids, or a chance to participate in “split runs.”
What are Split Runs?
Split runs start immediately from the release of the normal and heroic tier of a raid. In a split run or split raid, the core raiding team will ‘split’ into different raid instances to farm gear. These split raids will often have just one of each class they’re funneling gear into or one type of armor they’ll grind. While only a few core players will make up these clears of the heroic and normal tier raids, they’ll be supplemented by substitute players, social guild members, and sometimes fans to make up an entire 20-man raid.
Splits take place from the raid’s release, right up until the start of the race, and continue throughout. Some splits will even use mythic lockouts to farm gear from already defeated bosses.
How Geared are RWF Raiders?
Overall, a tremendous amount of preparation goes into the RWF. Beyond gearing just a single character, raiders will often have numerous characters with different specializations, fully geared and ready to go. An RWF tank player, for example, might have a Protection Warrior prepared, but also a Guardian Druid as well. In addition, substitute tanks may run some of the less common tank builds, such as Brewmaster or Vengeance Demon Hunter.
Ultimately, the RWF is a marathon, not a sprint. Perhaps the closest thing to an “endurance” esport, the event takes place over multiple days. As a result, the average race doesn’t have a winner for over a week, with teams often requiring numerous lockouts. For example, Shadowlands’ first raid, Castle Nathria, took eight days for the first team to defeat the final boss.
How to Win the Sanctum of Domination RWF
Released on July 6th after extended maintenance, Sanctum of Domination, the second raid of Shadowlands, is the target of the RWF. After navigating through the Maw to Torghast, past a horde of powerful mobs, Raiders enter the dark tower of Torghast itself. After initial trash, the raiders will encounter The Tarragrue. The raiders will have to use Anima Powers dropped by Infused Goliaths to mitigate some of the boss mechanics to defeat him.
From there, the teams will face the Eye of the Jailer and Sylvanas’ scions; The Nine. Then, continuing deeper into the tower, raiders will face Soulrender Dormazain, the Remnant of Ner’Zhul, and the Jailer’s minions Painsmith Raznal and the Guardian of the First Ones.
After defeating the eighth boss, Fatescribe Roh-Kalo, raiders will meet some familiar faces. Kel’Thuzad, who’s been a pain in the rear for Warcraft players since Warcraft III, has seen a few buffs since his appearance in Naxxramas. Finally, the end boss of the Sanctum is none other than Sylvanas herself. The first team to end the un-life of the baddest banshee in WoW will be crowned the winner of this RWF.
What’s more, the completion of the mythic tier sometimes reveals more details than the original raid cinematic. After the dramatic end to the Sanctum of Domination was unveiled on July 6th, WoW fans will have their eyes peeled to see if the mythic completion yields further details.
Who are the Top RWF Guilds?
Winners of the last two RWF events, Complexity-Limit, were the first to kill the final mythic bosses of Ny’alotha, the Waking City and Castle Nathria. Looking for their third straight victory, Limit has pulled out all the stops for this upcoming race. Limit’s GM and Raid Leader “Maximum” offers incredibly insightful raid information on his YouTube and Twitch channel and is a must-watch for those new to RWF.
Method has been a premier RWF raiding guild since 2005 and is one of the most successful European guilds of all time, with multiple world-firsts and records held. Unfortunately, in 2020, numerous abuse and sexual assault allegations surfaced, causing a considerable fracture in one of the largest RWF organizations. In the past six months, Method started to rebuild its raiding squad, finishing a disappointing 7th in Castle Nathria. For Sanctum of Domination, they’ll be looking for a return to form.
In the wake of the Method sexual assault and abuse allegations, Echo formed from a core contingent of raiders looking to distance themselves from the tainted Method name. At Castle Nathria, they became the first European guild to clear the mythic raid. This time they’ll want to reclaim the title of world-first from the North Americans.
Pieces were the third-place team at Castle Nathria. The guild rose to prominence during the short, two-boss raid Crucible of Storms in 2018. The team took the shock victory after the two bosses took a surprising nine days and 700 pulls to clear.
How can I watch the RWF?
Major guilds will each have their broadcast of the raids. Both Method and Complexity-Limit are hosting events for their attempts on their Twitch channels. What’s more, Limit has gone all-out this year to compete with Method’s popular broadcast.
Recruiting cooking streamer Aracely “Lulaboo” Garcia, Limit will open their raid days with “Eggs Over Azeroth,” a morning show with previews of the action. Then, after the day of raiding wraps up, Limit’s evening show “RWF After Dark.”. In the past, guilds and organizers have attempted non-stop marathon-style casts. However, this scheduled format looks to attract more casual viewers.
You can tune in from Tuesday, July 13th, to see all the action as it unfolds on one of the many Twitch channels.