A deep dive into strategy, stress management, and ergonomics in the Race to World First.
Echo Guild, the triumphant victors in the Race to World First: Amirdrassil, A Dream’s Hope, have made history by securing the world-first kill on Fyrakk the Blazing. In an exclusive interview, we delve into the team’s experiences, shedding light on their grueling journey, the challenges they faced, and the strategies that led them to victory.
What do you think sets the Race to World First: Amirdrassil raid apart from others in terms of challenge and complexity?
The Amirdrassil raid stands out for two key reasons. First, the overall difficulty of the bosses, particularly the last two, surpassed previous raids in terms of tuning – both in damage output and damage intake — a welcome return to more challenging encounters.
Second, the mechanics of the fights are less forgiving, requiring precise execution and a constant adrenaline rush. The tight timings and intense action made the shorter duration of the fights incredibly engaging, providing a heightened sense of accomplishment upon defeating these bosses.
How do you prepare mentally and physically for the long hours of gameplay during the Race to World First?
Mental preparation is a collective effort with a shared goal among team members. We gradually ease into the race with strategic preparation and regular rule reminders to never lose sight of the end goal. Physically, sleep is paramount, with a focus on fixing sleep schedules before the race and ensuring players are comfortable and well-rested during extended sessions.
Once the race commences, players are free to adopt their preferred equipment and setups for comfort and focus. For instance, some enjoy sitting upright, cross-legged, or reclining in a relaxed, laid-back posture while playing. Fortunately, we can count on Secretlab’s range of gaming chairs, desks, and accessories to have our backs from start to finish.
“The versatility of these products means that whether a player chooses to don flip-flops or socks, to sit or to stand, Secretlab’s ergonomic solutions ensure optimal support and adaptability to accommodate a diverse range of preferences and sitting habits.”
Along with a variety of drink options to ensure our players stay hydrated at all times, this keeps everyone feeling as comfortable as possible during the long gaming sessions throughout the race.
Can you discuss the level of practice, planning and coordination required for a competition of this magnitude?
We’re constantly striving to enhance our preparation and processes based on past experiences. This RWF is no different. The team fine-tunes strategies, class choices, splits, gear distribution, communication channels, and WeakAuras preparation to optimize time during the race. We have historically struggled with not pulling the bosses fast enough with the classic meme of ‘great pull guys, time for a break’. This time we made a big effort to cut down on that by removing a lot of the factors that were slowing us down.
How do you handle the pressure and stress in the heat of the competition? Are there any particular rituals or routines the team follows before or during the competition that you find helpful or unique?
In general, even though the race typically spans 10-12 days, the majority of this period is relatively low-stress. The primary objective is to ensure that, especially towards the race’s conclusion, every player can perform at their best. Early in the race, we take a more balanced approach, maintaining a lighthearted atmosphere and ensuring that everyone gets a solid 8 hours of sleep daily.
As we approach the race’s finale, there’s a need to exert a bit more effort, which prompts the need for regular short breaks throughout the day. These breaks allow each player to step away from their battlestation, providing both mental and physical relief. Stress inevitably rises towards the race’s end, particularly in closely contested situations like the last one.
The key is to manage this stress, and leverage it as a motivator to maintain focus. The importance of calm voice communications cannot be overstated. All it takes is one person sounding panicked to spread stress throughout the team — and that’s something Scripe and Meeres are really great at keeping at bay.
Could you describe what the atmosphere was like when the team raided till near exhaustion on day 12 before clinching the win in a nail biting finish?
We entered the final day with a mix of anticipation and excitement, especially as Liquid, our closest competitor, had yet to secure a kill. So for the first 6 hours of raiding that day, we were in high spirits with lots of great pulls. The stakes went up when Liquid resumed their attempts after waking up, creating additional pressure on us.
The intensity peaked after Liquid experienced a 1.7% wipe, because we knew that any pull could determine the winner. I distinctly recall that maintaining calm voice comms and managing rising emotions was something we made a conscious effort to do, mindful of the potential for disrupting the team’s concentration. Looking back though, I firmly believe that monitoring the opponent team’s progress on a second screen is a practice that no player should engage in.
As we ultimately clinched the kill, the eruption of emotions from all the players, notably Scripe, shows just how much everyone wanted this win. Overall, I think our team effectively managed the atmosphere on the last day, a crucial element in achieving the flawless execution needed for that perfect pull.
In the grueling hours of the Race to World First, where mental acuity and physical endurance are put to the test, the importance of ergonomic design cannot be overstated. By minimizing discomfort and distractions, Secretlab empowers the team to fully concentrate on their gameplay, ultimately enhancing their chances of emerging victorious in the challenging Amirdrassil raid.
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