World of Warcraft, 08.08.2016

All Eyes On: Dragon Esports

We have talked to Dragon Esports, formerly known as Pwnanza about their strong World #5 finish on Archimonde and their plans for Legion.

Only a few weeks left until the launch of the next expansion for World of Warcraft and that means one thing: finally new raid content, finally a new race to world first. Class balancing seems to be almost finished and raid tests are mostly done, so this might be a good time to check back on worlds best raiding guilds and see how they are doing after more than one year in Hellfire Citadel.

Different Name, Same Core

Dragon EsportsAlthough they are now known as Dragon, our todays interview guests are playing together as group for a very long time already. Although already founded in 2007 as “Synergy”, you most probably might know them as Pwnanza. It was October 27, 2013 when this guild tag finally got pinned onto the first page of wowprogress.com with a World #20 on Heroic Garrosh Hellscream.

Warlords of Draenor confirmed their newly gained status of being world elite: Mythic Blackhand as World #15 and Mythic Archimonde on a very strong World #5.

We have talked to Shacabau, the current Guildmaster of Dragon about their journey as a guild and their plans and expectations for Legion.


First of all: please introduce yourself! Who are you? What is your role in Dragon and what class will you play in Legion?

Hi! My name’s Franc and I play a Blood DK called Shacabau. I’m currently GM and one of the founders of Dragon and my role is to manage the day to the day of the team and make sure we stay on track when it comes to our goals. For Legion, I’d love to keep playing my Death Knight but the truth is I’m not really sure what class I’ll be playing yet. I feel the class changes hit tanking hard and even if they feel strong mitigation wise, I’m also missing the control I used to have before and of course, a lot of my old cooldowns.

You finished #15 in T17 and then did a big leap on world #5 in the Hellfire Citadel race, behind Method and Paragon. One of them did split up and the Finns have decided to quit raiding completely. This could be your chance to enter top 3 this time! What are your goals and expectations on the race?

I don’t necessarily think Method splitting up will be beneficial for us. I think both Serenity and Method with the old Rapid Eye Movement core are both going to be up there and have a very good tier. For what Dragon’s concerned, we’ll stick to what we know we can do well. We have a very good roster, a very good atmosphere and we all want to keep improving our rank and the quality of our raids. I think that after finishing 5th, the main priority now is sustainability. If we can do it again, who knows, maybe we can then plan a proper push but, if we finish the next tier in the top 10 I’d personally be happy. Naturally, we have a secondary goal too, a more ambitious one, but instead of thinking about it, I prefer to focus on the improvements we can do, make sure we play well and as a unit and results will keep coming. That is and will always be our only “real” goal and that’s how we kept improving tier upon tier from Sunwell until now.


Pwnanza vs. Archimonde Mythic World #5


Your guild has been around a really long time now, seeing many other guilds rise and fall again – Envy surely one of the more well known ones on your server. What is your key to success when it comes to managing a guild over so many years and keep improving even as the game itself and players’ lives evolve.

There’s no secret formula and what works for us might not work for other guilds but in our case, if I was to point out the main factors that made the last decade go by so fast it’d have to be our atmopshere and our ambition. We’ve always tried to have a plan, an “ultimate” goal and I think that Dragon and the recent changes to the guild highlight what we’ve been trying to do for a very long time. This helps a lot with putting both the positives and the negatives into perspective which ultimately allows us to focus on improving. Of course, we couldn’t do any of this if we weren’t having fun. Even if pushing rank and competing is a big part of that fun, our real assets are the players. We’ve had the privilege to, over the years, play and surround ourselves with people that we legitimately enjoy the company of. We have our internal disputes from time to time and the occasional bad raids but overall, the good moments outweight the bad ones by far. As for the rank improvements, it’s a product of our preparation, the skill of our players and the fact that even when we fall behind on a boss or have a raid where nothing clicks, we’re back the next day making sure we catch up and that no matter what, we don’t give up until the tier is over. I’d say that’s definitely a pretty big plus and one I’m proud of!


I’m not particularly excited about Greater Rif… sorry, Mythic+


Artifact Weapons, Mythic+ Dungeons, Legendaries and Titanforged Items will bring significant changes to the gearing process this time. How do you feel about these changes in general? How will it affect your preparations for the progress?

Ugh, tell me about it! It’s a lot of new content to prepare for and it’s actually been confusing to come up with a strategy. Regardless, the preparation has been going well and we’re confident. It didn’t change any of our usual routines, even if it’s more complex. I’d say that by the time Heroic is out, we’ll be completely ready for it. As for the new content, I think that’s always good. I definitely like the idea of artifacts and I hope they manage to follow it up well throughout the expansion. I’m not particularly excited about Greater Rif… sorry, Mythic+, and just like any other hardcore raider, I hope legendaries don’t influence the race too much with some possible RNG involved in obtaining them. Titanforged and other random loot drops is something I’ve always been against. I’ve been on both ends of a double warforged weapon drop during progress and it’s not something I like to always have to watch out for. I understand it’s important to keep the game interesting, especially during farm, but personally I’d like loot to be slightly more straight forward than that.

 

Why Rename?

Dragon has a long history in other games. Although World of Warcraft was somehow the biggest part for the guild, the organization has competed in the Electronic Sports World Cup in France – one of the first big Esports tournaments ever.

Rebranding into Dragon Esports is a bigger step towards professionalization and a step back to their roots at the same time. We will perhaps see more Dragons appear in other games and major Esports titles in the future.

 

How do you like the two new raids so far? Best & worst encounter so far?

I was really excited about the prospect of doing the Emerald Nigtmare. I’ve always liked Xavius and the story behind it ever since I started World of Warcraft and being able to fight him definitely motivated me for Legion. I was hoping the room was well… a room and not just fog but if they make up for it with an interesting encounter I’ll be ok with it. Besides, we don’t know what a possible last phase will look like! Nighthold was slightly less interesting, looks wise, but it looked challenging enough to make up for it. Favourite boss was definitely Star Augur, especially the Mythic version. Worst boss was Grand Magistrix, hands down. Not only were both tests bad enough, the Mythic one was also extremely long.

How do you feel about the current class balance? Any must have classes in the raid you can already point out? Any classes you won’t describe as viable at the moment?

The class balance was a complete rollercoaster in the beta. It was very clear that there would be deep class changes very early on. Shadow Priests right at the start, for example. The thing is, when you’re trying to plan a roster you obviously want to account for some flavour of the month and even if it’s obvious things won’t stay the way they are, you still have to account for the chance that Blizzard will completely ignore it, so we have to keep changing our plan after every balance patch. I think that now, classes are slightly more balanced.

Some exceptions but nothing too major. As long as they aren’t nerfed a few days before Mythic like Death Knights were in Hellfire Citadel, it won’t bother me and we’ll be able to have an answer for it. As for class viability, I’ll speak about tanks because that’s what I know and tanks are, well, strange. A high number of cooldowns removed. Control removed for most of them. A very clear playstyle defined for each class, leaving very little to the imagination and on top of that, completely unnecessary and unjustifiable camera changes. This all left me a little disheartened but I’ll be still tanking and trying to turn this into an opportunity to learn some more and perhaps find other ways to increase my skill cap.

Thank you very much for this interview and good luck for the upcoming race!


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Coming up next

We will have up two interviews with the guilds, that are invited to play on the Blizzard stage at Gamescom this year, as soon as they are announced. Stay tuned!