Speedrunning Raids in Classic WoW
In World of Warcraft: Classic, many players realized that raids aren't quite as difficult as they might have remembered them from 15 years ago. Thanks to the competitive scene that formed during private servers and paved the way, many Classic players that want to challenge themselves in PvE content have turned to speedrunning raids. Guilds are competing with one another in an attempt to clear raids as quickly as possible, setting insanely fast times, and even finishing raids in just over 20 minutes! Today, we'll take a closer look at the speedrunning scene, some basics to get players started, and what top Guilds are doing!
What is speedrunning?
A speedrun is a play-through, or a recording thereof, of a whole video game or a selected part of it (such as a single level), performed with the intention of completing it as fast as possible. While all speedruns aim for quick completion, some speedruns are characterized by additional goals or limitations that players subject themselves to, such as collecting all key items, playing blindfolded, or attempting to achieve goals that are particularly not a desirable goal for a video game's community. Players speedrun mainly to challenge themselves, to entertain and to compete with themselves and others. Players performing speedruns, called speedrunners, often record their attempts. These recordings are used to entertain others, to verify the completion time, to certify that all rules were followed, and to spot ways to further improve the completion time.
- From the
Wikipedia article "Speedrun"
Back in March of 2006, Blizzard hosted a competition for World of Warcraft players, inviting anyone to join in on a speed leveling competition, first player to level 50 wins!
Joana won the competition
and eventually became known as Vanilla World of Warcraft's fastest leveler. During the earlier years of World of Warcraft, most "speedrunners" could compete with one another by racing through the leveling process, trying to beat one another's fastest /played time to level 60. Up until The Burning Crusade and for some time after, nobody came close to beating Joana's time of
4 days, 20 hours, 49 minutes
Once the vanilla private server matured over many years, having players go from fresh vanilla server to fresh vanilla server, there was a shift in mentality toward Raiding. Many of the top guilds had already cleared Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj, and even Naxxramas for years, across dozens of characters and multiple servers. After clearing these raids for so many years, players began to ask themselves how quickly they can finish a raid. How fast can our raid roster blow through this content, content that we've seen every week for over a decade? And little by little, speedrunning raids became a thing. And then it grew from there, eventually making its way to World of Warcraft: Classic. By today's standards, speedrunning raids has become a guild recruitment tactic. Guilds will post their fastest clear times on social media pages, as an attempt to lure new recruits into their ranks. Most guilds will upload their logs to
, which lists the
fastest times of Blackwing Lair
What qualifies a raid as a speedrun?
It's pretty simple, a speedrun raid is when every person in the raid is playing their character as optimally as they can, utilizing cooldowns and abilities to maximize efficiency and reduce the amount of time in between pulls and killing mobs as quickly as possible. A lot of the effort put into speedrunning a raid actually takes place before you even log into your characters. Building a raid roster and setting up your raid's composition is the first step towards success in speedrunning. And as of right now, the meta is stacking a ton of melee, in particular Rank 14 Melee, which has access to some of the best weapons in the game currently. Once a Raid roster is setup, the next step is collecting tons of raid consumables and acquiring various world buffs across Azeroth.
To learn more about World Buffs, check out our guide on the topic!
Building a specific raid composition to complete the raid efficiently as possible
Having a fully world buffed raid with all necessary consumables
Optimize cooldowns and abilities with the intention of killing trash mobs and bosses as fast as possible
Taking advantage of unique strategies to reduce amount of time in the raid
Try not to get purged! ;)
Molten Core speedruns during Phase 1 & 2
At the launch of World of Warcraft: Classic,
Method hosted the Classic Race to World First event
, which was a race amongst members of the community and top figures in the private server community. The race was to level 60, but most importantly to see what guild could down Ragnaros first! APES, a well known guild on the EU server Gehennas ended up getting the world first kill on Ragnaros, and unfortunately no one in that guild attended the event.
The entirety of the Molten Core clear can be viewed here
. While this isn't much of a speedrun by any means, it is important to gain some perspective on the amount of progress that will be made in such a short time.
APES world first Molten Core clear took place in September of 2019 and a mere 4 months later, by February 2020, Dreamstate would post the fastest Molten Clear time before Blackwing Lair's release.
A staggering 22 minutes, 21 seconds
. If you dig into the
a bit, you'll notice the raid composition was heavily melee focused, which is quite common during the early phases of WoW, and in particular common amongst the Horde, which has a
in every group, dropping
. Dreamstate's DPS was made up of 14
s, a single
, a single
, and a single
, Melee stacking to perfection.
If you watch the video below, you can see how Dreamstate is able to optimize their speedrun and move the raid as efficiently as possible through trash mobs and pulling bosses. Some examples are when they pull
, they haven't even finished killing the Core Hounds in the area. While killing Magmadar, they drag him across the room, killing him near the entrance to Magmadar's long cave. They most likely left a Rogue back to do the Douse and sprint across the hallway to re-join the raid group. This is just one small example of the type of time efficiency, when these types of strategies are implemented on every pull, every trash mob, every boss, you can see why speedrunning times improve so drastically over time. Most people might wonder how the healers have enough mana to keep this up, well they're popping Mana Potions and Dark Runes on cooldown, while also drink-walking with server ticks, allowing them to move and drink at the same time.
Blackwing Lair speedruns during Phase 3 & 4
World of Warcraft: Classic is approaching the end of Phase 4, meaning the final speedrun times will be locked away forever and the community will see which guild was able to obtain the fastest clear in Blackwing Lair. This time around, not much has changed overall from Molten Core. Melee stacking is still the key, and for the most part, a very successful strategy throughout all of Vanilla World of Warcraft's content. One really important fact to also take into consideration, players have been able to rank up through the Honor System and obtain Rank 14 Weapons. These weapons are the best available in the game and can make a huge difference when it comes to a Warrior and a Rogue's damage output, weapons like
being some prime examples of the types of weapons being utilized in these speedruns.
As of right now, Progress currently has the fastest speedrun of Blackwing Lair. A mind-boggling
20 minutes and 30 seconds
. Progress plays Alliance, meaning they have to build their raid roster a bit differently from the Horde. While most might consider the Alliance less of a melee-focused faction, I would like to remind you of the Human Racial,
, and while it might not seem like a big deal, it absolutely is. One big difference is without a bunch of
during difficult sections of Blackwing Lair, most notably Suppression Room, the Alliance have to approach those fights a bit differently. Instead of a bunch of Shaman, the Alliance opts for a bunch of
, which instead spam
. And some might argue Holy Nova is actually better in this situation, because it also does Area of Effect damage, helping to kill whelps while also healing.
While Blizzard hasn't officially announced a release date for the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, how fast can speedrunners push the Blackwing Lair time? Do you think a guild can get under 20 minutes?
Moving on to Ahn'Qiraj in Phase 5
Once Phase 5 releases, many guilds will adjust their speedrunning rosters, favoring more
s. During Ahn'Qiraj gearing, Mages will pick up many highly desired pieces of gear and transition into playing Fire. Most guilds are estimating they will bring anywhere from 7 to 10 Mages for their speedruns, as the damage over time component from
just deals so much damage to raid bosses, drastically reducing the kill time on bosses. Don't be surprised if you see some of the highest performing Mages actually dethroning Warriors and Rogues as the top damage dealers!
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