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Race repeat: Blizzard confirms all 3 difficulties of WoW’s next raid will open simultaneously

Hope you like split raids, RWF fans.

Regardless of your feelings on it, Blizzard has its mind made up: the next World of Warcraft raid, Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible, will see all three of its difficulty levels open up at the same time. This means that Normal, Heroic, and Mythic-level raiders will have access to the raid simultaneously as soon as it opens. 

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Traditionally, players had one week to try out and get accustomed to the raid on Normal and Heroic difficulties before the Mythic version of a raid became available. That changed with the release of the Vault of the Incarnates at the beginning of Dragonflight, as all three difficulties became available at once. 

Initially, Blizzard made the choice to release the Vault of the Incarnates simultaneously across three difficulties due to the raid’s launch time frame being so close to that of Christmas and other end-of-year holidays. Moving forward, that change appears to be agreed upon at Blizzard despite a lack of upcoming holidays, as a widespread release of the raid will be the norm moving forward. 

“We really felt like for the broader audience, it was such a great experience to not have to have that frankly awkward week where the raids are open, but Mythic’s not open,” WoW associate game director Morgan Day said in a group interview. “So then if you’re a Mythic+ player, you’re like, ‘ah, what level do I need to run?’ Like, there’s just kind of that awkwardness that would happen when we had the season launch, but not really launch.”

This change, although a positive step in the right direction for the greater playerbase, does throw a wrench in the traditional prep work done by Race to World First teams. During the Vault of the Incarnates race, top teams did not step into Mythic raids until approximately 48 hours after the release, opting to run an eye-watering amount of split raids instead. The choice to run split raids is almost always centered around gearing characters with pieces of tier gear so that they can use their classes’ full potential once they step foot into a Mythic raid. 

For fans of the Race to World First, it became clear last December that the first few days of the event would be dedicated to running the raid on lower difficulties before jumping into Mythic, and that will likely be the case again when Aberrus opens later this year. 

Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible, will open alongside WoW Patch 10.1 sometime in the next few months. 

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Michael Kelly
Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.