What are split raids in World of Warcraft?

This is how top guilds optimize their odds in the Race to World First.
Multiple dragonkin are featured in WoW's newest raid, Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible. In this image, four dragons walk the halls of the raid's main atrium.
Dragonkin stalk the halls of Aberrus. Image via Blizzard Entertainment

When it comes to World of Warcraft’s Race to World First (RWF), top guilds like Liquid and Echo will take any opportunity to eke out whatever small advantage they can. 

As teams fight to be the first to complete World of Warcraft’s latest raid, every piece of gear that guilds can get for one of their top raiders is crucial. And there are specific ways that guilds can optimize how players get that gear, the most efficient of which are “split raids.”

A split raid in WoW occurs when a guild clears a raid multiple times with different groups of players; the name is taken from the act of “splitting” your main raiding roster into multiple parts to effectively spread out loot. In the context of the RWF, split raids are usually something that guilds will do in the first few days following a Mythic raid’s release before they begin progressing through the race.

While the guild can’t do split raids on Mythic difficulty at that point, they can instead do split raids on lower difficulties, like Heroic, and try to funnel specific gear to characters that need it for Mythic progression.

Why are split raids important?

Due to certain loot restrictions in retail WoW, split raids typically consist of guilds loading their raid composition exclusively with characters that share an armor type or weapon that they can equip. By making as many people in the raid as possible all comparable in armor type, guilds can highly increase the likelihood that a specific item drops. And no matter who gets it, the guild makes sure that it can be traded to whichever character needs it for RWF progression.

In retail WoW, players can’t trade items that are an item level upgrade for them. So this means that all players in top guilds like Echo and Liquid spend large amounts of time maintaining and gearing alternate characters that can be used to feed gear to ones in the main raid’s progression. Many world first raiders have upwards of six characters of the same class in order to maximize their gearing potential.

Related: WoW Dragonflight Aberrus Race to World First live tracker

Once the RWF is over, top guilds will continue to do split raids, except they’ll do them on Mythic instead of just Heroic. This ensures that alternate characters have higher item level gear so that they can again help to feed gear to main characters in the next RWF.

How long will top guilds run splits?

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Additionally, the roster of top guilds in RWF is deep enough that they typically have multiple players who may not be in during the progression of a specific boss encounter. While players are on the bench, they’ll usually do in-game activities like run Mythic+ dungeons to get targeted pieces of loot. Sometimes, those pieces will be for a main character that the guild wants to use for progression on a later boss, and other times, those pieces might be for alternate characters that need to get gear of a certain item level so that they can later feed a specific piece of loot to a main character during split raids.

Typically, guilds participating in the Race to World First will run split raids for the first two to three days of the race.

Some guilds that aren’t fighting for World First kills run split raids, but as you can imagine, the time investment required to have two or more characters prepared to raid is immense. The best guilds in the world regularly use social media and other outlets to try to recruit average players to help feed them gear for split raids during the RWF. Top guilds will often pay members of the community large sums of gold to run split raids with them and donate any gear they get to players on the roster.

Many hardcore players and fans who aren’t rostered on a team like Liquid, Echo, BDG, or Method jump at the opportunity to support their favorite guild in-game by trying to give them a better chance at getting gear in the first week of a new patch.

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Author
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.
Author
Max Miceli
Senior Staff Writer. Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism and political science degree in 2015. He previously worked for The Esports Observer covering the streaming industry before joining Dot where he now helps with Overwatch 2 coverage.