Liquid Maximum: 'It would mean everything' to bring WoW Race to World First title back to North America – Dot Esports

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Liquid acquired the roster of longtime top WoW guild Limit earlier this year.
When last we saw the World of Warcraft guild formerly known as Limit on the competitive stage, the team finished second in the Sanctum of Domination Race to World First (RWF) last July. Since then, they’ve left their previous parent organization, Complexity Gaming, and joined Team Liquid as a part of the franchise’s recent breakthrough into the MMO genre. The team dropped all of its former branding and will compete under the Liquid name moving forward. 
The gates to WoW’s next raid, the Sepulcher of the First Ones, will swing open tomorrow and the guilds of the world will race to down the Jailer, the final boss of the Shadowlands expansion. At the forefront of the race are Liquid, who will be making their debut appearance on the world’s stage under the direction of their new organization. 
Beyond their first appearance under a new organizational umbrella, Liquid’s competitive WoW team are looking to stake their claim on the entirety of the MMO genre. It just so happens that their rich history in the genre’s ever-evolving flagship title is playing a major role in giving them a head start. With eyes set on a recently revitalized MMO landscape, Liquid is poised to dive headfirst into titles beyond the one which gave its roster a home. From Final Fantasy XIV to the untitled future MMO from Riot Games, Liquid plans to be at the forefront of MMO gaming this decade.
In 2020, the team, who was then competing under the Complexity banner, launched itself to the top of the professional WoW scene that year. In their first race under the Complexity banner, the guild of WoW veterans captured a world first title in the Ny’alotha raid, bringing the RWF crown back to North America for the first time since 2012. 
They would go on to win two of the three RWF events they competed in under the Complexity name, with their streak of consecutive wins breaking last summer when the RWF title went back to its longtime home in Europe.  
“There’s a saying that ‘no one’s ever hungrier to win than the team that just lost,’ and it’s possible that even in all of our efforts to fight complacency, sometimes you need to just get knocked down to get back up and be way stronger,” Liquid’s raid leader and co-owner Max “Maximum” Smith told Dot Esports. “We have many more resources than we’ve had in the past and we’ve spent at least double the time preparing and putting in effort in everyone being invested in what we’re about to do.”
Maximum and Liquid (then Complexity Limit) popularized a new style of professional WoW raiding in 2020 when they implemented the “21st player” approach, a strategy where Maximum would lead the team’s lineup of 20 players through a boss fight as opposed to serving as a player-shot caller like he did in the past. Although they weren’t the first to use the strategy, the team brought it to the forefront of the game, finding far more relative success with it since its initial usage. 
Last summer, Liquid (then Complexity Limit) spent a full week at Complexity’s performance center, competing for seven straight days in a grueling race, only to fall short in the 11th hour to European powerhouse and heavy rival Echo. 
When asked what it would mean to prevent Echo from developing a streak of their own and bring the RWF crown back to North America, Maximum said simply, “it would mean everything.”
For the Sepulcher of the First Ones race, every team in the world will face a new challenge: a lack of prior knowledge when it comes to the raid’s boss fights. Specifically, the final three bosses of the raid have never been tested on WoW’s public test servers; they haven’t even been made available on Heroic difficulty on the game’s live servers prior to the Mythic race’s start. When the teams of the world reach the final trio of the Sepulcher’s bosses, they’ll be seeing them for the first time. 
Ahead of the race, 62 teams from across the competitive scene have cleared the first eight bosses of the raid on Heroic difficulty, according to WoW stats site Raider.io. The final leg of the race will not only test players’ abilities to do mechanics but also figure them out in real time. 
“As time has gone on, it’s really been proven that that’s the thing the viewer connects with the most,” Maximum said. “They almost feel a part of the process seeing us figure that stuff out so I think it should be really cool.”
The Sepulcher of the First Ones will serve as the staging ground for the final RWF event of WoW’s Shadowlands expansion. After a year and then some, the game’s top players (and its community at large) will soon look towards WoW’s next expansion, the 10th installment of the game. 
“There has actually been a lot of positive outlook going into the end of this expansion,” said Maximum. “There have been a couple of repeated issues throughout the last couple of expansions and really for the first time ever, Blizzard is acknowledging them and iterating on them.” 
Earlier this year, Blizzard announced it would be making a game-altering decision to integrate the two longtime factions of WoW, the Alliance and Horde, in group-play scenarios. Later in Shadowlands’ lifespan, players from across the faction divide will be able to run dungeons and raids together in an effort to widen the player pool across the game. 
Beyond that, through mid-expansion changes to controversial features such as Conduits, Renown progression, Torghast, and gearing strategies (namely via the return of fan-favorite class tier sets), Blizzard has made an attempt to remedy many of WoW’s self-inflicted in-game issues. 
“I have a lot of faith in Blizzard, at least in the way they’re saying they think about the game in what they will do for the next expansion looking back on this one. I think they learned a lot of lessons,” Maximum said.
Apart from WoW, Liquid is looking to eventually expand further into the MMO genre. And frankly, there isn’t a better time to do so. With high-profile developers such as Amazon, Riot Games, and others investing into the MMO scene, the genre could be seeing its first major renaissance since the early 2000s. Although WoW has held onto the MMO landscape with a vice grip for the better part of the last decade-plus, the future is likely to include space for breakthrough titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Lost Ark, and the yet-to-be-released untitled MMO from Riot Games—the latter of which Liquid has its eyes set upon firmly. 
“You have some of the major players in the game looking to invest and create in the MMO space and it’s a really cool thing,” Maximum said. “As far as Liquid, we’re very interested in that. I think it’s going to take some time to figure out exactly when we’ll get into these games. Specifically, with the Riot MMO, that is something that we’re really looking forward to.” 
Liquid expressed interest in expanding its influence in the MMO space when the organization acquired Limit’s roster earlier this year. The franchise confirmed that, at the very least, Final Fantasy XIV and the untitled Riot MMO remain high priorities for the team, who originally competed in Wildstar events before transitioning to WoW on a full-time basis in 2016. 
“When a new game comes out, we’re all in Discord playing that game and hanging out, and over time you play together and become very close,” Maximum said of his teammates. “But also, we have very similar interests. I also think it just comes from a good work environment because you don’t have to feel separated from these people after you’re done competing.”
For now though, WoW remains at the forefront for Liquid on the eve of their debut event under new management. The Sepulcher of the First Ones Race to World First event will begin tomorrow, March 8. Liquid will be featuring player-specific PoV livestreams of the event on its Twitch channel
© 2021 Dot Esports

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