Today we have a great interview with Sarahchan from the guild “Immersion.” They are currently ranked 31st in the world on wowprogress.com and 19th in the EU. They also recently gained some fame by getting the world first Glory of the Cataclysm Raider.

1. Who are you and what role do you fulfil within Immersion?

In real life I’m a PhD student in computing science, in-game I play a rogue named Sarahchan on EU-Auchindoun. I’m one of the two officers responsible for melee, also I’m one of the 2-3 raid leaders that we have.

2. How was Immersion formed and tell us a little about your conquests to date.

We formed just prior to Wrath of the Lich King as a merge between two guilds that have been around since day one pretty much (Stature of the Gods and Midnight Reveries, from EU-Al’Akir). Both guilds raided together for a short while to kill Muru and Kil’jaeden and for the merge we took the best raiders from both guilds. Since then I feel like we’ve never really had to carry anyone, and we’ve grown professionally as a guild.

I think we’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success if you take into account the fact that we (unlike many of the top guilds) don’t raid at ridiculous hours. We like to keep Fridays and Saturdays free. We don’t start at 1pm or continue till 4am. A lot of our raiders have jobs or other responsibilities during the day and we respect that. We do consider ourselves a hardcore guild in every other aspect however. Instead of raiding a lot we try to have efficient and focused raids, so no AFKing, fast pulls, etc.

That being said I do think there’s room for us to improve. Both in the current and previous tier we started out somewhat slow compared to other guilds, and then caught up in the end. In the last few tiers I think we’ve always ended up somewhere near the top 20-30 guilds in the world.

3. The WOW community has largely only just heard about you through your world first Glory of the Cataclysm Raider. How much does that world first mean to you and Immersion?

I think it has definitely put our name out there. All in all it is a considerable achievement and something that has done a lot for us. If you compare us with a guild such as Paragon then obviously they put a lot more hours and work into progressing and so they deserve all the glory and fame that they get. Unable to raid at those hours, I think it is nice that there are these achievements that allow other good guilds to get some recognition.

4. What sort of work did you have to put in to make it possible?

We’ve always been a guild that considers achievements an important part of PvE raiding. And so whenever we can do an achievement, we will. As for the current tier of achievements I think we were lucky on some, but on others we just went in blindly, not knowing whether the achievement was bugged or whether simply no one had tried it before. It was not until a few hours before getting the world first that we realized that it was in fact possible. It was always on the horizon but not a direct goal until the very last moment.

5. You completed the meta achievement with the “Keeping it in the Family” achievement. How challenging was this particular one and which other ones proved especially tough?

When we did the achievement, no one had done it in a 25 man raid. Some said it was “bugged,” since the achievement text stayed red throughout the fight. We knew that this was the only achievement that Method was lacking, and we believe that they were trying it some nights in the week previous, but did not get it (although that might have been a rumour.) Since two guilds had done it on 10 man, we knew it was possible, but we didn’t want to cheese our way in like that. For the Nefarian fight we went in hoping that we could find some way or some tactic that hadn’t been tried before.

We noticed that the achievement text stayed red every time we brought Nefarian down to below 50% in the air. I think within a few pulls the key realisation came from Avely, one of the officers, who suggested that Nefarian would always come down after taking a certain amount of damage in the air, and that the challenge was in getting him low enough before he went up. So we tried that, it worked, and the rest is history. Fairly simple? Yes but the fact remains that no one thought of it before.

Two other notable achievements I think were the one from Cho’gall, and the one from Conclave in Throne of the Four Winds.

6. What do you make of the difficulty of the first tier of raids in Cataclysm compared to WOTLK?

That’s a tough one. I think people’s tendencies are to compare this first tier in Cataclysm to the last tier in WotLK, since it’s most recent, but that’s not really fair. If you compare it to the first tier in WotLK, Naxxramas and such, then it is definitely a step up in difficulty, especially the hard modes were challenging for a first tier I think.

I think the perceived difficulty from our point of view is partly because we lacked proper setups to deal with certain hard modes early on, i.e. where Blizzard unintentionally required some class stacking, and I feel that our current ranking could be higher if we had proper setups back then. I guess this goes for most other guilds as well, but we had a fairly heavy melee setup coming out of WotLK, and so the first weeks of progress weren’t optimal.

7. Where do you see the guild in the future? Will you be competing for further world firsts?

We took some time to analyze our progress in the first weeks, to see where we could have gained days if we had proper setups. We believe that top 20 world is possible for our guild, without changing our raiding schedule.

So that is the goal, and we’ve definitely learned from this tier. We’re going into the next tier with a full roster of raiders that we feel confident about so that we perform optimally early on as well.

8. What makes Immersion stand out from the thousands of guilds in WoW’s competitive raiding scene?

We want to be one of the top guilds out there without raiding at ridiculous hours. So with 5 days of 5 hours per day of raiding per week we will be competing although perhaps not for world first kills. But we compete in other ways, we progress fast and efficiently, there isn’t a boss where you won’t find us on WoL top records, and we figure out achievements before anyone else does.

So to any raider out there that wants to raid at the hardcore level of perfection, but has a daytime job for example, they should definitely look at our open recruitment.

9. What do you look for in potential recruits and what makes an application stand out?

There are a number of things and I don’t think that something is always necessarily good or bad. It’s about context, and it’s about the guild matching the player as much as the player matching the guild. Also when we see a good application, we always ask them for a chat on Vent before making any decision.

But to give some examples, if someone mentions killing muru pre pre nerf, that gets our attention. On the other hand if someone recently raided at the highest level (top 50 world), then that is good as well.

I think loyalty is important, you have people that stick with a guild until it dies, and you have people that keep changing guilds. Not saying that the latter is bad, some people are more competitive and keep changing guilds until they reach a level where they’re comfortable.

I think one of the most useful properties is being proactive, doing stuff without being told to because it “goes without saying.” That goes from optimal gemming/enchants/professions to figuring out the best way for your class to DPS on an encounter (without risking anything,) or making sure that that debuff is always applied. Preferring raid DPS over own DPS. Preferring guild progress over loot.

But in all fairness, I don’t think that we can derive any of these properties from an application, that comes later. For an application, what matters is when we combine armory, raiding experience and recent WoLs. These together should be enough for us to go, “Wow, we should get this guy/girl in asap.”

Thanks a lot for the interview Sarahchan and we look forward to watching Immersion progress through Firelands.