Editor's note: M Alexander also contributed to this report.
There are a few of us here on MMORPG that sit down and relentlessly hammer the same drum about Guild Wars 2 having one of the best communities in gaming but today we are going to try to show you why. For many of you in Tyria, you’ve heard of MightyTeapot. This British based streamer pops up on Twitch TV most evenings clad in his dressing gown and churns out hours of spicy memes, clown fiestas, and genuinely insightful views on the game he loves. Now this limey and his supporters have captured the communities imagination with a competition called ERP 3. If you haven’t seen the trailer to this then check it our below while we get settled with a cuppa and talk to the face of the ERP himself Mr. MightyTeapot.
MMORPG: What is the ERP?
TEAPOT: So the E R P stands for the Elitist Raiding Party which is, as you can probably tell by the name, a bit of a tongue in cheek affair for the raid scene in Guild Wars 2. It boils down to being a speedrunning competition for raids in Guild Wars 2. In E R P teams are gonna go head to head with a special ruleset and see who can beat these bosses and get to the end before the other guy.
MMORPG: This is not the first Elitist Raiding Party event that you have run. So, firstly why start running Elitist Raiding Party competitions and how do you manage to get the third one?
TEAPOT I'd say so the other for the first ERP started a few years back and I was talking to Brazil. I'm sure some of the readers will know Brazil. We were talking about some ideas for some shows we could put on and I just said let's do a raid tournament. He'd reply to me something along the lines of “I think that you know I think you're probably one of the only guys who could actually pull this off”
From there, we started planning this and developing that and we just it went from there. The motivation was because it raiding had exploded onto the Guild Wars 2 scene it was really big at the time. As Heart of Thorns came out people were really excited about it. Despite that, there wasn't any kind of official competition for it. You had people doing speed runs, obviously, boss kills and developing new strategies but there was never this big headline event that would bring people together and showcase what we've got.
That's how ERP was born and then since then, it's just been iterating upon that initial idea, improving it in every way imaginable, and trying to take it to the next level. A big part of a well doing it again because it was very well received the first time around and even better the second. I hope to build on that and take it even further to the absolute limit.
MMORPG: With this being the third ERP, what kind of challenges have you had putting together the event and has it gotten easier as you’ve repeated it?
TEAPOT: So the really big challenge is just kind of wrangling together over all the players necessary, right. Guild Wars 2’s raiding scene is one of the smaller scenes and has been somewhat declining over the years, in some part due to lack of support from ArenaNet. But you know, the big challenges are just a lot of the background work that goes into it. For example, the trailer that was done for ERP 3 was a hell of a lot of effort.
There's a lot of work that you have you might not expect. You know I've got there's a lot of programming that goes into developing the overlay, making the overlay perform smoothly, while there's a lot of coordination with artists even getting some music done this time around. The biggest challenge. What was the biggest challenge? Let me think about that.
MMORPG: I mean it was bit budget (Virgin) media (Internet) wasn't it?
TEAPOT: Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. You're absolutely right. The first ERP was a bit of a clown fiesta. Quite a lot of dropped frames there I'm afraid but hopefully, fingers crossed, maybe not this time. That will be certainly a pleasant surprise.
MMORPG: Is that something you've had to learn from those challenges in the past couple and then have solutions in place for them occurring?
TEAPOT: Well well it's funny you say that because there is. One of the reasons why my internet kind of suffered first time around is because I'm basically watching a lot of streams at the same time for the ERP. One ERP I was observing the raid I would have the team stream, I would have the participants simply have their stream up and then I rehosted their stream on my stream both at the same time right and then I actually implemented multiple points of views. At any given time I had six streams loaded up and it was absolutely tanking my internet connection. With ERP 3 I went in a different and interesting direction. This time we are using a brand new approach which should alleviate the strain from high my humble connection. I have some extra pieces setup and I'm going to be using capture cards to just get a direct feed from two observers in the parties.
So we now have an administrator in each team and they will be using a third-party program to basically disconnect the camera from their character and then, just like in PvP, you can just fly around and look at things that's gonna be happening but in a raid context and this allows me to not be watching a lot of streams so my internet can remain intact and we can deliver a vastly superior spectacle to our viewers as well. It's a win-win right there!
In the end, I really hope to deliver a professional graded event. I have I am fully reworking all of the technology all of the overlay all of that sort of thing for the stream and I'm really hoping to take the production to a professional grade event right to compete with the likes of well a Starcraft 2 tournament called Home Story Cup, one of the things that inspired the ERP.
MMORPG: So from your point of view what's the motivation for you, your community, and for the wider community to turn up for the ERP?
TEAPOT: So there is some stuff I can say. One of the really big motivators is just entertaining my viewers. I really just love streaming. I love giving something to get excited about. You have a bit of fun. It can be funny right. It can even be heartbreaking you. It's the tragic wipes and the epic wins in the tournament’s own right that makes it thrilling
I think it lets the community come together around because raiding can, especially in the hardcore community, be underappreciated. I think when an outside person who doesn't play Guild Wars 2 thinks about Guild Wars 2 they don't think that it even has the hardcore scene but it's absolutely there and there are some fantastic players. There's definitely a lot worth showing here. There was a comment on the trailer on the MMORPG subreddit it and it just said “wow is the game really this epic?”.
I just don't think that the high end of Guild Wars 2 is appreciated, and not only within our community but certainly from an outside perspective as well, so that's definitely a big motivator. Contrary to what some people think, I really do love this game and ERP 3 is my way of giving back to the game and the community. It's absolutely my gift to Guild Wars 2. I want to express my love for the game in this medium and show the community what we have and maybe even reach a few people outside of it as well.
MMORPG: Do you think that this perception of raiding is down to the focus of ArenaNet?
TEAPOT: Oh yeah oh. Oh yeah. Oh yeah for sure. I think ArenaNet don't typically focus on the more hardcore aspects of the game, PvP and raids in particular.
ArenaNet is typically focused on story content and I suppose kind of the role-play aspects of the game as well. From designing your perfect character to your impact on the world and I think perhaps ArenaNet does not market raids as much as they could. It's sad to me because the actual gameplay in this game for those two modes, PvP and World vs World, in particular, are industry-leading. The combat system is absolutely fantastic and the World vs World, again, is a very it's a fun game mode. From just going in for a bit of fun with your mates to, you could also play hardcore as well. There's a lot of customization, a lot of room for different ideas and these modes are absolutely cutting edge in my opinion. Even if the game was released now a lot of them, mechanically speaking, are still ahead of the curve.
MMORPG: What are you looking forward to with ERP 3 Any particular in particular reads teams or events you've got running in that you're particularly tantalized for and what about this ruleset is going to make it stand out?
TEAPOT: Yeah this is why there are a lot of reasons why ERP 3, in my opinion, is gonna be the best one by a long way. At the core of that is the rules and ERP 3 has probably the most brutal uncompromising ruleset that I've come up with so far. There's a mechanic in Guild Wars 2 called the downstate as I'm sure a lot of us are aware of and that is not allowed this time around. It makes the raids a lot harder. If anyone doubts are on that please I encourage you to have a go on any raid yourself.
As soon as a player reaches zero health and enter the downside. They must G.G. by typing slashed G.G. and fully die in the raids. This makes this ERP far far harder. It's also a nine-man run this time, removing a member, as well because of the administrator that I have in the squad. Despite this, I wanted to make the squads as free to play how they want and reduce the limitations as much as possible so the only limitation is that nine-man limit and the no downstate ruleset. Other than that everything is as normal except for one very important thing. All challenged motes in wings four, five, six, and seven are all enabled so every hard mode boss is on you. I wasn't gonna let them get away without that!
What are some things I'm most excited for? Well well well well I'll tell you what I'm excited for. There is a legendary encounter in Guild Wars 2. I even have a twitch emote on my channel dedicated that it is of course Dhuum. That this is an encounter that has never featured in the ERP before. The ERP has never had Dhumm CM enabled and it is feared throughout the raid scene. A very small amount of players in the game have legitimately beaten this encounter and these teams are going to have to tackle it not only with a player down but also so without the safety net of the downstate. I am really excited to see how that pans out On a broader spectrum, every single team, in my opinion, is highly competitive highly skilled and they are all going to deliver amazing matches every single time. And that is why the ERP 3 will be the event in Guild Wars 2 to watch.
MMORPG: Are there any returning teams this year or is it a completely new set of kind of players this time around.
TEAPOT: So the play so the guild names are different but a lot of the players kind of shuffle around. That's how it tends to go in the Guild Wars 2 raid scene. If you were to look in the squad and mouse over the account names you're gonna have a fair few familiar faces shall we say? So Snowify, you might think that's a bit of a bit a weird name but it is actually a combination of the very famous Snow Crows and perhaps the equally famous Quantify as well some massive names in the raid scene of course. Lucky Noob, they played in the first Elitist Raiding Party, not the 2nd, and now they're back for blood. I've heard some very exciting things about their practice schedule. They are going big on this one.
MMORPG: So, we need to talk about those spicy spicy prizes.
TEAPOT: Yeah though I suppose I ought to have mentioned this is why I'm excited! The prize pool for the ERP has always been pretty decent but now that this is how we know what we're getting serious. We're not messing around this time thanks to the community and their support for this has absolutely blown me away. I've just got to say that I am so so grateful to the community for this. We have not only been able to obtain 180000 gold, and climbing, but I’ve got some gem codes from myself and other ArenaNet partners.
We also have 36,000 gems but I think the big surprise is that we've taken this to real money this time. I am very very proud and very very grateful to the community for the $3200 we have right now for the participants in the Elitist Raiding Party first and second place.
MMORPG: Where can anyone who's not heard of ERP go to find out about it?
TEAPOT: So the best place to find out about the Elitist Raiding Party is probably the Matcherino page which is https://matcherino.com/t/erp .
You also can simply come to my stream which is https://www.twitch.tv/mightyteapot I’m happy to answer all the questions.
MMORPG: When and where can we watch the event go down?
TEAPOT: So, the elitists raiding party 3 is going to be live on my twitch channel on the 24th and 25th of August at 4 pm B S T which is 5 p.m. in Europe.
From a fun time thrashing around in Spirit Vale, this raiding lark has managed to grow into a serious cash prize competition and all through the effort of the Guild Wars 2 community. We don’t know where it will lead in the end but it is clear that the team behind this hope that ArenaNet sits up and take notice, and bring competitive raiding a level of prominence that reflects the community’s enthusiasm.