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WoW Archivist: Strat 45 -- the original challenge mode

The streets of Stratholme
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Mists of Pandaria will introduce a new feature to WoW called challenge modes. Challenge modes are timed heroic dungeon runs offering rewards based on how fast you complete them.

What newer players may not know is that vanilla WoW also had a timed dungeon run. It was known as the 45-minute Baron, Strat 45, or sometimes simply Baron run. This "challenge mode" was actually just a quest (called Dead Man's Plea) to engage Baron Rivendare within 45 minutes and then kill him, or he would execute his prisoner and you'd fail. Why 45 minutes? That's just how Rivendare rolls.

The timed run was perhaps the most infamous step in the quest line to upgrade vanilla's rare-quality Dungeon 1 set into a mix of upgraded rares and epics known as Dungeon 2 or "tier 0.5." The quest line was added in patch 1.10, but it was removed entirely with Cataclysm's Shattering.

Because it was a part of that quest line (occurring roughly a third of the way into it), everyone wanted to complete a successful Strat 45 run. Trade chat in cities was full of "LFM 45Baron must know pulls!" However, very few PUGs in that era ever finished the run on time. It really was that difficult.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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