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Posts with tag challenge-mode

Challenge modes 101: The beginning, the middle, and the end

This is the sixth in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

Challenge modes can't be queued for like normal or heroic dungeons; you must travel to the instances and start them yourself (at least until you start getting golds and can teleport to them). Doing so will illuminate why so few people enjoyed having to do this in the age before the Dungeon Finder.

Right-click your character portrait, scroll down to instance difficulty, and click the Challenge Mode option. The instance portal will change to the hourglass graphic above. Enter and you'll find the path forward blocked by a yellow mist with a sundial in front and a list of the dungeon's requirements on your right. Clicking the sundial will give you the option to start the challenge. Once you accept, you'll get a countdown from 5, and then you're off to the races. Be sure to pre-pot!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge modes 101: Ranking the dungeons by difficulty

This is the fifth in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

There's no universal agreement on which dungeon is the easiest or most difficult; groups with different CC and cooldown options don't experience dungeons in the same way. However, there's some consensus on which dungeons demand the most effort:
  • Easy: Gate, Scholomance, and Scarlet Halls
  • Intermediate: Temple, Shado-Pan Monastery, and Scarlet Monastery
  • Hard: Mogu'Shan, Siege, and Stormstout
I prefer to classify them somewhat differently.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge modes 101: Pull McNasty

This is the fourth in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

Pull McNasty (noun: 'púl mik-'NAS-tē): The worst and most difficult pull in a challenge mode dungeon, and most common point of failure for a group attempting to beat the gold timer.

Learning how to survive "Pull McNasty" is an essential challenge mode skill. Once your group knows how to coordinate its cooldowns, stuns, and interrupts, each successive McNasty will simply be a matter of tailoring that rotation to each dungeon's context so you're not pulling faster than your cooldown timers can support.

I've assembled a list of the various Pull McNasties past the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge modes 101: Farming invis pots and how to use them

This is the third in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

For non-mages and groups without access to the rogue's Shroud of Concealment, plan on using a lot of Invisibility Potions for challenge modes. If you're not on a big server, the odds of finding them on the auction house are low, but farming them in quantity is easy. Ghost Mushrooms grow and respawn very quickly in the Fungal Rock cave in northeastern Un'Goro, and you can get more Sungrass than you'll ever use with a few circuits around the edge of Thousand Needles. Get a potion-specced alchemist to make the pots for you.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge modes 101: Shopping list


This is the second in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

Gear in challenge modes is scaled down to ilevel 463, so it's crucial to bring buffs to maximize your group's performance. You will need:
  • Extra helm if needed Legendary meta gems do not work in CMs. If your regular helm has one equipped, pick up an ilevel 463+ helm somewhere and equip it with an ordinary meta gem.
  • Restorative Amber Healers may find this useful as it will regenerate mana substantially faster than ordinary drinking. On the down side, it requires honored with the Klaxxi to buy and it's expensive. I don't use it while healing, but many do.
  • Invisibility Potions: Plan on using one of these in every dungeon with the exception of Gate, Stormstout, and possibly Mogu'shan and Siege. Rogues can eliminate the group's need for these altogether with Shroud of Concealment. Mages can use Invisibility instead and continue to use their potion cooldowns for DPS. You can also use Lesser Invisibility Potions, but I find the 18-second version easier to farm. We'll talk more about these tomorrow.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge modes 101: Finding a group before it's too late

This is the first in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

Because challenge modes for Mists of Pandaria dungeons are set to disappear in the Warlords of Draenor content patch, I thought it might be helpful to run a series on how to get your golds squared away before that happens.

I would advise everyone to read Adam Koebel's article from January on getting started with challenge modes. I won't repeat the excellent advice given there, but will try to expand on it for the benefit of players who are trying to get all 9 golds done quickly. Take heart: My character is living proof that no one is too dumb or incompetent to do these things.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard clarifies Challenge Mode Realm Best titles [Updated]

Challenge Mode Entrance
Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to the official forums to provide more clarity on the removal of Realm Best Challenge mode titles. As ever, you can read the full post after the break, but in summary, if you're really unhappy about the removal of the titles, it's not good news.

Watcher explains the various options they considered, giving a title to everyone who'd ever been realm first, which was dismissed as too problematic for the next season. He also explains how leaving the titles with those who held them at the end of the season would not work because if those players changed servers they'd lose the server-tied titles. Response has been largely dissatisfied.

It seems to me, and I may be wrong, I am not a WoW dev after all, that it would not be so huge a feat to create a new title for those players at the top of the ranks at the season end. Challenge Modes have been compared to arenas before, and this could work exactly the same. A title like "Mystical Challenger [Name]" could be applied in the week following the end of the season, attached to the character not the server, just like they do for arena Rank One. And just like arena, players would have to vy for those realm-best top spots right up to the last weeks. The Arena comparison makes a lot of sense to me, so let's keep it going.

Hit the break for the full post, and an update posted after time of writing!

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Filed under: News items

Challenge mode rewards clarified for "end of season"

Challenge Mode Entrance
Blizzard has posted a blog detailing changes to the proposed "end-of-season" challenge mode rewards. They had previously posted a rather firm policy, detailing how this season's rewards would remain limited to those who'd previously earned them, and not be account wide. However, it seems they've changed their mind. Hit the break for the full post, as ever, but let's summarise the key points here:
  • The "Undaunted" title for all bronze medals will be account wide, so useable on any character.
  • The Pandaren Phoenix mounts earned with a full set of Silver medals will become account-wide.
  • If any character on your account has a full set of Silver medals, all four of the Pandaren Phoenixes (Crimson, Ashen, Violet, and Emerald) will become available to all characters.
  • Cosmetic sets will not be account wide. If you have all nine Gold medals, you can still buy the sets after the season ends on the character that earned the medals.
  • The "Challenger's Path" spells will be retained.
  • Realm Best titles will be permanently removed.
Hit the break for the full post.

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Filed under: News items

Current Challenge Modes to become Feats of Strength

Challenge Mode Entrance
WoW Insider posted recently about Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas' tweet regarding Challenge Modes, and now an official Blizzard Blog has surfaced regarding the fate of the current Challenge Mode dungeons.
  • The current challenge modes will no longer be available come Warlords pre-patch, when the item squish, stat squish and other changes also appear, rendering the scaling invalid.
  • The achievements awarded by the current challenge modes will become Feats of Strength
  • The current reward items will remain available for those who qualified prior to the end of the season -- which is when the pre-patch launches
  • After the pre-patch launches, new players will not be able to earn the Mists challenge mode achievements.
  • New Challenge Modes are coming with Warlords.
If you want the transmog gear, or the title, or the mount, you'll need to hurry up and get started on Challenge Modes! WoW Insider also has some class-specific guides and further information to aid you in your quest for glory.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Challenge Modes coming, with new rewards

Challenge Mode Entrance
Lovers of Challenge Mode dungeons may have been feeling a little uneasy with all the talk of how 5-mans are going to be a bigger part of WoW again in Warlords of Draenor. Simply because the popular opinion seems to be that Challenge Modes weren't a great replacement for difficult heroic mode dungeons. But fear not, Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas' tweet will put your fears to bed:


Along with the greater frequency of 5-mans, we'll be seeing new Challenge Modes appear too, and they'll feature new rewards. I'm wondering what the rewards will be -- were the transmog sets and a little Valor enough for players to feel motivated to do Challenge Modes? Or should there be additional rewards for the most tricky of difficulties? Too much good stuff and they become "mandatory", too little and the proposed harder heroics will replace them.

We will have to wait and see what happens to the Mists Challenge Modes. Personally I hope they're scaled up to max level, or altered to reward big chunks of XP, or they will be abandoned forever. Bumped up to level 100, with new gear scaling added, they could continue to be enduring content for Warlords.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Arcane Brilliance: Challenge mode tips for mages part 2


Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

This is part two of three challenge mode tips for mages articles. Click here to go back and read part one.

This week we're going to look at getting your gear ready to dive into challenge modes! First, a few loose ends. I neglected to mention another reward for finishing gold CMs: Challenger's Path. This is a teleport on an 8 hour cooldown that will take you straight to the entrance of a CM you achieved a gold rating in! Once you complete any CM, the teleport cooldown resets. They're very handy for getting around Pandaria.

Some mages left comments about doing gold CMs as arcane. That's great! If you have any CM-specific arcane questions, I'm sure they'd be happy to share some of their strategy in the comments this week. I'll still be assuming you are probably frost. Frost is the most accessible and easiest option for the average mage, but I didn't say it couldn't be done by another spec. The reason for this is that frost scales better than the other two specs at lower item levels. It will perform well for you and can put out some serious AoE damage. Most mages doing CMs use it.

Finally, Adam Koebel posted an introductory challenge mode guide this week. It also includes links to recommended strat videos. HamletEJ's were the ones I used.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Getting started with challenge mode dungeons

Challenge Mode Entrance
Looking for something else to do during the downtime between expansions? Why not give challenge modes a whirl? Challenge mode dungeons are more than heroic dungeons with a timer attached. Enemies have more health, they hit harder, and mechanics can not be ignored. If you are interested in challenging small group content, there is nothing better. On the surface they may seem a bit daunting, but who said you have to go for realm records on your first go at them? There's nothing wrong with just going for a bronze or silver medal your first time out.

You're not decked out heroic warforged gear, you say? No problem. As long as your items are ilvl463 or higher you won't be hindering yourself that much. All items are scaled to this level in challenge mode, and things such as the legendary cloak procs are disabled. There are ways to optimize your gear, which I'll touch on briefly, but the goal of challenge mode is to put everyone on equal footing. Teamwork and improving your personal performance is the name of the game. There's no cost to running them outside of consumables because you will take no durability damage inside. Running them with your friends or in a PUG are both viable options, and if you approach them with the right attitude you are going to have a lot of fun.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: Challenge mode tips for mages part 1

A group of characters wearing challenge mode gear, from left to right: draenei shaman, human paladin, draenei mage, pandaren shaman, draenei death knight
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Stacey Landry is the resident mage here, bender of space and time, conjurer of delicious confectioneries and expert at dressing well while setting things on fire.

Happy new year! Welcome to 2014. This week I'm going to talk about something we haven't looked at yet: challenge modes. Every column I've posted, someone has asked about or remarked on my current transmog. (Thank you for that. It warms my heart that you're also fashion-conscious). I'll admit, I haven't been able to change my transmog since I got the CM one. It's such a perfect combination of unique, exclusive, and also it's a credential. It says, "Trust me, I know what I'm doing here."

But the best thing about it is that you don't need a raid group to get it. Why would you want to do challenge modes as a mage? Read on to find out.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Scattered Shots: Challenge mode tips for hunters

Hunter in Challenge Mode Armor
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to succeed as a hunter in Mists of Pandaria challenge mode dungeons.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like challenge mode dungeons are the most underutilized new feature in Mists of Pandaria. It's something I didn't even touch for the first year of the expansion until I started to run out of other things to do. Cosmetic rewards don't get everyone excited, and I think some people are intimidated by them. Getting all gold medals is definitely a challenge, but you don't have to strive for that on your first run at them. Silver medals should be doable by any organized group, and bronze medals have a long enough time limit to be completed in a decent pickup group.

Gear optimization can help somewhat, but ultimately challenge modes are about skill and efficiency. There's still room for mistakes – even for a gold medal – but your group will be relying on you to maximize your DPS, crowd control, and interrupts. Hunters can be strong in challenge mode dungeons and any group will welcome a competent one with open arms. If you have the class aptitude to complete the gold medal in the proving grounds, you are ready to go for the gold in challenge modes.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Restoration between now and Warlords of Draenor

Panda in Outland
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem talk for the shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and InternetDragons.TV), shows you how.

Well, I don't know about you but I'm still very excited about the announcement of Warlords of Draenor. I mean, it was honestly the big news from BlizzCon 2013 and the feeling is still quite electric from almost everyone in regards to it. For some, The Burning Crusade and going to Outlands was one of the greatest things to ever happen in the World of Wacraft. For restoration shaman in particular, BC was that point in time where everything was awesome and shaman were the top of the food chain for healing.

This week though, I'm not here to talk about the glory days of shaman healing. No, that will be an article for another week. This week I wanted to talk about the time between now and the next expansion. It is always a topic to think about what to do in that time where you're waiting for the next expansion to even enter beta phase. The good news is Mists of Pandaria offers so many more options than any other expansion before. I thought I would share how I'm spending my time between now and Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

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