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Posts with tag challenge-mode

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

WoW Challenger guides you through Challenge Modes

WoW Challenger contacted us a little while back to give us advance warning of their new site, which they were adding videos to and doing some work on, and we were impressed then, but man, now that they contacted us to say it's finished, we're really impressed now. Yes, challenge modes have existed for a while, but do you have all the golds? I know I don't, and many others are really just getting around to them now.

And that's where WoW Challenger comes in. First up, the thing I was most impressed with, is that they've got Gold Medal video for every single dungeon, in their tactics section, but also accompany that with a full written walk-through. What's more, a helpful gnome spends the entire video with you providing useful tips for dealing with trash, tricky pulls, you name it. They even provide maps with the best routes to maximize your speed through the dungeons.

But there's more to this great site than just video, they also have tips for gear, flasks, food and potions, professions, and extra items like the Restorative Amber item from the Klaxxi that is vital for casters, or Rod of Ambershaping, or the G91 Landshark. In all honesty, even if you're not interested in Challenge Modes, you should probably check this site out. You might learn something, I know I did!

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.4 PTR: Challenge Mode titles for fastest clear times

Patch 54 Challenge Mode titles!
In patch 5.4, Challenge Mode players who have already earned gold will have a strong reason to continue running them. Players who earn the fastest clear times in a Challenge Mode dungeon will receive a title specific to each dungeon. As long as players hold the record for the top time, the title will remain. A permanent Feat of Strength will also be earned upon reaching the fastest time.

However, there is a caveat: the Challenge Mode group must have at least 3 players from the same realm to earn the titles.
Patch 5.4 Challenge Mode notes
Players who obtain a realm-best time in a Challenge Mode dungeon (group must contain at least 3 people from the same realm to qualify) will receive a temporary title specific to each dungeon (e.g. Siegebreaker for Siege of Niuzao temple, Darkmaster for Scholomance, etc.). This title will persist for as long as a player retains the top time on the realm. Holding a realm-best time at any point will also confer a permanent Feat of Strength to record the accomplishment.


It's not enough to go for the gold anymore. How far will you go for the titles and Feats of Strength?

Filed under: News items

The most reassuring title to see on a player

The most reassuring title to see on a player
Whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to give other players the once-over whenever we zone into a Raid Finder or dungeon PUG, particularly if you've had a run of bad experiences while getting valor-capped for the week. A recent thread on the Tanking forums about the best title for a tank to sport is both a sideways acknowledgment of this and a question as to which title best suits your role in the game. For healers, one could argue that Undying or Immortal means you probably had job security for the length of Wrath, but that kind of ignores everyone else's responsibility to not screw up in Naxx. Possibly Herald of the Titans/Conqueror of Ulduar would have been the equivalent for DPS players, although a raid had to fire on all cylinders for those achievements too.

Before achievements were account-wide, and leaving aside obvious ringers like Light of Dawn/Bane of the Fallen King before Mists, I would have nominated Loremaster or Seeker as the most reassuring titles to see on a player regardless of gear quality. I can't say exactly what link exists between the persistence needed to get these titles and overall competence, but I have yet to see a Loremaster or Seeker player do something screw-the-pooch crazy in a PUG. These days, it's tougher to guarantee that a player sporting a title is doing so on the character that originally got it, so maybe The Undaunted is probably the single best outward indicator of competence.

Having written all this, I've also had the pleasure of knowing a world-class hunter who never bothered using titles, and we have to acknowledge that a generic, funny (e.g., "Chef Boyardee"), or absent title means nothing at all. But if you had to pick one that said, "I will not get you killed in this PUG," which would it be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Challenge mode whiz kids spill their strategies

Taking your challenge modes from gold medal range to world record status represents a whole different mindset and approach. We continue our two-part interview with two young players from Montreal, Canada, the US region realm champs Nerthfu and Bouleau, to explore their speed-demon strategies for challenge mode tanking and healing.

WoW Insider: Bouleau, what class and what qualities do you feel make the best healer for CMs?

Bouleau: Looking at the current worldwide leaderboards, I suppose most would be inclined to name the priest class, which I think is an accurate guess. Priests -- more specifically, discipline priests -- excel more than any other class at dealing damage reliably while healing, and this matters a great deal when pushing for times, both for gold ratings and beyond. And yet game balance always fluctuates over time, and I recently learned that Blizzard has Atonement under the radar. With 5.2 not out yet and class changes still being announced regularly, it's not impossible that we see a shift in favor of another class in a not-so-distant future.

For those that may be wondering why discipline is superior to holy (which doesn't mean holy isn't viable for gold times), here's my view. As a healer, you ideally want to achieve two things: Keep your group alive, and deal damage. It seems simple enough on paper, at least until you start improving your times beyond the gold milestones.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Nerthfu and Bouleau: Mauling the challenge mode record charts


That dude's a beast.

If ever you were to use the above phrase to refer to a fellow WoW player, these are the guys that should inspire it. Nerthfu and Bouleau of Haven (Lethon-US) have manhandled WoW's challenge modes into submission, setting scalding instance completion times across the board. As of this writing, the duo from Canada holds all but one American region record, with the rest mere seconds behind the EU's world records.

As you can well imagine, a conversation with such high-performance monsters plunges into the realm of the specific almost immediately. That's why we're dividing their perspectives into a two-part interview over the next two weeks. We'll look at both tanking and healing at warp speed and find out what kind of play it takes to defend the top spot on the charts week after week.

WoW Insider: How does one become addicted to speed on this level, guys? Are speed runs something you guys have always enjoyed doing in WoW, or did the addition of challenge modes mark a new way to play for you?

Nerthfu: As far as I can remember, I always loved running dungeons as fast as humanly possible in WoW, but it wasn't really organized or a goal but rather just my way of doing things. It started in vanilla WoW, where I would constantly get aggro on my rogue and had to use Feint and Vanish almost on cooldown to wipe my threat.

Then came Burning Crusade, and I switched to a fury warrior. That's where things started changing a lot. I started playing much more often with Bouleau and had even more issues than before with my threat -- so much in fact that I would end up always getting aggro off the tank and die in most heroic dungeons and raids. ... That was how most of our heroic dungeon went until we were so overgeared that Bouleau could heal just heal me while I was tanking entire packs of trash in heroic dungeons, and that's where we really started running dungeons as fast as we could, which most of the time meant four DPS and one healer.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

How to get a World Record Challenge Mode time

NSFW Warning: Some strong language.

Zyzzix of Touch of Hades posted this video on Youtube and on the Blizzard forums early this morning, which shows their group getting what was, sadly, a very short-lived world record time in the Siege of Niuzao Temple. It's filmed from the perspective of the tank, Maeby, of The Maelstrom, EU, and has some strong language in places, so do exercise caution.

The group held the record of 12 minutes 50 seconds for only a few hours, before a US guild on Stormreaver took it back across the Atlantic with a time of 12 minutes 21 seconds, but the video still makes entertaining watching for anyone with even a remote interest in Challenge Mode dungeons, and, of course, they still hold the European record.

The remarkable thing for me is how these guys manage to take on huge numbers of adds at the same time, under the penultimate boss's barrier, using the bombs to great effect to increase their DPS. The tactic employed for the mobs coming up the ramp to the wall was also interesting, concentrating the action on the middle platform rather than allowing them to get all the way to the top.

Altogether, a really fascinating video, and I'm hoping to see this team come back with another world record. One thing I did note is that, despite some strong language, the run seemed to flow very smoothly indeed. There were a few very minor hiccups, and it looks like they could potentially go faster!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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