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Posts with tag challenge-modes

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

Is your guild bank going dry?

Is your guild bank going dry
I raid with an extremely generous 25-man raiding guild that is chugging along quite nicely through the Siege of Orgrimmar. They are kind enough to provide not only guild repairs, but potions, flasks, and feasts -- now noodle carts -- as well. The guild is pretty good about keeping everything managed, and raiders do a pretty good job about keeping the guild bank filled with materials for all the stuff that the guild supplies on a typical guild run.

But we've had a problem recently that picked up in patch 5.4. Someone mentioned that the guild bank wasn't making quite as much gold as it used to, and player repairs are bleeding the guild bank of gold almost faster than it can be put in. This seemed odd to me at the time, but I re-doubled my efforts to continue sticking herbs, gems, and whatever other useful items I came across into the guild bank, figuring it would all balance itself out. It turns out, however, that we aren't alone with our weird little problem.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Economy

Check your scaling for Challenge Modes and Proving Grounds with Wowhead

Check your scaling for Challenge Modes and Proving Grounds with Wowhead
Challenge modes have been in the game for some time now, but patch 5.4 added another type of content where gear is scaled down, and that's proving grounds. Proving grounds, unlike challenge modes, are already being used to gauge the quality of players, with groups asking for certain ranks or achievements in order to join them. So how best do you arm yourself for this content? Gear scaling is certainly one hurdle to overcome, and it's a tricky one, as it's not easy for the average player to work out just how their stats are going to be scaled with the reduction to ilvl 463. And you can't always carry every potentially viable piece of gear with you to the Temple of the White Tiger to see what works.

And that's where Wowhead's gear scaling checkbox comes into play. While it's far from perfect, it's certainly helpful. As you can see above, we're looking at a tank trinket that drops off Garrosh. It's not ilvl 463. In fact it's ilvl 553, in this example at least, but by checking the "Challenge Mode" box, it's downscaled to 463, as it would be in-game. You can see what works, what the numbers will be, what the procs will look like and so on. Go forth and prove yourself!

Filed under: News items

Weekly news roundup with Panser of TradeChat

Panser of TradeChat is back with another WoW Insider Weekly news recap, highlighting the biggest moments from last week's news in one place. Big news? How about that Warcraft movie and all the details released over the past week? Today's topics include:
If you like the show, make sure to subscribe to TradeChat, leave comments, and tune in next week for a new episode!


Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: Have you earned your Challenge Mode medals?

Breakfast Topic Have you earned your Challenge Mode medals
Tackling the insane pace of Challenge Modes and checking off those gold medals has gotten easier with the launch of WoW Challenger, a resource for all things Challenge Mode. If you've been putting off this test of skill, now's a great time to take a deep breath and give it a whirl. Maybe you won't end up challenging WoW's slickest speed demons in a race to the finish, but it's a pretty fun way to test your PvE mettle.

Have you earned your Challenge Mode medals?
All gold, baby!379 (7.0%)
All medals, but not all gold92 (1.7%)
Some medals605 (11.2%)
Haven't tried yet3160 (58.6%)
Not my thing, thanks1159 (21.5%)


Do you find the idea of racing through an instance at top speed thrilling -– or does it sound intimidating? Have you bitten off this personal WoW challenge yet?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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 news roundup

Patch 54 PTR news roundup
Patch 5.4 has hit the PTR and a flurry of information regarding the latest patch has already been released. Featuring a new raid, patch 5.4 will also include a variety of new features that are quickly shaping up to be game-changers. Curious about all the new stuff? Take a look at our coverage for more information on patch 5.4 and the upcoming content.
Stay tuned for more patch 5.4 information, and keep your eyes peeled for the PTR.


Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Gear is good. Gear works.

Gear is good Gear works
I initially had the intention of refuting Adam's dissertation on why we don't need gear in World of Warcraft with the same length and exhaustive detail he himself used. But I don't think that's the proper course here. By now, many of you will have commented in similar fashion. Instead, I'll go for simplicity and list some reasons why WoW should keep gear.
  1. Gear provides a means to tune content for consumption. Right now, dungeons, raids, scenarios and even leveling content is tunable along many aspects of gameplay, including whether or not it's intended for groups or to be soloable, whether or not it's for certain size of groups, whether a healer is intended, and what level of offensive power/healing/tanking ability is permitted by gear. Removing gear from the game means content loses a slider, giving the developers less options.
  2. Demanding that all content difficulty be based purely on skill is unnecessarily restrictive to players. Quite frankly, letting groups outgear content is good for the game. It allows groups that couldn't quite get an encounter down for whatever reason to come back later with better gear and try again. It lets groups go down a raid tier and have fun blasting through previously difficult content, or lets players shine in dungeons or scenarios that were once grueling. It even allows players to go back an expansion or two and have fun soloing what once took entire raids to complete.
  3. MMO's that eschew gear work best when designed from the start in this manner, and even then they often use things that are gear in all but name. A game that uses enhancements to modify powers, for instance, is just using gear by a different name.
So let's talk more about why gear is in fact good and shouldn't go anywhere after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion 'Watcher' Hazzikostas
The slew of developer interviews continues! Wowhead guru Perculia interviewed Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas earlier this week, quizzing him about all things patch 5.2. Included in the discussion was the Ra'den encounter, which is not only hidden behind a heroic kill of the final boss of the raid, but also features limited attempts. Also included were plenty of questions about Tier 14 content and how the developers felt it worked out, as well as the question of just what kinds of progression paths are in store for raiders that have yet to complete Tier 14 content.

Perhaps most interesting to me, however, was a discussion regarding Challenge Modes and the lack of new 5-man content. So far we're at the second patch for Mists of Pandaria, and while we've gotten plenty of scenarios, we have yet to see any new dungeons added to the game. While Hazzikostas stated that no details were set in stone as of yet, there were plenty of dungeons that Blizzard has done in the past that would be fun to revisit.

The idea of suddenly making old dungeons relevant to players is honestly something I think could be really fun. There have been plenty of dungeons over the years that I've completely fallen in love with -- but as the game wends on and new expansions are launched, there's little reason to visit any of those prior dungeons. And while transmogrification usually leads me back, the dungeons themselves are easily soloed at this point in the game. What would it look like if the dungeons of old were suddenly a challenge all over again?

Check out Wowhead for more from Hazzikostas, including discussion on Feats of Strength, legendary weapons, those intriguing new Thunderforged items and much more.

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

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

Does Mists of Pandaria need new heroic five-man content?

Does Mists of Pandaria need new heroic fiveman content
While recording the WoW Insider Show this week, my two co-hosts Anne Stickney and Olivia Grace were discussing heroic five man dungeons and made the interesting point that, while Cataclysm used new heroics to help people catch up in gearing as new raid tiers were released, the advent of the Raid Finder might mean that it isn't necessary anymore. If you're running LFR as your primary way to see/experience raid content, then you'd simply run previous LFR's in order to gear up and collect valor points for the various reputation vendors. This would allow you to get geared enough for further LFR as new raid tiers are released, and keeps the previous LFR's relevant. If you're running the current 10 or 25 man raids, you can use the LFR's for those raids to bootstrap yourself appropriately if you're not already geared well enough from the previous tier of raiding.

Either way, you don't need new heroic dungeons for the task - between daily quests, scenarios and LFR, the Cataclysm model which placed new five mans in patch 4.1 and 4.3 might no longer be necessary. Challenge modes keep the heroics that launched with Mists of Pandaria evergreen, since you can't outgear them, but is that enough for fans of five mans? While both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm introduced post-launch dungeons, Burning Crusade really only introduced Magister's Terrace in its last content patch. This makes me wonder if we really need any new five mans, and if we do, what would/should they be?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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