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Posts with tag challenge-modes

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

Challenge Modes could be coming to older dungeons

Challenge Mode could be coming to older dungeons
Blizzard Community Manager Draztal posted on the forums today in response to a topic created about Challenge Modes.

Draztal
Quote:

Will you guys ever consider adding more CMs, perhaps old dungeons like Ragefire Chasm/Wailing Caverns?.

Actually, the developers would like to add Challenge Modes to existing dungeons from previous expansions. No timelines or anything, though, but it's definitely something they're considering.


This seems like a really exciting proposition, and the question is, what dungeons would be the best ones to redo? We discussed this at WoW Insider, very briefly, and one suggestion was Upper Blackrock Spire and Lower Blackrock Spire. My preference would likely not be anything that took place in Blackrock Mountain, just because it seems like such a samey place, but what do you all think, dear readers?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

How to survive at the Battle.net World Championship

How to survive at the Battlenet World Championship
This weekend, some of the most competitive PvP and PvE players in the World of Warcraft (alongside players from Starcraft 2) will be engaging in the Battle.net World Championship. The event, taking place at the Shanghai Expo-Mart in Shanghai, China, is the largest competitive event focused specifically at Blizzard's games. So, in case you're wondering what's going on, where the live streams are, and how to find the events you're interested in seeing, Blizzard has you covered with this extensive survival guide to the event.

Our old friend Zarhym breaks it all down for you. With links to profiles of the players, a schedule of events and everything else you'd need to find the events you're interested in, this guide should help you find the challenge mode, arena, or live raid you want to watch. The event lasts from November 17th to the 18th.

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: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Challenge Mode Armor: Special effect videos

We've all been keeping a close eye on Challenge Modes, but we've said very little about the rewards. Challenge Modes don't offer any real upgrades in the stat department. It would be a tad counterintuitive if they did, given that the whole idea behind Challenge Modes is a level playing field, and your stats are scaled down accordingly.

Challenge modes do, however, award gear that is used purely for transmogrification. The original models were released a while back, with static models, but now Blizzard has posted videos of animated shorts of each challenge mode set, and add the following on their official YouTube channel:
These gear sets behave like nothing before, activating and reacting to their wearer's combat actions.
And they really do! Some are better than others, of course, and this is purely subjective, but I really like the Death Knight ones. You can find all of the others right here:
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

Players begin hitting Gold in Challenge Modes

Challenge Mode Golds start to appear!
As time ticks on since the launch of Mists of Pandaria, players are starting to run Challenge Modes and have already begun hitting gold medals! WoWProgress.com has put together a list that draws from all the Challenge Mode Leaderboards provided by Blizzard, as Blizzard themselves seem to currently only offer that information realm-by-realm. WoWProgress' Challenge Mode section shows all the dungeons together, and can be filtered by realm, region, and, of course, dungeon.

At the time of writing, and subject to rapid change, there are three Gold runs on the WoWProgress leaderboard, two of which are in Gate of the Setting Sun, one from Organised Confusion of EU-Anetheron-H, who currently hold the top time at 11 minutes 58 seconds, and one from Aquila of EU-Stormreaver-H who come in at 12 minutes 24 seconds. The only other Gold time is from Scarlet Halls, where aLions of EU-Senjin-A have a time of 12 minutes 49 seconds.

It's not surprising, with the head-start we've had, that the current Gold medals are mostly coming out of the EU. This will change very soon, and we can already see US groups coming up in the Silver medal sections.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Challenge Mode Leaderboards live on Battle.net

Challenge Mode Leaderboards live on Battlenet

The Blizzard web team has announced the arrival of Challenge Mode leader boards on the Battle.net sites in the EU and the US.

These leaderboards aren't exactly alight with activity right now, as most players are still engaged in leveling and the minimum level for challenge mode dungeons is 90. However, once more people get to 90, get familiar with the dungeon content, and get their item level up to the advised, but not required, 463, the leader boards the team have put together will be an invaluable resource.

They allow you, of course, to view all the top-ranked team runs, but also allow you to filter those by class. You could look up every team with a priest in it, or a mage. And once you have that information, you can also use the leaderboards to easily access their spec and gear. If you're logged in, you can also check out how well your guild is doing in challenge modes for various dungeons.

Check the full post out after the break!

Read more →

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Challenge Mode for Stormstout Brewery enabled in beta

Challenge Mode for Stormstout Brewery enabled in beta
Blizzard Blue Watcher, a.k.a. Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas has been back on the forums with his challenge-mode-master hat on. He's delivered the exciting news that the first of the leveling dungeons, Stormstout Brewery, has been enabled on the beta in challenge mode.

Now, you can't just walk into Mordor, and the same applies for challenge modes. You have to be level 90, and you have to have completed Stormstout Brewery at least once on heroic mode. Now, having run Stormstout Brewery a lot of times on normal mode, and a few times on heroic mode, as a healer, I haven't really noticed any big differences. Mostly, the heroic mode tuning seems to be that things which really hurt in normal mode really hurt in heroic mode.

Of course, since I last did the dungeon, it's entirely possible that things could have been changed or added. In the meantime, do check out our walkthrough, 5 things you need to know, and bosses in 5 seconds guides on the Stormstout Brewery if you're planning to check out the challenge mode.

And if you're planning to head straight into the beta with four of your friends after you've read this article, you should know that the barrels are currently bugged. Blizzard are working on a hotfix.

Read more →

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

No nerfs, no lockouts, no consumable restrictions for Challenge Mode dungeons

No nerfs for Challenge Mode dungeons

Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, a.k.a. Watcher, has taken to the forums a few times lately, along with Community Manager Zarhym, to provide clarification on Challenge Modes.

With all the bad air swirling around Blizzard from certain minority groups within the WoW community about catering to casuals, challenge modes are something they seem very keen to stand firm on. When asked if challenge modes would ever be nerfed, Ion replied as follows:


Watcher
If at all feasible, we're not going to be adjusting the content itself. Persistent leaderboards are the backbone of the system, and if we make the dungeon easier, then your 14:13 time last week might actually be more impressive than my 14:05 clear today, but there would be no way of knowing that. It's conceivable that we might adjust the actual Gold/Silver/Bronze cutoff times slightly if it turns out we were badly off the mark with the tuning, but we're pretty confident in our numbers.


Zarhym also weighed in with his own input on the nerf question.

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