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You Should Try: Challenge Modes

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Added to World of Warcraft in Mists of Pandaria, Challenge Modes represent some of the most difficult small-group PvE content in the game. In Warlords of Draenor, the tuning of the Challenge Modes is even tighter. If you haven't already, you should definitely be trying Challenge Modes!

 

A quick look at the World of Wargraphs data shows just how hard players are finding Challenge Modes right now. In Mists of Pandaria, as many as 19% of max-level characters completed at least one Challenge Mode, and over 12% of all characters finished all of the Challenge Modes with Gold times.

 

Thus far in Warlords, less people have finished a lone Challenge Mode than managed the complete set of Golds in Mists. Early in the expansion cycle, strategies are not as well defined and optimal gear hasn't become available (due to early itemization and the scaling mechanics). Only 0.5% of all characters have completed the full suite of Warlords gold medal CMs.

 

For those of you wondering how to get started, there are some good guides out there already, with more emerging every day! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:

 

- All itemization is scaled down (not up) to ilvl 630 (Heroic dungeon gear). Random attributes (sockets, Warforged, tertiary stats) are ignored. Enchants are enabled.

- Consumables work, and their value is substantially higher due to their relative contribution with gear scaling.

- Since the goal is speed, large AoE trash pulls and movement speed (including cooldowns) are very important.

 

Most any group that can complete the Heroic version of a dungeon can likely beat the Challenge Mode. Certain mechanics get turned up to 11, so utilizing utility like stuns, interrupts, etc. becomes critical. CC is less valuable, since your optimal DPS strategies will involve maximizing AoE and DPS uptime.

 

The rewards for the three tiers of Challenge Mode medals in Warlords are:

 

achievement_challengemode_bronze.jpgChallenge Warlord: Bronze - <Name> the Indomitable title

achievement_challengemode_silver.jpgChallenge Warlord: SilverChallenger's War Yeti

achievement_challengemode_gold.jpgChallenge Warlord: Gold - Cosmetic weapons for transmog

 

Additionally, there is a daily quest for completing a random Challenge Mode that rewards a 640 ilvl epic. This was a more relevant strategy for gearing up prior to Highmaul LFR opening up in its entirety, but it's still worthwhile if you need to round out a couple of slots you're struggling to fill.

 

In the coming weeks, I'll be adding further Challenge Mode content based on personal experience, as well as trying to identify good text and video guides to help you in your own quest to beat them all.

 

Did you complete the Challenge Modes in Mists of Pandaria? What progress have you made so far in Warlords? And if you haven't already started, go try them out!

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In MoP we've got realm best time in MsP around the end of MoP. We were really surprised, since we didn't even plan on going for those. But, the Mistwalker title is very nice.. :P (After a few weeks, someone has beaten our time so we couldn't keep the Moguslayer title for ever... :( )

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(After a few weeks, someone has beaten our time so we couldn't keep the Moguslayer title for ever... :( )

You wouldn't have been able to keep the Moguslayer title, anyway - even if you had the best time, the title was removed with 6.0 and Mistwalker is the only permanent title.

Thus far in Warlords, less people have finished a lone Challenge Mode than managed the complete set of Golds in Mists. Early in the expansion cycle, strategies are not as well defined and optimal gear hasn't become available (due to early itemization and the scaling mechanics). Only 0.5% of all characters have completed the full suite of Warlords gold medal CMs.

People think MoP CMs got easier because of gear creep, but they vastly over-estimate the importance of gems (as if we weren't aware that gems didn't scale from the first week of CMs and we didn't stack as many gems as we could in 5.0). I'd love to see this comparison done with numbers for MoP prior to the AoE cap buff, which was, essentially, a massive nerf to the difficulty of Challenge Modes (several class buffs in 5.1, 5.2, etc. also played a major role in this). The new gear model means you can basically have your top two stats on every piece of gear at present and we're not likely to see much change on that front.

I expect CM participation numbers will increase naturally as people exhaust the raid content and various other things and go looking for other activities, but it will take some pretty serious changes to get anything like the numbers seen at the end of MoP (where three man gold runs were feasible and sale runs were common).

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