Are You Up For The Challenge?

The past few weeks me and the guys of Exhumed have been running a lot of Challenge Mode dungeons as we’re attempting to get our alts the Challenge Mode armour sets and also aiming for a few realm bests on our mains. While these are truly a challenge, we have proven that you don’t need to be the best players in the world to complete them in gold times or even use perfect group set ups. 
We’ve also encouraged a few guildmates that previously thought they weren’t good enough or were simply too scared to join in. We’ve also seen people give up because their first experience was a wipe-fest. My post today is to give a few hints, tips, facts and dispel a few myths about Challenge Modes. 
For those of you that don’t know, a Challenge Mode dungeon is a Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeon that has been buffed. Your goal is to kill all the bosses and a set number of enemies as fast as you can. Each dungeon has 3 medals you can obtain, gold, silver and bronze. The medal you obtain is based on your time and varies from dungeon to dungeon. There are some other changes, which I will cover later in the article in more depth but in short your gear is normalised down to iLevel 463, there is no loot and there can be additional trash packs.

The first concern people have is that their gear isn’t good enough, but if your gear is from the Pandaria heroics, Raid Finder or the Timeless Isle, then it is because your gear will be scaled down to be iLevel 463, which is the same as you can earn in a Pandaria heroic. While on the gear subject there are a few things that need stating because they matter:
  • Gems don’t scale down so this means gear with gem sockets are more powerful than those without and the more gems sockets the better;
  • Socket bonuses don’t scale down so items that favour your primary stat (int/str/agi) are more powerful than those with secondary stats (except maybe spirit);
  • Tier bonuses don’t work so that off set piece may be better than a tier item especially if it has more gems and a better socket bonus;
  • Tegendary items don’t work and that is especially important for the legendary meta gems as you will also lose your helm’s socket bonus.
  • Eye of the Black Prince (the extra socket you can put on MSV/HoF/ToES/ToT weapon) does work so these are liable to be stronger than Siege weapons;
  • Legendary cloak is still the best option even minus the proc;
The next question they ask is “Am I good enough?” and while this is more tricky to answer accurately, I believe that most people are good enough on any character they play well. So if you can move from the fire and do respectable DPS you should be able to get golds.
The only other thing that you need to do is to have completed the dungeon on heroic mode and find 4 friends to go with.
The biggest challenge in facing your
party is trash! You will wipe on trash more than bosses and you will wipe often but don’t panic, there are no repair bills earned inside. Trash packs will make you want to scream, shout, cry and sometimes want to eat rabbit pie but once you master them you’ll feel like a god.
The majority of time used and tank damage comes from
trash. You don’t have time to CC often and you’ll need to chain pull
packs or even fight multiple packs at once. tank and healer cooldowns
are used most frequently during trash pulls and DPS need to assist with
interupts and stuns to minimise incoming damage. Your group needs to
find its limit on each trash pull and stay on the edge. Too much trash
will wipe you, not enough will slow you down. When my group is
attempting realm best times we spend a lot of time trying to add trash
to our pulls to find the very limit of what is possible.

be honest the easiest part of challenge modes are the boss fights. That
isn’t to say that a run cannot be made or spoiled when fighting a boss.
You need to have high DPS, avoid everything that is avoidable as boss
special attacks will often one shot you.

As a healer you need to be looking for opportunities to DPS and to get out of combat and drink/Restorative Amber to regen mana. If you’re out of combat and at 60%-90% mana just grab a drink while the tank and DPS go pull the next trash. If you’re below 60% use Restorative Amber but make sure you announce this to the party so they can use self-heals and be extra cautious. 
As a DPS/tank if your healer is refilling mana eat/bandage/Restorative Amber/heal yourself to save them having to use mana when they re-enter the fight. It can be the difference between success and failure.

The rewards you get from running a Challenge Mode are few but the ones you do get are very nice.
  • 9/9 bronze medals gives you an account-wide title, “the Undaunted”;
  • 9/9 silver medals gives you the choice of one of four Pandaren Phoenix mounts which is character specific;
  • 9/9 gold medals gives you an 8-piece class armor set which is statless and transmogable;
  • When you get gold in a dungeon, you get a personal teleport to the outside of that dungeon. It has a shared 8-hour cooldown with
    all dungeon teleports but this is reset when you complete any
    challenge mode;
  • Valor, for each challenge mode completion you will receive 70 valor points if you earn a medal you receive bonus valor. Bronze gives 55 extra valor, silver 80 and gold an extra 95. There is also a daily quest which
    sends you to specific dungeon  which rewards 70 to 90 extra valor and a Heroic Cache of Treasures.
  • If you get a realm best time (requires a minimum of 3 players from your realm) you earn a title (the title is removed if someone beats your time) and Feat of Strength.
  • Upto 430 achievement points.
As mentioned earlier, these dungeons are challenging, they’re not the simple AoE fest that the heroic dungeons are right now so you need to be prepared and that means consumables. The ones we use when doing challenge modes are:
  • Invisibility Potions (18 seconds)
    for skipping large amounts of trash, it triggers a global 10 minute potion
    cooldown for all of your potions.
  • Lesser Invisibility Potions (15 seconds) for skipping small amounts of trash, it triggers a global 10 minute potion
    cooldown for all of your potions.
  • Flasks, tanks should run with a DPS flask!
  • Banquets or Noodle Carts, preferably of the 300 stat versions.
  • DPS potions for pre-potting and bigger trash/boss fights. Use with caution if you need to use Lesser/Invisibility Potions later as leaving combat doesn’t happen often and the 1 minute cooldown only starts ticking down when you leave combat!
  • Restorative Amber essential for healers (requires honored reputation with the Klaxxi) but everyone should have some for emergency out of combat health regen when the healer is recovering their mana.
This isn’t intended as a comprehensive guide and I’m sure I’ve missed things out but if you have found the short overview useful, please share with your friends and leave a comment below, especially if this has helped/inspired you to Challenge Mode success.

Posted by Evlyxx


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