Monday, October 13, 2014

[WoW] Challenge Modes: The Race to the Finish

With 6.0 imminent, many, many folks decided that, oh crap, I need to finish Challenge Modes before they go away! Frankly, I wasn't really any different there myself. One of those things where you need to organize a group of people, and the rewards are all cosmetic, so it wasn't until there was nothing else to do and the fact that they were going away that people started really digging into them.

Now, for anyone who is currently struggling to get them done, I feel badly but at the same time we did have literally two years to accomplish them, so I'm not really that sympathetic to folks saying they didn't have time. I am sympathetic, however, to folks who couldn't throw together a group of people. Sure you need fewer than a raid, but Challenge Modes are, well, challenging, and you can't just outgear them. If you're stuck with friends who are sub-par players, you might well just be hosed unless you find other people.

For our group, we ended up only going for silvers, because we were pretty much only super interested in the mounts. All in all, I admit, it was a complete blast doing that content at the difficulty level it was intended to be completed at. Our comp was Frost Mage, Enhancement Shaman, Unholy DK, Protection Warrior, and Disc Priest; we used all of our many tools at our disposal. Defensive cooldowns, chain group stuns between Ring of Frost, Remorseless Winter, Capacitor Totem, and Shockwave, massive amounts of off-healing from myself, along with healer DPS. Picking and choosing specific talents and glyphs that we'd never normally pick. It was the perfect example of how difficult WoW can be, if you do the optional content.

Random really late pro-tip: if you're running Enhancement, you can bring all five players from about 20% to full health on a large group of mobs if you already have a bunch of Flame Shocks up by using Ancestral Guidance->Fire Nova. One of my favourite tricks when we were struggling with healing large groups of mobs.

We ended up getting all 9 silvers in 4.5 hours. We actually even one-shot gold Scholomance, which was a pleasant surprise. Siege and Brewery we were within 44 and 23 seconds of gold, respectively. Most of these we one-shot, or in a couple cases with a false start, two-shot. The worst three for us were Stormstout Brewery, Scarlet Monastery, and Siege.

Not too shabby for most of us never having walked into CMs before.
The brewery was our second one, and we were still coming to terms with some of the mechanics that previously in normal/heroic modes we could ignore. Especially the boss' self-healing. Got to the end and had to reboot that one. The practice helped our time get really close to gold though.

Siege, those bombs, ugh. Seriously, the beginning of that dungeon is nasty. The rest was relatively easy, however.

And Scarlet Monastery, so many inadvertent pulls, face pulls, a couple of wipes. It was our last one to do, and definitely the hardest in my opinion. I've heard people say Mogu'shan Palace is the hardest, but ehhhh, I dunno about that.

Overall, having competent players in all roles is a must. All five of us are in the same raid, so we're already pretty in sync with each other in terms of play style, personality, and our classes. It also helps that our tank had done them before; having a guide probably shaved off a good 4 or 5 hours worth of attempts. So while we got silver quite handily, I wouldn't say they were easy. Quite the contrary, they were difficult, and we had to play at our relative best to nail them as quickly as we could.

With the WoW populace finally getting exposed to Challenge Modes, I'm happy that Blizzard didn't look at participation previously and axe them for WoD. I know we came out thinking they were a blast, and will quite probably end up doing them earlier next expansion instead of waiting until the last minute. I'd bet there's a number of other folks in the same situation/mindset. Having that extra challenging content is wonderful, and frankly, even though we had to effectively be bribed to try them with the Phoenix mounts, I'd be totally willing to run them regardless.

So, to Blizzard: Challenge Modes, awesome and thanks!

#WoW, #Challenge

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