MMO-Champion - All Gold Challenge Modes Completed, Upcoming Raid Releases, Blue Posts, MoP Wallpaper
Wizard Synergies and Meteor Tuning, State of Monks, PTR Patch on Thursday & Error 12 and Blue Posts

All Gold Challenge Modes Completed
Two groups have now earned a Gold time in all of the challenge mode dungeons, earning them access to the Challenge Mode Sets. WoWProgress has a nice worldwide leaderboard for characters.

You may have to turn off the Silver Time count by clicking in the legend to see all of the Gold Time runs.

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Aquila Interview
Nik recently had the chance to speak with the members of Aquila that were the first to complete all Challenge Modes with a Gold time.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Firstly huge congratulations, from playing live and attempting the challenge modes myself a bit I know first hand how challenging (excuse the pun) they can end up being.

Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hey everyone! I play Shadow Priest called Taik and I'm an officer in a Finnish guild called Aquila. I joined Aquila almost 2 years ago and ended up as the raid leader in the late tier 11.

Our group consisted of:
Taik - Shadow Priest
Razoki - Combat/Assassination Rogue
Rathy - Blood Death Knight
Decev - Frost/Blood Death Knight
Deloop - Elemental/Resto Shaman

First real question from me really is how did you manage to fit it all in? Between gearing, dailies, slight bit of pvp and everything else in this expansion I’ve barely had time to have a moment to think let alone invest time in challenge modes.
Most hardcore guilds use the first week of an expansion to level and gear up multiple characters for raid progress. As Aquila is a semi hardcore guild we're fine with members leveling and gearing just one character. Our group managed to to hit realm first level 90 in about 13-15 hours and used the next 2 days to fully gear up from heroics.

After that we ran out of things to do on our mains so we decided to try challenge modes. The first challenge mode was easily cleared in 2 hours but after that the difficulty ramped up pretty hard and we had to spend more time to progress and improve our strategies. For the rest of the week we ran the last few heroics and did dailies or PvP during the day and then progressed challenges in the evening.

How many hours did it really take you to do? From what I’ve seen from some of the videos you’ve not had the easiest of times with some of the instances.
We started the challenge runs on Thursday by choosing the daily challenge in Shado-Pan Monastery. We had been steamrolling over heroics for 2 days and went in blind and started AoE pulling with 4 DPS and a tank. Shortly after we realized how much harder the challenges were and ended up running with a healer. The final time for that run was almost 2 hours and we called it for the day.

From Friday to Monday we spent about 4-10 hours a day on challenge mode progress which means the total time spent is somewhere between 25-30 hours. Hardest of the challenges for us was Scarlet Halls because of the gimmicky mechanics like the dogs and archers in the beginning and the damage of trash mobs. It was too difficult to pull more than one trash pack at a time so we started to run out of cooldowns to use.

The last day of challenges was probably the most enjoyable and we ended up streaming the last 8 hours we spent on the last 3 gold times. We also saved the last day of progress on Razoki's stream channel and made a video of the final boss of Shado-Pan.

If you had to go back and do it again would you change anything? I can see from the rankings and your group setup that DK’s are highly featured.
We would've ran our current setup from the beginning. We started off with double rogue and ended up swapping one of them for a Death Knight because of the insane AoE damage and survivability that Remorseless Winter and Army of the Dead bring. We would probably use cooldowns more intelligently as well. For the first few golds our hybrids had to off heal and shaman had to switch to restoration a couple of times during the run because we didn't use Army of the Dead or Earth Elemental to soak tank damage.

Our classes synergized together really well for challenges. We had balanced amount of AoE and single target bursts DPS, both of which were required for gold times. All 5 of us also had engineering and the Nitro Boosts, Goblin Gliders and Gnomish Army Knife resurrections helped immensely. We also joked about never doing these instances again after challenges are cleared but we'll probably try to improve the high scores in the not too distant future.

You ran a healerless comp very similar to lots of other groups. Were your priest/shaman required to do anything special during the runs in order to survive?
We killed almost everything without healer with the exception of a few bosses and trash packs. For example Sha of Violence was unkillable without a healer so we had our shaman switch to resto for it. The rest of the instances were either healed by priests Vampiric Embrace and Halo, Shamans Guidance, damage soaked by Army of the Dead and Earth Elemental or just simply off spec healing by the priest. We also used a lot of damage Mitigation abilities like Anti-Magic Zone and Anti-Magic Shell, Feint and Cloak of Shadows, Dispersion and Death Knight self heals so our priest and shaman could dps as much as possible. Hardest parts to heal were Scarlet Halls trash mobs and Sha of Violence in Shado-Pan Monastery.

I know that you don't want to give away all of your tactics, but do you think that a rogue is a requirement in order to get a good time? I know first hand how well group stealth can be used.
Rogue was helpful in terms of skipping some packs but not mandatory. Other classes bring more survivability, burst and aoe DPS than rogues so it's a fair tradeoff for gold modes. In Shado-Pan the combination of Mass stealth and invisibility potions allowed us to skip almost all trash mobs between 2nd and 3rd bosses. For other instances the invisibility potions alone are enough. On the other hand invisibility potions also put your damage potion on cooldown for 10 minutes so mass stealth is better in some situations.

Lastly out of all the instances and runs you’ve been able to do what was the favorite for you?
Our favourite instances are Mogu'shan Palace and Shado-Pan Monastery. Neither of these have any annoying gimmicks that might ruin the run and both have insane aoe pulls which require good cooldown usage.

Any shoutouts you’d like to give as an ending?
Shoutouts to everyone in Aquila for being supportive and helping with potions, foods, flasks etc. It was awesome to have the entire guild on mumble cheering for us during the Shado-Pan Monastery clear. Also special shoutouts to Mieto and Táukki who were with us for the silver mode clears but had to step out for gold runs.



Upcoming Raid Releases
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
The first Normal difficulty Mists of Pandaria Raid Dungeon is now available: Mogu’shan Vaults. Raid Finder and Heroic difficulties will be available Wednesday, October 10.

Raid Finder will unlock bosses in Mogu’shan Vaults and Heart of Fear over time, and all Mogu’shan Vaults bosses will be unlocked and available Wednesday, October 17. To access the new Raid Finder dungeons, you will need a minimum item level (ilevel) requirement of 463.

Here is the current schedule for these Raid releases:

  • Wednesday, October 3 - Normal Mogu’shan Vaults
  • Wednesday, October 10 - Heroic Mogu'shan Vaults and first half of Mogu'shan Vaults on Raid Finder
  • Wednesday, October 17 - Second half of Mogu'shan Vaults on Raid Finder
  • Wednesday, October 31 - Normal Heart of Fear and Normal Terrace of Endless Spring (Must clear Heart of Fear first) with Heroic and Raid finder versions unlocking one week later.

We will update this blog with additional unlock information at a future point in time.

Character Gearing and Reputation Grinding
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Mists of Pandaria Alts and Reputation Grinds
We're working on a change for a future patch that will make it easier to gain reputation with a specific faction on every alt on your Battle.net account, after you reach a certain reputation with that faction on another character.

Stay tuned for more information on this, likely coming before the end of the week. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Purpose of Justice Points
There is literally no point in JP or JP gear once you are already running heroics.
I think that might be misrepresenting the situation a bit. Even if Justice Gear isn't at the same level as Heroic gear, it will still raise your average item level and help shore up your Heroic and Valor gear to potentially get you into normal raiding and LFR faster.

What are you and what are we getting out of having a currency obtained from heroics give out loot that is useless to heroics?
I think that Justice Points are perhaps more of a stepping stone than they once were. They were originally added for those situations where RNG turns against you, and you haven't obtained a drop for a particular slot. Even if you didn't get the gear over successive runs, at least you have some Justice Points to help fill in the gaps in the meantime. They are returning to that intent more than being an alternative method of accruing Heroic level gear.

After you obtain your Heroic gear, it's true that Justice Points won't be as useful. Obviously, they can be turned over for Honor, and at some point in the future we may add trade materials or Heirlooms to the quartermasters.

If every single piece isn't 463 you don't get to do LFR. Please consider reducing LFR to 458 to match up with justice.
That's part of the reason why I mentioned Valor Points in a previous post. Item level 489 Valor pieces will certainly help bring your average item level up. Some of those pieces are now available at Honored reputation with Mists of Pandaria factions.

Also - Didn't you remove head enchants because you didn't like forcing people to grind a reputation so they could raid? Suggesting that for people to get their ilvl high enough to get in to LFR they should go and grind a rep so they can purchase a VP item is basically the same thing.
We're not opposed to making earning some reputation compelling. You'll recall that a lot of those items were only available at very high reputation levels though, whereas the Valor Items I was referring to become available at Honored.

Yes, but a majority of valor gear only becomes available at revered for various factions.
Granted. You won't need all of those pieces to progress into raiding or LFR though. Hopefully, as you continue to do dailies (assuming they're something you want to do, that is), you'll gain enough reputation to allow you to pick up the occasional Revered level Valor piece to supplement your raiding set.

By the way, I don't want any of you to feel as though your feedback is falling on deaf ears. I'll make sure that your perspectives are shared with the development team. On the same token, I want to emphasize that Justice Points aren't useless, even if they don't fulfill the same role that we've grown accustomed to.

I bet this came about from one of the meetings where you get input from the other blizzard teams. Seems like this cross team strategy is working out well.
Sarcasm aside, Blizzard always operates in a spirit of cooperation.

I'm sure that many of you recall the days before Valor and Justice. You'll recall that before there were points there were badges. Before that, there was nothing. Many of us remember the days when you could spend upwards of an hour in a single dungeon, and come away from it without a single drop: not a even an Uncommon. We try new things. A lot of the time they work well. We're not always right, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes what ultimately ends up being a good change for the overall World of Warcraft experience doesn't seem so great at first: there was a significant segment of the player base that railed heavily against the idea of purchasable dungeon quality gear, let alone raid quality gear, period. We've come a long way since then, and we'll see where this shakes out together.

Moreover it further makes the case that once you've done "enough" dungeons to be kitted out with, say, 70% 363 gear, and have earned enough justice to buy some stopgaps, there is little incentive to keep running the dungeons.
In reality, that's no different from how Justice worked before, except the process would occur faster then. In the early days of Cataclysm, for example, between dungeon drops and Justice Point gear, active tanks (and to a lesser extent healers) very rapidly loaded up on all the tanking gear they could carry, filled out dps sets, loaded up on Heirlooms, then walked away from dungeons without looking back.

There are potential down sides to any system. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Conquest Gear
The Conquest PvP gear is intended to be equivalent to raiding gear, not heroic dungeon or justice points gear. So you are actually comparing apples to oranges, where apples are clearly better than oranges and that is the natural order of things

If you compare the two items below you can see that they are quite similar overall and can potentially be used in both settings, but each one is clearly better for its intended purpose of either PvP or PvE:

Malevolent Gladiator's Warboots of Cruelty
Jasper Clawfeet

The reason that these are better for their specific roles (even though there are major stat differences) is because while PvP power and resilience do not influence PvE in any way, they have a large impact on PvP.

So this is why the Honor and Justice points gear is being changed but not Raiding and Conquest; because PvP and PvE gear of the same level are meant to be able to adequately perform both roles but be best for their intended purpose. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Daily Quests and Rep Grinds
A: Op if i could be bothered i would argue with you all day about things but I can't. This game has nothing to offer other than max level content, why on earth would I want to be a low level?

B: If you dont want to level, do dailies, grind rep, earn stuff, earn your levels, make gold, level proffessions and such don't

A: It's not enjoyable. Doing the same thing day after day on repeat for the next two years is fun?

B: It's lazy players like you who mess up this game for players who actually enjoy grinding for items, farming for gear/professions and such. get a feeling of accomplishment for doing so.

A: That's why we need choice, options for both types of players. I have no issue with things being hard but when its boring as hell to achieve something it takes the value of doing so away.

Whether something is 'enjoyable' or not is a matter of opinion. Plenty of people enjoy the leveling process—I'm one of them. I'd rather be gearing up a new character than getting my behind handed to me in PvP, for instance.

Giving someone the option to start at max level is controversial. Some people will of course take the path of least resistance, despite how they feel about the current way we level characters. This scenario reminds me a little of the situation with the LFD tool. Many claim that they would prefer to make groups the old fashioned way, having to travel to the instance instead of porting there etc. but that they feel they have to use the tool now because it's there.

Basically, I think if you give people the option of doing something faster, most will, even if they feel it takes something away from their gaming experience. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Blue Posts
More EU free character transfers off of high population realms have started.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Sever Queue Times
This is not my main. My mains are on another server. I use this as an alias to avoid being ridiculed by a community that believes every person making a complaint is a troll. This is not a solution. As a paying customer, something needs to be done about this.
It's not fun to wait in queues, I hit them myself from time to time. People tend to 'clump up' to play with friends or join guilds on specific realms, and then everyone comes back for expansions or even new patches. We'll pretty commonly see queues hit a couple hours. The realm hardware, not to mention game content, is designed to house and support a specific number of characters per realm. It's not feasible to increase and decrease those allotments as interest increases and wanes, which is why we offer free character transfers when queues get too high.

With the advent of BattleTags and cross-realm zones, being on separate realms from your friends actually doesn't mean much as to your ability to talk and interact with them. Of course the best solution might just be trying to get everyone to move with you. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Cloud Serpents and Account Wide Mounts
Cloud Serpents. You need to grind the reputation to buy the cloud serpent license or some other nonsense. Hope that gets changed.
Cloud Serpent mounts are indeed account-wide. However they require the Cloud Serpent Riding skill, which is a faction requirement and character specific. Characters that meet the faction requirement will see the mount as account-wide. I’ll bring this up with our developers to see if that’s intended. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Challenge Mode Nerfs
We've said this in the past, but it might be a good moment to bring it back up. Challenge modes have a different design philosophy than raids, and therefore the developers don't plan to nerf them.

If you haven't tried them yet, go give them a try. It's not just a race against the clock. And if you see someone sporting the full transmogrifiable set, you'll know that you're looking at a really skilled player. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Quest "!" on Zone Maps?
The zones are set up in such a way that exploring the world is going to yield quests and quest hubs that you aren't directed toward during the course of the main story line. The exclamation points on the map help give a hint, at least, where some of them are. Certainly though you'll find more just by exploring. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Pre Level 90 Flight Restrictions
but wrath was alot more alt friendly, i understand us having to do it on the first toon but as soon as alts get involved with that brutal (and yes its brutal) grind to level (and the grind is far from over then too, with 2 hours a day worth of dailies for EVERY toon, 2 alts makes 6 hours a day worth of dailies)
I think adding a Tome would be cool, but just to ensure we're all remembering history correctly, Tome of Cold Weather Flying wasn't added until patch 3.2. 8 months after release. Not saying it needs to be 8 months again, but I'd (personally) argue it's not something that needs to be available day 1 either.

I would ague your dead wrong. I will just get around your no flying restrictions by using a 2nd account to level my alts on and my 2 person flying dragon to take my alt where ever I need it. I think that indicated the need for this if you have players looking for how to get around this stupid limitation.
Like I said, games are different for everyone. I wouldn't dare tell you what you would prefer or not, but as you can see by the comments here your perspective isn't shared by everyone. As the game creators we have to leverage what individual types of players want against our own artistic and design visions, and hopefully those line up the majority of the time. In this case (aside from the convenience of helping alts fly sooner) I'd say most people are enjoying the change of pace.

You don't get honest opinions here and it's only a fraction of the population.
It is interesting how that flips around to suit the wielder. We're not listening, we're listening too much, everyone hates it, not everyone is giving their opinion, etc.

This same complaint came up in the first couple weeks of Wrath. As far as I've seen many people look back on that expansion with fondness, and "Remember when we couldn't fly?" isn't even in the top 40 of complaints about it. I guess what I'm saying is that it seems really super important right now, but ultimately it leads to a better experience in the long term for the majority of players. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Other Lore for Expansions
If you can manage to find copies of the D&D "Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game" dungeon guides, I swear they read like a laundry list of things that have come true since release. They aren't canon, and I don't think anyone is literally going back and checking things off, but they contain a lot of un-materialized ideas for classes and playable races. It stands to reason those ideas are still swimming around somehow, somewhere. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Mists Of Pandaria Wallpapers
Blizzard hosted a 12 day journey on Facebook that included character bios, cover art, wallpapers, and videos to get people amped to play the new expansion. Check out the full summary for all of the media.


This article was originally published in forum thread: All Gold Challenge Modes Completed, Upcoming Raid Releases, Blue Posts, MoP Wallpaper started by chaud View original post
Comments 32 Comments
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    I think adding a Tome would be cool, but just to ensure we're all remembering history correctly, Tome of Cold Weather Flying wasn't added until patch 3.2. 8 months after release. Not saying it needs to be 8 months again, but I'd (personally) argue it's not something that needs to be available day 1 either.
    Bummer. I hoped they would input this at release. It's so annoying to have to level my farmchar to 90 just to be able to use her.
  1. hngh's Avatar
    holy shit vinniejones is amazing, between the broken english and absolutely idiotic views yours have been the best comments so far
    could you please tell me what makes a skilled player? if being knowledgeable about your class and class synergies in general is not part of what makes a player skilled, what is it? just being able to auto attack and not stand in fire? also grats to aquila, all you did was use a well timed invis pot, no skill, but still, I'll never get gold in a single challenge mode, can't afford those pots thanks to greedy alchemists like vinniejones
  1. Aqua's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieJones View Post
    This is so funny.

    A blue wrote this:



    And this is from the interview with the player that did all the gold medals:



    Somehow skill and invisibility potions are now the same?
    Well... did you think of doing that? No? Then you are simply butthurt. It's an ingenious idea, and they should get credit for seeing the cracks in the system at least, not condemned.

    Thinking outside the box is a skill. End of.
  1. Ticks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aqua View Post
    Well... did you think of doing that? No? Then you are simply butthurt. It's an ingenious idea, and they should get credit for seeing the cracks in the system at least, not condemned.

    Thinking outside the box is a skill. End of.
    Lol its not skill, its bad design on blizzards part. People have been talking about using invis pots/stealth runs before release, but most people talked it down saying that the mobs would most likely have some sort of detection which would make a lot of sense, its quite a bit of fail on blizzards part here imo
  1. Lord Swizzlington's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieJones View Post

    Skilled? No just knowledgeable about their class and class synergie in general.
    Skilled? No, just a hell of a lot of time on their hands.
    So...you actually just defined skill in a video game and said that it isn't skill? Weren't all TBC Gladiators doing the same thing? Finding the cheese comp in 2s and abusing Engineering? How about people who knew the best comp to bring for H MGT to CC the 3rd boss? It takes skill to know how to get gold, don't knock challenge modes and the people who got golds.
  1. ajanu's Avatar
    Did none of you watch the live stream of Bliz running challenge modes? They were using invis pots and mass stealth. The challenge is kill all bosses and x mobs in the instance in a certain time, where x is less than the total number of mobs. Obviously if you don't have to kill everything, you skip as many of the hard trash as you can. That's not cheesing that's playing smart. Speed runs have always been about skipping everything but bosses, bliz didn't want the whole things cheesed and made killing a certain amount of trash required. Killing more than that is dumb, and if you want to show up without food or pots challenge mode is not designed for you. If you can't afford the pots and food, and can't make them, and your guild won't help you out, time to find a better guild.
  1. nulian's Avatar
    Think everyone talking about how bad/cheesy it is using invis pots rogue stealth haven't seen blizzard doing challenge mode run on MoP launch event even the blizzard players used it. Why do you think blizzard put amount of mobs in the requirement of winning the medal so you do as low amount of mobs as you can without skipping everything.
  1. Freia's Avatar
    I think it is funny seeing blues try to actually trying to say justice point gear is useful.

    And as for the challenge modes, I think it is more disappointing that they were able to run it healerless for most of the runs. That really doesn't sit well with me.
  1. Aoede's Avatar
    While it is true that you can skip a trash pack or possibly two, depending on your count, it doesn't necessarily make it easier.. it's simply a way to get yourself to where you're going faster. They're not easy and to suggest they are because you have bronze is just plain silly. The time allotment for silver and bronze is extremely forgiving and if you cannot get either then you probably have no place commenting on something like this, as even being 5 minutes off is an eternity. If you watched the stream of MoP release you could even see the internal team doing things like invis potting to get through their challenge mode. Are you going to suggest they're unskilled as well? The mob requirement is there to let people do things like that, or mass stealth, without going overboard. Not every mob in an instance counts towards your requirement, so in a lot of the instances you can't afford to even skip more than a couple packs and it ends up being about which mobs you choose. It's time to think outside the box and be really creative. I believe they even posted in a blue post that they intended for people to find interesting ways to do what needed to be done. Getting gold has been one of the most intense things I've ever done in the game and I enjoyed every second I spent working towards it. Shado-pan is insane, so major props to this group for finishing it.
  1. OneSent's Avatar
    Look at all the people bitching about how "hard" it is to get rep. And how they can't get every single thing on their alts that their main has.

    Wtf has happened to the mentality of the players in this game?! 5 years ago, those players would have been laughed at by the developers.
  1. Diggasson's Avatar
    Nicely done by blizz
  1. subanark's Avatar
    Did Blizz fix something, since on my realm the challenge modes seem to be bugged, I only saw 2 times listed for realm best, and some people I asked said that the progress tracker on number of required kills and boss kills wasn't working so the time didn't end when they finished the instance.

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