From the first time Blizzard mentioned Challenge modes, I was interested. I always liked playing in smaller groups, to accomplish goals (3v3 arenas, 10 man raids), and was very excited about the new, speed 5 man runs.
I want to start this thread, with information, discussions and thoughts.
Note: I have yet to start challenge modes yet, as my group is still lvling and preparing.
To start of the thread, here are 2 versions/ideas how to do challenge modes, from the MoP launch event:
Blizzard tester team @ 2:00:00 – AoE focused group.
Blood legion team @ 3:54:30 – A standard group.
Setup in Group:
Depending on your goal in challenge modes, the restrictions on your group can be important.
Setup in Challenge modes is very important, and I feel that if your goal is Gold, or even server first/world first times – can be what makes the difference. This varies from dungeon to dungeon, but the goal is to find which mage combos would work overall.
I feel like mages in AoE combo’s should be frost (And I think they are going to be the best overall), and fire or frost in single target combo’s. Personally I am going to aim for a Prot Pala, Disc Priest, Hunter, Boomkin and myself.
I feel hunters are mandatory because of their Aspect of the Pack, and because they bring a general strong toolbox.
Healers depends, the best player is most likely your answer. I like Disc priests because of the dps they can do while healing, but the rankings seems to have a lot of holy paladins.
Tanks are most likely going to be the best player. However Prot Palas or Blood DK’s seems strongest, because of the self healing they bring.
Rogues could be of great use because of Cloak of Concealment, but this can mostly be solved with Invisibility Potions -> And because you have to kill x mobs in the instance. If this is low in some instance, they could come out strong.
Every class brings something unique to the table, so it is going to be tough to figure out which composition is going to be the strongest top 5. The blizzard one (Blood DK, Disc Priest, Boomkin, Ele Shaman, Hunter) is viable, with swapping a frost mage in with the elemental shaman. The tank and healer is arguably the best player, but a dps team consisting of a Boomkin, Frost mages and a Hunter gives strong aoe, and a lot of control (Boomkins and hunters are they keywords here, as Boomkins have 15 seconds AoE Silence (Solar Beam) + Tranq + Stampeding Roar, and Hunters have Aspect of the Pack.
Mages bring the following to the table, regardless of spec:
5% crit buff.
10 % spell power buff.
Time Warp (Heroism/Bloodlust).
CC – Novas, Sheeps (and RoF) and Counterspell, Spellsteal.
MoP seems to be designed around diversity, and all specs should be viable - However I feel like Frost is going to be the strongest spec for 5 mans.
Strongest 5 man AoE burst (Targets being vulnerable to nova’s).
Strong single target. (They seem to be equal in all 3 specs).
Not limited by mana.
Great on the move dps (Atleast equal, if not better than fire).
Not as great on demand burst as Arcane (This could be a niche in some cases, 6 charges AB hits hard).
Not a 50% cast speed debuff (Slow, Arcane).
Limited in terms of glyph choice (Have to pick CoC, Ice Lance and Water Ele).
Frost for 5 man feels like Fire on roids. Even tho I am a fire-fan, I cannot justify going fire for Gold Challenge modes, because Frost have everything Fire have, just with better AoE dps. Arcane don’t seem like its suited for challenge modes.
My frost spec for challenge mode would be this:
First Tier: I picked Scorch, because it’s the safe choice. PoM is only a slight increase on patchwork fights, and Icy Floes is best if you’re lucky with procs and whatever the boss throws at you, but your dps will be more stable with Scorch in your toolbox.
Second Tier: Frost Barrier and Temporal Shield is both nice, but I feel like Frost Barrier can be put up between pulls, which makes it increase a lot in strength, where Temporal Shields is best if you know you’re going to make a mistake. Boss fights temporal shines, trash Frost barrier shines.
Third Tier: Meh. In general RoF is best, but if you know you’re going to get hit by mobs, Ice Ward+CoC is strong.
Fourth Tier: Tough choices. I picked Cauterize because it’s a passive, mistake-margin. Greater Invis could have utility uses though – Same with 2x Ice blocks (Cold snap).
Fifth Tier: Frost Bomb because of the AoE. As frost AoE pulls are very often with Pet Nova off cooldown, which results in a lot of potentials globals, + Frost orb. This leaves up more globals, and a glyph slot from Living Bomb spread (Needs Fire Blast glyph).
Sixth Tier: The best of the worst. Incanter’s Ward because of the passive effect, + pulsing aoe fights, example: Xin the Weaponmaster (End boss Mogushan Palace) Crossbow Trap. Invocation could possibly be good too, if there is a lot of rp/downtime, and Rune of Power for boss fights.
Glyph 1: CoC. 200% dmg increase is alot, and by opening fights with Frost Bomb -> (Frozen Orb/Closing in global/Blink) -> PetNova + Instant CoC is very strong. I don’t have full 463 yet, but my Imp CoC in novas hit for 50k AoE.
Glyph 2: Ice lance. Who does not love cleaving, and the possible dps increase it brings on both bosses and trash.
Glyph 3: This is can be either Fire Blast, Deep Freeze or Water Ele. Deep freeze is good if you can squeeze it in once in a while, Fire blast if you want to blow your Frost Bomb early or use Living Bomb, but in general I recommend Water Ele. It makes pet-management none existent, and means you’re not going to have issues with nova.
Single target: Bomb>Frozen Orb>Keep 3x Fbolt stack up>FoF (2)>Brain Freeze>FoF (1)>Fbolt.
AoE: Bomb(s)>PetNova+CoC, Frozen Orb>Flamestrike (If fight last the duration/is not being kited) FoF (1/2). From here Arcane Explosion if up close, Blizzard if not, and both of these only if high amount of mobs present, else Brain Freeze and Fbolt is better.
While this covers mostly Frost, this goes for all 3 mages specs.
The goal about cooldowns, is to use them the most ammount of time, while doing it at the best possible times.
We have Frozen Orb, Ice Veins, Mirror Images and Alter time.
Pet Nova could also be considered a cooldown, but it is on a very short timer.
Frozen Orb should be used on every AoE pull (And every pull in general, if not a big incoming AoE pull next),
but while getting as many out is best, timing it should be important too, so no FoF procs are wasted.
Mirror Images is great for a threat dump, and a small boss dps increase. Which means good on big AoE pulls, if you get aggro, or on bosses.
Icy Veins should be used on cooldown, if the whole duration is used on the pull.
Alter Time is more tricky. The best time to use it, is with either Icy Veins or Time Warp up, all your procs and 2x FoF and Brain Freeze procced. Those situasions rarely occour, and it can mostly be used 1 time on a boss, and on 1 pull between bosses (depends). Try aiming for the above, but remember to use it.
Engineering is always great. Nitro boots, tinkers and so forth useable, so a lot of possible things here.
Invisibility Potions are great, by skipping that nasty pack(s), that takes a much longer average kill time.
Drums of speed for an additional speed boost.
Obviously spell dmg potions, flask, and food.
I think that was I have thought of. If anyone got idea, mention it and I will add it!
Strategies, tips (specific or general), criticisms and such is most welcome.
Farewell, and good luck achiving those fast runs!