I hadn’t heard much about challenge modes until very recently, and the most recent information seems to contradict all my previous conceptions of what challenge modes will be.
As I understand it, challenge modes will be:
- Hard. They will be a new, higher difficulty level (above heroic) of existing dungeons. These may be some of the hardest content ever released, according to some blizz devs. This is content that they don’t expect everyone will be able to get right away (if at all).
- Timed. The challenge isn’t just to down the boss once, but to continue to shave seconds off of runs. Your times will be compared not just to yourself, but also others in your guild and on your server.
- Impossible to Outgear. Any gear above the intended level (463 IIRC) will be scaled down to 463 stat levels so that you never outgear the content. You’ll play it at the intended difficulty every single time.
- Different. Not only will you get bigger, beefier versions of mobs compared to normal or heroic versions of the dungeon, but devs suggest there will also be changes, such as increased mob counts, additional abilities, varied pulls, and different CC configurations/immunities. There may well be mobs, or whole trash packs, that didn’t exist – or behaved differently – in other versions.
- Lootless. Any loot provided by challenge modes will have no stats and be for vanity/transmog purposes only. The reward comes in unique mounts/pets/titles/achievements/teleport spells/etc. that are largely for prestige purposes only.
In short, Blizzard seems to be using challenge modes as an answer to the call for the “elite few” to have some exclusive content. It won’t be some new, never-before-seen content, but it will be something with unique rewards in exchange for its increased difficulty. If Blizzard has succeeded in tuning the content as they intend, it seems that completing a challenge mode will be something to be proud of. Completing it at the gold level is something that only the best of the best need hope to achieve. Frankly, I’m a big ball of apprehension and excitement about the whole thing. I want the mount(s), and titles. Will I be good enough to get them? I don’t know, but I’m dying to find out.