We’re not too far progressed in raid content yet. However, we were looking for something interesting to do. The presence of Challenge Modes has been taunting us.
Since the Challenge Modes scale your gear down to 463, in principle it shouldn’t matter how high your gear is, as long as most/all of your pieces are higher than 463. We got together a group of five who fit that description and gave Temple of the Jade Serpent a shot.
I was under the impression that it was much like a normal heroic run, maybe a little harder, and it was on a timer. We ran through heroic Temple for practice right before our Challnege Mode attempt, and got through it relatively quickly. Then we switched to Challenge and waded in.
To paraphrase our old friend Illidan, we were not prepared.
Everything is much harder. The mobs hit harder and they go down slower. All damage effects are increased. On top of that, since your gear is downgraded your dps and healing are lower than you are used to.
We got to the first boss (Wise Mari) and promptly wiped on him twice. Turns out he has a mechanic in Challenge Mode that he doesn’t have on normal or heroic. If you are more than 20 yards away he lobs water bombs on you, and its unhealable damage. Thus, you have to do the whole fight on those rings around the boss.
Also, he turns around faster when firing his water jet. Hooray.
We wiped a few times. We reset the instance and tried again. Got him down the first time. Went on to the next boss. Got it down. Third boss. Got it down. We’re being methodical and not trying to push things. We pull the final boss with 12 minute left on the bronze medal time.
…. and its all downhill from there.
The final boss is crazy hard. His shadows do tons of damage, and healer mana gets used up like crazy during the shadow phase. It took us 6 wipes before we finally got him down, missing the bronze medal time by… a lot. We did manage to finish, though. Got our 45 VP plus another bunch of VP for it being the daily Challenge Mode quest.
At this time, in my opinion the Challenge Modes are going to be an exception to the “bring the player not the class” mantra that Blizzard uses. You would be crazy to do these without a Heroism/Bloodlust in the party. Also, AoE classes are very useful in moving through trash packs quickly. We did the dungeon with a very poorly optimized party – no heroism, no paladin blessing, not even a hunter with a variety of pets.
I was hoping that my Shroud of Concealment would be useful, but not in this dungeon. The trash packs are hard to get around, and many are mandatory.
All in all it was really fun, and quite challenging. I’m looking forward to trying more.