Hey all, one thing I have not touched on in my blogs is the challenge mode dungeons. If you’ve never done these challenge mode dungeons, they’re in a sense more like vanilla wow dungeons but things hit harder. You’ve probably heard that the hardest part of challenge mode dungeons is the trash and not the bosses and this is true.
My group just recently got gold on all of them with this composition:
Blood DK, Windwalker Monk, Rogue (my knowledge of rogues is very limited but I believe he switched for some of them), Boomkin, Holy Paladin
(Notice no bloodlust…)
Here is my opinion of their difficulty, this is biased in terms of when we attempted them and the PVE gear we got in between so just keep that in mind. I stratefied them by Easy, Medium and Hard, rather than ranking them in an interval order:
Easy: Mogu’shan Palace, Gate of the Setting Sun
Medium: Shado-Pan Monastery, Siege of Niuzao Temple, Scarlet Halls, Scarlet Monastery, Scholomance
Hard: Stormstout Brewery, Temple of the Jade Serpent
The levels are a little bit decieving and the difficulty is in some parts related to how stupid some parts of the dungeon were, not the whole dungeon. For example, I thought the hard dungeons were mostly related to how many pulls it took to finish a part of it with the rest of the dungeon being fairly easy. The only one I would say is hard in a global sense is Stormstout Brewery. As I mentioned, you can do CMs without bloodlust if you have competent people. The only Boss where I actually switched to Ret for (and in retrospect we probably could’ve done it in the traditional manner) is the last boss in Stormstout Brewery. While we didn’t have bloodlust, we did have a DK tank who is arguably the best challenge mode tank, windwalker monk and boomkin who provide very good AOE silence, rogue with aoe stealth/smoke bomb and holy paladin who all bring very nice utility to these dungeons. The most important part of challenge dungeons is not make-up but communication. Granted some compositions will make things easier than others but without a competent group you won’t be able to do any of the dungeons.
In terms of general thoughts as a healer, you don’t have a single role in challenge dungeons to just sit there and heal. You will be expected to (apart from your traditional role of massively healing the tank with everyone taking damage) dps during down time, stun and CC. You will do poorly if you fail to fill these other roles as well. Challenge dungeons are not places to freak out about people taking damage as that will happen all the time (and a lot of it will happen all the time). They are place to calmy assess the situation and deal with things respectively. You will find that doing challenge modes will prepare you well for raids. In fact, challenge dungeons are most likely more punishing than normal and even some heroic raids.
There is no gear requirement above getting 463 which is extremely attainable. High level PVE gear is recommended since the sockets are not scaled down and higher ilvl gear typically has more sockets. You can obtain these from LFR though, therefore no Normal or Heroic gear is required at all. Legendary meta-gems, legendary sha gems, and tier bonuses don’t work. The prismatic socket does work.
You must have the following:
– Intellect flasks
– Intellect food
– Mana/Intellect pots
– Restorative ambers (Klaxxi quartermaster)
– Invisibility potions
Use intellect for more healing as your mana should not be an issue since you can drink in between pulls. Also, in raids you might not pop cooldowns for whatever reason but in challenge modes you must pop cooldowns to keep people alive. You simply can not do so otherwise. You also must know when to pop these cooldowns and know when to save or use them. Also unlike raids, you will be using Flash of Light a lot more to keep up with the damage. I personally reforged all of my gear to haste and specifically chose some older PVE gear which had haste as the secondary itemization for a special challenge mode set. In gem sockets I would recommend socketting the following:
Yellow: Haste or Int/Haste or Spirit/Haste
Blue: Spirit or Spirit/Haste
I personally rarely found myself running out of mana. A majority of the time, not having enough casting speed was what cause the wipe. However getting a bit of spirit will never hurt therefore I’ve listed the gear by what a majority of the color sockets are for your own choosing.
BIS Challenge Mode Set (Minimizing Item Level, Maximizing BIS-ness!)
Note that I have a very faint idea of how challenge mode scaling actually works. You can read about it here. However since healers don’t have hit or expertise, I believe that all of their gear is scaled down by the same percentage. The increase in stats based on item level is exponential in nature which is why you will see a 30% reduction from ilvl 500 to 463 with only approximately 7% reduction in item level. Stamina on an item will always be the same at an item level. The other three stats however shift around depending on which one is larger. Intellect is considered our primary stat and will always be the greatest. On gear with spirit and additionally a secondary stat, the ordering will go 2 different ways. Intellect between two different items of the same item level and no sockets will always be the same, spirit will be greater on one, the secondary stat will be greater on the other. Otherwise, some items who have different names will have the same exact stats. In terms of scaling you can expect that items with sockets will be scaled down more. However, the reason some items have less stats at the same item level is because they have more sockets. In their original form, the sockets are intended to make up for the difference in stats at the same item level. With the gear scaled down however, the sockets will not only make up for the decrease in stats but also since they’re not scaled down they will make up for a little bit of the scale down on the items from being in challenge mode than an item with no sockets. I also believe that socket bonuses are not scaled down but not 100% on this
Let’s take an easy real world example. Suppose we socket 1 80 Int/160 Haste in the Spaulders and 2 of the same gem in the Tier piece.
Spaulders of Primordial Growth (LFR, 502): 881 Int, 1441 Stam, 690 Spirit, 447 Haste, 1 socket (Y)Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (LFR, 502): 801 Int, 1441 Stam, 690 Spirit, 544 Mastery, 2 socket (R,Y)
Spaulders of Primordial Growth (LFR, 502): 961 Int, 1441 Stam, 690 Spirit, 607 Haste
Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (LFR, 502): 961 Int, 1441 Stam, 690 Spirit, 544 Mastery, 320 Haste
Challenge Mode Scale Down (Assuming 30%):
Spaulders of Primordial Growth (LFR, 502): 616+80=696 Int, 1009 Stam, 483 Spirit, 313+160=473 Haste
Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (LFR, 502): 561+160=721 Int, 1009 Stam, 483 Spirit, 381 Mastery, 320 Haste
As you can see, with the challenge mode scale, the gear with more sockets not has more of our primary stat. Let us go onwards to identifying the BIS challenge mode gear. I will try to stay away from crafted gear or world boss gear and sticking strictly to gear that can be obtained in dungeons or LFR.
I would highly recommend running through the challenge dungeon in whole at least once before attempting to beat the time. This will cut down on the number of attempts because you will know what kind of damage to expect.
Over the next few weeks I will be releasing guides for each of these challenge mode dungeons in the view of a healer so keep checking back 🙂 (I’ll start from easy to hard.) Also I realize there are multiple ways of doing this but I am focusing mainly on what worked for us. If this doesn’t work for you then please go look at any of multitudes of gold challenge guides out there and good luck!