BlizzCon 2011: Blizzard Details Dungeons, Raids and Challenge Mode in Mists of Pandaria
Challenge Mode and Raid Finder
Challenge Mode is where things get really interesting. This will be the kind of high-level difficulty that hardcore players are looking for. It allows users to try to speed-run dungeons, with medals being awarded for the fastest times. The faster your time, the better your medal and your position on the upcoming Challenge Mode leaderboards.
The Challenge Mode experience is all about skill, rather than gear, which is why Blizzard plans to “normalize” gear for players going into Challenge Mode. You’ll be assigned an appropriate, but likely lower, level of gear than what you might take in with you in order to make sure everyone is competing at the same level. Stockton and Mercer mentioned that there could be further possibilities for increasing the difficulty of Challenge Mode speed-runs — like allowing players to go through Challenge Mode dungeons again with even lower item levels.
In Patch 4.3, the last content patch for Cataclysm, will include Raid Finder as well as both normal and heroic raids available, and Raid Finder will be ready to go for Mists of Pandaria right out of the box. The idea is the same as Dungeon Finder’s — players can queue up and take on raids regardless of their roles and without the need to find groups of their own. The idea, as Stockton put it, is to bring raid content to a wider audience of people. Raid Finder will be available from the outset for 10-man raids, he said, but the loot will be better when players take raids on in normal and heroic modes. And Raid Finder will be another way for players to earn Valor Points.
Follow Hornshaw on Twitter: @philhornshaw.