The latest update to World of Warcraft, prepping the game for the changes to come with its Mists of Pandaria expansion later this month, brought a number of changes to existing systems. Several more will be coming when the expansion goes live on September 25.
One new system rolling into the game with the pandas adds challenge modes to dungeons. Bored with having mastered a run already? Know the boss script inside and out after running the dungeon a million times for loot? Well, now there's another reason to go back to it.
So what's the deal with the challenge modes? World of Warcraft fansite Wowjuju has written up a brief explainer on them. A group taking on a dungeon selects a challenge mode when going in. Then, for that run, the group playing the dungeon has standardized gear, so that all groups taking the challenge are being graded against the same baseline.
Groups can earn gold, silver, or bronze medals based on how long it takes them to eliminate every boss in the instance. Eventually, they add, there will be a leaderboard tracking the group dungeon challenge accomplishments.
So. Got a zone down? Great. Now do it in unfamiliar gear, in less than twelve minutes. And good luck.
Challenge Modes [Blizzard]
Challenge Modes Explained [WoWjuju]