Finished with Challenge Modes!

Posted by Zelcandor October 10th, 2014.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re done!

Everyone who signed up for the initiative has now gotten their Challenge Mode Gold titles, mounts and transmog gear! :)

When Az, Panda and I started this initiative, we figured that we’d be boosting people through these Challenge Modes but it’s been a real pleasant surprise to see how well everyone performed. Congratulations, everyone – none of you got boosted, you all earned your Golds the old-fashioned way – by hard work, skill and effort! :)

I’d also like to thank everyone who came along to help out in making a full group and making sure everyone got their Golds. Everyone that signed up offered to come help out for the next batch of people and many of you did come along, helping out, ensuring that we succeeded in getting these done. It’s been a really long road and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of you.

Congratulations again to everyone and a big thank you to all the awesome people who came to help out!

Cheers,
Zelcandor

“How are those Challenge Modes going, Nascente?”

Nascente scowled as she looked up from her notes. She had been writing up evaluation reports and people interrupting her when she was trying to focus made her grumpy. It made her grumpier to see who had been asking.

“They’re going well enough, Primarch Zelcandor. The holo-chambers we constructed have performed well enough, though there have been some… glitches. So far we’ve evaluated and tested many members of Immortalis… as you’d know well enough if you bothered to read my evaluation reports.”

The tall warrior leaned in the doorway and grinned apologetically. “Well, I do have a military order to run… one that’s been busy besieging Orgrimmar. I tend to breeze through reports that are of low priority and just ask those in charge when I have time.”

Nascente put down her pen and scowled again.

“I’d also prefer it if you referred to them as ‘Simulated Experiences’ rather than ‘Challenge Modes!”

Zelcandor grinned again, “Wouldn’t that acronym to SEx?”

Nascente sighed.

***

It had been a few months since Zelcandor had asked her and the others to organise a training regimen with the technology they’d been playing with. While she begrudgingly respected Zelcandor as a leader, she wasn’t entirely convinced that he wasn’t an idiot and resented it when his plans impacted her quiet life.

She had joined Immortalis out of curiosity to begin with, thinking it wouldn’t be very much different from any other order she’d previously been part of. It had been a pleasant surprise to find that they owned a draenic ship that was tethered to the Twisting Nether. It had been an even bigger surprise to find that this ship served as a depository of information and records. And then she had found out that very few of the Immortalis members spent time there at all. She had felt like dropping to her knees and crying tears of joy that day, for what the Archives represented to her was something she’d always craved: peace and quiet, a haven from the noise and mess of the city.

She had always been a quiet, studious girl. She had a talent for healing and had trained in Stormwind to be priest. She liked healing well enough but what she didn’t enjoy was working with others. The world was so noisy and chaotic. And her fellow priests had been such airheads, nice enough but dim and uninteresting. Until one day, there had been a week spent in Ironforge to study with the dwarves and gnomes. She met a gnome with a wrench, trying to fix a mechano-strider. Curious, she had asked him what he was doing and had been fascinated at this whole new world opening up before her. From that day, she had studied engineering hand in hand with her priestly studies.

The Archives represented a big, quiet study. She could live here and simply study in peace and quiet and she’d always wanted. She’d moved into the Archives soon after joining and for a while, it had been bliss. There were a few others who were here often but they either kept to themselves or were only present briefly. Kouniam and Zelcandor were frequent visitors, both interested in her work but happy to leave her alone to get on with things, provided that frequent reports were sent to them. This suited her fine: she was free to conduct her research, perform experiments, write copious journals and reports and no-one ever disturbed her.

Well, hardly anyone.

That spacecase Suunia and that control freak Zelanya also maintained their own research labs and would often join her for lunch and engage her in conversation. While there was some novelty in talking to other engineers, she could only take so much of those two. She’d tire of it, make her excuses and retreat back to her quiet lab as soon as she’d had enough.

It was heaven.

And then it had all come to an end, just because of one stupid research journal she’d written.

It had all begun innocently enough. An experiment with solid light projections and theories about the practical applications thereof. And then one day Zelcandor, Newenna and Kouniam had called her in for a meeting. She’d been surprised to see Suunia and Zelanya there as well.

It was during this meeting that Zelcandor had outlined his grand idea… based upon their research and inventions. He wanted the three of them to work together to create a simulation of past events – dungeons, fortresses, temples, sieges that the Exarch team had been part of and recreate them as training programs. They wanted to use Nascente’s solid light technology to recreate these places, Suuni’s engram-recorder to provide the memories from Zelcandor for those recreations and Zelanya’s quantum equalizer to make everyone weaker in the simulations, allowing for them to always remain difficult and challenging. These simulations would be used to keep up the martial skills of Immortalis members, as well as put them through their paces.

It was an awful idea but worst of all… she would have to work with Suunia and Zelanya to make it happen. Her dreams of a quiet life died that day as she and the others got to work.

While she would never admit it, working together to create the simulations had actually been a lot of fun. While Suunia was flighty and Zelanya could be extremely bossy and patronising, they were fun company and did work well together.

They came up with a method to test members on the speed in which they got done with the runs and after having a few volunteers test the simulations, they realised that people were starting to get competitive about how fast they could run through the simulations.

Soon after they implemented prizes and timings to earn Bronze, Silver and Gold medals for speed. This proved to be very popular but they had done their job a little too well. By the time they were done with creating the simulations, no-one knew the ins and outs of the simulations as well as them. So they became the best people to evaluate new members… which meant that they had to be there for every run.

And so began the ‘Challenge Mode Gold’ program. Part training regimen, part test of prowess. And it had been glorious, fun and challenging. She and the others had written numerous reports about them, all sent to Zelcandor… and apparently ignored.

And here he was now asking how these ‘Challenge Modes’ had been going and making his stupid jokes. If she didn’t know better, she could swear he enjoyed needling her for some reason.

“Fine, we can call them Challenge Modes. The program was successful. Many people ‘passed’ with Gold level skill. And you can see that they’ve been extremely helpful – you saw how the battle with Alani went. However, since you’ve reassigned us on this ‘Alani’ project to help track down Garrosh, we do not have the time to continue them. We are done with them for now.”

Those last words were said with regret in her voice, something that surprised her.

“Well, it sounds like you had a lot of fun.”

Nascente was broken out of her musings as Zelcandor put voice to her thoughts. She opened her mouth to deny it but then stopped. As annoying as it had been to lose her peace and quiet, it had been … fun to work with Suunia and Zelanya on a project together. Working together to overcome challenges, laughing at Suuni’s jokes, appreciating Zelanya’s cool leadership. Meeting new members, teaching them the tricks of the Challenge Modes, heck, it was even fun to work around the various bugs that had creeped into the simulations. And it had been thrilling to try and beat the clock night after night.

Nascente sighed and nodded. “Yes… it was fun. I will miss it.”

Zelcandor smiled kindly and nodded in her direction. “Sometimes a bit of peace and quiet is good. But you can’t just hole up in here and run away from the world. It’s good to play with others and have some fun. It’s why I put all three of you in charge of this program. Glad to see I was right.”

With that, he grinned again and left her in peace. Nascente scowled again.

Perhaps Zelcandor wasn’t quite as dumb as she thought.