On your mark, World of Warcraft players. Get set. Quest and kill!

On Aug. 14, when Blizzard Entertainment announces the release date for the new Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, the scramble will begin.

Each new expansion brings with it new content but also erases some of the old, making it impossible for players of the popular massively multiplayer online game to get certain achievements or items after the magic date passes.

Plan for two milestones: first, Blizzard will release the “pre-expansion patch,” which changes substantial things about the game for existing World of Warcraft players. For this expansion, that’s patch 6.0.2. Then Blizzard will release the expansion itself: Warlords of Draenor. Both stages take away things currently in-game.

Blizzard will hand out keys to the beta test at the announcement on Aug. 14. It will likely be at least a few weeks from that date until patch 6.0.2 launches.

After that, it’s likely to be at least another few weeks before the expansion pack goes on sale — so you have a good but not unlimited amount of time to clean up Mists of Pandaria content.

We’ve compiled your to-do list: everything that you should tackle now in the current Mists of Pandaria expansion pack before those dates hit. Read on to find out what’s going away, what’s coming in, and what you need to get done ASAP.

Warcraft challenge mode Pandaren Phoenix mounts

Above: Members of the Exact Change guild show off … the four colors of the Pandaren Phoenix flying mount.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Last chance to face the challenge

Right now, players can take five-person groups through dungeons in challenge modes. These scale down players’ armor to a lower level, ramp up the dungeon difficulty, and add timers to achieve gold, silver, and bronze ratings.

Players who earn silver ratings in all challenge modes earn the rights to a phoenix mount. Players who earn golds get pieces of special challenge mode armor sets (which they can transform their usual pieces of armor to resemble).

Mists of Pandaria challenge modes are going away with patch 6.0.2, so anyone who wants the armor sets or mounts needs to do them now. There will be new challenge modes at level 100 in the Warlords expansion, with new rewards.

One bonus: If you have earned a phoenix during your challenge mode runs, you do not need to complete them with other characters to earn the other colors. After 6.0.2, any character on your account can fly using any of the four phoenix mounts.

The armor sets will continue to be available only to the character with which you earned the gold ratings, however. If you misplace any pieces, you’ll be able to repurchase them.

Warlock green fire in Warcraft

Above: Believe it or not, green fire was on the wish list of warlock characters for almost a decade. Get it now, and your character will earn a minty fresh title for Warlords.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

It’s not easy being green (before Warlords)

Warlocks who have not completed the difficult quest chain to get a green color for their fire spells might want to finish that up now.

If you complete the chain, you’ll be awarded the “Breaker of the Black Harvest” Feat of Strength when patch 6.0.2 launches, which gives all warlocks on your account the “of the Black Harvest” title.

Players can’t get the title and Feat of Strength after patch 6.0.2 hits, but warlocks will still be able to get green fire. The quest starts from the Sealed Tome of the Epic Legion, a book only visible to warlocks, dropped by elite-difficulty creatures on the Isle of Thunder.

Large-group achievements are going away

The “Ahead of the Curve” and “Cutting Edge” achievements for killing the last boss in the most recent 10- and 20-character large-group raid areas always expire with the release of the next batch of raids, and patch 6.0.2 will be no exception.

If you’re on the brink of defeating Garrosh Hellscream, the last boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, on either normal or heroic difficulty modes, now is the time to make that final push to get the achievement and earn your Kor’kron War Wolf riding mount.

If your guild of players is vanquishing Garrosh on heroic mode, now is also the time to get lucky with your dice roll on the Juggernaut mechano-scorpion mount he always drops at that difficulty. It’ll become a rare-drop item after Warlords hits.

The “Glory of …” achievements, which are meta-achievements for completing almost all the individual achievements from a given raid, will continue to award mounts from Mists of Pandaria raids even after the new expansion releases.

Garrosh heirloom mace Warcraft

Above: The weapon that levels with you: Don’t leave the Siege of Orgrimmar without it.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Weapons that level with you (if you get them now)

Garrosh currently has a chance to drop fancy heirloom-quality weapons that any character on your account can use — if you defeat him on flexible, normal, or heroic difficulty.

These weapons grow in power with you as you increase in level from 90 to 100 in the new expansion, making them highly desirable for players who plan to buy the Warlords expansion pack. You’ll want to get your characters in to finish off Garrosh on those difficulty levels between patch 6.0.2 and the release of the new expansion.

During that time, he’ll be guaranteed to drop an heirloom weapon that is useful for your character if you haven’t previously received one. You’ll also have a better chance (as compared to now) of getting more weapons beyond the first.

After Warlords releases, Garrosh will no longer drop the weapons at all.

Legendary cloak in World of Warcraft

Above: Your days to earn these obnoxiously bright spell effects from legendary cloaks are numbered.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Legendary cloaks will count to 100

Players who are in the process of completing the lengthy line of quests to earn a legendary-quality cloak for their WOW character should wrap it up before the Warlords expansion hits.

This is especially important for characters you plan to level up in the new expansion. The cloaks are so much better than any other gear available that Blizzard told us they are likely to make it all the way to the new level-100 cap before being replaced.

Blizzard has been providing buffs to all players in-game recently to help them complete the quest line. This weekend, for example, players will earn extra Valor Points (the currency used for a stage of the quest but also for buying and upgrading gear). The number of points you get will double from killing bosses and completing dungeons because of the Heart of the Valorous buff.

UBRS rookery in Warcraft

Above: Many whelps. Handle it.

Image Credit: Heather Newman

Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon getting a revamp

The Upper Blackrock Spire five-player dungeon will be redone — first into a special level-90 version for 6.0.2 and then into a level-100 version after Warlords releases. If you’re feeling sentimental, you should go back to visit it now.

While you’re in UBRS, run over all the dragon eggs in the rookery to make them hatch. Kill the resulting cloud of whelps for the “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!” achievement, based on the adventures of goofy player Leeroy Jenkins, which awards the Jenkins title for your character to use.

The Jenkins title will still be available by doing a new achievement (“Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy … ?”), earned by resurrecting and then helping Leeroy, a paladin, recover his Devout shoulder armor, which is meant for a priest. The old achievement will become a Feat of Strength and will no longer be available.

For every arena, there is a season

Finally, gamers who enjoy player-versus-player combat should finish up their work and points in arenas. For PvP arena combatants, Season 15 will be the last one for Mists of Pandaria. That means you’ve got all the way up to patch 6.0.2 to finish upping your PvP ranking score and to make purchases with the Conquest Points you earn.

This may seem like a hefty to-do list, but it will almost all help your play in the new expansion. Good, raid-quality gear is lasting up to five to six character levels before we replace it in our beta tests. The highest-level gear from the current Mists of Pandaria expansion lasts even longer.

And those mounts, titles, and achievements (oh my)? Priceless.

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