Here is my proposal for a new online feature called Daily Duels (or Daily Challenges). These would function similar to Daily Realms, but would serve a different gameplay purpose and help provide more late-game challenges (and access to rare rewards).
The Daily Duel is an optional, late-game activity for high level players. Just as Daily Realms seek to create a shared experience for players (all players play the same new realm every day), Daily Duels create interesting shared challenges for players who are already very familiar with game mechanics and high-level strategies.
The premise of the Daily Duel is that every day (or maybe week) there is a new challenger mage that can be fought by the Siralim Monarch. This feature could be run through the Arena in much the same way that Daily Realms are run through the teleporter. Each of these battles pits the player against a non-random, level-scaling (at around the Realm 200-300 realm level scaling) group of enemies that are similar to major sigil battles, and every player who participates in the Daily Duel fights the same enemy team.
What makes Daily Duels stand out in the game is their extreme difficulty–each battle is fought against a team of six nether creatures, all of whom have specially tailored artifacts that all include a legendary enchantment. This puts the enemy team on the same footing as the player’s, and essentially simulates who it would be like to go up against other high-level players.
Unlike Daily Realms, Daily Duels would be re-playable, i.e., if the player loses during the Daily Duel, they have infinite opportunities to replay it, that day or any day after (all available Daily Duels appear in a list at the Arena). However, once a Daily Duel has been successfully completed, it cannot be replayed, and players receive the reward only once. The reward received is fixed and is based on how many Daily Duels have been completed thus far, and there is no penalty for attempting a Daily Duel and failing (no power balance loss, no clear streak reset, etc.)
Daily Duels would be so much fun because each of the Daily Duel battles would be carefully crafted to either (1) require a very specific strategy for victory, or (2) be designed to specifically counter popular late-game strategies. The battles would be so difficult that they would almost serve more as puzzles than fights, relying on a player’s encyclopoedic knowledge of abilities and team synergies. They might even require a player to develop entirely new teams or strategies just to win one specific battle.
The purpose of the Daily Duel would be to breakup the monotony of late-game play with a highly-efficient team. It would also be a method of obtaining extremely rare items. Instead of grinding at Realm Level 600 looking for dusts/pills, it would be much more enjoyable to have to think through a brand new challenge and build a team that can succeed, ultimately winning a guaranteed dust/pills as a reward.
Here is an example based on my own team:
- Carver Shadowstalker w/ Blood Dance
- Raven Acolyte w/ Calamity
- Necropolis w/ Topaz Attunement
- Infinity Lord w/ Resurrection Code
- Impaler Banshee w/ Curse of Silence
- Bile Slime w/ Contamination
This team is reliable and capable of handling most situations (with the occasional Corruption spell). However, grinding through Daily Realms and high realm levels becomes rather monotonous and predictable.
Daily Duels could alleviate this monotony. For example, one Daily Duel could pit the player against the following enemy team (I call it the Hell Brigade):
- Skeleton Mortarman (Nether) w/ Topaz Attunement
- Skeleton Mortarman (Nether) w/ Venom Inoculation
- Bone Reaper (Nether) w/ Blood Dance
- Lich Overseer (Nether) w/ Ascendancy
- Lich Overseer (Nether) w/ Day of the Dead
- Mouth of Hell (Nether) w/ Steadfast Resilience
I am completely confident that I have never faced such a challenge, and that this Daily Duel would obliterate my high-level team. In fact, I am not even sure how I would counter such an enemy team that is many multiples of my own level. But this is the beauty of Daily Duels–when I encounter this battle, I am likely to initially scratch my head and then start thinking of how to build a team that can win. Do I need to try to oneshot the Mouth of Hell and focus on resurrection abilities for a sustained fight? How do I survive the multiple rounds of entire-team oneshotting that will come from the Mortarmen? What about countering the Lich Overseers and their resurrection abilities, do I need to add a Bone Reaper of my own?
Even more importantly, these challenges would make for interesting discussions on the forums. I can imagine an entirely new forum section devoted to Daily Duels, were people trade strategies and discuss ways to beat each new Daily Duel.
The obvious downside of this new feature is the complexity and time-consuming implementation–how is Zack, who is already doing such a great job keeping insanely busy with regular updates, Steam, etc. going to have the time to come up with a new well-tailored team every day or every week that provides interesting puzzles?
My proposal is that Zack use the growing Siralim community to help with this effort. There could be a standard format that people could use to submit ideas for Daily Duels that would essentially just boil down to providing a list of six creatures and their legendary enchantments (the other enchantments on the artifacts could be random). Zack could compile and review the suggestions and roll them out accordingly. This has the benefits of (1) having ideas for new and interesting Daily Duels readily available, and (2) further involving the community. I would imagine it would feel nice to come up with a Daily Duel challenge that stumps the Siralim community. Because there is a new Daily Duel on a regular basis, old Duels can be replayed, and there is no penalty for failure, not every Daily Duel has to even be winnable–tough combinations that go undefeated for weeks or months would be perfectly fine.
Although it would require some effort to implement, Daily Duels would provide a much-needed reason to continue playing late-game. Its challenging, puzzle-like battles would require experienced players to try out new strategies and team compositions and think critically about how to achieve very specific goals. It would also create a guaranteed method of obtaining ultra-rare items. By involving the community and accepting input on Daily Duel ideas, the developer could have a ready-made list of Daily Duels and provide yet another outlet for community involvement. Daily Duels would also bolster the role of the Arena. Ultimately, it could provide an ever-evolving challenge for late-game players. Finally, battles could become so difficult that the only path to victory requires the use of Nether Demons, providing a late-game rationale for these powerhouses.