New Feature: Daily Duels

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).

BASICS

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.

MECHANICS

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.

EXAMPLE

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:

  1. Carver Shadowstalker w/ Blood Dance
  2. Raven Acolyte w/ Calamity
  3. Necropolis w/ Topaz Attunement
  4. Infinity Lord w/ Resurrection Code
  5. Impaler Banshee w/ Curse of Silence
  6. 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):

  1. Skeleton Mortarman (Nether) w/ Topaz Attunement
  2. Skeleton Mortarman (Nether) w/ Venom Inoculation
  3. Bone Reaper (Nether) w/ Blood Dance
  4. Lich Overseer (Nether) w/ Ascendancy
  5. Lich Overseer (Nether) w/ Day of the Dead
  6. 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.

IMPLEMENTATION

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

I absolutely love this idea! Aside from this being a mechanically fun system, this would also be a great way to get a lot more people active on the forums. Not only would deciding on an ideal team for each day require communication from a lot of different people, but the exchange of strategies would make these forums become much more popular. I could even assign certain members of the community to be in charge of deciding on the teams based on other users’ input.

Thank you for taking the time to explain such a thorough idea. I am adding this to my ever-growing list of things to implement into the game and will keep an eye on this topic to see if anyone has some good ideas to go along with it.

Awesome! I think it will make a great addition to the game.

To get the discussion going, I really like the idea of having people in the community designated to help curate Daily Duel ideas. They could accept public suggestions and put together weekly/monthly lists that would make it easy to stay well ahead. One other idea that might be interesting is to name the Daily Duel after the community member who comes up with it (or let them choose a name).

Mechanics wise, I’d be interested to hear peoples’ thoughts on several issues. First, how should the Duels scale with level? Currently, level doesn’t really matter at decently high levels, so my thought was to scale the Duels at around realm level 200 or so. This would exclude early game players, but scaling any higher probably won’t really make a difference.

Another question is how often new Duels should become available. Does daily seem too often to people? I like the idea of having a new challenge each day, but it might mean that the rewards for each duel have to be smaller.

Finally, should spells be allowed? I think that if Daily Duels are part of the Arena it makes sense to keep the no spells restriction, but would this be too tough on people who incorporate spells into their builds? Would having spells make battles too easy?

Two cautions about this concept.

b[/b] Not all the creatures should be Nethers - I would suggest three at most. I say this because in the current build I could probably beat that team with three creatures:

  • Djinn Arcanomancer w/ it doesn’t matter
  • Death Shapeshifter w/ it doesn’t matter
  • Mouth of Hell w/ Taunt Inscription

Since Arcanomancer gives all Nethers Scorn, one of the enemy creatures would go first (and it wouldn’t even matter if it was a Mortarman since its Mortar Kombat would be negated), kill the Mouth, and annihilate its own team entirely. I don’t know how an enchant of Day of the Dead and Ascendancy would interact with Eternal Rest, but if it prevents them that’s GG, and if it doesn’t then most of the enemy team is still dead and now it’s my turn (since ressurections place rezzed creatures last in action order unless otherwise noted), upon which I rez the Mouth and repeat ad nauseam until victory. If I wanted to be certain I’d add more Shapeshifters and watch them Code each other back to life endlessly with only a 2.56% chance of failure.

What I’m saying is that overcommitting to Nethers creates an easy weakness to exploit and that should be avoided.

b[/b] I’m uncertain if the difficulty on these battles should be so extreme all the time, because most of them will require specific strategies to beat, and it would be next to impossible to arrange that team in 24 hours before the date rolls over and the next duel replaces it. Either the challenges should last a week or they should be less overwhelmingly difficult - if you’re going to require preperation from your players to beat these duels, then you have to actually give them that time to prepare.

~*~

All that said, if you’re going to go through with this, Zack, I will personally give you a month’s worth of duel builds without blinking. I am 100% behind this, cautions notwithstanding.

Halen, spells would almost be required to beat some of these challenges, considering the already-immense deficit in stats the player will be facing. Players can easily game the standard monster parties, but since these duels are going to be designed, there’s inevitably going to be Splash/Cleave/Thrust, Mortarmen, or the like in every build to get around tanks, and it’s not going to be much fun to lose three creatures in the first action to an enemy Nether Pestilence Crafter.

Great idea. I agree on the difficulty aspect with VagrantSun. It should not exclude new players than it already does (not access to all creatures). It should be kept in a realm level where even stat based builds are feasable like 20 or 30. Spells should be allowed and can be part of an enemy teams strategy like blood lust in an already attack stacked enemy team. Other than that I vote for daily changes just to experience more than 52 cool battles a year. Put them on a rotation/randomiztion so if you miss one you will have a chance later to try again.

While we are at it. Can we have this implementation’s little brother too? A fixed major sigil daily with guarenteed crafting material?

I don’t mean to bug, but if you read through all of what the primary post states, some of your concerns are already met. Specifically, he says that the duels won’t go away and aren’ta onetime only thing. When they are made, they stay available on a list of duel challenges. Also, if you fail, you can still go back and try to face it again without penalty. They are challenges for people who are past the growing stages and ate looking for something to puzzle them and give them a new view to beat a battle with.

On the topic of nether, the djinn arcanomancer will be changed by the time these are implemented and will probably afflict weak instead of scorn, so none of that crazy crushing there. This goes for mouth of hell as well, he’ll be changed as Zack had already said.

As for level, like the opening post stated, these would be for late-game players looking for a fun new challenge in the game to test their prowess for fancy new baubles to add to their collection. So the high level makes sense. As do the spell restrictions.
That being said, a great idea would be to have “mid-tier” challenges for the lower level players to enjoy, kind of like a prep stage to get them to think more deeply about team synergy and game mechanics. It would be a great way to get the newer players involved, with the greater challenges keeping them involved layer on.

Sorry I forgot to mention that in my post. I do not think duels should be available at all times. How would you treat new players. Do they get the history from the day the feature was introduced (which turns it more into a backlog than daily) or are they locked out of these fights forever?

I also try to keep an eye on save game size (mine takes over 20 seconds to load vs 1 second for a new save) and with an ever increasing state of how many duels were completed save size would increase steadily. Having the duel randomized each day allows changes to the duel pool whenever necessary, for example remove a certain duel when it no longer makes sense due to ability changes.

That is a very good point about the Nethers being vulnerable to the Djinn Arcanomasters, but I believe that is going to change next patch. Nevertheless, how many nethers appear on the team could be part of the battle design when submitted, as it plays into the strategies involved.

As for difficulty, I agree that all battles do not have to be insanely hard–some can just highlight interesting synergies or be thematic (I.e., all Hunters with interesting legendaries). But I do think that it should be a late game only activity, maybe requiring a very resource intensive upgrade to the arena before the Daily Duels are accessible. As Junbocs pointed out, the original idea was to have all of the Daily Duels stay available once they are added so that players can try again and again, even after that day is over. This means that players are not rushed to find a strategy, but there is still new content everyday. Rewards would scale based on the total number of Duels you have completed.

As for spells, I really don’t have enough experience using spells to know whether they would be necessary or not. My fear would be that adding spells would create simple spellcasting strategies to win every battle, which would defeat the purpose. Of course, even if spells are allowed, someone could include Curse of Silence in their suggested Duel.

Finally, it is an interesting question about whether or not stat builds should be viable in the Daily Duels. Right now I think it is pretty well accepted that late game is all about abilities (percent damage, etc.). If Zack wants to keep it that way (which I personally would prefer, especially since new creatures can always make new builds viable) I think it is fine to scale to a very high Realm Level difficulty. If that is going to change, I agree that level scaling shouldn’t be so extreme.

And I am right there with VagrantSun when it comes to being willing to devote some time to coming up with Daily Duel builds–it is very fun to think about.

Ability builds are superior because they let you ignore enemy stats/level so it does not really matter whether you set your fight for realm level 100 or 9001. Difficulty does not increase at all from a certain realm level onwards.

Setting it in a very high realm level however instantly locks the player out of half of all available creatures. You will never get good use out of a Twisted Devil, Clairvoyant Spirit, Brim Smith or any of the other stat based creatures in a duel because they are just not viable.

I think that new players would have access to all precious Daily Duels (or maybe the last X duels) as soon as they build the necessary Arena Upgrade (maybe a new castle quest added at the end?). I like the idea of having an intermediate level first so that mid-game players get accustomed to thinking about late-game strategy. Maybe there could be two new Arena upgrades, the first giving access to mid-tier Daily Duels and the second giving access to high-level Daily Duels? That is probably too hard to implement, but might be an option.

Kejal, I understand your point about level scaling, that’s why I said Realm 100-200, because there definitely is no change after that. I disagree about stat builds needing to be viable, but I understand that is probably just a difference of opinion about what late game should look like generally. I am fine with half of creatures being locked out if the late game–nkt every creature needs to be useful at all stages of the game, brim smiths are great in mid-game and therefore still have their place.

As to whether they should all be available or not on a rotating basis, I don’t know enough to know how much that impacts save file size. One option might be to make the last X number of Daily Duels available on a rolling basis. This limits it down somewhat and gives players inventive to stick with the game (if they put the game down for too long they will miss out and have a lower total Daily Realms cleared than others.)

I like the thought of being able to do duels over again, rather than being locked out after one go. Perhaps it’s that you can only do one specific duel in a day so you can’t rush through them, but can still formulate and try different ways to beat it. Maybe, to keep save size down a bit, make it so that when you construct the upgrade you start with one duel and a new one is added randomly each day from the pool. That way you aren’t flooded with them at the start. Still, I personally don’t have a problem getting a big list, just gets me stoked for the battles ahead.

You’re right, after a certain realm, increase doesn’t really matter. If you read all of the op, he even says that’s why he put it at 200, no reason to go further. But these are for late game, so making them early game would seem.a little silly. However, as I suggested previously, why not have another set of “mid-tier” duels that are tailored for more mid-game players. These would be perfect for setting up Stat focused teams like the broom smith and other attack focused creatures. As well as being a great way to get the newer players involved.

Broom Smith - Smith subtype

Sorceror’s Apprentice: Dispels all buffs on any creature it attacks.

a wizard hat is required

. . . cough

~*~

Mid-tier teams would be ideal because there are a lot of strategies that, while effective and fun, can’t keep up with the sheer brutality of endgame rez/%reflect strategies. For those I would suggest a 20-50 level deficient, enough that a stat build would have to be definitively focused to take it down, but not requiring Cradle Pegasi / Code spam / Shadowstalker Ritual shenanigans just to stay alive.

Yeah, I’m on my phone, so auto correct hates me. :stuck_out_tongue: however, that would be a nice creature. :wink:

I agree that there can be a lot of variety in mid-tier battles. So… how about that suggestion where we also make a mid-tier duel to help people better understand the game’s synergies?

I would also add a suggestion that there be some type of creature ban for the mid-tier duels, as some could just walk in with previously stated late-game builds and simply win regardless. It might be a bit difficult to implement, but it’d be worth it and keep them full of challenge and ingenuity for everyone.

A point I think of lot of you are getting at implicitly is that while the stats of the monsters increase as realm number increases, the AI, the tactics, and enemy ability synergies do not escalate in difficulty.

Here is an example of a particularly elegant Major Sigil combo, Lombardi the Raven Acolyte. Note how well the accompanying monsters compliment the RA’s ability. The Cursed Reapers and Celestial Idol lower party HP dependably, and the Skeleton Snipers receive a bonus to instant kill when player HP is low.

However, the Skeleton Snipers are as likely to cast a spell as the Cursed Reapers, even though a player would let the Cursed Reaper cast the spell and attack with the Sniper to exploit the chance for an instant kill. I would like enemies to get smarter as realm level increases. That’s easy to do, right?


Realtalk, Cup: coding AI to be “more intelligent” is horrendously difficult, and moreso when you want it on a sliding scale. The only thing I could think of is to raise the probability of individual monsters to attack/defend/cast spells depending on their abilities / current stats, but that would eat up ungodly amounts of time. Ultimately, whomever creates the challenge teams has to prepare for the probability that the enemies will not selectively target, or always choose the Provoke/Defend/Attack options.

This said, I know the game already weights probabilities towards ability-activating commands, and that is probably as good as it’s going to get.

Just a thought: what if there are a few (2 or 3) difficulty levels for each Daily Duel? The first difficulty level could offer all non-Nether Creatures which would allow pretty much any player to have a shot at beating it. After you beat that difficulty, the next difficulty unlocks for that particular Daily Duel which would have all Nether Creatures (2 abilities each including their artifact). The one after that could be all Nether Demons (3 abilities each including their artifact, with the demonic ability being completely random).

I like the idea of having three versions of each Daily Duel: 1) Normal, Legendary, and Demonic. Access to each tier would require an Arena upgrade, with the first being accessible through a Castle Quest and the last only available with a super expensive upgrade (and high level requirement).

Here is what I would suggest- enemy team composition remains the same at all tiers. When someone submits a Duel idea. They submit: (1) a team of six creatures and whether or not they are nether (more on that in a minute), (2) legendary enchantments for each creature, and (3) a third (nether demon) ability for each creature.

At the Normal level, only number (1) from above is used, and it is scaled at Level 10 or so. This would be a mid-game introduction to Daily Duels. Fighting a team with between 0 and 6 nether creatures would be tough, but they wouldn’t have legendary enchantments, so a well created mid-game stat build team should be able to prevail (thoughts on this?). The rewards for these would be rare cores, legendary materials, etc.

At the Legendary level, everything is the same except the enchantments from number (2) above are added, and it is scaled up to some higher Realm Level (50? 100?) This is the type of Daily Duel I originally described, with slightly less onerous level scaling. The rewards here are orbs, dusts, pills, tomes, etc.

At the Demonic level, all creatures become nether demons, and (3) is added. Realm level scaling is set higher, around 200. I am not even sure what the rewards should be. This would be an EXTREME challenge that would require using several nether demons yourself and many nether tomes. I actually think it is interesting to have these nether demon abilities be chosen instead of random. 18 ability teams seem like the natural progression to extend the late game. Of course, these teams would have to be curated to avoid impossible levels of difficulty, especially at first when most (even late game) players barely have any nether demons.