The update has just dropped and amongst the changes, we’ve gotten ourselves a brand new map for Trials of Elements (or ToE for short).
This post will be a quick review of the new ToE and what kind of first-impression changes which I’ve observed thus far. Although at first glance it might seem like an aesthetical makeover, there are quite a number of underlying revisions and improvements which they’ve done since the last map.
As for the actual drawn maps themselves, I’ll probably develop them in another post. (And hopefully someone doesn’t copy it without crediting again )
Trials of Elements: Magginaos Edition
Modified from the old Nature-themed map of Trial of Elements, the new Water-themed Magginaos version features a different structure and an overall brighter feel compared to its predecessor. The new setup preserves all manner of rewards which we used to get in the previous version, inclusive of crafting materials, gems, super fusion boosters, legendary chest. Additionally, the 75 waypoints (WP) structure is also maintained.
Upon entering the map, you’ll get sent to a randomly selected map, out of 4 different maps. These have a unique starting point and you’ll be immediately able to tell which one you landed in after several play-throughs. For ease of representation (and lack of creativity), let’s just call these:
- The Ledge – jumping off a big ledge to the last area
- The Doors – entering a series of doors from area to area
- The Corridors – walking through a series of narrow corridors
- The Tent – large tent at the last area
Like the previous ToE, each map retains its 5 areas setup where you basically move from one area to the next until you complete all 5 areas. However, unlike the previous one, these areas are no longer interconnected as a single network, but flow in a more linear fashion from area 1 to 2 to 3 (…and so on).
In each area, minions spawn first consecutively until they get taken all down. Once that happens, there is a chance that the resident area Champion will spawn. This is also randomly selected out of the 2 regular type champions which we are used to from the previous ToE – for example, Fire waypoints will choose either the Crystal Leviathan or the Dominator. Unfortunately, there are no newer minions (ie. Xinkashi, Kenashi, Forsaken or Event) that have been introduced in this update version.
This way, dealing with Champions is much more straightforward as you don’t have other minions running about and damaging you as you. This certainly makes things easier, as described in the next section.
The rate of a champion spawn ranges from 2-4 areas per waypoint. Although there isn’t solid evidence yet, I do believe that certain areas have a higher chance to spawn champions compared to others.
In terms of strategy and difficulty, pretty much everything stays the same but some might argue that it could be easier because Champions spawn separately from the regular minions. It also takes about the same time with slightly lesser potions to clear the tougher waypoints though, so I guess that’s a possible indicator.
TL;DR: Each waypoint sends you to a random linear map out of 4. Minions spawn first before Champs and champs spawn at a rate of 2-4 areas per waypoint.
From these changes, there are a couple of improvements as a result from how the map is structured:
1) Easier for Ranged Users
The larger areas make it much easier for ranged users (crossbows and staffs) to run about within the area to gain distance away from incoming minions. Despite the lack of cover, crowd-control effects (eg. fear, stun, slow) can still be executed to ensure that you don’t get swarmed since the minions (non-Champions) here are not immune to them.
Moreover, a little nice tibbit is that the staircases are sloped gently. This allows ranged users to hit minions even though they seem to be one platform higher or lower. Therefore, it overcomes the difficulty of fighting minions on ramps or different levels where the height difference is too high and the aiming of projectiles goes off – something which ranged users face issues with.
2) Easier Champions
Certain champions are much easier without distractions of the other minions. A key example would be the Harbringer which no longer has multiple ghouls or tortured to revive every time it finishes its attack cycle. Assassins can also be taken out safely from a distance if you stand slightly out of range of its single piercing shot, but still within its multi-shot range.
Champions can still summon additional minions to join the fight, such as Succubine (summons overseers), Wicker Beast (summons nature hounds) and Gatekeeper (summons gargoyles). The great thing is that these can be used as fodder to activate your bloodrage or regenerate your HP when killed or hit respectively (despite the slightly reduced HP/Hit value), making it easier to take out these types of minions.
However, champions which were difficult to handle alone (eg. Spirius), will still be a challenge to deal with now, though you definitely get more space for them to chase you around.
3) Smoother Auto-mode
Playing on auto-mode is much more straightforward now. Gone are the days where the AI struggles to make a choice between going to the next room or heading to another. Now, the AI travels to the next marked area efficiently than before.
4) No skipping of areas
Unlike the last ToE where a ‘certain‘ area could be skipped which led to terrible consequences, the linear pathway of the new maps does not allow skipping of areas to be done. This definitely prevents the multi-champ bug from occurring and ultimately prevents exploit of this issue.
5) Less Crashes
After a quick ‘fatigue testing‘ of my device (iPhone 6+), the new ToE performs much better in performance. Instead of the previous 9-10 WP/crash, the rate has now improved to 15 WP/crash. The app also started to slow after 13 WPs or so, making longer game-plays much smoother in comparison.
However, playing continuously for that long inevitably results in high battery consumption. Thus, you might want to have your power bank/power cable at bay for long play-runs.
+ Easier for Ranged users
+ Easier against certain Champions
+ Smoother Auto-mode
+ No skipping/multi-champ spawn bug
+ Less crashing
While there have been a great number of things that have been changed, there is still an opportunity to improve the ToE experience. These suggestions would be familiar to those who frequent the social media channels and probably have been repeated a number of times prior to this:
1) Reduced Waypoints with Scaled Difficulty
The major hurdle that needs to be overcome for ToE is that it still is a grind-fest, which easily takes up between 3-4 hours of gameplay (be it auto or manual) before one is able to complete it every week. While it does allow players to keep being engaged, it does pose a difficulty for more busy players (like myself), to finish all 75 waypoints per week.
Reducing the number of waypoints, but keeping the difficulty and rewards scaled to match would enable more casual or hectic players to complete all of these waypoints so long as they have the right (sufficiently strong) gear to do so.
2) Repeated attempts (at a price)
Crafting ingredients like Mushrooms tend to run out quickly, especially when crafting for T5-6 trinkets. A quick fix to this would be to allow more ‘intensive‘ players to replay certain waypoints at a price (gems perhaps?) to earn the chance to obtain more of these crafting materials without having to wait for the next elemental ToE or getting small quantities of them from Arena chests.
– Reduce the high number of waypoints but scale difficulty and rewards
– Allow for repeated attempts at a price
There are, however, certain bugs that have been observed so far since the play through (yes devs, I’m looking at you now). Many thanks to Aaron/Cali for racing with me and locating some of these glitches.
Here is a list of them which have been reported and hopefully you don’t freak out when encountering these:
A) Invisible Minions
There is still the off-chance you might encounter an invisible minion that does not spawn.
If you happen to encounter it specifically on a Dark waypoint, you might want to walk around to search for the last overseer that just flew off and wait for it a while longer. These will land after some time, allowing you to finally finish it off.
B) Immortal Justice Animation Glitch
MC Hammer sometimes sometimes leads to a bad repetitive animation glitch, which inevitably crashed my game. There wasn’t additional damage that was dealt, only the animation was stuck in a loop. Definitely not a good experience especially since it happened on the last area of a Water WP.
C) Harbringer Full-HP bug
This one is probably the rarest and strangest bug which I’ve seen so far with the Harbringer recovering to full HP. This happens after it gets ‘bind‘ by Mist of Death, leading it to fly off and recover to full life after it lands down again. Thankfully, the occurrence for this was once in the waypoint, and no repeated instances have happened so far.
Not sure whether this affects the other minions, but it certainly is something that needs to be addressed.
– Invisible minions glitch is still around
– Immortal Justice repeated animation glitch
– Harbringer full-HP bug from Mist of Death
The next post to follow this would be my overdue Valenthian Guardhouse: Revisited post, complete with the minion mastery context. Do look forward to that.
Alright, back to enjoying the Update! 🙂