The Milestone Post (Pt.2)

Let’s continue with part 2 of the roast review of DH5’s features ūüôā

In this post, we’ll cover the later game modes of Guild War, Arena, Trial of Elements and Citadel. The format will be the same as the last entry, where I’ll talk about how the good…and not so good…of how these modes have been over the course of 4 years.

Beware though, as this post is going to be a long one…

A side note: I just realised that this is the blog’s 100th post. Hurray to that! ūüôā


Guild Wars

Fundamentally, Guild War is a full scale guild-on-guild raid which started sometime in May 2016. It brought¬†up the pace of combat with ‘quick‘ battles against an opponent’s guilds packed within an hour. Also, a guild can initiate any amount of battles within the span of a weekend (as humanly possible). This raised the stakes since every guild member was involved in getting a good rank along with its subsequent rewards…all while requiring a good deal of planning and coordination.

As a mobile online game, coordination can be incredibly daunting as getting 29 players (minus the guild lead) to pass down instructions and hope the rest will follow is a challenging feat. The inefficiency of the chat system (till this day) didn’t help much either, leading to players needing to swap between the game and another messaging app constantly to relay their each others intentions…something that gets really chaotic quickly.


GW as a Bonding platform

Fortunately, it was through this chaos that led me to value Guild War more so than the other modes in the game. My experience was a rather unique one as it was through GW that my current guild (Singapore) took on a more face-to-face approach with offline meet-ups to engage in some serious(?) war raiding action.

As a guild, we spent hours on a biweekly to monthly basis at coffee shops, restaurants, or even someone’s house with our faces glued to our screens for hours on end. This made it easy for communication while keeping ourselves entertained by making fun¬†jabs at one another (especially since some people decided to slack off). ūüėõ

For me, the fun of it was amplified when the guild physically came together to brainstorm, formulate and test proposed strategies in order to get the right timing for frenzy and hitting of allocated targets. We probably did this for months on end until we obtained an efficient system which everyone could agree upon and accommodate to. This even took into account our busy schedules while planning out certain weekends to give a push to our scores.

Thus, we bonded over a game more so than what I daresay most of us have ever experienced before. It was through these gatherings where we grew not only as a guild, but as a family of sorts. Even more so, we¬†still keep in touch with one another despite majority of the old-timers moving on with their lives. ūüôā

gwouting.png
Guild Wars are definitely more enjoyable with your guild mates around ūüôā

Big disclaimer: Guild offline meetups are cool and all, but aren’t always ideal. I’m very thankful that most of my guild mates are generally nice people all around.¬†We also had enough online interactions to be familiarised with one another before real-life meetups were proposed.


GW as an Evolving System

Besides the communal aspect, the other unique component of GW is that its core mechanics evolved along with the change of stronghold raiding. Although some changes were made to incorporate SH v2, it was because of this intricate tie-in with raiding which resulted in another set of issues.

The issue being essentially fighting against the same opponents whom you were constantly encountering during raids. It was possible to recognise their in-game names and stronghold setups while changing your gears accordingly before entering. Such was more so problematic in the upper leagues since you’re fighting against the same 7-10 guilds (sometimes even the same guild twice) throughout every weekend.

SH v2 made it such that you couldn’t swap out your stronghold setup too easily since minion and trap room bonuses were already built for a specific setup. An exception being long-time and stronger players who would have 2 or more rooms which they would rotate during the guild war to throw potential raiders off-guard, ie. imagine entering a Courtyard in Dark gear thinking it was a Guardhouse.

ruby-gw
Oh, and everyone builds the same room when they realise it is overpowered… ūüėź

Off the top of my head, one possible suggestion could be to reformat the current GW mechanic to a blind rotation system, similar to how choosing your opponents for stronghold raids.

Each player is given a random set of opponents (from within the opposing matched-up guild) to battle, but with the enemy name and setup hidden. The only revealed information is average minion stats to serve as an indicator of how strong the opponent is. The opponent’s setup will be revealed only until you or another guild mate has successfully cleared that particular player’s room. Additionally, you can skip the opponent using scrolls (or any other currency) if you deem the opponent too difficult.

While there are many details that need to be ironed out in the suggestion above, this could potentially heighten the sense of blind raiding and not rely on prior information to make preparations. On a larger scale, it could also negate guilds from constantly target the weakest unit. This makes guilds rely more on skill than on sheer gemming power.

Last of all, it was nice to see that GW received a number of positive changes to reduce player exploitation and improving upon the rewards and the mechanics of the Guild shop.

guildshop-1
Compared to the first version of the Guild shop, the current version is more lax in terms of the ranking, enabling more guilds to buy much needed materials

TL;DR: I feel that Guild Wars excelled in the communal aspect of the game, uniting guilds internally to fight against other foes. However, the execution of GW had room for improvement to accommodate the changes in SH.


Arena

Officially brought into the game in June 2017, Arena was designed to substitute the lack of Keeper as result of the new stronghold system. It involved a one-to-one battle, best out of 3, against an opponent of choice within a fixed space and a given time limit.

strike
Gear mastery (which arrived alongside arena) kicked power levels up a notch, making battles much faster-paced

However, I do say that arena battles have a very different vibe to what keeper battles were previously. In fact, this could be attributed to the same factors listed above, with a larger room and relatively long time limit.

Arena fights felt like a cat-and-mouse chase situation, especially when using damaged gear or battling against stronger geared opponents. For most of the time, one might be either waiting for skills to refresh or even keeping out of the striking range of opponents to get a clear shot (for ranged users).

DO-Arena2
Circling your opponents while waiting for your skills to recharge is a common sight in Arena

Players were sometimes at the mercy of the opponent equipped with stun-lock or fear-lock gear setups. This was much to most players’ frustration, which was mildly quelled when status resistance gears were introduced into the game. Without those, it almost meant a certain defeat even before the match started.

However, let’s get to the point here: I hardly play Arena nowadays.

Arena was hot at the start but ended up stagnating due to the lack of prominent updates. While I did enjoy Arena in the first few months, I¬†felt that it quickly degenerated into a hefty grind when the points started restarted every mid-week. To be honest, I do think it wasn’t a bad decision since players could choose which half of the week to partake in the rankings, but it became hard to keep up over time….even with auto mode in place.

A proposal for reducing the grind in arena would be to increase the number of points earned after defeating each opponent. This could be in the form of multiplier bonuses when equipping specific gear types or themed gears into battle, eg. wearing Fire armour this week gives 1.5x points upon victory.

leaderboard
The initial week long arena was rather grueling to maintain one’s rank. However, the swap to twice-a-week rankings might’ve made it more difficult for me to keep up within the race personally.

Besides some measures to curb player exploitation(?), the overall base mechanics remained mostly unchanged throughout the 1 year 9 months it was released – another possible reason why I don’t participate in it often.

On the flip side, it was positive that there were improvements to the reward system. This was in the form of boosting the participation quest rewards, ranking rewards and daily chest contents to help attain mastery materials more easily than before.

TL;DR: Arena was fun at the start, but ended up as a time-sink to keep up with the rankings. Still play it once in a while when I run out of mastery materials.


Trial of Elements

Introduced in Sept 2015, Endless Dungeon (the precursor to Trials of Elements) features a series of waypoints (WP) where a player could get increasingly better rewards when fighting in higher WPs. The first version was premised on a leaderboard system, allowing competitive players to get even more rewards from playing within the week.

Endless Dungeon was later renamed to Trial of Elements (ToE) and the leaderboard system was dropped. This was replaced with participation milestone rewards, where you get rewards after clearing specific waypoints – the basis of how ToE functions till this very day.

highdmg
The initial ToE was tough with the current available gear with hard-hitting monsters, making it a literal drain on health potions.

Trinket Crafting

It goes without saying that ToE is directly linked to the crafting system, which we’ll cover first.

Trinkets, being a mid-to-late game accessory, provided an alternative avenue to improve stats and add/ supplement much needed traits/magical properties to one’s existing gear.¬†Sometimes these were made available as craft-able rewards during certain events (and now Citadel as well).

Prior of the trinket crafting overhaul, the previous¬†system was grind-y to say the least, making it near impossible for players to obtain enough material for a T4 (or worse, a T5 trinket). What made it more annoying was that weapon bonuses associated to the trinket were locked, making it impossible to get maximum bonuses from the trinket when swapping to another weapon type…particularly when you were to pull a stronger different weapon.

ingredients
The old set of ingredients exclusive to Trial of Elements waypoints

Ingredients were a pain to collect with numerous amounts of different types which stockpiled within your main inventory space. It wasn’t until the trinket ingredients were separated from your main inventory stash that space management got a lot more simple. These were even randomised across the different waypoints, making it challenging to get sufficient material for your next trinket.

Thankfully, the April 2017 patch altered the way trinkets were being crafted. This gave a layer of flexibility where different traits could be included within each trinket. Certainly a good change from the excessive farming when making higher tiered trinkets. Although the traits came in randomly every upgraded tier (especially from trinkets rewarded during LegHunt and GW), I would prefer this system over the old one any day.

previous-tier
The new crafting system that allows trinkets to take on new magical properties at every tier

Additionally, the actual ‘Trials‘ environment also went through a series of changes.¬†This included increasing the number of waypoints (50 to 75), adding auto mode and changing from a nature to a water-themed map etc. Thus, these adjustments made it easier for players to climb to the final waypoint.

However, from the perspective of a long-time player, I do now feel that the weekly grind is a chore as I consider my trinkets to be decent enough (even if they’re not all T6). As such, I’m less keen on setting up my phone to run constantly on auto-mode till the last WP.

Perhaps one way to go about it is to reduce the grind by cutting down the number of waypoints (eg. back to 50) but keeping the rewards and difficulty ‘in place’. More specifically, the total number of rewards can be redistributed across the new number of waypoints. The difficulty can also be readjusted so that the new last WP is as tough(?) as the old WP75.

wickerman
Now the strategy is how to complete all 75 waypoints using one specific gear set

TL;DR: ToE and the trinket crafting system has underwent some major changes since its introduction, evolving well with the game’s progression. However, I still feel the tedium of constantly getting to WP75 every week.


Citadel

The most recently introduced feature, since Aug-Sept 2018, is the Citadel (of Death/ Disorder etc).

I can’t really comment much since this game mode is fairly recent. But I do appreciate it as a fun way for the devs to experiment with new ‘puzzle-like‘ maps to make the game more entertaining at this stage.

cc-map
…ranging from jumpy platforms to flashy portals.

Furthermore, I like how the Citadel is a good avenue for players to obtain good gears if they’re willing to put in the hard work. It’s a guaranteed way to get decent-to-good S-grade gear and master them quickly within a span of a few weeks, instead of relying on LegHunt or chest luck. Rewards also¬†includes trinkets with nicely structured properties, higher-than-average values and aren’t exclusive to a specific weapon type. Thus, making it appropriate¬†for players of all stages of the game (ie. beginner newbies to long-time veterans)

shop
Great gear made available to the hard-workers

On the down side, this does tip the power balance in favour of players when it comes to raiding. Currently, stronghold minions (even the well-boosted ones) can’t withstand the onslaught of new gear, with an M2-3 S-grade Fire glavie being sufficient to take out stronger Nature rooms. Thus, the increased number of such gears in the game does, in a way, ‘break‘ the game’s power balance.

TL;DR: A relatively new game mode with guaranteed game-breaking gear for the hard-workers.


And with that, this concludes the 2 part post as part of DH5’s 4th anniversary.

It was a nice trip down memory lane for me, especially while reading my older entries and forum archives to recall what had happened all these years back.

More importantly, to all my readers: thank you for a fantastic 3+ years of support!

As you might have noticed, I have slowed down my updates considerably since my last Halloween 2018 post due to work commitments. However, I do intend to pop in an entry if anything big gets introduced into the game. If you wish to catch me, I’ll still linger around Discord and reply comments on this blog though.

Good luck and Have fun! ūüôā

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One thought on “The Milestone Post (Pt.2)

  1. Great analasis as always. I keep reading your post everytime you release a new post. It is a very good source of learning every aspects of this game. I have to admit that whenever I have any problem of the game, I will read the related articles in your website over and over. And the more I read, the more I discover more useful content. You are also my great advisor whenever I have any problems. Cheers to you. Keep on writing and I keep on reading.

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