Wizard101 Challenge Mode
The Spring 2023 update for Wizard101 is here, and brings with it the new Challenge Mode! We’ve seen more difficult content recently, with the introduction of Raids in Summer 2022 and the discussion of “Hard Mode” on the horizon. With the Challenge Mode update, we are now seeing the first steps towards players’ ability to tailor the difficulty of the content we play. Let’s see what Challenge Mode is all about!
What is Challenge Mode?
Don’t you just love going up against a horrible, cheating boss? … No? Well, now you don’t have to! Challenge Mode is all about giving you more choice when it comes to boss difficulty. Some boss instances have now been updated to have two levels of difficulty: Standard and Challenge.
Standard Mode is what you will always encounter when you enter the instance for the first time (ie. when questing). In this variation, bosses won’t have any annoying cheats and will have lower health, outgoing damage, and resist. At the appropriate level, Standard Mode bosses should be straight-forward to defeat, and a quicker battle with them will let you get back to progressing with the story in no time.
After you complete the Standard Mode version of the instance during your main quest, you can then go back and have the choice between Standard and Challenge variations. Challenge Mode instances are significantly more difficult than their Standard counterparts and are designated as “Advanced Combat”. These bosses will have troublesome cheats and rules, higher health, outgoing damage and resist, and might contain tricky puzzles. There may also be some spells that are banned from the Challenge fights, so plan ahead. You won’t encounter these Challenge bosses unless you choose to; they are completely optional and not required to finish the storyline.
How do I change the instance mode?
If you’re up for the task, there are two ways to access Challenge Mode. Firstly, at the sigil, simply select the mode you wish to enter using the Challenge Mode button. Standard sigils look white/blue (as normal), but when Challenge is selected, the sigil turns a menacing shade of red. You will need to select the mode you want every time you join the sigil, it doesn’t remember the option you selected last time. If the Challenge button is unselectable, there may be some requirements you have yet to fulfil before you can alter the difficulty. At the sigil, a “?” icon will indicate any rules or restrictions you might need to be aware of before the Challenge fight.
The second way to access Challenge Mode is, of course, through the Team Up kiosk. Challenge variants of instances will have a skull symbol next to them (to warn you how dangerous they are!) when listed in the kiosk. With more and more symbols in the kiosk now, ensure you know what you’re signing up for by moving your mouse over each icon to see what it means.
Which bosses have Challenge Mode?
With the Spring 2023 update, Challenge Mode is initially only being applied to a small number of instances/bosses. These are The Headquarters (Medulla, Empyrea part 1), Storm Titan’s Wake (Titan’s Trident, Empyrea part 2), and Hall of Heroes (Stallion Quartermane, Lemuria). All other cheating bosses remain the same as before (for now!)
In the future, we will be seeing more bosses and instances throughout the Spiral updated to Challenge Mode, not just end-world bosses. And the system can be applied both ways: difficult bosses can be made easier by introducing a Standard Mode (as we have seen in the initial rollout), or easy bosses can be made more difficult with the introduction of a Challenge Mode.
The rewards you get will depend on the difficulty option that you choose. For completing an instance in Challenge Mode, rewards will be much better than for completing the same instance in Standard Mode. The Challenge rewards will be good gear with increased drop rates, as well as spellements, and rare reagents, treasure cards and housing items. In comparison, the Standard rewards will be significantly reduced, if there are any at all.
If you are looking to farm for good gear options, for example Merciless gear from the Hall of Heroes, you will need to farm the Challenge variation (similar to the current system). If you are simply looking to get past that instance, and don’t care about gear at the moment, the Standard variation will be your best option.
Overall, Challenge Mode is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to tailoring the game to individual preferences. It all depends on what your goal is: are you there for the rewards, or simply to advance the story? Personally, I can definitely relate to the struggle of getting stuck at one nasty boss, but I am a little sad to see just how easy these bosses are in Standard Mode. The feeling of accomplishment you get from finally defeating a difficult, cheating boss will always be unmatched!
What are your thoughts on Challenge Mode?
Will you opt for higher difficulty for better rewards?
Let us know in the comments!