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 could 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.

Since the initial rollout, many more Challenge Mode instances have been introduced, including several in Wallaru.

The Rewards

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

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Jennifer SoulStone

A Wizard101 player since 2010, Jennifer is a true completionist at heart. Since returning to the game in 2020, she has completed every quest, and is aiming to earn every badge. If there is something to collect, Jennifer is collecting it - including spells, pets, fish and music scrolls! You will usually find her participating in Beastmoon and Deckathalon, hunting down obscure badges, or helping others through the Team Up kiosk!


  • I do believe that video games shouldn’t be so difficult that they become frustrating, but this goes the other way as well. Video games shouldn’t be so easy to the point where it feels like all you’re doing is pressing buttons and watching a movie. They should challenge you to a certain extent. Especially multi-player video games, whose purpose is exactly that, while also making you cooperate with other players. If someone isn’t up to that kind of challenge, or likes playing solo, they can always opt for single player games which have fully customizable difficulty or different multiplayer games that have easier gameplay, or gameplay more suited to their liking. Video games shouldn’t be a menial task, a job to get done, a character to max and move on to the next. Let’s not forget that they were created to be an adventurous and engaging escape from the mundanity of reality, not a repetitive extension of it.

    • Totally, and that’s why I love trying to min-max all my characters as I progress through the game. Simply settling for a mediocre gear set and pet and just getting carried to max is not enjoyable. I’ve yet to max any character yet (3 around 90-120, 2 around 50-60) simply because I enjoy getting to try every aspect of the game out and investing the time into it. As much of an absolute pain it is questing through arc 2 (the worlds are incredibly long), I also enjoy how much there is to each world and the accomplishment I felt 100% completing Azteca. Mostly soloing Azteca on a storm was brutal, but made it so much more rewarding to do. While I like this approach in allowing players to progress past bosses whose cheats may require full teams and coordination (which is kinda frustrating for a solo player), I hope it is used scarcely as the game does require those milestone fights.

  • I’m really glad for this! Until now, I was never able to pass the storm titan. I got so mad a year ago that I rage quit and cancelled the consistent subscription I’d had for several years! I’m a solo player and like it that way. But as of just an hour ago, I made it! Just think, now I have THREE new worlds to discover!

  • I feel that you should specify that challenge mode bosses are the same has they were from before this update, since by definition, they aren’t harder than they were then.

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