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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Concept of Randomized Enemies


Wizard101 threw yet another curveball at us in this latest Test Realm. It's a new feature that you haven't heard people talking about and that many people aren't aware that even happens. If you take a close look, you'll see that Wizard101 is doing something fundamentally different with "mobs" that could change the way you play the game.

Pirate101 Leads the Way

Pirate has long had entirely randomized enemies. In fact, almost no enemy beyond a boss is NOT randomized, and with so many mixtures of different types, this could actually get irritating. It's like the Bumbaloon quest - you could only get one at a time even it looked like you were running into more. The random enemies in a battle can prevent you from getting what you need to show up, but also ensure that a number of enemies you need DO show up. The question is how it's used.

Sir Blackwater and his Nefarious Crew

I first noticed this when fighting Sir Blackwater. I had to fight him three times - and invest a total of five hours - to complete the battle because of my lack of teammates to run the dungeon and unfortunate luck with Team Up. In those three times, I once fought him with 3 Death Darkmoor Squires, once with 3 Storm Darkmoor Serfs, and once with two Death and one Storm. 

This is significant for a few reasons. The Death enemies are not going to be very powerful, but they cast Virulent Plague (-40% damage charm to all enemies) frequently, making the battle a lot harder. The Storm enemies hit hard and frequently healed, but at least they were more manageable. Based on which ones showed up, I'd need to include a mass prism instead of a single prism for the boss or more of fewer copies of Cleanse Charm. It changed my setup. 

Other Place It's Shown Up

You'll see this with a number of the new bosses. One is being one of the Skeleton Key doors - Bellosh. A twin to Belloq, this elephant cheats in the same way, but varies upon entry. The first time I entered with two level 100 wizards, he had 32,000 health and three minions. However, the second time I entered, again with two level 100 wizards, he only had 8,000 health and three different minions.

What This Means For Gameplay

With the potential of having randomized enemies, it means that you have to prepare yourself a little differently. It means that before you enter a battle, it doesn't matter how many guides you've read or how many times you've done it or how easy it is - you still have to adjust based on what creatures are actually in the battle.

This also means you can get lucky. If you get all 3 Storm enemies with Sir Blackwater, you're in a ton better shape than if a Death enemy shows up. If you get all Death enemies in the Bunferatu fight in Darkmoor, you're in good shape to avoid Beguiles. If you don't, you just have to deal with it, unfortunately, as you've already had to complete one or more boss fights to reach these locations.

This also introduces the possibility of being able to leave a boss room and reset and re-enter until you do the enemies you want in single-boss chambers. This is likely how the next worlds in Wizard101 will be done, with these randomized enemies. That's something to keep in mind.

What You See is What You Get

There is one key difference between Pirate101's random enemies and Wizard's. In Wizard101, what you see is indeed what you get. In Pirate, you might run into two Bumbaloons, but you'll only get one. In Wizard, if you see a certain number or type of enemies, you're going to have the exact ones you run into in your battle. No guessing games involved.

Where have you seen randomized enemies? Has it affected your strategy yet? Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!
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