Chaos Theory: Is it possible to complete The Secret World's Doomboard challenge? Maybe
When The Secret World’s devs teased the Doomboard, I was pretty excited. I was totally on board for getting that sweet ride even though I hadn't ever actually done any challenges yet. I mean, who wouldn't want a flaming hoverboard? All I needed to do to earn it for free was complete 70 total weekly and daily challenges on a single character before September 21st. The question is, could I actually accomplish this in the given time frame?
In a word: no. Or most likely not. Not me, anyway. For the first time, I really looked into what the challenges entailed, and I became disheartened. I can't see how I can possibly manage it. I'm not alone, either; other folks have expressed sadness at the impossibility of it. It's not that people don't want a challenge to be a challenge, but this one seems aimed only at the most extreme hardcore players, and PvPers at that. Forget attempting it at all if you are newer to the game. And without graduated levels of rewards to help those who want to participate but aren't at a level to reach the ultimate goal, it is really all or nothing. You could put in tons of effort and hours over the next month and still walk away with nothing. That is beyond a bummer.
Despite the disappointment, I am still plugging along doing whatever I can. (I have mentioned before how stubborn I can be in the face of a challenge, right?) Perhaps I will at least get close. Just maybe I will be able to squeak in a win. I've devised a few tips and tricks to help me check off a number of challenges, and they may help you, too. Here's a breakdown of what all is involved and a look at some ways of getting it all done.
At first glance, I thought 70 challenges didn't mathematically sound too bad. With 29 days, it averages out to 2.5 challenges a day. Split that between dailies and weeklies and you have two dailies per day and three weeklies each week (plus two more somewhere). That actually sounds pretty reasonable - until you take the actual challenges into account that is.
You see, of the available missions, there is a significant portion of things that are simply out of reach for a number of casual or new players. Of the six available dailies, only one is PvE mission related. And even then it is predominantly in Transylvania or even Tokyo -- places not everyone can even get to easily. Every day that I have done the challenges it has been either three side missions, one investigation, or one sabotage mission in Transylvania. The one day I didn't do dailies due to flying it was three side missions in Kaidan. The only exception actually happened the last two days; we finally got side missions in Egypt and an action mission in New England. It took over a week for anything to pop up that newer players might be able to do. (I swear, I think Funcom somehow read this article early because the change happened the day after this draft was written! Hey, I wouldn't discount any conspiracy; this is TSW after all.)
Other than that one challenge, you get a scenario challenge, two dungeon challenges, and two PvP challenges. Unless you are pretty powerful or have an awesome group at your disposal, reaching the gold or platinum status of an elite or nightmare scenario may be out of your reach, as will be completing elite and nightmare dungeons (which is all I have ever seen in the challenge journal). You might get a Tokyo dungeon. Tell me how a newish player is possibly going to complete these? The dungeon randomizer might seem like a good choice for a daily especially if it allows normal missions (I don't know). However, only certain players even have access to that feature; you have to have completed ALL of the non-Tokyo dungeons on elite to qualify to use it. Where are the normal dungeon offerings?
Now what about those PvP challenges? Thankfully, the participation in one of the PvP battlegrounds challenge isn't too bad... if you can get it to pop! For two days I couldn't even get into one. The one time I finally had it pop was the one time I stepped away for a minute. After waiting a couple hours for El Dorado, the moment I had to look away from my screen it popped. And since the invite lasts less than 30 seconds, I returned just in time to get the message that it timed out and I was removed. I swear you can't even blink when you queue!
Now, about Fusang: I totally wrote that one off. You need to complete two missions in that warzone. The new missions are in defense of a facility or capturing one, and both involve killing a number of enemies. With my build, which on this character is heal-based and non-PvP, I have no chance of getting a kill. I was in Fusang for over an hour right in the thick of things and couldn't make one step of progress. I totally gave up. I actually could have done better if I could use my PvP character, but since all 70 challenges must be completed on one toon, I couldn't use the one best suited for the task.
In a surprising twist, it turns out that the Shambala victory challenge wasn't nearly as hard to get as I had first thought. In fact, I nearly wrote it completely off, but when I took a chance I was in and out with a victory in less than five minutes. Of course, the next time I tried, there was a double queue bug that kicked me out and prevented me from even queueing again. It helps that Shambala is quicker and consists of two multi-factioned teams so you technically have a 50% chance of winning, even if you aren't the greatest. And heals are very useful here! Hopefully, you get some good folks on your team. Fact is, for most of these challenges, your ability to complete them hinges on other people.
Depending on others
For many folks, completing a good share of the challenges means having to depend on others, be it needing enough people for the battleground to pop or having enough folks to do dungeons successfully. And it just isn't the dailies -- the weeklies need others for success. Six of the eight challenges are a number of nightmare or elite dungeons, lair bosses, elite raids, and PvP victories. Only the main missions and possibly the scenarios can be done solo by average players (though folks may want to use my trick below to get through the scenarios.)
For these, completing is less about how much effort you put into the challenge and more about getting randomly put in a group that doesn't drop out or AFK, and is powerful enough to win, especially in PvP. Trust me, I haven't had much luck in that area. Basically, this all means that your personal challenge reward relies quite heavily on the participation of others. In my opinion that just isn't a good idea. Why should all my effort be for naught because of others?
If I haven't totally discouraged you from attempting to get the Doomboard, I've got a few tips and tricks that might help you get through the ordeal/event. If you haven't started the challenges yet, you have quite a bit of catching up to do, so start ASAP. If you are good at PvP and have tons of time on your hands, it is still pretty doable. Try these tricks to help out.
One, grab a partner or four to run this stuff. Friends from other factions may not help you out any in the PvP areas, but they can really help in the others. For weekly scenarios: Get a friend or two and complete the Novice level in solo mode. Even a group of less-powerful players can make it through with silver or better. So what if the power of the scenario was set for one person? Devs specifically made it possible to bring a group in on purpose! Devs also introduced the novice level, so don't be afraid to use it. For daily scenarios of whatever level do the same thing -- always pick solo and take in some friends to help your odds.
For dungeon weeklies, push through as many as you can at one time if you have a good group. Unlike scenarios and most PvP matches, weeklies have no timer that you have to wait through before you can finish, so if you can blaze through them fast, all the more power to you.
For completing side missions, choosing delivery missions or ones you know well is pretty quick, especially if you make use of the anima leap. For the 15 main missions, I go to Kingsmouth and redo the same three or four missions each day from Boon, Andy, and Sheriff Helen or Moose. When you do any main missions for the daily, they should also count for the weekly, so if you do three Kingsmouth missions in one day, you can take some days off.
First, let me say that even though I hadn't personally paid attention to the challenges before now, I liked the idea of them: Reward people for playing their playstyle. I knew there were dungeons, adventuring, and PvP missions involved. Everyone had something to help earn extra black bullion and AP, and people could delve in as little or a much as they wanted. Then along came the Doomboard challenge and I thought, What a great way to highlight this feature for those (like me) who haven't paid it much heed. However, I think the implementation needs work.
Two challenges a day and three per week may not seem like much, but there is seriously too little variety in the challenges to make it really open to players. Why aren't there more missions on Solomon Island or in Egypt? Is it just the super (un)luck of the draw? Unless you are uber powerful and good at PvP, you are pretty much confined to just a couple of options out of all the choices. Then if one of those two becomes impossible for you(like a battleground queue not popping, a bug, losing PvP teams), you are screwed; there's no other way to make it up. Same goes for weeklies.
Essentially, the Doomboard feels like an end-game item, not something that is attainable by a number of folks. And that definitely deflates enthusiasm. I don't mind there being an awesome reward that is harder to get, but this event actually chased folks away instead of bringing them in. One way Funcom could have mitigated this was by offering different tiers of rewards. Maybe it wouldn't be an awesome Doomboard, but why not offer something cool for folks for completing 20 or 50 challenges? More folks would feel like it was worth their time to delve into the challenges. You don't need to necessarily make the ultimate prize easier, but an incentive for those who might not be at a place they can possibly obtain that upper tier to still participate and earn something would go a long way to making it more accessible and alluring to all.