Background: We all know raids are not being developed. Where does that leave the hardcore endgame community? How can the dev's create content for this community using the limited resources available to them? I want to take a look at the possibility for Strike Mission Challenge Modes to be a viable replacement for raids going forward.
Adding challenge modes to strike missions will allow the creation of the challenging endgame content that raiders are looking for while still allowing casual players to experience these bosses through the standard strikes. In this way, groups get to experience the strike missions at the difficulty they are ready for, and move up to CMs if/when they are ready. Let's discuss what strike mission CMs would look like.
1. Add Strike Mission portal and vendor (Glenna2.0 from eye of the north) to Aerodome.
2. Create 3rd type of "raid currency" for all Strike CMs.
a. this currency can only be gained from Strike CMs and is spent at the vendor for unique rewards which will be discussed next.
b. only 150 of this currency can be gained per week.
3. Add CM rewards tab to the vendor.
The reward structure should be almost identical to raids with weekly or daily resets for CM rewards.
1. 2 gold and 10k karma for a boss kill (once per week/day).
2. New raid currency rewarded for fails at 75%, 50% 25% and upon a clear just like with raids (Currency limited to 150 per week).
3. Each boss should have a unique mini and at least 1, hopefully 2-3, ascended drops with unique skins in their loot pool with drop rates similar to current raid bosses (unique drops are possible once per week/day). These items will be purchasable from the strike vendor for the new currency after completing the associated boss for the first time, just like in raids.
In order to turn the strike mission bosses in to raid difficulty bosses, they will need increased HP and damage as well as 1 or 2 added mechanics per boss. These mechanics need to require groups to be coordinated in order to get the clear, just like in raids They will also need to have enrage timers instead of chest timers. Generally speaking, all of these bosses should be at least as challenging as the easiest raid bosses ( Cairn, MO) and at least one should be as hard, if not harder, than Dhuum ( It's ok if this harder boss is a future strike boss). Strike CMs should have a high failure rate, these players want a challenge. After the current bosses have had CMs added, future strike mission releases should launch with a CM. What this means is that all of a sudden you have a new raid boss with every strike mission release.
Let's talk about some specifics on the bosses and some suggestions for added mechanics
Shiverpeaks (ice golem)
a. This should be the easiest strike CM
b. In addition to increased health and damage, I imagine a good added mechanic for this fight would be the dropping greens mechanic (Drakkar/Whisper) however if at least X number of people are not in the green it does massive damage to the group similar to Vale Guardian or instadowns players. Make the smashing ice wave attack more devastating so that you are forced to handle it.
c. This boss needs to be hard enough to engage current raiders while not being too hard to push away new/potential raiders as this will be the intro CM.
d. The Challenge mote should be at the beginning and upon activating it the beacon should become active allowing the squad to get straight to the boss ( Yes I see some potential for abuse here so you could do something clever like make the CM require x number of players to activate and then it can't be turned off without reseting the instance). Do this because Raiders want to fight challenging bosses now, not do jumping puzzles to get to them.
Bears + Fraenir
a. These bosses have some interesting mechanics they just need to be a more punishing in addition to adding new CM mechanics.
b. I see these as being mid difficulty tier bosses
a. Challenge mote skips pre phase and goes directly to boss (again raiders want to fight bosses. Now).
b. New mechanics
c. mid difficulty tier
Conclusion: Strike Mission CMs would be a great way to bring challenging content to the raid community while reusing assets already being created for the wider game population. This also makes strike missions a true stepping stone to raid level content as they were intended.