Its been a while since I gave my other mobile gaming obsession any love around here. While I still play Duel Links just about every day, nothing particularly exciting tends to go on in the day-to-day breadth of the game besides the occasional new/returning duelist unlock events and traveling duelist events.
Until today, when we gained access to the “Set Sail for The Kingdom: Duelist Chronicles” event. This one is pretty special and cool, so I wanted to give it some praise in the hopes that we see similar events down the line.
Now for those of you who do not play Duel Links, there are two kinds major events that take place on a semi-regular basis.
- New Legendary Duelist unlock events: Once in a while a new Legendary Duelist character will take over Duel World, the hub area for Duel Links. That character will invite players to collect an item specific to their personality or canonical storyline in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in bulk. These items can be traded for the chance to battle that character at various difficulty levels to accumulate points and win special prize cards. The points typically go toward earning players a variety of basic rewards like gold and gems for pack openings, but the points also unlock the character you’ve been battling at a certain level.
- For example:
- Yami Bakura in “Fear the Deck of Terror! The Destiny Board of Doom” where players collect ten-sided dice from standard duelists.
- Maximillion Pegasus in “Welcome to Toon World” where players collect star chips from standard duelists.
- The Paradox Brothers in “Paradox Brothers: Guardians of the Gate” where players collect labyrinth gate keys from standard duelists.
- Most recently, Yami Marik in “Attack of the Rare Hunters! Yami Marik Returns!” where players collect map fragments to initially find Marik before earning the chance to continually challenge him.
- For example:
- Traveling Duelist events: Though these are generally more hated than the Legendary Duelist unlock events, traveling duelists are a pretty common way to shake up what players can find in the game for at least a week at a time. Unlike the new Legendary Duelists who reside in the hub world’s character portal, traveling duelists appear randomly in the world similar to the extra reward-granting Vagabond. The main problems most people have with these events are that the characters have a random chance to appear, but they also have a random chance to drop their exclusive cards, making it hard to get a good amount of special cards one might want. Plus, they appear in Duel World at a random difficulty level, meaning if you get a lv. 30 encounter as opposed to a lv. 40 encounter you have an even further decreased chance to get a special card drop.
- For example:
- Mokuba Kaiba drops cards that support dragon decks in general, though he specifically provides support for Blue-Eyes White Dragon and gives players access to special high-level cards like Darkflare Dragon and Frost and Flame Dragon.
- Arcana made a pass as a traveling duelist in the build-up to Yami Marik appearing in Duel World. He added some spellcaster support to the game, namely around Dark Magician (a card which he had a special alternate art for).
- Joey Wheeler occasionally goes through cycles as “Super Joey” and gives players access to support cards for Red-Eyes Black Dragon, such as Red-Eyes Spirit and Red-Eyes Insight.
- Mai Valentine has appeared once in an event similar to Super Joey’s as “Elegant Mai” with card drops to support her token Harpie and Amazoness decks on top of Vennu, Bright Bird of Divinity, a powerful ritual card.
- For example:
Though both of these reoccurring event-types do provide some variety and reason to keep playing the game, they do tend to get stale over time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always jump at the chance to get extra materials and new cards, but the RNG associated with these time sensitive events – particularly the traveling duelists – almost makes them more annoying than appreciated.
Not that saying so stops me from playing them adamantly of course.
So, what does the Duelist Kingdom event do differently?
While every Legendary Duelist unlock event adds a big aesthetic centerpiece to the main hub world, this ship actually serves more of a purpose than simply bringing up the event’s informational page. This ship actually delivers you to a mini-game within the game, something that can best be described as a Yu-Gi-Oh! anime-themed board game.
The board game itself is simple. As you defeat standard duelists in Duel World, you receive dice fragments. Seven dice fragments can be used to roll a die labeled one to three. The number you land on indicates the number of spaces you can move on the map, and each space hosts a different event:
Item Spaces give players prizes such as gems, gold or gate keys.
Support Item Spaces dole out a special die that specifically allows players to move one, two or three spaces at a time of their choosing without having to waste dice fragments.
Coin Spaces give out “Millennium Coins,” which I’ll elaborate more on in just a bit.
Forward Spaces move you forward by the number specified alongside the symbol, simply enough. There is also an equivalent Back Space that does the same thing but backwards.
Episode Spaces play out scenes from the anime using the in-game engine of portraits talking to each other. There are 10 scenes to see through this method, and you get an additional small prize after each viewing.
Standard Duelist Spaces let you duel a regular duelist to obtain some Millennium Coins. The difficulty of these fights increases as you move through the game mode and they appear to have new, unique decks for each fight.
The Vagabond Spaces offer more challenging duels against real player-generated decks. Even if you lose these fights, you still earn Millennium Coins.
Legendary Duelist Spaces are story-driven battles that prevent you from advancing until you win a duel. These spaces allow you to choose to fight at lv. 20 difficulty or at lv. 40 difficulty.
Part of the reason these Legendary Duelist encounters – and the event as a whole by extension – are so special ties back to how they present a story. Advancing through the event actually plays out the events of the Duelist Kingdom arc in the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime. In a sense, this allows you to play along with the original story using characters that have been introduced into the game over some time now.
Duelist Kingdom is probably the only arc in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime that I personally remember fondly, and it is arguably a memory that has kept me interested in the card game for all this time. Thus, it feels pretty special for me to experience, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has that connection.
While playing through the storyline by itself is already a really cool feature, the way Konami engrains the story into the actual duels against these Legendary Duelists makes everything even better.
Not only do these Legendary Duelists appear on a series of maps in the order they’re originally encountered, they have pretty unique decks that can be as challenging as a competitive player-vs-player deck.
However, rather than letting players get away with using their most overpowered decks to blow through the competition, Konami made it so you benefit by experimenting with different deck combinations that you might not otherwise try.
The extra missions associated with each duel net additional Millennium Coins if you follow the guidelines. These guidelines contribute to the feeling of playing along with the original story by encouraging you to use the character and some of their key cards that were used against the opponent. Though doing so often leaves you at a disadvantage when playing at the lv. 40 difficulty, the reward for doing so is worth it.
Speaking of said rewards, I suppose it’s time to dive into Millennium Coins.
Though these coins are arguably the most important thing to collect in the Duelist Chronicles, what they do is actually rather simple. For every 30 coins you collect you get the opportunity to play the Card Lottery and earn up to 10 rewards at a time from a large prize pool.
While gems and gold are always fine prizes in their own rights, the main draw to this system is the cards you can collect. Though there are some basic cards like Celtic Guardian, more rare and dope cards like Kuriboh, Toon Barrel Dragon, Horn of the Unicorn and Union Attack are also available.
Just about all of the cards are recognizable for anyone who has fond memories of the series and Duelist Kingdom in particular, so it’s a nice goal to work toward.
On top of the card lottery, you also win prizes by clearing maps. When you beat one of the five maps you get something, and once you complete the final level you get to start over and earn a whole new set of rewards.
The most noteworthy of these zone rewards comes when you beat Pegasus for the first time: You unlock Yugi Muto as a playable character.
Once delegated to only being a traveling duelist, Yugi Muto has been requested to be playable by countless players in the past. After all, he is the main character of the show, even if most people remember his Yami form better. Plus, with a new character comes a fairly substantial influx of special cards and gems through level up rewards, which are always an appreciated addition to the game.
The fact that this event doubles as a character unlock event while bringing something completely new to the table through a special board game makes it easily the best thing I’ve seen added to Duel Links in a long time. It’s fun, it’s creative and there are enough prizes to keep players coming back, or even encourage them to use those stockpiles of duel orbs to restore standard duelist battles for more dice fragments.
Personally, I hope more Duelist Chronicles happen from here on out. If nothing else I would love to be able to have the same experience with parts of Yu-Gi-Oh! that I don’t remember that well so I can learn more while having a good time.
After all, is there anything better than that?