Recently I’ve seen a post about Shield of the Underworld and why should it come back and after reading through comments I got some ideas about Duel and decided to try it sum up in one post. This post is not about definitive answer how to make Duel more fun, just a few things I thought of, they might not even work together and I’m definitely opened for discussion about any point in this post, so feel free to write anything you want into the comments and maybe together we’ll figure out a Duel, that everybody (or at least most of the people) would like to play. I’ve decided to make a paragraph for every think I thought of.

Why is Shield of the Underworld not our Lord and Savior

Yeah, so as I said, I got most of these ideas reading through comments bellow Shield of the Underworld topic and one of the arguments for bringing the active back was to counter the Hunters in the Duel. I’d say this item is not an answer to the duel hunter “meta” for following reasons. First you have to realize that since it’s a 1v1, there are different “rules”. You can counterbuild really hard in this gamemode since there is only one person to take care of and you can afford to forgo some damage items to counter your opponent (e.g. Hunters can go Bullwark of Hope to counter mages or Hide of the Nemean Lion to counter other Hunters, or take really whatever they choose to get some more survivability from the item) and the same thing goes for relicts. Let’s say the item will be added in the old fashion (maybe except the cooldown, but that doesn’t really matter) - what will this change. I dare to say that nothing. Hunters are still going to be the best option followed by some mages and assassin’s because adding this relict doesn’t change the nature of this gamemode. Since those who are for this relict to return want it to “counter” the hunters, let’s say the match will be Hunter vs. Mage. So we’re in the game and both of those characters aren’t really healthy in the begining of the game so SotU probably won’t be the first relict for both of them, since even if they use it, they’ll probably kill themselves because you probably take more damage then you reflect. So the begining of the match till level 12 doesn’t change. Now here it is level 12 and let’s be graceful and say both of the players got the level around the same time and buyed SotU at the same time. So now we’re in the phase of the game were both of the parties can survive some poke, do enough damage and reflect enough damage to kill the other person. So there is an engagement and since Hunter does damage with his basic attacks and probably has lifesteal (remember Magical lifesteal isn’t even close to the physical lifesteal), he can sustain himself in the engagement and mage cannot (maybe except Anubis or some healers). Just as now Hunter will probably outpush most of the mages and poke him. Mage activates SotU to reflect the damage and attacks the Hunter. What will hunter do - stops basic attacking and either pops his SotU and the fight is probably negated, uses his movements skill to get away from the mage, jukes abilities, let the mage recall and take his tower or takes some poke and recall himself etc. Point is mage’s SotU is down and Hunter’s is either down (which means it’s Duel just like now without the SotU) or Hunter has an advantage and uses the SotU to hunt you down - You’ll either die to his basics or kill yourself (and since he has lifesteal, he’ll probably goes even through your abilities you throw at them) - yes you might wait it out as well but we’re back at the current Duel. The point is SotU doesn’t change anything, maybe except give you a few seconds of safety (in the old Duel I played a lot as a Mage against Hunter’s with SotU, so I kinda now what I’m talking about). Of course the previous theorizing takes into the account that the players are not stupid, beacuse even in today’s Duel you can beat stupid players with hunters. Only thing that would help against hunters is to rework SotU to work only against basic attacks, but that would probably be a Hunter destroyer and don’t forget some hunters are ability based as well.

TL;DR for this part - IMO SotU doesn’t do anything in the 1v1 scenario, it’s a counter to damaging gods, not to Hunters - there is no reason why Hunters wouldn’t buy the item as well. The mode is based around Objective push so taking a god that SotU would be bad against won’t help you.

Map for this Gamemode is just wrong

I mean don’t take me wrong I love this map to death and IMHO it’s way better map for 3v3 than the last one, but for the 1v1 the map layout is just wrong. How does the game starts? From what I’ve seen there are like 3 posible starts: Going to the tower and staring at each other until the minions spawn and the player who can outpush his opponent goes for the red buff (you’ve guessed it, most of the time Hunter with throwing dagger). One player hides and waits till the other one goes into the redbuff and tries to gank him - it can be effective, but this happens rarely (mostly against unexperienced players). One player starts at the bluebuff and gives up the red buff, which is (if the person is a hunter) probably not a good strategy - the opponent either has the redbuff and outpushes you or ganks you at your mana buff.

“But there is now a way to get yourself back in the game! The Bull Demon King buff.” Is it really? The BDK doesn’t help you early game and Hunters are much better at soloing this boss then most of the other classes, not talking about the fact that you can camp your tower / phoenix anyway, hell even outpush you opponent and completely negate the buff - the boss desn’t make your minions any weaker / stronger, not even you, it just turns the objective off and you still have to get through your opponent to get to it. I might be wrong since I didn’t play too many games in Duel this season, but from what I’ve seen the buff is not a comeback mechanism, but a way to help character that is suppose to win in the first place (yes, Hunters). Yes it might give you some regen, but this is more of a joke than actual help.

The old layout was way better for the 1v1 scenario - I’m not saying it was perfect, but it was definitely better. You could start at your blue buff / purple buff or even the Red buff and don’t really worry about the wave (yes you could’ve been ganked, but that’s not the point here). Of course if you played against an outpushing god, you lost a ton of experience, but that’s why I said it wasn’t perfect, but better - not mentioning you could’ve turtle your tower, which was frustrating to play against. And yes, we all rember the wall between titan and pheonix, which made defense way more fun than it’s now.

TL;DR for this part - The map is for 3v3 not 1v1 and those facts should be separated. Something like a hybrid between the old and new map could be an answer to the problem.

What about making this a mode with a random selection

Don’t jump into conclusions - I don’t mean super random, like Hyper joust where you can fight Khepri vs. Chronos. I mean another kind of randomization that would give both of the players the same god. Because what is this gamemode really suppose to be about? IMO it’s about the ability of outplaying your opponent. It should be a game of skill not game of who choose a better god. Every god in the game brings something little different into table for a logical reason - Every god is different. You simply cannot balance 75 gods in a moba so they would be equal to other gods. There are gods better early game, gods better late game, gods that do damage, gods that proctet other gods. If you place two different gods against each other, not looking at a player skill, one should always have an advantage and it’s correct this way. This is what SMITE is about. It’s about Team, not individual gods or players, but this cannot be achieved in a 1v1. IMO the only true way to compare players’ skill is to have them on the same god / class against each other. Here are two types I thought of (obviously not perfect, just an idea)

First type - Random Class scenario

Every class is better in something different obviously so playing e.g. Guardian vs. Hunter is not really fair. So let the game decide what class will be played before the picks and bans, tell it to the waiting players and let them each ban a god from this class they don’t want to play against at after the ban let them pick a god from this class that is not banned. Granted, Guardian vs. Guardian can be ugly and long match, so I don’t really now what to make of this, but that’s why it’s just an idea. Class against the same class is way more balanced IMO than class vs. other classes and there would still be a room for choosing a god that best suits you.

Second type - Random God scenario

This is pretty much clear. Let the players decide which gods they don’t want to play as / against (maybe 3 bans each) and let the game randomize the god - same to the both players (or an alternative randomize the class and give each player random god from the same class). Truth it’s not really fair to give one player his diamond god and other god he almost never plays, but that could be a part of the banning strategy. I love the Hyper Joust MotD to death and always play ton of matches when this mode is one and only frustrating thing is to play as a character with no damage against a character with a ton of damage (and yes maybe even as two nondamage characters against each other).

These two alternatives have a problem tho and it’s appeal to the player. Some players LOVE to randomly pick their gods (even use some randomizers) but some of them will only play certain gods. This scenarios really contradict each other and it’s hard to make everyone happy.

Is really objective pushing the correct way to have this gamemode based as?

Let’s be honest, as far as the map goal will be the same, hunters will always be one of the best. Should it really be Push the Tower -> Push the Phoenix -> Kill the Titan style? I don’t really have many ideas how to make the mode interesting and not about objective pushing, but here is one I thought of.

Round style battles - Pokemon style

I’ve recently rewatched some of the episodes of Pokemon and think to myself - this battle system is not really bad and might be fun. Of course for smite it would need to be a little tweaked. Here is my idea for this

The game mode would be Best of Three with and in a similar style as the Arena bonus Round was (I don’t think I’ve read this or hear this, but if someone posted this, because I’m sure I’m not that original to thought of stuff other people didn’t, I’m really sorry to post this again). There is many posibilities how to make this gamemode viable 1v1 and here where the Pokemon comes in.

The selection would be draft pick with bans (it will not be blind, atlest first two rounds). One player is determined by the game as drawing first so the other player can counter pick. and after the first round was completed it would be the other way around. If the score would be 1:1 the winner will be determined by the third round which might be either random god, random selection of who draws first or blind pick. I haven’t really decided what is best for that.

Gamemode description - It would be based on a small map with fountain that would not heal and items could be purchased here only before the beggining of the round. I would see it as infinite ammount of gold (buy what you want), infinite mana or posibility to recharge mana fast while out of combat and starting with level around 12 (I’m not decided on what is the best level for the battle, but I wouldn’t do it as level 20). Round begins and first god dead lost the round. I’m sure some people would stay turtled so I would make some adjustment to prevent this (shrinking map would be probably the best and if after a certain ammount of time if nobody died, I’d give victory to the player with higher health percentage. If they would refuse to battle both of them lose the gamemode and are treated as losers - TP deduction etc.).

That’s probably everything I thought about and if it’s stupid I’m sorry for wasting your time .