The Desert Carnival areaTo the north of the Ankhmaron forest there is currently a bridge leading to nothing. This desert area is large enough for a whole new zone, but that's not what I want to propose. Instead a small part of that area just across the bridge could be made into a carnival area the size of Riversdale. Throw in some tents (colourful if there are models for it) and some npcs, the usual potion merchant and some quest givers both for high lvl and for mid-lvl with their quest objectives in the already completed areas.
That's all fine, but what makes the carnival really interesting is the Duelist npc who is there. He can be challenged by a party of players (4-5) to a fight inside his tent (needs a small interior area, the size of Sanev's house perhaps), this costs X amount of gold based on player level. Players pay at the Duelist outside for the version of him/her they want to fight, then they are teleported inside. The different "versions" of the boss is to simulate a friendly Duelist champion who wants to test people at the skill level they are at. Once a fight starts, players cannot run away as there is no exit until the fight is over. Now the interesting thing about this boss fight is that he does not kill the players (when a player dies in the fight it instantly respawns outside the tent, but unable to take part in the combat or gain any rewards).
The thing that makes this duelist a great addition is the fact that any party (above lvl 19) can challenge him for a version scaled to their level:
lvl 20-29 equals lvl 30 duelist.
lvl 30-39 equals lvl 40 duelist
lvl 40-50 equals lvl 50 duelist
lvl 50--- equals lvl 53 duelist
The drops are rare materials which cannot be found other places. They are all stackable up to 3:
Amethyst (low lvl)
Topaz (mid lvl)
Aquamarine (high lvl common)
Diamond (high lvl rare)
each representing their own level range.
In the carnival there are also several stores selling a lot of recipes using the above rewards as materials in combination with standard mats for that lvl range. So a recipe for a thief lvl 20-29 may cost 1 amethyst, 2 fine skin and 1 iron ore while a lvl 50 recipe might require 3 diamonds, 1 shadow pearl, 3 bloodstone ore, just as an example. The fact that only accessory and misc items are craftable through this boss' drops ensures that there is still good reason to do every other part of the game.
To give the boss even longer life span, aquamarines and diamonds can be used to create swiftness potions which increase movement speed by the user by 40% until attacked. Lasts 10 seconds. This gives high lvl players some fun and also a way to reach farming/boosting/avoid annoying trash mobs faster.
Recipes and their rewards
The low and mid level recipes shall be basic and universal accessory items:
for the lvl 29 version
1 for dps
1 for SP, mana
1 for tanking
1 for SP, hp
and the same for 39 version.
50 & 53 versions all fit into 1 category together:
1 off hand
6 rings: 2 dps, 2 healing, 2 tanking (SP or physical),
= Total craftable items: 24
The power of the high lvl items should be similar to D4.
The boss fight itself:
Players are teleported inside the boss tent when they challenge the boss. Similarly they are teleported outside when the boss finishes (whether they die or defeated the duelist).
The Duelist has quite a few spells:
30: healing, reverse planeshift*, bladefury
40: healing, reverse planeshift, bladefury, embrottling acid
50: flash heal, reverse planeshift, bladefury, embrottling acid, magic mirror
53: flash heal, reverse planeshift, bladefury, embrottling acid, magic mirror, lightning blade
Boss uses bladefury and healing/flash heal at regular intervals to keep stunners and healers focused.
High level Duelist also has acid which makes sure that crusaders/monks can't just tank spank with their extreme armor values + magic mirror to make spellcasters more careful about using the highest dps every second.
Flash heal for these versions requires a shorter reaction time of the stunners.
*Reverse Planeshift (name is just for explanation) makes the Duelist unharmable for 3 seconds (not invulnerable, but no damage goes through, all spells resisted). He loses 80% of his aggro on all targets except the main target which loses 100%. Therefore he will attack 2nd highest aggro target until tank can regain aggro. Just after using this spell he will use lightning blade on his aggro target which will have to be avoided as it kills in 2 hits for most chars and perhaps 3-4 for a tank. This is a slightly longer version of the spell, to allow players to nuke him once they avoid the spell.
When the boss gets to 5% hp, the fight will end and the players are all given a corresponding material in their inventory. Finally, they are teleported outside.
The difference between the 50 and 53 version drops is that the 50 only drops aquamarine while the 53 drops both diamond and aquamarine. Level 50 characters have access to both the 50 and 53 versions when challenging the Duelist. To prevent boosting (which ruins learning and balance curve) the boss versions are restricted to their level range. This means that if a lvl 20 challenges the boss, people above level 29 cannot enter the tent until the current fight is over (no player is left inside the tent) etc.
Legendary Duelist's blade
Moreover, the Duelist blade from the Shade can be made into a legendary lvl 50 version with 3 diamonds (and some other materials ).
Sorry for this wall of text, but I had to get this idea out there. Finally for advantages/disadvantages.
-A small quest hub area which won't take long to terrain, but add a lot of possibilies to players of all but the lowest levels.
-1 boss which can be used throughout the game, even when all his item recipes are made due to the swiftness potion (other pots like resistance pots could also be implemented.
-A different kind of boss which avoids the standard fight to the death style.
-the area is very small, but enhances the rest of the game with its recipes needing materials from all over the map.
-The biggest obstacle is probably the large amount of accessory/misc items this would require, but Box and Ihaz can do the job ;-).
-Gold requirement for each time challenged makes the boss a gold sink.
-Only accessory and misc items are craftable through the boss ensuring the continued existence of other bosses.
-lots of extra items take time
-extra boss fight to be created
-no change for low level players (but even a lvl 10-19 version could be implemented, I just thought it might be a waste of time to do so).
-extra quests take time to create (they don't have to be added though, the Duelist is the main thing).