Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Labyrinth, Revisited

Nobody likes the Labyrinth. At first. You have to go back for the obsidian chest and, for some, a level 48 spell. It's like the catchy song you don't want to hear at first, but end up listening to on repeat. 

Just snake (snake snake snake snake) it off.

In all seriousness, the Labyrinth used to be hard. I rated it #5 on my list of hardest dungeons before Celestia. It is still rather long, though. Imagine 7 bosses in a row in Khrysalis. By level 150, that dungeon would be a breeze, albeit a lengthy one.

Though no one's really going out to farm for level 45 gear, the Labyrinth is still a surprisingly nice place for loot. Love pets? Vladimir Darkflame drops three of them. Two of them are crowns pets: the Death Leprechaun and Pale Maiden, the latter being retired from the Crowns Shop. 

Rare statue? Yep.

New jewels? Got them.

It's a pretty neat place to fish, too, although there's only one unique species.

Bottomless cliff fishing. What could go wrong... right?

There's also plenty of weird phenomena going on in this otherwise calm area where criminals walk the streets. Kind of sounds like Gotham City, really. It's when you get behind the gates that the Labyrinth becomes a little bit of a freak show. 
It has...

Boss clones. 

Mobs invading your personal space. 

Like, really invasive mobs. I can't fish and kill you at the same time.

Lastly, I felt like Lord Spike - my old Orthrus who still holds a place in my heart and blog banner -  needed some closure. I paid a visit to the old owner of his dog collar.

Ranulf, the red-faced... whatever the heck you are.

You could even say his face glows after being hit with cartoonish vomit.

I then observed another weird phenomenon when I logged off and came back.

Yep, the dungeon restarted. And I was still behind the gate.

Locked in with the personal space invading monsters?!? This was too much. I had to log off.

Curiously, I couldn't seem to replicate the glitch. I guess it only happens after you beat all 3 floors of Ranulf's tower (and you can only be a Myth wizard to do that). Perhaps it's for the best though. Imagine being roommates with those discolored trolls and minotaurs.

Last but not least, I had to take this opportunity to do the Labyrinth's reagent map. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but I did get that Wyrmkin statue and neat jewelry from all the repeated battles.

Voila. Red-faced Ranulf approves, I guess.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Reagent Map Project

The big Jewel socketing/Dragonspyre fishing update is online! As it happens, this is a perfect opportunity to post something seemingly unrelated... I just made a reagent map of nearly every area in Dragonspyre.

Wait, what? ... Let me rewind a bit.

With my return visits to Kensington Park several summer ago, I ended up finding a lot of Scrap Iron, so I made a crude reagent map. As I went through that process, it actually seemed pretty fun. A reagent map of one dungeon wasn't just some dumb project I had relegated to myself. I found it informative, and hoped to pass that knowledge around in the community.

 So, over the last year, I've slowly been developing spawn locations for every map in Wizard101. Here is the culmination of the reagent maps I have worked on over that time -- not much more than a drop in the bucket, but progress nonetheless. But first, let me explain what I've set out to do.

What is a reagent map?

A reagent map starts off as a Wizard101 area map. The image of the map is then manipulated to reveal where certain reagents lie in that area. This happens through symbols or other little images (as I have done), clearly showing where a reagent can be found in that area. After that, a reagent map can be formed in any creative, desirable way.

The Process

I don't have any fancy programs -- all I've really used is Microsoft Paint. To start off, I rendered images of every reagent available for picking up in-game, and gave most of them a colored background to make each reagent noticeable. Then, I mark down each spot on the map a reagent may appear (a "spawn point"). In that process, I take note of how many reagents show up in that area and eventually include that information on the side of the map. For instance, Twin Giants in Azteca will yield 2 Ore and 3 Stone Block spawn points every time you go through the area -- provided no one else has swiped some up.

As it is, I'm still cementing down the process. Eventually, I plan to experiment with making certain maps black & white (as shown in the Basilica map) so there won't be a clash of hues. Many spawn points are also right next to each other, so I've just started giving the rendered reagents some different sizes.

This Emperor's Retreat map, which I made while hunting for the Silver Streak fish, is fully complete. There are no clashing colors and all the spawn points are identifiable. In the end, that's my goal -- for easily readable maps of every area in the Spiral.

Making a reagent map is not a revolutionary idea. After crafting was introduced in the early days of Wizard101 blogging, The Evil Theurgist created many maps, which I believe ran up to Mooshu. Unfortunately, most of that data has been lost. But the idea was not unique. Our own Friendly Necromancer contributed his share to a growing database. Wizard101 Central's guide, "The Crafter's Bible", filled in reagent maps for all of Wizard City. Over 5 years after the release of crafting, I just want to continue the work of others and finally establish a completed database. That will take a lot of time, no doubt, but crafting will likely never lose its practicality, so the information will remain important.

In the meantime, you can check out the maps I've done - including the majority of Dragonspyre - right here:

I'll be updating this page with new maps as regularly as I can. In the meantime, many of those maps will come in handy while out fishing in the multiple lava pools of Dragonspyre! :)

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What To Train In PvE

The latest member benefit is arguably the best one of all -- a free training point reset, something that hasn't been available since the Astral schools debuted in Celestia. As the benefit ends today, this post is a bit late, but hopefully may be of use to some people now or in the future. Here's how some of my Wizard101 characters spent their new training points.

Note: If you're a Crowns player that wants to reset your spells, buy a membership only if it would cost over 5,000 crowns to reset.

Arlen's old spells included: 
Ice to Tower, Life to Satyr, Infection, Spiritblade, Sun to Colossal, Sharpened Blade, 6 Polymorphs, and 4 Astral spells. The polymorphs seemed outdated, but I tested them out a bit again to make sure I wouldn't miss them. It was clear that the Celestian morphs belonged back in, well, Celestia. Yes, they were fun to use, but who can live without Colossal and critical block in today's Spiral? With that, I reverted to a clean slate.

Training back up to Tower Shield and Satyr was a foregone conclusion, though there were some cutbacks. Not only did the polymorphs go -- so did Infection and Amplify (made moot by Reliquary, the aura for Myth's attacks). I am still convinced that Empowerment is an underrated card, though. If anything, it's more useful nowadays, as bosses always attack with spells of 4+ pips. No matter your wizard's school, I recommend training it.

Next, I finally trained Death to Feint. I had only neglected to do that with my Conjurer owing to the fact that Minotaur, Orthrus and Basilisk used to be a big part of my attacking. As double-hits and DoTs, Feint isn't useful there, but Celestial Calendar (and maybe even Ninja Pig) makes it worthwhile. With that, Potent Trap also became much more useful. Also, there were some Azteca polymorphs that I considered. The Jaguar wasn't quite as great as I imagined, but it still bested Celestia's Treant. Without a Life Mastery amulet, that spell will clearly be useful. 

Seeing this after resetting puts things into perspective. Other schools often account for about half of your spells -- don't take retraining lightly, put some thought into it.

The new Shadow spells were such a mixed bag that I decided against them on Arlen. Once my Life wizard reaches that point, though, Dark Shepherd seems like a good fit in that it's easy to please for a Theurgist. Plus, it'll make Tarlac feel like a Necromancer :P. Other than that, maybe Dark Fiend would be good for an Ice; I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For a reminder on the costs and benefits for Shadow magic, here's Swordroll's guide

Outside of Arlen, other spells I took into account were the ZF Astral spells and AZ polymorphs. Berserk, kind of like the aura version of Feint, is good for those who can take damage, like Life and Ice. Mend is also good for Life, but they don't need the Jaguar polymorph, obviously. Storm and Fire can definitely use the Icehorn morph, though. Frozen Armor is a really good buffer when you're full of pips, and Icehorn has several good buffs and shields for afterwards. Just be wary that it has no critical block.

Last but not least, don't forget the short-term necessities if you're a lower level. This logic applies to spells like Amplify and the Treant polymorph. In Azteca, Jaguar and your school aura will eliminate the need for those spells, but they're still worth having around before that point. Arlen actually had Sap Power, a spell from the hidden Marleybone trainer, that sacrificed minions for 4 pips. That was very useful to use on the 0 pip Golem minion, but the need for it isn't around anymore. There are tons of training points available nowadays, so don't be afraid to use a few for short-term needs. After all is said and done, my wizards will still have about 10 TPs remaining.

In the meantime, if you're still reading this on Sunday... remember to visit Lincoln and reset all of your character's training points in the next few hours! 

Happy Training!