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 The polymorphs seemed outdated, but I tested them out a bit again to make sure I wouldn't miss them.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!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Farming For Futility

On Saturday, Pirate101 hosted a little "House Warming" contest. On a whim, I decided to try it. Here is the subsequent timeline of my pointless attempts at crowns and glory.

 (All times in Central for convenience)

12:10 AM: I remember that I got up at noon and really want 60,000 crowns. Why not stay up overnight and go after Medusa for the first challenge?

12:37 AM: Complete first run of Medusa. Get nothing.

12:45 AM: Realize how cool and underrated Iago is.

1:16 AM: Get tired after 3 or 4 runs of nothing. Decide to go inside with a random guy named Omar.

1:38 AM: Omar leaves, so I join up with a group including my only other friend online, Clumsy Calamity.

2:30 AM: First time hitting the gold cap.

3:13 AM: Openly wonder if Kingsisle will give the prize to whoever gets the most Nemean hats...

3:22 AM: Get a Frog pet. Ribbit.

4:02 AM: Group estimates that we've done 25 runs so far.

4:25 AM: No one anywhere appears to have gotten a Domed Pyre, and the first phase is nearly over. Give up and take a selfie with my frog.

4:37 AM: Join up with Duncan and Kat (cutest couple ever, by the way) against 3 Tysons for his Lantern Post.

4:41 AM: Get Armadillo pet on first run!

5:16 AM: Left to my own devices again, I start farming a couple other Cool Ranch bosses (to no avail, of course).

6:18 AM: After returning to Tyson for a little while longer, fatigue wins out. It was pretty foolish to expect to stay up for 36 straight hours, after all.

12:45 PM: Wake up and get back online just when Phase 3 (Solar Obelisk) is almost over. Start setting up for Phase 4.

1:30 PM: To everyone's chagrin, the next item is back in Aquila, with Zeena as the target. At least she drops some other cool stuff.

2:23 PM: Give up (again), accept that I won't win the grand prize, and wait for Phase 5 to at least have the chance at 20,000 crowns.

6:04 PM: Hurry back over to Cool Ranch and check the list of bosses who drop the Pilgrim's Campfire. Go on to do a few useless Jailhouse runs.

7:07 PM: Get momentarily excited when I find a Pilgrim's Campfire in my backpack... and then realize that I got it from Phase 2. Decide to revert to Tyson for farming.

8:12 PM: Get a Lantern Post... 12 hours too late.

9:18 PM: Mentally decide I'm done when I get a Lantern Post for the second time.

Quite frankly, the whole event was a big waste of time. The only thing of interest was that I got a neat new pet and met a couple other friendly pirates while occasionally annoying them :P. I was not destined to win, as spending 10 hours farming and then getting a Campfire and Lantern Post in the wrong phases seemed to suggest. Nevertheless, it was good to get involved in the community a little bit more; opportunities like that don't come by quite as often. Would I do it again?

Yes! Easier items! I wouldn't necessarily have a better chance of winning, but hey, it would feel pretty good to get at least one item (and not in the wrong time slot...)

Results, incidentally, are posted here: Kingsisle's recap post.
Congrats to Crazy Cassidy and all the 20k crowns winners! 

Happy Farming!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Quest A Day - 215 Days Later

"Cool Ranch by Christmas" was a pretty lousy guess a few months ago -- Valkoor entered the grand world of Aquila as 2014 came to a close. Harder enemies and longer battles in Mooshu and Marleybone had left me pretty tired of the routine, but Aquila's mythical baddies would prove to be the most challenging yet.

Actually, my Cool Ranch companions beg to differ :P

Troy was just Aquila's version of Moomori Clanhold... minus the wedding and kowbooki and corrupt cows... well, they were similar in that everyone died.

Oh, and I got to see that new puppet show thing. 

Aquila has a habit of diverting you to fight for some inconsequential stuff instead of, say, slaying the mythical beasts that are actually important. And those quests are long. Eventually, though, I was given the opportunity to get myself lost in a cavernous maze.

Props to my own long-suffering Minotaur for sticking through the journey. From single-hoofedly bringing down Cool Ranch birds to becoming bait for his own species, Brutus fulfilled his call of duty on this questing mission.

Couldn't have finished it off without the Son of Zeus either.

Still, though, my biggest challenges were yet to come. After catching up to my questing quota, Bat's level 60 promotion and the Hydra waited -- for about a week. It was, after all, a ridiculously long quest for a barely used companion and the hardest battle in Aquila. 

A couple few dozen frustrating attempts later, the magic three-headed dragon who lived by a lake went down in a puff of dust (see what I did there? No? Nevermind).

As much as Kingsisle has been doing to keep us entertained without actually releasing a new world, I think the Hydra battle takes precedence in the bug-fixing to-do list. Glitches mired my weeklong effort at cleanly finishing the battle, and I seriously considered cancelling the solo-only clause of Valkoor's journey. Fortunately, I made it through and got to stand on the pile of skulls --

Argos did, rather. That's just gross.

I fervently tried to make up the days of quests I had missed, but trolls were in the way. Trolls, of all things. No glitches here, but that Chief Antiphates battle was a headache. Every companion died (again), so another day of rest was in order.

Thankfully, the trip to Ithaca was easier than I remembered. To beat Scylla, you don't need a great ship, just enough potions to get by. With that, I was on track to meet my goal.

Just a quest or two from the finish line, I hit max! It's kind of nice how the game lets you hit the mark without side quests, but I kind of miss the extra struggle of doing things for hard-to-please citizens :P

I love the final showdown. It's the perfect piratey way to honor The Odyssey -- mercilessly bringing down abhorrent suitors.

With a photo bombing snake. And a fox. And the avian representation of Hercules. Never change, Pirate101.


Well, not quite yet. I needed better gear and a much better looking suit. A run of Moo Manchu's tower got one part of that over with.

Then came the unique gear farming -- specifically, Red Fox and Sato. My old English Bill jacket didn't quite match the fox's hat, though. I appeared to have a fashion crisis. So, stowing away all of that snazzy gear for my future Buccaneer and Musketeer, I came up with this look.

Witchdoctor-y? Heck yes. With that, Valkoor is all set for whenever Pirate101 decides to release new content. It was a fun journey, but I'm glad it's over. Also, remember, Kingsisle: the cap has been 65 for two years...

Happy Questing!