Checking out the updates. slowly

 

Angela’s New Look

I haven’t explored everything in the new updates yet, but have managed a bit around Wizard City.  Mostly a little disappointed and underwhelmed so far, but I’m somewhat pleased with the Magic Mirror shop.

First, I have to admit when it comes to how the place looks and all things about decorating, dying, hair styles, etc. the comparison for me is always Disney’s Pixie Hollow, which Is where I started out thanks to a pair of children in the family who wanted me to join them.

Pixie Hollow closed down something like six years ago and was around for quite a few years before that, so I’m puzzled as to why the graphics and software we used to such great effect there are still not available in the Spiral.  When you created a fairy you got to choose the eyes and the lower face separately.  Hair styles had a front part and a back part and you chose them separately.  The number of faces possible out of all the pairings was huge.

There was a hair style shop where you could change your mind often — dozens of front styles, dozens of back styles and again, because you could pair them up as desired, the variations.  In both hair color and dye choices for clothes and furniture (yes furniture!!!) there were SO many choices.  For clothing and furniture I’d guestimate a couple hundred — with seasonal ones coming and going.  And for hair a couple dozen.

And changing hair, face, dye colors, etc. cost the little “reagent” type things you could pick up all over the hollow.  Not money, not something you had to buy with money, stuff that was free when you played the game.

One of the most fun things for me about the game was the ability to decorate everything with a cornucopia of amazing colors.  Most clothes and furniture items could take two colors and with the enormous array, you could create stunning combinations.  Furniture could also be sized, so you could make it seem appropriate to either the larger or smaller “homes” on offer.

When I heard about the Magic Mirror and changing face and hair style choices, I was initially excited but you can imagine my disappointment when I realized most of the choices are exactly the same faces and hair styles from which we chose at the beginning, with four new and pretty much ugly possibilities for each.  There’s a somewhat bigger array of colors, but nothing like the gorgeous assortment of colors like Spring Breeze Green or Marine Blue….

That said, I made quite a few eye color changes on two accounts and a couple of hair style or color and I do feel a little happier with the looks on some of my characters.

I hoped they might offer a bigger selection of dye colors at the dye shop and that maybe we could finally change the shades on housing items but no go on that one.

I picked up the new Photomancy quest for a couple of wizards and on my accounts I’ve run into the glitch that none of the pictures show up, so kind of disappointed so far but I’m holding out the hope that when they get the glitch fixed the pictures may turn out to be good.  I like that you can hide other players — though I did note they disappear and then if someone else rides into the scene before you snap, the newcomer is visible.  Never got to see how it came out in a picture.

They’ve also made Wizard City darker and grayer than it used to be.  While I like the new flowers, etc., I get tired of the many areas of the spiral that are dark and gloomy and I always liked WC’s partly sunny/partly cloudy aspect which left it fairly light and bright, with interesting skies.  I’m feeling it’s likely I’ll wind up sticking with classic mode just to stay out of the gloom now enveloping WC.

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Won’t be checking out the new Azteca fishing as I’d just as soon sit staring at a blank wall as participate in fishing…  Not sure if I’ll try the new Monstrology additions but haven’t yet so no info from me on it.

Looking forward to trying to get “Plant All” treasure cards for wizards who are far from Avalon.  Plant All has been such an improvement over planting, say, 52 separate plants at once I’ve mostly been gardening only with the wizards who’ve gotten far enough along to purchase the permanent spell in Avalon.

 

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Pack Sale

Through July 15, 2018, packs are on sale at the Crown Shop.  A couple of Halloween ones have been added back in as well.

I always waste some crowns on these sales but I stop with a few packs.  They all have a slim possibility of some pretty good stuff, but if you look at the lists, they also have loads of crap and that’s mostly what you get.  And some of the crappiest stuff repeats often.

I tried a few Wyvern’s Hoard packs, hoping for some of the energy gear, but after I’d collected 4 square hedges and some more useless junk instead, I gave up.  I know I run into people in the game who apparently spend hundreds a month on crowns and among other things, throw them at packs till they get what they want.

I can’t afford that, so I won’t be taking much advantage of the sale.  If you want to try for some of the good stuff packs occasionally yield, like Deer Knight pet or energy gear, the sale is the best time to try.

Buy Back Training Points for Free

KI announced a free training point buy back for members “for a limited time” which probably means through Sunday, July 8, 2018.

Usually there’s a large cost in crowns that gets bigger as you have more training points, so it’s always nice to have these opportunities to change how you’re using your training points for free.

I’m tempted as I mistakenly used a point for a spell I thought I understood and it turned out I didn’t.  I DO wish they’d organize the buy back thing so you could just buy back specific ones you’d like to get rid of.  The idea of having to wander all over the spiral getting back all the rest of the spells just so I can lose that one…  not so appealing.

Since they started the free buy back events, I have had the thought that it would be smart to get one set of spells through training points for the early stages of the game, then switch it out when you hit the middling phases and then switch it again when you get higher.  There are at least a couple of different strategies that make sense for different stages of the game.

I know many players disdain using shields ever, but in the early stages when your health is low, I think it’s not a bad idea to have an arsenal of them so you can reduce damage if your health starts going down too fast.  Later it’s less important and you can build enough resistance into your gear to do without and you’d probably want more things like Feint or Spirit Blades, etc.  Then even later you want Star and Sun spells.

I will admit, however, since I’m lazy about having to run around collecting them all again, I basically follow my strategy of getting all wizards (except those in a given school who get them in regular training) Life through Sprite, Ice through Tower Shield, Death through Feint as the earliest acquisitions and then the various blades and Star and Sun spells…  Since I don’t change the basics at different stages, I just keep adding spells.

Or you might have a different strategy for changing them out.  Or maybe you, like me, got one you’re sorry you chose.  Or you, like me in the early stages with my first wizards, randomly used training points for crap you don’t need or want at all 🙂  Now’s the moment to fix it all!

Lost Pages thru July 15th

2018

KI has had Lost Pages going for a couple of days now and will continue to offer it through July 15th.

There are a series of quests to various worlds and some special “Spellwrit” creatures in the mobs.  Generally you have to defeat 10 and it takes a long time because they’re so scattered you can only get one in your circle at a time.  When you’ve finished those defeats there’s a dungeon.

Supposedly you get special drops though I’ve never found I got anything outside the norm for whatever area I’m in.  The mob ones have higher health than whatever is usually in the area so it’s a lot of fighting that’s harder than normal for nothing extra in the way of return — at least as far as any drops I’ve ever gotten.  Also adds very little XP relative to the time it takes to complete the quests.

If you’re bored, though, it does give you some quests you don’t normally have and some different creatures to battle.

Unlimited Crafting and Double Reagents

Through Sunday, July 1, 2018, KI is running an event in which members can craft as much as they want without any wait for timers.  You also receive double reagents anywhere you can get them:  plant harvests, collecting on “ground”, battle drops…

It’s a fairly good moment for picking up reagents at the Bazaar as some of us gardeners who are not using all those doubles for crafting are instead selling them

The main crafting projects I want to do involve the recipes from the B.O.X.E.S., all of which require sonic springs.  You can only get the sonic springs during the B.O.X.E.S. events and they drop so seldom even then that it’s a slog, so I don’t have enough nor the patience to keep farming during the events.  So I’m not really crafting and am selling all the reagents I’m getting from lots of gardening.  You’re welcome 🙂

Pets: Critical or Damage?

Prince Peanut at Mega

It was another largely disappointing Double Pet event for me with, as usual, so many failed pets I gave up bothering before the weekend was over.  But while I still had hope that I might manage to create some pets with the talents I want, I did some pondering about what I would find desirable.

I’ve gone a bit more for healing pets than damage or critical, but I do have a couple of pets with triple or quadruple damage and/or one or two crit boosts and I do see how much it helps boost damage. Since my highest level wizards just don’t go critical, I find the critical talents aren’t super helpful.

So far I’ve not succeeded at getting one with only damage/critical and I get so bored with the process I’ve just stopped with ones like the one shown in the picture above who have a may cast heal or something instead of an extra damage or critical.  Still really helps boost my damage.  And I’ve certainly been grateful a few times for the heal I didn’t want 🙂

Ultimately I’ve decided I’d rather emphasize damage for my pets rather than critical.  Aside from my personal issues, there’s a very practical reason to aim for damage:  the critical boosts just add small increments to the CHANCE you will go critical while the damage boosts, on the other hand, are always operating.  If you’ve added, say, 21% total in damage boosts with talents, every hit you make is boosted by that 21%.

I know some people really go for the crit and at higher levels than I’ve reached I gather your base chance must go up and a bunch of gear adds more significantly so it can be worth creating a pet with all the crit talents.  But my experience lower down in the levels is that the chance of going critical even if you equip a lot of enhancing gear isn’t high enough to bother.

One weird anomaly to this is that if you equip a really low level wizard with a pet who has some crit chance or a piece of gear with critical, you will go critical sometimes even though you’re nowhere near level 50, which is when critical is supposedly first added to your arsenal.  In fact I’ve had some lower level wizards with a small critical boost to a hat or whatever who’ve gone critical as often as my level 90+ wizards who are equipped in much more enhancing gear.  So you might find it worthwhile to equip a pet with a bunch of critical talents on your characters in Wizard City or Krokotopia and watch them double the damage once in a while.

Otherwise, I think the sure-fire boost you get with damage talents is a better bet than boosting the “chance” of going critical with critical talents for your pet.

Double XP for Pets and Hatchmaking issues

Mega Healing and Resist Pet

Against my usual stance, I’ve been doing some hatching and training without the benefit of double xp but reached the point yesterday of deciding I’d had enough and any more training would wait until another Double Pet Reward event.  And today, June 21, 2018, one has started and will run through Sunday, June 24, 2018.  So here I go…

One lower level wizard had an Epic Fire pet fairly far along toward Mega so I started by taking her in to finish.  I wound up sort of withwhat I had wanted, a pet with three heals and two resists; as you can see in the above picture it wound up four heals and one resist.

The drawback stems from a big drawback to the Hatchmaking Kiosk.  Once you’ve started hatching with a particular pet, the one hour “time outs” and 10 day/one week limit mean you have no guarantee you can get as many hatches as it takes with the pet you chose.

I’ve been very confused by the “my hatches” part of the kiosk because for most of my wizards it never shows up as clickable no matter how many hatches they’ve had.  Looking at the one time it did work, it appeared that maybe you could keep hatching with the same pet through it–although it was quite confusing and I changed my mind several times about what it was meant to do…– but if you can’t click on it you can’t do anything.

Without the ability to keep hatching with the same pet, the hatching experience is even worse than usual.  In this case I started out hatching with a pet who had three heals I wanted –spritely, unicorn, and energizing battery– plus the two universal resists.  That pet disappeared, however, and the only pet of the same type I could find with three heals and two resists had batusi instead of energizing battery.  As you can see, I wound up with batusi and fairy friend instead of the other resist.

This one turned out reasonably lucky as that was just one hatch with the second pet.  When you have to switch to another pet, the big problem is all those unmanifested talents in the pool that transfer and stick.  The pet already had a couple of unwanted, unmanifested talents that kept showing up.

Hatching with yet another pet means you get some more unwanted possible talents, which means usually it will take even more hatching and training than usual to wind up with the pet you want.  This was just a lucky break that she sort of got the pet I wanted in spite of the switch to a different hatch partner.  I really wish KI would change hatching so the unmanifested talents in each pet’s pool are left out of the equation.

I’ve had several pets now who started off hatching with a pet at the kiosk who had the desired talents and then was unable to get another hatch somewhere along the line.  My two big hopes for the kiosk had been that (1) I could do some hatching for a desired pet without having to keep bugging someone else to keep meeting me at the Hatchery and giving up a bunch of their gold and (2) I could offer pets to other people without having to keep having meet-ups and spending MY gold.

The frequent comings and goings of pets from the kiosk means you can’t count on getting multiple hatches with the same pet, if you need a bunch to get the pet you want.  And other than a couple of pets I’ve managed to create from the kiosk, none of the pets I’ve worked so hard to create are eligible for the kiosk so I still have to deplete my gold and set up meeting times in order to help others out with most of my best pets.

In the meantime, these next few days are a good chance to do a bunch of pet training in less time than usual.  Double XP for the games.  Double XP for the snacks.  A loved 50 XP Mega Snack with a perfect score on a game can give as much as 112 total points for one game.  Worth taking advantage!

Plant Care Frequency

Having depleted all the gold from my two main accounts on hatching and pricey gardening spells, I’ve been gardening like crazy lately; working on not only replenishing gold, but using all the extra gold to buy expensive amulets so every wizard can have a supply in the Bank as well as a stash in the Shared Bank.  It’s been reminding me of some ins and outs of caring for the gardens.

One aspect varies from one plant to another:  how often do you need to take care of needs?  The two big things for me are making sure it’s often enough to avoid having anything move to “progress to dead” and making sure I don’t lose a mature harvest.

I’m just going to use a few examples from the plants I grow most often.  While the timing issues vary, the questions you need to figure out for any given plant are the same, so you’ll want to figure this out for whatever plants you grow.

Having arrived at Wizard101 via Pixie Hollow, I tend to look for a 24 hour cycle as their gardening was set up so you actually could not apply needs within 24 hours of the last time you watered or whatever.  So I’ve always tried to work it so I just had to go in once a day but with many plants — and the much more complex algorithms in this game due to likes, etc. —  in Wizard101, twice a day works better.

Couch Potatoes

Couch Potatoes are interesting.  For the most part you can just tend them once a day.  However, if you’re in a second time, six or eight hours after the first round and go to your CP patch, they will have both needs again.  Often if I don’t go back and fill the needs again, the CP’s are fine the next day.

But they move from OK to progress to dead pretty easily and, if you haven’t taken care of the needs that second time, you may find one or more in progress to dead when you go back.   Since I grow a couple of other things that need a second round, I just take care of the CP needs twice a day and thus completely avoid the progress to dead issue.

Evil Magma Peas

I haven’t had problems with EMPs and progress to dead — though you can get there with any of them — but they follow an intriguing pattern.  They have 3 needs and if you show up once a day, all three are present.  However, early in their maturing, there’s a stage where the water and pollination needs show up first without the music need.  Then if you go in later, they need music.

If you keep going in twice a day they will continue to have two needs one time and one need the second  It can work out to be a good way to mete out your energy use.  If you ever miss the second visit, they will have all 3 needs the next day when you go in and it will be hard–next-to impossible– to get them back on the split schedule of needs.

Also, while they do absolutely fine if you just go in once a day for care, if you have all the likes and you go back that second time you will get a second harvest.  I’m not sure when or why the progression switches, but if you DON’T go back, the second harvest segues back from all of them ready to harvest to all the plants having all 3 needs by the next day so you completely miss that extra mature harvest.

I do a lot of my gardening to get and sell the drops (keeping my gold supplies up), so I don’t want to miss whole rounds of mature harvests; I tend my EMPs twice a day.  I also kind of like the relief I get on energy by tending often enough to have the music need show up separately from the other two.  Makes it easier to grow other crops at the same time.

Pink Dandelions

Pink Dandelions do fine if you just tend them once a day.  Once in a while you’ll note one or two of them has developed a need or a pest if you’re in a second time, but you don’t have to go back.  However, like EMP’s, PDs with all the likes will give you a second harvest if you go back in — and, of course, if any of them have developed needs you will have to cast spells to get harvests from all plants.

Again, since I’m aiming to maximize my gold intake from gardening, I want that second harvest.  The second harvest will disappear if you don’t go in to get it.  So if you tend in the morning and don’t get back till the next morning, you’d never know there was a second mature harvest — they’ll all be back showing needs and you’l just get the one harvest after you tend.

If you don’t need the extra gold and want to spend less time tending your garden, PDs are a good choice as they don’t easily go into the progress to dead mode.

Ivy League

I haven’t actually bothered to grow these for a long time because of their difficulty, but as they’re not alone in being fussy; they’re here as an example.  There’s something glitchy in these and you can go in and take care of all the needs multiple times a day and still one or more of these plants will go into progress to dead.

Since I kind of gave up it’s possible KI took care of the issue at some point and I just don’t know about it  The tough thing about having one or two plants go into progress to dead is that they then start over so you have a patch of things growing in an area that fits a medium or large area spell but random plants in the patch are having needs at a separate time from the rest and you wind up keeping on caring for those 2 or 3 for days after the rest have hit elder harvest.

Sword Ferns

These are nice and straightforward.  They get their two needs once a day and once they hit the right point in the mature phase, you get a harvest as soon as the needs are met.  On very rare occasions I’ve been back a second time and they were ready to harvest again but most of the time they just offer a harvest once a day.

So these work very well if you just want to take care of plants once each day.  I’ve never had any go into progress to dead as long as I cast their needs spells once a day and I don’t worry that I’m losing a harvest if I’m not back a second time.

King Parsley

These are similar to PDs in terms of timing.  They only get needs once a day.  Much of the time you also only get one mature harvest a day.  But sometimes a second visit garners a second harvest.  They don’t easily go into progress to dead, so if you want a once-a-day crop (or maybe you’re after amber!) KP’s are pretty easy.

Conclusion

If you want to try plants other than these, just try out going in twice a day and make note of what’s going on on the second visit.  If they don’t have any needs you might try once a day and see how they do.  Also, pay attention to whether there is a second mature harvest to gather regardless of needs.

When I say once a day, I really mean within 24 hours.  For some, like CPs, if you go back in 25 hours instead of somewhere very close to 24, you might be in yellow mode on the plant icon (telling you something(s) in your garden is in progress to dead mode).  Some give you more leeway, so for PDs and SFs, for example, it doesn’t make too much difference if it’s 28 hours instead of 24.

Because I’m almost always growing either CP’s or EMP’s I generally tend my gardens twice a day, so all the plants get their second round of needs or the extra harvesting just because I’m there anyway.  But sometimes I grow only things that are okay on once a day, forego the extra harvest, and spend more time having a life off the computer.

Level 50 Elixir Sale and musing on the great divide

Khrylasis-Kondha Desert

Today, June 17, 2018, is the last day of a 33% off sale on the Level 50 Elixir.  It’s an elixir that lets your character skip to level 50 from any level below 50, as long as there is at least one character on your account who has already achieved level 50 via doing the quests.  Since I much prefer the worlds at the beginning through Dragonspyre, I can’t imagine wanting to do this…

You receive credit for all the required (main story) quests through level 50/Dragonspyre and all the training points you would have received for regular quests.  As far as I can tell, if you want the training points from Prospector Zeke, you’d have to go back through each world, pick up the quest and collect all the items — which would include having to do some of the dungeons you skipped in order to get access–just as you would if you completed all the levels.

You also receive:

  • Advanced School Band (Ring)
  • Advanced School Boots
  • Advanced School Charm (Amulet)
  • Advanced School Conical (Hat)
  • Advanced School Deck
  • Advanced School Edge (Athame)
  • Advanced School Robe
  • Advanced School Wand
  • Level 48 School Pet
  • Enchanted Broom Mount (Permanent)

To me the fact that this elixir exists and people who actually want to use it, points up a big divide in the game.  It started off basically as a game for kids.  Parents started participating and enjoying it so KI started touting it as a family game.  I gather when enough adults started participating, some clamor for tougher quests, dungeons, etc. started growing.

In trying to have a game for both children and adults, KI has wound up in a dilemma between keeping the game for its original target audience (children) or keeping the interest of adults who want a more challenging game.  Everything after Dragonspyre seems to me to be more aimed at those who want a tougher game.

Celestia isn’t too bad and the early stuff in Zafaria is more or less just a somewhat tougher version of what came before.  And they’re LONG.  Every world from this point forward seems to go on forever.  Then you get to the first version of Belloq, in Zafaria, and from that point on you periodically have to negotiate dungeons where the bosses have tricks requiring study and prep ahead of time.  And periodically there are more types of spells to learn to negotiate.

I’m not sure how many players fall into the camp I’m in.  I’m an adult who arrived at the game through children and stayed because I enjoyed it.  I have no interest whatsoever in being some kind of computer game champ at any level and no interest at all in learning how to play some of the MMO games for adults that I gather are much tougher than this.

I play to relax and have fun and I like the ease of the early stages because it suits my interest level.  I’ve been playing the game now for over 5 years and I don’t have a single character who’s reached the highest level.  Two wizards at level 93 have been stuck near the end of Azteca for a year.

I’m about to have to figure out the tricks of two of the last dungeons and, frankly, I just don’t wanna.  I’m also reluctant because I know the next world involves learning yet another set of spells and learning new strategies and, again, I don’t wanna.  Add in that the screen shots I’ve seen of Khrysalis look like it’s another world where you’re in the dark, which I also don’t like and….  Now I have two more wizards in the 80’s who are at the Mangrove Marsh stage of Azteca and I’m not moving them along either.

I’ve kind of decided I might try to finish Azteca and get far enough into Khrysalis to hit level 100 and get those great level 100 spells and then just leave it at that. I get KI wanting to keep the interest of the folks who want to be challenged but I’d love to see a study that follows up on players who stay and players who go.  I wonder how many other people they’ve lost because they DON’T want that much challenge.  I suspect I’m not alone among adults playing a kids’ game BECAUSE it’s easier and just for fun.

I’ve been wishing they could divide the game and give you a choice at the end of Dragonspyre whether you want the challenge game, which would let you go through the game as currently played or whether you want to keep the game more similar to the level of difficulty in the first 50 levels.  Or possibly they could make the challenge path even harder while easing up on the easy path.  Not that the health of opponents couldn’t keep going up, but just dispensing with the tricky dungeons and having to learn as many more spells/strategies.  I’d go for the easy in a heartbeat.

In the meantime, my guide to the game and this blog give me a good excuse to keep starting new wizards, playing through some early stages and deleting to start again.  Always gives me more things to note and write about.  And avoid the tricky, challenging stuff.

 

Gardening changes?

June 14, 2018

I feel like I’m seeing some changes in gardening drops recently, though I don’t keep any records, so it’s just based on memory and feeling.  When KI first introduced housing item drops, they were fairly infrequent.  Then they started dropping copioiusly.

At every harvest of Evil Magma Peas I would wind up with 3 or Djembe Drums and/or 3 or 4 Egg Baskets.  At every harvest of Sword Ferns I would get 2 or 3 Sword Trees and 3-4 Ninja Sword racks and/or some color of Sword Displays.  Lately if I have 52 EMPs growing I’m lucky if I get one Djembe Drum or one Egg Basket per harvest.

I also used to get huge numbers of Treasure Cards from the EMPs.  I was constantly selling off Tower Shields and Feints and I kind of thought I got Pierce and Earthquake at more levels than just elder harvest.  I still get the TCs and Feints but not in the numbers I used to.  And Earthquake and Pierce only drop at elder harvest.

Same thing for reagents — I’m not selling as many reagents per mature and/or elder harvest as I used to.  Now, to be fair, besides my lack of record-keeping, for some time I have mostly only participated in gardening during Double Garden events., so my memory about normal harvests is dipping a bit into the past.  But it also feels like I don’t get as many of some of these dropped when it Doubles.  Just wondering if anyone else is noticing some subtle differences in the drops.

Also thought I’d point out an odd occurrence in using Plant All (see picture above).  After harvesting, there were 44 seeds in my backpack and I planted all of those.  Then I realized I still had some energy and could fill in the six unfilled slots in that particular plot  So I planted two, one on top of one another (for some reason Plant All won’t fill in an empty plot that’s sitting above one you filled), and then used Plant All to plant the other 4.  It asked me about 4, it emptied all the seeds out of her backpack, but she was left with two blank plots.  Huh?