Category Archives: Quirky Mysteries of the Spiral

Another Double Pet Rewards

July 30, 2017

I’m very behind on posting so I’m just in time for the last day of Double Pet Rewards.  You have till something like 8 a.m. EST Monday morning to get double XP on pet games and snacks if you’re a member.

It’s been a little odd this time.  I’ve had several wizards who either couldn’t get into the Pet Pavilion without closing out and starting again or took several tries.  And the Gobbler game froze midstream and I had to close the game and log in again — of course lost the energy points anyway…

I have managed to finish training some decent pets:

I’ve also tried to find hatches for my Storm and Fire girls, who’ve never managed to have very good pets, but no dice this time…

 

Questing with Storm and Fire after Death and Life

Tatiana, Level 74

With my level 92 Death and Life wizards stalled in Azteca as I drag my feet about preparing for the tricky final dungeon (have I mentioned how tired I am of tricky dungeons 🙂 ?), while longing for more wizards with Plant All, I decided to finally spend some time on my then-level 56 Storm (Destiny S.) and Fire (Tatiana F.) wizards; at least to get them to the point in Avalon where the gardening spells become available.

I’ve quested them through Celestia and Zafaria and have made it to the Wild in Avalon in the last month or so.  I still really love my Death and Life girls but I have to say it’s startling to me how much faster I’m moving through these places with my Storm and Fire wizzes.  And I’m feeling like the game has been weighted a bit in favor of these two schools (at least compared to Death and Life; don’t play the other schools much).  Not only are their spells much more powerful — most of the time I’m overkilling without even trying to– but they get enough pips so much faster. In fact I’d worried a bit about this stage and the lower health after having my Life and Death girls hit for round after round while waiting for pips but they’re able to make the kill shot so much faster it hasn’t been a problem.  At this stage I’m using 7-9 pip spells for all of them most of the time so it isn’t that their spells use less pips.

With my Death and Life wizards I always make sure some of their gear includes pip enhancements because it takes so freaking long to get enough pips to cast one of their not-as-powerful spells.  With Storm and Fire I haven’t purposely done anything to enhance pips (i.e. I may have equipped something with a pip boost without aiming for it or noting it but I know they don’t have as much pip boost in their gear sets as the other two)  I’m puzzled as to why KI felt the need to give Storm and Fire not only the big spells advantage but to seemingly give them a better rating for pips.

I’ve also teamed Life wizards on two accounts who’ve made it to Avalon, so I know Destiny and Tatiana are benefiting from the knowledge I’ve gained in getting four other wizards to levels 92 and 72.  But the speed with which they’re mowing down the bad guys is just too far beyond what I’ve been able to do with my Life and Death characters for me to think has much to do with my greater expertise.

I know KI is trying to balance the talents and skills of the different schools so the great power of Storm, for instance, counterbalances Death’s steal health spells–which are lower power but give all that health back — and the hefty over time spells of Fire balance against, say, Life’s many heals.  I kind of get Death having smaller damage in exchange for the health return but I don’t get why Death also has to be handicapped with being challenged as to pips.

The deficits for Life particularly puzzle me.  Life’s spells are less powerful and Life doesn’t get as many damage spells because they get all these heals and the heals theoretically give them an advantage.  The thing is, in my experience, since Life is the only one who can cast all heals on anybody, everyone expects Life to cast heal spells to help them.  So Life’s heals don’t just help Life — in fact I’ve had my Life girl in battles with others many times when she’s not only healed everybody else but then wound up defeating all or most of the enemies–but everyone benefits. I think Life should get bigger damage and a better pip rating to get a little more power in exchange for being really the only school that’s routinely expected to help everybody else.

Besides puzzling over these mysteries,, I’m also trying to decide, as I race Destiny and Tatiana toward Morgan and Rylee, whether there would be a benefit to switching how I have them teamed once they’re all at the same place in Azteca.  I kind of like pairing Spirit and/or Elemental wizards because of being able to assist one another with the Spirit/Elemental blades and traps.  But I can see that adding Destiny’s Storm power to Rylee’s Life talents and/or Tatiana’s Fire to Morgan’s Death abilities or vice versa might work better.

I’ve paired Tatiana quite a bit with lower level Death and Life wizards on a couple of accounts when they’re facing major dungeons and I want to speed it up and that, of course, works great.  But I’ve not paired same level Fire and Life or Storm and Death, etc.  If anyone else plays two accounts and has experience, I’d be interested to hear.

A good pet and questions about ultra

Prince Peanut Mega

Prince Peanut at Mega

I finally decided to try again at pets during this last weekend’s Double Pet Rewards event.  I’d unsuccessfully tried to get a hatch through the wizard central site so my hatching till now has been totally between my accounts and between pets on each account.  But I joined the adult non-pvp players Facebook group a while back and noticed there are lots of folks who help out with hatches, so I gave it a try.

One of the folks with a great pet for every conceivable desire in a pet hatched a Death damage pet with me and for the first time ever I got what I wanted on the first attempt at training.  I wouldn’t have minded having another critical or damage talent as the fifth, but I also don’t mind having energizing battery in there.  I now plan to periodically ask for help with developing a roster of pets for different purposes.  Of course since I still can’t stand much pet training, I will be training them only during Double Pet Reward days 🙂

Since I was on a roll I decided to train Prince Peanut on up to Ultra as I’d become hazy about why I swore off bothering with the final stage of training (you know, besides the I hate it thing 🙂 ).  Now I’m puzzling over KI’s thinking.  The Ultra bit with its jewel socket would make some kind of sense if you only got a socket at that stage (or a second one), but most of my pets have gotten a socket by ancient and I’ve been able to put any eligible level of jewel (i.e. eligible to the level of the wizard) in the socket.  When I got to Ultra this time, I’d already put a fairly high-level damage jewel I quite liked in there and the jewel given for achieving Ultra didn’t inspire a desire to shatter the one I’d already placed.

If KI wants the Ultra to mean something, they should either (1) make the jewel socket available only when you get to that level, or (2) give you a second socket for Ultra, or (3) make the reward for achieving Ultra something else–leaving one jewel socket to arrive at earlier stages of training, as they have been.

My personal favorite idea would be to let you choose, upon achieving Ultra, which of the remaining potential talents for your pet it will get.  That for me would make it absolutely worth training every pet to Ultra–or at least every pet with an unrealized potential talent I’d like to add.  To get a random jewel for a slot I’ve already filled?  not much of an incentive for me…  So I’m back to eschewing any further training after Mega.

Timer slow-down?

Gardening Info no longer blocks view

March 13, 2017

I’ve seen signs during the last several Double Garden Reward events that KI is slowing down the timers and this time feels more like it than ever.

I planted Couch Potatoes and Evil Magma Peas on Wednesday, early in the evening.  Normally both of those — with all likes — would have been at elder harvest Saturday.  Not only did they not make it but for most of them the progress bar didn’t move from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.  I even made time to check in this morning before the event got taken down and none of the Couch Potatoes made it to elder harvest.

A bunch of the CPs are close but didn’t make it and another batch is only about 3/4 complete.  Some of the EMPs finally made it by late Sunday night and the rest by this morning but that’s 1 to 1-1/2 days longer than usual.  And the CPs are at 2 days longer than usual and counting.

I’ve seen some comments on a Facebook group I’m in about the timers seeming to have slowed down at the last event and have run into people in the game who seem to be experiencing this slow-down too.  What’s your experience?  Do you think KI is slowing down the growth of plants during these events?

I’m finding the safest way to be assured of double elder harvests on crops you want is to get them there when there’s not a double rewards event happening and just leave them sitting at elder until one starts.  That way you’re assured of one double elder harvest.  After that it’s getting to be a crap shoot whether you can get any sort of plant–no matter how short the growing cycle–from seed to elder harvest while one of these events is happening.

Another disappointing pet

New Brainy Assistant

New Brainy Assistant

I decided to splurge and get some Terror’s Hoard packs while they’re on sale.  I was thrilled to get a Brainy Assistant pet in my second pack.  Excited enough to go ahead and do some pet training even though it’s not a double rewards moment.

Then, as usual, disappointment.  So far the pet has some added healing and I’ve got a “Monstrous” card.  Bleh.

Adult Brainy Assistant

Adult Brainy Assistant

In the odd things that happen on my accounts saga, I have fabulous luck with getting healing-related talents on my pets…  whether I want them or not.  I have lots of pets on all accounts who have Unicorn, Spritely and Energizing Battery plus many have some added healing points or add a boost to heals.

I really wanted to get some damage talents for a change — apparently my accounts have some kind of whammy on them that prevents damage talents from showing up more than occasionally.  I do have a few with all those heal casts plus a boost to Death or Life or… damage.  But however many critical boosts and damage boosts may be possible, if there’s also something to do with healing possible, that’s what they get.  On all three accounts….

So my general (and often expressed) feeling that pet training just isn’t worth the bother for me is borne out yet again…

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Endless worlds… after Dragonspyre

11/2/16

Starting Azteca_edited

When I gave up on Halloween at the end of last week I went back to questing in Azteca with Morgan (level 90, but not for long) and Rylee (just made level 90)…  which seems endless.  I wrote a post a while back on how endless Zafaria seemed.

This time I thought about the worlds I’ve done so far and realized there’s a distinct break after Dragonspyre.  I gather at one time Dragonspyre was as far as the game went and it may originally have been planned to be the final world.

Every world through that point has three basic areas and each of those is divided into about three areas (I’m thinking of Unicorn Way as kind of an intro and Colossus as a side deal; sometimes there’s an extra dungeon or side area or two, but the basic organization seemed to be three with three).  Nice and neat, nine areas, a final dungeon and on to the next world.  Starting in Celestia, though, the worlds are LOONNGG!  I’m assuming the ones I haven’t yet reached are also long slogs…

I kind of get why KI wants to extend everyone’s experience — to keep people engaged in playing the game longer.  But from the perspective of making it fun, for me it goes in the other direction.  Especially because there was such a rhythm to moving through the first five major worlds, I kind of expect that rhythm.

In each of these worlds I keep hitting a point where I figure I must be nearly done (generally at the end of the third major area 🙂 ) and I’m expecting to get a final dungeon quest but instead there’s another whole area, and then another, and then another…  It just feels endless and leaves me with a sense I’m working and working and not really getting anywhere.

I get why the health of the minions and bosses goes up.  I kind of get why there are more bosses with tricks — personally I don’t find that so much fun.  Things get harder as you go up.  And, I’ve said before,  I also see it’s a bit of a problem to be a game for all ages, trying to satisfy the needs of small children who need an easier game and older serious gamers who bitch about it not being tough enough. My personal feeling is there are plenty of tougher games out there— got play one of those.

I’m an adult player and I came to this game because I was looking for something reasonably easy that would just be fun.  I’ve really enjoyed the game and I particularly like the worlds through Dragonspyre, where getting through is relatively painless and reasonably fast.

The farther I go the more it seems more like work than fun.  Not to mention the constantly shifting end goal.  I finally got within 20 levels of the top–again– and I hear there’s about to be a new world and another 10 levels…  It’s happened several times that I’ve gotten close enough to feel I was getting there and suddenly I’m 30 levels away again.

Other than the obvious monetary benefit KI gets from making everything take longer, I don’t see why the players need to be dragged through worlds that seem never to end…

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Critical Mysteries

fighting-mordecai

Since wizards theoretically aren’t granted the ability to “go critical” (have the damage from your hit or the amount of a heal double) until level 50*, this post is a little outside the stuff about which I usually post.  But since most people know about critical ahead of time and there’s a lot of interest, I thought I’d share my experience.

I team up with people a fair amount so I’m very aware there are wizards for whom critical works very well and they go critical frequently.  Level 100 and above seem to go critical something like 95-99% of the time and a gander at level 100 gear tells me it isn’t just the gear but I’m hazy about what happens at that point that causes them to “critical” so often. [I AM guessing many have a pet with both critical chance and one of the so-called “useless talents” that enhances the chance] But my experience of critical for the six wizards I have who are level 50 and up (highest at the moment are 89 and 90) has not been good.

From the beginning of getting it, neither Morgan nor Rylee had critical hits very much.  Somewhere in the level 50’s I got them gear with critical chance built into pretty much everything they equipped and kept that up for a while.  I’d say the gear took them from going critical maybe once in 50 casts to once in 45.  And when they did go critical it was more likely to be on a wand spell or Sprite than anything big enough to matter.

Somewhere along the way I realized:  (1) critical isn’t really needed against street mobs and minions and (2) the only time it matters is against Bosses and they all have such massive critical block you just about can’t ever get the doubled damage on them.  So I can’t really see much point to it…

Basically, having been seduced into thinking critical really matters, I sacrificed defenses like resistance and critical block in favor of gear aimed toward increasing critical chance and pretty much got nothing for it.  Somewhere along the way I switched to using gear mainly for resistance with some pieces including boosted school damage and/or pip chance.  I rely on blades, traps and feints to enhance damage.

One thing to understand about the gear with critical is most of it isn’t adding a percentage.  If there’s a number with no percent sign after it, I’ve realized it means the chance it’s adding is minuscule.  You can see if you scroll over your critical damage stats in the spell book, five pieces of gear that each add a chance for critical might increase your total chance by 13% — in other words negligible.

In the picture, it’s four equipped items adding 12%; you can see just the robe adds “70” so that is clearly not 70% if the total added percentage is only 12 (I have NOT gotten a clue to what the math is for this):

12-critical-chance

And here’s another mystery.  You can see in the above picture, Morgan’s level 90 gear added up to a 155 Death crticial rating which gives her 12% critical.  In this picture, you can see Destiny (level 53) is in gear that adds 65 to her Storm critical rating, which winds up with 13 % critical.  HUH???

destiny-with-13-critical

Destiny with 13% critical

This month, instead of questing, I’ve had Morgan and Rylee farming for Halloween drops at Mordecai’s Tower and, occasionally, the Stormdrain.  For fun I’ve put them in gear with more damage and critical chance and pretty much no resistance (mostly stuff from bundles that I don’t ever use except for moments like this).  The lack of resistance doesn’t really matter against these opponents.  But they don’t go critical any more in this gear than they normally do in the gear without critical chance.

Then I put together my best “go critical” gear.  Even trolled through the Bazaar to see if I could pick up anything better than I had.  Took it in for the first time that there’s just about nothing in level 90 gear and — in the 80’s anyway — athames, boots and rings pretty much don’t have critical boost…  Anyway this photo shows her critical chance with the better gear (33%):

33-critical_edited

And still she doesn’t go critical…  [I don’t have a critical pet for Morgan; at some point I’ll try Rylee with her best critical gear and equip the pet who has a critical boost]

I’ve mentioned before that I find various aspects of the game seem to work differently for different wizards.  I’ve even found it to be true among the various wizards on my three accounts.  One Death girl fizzles a lot, another rarely fizzles.  One gets a Pink Dandelion drop in every other battle in Krokotopia, another finishes the world with maybe one…  A Life wizard friend uses her level 18 minion a lot and it is never defeated.  I quit casting it too often for my Life wizards because theirs are routinely wiped out, often so fast it wasn’t worth wasting four pips to cast…

I’m a little surprised, though, that for me lack of critical so far affects every wizard on every account who’s reached that level.  Really, two of them about level 54, one level 60, two in the low seventies and the 89 and 90 ones…  none of them go critical often enough to ever count on it and that’s regardless of whether they’re equipped for critical or not.

In my next post I’m going to discuss some possible strategies for playing nicely with lower level wizards in Wizard City dungeons and this odd experience with critical affects some of my advice…

*Some pets and gear (mostly from packs) with critical chance can be equipped by low level wizards, who will then go critical occasionally — I’ve had it happen for wizards below level 10 just from a pet with a little critical boost.

Beginners’ messages over and over

Quckhammer and Argleston AGAIN

Quckhammer and Argleston AGAIN

Something odd has been happening for me in the spiral.  Around the same time, I got a new laptop, had to delete and reload Wizard101 on another laptop and went on vacation with my oldest laptop (the one someone could take from my hotel room and I wouldn’t much care 🙂 ).  I know from many past experiences that the first time you load the game on a new computer or when you open it on a computer you’ve not used in a while a bunch of random messages from various teachers show up on the right hand side.

So initially I wasn’t surprised when all the beginners’ messages about text chat, receiving a first treasure card, etc. showed up.  But now I’ve been working on all three of the computers on a rotating basis for a while and I have wizards who’ve now been informed multiple times on each computer that they have text chat, have received a pet snack or a treasure card or a housing item…

Also the game is regularly not loading most of the places to which my wizards have access so I’m constantly waiting at the World Gate or at an entryway while the spirals whirl around in the upper left corner and I get a message that this area isn’t ready for me.  Even their Red Barn Farms, which most of my wizards visit daily for gardening, keep having to load over and over.  I regularly arrive and can’t open the housing menu because the decorations, furniture, etc. are still slowly showing up.

The baseless messages from Ambrose are also arriving; you know the ones, where you show up in his office and there’s no yellow question mark over his head.  Every one of my wizards is getting those.

I keep thinking everybody has received all the messages on every computer and logged in enough to have their game access points loaded, but weeks later it’s going on and on.  I’m curious whether this is a current glitch that’s happening to others or just something I have to keep wading through until the new downloads of the game have caught up with where my wizards actually are???

Mysterious timing: membership and Pink Dandelions

One PD on its own schedule

One PD on its own schedule

September 17, 2016  Well, today is the final day of my month of membership on the third account.  For events in the spiral, if they say it ends on September 17th, you have until the end of the day to do whatever it is [in fact they usually don’t actually turn events off until the next morning].  But it’s 6 p.m. and I just logged in so Alura N. could do the final dungeons of Celestia and my membership is already gone.

That’s better than it’s been on some other occasions when, for instance, my membership disappeared by 8 p.m. on the day BEFORE my expiration day.  I don’t practice law any more because I loathe it but for someone who likes to fight, if this occurs at the ends of most people’s memberships — losing your membership somewhere from hours to a day or more before it’s supposed to end — I’d say there’s a nice class action suit there.  Just sayin’.  Personally not interested.  But I’m surprised KI isn’t more careful about this programming.

Meanwhile I decided to see what’s going on with Pink Dandelions.  I’ve mentioned several times lately that for the last couple of Double Garden events I suddenly couldn’t get PDs to elder harvest in the time of the event.  The first couple of times it happened I then planted some PDs again and the time seemed to shorten if there was no double event.  This time, I planted PDs for several wizards within about a half hour period last Saturday evening–a day after the most recent event ended.

PDs are now just taking several days longer to reach elder harvest than previously with all likes on them.  But these kind-of varied even though all had all the same likes and were planted so close in time.  A couple of patches finished yesterday (6 days) and most of the rest finished today (7 days).  With the odd quirk shown in the photo above:  even though all  Savannah’s PDs were cared for with medium area spells covering the whole patch and all were reading all six likes (Red Barn Farm, pixie, blue ball of yarn, potted cattail, garden gnome, snapdragon), one PD is not at elder harvest…

I have no idea why PDs have been reprogrammed to take days longer than they used to, but this is at least the third round of them to take 6-7 days instead of 4-5.  So if you want a double elder harvest of PDs you need to plant them well before another event; since they hold them randomly, I’m getting stuff planted and through to elder harvest for a couple of wizards at time over the next few weeks.  Then I’ll wait to collect the elder harvests the next time there’s a Double Rewards occasion.

Now I’ve got a few free hours I won’t be spending on finishing Celestia; I’m thinking I’ll just take a pass on the game since I’m a little ticked at losing my membership early again and do something more productive instead 🙂

Birthday Wrap-up

crafted furniture telegraph box recipes

Furniture from B.O.X. recipes

Well, the annual Wizard101 birthday event wrapped up early this morning.  As usual, I enjoyed it but wasn’t able to enjoy as many things as I hoped.  Gardening was my main goal, then collecting sonic springs for crafting, and finally a bit of pet training.

GARDENING

The best way to major success on getting double rewards is to grow whatever crops you want to double well before there’s an event and leave them sitting at elder harvest until you get the news another Double Rewards event is happening.  That way it doesn’t matter how long the seeds take to complete their cycle, everything is already waiting to give you double seeds, double snacks, double reagents, etc.

Of course you miss all those double mature harvests, but since most of the plants with highly desirable crops take so long to reach elder harvest that you can’t get from seed to final harvest in one Double Rewards event, it’s the only way to guarantee a double elder harvest.  So I succeeded pretty well from the outset, because multiple gardeners on each account had plants ready to harvest the day it started.

There are more details about my success and lack thereof in the last post.  The final results continued to be slightly odd.  Most of the Pink Dandelions finally made it to elder harvest just within the deadline, which meant they took slightly more than seven days from seed to final harvest.  The odd one was a patch for the one lower level gardener who doesn’t have a Red Barn Farm.  Minus that one like, the PDs usually take about one day longer.  Hers are only about halfway there after eight days, even with every other like.

Sword Ferns lit up by pixies

Sword Ferns lit up by pixies

The two batches of Sword Ferns I planted gave me about four mature harvests each, meaning I got lots of extra TC blades.  Looks like Elder Harvest will be in the next day or two, so those went as expected.  Some King Parsley crops went on wildly different schedules even though all planted around the same time and with all the same likes.

All in all I’m pleased with the results, mainly because of the crops I had waiting at elder harvest at the beginning.

SONIC SPRINGS

KI introduced a bunch of crafting recipes for great housing items earlier this year.  I bought lots of recipes with much excitement.  Then I realized every recipe calls for a Sonic Spring.  It’s another head-scratcher for me.  I’d have thought they’d want to have people crafting the new stuff in great numbers so these fun pieces could start decorating the spiral.

Instead they’ve restricted the ability to craft them by requiring the Sonic Spring ingredient.  It’s only dropped by bosses in the Five B.O.X.E.S.  So you have no hope of getting any most of the year; only possible when there’s a Five B.O.X.E.S. event — maybe five or six times a year [they seem to do it a bit more often now than they did when I first started playing but I’ve never kept track].  They DID put up the boxes last year around Christmas and left them for about a month so best shot at getting more Sonic Springs may be then – if you can stand having to do the instances a few hundred times…

Even more puzzling is that they apparently didn’t raise the drop rate when they decided to add all these recipes with the SS required.  Between three wizards I’d say I completed the Wizard City box at least 40 times this week and got maybe 4 Sonic Springs at most, possibly only 3 (I forgot to check how many a couple of the wizards already had when I started).

I have way more recipes than I have Sonic Springs with which to make them.  I figure it might be a couple of years before I can manage to get enough to craft all the items I’d like (including some multiples).  My willingness to repeat the same instance over and over for one item is limited so my patience with the WC box was past the breaking point by the time I decided it wasn’t worth it to keep trying…

PETS

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t care for pet training.   If I could choose which of the potential talents my pets get I’d be more willing, but the crap shoot they’ve created has left me disappointed and unwilling to spend much more time at it.  For most of my wizards at this point I have “good enough” pets so I rarely bother with pet training unless I can get Double Rewards and I don’t do much then.

My two Storm wizards still don’t have pets that are quite what I’d like, nor does my Fire wizard.  I chose to do a bit of training for the two Storm girls.  Then I had a pet from the Evergreen Bundle sitting around untrained and another from the Olympian Bundle, so I did some training on those.  The Spirit of the Forest pet did get “Gardening Pixie” (may cast a gardening pixie) but I haven’t remembered to equip it when I’m gardening, so don’t know if it will be helpful in the garden but the other talents so far are not anything I need; unless I make it part of my “energy set” I doubt I’ll use it.

Over all the training has been pretty much as usual.  A waste of time.

MISCELLENEOUS

The gardening took up so much time I really didn’t get to do very much of  the other stuff.  With the backpack and TC limits, the double harvests of these events involve a lot of stopping to go sell stuff, move stuff around in attics, vaults and the Shared Bank, etc. so gardening becomes even more time consuming than usual.   I kind of fit in a few rounds of the WC Box after gardening as I had time and I never got a single wizard to any of the Lost Pages quests.

I look forward to this event every year and overall I’d say I enjoyed it.  I’m always pleased to speed up some of my gardening goals and I did get a few Sonic Springs so a few more furniture items will be appearing.  I’m not too sorry to have missed out on the Lost Pages stuff as I’ve always found it’s a little harder and more time consuming than the rewards (both in drops and low XP for the quests) warrant.  Next up will be the Halloween fun which for me maybe ties with the birthday celebration as the most fun event.  Now I have a week left on the month of membership for my third account and it’s time to move Alura further through Celestia.

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