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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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Picking and choosing Daily Assignments

Aegon Statz_edited

The Daily Assignments have been around for six or eight months now. I’ve criticized them before.  So up front I’ll admit I frequently go for days or weeks without picking them up.

I’m still getting assignments that require going places to which the wizard in question hasn’t yet gotten access, which has become one of the reasons I’m sporadic about even looking at them.

Another reason is how long some of the assignments take relative to the rewards.  Some of the assignments are pretty easy and just take going to some easy-to-reach spot.  As soon as you arrive you get the reward.  Others require either going to some remote spot that takes 10 or 15 minutes to reach or defeating some kind of mob creature or both (remote spot and mob creature to defeat there).

Most of the rewards are small amounts of gold, tiny amounts of crowns and arena tickets and treasure items I mostly feed to pets or trash.  As my health has been getting better I’ve been cutting back on how much I play the game.  Sometimes I’m just in for long enough to tend gardens and I log off.

So I’ve reached the point of weighing the kind of progress I can make from doing a given task against the time it’s going to take and what other things I could accomplish.  Along with small rewards, xp for doing Daily Assignments is negligible (mainly, I think, for the quests you get occasionally and whatever you get for a battle) and they don’t advance you in the game.

In 10 or 15 minutes I can defeat a boss in Azteca and collect say, 25,000 XP, a chunk of gold and a list of drops that might sell for 25,000+ gold (not to mention that I’ve just moved myself along in the game).  Even if it’s just Marleybone or Mooshu where a wizard is questing you’re still talking about hundreds and sometimes thousands of XP, decent gold, drops and advancing farther in the game.

If I look at an assignment and I’m either gonna have to spend a long time getting to the far reaches of some world or traveling to and then fighting a mob, I just quit for that wizard and  “play” the next to check her assignment.  Some days I look at a bunch and don’t do any.

I’m curious how others are finding the Daily Assignments.  Do you love them?  Ever do them?  Find the rewards worth the time spent?

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The early stages when you know a lot

Deer Knight_edited

I’m so sick of endless Azteca, I decided to log in to my third account — the one I started mainly for creating new wizards, taking to level 10 or 20, and deleting — and have fun with one of my level five girls.

As I easily plucked off mobs and bosses, I contemplated how different it is to go through the early stages after you’ve taken a lot of wizards through and after you have reached levels over 50 with some of them.  There’s a lot about strategy you’ve picked up by then and it’s just easier to choose the right set of spells to cast and keep mowing ’em down.

The aspect I go back and forth over is higher level things I know about that are not revealed in the game to people in , say, Wizard City.  I kind of like to try to do it with the tools the game provides at that level.

There’s a lot of stuff that was available, but I just didn’t know about them or understand that I could and maybe should use them.  Like Treasure Card blades and feints.  Nothing in the game stops a lower level wizard from using them; I just didn’t understand at first that blades can be stacked.  Until I started doing lots of gardening I also couldn’t afford to buy a lot of Treasure Cards.

Most of the time I don’t feel anything in Wizard City requires a feint, but I stick them in sometimes, just in case.  An extra TC blade can definitely speed you to the end of a boss battle.  Neither is really necessary in a mob fight.

I grow a lot of Sword Ferns, which drop loads of TC blades, and I’ve been trading blades between accounts to provide all my wizards with the ones for their schools plus the two types of balance school blades.  I also grow lots of Evil Magma Peas, which drop lots of Feints.  Same thing, I trade them and supply all my wizards with Feint tcs.

Those seem fair enough.  But then there’s Deer Knight.  I didn’t know about Deer Knight until way into the game and you can’t craft the permanent version until Avalon.  But to craft it I had to have lots of Deer Knight tcs which made me aware you can farm for them at the Bazaar.  I’ve been picking them up every time I have a chance, initially so I’d have a store for my lower level Death and Life wizards (each of the first two accounts has a Death Mastery amulet to pass around) to use when they can get the recipe for the spell.

I’ve wound up picking up enough — and continue checking for it whenever any wizard is at the Bazaar — that I’ve passed some to lower level wizards.  I’ve used them occasionally.  For the most part I consider them overkill in WC and KT and don’t waste them there.  And I have mixed feelings about handing a bunch of power to wizards who weren’t intended to have it in the progress of the game.

I see people use big AOE Treasure Cards in low level places a lot.  Obviously there’s no rule against it.  But I kind of like the challenge of trying to play within the tool set the game provides for a wizard at a given level.  I also think there are pips issues on some of those big spells for lower level wizards who get pips pretty slowly.  And it’s always there that I just know more now, along with side issues like even my lowest level wizards now have mega pets.

I’m interested about other people’s strategy on that.  Once you have higher level wizards do you infuse your lower level ones with all the knowledge and tools you’ve gained, use big spells you wouldn’t otherwise get till many levels later, etc. or do you try to play within the tools they’re handed at that level?

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Planning ahead for reagents

agave-leaves-and-nectar

When it comes to crafting in the Spiral, there are a few places that wind up catching people without the right ingredients if they haven’t done research.  I did a lot but when I got to Azteca it turned out I hadn’t done enough.  Now I’ve found a nice chart that lets you know what you’re facing in terms of reagents for all the crafting quests.

The first place for me that created a problem was Marleybone, where it took me quite a while to farm both MB and the Bazaar for enough scrap iron.  But the Dragonspyre crafting quests were the ones that pushed me into gardening.  I did a bunch of research about reagents and figured out I could get them as drops from lots of plants.

Pink Dandelions and Evil Magma Peas between them drop copious numbers of the reagents you need not only for the crafting quests through Celestia but also for crafting a lot of the recipes you can buy along the way.  I stopped questing for a while and just grew crop after crop.  Now all my wizards have big supplies of reagents in their backpacks and the Shared Bank has a giant store as well and all the early crafting quests have been easy.

Even the Zafaria quest, which causes a lot of people trouble, went quickly for me.  However, for a few reagents I had to pass every piece any wizard on the account had through the Shared Bank, so I’ve needed to grow more crops and do more farming at the Bazaar to make sure my other wizards will have an easy time when they get there.

I read a lot about Amber becoming important as you move into the higher levels so I grew various plants that drop it, finally landing on King Parsley as the easiest to grow in an array of plants that all drop it so rarely you have to repeat crops over and over to get much of a supply.  I didn’t look ahead to get the numbers I’d require; wound up having plenty to craft Deer Knight but I can see I’ll need to get cracking on growing LOTS more crops of KPs to have enough Amber for all my wizards to craft stuff.

What I missed was any warning about Turquoise, Agave Leaves and Agave Nectar, all of which come into play for the Axteca crafting quest.  Turquoise is a pretty infrequent drop, available in a couple of packs and, if you keep refreshing the reagent tab, available in small numbers at the Bazaar.

Agave Leaves are supposedly available to pick up in a few areas of Azteca.  In spite of farming quite a bit, I never even saw one till the Floating Mountains; with two wizards questing through the area at once (two accounts), I got one for one wizard.  Both the leaves and the nectar are available in small occasional numbers at the Bazaar.  Some Ultra plants drop it but since Ultra plants are hard to come by, not a great way to collect a bunch.  A bunch of bosses drop it but, again, two wizards who’ve both fought most of the main story bosses in Azteca and one of them has received one.  You can also buy one of the Leaves for 400 arena tickets but since I don’t play PvP I have tiny amounts of tickets.

Nectar is possible to get when you find the Agave Leaves (much like Stone Blocks can give you Sandstone or Black Lotus can give you Black Pearls), so if you have better luck with finding the Leaves than I did, you can probably get enough of the Nectar.  You can also transmute the Leaves into Nectar.

If I’d realized the quest was coming, I’d have started having all my wizards pick up the Leaves and the Nectar every time they hit the Bazaar from an early stage.  If you want to have plenty of these reagents for the quest when you get there, I advise starting to pick all three–turquoise,agave leaves, agave nectar–up whenever you see any at the Bazaar from the earliest level you can (for me it’s around level 14 or 15 when I’ve managed enough garden crops to have that much gold).

The finisher for me with the Azteca crafting project is the Potent Trap TC requirement.  Although it’s a possible drop from Ultra Alligator Pear Tree, it’s basically only available as a drop from Bosses.  One of my two wizards got two on the way through Azteca, the other zero. And you can’t trade it or buy it at the Bazaar or from a vendor.

I assume it’s another deal where you wind up having to pick one of the Bosses who drop it and fight 50 times to get one.  I’m digging in my heels and saying no to that, so I won’t be completing that quest for the one who didn’t get any.

For all the rest of the quests, though, if you start gardening early and spend some time farming at the Bazaar, you can arrive at each crafting quest with the ingredients already in your stock.  Click the link to the chart I mentioned at the beginning so you can see all the numbers you’re going to need and start your plan early.

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Members to get a free mount

celestial-mount

Members and those who buy crowns this month will get a new permanent mount, presumably somewhere after November 29!

Directly from KI (see page for more details on how to get the mount):

We’re celebrating the launch of Mirage with a new Celestial Carpet (Permanent) mount! You may be wondering, how do I get this awesome flying carpet mount?

How do I qualify to get the Celestial Carpet?

  • If you have an active Wizard101 Membership on November 29th, 2016 @ 11:59PM CT
  • If you buy Crowns between November 1st, 2016 and November 29th, 2016 @ 11:59PM CT

How and when do I get my Celestial Carpet?

  • You will receive the Celestial Carpet Mount in your Wizard101 Gift window
  • Expect your mount to fly to your Wizard in early December

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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