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There isn’t one right way to play the game

Forest Lord with just one blade

One of the things that has always driven me nuts in this game is the group of highest level wizards who have figured out a particular strategy to play the game and swagger around discussing it as the one and only right way to play.  Even worse are the ones in this group who jump into battle with you or join your team on Team Up and proceed to criticize the way you’re playing.

They play with really pared down decks and have particular team strategies in which each person plays a certain position (I can’t explain it because I’m not interested enough to look into it) and it’s apparently the way to move as fast as possible through the game.  The thing is, (1) I don’t want to move as fast as possible through the game; I’m playing for fun and I want to keep enjoying it and (2) it’s perfectly possible to reach the highest ranks without playing that way.

In fact, as far as I can tell there are a number of strategies people use, including different favorites among their school cards.  For instance, I have Death cards I NEVER use and yet I play with other Death wizards who use them all the time.  I wouldn’t think of telling my teammate he or she is nuts for using that card.  As far as I’m concerned, if they have a strategy that uses that spell and keeps them advancing through the game, they’re succeeding.

As I’ve written before, I don’t like the small deck strategy, not only because I don’t care about speeding through, but also because I find it boring.  I like not knowing how the random hands I receive will impact the battle and having to think on my feet, developing a strategy based on each draw instead of knowing exactly what will happen every time.

Sometimes I’m playing offensively, sometimes defensively and I like the challenge of figuring out which way to go every time based on the luck of the draw. I’ve made it to level 93 with a couple of wizards and into the 80’s with four more, so my assertion is that my way of playing works perfectly well.

In my most recent example, an arrogant Storm wizard jumped into a couple of my battle circles in Stone Town (Zafaria).  By the time anyone has gotten that far I think you should have the courtesy of assuming they play well enough.  But in the second battle this guy started criticizing me for casting a couple of shields (I was playing two accounts, so one for each).

I told him I didn’t have a damage card yet (and didn’t mention neither of them had enough pips yet to cast anyway) and he instantly told me that meant I didn’t have a good deck.  I told him I don’t like playing with a small deck and it depends on how you like to play the game.  He informed me I don’t know how to play well.  The thing that bugs me is that generally none of us who play other strategies hang around telling other wizards they’re screwing up.*  And he couldn’t even “hear” me trying to say it’s a question of choice (in that crowd it seems they never do).

Now in the first battle this same guy had put up one blade and then cast Tempest without nearly enough pips to defeat the enemies, so I thought he played kind of stupid, but I didn’t say anything — and this was basically the strategy he was touting.  I had a somewhat higher level Storm in but I don’t like to cast Tempest until I figure I have enough pips to finish it.

And, since I don’t enjoy running around trying to find health wisps afterwards, I prefer to shield while I’m amassing pips so my health isn’t down so far.  Just the way I like to do it, not saying anyone else needs to play that way.  Don’t care if anyone else plays that way. 🙂

The other wizard I was playing was Death and I notice often that Storm and Fire wizards, who have way more powerful spells with fewer pips, don’t seem to realize it takes an extra pip to cast Crow or Forest Lord (compared to Fire Dragon, for instance) AND they’re weaker so you need more rounds of setting up blades and/or traps before you cast.

It’s a game people.  It’s supposed to be for fun.  So I don’t really understand why racing through as fast as possible would be a goal.  But I do get that some people just have to do everything fast and be first and think they are best, etc. If you’re one of those, please keep your opinions to yourself.  Especially once you get past the first few worlds, assume that anyone who has made it that far has developed a strategy that works.  It doesn’t have to be yours, it just has to keep them leveling up and it isn’t your business how someone else likes to play.

If you have strong opinions about how to play and you don’t like playing with people who have a different strategy, DON’T jump into battles with strangers and DON’T Team Up.  If you do either of those things, keep your mouth shut about how other people play.  Seriously.

*Beyond the lower levels, anyway.  In the earliest stages I run into a fair number of folks I’m guessing are children who randomly toss off weird, off-the-wall criticisms and advice.



Pack Sale


Adult Brainy Assistant from a pack

Through February 4, 2018, all packs are on sale at the crown shop.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, I find packs mostly kind of waste of crowns.  While you can sometimes score a pricey item of gear or a mount or a pet, an awful lot of them have a big bunch of nothing.  You can also get a free pack– head to this page to pick yours up.

But if you have an interest in trying for some items you can get through packs, these sales are the best time to take your chances and see what shows up.

A few thoughts on Loremaster

I’ve been off and on farming Loremaster with various of my Life wizards, hoping to get the permanent Pigsie for at least one of them.  I never did a lot of farming there and none of my wizards had made it much past the level where you generally pick up the quest (i.e. new to Dragonspyre; it IS possible to port to someone and pick up the spell before that) so it seemed really hard and I failed to notice some points about it that make it easier than it seems.

I’m not going to do a walk-through or battle plan, as there are plenty of those, just point out a few things worth noting:

  1. You’re always facing Loremaster and three minions whether you’re solo or on a full team.
  2. Two of the three minions cast NO damage spells and the third only has one but pretty routinely casts a bunch of other stuff before casting that one.  So, while their health looks formidable when you’re at that level (say 38-45), they aren’t as much of a threat as it seems at first glance.
  3. The minions cause trouble instead by casting weakness and traps on you, blades on Loremaster, and shields on themselves.  The Life one also heals them incessantly and casts Spirit Armor.  They also cheat, including stealing a turn at the start of the game and casting a bunch of stuff.
  4. The Ice minion casts a 40% weakness on your whole team in the initial cheat.  If you make your first cast a wand or one pip spell, you get rid of the weakness.  The second weakness it casts is only 20% so less important to ditch that one before you cast your damage spell.  Some wait until both have been cast and then launch a wand spell to get rid of all of it.
  5. If you’ve teamed up, before you freak and flee on sight of the opponents, check your teammates.  Lots of wizards level 100 and up farm this one and if even one is in there with you, he or she is probably going to wipe out the whole bunch of them by the second or third round.  You don’t really have to do anything.  If you’re already in the circle, look at their health.  Anybody with ca. 5500 and up in health is gonna be somewhere in the level 100 and up range.
  6. If you’re less than level 70 or 80 and any of your teammates are level 100 or more, just let them do it.  If you have a chance to blade them or cast a trap or feint for them to use or you can just shield yourself so you aren’t in danger of defeat, just do those things.
  7. Use AOE spells so you can get rid of the minions ASAP.  Once they quit casting all those obstructive spells, getting Loremaster is easy.
  8. Sometimes there will only be a bunch of low-ish level wizards on your team so you need to have a different strategy in mind in case there isn’t a level 120 to defeat the whole enemy team in one blow.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like a big fat deck and I really use a big one for teaming up here.  Since I never know whether I’m going to be the highest level (a couple of level 80-ish  and a level 93 Life) or the lowest or somewhere in between I prepare for different possible teams.  People move fast in here so you don’t have time to fiddle with your deck after you get in.

Mostly I plan on being support so I put more Feints and Spirit Blades in my deck than normal and try to make it easier for higher level folks to defeat Loremaster and her buddies faster.  Ninety percent of the time I’m in with one or more level 100+ wizards so that’s all I need to do.

Sometimes, though, I’m the highest level and I wind up both shielding and healing my teammates and delivering most of the damage to the other side.  Other times I’m maybe the second highest and I might cast Deer Knight (I’ve crafted it for Life wizards who have Death amulets) or Forest Lord to help along with knocking out minions or I might just put on traps and blades for the higher level person.  I like to go in with my deck prepared for me to take on any of those roles.

In the photo above, my wizard, Heather, is in between.  You can see the two to her right are much higher level (look at health) and the one to her left is much lower.  I mainly wound up adding a special Life Feint and a blade for the higher level Life but I also kept an eye on the health of the one to my left.  In this case she didn’t need help but I was prepared with shields and some heals if she did.

Most of the time with a team, it’s a pretty fast battle, so it’s an easy place to farm.  Personally I won’t farm the places like Waterworks that take a couple of hours even with a team — for me there’s no such thing as rewards worth that kind of time and I’ve pretty much never gotten ANYTHING worthwhile in those long dungeons….  Don’t let the fact that there are four of them nor the big health of Loremaster intimidate you.  This one is easier to beat than it appears when you first go in.

Christmas Festivities

Banquet Room Holiday Dungeon

I’ve been remiss about posting on the Christmas festivities in the spiral.  The usual 12 Days of the Spiral event is already on day 9.  The Yuletide vendor is in the Shopping District.  Certain bosses are dropping Christmas pets and decorations.

As usual, the 12 days event is a mixture of giving away some free items and inviting you to spend crowns on new seasonal pets, mounts, etc.  They’ve given away new holiday packs a couple of times already.

The Stormdrain is the easiest, fastest place to farm for seasonal pets and decorations, etc.  If you want to get other drops that are higher level and will garner more gold for your farming time, try something higher level like the Jade Oni in Mooshu.  Some of the places to go:

A nice gift for your favorite Wizard101 player is my guide to the game, available on Kindle for $2.99.  It’s comprehensive and especially for wizards from levels 1-50:
Wizard Guide Cover
In the meantime, I’ve been waiting since early October for a double garden event with no luck so it looks like it might be after the first of the year before I can finally collect those elder harvests.

Playing within your level

I’ve been playing some of my lower level wizards lately, which has left me reminiscing about playing back when it was all new and I was clueless.  Now, of course, I know much more, including a fair number of higher level tricks that low level wizards can use.

I will admit I use a few things here and there and, of course, my greater knowledge of strategy and game play means I run a better, faster battle than when I was new.  But for the most part I kind of like the challenge of playing within the tools KI gives you at each level.  I assume they’ve tested enough to know you can win your battles with the spells they grant for each school and I enjoy trying to maximize my impact within the bounds of what my wizard has been given.

Does that mean I don’t ever use a Feint TC I’ve passed over from another account or use a Star spell my pet offers?  No, I do those things once in a while — more likely if I’m soloing a boss than with a team.  But mostly if I’m in Triton Ave. with my level 7 wizard, I’m using my two-pip school spell and, depending on the wizard’s school, whatever has been granted in the way of traps and/or blades.

I do pass mega pets over to my new wizzes — usually ones that weren’t totally what I wanted – so they have a bit more in the way of heals or damage than they normally would.  But I’ve found I can win quite steadily without using level 8 TCs I’ve purchased at the Bazaar or tossing off Feints, etc.  Of course I’m not a player who’s fond of overkill — if that’s your thing, this stay-at-your-level plan probably won’t suit.

If you’re a little bored and you’ve been using all your high level stuff for your low level wizards you might have a bit of fun figuring out the best strategy for using the tools that go with your level.  Or even how many strategies can work…

Strange tutorials, tips and the new log

No use tips

One of the things I most dislike about reinstalling the game is the kerfuffle that happens with tutorials.  With every one of my wizards the game acts as if I’ve started a new wizard and starts popping out tips and the quests that just pop up from a professor or character in a bubble on the right.  To some extent all my wizards have issues with repeated tutorials and summons to quests (I think my level 92’s have been told they have text chat and what a treasure card is a few dozen times), but it’s especially bad when you start over.

Now to add to the madness, KI has added a page in the spell book that keeps a list of these.  You open to the quest pages and in the upper left hand corner you can click for a list of these tips.  The problem is there doesn’t appear to be any way to delete any of them.  The few times I’ve done one of the quests and gone back to look, the call to the quest has still been there.  Same for tips I’ve looked at.  At the beginning it also kept the repeats, so the “this is a treasure card” tip could be in there more than once.

It seems like something has been activated that keeps out the duplicates and sometimes takes a completed quest out automatically but otherwise they seem to stack up and I can’t find a way to get rid of the ones I don’t need.  It means the log doesn’t help me much because I can’t tell whether the call to Ambrose, say, is a new one or one of the ones that’s popped up half a dozen times since I completed the quest.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve popped in to Ambrose’s office after one of these “calls” only to see a grayed-out punctuation mark over his head and no new quest on offer.

I used to wish that the quests that showed up over there would get put in the quest book as I sometimes forgot I was supposed to go see Moolinda Wu or whoever.  But this doesn’t help any more than seeing the tip and having it disappear because the list seems to take on the weirdly-recurring tips, as well as the new ones.

I think the new list is a great idea but the whole tutorial/professor quests thing needs some tweaking so you don’t keep getting the same tips and quests over and over.  Even more the new list needs to be tweaked so it doesn’t accept the same quest again once it’s been in there and so they either get automatically erased when you’ve read the tip or done the quest or you can delete each one after you’ve read it or done it. Then it will be a great addition.

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…


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.

Revised guide and another Double Pets

I’m very pleased to announce that an updated guide to the game, Wizard Game Basics 101is now available on Amazon.  The guide has been completely revised and updates include a section of tips for Wizard City and info on the 2016 and 2017 updates (so far).  If you already have the Kindle version, it should update with the new edition.

KI also started yet another Double Pet Rewards event Thursday (6/22/17).  I didn’t see an end date but through Sunday 6/25 is likely.  Get double XP from games and snacks and speed your pet training along!