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Halloween festivities begin

picture-2016-10-25-14-09-11_edited

Jack Hallow

The month of special Halloween events begins.  You can farm the Stormdrain Tower for special drops or farm Baron Mordecai, who is only around for this event.  Win your bunny pet by doing Dworgyn’s quest (level 13 and up).  Take part in the Jack Hallow quests.  Complete the two special towers in Ravenwood.

For much of the fun you don’t have to have a paid membership, so this is a nice chance for free players to pick up some good drops.  Spooky Bob is, as always, selling the special Halloween pets and costumes in The Shopping District and most of the items he sells are available as drops from Lord Nightshade and Baron Mordecai.

While I enjoy this event, I’ve seen some comments about it being the same stuff every time and I can’t disagree.  I’ve participated for enough years that I find myself wishing every time that a couple of the quests would change or a new quest would be added to the mix.  Still, it’s a bunch of stuff that only shows up once a year for a few weeks so I find it a fun diversion.

If you’re farming I have one main piece of advice:  in the Stormdrain Tower there tend to be an inordinate number of players who go in on Team Up and wipe everybody out before all wizards are in the circle (people who are actually on the main story quest are stopped at the door by a chat with Nightshade).  They don’t care that some people get no drops and they will not let lower level wizards participate in the battle.  For some reason (probably that it’s a little harder and takes a little longer) more of the patient and kind-to-other players wizards farm at Mordecai.  So if you want to go fast and don’t give a crap about anybody else, go to Stormdrain.  If you want to hang out with really nice folks, have a change to participate, get some drops and don’t mind moving a little slower, farm Mordecai.

Have fun!

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After the celebration

Even though I didn’t take as much advantage of the extended birthday celebration as I once would have, I feel kind of relieved the party is over so I no longer feel compelled to keep trying for another garden or to keep hatching and training pets.

I did very well with the gardening in spite of not planting one batch immediately following another nor planting the biggest gardens for every wizard.  Pets ate LOADS of seeds and my mega snack coffers are well stocked.  Wizards are well supplied with blades of many sorts, thanks to the Sword Fern crops that were already sitting at elder harvest when the event began.

Pet training wound up mostly being disappointing as usual, with one exception.  I did get a great quint heal pet for Jasmine R.  Tried to hatch hers with Heather G.’s triple heal Seraph and at 12 failed hatches I gave up.  For one the fail was Life Giver, which I’m not that unhappy to have for a Life wizard so I trained the final step and got the fourth heal and Heather will just have to muddle through with that 🙂  The lovely lady from the Adult Non PvP group on FB who helped Jasmine then helped me with Rylee W., for whom I also wanted to get a quint heal pet.  I kind of lost count but we’re at something like seven, maybe eight, hatches and the latest one is a fail there too.

Some of the pundits in the world of pets claim quite authoritatively that it takes seven generations or less to get a replica.  I’d never hatched that many times on one so I’ve assumed it was true.  Very lowering to find out that KI has set this up so apparently there’s no limit to how many hatches it could take to get the pet you want.  Just adds to my general feeling that I don’t want to be bothered when it comes to pets.

I only train pets when they have double pet rewards so I’m done with that for a while.  Rylee has a couple of miscellaneous plants that didn’t manage to reach elder before the double gardening was over but otherwise all gardens are empty and I plan to leave them sitting for at least a week.

My general plan once I’ve had time off is plant gardens for two wizards on an account, get all theirs to elder harvest and leave it then two wizards on another account, etc. until as many wizards as I want to participate in double rewards have elder harvests ready to go.  That way I don’t have to put in too much time per day on gardening but manage to get plenty of double rewards when an event shows up. I’ve been doing it that way for a while and it makes the gardening very relaxed.

I spent so much time on the pets and gardens that once again I barely participated in the BOXES event and never did any of the Lost Pages stuff at all.  As always, I enjoyed the party and it was really nice to have the extension so I was able to accomplish a bit more than usual without putting in tons of extra hours at the game.  Now the Halloween festivities are just around the corner!

Ho Hum Halloween…

Jack Hallow

Jack Hallow

I look forward to the Halloween festivities in the spiral and have usually really enjoyed it.  This time I’m finding it a little more ho hum.  For the first time, instead of feeling sorry it’s almost over, I’m ready to quit early.

The Halloween quests don’t seem to ever get an update.  It would be kind of fun to have something a little different like one of the quests changed out for something new or an additional quest.  I’d even be grateful if they could change the jack o’lantern quests so you don’t get stopped by a chat box every single time you click on one.

Part of what I’ve enjoyed has been farming for the Halloween drops, which I like both for the camaraderie of teaming up to do it and because it used to be they were reasonably generous with the special drops.  But this time, between getting fed up with the snotty level 100+ folks in the Stormdrain and the seemingly lowered drop rates for the Halloween goodies, it hasn’t been as much fun.  Other wizards have been commenting on how much lower the drop rate seems this year, so it isn’t just my perception.

Teaming up at Baron Mordecai has by and large successfully gotten rid of the thoughtless, arrogant, bad team players, but it does take longer.  And the Halloween drops have been just about nonexistent.  The one piece of good news with Mordecai is the miscellaneous non-Halloween drops are generally worth more in gold than the stuff from Lord Nightshade.

I’ve gotten a few pieces of the Vampire and Mummy gear  (never seem to be able to get all three pieces from one set) and some of the crappy pets like Banshee and Imp, but not a single Black Cat, Ghost Dragon or Nightmare pet.  At the end of far too many battles I’ve gotten only one drop–usually something pitifully not worth the time it took to get it.

As the month has drawn on, I’ve farmed less and less and after a few totally unsuccessful rounds last night, I felt kind of done.  I’ve picked up the Wizard City quests for a few wizards and I’ll probably finish those off, but I’m ready to move on before we get to Halloween.  Is it just because I’ve done it all several times before or others finding it less fun this time?

Being a nice high level team member

fighting-mordecai

I’ve done a lot of complaining about high level wizards who are crappy teammates in Wizard City special events dungeons, but I’ve also run into high level wizards who play with a lot of thoughtfulness toward their teammates.  So I thought I’d toss off a few suggestions about how you can use your power to make sure the battle is won and still let your team members participate too.

My favorite ever was a Life wizard I farmed with for a long time during last year’s (2015) Halloween festivities.  She was level 100 and she had a deck with a combo of shields, heals, Leprechaun and Seraph (probably Colossal too).  Her gear must have had big damage boosts and, like every other level 100+ I’ve teamed up with, she went critical pretty routinely.

She’d wait a round or two, letting everybody else do some casting, then she’d fire off a Leprechaun at one of the minions.  Between critical and enhanced damage, the Leprechaun could easily knock out a Crypt Walker, using only two of her pips.  The next round or two she’d shield somebody and/or heal somebody and then she’d hit another minion with a Leprechaun.  If it was taking a while, she might finally cast a Seraph and take out Mordecai.

Everybody got to make casts.  Everybody got to do some damage.  Sometimes the newbies would get to hit Mordecai enough to take him out while Miss Life (didn’t jot down her name and foolishly didn’t give her a friend request) casually picked off all the minions.  She remains my model for stellar team playing.

Yes, it doesn’t go as fast that way.  But for me, part of the fun of farming these dungeons is teaming up and hanging out — for a change — with other wizards.  I enjoy seeing their strategies.  I enjoy a bit of chat.  And it’s a game.  Everybody in there likes to take part in the battle.  Seriously, how does anyone imagine it’s fun for the rest of the team when you wipe out the opposition on the first round and no one else gets to do anything?

In my last post, I discussed the issues all my higher level wizards have had with critical — or rather not going critical 🙂 .  The wizards I do most of the farming with are Morgan (90) and Rylee (89).  For them there’s an issue of all enemies spells that take a zillion pips (well, almost…) so I generally don’t put Scarecrow or Forest Lord in for this.

I use pretty pared down decks.  With Morgan I take in a few Death blades, Death prisms, Deer Knights, Colossal, wand spells and a couple of Tower shields and Sprites in case any of my team mates need them.  If I’m in with lower level wizards, I cast the blade first, then the prism on Mordecai (he’s the only one with big resist) and then Deer Knight.

If no other Death wizard has blown my prism with a wand spell or Dark Sprite, Mordecai’s health goes down by a little more than half, and the minions all take fairly big hits.  If team mates have hit the Loathsome Creeper, he’s gone.  If no one manages to fire something off that finishes any of the minions in that round, all the minions die from the second round of Deer Knight’s over time effect, unless one of them had a Tower Shield.

Then just Mordecai is left with a low enough health (going down more with each round of DK) the other wizards can take him out.  The minions are gone just fast enough that the lower level wizards aren’t getting whacked by Kraken and Skeletal Pirate.  It doesn’t take too many rounds and everybody on the team gets to play.  If no one seems to have anything big to lob I’ll usually throw in a wand spell.

If she’s in with Lord Nightshade, I lose the prism and blade and just hit with Deer Knight+Colossal after a couple of rounds.  It takes out all the minions and leaves Nightshade for the team mates to finish…  plus they’ve had the first couple of rounds to cast some stuff.

I’ve also switched it up for Nightshade, with taking Vampire and just picking off minions while everybody else hits the Boss.

If there are any higher level wizards in either of these as well, they generally wipe everybody out before I can do all that, but sometimes I’m in with another high level who’s giving everyone a chance, so they work a similar plan.

With Rylee, I take a few Life blades, Seraphs, Life traps, Colossal and some shields and heals (the picture above was taken during a Deer Knight experiment but I didn’t like it as well).  One blade and a Seraph with Colossal is enough to take out each minion.  One blade, one trap and a Seraph with Colossal is enough to take out Mordecai.  (This is taking into consideration that she just about never goes critical).

I’ve seen Fire wizards use Meteor without adding blades or traps to enhance any more than their damage-enhancing gear can do or Storm wizards do the same with Tempest, Ice with Blizzard, Myth with Humongofrog, and Balance with Sandstorm.  Now, level 100s will probably go critical and enhance damage enough to take everybody out even with these spells, so they might want to take individual spells instead of any all enemy, but for lower levels it’s a nice way to damage the whole opposition enough to make it easier to finish them off and still lets everybody on the team play.

These are just some ideas — if you think about it I’m sure you can figure out a strategy that gives you enough power to win but still leaves room for a level 10 to join the fight.

Being nice to your team mates just makes each round take a couple of extra minutes so you can still do a lot of farming.  If you’re in such a hurry you can’t stand that, you should really just be gathering a group of other impatient and snotty wizards to jump on a sigil together and farm away as fast as you please.  If you team up, play like you’re on a team.

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.

Try Baron Mordecai

entry-to-mordecai

fighting-mordecai

During the last two Octobers I’ve been increasingly farming at Mordecai’s Tower instead of the Stormdrain.  Most of the Halloween drops you can get from Lord Nightshade are available from Baron Mordecai as well.  And for some reason I find most people behave better in there.

I’m not sure why such a different crowd is attracted there except it’s a little tougher than the Stormdrain (although it shouldn’t be for level 100 and up…)  But pretty consistently the level 100 folks who are in there politely wait for everyone to get in the circle before they wipe everyone out and some even bring lower level spells and give everyone a chance to participate.  Many will wait a couple of rounds so the lower level players get to make a couple of casts.  Now that’s what I call Team Playing!

To get the spell if you’ve not participated in Halloween festivities before, you have to complete quite a few of the quests Jack Hallow hands out in the Commons before you get the Baron’s Nightmare quest.  If you’ve done all the Halloween quests previously, you can go to Jack and pick up any or all that you want to do at once.  So you can get the quest right away and head to the Baron’s tower.

The Baron has 2,000 health, so I’ve seen some lower level wizards freak out and leave.  If you’re in with a team of four, you really don’t need to worry even if you’re all low level.  It’s perfectly do-able it just takes longer.  Check out the health of your teammates; if anyone has 2500 or more, you’re in really good shape because they could probably defeat everybody solo.  If there’s someone 4000 or up, the whole crew will probably be wiped out before you’ve taken a hit.

All the creatures are Death, which kind of simplifies things.  The minions are a Loathsome Creeper with 695 health and, if you have a full team, two Crypt Walkers with 1,000 health.  Sometimes the numbers of each change (two Loathsome Creepers and one Crypt Walker) but it’s usually the two CWs and one LC.   Helpful to Death wizards, the minions don’t seem to have any Death resist.

I’ve checked it out by planting a Death prism on one and then hitting them all with Deer Knight (an all enemies — AOE — spell, in case you haven’t encountered it):  all the minions had exactly the same damage whether they’d been “prismed” or not (so the prism also doesnt get you a boost for hitting with Life).  The Baron, on the other hand, has big resistance to Death, so if you’re going to cast Death, you DO need to get a prism on him.  [I find this a little odd as Death wizards who don’t have prism yet are allowed in there…]

I’m also a little surprised at the damage both the Baron and minions inflict, given how low a level is allowed in there.  They all seem to have Kraken and a few others that can hit for 5 or 6 hundred+ damage — big enough to wipe out a level 10, for instance.  So if you are lower level, be sure you bring shields and heals.  It takes a few rounds usually before any of them hits that hard, so if you’re in with one or more high level wizards you’re safe, but in case you hit a team that’s all low level, have the shields ready.  And make sure your health is full before you go in.

Farming the Baron takes a little more time than Lord Nightshade, but I find it worth it to get to Team Up with wizards who know how to play on a team and who are thoughtful about lower level wizards.

Halloween festivities are here

In Stormdrain Tower

In Stormdrain Tower

As of today, Halloween fun has arrived in the spiral.  Jack Hallow is back with his quests.  Dworgyn is tapping everyone on the shoulder to get the “mysterious cave” quest and face Nosferabbit, Baron Mordecai is open for business and Lord Nightshade is dropping spooky gear and other goodies like Ghost Dragon and Nightmare pets.

If you’ve done all of Jack Hallow’s quests before, you can just pick them all up at once and click away as you run around.  If you’ve never done them you have to pick them up in order; as you complete one, another one shows up.  The first Jack is hanging out in the Commons and along the way he’ll send you to Jack Hallows in other areas.

Usually the Professor and his B.O.X.E.S. show up sometime during the month but I guess we’ll see what KI has decided for this go-round.  Enjoy!

Baron Mordecai and Mysterious Cave

Veggies

I’ve been busy running a couple of wizards who’ve never done them through the Halloween quests as we run up to the end of this year’s festivities and I managed to take a few notes on Mysterious Cave and Baron Mordecai.

Baron Mordecai is a bit puzzling to me for a couple of reasons.  It’s surprisingly tough for the low level allowed in (appears to be available starting at level 5).  All the opponents are Death school and they have significant resist to Death, so especially tough for a Death wizard who doesn’t have a Prism yet.

If one or two wizards go in they face Baron Mordecai, health 2000, and a Loathsome Creeper, health 695.  If three or four go in it’s those two plus two Crypt Walkers, each with 1000 health.  They can put up tower shields and they use blades and traps that can lead to damage of 300+ from one spell [I’ve seen them cast a Kraken that defeated a level 5 in one hit].  For a level five with approx. 500-600 health, that’s a pretty big blow from one spell.

I’ve had no trouble if I’ve either been the one high level wizard in there or if I’ve had a low level wizard in on a team that includes at least one high level wizard  (I mostly don’t do this quest with a wizard below level 10).  And I’ve made it through with a low level teamed with other low levels, but we barely made it.

Our spells weren’t big enough to do enough damage and without Reshuffle (level 22) I’ve had a couple of rounds where I ran out of damage spells and it was lucky others had enough left to finish it off.  Against creatures with health that big the spells of a level 5 (or even 10) are so small it can take three or four damage spells cast at ONE creature to defeat him.  At those low levels you can only have three of any given card and not that many cards total so if you add any shields and/or health spells, there’re only so many damage spells you can get in there.

If you’re going to go in on Team Up, where you can’t know until you get in whether you’ve teamed with a high level, I’d suggest getting a couple of Reshuffle treasure cards and an AOE treasure card or two to add to your deck.  As a low level, pips will be an issue, so I suggest you pick Humongofrog or Meteor or something else that only takes 4 pips.  If it’s not your school, you might also want to add a blade treasure card to enhance the damage (i.e., if you’re Life, get a Fire blade to enhance the Fire spell Meteor).

The other puzzling thing to me is the quality and quantity of drops given how tough it is.  Although there are some good pets available, most of the gear I’ve received has not been that great* and the housing item list is small and ho hum.  Nothing very exciting in the jewels, reagents or pet snacks either.

You can get some of the Halloween gear, but much simpler and faster to keep doing the much easier Stormdrain tower for that (and the Halloween pets).   I realize it’s pretty easy for higher levels so I get that the drops aren’t as good as, say, Mirror Lake, but I’m surprised they’re not a little better.  There IS some level 45 gear from Mordecai that I don’t think is matched at Stormdrain…

I’ve written about the Mysterious Cave before so I just want to add a note here about the Blood Bats on the third level.  When you enter, there are 2-4 Blood Bats (depending on number of wizards) and you have to fight them to get the next part of the quest, which then tells you to fight the ones on the next level down.  After you defeat the second round of Blood Bats, though, you go down another level to find dynamite, followed by talking to Tarley and then clearing rubble with the dynamite.

There are Blood Bats on that level as well but nothing in the quest requires you to fight them.  You can skirt around them easily to (1) get to the dynamite, (2) go back to Tarley and (3) get around to the passage you clear with the dynamite.  If you’re on a team it’s easiest if one goes to the dynamite, one runs back to Tarley and one hangs out at the passageway to set off the dynamite.  No reason for everybody to run around to all these places. NO ONE needs to fight ANY Blood Bats on the third level.

I can’t tell you how many times now I’ve been in there when somebody has run into that extra round of Blood Bats and started an unnecessary battle.  If the group has high enough level wizards, I generally don’t jump in but finish the other pieces of the quest and go down to the Veggie Revenants to wait.  If I’m in with low levels (quest requires minimum of level 13), I will fight the extra battle to help them out.  Just pay attention to the quest instructions instead of assuming you have to fight everything you see…

All the Halloween fun ends tomorrow (Sun. Nov. 1) so hurry up and win those Frankenbunnies, find those pumpkins, try for one of those pets!  Have fun!


 

  • The gear pretty much is either level 15 or level 45.  I realize for the lower level wizards, level 45 gear gives them far more gold (assuming sale) than they would usually be getting from drops and for those below level 15, there’s a small chance of getting some gear they’ll actually be able to use when they level up.  But since I’ve got quite a few wizards at level 50 and up I’m jaded I guess 🙂

The drop rates – giving up on Nightshade

In Stormdrain Tower

In Stormdrain Tower

I’ve been puzzled about drop rates in dungeons about as long as I’ve been playing the game.  I realize they basically set probabilities on each item.  Common items are set to drop frequently while crowns items are set with low probabilities.  That much makes sense.  Recent farming in the Stormdrain tower has me scratching my head though.

Having farmed a few dungeons extensively for certain items, I’ve wound up wondering how the scale of probability actually works.  Each dungeon has an enormous number of potential drops, most of which are pretty common items, easy to get at the Bazaar or in shops.  Then there’s often a much smaller selection of possible crown items.

One of the odd things I’ve found is that if I go in a hundred times to farm for something, I’ll keep getting the same items over and over.  I’ve farmed Oakheart, for instance, for untold hours to collect enough Potted Cattails to give every wizard one to use as a “like” for Pink Dandelions.  I’ve written before about my bewilderment over how hard it is to get a Potted Cattail when it’s not a Crown item nor even an expensive item at the Bazaar (on the rare occasions you can find one there).  Other items of approximately equal gold sale/buy prices drop and drop and drop but I average something like 50-60 battles with Oakheart per Potted Cattail.

I’ve always gotten pretty much the same drops endlessly while many common items have never dropped at all.  If those items are all set on about the same probability it seems random chance would mean you’d wind up with a selection covering most of what’s available instead of getting the same five or six things repeatedly.

In Mirror Lake I’ve done a bit better on getting Crowns items than elsewhere, but, again, I keep getting the same ones.  Fighting Nightshade for the Halloween goodies, I’m mystified by the drop rates.  Trying for a Nightmare pet, I’ve gotten several Ghost Dragons and a couple of Black Cats.  Many other wizards with whom I’ve teamed up have had the same experience.  Yet the Ghost Dragon is actually more expensive than the Nightmare. So why would the Nightmare be harder to get?

I’m pretty thoroughly bored with farming for the Nightmare pet and I actually bought one each for two of the accounts so I’ve been aware all along I can just hatch.  But I like the possible stats and I wanted to have several with the opportunity to get the Death talents that have been eluding me in the hope that at least one would give me those talents.  Dozens of Midnight Sprites and Blue Banshees, as well as the aforementioned Ghost Dragons and Black Cats, but in farming for a few hours every day for something like 12 days, not one Nightmare pet.  I gave up…

As usual, the housing and equipment drops have repeated.  [Plus dozens of one day mounts I don’t need since I’ve spent gold to get permanent mounts for all wizards.]  Endlessly the same stuff while never receiving other items…  I gather there must be some bigger differentials in the probabilities they set than I’d have figured.  Not sure why???  It would be so much more fun and interesting if spending that much time at it meant you’d be likely to get a selection covering most of the available drops, at least from the common items.

Stormdrain Tower Notes for Halloween

In Stormdrain Tower

In Stormdrain Tower

During the month of October, the Stormdrain Tower, home to Lord Nightshade, becomes a favorite spot for farming.  For this month his lordship drops a bunch of the special Halloween gear, from clothing to the pets.  Although this is normally an instance for about level 10 (give or take a few, depending on whether you’re doing main story or all quests), suddenly every level hops in and out as fast as they can go.

I’ve been farming A LOT, trying to get a Nightmare pet for my second account.  I’ve gotten a Ghost Dragon and a Black Cat and more Black Sprites and Blue Banshees than I can count.  Not sure how much more I’m going to try since I bought a Nightmare for the first account, so I can hatch.

Teammate info at bottom

Teammate info at bottom

In the course of all the farming, I’ve noticed a few things I thought I’d just mention:

  1. Everyone seems to like to Team Up.  Even level 100 wizards use Team Up over and over as they farm.  They like to go incredibly fast.  If you’re lower level, especially level-appropriate or really anywhere below, say, level 25, and you land on a team with one or more of them they’re probably going to start and end the battle before you’ve cast a spell or at least before you’ve done more than cast a blade.  That can be great news if you just want the drops and to go fast.  Or not such good news if you actually like to participate in the game…
  2. Most (though definitely not ALL) of the time you wind up in there with at least one wizard of level 70 or above.  Because the creatures don’t have very big health, the high-levels generally can launch one of their lower-ish level AOE spells within the first round or two and end the battle.  Which they often do, without regard to whether everyone has gotten into the circle or whether the other wizards have been given a chance to cast a spell.
  3. So if you’re low level, realize you don’t really need to fix your deck or be prepared.  You need to jump into the circle quickly because they’re going to move fast and they won’t wait for you.  You really just have to join the team and let the high levels do their thing.  You can tell approximately what levels you’re in with when the first “hand” shows up for you to pick a spell and everyone’s name and health shows up across the bottom of the screen.  Anybody with 4,000 health or higher is probably something like level 90 or above.
  4. The worst case scenario arises for wizards who are at the Stormdrain to do the final main Wizard City quest.  These wizards are stopped at the door by the chat boxes from Lord Nightshade.  There are a number of them and you can’t move until you’ve gone through them all.  Even if you’re not reading and just clicking on “more” at the bottom of each one, you still can’t move till you get through them and most higher level wizards seem to have forgotten that you get stuck by the door for the quest.
  5. Maybe bring some blades but don’t bother with traps–you’re not likely to have time to cast both.  You don’t really need your fancy Star spells, etc. (although adding Gargantuan or Colossal to a spell is most helpful) and if you take a round to cast, say, Amplify, somebody else is likely to end the game before you have a chance to amplify anything.
  6. Pay careful attention to who is casting what (for lower levels:  watch the info on each player that shows up at the bottom of the screen when it’s time to choose the next spell).  Meteor alone if you’re not high enough to have tons of extra damage in your gear and/or to go critical most of the time, is not enough but if someone else is casting Sandstorm or Frog (same thing about level) your Meteor combined with their Frog (or whatever combination works out between you and someone else) can finish the job in one round.
  7. Some high levels are really nice about helping lower levels or making sure they have a chance to do something.  Some are not only thoughtless about lower levels but they can be downright snotty.  Especially about speed.  Since they could wipe everybody out in a round or two even if they went in alone, I’m not sure why the folks-in-a-hurry choose to Team Up, but they do, so be prepared for their impatience and derisive remarks.  [Maybe the opportunity to be snotty and derisive is the reason for teaming up???]
  8. You can use your higher level to move it along and still give some others a chance to participate.  I’ve been mostly farming with a level 50 Fire wizard.  She pretty often starts off with 4 pips and a Meteor in hand.  It’s not enough to take out Nightshade and varies (that range of damage thing) as to whether it takes out all the minions.  But if she casts it, it often either gets rid of the minions (and a lot of damage on the team) or reduces them to a level where wand spells can finish them and leaves a hundred or two more on Nightshade.  Then I don’t do anything else (unless the team falters…).  It generally only takes one or two more rounds to finish and everyone has gotten to take part.  Doesn’t add a lot of time and I prefer to let everyone contribute.  Sometimes I cast a blade first, which gives everybody else a round to do something although sometimes a higher level finishes it instead.
  9. You don’t get much XP for an instance that’s not a quest (or, in this case, is for a quest you finished long ago).  But you can get XP for casting spells in the instance.  When a high level jumps in and knocks out the opponents without letting anyone else cast, he or she is the only person who gets XP for the round.  Some high levels like to command everyone else to “Pass”.  If you comply you get 0 XP.  You’re not going to get a lot in any case, but personally, if I’m going to spend endless hours farming an instance, I’d like to advance my XP a little at the same time and those little bits do add up when you play over and over.
  10. A bit unfairly (in my opinion) if you set up to cast a spell and someone who comes before you in the round kills everybody off before you get to cast it, you don’t get any XP. [This is based on me watching my XP after each round, not on bothering to actually look it up in quite some time 🙂 ]  If you only cast spells on yourself or your team, such as blades, shields or heals, you get to cast them even if the guy before you just wiped everybody out and you’ll pick up a few points.  The high levels don’t like it because it keeps the game going for 30 seconds while the lower levels cast their now-unneeded spells but if you want some points, do it anyway.  Anything you’ve set up to cast on the enemies won’t get cast if somebody defeats them all before your turn and you won’t get points.

I usually solo, so this has been kind of fun and I keep encountering some of the same wizards over and over.  Nice to see familiar “faces” and chat a bit instead of hanging out in isolation.  And I’ve enjoyed watching the different styles and approaches to farming.

I feel for the really low level wizards who are in with their first character.  I remember how clueless I was at that stage and I know I’d have been flummoxed by heading in for my quest and finding myself in the midst of all these high level folks.  At least they get through a dungeon that’s a little hard when you’re level-appropriate with ease!

This is not only a great chance to get some good stuff in drops, but a fun group experience.  Enjoy!  And remember to play nice!