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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.

Not so selfish pet talents

Selfish pet talent example

One of the most complex arenas in Wizard101 is pets.  So many pets, so many talents, so many combinations and a lot of high level math equations (stuff you would not find in an elementary school math class, which to me makes the game a little less for the whole family than claimed) at the root of figuring out what does what.  One of the most confusing pieces of the array involves the so-called “selfish” pet talents.*

These talents are the ones that show up with a little pig face next to them  (see three of these on the left in the picture at top). They generally add points to one of the five statistics listed on the right:  strength, intellect, agility, will and power.  When you mouse over each of those five, you get a list like the one you see in the lower right of the picture, which tells you which areas and talents are impacted by that stat.

There are formulas you can find on the wiki that can tell you how much you’ll add to, say, health or crit rating by adding 25 points to, for instance, intellect.  Although, based on past experience, if I were in a math class and my GPA depended upon my ability to figure out the equations, I could probably hunker down and learn it, as I’ve noted many times, this is a kids game.  I play because I want something fun and easy.  I left math behind a long time ago and I would not consider it anywhere on the scale of fun to have to solve equations…

However, when I did some research on pet jewels when the Ultra pet possibility showed up last year, I understood enough to realize if I added a jewel that gives 25 more intellect points and 25 more strength points and train the pet to fill those points, they will add significantly to lots of other talents and stats and may cast abilities.  You can see a good discussion of how these stat boosts work here.

Jewel stats boost

My grasp of this is totally basic.  I couldn’t begin to explain how it all works, and, to be honest, I find most of the attempts to explain it are made by people whose own understanding of math seems to render them incapable of explaining it for someone who doesn’t know math as well.  But I could understand enough  to take it in that these “selfish” talents can actually be pretty useful.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got quite a few pets with two or three may-cast heal talents but found them only moderately useful as they cast them so seldom.  After reading up on these equations, I decided to try affixing an “Unstoppable” jewel, which added 40 points to strength and 25 to agility.  Both of those stats affect various aspects of health as well as pips, critical, etc.  I’m still pretty hazy about whether the increase affects, for instance, everything to do with pip chance (adding a bit of pip chance to your wizard’s own stats) or whether it only helps if the pet has a talent like pip o’plenty.

Since adding some jewels with stat increases to the pets of several wizards, the pets have started casting heals much more often, making them much more useful.  In the case of the one you can see, she doesn’t have a pip chance boost talent and I can’t really tell one way or another whether the increase to the stat has helped her with pips.  I also can’t really tell whether the “resistance” boost has made Spell Proof any stronger; the percentage shown when you mouse over hasn’t changed but I’m again unclear whether it would show up there or just in a higher resist when she’s hit.

Generally there are more than five talents I’d like to have on my pets without any of the “selfish” talents in the mix, so I’m still not in love with training to a new level and seeing a selfish talent show up (i.e. the pet you can see on the top will be sold soon).  But I AM willing to add a stat raising jewel to help boost the other five talents — or at least a couple of them.   All the wizards who’ve added a jewel with stats boosts that help health have been getting more Sprites, Unicorns, etc. cast for them.

I think it’s worth looking at some of the info on stats and how those talents boost.  You can see some more info here and here.  At the least I’m finding these talents are not just selfish boosts to derby abilities.  They definitely are useful to your wizard.


*Since I don’t participate in Pet Derby, this discussion is only covering the talents that help your wizard.

Test Realm: What I’ve tried so far

I caught the notice on the opening page of the game yesterday that the test realm was open.  Later realized it was open earlier this month and had been open this time for several days, so even though I jumped as soon as I saw the news, I’m late getting there.  Didn’t have time to try everything but thought I’d put up a few notes about what I did see.

SEED VAULT

One of several things I’m thrilled to see is the Seed Vault.  You can put 100 seeds in it and they quit being counted as items filling your backpack or attic!  I’ve longed for something that would keep seeds from being the thing that fills all my storage and this is a great solution.  Each wizard can have one in each house and one outside of each house.

You can either buy one at the Crown Shop (1995) or buy a recipe from Toshio in Mooshu.  The recipe could be time consuming as it requires 25 Pink Dandelions and 5 Braided Vines. Unless you happen to have that many spare  PDs (i.e. not growing them in your garden), it’ll take a lot of battles to get that many as drops or a LOT of crowns to buy that many for every Seed Vault.

It also requires Braided Vine reagent.  You can’t buy this one at the Bazaar or from any regular reagent vendors.  If you play lots of PvP it might be easy as you can buy them with arena tickets, but otherwise it’s a drop only from some high level bosses or from growing and harvesting certain plants.

If you, like me, haven’t been growing plants that drop it, it’ll take a while to harvest as many as you need.  And they’re a rare drop so you might have to grow several rounds of, say, 18 Silver Trumpet Vines to get 5.  I also don’t have any wizards high enough level to get it from battle drops.  I’d actually have to fight a lot of battles first, to get a supply of seeds.

I don’t have enough crowns at the moment to buy Seed Vaults for all gardening wizards without wiping out my entire supply.  That means crafting and to get all the PDs and Braided Vines means stopping questing AGAIN to spend all my time on this.

Still, the too many seeds problem has been a big issue and I’m STILL thrilled to see a solution on the horizon even if it will be a while before I can fully use it.

SHARING HOUSES

I’ve wished for so long that I could pass houses through the Shared Bank.  In fact, I have several wizards who haven’t been deleted mostly because I gave them houses from bundles that I don’t want to lose (nor have to buy the bundle again).

There are a lot of rules around the sharing, but they’re pretty reasonable.  You can see the whole list here (scroll down to Housing section).  The only slightly time consuming items are removing transporters and pets and making sure no “No Trade” items are in the house.

I’m especially pleased since I keep a couple of slots on each of the first two accounts and four slots on the third account for starting new wizards, playing them through WC or KT and deleting.  This way I can decorate a house once and just keep passing it to each new wizard.

ULTRA SEEDS

They’re introducing Ultra Seeds and it looks potentially fun but so far I have no evidence of how it works.   A few types of plants can now drop an Ultra Seed.  These seeds will have lower needs requirements and will drop more stuff, including housing items.

There are four plants pictured on the info page about the new stuff but it’s a bit dark so I can just say some variety of Fly Trap, some variety of Trumpet Vine, some variety of Tiger Lily and King Parsley appear to be the only ones slated to drop the special seeds.  Unless the picture it just meant to be a sample, in which case there could be more.

I took two of my wizards into the test realm and both had gardens with lots of plants at elder harvest but only one with the potential to drop an Ultra Seed and I didn’t get one, so nothing to plant in order to check out the new care requirements and the drops.

Just as I’m shutting down gardening for a while they’re about to come out with several reasons to be gardening.  Dang.

ULTRA PET

When this moves from test realm to game, you can take a pet from Mega to Ultra.  This level also takes 2000 xp (thank goodness they didn’t raise that one even higher!).  Instead of getting another of the pet’s potential talents, you get a slot for crafting a random jewel just for pets that adds some stat or other.  In many cases you can at least choose between Derby talents/stats and talents/stats that help you.  After that, random…

It’s a bit puzzling to me at this point as the only named vendor on the updates notes is Lowe Springfield in the Pet Pavilion.  He has both ready-made jewels and recipes for jewels you can craft.  However, he has nothing for anything higher than an ancient pet and I can find no indication that any other pet/snack vendor (with some random visits on different worlds – didn’t hit every one) has anything in the way of jewels or recipes.  So how you get “ultra” jewels, I don’t know.

I bothered to use a bunch of pretend snacks and crowns to feed pet and refill energy so I could take one pet from mega to ultra.  Really wished about two games in that they’d quadruple or quintuple the XP for this test realm round so that you could get there more quickly, since the point is finding out.  Huge disappointment when I realized what Ultra gets you (I didn’t read the update notes very carefully before I opened the Test Realm).

Based on my experience so far of jewel socketing, I won’t be spending any time to try to find out what I could get.  I’ve put quite a bit of time into jewel socketing and have NOT ONE jewel I’m interested in socketing — and none of the uninteresting jewels fit in a single item owned by the wizard who crafted it.  BIG waste of time.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m pretty disheartened about pets and pet training at this point.  At least with the pet training, if I’ve chosen a pet who has some potential talents I’d like, there’s a shot that I’ll get one or two of them.  This new deal seems like a bunch of extra time at the boring pet games to get another level which is pretty much guaranteed to then provide absolutely nothing useful.

Treasure card limit raised!  I was very pleased to see that the treasure card limit is to be raised from 500 to 999.  Since gardening keeps me perpetually bumping into TC limits, I’m pleased the limit will be raised

I don’t think I’d keep much more than the base I keep now but it’ll be nice when harvesting gardens not to get the snotty little Harold Argleston message telling me I’ve hit the limit.  I get so tired of stopping in the middle of gardening to head to the Bazaar and sell cards!  This’ll be lovely.

There are more miscellaneous items, including some fishing and PvP stuff that I won’t be experiencing since I don’t do either.  There are also some extra hard one-shot dungeons (been there, tried that, never gonna do it again).

So that’s my test realm report.  Doubt I’ll go back in again.  The realm is closing again this afternoon and then will be back up Monday-Friday next week if you want to try the new stuff.