Friday, November 10, 2017

Empyrea introduces expanded inventory for backpack and bank

In case you were wondering, your wizards all automatically get an additional 50 item space to their personal banks, raising the maximum from 100 slots to 150. As well, you can purchase an elixir from the crown shop for an additional 50 slots to your backpack. This only applies to one of your wizards, though.

The elixir costs 2500 crowns AND it is repeatable (you can continue to increase your maximum by 50 item slots for every 2500 crown purchase). 2500 crowns isn't cheap, but if you're constantly bumping into the maximum because you're farming dungeons or just forgetting, this could be a big help.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wizard101 Hovering to See What Blades and Traps a Player Has

Sometimes in battle with friends, you get distracted and don't know which blades have already been cast on your hammer (player designated to hit). You have a Sharpened Blade spell and a regular Elemental Blade in your hand, and you can see that your target already has one Elemental Blade cast on them. You can chat and ask. That works. But sometimes, chatting can take too long and the turn might end before you get the answer with enough time to cast.

Some players already know this, but not everyone... You can check yourself! If you take your wand cursor and move it over the left side of their nameplates (where the symbol in the diamond is), a box with stats will appear. Programmers call that a tooltip. As long as your wand cursor is hovering over that spot, the tooltip will stay up. As soon as you move it, the tooltip will go away. The part of your wand cursor that needs to hover over the diamond symbol is the star atop the wand. It can be picky, so you will want to move the star of your wand completely inside the diamond area.

I took some screenshots to help visualize this. I can't show the wand cursor in my screenshots, because the cursor always disappears from the screenshot. You won't see the wand in any of the following pictures.



You can see the sun from the starting position on the combat circle. I highlighted the area where you want the star part of your wand to hover over. You can hover over any other player's diamond symbol, as well as the symbols of the enemies.



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Let's take a look at what traps and shields look like in the tooltip.



I placed a regular Fire Trap and a Potent Fire Trap on this hall servant. On the tooltip, you will see the Wards symbols at the top (one Positive which designates shields and one Negative which designates traps). Traps will show up as a positive number, because you will be boosting your damage when you hit them. In this case, any fire spell this enemy is hit with will get a boost of +25% and then +35%. Note that the +35% is shown in purple, since it is a spell that has been modified with an enchantment.



This is what it looks like on the tooltip for an enemy with a pair of Fire Shields. The number is negative, since any fire spell that hits this hall servant will be reduced in power by 80%. The reduction will not stack, and that is depicted with the (x2) symbol.

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Blades show up in the Charms section. The top line shows the symbols for positive charms (blades) and negative charms (weaknesses). Here I have a couple of Fireblades on myself. They are Sharpened Fireblades; and since they are enchanted, they show in the tooltip as purple. So why don't they show as (x2)? This is because the source of the enchants. One Sharpened Blade is my trained spell, and one is an item card from my amulet. Since the same spell from different sources stack (usually), they show up on the tooltip on separate lines.



In the above picture, you can see I have all sorts of blades cast upon myself. The top blade in the tooltip is a Fireblade from a pet card. Pet card blades show up in blue. Next, the tooltip shows two Sharpened Fireblades. I chose the wrong Sharpened Blade card, so they didn't stack. That's one downside of the system... you can't tell the source of the enchantment. This is why it's a good idea when playing with others to call out what your casting if it's from an unusual source. It helps players keep straight what's been cast. The one that looks like there is no symbol for damage type is actually a Shadow Blade. The shadow symbol is there but very faint. Finally, I have three regular Fireblades cast upon myself, all duplicates, so none of them stack. The very top blade in the picture is a Fireblade protected with Aegis. It will show up on the actual blade graphic surrounded with a light blue highlight, but that will not show up in the tooltip. It will just count as another regular Fireblade in the tooltip to determine what stacks and doesn't stack.

One final picture... what does it look like when hovering over a player or enemy that doesn't have any wards or charms on it?



There you go. A shark in Celestia in a fresh battle.

There are other effects that are represented in the toolip that I didn't get screenshots of. One big one is from global circle effects.

So the next time you're playing, move your wand cursor around the battlefield to discover what everyone's tooltips look like during play. It's a good thing to know for those times you need to make a decision on what to cast. It can also be useful if you didn't notice a shield up on an enemy or a weakness on yourself, and you need to know how bad it is.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fire Soloing Eerkala in Eerem Gardens

I teamed up for Eerem Gardens, with the hope of doing it fast. As is the usual, something goes wrong, and it takes three times as long to get through it. On the second battle (the one with the Life djinn Nashkurgal), I received a critical hit from the Balance minion on the same turn my ally was set to kill the boss and minion with a Raging Bull. I died, didn't get credit for the kill, and would have to start the dungeon all over again. I decided to help my fellow wizard finish the dungeon, and then join again. We finished the fight, stacking a couple Feints, a Backdraft, a Fire Trap, and an Elemental Trap, finished off by Fire From Above (I think). Oh yeah, I put down Wyldfire which prompted Eerkala's blade cheat, so I got the Curse and big Weakness. Luckily, I wasn't hitting.

I joined another Eerem Gardens group that was already in progress, and unfortunately, they were past Nashkurgal, so again, I got no credit for completing the quest.

I finally just did it solo. Being lazy, I did it the hard way. That is so counterproductive. Each of the bosses before Eerkala only cast from one school. I could have tweaked my simple boss deck with the appropriate TC shields in the sideboard and coasted along, but instead, I went with the Power Link deck. I had some very unlucky rounds doing that.

My Powerlink deck is set up as follows:
6 x Powerlink
1 x Fire From Above
1 x Efreet
4 x Epic
4 x Colossal
4 x Empowerment
2 x Reshuffle
2 x Fireblade
2 x Feint
1 x Potent Trap

Yes, it's sloppy. The problems arise when you decide you don't want to drop cards when you have cards in hand you don't want to get rid of. My plan was to use the Powerlinks on the minion and boss until I had the Feints and Fire From Above in hand. Kill the minion down, while maintaining my health, then quickly hit the boss with the FFA and stacked Feints. It eventually worked out.

When I got to Eerkala, this was a GREAT deck setup. Well, except for the blades which I pitched when they showed up in hand. By not bothering to lay down any traps (until near the end), Eerkala wasn't able to boost her damage. Since I was solo, her fifth turn cycle cheat cast Diablo Qarin didn't do much damage to me. My health was constantly being refreshed by my heal dots, and the critical hits were a good bonus for those heals. I whittled her down until I got my Feints and Fire From Above in hand. The Empowerments really kept my pips full, so I was able to attack Eerkala either every turn or every other turn.

I did make a mistake in this battle. Which seems to be a theme for me...
I forgot to change my pet. My pet has may cast blades and traps. Ya, that's not good to have when fighting a boss that punishes you for casting blades and traps. The may-cast spells from your pet DO trigger the cheats here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Shadow Magic Build, Part Two

I had just finished Eerem Palace, and looked up the boss fights that lead to getting Scorching Scimitars. Those two creatures are the Void Elemental and Zuliman Mongu (Fire). I looked up Void Elemental's boost and resist schools and noticed something interesting. A Shadow school creature, the Void Elemental casts Ice, Death, and has a natural attack of Shadow. He resists every player school, and also Sun school (only damage I could find that a player can do is from a few may-cast wands). But not Shadow! I decided I would try out my Shadow Magic deck on him.

The gear I used that was helpful for the deck
- Robes of Malistaire's Ire (Shadow Trap item card, 2% shadow pip chance)
- Dragoon's Leather Boots* (Dragonblade item card, 16 universal damage, 2% shadow pip chance)
- Edge of the Raging Daystar (16 universal damage)
- Jewel of the Apiary (Balanceblade item card)
- Imperial Walrusk Deck (triangle jewel socket, for Shiny Pip Hematite 3% shadow pip chance)

The deck setup itself
1 x Potent Trap
2 x Feint
1 x Dark Nova
1 x Dark Shepherd
1 x Shadow Shrike
1 x Reshuffle
1 x Empowerment
5 x Pixie

Sideboard
1 x TC Feint
1 x TC Shatter

* I'm not a fan of advocating crown gear use. I do have some crown gear because I like getting the gauntlets to share with friends, and why let the gear you get along with it go to waste. But on an intellectual level, I dislike the "pay to win" element that can exist in the game. I decided to be honest with what I was wearing. It's a bit sloppy anyways, and you can decide to throw in a TC Dragonblade, or any other universal blade/trap as a substitute. There are definitely better gear choices, but you can see that the item cards help for the big hit.

What makes the combo work is the same thing that makes nearly every combo work in the game - stacked Feints. The bonus of the Feints is that they feed the shadow creature if you've already cast him. There really aren't many blades and traps that power this up. With just one Feint, both blades, and the Shadow Trap, I was doing 11,000 damage with Dark Nova. The Empowerment is for the Pixies, and the heals helped me immensely for keeping my head above water while waiting for the pair of shadow pips. It's important to try and get all but two of your blades and traps stacked before casting your shadow creature if you're going for the one hit kill.

I had initially wanted a deck with more shadow creatures in it, so I could keep launching Dark Shepherd attacks, sort of like a Necromancer frequently casting Scarecrow or Call of Khrulhu. That deck setup really won't work unless you're a Sorceror. Blades are vital for attacking crowds.

Alright. So what was the verdict. How did the deck do against the Void Elemental? Actually, not bad. And that accounts for the glaring mistake I made. I forgot to actually put the Shatter into my sideboard. Let it be known, the Void Elemental very much likes to cast Abominable Weaver. There's not much defense against a shadow creature deck - especially Dark Nova with multiple Feints stacked. The main defenses against a shadow creature deck would be large negative charms, like Bad Juju, or big Tower Shields. Exactly like the one the Abominable Weaver leaves behind. You can probably tell, I needed the Reshuffle.

When I faced off against Zuliman Mongu, I didn't have to worry about such a shield, and he doesn't cast Efreet, so I didn't have to worry about any defensive cards like Cleanse or Shatter. I made the addition of multiple Fire Shields to my deck, and he went down easily while I maintained high health.

All in all, the Shadow Creature deck is gimmicky. You can do the same things with prisms and Shrike and other piercing spells and gear. If you are generally getting shadow pips fast, it might be a viable deck alternative for doing quick damage with Dark Nova. If you're super lucky, you could get a 4 turn kill, as long as you get a shadow pip on your first and second turn. That's a really nice trick for a solo wizard, but a near impossible feat against bosses with minions (which are most bosses). Having to throw in a ton of shields and heals and then waiting on pips feels like the wrong way to play.

Comments on different ways to play shadow creatures appreciated :)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fire soloing the Underden

I ran through the Underden like I usually do dungeons - I queued up for Team play, then entered the dungeon solo to see how far I would get. Then I toggled out of the game to peek at wizard101central to look at the fights to adjust my deck on the fly.

BUT! I did know that the last fight would be against a storm boss, so I had pulled my storm resist gear out of my gear vault to hold in my inventory.

There are 3 fights in the Underden, and with preparation, they aren't too bad. A special note about this particular dungeon, if you leave the dungeon and return (for example, you're killed and port back), you will have to fight the entire dungeon all over again.

The first fight is with Gobblorean Guards. They are myth and just under 3000 health. They have a couple stun attacks, have a good myth damage bonus, shield against life and death (if you have those attacks, be prepared), but have no earthquake. You can blade up and hit them with any attack all enemies spell you may have.

The second fight for me was the hardest (since I had the resist gear for the final fight). Boa Fett. He has a Gobblorean Guard with him, so you'll get some stuns from the both of them. Boa is both Fire and Ice, and he cheats. His resistance to fire didn't seem that high (maybe 30%?) and since he resists ice as well, there's no need for prisms. He does cast Efreet and Abominable Weaver... so unless you have some Cleanse and Pierce treasure cards, building up for a one hit kill isn't going to work. He also has cheats, one in particular that affects pyromancers greatly.

Cheats:
- First round, he casts a fire version of Ice Armor with Aegis. It doesn't seem to absorb that much damage... 800 to 1000.
- He has the cheat for late wizards... in this case, an additional Mander Armor (the spell above) for each late wizard.
- If you cast a trap on Boa Fett, he automatically removes all traps on him AND his minion(s). I didn't experiment to see if this could be thwarted by either a Vaporize myth dispel or Indemnity on a trap. According to the wizard101central page, wizards CAN get non-Feint traps on Boa Fett during the first round without the cheat going off.
- Dots (damage over time spells) cast on Boa Fett get moved to a random wizard. As a solo Pyromancer, it's not so random.

Boa also casts the following randomly.
- Powerlink
- Smokescreen
- Freeze

The best strategy I had was using Empowerment, Epic enchant, Fireblade, Sharpen Blade, and attacks of varying sizes like Meteor Strike, Efreet, Raging Bull, Fire From Above, etc. No Powerlink, no Fire Dragon, no Rain of Fire. In addition, Shrike will provide some bonus to damage with the pierce, but can work against you should you get stunned. I SHOULD have loaded up my sideboard with Thermic Shield to ward off his fire and ice attacks, but I just kept up my attacks at a constant rate until he died.

The final boss is the Rain Core. He has no cheats, but does hit hard with storm spells, some of which remove blades. If you have good storm resist, or a sideboard full of storm shields, you can stack traps on the boss, throw on a couple of blades near the end, then one hit kill. I had 114 storm resist with my gear, and was mostly immune, but he does cast a Flawless aura that gives him an additional 20 pierce. His natural pierce is 2, so he was able to get 8% damage on me occasionally.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shadow Magic Build: Part 1... B

My plan was to update shortly, but guess what? I can't get another shiny pip hematite, no matter how much I farm. I've concentrated on Bort Shadowmane as he is easy for me to solo and take no more than 5 minutes a kill, but I've done several other boss fights, solo or otherwise, and I've come up empty. It's a bit hard to give an honest assessment of this build's viability when I can't come up with the shadow pip generation to power it.

That fact in itself (it's hard to get these gems), should be enough to show that the build isn't that viable, at least not for the non-hardcore farmers who play the game. Maybe if you get lucky, you could try your hand at making this build.

I'm currently torn on what to do if I ever do get a second shiny pip hematite (the jewel that gives +3% chance to get a shadow pip). Do I use it on a strong athame that has only one triangle socket? Or do I hold out for a third jewel to put into my double triangle socket athame? Since these are so hard to come by, it would seem a waste to put them into an athame I would otherwise not use.

An athame like Edge of the Raging Daystar gives good health, 16% universal damage, and a couple circle sockets which can be used to up shadow critical chance.

Tamauji's Discerning Dagger only gives a boost to mana and power pip chance, neither of which is useful for the shadow creature build.

I think to make the build the best it could be, you would use Tamauji's Discerning Dagger. But if you wanted to to keep the jewels for your regular gear, you'd put it on a better athame. The shadow pip chance, I think, is more important than the boost to the damage that the athame would give. I am definitely NOT going to try to get four of these jewels just to run the numbers to test which does more damage over the long haul. In theory, though the universal damage boost would do more damage per actual hit, if you get consistently more hits with the other athame, that wins out in damage over the long haul.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Shadow Magic Build, Part One

When I finally leveled Alexander up enough to get shadow creature spells, I chose every shadow magic spell I could. The thought I had was a bit of Lord of the Rings, as in when Gandalf faced of against a balrog... a creature of shadow and flame. I thought the pairing of my pyromancer with shadow might be natural. Thus, I spent training points on all the shadow spells I could, which amounted to 4 additional spells. Not a very heavy investment.

I then played around a bit with the shadow spells and discovered that there isn't nearly so much flexibility for one wizard to play with. As a pyromancer, my heals come from damage spells, so Shadow Seraph is useless except for either self heals with fairy or spending more training for heal spells for others. Shadow Sentinel could be OK under the condition that Alexander was geared specifically to tank, but that's not normally a pyromancer's job.

That leaves 4 of the 6 shadow spells being useful for Alexander. Oh well, he still knows the other two. I think every shadow spell is useful - my theurgist definitely uses Shadow Seraph; but not every shadow spell is useful for every school of wizard. The big question was, might the shadow creatures find a bigger use in a deck than just being simply for curious variety. Could I build around shadow creatures?

After running some experiments, I quickly realized that this was a job best handled by sorcerors, not pyromancers. Pyromancers don't have any natural universal blades or traps. Creating a shadow creature build for Alexander would require item, pet and treasure cards in order to be at all effective. Also! More importantly, getting shadow pips. If you run a shadow creature build against anything that is in your ability range of damage, you will get crushed 9 times out of 10. You just won't get enough pips fast enough to kill anything. You will need shadow pip generation on your hat, robes, and shoes. And you will also want to get triangle jewels that boost shadow pip generation. The shiny pip hematites give +3% toward shadow pips; and they can  be found (rarely) on various bosses in Mirage. Another helpful piece of equipment is Tamauji's Discerning Dagger (drops from Tamauji in Mooshu, but also available in the Bazaar). This athame has two triangle sockets, but otherwise negligible stats. This athame, along with any Triangle socketed deck offers your wizard the chance for +9% shadow pip generation from jewels. This is only available for wizards at level 115 or higher. If your wizard is at least level 105, you can equip the sockets with lustrous pip hematites (+2% shadow pip generation). With hat/robe/shoe maximums at 4/3/2, that means you can have a bonus of +18% shadow pip generation... which means nearly 4 out of every 10 turns you should be getting one. That's not too bad and might make a shadow creature build legitimately viable.

Another thing to consider is your raw damage source from gear. Universal damage isn't hard to come by, but gear mostly offers lower damage scores than school specific damage. That makes sense in terms of balance, but it means that your shadow boost isn't going to be great. Few pieces offer specific shadow damage boosts, and those boosts are all too low to consider the gear for that purpose. If you're getting gear from Kingsisle cards or booster packs, those tend to have favorable boosts toward universal damage. Also some bosses drop non-school gear that can be beneficial. Sands of Time gear can be helpful here, specifically the shoes and hat.

This is the crossroads though. Do you pick gear for the universal damage boost, or do you pick gear that offers universal damage blades and traps? Gear from packs and cards will get you both, so those are most favorable, but if you're not a big crown/cash spender, that's not going to be the answer.

Currently, with no trainable shadow spells, the only shadow blades and traps you're going to get come from the Malistaire robes and wands, and neither of those offers any shadow or universal boost to damage. The shadow trap is a nice choice because it won't get used up by other spells hit your target, nor be purged by sacrifices or dark pacts.

Since pets don't offer any shadow pip generation, you'll want to consider having one with talents that either offer defense (heals and resistance) or offense in the form of universal damage, universal critical, or spell cards like balance blades or hexes.

Well... that's where I'm at right now. I'm still farming for shiny pip hematites. So, I'm not using the gear I had chosen for my shadow creature deck. I will say that having experimented, I had from gear the following item card spells: 2 dragonblades, 1 balanceblade, 1 hex, 2 shadowblades, and 2 shadow traps. If I managed to get 1 of each of the boosts and cast shadow nova, I did pretty good damage - in the 20,000 range. This convinces me that a shadow creature build IS viable, but there's a number of things to consider - can you maintain a damage pace, and can you resist or heal enough to hang around before finishing off a boss.

In PvP, a shadow creature build would be hampered by the same things school specific builds are hampered by - high resist opponents (though less so, by the nature of shadow piercing) and getting tangled up with weaknesses.

In PvE, a shadow creature build would be VERY effective against bosses of all sorts, but would require enough of the right kind of blades and traps to dispatch bosses quickly.  Dark shepherds might help to make a more solo friendly deck, but in group play, the number of spells other players could use to help you are limited. Sorcerers and necromancers would make great additions; otherwise, players would need to pack treasure cards to help.