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.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Overlord Xerxes soloed as Fire

I'm sure there are a number of ways to do this (especially now that he's only 15000 health now).

First, let's discuss his cheats.
1) If you cast an aura, he free casts Adapt aura.
2) If you cast a blade, he steals it... actually, he steals all blades from all wizards.
3) If you cast a universal trap (feint/hex/curse), he casts a sacrifice.

Currently, I'm geared with high critical, and in the fight, he did block a lot, but some of the critical hits landed. I was lazy and didn't want to change my deck too much, so I assembled it as such:
(Horizon Hold Deck of Furor)
Meteor Strike x5
Raging Bull x1
Rain of Fire x1
Epic x5
Power Link x5
Primordial x5
Empowerment x4
Furnace x1
Fireblade x2
Aegis x2
Combustion x1
Reshuffle x1

First off, this was a sloppy build. The Raging Bull should have been replaced with one or more Fire from Above. The Rain of Fire is OK, but requires so many pips; I should have probably swapped for FFA too.

I don't have Krampus, Brimstone Revenant, Burning Rampage, or Hephaestus. Those would have been better picks over the Meteor Strikes. Other options for Meteors would have been either Sunbirds or Phoenixes. Sunbirds would have come out faster, but I would have had to load even more sun spell enchants in. Helephants would leave too long between hits, although if you were playing with more traps than I did, that would help out. Immolate is too painful for me to cast. The point of the deck is unloading a lot of spells and maintaining enough pips for constant damage while keeping my health above zero. I've used this kind of deck before too nice effect, and it worked here, despite my sloppy build. Power link with the empowerment and critical gear definitely worked out well.

Were I to try this again (and I may), I might opt for something like:
Fire from Above x3
Helephant x1
Efreet x1
Epic x5
Fuel x1
Fireblade x3
Aegis x3
Fire Trap x4
Potent Trap x2
Combustion x1

In terms of Combustion vs. Wyldfire, I did notice an uptick on my critical hits with the Combustion cast. If you're not going for critical, or if your critical chance is already high enough, Wyldfire is the better choice. Hephaestus and Brimstone Revenant are good builders if you have them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

I decided to try a new house set up, and decorated with a V Day theme. Thinking of someone whom I haven't seen in some time - my fault! I try and log in to get dailies done, but I haven't had so much time to play (ironically because I should have enough time, but life always has other plans). Anyway, I played around a little with castle magic, but there's so much one could do... if they have the gold for it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Investigating Critical Hit Chance

Does anyone know the formula for what your critical rating is? There have been some changes in the last year, and after searching the web, I've come up a little short. I'm not the best internet searcher (and not the worst).

I did find these informative articles on Duelist:

Unfortunately, these articles are old. I did check against them; but in the case of the calculator, it couldn't handle having jewel sockets, and doing their math against my pieces didn't add up. I'm sure it did 3 years ago, but now, things have changed enough that this formula is broken.

Here are some helpful pictures to illustrate my confusion as to what critical rating means as a percentage.

Here's my necromancer, with a little Christmas coloring for the holiday season. You can't see the wand hovering over the life symbol, but that's what's going on. All of my critical numbers other than Death are 171, because the Dragoon's Capitano Hat and Luphilim's Grim Footguards give universal critical rating. At level 114, with a critical rating of 171, I have a 1% chance to critical. Oof!

So how does 348 figure? Will it be a hair over double the percentage for the others? Let's see.

Well, that's a lot more than 2% or 3%, but I don't much know why. I checked on Alexander, who currently is only level 111 but has a higher critical rating and percentage.

Alexander's Critical Rating is 654, and he has a whopping 79% chance to critical. Those other scores of 231 are from universal critical numbers, and their critical percentage is a measly 7%.

None of this lends itself to figuring out how critical percentage relates to one's critical rating. The old formula from the links above point to adding each piece's critical percentage separately and coming up with a figure. If you were a high level character, this would be bad news for any critical jewels, as the minimum number you needed to get a 2% bonus at level 111 or above would be 38 critical. And since the floor for any piece was a guaranteed 1%, you could just equip the most basic critical jewels. They would have the same percent chance as your most potent jewels.

As I mentioned above, that's NOT how it works.

To test this out, I unequipped my athame from Alexander. It's the one with a pair of critical jewels and nothing else to add to the critical rating. By the old rules, it should only lower my percent chance by 2. But it lowered it by 5 percent! I then unequipped everything, and put the athame back on. My percent chance went from 0 to 1.

Looking above at John, for all of his non-Death critical ratings, they were all capped at 1 percent, but he had two pieces with universal critical ratings. By the rules of 2013's formula, I should have a minimum of 2%.

So, I did some trial and error. It doesn't give a formula, but it does allow for some helpful approximations.

A word of caution: it was late when I was playing around with equipping and unequipping and writing down scores. I may have written down numbers from one character and entered them for the other. Your level makes a difference with your critical rating. I was able to get the same critical rating number for both John and Alexander, but they both displayed different percentage chances (Alexander was 1% higher). The reason is that your chance degrades as you level up. There have been a number of people complaining about leveling from 110 to 120, because it meant their critical hit and block chances would go down as they did. In order to compensate, they would have to find a way to increase their critical ratings, but newer and better gear pieces are hard to come by.

So, here are the numbers I have for John, my level 114 Necromancer.

Critical Rating / Critical Hit Percentage
171 / 1%
180 / 1%
215 / 3%
241 / 7%
276 / 12%
348 / 20%

That's just a few numbers, so here's a few more from Alexander, my level 111 Pyromancer.

Critical Rating / Critical Hit Percentage / Calculated Divisor using 654 Max Rating
182 / 1%
186 / 2% / 6.078
189 / 2% / 6.039
196 / 3% / 6.026
198 / 3% / 6
202 / 3% / 5.947
223 / 6% / 5.904
231 / 7% / 5.875
239 / 7% / 5.764
240 / 7% / 5.75
262 / 11% / 5.765
333 / 19% / 5.35
366 / 25% / 5.333
433 / 34% / 4.911
472 / 42% / 4.919
548 / 57% / 4.818
654 / 79%

After getting these points, I tried to figure out a general guess as how many points would be needed to raise a percentage. If 262 gave an 11% critical chance, and 198 gave a 3% chance, I tried to figure what the difference would be. Subtracting 198 from 262 gave a score difference of 64. The percent rise was 8%, so dividing 64 critical rating by 8, I see that on average, raising critical rating by 8 should raise a character's percent chance to critical by 1.

You can't just pick 2 points on a set of numbers and call it a formula though. I did various numbers in the above fashion and got number ranges between 7 and 8 (almost always with remainders). This gets messy as I keep picking different points give different divisors. I did eventually pick one number to base against... which explains that third column.


- Somewhere between ratings 182 and 186, Alexander finally climbs out of the minimum critical percentage.
- At 10 critical rating points more, he increases another percent chance to critical.
- The jumps are gradual in the beginning, and may look big higher up, but that's because I have less close data points. I suspect they too are gradual.
- I played around with numbers for a formula, but they were weren't working, so I used 654 as a baseline to figure out how the divisors looked.
- The divisor is an estimation of how many critical rating points would need to be added to increase a critical percent chance. So if I'm at critical rating 198 and my critical percent chance is 2%, for every 6 critical rating I add, I would go up 1% until I reached 654 and would have a 79%.
- The divisor is changing, becoming smaller as the critical rating gets higher. Simply adding a number doesn't work.


Without a lot of numbers, and being very rusty at higher math, I couldn't ascertain a formula. What is generally true is that you need to bust a threshold of critical rating before your percent to critically hit increases, and that threshold is near 200 critical rating. It takes 6 or 7 points of critical rating beyond that to raise your critical hit percentage by 1. As you approach 300 critical rating, you need slightly less points to further raise your critical hit percentage. At least that I can see. I may just have been arriving at the divisor in the entirely wrong way. I think it's clearer to see that you need quite a bit of critical to approach a hundred percent, and that you will need even more every time you level.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Christmas Season farming

I've farmed for seasonal pets on occasion, but rarely came up with anything worthwhile. This year appears to be different. I definitely farmed more earnestly, as I had a goal - collect Yuletide Spirit so I could finally get the pet ability Unicorn. Please laugh at me now, since I could have just asked a friend to breed my pet with. Maybe I'm Friend Challenged.

Let me tell you when my farming really picked up. I started right away with Lord Nightshade. You can really farm the heck out of that guy. But I get so so so bored killing him. I can only seem to stand 20 minutes at a time. You know a guy you can one shot on the first turn is going to have a dismal drop rate to make up for it. So, the upshot is, I got nothing from him. I think this means nothing EVER in all my years of playing the game. Nothing new, so nothing disappointing.

But this new Krampusgarten key(s) area opens up. I started in right away, and no one knew the mechanics or cheats. We just went in and found out for ourselves, one key level at a time! It quickly became apparent that the best approach was to blade the hitter, and have the hitter refrain from casting any buff other than an aura until it was time to hit. Good times! I remember that poor low level trying to hang on in the Gold Key room. (hint: pack some fire shields in your sideboard if you want to help your low level friends). But wait! After some stingy coal-dropping runs, on my final attempt before moving onto something else... I got a Golden Goose! My first holiday pet drop! (I think. First that I remember at least.)

That fueled my desire to farm pets in earnest, but where to farm? Krampus is quick, but requires keys. (Side note: Gold Key Krampus seemed to like to respawn after being killed, so that saved a few keys). Lord Nightshade was too boring for me, so next I considered Jade Oni. I spent an hour or two farming him with better results. And another pet to boot! The Rescue Rover! What's more, this pet has a chance at Unicorn! I quickly got him to adult, but alas, no Unicorn yet. After running out of powerful pet snacks, I decided to strike out and farm some more. And I needed more good pet snacks to boot. Well, the choice was pretty clear. Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake was the answer. Besides the guaranteed 2 Pixie Stix snacks, I wound up getting a full Santa set of cosmetic gear, a number of Yuletide fish tanks in various sizes (at least one that was a regular keeper)*, lots of different holiday wands, some presents, holiday seeds (holidaisy and boon tree and missile toe), 3 snowglobes, a Gingerbread house, another Rescue Rover, a Snowball, 2 more Golden Geese, a Nutcracker, a Frostman, and 2 Yuletide Spirits. I leveled both Yuletide Spirits to adult, and both have Unicorn! Huzzah! Finally!

* I also completed one run on the last dungeon of Azteca, and that got me some loot too... I think more drops in a run than the typical Mirror Lake run.

It has been very addicting to gather so many holiday decorations, gear, seeds, and pets. I already had a very nicely decorated X-Mas house before, but this year's haul helped me really beef it up. I can't help it; I'm going to keep farming until the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas event. I'm still looking for one more Yuletide Reg Keeper Tank before I feel I have it all. Perhaps it's not the gifts, it's just the getting. I've made a couple of farming buddies along the way as well. It's a nice social time with the excitement of gifts!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

More Fishing Tips

Hi all.

I'm so very bad at keeping up on this blog.

1) Clans have been put on hold. I play a lot, but at weird times, so I can't seem to get it together. Starting and maintaining a clan would take a fair amount of work and investment that I just can't do. Plus, I believe a clan may be against Kingsisle Terms of Service, so I need to explore that more.

2) Mirage enemies can hit hard. I've been hit for over 6,000 damage by a regular mob enemy. I've died at a boss on the same turn that my allies cleared the boss, twice. I wound up going in solo with resistance gear and shields just to be able to clear the boss.

Resistance, block, and shields are a necessity if you want to solo the content here. Storm has a distinct advantage in this world (at least in the starting areas) - being able to do third turn kills are really important. Perhaps my gear setup is wrong. A lot of people were surprised that I was having trouble. Well, I'll be able to say more to this when I finish the location.

3) Fishing! I've caught all the kinds of fish available so far. Two in particular were difficult to catch: Ecto Slime Skate and the Rhino Fish. Both had a tendency to evade being caught that was frustrating.

I told my friend Rowan that I would add my observations and tips for fishing (beyond what I had before), so here they are:

Further Fishing Tips!

- Catch as many different kinds of fish as you can early. The faster you level your fishing, the faster you can get more advanced lures which in turn help you catch even more fish faster.

- When you start looking for specific fish, research their level and school. You'd hate to be using your level 2 lure and finding out the fish was level 3.

- The winnow fish spells are almost always worth it, at least if you're looking for specific fish.

- Rare fish almost always move differently than the more common ones of the same school. This is extremely important and saves you energy. Example: you're looking for a Trigger Fish in Dragonspyre. You're looking at all the fire fish around, and there's 8 of them. You only have 14 energy left though. Enough for 3 casts of the level 2 fire lure. Should you just cast for the 3 closest and hope for the best? Watch those fish move! Trigger fish are a bit faster than the others in the water, and they zigzag a lot! It seems as a general rule that the rare fish are very fast or in a few cases extremely slow, much more than the fish around them. This is what helped me to catch the Ecto Slime Skate in the Baobob Crown. The Treant Fish are pretty slow. I would winnow life, look at all the fish around the platform for a fast one. If there were none, I would simply reset the area with the Summon Fish spell and winnow again. You might think that's a lot of energy to go through, but fishing out all the fish would waste a lot more energy.

- Fishing for specific fish can cost a lot of energy. It helps to be higher level (which also allows you into areas to get the higher level spells, or fish up more kinds of fish). You can also try for energy gear to help you out. Fishing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you're patient, don't bother with Summon Fish - revisit the fishing spot at a later time after you've fished it out so the fish will be replenished.

- Another energy trick is to fish when you're close to leveling. Fish as much as you can until you run out of energy. Turn in a quest or two, gain your level, then continue fishing with your replenished energy.

- Positioning is everything! Watch where other fish are around you, so that you don't wind up having fish swim into you while you're fishing for another. If at all possible, fish on the land, but if you have to be in the water, fish where fish aren't going to be for a minute or so.

- Don't cast for your target fish when another is swimming close by. You don't want to burn your energy hooking the wrong fish.

- When you cast and a fish doesn't seem to be biting, it could be you're not fishing where it prefers to look. I've noticed that fish tend to be one-eye dominant. If I cast a lure ahead and to the right of a fish and it just swims on past the hook, I will move slightly and cast again so that the lure will land ahead and to the left of it. The majority of time, it will turn to the lure. Sometimes casting directly ahead will work best. In all cases, if the fish keeps swimming, recast in a different location ahead of it (left/right/center) for a better result.

- Small Fry Multi-tank aquariums are great on conserving space. However, I find that it's hard to make out the fish they contain.

- Fish tanks stack nicely. They don't fit so snugly against each other though. When you want to display all your fish, think vertically.

- Fishing can net you a lot of gold, especially if you maintain a streak for Fish of the Day.

- Reminder: in some areas, it can be hard to make out when the bobber is actually submerged (like if you fish in a blind spot, which does occasionally happen). Play with the sound on, as you can hear the tone for when the bobber finally submerges. A single tap to the space bar and hope for the best!


Here is the original post about fishing:

After re-reading that post, I noticed I was frustrated with catching Sharkspeare. He's also in The Acropolis, so if you'd like to take a shot at fishing there to complete your quest, it should work. Remember that Sharkspeare is from the ice school.

Also, a tiny correction, which most veteran fisher people would know by now - if you lose a fish, you lose the level of the lure in energy (so losing a fish with a level 2 lure costs you 2 points, whereas catching it would subtract 4 energy).