Summoners War – Getting Started

Hello, and welcome to a big chunk of text. What we used to call a bearwall back in the day.

If you have no interest in Summoners War on mobile devices, move along citizen, nothing to see here.

The purpose of this post will be to give a beginning player of Summoners War an overview of all the early content and some advice for getting started and what “free to play” 2 or 3 star monsters to watch out for and save for future teams.

I’m sure I’ll go into greater detail on various sections in future posts. Once you see how long this ridiculous thing is, you’ll understand why I just scratch the surface on a given topic.

Summoners War is a game I enjoy a great deal. It has a ton of content, different potential goals and styles of play, and it’s one of the games that you can play on multiple mobile devices by setting up a Facebook or Com2Us account.

That last bit is very important to me. I play on the go on my phone while traveling, but at home I like playing on the larger screen of a tablet. Summoners War allows me to play my one account hot swappable between devices by logging in on the new device. I personally have done it both ways, Facebook and Com2Us account, and lately I prefer the password entry of the Com2Us account. Some locations have Facebook blocked on WiFi, so it’s just easier.

What I’m going to discuss below are the things I wish a friend had clued me in on the first few weeks.

Beginning gameplay modes.

When you first start the game, the tutorial leads you through accessing four sections of game content;

1) The PvP area called the Arena. This is a 4 monster vs 4 monster battle, one stage. You throw 4 of your monsters at a static defense set up by a player. Victory brings increased rank and Glory Points you can use to buy monster summoning scrolls, buildings and building upgrades and DEVILMON in the store.

2) The main PvE gamemap of progression called Scenarios, where you use a team of 4 of your monsters vs three waves of AI controlled monsters. You can use one of your friends monsters to assist you in this mode.

Each Scenario area has 7 stages of battle and three difficulty settings from Normal to Hard and ending in Hell mode. They are typically themed around a specific element, each drops a particular type of rune stone (the equipment that you use to customize monster abilities), and you can farm a particular rune stone by choosing which stage you will clear. Stage 1 drops rune stone slot #1, Stage 4 drops rune stone slot #4, etc.

Stage 7 is unique in that it’s always a boss fight, and can drop any of the runes from any of the stages, potentially at a higher rank/power. Thus, if you are farming a particular rune from a Scenario, the very best runes have the potential to drop from Hell Stage 7 of that Scenario, but what you get is still random and will take many runs to get 5 star runes.

The Scenarios can also drop monsters of 1 to 3 star quality. You can see which monsters each scenario has the potential to drop, and thus farm for the specific monster you want.

Scenarios are the primary location you will run content to level up monsters.

3) The PvE section called the Caiross Dungeons. This location has various Dungeons, each with 10 increasing stages of difficulty. Thus, when someone describes “Dragons B10” they’re talking about the 10th and most difficult level of the Dragons Caiross Dungeon.

The Caiross Dungeons (Giants, Dragon and Necropolis or Lich) are where the truly GOOD max level rune stones can be acquired, up to the max of 6 star runes.

They can also drop random rewards other than runes, like Mystic Scrolls and Rainbowmon (generic monsters that are pre-leveled for you to accelerate your improving your own monsters). The first Dungeon you are recommended to attempt is Giants, since it is where the good basic runes drop. Basic runes are Fatal, Blade, Energy, etc.

Next once you’ve mastered building a team and farming Giants is Dragons, which requires a different style of team to combat, followed by the Necropolis which has a serious trick to the mechanics of the final boss, and strategies around it typically include Mikune the Water Undine or another monster that can resurrect other monsters mid-fight.

The Caiross Dungeons are 5 monster vs 5 wave dungeons, with the final boss having support crystals to either side. You can use a friend’s monster to assist your team here.

Within the Caiross Dungeons are also found the Halls of Elements, or elemental dungeons. These are where you can find Dungeons themed to the game elements. These also have ten stages of difficulty, but they only have three waves of monsters to face.

You need essences of the various elements, along with Magic Essence to ‘Awaken’ monsters to their special state, improving their stats and often granting new or boosted powers. A monster only ever needs to be Awakened once, but you’ll find yourself farming these essences frequently when you get a good monster you want to Awaken.

4) Guild Wars. There are in-game guilds, and these guilds can participate in Guild vs Guild PvP wars that have a 6 day duration. The guild can participate in either 10 player vs 10 player, or 20 vs 20 battle. There are typically two kinds of Guilds – farming guilds and progression guilds. You use a team of only 3 monsters in Guild Wars, and you cannot use friend monsters so strategies change dramatically as opposed to the Arena. Another trick is that there are three battles per Guild War match, and inside each battle are two teams of three that you have to face. If one of your monsters dies in any match, you can’t use it again for the rest of that particular series of three.

You really, REALLY want to find a farming guild to join as fast as possible, even at low levels. There is a specific guild currency you get from participating in and winning guild battles, and you use this currency to purchase 4 star Rainbowmon that give you a MASSIVE jump up in getting a monster to 6 star status. You can only buy one per week at 150 currency cost, but that one little purchase saves you hours of using Energy to level multiple 2 or 3 star monsters up and feeding them to others.

The sequence of upgrading quality goes like this. You level a monster to max level, and then it can be upgraded to the next star rank by feeding it other similar star level monsters.

For a 2 star monster, you have to level it to 20 and feed it two other 2 star monsters to upgrade it to a 3 star.

For a 3 star monster, you level it to 25 and feed it three other 3 star monsters to make a 4 star.

For a 4 star monster, you level it to 30 and feed it four other 4 star monsters to upgrade it to a 5 star.

Finally, to upgrade a monster to the absolute max of 6 star, you have to take your chosen 5 star level 35 monster and feed it five other 5 star monsters.

If you started with nothing but 2 star monsters that is one SHIT load of monsters leveling and feeding and leveling and feeding.

So, being able to purchase for a few days worth of Guild Wars activity a single pre-max leveled 4 star Rainbowmon ready to be instantly upgraded to a 5 star monster is huge. Yes, you still need to have four 4 star monsters to feed it, but trust me, you come to love the Guild Shop.

150 Guild Points, that’s not much to earn per week, even at low levels, and if all you can buy once a week when starting is one of these from Guild Wars, it’s still huge.

The other big thing you can buy are summoning pieces for 5 star Ifrits, super powerful monsters. Badasses. Must haves. Great for PvE and PvP alike. This is one of your two only routes to a guaranteed natural 5 star monster. It takes 100 pieces to summon a random elemental Ifrit, it costs 450 guild currency to buy 10 pieces, and you can buy a total of 20 pieces in a single week.

For comparison, after something like nine months of playing, I have two natural 5 star monsters I’ve gotten from Mystic Scrolls, three natural 5 stars from Fusion and two Ifrits from Guild Wars summoning pieces. I’d have more Ifrits, but I didn’t join a guild for a LONG time. I didn’t know any better.

Even in a farming guild I can usually only buy a single 4 star Rainbowmon and 10 Ifrit summoning pieces in a given week. Some weeks maybe 20 pieces, sometimes not. But even at 10 pieces a week, that is one natural 5 star every ten weeks. I’ll take that. So focus on Rainbowmon and Ifrit pieces each week. Those are your bread and butter.

A brief note on farming guilds vs progression guilds. A farming guild exists to fight low level opponents for easy victories even with low level players, to farm guild currency. You set a very weak defense, and that is what your opponents will fight. Your defense, once set, stays that way. When you are on offence, you get to pick your team members to suit the opponent’s makeup, so you get to plan a strategy against static defenses.

A farming guild intentionally has every member set the weakest low level 1 star single monster defense or similar to make it easy for the enemy to destroy you… keeping your rank low so the guilds that you are faced with are ALSO super low level, and will typically also have super easy defenses for you to crush and earn points.

One thing to be careful of is that you want the max number of members in your guild battle. If you only run with a team of twelve in a 20 v 20, there aren’t enough of you to get completely pounded into kibble by the enemy, and so your rank never really lowers enough to stay in the easy farming range. Basically, with only half the total health available to pound you can only take half the damage and drop half the rank. So you creep up over the week into harder and harder fights, where you’re not earning any damn currency.

At that point, recruit more members or leave to join a new guild. Or form your own. You totally can, you know.

Also, you have to watch people in Guilds. You can check other members defenses. If you create your own guild just to farm properly, make sure everyone has a super low defense. I frequently see guilds recruit for farming, and never communicate to the members what a farming guild means, so the new members set defenses as high as they can manage wanting to do the best they can, not realizing they’re shooting the whole team in the foot.

You can look at the other members in your guild and see what they set for a defense as well as who is or is not attacking. Don’t hesitate to find out if some guild members have drifted away from the game, and replace them with new active players.

The guild wars run Monday through Saturday, two battles a day (usually resetting midnight and noon so you have twelve hours to participate in each phase of the war) and then Sunday there are no battles as the results are tallied and rewards are given.

Aside from the guild currency, the weekly reward for progression are Summoning Stones and epeen. So, the higher your rank and also your individual participation within your guild, the more Summoning Stone currency you earn each week to summon 3 star or better monsters. This is what Progression Guilds go for.

Don’t hesitate to watch the chat channels, and expect the guilds to advertise for new members every Sunday for the upcoming war. If you leave a guild, you CANNOT JOIN A NEW GUILD FOR TWELVE HOURS. Just a heads up, if you intend to leave your guild, do so minutes after getting your Summoning Stone reward on Sunday morning so you can join a new one that evening.

If you are in a guild, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING, you get a certain amount of guild currency every day based on their success. So if you get in a farming guild but they don’t field you every day or every match, don’t fear, you will still earn some guild currency. Just make sure the guild leaders know you are happy and eager to fight or sideline, whatever they need. Time enough to want more action in wars once you’ve played longer and have a stable of monsters to give you tactical choices.

If you are very active (able to fight twice a day) it’s all good. Most guilds will be happy to have you.

Later on in the course of leveling, you will unlock additional gameplay areas.

These additional higher-level areas include;

1) The PvE 100 level Tower of Ascension that is really two 100 level towers, because there is a normal mode and a hard mode, each with it’s own separate lockout. The Tower of Ascension, once unlocked, resets each month so you have a solid month to tackle ascending the 100 floors. Each floor gives you loot, and as you get higher, the loot gets much, much better. Really damn good, well worth hitting that sucker. As you’d expect.

You use a 5 monster team in the Tower of Ascension. You cannot use a friends monster.

You can get some serious good loot from here. Summoning Stones, Crystals (premium currency), Mystic Scrolls, at higher levels even Devilmon, Legendary Scrolls and Light and Darkness Scrolls.

2) World Boss. This is a PvE battle you can face up to 3 times every day. Each of the three battles will take away some of the health of the world boss, and everyone in your region is attacking the same world boss health, so it takes him about 4 to 5 days to die. You are graded on how much damage you dealt in each of the three individual battles that day, and you get loot randomly based on the damage. When the world boss dies, your overall total damage done to him for the entire time he was up is added together, and you get some SERIOUS Crystals (premium currency) as a reward depending on how you did.

To take on the world boss, you have to field a team of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 monsters, each with a minimum level of 30. You cannot use the same monster twice in a single day, so do the math. That means to do the utmost damage to the world boss each day, you would need 60 monsters, all level 30 or higher.

A monster cannot reach level 30 unless he is a 4, 5 or 6 star monster. 3 star monsters cap out at level 25. So, at a minimum, to take 3 shots at the world boss every day for the most chances at random loot, you want 30 monsters at level 30 each, and only field ten per fight.

Right now, after many months, I’m able to field two teams of 20 monsters, and a third team of 12. You get some very nice mana crystals, premium Crystals, essences and even chances at Mystic Scrolls and pieces of Legendary Scrolls from every fight so this is well worth it. In the World Boss fight, it’s all about your mass stats. How many of your monsters are what level, what grade, have runes, how high are the ranks of the runes, are awakened or not, have skills leveled or not. Once you start the fight, it’s a sequence of cinematics of your monsters on a massive battlefield fighting the monster. I really like it, it’s well done. And you can see an after action report if you search for it breaking down who your top contributing monsters were, all ranked, so you can take notes and plan for who to improve or replace in your ‘A’ team for next time.

3) Rift Battles. These are three person raids. Live raids. You and two other people group up live to go in and face a three headed hydra. Each of your team faces a different head, and your team makeup is just like setting up a regular raid, with front line tanks, back line DPS and healers. The key difference here is the battle is live with you and two other players, but you’re not in control once it starts. Just like in the World Boss fight, it’s all in your setup and group composition. You build monsters and rune sets designed how you want to face the rift hydra, set up your tank team in front and supports in back line positions, and then let it fly, and your team goes after the boss.

You watch the battle unfold, and so it’s all about research and preparation.

This was once the highest level of content, but they have recently added LIVE Arena battles and also a new series of Rift solo Dungeons as next level content. I haven’t gotten my teams to the point of doing well there yet, so I can’t even begin to give you pointers. Sorry. Always something new being released adding an extra dimension to what you can try.
4) Fusion. One of the buildings you can make on your island is the Fusion building. There, you can fuse other monsters into a higher ranking one. It takes four specific 3 star monsters to fuse into a natural 4 star monster, and four 4 star monsters to fuse into a natural 5 star monster. These all have to be max level and Awakened before you can fuse them, so getting the monster is only the first step. But holy crap, it’s worth it.

One of the very best monsters in the entire game, Veromos the natural 5 star Darkness Ifrit, comes from the Fusion building, so making this building and making a list of monsters to save for that fusion is critical.

Don’t be the guy that had a monster drop that you fed to something else, only realizing afterwards you could have saved it to fuse Veromos.

Red Alert. One of the four monsters needed for this Fusion is the Dark Yeti, obtainable only from the Hall of Darkness Secret Dungeon for this monster. Monday is Hall of Darkness day, so at the time of this writing today is your day to try to farm this monster until next week. Happy farming. I discuss the farming of these Secret Dungeons more later down.

There is even more content after this but by the time you get to that point you’ve been playing six months or more, so why talk about it now?

My actual starting recommendations.

You can see there are a lot of different types of content to get started playing immediately and the in-game tutorial does an outstanding job leading you through it. I’m not gonna rehash that.

Here are my actual recommendations to get the best bang for your playtime fast. Aside from joining a farming guild as soon as possible.

First, know your monster sources.

Normal scrolls can drop random monsters of 1 to 3 star quality, and only ever of Wind, Fire or Water. You cannot get Light or Dark monsters from normal scrolls. You will get lots of these scrolls as drops from farming Scenarios and Caiross Dungeons. LOTS.

Mystic Scrolls can drop monsters of 3 to 5 star quality, again only of Wind, Fire or Water. You can get these as fairly infrequent drops from Caiross Dungeons, the Trial of Ascension, buy them for around 125,000 mana crystals from the Magic Shop, buy them with Glory Points, and what I do the most of, buy them with Crystal premium currency, in the form of a 750 Crystal package getting you mana crystals, leveling monsters and 11 Mystic Scrolls. And yes, when you’re playing often enough the Crystals rain down like candy and buying one of these 750 Crystal Magic Scroll Premium Packs every week is fairly easy. Two weeks at the most if I’m blowing Crystals on Energy refills.

Don’t forget, I’m still totally a novice at this game, and I have Crystals out my ears thanks to playing the content, World Boss, Arena battles and the frequent special events. The top players that farm all 100 floors of both Trial of Ascension difficulties and higher ranks of everything get much, much more. So if you hunger for crystals, don’t despair. Patience will reward you. It may be six months from now before you really get cooking, but it WILL come.

Legendary Scrolls can drop monsters of 4 or 5 star quality. Warning, I hear the vast majority are 4 star. Please don’t drop a ton of money on one thinking you’ll automatically get a 5 star. Again, these will be Wind, Fire or Water. You can buy these in special deals (usually costing $100 of real world money, seriously, wtf) or as drops in Trial of Ascension, and you can also get pieces that assemble into one from content like the World Boss or buying them in groups of 5 pieces from the Magic Shop.

Light and Darkness Scrolls (Scroll of Light and Darkness) can drop any 3 to 5 star monster of Light or Dark type. This is to my knowledge the only possible way to get a naturally occurring 4 or 5 star Light or Dark monster, except for the 5 star Dark Ifrit Veromos (Fusion). You can get one of these if you clear Trial of Ascension, and also once every month if you complete the 22 day daily check-in rewards. Incentive to keep coming back. And yes, you can buy them with real money I think. Oh, and you can get pieces for them in World Boss battles.

Summoning Stones are acquired as drops from the Caiross Dungeons sometimes, from clearing floors of the Trial of Ascension, rarely from the Wishing Well (a once a day thing), occasionally from the World Boss battles, and as a reward for your ranking in the weekly Guild Wars. Summoning Stones, much like a Mystic Scroll, can summon a 3 to 5 star monster.

The key difference here is that the available monsters are limited to a small group each week, so you can see what your possible chances are. I know of some players that claim they save thousands of Summoning Stones specifically to wait for the one week that a specific desired monster, such as the Fire Vampire (Verdehile) becomes one of the monsters offered. then they blow them all in a wild orgy of desperate summoning.

Secret Dungeons. The single best way to farm some monsters is to lurk in chat and pounce on someone who unlocks a Secret Dungeon. This is THE way to get some of the best early starter monsters in the game.

Secret Dungeons are unlocked randomly in place of actual loot when you clear an elemental dungeon in the Caiross Dungeons. What level dungeon you cleared does not matter; you can unlock a Secret Dungeon just by clearing Stage 1 of the Fire Dungeon. it’s random.

When you unlock a Secret Dungeon, it is unlocked for precisely 1 hour of time. You can then enter it with your team and clear as many floors as possible, repeating it over and over. How many summoning tokens you get is determined by how many floors you clear each attempt. The higher the star quality of the monster you are going for, the more summoning pieces you need. I’ve seen 2 star and 3 star monster Secret Dungeons get unlocked.

There are also special 4 star monster Special Dungeons once a month. They don’t get unlocked randomly, they are only opened once a month by Com2Us and are called the hall of Heroes.

Now, you can unlock the Secret Dungeon for yourself by clearing dungeons, but from what I’ve seen once you unlock one, you will NOT unlock another until the first ones timer expires.

However, all of the players on your community friends list ALSO has access to your Secret Dungeon for that same one hour!

This leads directly into how you can farm for a specific monster through Secret Dungeons.

In the Caiross Dungeons, the Giant, Dragon, Necropolis and Magic dungeons are always open 100% of the time. None of them have Secret Dungeons.

The other elemental dungeons are open for 24 hours each on a rotation. Sunday is Light Dungeon, Monday is Darkness, Tuesday is Fire, Wednesday is Water, Thursday is Wind. Usually there are no elemental dungeons on Friday or Saturday, but once a month an entire 48 hour period will have EVERY elemental dungeon open so you can do some serious essence and Secret Dungeon farming.

So say you want THE best must have 3 star monster in the entire freaking game, Belladeon the Light Inugami (Light Wolf). It ONLY comes from a Light and Darkness Scroll, OR from farming the Secret Dungeon. The Secret Dungeon is ONLY available to unlock during Sunday when the Hall of Light is open.

So you can and should farm the Hall of Light on Sunday as much as you can in an attempt to unlock the Secret Dungeon yourself.

There are some other highly sought after badass 3 star monsters that are good all the way through the end game, also from the Hall of Light Secret Dungeons. Specifically the Light Bearman (Ahman) and the Light Vagabond (Darion).

But you should also pop out of the dungeon you are farming often to check to see if one of your friends has unlocked the Secret Dungeon so you can get in there.

And you should have a few spaces open in your friends list, and while your team is on auto farming the dungeon, watch in the chat channel for someone to have an in-game announcement that they have unlocked the Secret Dungeon you are looking for.

Proper etiquette is, if you see someone get a Secret Dungeon unlock that you want, YOU send THEM a friend request, and THEN you say in chat “player name I sent you a friend request, please accept I’ll remove it after the SD is gone if you want. Thank you.”

See, most people you see will spam a channel that “I want an SD add me.” Well, you can clearly see if someone unlocked one, so there is no need to spam. It just annoys people. And you’ll see other people demanding someone that unlocked a dungeon add THEM to a friends list. Now tell me, do you really think it’s likely someone that just unlocked a desirable Secret Dungeon is going to stop their farming long enough to go find the name of that entitled little shit and send them an invite? Or do you think it’s more likely they’ll think “If the lazy bastard wants an SD they can send ME an invite, bugger off.”

So the point is, if YOU make the effort to send THEM an invite, and let them know you did and ask politely if they’ll please accept, you’ll be shocked how many people watch chat channels and respond favorably to that.

Send them an invite first. If you can’t because their friend list is at the 50 player cap, then move on and wait for someone else. If you can, then send it and THEN ask them to accept it in chat. That only takes them a click. Much easier to accommodate a player wanting Belladeon that way.

Finally, when the time comes that it is YOU that is farming a Hall of Elements and you get the unlock… pay it forward. Even if you don’t usually follow the chat in a channel, if you unlock a Secret Dungeon take the time to go into the chat channel and tell people how many openings you may have in your friends list, and let them know if they want the SD to send YOU an invite. Then you can farm another run or run the Secret Dungeon once, pop back out and check to see if you have any friend invites to accept.

We’ve all been there, and being helpful in Summoners War, believe it or not, is VERY common. Far more folks are helpful than not. Be one of the ones that offers SD access if you’re lucky enough to get one. I know I do.

Some times you’ll see people in chat begging for a particular Secret Dungeon and you won’t know why. It’s either going to be for a kickass monster in it’s own right, or for one of the key monsters needed for Fusion. Keep your eye open, and if you see a monster like that look it up. It’s how I found out Spectra was actually a damn useful Fire Griffon monster and not just food for Bernard the Wind Griffon.

Scenario Drops. The final place to find monsters is as a random drop from a Scenario. Each Scenario has a range of monsters that could potentially drop instead of a rune.

While it’s a low chance for those monsters to drop, it’s not THAT low, and if a monster can drop it has an equal chance of dropping from Normal Stage 1 as it does from Hell Stage 6.

Some of the best early monsters can be obtained by farming a specific scenario. The Wind Griffon (Bernard), the Fire Inugami (Roaq), the Water Warbear (Dagora) are all outstanding monsters you can farm. Bernard in particular is on my top 5 must have monster list.

Now that you know where monsters come from, let’s go over the content you should do to get as many chances at lucky drops as possible.

Arena PvP

Your first step is to farm the PvP Arena for Glory Points to spend in the Glory Shop.

The Glory Shop is unusual in that you can buy new buildings for Glory Points.

You can also buy Mystic Scrolls, specific elemental scrolls, and once a week you can buy a Devilmon.

You MUST BUY YOUR DEVILMON EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

There are only two ways to level up/improve your monster’s skills in this game. One way is to feed another monster of the same type to it. Star quality doesn’t count for this. Some Vagabonds are 3 star (like the Fire Vagabond) while others are only 2 star (like the Light Vagabond).

If you feed a Fire Vagabond to a Light Vagabond, the Light Vagabond will have one random skill powered up by 1 level. So element and star quality don’t matter, it’s Vagabond to Vagabond or Griffon to Griffon.

Well, a Devilmon is a wild card when it comes to skill leveling. You feed it to a monster, you get a single skill increase.

Since the chances of scoring multiple natural 5 star monsters is damn low, you will be feeding Devilmon to a 4 or 5 star monster to power up it’s skills.

You can only get Devilmon by purchasing ONE a week from the Glory Shop (week resets Monday morning), as a special reward in the frequent events Com2Us throws weekly, or by purchasing for INSANE amounts of real money. Or by clearing one of the top floors in Trial of Ascension.

So yes, at the minimum you need to farm Glory Points by fighting in the Arena.

Any excess Glory Points you earn, you should prioritize purchasing and upgrading the Sanctum of Energy. You can upgrade it ten times, and each level gives you +1 max Energy for fighting battles. It might not seem like much, but that extra +10 Energy can be super valuable, especially if you are wanting to chain farm a Secret Dungeon and you’re willing to spend Crystals to recharge your Energy as you may want to do. Getting 90 energy per 30 Crystals at max level instead of 80 is very sweet. And when you don’t know when the next time you’ll see that Dark Yeti Secret Dungeon may be, 30 Crystals is a small price to pay to farm every second of it.

Early level Glory Point farming.

At early levels, my recommendation for farming Glory Points in the Arena is to bounce your Arena rank from 900 to 1000 and back down.

At rank 900 to 1000, you get +3 Glory Points for every Arena win, and +1 point for every loss. So every loss is still feeding your pool of points.

You set your Arena Defense in the tower, and I recommend setting your defense to a single super weak monster. This encourages others to attack you, driving your rank down. The lower your rank, the lower the strength of the opponents you are matched against when you refresh the opponent list, the higher the chance at low levels that you’ll have monsters that can win against them.

When you refresh the Arena opponent list, it matches you against ten players that are the same rank YOU were when you refreshed. If you defeat all ten opponents in the list, it refreshes at the rank you ended up when you defeated the tenth one.

So, you want to refresh at rank 900 to 920, beat the first 9 opponents driving your rank up to around 980+. Then you want to intentionally LOSE to the last opponent repeatedly until you drive your own rank back down. Once you are back to rank 900 – 910, finish off that last opponent, refreshing your list and coincidentally getting two free Arena invitations, and start over.

In this way you are assured of a steady stream of Glory Points until you reach a high enough level and roster of monsters that you’re ready to step into the real competitions in the 1200+ rank brackets where rewards are much better.

One final thing about farming low level Arenas for Glory Points.

Only farm from Monday – Saturday. On Sunday, drive your point total as high as possible, refreshing and seeking anyone in your list you can beat. Keep refreshing, sometimes people forget what day it is and leave their weak defense monster up for you to crush as they are trying to claw their way to rank 1300.

That being said, Saturday night YOU need to swap out your weak defense monster for the strongest team you got, so you hold on to your rank as long as possible. Don’t make it easy on them to feed off your carcass.

The weekly rank tallies happen Sunday night at midnight, and you get Crystal premium currency rewards for what your final rank turns out to be at that time, not what your overall for the week was.

Then after you collect your Arena rank reward on Monday morning, restart the climb and fall process.

And yes, by all means spend Glory Points on Mystic Scrolls if you want. But damnit you had BEST be buying your weekly Devilmon.

And DO NOT EVER use your Devilmon to level up the skill of a 2 or 3 star monster. Not if you can farm it somewhere instead. Be patient and wait for scrolls to drop those monsters to feed, check out the Magic Store (and power up the store fully to 10 slots) because 2 star monsters like the Vagabond are frequently found there, and use those.

You can only get 52 Devilmon a year from Glory Points, plus whatever you get from Trial of Ascension or special events, so save them for 4 star or 5 star monsters. Especially prioritize Veromos.

Scenarios

My suggestion here is to make sure you are using the Community tab to invite high level folks as friends. Everyone has a ‘rep’ monster, a single monster they specify for use by friends. Most people choose their favorite, or one that can solo farm something like the Faimon Hell 1 scenario. You can use a friends monster in your team once per day. Their monster NEVER counts against your earned experience points, and even dead monsters in your team earn the same experience as everyone else.

Don’t hesitate to use friends monsters in your team to help clear harder levels of content.

Once you can get to the Normal Scenarios for the following, these drop great monsters to farm for;

Garen Forest can drop the 3 star Water Inugami. It’s not good itself, but you can use it to feed to a Light Inugami (Belladeon) or a Fire Inugami (Raoq) to level up their skills, so these are great to save for that purpose.

Mt White Ragon can drop the Water Warbear and the Wind Garuda. The Water Warbear can, once fully leveled and 6 starred, solo Faimon Hell 1 with 100% success. It’s also a badass tank in it’s own right, and can easily have it’s skills leveled with other farmed Warbears. The Wind Garuda is not good, but the Water Garuda (Konamiya) IS a great healer and team support once leveled, so Wind Garudas are useful to save to feed to the Water Garuda.

Telain Forest can drop the Wind Inugami and the Fire Warbear. Neither are good themselves, but again are great fodder to skillup the Water Warbear and the Fire or Light Inugami.

Tamor Desert can drop the Wind Griffon. This is one of the best 3 star monsters in the entire game, and is considered to be one of the KEY monsters in every Giants Stage 10 team. Farm this son of a biscuit, and level him up. Alongside the easily acquired 2 star Wind Pixie (Shannon), the Wind Griffon is the BADASS for Giants B10. (stage 10).

See, the final boss in Giants stage 10 is a Water Giant. Water is weak against Wind, so Wind monsters, Light and Dark are all preferred for your team. Shannon slows down all opponents, while Bernard the Wind Griffon speeds up YOUR team (and has a defense break attack). The combo of slowing them down and speeding you up is just HELL YES.

Have I sold you on a Wind Griffon yet?

Oh yeah, and since Shannon the Wind Pixie is a natural 2 star monster, she can be bought from the Magic Shop cheap, as well as her skillups, so watch for her there frequently, buy her and skill her up. Pair her with Wind Griffon and you have the core of your Giants B10 auto team. Add Veromos (Fusion) on the front end as leader, add Belladeon (Light Secret Dungeon) and the Light Bearman (Ahman from Light Secret Dungeons) and congratulations, you have a Giants B10 team that you can count on.

Finally, Faimon Volcano can drop the Fire Inugami, Raoq.

I love Raoq. He’s a monster that a lot of players will tell you is great for early game but isn’t much use in end game.

The key to that is his special. If he lands the killing blow, he immediately gets a free turn.
You can see then that if he’s your first 5 or 6 star and you’re attacking low level opponents like early stages of the Secret Dungeons, any place that has waves of low level weak monsters, he gets to go once and just wipes out the whole floor.

He was my first 6 star and I don’t regret it, he carried me long enough to get a Dagora Faimon farmer leveled.

Still, don’t expect him to be your go-to forever. Damn well worth farming for and Awakening, though. And he can get some serious multi strike hits in if the luck rolls right.

I mentioned making a list and saving monsters for Fusion to make Veromos. He’s the key to damn near everything PvE oriented in the game. Check what you can get from Secret Dungeons and build up your friends list.

Aside from the Giants team you want to build towards (where you will farm for GOOD runes for your monsters, and prepare a team for Dragons afterwards), you will want to look towards Trial of Ascension Normal.

I mentioned Veromos, Shannon, Bernard, Ahman and Belladeon already for a free to play Giants B10 team. You can absolutely make your own team, this is ONLY a free to play suggestion. There are hundreds of team variations out there that work much faster per run, for one thing. How fast your team clears content is one of the ways people compare their skill at planning and gearing.

Likewise for Trial of Ascension normal, there is a great team you can build free to play.
Using Veromos, Bernard and Belladeon from your Giants team, you can add the 3 star Fire Griffon Spectra, obtainable from a Fire Secret Dungeon or from a Mystic Scroll or from the Glory Point Fire Scroll, and the Fusable natural 4 star monster Beretta.

Beretta is the Fire Sylph, is one of the Fusable monsters that makes up Katarina, but most importantly his leader skill is to make your team speedy, and he has some awesome fire attacks including a continuous damage Dot AoE, and a single target strike that can wipe out the opponent’s attack bar slowing him down.

Put Baretta on lead, and Veromos, Bernard, Belladeon and Spectra to fill out your team, and they can clear ALL 100 floors of the normal Trial of Ascension. All 6 starred and with solid runes, of course, but damnit these are all obtainable monsters without dropping tons of cash on scrolls in the store.

So don’t be afraid to farm monsters to Fuse Beretta as soon as possible either. Great monster.

I mentioned Runes, but I’ve intentionally left out what to Rune things and where to get them.

The truth is, a large portion of my runes comes from patient refreshing my Magic Shop every hour and referring to a large notebook filled with Monster names and the runes I’m looking for. When I see one on my list, I buy it.

Sometimes I run Giants B10 a dozen or more times to get a bunch of runes, but you can’t get Violent runes from there, the ones that give extra turns. The can get them from the Magic Shop.

For runes, I research all over the place for what works where. Different rune builds are useful for the same monster depending on whether you’re gearing for PvE or PvP.

In most cases, the same recommendation is made; Violent everyone at end game plus a 2 rune combo of something.

I hate that. But at very end game, it’s probably true.

Regardless, My rule of thumb is, I research what runes to put in a monster, then I toss in whatever I farm or have on hand that fits.

But long term, I will NOT stop working on runes for the monster until 5 star minimum. Once something is 5 star runed, I focus on something else.

For my top team of monsters, if I get a 6 star rune drop, then I’ll replace one of them to make it that much better. But I’ll settle for 5 star everything and be happy, unless I need specific stats like say 100% crit for Ahman to always trigger his AoE group heal on every blow.

So I’ll farm the right Scenario and Stage for the basic runes I need, make a list of anything that ain’t 5 star minimum, and troll the Magic Shop for upgrades. The Magic Shop refreshes hourly. I check it that often while awake.

Ah, but what about Rune stats?

One thing to keep in mind is, There are 6 rune positions to fill. Rune 1, 3 and 5 are all fixed in type. Rune 1 is ATK, Rune 3 is Defense, and Rune 5 is Hit Points.

The other three rune positions can have different values. All three can have HP, HP percent (HP%), Defense or Defense percent (DEF%), and ATK or ATK percent (ATK%).

First warning – never ever buy or leap for joy over a straight HP, DEF or ATK rune. The Percent runes are ALWAYS better than a straight stat increase. The math bears this out time and time again.

If you need high health and you get an HP rune, don’t throw it in the trash but replace it with a good HP% rune first chance you get.

Rune position 2 is the only position that can have a Speed (SPD) stat.

Rune position 4 is the only position that can have a Crit Rating (Crit R) or Crit Damage (Crit D) stat.

Rune position 6 is the only one that can have an Accuracy (Acc) stat.

So you will frequently see rune recommendations made like so;

“You should rune Ahman Violent/Energy HP/CritR/HP with at least 100% Crit Rating from rune 4 and sub stats.”

What that means is you are being told you should rune Ahman with a combination of four Violent runes and two Energy runes to get the benefits of the four rune and two rune equip bonus, with a HP% rune in slot 2 and 6, and a Crit Rate% rune in slot 4. Also, since the absolute best a 6 starred max level 15 Crit R rune can get is +58%, and the Static Atribute value of Crit Rating for an Awakened Light Bearman Ahman is +15%, you’re told you should look for substats on your other runes that make up the other missing 27% crit. The goal being to get to 100% crit rating so the special ability of Ahman, an AoE heal on a crit attack, works 100% of the time.

Oh, and the reason for Violent runes on Ahman is so he gets a chance to get mutliple strikes on a turn for multiple heals. and High HP% and Energy (HP bonus) runes because his heals are based off HIS health, not the rest of the team.

Anyway. Hopefully that explains what people mean when they toss out that rune type/rune type HP/ATK/ACC recommendation. 1, 3 and 5 have no options so the only ones they CAN be talking about are rune slots 2, 4 and 6.

Okay.

Damn, I know this is long. A friend asked me to put something together and the time to be useful is NOW, not drug out over three weeks.

What monsters to look for, and are 2 or 3 star monsters trash?

 

This game has monsters of 1 to 6 star value. The highest ‘naturally occurring’ monster grade is the 5 star. Every monster, EVERY monster that drops that does NOT have a grey star can be Awakened, runed and upgraded in quality to a 6 star.

Typically, the higher the natural star grade, the higher the basic stats/attributes of the monster, making a natural 5 star damage dealer have better potential than a 3 star.
That being said, normally you’re told don’t ever, EVER feed a natural 4 star or 5 star monster to something else, no matter how desperate you are for that first 6 star monster, unless you are absolutely positive you will never find a use for it. You might never see it again.

So early on, if you get a natural 4 star or 5 star monster, rejoice. Save it. Study the comments on multiple sites and the Reddit to see what people say. Check to see if it is used as Fusion for something else you might want more.

If you get a Light or Dark monster, save it. The elements in the game work like so; Fire is stronger than Wind, Wind is stronger than Water, Water is stronger than Fire, and Light and Dark are not affected by those silly games.

These are just general rules to start with until you know how to find details on specific monsters and where they can be used strategically (like Rift Raids) or tactically (like PvP to counter a specific monster).

Some 2 star, 3 star and 4 star monsters are actually marvelous powerhouses because of their abilities/spells, and while without the prestige of the 5 star, far more reliable and damn useful. Also easier to skillup.

So don’t get hung up on “I don’t have a natural 5 star”. You can do damn near ANYTHING in this game and do it well with a carefully chosen stable of free to play 2 star and 3 star monsters fully upgraded and Awakened, and Fused monsters like Veromos and Baretta and Mikune.

Okay, so now for last to wrap this up, a list of great free to play monsters from the 2 to 3 star category to watch for;

These are just what I think are the BEST 2 and 3 star monsters to watch for and keep, monsters that are great because of their base stats, abilities and synergy for general use; There may be more!

Some of these you might not think are that good, until you study Rift Raids and realize how critical a balanced team of monsters that both buff YOUR team and debuff/curse the Rift Hydra really is.

I present these to you in Awakened name / Element / Monster Type format.

Dagora – Water Warbear
Shannon – Wind pixie
Bernard – Wind Griffon
Raoq – Fire Inugami
Belladeon – Light Inugami
Ahman – Light Bearman
Spectra – Fire Griffon
Megan – Water Mystic Witch
Konamiya – Water Garuda
Rina – Water Epikion Priest
Bulldozer – Fire Frankenstein
ramagos – Wind Warbear
Talc – Water mammoth
Darion – Light Vagabond
Neal – Light Fairy
Colleen – Fire Harpu

This is not an exhaustive list, but you should watch for these in particular and don’t feed them to something else if you can avoid it.

Some of them are situational.

For example, I mention Neal the Light Fairy. She is here because she can put a 3 turn Invincible bubble on a monster. One of the natural 5 star monsters, Katarina the Wind Valkyrja, has a special ability called Sword of Discharge that deals a metric shit-ton of damage and ignores the enemy Defense stat entirely… if used when she’s in an Invincible state.

So Neal is a wonderful monster, a Fairy so easy to level her skills, but she is mainly useful to bubble Katarina so she can nuke the FUCK out of an enemy in PvP. Mostly Guild Wars, where teams are limited to 3 monsters per side.

Add Chasun as a third monster for healing in your Guild War offense team, and Neal, Katarina and Chasun are just ugly to crush your enemies. I can’t freaking wait to Fuse a Katarina just to hear the lamentation of the women. Serious.

Anyway.

If you get a 4 star Fire Epikion Priest, I hate you, and hold onto it with dear life, it’s the go-to PvP monster for everyone in the game, I swear. Someday I hope to see one, especially since everyone else in the fucking universe seems to have one. Ugh RNG.

Also rejoice over getting 4 star monsters Chasun, Lushen, Verdehile, Hwa and Hwahee if you do. Off the top of my head every one of those has a lot of usefulness and is lusted after by players.

I think that’s it.

It’s only 8300 words, I hope it’s not too damn short.

Bodyguards, Wild and Untamed

One of the things carried over from Warlords of Draenor is the concept of NPC bodyguards.

As your artifact missions unfold and you increase in levels, you unlock more followers.

Unlike Garrisons, the number of followers you have access to in Legion are much more limited. The cap at max level that you can possibly have active is only five.

What’s more, at least so far anyway my Hunter shows that there are only eight possible followers to find and unlock. Big change from Draenor, and it’s yet another indication of how Blizzard liked aspects of the Garrisons but wants to limit how much we have to micromanage now.

Five active followers means fewer of your champions can be out on a mission at any given time. There are troops that you can train up/hire that take the place of a follower/champion, but they’re just… troops. No name, no backstory, each one representing a small group of trackers or elementals or whatever.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that your followers have special abilities to counter mission objectives. Some of them also have special abilities that take effect when you assign one to be your combat ally in the Broken Isles.

They did this in a pretty neat way.

You might assume that when you assign a follower to be your combat ally, they would automatically be your bodyguard out in the world, just as they were in Draenor.

Instead, some of your followers when assigned give you a special spell/action you can use that has a cooldown.

Cassie is playing her Enhancement Shaman, and one of her followers when assigned gave her a pretty badass self heal.

For myself, I’m playing my Hunter and one of my followers, Emmarel Shadewarden, gives me an AoE attack if I assign her to be my combat ally.

emmarel

Emmarel’s Assault gives you an extra action button that is the AoE attack spell, and casting it summons her to your side, where she briefly engages your targeted enemy with her attack before vanishing into cooldown land.

Pretty damn neat, right?

Fear not, however, for there are traditional bodyguard followers to stand at your side through thick and thin as well.

Me, I was given the option of having the legendary hero Rexxar by my side.

Rexxar, at least in Legion, is a Survival Hunter with twin battle axes. He used to be a Beastmaster in lore until apparently he decided to switch specs like any flavor of the month player. But hey, he’s half Orc and half Ogre… so what can you expect, right? Next thing you know he’ll go from being the hero of the Barrens to talking smack in Barrens Chat.

rexxar

Still and all, if you have read your WoW lore, what wandering Pandaren if given the chance wouldn’t want to be escorted by Rexxar for an adventure or two?

Everything was great in the beginning. Rexxar does decent damage, pitches in on a fight, and didn’t even seem to aggro things when I snuck along in Camouflage.

Also, how badass is it to be a hunter with a Bear pet fighting side by side with Rexxar as he calls Misha to his aid? Huh? Huh? Fuck yes.

Then came the moment of truth when I realized this savage barbarian had worn out his welcome in my base camp.

I’m currently adventuring in the beautiful zone of Val’sharah, land of the Druids and ‘the closest thing to the Emerald Dream’s beauty we will find in the waking world.’

Lots of beautiful critters here, including some very nice owls and stags that my Beast Lore spell tells me are tamable.

I’m sure they are, too, if only I didn’t have this damn Survival Hunter noob by my side.

I dismiss my bear so I can tame a gorgeous stag, and guess what axe-wielding son-of-a-bitch not only attacks the stag, but apparently has a taunt so I can’t keep it’s attention for the tame?

The worse bit is, you can’t control your bodyguard. You can’t even dismiss him in disgust. All you can do is watch in horror as the miserable brute butchers a wonderful stag right there before your eyes, and then just looks at you like, “Wut? Lolumadbearbro?”

Oh, would you like to be able to tame creatures in the wild? Tough titty, then you don’t get a bodyguard. Bear up and solo it.

Or, well, play it smart.

You can dismiss your bodyguard, of course you can. You just have to carry your happy fur-covered butt back to Trueshot Lodge, which is the only place you can unassign your bodyguards from within the game.

Ah ah ah! There is another way, though. For the impatient among us, you can also assign and unassign Champions as bodyguards / combat allies directly from within the Blizzard Legion mobile app.

If you have an Android or Apple smart phone or tablet, you can log out of WoW, log into the app and unassign or reassign the follower there without having to make the trek back to your class hall.

legionapp1

This takes my level of dissatisfaction at Rexxar down a few notches.

The first time this happened, I got all cranky, hearthed, flew back to Trueshot Lodge, told Rexxar to GTFO and went back out to tame a pretty stag.

I felt like Oxhorn, I swear I did. Muttering to myself the entire flight back.

Ah, but my attitude has brightened up, now that I know I merely have to take a break logged out for a few minutes to make the change on the app and log back in to tame a new friend.

Ugh. Seriously, was it that hard to add in a ‘tell a bodyguard to go the fuck home’ button?

Still and all, Rexxar. Mah buddy. Yup. Me and him, we be mates.

abearandhisrexxar

Have you played around with one of your Champions as a bodyguard or with their spells if they give you an ability? Do you have a favorite Champion based on lore or what they can do for you?

All the classes get their own special class Champions, so I have no bloody idea who all the rest of you get to choose from. I bet some of them have to be pretty sweet, though.

Red Snappah, so tasty!

The Dreamgrove Comes Alive

I have some refreshing news, some wonderful warm wishes to share with everyone today.
This is pretty awesome.
I’m delighted to share the news that Phaelia, the former author of Resto4Life has returned both to World of Warcraft AND to blogging!
Before I ramble on about what Phaelia meant to me because who gives a toss what I think, let me tell you that her new blog and website can be found at The Dreamgrove.
How’s that for the ultimate Druid website name! She’s clearly providing all of us a place to come home to at last.
dreamgroveheader
Go ahead, go on, go visit her, I’ll still be here.
As those of you still around know all too well, I may be an old blogger but Phaelia is, alongside Big Red Kitty, one of the two spiritual parents of all WoW bloggers that have ever lifted finger to key to share our thoughts about the game.
phaeliaPhaelia and her website Resto4Life was, at least for me, one of the most treasured blogs and resource websites for Druids around. Always written from the heart with love and genuine warmth, just the memory of Resto4Life as a website brings a smile to my face.
It’s kinda like sitting down and thinking back to that one warm, sunny day where you took a blanket and a picnic basket to the beach, and the breeze was just right, and everybody actually had a good time, and nobody got sand packed up the crack of their bathing suit, and the sandwiches didn’t get wet before you ate them, and your kid had fun and didn’t step on a jellyfish or cut his foot on a sharp seashell.
You know, one of those few truly wonderful, heartwarming memories that remind you that the rest of the internet may be a shitshow but daggonit it’s not ALL like that.
She represented the best of us and made me feel that maybe, just maybe after a long day of Trade Chat there was still at least one ray of hope. One.
As many of you might remember, Phaelia announced she was retiring from blogging a while back due to the approaching birth of her son and her desire to spend some true, solid, focused time with her little one.
Shortly after that Blizzard added the perfect item to the game in her honor, Phaelia’s Vestments of the Sprouting Seed, an extremely appropriately well-named leather chestpiece.

While she’s been gone for a while now, I’m sure I’m not the only one that is going to be excited to see her return!

Phaelia, I’m delighted that you’re back, and to hear that you’re super enthusiastic to get back to writing. Or blogging. Or whatever the heck it is we do. I missed you.

Elune bless you and shine upon you that you may grow in light or darkness, no matter what the seasons may bring.

Welcome home.

Beastmaster No More!

When I first started World of Warcraft, this set the tone for everything that came after;

What is the first thing you see when you hit the 38 second mark?

A Hunter, out in the harsh winter wilderness, alone but for his bear friend and companion. From 38 seconds to 1:08, the Blizzard cinematic team introduced me to something I had never seen in gaming outside of tabletop role playing games; the concept of a Hunter and his pet adventuring together in a wild, crazy world.

Immediately after that, of course, was the Night Elf Druid, shapeshifting in the wild on the fly to race towards danger.

Funny thing is, up to that point, those two classes were the only two I ever preferred to play myself in AD&D. A Ranger with animal companion, or a shape-shifting Druid.

When it came time to play World of Warcraft for the first time, I had a hell of a time choosing which I’d play first. I’d play both of course, but which first?

In the end I chose a Druid, but it was a near run thing.

The cinematic helped cement in my imagination the idea that in World of Warcraft, a Beastmaster Hunter was about a Hunter and his (or her!) pet, alone against the world.

Survival was all about them traps, and Marksmanship was all about those stings, but Beastmaster was all about dat pet.

So I was Beastmaster. So it was, so it is, so it shall ever be.

Fast forward to the end of Warlords of Draenor and ten years of class changes slowly accreting around that core idea like the layers of a pearl.

I was vaguely dissatisfied with the whole damn thing, though I would have been hard put to explain why.

But with the Legion artifact quests it all came home to me; Beastmaster was no longer a duo, it was a symphony.

Nothing shows that better than an artifact that permanently gives you a second pet.

Over time, the Beastmaster class has changed from the idea of a Hunter and his single badass pet to more of a, well, a BEASTMASTER. Someone who is the master of all pets found in the wild.

This should not have come as a surprise. I mean, seriously, this was my generation after all;

The Beastmaster Hunter is pulled from the concept of the original movie; seeing through the eyes of an eagle, running fast as the panther, having tons of pets to do your bidding… not just one.

So it’s a perception issue for me. I’m not into a Beastmaster / literal master of all beasts (Ranger) class to play in the game.

Apparently, I’m more wanting my pet to be the Claude Rains to my Humphrey Bogart.

Oh come on, you know the reference.

You may be getting the idea that I’m having fun writing this post. It’s not everyone who gets to put together an article referencing both Vanilla WoW cinematics and Casablanca. This is why I don’t do this as a job; nobody would pay me to do this. And with good reason.

Believe it or not, there is a point to all this.

I chose Beastmaster to play as a part of a beautiful friendship, only to wake up ten years later with a Titanic weapon throbbing in my hands as part of a mènage á trois.

Queue the dancing bears!

Okay, so I didn’t want to do the Beastmaster artifact first. I didn’t WANT a permanent second pet. Heck, the gun and second pet was actually the least of it, especially after I found out at max level you can complete a special process that lets you have your spirit pet take on the outward shape of any other pet you’d like, so you’re not stuck with a wolf forever.

No, the core issue was all of my abilities summoned more pets, temporarily, to go after the enemy.

Over the years I loved the addition of each and every one of these cool spells / attacks.

I admit it. The scope that shot a woodchuck at the enemy was delightful in it’s place.

Taken all at once in their final form, in any given combat the legitimate question could be asked, “Hey, have you seen my pet around? Is he in there? I can’t tell amid the flying snakes, stampede of rhinos, flock of crows and various random environmental critters mobbing that poor murloc.”

“What, there’s a murloc in there?”

“Supposedly.”

I didn’t want to play a Beastmaster anymore. I just wanted it to be me, my weapon of choice, and my best friend.

This may be my favorite post ever. I’m just saying. Now I’m bringing in Walken bouncing off the walls. Heck yes!

So now what? I’ve identified the source of my problem; I don’t want an army of pets.

But I’m a Beastmaster, ten years strong. What the heck else could I possibly be?

I did queue the dancing bears earlier, right?

Survival is right out, because melee. A cute idea and I’ll certainly mess with it someday, but seriously. If I have issues about tons of pets, can you imagine how freaked I’d be if I played a Hunter without a ranged weapon? I mean seriously.

So this Marksmanship thing… like, what’s that all about man?

I heard you don’t even get to HAVE a pet if you go Marks, man. No pet? I gotta have a pet. I mean hunter, pet, that’s a thing, man.

markspet

That’s kind of a deal breaker.

I read all about it on Icy Veins.

And then I promptly switched to Marksmanship and I’ve never looked back. Not once.

See, here’s the thing. Before I can pick something, I have to know what I want.

I want to be a rugged individualist.

I want a pet, ONE pet, my bestest friend ever, because friendship is magic, damnit.

friendshipmagic

I’m getting to the point already, sheesh!

I want a weapon, a ranged weapon, that shoots projectiles. Maybe it shoots hot loads, hot magic loads, I don’t care but what I don’t want it to do is shoot squirrels, snakes or other assorted living creatures downrange because seriously WTF is up with that?

Is that really so much to ask?

From what I read on Icy Veins, yes, YES when you are in a raid or an instance Marskmanship is strongest when you’re running the Lone Wolf Talent without an active pet. So they recommend the whole no pet thing while running in groups.

Sue me, bitch.

It’s not mandatory. I mean, it’s not like I’m raiding. They don’t make you sign a waiver swearing you’ll never sneak out and quest with a pet, no not even that cute little foxy… fox… that you got in the Eastern Kingdoms two expansions ago.

For all non-raiding general questing have fun poking my nose into shit that doesn’t concern me, having Steady Focus and an active pet works just fine.

All my usual misdirection shenanigans are good to go, for example. Pets still get Talent specs like tank, they can still Growl, they’re still, ya’know, pets.

So if for example I went Marksmanship, and for Talents I took Steady Focus, Lock and Load, Posthaste, Patient Sniper, Binding Shot, Barrage and Trick Shot, what I’d end up with is a build that has me, my weapon that hastes me so I move faster, my tanky bear pet that I can misdirect Barrage to like a BADASS, and not a single other extra from Marlin Perkins’ Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

No, no link to that. There are some lengths I’m not willing to go for a sight gag.

“And now let’s watch as Jim goes down the river and wrestles a rhinoceros in heat. Be careful there, Jim. He looks horny!”

Oh, who the hell am I kidding.

Sorry about that pun. No, no I’m not.

So what I have now is a rotation something like this.

I have a misdirect macro to my pet, of course. So I’ll run up to a large group of monsters because Barrage and Multi-Shot so fuck it, pull ’em all, let Blizz sort ’em out.

I misdirect to my pet, often while in camouflage since it doesn’t break stealth, then Barrage a whole group to dump aggro into my bear.

Then I’ll pump a few multi-shots into the group until my Hunter’s Mark proc lights up the multi-shot and arcane shot icons, indicating my next casting of either spell will dump a Hunter’s Mark on all affected targets, setting them up for a big boom.

Then, with Hunter’s Mark on them, my Marked Shot icon lights up. This attack is both single target and multi-shot. However many targets you lit up with a Hunter’s Mark on your last shot, the Marked Shot attack will hit them all. So if you’re single targeting, then you’re doing Arcane Shot and Marked Shot. If you’re firing into a group, it’s Multi-shot and Marked Shot. It’s not rocket science here.

When Marked Shot goes off, it clears the Hunter’s Mark, BUT it applies a Vulnerable debuff that lets your ‘stand-in-one-place’ Aimed Shot do more damage.

And that sets you up for squeezing off two Aimed Shots before the Vulnerable wears off.

Once Vulnerable is gone from your target, return to misdirecting, Barraging, and multi-shot / arcane shotting until you get another Hunter’s Mark proc.

Really, that’s it.

The only real other change is your artifact has a powerful single target attack that you can cast whenever it’s up, but once you gain a few levels of artifact power you can choose an ability that lets the artifact attack directly apply the Vulnerable debuff. So no need to wait specifically for that whole ‘arcane shot lit up shoot it now Marked Shot now Aimed Shot Aimed Shot’ sequence.

Instead, you can Misdirect, Barrage, Windburst (the artifact ability), Aimed Shot, Aimed Shot, then Arcane Shot fillers until shits off cooldown or you get a Hunter’s Mark proc.

Now does that sound complicated?

No seriously, does Barrage, Windburst, Aimed Shot, Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot x3 to refill focus sound that bad of an opening sequence?

And wonder of wonders, it perfectly fulfills my desire to play as an adventurous wanderer making my way through the world, my rifle on my shoulder and my trusted companion by my side.

Come at me, world. Bring it.

beartrap4life

Artifacts of a Lost Age

Since the theme of the Legion expansion seems to be artifacts, let’s go with it.

The Marskmanship Hunter artifact is a bow, a really sweet looking weapon that has an ornamental quiver that appears on your back. It’s a really nice touch that I admire.

At least I would if I didn’t transmog the bow to look like the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle.

Still, that’s not the point.

The point is I mentioned this really cool visual appearance to Cassie as I tried to convince her why she should give Marksmanship a try.

“It’s really cool, you’d love it on your Orc. The quiver is very attractive.”

She looks at me and replies, “I already have a quiver. It still has stacks of ammunition in it.”

… lolwut

Oh yeah. She does.

She still has in her bank inventory a quiver with stacks of ammunition.

It’s the Quickdraw Quiver, and it shows that once upon a time she crafted it herself.

quickdraw

You know, that’s pretty awesome. How many years has it been since we had quivers or ammo pouches? How long since you had guildies group up in front of Karazhan for serious raiding, only to inevitably have someone announce they needed a Warlock summon ready because they had to hearth to get ammo, they were out.

Or of course the reality of paying a Hunter, being in the middle of a guild raid boss fight and being reduced to smacking the boss in the ankles with your stick because you ran out of ammo mid-fight.

I suppose these days the equivalent is chain dying so much without repairs that your weapon is broken mid-fight?

“I may not be doing any dps, but at least I’m not afk like Frank, damnit!” <smack smack>

I stared at my wife for a moment in admiration for a moment, and she upped the ante by announcing she still had Ankhs, too.

I had her go through her bags. She has more obsolete dead gear, and suddenly I understand why she always complains about being out of bag space. Even after account wide transmog!

Ankhs, quivers and stacks of arrows, all sorts of cool “hey I forgot about those!” pieces of history.

It made me wonder… well frankly it made me wonder if it represented sweet sentimentality over a fun time in the game, or the tip of the hoarder iceberg.

But really, do you have a few items like that in  your bags or the bank, something that was a thing back in the day but is now so dead and dated that you can barely remember when they were live and used?

I know what I’ve got in that category…

My Rogue still has the Brazier of Invocation, the Extra-Dimensional Ghost Revealer and the users manual for the Brazier! All items long dead when they removed the Class Dungeon Set 2 epic gear questlines from the old world.

brazier-user-manual

I mean, how can you ever get rid of something that unique? Especially when you can use it to establish your old skool street cred for wearing that slick Rogue gear set that anyone with some time at the Darkmoon Faire can have now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

kitty

Don’t those artifact weapons look awesome? Oh wait…

How about you? What do you have lurking in the dark, ghost-fart haunted recesses of your vault?

And is it there because it reminds you of wonderful times, or is it that you can’t bear to clean even a virtual room!

Summoners War – My Other Obsession

summonerswar2

Aside from World of Warcraft, the other game I’ve been obsessing about for the last 8 months or more is Summoners War, a tablet/mobile only free to play game.

I began playing this game in direct response to every other ‘free to play’ game I’ve ever tried. Basically, I got sick of every damn thing I ever tried to do in a F2P game being stuck behind paywalls, especially duration avoidance paywalls.

“Oh, do you want to do x quest? Well start it and check back in eight hours when it’s complete for your reward! Or complete it immediately for only 30 crystals! Oh, need crystals? You can buy 100 crystals for only $5.00 dollars!”

Um no. HELL no. LOLZ NO WTFDIAFBBQ.

I tried mobile F2P games. I did. The short list includes Transformers Earth Wars, Soul Seeker, Loot & Legends, Soul Hunters – Assassin’s Age, Star Wars Uprising, Transformers Battle Tactics, Marvel Contest of Champions, Star Wars Commander, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Puzzle & Dragons, Spirit Stones, Terra Battle, Marvel Avengers Academy, Puzzle Forge II, Slingshot Braves, Heroes of Dragon Age and Clash of Clans.

Of them all, only Marvel Puzzle Quest kept me coming back for a game that had some game in there without a truly horrendous paywall. The others were just a nightmare after a while. Granted, some are worse than others, but after the last one I almost quit entirely and settled on Solitaire.

FYI my son likes Cut The Rope. But there isn’t enough game there for me for long.

Then I did an internet search along the lines of ‘a mobile free2play game that doesn’t try to screw you out of a bazillion dollars every freaking day.’

Okay, the search may not have been phrased in quite that way.

Oh who am I kidding, of course it was.

What I came up with was Summoners War. It seemed to be a game that not only had a lot of folks saying it was a great game that allowed you to play extensively without having to pay, but the more I looked into it the more I found it has a massive online community. Wiki sites, Youtube videos, Twitch streams, Reddit, it’s a game with a ton of excited, engaged players writing about it…

And theorycrafting about it.

Ding ding ding!

What has WoW taught me?

If a game is good enough to attract a very large online presence that can find enough meat on the bones to develop thousands of fan written pages of theorycrafting suggestions, strategy guides, how to videos and leveling plans, then there is something there worth checking out.

So I tried it because hey, what have I got to lose?

I love this game. In fact I would love to give them money every month just to reward them for giving me a game I can play without feeling like I have to give them money.

Counter intuitive, I know.

Now don’t get me wrong. The game loves to pop up ads for their other games on the screen as you log in. It’s also how they notify you of new special events going on. They also frequently post ads for in game goodies you can buy when you transition from one part of the game to another. Not often enough to be annoying, just enough to remind you they would like some money.

But the difference here is you don’t have to watch out of game ads to do anything. You don’t actually have to buy anything.

No, I really mean it. I’ve been playing this thing for a pretty long time now. Every day. Hours a day sometimes depending on what content I’m doing.

If I’m farming Faimon Hell level 1 with my Dagora water element Warbear to shepherd low level monsters to get xp, you get mana and energy back at such a high rate that I have played, literally, for HOURS before I ran out of energy.

Other times, if I want to run a Hall of Magic dungeon repeatedly to farm a particular element to Awaken a monster to it’s final form, well I can blow through all of my current energy in about 20 minutes.

You randomly draw monsters from scrolls, and there are five grades (stars) of monsters that can spawn, with a max star ranking of 6. So of course the weakest monsters are one star, and the most powerful are the ‘natural five star’.

The common scrolls summon monsters from 1 to 3 stars in power, Mystic Scrolls can summon monsters that are guaranteed three stars or better, and there are Legendary Scrolls you can buy or earn through competing hard content that give you a four or five star on use.

But it’s not just a simple ‘buy our expensive scrolls to get good monsters’ thing as you’d expect.

In fact, if you apply yourself and do a little study and theorycraft monsters to accomplish specific tasks like clearing the very hardest levels of the Giants dungeon or the Dragons dungeon, what you find out is that there are some naturally occurring two and three star monsters that are some of the baddest mofos in the game, useful damn near anywhere.

That if you’re careful in your study, research a list of highly useful monsters for specific tasks, and know what to save to level up and what is safe to get rid of (feed) to other monsters to level them up or improve their skills you can go as far as you want in the game.

You can play every bloody thing in this entire game without ever spending a dime, and that is the truth.

But you have to accept that you’re in it for a long term game. It’s all about building the right monsters for the right goals and assembling a team composition that succeeds based on synergistic abilities modified by the custom runes that you equip to enhance aspects of abilities.

Yeah, it sounds like bullshit, but since I don’t raid anymore, this game scratches my theorycrafting itch.

For example, data research shows that up until the last patch at least the highest return on xp coupled with mana value in salable items and usable random monster drops as treasure came from killing Faimon level 1 in Hell difficulty, with one maxed out monster that can solo it carrying three other monsters that you’re leveling.

So I studied that dungeon, found that it was all fire monsters. Fire is vulnerable as hell to water based monsters, so I wanted a water based monster with a reliable self-heal that could deal sustained damage. A monster I could get myself instead of buying scrolls and praying for a lucky drop.

What I came up with was the water warbear Dagora.

The water warbear drops randomly from any of the Mount White Ragon dungeons, so early content you can do at low levels with a starter team. It’s a three star monster, but once leveled to 6 star and awakened and tricked out with Energy runes (mine is all energy +HP% runes so it boosts hit points as much as possible) it becomes a soloing badass. See, its special abilities are to do damage based on your max HP, heal yourself for 30% of your max HP pus get a defense buff for a few turns, and once every six turns be able to resurrect yourself if you die with 30% of your HP.

I mean, shit man. You just pound away at foes, automatically healing yourself periodically, and if you get a really bad run of luck and get bumped off, you self rez.

I’ve had a 100% success rate since I built Dagora at a very early point in the game, and being able to 100% solo Faimon Hell 1 means I can be carrying three other baby monsters for XP all day long AND getting other rewards like mana and monsters while I’m doing it.

So now I can level other stuff quick and reliably with goo energy rates of return. Suddenly, that opens up the rest of the game to seeking out specific monsters and leveling them up.

I ain’t saying you’d like it. I’m saying *I* like it. I find it endlessly enjoyable to have multiple monsters I’m leveling, teams for specific dungeon goals I’m building, strategies I’m trying out.

And now that I’ve built a big team of three star monsters, why, guess what? I am able to run higher level content that drops tons of resources, and that allows me to do stuff that awards tons of the premium in-game currency every week.

That lets me, for zero actual money, get in-game currency by the ton to buy the premium in game scrolls.

And that lets me do the GOOD summons, a lot, and heck if four star and five-star monsters don’t start showing up.

Some four star monsters are considered better than natural five stars simply because of their skills and where they are useful.

I’m at the point where I have a couple of natural five-star quality monsters, a BIG stable of really good natural four stars, I’ve leveled and upgraded a bunch of monsters to max 6 star badass quality. I’m able to 100% clear Giants B10 for sweet rewards, I get very good world boss kills every week, decent rank on world PvP, and I’m doing well enough in guild wars each week to have built tw five star monsters from guild rewards.

Oh, and did I mention that if your luck is just horrendous you have the options of saving low-level monsters that can be fused together to build higher rank monsters, some of which are must haves? Like the dark Ifrit, Veromos. He’s a badass used everywhere… and any free to play player with patience can plan which monsters you need to save to be able to eventually fuse him together.

I guess what I’d say to wrap up is, Summoners War is as massive a multiplayer game as WoW, with as rich and deep a gameplay mechanic as I have ever heard of, but with a level of entry that takes you as deep as you want to go.

It also has a ton of PVE if you want to do that and never play against other people. It has live one on one PVP, live multi-player raids at end game for three people to take on a Hydra, and weekly ranked guild battles, and on and on and on.

I also personally like the graphics. I find the design engaging. I love this natural 5 star dragon design for example (and no I do not have this dragon. It’s one of those rare maybe someday things like hens teeth).

summonerswar_zaiross

And finally, the thing that probably sells me on it the most. They have events all the time. Events with really sweet in-game rewards including their premium currency. If you play the damn game, they actually give you good stuff to encourage you to keep playing.

All I can figure is, they have figured out that if they hit a sweet spot and stay extremely active, with so many people playing they’re going to have a ton of whales supporting it.

Whatever it is, it’s amazing. There is always, ALWAYS something new to do, some new form of progression that feels like an attainable challenge that just takes time, patience and careful research.

One of my favorite things at this point eight or more months in is that I’ll be planning my next leveling / upgrading path for a goal based on what monsters I have or can fuse together, and halfway through it one of the great rewards I frequently get for being able to do hard stuff will drop a game changing monster that throws all my plans out the window because BADASS ALERT and now I want to change my strategy to accommodate the new monster.

Do you see? There isn’t just one way to achieve a goal. There isn’t even a best way to get there! There is your way, built on what monsters you have or can get or get from a drop or choose to farm, and how you gear them up with equippable runes.

Maybe someone else has a team to clear Dragons B10, but their team uses mostly four star monsters or even five stars, and yeah, you don’t have them and at early stages figure you never will.

But that’s okay, because if you search for Dragons B10 farm teams that can be built using easily obtained or farmed three star monsters or fused monsters like Veromos, why, that’s out there. Doable. Damn straight.

Like I said, I haven’t dropped money on the game. BUt I have a team I’ve built that has a 100% success rate at farming Giants B10, the highest level of the ten level Giants dungeon, which can drop some of the best grade runes as well as scrolls and other stuff.

For players just reading to see what I screwed up in describing this game, my Giants B10 auto 100% team is formed of Veromos as leader, with Ahman built as Violent with 100% crit rate, Belladeon not-Violent, Shannon and Bernard. Tried and true foundation of most starter teams for Giants B10, all six starred because I like to hit start on the run and go do other stuff, then glance down after a few minutes and see my rewards.

giantsb10

I had been working on a Dragons B10 team at the same time as building a Trial of Ascension 100th floor team at the same time, with Sigmarus, Veromos, Belladeon, Mikene and Ahman as my planned Dragons team, and Beretta, Veromos, Bernard, Belladeon and Spectra for a TOA 100 team. Just had Spectra drop for me last week, and I was super excited because I’d had the fire griffon once before but like a dumbass I fed it to a different monster because I didn’t understand how good its third ability really was. Once I started looking at Trial of Ascension I was seriously kicking myself for throwing away one of the most powerful monsters I could hope to have for it… because I didn’t know any better.🙂

I say those were the teams I was building… and both those teams would be viable and farmable or fusible for any player.

But then I opened some scrolls last night that I bought in the 750 gem/11 scroll premium pack (bought with event rewards and world boss winnings and your best buy for the gem price) and got three of the most powerful monsters in the game for those events, Chandra Verdehile and Hwa.

Damnit. Hwa with Verdehile are game changers useful damn near everywhere including pvp.

Welp. So there go those plans. Time to fall back and research some more. Because what those monsters can do can change my strategy from building a longevity and endure/outlast team that takes four minutes and replaces it with a speed kill team focusing on.. well, speed kills.

The long view.

Your mileage may vary. You may try it, and without a feeling of instant gratification or progression hate it with a passion. Or maybe you’ll see the massive amount of things that can be done that you simply can’t do yet until you’ve built the start of some good monsters and get overwhelmed.

But maybe you’ll try it and think, “Damn, here’s a game I can pop on my phone and play during breaks or anytime I’ve got 15 minutes to kill, and always have something to do, and always be improving just a little bit.”

A game that rewards careful planning, strategy and research.

And maybe you’ll look me up in-game as a friend, I’m Bigbearbutt. If you send me a friend invite, you’ll have access to use my monster once a day. It can farm Faimon Hell 1, so hey, you’ll have 1 run a day where you can let your other monsters be carried. It’s not much, but every little bit counts.

And be sure to say hi!

Unconventional Means

To start the Legion expansion, you have to pick what spec you’ll play as, since that determines your Artifact.

Once you reach 102, you can pick up a quest at your class order hall that sends you off to complete the story paths for the other two… should you wish to do so.

artifact-chains

Now, obviously the intent here is that you change your spec to the one for the new artifact, and try it out. Learn how to use it. That sort of thing. And it makes sense. Why stagnate? Why not try something new?

Scaling has been added to the Broken Isles quest zones, so no matter where you are your opponents will be around your level. The Artifact quests are no different. Whenever you choose to face them, they will remain around your level in difficulty.

Of course, we don’t know exactly how they’re coded to scale, do we? Are they level based only?

Do they care about iLevel, and will scale at 110 to ramp up to your new fancy raider iLevels? Do they compensate if you try to do them with, say, a different spec than intended and a leveled up Artifact already in your greedy little fingers?

Interesting questions.

I can tell you this. If you want to try to complete your other Artifacts using your primary favorite spec, don’t hesitate to give it a solid shot.

For my Hunter, I chose in Legion to go completely freaking crazy. For the first time in over ten years of playing Hunters, I chose something other than Beastmaster; I went Marksmanship.

Mayhap I’ll go over my reasons in a future blog post if anyone cares, but it’s not relevant to this discussion. What is, is that when I decided to go after the Beastmaster Artifact Titanstrike, I did so as a Marksmanship Hunter and wielding my spiffy artifact bow.

It was zero problem. In fact, having done the Hunter Titanstrike artifact quests in Beta as a Beastmaster, I’d say it was far easier this go around as a 106 Marks Hunter, and I attribute that completely to having a partially leveled artifact already in my possession. Also, when solo Marks I roll with my Bear pet out and proud and Misdirect to him frequently, so it’s not as if I was without a pet.

Okay, so DPS to DPS, fine. Big surprise there.

But what about DPS to something else?

Allow me to use as anecdotal evidence the strange case of the Cassie and the Enhancement Shaman.

My wife, who has hit 110 long before I did and as I write this is complaining that she still has two whole zones she hasn’t explored yet and the game has thrown a million new things at her since dinging 110 and is bitching about pacing, has completed all three of her Artifact stories.

Not leveling, just the stories.

And she did all three as… an Enhancement Shaman.

Yes. Yes she did.

No, I do not know what possesses someone to look at a healing Artifact story and think, “Meh, I’ll do it as Enhancement. How bad can it be.”

But she did.

She did the Elemental one first, and said it was fine, no problems at all.

The Restoration Shaman Artifact, she had the gall to complain that she almost dies once and it took a long time to finish as Enhance.

Really? Sigh.

But she did it, and I guess that proves something.

I’m not sure what. That if you’re really and truly crazy, you can find a way?

I mean love can find a way. That’s what I meant.

Still, I see it as inspiration. I still have yet to attempt the Hunter Survival Artifact.

Dare I try it as Marksmanship and see if it can be done by a ranged Hunter?

Yes. Yes, I think I shall.

Here goes nothing!

Updated on 9/18 – success!

They say a every pictures tells a story…

talonclaw

It turned out completing this on Marksmanship was easy, but gave me a few moments. I had to use Flare… wait, that’s on my bar, right? Oh yes, there it is!

And then they asked me to lay a trap, and quest completion required me to lay a trap. Oh shit, I don’t have traps! Am I going to have to switch specs to Survival just so I can get traps?

Nope.

The trap icon on the ground allowed me to interact with it directly, placing a trap just by clicking on it. Mission accomplished, panic averted.🙂

The spear Talonclaw is cool, and I am glad to have it. I definitely intend to try out the melee Hunter Survival spec at some point and see what it feels like.

Until then though, it’s Marksmanship Hunter and Guardian Druid all the way!