I Want to Sav(or) the World of Warcraft

Reminiscing about the grand old days of playing World of Warcraft has me realizing how much of the game I’ve forgotten. When was the last time I dropped by Onyxia’s parlor, had a nice cup of tea? Said hi to some of those dungeons up in Twilight Highlands?

The world is huge. Just, freaking huge.

It’s hard for me to grasp most of the time, because each expansion layers on more levels like a pearl and I just stay in the new layer and mill around.

There is so much to do out there between questing and exploring zones and soloing through all the dungeons and raids.

Of what is out there, how much do I remember? I did it all at least once at some point over the years, but there were long gaps between expansions where I sat at max level and, what? Did the same dungeons and raids over and over? Leveled alts? Did pet battles?

Sure, I leveled alts, but without exception those alts were played in a zone  only until I out-leveled the area, then I dropped whatever the heck I was in the middle of and moved on.

When was the last time I ever just took a character from the beginning, the very beginning, and worked my way through every quest in every zone in as close to the original storytelling flow as possible?

The answer is, never.

How funny is that? I go on and on about how great Warcraft is with all this incredible content, but when it comes down to it, it’s been at least over a decade since I put any effort into playing through the game as one big story. In fact the last time I played through determined to be a completionist and see ALL the story there was to experience was in vanilla. And back then, it was because you needed to scrape and beg for those XPs, yo.

I wonder if I could do it? I wonder if it is possible for my short attention span ‘ooh shiny’ attitude to pick a character and hit each story zone, do it ALL regardless of whether I’ve out-leveled it or not, and keep doing that all the way to the end? To do World of Warcraft from start to finish as a single cohesive story?

It would take some planning to do it right, I can see that already. Anything ridiculous worth doing is worth overdoing, after all.

I’d need to pick a character, and a starting zone.

I’d need to group zones together into story arcs. The goal wouldn’t be to LEVEL so much as to take a character with every quest open and available in the game, then play through entire thematic arcs to get the complete experience. Using a fresh character prevents me from soloing every dungeon or raid I’d come to, but would ensure every quest in the game would be available as I travel through.

Suddenly I wish there was a way to reset your character quest progression to zero to do it all from the beginning. But no I don’t, the logistics on that would be terrible. They’d have to know which quests you’d already completed so they wouldn’t offer you quest rewards again, but not shut off quest rewards for quests you’d never done the first time, sorry STUPID idea, galactically awful, ugh.

To really do it right would take completing the dungeons for each zone once I had any final quests, since (at least originally) you would finish the story arcs in a zone by doing dungeons and then finally doing the associated raids. Only then would I move on to the next arc.

I’m excited at this idea. I’m freaking stoked about this idea. I’m ready to log in and tear it up right now!

I kinda sorta started to float this idea of playing through all the zones to Cassie last night, and she shot it down so fast it gave me whiplash.

Name a zone, and she had a reason, a perfectly valid reason, an EXTREMELY accurate and valid reason why playing an alt in that zone will suck all over again. She says I’m delusional, and there is a reason why as soon as we out-level a zone on an alt we move on. That once we’ve done the zone the very first time, we’ve let all the magic happy quest fairy dust out of the jar. You can’t go back and recapture that feeling.

I don’t know. I think she’s right, but at the same time damnit I want to try. One thing in my favor is I’m old. My memory is shot anyway, most of it will seem new to me if I come at it from a different direction.

The big challenge would be making sure I can clear the dungeons and raids at the right time in the process so I maintain the flow of the story as I go. I have a feeling that I’m going to need buy-in from Cassie on that one to get them done, especially on the raids.

I’m still going to try to do it. I think I’ll have to delete either my Void Elf alt or my Lightforged Draenei and start over from scratch. I’ll be level 20 at the start, but I could still go to each starting zone in turn.

Hmm, but would it be better to do a Worgen? That starting zone is only accessible to that race, and has some impressive story questing tied to it.

Oh great, now I don’t know where to start.

I guess from here, before I get bogged down by which alt class and race to play, I need to make a list of all the zones in each expansion/world, and then start tying story arcs together to nail down a sequence.

Yep, yep that seems like my next step.

I’m sure this will go well. What could go wrong?

Stay tuned!

 

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Wanting a Warcraft Done Up Diablo

In playing the new expansion, questing through the new areas, I’ve been struck by how… how just completely wonderful the experience has been.

The areas are beautiful, lush with life, expansive and gorgeous to look upon yet still in keeping with the Warcraft that has come before.

Most of the settlements I’ve seen evoke feelings of original Warcraft city or village design, but expanded upon.

As an example, my very first impression of the new starter city, Boralus, was that it was what I thought Booty Bay was going to be like when I first journeyed there. The actual Booty Bay, when I first saw it… well, let’s just say it brings to mind a favorite old quote from the movie Roadhouse; “I thought you’d be bigger.”

Boralus is the style of Booty Bay, while being as large and bustling and alive as I could hope for a coastal trade city to be. And it’s not even that it’s that much larger than Booty Bay, but it rolls on into the rest of the massive city and dock areas smoothly, giving a sense of scale that Booty Bay never really did.

Booty Bay, for all its history and place in the world, is still a one dock, one ship town. I always felt like a ragtag band of misfits could take it over with a rusty saber and a stuffed shark. Not so Boralus!

So yes, establishing shot. I love the look and feel of the areas. I love traveling in the wilds between quest hubs and seeing the wide variety of non-aggressive wildlife to be found everywhere. It’s very nice to not have to fight every raccoon, fox, deer and eagle I see. Sometimes, I’d like to feel like I’m part of the environment with the wee pretty critters rather than El Destructo, massacre lord of skinning, killer of all he surveys. Sometimes. Depends on traffic conditions that day.

But there is another key ingredient to my enjoyment, nay my delight in adventuring in Kul Tiras.

I never see another living soul once in the game.

Call it hitting that blessed sweet spot between the vast horde racing to max level but not yet bored enough to shift to all alt leveling all the time.

I travel from town to town, righting wrongs, interacting with people along the way, finding treasure chests and piles of ore, and generally being immersed and having a great time.

Somehow, and call me an old antisocial curmudgeon if you like, but my immersion has never felt enhanced by running into <I’dSapThat> the rogue sitting on his largest mount on top of a quest giver. Or any of a thousand other annoying dipshit things people do in an anonymous world filled with other people to hopefully troll.

Cassie started playing this expansion before I did, and she says that as soon as she hit max level, boom, there were all those world quests and players phased in with her everywhere you looked, racing each other for mobs and resources. And she hadn’t finished questing in the third zone yet, so she’s now trying to deal with that while enjoying the quests and story and environments. Yay.

So looking forward to hitting max level now.

The truth for me is simple. No matter how many ‘fixes’ or modifications a developer tries to put in a massively online game to prevent trolls from trolling, it’s not the actions of the trolls that annoy me nearly as much as the forced awareness that the trolls are there in the first place, in your face, trying to be a little dick. Or just being, well, “me first me first” annoying little gits.

I don’t want to play a massively multiplayer online role-playing game anymore. I don’t like strangers in general. I don’t even like people in general. I like individuals I meet on a case by case basis. The world is a very big place, and just sharing the fact we both like World of Warcraft is no longer enough to make me include you in my band of brothers and sisters. Lots of assholes play the game too.

Case by case basis.

But, and this is the sticky part, I do love playing with friends in games. I like playing solo, but I love having an online guild of friends to chat with and be there to help or just hang out if the opportunity pops up Or to come see their awesome new transmog, pet or mount.

I like grouping up, but in small groups.

I like having every challenge in the game be possible to achieve solo, but fun in groups as well.

Basically, what I love is World of Warcraft, but if it had the Diablo 3 multiplayer system.

You know, funny thing about Diablo 3. Somehow, there is this big world in the game, and yet they don’t force all the players to share the same small cramped zone to save server space. But you can still play with friends when you want to!

You can group up with friends, drop in on their game and help them out or just roll with them killing stuff, and somehow this does not destroy the game world or shut down servers. Up to four or five, can’t remember off the top of my head, people can play together at any given time. You can even trade loot back and forth too!

Basically, Diablo 3 has the most perfect “I want to play the game and also be able to play with friends but not have to deal with dicks” system I’ve ever seen in a multiplayer game, and I dearly wish, oh HOW I wish that it could be applied to World of Warcraft.

I’m just saying.

This game would be freaking awesome if it wasn’t for all the damn people.

The Green Hills of Azeroth

dancinglights

The world of Azeroth is very real to me.

It’s not a collection of carefully crafted ones and zeroes hosted on magnetic media. It’s a living, breathing world that I have long called home.

From the wild cats of Dolanaar to the storm-tossed beaches off of Auberdine, across the great sea to the mountains of Lordaeron, and even to the pirate-infested waters off the southern tip of Stranglethorn Vale, Azeroth has been my home.

Ten years and more I spent walking across, riding through and flying above the living land of Azeroth, and there isn’t a tree, hill or cave that I can’t picture even now.

The names of the places often escape me, as my hair turns gray and the struggle to find my keys is real. But the sights, sounds, the feel of the land… it is with me here in my heart, and I don’t doubt it will be with me to the day I die.

I have many memories of my time in Azeroth, memories that are as real to me as any from my time spent on our own dear Earth.

I can remember as if it were yesterday traveling through the Badlands, and discovering a complex of strange caves under the sandy soil. There were dark dwarves doing I knew not what, creations of living stone, and hints of secrets waiting to be unravelled that were greater than I could understand.

I remember traveling across Kalimdor, seeing the destruction the Orcs caused in the beautiful forests, feeling sorrow at the beautiful forests burning. Farther south, I laughed to find a Goblin racetrack on the great salt flats, and experienced joy at becoming friends with a faerie dragon that would join me on my journeys.

I’ll never forget those beautiful skies, the light of the sun streaming through ruins of alien design in the desert sands of Silithus.

How could it not be real to me? Even the poorest sketch can be filled with lush colors when filled in by the imagination, and Azeroth was not some skimpy line drawing but a fully-realized world waiting to be discovered, visited, explored and loved.

Azeroth is a real place, and what my screen didn’t show me, my mind filled in.

Yes, I spent many years living in Azeroth. In a very real way, all of my core gaming and adventuring life was lived there.

I’ve moved on now to spend my nights in other worlds, and none more alien at times than the real one I wake up to every day. I look ahead to what the new day will bring, and I know that Azeroth is no longer in my future.

Despite all that, Azeroth is the home of my heart. No matter how far I will travel from it’s shores, no matter how many years will pass before my journeying days are done, deep inside my heart Azeroth lingers on.

Robert Heinlein once wrote a story called The Green Hills of Earth, telling a tale of the brave pioneers that journeyed beyond the world of their birth to visit the distant stars. Pioneers too filled with wanderlust to be satisfied with the world of their birth, moving on to new lands, new frontiers, needing to explore worlds and breath atmosphere as yet untouched by anyone else.

And yet, no matter how much distance lay behind them or the number of years that passed, Heinlein knew that none of us ever truly forgets the place where we were born, where we came of age, and where we learned what it means to be home.

A place where we always truly belong.

We pray for one last landing/ On the globe that gave us birth/ Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies/ And the cool, green hills of Earth. – Robert Heinlein, The Green Hills of Earth

It’s bittersweet to know that no matter where my own journey takes me in life, no matter how much distance or time separates us, in my heart there will always be a part that longs for one last glimpse at the setting sun of Azeroth before I go.

Azeroth, you will always be a part of me. I have loved my time with you, and I give my deepest thanks for everyone that has ever spent years of their lives to create that wonderful place that I have called home.

In creating Azeroth you’ve done far more than make a video game.

To paraphrase Willy Wonka, you were the music makers and the dreamers of dreams, and you provided me and millions of others a chance at out own golden tickets. For those of us that took the ride, you gave us a tour of your imagination that I know I will never forget. Yes, there may have been more than a few bad eggs along the way (Trade Chat, cough cough), but there were many Charlies and Grampa Joes along the way too, and even the occasional fizzy lifting drink (or poop quest) to giggle over before moving on to the next wonder waiting to be found.

If there is any mercy in the future virtual ages to come, Azeroth will be recreated in loving detail as a world that can truly be walked across and lived within, as was suggested ever so briefly in the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Good night Azeroth, and god bless all those who journey to your distant shores. You’ll always be a part of me. I’ll never forget you, and I’ll never consider my time traveling across your rolling green hills as anything other than a gift.

The Cub Report – 56k would be nice but 28.8 is the reality

Once upon a time, a Bear and his wife played video games together.

Their favorite series of video games were Spyro the Dragon on the Playstation and PS2.

This, of course, was before the developing companies took the license, abandoned the core gameplay and threw in all sorts of half baked mini-games that ruined the experience.

In this long ago time, both Bear and Cassie loved playing Spyro, but there was a slight problem.

There were these missions, see.

Crystal Popcorn missions. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage introduced them, and oh boy.

If you wanted 100% completion of the game and the awesome rewards that came with it, you had to do all the missions at max.

You’d be given a mission to race Hunter the Jaguar to be the first to collect Crystal Popcorn. There would be a cave with holes in the ground, and from these holes would pop, briefly, a crystal popcorn. While you’re racing around trying to arrive at a hole at the precise moment a popcorn was coming up and grab it, Hunter would be running around too.

spyro-2-crystal-popcorn

This quest was tight. You had to learn the popcorn spawn points, the sequence they would appear, and master the timing so you got there and stood ON the damn spot before it arrived because Hunter would steal that damn popcorn if you gave him half a chance to stick his dirty filthy paws on it.

I wish there was a way to trigger PvP mode in that game and supercharge Hunter, damn him.

Sorry, I still have issues.

Anyway, this was a really fun mission and, being a platforming superstar on the analog controller I quickly became a master of these missions.

Cassie, on the other hand, found them incredibly frustrating, and her cool was often harshed by me leaning over and sarcastically offering to help her do the missions.

You know, carry her through the completion.

It was totally for her benefit, of course.

This is a game from 1999. This was a long damn time ago, but there you have it. I trolled my wife over Crystal Popcorn.

Now, for those of you who haven’t been in a long term relationship yet, let me clue you in on what to expect.

Fast forward to today, 16 bloody be damned years later.

I’m a much older Bear and we have a Cub that is rapidly leveling up through the teen years. He’s going to be living his own Breakfast Club scenarios in High School next year and he wasn’t even alive when The Breakfast Club came out.

We have two XBox Ones in the house so the Cub and I can play multiplayer together, one in my office and one in the family room downstairs. It was expensive but damn it was worth it, it’s what we do more of than anything else.

What we play together more often than anything else is Destiny, a stunningly beautiful sci-fi shooter.

Well, it’s Christmas season and Destiny has an in-game event called The Dawning, and along with new multiplayer Strike (PvE) content and quests came the return of an event called Sparrow Racing League.

In the game are these rocket bikes called Sparrows, basically Star Wars speeder bikes from Endor, nothing more than a rocket and a stick to steer with.

SRL consists of 6 person races through different incredibly awesome maps while mobs shoot at you, and yes you can run them over. There are quests, bounty missions, and TONS of rewards including transmogrification tokens to change your armor color schemes (instead of transmogging individual items, Destiny has ‘shader’ schemes that redoes the entire equipped armor in a consistent theme. I love it), new cool looking Sparrow racing bikes, top level gear, special gear that has bonuses to racing like more fuel for tight turns, etc.

Basically, the racing itself is insanely fun but there is also top end loot raining from the sky in almost every race.

They did this last year as well, and it goes away on January 3rd. This year, with the addition to Destiny of private PvP matches, when January 3rd rolls around the league itself, it’s quests and rewards will go away but you will still be able to participate in races with your friends forever, so hell yes.

Technically, this is PvP. It’s a race, and while you can queue up with everyone in your group, it’s still filled out with strangers.

One of the quest chains that drops tons of great loot is to complete matches with ever-increasing ratings to earn a higher class of racing license. Just an excuse for more gear rewards, really.

The final challenge is to complete 3 races without blowing up, and also complete 3 races in first.

Hoo boy.

I’m not bad, I love it, I quickly got all the dedicated Racing gear and leveled it,and it didn’t take long to learn the various maps.

The problem comes in that I am OLD now, it’s winter break for most school kids, and online shooters are mostly played by… how shall I put this.

I know, to use an appropriate quote from the original Point Break, “Angelo, this stuff is for rubber people that don’t shave yet.”

I’m playing a racing game in an online shooter against rubber people that don’t shave yet. Two seconds into the race and you find out there’s a bunch of savages in this town. I mean tower. I mean track. On the track. Speed boost gate? Yeah, good luck getting that gate as five other people simultaneously bike check you off the track.

Damn I love that game. Seriously, it rocks.

I mean, it sounds bad, but the loot has nothing to do with your score! It don’t matter, first, last, 5 minutes late, you get the same random chance at awesome rewards as the dudebro next door.

But the quests… ah, the quests require you to do some stuff.

First place? Against those savages? THREE TIMES!?!

I got two down, one because the Cub let me pass him when we were in first and second respectively, and the second time because, and I swear to God I’m not making this up, I was in second place but the lords of lag tossed me a pity win over the guy in number one. He literally crossed the line before me but the actual score showed I beat him by 6 seconds. Which I totally did NOT. He must have been frothing at the mouth like a mad dog.

sparrow-racing-first

But win number three, I was chasing the dragon for two days.

I was bitching about hanging up on the wall, getting bumped away from gates, having a slower speeder than everyone else, that perennial favorite lag, you name it.

So my son, the Cub, bless his heart, he asks me if I want him to play my character so he can get me my last win.

I went to make lunch for us, and he comes up five minutes later.

“I only beat the guy in second place by 11 seconds. I got you the quest completion, a new shader, a new banner, and a 380 light rocket launcher.”

…. “But it was only five minutes.”

That’s okay, want me to play your character some more?

….

It was at this point that Cassie erupts in howls of laughter and yells “Yes! After all these years and you pulling that on me in Spyro you finally know exactly what it’s like! JUSTICE IS MINE! How do you like getting OLD?!?!?!”

I’m telling you. Sixteen years. Sixteen long years, and she didn’t forget. Not one little bit.

It’s a fair cop.

The spirit is willing, but the data pipes that run signals from my brains to my hands, they’re slowing down.

I’m a 28.8k baud body in a High Speed DSL world. I need an upgrade.

Screw lasik eye surgery, I want the promised cyberpunk nerve upgrades.

 

Summoners War – Progression and Team Planning

veromos

When playing Summoners War in the early game, it can feel a little overwhelming. There are a lot of potential monsters of many different natural star qualities, and knowing that some natural 2 or 3 star monsters can be great end game monsters makes it even worse in some ways.

After all, once you know SOME natural 2s or 3s can be great, then the worry sets in on every Unknown Scroll summons. “I just got this monster. Is it good? Bad? Food to level something else or a fundamental game changer? What do I do with it? My bag space is limited!”

The purpose of this post is for PVE planning, to help you look ahead to what comes after clearing a bit through the scenarios (Garen Forest, Kabir Ruins, etc).

First steps, let’s define the normal progression path for PVE.

Step 1 – Scenarios

At the very beginning, the tutorial leads you through forming a basic team of monsters, starts you off with a tanky mon, a healy mon and a couple DPS. It shows you basic rune farming from the scenarios, applying them to improve your monster performance, leveling them up to get the most out of them, and then working your way through various scenarios in pursuit of specific rune types.

The scenarios then are the first progression step. You get good rewards for clearing all seven stages, and the higher the difficulty you clear (Hard, Hell) the better potential quality the rune drops can be. Also, you get XP for your monsters. Great place to begin, your monster types don’t really matter, and you get to play around with literally ANY combination of monster to have fun trying out wacky strategies.

After you clear the Kabir Ruins on Normal, you unlock access to the Cairos Dungeons.

Step 2 – Giant’s Keep

The Cairos Dungeons are where you find the next true steps on the progression path.

The Cairos Dungeons contain the five elemental halls (each only open for one day per week), the Hall of Magic, the Giant’s Keep, the Dragon’s Lair, the Necropolis, and any Secret Dungeons (duration one hour which you OR ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS may have unlocked in an elemental hall. More about Secret Dungeons all the way at the end of this post.

Giant’s Keep is the second stage of progression. This is where all of the most basic early game runes drop, and at the highest levels of the dungeon you can get 4, 5 and 6 star runes consistently. This is a big advantage over the scenarios, as even on Hell difficulty the likelihood of a rune being a 5 star, while there, is still darn rare.

It’s kind of neck and neck. You can choose to switch to running Giants to get much better runes and level your team, or continue with scenarios, or a mixture of both.

Step 3 – Dragon’s Lair

Once you are clearing Giant’s Keep on stage 10 consistently, you should farm that for runes for a while to strengthen your team. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS. Getting all 5 and 6 star runes for your core Giant’s team is critical to your progression. The goal is to be able to run Giant’s Keep B10 consistently on auto.

The nice thing about this is that the starter team I will talk about later in the team planning section can ALSO auto run Dragon’s Lair B8 consistently. This lets you really focus on improving one team while getting the benefits of two of the progression dungeons.

The benefit to running Dragon’s Lair is that this is where the end game runes drop. This is the source of the vastly overpowered and highly desired Violent runes, as well as your Shield, Focus, Guard and Revenge runes, all used in PVE further on down the line.

Most end game rune strategies revolve around Violent and something else, or in the case of Raiding and PVP Guard and something else. Dragon’s Lair is the dungeon you will farm for runes to enable everything else you really want to do further on.

Step 4 – Trial of Ascension (Normal)

Once you are clearing Giant’s Keep B10 and Dragon’s Lair B8 consistently, you should definitely be strong enough to get to level 40 or 50 in the Normal mode of Trial of Ascension. This is a monthly source of summoning stones, Red Crystals, Rainbowmon, Devilmon and other lovely rewards.

The Trial of Ascension is also one of my favorite parts of the game. A lot of players talk about building the perfect ‘auto TOA’ team, but for me it’s more about using your monsters smart. It’s a test of how well you know and understand the abilities of the different monsters, and how well prepared you are to counter them.

A single basic team CAN go an incredible way through, in fact I have one team I use that without any monster substitutions at all can clear Normal all the way to level 70 or even more. It went to level 80+ last month and I’ve hit level 70 already this month, and can probably go further.

But a single team isn’t the goal. Some enemy monsters have tricks based on their abilities, like an enemy team of ALL healers and resurrection specialists. Burning down a team of 5 monsters that can all heal each other and resurrect fallen monsters is a nightmare if you haven’t planned for that in your team build, as in maximizing your team strength with monsters that have lots of AoE AND Stuns AND the Despair rune set that has a chance to stun the enemy, and also slows the enemy team, and also increases your own speed. Speeding yourself up, slowing them down, keeping as many stunlocked as possible, using abilities that can remove the enemy action bar, if you prevent the enemy from getting a chance to go, then they can’t bloody well heal, now can they? And resurrection has a long turn based cooldown.

Also enemy teams can do lots of healing, and you can counter that using a monster that can block the enemy from benefitting from any heals for 1, 2 or even 3 turns. On some levels that is a mandatory ability.

Step 5 – Raids

Raids are just like what you would think. An opportunity for you to join a couple friends and unleash your teams on a single massive raid boss. On raids, your team runs on auto without your control, so this is the ultimate expression of how well you understand monster abilities, team synergy, buffs, debuffs and overall strategy.

For raids, the key is overlapping buffs and debuffs that are preferably on attack 1 (goes most often as default), and to a lesser extent on attack 2, which usually has a 2 or 3 turn cooldown. So a team composition of six monsters that EACH provide some of the required buffs and debuffs on attack 1 or 2, without doubling up, will do the best for you in starting out.

Further Progression – Necropolis and PVP

One might say that the ultimate end game progression is PVP, where you are matching your wits against enemy players. That is where the Necropolis comes in, supplying mostly end game PVP oriented of special-purpose runes.  How you would rune your monsters to tackle other players can be a lot different then for PVE, so this is why you want to look very closely at suggested rune builds for monsters. A rune build for Hwa for PVP is going to be a lot different than for Dragon’s Lair B10.

Team suggestions and synergy – a starting checklist

Now that I ran down the progression order and when and where you are going to want to try them, let’s talk about what exact monsters to look for in planning your starter teams.

These teams are designed for one purpose – to make the most out of free to play monsters that WILL get the job done. Each team can and will run their content on auto at the highest difficulty… but they will be slower than hell.

The idea here is to have a list of monsters you can actively seek without relying on RNG. While farming these monsters, you will of course be getting Red Crystals to buy Premium Packs, you will be earning Light and Darkness Scrolls, and you will get Mystical Scrolls from drops in the Caiross Dungeons and other events that can and eventually WILL give you the lightning strike of a rare 4 or 5 star monster that might just work better in your team to get it cleared faster.

If that happens, great! Once you can clear a dungeon or raid every time, the natural next step is to improve your team so they clear it faster or more consistently. Maybe they fail about 10% of the time, and you want to swap in a different healer to improve that. Or your team clears Dragons B10 in 7 minutes, and you want to get that time down to 4 or 5. Absolutely, go for it.

Your starter goal though has to be to clear the bloody things in the first place. You can always improve from there.

Here are my recommended starter team monsters and rune sets based purely on a free to play farmable strategy.

ATTENTION! I am including the Fusable Dark Ifrit Veromon in this list, as well as two other Fusable monsters (four if you count the raid teams). These may take some time to farm, yes. And also a bit of luck on getting and saving the 3 star monsters needed from Unknown Scrolls or Secret Dungeons.

It’s still perfectly doable, and you will find that Veromon is THE KEY to unlocking the gate of damn near all content in this game. Once you’ve played long enough to have farmed up and leveled/awakened the monsters necessary to Fuse Veromos the dark ifrit, you darn well know the basics of this game. Veromos is kind of the badge of experience that shows you know what you’re doing. If you have Veromos, you’ve got it going on. You’re not a new player anymore.

Free to play team suggestions

Giant’s Keep B10 –

Veromos [leader] (dark ifrit – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% (early game – later on replace Swift with Violent)

Shannon (wind pixie 2 star – scrolls) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Bernard (wind griffon 3 star – Tamor Desert) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Belladeon (light inugami – Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Optional 5th party member heals/buffs:

Ahman (light bearman 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Blade/Blade/Blade HP%/CritR%/HP% early to get 100% crit rating. As sub stats with Crit Rating allow you to remove Blade rune sets and maintain 100% crit, add in Energy. Once you can build a Violent/Blade or Violent/Energy set with 100% total crit rating from Crit R% sub stats, you’ve got a true beast. For early Giant’s B10, having Energy/Blade/Blade with 100% crit rating and HP%/CritR%/HP% should be fine. Max that HP out as much as you can though. I use Ahman everywhere, but the key is to have that second healer for your team.

Darion (light vagabond 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Energy x3 Hp%/HP%/HP% while not a healer, he has a defense break, an attack power debuff, AND an automatic 15% damage reduction for everyone in your party which is just amazing.

To add your own monster, keep in mind the B10 giant boss is water so the elemental advantage of Wind is best. You really, really want the core Shannon/Bernard team to be the basis of your group though. boss slow/team speed buff is amazing. plus Shannons attack power and defense buff to your party, yum!

This team will clear Giant’s Keep B10 on auto for me 100% of the time using Ahman. My Ahman is a badass, but for most of my other monsters, the runes are a mix of 5 stars and 6 stars, usually leveled up to +12 minimum. They are all 6 star monsters, but some say you can run with Bernard and Shannon only 5 starred if your runes are strong, highly leveled, and you’ve got a great healer assisting Belladeon.

Dragon’s Lair B10-

Baretta [leader] (fire sylph – 4 star Fused) Despair/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% (Despair so also usable in TOA)

Veromon (same as above)

Belladeon (same as above)

Konamiya (water garuda 2 star – Unknown Scrolls) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Mikene (water undine – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% early on, Violent/Energy later.

Mikene is along as a resurrection monster, because the true obstacle in Dragons B10 is the third level mid boss, Zaiross the fire dragon. It is common to lose a monster here, and later again on the final dragon when you kill the right pylon, so Mikene is here to resurrect fallen comrades. Briand the Wind Death Knight is usually vastly preferred over Mikene, but he is a natural 4 star monster requiring pure luck to get.

Dragons is not quite as focused on the elemental disadvantage, by the way. It helps to have all water, but sometimes some monsters are just so great it doesn’t matter if they are fire.

This team is required to be FAST. You want your Veromos very fast, 210 Spd if possible, and yes that takes some serious sub stats and your SPD tower you are upgrading from Glory Points. Baretta speeds up your entire team, Veromos cleanses a dot every time he goes, Konamiya can cleanse ALL dots every three turns, Mikene can rezz the fallen, and Bella has the defense break and group heals as well.

If you are blindingly lucky to get a fire vampire Verdehile, his whole thing is speed buffing everyone with his first attack, so replace Baretta with Verde when or if you get him.

The idea here is to get massive health from runes (20k+health is ideal starting point), place Baretta in the lead for the speed buff to the team, and on the final boss kill the right tower, then burn the boss.

When a tower dies, whoever struck the last blow gets a hellacious counterstrike that will usually kill it. If the tower dies to a DOT, nobody gets nailed. So monsters that DOT towers are wonderful. But if someone else takes it down with a direct strike, Mikene is there to resurrect them.

Improving this team usually involves Violent runes, better health, faster speed, and being able to burn the final boss without attacking the right tower, so you don’t need the resurrection.

If you do get a Verdehile, just remember, either DO NOT use Devilmon to skill him up, or stop skilling him up when Noble Agreement is at rank 3. The whole point of Verdehile is for his 1st attack to go off as often as possible with 100% crit, so two blows per attack each increase your teams attack bars. If you reduce the cooldown on Noble Agreement, he’ll use that more often and it only hits the boss once. As you can see, this is why Violent runes on Verdehile can be insane since every time he goes he fills everyone’s attack bar a bit. So extra turns for Verde can make your entire team go again before the enemy. INSANE.

Added notes – This is a starting point. If your runes are only around 5 star +12, it will likely NOT have 100% reliability. The whole basis for this team is speed.

If you have been doing your Arena point farming from day one and focusing on leveling the Speed totem after buying your weekly Devilmon with Glory points, then by the time you have a Dragons B10 team ready to go realistically you should be at least +10% Spd from the Glory Point totem. Continuing to improve the totem will help the overall speed. Likewise, replacing runes with 6 star versions and leveling the runes you have, especially Spd and HP% runes, will vastly improve success chances.

Finally, the runes listed for builds are ones to get started in Dragons, based on what you can farm from Giants B10. Replacing the runes for Veromos and Belladeon with Violent sets and getting extra turns is an incredible boost to the success, as having those reduced cooldowns for casting heal from Belladeon and more turns from Veromos to cleanse a DoT is overpowered. Likewise, if you finally get your Ahman to truly maxed out with Violent/Energy runes and 100% crit rate and +15 level 6 star runes, replacing Belladeon with him evens out constant healing for everyone and adds taunts to keep damage off of squishier monsters.

Without Belladeons defense break, and without more DoT providers than Veromon, this is a very slow team. It’s whole point is as a consistent starter to get you farming.

Improvements include replacing team members with better resurrections, replacing a resurrection monster with a more powerful multi-DOTter, speeding the whole thing up. This is usually where 4 and 5 star monsters come into play to decrease the time it takes to complete a run.

I am currently running Verdehile, Konamiya, Veromos, Ahman and Mikene. Mikene has zero Devilmon skillups fed to her, and neither does Verdehile. But Ahman, Veromos and Konamiya are both fully skilled up. This team takes about 7:30 to 7:45 to clear the Dragons B10, so incredibly slow. BUT it’s been 100% successful for me, even with many runes being only +12. The point being, please don’t assume the suggested starter team is all you will ever need as an end goal. It really is what I’m calling it – a starter team to get you farming.

Trial of Ascension (Normal)-

Veromos (same as above)

Baretta (same as above, runed for TOA AoE stunning)

Bernard (same as above)

Ahman (used by me as Violent/Energy HP%/CritR%/HP% 100% crit rating and all 6 star runes as only healer. Can handle heals in TOA Normal all the way to level 80 fairly easily.

***Belladeon (same as above) used sometimes instead of Ahman without much difference, really. Just needs to be more hands-on to time heals better. But has Defense Break on first attack and can remove enemy bubble/buffs with second attack, so less heals, more usefulness on difficult fights.

Shannon (same as above)

Alternate outstanding free to play monsters for TOA Normal-

Colleen (fire harpu – 2 star Unknown Scroll, Secret Dungeon, etc) Violent/Revenge HP%/Def%/HP%

Colleen is runed here for her other top use as a main Necropolis B10 monster and for Raids. Since her main usefulness is at progression past Dragons B10, her runes reflect what you should have then. But her combination of healing, Attack Power debuff on boss and Healing prevention to the enemy makes her IDEAL for those difficult situations in TOA when the boss is surrounded by healers or does a big whammy of damage on someone.

Talc (water battle mammoth – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Guard HP%/HP%/Acc%

Talc is incredible. He is a powerful tank, and becomes more powerful the higher his HP gets. In fact, the only reason he has accuracy on rune 6 is to apply his taunt to a target, protecting squishier monsters. If you’d prefer to replace that with a HP% rune, it might even be more effective. Talc has a powerful AoE team heal plus defense buff, AND if he gets his health high enough then he can just ignore most enemy trash attacks, a nice thing with his taunt. Talc can be a great healing supprt for Belladeon on fights with tougher bosses that are tough for a squishy healer.

Spectra (fire griffon – 3 star, Unknown Scrolls and Secret Dungeons) Swift/Blade SPD/HP%/Acc% Spectra is a direct replacement for Shannon in some situations. Both have an AOE attack speed reduction on the enemy team. Shannons has a higher chance to succeed (80%), while Spectra’s can also reduce the attack bar of all of the enemy targets (50%). Aside from that, Shannon has a team wide attack power and defense buff that vastly increases the overall power and survivability of your team while Spectra provides a very big single target DPS attack. I generally use Shannon unless I need more DPS oomph.

Another thing to note is Shannon’s AoE enemy slow is an actual attack. It does damage. Spectras slow does NOT do damage. This means that if you rune your Shannon Despair, her AoE WILL have a chance to stun, but if you rune Spectra with Despair HIS AoE will NOT because in order for the Despair rune to have a chance to stun the enemy, the attack has to be able to do damage. So running Shannon as Despair is extremely viable for all content but never rune Spectra with Despair.

Hemos (water grim reaper – 3 star, Unknown Scroll and Secret Dungeon)  Swift/Focus or Violent/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% or Spd/HP%/HP% (he’s kind squishy) Hemos is primarily for TOA HARD mode, but as a 3 star monster with his second skill, he’s still well worth talking about here. Again, his second skill AoE deals no damage so don’t use Despair runes on him, but he is used for his second skill. It has a very high chance to apply TWO DoTs to all targets, useable every 3 turns, and since DoTs do a percent of the enemy health every tick, this is great against bosses and trash alike. Works great in tandem with other monsters that do more damage to a target based on how many effects they currently have, like Akhamamir the wind ifrit (summoned from guild wars currency).

Mav (wind penguin knight – 3 star, Unknown Scroll) Violent/Focus or Violent/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%, Mav is on almost every ‘must have’ monster list for both TOA normal and hard because of the awesome mix of abilities for speeding up your team (Wings of Awakened), being tanky, self heal, taunt off squishy monsters. You should aim for around 45% bonus accuracy off sub stats if at all possible.

Raids-

Front Line:

Xiong Fei (fire panda warrior – 5 star Fusion) Guardx2/Energy DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Talc (same as above) really, really shines on raids

Copper (wind living armor – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Guard x3 DEF%/CritD%/DEF% Copper is also an incredible tank, and he’s also a beast in PVP, especially guild wars. Paired with Randy (the fire bounty hunter) in pvp, Randy can apply a defense boost just in time for Copper to decimate the opponent with Thunder Strike. The key thing here is Copper gets more deadly the higher his defense gets, and his base health is great. Wonderful natural 3 star monster for raid front lines.

Darion (light vagabond) runed Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/HP% instead of Energy x3

Back Line:

Colleen (same as above)

Konamiya (same as above is okay but prefer Violent/Revenge for raid)

Belladeon (same as above but for raid and end game should be in Violent rune set)

Necropolis B10-

I won’t really get into Necro B10 too much, because it is seriously end game and PVP oriented, and by the time you are clearing Dragons B10 on auto and TOA Normal, you bloody well ought to have a variety of 4 star or 5 star monsters to make a straight free to play team unlikely for your Necro build.

However, here are some great 3 star monsters to watch for that are ideal for a Necropolis B10 team.

Necropolis has a serious trick to it, speed is capped at a certain level, and the boss has a shield that has to be popped by multiple hits in a turn before you can get through with damage. So they key to building a Necro B10 team is to have monsters that slow the enemy, speed you up, get multiple hits from your key skills, and have a real heavy hitter and great healing.

The key is to tune your team speed very carefully through speed runes in slot 2 and Spd sub stats on runes so that each monster goes at a specific time in the turn. You want the monsters on your team to do multiple attacks to pop the bubble, have defense break applied on the boss, and THEN have your heavy hitting DPS go and beat the hell out of him. At the same time, the boss WILL mind control someone, so you can’t have anyone that is a DPS powerhouse also be so tough you can’t defeat them to regain control.

For Necro B10 ALL monsters are recommended to have Violent/Revenge rune sets for even more multi hits, the core necessity of this fight.

Belladeon (really needs to be Violent/Revenge)

Seren (dark harpu – 3 star, Secret Dungeon) Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/Atk%

Colleen (same as above)

Adrian (fire elf ranger – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Revenge Atk%/CritR%/Atk%

Xiong Fei (runed differently than from the raid description, switch to a Violent/Revenge set

In this list, Seren takes the part of the heavy hitter, Bella applies the defense break, Adrian and Xiong Fei apply multi-attacks, Colleen applies multi-attacks and heals. So you’d likely tune speed for the following turn order; Xiong Fei, Adrian, Colleen, Belladeon, Seren.

I say likely, because this isn’t the actual team I’m going with because I have acquired other 4 star monsters more ideally suited for multi hitting such as Zibrolta, Chilling, Smoky and Lisa. Colleen remains a core part of the team I use though. Colleen is badass.

If you are already doing Necropolis B10 and have a team of free to play monsters you prefer, please share them in the comments, I would love to see your suggestions and as they’d be free to play farmable monsters, I’ll be happy to build and try those teams. Sounds fun!

Checklist of all monsters mentioned in the above teams:

Veromos (dark ifrit – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Shannon (wind pixie 2 star – scrolls) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Bernard (wind griffon 3 star – Tamor Desert) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Belladeon (light inugami – Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Darion (light vagabond 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Energy x3 Hp%/HP%/HP%

Beretta (fire sylph – 4 star Fused) Despair/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc%

Konamiya (water garuda 2 star – Unknown Scroll) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP%

Mikene (water undine – Fused) Swift/Energy Spd/HP%/HP% early on, Violent/Energy later

Ahman (light bearman 3 star – Secret Dungeon) Violent/Energy HP%/CritR%/HP% 100% crit rating from sub stats

Colleen (fire harpu – 2 star Unknown Scroll, Secret Dungeon, etc) Violent/Revenge HP%/Def%/HP%

Talc (water battle mammoth – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Guard HP%/HP%/Acc%

Spectra (fire griffon – 3 star, Unknown Scrolls and Secret Dungeons) Swift/Blade SPD/HP%/Acc%

Hemos (water grim reaper – 3 star, Unknown Scroll and Secret Dungeon) Swift/Focus or Violent/Focus Spd/HP%/Acc% or Spd/HP%/HP%

Xiong Fei (fire panda warrior – 5 star Fusion) Guardx2/Energy DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Copper (wind living armor – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Guard x3 DEF%/CritD%/DEF%

Seren (dark harpu – 3 star, Secret Dungeon) Violent/Revenge HP%/HP%/Atk%

Adrian (fire elf ranger – 3 star Unknown Scroll) Violent/Revenge Atk%/CritR%/Atk%

~~~

Notes – Secret Dungeons

You can only unlock a Secret Dungeon in an elemental hall, and the Secret Dungeon will be of the same elemental type as that particular days elemental hall. Other dungeons that can be found here are the Hall of Heroes, Angel Garden, Rainbow Garden and Devilmon Caves, usually only on a one weekend per month basis (or during special events).

Concerning the Secret Dungeons.  Not all monsters have a corresponding Secret Dungeon. A good rule of thumb if there is a specific monster you need for a Fusion or as part of a team build is to check the Summoners War Wiki page for that monster and element type. It will show exactly what sources of content can drop that monster, and will tell you if it has a Secret Dungeon that can appear. It will also tell you if it can drop from a particular scenario, meaning it’s easily farmable. This is also a good way to find if there are other places other element types of a monster you have on your team can be farmed, and used as skill ups.

An example of this is the much desired monster Belladeon.  Belladeon is the Light Inugami, and from his description he can come from a Light and Darkness Scroll, the Temple of Wishes, or a Secret Dungeon. Period.

This means that out of three possible ways of getting him, the ONLY way you have any control over is running the Hall of Light on Sunday repeatedly in hopes of unlocking the Light Inugami Secret Dungeon, hoping one of the friends on your friends list unlocks him and you happen to be on for that hour and see it, and also monitoring global chat and asking other players who get unlock it to invite you as a friend. I went into greater detail on this in an earlier post.

The key thing from this though is that the light inugami is a natural 3 star monster. It’s difficult to get, but inugamis of other elements can be acquired by farming various scenarios.

So you can work hard to get your first light inugami, but then farm the Faimon Volcano (Fire), Garen Forest (Water) or Telain Forest (Wind) depending on your team strength to get other monsters to feed to him and level up his skills.

Any difficulty of a scenario has the exact same percentage chance of dropping a 3 star monster on it’s list, so if all you can farm is Garen Forest stage 7 Normal, go for it. Just as likely a water inugami will drop as if you were running it on Hell. It’s a low chance of course, but over 30 or 40 runs you ought to get one… and if you’re farming runes and leveling monsters off the XP, it’s all good.

When introducing your son to Star Wars goes horribly wrong

A long time ago I mentioned my son was finally reaching an age where I could share all of my favorite geek movies with him.

I even specifically mentioned Star Wars.

I never shared the aftermath.

You see, it all went terribly, horribly wrong.

Let’s face it, when you have kids one of the best things is watching them grow up. It’s so cool. One day they’re like this and it’s awesome, but then some time passes and they’re bigger, more nuanced, and it’s awesome in a completely new way.

But they can’t handle all the neat things you want to show them on day one. You have to plan it out.

You have to wait for that optimum juxtaposition between youth (still interested in neat stuff), maturity (able to grasp just how COOL the neat stuff is), and naiveté (still thinks Dad could potentially have a remote clue what is cool, the poor deluded waif).

Star Wars is one of those things.

So is Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I blew it with that one. I introduced my son to Raiders of the Lost Ark too soon, not anticipating the reception a cave full of spiders and skeletons with spears sticking out of their heads might get. Also, he had no idea what nazis were or why it’s so much fun to hate them and okay to cheer on a bunch of Nazis getting incinerated by the breath of God. Kind of like how it’s okay to hate fat old white men now, if you see them getting tortured or killed that’s all right then. Just, you know, nobody else. But white guys, that’s funny TV. White men; society’s modern Nazi. He didn’t have the correct cultural conditioning to know when you see a Nazi, you’re eagerly waiting to see how the foul beast will die, and I consider that a failing on my part.

Oh come on, you know I’m right. Take the book “The Keep”by F. Paul Wilson. The book is basically you watching eagerly as a team of Nazi SS get eaten by a hideous nightmare creature, and yes the point of the book is to be conflicted over watching a hideous monster eating people and feeling “well, but what if it eats someone I care about?” It’s wrong to root for the monster.

Nice piece of work pointing out the fallacy inherent in ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. No, the enemy of my enemy is just my enemys’ enemy, no more, no less. My apologies to Howard Taylor, I know it’s his line.

Great book, though.

Wait. Where was I going… oh right, Star Wars. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nazis. Fat white guys.

Okay, back on track.

I tried to introduce my son to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and instead of falling in love with the adventure he got creeped out by spiders and things that stick spears through your head. That can happen.

Lesson learned. I held off on Star Wars. Some things, you just can’t rush. It’s not worth the risk.

It was great fun to debate the HOW of introducing him to Star Wars, too.

Obviously, you can’t start with the books, the expanded universe, anything like that. You have to go with the movies; the foundation of all things.

But in what order? WHAT ORDER? CHRONOLOGICAL OR PUBLICATION DATE?!?

To Jar-Jar or not to Jar-Jar.

Or to bottom line it… Watch Phantom Menace knowing the truth of Darth Vader’s origin or not?

I grew up with the movies, so I can’t make an unbiased decision. I watched them in the theater in real time.

I lived the life geeks of a certain age experienced after Star Wars came out in theaters. All we had were playing cards showing scenes from the movie in little packs with cardboard we were told was gum, action figures that I somehow thought were great even though modern toys make them look like blister-packed piles of cat poo wearing Jawa cloth swatches, and a book.

That book.

You know that book.

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, by Alan Dean Foster.

Talk about trying to get a kid to hate Star Wars… that damn book. I won’t say it’s a bad book, but let me tell you, when that wikipedia article says it was written so it could be filmed as a low budget sequel… well.

Can you imagine telling an author to write a book of science fiction about an amazing adventure, but hey, make sure it’s like, not too cool or awesome or uses the imagination TOO much or it’ll be too expensive to film on the cheap?

Hey, now I know what hell must be for writers. Wonderful.

Anyway. 1978 was lean times for a Star Wars fan who had an imagination burning in the glow of the fires of a million lightsabers.

And nothing, NOTHING fired the imagination as much as the most brilliant marketing ploy of all time; releasing the fourth part of the story FIRST.

OMG, I can’t even begin to describe the flights of fancy and ‘what ifs’ dancing around what stories might have been in those first three stories we didn’t see.

The word on the big fan magazines like Fangora, Starlog and Questar was that there would be six movies! They were going to give us episodes five and six to finish the trilogy, then go back and do the first three!

Yeah, geeks our age didn’t realize what time meant. We thought that meant, like, next year. It ws only three years until Empire came out, but a lot changes in a child in three years, man.

Shit, High School, the entirety of High School, is only four years long. Fucking eternity.

Star Wars Episode IV came out in 1977. I saw it in theaters in 1977. I was 9 years old.

I had no idea what the heck it was going to be. Nobody did. And I know nobody cares, water under the bridge. It’s only relevant because if I saw it at 9, that must be the right age. Right?

I decided no. I saw it, I loved it, I didn’t really fully understand it. That took nothing away from my enjoyment of it, not at all. pretty simple story, really. I grokked it.

But the sequel didn’t come out until 3 years later, in 1980. When I was twelve.

The Empire Strikes Back is, arguably, the best movie of the series, especially for shattering expectations.

But how much of that awesomeness was enhanced by having to wait three years speculating on what would come next in the third and final part of the trilogy in 1983?

1983. I was in High School. Only six years from start to finish, but I went from age nine to fifteen. BIG changes there.

How would all this play out now to a kid that has not just all three original trilogy films at the touch of his hands in an easy to watch format that tore apart all that was good and decent in the world by making it look like Greedo shot first and Han was slow in returning fire when clearly Han shot first establishing that he was an unscrupulous rogue that didn’t sit there like a patsy waiting to get killed by the first nerf herder fresh off the fields with his daddy’s blaster thinking to make a quick credit off a bounty by Jabba the Hutt?

Um. Sorry. I have issues. Unresolved issues.

Anyway, my son doesn’t have years to sit around waiting for sequels to be made, letting the anticipation and excitement build. He’s got instant gratification waiting, the whole damn thing sitting right there available for a weekend marathon.

Gotta do the original trilogy first. Have to build that suspense. The big reveal. “Luke, I am your father.” “I love you. I know.”

I mean, come on, has to be the original trilogy first. But what age?

I settled on twelve. Twelve is a good age, right? Twelve is the right age to appreciate Empire, and you know as soon as Star Wars is done you’ve gotta pop in Empire.

So, we waited.

I bought the movies on blu-ray. I prepared.

When I felt the day had come, I asked him if he’d like to watch Star Wars with me. You know, the original classic.

“No, that’s okay. I already know what it’s all about.”

What?!?

“Oh sure, I’ve seen the story plenty of times before.”

This required further investigation.

It turns out, get this, it turns out that he’s seen the entire thing before. Oh, but not the MOVIES.

No, no, what he saw is the story… in every form EXCEPT the movies.

So there are these cartoons called Lego Star Wars, maybe you’ve heard of them? Apparently they are Lego’s way of FUCKING RUINING STAR WARS FOR AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF CHILDREN BY PITCHING THE CARTOONS AT A YOUNGER AGE THAN THE FUCKING MOVIES ARE INTENDED.

Those worthless fucks.

So I thought I was going to be introducing my son to the greatest character that has ever breathed life to a screen, like this;

darththanks

And instead, children’s cartoons introduced my son to this;

lego-darth

Are you kidding me?

No. No, that’s real. That’s my son’s introduction to Star Wars. And to Darth Vader, thank you very much.

That, and apparently every single other cartoon that had writers strapped for original story ideas who decided, “Hey, in this episode let’s phone it in and do a Star Wars mockup, everyone loves those.”

You know, like Phineas and Ferb.

It’s been a thing. A big thing. And it’s been in his face since he was a baby, apparently. All his life he’s seen the Star Wars stuff played out in parody form over, and over, and over.

It was already too late before kindergarten was done.

I tell you, I begin to see why you’re supposed to isolate the kids from TV, this shit poisons their youth.

Do you know how I got my son even vaguely interested in watching Star Wars with me?

I promised him that he’d be able to see where his favorite Star Wars: Battlefront level, the attack on the Ice Planet Hoth, originally came from.

I had to promise him he’d get to see the actual attack on the rebel base of Hoth! He already knew all about it, but he’d never actually SEEN THE DAMN THING.

Not only did he know there WAS a battle between the Empire and the Rebellion on Hoth, but he’d taken part in it. He’d taken down AT-AT walkers with a harpoon already. Himself. Personally.

Shit, he’d personally flown speeders through the forest moon of fucking Endor chasing down Stormtroopers before he ever saw Return of the Jedi!

How fucked is that. No, seriously, this is bullshit and also awesome, but there is an intended sequence of events here that has been violated like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Causality has become warped beyond measure. I require a time travel device and jellybabies. Also, a multi-colored scarf. Stat.

I eventually got him to watch the movies. Grudgingly. Kinda cranky. They’re so old, after all. He already knows what happens.

Star Wars Rebels, now that’s cool. He likes that. And he did like the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He did.

He didn’t love it, though. It was ‘all right’. Not as cool as Star Wars Rebels, after all, but pretty nice. A movie for us old folks.

It’s a nightmare. 

The whole thing has caused me to look at my long lists of movies and TV shows I wanted to share and realize, much as I expect my own father did, by the time they’re old enough to be old enough, your shit is TOO FUCKING OLD TO BE COOL.

I find myself remembering vaguely his efforts to get me to realize just how awesome The Beatles were. Like, The Beatles, man. THE BEATLES.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. They’re okay, I guess. Funny cartoon about a yellow submarine, crappy art style but okay.

And Elvis. Really, dad? Elvis? Gee, what next, the Beaver? Little Rascals? Holy crap, the ’20s called, they want their tired old black and white crap back. Maybe you heard we’ve got this thing now called color?

That’s me.

I put Spaced Invaders on, I thought he’d love that. He was so bored we shut it off after 15 minutes. “Who died and put you in charge?” “Captain Bipko.” Ah, that never gets old.

Or The Last Starfighter. “What do we do?” {Eyepiece flip} “We die.” He watched it, it was okay. He watched it dutifully in an attempt to make me happy. That’s all.

You want to know what the only true geek thing I’ve been able to share with him is?

Mobile Suit Gundam models and anime. He LOVES building Gundam models, and he also loves the best anime shows I’ve let him watch, like Fullmetal Alchemist and Sword Art Online.

So it’s not my shit that’s wrong, I just have to fall back, dump the old versions of it, and pick the newer, high speed low drag awesome versions to introduce him to.

I have to use the newest cutting edge geek stuff to give him a taste, then stand back and hope his own interest will drive him into archaeological research into the darkest origins of the art form.

Like how I once dipped my toe into Dark Side of the Moon and that drove me down the full path of Pink Floyd love.

Fucking Lego Star Wars.

You know, he doesn’t read comic books? I have a whole wall of Ultimate Spider-Man, he wants nothing to do with them.

But he likes the cartoons. But he doesn’t LOVE them.

No, what he loves is Rabbids. Rabbids and Teen Titans Go.

Okay. He loves Teen Titans Go.

I can live with that.

Seriously though. If you’ve got kids, you watch that early morning cartoon shit like a hawk. LIKE A HAWK.

You’ve been warned.

Summoners War – Glory Points

When you get started in Summoners War, you begin fighting in the Arena on day one. For every loss against another real player, you earn 1 Glory Point, and for every victory against a real player you earn anywhere from 2, 3 or more Glory Points.

If you are fighting in the 900 – 1100 Arena Rating range as I recommend you focus on when starting, going up and down the ratings to stay within a viable point farming league, you should consistently see 3 Glory Points per win.

That may not sound like much, but they all add up. You should realistically be able to reach a minimum of 200 Glory Points a week at the very beginning, and could easily reach 600 or more in a few months as you level up and Awaken / Rune some natural four star quality monsters for your team.

So… why care about Glory Points? What do you want to use them for? Are they good for anything?

In the in-game shop there is a tab specifically called the Glory Shop where everything you can buy with Glory Points are listed. And there are a lot of buildings in there, as well as some immediately gratifying, nay tempting items for purchase.

Probably the most tempting items to purchase in the Glory Shop are the summoning scrolls. For 240 Glory Points you could purchase a Mystical Scroll once a week, giving you a guarantee of a three star monster summons, and it could, COULD strike lightning and be a four or even five natural star monster!

It’s called striking lighting because when you perform the summoning of a monster, the screen has an animation it displays, and when you proc a super bonus like a higher ranking of monster (or an awakened version of a monster) then lightning bolts dress the whole thing up. It’s very satisfying.

On a side note, you can get lightning when a monster you summon just randomly comes as the Awakened version. When a monster is summoned as an Awakened, it comes as one star quality higher than normal. If you were to summon a three star Fire Inugami, for example, and it procced as the Awakened type from a Mystical Scroll, then it would appear full Awakened, named Raoq, and be four stars in quality with the namx possible level of 30. Still only level 1, but it’s already been leveled up to a four star and Awakened for you.

Pretty cool, right? Yeah, except don’t be surprised when you see people telling other people “RIP” in chat when someone summons a five star monster… because what they summoned was a natural FOUR star monster that came as Awakened. RIP as in “Dude you got RIPped off.”

I can only imagine how much it must suck to summon a monster, see lightning strike, have it be a five star monster… and then realize it was Awakened so it’s really a natural four star. Like, YAHOO!!! oh damnitall. Still good, but it wasn’t Zaiross, know what I mean?

Anyway, there are more summoning scrolls than just the once per week Mystical Scroll in the Glory Shop. You could also, for only 300 Glory Points, purchase a summoning scroll dedicated to one particular element. The scrolls work exactly the same as a Mystical Scroll with a three star or better monster, you just get to specify whether it be a Fire, Water or Wind monster.

It’s so tempting. I mean, it could be a four or five star! It could happen.

If I said I never bought one, I’d be lying. I’ve purchased the scrolls many, many times. And I’ve been wrong to do it every single time. But that temptation of a chance at riding the lightning is very, very strong.

There are far better things to spend Glory Points on.

When you just start out, your number one Glory Point priority every single week is to amass points until you can purchase your once-per-week Devilmon. Do this every single week. Don’t ever miss. Nothing else in that store is ever more valuable than getting your Devilmon for the week. You use them to skill up monsters, and you should save them for use on a monster that is a natural four or five star, because the three star monsters can get skilled up by feeding them other three stars of the same type… and you’ll see plenty of the three star monsters of that type over a few months.

Good luck finding 10 or 12 natural five star monsters to skillup just one. No, you save those Devilmon to sink into your first Veromos or something similar that is a total badass you will want maxed out.

Saving them for Veromos unless you get a different great natural four or five star monster first is a smart bet. Don’t waste them skilling up Belladeon, for example, because you can farm Inugamis to feed to Belladeon from Faimon Volcano, Telain Forest and Garen Forest. They ain’t rare.

So, step one every week, buy a Devilmon. Seriously, if you had any idea how critical that is…

So what else to spend Glory Points on?

You’ll quickly earn more than the 180 pts per week you need for a Devilmon.

Your second purchasing priority is the Mysterious Plant. NOT scrolls! Save up your Red Premium Crystals to buy the 750 Crystal Premium Packs, that’ll net you 11 Mystical Scrolls in one pop, AND get you Mana Crystals and Angelmon to feed to them to level them up. The feeling of summoning 11 monsters from Mystical Scrolls is far more satisfying than just one.

The Mysterious Plant has ten levels. It costs more Glory Points every time you level it up, but it’s well worth it.

Energy is the resource in the game you use to do any activity. The Mysterious Plant speeds up how quickly you regain Energy once you spend it. The faster your Energy regenerates, the more play time you get without being tempted to spend Red Crystals on Energy refills.

Max out your Mysterious Plant to level 10 as your number two priority.

Your third priority after the Mysterious Plant is also Energy related; max out the Sanctum of Energy.

The Sanctum of Energy is another building that has ten levels. Each level gives you a +1 to your max possible Energy.

Now, it may seem stupid to spend all those Glory Points for a measly +10 Energy. WRONG.

What you have to remember is this is a big game, and Energy is your resource for doing everything cool. The more the better.

The time will come when you reach level 50 as a player. When you do, your max Energy without the Sanctum of Energy building is 80. Maxing the Sanctum tacks on another 10.

You go to sleep at night, you wake up to 90 Energy instead of 80 ready to burn through quickly on 3 guild wars battles(30), 3 World Boss battles (30), one Giants B10 run (8), one Hall of Magic B10 run (8), one Hall of Essence run (8) and three runs through Faimon Volcano hell level 1 with a friend’s monster along (15) to complete all the daily accomplishments. Do them all every day plus the Arena and summoning/leveling stuff, it’s a free ten red crystals, after all.

But okay, so what?

With a maxed out Sanctum of Energy, every time you spend 30 red crystals in the shop to recharge your Energy, you’re getting an extra ten Energy for free.

So what again, right?

Listen up my friends.

There will come a time when you will want to spend your red crystals on Energy recharges instead of 750 crystal Premium Packs.

That time comes right around when you can clear the Caiross Dungeons Giants level B10 100% of the time, and begin farming it for the best 5 and 6 star runes.

At that point, running Giants B8 – B10 constantly and using red crystals to recharge your Energy will get you as many if not more Mystical Scrolls as random drops as the same amount of Crystals spent in a single 750 block getting 11 scrolls from the shop.

And at the same time, you’re getting damn good runes, Rainbowmon drops, regular scrolls, and items you can eventually use to craft specific runes or other stuff from the new crafting shop.

So long term, you will come to a point where you will stop spending crystals on Premium Packs. And at that point, you will cherish your super fast Energy recharge rate and extra +10 Energy max cap.

Okay, so you max both buildings. NOW what? It’s Mystical Scroll time, right?

Wrong again, turkey breath.

There is one more key building that is a must have, and it will suck down all your Glory Points for a long time to come;

The Sky Tribe Totem.

See, there are other buildings you can buy in the Glory Shop, and they are unique in that they are like extra rune effects that apply to ALL your monsters, ALL the time, EVERYWHERE.

The Sky Tribe Totem is a building with ten levels or stages just like the Sanctum of Energy or the Mysterious Plant, and what it does is increases your speed. ALL your monsters speed. ALL the time, not just in the Arena.

In this game, speed is king. Most of the best synergies come from combining fast monsters that buff your teams’ speed with monsters that slow the enemy team down. More turns for you, less turns for them. And more speed for you means more turns as well, and going first to get your stuns on them before they have a chance to blink.

To go from zero to a level 10 Sky Tribe Totem will cost you, in total, 11,400 Glory Points.

Buckle up sally, that’s gonna be a long ride.

But in the end, that level 10 Sky Tribe Totem will provide every single monster on your team in EVERY piece of content in the game a +15% increase to their core base Speed stat.

For normal monsters, that’s great. For a monster that has a high core speed like Bernard and which you’ll equip with the best Speed rune you can get in slot 2, it’s insane.

That +15% Speed boost will make your life and success in the game easier in ways you can’t begin to anticipate. The only place it really won’t help is in the Necropolis, where there is a hard speed cap of I believe an effective speed of 140.

Once you’ve finished that building, sure, you want to spend them somewhere else by all means go ahead.

But by the time you have played Summoners War long enough to have amassed enough Glory Points to have purchased all three of those buildings to max, you’ll probably know ore about the game and be better at it than I am, and you can come back and tell ME what the next step should be. 🙂