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Test Realm Reviews

Test Realm Status

Test realm launched at the perfect time for me: the start of my spring break! This means I can enjoy playing and testing without feeling guilty about putting off homework or doing homework and wishing I was testing. It also means I can blog more over the next two weeks! ūüôā

Test realm launched yesterday, March 17, announcing the additions of Daily Assignments, three new Skeleton Key bosses, fishing in Zafaria, a Gear Vault, a few spell updates, and other, small, miscellaneous updates. (Click here to see the update notes.)

Daily Assignments

Daily Assignment.png

So far I really like the concept of Daily Assignments, especially the rewards. The assignments I have had so far have been super easy, especially considering the rewards listed. My guess is the quests will be more difficult the farther into the 15 days you are. Unfortunately, Test Realm is only scheduled to be open for 11 days, which means we won’t be able to test a full 15 day cycle. ¬†As of right now, I’ve done the first daily assignment on¬†5 of 6 characters on Emma’s account.

The Quests

Day 1: Emma (level 110), Kayla (level 32), Fallon (level 26), and Alyssa (level 16)¬†needed to defeat 1 Rotting Fodder in the Haunted Cave (off of Triton Avenue) but Jenna (level 79)¬†needed to defeat 1 Sokkwi Protector in the Hall of Champions (in the Krokosphinx). Based on my other 4 characters and observations I made of others running the quest, I’m starting to wonder if Jenna’s Day 1 was a glitch. It might be that everyone starts with the Fodders, but I’m really not sure. I hope more of the quests are scaled for level…

Day 2: Emma had to go to Elik’s Edge–that was it. Just go there. No fighting or anything. A little disappointing for a level 110. Kayla, Fallon, and Alyssa all had to go to Elik’s Edge too. And, like Day 1, Jenna was the oddball. She¬†had to defeat 1 Foul Reaper in The Crucible in DragonSpyre instead.¬†I think¬†either everyone else is glitching (particularly Emma) or Jenna is…It seems weird to me that everyone else¬†had the same quest.

Day 3: Emma had to defeat 1 Walking Dead in the Village of Sorrow in MooShu (5 Arena Tickets). Jenna and Alyssa had to visit Unicorn Park (the small section of Unicorn Way where the Unicorn statue is) in Wizard City (5 Arena Tickets each). Kayla and Fallon both had to defeat 1 Nirini Warrior in the Palace of Fire in Krokotopia (5 Arena Tickets each).

Day 4: Emma finally had something scaled to her level! She had to go to Serpent Island in Ruined Alcazar in Khrysalis. No, she didn’t have to battle anything, but at least it was in a high level world! Jenna, Kayla, and Fallon had to defeat 1 Charmed Slave in the Royal Hall in Krokotopia. Alyssa had to defeat a Scarlet Screamer on Triton Avenue in Wizard City.

Day 5: Emma had to defeat 1 Burning Flame Wing in The Forum in DragonSpyre. Jenna had to visit Newgate Prison in Marleybone. Kayla, Fallon, and Alyssa had to defeat 1 Gobbler Muncher on Colossus Boulevard.

The Rewards

Daily Assignment 2.png

So far I have observed that the gold rewards on days 1, 2, 6, 7, and 11 have been scaled to level. For example, on Day 1, Emma (110) earned 600 gold, but Alyssa (16) earned 200.

The Crowns rewards is a wonderful addition! While 10, 15, and 25 isn’t much on it’s own, those¬†Crowns earned during the 15 day cycle will add up fairy quickly. If you’re doing Daily Assignments on all 6 characters, every 15 days you can earn 300 Crowns. (That’s approximately 7,300 Crowns every year!) And if you do 10 Trivia quizzes, that’s an additional 100 Crowns. And if you want 10 videos, that’s another 100 Crowns. So if you do all three daily, you could earn up to 80,300 Crowns every single year–more if you have the patience to watch more than 10 videos!

I was so excited for Day 5 to get here! I’ve been so curious about the mystery chest prizes! Every item I got was a Crowns Item of some sort, though 4 of the 5 can be crafted. I suspect that Day 10 will be slightly more coveted/rare Crowns items and Day 15 will be expensive/rare/coveted Crowns items (such as permanent mounts, pets, packs, mastery amulets…). I’m super excited to find out!

I thought the “unveiling” of the prizes was a super cute and fun idea!

The Prizes

Day 5

I’m excited to continue testing Daily Assignments when Test Realm goes back online Monday!

Skeleton Key Bosses

Skelton Keys.png

I decided to try the key bosses today, so with 2 Wooden Keys, 1 Stone Key, and 8 Gold Keys in my backpack, I set off on 3 new adventures. So far, I’ve only fought Ra, but I’m excited to try the other two! (Although I’m a little intimidated by some of the things I’ve heard about Omen Stribog–Minion with 99,999 health! Same as Malistaire the Undying Shadow form 2!)

Ra

When I first entered the Krokotopia Library, it took me a minute to figure out where the Key Room was. Upon first glance, the room looked the same as always. I¬†was expecting Zan’ne to have a quest or to see the Locked¬†door¬†or to see the float Skeleton Key sigil in the actual library so¬†it took me entirely too long to notice the new doorway on the right.

Wood Key 1

Go through the doorway to enter this corridor where the Key sigil is located. I was surprised that there wasn’t anyone else around. I had been expecting to share my 2 keys with someone (and hopefully in turn get a few extra runs with their keys), but it’s not that big of a deal.

Picture 2016-03-23 15-56-53Picture 2016-03-23 16-01-19

The Battle

Ra Alone.png

Ra, Rank 4 Balance Boss, 3,750 Health

Ra with Minions

Minions: Sia the Perceiver, Rank 3 Life Elite, 1,150 Health; Hu the Commander, Rank 3 Fire Elite, 1,000 Health; Heka the Haruspect, Rank 3 Myth Elite, 1,100 Health

Cheats

Let’s Speed this Contest Up: At the start of Round 1, Ra cheat casts Power Play

Accuracy is Such a Fickle Thing: At the start of Rounds, 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 7,8, 9, 11, 13… Ra casts either a +10% Precision on you and your teammates, a +10% Precision on himself and his minions, a¬†-45% Black Mantle on you and your teammates, OR a¬†-45% Black Mantle on himself and his minions

Let’s Balance Things Out a Bit: A the ends of round 4, 12, 20,¬†28, etc, Ra casts Amplify on¬†everyone (both his team and yours). At the ends of rounds 8, 16, 24, 32, etc, Ra casts¬†Fortify on everyone.

Drops

Gold (494-595)
Unique Gear: Ra’s Rod of Integrity, Ra’s Integrity Cowl
Housing Items: Krokotopian Scarab, Ice Mummy
Seeds: Alligator Pear Tree, Honey Bee Plant

Ixcax Cursedwing

I spent half an hour searching both the inside and outside of the Black Sun Pyramid and I could NOT find the location of this boss. I’ll continue searching, but I may have to wait until Live Realm when it’s a popular location…

Zafaria Fishing

Zafaria Fishing.png

I spent a little time fishing in Zafaria the other day, specifically in the Elephant Graveyard. I generally enjoy fishing, but don’t do it often. I drained one energy elixir but decided I didn’t want to continue at the time. I might return to it later today or tomorrow…

So far, I’ve only caught 2 fish in the Elephant Graveyard. The new Sentinel and Gargoyles.

The new Sentinel, Pacuman, is super cute. I love all the puns that can be found in the Spiral! ^-^

PacumanPacuman 2

Gargoyle

I’m really excited for a second fishing spot for Gargoyles beside Darkmoor. You need 2 for the crafted deck, but it took me forever to catch the 2 I needed in Darkmoor. I caught 4 the other day in the Graveyard. It’ll make crafting Jenna and Suri’s decks a little easier. ūüôā

Gear Vault

Gear Vault.png

I am SO excited for the addition of the Gear Vault! I have a TON of Crown and/or No Auction gear on Emma that I want to keep but they’re taking up most of my bank and backpack spaces. I’m so so so excited to move them into the vault for convenient storage!

And good news for those who don’t want to spend Crowns on the vault: the (current) recipe from Toshio is SUPER easy!

Gear Vault 2

Picture from Stars of the Spiral

Other (Major) Updates

Spells

Spell Update.png

I’m excited that Call of Khuluhu now attacks all targets at once even though my Death is no where NEAR 100. That spell took FOR-EV-ER. The animation lasted probably close to a minute. I’m SO GLAD it was shortened!

I’m not sure how I feel about Nature’s Wrath, Forest Lord, Orthrus, Power Nova, Frost Giant, Fire Dragon, Triton, Storm Lord, and Skeletal Dragon being trainable to wizards outside of those schools. Those were spells that the wizard of the correlating school had to do spell quests for, some of which may have been considered difficult. However, since they’re available to 100+, I don’t see them being very popular. From what I have gathered, very few wizards past 50ish use attacks from outside their own school…

Overall Opinion: A

I’m looking forward to the Spring Update. I’m especially excited for Daily Assignments and the Gear Vault! I’m looking forward to testing more next week!

~Emma

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More Thoughts on Critical

As I’ve been questing through Polaris with Cameron StarCatcher, I’ve noticed a few interesting things involving the new critical system. I’m currently level 103. I’ve been tracking Emma’s critical and block rates since before the update went live. I’ve noticed an interesting pattern as I’ve leveled up.

At level 100, post-update, I had 29% critical and 29% block.

When I leveled to 101, my critical went UP to 31% but my block dropped to 28%.

At 102, my critical dropped again, this time down to 28%. My block stayed the same at 28%.

When I leveled to 103 last week, my critical went BACK UP to 31% and my block remained at 28%.

So at this point, my critical has been higher at odd levels and lower at even. It’s odd. So far, the decline that was present with the old system is more intense at even levels than it was in the system, but it’s jumping back up at odd levels. It seems odd to me. I guess I should start tracking Suri and Jenna’s critical and block ratings for more data. Maybe Cameron will be willing to contribute data. Has anyone else noticed this?

On a slightly different note, I realized the other day that my critical and block ratings dropped by about 20% at the update, which means when I use Amplify and Conviction, my ratings are about equal to pre-update ratings. Just some food for thought…

~Emma

Critical System

One of the reasons I decided to start blogging now is because of the Polaris update, especially the new critical system. Ever since the beginning of Test Realm, I’ve heard nothing but complaints and claims that KingsIsle “ruined” the system and now critical is “broken”. I’m not so sure that’s actually the case.

I might be the only exalted wizard to say this, but I LIKE the new system and I think it’s far better than the old one. Yes, I get that the percentages have dropped, in some cases by a lot, but is that REALLY such a big deal? You’re far more likely to land, even if you only have a 1% critical chance. If you critical, you are guaranteed a chance to land.

At the start of the update, my critical dropped from 65% down to 29% and my block dropped from 53% down to 29%. But is that a bad thing? I am inclined to say no, it’s not.

Prior to the update, if I had a critical rating of 350 and my opponent had a block rating of 500, there was no chance I was going to land. My critical rating had to be higher than my opponent’s block rating to even have a chance at landing.

The update changed how this works, primarily by raising the chance at landing. For example, I have a 29% chance at criticaling. Let’s say my opponent¬†has a 50% chance at blocking. This means that every time I cast a spell, I have a 29% chance that I will critical. If I critical, my opponent¬†has a 50% chance at blocking. Even if I had a 100% chance at criticaling, this no longer means I will land. The only way a block will be guaranteed is with 100% block.

So why is this a good thing?

Balance, Myth, and Fire wizards should be especially excited for this change. Why? Now, multi-hits (like Hydra, Minotaur, and Chimera) and DOTS (like Fire Elf, Frostbite, and Poison) are no longer “all or nothing.” For example, prior to the update, if the first head of my Chimera was blocked, then that meant all three hits would be blocked, too. Now, I can land the first hit, the second hit be blocked, and the third head land again. (Or any combination of hitting and landing you can think of.) It’s similar with DOTS (Damage Over Time Spells). The initial damage from your Fire Elf might get blocked, but the TIC will land or vice versa. I think it always should have been this way.

There’s another reason this is a good thing. The original critical system was first introduced when Celestia came out. Prior to the launch of Celestia, the max level was 50 which meant at launch, the cap was raised to 60. With the Polaris update came the cap of 110. That means it has been 60 levels since the original critical system was introduced. Just prior to the Polaris update, when the max level was 100 and the old system was still being used, I had met several wizards, primarily Storm, who had 100% or more critical. I had also met a few wizards, primarily Ice, who had 100% or more block. How is one supposed to improve from 100%? What would be the point? With the new system, there’s reason to go beyond 100%, but keep in mind, Polaris is only the¬†start of the third story arc. Both of the previous arcs had 5 worlds and 50 levels and there are 2 side words, plus Aquila and the Four Dungeons (Pagoda of Harmony, Barkingham Palace, House of Scales, and Darkmoor). I think it’s safe to assume that the third arc will also have 5 worlds and will end in 50 levels (150).

Assuming that is the case and the critical system wasn’t changed, it would be safe to assume that Storm would easily have 200% critical and the average wizard would easily be able to reach 100%. In order for the upcoming worlds to be difficult, the monsters would have to have an insane amount of block so it wasn’t too easy for the Storm wizards. They’d also have to have an insane amount of critical so it wasn’t too easy for the Ice wizards. So, where would that leave everyone else? By changing the system, the upcoming worlds can be fun and challenging for everyone, without being too difficult for the causal player or for children, but also not being too easy for the more hardcore players.

I don’t know how many have noticed, but Conviction has been updated to aide us with this new system. Prior to the update, the trained¬†card gave 90 block and 90% stun resistance and the TC (Treasure Card) version gave 95 block and 95% stun resistance. With the update, trained Conviction now gives 15% critical block and 90% stun resistance, while the TC version gives 20% critical block and 95% stun resistance. Keep in mind that Vengance still gives 15% critical if it’s trained¬†and 20% if it’s a TC. Trust me when I say these help a lot. Don’t forget about them!

I know it’s frustrating that our percentages have been dropped, but if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t make the new system as effective. There also wouldn’t be much growth in our wizards’ abilities between now and 150. And besides, criticaling isn’t everything. ūüôā These changes give us a chance at exploring other strategies for play.

~Emma

P.S. Let me know what YOU think about the new system in the comments. Please keep all debates civil. I’m hoping for an interesting and lively debate! ūüôā