Without The Sarcasm http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com Insights. Analysis. Answers. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:44:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wasteland 2 Quickstart Guide http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/wasteland-2-quickstart-guide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/wasteland-2-quickstart-guide/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:49:34 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5678 Wasteland 2 is a very good game, but it’s also a very long game that throws its complexity right in your face from the start. It can be hard to understand how to create the “best” characters possible. The game mechanics are also somewhat opaque at the beginning. I’ve done the research and played the game, and I’m here to tell you all the things you need to know in order to get started right the first time.

Character Creation: Attributes

Wasteland 2’s character creation screen is… intimidating, to say the least. It took me several tries to wrap my head around the process. Knowing what I know now, I’d probably make some slightly different decisions. You can learn from my mistakes, though! Let’s start with the attribute points.

wasteland-2-guide-attributes

Charisma allows you to recruit certain NPCs. However, many NPCs in the game (9 of 15, not including the “spares” at the Citadel, according to this chart) have no requirement. Therefore, I find Charisma to be pretty worthless and I set all my characters’ Charisma stats to 1.

Another Perspective Charisma or no Charisma was the subject of much debate over on Reddit. TheUnum points out that if you want to recruit all the possible optional NPCs, you’ll need more than the minimum Charisma. The breakpoints for recruiting the 6 remaining NPCs are at 12, 18, 22, and 25 Charisma across your entire party. This total includes other NPCs currently in your party, as well as any stat bonus wearables/consumables. (Thanks to 3rdAnnual for confirming this.)

Luck is useful but not critical, so it can be safely taken to 1.

Intelligence determines skill points, so you want at LEAST 4, but ideally 8 or even 10 if you can. 8 isn’t a huge sacrifice, and will make you significantly more powerful than at 4. 10 is kind of a stretch, though. You might want one person with 10, but for most 8 is fine.

Attributes and skills appear unrelated, so you can have 1 Charisma and max out Leadership with no issues. I’ve heard that some skills (Surgery in particular) require certain attribute levels, though.

Attributes do effect the “derived” stats, though. One derived stat you might not initially understand is Combat Initiative. Combat Initiative is important. Having 10 or less in this stat means you won’t get the first move in most engagements, so bump up your attributes until you get there, if you can.

From here, allocating the remaining points depends on how you want to specialize your team members. Bonus AP and move distance are both worth it, but which you pick depends on what role you want that member to fill. Close quarters attackers need more speed, while long distance snipers would probably benefit from more raw AP to use for long shots.

Pro Tip You get a bonus attribute point every 10 levels. If you do a decent amount of exploring and side quest-ing, you can make level 30 pretty easily by the endgame, so keep that in mind.

Character Creation: Skills

Now it’s time to choose skills. Wasteland 2 features many useful skills, but there are also a lot of duds.

As your skills improve, each new rank costs more and more skill points. Thus, it’s not terrible to experiment a bit at the low levels, but you’ll want to focus on some key weapons and skills to get ahead. Skills start to require more points as they level up, so the first couple of ranks only cost 2 points, then that increases to 4, 6, and finally 8 points to go from rank 9 to rank 10.

In addition to skill points from levels, you can also sometimes get skill points from shrines. The locations of shrines are often rewards for completing quests.

Many skills also have trinkets associated with them. Equipping the trinket will boost a particular skill, usually at the cost of ranks in another skill.

It’s also possible to find skill books that will instantly increase a skill’s rank by one point.

Pro Tip Clearly it’s best to save these skill books as long as possible to get the most benefit. Ideally you’d use it to save 8 points and get a skill from rank 9 to 10. However, using it a rank or two early only really costs you a couple of skill points.

Primary Skills

First, I’ll talk about what I consider to be the “primary skills.” I suggest that you distribute these skills among your team so that you can keep them maxed out whenever possible:

  • Field Medic – People are shooting at you, and you need to heal. Give this to someone who is speedy and works well in close quarters, so that you can move him/her around the map fast.
  • Demolitions – Lots and lots of traps, guys. They’re everywhere.
  • Lockpicking – Good stuff is often behind locked doors!
  • Safe Cracking – The best stuff is often inside safes.
  • Computer Science – Sometimes this skill is required for doors and safes instead of the above skills.
  • Smart Ass – Of the three conversation-related skills, this was the one that unlocked the best options, in my opinion. If you get high enough in levels, you might consider eventually putting points into all three.

Weapon Skills

Next, you’ll want to pick a weapon skill for each of your characters. Ammo and good weapons are often in limited supply in Wasteland 2, so make sure you pick a unique skill for each character.

  • Sniper Rifles – Holy cow can you do a lot of damage with these! Most snipers take 5-6 AP to fire, so keep that in mind when you’re picking your base attributes. Snipers don’t need to move much, but they need a lot of AP.
  • Assault Rifles – Good power and range, and they generally have burst fire modes for laying on damage thick.
  • Shotguns – Decent range, and an area-of-effect “cone” that hits multiple people. Use free aim for the best results.
  • Energy Weapons – Powerful against armored foes, but do far less damage when the target is below the weapon’s “armor threshold.” They’re not super common in the early game, but as the game progresses more options open up here.

Probably 80% of my damage came from the above group. Pistols, SMGs, and melee weapons sometimes be useful as secondary weapons, but they’re not nearly as powerful as those four. Don’t take points at creation for these, but perhaps drop a few points into them as the game progresses. Snipers and Energy Weapon users can both benefit from a secondary from time to time.

Pro Tip It doesn’t take more than 4-5 ranks in a weapon skill to become pretty deadly. Finding new weapons is as important (if not more so) than ranking up your skill with a given weapon past the first few ranks.

Secondary Skills

This list of what I consider “secondary skills” are things that you’ll probably want a few points in, but aren’t as high a priority:

  • Surgeon – This allows you to revive downed allies, which is useful. Definitely put a point or two into this on one of your teammates at creation. It also sometimes allows you to help friendly NPCs who are injured. However, it’s not really one that you need to max out, in my opinion.
  • Weaponsmithing – As you progress, drop a few points in this skill on one of your characters. Breaking down old weapons creates broken weapon parts which can be sold to a vendor in the Citadel for massive profit. You can also get weapon mods from this process that can make small bumps in the stats of your weapons.
  • Alarm Disarming – There’s not really a lot of stealth in this game. You’re generally going to either negotiate or shoot people, and once you’ve done those things, the alarms lose their bite.
  • Mechanical Repair – There are a few things you can do with this, but it’s a lot less than a lot of the other “puzzle solving” skills.
  • Toaster Repair – Repairing toasters gives you items you can give to people to get special rewards. Problem is, toasters are hard to repair, the quests are always unmarked, and the rewards are often underwhelming.
  • Brute Force – Some walls/fences can be knocked down with this skill, so it has use in opening new routes.

A Short Note on Recruitable NPCs

Bear in mind that there are NPCs in Wasteland 2 that you can recruit that have their own skills which can compliment your team’s. You can recruit up to 3 more NPCs, although there are only 8 total in the game. I had 1 Charisma on all of my characters and still managed to recruit enough to round out my party.

The first one is available right from the start, and she specializes in Hard Ass, Brute Force, and Assault Rifles. Depending on your choices in the early game, you’ll encounter one of two NPCs during your first major mission.

NPCs can leave you, although it’s rare. That first NPC you meet will travel with you until you head towards a town called Damonta. Just bear that in mind if you choose to take her along.

General Exploration Tips

There’s a lot of ground to cover in Wasteland 2, so I’ve put together a few tips on how best to explore.

wasteland-2-guide-exploring

  • Use the “Z” key to highlight interactive objects in the environment.
  • Bring a shovel with you. There are often circular patches of dirt you can dig up for extra loot.
  • Perception will show you if an object is alarmed or trapped, but you can also activate the demolitions or trap disarming skill and hover over the item to confirm. Depending on your level of perception, you may or may not catch every trap.
  • Save, save, save. Making a huge mistake is not so bad if you can roll back a few minutes or an hour and try again.
  • Break down weapons and sell the broken weapon parts at the Citadel, it’s an easy way to make profit while managing your inventory.
  • Have one point in Surgery on at least two characters. (Note that one optional NPC is a surgeon.) If one of your surgeons goes down, have the other one play defensively for the rest of the fight in case you need to revive one of your party members.
  • Most of the direct routes between settlements in Arizona have oasis checkpoints between them where you can refill your water. It’s smart to seek these out so that you can top off easily.
  • Completing certain quests gives you the locations of Shrines. Shrines contain monuments you can examine to gain XP or skill points.

Combat Tips

Combat in Wasteland 2 can get kind of complicated, but it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. These tips ought to help you get going.

wasteland-2-guide-combat

  • Before you initiate combat, use the Space Bar to toggle between commanding your squad and commanding the highlighted squad member. You can use this to set up your team before you start a fight.
  • Don’t get too aggressive before combat. If the enemies detect you before you fire the first shot, they’ll get a bonus to their combat initiative and will attack first.
  • Sometimes you’re just better off having your whole squad take a potshot at the nearest enemy to kick things off. Especially against dangerous targets that have lots of HP, this is a viable strategy.
  • There’s no way to reorder your team’s turns. You’ve got to move them and attack in the order of their combat initiative.
  • When evaluating a new weapon, check the ammo type it uses. Periodically you’ll find that new weapons will start to use new ammo that you might not have much of.
  • If a shot misses, it has a chance to hit any other enemy or ally on the same line. Thus, especially early on you want to spread your team out so they all have clear shots at the enemies.
  • You can also strategically position your team so that there are enemies between you and other inaccurate gun-toting baddies. Chances are they’ll get hit by bullets intended for you!
  • Crouching costs 2 AP, and moving afterwards requires an extra 2 AP to stand back up. However, crouching increases your chance to hit so it is often worth it.
  • You can only save 2 AP from one round to the next, so if you have a lot of AP left over, consider moving or crouching before you end your turn.
  • Speaking of things you can do with bonus AP, consider going into “Ambush” mode if you can’t move and shoot enemies on the same turn. Let the enemies waste their AP getting close to you so you can get a shot off easily.
  • Cover is better than crouching – it requires no additional AP to leave or enter. Not all things that look like cover are cover, so make sure you look for the little icon and the popup help text.
  • Cover gives accuracy bonuses even when it’s not actually “covering” you. For instance, you can have your back to a wall and then fire away from the wall and get the accuracy bonus.
  • You can “Free Aim” a weapon by clicking on its picture. This is useful for shooting at things that aren’t enemies (ie, exploding barrels) or for more precisely aiming the cone of a shotgun blast.
  • Grenades, dynamite, and rockets deal area-of-effect damage. There’s no skill required to use them, so spread them out among your team and use them when enemies group together. They’re super efficient for dealing damage, especially in the early stages of a fight.
  • Between combat engagements, reload. Don’t forget to reload your off-hand weapons as well!

Conclusion

If you can get past the learning curve, Wasteland 2 is chock full of turn-based post-apocalyptic fun. Hopefully with the help in this guide you feel ready to forge a path through the Arizona wastes. If not, leave a comment! Maybe we can help.

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The Top 4 Best Game Apps for Playing on the Toilet http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/top-4-best-game-apps-playing-toilet/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/top-4-best-game-apps-playing-toilet/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 21:12:36 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5690 Restroom Sign No matter who you are, or what you do, there are certain absolutes in life. One of them, is that you are going to need to visit the restroom, at least a couple of times each day (and possibly quite a few if you enjoy Chipotle). In the past, you might have been forced to waste this time with something as mundane as thinking, but luckily we don’t live in such dark ages any more. With your smartphone in hand, a trip to the bathroom is no longer the inconvenient necessity of peristalitic progress – it’s a welcome 10 minute vacation of solitude. Make the most of your precious bathroom moments with the Top 4 Best Game Apps to play on the toilet!

Plague Inc - The World

1. Plague Inc

There are those days when humanity as a whole just seems to be letting you down. Getting cut off in traffic… being asked to work the weekend… or even the occasional fart in the elevator can really make you simmer with loathing for your fellow man. It’s at these times that a few bathroom moments spent playing Plague Inc can really brighten your day. Plague Inc places you in the role of a pathogen trying to wipe out humanity. If you don’t feel inspired, just spend five minutes reading YouTube comments and you’ll be full of motivation.

Plague Inc hooks you with the basics of fun simulation gameplay – well polished icons describe everything from your pathogens attributes to the types of diseases you can unleash, and an active global map hums with boats and planes until your contagion begins to stain it with the red of infection and the black of death. You’ll keep playing it for the novel disease types and challenges, and the vendettas of previous matches where you came so close but those pesky humans managed to find a cure. If long games find you throning it in the company bathroom, remember to wash your hands and avoid real plagues when you are done.

Fish out of Water! Game

2. Fish out of Water!

IfAngry Birds has taught us anything, its that throwing random animals is fun. AB opened they eyes of the young mobile game world to the joys of tap physics, but Fish out of Water is great proof that the field is still ripe for innovation. FooW challenges you take a wide variety of fish you’ve just met, pick three of them, and throw them as far as you can. After each throw, a group of judges rate it based on your performance and adjust for factory like the weather and how bad of a mood they are in. Layered on top of this are Challenges, mix and match Boosts, changing weather events, and League competitions. After just a few tosses, you’ll have the basics of the game down, but the all the extras will keep you coming back to beat Challenges, your friends, or even just your personal bests. Since a single toss only takes a few seconds, you can get a whole game finished easily in a visit to the throne room, even if you are very efficient with your business.

Candy Crush Saga

3. Candy Crush Saga

If you are as old as me, there has surely been a time or two when trips to the bathroom took a while. For one reason or another, you find yourself throning – and these occasions call for a game so epically long, you can basically never finish it. Since you have a lot of time on your hands, it doesn’t matter that much if the game is abusively difficult, even to the point where some, such as my pal agent86ix, might even say it hates you. What is important, is that you can keep playing it… keep obsessively matching candies… keep puzzling out combos… keep… Crushing… Yes, in my opinion Candy Crush Saga is one of the hall of famers when it comes to long visits to the water closet. Nearly unlimited levels, abusive random chance, and a minefield of freemium tropes sounds horrifying on paper, but once it sets the hook you’ll be Crushing away every chance you get, and stifling back cheers when you finally beat those most hated of all levels.

Temple Run

4. Temple Run

Something that a lot of young folks may not appreciate, is that there were games before the App Store. That’s right my young friends, while I did survive a prehistoric age where people were forced to read the newspaper in their outhouse – or worse, just think about things, I had played a video game or two before I’d ever swiped my first App. The elegant simplicity of games like Temple Run do not seem wholly new to me, but in this format, on these small devices, they really do just seem to work. Capitalizing on the early success, various updates to the Temple Run franchise have been released which you can also check out, but they all feature the same run-turn-slide-jump gameplay, and the particular variant you choose is likely more a function of aesthetics or the IP veneer it has been skinned with. Pretty much any version is a great fit for a trip to drop the kids off at the lake. Its simple, mindless, quick, and infinitely replayable. Failure is a constant – but with frequent comic relief from either the trees you mash your pretty face into or the mutant gorilla things that want to eat your pretty face. Either way your virtual face takes a lot of punishment, but you’ll be running again in seconds flat! And running… and running… and running…

Is there a game you love to take with you on a brown study that we missed in our Best Game Apps list? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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Clash of Clans MEGAGUIDE http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-megaguide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-megaguide/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:08:11 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5680 Clash of Clans. We also write a lot of Clash of Clans articles. You might say we're Clash of Clans fanatics! Here I've collected all of our many articles and organized them into a MEGAGUIDE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS for easy reference. ]]> Here at Without the Sarcasm, we play a lot of Clash of Clans. We also write a lot of Clash of Clans articles. You might say we’re Clash of Clans fanatics! Here I’ve collected all of our many articles and organized them into a MEGAGUIDE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS for easy reference.

DID YOU KNOW THIS PAGE IS ABOUT CLASH OF CLANS? IT TOTALLY IS. I HOPE YOU GOT THAT. OKAY GREAT.

Clash of Clans Beginner’s Guide

Our beginner’s guides cover the basic things you should know when starting out in Clash of Clans.

Clash of Clans In-Depth Strategies & Guides

Sometimes, we have to go deep on a particular topic in order to fully explain how it works. Our in-depth strategies and guide articles cover these difficult but rewarding topics.

Clash of Clans Tips and Tricks

Sometimes you just need a few quick tips to get over that next hump. When we come up with fast strategies, we put them together into an easy-to-follow format.

Clash of Clans Frequently Asked Questions

Occasionally, a question just gets asked so often or the answer is noteworthy enough to stand on its own. These are the questions we’ve tackled here on Without the Sarcasm:

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Destiny Light Farming | Level 20+ Guide http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-light-farming-level-20-guide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-light-farming-level-20-guide/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:43:21 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5676 Destiny launched with a relatively low level cap. Once you hit level 20, no amount of experience will get you to level 21. If you want to level your Guardian to level 30, you need to accumulate Light. Light is a difficult topic to explain, and so the game… just doesn’t bother. Many people wrongly assume the fastest way to get to level 30 is grinding low level enemies, which is not the case. I’ve invested a lot of time into Destiny’s “end game” so I’ll show you how to get the gear you need to level up past 20 in Destiny WITHOUT a ton of grinding.

What is Light?

Okay, let’s explain a few things first. One is the concept of Light. Light is a stat that armor can have, like “Defense” or “Strength.” Light starts to appear on armor only around level 18 or so (although I think I’ve seen some Light on a level 16 piece of armor before, so…) Light is required to move up in levels past 20. Only equipped gear’s Light counts.

How do I get Light?

There are several tiers of gear, and each tier can have different maximum levels of Light:

  • Green/Uncommon gear doesn’t give Light. Bummer.
  • Blue/Rare gear maxes out at 15 Light per piece, although this can vary slightly from Rare to Rare.
  • Purple/Legendary gear maxes out at 27 Light (for non-raid Legendaries) or 30 Light (for raid Legendaries).
  • Exotic gear maxes out at 30 Light, although you can only equip one of these at a time.

How much Light do I need?

LevelLight RequiredNotes
Level 2120 Light
Level 2232 Light
Level 2343 Light
Level 2454 LightMax level without Legendary (purple) gear (ie, max with just Rare (blue) armor)
Level 2565 Light
Level 2676 Light
Level 2787 Light
Level 2898 LightMax level with Legendary (purple) gear from vendors (ie Faction, Crucible, or Vanguard vendor armor)
Level 29109 Light
Level 30120 LightRequires raid (ie, Vault of Glass) Legendaries

From this table you can note a pattern – in Destiny, to get from one level to the next past 22, you need 11 more Light than the previous level. Knowing this, you can estimate how far you are from the next level based on the bar at the bottom of your emblem.

Wait, my gear’s Light is too low, what gives?

Legendaries and Exotics don’t give their maximum Light until they’re upgraded. You’ll have to go out, kill stuff, and then upgrade your gear to level up further.

Note that you’ve got to get special, super rare “Ascendant” materials in order to fully level these items, so try to avoid leveling your Legendaries/Exotics past this point if you don’t plan on keeping them long-term.

Secrets to maxing Light

You can get new gear from a variety of sources. Many people think that grinding “loot caves” or other easy-to-farm weak enemies is the best way to get to level 30. This isn’t a particularly great strategy because of all the random numbers involved. For instance, kitting yourself out with Legendaries from farming is an arduous task. Legendary engrams are super rare, and even if you get one, it could be for any class. Rare engrams are still… rare, but you might find one or two that bump you to level 21 if you’re lucky.

One easier way to get Legendary gear is from timed events. For example, one of the first PvE events that Bungie launched was the Queen’s Bounty event. By completing certain bounties, you got special items that allow you to attempt very hard missions. These missions always dropped either a Legendary helmet or a chest piece for your class.

You can also play in the Crucible or Vanguard daily events and/or playlists to earn points/rep to spend at the vendors in the Tower. You’d be surprised how fast you can gain vendor Legendaries if you focus on playing the featured missions and events. Plus, while playing you have a chance at Rare or Legendary gear anyhow.

Know all those Motes of Light and Strange Coins you keep turning up? They’re actually ridiculously useful. Every weekend (Friday morning to Sunday morning, at least in the USA), Xur is at the Tower. He spawns in a random spot, so you’ll want to look around the Tower or check online to see where he is on a given weekend. Xur sells Exotic items in return for Motes and Coins. Hang on to these bits of currency for a chance at some of the best gear the game offers!

Conclusion

So here’s the recap for the tl;dr crowd:

  • You need a lot of Light to get through your 20’s
  • The only way to make 30 is with maxed out raid Legendaries, but you can get powerful enough for late-game content with vendor gear
  • You should really save your Ascendant materials for the raid Legendaries if possible (since they’re so rare and required for 30)
  • Don’t grind weak enemies for engrams, it’s a serious pain and very limited in usefulness
  • Focus on the currently running special events – do the most you can at your level to get goodies
  • Save your Coins and Motes for Xur to get your hands on epic gear

Hopefully now you know how to maximize your time investment in Destiny once you get past level 20. People have called it a grindfest, but honestly it’s not if you know what you’re doing. The game doesn’t do a stellar job explaining any of this, really, but that’s why we have the internet, right?

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Destiny Farming Guide http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-farming-guide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-farming-guide/#comments Sun, 05 Oct 2014 21:51:56 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5661 Destiny is a game that encourages a lot of grinding. Grind for XP, grind for faction rep, grind for quests, grind for resources, and grind for loot. Over time, I’ve developed my favorite spots for grinding on each of Destiny’s maps. In this farming guide for Destiny, I’ll share my general farming tips and tricks, as well as some targeted advice for each area.

General Tips and Tricks

destiny-review-loot-cave

A lot of folks (myself included) used to farm the “loot caves” that were scattered around Earth. These have been heavily nerf’ed, but they’re still a decent source of enemies in some cases. The general principle is to stay far enough away that the enemies spawn, but then shoot them a whole bunch while they’re all bottlenecked before they exit the cave. I’m not going to cover any loot caves in this guide, since Bungie’s kind of on an anti-loot-cave bender at the moment.

If you’re getting kills to farm engrams, know that it doesn’t seem to matter how hard the enemy is, or even what the enemy’s level is. You can earn level 20 legendary engrams from level 1 Shanks. It’s more about how fast you kill enemies than it is what enemies you kill.

If you’re farming for resources (ie, Spinmetal, Relic Iron), these items have fixed spawn locations. They also respawn in an area even if you stay in the area. There’s no need to move between areas, they’ll just respawn on their own.

Chests usually contain a couple of these resources, plus perhaps an engram and some glimmer. They’re not the greatest source of loot, but everything helps if you’ve got a lot of them to grind. Like the resources, these respawn even if you stay in the same area and check their spawn locations over and over.

Caves and small buildings often contain chest spawn points and resource spawn points. It pays to check these areas.

Patrol Tips and Tricks

Generally you’re going to do most of your farming while on each planet’s Patrol mission, so let’s talk a bit about Patrol.

You might as well do missions while on Patrol, so that you can make the most of your farming time.

Each area spawns a set of random missions, and these missions don’t respawn until all of the missions in an area have been cleared. No doubt some of these missions are going to be ones you want to do, and some are pointless wastes of time. If you want to skip missions just so you can clear an area and get more to spawn, pick up the unwanted missions and then abort them. (You abort a mission by going into Nav Mode and then holding the “go to orbit” button.)

There are two types of mission that go well with farming. One is the “collect items bad guys drop” mission, which is represented by a triangle as its mission icon. The other is a “kill copious amounts of trash mobs” mission. This one’s icon looks like an X made out of a square with some triangles pointing towards it.

Destiny Farming Guide: Patrol Mission for Kills

The other missions want you to go to some place (usually far away from where you are now) and scan some object or stand in some location for a while. They tend to take you out of the action for a while, and so I tend to skip them whenever I can.

Favorite Farm Location: Earth

My favorite spot to farm while playing Destiny on Earth is the Rocketyard.

To get to the Rocketyard, from the spot you spawn on Earth, fight through the building on your right. (This area is where you fight the first boss and get the warp drive.) You’ll arrive at the Divide.

Destiny Farming Guide: The Divide, Earth

From here, go across the open area and through another small tunnel to get to the Rocketyard.

Destiny Farming Guide: Earth, Rocketyard

I like the Rocketyard because there are several sets of Fallen and Hive enemies that spawn and fight constantly here. The spawn timers are short, and the enemies are all very easy. There are a few Knights, but for the most part there are just Acolytes, Dregs, and Vandals.

In one of the corners there are several stronger Fallen enemies that can be farmed for bounty quests that want you to kill Fallen Majors or Ultras.

Occasionally Fallen Walkers will provide a public event. Since Walkers are also the subject of more than a few bounties, this is an advantage as well.

Favorite Farm Location: Moon

When I’m playing Destiny to farm on the Moon, I tend to farm Archer’s Line.

Destiny Farming Guide: Moon, Archer's Line

Archer’s Line is the very first area you come to when you start a Patrol on the Moon. It’s easy to find and quick to get to.

I like it because I can get started quickly, and there’s a large area to work with. If I need to get Fallen kills, especially if they’re precision kills or kills without taking damage, there are a lot of enemies to snipe here. Helium Coils are abundant – check around the outside rim of this area and you’ll find lots. The caves in the central region often have chests as well.

If you need Hive kills, especially Majors or Ultras, you can climb the ridge across from the spawn, head through the dome, and you’ll come to a location where two Knights are. These guys are easy to kill. You can continue down the hill past these Knights to go further into Hive territory, which can be useful if you’re just after Hive kills.

Favorite Farm Location: Venus

If I hop to Venus for some Destiny farming, I’ll usually make the trek to Ishtar Commons.

To get here, from the spawn point take the right fork. Follow the path around until you see some Fallen guarding a set of stairs between a couple of buildings.

Destiny Farming Guide: Route to Ishtar Commons

Take the stairs through a tunnel to Ishtar Academy. Proceed through this zone and another tunnel to get to the Commons.

Destiny Farming Guide: Venus, Ishtar Commons

Ishtar Commons is one of my favorite farm spots, especially if I need to kill Fallen or Vex. Here there is a constant battle between a large group of Dregs and Goblins. A few supporting troops line the outer perimeter. All of these guys are easy to trash, and they’re constantly spawning. There’s one Captain here who is inside one of the buildings, but other than that most of these guys go down so fast it’s not even funny.

Between waves, take a trip around the outside of the area to find more Spirit Bloom than you can reasonably carry. There are a couple of rooms where the Vex spawn that you can find chests in, if you’re so inclined.

Sometimes an event starts here where a bunch of elite troops will spawn instead of the standard Dregs vs Goblins. They will clash for a while and then they abruptly disappear. If they’re too much for you, just hide out near the entrance to the Commons. Nothing much spawns over there.

Favorite Farm Location: Mars

Honestly, I don’t play Mars much when I play Destiny. The Cabal aren’t popular bounty targets so far, but perhaps that will change. At any rate, if I’m on Mars I’m probably at the Hollows.

Destiny Farming Guide: Mars, the Hollows

The Hollows is a straight shot from the spawn, through a short tunnel.

Here you can find several elite Cabal troops, along with a smattering of practically every type of Cabal troop there is. Check inside the buildings and you can find more of them. There’s not a lot of Vex here, but honestly if you want to fight Vex you’re better off at Ishtar Commons on Venus.

As before, scouting around the edges of the area to find chests and spawn points for Relic Iron.

Conclusion

So that’s where I grind and/or farm when I’m playing Destiny. Are there better spots? Possibly. Do you know them? Also a possibility. Why not chime in in the comments and tell me the farming tricks you use?

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Cult of the Fiver | September 2014 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/cult-fiver-september-2014/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/cult-fiver-september-2014/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:13:56 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5637 Ys Origin, State of Decay, Shadowrun Returns, Dragon's Crown, and Weird Worlds.]]> Ys Origin

Cult of the Fiver: Ys Origin

The Ys series is a long-standing Japanse action RPG franchise dating back to the late 80’s. Ys Origin is a top-down adventure that follows a series of characters as they explore a demonic tower in search of some missing goddesses and the magic orb they disappeared with. Along the way, they battle enormous bosses, collect magical artifacts, and slash a lot of stuff but good.

Ys Origin is worth your $5 because… it’s got a deep plot told from three different perspectives, but never veers into the complex and weird territory that Final Fantasy games tend to. The action RPG combat is fun, and exploring the environment feels comfortable and swift most of the time. The art is beautiful, and the boss monsters are usually sights to behold.

But don’t pay full price for Ys Origin, since… the aforementioned boss fights are terribly hard and very repetitive. Unless you’ve spent a lot of time grinding, they are long battles of attrition. The combat eventually gets a bit dull, and the game tends to drag on despite being somewhat fun at first.

Store page(s): Steam

Quick Tips:

  • Whenever you meet a Roo, feed it. It will always give you something worthwhile.
  • Celcetan Panaceas upgrade your life permanently, so use them immediately when you find them.
  • Praying at shrines will give you bonuses in return for some of your SP. Even though it’s a small benefit, it’s still worth upgrading all of your armor.

State of Decay

Cult of the Fiver: State of Decay

It’s the zombie apocalypse (oh noes!) yet again. While out camping, you and a buddy apparently missed the news that the dead are rising up and have a hunger for the flesh of the living. In addition to the standard “bash zombie in the face with plank” type activities, you’ll also have to manage and upgrade your home base, and take care of a growing roster of survivors. You can switch between and customize each survivor to your needs, but be careful! If they die, that’s it, they stay dead. (Well, unless they come back as a zombie…)

State of Decay is worth your $5 because… in an overcrowded genre of zombie games, State of Decay manages to bring some unique elements to the table. It mashes together XCOM style base building, Animal Crossing style village management, and sandbox/open-world style gameplay into a zombie game.

But don’t pay full price for State of Decay, since… not all of the elements gel, and honestly the game feels rushed and unfinished. The ending just sort of happens. There are too many things to balance, and most of them are just not fun. For instance, managing your survivor’s happiness levels is a total chore. Since almost everyone can potentially die, there’s little to no character progression. The art in the game is kind of crappy, especially at night. I had several cutscenes where it was just a bunch of people standing around in a dark room with no way to tell what is happening. Many things take real world time to complete, which can slow the game’s pace to a crawl.

Store page(s): Amazon w/Steam DRM | Steam | Humble

Quick Tips:

  • I found blunt weapons to be the most powerful. Edged weapons tended to break too easily or not do enough damage per swing, while heavy weapons were slow and tended to tire my survivors out.
  • Try to take some “rookie” survivors out once in a while and get them some levels. Having 2-3 seasoned survivors who can rotate in and out of active duty is a big help.
  • It’s possible to use the various rooms in your base for things. For instance, you can have the radio operator call around and search for specific resources, if you’re willing to spend a bit of influence.

Shadowrun Returns

Cult of the Fiver: Shadowrun Returns

In the not-so-distant future, magic makes a sudden resurgence on planet Earth. A combination of technology and magic transform the world into a place where native Americans summon powerful spirits, megacorps rule with an iron fist, and the whole world is a hacker’s playground. “Shadowrunners” are powerful mercenaries from all walks of life who do the work nobody else wants.

Shadowrun Returns is worth your $5 because… it’s a fun game in a compelling world. The turn-based combat is fun. The story is interesting and engaging. The characters you interact with are interesting and varied. There’s a variety of ways to approach many of the game’s challenges, similar to Deus Ex.

But don’t pay full price for Shadowrun Returns, since… the bundled scenario is kind of short. You can probably clear it in 5 or 6 hours. The game also has a few irritating UI issues. Some of the dialogs don’t do a particularly good job of showing you information. The individual abilities don’t always feel well balanced.

Store page(s): Steam | Humble

Quick Tips:

  • Drones are kind of overpowered, in my opinion. Decking was pretty useless by comparison.
  • Try to create a balanced team when going on a mission. Generally the game will either force you or strongly encourage you to take certain classes along for the ride. These will usually come in very handy.
  • Gear seems to be significantly less expensive than augments. Remember also that your teammates can be equipped from your gear stash. They don’t tend to upgrade their stuff between missions, sadly.

Dragon’s Crown

Cult of the Fiver: Dragon's Crown

A Playstation 3/Vita exclusive, Dragon’s Crown is an action RPG/sidescrolling beat-em-up hybrid. An ancient dragon is waking from it’s slumber, and it’s up to a team of adventurous dungeon crawlers to save the kingdom from total annihilation.

Dragon’s Crown is worth your $5 because… it’s a fun dungeon crawling, hack-and-slash RPG. The artwork is usually gorgeous, the combat is fun, and it’s a blast playing on the couch with friends. There’s a wide variety of classes to play as. The voice work is quite good, and the English translation is very well done.

But don’t pay full price for Dragon’s Crown, since… there are fairly few unique stages – just 9 in total, with two variations on each. The game asks you to return to these again and again to grind. The art style is very beautiful, but women in particular are portrayed with amazingly unrealistic proportions and in highly sexualized poses. The camera doesn’t always track the action well, and all players must remain on screen at all times. This leads to situations where you can get pulled out of a safe zone during a boss’ attack because your allies moved around. There’s some frustrating “touch screen on a gamepad” elements as well.

Store page(s): Amazon w/Steam DRM

Quick Tips:

  • If you’re not familiar with the term, “Extend” means getting or using an extra life. The game uses this term in several contexts but doesn’t ever explain it to those who might not be familiar with how it is typically used in Japanese games.
  • Bones can be resurrected at the temple to expand your CPU AI partner roster. These guys will jump into your game if you’re not playing with 4 human players and you’ve set the open slots to “Join On” in the tavern.
  • There’s a limit to both the number of bones you can have at one time, and the number of available CPU partners you can have waiting at the tavern. If you bury excess bones, you can sometimes find consumable items.
  • Don’t bother identifying everything you find – most of the D and E rank treasures are generally worthless, for example. The costs of identification are not worth the money you get back when you sell them.

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space

Cult of the Fiver: Weird Worlds

When life on your home world becomes boring, you opt to buy a small spacecraft and search the stars for treasure! The Infinite Space series is a game all about speeding around the galaxy, uncovering new worlds, new treasures, and new enemies. When you’ve had your fill, return home and become a legend.

Weird Worlds is worth your $5 because… it’s a fast paced, easy to learn, roguelike space exploration game. This is FTL’s great grandfather. The game itself is simple – exploration is easy and fun. Combat is a 2-D realtime event that is also relatively simple to master. Taken together, they’re relentlessly addicting. Each game plays out in 30 minutes or less, but the game exerts a strong pull on that little “one more turn” center of the brain.

But don’t pay full price for Weird Worlds, since… it’s not really a game you can sit down and play for hours on end. After a while, things start to repeat and the game starts to go a bit stale. If you’ve already played a lot of FTL, the backwards step in terms of story and combat are likely to grate.

Store page(s): Steam

Quick Tips:

  • The Klakar orbit one of the planets near where you start. They’re always around a yellow star. Visit them early.
  • The Klakar will trade anything 1-to-1, regardless of value. Sometimes they have epic gear you can get in trade for your basic starting gear, which can make a big difference.
  • There are several items that you can find which can be activated while in combat. Each one has a unique effect. However, they tend to consume the artifact, which will reduce your score.
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Destiny Review: Grinding Halo http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-review/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/destiny-review/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 22:56:30 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5618 Destiny is easily the most hyped game of 2014. Bungie’s said it’s a deep and complex game that will take players years to fully explore. Now that we’re both at the initial level cap, what impression has the game left me with?

The Good: Halo Evolved

EBongo and I are Bungie fanboys from back in the day. I played the original Marathon back when the company was a Mac gaming staple. He played the post-Microsoft-purchase Halo on the original Xbox. Since the ODST days, we’ve co-op’ed every Halo game we could get our hands on. Destiny is Bungie’s first post-Microsoft, post- Halo endeavor, so obviously we’re there to play it on day one.

destiny-review-new-mission

Let’s start with the good. Console FPS’es are Bungie’s bread and butter, and it shows. The shooting mechanics are tight, the environments feel fun, and it’s generally a joy to run and gun. Much like Halo, there are vehicles to master. Each Guardian has a “Sparrow” they can call in to ride around the map, and it’s good at getting you from point A to point B without a lot of jogging.

destiny-review-sparrow-riding

All of the missions take place on large maps that feel like MMO zones or the type of open area Borderlands is famous for. There are indoor and outdoor environments, so there’s a good variety of combat challenges associated with each mission. Each of the maps has its own theme, with different structures, lighting, and predominant enemy types.

destiny-review-loot-cave

The game just sort of… flows. Once you start, it’s easy to lose track of time as you shoot, reload, loot, and move on to new areas. Whatever else I can say about the game, at its core it is crazy fun to just play.

The Bad: Grindy and Shallow

Destiny has some serious issues, though. Most of them can be summed up by one word: shallow. If I had to pick a second word, I’d pick trite.

Bungie promised a lot with Destiny. It’s supposed to be a game you can play for years. However, there’s just not enough in the box to justify such a claim.

The story is just sort of there. Everything is Overly Capitalized Proper Noun Overload, where your Guardian takes your Ghost to interface with a Hive so you can stop the Fallen Knights from hurting the Traveler and overtaking the Tower. The voice acting is pretty bad, the story is pretty nonexistent, and what there is is basically the “bad guys over there, you hero, you kill bad guys” story that pretty much every FPS is based on.

destiny-review-old-earth-level-select

The large, expansive environments of each world are nice, but they’re overused. There are roughly half a dozen missions on each world, but they all reuse the same core areas, activities, and enemies. The enemies are cool looking, but again, there’s probably only 15 enemy types in the whole game and they’re mostly things we’ve seen before. The combat is fun, but the weapon choices are limited, and they’re all trope-tastic choices like “assault rifle” and “shotgun.”

Destiny has a max level of 20, past which point you’ve got to grind for gear in order to increase your power level to an effective cap of 30. Getting to 20 doesn’t take particularly long – maybe a couple of weeks worth of normal play. To get the extra gear you need for 30, you’ve got to do an impressively large amount of grinding.

There’s only four worlds and maybe 30 missions in the co-op content, so if you want to grind that way be prepared to kill the same grunts over and over again for hours at a time. There’s also competitive multiplayer to grind if that’s more your speed.

Speaking of the multiplayer…

Multiplayer Woes

Generally if you said to me “Hey, there’s a Bungie multiplayer shooter game, want to play it?” I’m going to answer yes. I’ve wasted countless hours over the years with Halo and I was hoping for something similar with Destiny.

The problem with Destiny is that players don’t come into the game on an equal playing field. Even though the game tries, it’s still hard to pit a level 1 newbie against a level 30 veteran. Gaining all that experience means that the level 30 Guardian is going to have access to all sorts of abilities that the new character just doesn’t. The weapons also improve, not just in damage, but also in special abilities, ammo capacity, and so forth.

The end result is kind of odd. Sure, if you’re really good at the game you can hold your own, but I don’t really know what the better solution here is. On the one hand, people who worked hard on their characters and gear should get to enjoy those extra benefits. On the other hand, it’s not really that much fun to have to overcome major handicaps when playing against people who are more hardcore than you are.

Other Quibbles

Destiny has a few other issues as well.

One is that it suffers from a lack of strong communication with players. For instance, when you visit the Tower (the game’s town/social hub), there are a number of vendors. However, more than two thirds of these vendors only accept a currency (“marks”) that you won’t find until you’re level 20. The game doesn’t explain this hardly at all. The primary currency in the game (“glimmer”) has little to no meaning when you hit level 20. There’s also a bunch of faction rep that isn’t clear at first. Not to mention whole gameplay mechanics (orbs of light, for instance) that aren’t explained at all.

Games of this ilk live or die by their loot system, and Destiny’s is pretty bad. When you’re in the field, gear loot is the same color as ammo, and the only way to tell them apart is to get close enough to see the shape. Loot in the field doesn’t show up often. At the end of missions and multiplayer matches, some people get loot and others don’t. This is not explained in any way either.

destiny-review-the-tower

There are a lot of bits of the game that seem geared towards hardcore players. For instance, there are major endgame raids that take 6 people and several hours to complete. I’d really like to participate, but I’d have to find a very organized and patient crew to run with, as I’ve got little time in the evenings to play. I get that it’s great for the dedicated community members, but for us “average Joe’s” it’s tantalizingly out of reach. What percentage of players are going to make it through these?

To make the bold claim that Destiny is a game we’ll be playing for years, that means Bungie must have plans for a sustaining stream of revenue. That means one of two things: lots of DLC or microtransactions. Already I feel like I didn’t get enough for my $60 buy-in, so I’m wary of the already available “Season Pass” that adds 4 more DLC packs.

Worth it? Hard to Say…

So where does all of this leave us? I’ve come down pretty hard on Destiny. I want to circle back, though, and say that Destiny is a damn fun game. It’s crazy entertaining. It feels like the evolution of Halo into the MMO-esque arena.

The problem with that is that in the intervening years, we all played Borderlands. If Borderlands wasn’t a thing, I’d have much lower expectations for a game like this. As it stands, though, it looks like Bungie tried to usurp the Borderlands throne and came up second place.

We’re just a few weeks in to what Bungie has promised is a years-long project, so I still have some hope for the future of the game. Perhaps all of these issues are just easy fixes that didn’t make it to the launch version of the game. However, I’m also concerned that this is it – the Emperor has been naked all along, and we shouldn’t have believed the hype.

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Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Defenses http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-upgrade-guide-defenses/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-upgrade-guide-defenses/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:39:48 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5621 Clash of Clans players as much as this eternal question: "What should I upgrade next?" In part two of my Clash of Clans upgrade guide, I'll cover strategies specific to upgrading your defensive buildings.]]> Few things perplex Clash of Clans players as much as this eternal question: “What should I upgrade next?” In part two of my Clash of Clans upgrade guide, I’ll cover strategies specific to upgrading your defensive buildings.

If you missed the general strategies in part 1, click here to start at the beginning!

Let’s Talk Defenses

Defense upgrades are critical to keep your loot safe from invaders. When it comes to defense upgrades in Clash of Clans, there are a few general rules of thumb I like to follow. We’ll tackle those first, and then we’ll talk about priorities.

General Defense Upgrade Strategies

First, keep your defenses strong even while upgrading. Upgrading a defense leaves a big hole in your base. Try to minimize the impact of this hole. Space out the buildings that are being upgraded. Don’t upgrade all of the same type of defense at once. These sorts of things will make you an easy target while you wait out the upgrade timer.

Second, upgrade the weakest defenses first. This may seem counter-intuitive, but think about it. We’ll consider a simple example.

Let’s consider a base having only two archer towers. One is level 8, and the other is level 1. You want both to get to level 10. Which should you upgrade first?

  • If you upgrade the level 8 tower to level 10 first, it’s a total of 9 days where you’ve got just the level 1 tower protecting you. That’s 9 days where your only defense is 11 damage per second.
  • If you upgrade the level 1 tower to level 8 first, the other protects your base with 48 damage per second for 6.75 days. Then when you upgrade either of the other two towers, the other continues to protect you.

Another way of thinking about this is that in Clash of Clans the cost per HP and DPS increases significantly as the tower’s level increases. Thus, the early upgrades give you more “bang for your buck.”

What Defenses to Upgrade First

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Defenses

The most important defenses are:

  • Mortars for horde troops, especially around Town Hall 6-8 where BARCH raids are common
  • Air Defense for air units, once dragon and minion raids start to become common
  • X-Bows for their all-around rapid rate of fire
  • Wizard Towers for their splash damage

These defenses are the ones you should invest in first, and these should form the core of your base. Beyond that:

  • Tesla Towers do bonus damage to PEKKAs and can’t be seen until they’re triggered, but they’re not super strong.
  • Archer Towers provide long range air/ground support, but aren’t particularly powerful either.
  • Cannons are ground-only and single shot, but they are still somewhat useful.

As I mentioned before, I suggest sticking your trap upgrades in when you can. I’m a big fan of the Air Bomb as it is a good area-of-effect air defense weapon.

The Wall Problem

It seems like everyone in Clash of Clans likes to neglect their walls. Walls are extremely important, even though there are many units that can bypass them. Walls force enemies to move in predictable patterns and keep them from moving quickly through your base.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Walls & Town Hall

Raids that rely on a hybrid of units that bypass and don’t bypass walls are still affected by them. Good wall placement can cause an attacking force to split up and get forced into areas where high damage can take them down easily.

The problem with Walls in Clash of Clans is that they’re so darn expensive. Recently the game was patched to allow either gold or elixir for wall upgrades, but still it’s a crazy amount of resources to invest.

Bear this pain, though. Especially at Town Hall 7, I highly suggest that you max out all your walls. The cheap loot at this level is much easier to get than it will be otherwise. You can undo several levels worth of bad wall decisions here if you can bear the expense, and it’s well worth it.

Conclusion

Hopefully this guide has helped you to demystify Clash of Clans upgrades, and now you feel confident setting an upgrade path for your own base. What did I miss? What important strategies do you follow? Let me know in the comments.

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Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-upgrade-guide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-clans-upgrade-guide/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:39:47 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5613 Clash of Clans players as much as this eternal question: "What should I upgrade next?" In this entry in our ongoing series of guides for Clash of Clans, I'll go over my strategies for what to upgrade and in what order.]]> Few things perplex Clash of Clans players as much as this eternal question: “What should I upgrade next?” In this entry in our ongoing series of guides for Clash of Clans, I’ll go over my strategies for what to upgrade and in what order.

So first, let’s cover the basics. Before you’re about Town Hall level 6, strategy doesn’t matter so much. The early phase of the game is really hard to mess up and you’ll make quick progress through it. You can still learn something from reading this, and I do still suggest you max everything out the way I lay this out, but the rubber doesn’t really meet the road until Town Hall 6.

The strategies in this guide are really intended for people at Town Hall 6 through about Town Hall 8. Past this point, hopefully you’ve already learned all of this. If you’re Town Hall 9 or 10 and haven’t mastered upgrading, that’s fine, but if you’re an upgrade pro by that point this guide is probably going to be too basic.

That out of the way, let’s talk strategy.

Town Hall Last

This is a big one, so I’ve put it first and given it it’s own section. Leave your Town Hall upgrade for last. Upgrading your Town Hall before you’re ready is the #1 way you will screw up your base.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Walls & Town Hall

The reason for this is the loot modifiers for attacking and defending depend on your relative Town Hall levels. This means that it is harder to get loot from lower level bases, and higher level attackers will get steal less loot when they attack you. This slows the whole game down, since you can’t gain resources from raiding and you’re constantly losing more than you would when people raid you.

So, if you upgrade your Town Hall to 9 or 10 quickly, without upgrading your defenses, your loot is ripe for the taking. I’ve seen very high level Town Hall bases with horribly undereleveled troops and walls, and these guys are easy targets. Don’t be that guy/gal! Leave your Town Hall for last!

General Upgrade Strategies

Try to stagger your upgrades a bit. For instance, don’t send all your builders to build things that take a week. Now you’ve got a week’s worth of resources from raids and collectors that will be sitting in your base, waiting for someone to come steal it. It’s better to upgrade some faster things while you’re upgrading slower things, so that you can spend your resources over time and prevent massive storage buildups.

Plus, if you’ve got several builders coming free at the same time, chances are you’re going to need a massive amount of resources in order to put them all back to work.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Staggered Upgrades

At the higher levels, everything is going to take forever, but I’d still suggest trying to keep your builders freeing up at different times. Traps in particular are great for this – even at the higher levels, they don’t take that long to build and upgrade, so you can use them to stagger your upgrade timers a bit.

Specific Upgrades to Prioritize

The Laboratory upgrade is generally a no-brainer. You need troop upgrades, and upgrading the Laboratory is the way to get them. Most troops and spells in Clash of Clans are extremely weak until they’re fully upgraded.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Laboratory

When it comes to lab upgrades, upgrade what you use, first. If you run a lot of Giants, upgrade your Giants. I think you should try to keep everything upgraded, though. New strategies and rebalancing patches are constantly arriving, so being flexible with your troops will make your life a lot easier.

You should also keep at least one Barracks (and Dark Barracks, where appropriate) at the highest level possible. Here again, if you can’t build a troop, you can’t upgrade it. Upgrading the Barracks also increases the cap on the number of troops you can train, which can be useful for filling your camps or for the “elixir bank” trick.

The Spell Factory is similar to the Barracks in that it unlocks spells that can be upgraded. Upgrading it also gives you more spells to use in battle, so that’s a big plus as well. Definitely grab this if you can.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Camps

If you can upgrade your Camps, this is certainly something you should prioritize. Upgrades only add 5 troop slots, but it stacks up and in some raids, every troop counts.

Lower-Priority Upgrades

There are some things that I would leave for last, right before upgrading your Town Hall. These upgrades are still important, but I don’t think they’re as important as the ones we’ve mentioned already.

I suggest putting off upgrading your Barracks past the first, unless you’re using those units in your normal strategies. For instance, chances are that early in Town Hall 8 you won’t be running PEKKAs much. No point in prioritizing those upgrades until you are. Plus, you’ve got a while to wait on any Laboratory upgrades, so being able to build lots of weak PEKKAs quickly is probably not that great of an idea.

If you aren’t in a clan, you certainly should put off upgrading the Clan Castle. Even if you are, upgrading it past 20 slots is not a high priority upgrade. Getting to 20 lets you put a dragon in there if you so choose, but 25 doesn’t really open that many more strategic options, in my opinion.

Collectors are one thing I’d consider carefully. Collector resources are dwarfed by resources from raids. They also make you a juicy target for raids, especially if you let them fill up. Having them around is good, but I wouldn’t put priority on upgrading them when other things are available to take your resources and builders.

Defenses in Part 2!

“What about defenses??” I hear you saying. Well, that’s such a big topic that it is getting its own page. Click on to read my defense upgrading strategies!

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Five Surprising CoC Clan Wars Secrets (pt 2) http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/five-coc-clan-wars-secrets-pt2/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/five-coc-clan-wars-secrets-pt2/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 21:12:36 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5594 Prev Page 2 of 2 Next

4. Rolling the tape

One of the really cool aspects of Clan Wars is that it gives your whole Clan the chance to review the same targets in a lot of detail, and analyze the results of one or multiple attacks on each of those targets. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn ways to improve your own raids, and share learnings with clanmates.

Attack in progress!

If you are chatting with a clanmate who is about to attack, open the War Map and watch their target. If you time it right, you should have an option to “Watch Battle Live”. This gives you a cool opportunity to see exactly what they see, and try and assess whether you would make the same decisions or choose differently. Be sure to congratulate big wins, and offer condolences on crushing defeats – but either way, see what can be learned from each attack. Even a major slip up can identify trap locations and defensive weak point or blind spots.

Clash of Clans: Clan Wars War Events

Did you see that?!?

At any given time, the best attack on each base on the War Map is accessible by clicking the blue “Replay” button – but what if you want to see one of the other attacks against it? You can! Simply tap the blue star next to the opposing clans name on the War Map, and a dialog will open up with various tabs of stats and details about the Clan War. On the “War Events” tab a replay is available for every battle in the Clan War so you can watch those epic moments again and again.

5. War winnings and your “real” Clan Castle

As if the rest of Clan Wars were not confusing enough, the actual loot mechanics have further nuances to confuse you.

Ghost Loot

During each of your two attacks in the Clan War, you will destroy Collectors and Storages as you seek to completely obliterate your enemies and salt the earth so that nothing ever grows. If you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice that you get a modest amount of loot during these attacks. This Ghost Loot seems to come from basically nowhere. Your opponent does not lose it as a result of your attack, and it doesn’t seem to be related to how much loot that opponent actually has at the time of the attack. Spooky.

Clash of Clans: Clan Castle Mini Storages

What are those tiny shapes?

Like I touched on in #2, you will win loot at the end of the war depending on a) the targets you personally defeated with at least one star b) whether your clan won, lost, or tied. If you win, what you see is what you get. If you tie or lose, you’ll still get something, but much less. So where does all of this loot go? Obviously the most logical place to store it is in tiny containers on top of your Clan Castle. Here I’m referring to the Clan Castle in your real base (not your War Base). I’m of two minds about whether SuperCell did us a favor by storing the loot in the CC, or figured out another backhanded way to expose our hard fought booty to further plundering, but regardless… that’s where you can find your loot after the Clan War is over.

Pro Tip If you like to leave your Clan Castle empty and outside your base (and why is that again?) then take head that it is now a tiny Storage, and should be treated like one. I find it useful for setting aside a little bit of extra Dark Elixir when I’m trying to make a push to an expensive DE upgrade, but opinions vary about whether or not you should immediately empty your CC as soon as you have space to do so, or leave your winnings in there until you need to spend them.

Warning After the stones are cast in a Clan War, and you know roughly how much loot you are going to win – check and make sure you have room in your Clan Castle, and “Collect” it’s contents if you do not. Losing all of that loot to overflow would be a genuine tragedy.

Got any of your own CoC Clan Wars tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

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