Hands (or paws) up, all you who were caught unawares by this shadow war. Oh, come on. I know I’m not the only one. The desperate scrabble for codestones and bottled faeries? The begging of the master at the training school to speed it up, just a little? Staying awake til all hours just to fit in one more training course? Sound familiar? That’s more like it, and I still think there should be more hands up than that! Due to the long period of peace which we have enjoyed, there are many of us who have become lax, particularly those of us who have been blissfully unaware of the standard of Battledome training required to defend Neopia in a wartime situation. So, even those of us who had thought our pet well trained for any eventuality have found ourselves woefully unprepared and in exactly the same boat! So, what can we do about it?
Training is quite obviously one of the most important things to think about in any wartime situation. For those of us without the luxury of the Secret Laboratory map and have to train by hand this is a long, expensive and painful process. So, is there any way to make it a little less time consuming, and a little less of a blow to our bank accounts? Well, probably not both at the same time. You can make it cheaper by going to the Krawk Island for training, but that takes double the time. Or you can buy the more expensive codestones and go to Mystery Island for a quicker training course.
So far I’m not filling you with hope, am I? Well, I do have some ideas to help you out. Firstly, now that codestones have already inflated in price, there is not much point in you hoarding them from the Shop Wizard. Instead focus on buying the ones which you need when you need them. Secondly, remember that Key Quest does quite regularly give out free codestones for a gold or silver key as well as the neopoints. So, when you’ve run out of your regular games for neopoints, remember that you can unlock up to ten keys a day on Key Quest. In addition to this, there is a 33% chance of getting a stat increase from doing a kitchen quest, which is a far cheaper way (and quicker!) than buying codestones when everything is inflating! Or, of course, you could take advantage of the negg deflation due to the faeries being kind of frozen, and unable to swap them, and try to find yourself a negg to increase your pets stats. The Silver Knight Negg will increase your defence whilst the Ferocious Negg and the Power Negg will increase attack; however, this is still a VERY expensive way to train your pet! You’re probably better taking advantage of the negg deflation purely so you can sell them on later and recoup some of your losses from the war! And never forget Coltzan’s Shine, which can increase stats, give out dubloons and if you are really, really lucky you could even get the grand prize!
Right, now I’ve gone over some of the basics of getting your hands on training equipment, so what should you train and why? Well, it’s pretty well known that you can train strength, defence and agility to twice your pet's level, whilst endurance (HP) can be trained to three times. So the first advice is to make sure you have got your HP to three times your level before you move onto the next training level, which will cost you more in dubloons or codestones. The second thing to remember, though, is that the Battledome is all worked by numbers. The first number to note is how many icons of damage your weapon will do, or how many icons your shield will block, but this number is then multiplied by a strength/defence boost depending on your basic strength or defence stats. Until you have hit 13 in basic attack, your icon damage will be multiplied by 0.5 and 0.75, so the first thing is to make sure you are doing at least the number of icons damage your weapon shows by getting your attack/defence stat to 13. Then you will really be aiming for 35 which will multiply your icons by 1.5 and then 55 which will multiply your icons by 2. Once you’ve got to the each of these in turn, focus on getting your HP to double your level as you will need to move past the level boundaries on codestones/dubloons to get to the next boost. This means that HP is more valuable in the short term. At that point it is worth your while to train defence and attack to double as well so you don’t end up paying more later, and then focusing entirely on HP so that it’s at the triple mark. The next multiplier is 85 which is going to cost you a pretty penny to get to a 2.5 boost!
My final advice on this point would be to completely ignore agility as it is fairly useless stat in battle and will just end up costing you more neopoints for nothing.
What equipment your pet wears is another important aspect of battling and you aren’t going to get very far with useless equipment. However, I do understand that most of us do not have limitless bank accounts and weapons are expensive. Most of us just do not have 11 million neopoints to spend on a Sword of Skardsen and that’s not even an item that inflates! So what can we afford?
A healing item is an absolute necessity. I would advise that the Greater Healing Scroll is the best if your HP is too high to be healed fully with the Lesser Healing Scroll (although if you have less than 40 HP you may be better with a Blue Scorchstone). Even with inflated prices meaning that you are not likely to get your hands on one for under 200k, this is still far cheaper than the alternatives. In terms of defence, the Leaf Shield is a good blocker and again within a reasonable price range. At about 20k even with inflation this is a good buy. Sophies Magic Hat is the next best upgrade, but it inflates massively during wartime and it really depends on whether you want to pay 160k for an extra two icons. If you can afford an expense of 8 million, then Ghostkershield is just about the best bet – but I know I couldn’t afford it in my dreams!
In terms of attack items, the Golden Compass is probably one of the best buys when you’re on a budget, as it’s a nine icon attack plus a three icon defence, but again prices have inflated to silliness. In addition to this I have a Psellias Fighting Fan, which is another weapon to do nine icons worth of damage. Those are probably the best you are going to get on a budget, as if you want 12 icons with the Ylanas Blaster you are looking at 1.6 million in inflated prices. And if you want much more than that, it’s going to be a trip to the Hidden Tower for you and between 11 million and 13 million! I think that’s probably going to be going on my wish list for the next war... but for about 300k you can get both of my above recommendations.
In addition to these, you should really own a freezing weapon so you can prevent major damage; Snowglobe Staff is affordable with a fair chance of freezing your opponent and it is only semi-breakable so you won’t have to keep replacing it. The H4000 Helmet is your main 100% reliable freezer that won’t break, but you’re are looking at spending a fortune again. Snowglobe Staff is a more practical suggestion! Owning a Downsize! is highly advisable for those panicked moments where you realise your opponent can finish you off this turn and you REALLY need to heal. Considering that it blocks half of all damage, it is really cheap (5k isn’t much skin off your teeth!), and you can’t go wrong with it. Finally you probably need a bomb; I have Illusens Earth Potion, largely due to its price, but I barely use it. Bombs are only really useful if they have massive icon damage like the Honey Potion or the Ghostkerbomb. But bombs are only one use per battle which means that they are not really that cost effective at that price... If I had that much disposable income I’d prefer to buy a Ylanas Blaster!
That leaves you one space left to do with as you wish. Some people like to use a stealer but I’ve never seen the point in them if I’m honest! As I don’t get to keep the item I’m stealing then I get bored! And I’m now trying to figure out what I want to do with that space myself! As a final point I would advise you to stock up on healing potions from the healing springs, as particularly Bubbling Healing Goo can come in very useful when you’ve just lost or drawn a match! Even with the Faeries being out of action, you can still get healing potions from it.
I only recently found out how useful faerie abilities are, but you are going to struggle to get through anything but the weakest opponents without them. Burrow is an ability that is really necessary as it blocks almost all damage coming at you, leaving you free to use two offensive weapons without having to waste your time using a shield. To get this you only need to have a level 10 pet and use four bottled earth faeries. Sink is another defensive ability that is essential, but you will need to be level 30 and use eight bottled dark faeries, but on route you’ll pick up Drain Life, which is useful for quick healing as it steals 11% of your opponent's health. There are other abilities which can come in handy if you want to spend your neopoints on them, including Water Vapour which heals 33% of your lost HP, this requires your pet to be level 27 and you to use eight bottled water faeries. Overall, though, the three that I mentioned earlier are the big ones if you want to be a serious contender in any war.
The main thing which I’d say needs to be remembered, though, is that these abilities do need to be equipped once you have obtained them. Don’t make the mistake I did and wander into a battle assuming that they will be there! You can also level these abilities up using neggs or if you’re lucky the Wheels, which will make them more effective in battle.
Well, that’s nearly all from me, and I hope I’ve been helpful. My final tips would be that to get to a decent level pet quickly you do need to keep an eye on the time and complete your courses as soon as you’ve finished, then promptly start a new course. And when you are desperately training up to meet the next wave of attackers, time is of the essence. In addition, save up your neopoints. Every second you are training, you should be saving up neopoints for the next set of codestones you will need.
So, off you go then. Train and help Neopia in its time of desperate need. And if anyone happens to have a Ylanas Blaster they don’t want...
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"Look, Hai, I don't know what's wrong with you..." she said, exasperated. "I swear, I'm just going to get it over with and paint you baby."