The Path to All Star -- Part One
The Altador Cup is here, fanfare, mad keyboard mashing, and all. As I write this (on my rather cluttered desk, I might add) my arms are shaking and the point of my Berry Ink pen is nearly ripping holes in the pages of my notebook. Why, you ask?
Well, it’s simple, really. I spent the last hour sporting for my team (the Haunted Woods, of course) in the Altador Cup’s side games. Tapping two keys furiously for seven or eight seconds takes its toll on one's nerves, as does timing the release of the space bar and watching empty slushie cups slide off counters. Oh, I’ve played my fair share of Yooyuball this past week—as I write this it’s the sixth, and we’re up against Virtupets—but I’ve picked up on some things that I want to share for my fellow competitors aiming for All Star this season. I’ll start with the basics this week—what it takes to reach the highest rank in Altador Cup history—and show you the baseline you should set for deciding which games are efficient. Ready? I hope you are, because by now the cup’s nearly half over, and you’ve got some catching up to do!
The Path to All Star
If you aren’t aiming for All Star and have a Skeith’s weight of free time, you may want to consider it. Glory, and prize shop points, are at stake! You’ll need a mere 2,000 wins at Yooyuball to get there, or 4,000 successfully completed games of Slushie Slinger, or a whopping 24,000 games of Make Some Noise or Shootout Showdown. Pretty odd numbers, right? Let me explain exactly what they mean:
In order to reach All Star (the equivalent of “Rank 20”, just with an awesome name), you need 2,000 rank points. If you take a second and check your Altador Cup stats page, you’ll notice that there’s no mention anywhere of these mysterious rank points I, and everyone else, keeps telling you about. That’s because they’re a hidden value, derived from the number of games you’ve successfully completed. Each game contributes a different amount of rank points to your score.
One rank point equals:
1 Yooyuball win
2 Yooyuball draws
2 Slushie Slinger games
12 Make Some Noise Games
12 Shootout Showdown games
The good news is that you don’t actually have to play 24,000 games of Make Some Noise to reach All Star, or 2,000 games of Yooyuball. You could play 1,000 games of Yooyuball and 12,000 games of Make Some Noise. It’s also worth noting that you don’t necessarily need an even number of games to get the rank point. What I mean by this is playing 10 games of Make Some Noise and 14 games of Shootout Showdown will add up to two rank points, even though you didn’t get to the 12 Make Some Noise games necessary for a rank point if you were just playing that game. Similarly, a Yooyuball draw and a Slushie Slinger game will also add a point.
There are many, many, many, many, many, many game combinations possible for reaching the 2,000 rank points, and the path you take is entirely up to you.
But remember how I said a second ago that I’ve picked up on a few things I want to share?
I’m all for efficiency. When I want to do something, I want to do it in the least amount of time possible, and I want to follow the path of least resistance. That is, I want it to be easier rather than harder. There’s nothing really easy about racking up 2,000 rank points in a bit over a month, but given the number options available I decided that there had to be a fastest, least painful way, so, being me, I set out to find it. Unfortunately, TNT saw me coming and they weren’t going to make it easy. Queue the music for the minimum score requirements. Yep, that’s right. If you score less than 3,000 points in Make Some Noise, 650 points in Shootout Showdown, or 285 points in Slushie Slinger, your game doesn’t count.
Making the Best Use of Time
Yooyuball is the baseline for the Altador Cup games, so I’m going to start there. The timer on the game is three minutes. You have to spend a few seconds at the beginning of the game picking your direction and your formation (suggestion for next year’s cup: allow us to set defaults for these two so we don’t have to click through these screens every game!), and mashing keys to get through the cutscenes. Sending your score also takes between a second and infinity, or until you decide to refresh.
Each goal shaves a few seconds off the time to play because of the aforementioned cutscene skipping—eight seconds off the clock and it takes three to five from goal to next play. If you can score enough goals, or have enough goals scored against your team, that the time you save adds up to the time it takes to start the game and send your score, you’re playing a three minute game. Some games will take longer than others—Darigan Yooyu, I’m looking at you—so I’m going to average this off to about three minutes, maybe a bit longer, per game.
Three minutes a game translates pretty easily to three minutes a rank point, and since Yooyuball is the main game of the Cup, it’s probably also the baseline used to determine rank points for other games.
Story time. When I first picked up the Altador Cup at the beginning of this season, I didn’t think there was a more efficient way to rank up than playing Yooyuball. I looked at the time required for Make Some Noise, thirty seconds, and did some quick math: you’re looking at SIX MINUTES for rank points equivalent to a Yooyuball win. Seemed awful!
Then I noticed the line about pressing the spacebar to send your score, and that got me thinking—and playing. After some extensive, extremely difficult experiments (read: passable use of a stopwatch and some basic math skills), I discovered that, as far as ranking up is concerned, Yooyuball might just not be the best use of your time.
Next week I’ll discus the side games and how they can help you reach your Altador Cup goals.