The Path to All Star -- Part Two
Welcome back! It’s been a while! This week I’m going to discuss the three side games of the Altador Cup. Now’s probably a good time to note that all the numbers in the sections that follow are from my own personal experience, and that your results may vary. There’s a section at the end about how to figure out your own numbers.
Probably the worst, for efficiency, of all the games in the Cup. The minimum score is 285, which compared to the other games doesn’t seem like that much. But, you get a maximum of eight points for each customer that appears, and the game starts out pretty slowly. You need to serve about 36 customers, which is quite a few, and my average time on this game is two minutes. It takes two games of Slushie Slinger to earn a rank point, meaning that this game eats far more time than Yooyuball.
I hate Slushie Slinger. I think most of Neopia hates Slushie Slinger. So, here’s a bit of advice to make it less painful if you do decide to play: Slushie Slinger is a game of priorities, that is to say knowing which things are important and which things are... not so important. The things that cost you lives are important—don’t let too many cups fall off the end. The things that give you the greatest number of points are also—if you have to decide between giving someone the wrong drink or throwing it down an empty counter and losing a life, ask yourself if you can spare that life. If the answer is yes, you’ll be much happier with the extra three points that serving the right slushie buys you. There’s no bonus for serving a customer a drink quickly, so that’s least important.
Make Some Noise
My favorite of all the games. The problem here is that this game is pretty rough on the hands, so playing just this is bound to cause some strain. You need a score of 3000, which, at my tapping speed, takes about seven seconds to get (I usually hit space bar when the game time is at 0:23). I have noticed that the score you see on the send score screen is usually a bit higher than the score when you hit the space bar, and this is probably a result of some lag somewhere. I’ve taken to compensating for this by hitting space bar in the 2800-2900 score range, though sometimes this plan backfires and my score is still under 3000.
I usually ignore hitting the bonus letters because my ability to guess how many points they’ll add to my score is abysmal and I just play to 3000 showing anyway (points from bonus letters don’t get added into your score until the game is over), and they have the potential to add time. If you overestimate the score they add and end up under 3000, you’ve wasted a game.
Accounting for time to start the game, get to the right keys, stop the game, and send score, it probably takes me about 12 seconds to play a game of Make Some Noise. That’s five games a minute, or 12 games in two minutes and 24 seconds, coming in considerably under the Yooyuball time of three minutes. Remember, though, that you really can’t play this game for an extended period of time unless you want to be sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
The other quick, 12-games-to-a-rank-point game. This one takes me a bit longer than Make Some Noise, and players have far less control over the time each game takes because of the short scenes between every shot. With no misses, it takes nine or ten seconds to play. Each miss adds about two seconds, and we’ll add three seconds for starting the game and sending score (though remember that score sends can be really volatile; sometimes they’re lightning quick and sometimes they don’t work at all). If you’re perfectly accurate, you’re looking at 13 seconds a game, and let me tell you: I am not AT ALL perfectly accurate.
Every six and a half misses costs you the same amount of time it would take to play one game, and thinking about that makes my skin crawl, so here’s a bit of advice: hold down the space bar as soon as you can. When the green bar reaches the top, count to one in your head (silly, right?) and then let it go. I find this works most of the time, and goals I miss I’m sure I released too soon.
I usually alternate this with Make Some Noise because they have the same rank point conversion rate, and they’re both pretty engaging games.
Remember, You’re On A Team.
If your only goal is to reach All Star by the end of the season, then feel free to Make Some Noise your way to victory. If you have any sense of team spirit, however, keep in mind that the other games, Yooyuball and Slushie Slinger, also contribute to your team. Slushie Slinger is the least popular of all the Altador Cup sports, and scores in that game can go a long way toward a green box at midnight. Yooyuball is the main event, and wins and losses there contribute more heavily to your team’s record.
Variety also keeps monotony at bay, which means you can stay on the fields for longer stretches without that goal-defeating voice (“Why am I doing this again?”) creeping into your head.
Finding Your Own Way
There are tons of factors that can contribute to which game is the most efficient for you. If you have a slow computer or internet connection, Yooyuball might be the way to go because, at three minutes a game, you’re less subject to the wiles of sending your score than you would be if you played Shootout Showdown, which takes 12 sends for the same rank points. If your keyboard can’t take your frantic tapping, the slower-paced Slushie Slinger might be best for you. The best thing you can do is find how long the average game of each sport takes and work from there. Here’s how to time yourself:
Decide how many games you want to play. This should be a large number, like ten, to get a more accurate number. Timing one game doesn’t take into account variance, like missing goals in Shootout Showdown or a slow start at Make Some Noise. Before you hit “start game”, start your timer, and then forget about it until you’re done with your set number of games. That timer can be an awful distraction. When you’re done, take the total time (convert it to seconds first!), and divide it by the number of games you played. That’s the average time it takes for each game.
Multiply the average time it takes for each game by the number of games you need of that sport for a rank point, and that’s how long it will take to get a rank point for that game. Compare those numbers for each sport, and you’ll know which one will lead you to victory the fastest!
All Star is a grand adventure, and a great accomplishment. Regardless of how you get there, it’s a wonderful feeling to succeed at such a monumental goal. Two thousand rank points takes a lot of patience, and I wish you the best of luck.
And, I remind you again, remember your team!