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Chronicles of a Scuffed-Up Battledome Pet


by shusu_chan

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We may have that new battledome trophy, but we're sure not veterans. Oh, let me introduce myself! My name is Anthur. I am many things– a first pet (eldest sounds so... old), once a Gelert, now a Koi, once Halloween, now Ice, once a Battledome neophyte, and now plunked in the middle of a Battledome plot. Before we go any further, we should say that we don't mind losing. Yes, we can hear all of you with perfect records slapping your foreheads and going Eww, gross! And that's okay; we fight for the thrill of it, not for the points. We're not trying to tell anybody how to do the 'dome, so please don't neomail us with better suggestions. We already know that we don't know what we're doing! This is simply our war story.

The beginning is kind of boring, so we'll skip around. Yes, I was running around (on four legs!) when the Battledome opened. I still have some old Gelert armour in the SDB. The switch to Koi gave us more options for species armour, so we took to battling. But on the whole, it was harder to find codestones, it was expensive to buy good weapons, and though quick-fighting was thrilling, we just couldn't compete with lab rats and the Hidden Tower buyers. Anything that didn't yield NP or items wasn't a priority. So we quit. I had lots of brothers and sisters to play with; my owner had lots of hiatus (hiatuses?) to go on.

Fast-forward to Year 15. We had a load of codestones saved up thanks to Key Quest. We had a little more NP to burn thanks to my owner's gaming and a bit of Habitarium. Thanks to a new adoption and some Ninja action, we were present when the murmurs of war kicked up. Even then, my owner was a little laid-back about preparation. Training night and day? No way. We didn't have a firm goal to shoot for, so we just tried to level off our stats. And we had a lot of leveling off to do, thanks to a stint with the lab ray. The ol' Secret Laboratory won't lower hit points, but it will deflate your level quick. We had also messed with Count Von Roo in an effort to recapture his avatar. Between that and the faerie quests we kept accepting, our level was always too low and some other stat too high.

My level rose, though not quickly enough. We watched the (really well-produced) briefings. I spit-shined my scales. We assembled my weapons. We bought a spiffy new helmet for the screenshots. We chose a side. After my owner got over Kanrik talking to her – why wouldn't he? I just don't get it – war was nigh.

The Best Things in Battledome are Free. The first lesson was that the first wave wasn't that bad. We lingered on the easy levels, reading and rereading the scouting reports, trying to pick out shields. What we should have done is jump in and hit them hard on Hard. Everyone on the boards were kind of relieved, and we were too. For now, our modest amount of hit points could sustain us through tough fights.

The second lesson was that all the hoarding we'd done over the years was saving us a lot of NP. And it wasn't just the codestones, which in the open market were inflating like sponge cakes in the Bakery. We'd won a Scarab Ring from a scratchcard, a Parasol of Unfortunate Demise from the Mysterious Negg Cave's puzzle, won a Scroll of Knowledge from the Wheel of Knowledge, and fished out a Shiny Shoal Shell Shield from the Fishing Vortex. Just doing the dailies had given us a decent start. We won't give away the whole set, of course.

Measuring Up. That shiny set was totally lacking. We didn't own a healer, for one. Our freezers seemed inadequate. We just weren't that skilled, or that well-stocked with one-use weapons like muffins to feel confident using them as final moves. So if we couldn't finish it in one hit, or two, we were going to lose. With each wave we moved from Hard to Medium to Easy. We knew enough to look up the icons of each piece of equipment. (Several sites, including the approved fan sites, test weapons and post their findings.) If you didn't already know, icons are the units of each element that a battledome weapon shoots out or deflects. I just seemed to be outclassed. I don't own anything from the Hidden Tower. We'd never earned enough plot-points for even one decent weapon. We weren't going to beat the restockers in the main shops. Try as I might, I still couldn't read the symbols on that door at the Mystery Island volcano.

It also wasn't enough to look up icons. My owner realized we should have been aiming for the stat multiplier. All the weapons came listed with numbers of icons. What multiplied those icons were the strength and defence of the pet. I was just a dozen short of the next tier up! We read up on the rules at the Ninja Training School: with my high hit points, I had to bump up my level again! But the waves were coming every few days, and the training took hours at a time. Our codestone hoard was starting to run low. If we had skipped training before because the codestones prices were too high, well, now they were astronomical. And it wasn't an even increase – we'd tried to trade a red codestone for a normal one, and gotten no replies. The Shop Wizard told us that shortages had driven up the value of certain types. Sure enough, we ran out of those first. Supply and demand, little guppies. It's real and it's here in Neopia.

The third wave came along, and my owner said to me: Face up to it, Anthur. This will probably be our last fight.

Cross Your Fingers and Put On Your Lucky Socks. It was the Flawless Victory achievement that was the turning point in our battling. Defeat the enemy and come out with all your hit points, not counting the Ugga Dome's own wartime auto-healer. It all came down to the final move. Everybody said we had to do three things – block, heal, and freeze. The freezing's optional, unless your endurance is weak, like mine is. Then it was a necessity to bash their hit points down to something manageable. On the bright side, we had plenty of shields! But our hopes were dim as my owner hauled out the Green Frost Cannon. It was pretty dusty. We literally hadn't used it in years.

A healer – we needed one, bad. With all the prices inflated, and the raiding parties surging, it seemed like a tall order. We did some research; the only healer out there seemed to be the unreliable Golden Sun Chalice. It's a 100% healer (yay!) that doesn't always work (boo!).

The Brutal Mercenary didn't care about our bank account. All she cared about was wiping the floor with me. I got scuffed up quite a bit whenever I drank from the Chalice to no effect. Then something did happen. Like a random event falling from the sky. At the battle's start, the Mercenary stomped the ground and swung that huge mace. I put on the Scarab Ring as usual, since it blocked most of the possible weapons, and lined up the rickety Frost Cannon.

And it froze.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The Mercenary had hit me hard, also as usual, so maybe I was just seeing stars and flying weewoos. Quickly, before the ice melted, I grabbed my Scroll of Knowledge and went for the Chalice.

Before I could understand what was happening, my owner was running onto the field holding up a big white box. We did it!she screamed. You have a Flawless Victory! I looked down at my fully healed fins, at the woozy Mercenary, and realized we'd shot the gap in just two moves. A million-to-one shot.

More precisely, it was around a one percent chance. The Green Frost Cannon froze about 16% of the time. The Golden Sun Chalice healed about 10% of the time. Multiply them (converting to decimal points is easier), and you get the odds of doing what I managed. It wasn't winning like a boss, but it was still a victory. After that skirmish, we read up on as many weapons as we could, and paid attention to the details. The Chalice was still way too unreliable, yet we were still able to use it as the battles got longer. And they were getting drawn out, all right, because I could no longer finish off the opponents in one hit.

Still, any win was going to help our faction. Even losing would keep them busy long enough to get their pockets picked. If I could only win with luck, then I'd just have to make some. Not with shamrocks, either.

Dig Deep For It. That meant maximizing our opportunities to win. First there was the equipment we already owned. Our research helped us switch sets between opponents. For example, a frequent switch was the aforementioned Parasol for the Shell Shield and vice versa. Though there was always at least one high-level finishing weapon, we took out weapons with elements that the opponents were known to block. This has always been our style of battling, so there's not much we can say besides study hard.

Second was finding the equipment we already owned. I almost went into the first wave without the Shell Shield because it was forgotten in the gallery. We spent a long afternoon checking on all the weapons in a side account's gallery. The Safety Deposit Box thankfully has a drop-down box to sort out all the Battledome gear, and we checked those too. So after that fateful Flawless Victory... I found that we owned a much better freezer all along. It was a prize from an old event.

At this point, we went back and looked harder. We not only checked all our galleries, we also looked for items priced at zero in our own shop. After clicking the Stat tab in the BD, it turned out my brothers had been holding some weapons for safekeeping all along. We went to old plot-related shops to see if we had prize points to use. Those Neggs and Negg points lying around? Some Neggs give stat boosts, or so my bloated tummy tells me. Our accumulated now-Fading Bottled Faeries went with us to Mystery Island to be converted to the newer Weak Bottled Faeries, and then on to Aethia's academy.

Of special note is my trusty Coral Orb. This shield's for all the water-based pets out there. I really thought all we had were the weaker weapons usable by Koi. There was no way they'd make a dent against these bruisers, right? Yet it turned out because of some enemies' icon types, the Coral Orb and other species-specific weapons would actually help. Not for long, but it was a great feeling to have the old pearl in my grasp again. If you're looking for just the right gear for the job, sometimes what's custom-made for your species will be the answer. (Some extreme battlers morph species to take advantage of this.)

We were naturally reluctant to acquire more weapons. Surely everything was overpriced, right? As we got specific, though, we started to find possible options. If an opponent kept blocking air icons, for instance, we started looking for a weapon that dealt a lot of icons that were not air. After some hairy moments trying to locate it in the main shop, and some boggling at the trading post, we realized that the Shop Wizard had found plenty at just a thousand over the original price. Ah, sitting through the Half Price Day lag was worth it for the post-Half Price Day values! It was, so to speak, a steal.

We did plunk down some NP for a really good mid-level weapon: a reflector. We got a deal on it by throwing in a map piece from a random event, and also bundling the purchase with another weapon which I can't use yet. (Some weapons need certain stats to work, but since the BD is now fun and profitable, we saw it as a future investment.) That reflector used the enemy's strength against them, which was perfect for a weaker pet like me. It was a bit scary testing brand new weapons in the heat of battle, but fortunately Koi don't sweat.

That's really the essence of making your own luck: knowing what you have, and timing. It works in the Battledome. How many hit points do I have left relative to theirs, how hard can they hit me, and can I flip the coin to use a healer? We had to experiment a lot! Just today we realized that using the freezer before the opponent used their gobs of healing ... was a dumb move. But then, a few hours later, we realized that a different opponent had to be frozen first, even though they also had the same healing capability. The latter enemy hit too hard every turn, and they didn't have enough defense if we whittled them down to my hit-point level. One move later might be too late. Abilities might not cool down in time to use consecutively, or the next crippling hit could force me into a defensive stance. Or random throw pillows might happen. One can only steal so much time!

Grabbing opportunities applies for restockers, too. Watch how Battledome needs (or just advice posts on the board) change the demand for certain items. It takes a bit of Neopian know-how to figure out why Tongue Shrinkers are inflating, for instance. We'll let you figure that one out.

You might lose (a lot!), but there's no substitute for field experience. Except for friends, of course!

You Get What You Need. Making new alliances and acquaintances is the best part of any plot or event. Check out the Neoboards, if you haven't already! Once you explain your price point and existing set, you might get some valuable advice. Using the Battledome's own auto-healer with a weaker opponent was one such tip. There might be some codestone trading, weapon lending (use collateral to be safer!), and some have even arranged to temporarily transfer battledome pets. Or they'll remind you that your stocks have gone up while you were fighting. Help out, don't beg, have fun. You'll get what you need.

The funny thing is, Neopia itself seems ready to help you out. Just fighting in the Battledome can yield useful training items every day. Because we're refreshing shops and the Battledome so much, codestones have come our way via Random Events. Between Healing Springs visits, my owner plays more Key Quest to get more codestones. After years of letting someone else shield me, I've gone out to the Dailies that give stat boosts. Of course, it wasn't so funny when my brother happened to spin the Wheel of Knowledge a few days ago and got an intelligence boost.

Should I have been more prepared? Of course. Maybe it's just our Neopian lifestyle, but it wasn't obvious to us how to do that at first. Even then, our hard work really did pay off, without the fat bank account or the bulky muscles. Whether it was clicking around enough to get random events or doing the Dailies, it turns out just spending time in Neopia got us everything NP can't buy. Or everything we could make somebody else buy. (Hey, that Kanrik's got a point about profits!) Most of all, we had to learn all there was to learn about Neopia to get as far as we did. A lot of us battlers aren't just testing out the new Battledome; we're testing out ourselves. Many of us have gone further than we dreamed was possible.

And some, like me, are ready to rest our fins. This really will be my last wave. Maybe my owner will doodle weird pictures and upload some screen-captures on my petpage. I'll have to pay back my brothers for helping me safely transfer all this pricey new gear between battles. I'll definitely count my blessings – yes, including the faerie blessings. Soon I'll be drifting along, contemplating the knowledge and connections gained, watching the dust-clouds around the Obelisk, waiting for some kind of prize shop to open.

Or maybe my owner will come up with those codestones, and we'll see just how far this next strength boost will take me...

 
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