Thursday, November 1, 2012

WarTune Tips - Getting Started / Basic Tips

This post is one of our series of tips for WarTune, a 2.5D MMO converted from the Chinese version by 7th Road  It is free to play, with optional features you can purchase with money.
In this post, we will talk about the very basics of getting a game going, and other tips that don't really fit elsewhere. The topics are: Choosing a Server, Choosing a Character, Currencies (including Tokens and Keys), and Miscellaneous Tips. Click here for our review and list of tips.

Choosing a Server
Before you commit to playing the game -- and definitely BEFORE you spend any money -- check out the game. Choose one of the time zones with a lot of servers and pick one with a small number (i.e., an early server). Then, just play the game with this "Test Account". Once you decide you want to get serious and commit time to building a character, it's time to pick the proper server. There are two main considerations: Server Time and Server Age.

Server Time
Do not simply choose one based on your geographical location or time zone. Choose one that fits your schedule. With your Test Account, look at the server event bar (Clock) at the very top and take note of when key events happen: When a "day" starts, when farming resets, when mines expire, when World Boss, Arena, and Battleground events occur. When you have this information, compare it with your own schedule and when you can play. You really don't want to have to get to a computer at an awkward time because your mines have expired and you need to run around looking for new mines.

Server Time Zones:
  • North America West Coast: GMT -8 = Pacific Standard Time
  • North America East Coast: GMT -5 = Eastern Standard Time
  • Europe: GMT +0
  • Oceanic: GMT +8 = Australian Western Standard Time
Key Server Events: (Server Time)
  • Dungeon and Stamina Reset: 5 am
  • Mine Expiration: Server Time 11:30am, 11:30pm (?)
  • Tree of Ancients (farm day): 2359h, or approximately midnight
To find out what time an event will happen in local time, take the Server Time, first calculate the span of time difference. E.g., You are in North America West Coast (GMT-8). The server is Oceanic (GMT+7). This is a total time difference of +16 hours (they are 16 hours ahead of West Coast North America). The Tree of Ancients Reset will occur at 12am Oceanic Time. Roll back 16 hours = 8 am North American time. The Dungeon Reset will occur at 5am Oceanic Time. Roll back 16 hours = 1pm North American Time.
  • In North America (WC and EC), during Daylight Savings Time (2nd Sunday in March to 1st Sunday in November), add 1 hour.
Dungeon Reset: 5am Server Time:
WC 5am = EC 8am = Europe 1pm = Oceanic 9pm.
WC 2am = EC 5am = Europe 10am = Oceanic 6pm.
WC 9pm = EC 12am = Europe 5am = Oceanic 1pm.
WC 1pm = EC 4pm = Europe 9pm = Oceanic 5am.

Server Age
When R2Games starts a new Server for WarTune, it becomes the "recommended" server and new players will typically get channelled there and a lot of people will be on more or less an equal footing (maybe +/- 10 levels). If you start in one of the oldest servers, everyone maybe be level 40+ except you. This can be a big problem when it comes to competing in the Group Arena where you'll be squashed all the time.

On the other hand, on older servers you may well find a lot of abandoned accounts, which is good news for raids on cities since no one is home to continue developing the character. If you find one, you can then just hit their city over and over again.
It is also good for Solo Arena IF you are NOT intent on clawing your way to the top. If you're just doing it for Daily Devotion or to fulfill quest requirements, then having a lot of abandoned accounts in the bottom ranks of the Solo Arena will help you easily complete Solo Arena Challenge quests.

Alternate Accounts
Do NOT use your Facebook or other account, especially if you will probably retry the game and abandon your initial character. You can only have one character per e-mail address per Server. You are allowed to have an alternate account as long as you don't "abuse the privilege" (though what constitutes this is not spelled out, exactly).
Instead, make a throwaway e-mail account, such as at If you do abandon your character, you can re-start a new character on the same server and thereby retain all the contacts you made in the Guild you joined. Also, you can use your alternate account for emergency actions such as Reviving your crop or Energizing your Tree of Ancients.
You cannot erase your character and restart fresh on the Server, nor can you move your character to another Server.

Shared Accounts
An interesting idea is to share one character between two or more players. In this way, between the two (or more) of you, the character can do a maximum number of activities per game day while no one person is committing an excessive amount of time each day.

Choosing a Character
Ideally you should try all three character types before making a final commitment, but that can be pretty time-consuming. A short-cut is to look at the skill trees to decide what powers you might like.
If you are looking to make powerful characters for the Arena, all classes can be powerful if you do them right, no matter what popular opinion in the forum says or what everyone seems to be playing. If you watch the World Boss fights, which list the top damage dealers, every class is represented, although for the moment there are a lot of Archers because they are popular.
Whether you are aiming for a powerful character or not, it is probably more important in the long run to play what you like to play and how you like to play. It is very important not to be swayed simply by popular opinion -- especially if you pay money -- because opinion can change but you can't restart your character or get your time (and money) back. If you abandon your character and start new, all that time (and money) can't be refunded. If you truly like the character you are playing, you'll probably not want to abandon your character to restart a new class.

Quickly recognize the different currencies and get a feel for how quickly you can accumulate each. The more exclusive they are, the more conservative you should be about spending them.

You will never get enough of this because there are so many costly uses for them. However, given a choice between gold and any other currency, never pick gold because you also have so many ways of obtaining it.
In the early game, do NOT spend gold on anything chancy, including Enchanting your items -- this assuming that you will not be participating in PvP Arena in earnest and will need every ounce of power you can give your character. Even then, try to buy up anything that is permanent. Gear comes and goes, and until around level 25, you get replacements very quickly.
I recommend you first upgrade your buildings, then buy up Guild Skills (at 200 Contribution points for the first level, this is already 200,000 gold). As soon as you can, grab just enough Astrals that your character doesn't have any wasted room, but switch back to buying permanent bonuses that will stay with your city or character instead of going away when you swap out your gear that has become obsolete. When you can't buy any more Guild Skills, switch to the Astral lottery.

Used to upgrade troops. Quite common and initially you may think you have enough, but you don't. The main problem is that any investment to upgrade the level of a unit type is non-transferable, and units become obsolete later. Further, as you go up in level, you typically want to upgrade your troops to your level. Otherwise they will get slaughtered in battle and you will lose a lot of gold replacing your troops.
Three main sources of Daru are: The Duskin Arena (you can get upwards of 15,000 Daru from the two tombs), Farming (planting Daru seeds), and killing randomly generated enemies on the World Map. 
If you are grinding for Daru on the World Map, get a feel for each map and whether you are getting sufficiently more Daru than on a lower level map. Sometimes, it just isn't worth it (e.g., The L25-30 map compared to the L11-20 map).

The easiest source of this is from your Tree of Ancients, which resets once a day.
You can only grow 1 Kyanite plant in your farm at any one time, so always grow that. And always choose the Kyanite plant when you are allowed to steal from your Friends' farms (you net 10% every time you steal, but you can steal from a crop only once per day).
You can also get Kyanite as an additional reward for successfully raiding a city, and for that reason some people like to raid cities a lot. The raided cities do not lose any Kyanite. The 10% of gold lost can typically be made up by Friending them and allowing them to steal from your crops; if you are worried about a bad reaction from the raided city, you could PM them a quick apology and that offer.
If you insist on maximizing more than one research path available to your Academy, you will also probably have to aggressively attack your neighbours. Otherwise, you can usually get away with fully researching at least one option and still have kyanite left over.

Vouchers are somewhat hard to come by if you use them up quickly. Your initial large amount is deceptive as they come from the starter reward boxes. Be very stingy when it comes to using these:
  • You can get vouchers once per day from your Tree of the Ancients (along with Kyanite).
  • You are given several quests to accelerate building cooldown time using vouchers. This is a tutorial type quest, but it is really also to get you used to that convenience. Cooldown times will quickly stretch into a few hours, so if you get hooked now, you might end up giving in to temptation and paying money to perform cooldowns.
    • Instead, notice that one of the Devotion tasks is to use Vouchers. You can use Vouchers to accelerate a cooldown. So instead, you can kill 2 birds with one stone and do only one cooldown per day only. This conserves your Vouchers (which are hard to come by) and lets you keep checking off that Devotion task for a long time.
    • Also notice that if a timer is 10 minutes or less, the cost in Vouchers is at the minimum (5 Vouchers). So wait until you need to spend only 5 vouchers before accelerating the cooldown.
Your very first use of Vouchers should be to get another Construction crew. This costs 395 vouchers, but early on you can get more than that through the freebies the game gives you. We'll talk more about this when we look at the Tutorial in another post.

Vouchers are also used to expand your inventory, and doing this rapidly costs a lot of vouchers, so you want to save your vouchers for that. If you are aggressive in pruning your inventory, you might need just 1-2 rows even up to level 30, unless you are a hoarder. Do NOT go crazy with expanding your inventory, because you will probably most want to use your vouchers on your Farm.

On your Farm, once it reaches level 30, you can start improving the maturity time and harvest yield, but the cost in Vouchers is staggering compared to what you get from your tree each day. Be very stingy with Vouchers.

You only get Balens when you spend real money. A lot of functions can use, or must use, Balens, such as the Market; and people who spend real money in this game are more or less overwhelmed with rewards.
That said, there's plenty enough to do for hours on end even if you don't spend money to unlock "VIP" features. I had my hands full with just the free to play content so it never crossed my mind to spend money.
VIP status can reduce the amount of Devotion you need for daily freebies, which in turn means you can skip doing certain things -- but look carefully at the Devotion task list, and if you are going to do all of them anyway (some are very commonplace actions), then don't let this be the only thing you pay for.

Medallions and Crypt Tokens
Be very, very, stingy using these.
Medallions and Crypt Tokens let you buy some of the best gear instead of blindly hoping for a good random drop during a dungeon run. Never grind hoping for good gear -- it's useless when you can simply buy not just items greatly better, but which provide you set bonuses sometimes for as few as 2 items.
The easiest of the Tokens to get are Crypt Tokens, from the Forgotten Catacombs. Instead of starting at the lowest level you explored, restart at level 1 so you pass by the bosses and their treasures chests (containing Tokens) again.

Crypt Keys
Crypt Keys are only useful if you are going to enter the Catacombs more than once per day, since you get to enter them once for free. But since they are very hard to come by, one technique is to wait until you can penetrate the Catacombs deeply before doing multiple runs a day with your Keys. In that way, you maximize XP and treasure on each run, at the cost of slowing your immediate character development.

Skeleton Keys
Skeleton Keys are very hard to find. You can reliably get 1 per day if you reach 95 Devotion, but that involves doing almost everything, including at least 1 multiplayer event (Team Arena or Multiplayer Dungeon Run). If you are about 10 levels higher than an MP Dungeon, you can probably solo it but you will be too high of a level to get any EXP at the end.
Don't waste Skeleton Keys on the early Mystery Chests unless you are hoping for something in particular and there's no other way to get it. Typically they can drop interesting items like City Protection Tokens, but those aren't particularly useful anyway. In the late level-30 dungeons you can get scrolls that give you a Bounty Quest worth 20,000+ XP, but even that might not interest you very much. In general, I recommend you save them, maybe test them now and again when you have reached a harder dungeon.
A different use for Skeleton Keys is to spawn a Boss Encounter in some Multiplayer Dungeons where there is a "Summoner" character. The encounter will be against a clone of your party and you always get a quest item (e.g., Crystaloid). But if you are going to buy your gear from the Arena or Crypt store, that is also not very useful. By the way, you cannot fool the Summoner by unequipping your gear before spawning the boss encounter. Apparently the cloning happens after.

Miscellaneous Tips
  • Do NOT blindly follow all instructions immediately when they are given as quests. Stop and think. Here are some examples:
    • Every 5 levels until level 30, you are told to open a "starter" kit chest, which will pop out maybe 5 items. The kit will show what level is require to open it, so prior to reaching that level, click on it to see what's coming. Then, when you are of the required level, you will know if you are ready for it and have room in your inventory.
    • When you are at the minimum required level, you will be asked to move your city to a new map where the mines are a higher level and give more gold, but where the monsters are tougher. Move there to check it out, but be ready to MOVE BACK immediately if there is no net benefit. For example, monsters on the level 21-30 map are significantly tougher but the rewards for killing them are rarely any better than on the level 11-20 map. In such a case, you may want to stay on the 11-20 map until you are level 25 to 30 as it will cost you less in troops when exploring the map to get at treasure or to kill monsters for Daru (a currency used to upgrade troops).
    • One of the free items you get is a 2-hour trial of VIP features. The screen won't let you move past that without starting the trial, but you can still defer it until you are certain you have two uninterrupted hours to investigate it -- close the browser window. When next you log on, the special trial voucher will just sit in your inventory. Don't click it until you're ready to use it.
  • On your list of things to accumulate Devotion Points, look for things that you can quickly do whenever you want, such as speaking in World Chat or spinning the Guild Altar wheel. Defer those things to top up your points to reach a Devotion reward tier instead of accumulating points early. If, for example, you are at 85 points and won't have time to reach 95 before the server resets to a new day, then you might regret having done the Guild Altar and gotten a lousy item (each spin essentially costs you 20,000 gold -- 20 Guild Contribution points and you need to do 2 spins for the Devotion points).
  • While you are collecting Stamina at the Altar of Ennoblement, you can use the lower quick bar functions, such as Inventory, Blacksmith, Astrals, etc... -- Might as well do something useful unless you are away from the keyboard.

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