Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your trays in the locked position and assume the brace position…
MysterySpin on the Mic…
Millions of voices then cried out in terror
How long have you been playing?
I can’t say exactly as the month I joined not only did I get the HOTM but received duplicates of it and in my novice ignorance of “well I not gonna need duplicates of them” fed them to the first copy (also by biggest in game mistake). Now wouldn’t be so bad if it was someone like Margaret but alas the hero in question still has an A+ grade in Anchor’s guide today. As such with the power of self-hypnosis I have blurred out my recollections of when I started but generally speaking I’ve been roughly playing for around 2 years.
What’s your current role in your alliance?
Dr. Robotnik. The alliance is currently in the process of some alliance wars experimentation for which I’ve orchestrated the methodology. As I joined the alliance originally to assist with the first Path of Valor my role would be that of Mad Scientist with questionable allegiances – or Dr. Robotnik for short. Oooh damn that blue hedgehog…
Which hero are you currently levelling and how will you use them?
I’m stingy in game and always want to try squeeze the most out of my resources so I always colour feed instead of power level so I always have 5 heroes being levelled at any one time. Currently levelling: Sif to 3/70, Heimdall, Frida, Seshat and Marjana to 4/80.
They’re all going to be re-enforcing various alliance wars teams (whilst Frida already does Titans but is being fattened up to take more hits) though there’s a possibility Heimdall might get promoted onto my “I’m feeling lazy today I’m just going to use my mono green,” raid team.
Which is your favourite hero in your roster and why?
Tied between Alberich and Merlin.
Merlin because he’s a bit of a chaotic trickster in that just when an enemy hero has finally charged themselves up (especially if they’re in a corner) they slap a friend instead and lose all their mana… Given that Alfrike is gonna do the same to multiple heroes I’m expecting good things from Loki!!!
Alberich because anyone that wants to offer you four turns of free mana when all your helpful board tiles have dried up is certainly a Seelie Champion. Even if they removed his reviving tomorrow I’d use him for just his mana regeneration and healing alone. #bringbackmanaregeneration.
Do you have a particular memory of a great victory, a tragic defeat or a moment of madness?
Not since Pandora lifted the lid on her box has such a big ol’e can of crazy been so casually opened…
So many moments of madness to take my pick from: building a gunge tank and terrorising a university campus with it for charitable reasons; attempting to produce an amateur adventure game show with 2 cameras and a £50 budget (it looked terrible); fundraising whilst dressed as Marilyn Monroe (if shoes could speak they would be doing their best Admiral Ackbar impression, “we can propel weights of that magnitude – before anyone asks the one alliance that wanted to see the pictures are now in therapy); breaking up a late night brawl whilst in a Sonic the Hedgehog costume (OK I’ve got questionable allegiances in that franchise too) which I couldn’t see a thing out of but fortunately turns out if drunk people see a 6 ft blue hedgehog running across the street at them they flee rather than fight; setting up a satirical newspaper in a recession… Oh wait you mean in game! Nah it’s been pretty bland in there… Getting all the Sand Empire heroes with just free tokens is about it and that just sounds anti-climactic.
Right about now I expect the interviewer is making a note to self that “MysterySpin can and will exploit any loophole or ambiguity in a question put to him”… Perhaps I should have been a lawyer?
Which season 1 hero would you most recommend to a new player?
One of the ones they currently already have (and so my answer would vary based on the player’s roster and change over time as it grows). You can complete everything in the game with just free heroes. If you can enjoy the game and not spend anything then you’re on a winner as you’ve got extra cash in the bank for a holiday or something that 20 years from now you’ll probably remember more. Best way to do that is to appreciate the heroes you’ve got than wish for what you haven’t. The trouble with wanting something you haven’t got is that once you get you then want something else.
And now the interviewer is scratching out the note of exploiting ambiguity and replacing it with “MysterySpin can and will totally ignore a question in favour of answering something else”… Perhaps I should have been a politician?
What can you see out of your window right now?
Picture and description of view outside my window
Just kidding… We look out onto a complex of flats that is the answer to a housing developer’s question of “what if we made student accommodation but for young professional?” (of which a good deal are empty thanks to what was an overcooked property market and people just buying places for portfolios and not letting them out) and beyond that the streets South East London. One person is jogging on their balcony that looks to be wobbling more than one would want a balcony to do, another person having a smoke and the reason there isn’t a proper picture to accompany me from more than a decade ago in front of the apocalypse above is that in one of the windows opposite and below us is that there is a woman who has been standing with her back to her window for a long time who is wearing on her bottom half would if seen at eye level I would guess reveals a slight butt cleavage that from this elevated angle would not be appropriate for the forum…
If Petri and you were on a road trip, where would you be going and what snacks would you bring?
I would suspect given my well-known reputation for long posts that the only way anyone from this forum would be occupying the same vehicle as me would be if I were on my way to dispose of their body. In which case snacks are also sorted as there would be a fresh human leg on the back seat…
Hypothetical road trip with a willing victim
However for the sake of argument let’s say it was voluntary and the road trip started from the Small Giant offices. Well one of my other hobbies is playing mini-golf (as the sport is officially known) or crazy golf (as it’s called here in UK) and Sweden is responsible for felt style championship courses which are the hardest courses you will come across (typically they can have ways to modify the holes for beginners to make the easier as on hard mode they will break the spirit and mind of newbies and amateurs) of which there are plenty of these style courses through-out Scandinavia (meanwhile in UK we have none of these courses as they’re too difficult for average Joe) and so if I’m doing a road trip around Scandinavia it would be a mixture of sightseeing and fiendishly difficult mini-golf courses.
Now if I could conjure the snacks out of mid air I’d be conjuring the various unhealthy pizzas I’ve come up with (including my infamous Gutbuster and Chicago-style deep dish breakfast pizza) and other cookie dough and cake concoctions but magically food summoning abilities not withstanding my previous sightseeing/mini-golf expeditions to Malmo and Stockholm were sustained largely by Bacon and Ost Hot Dogs (hot dogs with liquid cheese inside the frankfurter) and blue bag Polly sweets. Dunno how far they both travel within Scandinavia as whilst pretty much every corner shop had the Bacon and Ost hot dogs in Sweden I struggled to find that particular style of wiener in Copenhagen… .
Now that I read this back I realise I’ve just designed my perfect trip around Scandinavia regardless of the interests of the person going with me so whether the trip is voluntary or in the boot (or as said across the pond trunk) of my car is immaterial.
If you could make two changes to the game one realistic and one unrealistic what would they be?
Hmm that’s a tricky one as one of the things I love to do most in the forums is propose totally off the wall ideas that actually could be achieved.
Now I could try re-plugging my solution for how I would implement the Hero Academy (which a few posts further down also has pseudocode on how it could actually be done for those of that background): Hero Academy! Can we please have more information? - #603 by MysterySpin
Or I could and will shamelessly plug a post on how Alchemy Lab could be revamped with recipes: 3 New Years Solutions
I should probably have put them both in the ideas section instead oh well… But rather than visit some greatest (or not so greatest) hits lets go with something else. I would introduce Jousts. A player may either send an invite to a specific or random player for a joust. Before they send the joust request the player is shown what the starting board will be (both players will be presented with the same opening board and both will have the same list of lets say 500 replacement tiles in the joust) and they will then need to select the team they will use – this team will be both your offensive team and your defensive team for the joust – as well as the defensive formation those heroes will be in. The other player receives the joust request and either accepts the request in which case they too set a jousting team. It is important to note at this point neither side knows what team the other player has selected, you don’t find out until you are in battle, you only get to see the opening board both of you will receive and try to plan accordingly. Or they can decline it or the request can expire after 24 hours.
Once the second player has accepted the invite they joust their team against your team with the set board to see how many turns it took them to defeat your selected team, after this joust the first player then have 24 hours to joust against the second player’s team and see how many turns it takes them to beat the other player’s team. The player that wins their joust in the fewest number of turns (or if that is a draw fastest time) wins the joust and takes additional loot on top of loot from winning the battle.
The challenge of the joust is that with both players receiving the same board, and that the team they select has to both defend and attack on that board it becomes a challenge of hero selection and board playing strategy.
Unrealistic change: Gone back in time, changed the Challenge Event revamp into Season 3 (with Valhalla becoming Season 4).
This one is gonna be totally fantasy land stuff so I’m gonna hide it in a details drop down so those who don’t care about impossible hypotheticals can skip it whilst those bored at home that fancy a trip even further down the rabbit hole can jump on in.
Before you jump down said hole firstly this is would have all been alongside the Challenge Events that would have continued to rotate monthly as normal and secondly this gets really long but I’m kind of hoping it entertains as well during this time.
What if MysterySpin had been in charge of Challenge Event revamp/Season 3
So as we know by now when the developers revamped the Challenge Events they brought 10 new 5* heroes into the game – the exact number of new 5* heroes that came with Atlantis – such that a season’s worth of heroes could easily have been fleshed out with a few more 3* and 4* heroes in the mix as well. But it isn’t just heroes that make a season, it’s the stages, special stages and storyline that make a season so it is that I’m gonna focus on.
Requirements to unlock this season
Player must have crafted their first battle item using Titan Parts. Naturally this would mean the player must have got far enough to at least have unlocked Hunters Lodge Lv. 2
Richard, Elena and Vivica arrive in Corellia ready to take part in the regular Challenge Event but instead of the usual tournament celebrations there is total carnage and devastation. Working their way through Corellia they eventually find Lady Locke who tells them that only hours before a Titan had attacked but that it was no ordinary Titan as it could change form and it had swooped in and eaten the assorted Ascension Materials that had been gathered on the event’s prize table before fleeing.
Our heroes then take off in pursuit of the Titan in an effort to retrieve the stolen AMs. They catch up with the Titan and appear to defeat it as it slowly disappears (though unfortunately the AMs are nowhere to be seen). Shrugging it off the heroes return to Corellia and a makeshift tournament goes ahead.
Then a month later when the Mysterious Titan returns and devastates that event the heroes decide they have to try and stop it and get to the bottom of the mystery. The season then takes the heroes through the lands of Corellia, Wonderland, Grimforest, Teltoc, Avalon, Springvale, Sand Empire, North Pole, Morlovia, Shiloh, Frostmarch, Shrikewood, Umber and Farholme in pursuit of what they later dub the Gelatinous Chimera that keeps getting stronger from the ascension materials it eats until their pursuit brings them to an old ruined Stronghold lost to time that looks a lot like our own Stronghold but MUCH MUCH larger (30x as big) with centuries of decay after what looked like its final battle.
They head to the throne room where besides a rusted crown Vivica finds an incantation that summons the five elementals (Hel, Athena, Zeline and two other HOTM as elementals of Fire and Holy would have sneakily been released as HOTM at different points during the season) who begin to tell the story of what happened at this vast fortress.
The fortress once belonged to a benevolent king renowned throughout the land. The citizens of this land were well fed, housed and lived in relative peace. One day however the royal blacksmith devised a way of using the spare parts of Titans to craft greater weapons for the court to use on their Royal Hunts. Soon after the kingdom came under assault by terrible beast that couldn’t be vanquished. The war on the beast took its toll on both the king and the kingdom. Subjects that once lived in lavish houses found them crammed with recruits creating slum-like conditions and later the children produced in those houses would be taken to train or become soldiers in the king’s army. Those that failed became meat to feed the heroes of the empire. (Insert a load of other ‘crimes’ that give a hefty nod to the ‘Are we the baddies?’ forum thread). As the beast kept getting stronger the deeper into insanity the king sunk and the worse the tyranny in the name of the emergency war effort the land descended into until finally the great beast attacked the great fortress and during the terrible battle the beast killed the king. But the king’s torment would not allow him to crossover to the other side. The undead king would then witness the final destruction of his empire and the hands of the beast and vowed to retake them.
And which point in the story Richard asks, “so who was this king then,” as he goes to pick up the rusty crown to look at it but when he touches the crown smoke and shadows billow from the crown. When the smoke clears there stands the Dark Lord resurrected.
Before Richard can swing a hammer the Gelatinous Chimera crashes through the front of the stronghold ready to attack, ready to resume an age-old feud. The Dark Lord filled with hate screams out that he watched his kingdom destroyed first by that beast and then by you and that now it is time for you to watch that beast destroy your kingdom before fleeing towards your stronghold with the Gelatinous Chimera pursuing him.
The heroes use a summon portal the Dark Lord’s former castle to return to your stronghold to prepare for the battle when the Dark Lord and Gelatinous Chimera arrive. During the preparations Vivica realises that if the Dark Lord’s torment meant he was unable to find peace to crossover to the afterlife whether using the body parts of Titans to make weapons and prevent them from being laid to rest meant the Titans they’ve been slaying have also been unable to crossover and that the Gelatinous Chimera is the combined tormented souls of deceased Titans. As such it cannot be defeated by battling it.
The heroes decide that the empires strongest heroes will stay to defend the stronghold as best they can from the on coming onslaught whilst the Derricks and the Laylas of the empire will be sent back out across the lands to find all the discarded used weapons made from Titan parts and bury them properly.
Player has to fight first a protracted endurance battle against the Gelatinous Chimera and then defeat the Dark Lord again who is put to rest with the Gelatinous Chimera also gone.
Final scene is then of our heroes talking as they look down at the Dark Lord’s former fortress contemplating how close they came to repeating the Dark Lord’s mistakes and that with repairs on your stronghold near complete whether they could potentially restore the fortress below as well now the Dark Lord gone for good followed by a brief tease of Season 4 Valhalla…
Special stages: Black Class Tiles
Each season has its special stage rules and this would be no different. In this season the special stages would have had a sixth black tile (re-using the shape and colour of the Farholme Pass shield). This tile would be a class tile and would carry the class symbol of the chosen class for that special stage (so all black tiles in the stage would be of the same class and you would know what class it was from the stage select screen). Any heroes matching the class on the class tiles would gain mana from those class tiles and would contribute their attack stat to tile attacks from that class tile.
Special stages: Province specific stages
Naturally when visiting Corellia, Wonderland, Grimforest, Teltoc, Avalon, Springvale, Sand Empire, North Pole and Morlovia you would come across heroes from their various areas but also in some special stages that have elite enemies in Corellia, Wonderland, Grimforest, Teltoc and Avalon the elemental barriers would return just as Egg Bombs, Pumpkin Bombs and Frozen Tiles would in the special elite stages of Springvale, Morlovia and North Pole. Would also had sand blowing over and obscuring some tiles that you need to try remember for a few turns to Sand Empire levels given they have no gimmick.
Special stages: Level 10 Showdowns with Gelatinous Chimera
Just as Level 10 in the Season 1 provinces had raids instead of levels in this season the Level 10 would be your own personal Titan battle against the Gelatinous Chimera. It would still take world energy rather than Titan energy to hit it and unlike Ursena where you were expected to take her Titan form down in one attempt your attempts at the Gelatinous Chimera remain timed like normal Titans and that you do as much damage as you can to it in that time until you are able to take it down however the Titan regains health at a rate of 5% health regained every hour.
During the Titan battle itself the Gelatinous Chimera will shift form from one Titan to another every three turns. In early provinces the Gelatinous Chimera shifts between the various baby titans but as you progress and it eats more AMs it shifts between more powerful forms until near the final battle it is just switching between Rare Titan Forms and its own max colourless Titan form.
Special Stages: Final Battle against Chimera and Dark Lord
Now the Gelatinous Chimera is at full strength and the clock rather than giving you 90 seconds to do as much damage as you can now wants you to survive 15 minutes of onslaught from it (whilst the final Titan parts are buried). The forms and the strength of those forms the Gelatinous Chimera is able to cycle through depend on its health bar with it cycling between 15* Rare Titan forms at max health and say 5* Baby Titans at 10% health. The Titan removes health at 10% health per second and if you kill it there is a 5 second delay in which it revives and then a further 10 second delay as it heals back to full health and the board resumes (but crucially your timer continues during the delay). Whenever a hero of yours dies you can replace them with another hero that hasn’t been used yet (countdown freezes as you select a replacement) to continue the fight either until you used the maximum number of heroes (let’s say 50) in which case you lose or your heroes endure the full 15 minutes by continually weakening it to survive its attacks at which point the 5 heroes that are still standing then face off against the Dark Lord.
Changes that come at the end of the release of the final season
Once the final season has been released the following changes would take place:
Gelatinous Chimera would be added to the permanent rotation of Rare Titans with a bonus chance of dropping Damascus Blade and Tome of Tactics.
The vast fortress that once belonged to the Dark Lord when he was mortal would become an alliance fortress in which you rebuild it along with your alliance. The fortress is split into 30 segments assigned to each alliance member that they can build in. Before they can build in the alliance fortress they must complete the season in regular mode and before they can build advanced buildings in there segments they must complete hard mode.
Players that build buildings in their segments of the alliance fortress receive the amount of benefits as they would receive if it had been built in their private stronghold + a bonus amount based on the total levels of the buildings of the same class the rest of the alliance has built across the fortress. For things like Advanced Production Buildings such as like a non-sucky Alchemy Lab, if the Alchemy Lab in the alliance fortress produces an item for a player there is a 2% chance that everyone in the alliance will all receive a copy of that item also.
If a player leaves an alliance and has built on their segment of the alliance fortress the dragon that regular flies over will swoop down and destroy the buildings in that segment.
- After completing Hard Mode an additional Extreme mode will become available for the Level 10 Chimera stage in each province. The Chimera would rotate through just Rare Titan forms and be at the same strength as it was in the last but one hard mode province. These stages have a small chance of dropping an unfarmable AM (as they will take so many attempts to bring it down and can’t be loot ticketed) and also the probability of transforming into a particular form during battle changes depending on the province.
In Farholme the Gelatinous Chimera’s strongest native colourless form has increased chance of appearing and there is a small chance of receiving a Compass, Fine Gloves, Tome or DBlade.
In Frostmarch, Avalon and North Pole the chance of Thunder Unicorn form appearing each roll in battle is increased and there is a small chance of receiving a Warm Cape or Farsight Telescope.
In Umber, Grimforest and North Pole the chance of Ancient Tiger form appearing each roll in battle is increased and there is a small chance of receiving a Hidden Blade or Mystic Rings.
Anyway I think you get the point and don’t need me to spell out the rest.
- The Challenge Event summons gate – which would in effect have become the Season 3 summons gate would feature one of the new 5* and one of the old 5* heroes from the Challenge Event that would be running that month when more season 3 levels were also unlocked.
If I gave you $1000 to spend frivolously, what would you buy?
In game or in real life?
If in game then I’d blow it chasing some really low odd hero I fancy but wouldn’t bring myself to pull for because of the odds… Here’s looking at Lady of the Lake (Nimue would be so much easier to type and less likely to be confused with Locke).
If in real life it depends on whether I have to disclose what I spent it on. If I did need to disclose or make public what I did with the money then screw it after the pandemic is over I’m buying as many rubber ducks as possible and racing the lot of them down either the Thames (or if I could transport my Kayak to a more interesting river) – I would then require additional funds for bail for having been polluting the Thames and disrupting its eco-system of rat pee and leptospirosis.
If in real life but I was able to remain private. I would split half the money between various animal charities I’m supporting (lots of happy dogs, elephants etc etc) and the other half I’d blow on some replacement cricket gear. Incidentally it is from cricket (where I bowl leg and off spin) that my MysterySpin username comes from.
This is a really strange and challenging time for all of us across the whole player base and all our communities around the world. How has your alliance been supporting each other or those around them?
The first thing the alliance has been doing for the entire Empires and Puzzles forum community, and I think most of y’all will be eminently grateful for this, is to soak up and consume the brunt of my verbal diarrhoea and distract me from producing more in the forum. You all have a great deal to thank FrenziedEye and co at The Beacons Are Lit who are now probably cursing the fact that I’ve revealed that I’m currently hiding there as hidden baggage that’d scare everyone from joining but really please don’t let me scare you off they are a great bunch both in and out of a crisis point.
Further waffling considerations roughly related to the question
Now previously I’ve been a leader of one alliance, the organiser of twice weekly Pokemon Raid gatherings and run various voluntary organisations in the past and from all that one thing that I’ve learnt is that even in a relatively small group like an alliance at any one time you’ve got some of the people in that group in which life is going great and then there can be others also in the same group in which no fault of their own life has taken a massive dump on their head. Though unfortunately most are too busy to notice or even care.
What is unusual about the situation now is that life as taken such a gigantic dump that everyone’s been covered. And just as how if this metaphor were to occur not everyone would have been affected the same way – some people who have some stuck in their eye, others might have accidentally ingested some and others just want a change of clothes – this whole thing whilst not affecting everyone in the same way (some essential workers still working in stressful environments with the added risks, other at home who’ve suddenly lost all the income etc etc) it is a rare occasion when we’re all up to our necks in $£%&.
But really the qualities we need now to support each other through this such as not being quick to judge, trying to be more understanding and more forgiving are the same qualities that really, we should strive to possess even outside of this ordeal. And as such trying to strive to reach those ideals has not been changed by this. So the second way in which the alliance is helping is continuing to be as understanding and fostering a good team atmosphere as they always have been.
And so whilst in some ways I’m glad SGG has shown a willingness to promote what alliances can do to help each other during the pandemic I hope when it has ended the concern for the welfare for the player base continues on especially with regards for safeguards for vulnerable users. There’s no need for me to elaborate on that lot here. Whilst I am quite willing to discuss the issue further with devs but I suspect this is already something being discussed in the industry after Epic Game’s Tim Sweeney’s Dice summit comments, “We have to ask ourselves as an industry, what do we want to be when we grow up?”
Stay safe everyone and whoever you’ve been locked down with be slow to judge and quick to forgive…
And those heavy looking fellas look like security have come to wrestle the mic off me!
News today: A full public enquiry has been launched into the Empires and Puzzles moderating team to see who thought it would be a good idea to let MysterySpin near a microphone…