CoC: TH8.5 strategy writeup

April 24, 2015

(Written by Delpez)

TH8.5

Since we have a number of players on the brink of TH9, I thought I’ll share my experiences as a new TH9, especially the upgrade system known as 8.5.

A while ago we ran into a complete mismatch against a clan called War & Glory – compared to us they had a ridiculous number of TH9’s with very powerful attacks. It turned out the mismatch was orchestrated by manipulating the matchmaker. Defence carries a higher rating than offence, so by focusing on offensive upgrades first the clan gets matched against weaker opponents. This is especially noticeable at TH9, and bases that follow this philosophy are referred to as TH8.5 (TH8 defence with TH9 offense). Ever since hitting TH9 I’ve also been following this system, not to manipulate war rankings but because I find attacking more satisfying than defending. This method gives you access to powerful TH9 attacks earlier, which suits my playstyle to a tee.

The strategy can be roughly divided into three stages: offense, existing defences and new defences. Although the system I’m discussing is based upon War & Glory’s strategy (I did make some changes), it’s pretty common for serious war clans. Note that the upgrade sequence within a stage is not that important, although the first four are pretty non-negotiable:

Stage 1:

Laboratory

Clan Castle

Archer Queen Altar

Spell Factory

New Air Defence (level 6)

Army Camps

New Walls (level 8)

New Traps (same level as existing traps)

Dark Elixir Drills (at least level 4)

New Hidden Tesla (level 6)

First Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)

Archer Queen (level 10)

New Gold & Elixir Storages (level 11)

Barbarian King (any upgrade a bonus)

Traps (dump excess gold)

Stage 2

Archer Queen (at least level 15)

Barbarian King (at least level 15)

All traps (maximum level)

Walls (start level 9)

Dark Elixir Drills (level 6)

Air Defences (level 7)

Hidden Teslas (level 7)

Second Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)

Existing Wizard Towers (level 7)

Existing Mortars (level 7)

Existing Archer Towers (level 11)

Existing Cannons (Level 11)

Dark Elixir Storage (level 5)

Stage 3

Build and max X-Bows

Build and max Wizard Tower

Build and max Archer Tower

Max King and Queen

Walls (dump excess elixir and gold)

Laboratory upgrades depend on your war and farming strategies, as well as dark and normal elixir availability. I’ve done archers and barbarians first to speed up farming, after which I’ll focus on war troops (balloons, hogs, golems etc.) Currently I’m about three-quarters through with Stage 1, and by far the biggest issue is elixir availability. Troop upgrades are ridiculous at TH9 (6 million elixir is typical), and most stage 1 structural upgrades also require elixir. Combine this with very few gold sinks and it’s quite hard to keep your builders occupied. The upshot is that you’ll be swimming in gold during stage 1, so it should be easy to upgrade your new walls and lots of traps. Also, once you get to stage 2 you’ll have a ton of elixir to dump on walls – all the more reason to max those walls at TH8! To overcome the elixir shortage during stage 1 you have three options: raid like crazy, make peace with the fact that some builders will be idle or cheat a little. That means starting some of the stage 2 gold upgrades in stage 1 already. Obviously this will dilute the positive and negative impacts of TH8.5; just don’t touch stage 3 prematurely because that will defeat the purpose of the exercise.

So is it worth it? For wars it’s a bit early to say. I’m still ranked last of the TH9’s, although I’m also the newest TH9. Have a look at our TH9 bases and troops and decide where I should fit in. The bases I get ranked against in wars are invariable weaker than mine, which is the point of the exercise I guess. Another big advantage for me is that I really enjoy attacking, and those additional troops, spells and the queen makes raiding much easier and enjoyable, not to mention war attacks! I also believe that splitting your elixir and gold requirements into two distinct stages helps a lot with wall upgrades. On the negative side, besides the elixir shortage your defences are not very powerful for a TH9. Other TH9’s and especially TH10’s will raid you quite hard – the only way to overcome this is by raiding at a lower trophy level, or to just out raid them! In wars the lack of defensive strength is not such a big issue; 4 AD’s and teslas mean that TH8’s and low TH9’s can’t 3-star you, which is all you can ask for as a new TH9.

In summary, I really enjoy the rush to offensive power this strategy brings, and I just relax about idle builders and TH10’s bullying me (most guys still just snipe my TH). So if you raid a lot, or like easier match-ups in clan wars, I would recommend giving this system a go. If you don’t raid that much, or enjoy building intricate defences and traps, I guess you’ll find more value and enjoyment from your new X-Bows!


Steam: Paying for content? GTFO!

April 23, 2015

Valve today announced that Steam now supports mod creators selling mods via the workshop. My guess is the initial reaction of most will be “this sucks!”, but relax, this is going to be a good thing. Allow me to explain.

First, you aren’t forced to pay. No gun to your head here. It’s not even a case of “the devs shipped half the product and expect you to buy the DLC to finish it”.

Second, bad or broken mods will be outed quickly, because the internet today loves nothing more than taking up a random cause, especially if said random cause also cost them money. Maybe for once something actually positive will come from all those SJW out there.

Third, and best of all, great mods that really make the author(s) money will likely see greater support. If you are some part-timer with real skill and make some great mod that suddenly hits the big time, you are far more likely to put at least some of that money back into the mod than to keep your current pace, or step away. There are plenty of Skyrim or Mount and Blade mods I’d have paid for, and maybe had I been able to in the past those mods would be even better today :cough: unfinished Warhammer mod for M&B :cough:

So I’m all for this, because ultimately I think it will result in better gaming through better mods.


Beep beep beep

April 23, 2015

Just because you SOE yourself initially, doesn’t mean you have to stick with that mistake forever (unless you’re Trion, then you just take being SOE to 11). So um… grats to ESO for undoing one stupid F2P step, and already doing something that SOE never could. That said lets be honest, they are going to do something dumb down the road, because “do something dumb” is what F2P is all about. Can’t wait!


GW doesn’t want my money after all

April 23, 2015

Great, a Total War game without mod support, yay!

I was actually going to write today about how I fear for my wallet with TW: Warhammer, because if there was ever an IP to milk DLC, it’s freaking Warhammer. $10-$15 army DLC, $5-$10 magic item packs, $20 campaigns, etc. And what would have really sucked is I bet most of it would have been a good buy. I mean if you are telling me that having access to, say, Skaven is going to cost me $10, I’m giving you $10.

But in classic Games Workshop fashion, they have already screwed up another Warhammer game with this idiotic decision. Pro-tip: If you assume your future customers can’t be trusted, you won’t have a lot of future customers. And relax with ‘protecting the IP’. While Warhammer is an awesome IP, it’s not some sacred treasure that must be defended at all times. If the LotR IP can be bastardized as heavily as it is thanks to Turbine and LotRO, I think some mods for what should be a popular game won’t really cause irreparable damage.

Moving this from pre-order to “wait for the $20 ‘all DLC included’ Steam sale. Nice work GW.


Fine fine, take my money

April 22, 2015

So it’s not Mount and Blade: Warhammer, and certainly not “tabletop on your PC” Warhammer, but sure, I’ll give you money for Total War: Warhammer, I guess…


Dungeon of the Endless review

April 22, 2015

I picked up Dungeon of the Endless a few days ago, ironically right AFTER it was available for a free weekend on Steam. It’s a rogue-like game somewhat similar to Faster Than Light (FTL), set in the Endless universe (Endless Space, Dungeon, and Endless Legend). I’m good for about one rogue-like every few months, and Dungeon is a solid entry.

The basics of the game is that your ship crashed into a planet, somehow 15 floors deep in a dungeon, and using a crew of up to four, you must move up and eventually out while transporting a crystal. The crystal is a power source, and power is a critical gameplay element here. The game itself is a hybrid of a few genres. You can place resource generating units in cleared and powered rooms, you can place turrets and other defenses on nodes in powered rooms, and your crew levels up, gains equipment, and has special abilities. The elements all work together to create a fun game.

The basic gameplay is also an interesting twist. Each ‘turn’ starts when you open a door. If monsters spawn, either in that room or in previously discovered but not powered rooms, you go into the combat phase, where your turrets and crew fight off monsters as they try to kill you, your defenses, or the crystal. You can pause the game at any time, so while combat has a bit of a frantic/panic pace, it’s never really twitchy, which I appreciate.

Once all the monsters are dead, the combat phase is over and you go into freeform mode. This is an unlimited time period (until you open another door to start the next turn) where you can move around, build stuff, spend resources, and manage/upgrade your crew. Again I like the relaxed pace with no time limit here, as it puts a greater focus on thinking and strategy, rather than the usual rogue-like go-go-go style.

There are more details, but those are the basics. The key takeaway for me is that Dungeon feels like a rogue-like where you have significantly more control over how things play out, rather than the game coming down heavily on how the dice rolled and hoping for a favorable outcome. And perhaps I’m just terrible at these games, but even on the easiest setting I still can’t beat it (which unlocks more ships ala FTL), though each game I do progress a bit further and refine my strategies, which ultimately is the ‘good stuff’ of a game like this.

If you remotely enjoy rogue-like games, and especially if you liked FTL, Dungeon of the Endless is a good way to kill some time.


GTA V: A monster of quality content

April 21, 2015

Quick plugs first: The CoC clan has one spot currently open. Anyone with a non-rushed TH7+ that will be active please apply to “Supreme Cream!” and mention the blog. Also the Boom Beach group “Hardcore Casual” has spots open as well. More relaxed in that game so no reqs to join.

Moving on.

GTA V is an example of a massive budget used well. For example, the amount of top-notch voice work you will miss or have in the background easily outnumbers the total amount of voice work in most ‘AAA’ games total. Or how some of the side activities are better ‘games’ than other products that do just that one thing. Or just the sheer size and detail of the world, right down to traffic patterns. It really is mind-blowing when you stop and think about all of the work put into the game, and how somehow, amazingly it all comes together to form such a great game. From a project management aspect the game is a huge accomplishment.

It has been said in the past that WoW is impossible to replicate because it has so much content, but WoW over time has been replacing stuff rather than just adding more and more on (unlike, say, EVE). It’s why you can launch FFXIV and not have it feel like a much smaller version of WoW, despite WoW having nearly a decade head start. GTA V isn’t that. Sure, it builds off of what worked in previous GTA games, but GTA V itself is a massive package of content that few if any games can even come close to matching (Skyrim is really the only title that comes to mind).

It also brings me back to when I played Saint’s Row 3 (a solid game itself), and why that game is smart to push what it does well (over the top action and comedy) and not just try to straight-up be a GTA clone. If it did that, it would get slaughtered, because it would be nearly impossible to stack up in terms of quality AND quantity, and the corners cut would be noticeable.


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