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    Grossom

    Posts : 5
    Join date : 2016-02-29

    Premiums

    Post by Grossom on Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:30 pm

    One frequent question by newer players is what premiums are and where to get them.  The usual answer:  They are great and you can't get them.  Since we want our players to get ahead, let's look at the subject in more detail.

    Live Long and Pwnage

    DotD features many items for sale, usually each item does a little bit more damage than the previous.  Spending PC will improve your character right away, usually by giving it more attack power.  Sometimes later, however, a new item will be sold that is better than your current item.  In many cases this is irrelevant, but if the item in question is important, such as a mount or a legion, you will typically want to replace it with the upgraded version.  You can only use one legion and two mounts at a time in DotD, all outdated versions are useless to you.  The time to outdate seems to be around 6 months in DotD (that is for instance the time after which the OP anniversary legion is replaced by an even stronger version).  This implies that while you own all the items you bought, their usefulness is only rented, after six months you will have to buy new stuff since free gear now passes the stuff you bought six months back.  Note that the limited time nature of DotD items does not mean it's pointless to buy them.  Using the items, you do get better farming results than others, grow faster and stronger, so once the items outdate, you still have an advantage from having rented them.

    There are, however, some few items in DotD that are not rented but bought, in the sense that once you have these items, they will directly improve your character forever (or more precisely, for as long as the game is up).  The most important ones of these items are the premiums.  Premiums in DotD are generals or troops that scale in some way.  This means that as time (and power creep) moves on, they will keep abreast of the competition, always helping you.  Thus, premiums are a long-term investment and as such essential for your long-term success.  (Another such forever useful item is legion bonus, which also keeps working for you forever since it simply stacks with all other legion bonuses.  Thankfully, legion bonuses are not sold all that often.)

    I should add that there is a third (important category), and that is pots, in particular volatile pots.  Pots allow you to level up, and more level ups mean more bars to hit stuff.  The ability or willingness to pot is a defining factor of player power, as levels played during a certain time-span act as a multiplier on the rest of your abilities, in particular the amount of raids you can hit, the total damage you can inflict on a WR or camp, and the amount of energy you can burn on a quest event.  In addition, higher level players are simply put more powerful than lower level players, as they have bigger bars (energy/stam/honor) to spend (size of the bars also acts as a power multiplier).  Vol pots are therefore not "wasted", as every level played increases your power by a small amount.  Vol pots can come from a varity of sources, the most important of which are:

    • Dropped from pot ERs.  These ERs run regularly, and you should strive to MT every one of them.
    • Dropped from M&M.  We run a lot of M&M camp.  You only need to tag a single node to be eligible for end loot.  The end loot can contain Molten Troves and Magma Slag Chests, which in turn may contain vol pots.  To increase the amount of these drops, you need more guild rep, so get to venerated ASAP.  Easiest way to get to high rep is to tag all raids and camp nodes.  (Tag means spend 1 honor.)
    • Bought from the bazaar.  3PC per vol pot.  Because of limited funding, free players usually shy away from this, wishing to buy more long-term effect items instead.  Buying can still be useful if you really need that last level to top tier an important ER/WR or other event.


    Power Overwhelming

    An aspect that is often correlated, but not the same as the longevity of an item as discussed above is the ability to accumulate power.  Traditionally, DotD premiums were way above the power curve of free and PC items of similar nature.  This is one aspect of what allows long-time players to control the damage leader boards.  Basically, legion power was a more or less linear function of the amount of premiums a player owned (at least if basic legion/gens/troops were similar to that what others had):  The model was that there was a base legion power (with the current troops and generals) and every premium would add a roughly similar amount of legion power to that.

    This scheme has recently been abandoned by 5PG.  On the one hand, there are many many premiums now (26) and their balancing is weak, meaning the power upgrade does not so much depend on the number of premiums but really whether you have certain premiums (like Tuss).  On the other hand, 5PG has released a lot of unique troops and strong generals lately, many of which easily beat most premiums in their slot.  This does not only apply to halfiums such as Gallagher or Briat.  Even LTOs like Veteris (who can be 2250/2250) are much stronger than even the good premium generals.  Thus, it is now possible to spend even more PC to gain even more power (this is obviously a good idea for both players wishing to grow quicker and for 5PG to get a nice Xmas gratification), and this possibility is no longer slow and tightly controlled via access to the rare premiums.

    Nonetheless, premiums still do accumulate power and always have some advantage (even if it is only the longevity discussed above) over their "lesser" competitors.

    Pricing

    Normal items are sold in many different ways, for example, in order of expense to the player:

    • Halfiums:  50PC
      These are powerful single items (troops/generals so far) that bridge the gap between normal items and premiums.  They are sold in three-day flash sales that then recur after a few months.  Some of these (Gallagher, The Corpse) are must-buys as they have extremely strong effect per PC (albeit at the price of slightly less promising future scaling).
    • As LTO (limited time offer):  ~150PC for the set
      These are the items on the homepage that last for a few months (e.g. the Diver's Set), then the set is replaced.  These items are typically not high power items, but they are better than the free versions.  Exception here are often the legions, which are sold for 10PC (very low cost) and normally "last" (i.e. are better than free legions vs. that race) for around a year.  The set may later turn up in the MP.
    • Grab Bags:   ~400 PC for the set
      Consumable items that each contain part of a small set (e.g. the Deep Sea Chest).  Many high powered sets are sold this way.  The cost given above is the average cost, unfortunately you can be unlucky and have to pay a lot more to fill the set.  The bags are often sold again after some time (like six months), which is typically not useful for the players since the set has aged in the meantime, meaning it is no longer as strong (in relation to other items in the game) as it used to be.  The bags themselves (but not the items within) can also turn up in an MP, which is also typically not useful since in order to make these sets work, you need the whole set, meaning around 15-20 bags.
    • NIP:  ~700 PC for two sets
      The New Item Pack typically releases two powerful current sets in an exhaustible grab bag.  This implies that you know how much it will cost you to buy the entire NIP (guaranteed every item once).  This is generally a better deal than normal grab bags, but the minimum cost to play is pretty high (700 PC is worth around $70).  The items may turn up in the MP later.


    There are other ways as well, such as the craftable gear (e.g. RD) from rune chests, and the festival gambit (e.g. exalted hero chest II), but the above are the main schemes.

    For free players, it is generally recommended to not buy any of these items, as a free player has very little PC funds and using that little PC on something that times out again faster than the PC can be reacquired is a losing battle.  Exceptions are, as mentioned, legions.  Other exceptions were/are Piper (now made mostly unnecessary by Wild Warden gear) and some halfiums.

    For paying members on a budget, it is generally recommended to take only a few choice picks from LTO sets (legion, general, mount), if it's a particularly good set.  Sometimes, a NIP can be good enough to buy (but wait for the sale near the end of its lifetime).  Grab bags should generally be avoided due to their high risk of failure (i.e. the inability to finish the set with a given budget).

    Premiums are (now) always sold the same way:

    • Sometimes:  Preview access in a grab bag.  ~1k PC
      A premium may appear in some (expensive) way ahead of its scheduled sale date.  The few lucky winners get bragging rights.
    • Direct Sale.  ~100-200PC
      For a guaranteed two weeks (within the premium's lifetime), the premium is sold in your bazaar for PC.  The price is very high (100 PC is ~$10).  Players are often confused about the usefulness of these items, as a stronger legion for example will do more for them to increase their current strength and cost much less.  The counter-argument is that the legion times out at some point, but the premium stays.
    • The Premium disappears.
      This is the usual state for premiums.  There are currently 26 premiums in DotD web.  You can only buy one (Abyss, which is an exception).
    • The Premium is resold via the MP.  ~1k PC
      The Mystery Pack (or Misery Pack) is a large, non-exhausting grab bag which usually contains older (but still useful) gear, sometimes a lot of potions, and a few highly desirable items (such as a premium).  Costs to get a specific item (such as the premium) are high on average (~ 1k PC) and can be much higher if unlucky.  There are lots of horror stories of people having spent 4k PC, that is ~$400 and having received basically nothing.
    • Multi-Premium MPs.  ~500 PC or less
      Sometimes, usually for celebrations/anniversaries etc., 5pg sells premiums in multi-premium MPs.  If you do not own too many of the premiums in an MP, then the expected price for getting a random one of those premiums drops dramatically.  If you are missing 2 premiums, the expected price for one of them goes to 500PC, at 3 it's down to 350PC etc.  This is still usually an expensive way of obtaining these premiums, but it is much less expensive than gambling on a single premium MP.
    • The Premium eventually winds up in an exalted hero chest .  ~250PC (once a year)
      5PG very generously added a feature where you can get one older premium for 250PC every year.  This is awesome for those players that have almost all the premiums, as the only way to get those missing ones would be to individually gamble for them at an average cost of 1k PC per.  Alternatively, the exalted hero chest can be exchanged for 250PC, which means clicking the chest instead "costs" you 250PC.  The exalted hero chests are expected to be updated somewhat regularly, always trailing the available premiums by about a year or two.


    Just to reiterate.  A premium that leaves the direct sale phase NEVER makes it back to direct sale.  Do not miss a desirable premium by thinking it would return (this is every new player's assumption).



    The Actual Premiums

    These are the premiums in the game right now.  In order to eveluate the premiums, I created a google sheet.  The sheet has a fairly extensive model accounting for most damage-relevant effects including legion power, stat damage, mount, procs, magics and gear.  The damage estimation simulates the effect of acquiring and adding the premium in question to the current legion and then comparing the total damage upgrade of that legion.  All calculations are done for my character, a free immortal with most premiums, using RD2 vs. Jorm.  If you want to have estimates for your character, you can download the sheet and adjust the values in the yellow areas.  Note, however, that premiums are meant to be long-lasting, therefore it is completely acceptable to use an estimate of an older character, as your character will age as well in due time.

    The ordering/estimation of the premiums is subjective of course.  I mostly relied on the damage brackets of the premiums, except where abilities made a big difference.
    Note that in some cases, the estimation is subject to major changes later as the game progresses.  Thus, Claudia was weak until Tomb Mimic came along.  Zumara was also considered weak when she was added to the game.  When campaigns were added to the game a year later, she was propelled into super-stardom instantly.  Still, it is obvious that premiums that summon their own fodder will scale faster/longer than some others, say Clara (players do not gain magics at a comparable rate as they gain gear/troops).


    • Category A:  All of these are "necessary" in the sense that you need to get them sooner or later in order to be near the top of your game.

      • Jack:  Troop, +12% damage (+16% in camp), scales with magic generals, troop types and with time (i.e. the yearly Halloween zone), huge damage because of mount mimic, also 2% force crit.  This is the second strongest damage premium (after Tuss) because it relies on mounts, which also provide it with huge additional scalability (since mounts will be stronger next year).  Even better in camp because the mimiced damage evades the camp 1/4 mount damage reduction.
      • Mach:  General, -1% damage, no scaling, 20% chance (on a 20-attack) to recover 6 energy + 3 stam.  This general recovers a large amount of resources, and the recovered amount scales with the amount of available raiding bars.  Reduces leveling costs by about one vol pot per level.  Mach is only useful when raiding, so Jorm raiding or hitting a WR with energy is good.  High level strategies are infeasible or extremely expensive without this general.  Note Mach is missing from the exalted hero chest.
      • Math:  General, +1% damage, scales with troop types, summons troops.  A lot of other premiums (and freemiums) depend on troop type count, and this general provides that count, slowly pumping itself and many others.  Any non-unique troop can be summoned, this includes many troops you cannot get any other way and PC troops you did not buy.  Currently, those who have had Math for a while have around +10% total damage just via the troop-boosting of their various premiums, but for those who had him for a really long time, this can increase to 20%.  Also, this bonus increases as more troops are released.
      • Tuss:  General, +22% damage (+27% in camp), scales with mount types, summons mounts. Really a category of his own, hands down the best premium in the game.  Since mounts deal the majority of your damage, this premium is by far the biggest damage premium.  This is even more true in camp, where Tuss avoids the 1/4 damage reduction of mounts and therefore increases your overall damage by a lot more than usual (as long as the node isn't FM).  As mounts get better, Tuss' damage increase (in %) gets better too.  In addition, Tuss summons mounts, which is not only a useful utility (a few of the mounts might not be garbage) but also boosts himself (and a few other things).
      • Utym:  Troop, +9% damage, scales with the character's ATT/DEF and number of unique troops in legion, regular proc (scaling with character PERC), mimics troop procs.  This huge troop's exact size depend on your character stats and therefore your farming efficiency.  Utym also gives each unique troop in the legion +150/+150, which is effectively an additional Utym scaling of +150/+150 x number_of_uniques, similar to what Dak does.  The troop proc mimic effect is becoming more important as Bakku for instance has a relevant proc.


    • Category B:  These are the better ones of the typical premiums, usually because they deal more damage.

      • Arbiter:  General, +6% damage, scales with Orc generals and troop types, and with the number of generals and orc troops in the legion, +50% legion bonus, scaling proc.  The multiple scaling on this general will keep her in the spotlight and make her become even more important over time.  Note the +150/+150 is given to all other generals in your legion regardless of race, making this purely dependent on legion general slots.  It's more difficult with troops, as the +50/+50 only affects orc troops.  There is a bit of an antisynergy with Dak and SirLinux as troops cannot fit all requirements (orc and human and melee).  Arbiter's legion bonus is not passive, but this is not a problem as you'll want to play her in every legion anyhow because of her huge stat advantage.
      • Bakku:  Troop, +2% damage (+6% in camp), scales with agility troop types, mimics weapon procs (x 1.7), huge regular proc.  This troop has a regular proc that scales with weapon types, so will stay relevant.  It also mimics weapon procs with a 70% bonus, meaning it counts as 7 items in total (1.7 x (2[profile]+2[legion])).  Bakku is Zum light (Zum counts as 16 items).  Because normal damage output is reduced in camp and because item procs are much stronger than usually, Bakku becomes relevant in camp.
      • Claudia:  Troop, +3% damage, scales with generals, mimics general procs.  Traditionally, generals did not have worthwhile procs, so Claudia was considered weak (only 1% damage).  This has changed with Tomb Mimic, which is in turn mimiced by Claudia, and in the synergy she gets boosted to B class.
      • Fontella:  General, +5% damage, scales with legions, +100% passive legion bonus.  Fontella scales a little slower than other premium generals (and slower than Cerm, as well), making her one of the first premiums to get axed when competition arrives.  Still, her passive legion bonus (which accounts for most of her damage bonus) remains.
      • Kraken:  Troop, +3% damage, scales with player defense, mimics general procs and also provides extra loot from questing.  This is a high-stat troop that increases damage by 2% from pure stats.  The 50% general mimic (half as strong as Claudia's) gives it another 1%.   Thus, the troop is not dependent on Tomb Mimic to be worthwhile, but having TM does help of course.  Kraken also gives +1k/+1k stats to Abyss, making her a lot more usable.  Since Kraken is still vastly better than Abyss, this is not counted as a true synergy.  Rather, it is assumed that players would first get Kraken (because he's the better buy) and then consider getting Abyss second because she's then an OK purchase. Kraken's quest extra loot provides roughly 10% more total quest drops on average (just figuring minibosses/bosses, which is where practically all relevant quest drops come from).
      • Lord Turtle:  Troop, +3% damage, scales with gear types, increases gear effect, +25% legion bonus.  Increasing gear effect by +75% is becoming relevant, especially as gear gets bigger and bigger and even more so in camp (as that uses a damage formula focusing on gear stats).
      • Tomb Mimic:  General, +6% damage, scales with generals, procs for a % of base damage (like a mount).  TM's stats are a bit weakish, but his two procs (one proc mimics 10% base damage every attack, the other 100% base damage with 8% probability) give this item a multiplicative damage increase which is obviously preferrable to additive increases.  TM is essentially another (18%) mount.  It isn't mimiced itself by the mount mimics (Tuss etc.), but since TM is a general, its mount proc is mimiced by Claudia (and Kraken).  Thus, the synergy of TM + Claudia + Kraken is especially strong (TM only gives about 2% without those).
      • Trollo:  General, +0% damage, scales with undead essences, generals, and troops, 20% chance (on a 20-attack) to restore 4 honor.  This fairly low-stat general restores honor and is therefore important to high-level strategies.  Even though it only does one third what Mach does, the point is that if you have both of these, their effects are added and thus the level barrier drops even lower.
      • Vork:  General, +5% damage, scales with troop types, +100% passive legion bonus.  It's the legion bonus that makes this general.  On top of that, he's beefy.
      • Zum:   Troop, +1% damage (+7% in camp), scales with gear types, mimics gear damage.  While normally not huge, Zum becomes relevant whenever significant procs turn up, as in camp or with RD gear or with the BS gear.


    • Category C:  These are the weaker typical premiums.

      • Aliyah:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with ring/neck types, mimics ring/neck procs.  Necklaces for the most part do not deal a lot of damage (yet), but rings can and then Ali becomes better, too.  Still, she only counts as 2 gear items for camp purposes and that is just not comparable to Zum or Bakku.
      • Cerm:  General, +2% damage, scales with legions owned, mimics legion procs, +50% legion bonus.  Archangel Germany is strong because of her legion bonus, but it is not all passive, so she needs to actually be in the the legion to give her full bonus.
      • Dak:  Troop, +2% damage, scales with melee troop types and number of melee troops in legion, no gimmick.  The double scaling effect of Dak makes him strong and this will continue when legion troop sizes grow even more.  Downside is you have to rebuild your legions to use mostly melee.
      • Drogan: Troop, +2% damage, scales with rune types, summons runes.  Drogan does good damage from his high stats but he also summons more runes, which has some advantages.  He beefs himself up quickly, provides masses of common runes (which can be helpful for rage-crafting) and sometimes summons some extremely powerful runes as well.  Note that unlike Tuss and Math, Druggy does not summon all runes but just runes from a small list.
      • Kez: General, +2% damage, scales with Sculpted/Harvested Crystals, no gimmick.  Every WR and ER has Kez crystals in it, and collecting them makes Kez grow.  On the one hand, this is one of the faster scaling premiums, on the other hand, you have to actively play (and often hit a fairly high tier on WR/ERs) to participate.  If you miss a crystal, you can never replace that particular crystal, you will forever have one less than others who did not miss it.  This logic applies even if you do not own Kez yet, which is why it is generally recommended to pick these up if possible.
      • Morth:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with glove types, adds +1 to each loot category.  Whenever you loot any raid, you get a number of picks from the common, uncommon, rare, and epic (CURE) categories.  If you own Morth, you get +1 on each non-zero category.  This has very little effect on modern raids (such as Jorm) that drop hundreds of items in each category.  If you farm very small raids though (which aren't being made any more), the loot improvement can be dramatic.  All that being said, the ability is in effect on some ER/WR loot and you therefore get +1 vol pot from each ER.  This effect alone would pay for Morth's cost of 100PC in about 30 ERs (less than a year).
      • SirLinux: Troop, +2% damage, scales with human troop types and human troops in legion, blocks/reduces damage taken.  This is one of the bigger stat premium troops (also scaling well as human troops are among the most common to be released) and therefore yields solid damage.  The damage block/reduction is nice, but not worth PC (you could just push health).
      • Vig:  Troop, +2% damage, scales with mount types, no gimmick.  In synergy with Tussao, this troop can grow rather big.
      • Zaboo:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with familiar types.  The primary source of new familiars is top-tiering world raids, meaning this troop has a bit of an upkeep cost.  Fortunately you only have to top tier each WR once (unlike with Kez).


    • Category D:  These are the weakest premiums, less powerful than the typical specimen.  Note they are still better than most other items in the game.

      • Abyss : Troop, +1% damage, scales with player level, provides quest haste passively.  This troop has very low scaling (800/800 when player gets immortal at 2500), making this the worst premium troop stat-wise.  This is somewhat alleviated if you own Kraken, as he gives Abyss +1k/+1k stats.  However, her true scaling (increasing of her stats out of her own power) is still slow after that and she is pretty much entirely dependent on Kraken.  Thus, if you do own Kraken, Abyss could be considered a weak category C, without, she's a weakish category D premium. Quest haste means that once you acquired Abyss, all questing has a chance to get a second quest tick for free.  This is the only way to improve xp gain from questing and as such the premium is essential for those who quest a lot but also want to level quickly or cheaply.  In the current ecosystem, however, questing is generally not advised, which makes the premium less interesting.  Note 1:  The quest haste cannot be turned off, making leveling somewhat more difficult.  Note 2:  This premium is in the bazaar permanently.
      • Bladezz :  Troop, +1% damage, scales with agility troop types, 1% force crit rate.  The effectiveness of force crits depends on the circumstance (better in camp).  The crit happens on the next attack after the proc is announced, so can be used to hit festival dummies for instance (but 1% is too low to use this effect regularly).
      • Clara :  Troop, +0.5% damage, scales with magics, no gimmick.  Many people officially hate this premium, but she is still a troop (so won't be displaced) and she's stronger than Abyss.  That said, do not expect her to scale much for a free player as magic is few and far between, as well as usually costly (via PC).  For whales who do collect a lot of magics, Clara can actually be quite strong.
      • Codex :  General, +0.5% damage, scales with generals, gives character a 2% stat bonus on att, def, perc.  Although Codex looks kind of weak damage wise, her 2% stat bonus is helpful.
      • Faust : General, +0.5% damage, scales with raid essences, no gimmick.  This is one of the older an weaker premium generals, mostly for lack of a gimmick.  Its scaling has turned up well lately because of the addition of elite essences.  Scaling up this general is easy since most essences are easy to get, so it's a good general to have early on.  One of Faust's boosts (+125/+125) was only sold in an MP, so is realistically unavailable.
      • Tink :  General, +0% damage, scales with ranged troop types, no gimmick.  Tink is the weakest premium in the game, as she is a general with weak stats, getting displaced by a lot of modern free generals.  That said, she can get beefy if enough troops are owned (for whales and those who have had Math work for them a long time).  Still, her scaling is amongst the worst of all premiums, so do not hope for her to come back from irrelevance.


    • Halfium Troops:  Since 5pg wanted to sell other things except for 100PC+ premiums, halfiums were created, sold for 50PC and meant to be a weaker version of a premium, but still above "normal" powered items.  For troops, 5pg decided to limit their scalability and their usability in the form of no */* classification.  Their pure power, however, remains comparable to that of current premiums.  However, since these troops do not even compete with regular premiums because most modern legions have 50+ slots, their lower scaling will not hurt the halfium troops for years to come.  Also, modern legions typically have a few any slots, so most halfium troops fit into 90%+ of your legions.  This renders the halfium troops to be extremely desirable to most players, especially free players, basically full power premiums at half price.

      • Betty:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with winter essences, summons some rare craftables (in particular, some event only crafts).  Betty's crafts farming is quite impressive and includes ice walls of all colors, in turn enabling you to craft vet snowman knights and maguses, which are currently still good free troops.
      • Corpse:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with nightmare queen essences, summons sp crafts.
      • Foundling:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with qwil essences, summons rare craftables and qwil-killer bag.  Foundling very rarely summons a qwil killer bag, but often enough to ensure that anyone running the Foundling will have exhausted the chest after a month or so.  Thus, the chest is basically a free add-on and contains a usable magic plus gen, troop,  legion and rune fodder.  If you buy the Foundling only to get the box, this is still roughly a 75% rebate.  Foundling also summons qwil goo which not only bypasses a tough quest event, but also allows you to craft the important qwil hybrid drakes.
      • Gallagher:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with demon essences, summons vol pots.  Gal actually summons [url=http://dotd.wikia.com/wiki/Urn_of_Ell%27Shoaz%27Dahaq
        Ell'Shazam urns[/url] while attacking demons.  Those can contain vols.  If you have the time/patience to 1-hit your demon targets, Gal can create a significant number of vol pots (K2's Dirty, for instance, used this to level to immortal cheaply).  If you play normally, Gal will only create roughly 10-20 vol pots per year.  This still means it pays off its own price eventually.
      • Tannek:  Troop, +1% damage, scales with dwarf troop types and tank troop types, summons sp crafts.  Tannek is dwarf/tank/*, making it fit into virtually every legion.


    • Halfium Generals:  5PG has also offered some halfium generals.  Similar to halfium troops, these are intended to be reduced power premiums at the reduced price of 50PC.  For reasons unknown, the power reduction on the generals affects their actual stats and hitting power (in addition to reduced/non-existent scaling and difficult classifications).  Thus, all of these are displaced by premiums at some point soon.  This only leaves newer players who do not have a lot of premiums or fodder yet who would be interested in these halfiums.  Still, even for these players, these halfium generals will only have a service time of a year or two at most before they are replaced.

      • Berlo:  General, +0% damage, no scaling, no gimmicks.  This is one of those generals that would be totally pointless to get for me as an established player since it's actually weaker than any of the generals I am already playing and because of its lack of scaling, it does not have a chance to ever catch up either.
      • Briat:  General, +0.5% damage, scales with general slots, big stat bonus in commander slot.  Hands down the best of the halfium generals, not only does it have decent stats (if used in the commander slot anyhow), but it also has a nice gnome/*/* classification that gives it a dual use for hard-to-fill slots.
      • Hara:  General, +0.5% damage, scales with insect essences, summons sp crafts.  Her stats could be good, but at the current 4 insect essences, they are not impressive.  Furthermore, Hara has extremely difficult classifications (gnome/spec/wis).  In particular, she does not fit well into either the "Exterminators" nor into the "Hive", which were released in the same insect cycle (well she fits into their few any slots, but none of the normal slots).
      • Kiani:  General, +0% damage, scales with troop slots, summons sp crafts.  No upgrade for an established player.
      • Pan:  General, -0.5% damage, scales with magical generals and troop types.  Fairly weak for the current state of the game.
      • Ta'Hot:  General, -1% damage, no scaling, no gimmick.  Ta'Hot is an experiment in that it has low stats but a massive proc to make up for it.  This experiment has failed because a) the proc only works vs. constructs, and no one wants to swap generals in and out based on targets, or use generals in only a few legions.  Also, b) because of the way magics, mounts and legion bonuses all multiply the stat-based damage of generals (and troops), stat-based damage always vastly outperforms proc-based damage.  In particular, Ta'Hot is still about -1% even vs. constructs.
      • Shea:  General, +0% damage, scales with dragon and demon essences, summons sp crafts.  No upgrade for an established player.




    Getting PC

    I'll add a small insert on the different ways to gain PC in this game:

    • Level up.  1 PC per 5 lvls.
      This can be a significant source of revenue, especially at lower levels.  Players are able to push 100 levels in a few days and that's 20PC.
      In addition, there are 500PC waiting for anyone who reaches lvl 2500.
    • Pitchfork tokens.  Daily logging in reward.
      Pitchfork tokens can be used in these ways:

      • 14 pitchforks -> 2 idols -> 5PC, 0.36PC/day
      • 28 pitchforks -> 4 idols -> 15PC, 0.54PC/day
      • 300 pitchforks -> exalted hero chest -> 250PC, 0.83PC/day
        There are different recipes as well, but they are no longer recommended, use only the above.  It is obvious that if you can somehow manage to hold out on the tokens, conversion efficiency is increased drastically.


    • AP rewards.

      • King's Bounty.  10k AP, -> 150PC eventually.
        There are six different items in the KB.  Five of these are unique (can only be gotten once).  The 6th is the 150PC reward.  It is possible, though unlikely, to get the PC reward earlier.  All in all, this typically requires 60k AP before getting the first PC.  After that, it is not that hard to get 10k AP every two months to pay for all premiums.
      • Peasant's Tribute.  100AP.  About 0.5PC on average.
        The items in the PT are recurring.  With some chance, you can find 1 to 5 PC.  All in all, this only yields 50PC per 10k AP burned this way.  However, this is available at all times, so it's especially interesting if you either do not have the KB unlocked yet or are only missing a few PC and currently nowhere near 10k AP.


    • Free Kreds.
      Kongregate passes out quite a bit of free Kreds, though what exactly is on offer and how fast those free Kreds make it to your account seems to vary greatly from country to country.
    • $
      Obviously it is also possible to simply buy Kredits and use those to buy PC.  In general, it is advised to use one of the fairly frequent PC sales.  Bigger PC packages have a lot better conversion rates.


    To reiterate, it is possible to get adequate amounts of free, ingame PC to buy all new premiums (but little else unless you are very active), both at the beginning of the game and in the end-game.  There is a slump in the middle, between roughly lvl 500 and 1.5k, where players typically get too little ingame funds (because not all KBs are uncovered yet, but at the same time, leveling PC has become short because leveling has slowed).

    Acquisition Strategies

    There are many viable ways to play the game and consequently many strategies which items to get and how.  Any smart way to play DotD must deal with the premium issue and therefore we shall look at how one could get them.

    Cherry Picking

    By default, an informed consumer should look at what she's buying and weigh the utility of the item vs. its cost.  In terms of the game, many players, especially free players that are unable or unwilling to come up with sufficient PC to buy every single new premium.  In this case, the players will have to compare the current premium with others and determine whether it is good enough to make the grade.  Luckily, there are many other players that get the premiums, hence mechanics and stats are well known.

    The major downside to this tactic is that with every missed premium, the power gap to the other players increases.  Also, even if the player does get enough funds later, she is unable to undo her decision to skip a particular premium.  Thus, the major advice to anybody in this situation is to attempt to move to the next strategy if at all possible.  This might mean farming raids for AP faster, or it might even mean subsidizing the game a bit (most budget spenders only buy small amounts of PC to be able to get all premiums).

    Subscribing

    Most "serious" DotD players advocate buying every single premium during its direct buy phase.  The main reasons are, as explained above, both the power (current and future) and the enormous price hike you experience if you miss a premium that you want to get later (from, say, 100PC to 1kPC if you have to gamble it from the MP).  I should point out that this does leave the players open to an easy manipulation scheme where 5PG could sell a series of crappy premiums that people would still buy (which is what most people feel the guild premiums were).  Luckily, 5PG has gone the other direction and are making pretty much every new premium slightly stronger than the average up till then. (They probably realized that it doesn't cost them any actual $ to increase the numbers on said premiums till they are strong enough.)

    So, with that goal, when a premium comes out and the player does not have the required funds, it's time to get scrambling.  The good news are that she has two weeks.  And there are many ways to gain the PC, including some unorthodox ones.  I have personally burned AP in Peasant's Tributes, forced levels to gain a few PC and also crafted idols at bad rates.  In order to get that next premium, any means is usually acceptable and that does include crafting away a few pitchfork tokens (even though everybody keeps telling you to save them for the exalted chest).  And yes, if said player happens to have an exalted chest and no way to buy the current premium that is about to leave the bazaar, then it is entirely sensible to craft that exalted into 250PC.  That will still get her one premium (the current one in the store), plus change.

    Premium Hunting

    Once a player is subscribing to all the new premiums, she will sooner or later wish to acquire at least some of the older premiums.  There aren't a lot of feasible ways to do this.  He can either gamble for a specific premium(s) in an MP or use the exalted hero chest to get an entirely random premium.

    Exalted chests usually come slow and gambling is extremely expensive.  Thus, this strategy does not normally work out and people have to resort to the next one below.

    Exhaustion

    At some point, the player will have acquired many of old the premiums.  Usually, the player will still be missing a few extremely powerful old premiums.  Therefore, the player decides to simply exhaust the pool, that is get all the old premiums.  As a side effect, she will gain all the desirable premiums.

    The final part of this process is clear.  Once only one or two premiums are missing, the player can simply wait for the rest to come to him via exalted chests.  Since waiting for more than two years is usually also not an option, it is very helpful to try and collect exalted hero chests for that player.  If a player somehow manages to collect, say, 2 exalted hero chests, she is "done" with getting premiums when there are, say, 4 missing, as he can open two right away and wait for the final two chests.  In other words, exalted chests get better and better the more premiums the player already has.

    Gambling on specific premiums, however, is usually too expensive to do and needs to be avoided at all costs (1k PC average expected price, nuff said).  Therefore, any opportunity where the player can gamble on at least two premiums he doesn't have yet should be used to collect one of those.  Note that the expected price to gain a random premium from a two premium MP is still 500PC, meaning the entire process is still severely overpriced (and you need to have roughly that to really start gambling).

    As the player gains more and more premiums, it also becomes much less likely to find an MP gamble containing several missing premiums.  This implies that the gamble method becomes less useful as the player gains more and more premiums.

    From these two considerations, it follows that the best exhaustion strategy is to concentrate on multi-premium gambles first, saving the exalted heros chests (without opening them).  When a low enough number of premiums is finally reached, the player can then switch over to exalted chests.

    In practice, very few players will be disciplined enough to not open their exalted chest for a year or more.  There are in fact good reasons not to wait, for instance the summoned premium could be Tuss or Mathias and getting these earlier will not only help the character tremendously, these premiums also have an over-time effect because they keep summoning things.  So if the player can use one of these for a year longer than by another strategy, this will give the player a good amount of random summons she would otherwise be missing forever.

    Thus, the best control a player has is at the earlier part of the optimal strategy, when he has few premiums.  The player should jump at any opportunity to gamble on multi-premiums, as the sooner he is down to a small amount of missing premiums, the sooner he can switch to exalted hero chests only and that means he can open all exalted hero chests he gets right away.

    Another way to look at this problem is to assign a value to exalted hero chests.  Early on, when the player has none of the old missing premiums, the value of the exalted is fairly low, around 250PC.  The player can turn the chest into PC (thus the value) and use it to buy several new premiums.  If the player wishes to gain the old premiums (and has new premiums covered), she will usually open the chest and find an old premium.  This will almost always not be one of the power premiums and only has a face value of 100PC.  It is in particular not better than the first random gamble in a multi premium MP, which can have an expected cost of 200PC.

    Later, as the player gains more old premiums, multi-premium MPs (only the missing ones count) become rarer and rarer, thus the price for that first random premium slowly hikes up to 500PC (since at some point the player is forced to hit two premium MPs).  The player's valuation of the exalted hero chest rises alongside and she would no longer turn an exalted in for 250PC, rather she would pay up to 500PC to buy one.

    At some point, the player will have gained all missing premiums and the exalted chest's value drops back down to 250PC, as turning it into PC is the only thing that chest can do then.

    One caveat about the exhaustion strategy:  It does not apply to Mach because Mach is not included in the exalted hero chest.  Thus, even if you own all the other premiums, you still do not have any good method of getting Mach outside of simply gambling for it in an MP.  This carries an expected price point of 1k PC, so make sure you gamble for Mach when the other items in the MP are worthwhile.  Also note that unlike most other premiums (whose value is usually set by comparison and acquisition cost), Mach's (and Trollo's) value can be calculated via the pots they save.  Mach usually saves about one vol pot per level, and thus would regenerate a 1k investment in him after about 350 levels.  Of course that's only true if you would otherwise buy pot (and not just wait), but in any case, Mach generates a lot of free resources and therefore, getting him as soon as possible can be economically sane, even if you spend massive PCs on him.   See it as an investment.


    Gambling

    Since gambling is such an important part of getting premiums, let's go through the process of evaluating an MP again.  Our objective shall be evaluating whether or not it's a good idea to gamble on a particular MP.

    I Want My Premium

    The simplest method to decide is dictated by the above principle of exhaustion and simply says that any two premium gamble is way better than a one premium gamble and should therefore be taken advantage off.  This is only possible, however, if you have sufficient funds (500PC per random premium is still a lot).  If you are currently low on PC, you may have to limit yourself to three premium gambles (330PC average) or even four premium gambles (250PC average).

    In fact, the speed at which a full set of premiums can be acquired depends entirely on the PC the player is willing to spend.  If a player has nearly unlimited funds, she can simply gamble all premiums as they swing by in solo MPs, but this would cost around 25k PC at this point.  If a player does not have that much PC, but still wishes to get those premiums soon, she might decide to gamble on all MPs as long as there are at least two missing premiums inside.  The process will then take several years, but only cost maybe 10k PC.  If a player is even more frugal, she might decide to only gamble on MPs when there are at least three missing premiums inside, then the process will take considerably longer, but only cost maybe 5k PC total.

    So using this method, the player should basically gamble on MPs whenever she has PCs (that are not bookmarked towards the next direct sale premium) and there are more than N old missing premiums in that MP.

    Value Driven

    The problem with the above, simple approach is that there are other things in the MP, and it's those other things that you get the most.  If these items are really bad, this does have an influence on whether you want to gamble or not.

    So for a better approach, one should assign a value to every item that you can still gamble from the MP.  This value is the price for which you are willing to buy the item if it were sold to you in direct sale right now.  This value can be hard to pinpoint, especially on premiums.  Then, for each item, multiply its chance with its assigned value and add all these values.  This will get you a total price and if that is higher than the cost of the gamble (usually 15PC), then the gamble is worth it for you.

    Example

    During a previous MP craze (on September 11th, 2015 ), the bazaar offered an MP with six premiums:  Arbiter, Tusssao, Mathias, Zumara, Claudia and Vigbjorn.  I was missing four of these (Arbiter, Mathias, Claudia, Zumara).  I did not prize Arbiter as highly as the other premiums, as her direct sale was still coming up.  Still, she was worth at least her direct sale price (probably 150PC).  So for the three missing old premiums, the expected price was around 300PC for the first random premium.

    The rest of the pack was filled with one row of pots (always good, but not very interesting to me since I got quite a few pots in my hoard) and two rows of fairly up to date orc troops (which boost Arbiter and other premiums, I'd value a pick like that at around 5PC personally, especially because some of these troops did make it into my legions).

    Note:  A few weeks before this sale, I had gotten my first exalted hero chest.  I was missing 9 premiums in total.  I was undecided for a while on whether I should open it or not, but I expected the next big multi-premium sale near Xmas and so I finally decided that because there was a chance to find Tuss or Math, it would be better to open the chest right away (as a few more months of usage would give me a lot of extra mounts/troops).  I did get Tuss then, so it was all good.  Nevertheless, if I had known this sale would come up, I would not have opened the chest.  And this would have given me five premium targets instead of four, lowering the expected cost for the first premium to around 230PC in this case.

    So here are the picks as I got them:

    1. (Elixir of Energy x2)
    2. (Orc Werewolf x2)
    3. (Orc Werewolf x2)
    4. (Leomundan Orc Dreadnaught x2)
      Incidentially, i got this chievo here:

    5. ( Champion Jouster x2)
    6. (Orc Firelord x2)
    7. (Orc Werewolf x2)
    8. (Orc Fixer x2)
    9. (Winter Festival Cake x6)
    10. (Winter Festival Pie x6)
    11. (Orc Boxer x2)
    12. (Winter Festival Cake x6)
    13. (Winter Festival Pudding x14)
    14. (Winter Festival Cake x6)
    15. (Orc Firelord x2)
    16. (Math)
      Bingo!  First premium from the pack.  I was somewhat lucky here in two ways.  First of all Math is the best of these premiums.  Secondly, I "only" paid 240PC for the first random premium when the expected cost was 300PC.  Awesome.
      Now the pack only contained two old premiums plus Arbiter.  So continue to gamble?  Ordinarily, I would have said not, as I'm a free player and do not have enough funds to pay 500PC per old premium.  But the presence of Arbiter (that's another 150PC value), the then-rarity of multi-premium gambles, and the fact that I currently had around 500PC on hand convinced me, after some deliberation, to continue to gamble.  I was fully expecting to spend all my funds, with a good chance at Claudia (good) or Zum (awesome).
    17. (Leomundan Orc Dreadnaught x2)
    18. (Orc Werewolf x2)
    19. (Drake Tracker x2)
    20. (Claudia)
      B-B-Bingo!  Ok, I would have preferred Zum, but 64PC for a premium is super lucky, especially when the expected cost was around 450PC this time.
      After this, the pack only contained one old premium (+ Arbiter), and I couldn't afford to gamble at those odds.


    Another Example

    Another multi premium MP soon after contained four premiums:  Exalted Chest II, Mach, Archangel Germany, and Claudia.  Other than that, it contained a bunch of gamble boxes.  There was not Enigmatic Enigma (which would normally be in the top-left slot and has an expected return of 225PC).

    There are several good reasons to avoid such an MP.  First of all the missing EE means that even at 4 premiums (i.e. if the player does not have any of the premiums yet), the first random premium has an expected cost of 300PC.  The bigger problem, though, is that the rest of the MP is most likely garbage to the average budget spender.  That is because all those gamble boxes contain items that only come to full power when a complete or nearly complete set of the gamble box is found.  This typically requires around 20 picks in a single gamble box.  Thus, getting one or even two of a single gamble box will in most cases give you fodder only.

    On the other hand, the MP is a four premium gamble box and if you are planning on exhausting the premium supply, this is an awesome chance as described above.  Do make sure to have at least 300PC on hand, as you cannot really expect to get anything useful below that.  You could get lucky with less of course, but if you go in with less, there is a high chance that you waste your PC and get nothing in return.  If you go in with, say, 500PC, you're fairly certain to get at least one premium and thus you at least have that.

    Finally, this multi-premium MP contained Mach as well, which (due to him not being in the exalted hero chest) is a special case and as outlined above, it's a good idea to gamble on Mach whenever funds allow.

    If you do gamble the exalted chest, keep in mind that in this pack, it's worth at least 300PC (minimum expected cost to get a random premium from the pack).  Therefore, it does not make sense to turn it into PC.  Even less sense if you then use the PC to continue gambling.  Rather either open it right away for your 300PC premium or keep it for later when you have fewer missing premiums and are closer to exhaustion (when the chest will be valued at 500PC for you).

      Current date/time is Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:57 pm