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Rengor



Joined: Dec 13, 2002
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Swordfighting strategies Reply to this Post
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The key puzzle in the game, and still i see alot of different oppinions on which strategies are considered the best.

Group strategies:
(most of these asumes grouping with players that you can actually control)

    Gang up
    Most players use this one. You all select a certain opponent to take them out faster thus having one less opponent to worry about.
    Definitely a strategy that works, which is why they are considering to change it (read other post somewhere).

    Semi gang up (admitted poor name)
    With larger groups you can choose 2 or even with very large groups 3 opponents to gang up on. It seems to work just fine too actually. Downsides to it would be that some NPPs are too good for 2 players to take out or it will take a long time causing more swords to fall.

    Take the easiest out first
    This is my personal favorite strategy. It seems to me that if everyone gang up you can take out the easiest first really fast, and that it gives everybody the best chance to focus on the best one in the end without having to bother with swords.

    Take out the best first
    Also a popular one, everybody focuses on taking the best out first while they have no pieces in their puzzle. My problem with this one is that with really good NPPs this can take quite a while, and in that time you have all the poor NPPs sending over swords making it increasingly harder. Gotta take them out fairly fast with this strategy.
    The only time I use this strategy is when fighting a small group of skels of 3. If one of them (alot of times Gwench I seemed to have noticed) is REALLY good then you pretty much have to take that one out first. Larger groups I usually take out the easier first instead.

    Top down
    I believe Ava is the worshipper of this strategy (sorry if Im wrong). It basically means that everyone gangs up on the top opponent and once defeated number two and so forth.
    The most obvious advantage in my mind with this strategy, is that everyone instantly targets the next opponent thus not using unnecessary energy on other opponents.
    There is some delay on the switching opponents, you will see your own the switch instantly but your crew mates wont see it for another 2-3 seconds which oftens causes people to switch back and forth to gang up. This strategy avoids that confusion and makes them focus entirely on the puzzle instead.
    Downside? well that would be the reasons for choosing the "easiest first" strategy.

    Spread out
    You all spread out to cover all opponents. I can't say I've ever seen this strategy used when only fighting along side players. To work it would asume that all of your crewmembers are better than all of your opponents. Not likely to happen, and totally impossible to know.

    Switch to the weakest after a kill
    Once an opponent has been taken out, notice which opponent is doing worst and target that one.
    Usually takes out that opponent much faster, instead of giving them a chance to recover.
    It's basically "easiest first" and unless you've fought skels before, the only way to figure who IS the easiest. But if you're fighting other players, they could just be trying to make huge combos, in which case it would be a goood idea to ruin that by covering them up.

    Call out next opponent
    Having a common strategy from someone that will call out the names of the next to target is often a very good strategy. It rules out the problems of switching delay, and gives the ganging up strategy more punch. This is obvious when choosing the next opponent after one is taken out. But actually also before that if another opponent is looking really bad (or even worse, is building up large combos). The downside is that you have someone horribly bossy yelling at everyone, and if that someone is not really capable that can turn for the worse instead. If that person is capable and the crewmen are ok with being directed, it's definitely highly effective.

    Go slow when ganged up on
    If you have several opponents on you but your crewmates have none or just 1, go as slow as possible. Don't force any pieces to drop at all. And don't start on any combos, just shatter pieces whenever you can. In the meantime your crew mates can speed up and can take out opponents pretty fast.
    This defensive strategy is often the key to winning fights.

    Tips:
    - Read the text while playing to check for calls, and for the same reason try and not chat too much when you're beaten to confuse players that are still fighting.
    - Agree on a strategy before fighting. For some crews it's just given since they know how they usually fight.[/list:u:ca2128871e]

    General swordfighting strategies:

      Horizontal swords high
      I've often thought that horizontal swords were pretty useless. That's because they usually strike very low and mostly only cuts into existing blocks. And since they can't cut into hard blocks they actually clean up alot of times, especially since the swords have patterns.
      But if you are able to make horizontal swords up high on top of your opponents pieces you can really make some serious damage that alot of times will be decisive.
      But it's a hard strategy since if you can place a horizontal sword up high, it's because your puzzle is up high. And from the point of starting a horizontal sword till you can deliver it your opponent might have built up further or sent a bunch of his swords that are now threatening to take you out.

      Strike patterns
      It's in the documentation, but not all seem to know it. But an opponents sword of a certain size will always have the same color pattern for the same opponent (which pattern is chosen at the start of the fight). Each sword size has it's own pattern. This gives you one extra turn of knowledge while the piece is still solid silver if you can remember the previous pattern and that's good knowledge since alot of times you will be placing your next piece around that sword.
      It's hard though, personally I very rarely remember to use it. Definitely for advanced swordfighters.

      Chains
      Also in the documentation. If you break one block and have a shatter piece drop down to shatter another block you have a chain. Im not sure exactly how big the extra bonus is but it's definitely worth it.
      Chains alot of times requires getting two shatter pieces at a time. But you can probably place shatter pieces one layer above blocks for future chains. Hard to work with though.

      Combos
      This is my choice of name. Some might call a chain a combo.
      Anyway, if you have several large blocks that you are able to shatter one of every few turn you can send some huge swords over in a matter of few turns. It's easier to make combos than chains since you are only dependant on one shatter piece at a time. It does require that you get your shatter pieces before the block are covered up ofcourse.

      Choosing WHEN to send chains and combos
      The most effective strategy is to choose WHEN to send your chains or combos. If you send a small sword every 3 turns that is something that your opponent can work with, but if you send a large number of swords or single large swords when your opponent is preparing his own combos/chains or still trying to clean up, you can really do permanent damage.
      This is risky strategy, but when it works it's a killer.

      Protect yourself from incoming swords
      Since swords can't cut thru a solid block, you can sometimes observe an incoming sword and solidify a block to prevent the damage of that sword.
      Especially effective with horizontal swords since they cut all the way thru, while verticals only cut....uhm 2 blocks i think, right?

      Don't protect yourself from vertical swords when almost beaten
      If you are almost beaten and have just a couple of rows open on top, the vertical swords can even give you more space. That's because a vertical sword will cut deeper and leave space on top if it's larger than the open gap it strikes on. So say there was only one space, well then you might end up with 2 open spaces after it's gone thru. So dont solidify a block to prevent it's damage since it will close up that gap entirely.[/list:u:ca2128871e]

      That's about what I can think of now, do add more if you have. And since I have my oppinion of various strategies, feel free to add yours.

      Ofcourse this is WAY too long a post for anyone to survive reading thru ;)
      ----------------------------------------
      -= SilverBeard of The Mad Mutineers =-
      --=== www.madmutineers.com ===--
[Aug 9, 2005 4:00:00 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
AvaPoet



Joined: Dec 7, 2002
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Complicated Reply to this Post
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Wow. Somebody beat me to this document... but missed:

Targetted Blows

Hitting the target you know will appreciate it it least. As Rengor said, vertical swords are useless.. BUT: against somebody with less than four spaces remaining at the top of the board, they're a nightmare as they restrict lateral piece movement something rotten. Plus; placed luckily, a VERY long one (the length of the screen, 2 wide) saved up since the beginning of the battle can put a spanner in the works of anybody's war machine. Sideways swords are better used on those low down in thier board.

Ganging Up On The Weak

This strategy works on the theory that the injured will be easier to kill. Everybody starts by ganging up on one (any, really, unless there are some known devilishly good swordspeople on the other side). Once they get high on thier board, people tail off one at a time to the next; the last one on them has the job of finishing them (or calling thier target's name if they're having trouble doing so), while the rest make a start on the next. This provides a similar rate of destruction to Top To Bottom, but kills the enemies in closer quick succession.

Targetted Blows W/ Confusion

The ultimate counter-strategy to Play It Slow (the defensive strategy whereby those likely to die as a result of being ganged up against, thereby serving as a distraction): if you're using a gang-up strategy, and your target is Playing It Slow, simply switch to another target when you're about to cause a hit, then switch back again. It p***es people off no end when they realise you're doing it... particually if Playing It Slow makes them outlive all thier friends and you can then smash them to tiny weenie pieces!

Piecemeal Slow-Play

As suggested by Reaper, this strategy can be employed while Playing It Slow in order to make a rapid recovery if your enemies pull back or are cut back, in order to make yourself useful again. Simply take a lot of care when playing your Play It Slow pieces, in order to stack your "breaker" blocks in such a way that they are well placed to fall through a block of a single other colour to make a hit... in other words: take advantage of the oppertunity to line up heaps of consecutive combos. If the chance comes for you to play it fast, it'll make your grid fall down a LOT faster.

Just some of the things my crew and I have been talking about.
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Ava
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...here be dragons...
[Jan 16, 2003 10:27:05 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.avangel.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
homullus

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Re: Swordfighting strategies Reply to this Post
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One additional strategy to add . . .

Keep Up the Suspense

This really only applies to PP fights, but don't shatter any solid blocks in the beginning. Make them, but don't shatter them. It prevents your opponents from knowing your strike pattern until you are ready to unleash a BIG sword or two (or four). Even if they don't watch strike patterns, a large enough sword can yield some entire blocks for them, so it's best to deliver them in numbers. The good side effect is that you end up burying some shattering pieces, where they later can form some mighty chains (I got Donkey! once entirely inadvertently this way).

The downside is the same as with any other, really . . . you might not get the shatter pieces you need, and with many solid blocks in place, sometimes the enemy swords can't clear things out for you.
[Jan 16, 2003 11:08:47 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    homullus [Link]  Go to top 
Nemo
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Sword Strategies Reply to this Post
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I was beginning to wonder when someone would start to post these. I thought it would be in the crew forums, though.
So, yes, we are changing enemy AI to be not quite so ploddingly convenient to defeat with the Slow Drop. Another change, however, that may affect you higher-strategy players is a change in vertical swords at the top of the puzzle. As many of you have realized, unless played properly and unless your opponent has solid pieces at the top of his board, a vertical sword dished to a cluttered opponent will more often help him than hurt him. This is because an upper-level vertical sword currently will break everything it can to get onto the screen and leave some space at the top. That's out. Once Shaper makes the change, a vert sword will always break the appropriate number of pieces and no more. That means a single-wide will break one piece and a double and above will break two deep. I think the existing situation was born of the impressiveness of watching those big swords shatter all the way through your pieces, but it certainly runs contrary to the point of the puzzle.
Anyway, you've all very nicely covered the range of sword strategies, but there's one I've often employed that hasn't been mentioned:

The Prima Donna strategy-

Often I get offers to go out and plunder with the players. Lots of fun. However, most crews use the various "gang up" strategies and I find that my ego just won't abide that. The reason the "slow drop" strategy works is that, in the space of one drop, a puzzler can only receive one strike. So, if you drop slowly, of all the strikes against you in that time, only one gets through.
Now, I make a lot of big, huge chains, and I honestly get tired of seeing them not pile up on an opponent because some crewmate's wussy little combo was the attack that went through.
Thus the Prima Donna strategy. Everybody else gangs up as they see fit. Then, the egomaniac with the big sword goes and fights somebody else. The surprising usefulness of this strategy (which was basically just selfishness), has caused the birth of a much more egalitarian version:

The Double-Team-
If you've got lots of good sworders on your crew, never put more than two on any opponent. In fact, put exactly two on each opponent. This often works out to be a near-perfect balance of timing and makes the most effective use of players who can keep up a consistent range of attacks.

These strategies often benefit from being targetted, as enemy pieces make up most of the fodder for my attacks.


I'll see you on the other side...

-Nemo
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[Jan 17, 2003 2:48:59 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Thusnelda

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My little strategy Reply to this Post
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Well, the most useful thing I've found (that nobody has mentioned) is this, and it's pretty obvious. The Slow Drop (TM) occurs when you have someone on you. I would go so far as to have a Slow Drop when there's only one on me. HOWEVER, if you have nobody on you, it is your job to go, go, GO and build up absolutely as much ammo as you can, VERY QUICKLY. Eventually someone on your team might die, and then you'll be stuck doing the Slow Drop with everyone else. Personally, I hate the Slow Drop. I go like the dickens when I don't have to use it, because if my fellow pirate is Slow Dropping, the fight will go on forever unless I do something. Ick.

Remember, kids: it is your responsibility as a team to pick up the slack for the others when they can't. They should be doing the same for you.
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Madam, proud Looterata
Why are old people playing on this game i dont know its probly something to do with control but its kind of werd. Get a life or a girl friend or mabe even a wife but if your an adult that plays this game your a loser
[Jan 17, 2003 6:18:02 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
shellyanne



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Re: Swordfighting strategies Reply to this Post
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I, like Thusnelda, also do the Go go go method when I have no one on me. I try to build up as much as I can a fast as I can, untill someone gets knocked out and I hae to slow it down.


~SeaShell~
[Jan 17, 2003 7:18:00 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
AvaPoet



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If Yer Good Enough... Reply to this Post
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The amount of pain you need to be in to recommend Slow Drop depends on your ability and the skills of those attacking you. Against NPPs in ship-to-ship, I'll generally play fast (and help my crewmates 'pick them off' me) if there are even as many as three on me, switching to a Slow Drop method only if they start to overwhelm me. With four... yes; I can see your point. But that's just 'cause I'm not quite THAT handy with a sword.

By the way, Nemo: the Dragons have been out experimenting (we took a seven-hour pillage the other night) with these techniques, and we really like the Double Team. It works really well; thanks!
----------------------------------------
Ava
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...here be dragons...
[Jan 18, 2003 12:07:47 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.avangel.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
bluekoala



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The Slow Drop (TM) Reply to this Post
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Whilst i agree this is a very effective method of stalling if you are being pummelled, I would make a small amendment to this tactic:
If at the start of a fight you noticed you are being ganged up on, DO NOT immediately play it slow. Build up combos as fast as you can, but don't drop them yet. Do this before they have time to drop swords on you. Then, once the fight gets heated, your board starts to fill, and you feel out gunned, begin the slow torture as described above. This ensures you have some defences in place so that you are not simply waiting to die, but fighting for your life....slowly and carefully. It feels a lot better to play it slow when you are looking at a screen full of killer comboes, and have the time to perfectly place your pieces to strike when the time is right.
There is no reason not to play fast early on, nothing they can throw at you in the first few turns will be enough to stop you.
----------------------------------------
--Esk

...here be dragons...
[Jan 18, 2003 12:08:35 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Nemo
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Re: If Yer Good Enough... Reply to this Post
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AvaPoet wrote: 
By the way, Nemo: the Dragons have been out experimenting (we took a seven-hour pillage the other night) with these techniques, and we really like the Double Team. It works really well; thanks!


I'm glad it's working for you. I'm ecstatic that you were pillaging for seven hours. I think the Dragons get the Ironman award.
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[Jan 19, 2003 3:11:46 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
shellyanne



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7 hours? Ye be weaklings!
The Mad Mutineers were on for at least 10 hours solid yesterday(3pm -1am pac was when Silverbeard and I were on), and quite a few times we had a full crew.
[Jan 19, 2003 3:19:31 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Nemo
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Apologies Reply to this Post
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Well, then I must say we have certainly picked the right testers. And women, too! This is great.
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[Jan 19, 2003 4:40:38 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Rengor



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It's quite visible these days that players are starting to group by timezone. The Dragons are very visible when the US players are still working or sleeping. Then later on after the europeans go to bed and US players start coming home from work it's mostly the Mad Mutineers on till around 2am PST or something.

There are other crews on too ofcourse, but I have to say these two are very active right now.

This kind of grouping is very logical, when you play you want to go pillage or fight skels or just chat with your members, so choosing the group with the highest availability when you play is imho the best choice right now.

Later on as more players join you have a better selection of crews, and then they will be more grouped around personality and friendship and such.
----------------------------------------
-= SilverBeard of The Mad Mutineers =-
--=== www.madmutineers.com ===--
[Jan 19, 2003 4:51:26 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
AvaPoet



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Only 10 Hours Reply to this Post
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Only 10 Hours? My record so far is eleven and a half!

Reaper, a newly-promoted Officer of my crew, consistently stays up all night, midnight to 8am.

I agree with Nemo: there is a fantastic (presumed) gender balance on this game. I'll be posting about this elsewhere.
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Ava
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...here be dragons...
[Jan 19, 2003 6:22:12 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.avangel.com/ [Link]  Go to top 
Patariki

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10?! Reply to this Post
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10 hours is almost nothing!

I've been on this thing since seven or eight yesterday. It's 7:45 PM Already! I've done two SMHs, and I only took a four or five hour nap in between. ALMOST TWENTY FOUR HOURS!

Beat that!
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Remember not, Lord, our offences... And be not angry with us for ever. - Henry Purcell, late 1600s, Book of Common Prayer
[May 23, 2009 5:46:08 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Kotetsu534



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Ye should be more 'proud' of the six year bump.
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Nomura, SO of Innocent, Member of Crimson Tide, Midnight.
[May 23, 2009 6:02:48 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Patariki

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D'oh!
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Remember not, Lord, our offences... And be not angry with us for ever. - Henry Purcell, late 1600s, Book of Common Prayer
[May 29, 2009 12:00:12 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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