Monday, October 25, 2010

The Arena: Prologue (Wild Bolting)

There are a lot of negative views towards the arena, but I feel that the image of human-vs-human play has been tainted unjustifiably by a magnitude of poor sports and cheap shots.  However, KingsIsle recently made some fixes to the game that has arguably increased the call for creativity over cookie-cutter techniques.  Brian,  also known as The Overachieving Necromancermentions two notorious "methods" for what was heavily deemed unfair:  Wild Bolting and Chain Stunning.  We'll explore the former in this post.

"Wild Bolting" is a tactic that involves attempting to "spam" (cast over and over) a primary Storm Spell (meaning it's not available as a Secondary) called Wild Bolt (pictured below).  (Ahh, attack of parenthetical explanations!)

Zap, zap!

The reason that this card is widely despised is because of the damage output (a whopping 1,000) for such a low cost (2 Pips).  Now, there's only a 10% chance of hitting, naturally.  But, with a Sniper (+20% Accuracy) enchantment applied to it, and if the user wears Arena Gear, Wild Bolt then has a 46% chance of hitting.  Add in a Pet giving Storm-Shot and/or Sharp Eye, and that player can reach the odds of 51-56%.  Before KingsIsle implemented the fix on Enchantments, players were able to distribute "Snipered" 'Bolts to others. 

It was a game-bending issue, since players with twice as much heath than a Storm player, such as Ice, Life, and Balance, had access to this potent spell.  What was the point of using a Diviner when you had more endurance with other classes, AND the same chance to hit with universal accuracy boosts?  It became totally uncalled for when someone with over 2700 hitpoints to spare was taking advantage of their health to try to "spike" (an action that causes a very sharp health loss; think about losing half of your max health in one turn) the other player.  With a possible 51-56% chance, given today's windows.

Fortunately, a past update has stopped imports and exports of enchanted cards between Wizards.  Bolts that were made right before the updates (rapid manufacturing due to anticipation of patching) turned into Storm Elves, according to Ronan Dawn and Cheryl Fire.  Thus, access and utilization of this ability was minimized to Storm Wizards, and PVP was a little more balanced.

More recently, in the early Test Realm (Celestia debut), this seemingly endless window of accuracy was shut down by this change:

Zzz or Zip or Zap or POW-BOOM!
...which more recently changed to "10 or 100 or 1000."

Now with two tiers of probabilities to go through (whether the spell Fizzles or not, and what value of damage is generated), winning by "Wild-Bolting" has been significantly reduced, and should someone claim a victory doing 1,000+ damage with one of these, it's all down to real great luck on their part, and empty of strategy (in my opinion, at least).  If someone claims to use these as "shield breakers," I'd call them out on it; Lightning Bats does a solid 245-285 damage (equivalent to a 100-damage bolt with a Critical), and is a much better use for two pips.  Consistency is more reliable than chance (Hey!  An advanced PVP concept to explore in the future!).

Thus, fear not the tales of 4-minute battles against Storm Wizards.  Losing easily in the arena is, well, not so easy anymore!


  1. I do have a storm wiz, but I am still happy about this, now I can step into the arena more, without having to get bolted all the time.

  2. Having been with MORE than my fair share of Bolt I am glad KI implemented this change. Getting hit with a Bolt on the first turn and being down 1000+ health doesn't seem quite fair ... I am sure many "Bolters" will still try, but it does level the playing field a bit more. Can it be enchanted via the tough/giant/monstrous route? Hoping not.

  3. I dont like the bolt change much, it just kinda show how weak KI is to the complainers. Andmy sister said she beat you and cass dragonheart in a 4v4 on her storm Terri Nightshield. She might be lying cause you're unstoppable

  4. Bolt strikes me as a legitimate part of a storm strategy in PvP. I say 'part', meaning not the whole strategy. Dealing with a true bolt spammer was easy in some ways before in that finding shields was not terribly hard and between the fizzles it was moderately easy to set up some sort of offense that they never bothered to defend against. The bolt strategy was at times effective, but lacked the poetic dance that PvP can be at times between two excellent PvPer's. Thankfully it seemed that most of the time Bolters topped out somewhere below warlord.

    KI ws right to change this spell so that it fits into the spirit in which the spell was created. It is supposed to be storm's 'lottery' card. Low investment for a low chance at something super. Now it seems to fit the original intent of the spell.

    Agreed that it is not that great of a shiled breaker. I have a wand that does 100 damage and I have a 2 pip bat that does the job as well. DerHund on Central has a guide that usues Bats as a shield breaker while he is digging for his storm elf from his pet.

    Consistency vs Chance I have also hear phrased as Effectiveness over Effeciency. In PvP you are not operating in the most effecient way. In PvE you can remove every weakness and blade every attack. In PvP you do not have this luxury. Sometimes the only opportinuty you have to attack with a shield down is the round you are in right now. Adding another trap or blade will mean you attack next round and by then they will have a shield out and the opportunity will pass.

    I am looking forward to reading more on you take on PvP.

  5. Personally i thing they could have improved the accuracy, because you could try multiple times to get a 1000 dmg hit with the new one and never hit with that much.

  6. hmm well I use it as a shield breaker but maybe I should reconsider. It is nice getting that 1000 every once in a while though...

  7. ^I also use it as a shield breaker along side with bats simply to have more cards that will enable me to break shields. And who knows I may get a lucky bolt and get a decent hit on a tower shield, but my intention would simply be to remove the shield not to aim for a 1000 base damage bolt. I also like to use bats as an offensive attack rather than a shield breaker because with gargantuan applied it can do 500-800 damage (depending on resist), which in my opinion, is a solid hit for 2 pips. In other words, bolt may be a better shield breaker because using a powerful gargantuan bats just to break a shield may seem like a waste; however, if I can't seem to find gargantuan I simply go for either (bolt or bat).


Let that thought out here: