Back in 2009, a little group called "Mercenaries for Hire" was born. It was a Wizard101 "guild" that aimed to help players with difficult bosses and dungeons. The group thrived for years and helped countless wizards complete their quests and obtain sought after gear. I ended up joining the merry band of misfits in 2014. Although it was a LOT of work, my time as a merc is one of the most memorable aspects of being a part of this community. Helping others deepened my understanding of average player skill and challenged me in ways that I had never thought about before. And I mean NEVER thought about.
Inspired by some of my craziest merc stories, here are some Wizard101 tips. While some of you may think that these are common sense, you'd be surprised at what I've seen in the past ...
You're a Hero, Not a Model
Good looks will only get you so far. In order to be a competitive player who stands up against the tough bosses that KingsIsle has been throwing our way lately, you need to rely on good gear stats. After all, your stats can heavily determine whether you secure victory or fail miserably. I think I've seen everything possible when it comes to this department. I've seen people with stats in the wrong areas. For example, a level 80 fire wizard had 0% fire damage boost, but 60% storm damage boost. Go figure. However, the worst thing I've seen is no stats at all. I was helping another player complete an Azteca boss, and I was surprised to find out that this guy had 0 everything. No resist, no damage, no accuracy ... not one single stat. Unless you're actively looking for a challenge, don't make things harder for yourself!
Know your cards and what they do
It goes without saying that spell cards are everything to a wizard. Know them. Understand them. Use them. In fact, I always make an effort to use all my spells at least once. Whether it's in an innocent lost soul battle on Unicorn Way or an intense final battle in one of the later worlds, figuring out how to best use your spells will be the key to your success. One distinct merc memory I have is from a boss request in Pitch Black Lake. A balance player wanted help with a single boss, and I thought it'd be a super fun and easy run. Well, not exactly. This balance wizard didn't know how to use their spells properly. Instead of buffing me (a myth wizard) with spirit blade, the client kept putting on elemental blade. Not once, not twice ... but three times. Elemental blades only help the three elemental schools (storm, ice, fire) and therefore were completely useless to a myth wizard like me. Take a minute to study your spells so you don't miss something important.
Turn Order Matters
You have no idea how many people I’ve met just like to Leeroy Jenkins their way into battle. That may work for some fights, but definitely not the more complex ones. In a tough battle, even the smallest things like turn position can make all the difference. For example, having your hitter take the fourth spot allows all the support players to buff, shield, etc... an extra time before the hit. Setting up for a kill takes a lot longer when the hitter sprints into the first position and draws the aggro of the boss. I remember one instance where this happened, and every time we got close to being able to hit, the client would die and lose all the buffs. Rinse and repeat that a few times and what you have is a very frustrating battle. Be mindful of efficiency and be open to taking your time to get it done right the first time.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Even if you don’t have a round-by-round plan ahead of time, have a basic idea of everyone’s role. If you’re playing support, try to pack only unique buffs (ones that your allies are not casting as well). Doing so will eliminate deck clutter and allow you to find the cards you need faster. I was once helping this one player who packed one of every single spell they had. Not only was that a huge deck, but it was also filled with things that weren’t needed and didn’t have enough of the spells that we DID need. Small decks are key! During the battle, it’s also a good idea to type out what buffs you’re using. While the in-game identifier is useful, it can be difficult to sift through in the very short spell selection phase. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if I see a buff typed out, I’m more likely to remember it.
As a player in any game, I encourage you to be a good samaritan. Help those who are struggling and offer advice to those seeking it. Many people aren’t perfect, but most of them are eager to learn. The Mercenaries for Hire group has been inactive for quite some time now, but you don’t need the title of Merc to act like one.