[GemCraft Labyrinth] Help me tweak and refine my strategy please.

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This is probably going to look like a guide. It really isn’t!

I have a strategic process that I’ve developed over the years of competing and coaching various sports and games. I’m going to give my (primitive) conclusions and hopefully some of the experts can correct my misunderstandings and maybe as a result players like me can improve.

The method is simple:
1) break down the objective, the obsticles, and the tools you have to overcome those obsticles.
2) devise a philosphy of winning.
3) from your philosophy come up with specific strategies.
4) implement your strategy.
5) observe your results.
6) adjust your philosophy of winning based on the observations
7) go back to 3) and repeat over and over until you reach the desired level of performance.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

Philosophy:

The object of the game is to win all the stages (this is debatable for sure). To win each stage we have several in-combat abilities all of which are fueled by mana. Outside combat we have access to ability points which are used to give us more mana, or use the mana we have more efficiently.

We do not start with enough mana or firepower to win. We have to increase the amount and rate at which we get mana and increase our firepower in order to win. It is in our best interest for completing the game to win with as high an EXP total as possible. Doing this gives us more mana efficiency for later stages. More mana efficiency allows us to take on more EXP multipliers and earn even more EXP.

Within each stage, at every time we have a certain amount of mana, fire power, and choices open to us. When we do not choose the absolute best option in any situation for completing the stage gaining the most possible EXP we’ve made a mistake to some degree.

It follows from this that using our mana for increasing rate of mana gain or firepower more than is needed for getting the maximum possible EXP from a stage is inefficient and usually a mistake (sometimes getting more firepower like making a higher level gem than is truly needed gives a bonus to EXP, or allows more angering)

Based on all of that, it looks like to me that the driving force behind decisions should be firepower. We need enough mana coming in to sustain its growth, but by and large FP is king.

Looking at how to increase firepower there are three things, upgrading the actual gem, putting up more amplifiers, adding strength to the gem in existing amplifier.

of those, upgrading the gem seems to give the most benefit. putting up more amplifiers gives second most, and upgrading the gems in existing amplifiers gives the lowest gain.

But putting up amplifiers isn’t cheap. turns out other than actually amking the gem in the tower bigger the best return per mana is to grow the gem in the amplifier.

so what I came up with as a strategy, based on all of that is this:

I bring a mana pool of 4000 or more, this gives enough mana to buy lime or yellow on 2 color maps and still make a tower, level 4 gem and a few walls if needed.

my next build is an amplifier. I then grow the gem in the amplifier and do mana extentions until the cost of a mana extention is 1/4 or more the cost of upping my main gem. I use the gem grown in the amplifier to up the level of the main gem when it gets big enough then start building another gem in the amplifier. Every time it cost less than 1/2 the mana for upping the main gem, I buy another amplifier and build the gems evenly in the two amplifiers. Again, I also up mana pool until it gets to 1/4 the cost of upping the main gem.

Upping the mana pool in this way becomes inefficient after a while. For instance if there are 20 levels left and you chose to spend say 1500 mana to buy the next mana pool you are going to get extra mana equal to 5% of the next 20 waves. that = 100% of the mana of the average wave. If you play mostly in the armor waves like I do, you could have gotten that return from angering 5 or 6 times with level 1 gems spread out over all of those waves. that means the same return for 1/5 the cost.

In an endurance with infinite rounds, the mana pool will pretty much always out perform the angering since the return is 5% of the total times infinite waves which is still infinity. but for a fixed number of rounds, it’s value goes down compred to angering and at some point angering is just better all arround unless for some reason you just need a lot of mana at once for an amulet or challenge.

so I usually end up in the 115ish maps with an 8 amp’d gem of level 10 or 11ish wiping out all in its path, about a 75-100* bonus from mana pool spells, and at that point I’m angering each wave 4 or 5 times depending how much I can stand.

Am I thinking this out right? Could I be doing better than this given fixed wave numbers?

 
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The object of the game is to win all the stages (this is debatable for sure)

Agreed that it is debatable. One might suggest that the object is to have fun, and winning is completely secondary to that. However, if we want to assert that the object is to win and proceed from there, ok. Let’s do that.

It is in our best interest for completing the game to win
with as high an EXP total as possible.

Incorrect. You said that the goal was to beat all the stages. Getting caught up in the metagame of getting arbitrarily high scores does not help us accomplish that. If we can beat all stages with half a million total experience, then getting a million experience means we spent twice as much time not accomplishing the goal. This is easily demonstrated by the number of people in these forums with map scores in the millions who have not won the game, as compared to me personally, who never got any score above 37K, and typically didn’t score higher than 10K, but I have won the game.

High scores only contribute to the “goal” of winning if they facilitate achieving that goal. They are counterproductive if you get so caught up in getting them that you’re doing that instead of actually beating the game.

The fact is that high scores, high level, and lots of skill points…just aren’t necessary to beat the game. The biggest roadblock to beating the game is not any of these things…but simply the sheer number of maps you have to get through to get to the final level. As I described in my strategy guide:

http://www.kongregate.com/forums/23-gemcraft-chapter-0/topics/145162-gcl-is-out?page=2#posts-3224558

It is completely unneccesary to build mana farms, make huge firepower gems, get high scores, or focus on leveling or the “metagame” at all. If you simply rush through every map at 3x speed on minimum difficulty, you will have more than enough skillpoints to beat the game by the time you get to the end.

I have a strategic process that I’ve developed over the years
of competing and coaching various sports and games.

Tools are only useful when they help you to acheive your goals. If you lose track of that, and spend so much time and energy developing tools that it takes longer to achieve your goals, then you have become the tool being used by the tool.

 
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Haha! I love that last line LB.

Anyhow to your points, the reason I say getting max exp on the given levels is the goal is becuase I’m playing the free version where there are no endurance waves. The most any map can be extended is 15.

Given that, it’s certainly better for future rounds to have more skill points to spend between rounds and that translates to max EXP possible. I think the key is I didnt say anything about max SCORE I said max EXP.

 
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@HHSHornet
I felt you were looking to finish the game, then extra EXP isn’t necessary, as LordBucket mentioned. Extra skill points help for sure, and it might make future stages easier, but given that you are quite proficient at the game, you can probably finish the stages without the extra EXP.

However, if you are maximizing EXP your strategy is pretty solid, but hard part is improving on it. Getting max EXP depends on optimizing your strategy. Your general strategy is fine, and firepower is important, which is building enough to kill the waves (if you’re just beating the stage), or building enough to kill your angered waves (if you’re maximizing summoning score). To kill angered waves, and to anger as many waves as possible, you’ll need to have the mana to spend on the gems for angering, and the gems for firepower, which means you’ll want a mana farm. Mana farms take a long time to grow, so they should be started later, and they may not be effective in games with shorter waves.

Also, you’ll want to optimize to maximize your firepower compared to how much you spend on it. Extra mana can go to making a mana farm, or for gems for angering. For maximizing firepower, I found that the main gem should be about 5-6 grades higher than the gem in the amplifier (for lime/yellow gems), with maxed non-premium talents. Amplifiers are quite expensive and aren’t really worth it early on, but you can start getting them once your gem is between grades 5-9. As for mana pooling, I don’t really have a good idea of when to do it.

 
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I think when you have maxed wild gem, the strategy and primary goals should change to “cruise towards the end”, and if there are some real challenges left in front of the player, to overcome these as well. Prior to this, one first has to get red mastery (and max it, this skill can let people pwn normal modes), then get to the wild gem, then max it and probably attempt to play levels on topmost difficulty (non-premium) or at whatever challenge one desires (premium) until stop, or just walk at leisure towards the goal, collecting whatever exp the level gives. If you will deside to stick here, then you just go towards winning the game and leaving it at that, as “completed”.

 
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Dear LB,

Mana farming is totally necessary to go through those long-time levels (with tons of angering), based on my experience of GC0. I don’t know whether it is applicable on GCL, but I’m sure that getting more mana at the beginning of the levels (esp. the pylon ones) are proved to be useful.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

 
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Originally posted by tommy200401:

Dear LB,

Mana farming is totally necessary to go through those long-time levels (with tons of angering), based on my experience of GC0. I don’t know whether it is applicable on GCL, but I’m sure that getting more mana at the beginning of the levels (esp. the pylon ones) are proved to be useful.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

I never had to anger in GC0 to finish the game.

 
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Mana farming is totally necessary

Correct me if I’m wrong.

Ok. You’re wrong.

It isn’t necessary, even on pylon levels, nor on the final level. Neither is farming experience necessary at any point in the game. More mana is not bad, more wizard experience is not bad…but the game just isn’t balanced to require it. You can go through the whole game without ever building a single trap and without ever using a single orange gem, and without ever getting any multipliers higher than 3.

Seriously. Labyrinth really is balanced to be that easy. All these people you see making grade 30+ gems and getting millions of points on levels are totally caught up a metagame.

Grade 7 gems in towers and amps will get you through the entire labyrinth.

 
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Originally posted by LordBucket:All these people you see making grade 30+ gems and getting millions of points on levels are totally caught up a metagame.

Tru dat. LOL, guilty as charged. Bring on the metagame!

 
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Originally posted by slogsdon:
Originally posted by tommy200401:

Dear LB,

Mana farming is totally necessary to go through those long-time levels (with tons of angering), based on my experience of GC0. I don’t know whether it is applicable on GCL, but I’m sure that getting more mana at the beginning of the levels (esp. the pylon ones) are proved to be useful.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

I never had to anger in GC0 to finish the game.

Yeah, I know. Finishing the game and getting high records of the game are different.

 
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Finishing the game and getting high records of the game are different.

Yes, but the original poster of this thread specifically stated that his goal was to beat all stages, and specifically phrased his post to assert that he was looking to formulate a philosophy for winning, and to evaluate that philosophy to see if it was accomplishing his goal, and to adjust it if it didn’t.

Philosophy:
The object of the game is to win all the stages

2) devise a philosphy of winning.
3) from your philosophy come up with specific strategies.
4) implement your strategy.
5) observe your results.
6) adjust your philosophy of winning based on the observations

His intent is very clear. And it’s also clear that getting bogged down in the metagame of acheiving needlessly high scores is counterproductive to his stated goal.

Imagine someone who sets out to be rich so he can live a life of leisure. So he starts a company and devotes 70 hours a week to it. That company does very well, and he uses the money it makes to buy out his competitors and run them too. And twenty years later he’s a multibillionnaire personally managing a monopoly over the entire industry.

Did he accomplish his goal?

No. His goal was to live a life of leisure.

It’s ok to enjoy the metagame. And it’s ok if your goal is to enjoy the metagame. But if that’s not your goal, then it doesn’t benefit you to become so caught up in it that you forget what your goal is.

 
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i don’t agree with most of you, i go back for more xp to make it easier