A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
The Medal Journey
It’s been a long journey and a very enjoyable one indeed. This is the story of my medal progression since I started this game back in September 2014. I must admit that for the first few days I had a very hard time finding good squads as most of them are either inactive or less than 3 members. Probably, most of them are still organizing their bases and focusing on winning medals.
My first day as a rebel commander
I have just arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a project assignment on highway and bridges and the project owner is the government itself. I have too much work on hand and balancing time with the game was a real challenge. Basically, from levels 2 to 5, my game time was limited to 1-2 hours a day because I was on a tight schedule on organizing drawing submissions at the end of October. Yup! I worked 7 days a week until March 2015 just to accommodate all those deadlines.
For the first month, I was pretty much playing the game straightforward usually using Chewie as my hero and a bunch of wookie warriors plus T2-B Repulsor tanks or the AAT-1 Hover tanks as vehicles. I got decent wins and nothing worth noting if I really need to change any loadouts. Sometimes, I’ll swap in Princess Leia or Han as an alternative but because of Chewie’s superior health, he can power through most defenses at my current level and matchmaking pool (more on my matchmaking experiences on part4).
The Game Changer A.K.A. The Red Devil A.K.A. 1-up!
Immediately after unlocking my level 5 HQ, I got curious on this little red droid who heals infantry. I invested on upgrading my barracks and research to level 5. Got into battle and deployed 3 wookies and 2 medics. Chewie quickly breached the defenses but I noticed the wookies with the droids…WTH!!! It seems they’re regenerating health quickly. This was totally unexpected. I closed my eyes for a moment and thought Super Mario jumping up and down that turtle shell in World 3-1 staircase…constantly acquiring additional lives. Opened my eyes and…WTH! Did my wookies just got 100 lives!?? lol
enter the dragon! my theme song for the red devil 😛
Watch out empire!
For purposes of saving text space, here are the shortcut tags that I’ll be using for this blog and my future SWC blogs:
- HMC – Heavy Soldier + Medic Droid Combo
- WMC – Wookie + Medic Droid Combo
- SMC – Sharpshooter + Medic Combo
- A3R2C – AAT Hover Tanks(3x) + R2-D2 Combo
- J2R2C – Juggernauts(2x) + R2-D2 Combo
- H3R2C – Hailfires(3x) +R2-D2 Combo
- W2R2C – AT-TE Walkers(2x) + R2-D2 Combo
- DPS – Damage Per Second
- HP – Hit Points
- PR – Production Rate
- AOE – Area-Of-Effect
- TRF – Turret Rapid Fire
- TM – Turret Mortar
- TR – Turret Rocket
- TB – Turret Burst
- TS – Turret Sonic
For us rebels, I think that unlocking the level 5 “Medic Droid” was the “real” game changer. Pairing your wookies/heavy soldiers and any hero with a medic droid makes them “almost” unstoppable. WMC, HMC,SMC…any combo supported by 2 to 3 medics is in itself , a tough attack loadout. It gives our troops that extra “punch” by boosting their health to “infinity”. Just one example in today’s Level 9 stats for the Chewie+Medic Combo
- Chewie (Level 9) – Bruiser – weakness is Burst Turret
- 4,160 DPS
- 67,600 Health
- 5-tile Range
- 2 Speed
- Medic Droid (Level 9) – Infantry Support – weakness is Mortar Turret
- 2,334 DPS ( Healing per second)
- 16,900 Health
- 4-tile Range AOE
- 3 Speed
Now, Chewie fighting solo is already tough for opponents but adding the Medic into the mix makes him even tougher. Theoretically, the Medic’s weakness should be the TRF(Turret Rapid Fire) as stated in its description, it targets support units. But the problem is, it never targets medics because it primarily gets triggered by the first enemy that breaches its 10-tile range, which of course, would always be the screener being healed.
Expectation: Medic gets killed by TRF
Reality: Medic gets killed by TM
Of course, being a rebel, it is mandatory that you pair up any hero with at least 1 medic. It’s our counterpart for the Empire’s Elite Walker+Repair droids. Actually, I think it was supposed to be the direct counterpart of J2R2C but due to the pathing problems of the Juggernaut, we just adapted with the times and waited for the best version. I have seen members healing their heroes with 2 or more Medics before the red devils got nerfed. I refrain on doing it though. I rather use that extra medic to heal my screeners…1up!
As more and more rebels unlocked level 5, more were inclined to use this Medic Droid as their primary attack loadout. This was probably the reason why empire bases switched to burst farms or mortar farms. Its just saying in your face: “Neutralize the bruiser and the support classes”. The meta-game shaped how the rebel and empire bases were designed. I’m not sure who started it first but personally I just chose to abuse the medic combos because at that time it was the only thing that worked for me. I just felt the vehicles were not powerful enough. Medics are effective, costs cheap, builds quickly and just refuses to get killed. By this time I got lazy to experiment and just sticked to my WMC+Chewie loadouts.
The Squad Element
More submissions on November and preliminary drafts due on December have been scheduled, so I thought of seriously finding an active team to further learn how the squad element fits into this RTS game. I have been a member of a stagnant squad based on my home country and was elected as an officer too. Most of the members just got bored and left. Others just let their bases lie around unprotected and eventually quit the game. Most of the complaints were glitches and bugs, matchmaking factors which I didn’t really care about before. As for me, the real driving force why I stayed and continued to play was that it is STAR WARS. Plain and simple. I will be always biased on this. Sure there are technical issues and stuff but in the end, any videogame fanatic would need to be at the least… biased and just be a FAN first. Other factors will come right after that and then the fan judges whether or not it is good enough, poorly done or superb. For example, I’m a Juventus(Italian football club) fan ever since my grade school days. I’m loyal to the club and didn’t matter whether or not they win or lose, my dedication as a supporter is the Juve spirit that has been there for more than a hundred years.
So I just didn’t mind bad comments on SWC. I know there are problems but that’s why Disney has the development team in the first place. I think, they in their own right, are carefully balancing many aspects and this involves regular tune ups via public gaming discussions.
There were may RTS games popular in my country and most of my friends, relatives and officemates play this very popular game (which I won’t mention).Well, it’s normal that any player would just quit any game if they feel it’s not worth their time and look for another that fits into their desires. So then, I left the squad and searched for the “Rebel” tag( which I think any rebel would actually do…hahah). Luckily after 3 attempts I found one which has more than 10 members and has decent stats for donations/received. Yup! I joined in and saw that the real game just began. (its funny last March I discovered I am still in that squad as a ghost member! wow…I can’t even imagine those guys staring at my medals rise and dive in a matter of 6 months…and they never even bothered to kick me out)
So, suddenly I felt I’m in a small community similar to the time when I was in Gran Turismo PSP (2009-2012), Dissidia (2008-2013), Street Fighter IV(2008-2014), Metal Gear Peacewalker(2010-2014) various PS3 and PSP, RPG communities etc. etc. I have a long history with video games and being in a real mobile Star Wars game is pretty exciting I must admit. I have played a few Star Wars game in the past but this one makes me feel just as excited as I’ve watched Episode III back in 2005. Partly to the fact that the current Star Wars Rebels animation being successful and the upcoming Episode VII hype, this is a very good time to be a Star Wars fan!
I just love being in a squad. It gives you a feeling of being wanted/needing attention and you in turn, feel the importance of your donations to your team mates. Sharing of strategies and tactics, pvp experiences, updates from the developers, big game changes in game versions, various bugs analysis, how to avoid the bugs, how to use the bugs, the list goes on. In the real world of video gaming, It just can’t be controlled. Whenever these glitches and bugs appear, the initial reaction would be to test and use it. It’s human instinct. It brings out the scientific genius in gamers…hahaha!!! It’s WAR. Star WARS! In times of adversity commanders will use anything that is practical. ….We fight for FREEDOM!!! (braveheart) lol.
But kidding aside, I’m sorry I used the trap glitch. Won’t happen again. Nope! Never gonna happen again. Devs, please forgive me. 😦 Just to make it clear though. I did use the trap glitch but never have I cheated in any game. Well, does the Super Mario Brothers 100 lives count as a cheat? 🙂 Uhmm…if I use my Squad Center Support with 7 medics…will that count as a healing cheat? 🙂
Back to squad topic. Sharing bits of real life stories and how it affects your gaming, vice-versa. Its fun! There is comedy, drama and action! Member to member you will experience many issues and meet lots of different types of gamers from across the globe. Its gaming! Differences in culture, native languages, age groups, sexual orientation, economic backgrounds and real life emotions all mix with one thing in common: Playing Star Wars Commander. In the internet you really have no clue if your co-member is true or not. If he or she is saying the truth, right? It’s how you project yourself using words and punctuation marks as a base reference of your genuine character. I have met members who have been melodramatic, rough speaking, just plain bland or simply have passive tendencies. I think the key here is just to set a “line”. A defining LINE so that you would know where you set your limits. I don’t know about you guys, but when people get too emotional, it’s when squads break up. But still, these same problems also make squads grow stronger. Just like constructing a tall building you need strong foundations. Foundations are being tested over and over until they reach a certain threshold than would be enough to hold the ultimate stage of completion. I believe squads do function in a similar way and it’s a collective effort.
I have also learned from experience that not all who are playing the game are necessarily a Star Wars fan. I have encountered members referring to wookies as gorillas and Artoo as robot. 😛 Seriously, Let the wookie win!
If you are still playing this game solo, I strongly suggest that you go to your Squad Center…click on Join Squad and search for a team that you like. If you don’t have any idea where to start, I think this might help.
By the 3rd week of October, I was ready to take on my next goal: unlock R2-D2 via upgrading to level 6 HQ. Artoo will always be my favorite hero in any Star Wars film. I grew up watching the original film in the 80s thanks to my uncle from the middle east who gave me and my brother a betamax copy of Episode IV. We have a long history, Artoo and I. The little blue and white droid just can’t help but stand and watch. He will always have his part in saving the galaxy. At the back of my mind I was dreaming of a chance to save my own galaxy! haha! Kid stuff! I admired his courage, adaptability and luck. He is initiative personified! or to be more exact, He is initiative droidefied! 😛
My expectations were met full of excitement. Now I can maximize my use of Hover Tanks. From WMC I switched to A3R2C overnight. I felt the power of the force too strong watching my childhood hero helping me overthrow the Galactic Empire. How cool is that?! Being a virtual commander and teaming up with one of the best sidekicks in the history of science fiction. It was definitely one of the best moments for me in-game: The superiority of Artoo. A3R2C was a turret killer combination and even though they aren’t essentially the ones to use against shields, I was surprised that this combo can still punch through strong overlapping shield layouts. If I remember it correctly, I used the A3R2C tactic for the whole duration of November and 1st week of December.
But wait a sec…I still have to try the other level 6 unlocks namely: Juggernaut and Heavy Soldier. Using the Jug was a disaster. Can’t be right that the Jug driver is doing a Kamikaze attack head on directly towards the Shield Generator itself. The Jug drives fast. Fast enough to leave its comrades far behind and thereby spoiling the whole point of flanking one side of an enemy base. I mean, come on! Is the driver blind not to shoot first the dome similar to how the Walkers do their stuff? So am I just looking at the difference of unit spaces required to bring them to battle?. Let’s see the comparison at Level 6 shall we.
- Juggernaut (Level 6) – Destroyer-Bruiser Vehicle- weakness is TR/ TB
- 4,000 DPS
- 40,000 Health
- 8-tile Range
- 3 Speed
- 20 slots/unit space required
- 400% damage against Shield Generators
- AT-AT Walker (Level 6) – Destroyer-Bruiser Vehicle- weakness is TR
- 3,200 DPS
- 44,000 Health
- 10-tile Range
- 1 Speed
- 30 slots/unit space required
- 400% damage against Shield Generators
The reason why I think that TB overpowers the Jug is because of the 8-tile range. Jugs become generalists after taking down the final shield so it won’t be prioritizing turrets unless its near that 8-tile range. TB’s DPS against the Bruiser Vehicles is 125%. A single TB can take down the Jug in 18 seconds. 4 TBs, can do it in 5 seconds. A true burst farm can do it in 0.5 of a second. 😛 A mixed TB/TR spells “sudden death syndrome” for the Jug.
I won’t even bother to discuss TR vs J2R2C. It’s already a given that Jugs weakness are TRs. It’s actually a rarity that I encounter rocket farms. Seriously, If you’re an Imp , either you protect yourself against the WMC or HMC first. Jugs were tested right after the popularity of the HMC. This was the time where most of the top 50 squads already know how to partly neutralize that specific HMC+Chewie so if you are giving your Jug a quick spin try out those burst farms! 😛
Comparing the rebel and empire shield killers, the big factor is range and speed. I do believe that shield killers should be slow so that they can stay with the rest of the pack. Yes, they damage shields faster but what happens after? they move on to the next leaving its team. This is why Walkers are efficient. It’s their speed. It gives the player better options.
I will repeat my question: So am I just looking at the difference of unit spaces required to bring them to battle?
20-slots versus 30-slots. Maybe I’ll choose to add that additional 10-slots for a driver with his eyes wide open.
This was the time of the Japanese Kamikaze driver. You know what? Forget about the stats. Anyone charging in enemies’ bases with their eyes closed is in for certain doom.
Super- Generalist: The Heavy Soldier
The key ingredient to the famous HMC. The nicest thing about the Heavy is its generalist class plus the 175% shield damage modifier.( not sure iirc, but I’ve always thought it’s 125%. I checked the official SWC site and it shows that figure) It’s Imperial counterpart has lower DPS so to compensate for that it’s slot space is only 4. The big difference though is that the Empire faction is vehicle-based. They don’t have infantry healers like the Medics so it’s kinda useless to compare these two heavys. Empire does have the Repair droid for the mechs and vehicles. It’s what keeps the force balanced. Well, it was supposed to be that way. But using 4 to 5 HMCs… it became a nightmare for the enemy. How can you even stop a generalist hitting anything closest to it without specific priorities and some little red droid giving it a hundred lives? I think the closest answer to that is make a mortar farm. If you use Princess Leia as your hero, it again adds to the destructive effect of HMCs because Leia by default will stay with the troops unless she sees a Droideka or an Squad Center being deployed. On the other hand using HMCs with Chewie is effective against mortar farms or mixed farms. Burst farm?? Nope. Chewie will get chewed pretty bad 😛
So let’s take a look with the official Heavy Soldier description:
Heavy Soldiers carry rapid fire blasters, capable of inflicting devastating damage, particularly to shields. In order to maintain mobility, they wear lighter armor, so screen them with more durable units.
Say what? Wait. I use my heavys as screeners. HMCs to be exact. What’s the point of describing them as wearing light armor and advising players to screen them? Haven’t we already seen the WMC being used at level 5. Players already knew of the medic as a general healer for infantry so…saying that Heavy Rebel Soldiers are wearing weak armor is kinda pointless as nobody in their logical mind would deploy heavys solo.
Also, the success of the HMC is that both factions have a maximum of 4 barracks and 2 factories. Rebels can build their loadouts faster than Imps who primarily rely on vehicles and mechs. I’m not sure if I’m entirely wrong here but giving the rebels 4 barracks while the empire has only 2 factories. Medics and Heavys build fast and can adapt to most bases being a generalist. I admit. I really got divided if I’ll stick to A3R2C or HMC. HMC is just too easy. I felt that unless the devs change this, it might be a universal loadout for rebels for months to come.
Abandoning My Favorite Hero
After this balance adjustment in December, I felt Artoo was greatly nerfed. My A3R2C was done. My J2R2C was done. Yup! Artoo’s done. I was even planning a H3R2C in 2015 when I unlock the level 7 Hailfires, but apparently it won’t happen anymore. I’m not entirely sure how the technicalities changed. Back then, the SWC website shows the game updates in detail so you could always compare “before” and “after” the updates but now it seems they’ve chosen now to show it publicly. I think the part where they made Artoo as a “Support Class” made him a lot weaker as mortar farms would eat him alive. With this update Artoo is just like a normal medic droid healing vehicles. Honestly speaking, I think 2 medics are better than the current Artoo.
Yup. after 2 weeks of strained effort…I finally let Artoo stay with Master Yoda in Dagobah. 😛
For a full historical list of game changes/updates/balances , please check it out here. You can see how the developers are giving their best to improving the meta-game as it is now. Thanks to you guys, now I am a smarter gamer in SWC compared before.
With this recent development, I decided to just stick to the remaining option that I and my fellow squadmates have: HMC
By this time my squad have already promoted me to the 2nd tier of their big family of squads. I was on top of the 3rd tier squad so it’s just automatic for them to transfer me and help the 2nd-T break top 50. Yeah, this was when I got this OC disorder being medal-crazed. I just wanted to push forward and forward until I see my limits having only a level 6 HQ. Unfortunately, this was also the month wherein I get attacked frequently by high-level 7s and 8s. Due to my high amount of medals, I realized it was the one causing my lopsided match-ups. My Adjusted Base Score was way too high. Even then, I still survived the onslaught of Imperial attacks. I took a quick look at the top 50 and was surprised that most of my attackers are in the top 10 to top 25 squads. My squad has just broken into top 50 and I suddenly felt the urge to do some research. Got into the forums and read many topics including that Hidden Base Score. (I actually did a theoretical calculation of the HBS and I’m gonna show it later in other parts. It’s funny I got too serious with this thing. Devs didn’t expain that HBS so its kind of a urban legend) Hehehe.
Got no choice anyway so with an almost full level 6 base I upgraded to level 7 in the hopes that the new Hailfires and Snipers will make the game more interesting. I’m just getting bored of the whole HMC thing.
My transition to level 7 was slow. I then saw that level 7 is the part wherein you need more time to play. And I mean “MOAR”.
Wow. Just Wow. I have a job. A life. Full of hobbies and gaming is just one of them. I just can’t be a full time SWC dude and forget all about everything just to make it to the top 10. I never played using crystals and I just can’t keep up with these guys. I mean, yeah it’s good and jolly inside the squad. I got myself to 2nd rank in a squad of 30 members and little by little I realized that it’s not gonna be my future to stay in top ranking squad and put more time in a game wherein top players are decided by the crystals they purchase. I know it’s a game and also business. I have no hard feelings. It all comes down to reality and the reality is that I can’t keep up with the costly upgrades while my base is being pounded by the top 10 players on a constant rate.
Unlocking/researching the snipers and hails took me at least 3 weeks. And I haven’t touched my other troops to be levelled up. My, my… this is gonna take time…I’m feeling like Admiral Ackbar’s statement was true
IT’S A TRAP
With a potential level 9 and 10 coming in the future I estimated that to full upgrade a single turret might take 2 weeks. I made quick estimates for walls, researches, traps, etc and I was stunned by the amount of time it will take to finish them all. I’m an RPG gamer too so I knew stuff about grinding/farming coins and experiences to complete very hard games but playing a mobile RTS game is quite demanding. The game development is open. It is changing everytime and you’ll never know if you’re best troop which you’ve put precious time to research might end up being nerfed on the next update. It kinda made me sad but at the same time made me wiser.
I researched more and more until I finally decided to stop at “MY APEX” and enjoy the mountain view.
After a month, I say..WTH…might as well unlock those level 8 Jetpacks and AT-TE Walkers. Additional turrets may help. I’m almost at my threshold. Added features of droideka, traps and contraband makes it more complicated now. It goes on and on. There’s just nowhere/ no way I could unlock Luke Skywalker with this current state of economy and game difficulty. I don’t have enough game time to do continuous attacks anymore. I guess it’s just time to move on and descend the high mountain. After several days, I informed my team that I’ll do some experimentation to further prove to myself that even though I don’t have crystals I can finish completing this game by playing smarter from now on.
I left my team and went solo.
So here’s the final look at my stats at the peak of this long journey.
My Medals near the peak of my journey (a week before I started my descent)
Medals = 14,662
Android Global Ranking = 327
Squad Global Ranking = 18
Attacks Won = 2,477
Defenses Won = 99
My descent was smooth. The aim was to achieve Medal = 1 status so that I could entirely focus on upgrading all my buildings to level 8 and a potential level 9 without having to worry about being matched up with harder, crystal players up top. I assumed the economy will be better down below as everybody is really playing the game to rise up the ranks. If anybody else is doing what I’m doing, I would know when I reach the underground. There’s just no way of knowing if I’m way up high. Part of me wanted to see what it is being matched up with low level guys…the same situation when I was level 6 being pounded by level 8s. There’s nothing peculiar about it. It’s just the reverse story but with that level 8 HQ. hahaha 😛
I’m pretty sure that If I had thought of it, somebody else already had it done. It’s my assumption that I can’t think of ideas uniquely with millions of players worldwide anyway.
After a week my former squad asked me to help them set up a beginner training squad in hopes of teaching them to learn the ropes and play smarter. This was the Academy Training Squad.( more on this for future parts)
A month has passed and I finally reached my target.
HELLO MEDAL 1!
Just in time for the level 9 upgrade. Seems OK. Very easy match ups. Economy is rich. My defenses suddenly tripled in a matter of weeks. Focusing too much on attack before, cause I know there’s really no point in defending if I already have lopsided match ups when I was in level 6. Now, at Level 9…being attacked by 6s, 7s and 8s are pretty much easy. I haven’t been attacked by a maxed out level 9 yet. I’m just too far below them.
Tried out to enter again into squads for the purpose of donating and receiving troops. No more detailed stuff. Just play casual. Cool!!! I go into this very active squad. Nice set up. Nice people. Hoping to help them as long as I’m active in the game.
Juggernaut’s got a new Driver!
May 2015 was a blessing. Juggernaut is back with a new driver!!! I guess our Juggy driver just got an intensive training session with a German WWII Panzer tank veteran. Compared to the Walker I must admit, they have the “better driver”. Not the best but better. Walkers have been known to have issues(ups and downs) too but it took the Jug what… like 6-7 months to finally have a better driver? I’m not even complaining. Its just that the rebels just adapted to the “times”. Waiting finally paid off for the Jug. Sad fact tough, we can’t bring back that J2R2C as Artoo is totally broken now. Yup! Good Times! Good Times back then. 🙂
My current base setup
My medal rank in my new squad
My defenses rank in my new squad
Our squad ranking
Typical defense wins
Typical medal dropping
Typical medal dropping and looting
Level 6 attackers versus my Level 9 base (this was my situation before right? Only this time its reversed)
Typical medal summary
Simple tactic before Events unfold. Now I just need an average of 3-4 hours attack time for the whole 3 days of the event duration and let defense wins do the rest of raising up my final rank.
More free time to do other things beside SWC but still being ” IN “ SWC. I think it’s just a matter of choice. Play smart. Play happy!
So there you have it. My Medal journey from 1 to… 15,000… to 1. From the underground to the stars and back again!
‘Til next time. cheers! 😛
…to be continued…