The Battledome: An In-depth Guide
Current research studies show that today's weapons are not as strong as they appear. This current stage is causing major inflation and deflation in pricing.
One important factor is the constant production of new, better looking weapons. Over the last few years, three new Hidden Tower items were released, three old ones were retired, and well over 150 new Battledome items were introduced. Some items like the popular Golden Compass (rarity 85) are considered "perfect for the average Battledomer" according to one of the many owners of this new item. With a triple attack of fire, air, and light, along with blocking 3 darkness icons, this new weapon proves to be the weapon of the future for the amateur Battledomers on a budget. But just how strong is it really? True, it provides three powerful elements with 3 icons each, but does it even compare with the old?
The Wand of Reality offers a shocking air, light, and physical attack, with 5 icons of both the air and light powers and 3 constant physicals. Granted, the price is three million higher; however, in a battle, do you think Kastraliss will just sit and wait while you attack him multiple times with your Compass trying to equal out what the Wand of Reality could have done in half as many tries? I don't think so.
Apart from regularly used items, there are also the advanced items. Due to the massive production of reflecting items, even the famed Attack Pea's power has been rapidly diminishing. The fact is now that almost all types of icons can be reflected in some way or another, causing the already small uses of those items (as stated before, including the Attack Pea, Rod of Dark Nova, and even the infamous Super Attack Pea) to grow smaller with each passing month. Seventy five percent of the Sword of Skardsen's darkness attack can now be easily reflected with an Amulet of Reflection, making the great Sword of Skardsen practically useless against a set of good block and reflectors. Alone, the Ghostkershield blocks all of the Sword of Skardsen's dark icons; yes, all 15 of them.
Yet as unreliable as they seem, older items also contain much more power. Take, for instance, the Pirate Captains Cutlass. It deals a large amount of icons and cannot be reflected by a single item like the Sword of Skardsen and the Ghostkersword. The three weaknesses of artifact, retired, and rarely stocked Battledome items are as follows:
As is well known, rare and/or powerful weapons can fetch very high prices in the standard market. The best way to get such items is directly from the source. A Thyora's Tear blocks all icons and is not a one use item. From the Defense Magic Shop, the price varies from 65,000 to 125,000 Neopoints. On the Trading Post, however, the same item can only be bought for sixty million or more. This is the same for almost all other powerful Battledome items. The same, if not more, is also true for full healers. Because most Battledome pets have health points over 200, and the extremely rare Glittering Scorchstone only heals 100 hp, the Leaded Elemental Vial, and the retired Jade Scorchstone are in high demand, pushing the prices far over thirty million.
Avatar inflation is also a factor. Beating opponents like the Drenched and the Quasalan Mummy require a large amount of powerful weapons that cannot just be bought overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort to get the weapons and stats you require. Price also varies in accordance to need. During a war, the prices on such items are even higher.
The fewer times an item is restocked, the more expensive and valuable it is. Battledome items bought from Smuggler's Cove are a prime example of items that tend to be very pricy. The well known Attack Pea series is one such set bought from Smuggler's Cove that costs hundreds of millions of Neopoints. Although the number and time of icons, along with the avatar inflation of the Super Attack Pea, make this a very expensive item, the main cause of the price is quantity. If there were even as many of these items as say Plushie Paint Brushes, the price would take a severe dip.
When items are restocked in mass quantities, even power is outrated by quantity. The most important thing to remember when looking at these items is: quantity counts! Because only 120 of the same items are ever released from Smuggler's Cove, all things are paid for in dubloons, and the Cove restocks at random times, the price due to the quantity of these items are well beyond an ordinary Neopian's budget.
3) Lack of Different Icons/Purpose
An effective Battledome item will have both many and different types of icons. The Sword of Skardsen is one of the most cost-efficient pieces of Battledome equipment found in the Hidden Tower. The sword is widely used by heroes and villains alike because of the numerous icons it provides. At last count, the Sword of Skardsen is used or has been used by twelve famous one-player opponents, including the Bringer of Night and Razul, and has one of the highest overall-use percentages in the Battledome. However, like all Hidden Tower weapons, it has a major weak point. The Sword of Skardsen only provides two different types of icons, dark and physical. Unfortunately, both of which are incredibly easy to block. Because 15 out of the possible 24 icons are Dark (which also rather explains its name, as Skardsen is an anagram of Darkness and the sword being one of the four Eliv Thade artifacts in the Hidden Tower), the Sword is almost completely destroyed by the Ghostkershield and the Ring of the Lost, two common defense items available. Despite this major drawback, you find thousands, maybe even millions of Neopians battling with the Sword of Skardsen. Why? Because of the cost and sheer amount of icons, of course! Very few one-player opponents have the shields necessary to block the Sword, so it is still highly used and well valued.
You will find a similar advantages and disadvantages in the Ghostkersword. Purpose is another key element. These days, the Battledome is filled not only with your standard attack and defense items, but also those not powerful enough to be classified in an ordinary category. These are your “fun” items. From the oldest of its kind, the infamous Aisha Myriad, to the new and rather highly regarded Glittery Faerie Dust, most if not all originated in the Hidden Tower. These items are an interesting topic to get into, due to the fact that most are merely used for show and aren’t as widely used in the Battledome.
To get a more in-depth look, let’s take a look at the rare (and previously mentioned) Aisha Myriad. When used in the Battledome, it transforms into a random Hidden Tower artifact. Cool, right? It is when it transforms into a Pirate Captains Cutlass, but not so much when it changes into a Reject Faerie Queen Doll. The Rainbow Swirly Thing is another good example. It reflects 60 to 80 percent of any icon, excluding physical. See the major problem yet? No? It could reflect 80 percent of an icon that’s not even used! Some help that is in the middle of a battle! These weapons should be used for entertainment only, due to the fact that they don’t always work to the user’s advantage...
Now that the major weaknesses have been discussed, we can move on to the specific types of Battledome weapons. Even the newest of battlers know about the three standard forms of Battledome equipment: attack items, defense items, and healing items (or more commonly known as “healers”). These three types of equipment make up the basis of all Battledomers’ sets. Of these three categories, attack-based items are the most common in Neopia. From the Battle Magic Shop (which is almost never empty) to the shops of millions, these weapons come in all shapes and sizes, whereas decent healers can be rather costly.
The fourth and sometimes overlooked category consists of items that freeze your opponent for one turn. Constant freezers (no, not the things you store ice cream in) or freezing items guaranteed to freeze your opponent for one turn every use are generally expensive and hard to come by in shops. The Freezing Scroll is the cheapest of these items; however, it too has a downside. It’s a fragile item. It could break after anywhere from one to one hundred turns leaving you out 100,000 neopoints. The Freezing Potion, on the other hand, is a once per-battle item that never breaks and does 2 water icons in the bargain. A great deal if you have the eight million neopoints required to buy it.
Another variety of freezing items are the species freezers. These include items like the Ancient Lupe Wand and the Entangling Lenny Lasso. These items are usually less expensive; however, they require you to be using a specific species of neopet. The Slumberberry Potion currently found in the Hidden Tower and rare, retired Ice Dice add a more interesting aspect to the category. They can be used multiple times but have an inconsistent rate of freezing. This decreases their price quite a ways (not that they aren’t still expensive, but they would be valued at more if they were constant freezers). Freezing items cause some debate between Battledome experts. Yes, they do take up a space that could instead be used for another weapon, but yes, they can give you a boost in the long run. The only real limit is your intuition and your budget.
Single Use Weapons
First off, let me define a single use weapon. A single use weapon is an item that can be used once and only once (like a snowball or a muffin). These items, as helpful as they seem, are not what an expert Battledomer should want or need. The largest and most obvious disadvantage is that these items can only be used once. This becomes a real pain when prices spike or when you get stuck in a long battle. The Mootix Warrior is hardly going to wait for you to make up for the loss of your water muffin. Not on your life (or on his, for that matter).
One use healers and complete blockers like Jade Elixir and the amazing Thick Smoke Bomb can be useful, but after a while the cost really adds up. The simple solution is to not purchase this category of items at all, but when you can’t afford a real weapon, these items begin to look pretty tempting. The final answer is simple: Rely on your instinct. If you expect to be stuck in a long battle, you are better off buying a multiple use item. They may be crude, but they are also effective.
Plot Prize Weapons
From the powerful Ring of the Lost to the widely despised Rusty Lamppost, plot prizes come in all shapes and sizes and are valued at different amounts. The weapons in this subcategory also fluctuate due to price, quantity, and quality, but in a much more extreme measure. Most are largely overpriced and highly undervalued due to the special way they are obtained.
Because plot prizes and points vary, it is impossible to know which prizes you can afford and for that matter which items are even available. Take Ylanas Blaster, for example. It was bought in such massive quantities that the price quickly dropped to about half of what it would be worth if fewer were released. The type of icons doesn’t help much either.
The Ring of the Lost is a different matter entirely. Because far fewer than ten or one hundred thousand were released, the price has steadily risen from five to seven digit numbers. So what conclusion can be drawn from this information? If you intend to add a plot prize to your battle set, make sure that the item is well worth what you are spending and decide whether or not it will just sit and gather dust. If you have no real need of it, selling is a far better and more profitable outlook.
As you have read, all Battledome items have their strengths and weaknesses, some more so than others. The one solid piece of information that can be drawn from this research is that items that cost more don’t always do more damage. Be on your toes when picking a weapon and good luck in the Battledome.
This is my first article in the Neopian Times about the Battledome, and hopefully not my last. Good luck out there.