Basic TBS Mission Guide
This is a basic guide to tbs missions in Atlantica Online. It is aimed at players who have reached the appropriate level to tackle one of these missions.
I wrote it for a player who dropped out after the Troy patch and came back just recently. I will be generalizing, simplifying and omitting to my heart’s content. Live with that and enjoy.
1. What does TBS mean?
TBS stands for Tactical Battle System. You should have experienced it already in skirmish regions. In contrast to the classic gameplay your mercenaries will actually run (or walk) on a grid board and then act instead of remaining in the 3×3 formation during classic gameplay.
a) There are no action points. Every mercenary of yours (and every mob of theirs) will get to move and an action when it is your (or their) turn. There are still cool down periods for skills, though.
b) Healing magic (staff main, shaman, oracle, vampire, not: minstrel) will resurrect dead mercenaries. You can resurrect with resurrections scrolls. You can’t with healing scrolls. The combat does not end when your main dies – only when all party members are dead.
c) The skills work differently. The differences are too many to outline them here – that will be for you to find out. This guide will contain some hints regarding this subject, though.
d) There is no need to pickup loot manually. Loot will magically appear in your inventory (or jackpot).
e) After the fight all mercenaries get the same experience. Okay, there are some exceptions: if the level of a mercenary is too far below the level of the mobs encountered he will get less experience. And if a mercenary dies during the fight (and is resurrected) he will gain also only a fraction of the possible xp. For details see here.
f) There are no gold drops. Every monster drops something and often more than one piece even without item information about the monster. Usually drops and xp are much better in skirmishes than in the corresponding classic gameplay areas.
2. What is a TBS mission?
While a TBS skirmish region is nothing more than a grinding opportunity with lots of monster groups wandering around, a mission is more like a scripted dungeon. The basic mission layout is: advance, kill mini-boss, repeat several times, kill final boss. During that annoying animated sequences are displayed with a guy (Odysseus, Zhuge etc.) waving his hands or his fan and talking about what to achieve next in the mission.
As boring as it can be pay attention at least the first times. You may get a clue what to do next. If you know what he (or in some African missions: she) is going to say, skip it – there is a button at the top labelled “skip” which you can click and then… ok, you can figure that out for yourself.
A mission counts as one fight even if it lasts up to one hour. There is no respite, no break, you fight on until the bitter end. And you only have to use one gulp of blessing potion, if you use these.
Beside the usual drops you will get a final reward in xp and boxes. These rewards are usually very, very nice.
3. What do I need for a mission?
a) You need tbs points. You get 60 per week (from Thursday reset to next Thursday’s reset). Doing your diary gets you 10 more every day (2 FL/CL matches, 3 quest steps). If you can do high level missions it can be even profitable to extend your diary with atlas ore, so that you get 16 tbs points per day. (3 FL/CL matches, 5 quest steps). Without extending the diary you get 130 TBS points (60 + 7 x 10), with extending 172 (60 + 7 x 16) per week. You need 10 points for a mission, if you do it for the first time in a week. Every time you repeat the same mission you “pay” 5 tbs points more.
For example: If you want to run the “Flamethrower” mission 3 times in one week you must sacrifice 10+15+20 = 45 points.
b) Money. You will have to pay for upgrades (see below) and probably vehicles in the mission. You have to pay an entry fee also. To be on the safe side I take 60 millions with me but only the highest missions will come near that amount. You find a table with costs of some missions here. Update 2011-09-10: Costs are out of date after Spelltower patch (now lower).
c) A well-equipped main and 2 or 3 well-equipped mercenaries. You will enter Troy and African missions with your main and 2 mercenaries. In Three Kingdom (3k for short) missions you will often be allowed to take 3 mercenaries beside your main with you.
d) Scrolls (freezing/judgment/phoenix, healing, resurrection) and potions (I take elixirs, if you are stingy you can take healing and mana potions too) in the quick slots of your mercenaries.
e) Your best title.
f) Some kind of blessing. Either a blessing license or one gulp of a blessing potion which you can cheaply by doing Momotaro’s quest (one quest = 20 missions with blessing).
g) Feast buffs (guild feast and/or common feast).
h) A squad. TBS missions can be done in solo mode without a squad but I will tackle only squad mode here. TBS missions in solo mode are easier (fewer mobs and some obstacles omitted) and the reward is 1 box less than the squad mode reward divided through the maximum number of participants.
For example: Flame Thrower solo mode will get you 3 of Troy Victory Treasure boxes because 3 people can participate in squad mode and the total squad mode reward is 12 boxes (12 : 3 = 4, one less = 3).
And that sucks, believe me. Better team up or solo in squad mode. For both options you need a squad.
i) Trusted team members. At first you can’t do a mission in squad mode alone. Later on you can and you will reap the rewards and become stinking rich as I became. And you will miss the fun of cooperating with others…
4. How do I start?
Ok, you have prepared well and are ready to start. You start missions in Hissarlik Hill near Istanbul (Troy missions), in the Eastern Wu camp (3k missions) or in Africa (African missions). The easiest way is to select Game Info – Fields – Troy (Three Kingdoms/Africa), choose the mission you want to do and teleport to it.
In this basic guide I have chosen the “Flamethrower” mission from the Troy mission set as example mission. There are several reasons for it. The most important is of course, that running Flamethrower is profitable for me which means I don’t waste tbs points only for showing you the ropes for tbs missions. But in fact it contains all basic features and no confusing mumbo jumbo like wandering horses, fragile boats or nagging women to escort.
Click on the NPC who will give you the mission. Choose the mission (see above 1). Click on the right number (for squad mode). That is the number which is NOT “1″ (see above 2 – right beside the “3″, only to confuse you). Then click on “Start Battle” (see above 3).
A selection screen appears. You can select the mercenaries you want to do the mission with (see above 1). To the right you see a map with a rough outline how to advance (2), some basic information (3) and the victory/fail conditions (4). The basic information shows here that there is 4:57 minutes remaining until the mission will start if you want it or not, zero of nine possible toons have entered the mission already, 2 mercenaries alongside your main are allowed to enter, one vehicle (for the whole squad) can be built inside and 12 “big” reward boxes are the reward to strive for (that are random boxes, together worth roughly 108 Atlantica Gold Coins or about 380 M gold).
Now you enter the mission itself; press “Start Battle” (5).
5. What now? Strange buttons where I look – the interface
Before you enter your first mission you should look at the interface presented in the picture above. If you haven’t done it you should also do the introductory mission of Iolaus, a NPC near Shanghai. This is a special mission because it does not cost any tbs points, nets no reward and you can’t be killed. It lets you get a feel for the controls, though, and don’t be ashamed to run it more than once (which you easily can).
In the bottom right you see three buttons which I have conveniently numbered orangely and quite fatty with 1, 2 and 3. You will use the buttons for training and building vehicles. What you actually do is using buildings.
“1″ corresponds with the base camp. If you lose the base camp the mission is always lost regardless if it is stated in the mission briefing or not. The base camp lets you get your upgrades. It should be the first thing you do in the mission: Press this button and upgrade to level 1. Usually you can upgrade up to level 5. How the upgrades work is explained further below.
“2″ is the training camp. You will look for it in vain now. That is because this screenshot was made before the Spelltower patch and I am too lazy to replace it. You see now a gap where this icon was. Don’t worry about it, its function is now integrated in the base camp button.
“3″ is the vehicle bay. In most missions you can build catapults and in some you can build boats. Boats are a special case and I will talk about them later. Here in this example mission you can only build catapults. As you already know from the basic information shown some screens before your whole squad can build 1 catapult. Because in this example I am running the mission alone I build it of course, and that is the second thing in the mission I do (after upgrading base materials) before I move any toon.
You may lose the vehicle bay. You won’t fail but you are prevented to use its function. Damaged buildings heal over time but if it is destroyed it is gone for good.
In the picture above you see a “4″ on the left edge. That designates a button you will use during the mission sometimes. It shows the remaining time (important) and the remaining monsters (there may be spawning points which will increase the number, so don’t rely too much on that).
You don’t need the other buttons (at least I never need them). But you need very urgently a shortcut which is: “M”. “M” as in map. While you study the following picture please mumble repeatedly to yourself “M”. Not only that the thought amuses me to induce my countless readers to mumble a certain letter but it also should emphasize the point that “M” is a really, really useful shortcut.
Above is shown the map of the example mission. The orange numbers 1 to 3 mark the symbols which depict the buildings your camp has (1 – base camp, 2 – training camp [now extinct], 3 – vehicle bay). Your current goal is to kill a Frightful Slaughterer which is a mini boss. Where the “4″ is there is the Slaughterer. Hopefully.
Most missions contain nasty contraptions called “Summon Portals”. This mission here contains two of them, at 5 and 6. What they are doing should be fairly obvious. And they do it (“it” being creating new monsters) with annoying regularity. Usually it is a good idea to destroy them as fast as possible.
6. Choosing mercenaries
As with all other situations where you have to choose from the plethora of mercenaries Atlantica Online has to offer there are many answers and many opinions. Now I am in the lucky situation to have absolute control over this blog and so only one opinion shines brightly here, and that is my own. Which narrows the options down immensely. Here is my advice:
a) Choose cannon main. I played staff main until level 136 and tried to do missions with it. While it works and flameblow is really nice it is quite difficult to handle because of the long cool down of this spell. The cannon main has several advantages compared to staff main: It can shoot over walls. It can shoot every turn. It shoots 5 targets at once if they are stupid enough to stand in a cross formation. The regular attack makes more damage than the regular staff attack. The regular attack makes a satisfying “phump” noise when the cannon ball hits. And now the one argument to beat all other mains into bloody pulp: DEVASTATION SHELL. Yeah! That’s it! Reduce the defense of nasty bosses to a ridiculous fraction of their original value and then kill them with one well-aimed shot.
Okay, staff main and musician (because of the – but inferior – debuff) are also doing well in tbs missions. But life is super easy as cannon main. And have I mentioned already Devastation Shell?
b) Take an oracle. Oracles have insanely high mdef which is the reason I usually tank with my oracle. The monsters in tbs missions have the habit to rely on their magic attack which is somewhat disappointing for people with high-plussed armor. Because their physical defense is worth not much, only the health points such an armor does provide. The main argument for the oracle is not the magic defense, though, let alone the healing skill, but seth’s will.
c) Take a gunner (sheriff or janissary). And in 3k missions where you can take 3 mercenaries: Take 2 gunners. Yeah, ok, there are people who do it with a druid. Beside the nasty sound the last sentence can make if you pronounce it in a lewd way I don’t believe in mercenaries whose main function is standing around and let themselves be beaten. Ok, there is beast soul, but then you can take an oracle who can tank even better and has seth’s will. And she is much cheaper (in terms of costs of recruiting and upgrading, not morally). Gunners on the other hand attack fiendishly out of a distance and kill three targets in a row. And their damage output is tremendous. A janissary, sethed and with shooting stance is a real killer, even more than a sheriff: On the other hand she does not lose turns to get into her stance, which outweighs that.
Elementalist: Bah. Inventor: Crap. Druid: After the Spelltower patch he tanks better and he has a kind of Seth’s Will (Beast’s Soul) – can be a (very expensive) alternative. Odysseus: Useless (but can debuff like hell). Cannonneer: A good idea, but you have already a cannon main hopefully – you need a mercenary which hits harder. Monk: Dump him. Witch: Let her go with the monk. Stop. Witch? Meteor Strike? If the witch is played properly and you happen not to have converted to cannon main yet and remained a staff main both – staff main and witch – can wreak havoc with flame blow and meteor strike together. But that is not for a basic guide. And there is a new, shining star called Attila, but I have confused you now enough. If you are doing TBS < 100 the most cost efficient way would be to employ a witch, after that oracle and sheriff plus your cannon main is still the solid way to go.
Mercenaries not mentioned in the previous paragraph are by no means useful. I only forgot to make a sniding remark about them. That will be remedied sooner or later. Probably later.
If you play in a team you can divide the tasks better of course. If you don’t have an oracle but your guildie and trusted team partner has one (or two) you are both fine. When I couldn’t solo missions I played with a guild member who had two oracles (bigO and smallO) and we fared pretty well under her tender care.
7. Gears vs. tactics
Contrary to a wide-spread belief gear is not that important in tbs missions, at least not compared to classic game play. Of course you are doomed when none of your toons can survive the attack of one hostile monster. But you can fare pretty well with flat level appropriate gear. That means: In a mission like flamethrower which aims at people in level 130+ (minimum level is 125 but recommended is 130) you do ok with flat evil gear or slightly plussed dragon god gear if you do it right.
If you do it right, mind you. Weak gear means: you can do it but mistakes mean failure. Strong gear means: you can do it and mistakes are only annoying.
There is one exception though: When you do a mission alone in squad mode, you should bring one really, really good ranged weapon (in my proposed setup: a +10 dragon god gun or evil equivalent). Let me rephrase that: if you have the means to choose one very good piece of equipment you should choose one extraordinary weapon. It works without it but that borders at the edge of failure so often that I for once does not enjoy it. In a team you don’t have to worry so much. While of course good weapons always help you should do well with mediocre plussed weapons (in the case of flamethrower a trio with ordinary dragon god guns can do just fine).
During the mission you can upgrade your attack, defense, sight, movement and range. You train by clicking on the Base Camp button (see above). Training in squad mode works like this:
|1||1||10% attack, 10% defense, speed+1|
|2||2||10% attack, 10% defense, sight+1|
|3||2||10% attack, 10% defense, speed+1|
|4||3||10% attack, 10% defense, speed+1, sight+1|
|5||3||20% attack, 20% defense, range+1|
The maximum is +50% attack, +50% defense, speed+3, sight+2, range+1. You get these buffs after 11 turns of continuous training. Highly recommended.
You can set traps. Nice. In basic missions like Flamethrower not so useful. But the catch is: the enemy can set traps, too. And he does. Actually, he does not set (new) traps but in the map you find there are already hidden traps set up here and there. Now you would like to see them or have any means to identify them. Here are the news: You can’t. You can run into them, of course. That will burn your mercenaries, letting lose them their action, or – even worse – wrap them in a sticky net, disabling them for some turns. Commit the location to memory and avoid that trap the next run.
If you know (or suspect) where a trap is located you can disarm it with a offensive scroll (freezing, judgement, phoenix). You go near it, use the scroll and if you are successful you get the message “disarmed a trap”. Traps are 3×3 squares. It is enough to get one square into the range of the offensive scroll to disarm the trap.
I have made several trap maps where I jotted down the location of the traps. You find them in “Mission Maps”. Especially net traps should be avoided at all costs.
10. Basic strategies
a) Spread out. Don’t stand around in a lump, all your toons side-by-side, chatting animatedly and pointing with grubby fingers at the enemy. One well aimed magic attack of an enemy and your whole party can be done for. A rule of thumb is: Never stay adjacent to any other friendly toon, even diagonally is bad.
b) Don’t rush. Take your time healing up.
c) Don’t tickle, kill. If only your catapult is left to move and can barely reach a monster group you haven’t attacked yet the temptation is great to lump a ball into the hostile hoard. Don’t give in. They will be damaged a bit, true, but they will come over your group and hit first. Much better when YOU hit them first in the next turn and eradicate them outright.
d) Summon portals are evil. “Don’t rush” I said but if there is a summon portal nearby kill it as fast as possible. Summon portals are future problems. The bad thing is their problems (aka monsters to spawn) can have a really great future very fast – at your expense.
e) Seth, don’t heal. You should try to heal with potions and (in cases of emergency) scrolls. Don’t waste your oracle’s turn with healing. She should alternating seth your gunner and your cannon main. If you go near a strong group of mobs do it so that both of your damage dealers are sethed.
f) Mystic stones are evil. There are missions with mystic stones in them. The example mission has not such a thing (which is one reason Flamethrower is comparatively easy) but a lot of other missions have. Mystic Stones make enemies stronger and let them regenerate. They behave like trolls in a proper DnD-setting. They are not as evil as summon portals but come close after them.
g) Magic before ranged before melee. If you can choose which enemy to kill first, kill the magic one first (which is probably very easy to kill). Then kill the ranged one, especially bow people who have these nasty arrow aoe and the cannon guys. The melee enemies are of course strong but you may be able to stay away from them. Their magic skill is not so devastating and their regular attack is – hmmm – regular. At least usually.
h) Use double turns. When you have achieved a goal set by the mission your turn immediately ends, a cut scene is displayed and then the game commences – with a complete new turn for your team. So let’s imagine I have damaged the Frightful Slaughterer I have to kill as my first goal in the example mission in the last turn. She barely clings to her last hp and now my next turn commences. I could utter a triumphant “harhar” and kill her with my gunner quickly and decisively. But I could also activate my injured main and oracle first, give them potions to drink and only then deal the killing blow. In any case I will get a new turn after the cut scene but in the second variant two of my toons are in a better condition. Which makes harharing much more satisfying. If you want to know more about how double turns work, look here. Note: African missions have only a few double turn opportunities, most cut-scenes come without them.