Thursday, April 24, 2014

Skylanders Trap Team Pictures and Information

Skylanders Trap Team

The long anticipated announcement came earlier this evening and "Skylanders 4" has officially been revealed as Skylanders Trap Team!  It is available for Pre-Order NOW and will be introducing 16 Trap Master Skylanders, 18 New Skylanders, and a handful of Series 2-4 reposes.  What sets the game apart is the ability to utilize Trap Crystals to catch villains and then return them to the game as playable characters.  All your pre-existing Skylanders (Core, Giants, LightCore, and Swappers) can be used in Skylanders Trap Team.  The game is set to release on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 here in the US.

Skylanders Trap Team Official Pictures and My Quick Notes


Background Story

Kaos' latest plot to take over all of Skylands involved acquiring the services of Skylands Most Wanted Villains.  Sadly, these powerful beasts were held in the most secure structure in Skylands the Cloudcracker Prison that was built with Traptanium walls.  Kaos blew the prison up and all the Traptanium wound up here on earth.  The task of saving Skylands once again falls into the hands of us, the Portal Masters.  We have to work with the Skylanders and help them acquire Trap Crystals to reign in Skylands Most Wanted and defeat Kaos.

Starter Pack

The Console Starter Pack will consist of the following:

-Game
-Traptanium Portal,
-Two Skylanders with Trading Cards and Sticker Sheets
--Trap Master: Snap Shot (Water Element)
--Core Skylander: Food Fight (Life Element)
-Two Traps
-Character Collector Poster

The 3DS Starter Pack looks to consist of the same contents, but it remains to be seen if the two characters will be different, or if they will follow suit and place a "special" character in the 3DS Starter Pack (Dark Spyro, Punch Pop Fizz, Volcanic Eruptor)

The retail price for all the Starter Packs is listed at the usual $74.99.

All Trap Team Skylanders will feature RED Bases.
All Characters will max out at Level 20.

Release Date
Skylanders Trap Team is available for pre-order now and will release as follows:

Australia/New Zealand: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
US: Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Europe: Friday, October 10th, 2014

Developers

Toys for Bob is developing the game for Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Sony Playstation 3
Beenox is porting that to the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony Playstation 4.
Beenox is also handling the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, which again is entirely different.

Trap Masters

Trap Masters are essentially new Skylanders with new crystal weapons.  You can think of them as Giants or SWAP Force Skylanders from the last two installments...

There will be 16 Trap Master Skylanders. Thus, it is pretty safe to assume that we will have 2 per Element.  There remains a good chance we will see "extras" from those (ie Legendary and other in-game variants), but overall for a base collection you are looking at 16 Trap Master Skylanders.

Just like Giants and SWAP Force Skylanders unlocked special areas in each level/chapter, that will be the case with the Trap Masters.  Additionally, when going against the Most Wanted Villains the Trap Masters will have a damage boost compared to other, non-Trap Master Skylanders.

Here are a few that we know of at this point in time:

Snap Shot, Water Element
Wallop, Earth Element
Wild Fire, Fire Element

Traptanium Bow and Arrow, Fire Shield with Wild Fire

Newlanders

If you are unfamiliar with the series or my own terminologies, Newlanders basically refers to the new, core characters in each game (Giants=Jet-Vac, SWAP Force=Scratch and Pop Thorn etc).  There will be 18 new Skylanders in Trap Team.

Here are a few that we know of at this point in time:

Funny Bone, Undead Element
Chopper, Tech Element: Baby T-Rex with Gyro-Copter, Rockets, and Roar Attack
Food Fight, Life Element: An Artichoke that uses the power of vegetables to defeat evil (tomato gun etc).

Villains and Traps

This is perhaps the biggest element in the game and no doubt the "game changer" that was teased in earlier interviews.  Trap Team allows you to battle Sklylands Most Wanted Villains, defeat them, trap them, and then release them back into the game as a playable character!

This takes the "Bring Toys to Life" concept and flips it to the point where you are almost doing the opposite by pulling a character out of the game and into your living room.  It is a very cool concept and perhaps more importantly adds a vast array of options and tag teams.

We have seen several of the 40 plus villains and the basic concept goes as follows...

You battle the villain, defeat them, place a trap crystal into the portal, and then a magical vortex pulls the villain in...There is a struggle, screaming, and all that good stuff.  When the vortex wrangles the defeated villain the sound leaves your TV set and goes to the built in speaker on the new Traptanium Portal!  (I have read there is an adjustable volume level as well).  You then hear the villain's voice right from the portal adding an personification to the trap crystal.  The voice of the villain will beg for you to release them and even offers to fight for good.

As soon as you turn them back into the game, the villain is a playable character with a move set just like they had when you battled them.  At the touch of a button you can switch from the villain to your Skylander and back again.

The villain will also make comments on what is going on and remind you to let them play if you haven't in awhile.

The Traps are rumored to hold "multiple" villains, but I have yet to see anything definitive.  The Traps are element specific, so if you are battling an Air Element Most Wanted character, you will have to have an Air Element Trap to catch it.

From what I have read, regardless of the trap's capacity, there will be a prison in your main hub that you can use to swap the villains back and forth, to-and-from the traps.

Among those villains we know are playable we have:

-Wolf Gang: a really cool looking rock-and-roll werewolf
-Chill Bill a frozen looking troll that uses a Freeze Ray to turn enemies into ice.
-Shrednaught: A tank/chainsaw hybrid commanded by two trolls
-Chompy Mage: He can summon Chompies, has a chompy walloping staff, and can turn into the Mega Chompy and do Shockwaves!
-Kaos: Enough Said...I did see a custom trap shaped like Kaos in the trailer

As for the traps...they are, as mentioned, element specific, but look to have different designs (Hammer, Tiki Torch, Hand, etc).  The bottom end looks like a Crystal and plugs into the Traptanium portal.  It is unknown how they will be made available, how many there are, and how many figures they can each hold.

Enemies (Outside of the Most Wanted)

I didn't see this enemy, but I heard him mentioned in an interview...It honestly sounded like the guy said "Eggsecutioner" so I am picturing a troll or something similar that throws eggs...I am very well aware of the fact we have Axecutioners, I just know I heard "egg."

My Questions

If I could, I would ask these questions:

-Will there be a difference between the Toys for Bob and Beenox versions of the game?
--Will the Wii U still utilize the GamePad for Character stats?
-Will the 3DS Starter Pack incorporate different characters?  Also, will one be exclusive to the SP?
--Will the 3DS version still feature the character roster found in SWAP Force?
-How will the crystals be made available outside of the 2 in the Starter Pack?
-How many villains can be held per crystal?
-Is it possible in 2P Mode to both play as a villain?
-Will there be a Single Player Battle Mode (ie P1 vs CPU)?
-Is there a special role for Giants and SWAP Force Skylanders?
-Please bring back the original SSA Castaways! (Not a Question, but who cares?).
-If LightCores still exist, will you give them WowPows or a recharge of the LightBomb?
-Will there be Adventure Packs or Battle Packs?
-Is the portal wired?  (Assuming this would be yes).

Conclusion

This is just a quick recap of what I have been able to gather.  Some info may change.  I have a ton more in the way of questions and things I'd like explained further, but that list above is a good start.  I have to say I am very excited for this installment...much more so than Giants or SWAP Force.  SSA remains my favorite in the series and I feel that good level design, a bit more emphasis on action and battles, coupled with the ability to play as villains gives this title the foundation it needs to become a truly great game!

As for pre-ordering now, I would wait.  There are currently no known bonuses or special editions, but that can change quickly.  I would hold out for the best deal and ensure you have the best version to begin with...

As for me, I plan to pick up the Wii U version (unless they have canned the GamePad features, in which case it would be a toss up between Wii U and XB1) and the 3DS version.

When new info is made available I will update here, or make a new post.  Check back often to stay up to date with all things Skylanders Trap Team!!

Here is the longer YouTube video just discussing the reveal and various aspects of the game:



Skylanders Trap Team Official Trailer

Skylanders Trap Team

Skylanders Trap Team Official Reveal Trailer
"The Discovery"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Skylanders Trap Team Press Release

Skylanders Trap Team 


NEWEST SKYLANDERS® GAME - SKYLANDERS TRAP TEAMTM- TAKES TOYS-TO-LIFE PHENOMENON TO NEW LEVELS BY BRINGING DIGITAL CHARACTERS INTO THE PHYSICAL WORLD

Skylanders Originator Toys for Bob Returns with
 Ground-Breaking Innovation

Portal Masters Can Now Capture and Play as Villains;
Capture and Play as Kaos for the First Time Ever

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - April 23, 2014 - Skylanders® is redefining the toys-to-life phenomenon with yet another ground-breaking innovation, Skylanders Trap TeamOn October 5 in North America, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc.(NASDAQ: ATVI), will introduce the newest installment to the Skylanders franchise, which will reverse the magic of bringing toys to life - incredibly letting kids pull characters out of the digital world into the physical world.

With Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, pulling them out of the game and into living rooms by capturing them in magical Traps. Players can then send villains back into the game where they play as them to fight for good. The game will include the Traptanium PortalTM, a new ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also magically capture villains using the new Traps. Once they've defeated the villains, kids will be able to place a Trap into the new portal to capture them. They will also be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, an innovation that truly brings life to toys.

This exciting new play pattern also gives players the option to switch between playing as a Skylander hero or a villain at any time, creating fun and unique "tag team" gameplay. In addition, fans can even take their Traps and their Skylanders characters to their friends' houses for fun, co-operative adventures across all console game systems.

"When we created Skylanders, we invented a new category of play and, in the process, disrupted two industries - videogames and toys.  With each new Skylanders game, our commitment to continuous, disruptive innovation has led to surprising and delightful new ways for kids to play with toys and games," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. "With Skylanders Trap Team, we're no longer just letting kids bring their toys to life inside the game anymore. This time, we're letting them pull their toys out of the game as well. We are confident this installment of Skylanders will once again redefine what's possible at the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds."

"When Activision first introduced the Skylanders franchise in 2011, it promised to redefine play by merging the physical and digital worlds. The company delivered on that pledge with three blockbuster titles - all of which have been named to the annual Toys"R"Us Holiday Hot Toy List -and is now poised to do it again with the introduction of Skylanders Trap Team," said Richard Barry, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer Toys"R"Us, Inc. "With Skylanders Trap Team, Activision is  reversing the magic of 'toys-to-life,' allowing kids to bring characters out of the digital world and into the physical world for the first time. We're thrilled to continue as a marquee destination for Skylanders products, providing a comprehensive, global marketing and merchandising program, including our fully exclusive Legendary series of figures that will introduce Skylanders Trap Team to our enthusiastic customers this October."

In Skylanders Trap Team, Kaos continues his ongoing quest to rule over Skylands.  He has discovered the location of the legendary Cloudcracker Prison -- a fortress built entirely out of the magical substance TraptaniumTM and home to Skylands' most nefarious baddies.  In an attempt to build his own army of foes, Kaos blows up the prison, releasing the most wanted villains and blasting shards of Traptanium to Earth in the form of Traps.  Now it's up to Portal Masters to recapture all of the escaped villains using powerful Traptanium Traps and defeat Kaos before it's too late! The new adventure delivers a diverse and dynamic story-driven gameplay experience, filled with adventure, combat, puzzles, mini-games, activities, platforming and drop-in/drop-out co-op play -- all set within new compelling environments.

Skylanders Trap Team introduces Skylanders heroes known as Trap Masters, brand new Core Skylanders characters and reposed fan-favorite Skylanders characters. The game also features a variety of elementally aligned Traps with unique and interesting designs. With every addition to their Trap Team collection, Portal Masters unlock exciting gameplay possibilities within each level.

Fans can pre-order Skylanders Trap Team starting on April 23, with special offers available at select retail destinations worldwide. Skylanders Trap Team will be available on Xbox 360™ and  Xbox Onevideo game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation® 3 and PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment systems, Nintendo's Wii system, Nintendo's Wii U system, and a completely unique adventure available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system. The game will be available on October 5 in North America; October 2 in Australia/New Zealand; and October 10 in Europe.

Rubble Rouser Upgrade Paths and Damage Numbers

Rubble Rouser Base Upgrades

Rubble Rouser Damage Numbers

Rubble Rouser Drill Pitcher Path

Rubble Rouser Excavator Path

Rubble Rouser Bolder Boulders Path

Rubble Rouser Miner Foreman Path



Alright, so this one is fairly easy for me to offer up suggestions...

I would NEVER recommend Drill Pitcher.  The game's upgrade screen and strategy guide for Nailed It!  both state "Press Attack 1, Attack 1, and then hold and release Attack 1" to throw a charged hammer attack!"  The problem there is that it does not work, at least for me and at least on the Wii U version.  Sledgehammer makes the hammer do increased damage, but what good is that if you can never get it thrown?

The only way I got it to throw is by charging ahead of time (holding primary attack), quickly releasing, holding again (if you lose the charged state it won't work), quickly releasing, holding once more (again, if the hammer isn't bigger and glowing you have to start over), and then releasing to throw.  Not only is this insanely slow, but it might not work...The damage 36-54 and then 54-81 would be nice...It would be a great path if it actually threw the hammer with any consistency.

My original logic was "Bolder Boulders" looks the best to me because it is the most unique...It would be best complimented by a long range projectile which I had hoped Drill Pitcher would provide.  As is, I can not suggest that path.  I will try it on Xbox One to see if it works better, but I doubt it.  The real slap in the face is that I discovered (while trying to figure out how to throw the hammer) that charged hammer hits do increased damage.  I assumed this was probably tied in with Drill Pitcher and the combo aspect...I was wrong!  Using my 2nd Rubble Rouser, I discovered that you could charge the hammer with the base attacks.  That, to me, makes Drill Pitcher one of the few paths I have ever seen that I can consider broken.  By the time I got a hammer to throw I would have either A-Taken serious damage, or B-just used other attacks to defeat the enemies.  Thus the 54-81 and ranged nature of a hammer throw means nothing.

I was also disturbed by Happy Hammering claiming "All Hammer Attacks do Increased Damage."  At the time you have your Primary and Tertiary attacks, both being hammer attacks.  Happy Hammering only addressed the damage output of "Hammer Swing" and left "Tools of the Trade" as is.

The great news though is that Excavator (misspelled in the Strategy Guide's picture box), works quite well.  You shoot off 6 rock shards that wind up doing 28-42 Damage and seem to have the range of the hammer throw (when it would work).  Plus, the 6 shards kind of fan out and actually cover a much broader range than just a single straight forward hammer throw (did I mention it was hard to aim that?...Again, that discourages use in long range situations).

Up top, I would DEFINITIVELY suggest you take Excavator...no questions asked.  I will try Drill Pitcher in XB1 and maybe other can get it to work as intended, but I sure can't and as such I would never use it...Excavator offers a nice, broad attack radius with some nice damage numbers...and it WORKS!

Down low, I initially thought Bolder Boulders would fit my play style the best and that Miner Foreman, despite not "liking" those upgrade paths, would probably be pretty good as well (Sonic Boom and Double Trouble come to mind).  I was basically right!

Bolder Boulders is not what I had hoped...but it is still very unique and offers up some distinct advantages for Rubble Rouser.  I had pictured a drilling ability that let me go underground and stay there a long time while offering up a way to move from A to B underground AND having a crosshair (kind of like Zook) to aim the boulders.  I must say, that would have made Rubble Rouser a true beast.  That said, you get basically 7 seconds of dig time and the boulder's wind up doing 14-21 damage, although you can't really control where they go.  That said, it ties in perfectly with the Pop Rock Soul Gem.

Miner Foreman offers up exactly what I thought it would...4 Minor Miners that do increased damage.  You do have to use Deep Dig 4 times to summon all 4, but they wind up bashing out 7-11 Damage on each hit and they each hit a lot of times.

On the bottom end I would have to suggest Miner Formean for most people as it would likely be the most beneficial for a straight forward play style.  Plus, you still have Tunnel Expedition and the Soul Gem to pick up some aspects of Bolder Boulders.  For veteran players, or those who are a fan of the 7 second damage free time I would suggest Bolder Boulders.

Pairing Bolder Boulders or Miner Foreman with Excavator up top makes for a pretty solid and unique character.  I am still disappointed in "Happy Hammering" doing half of what it advertises and Drill Pitcher being virtually useless due to it's inherently complex launching system, but the fact remains that Excavator and either bottom path will add up to make a very nice Swap Force Skylander!

Fryno Upgrade Paths and Damage Numbers

Coming Soon!

Fryno Base Upgrades
Fryno Damage Numbers
Fryno Bralwer Path
Fryno's Hot Shop Path

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Springtime Trigger Happy Upgrades and Damage Numbers

Springtime Trigger Happy Base Upgrades
Golden Frenzy + Soul Gem + Wow Pow


Springtime Trigger Happy Damage Numbers


Note that there is a bit of an issue with upgrading from Golden Mega Charge to Happiness is a Golden Gun.  The gains on the primary side (Golden Pistol) is so small (+2x +3) I would recommend NOT taking it.  You can fire off consistent 5 second charged 210s with Golden Mega Charge and the upgrade knocks 70 off of that!  Plus, doubling the charge time from 5-10 on Happiness is a Golden Gun can yield 180 or 220...Thus, it is simply not a good move in my opinion.  Which is strange, because I don't remember this being an issue in SSA or Giants.  Nonetheless, it is what it is and I'm glad to have picked up on it here in SWAP Force.

Punk Shock Upgrade Paths and Damage Numbers

Punk Shock Base Upgrades

Punk Shock Damage Numbers

Punk Shock Conductor Constructor Upgrade Path

Punk Shock Eelectrocutey Upgrade Path