Sunday, April 27, 2014

Unboxing LightCore Bumble Blast

What?  LightCore Bumble Blast, Life Element, SWAP Force Newlander
Where Did You Get It? Toys'R'Us
What Did It Cost? $13.99 plus tax
What Was Stock Like? Low-Decent
What is Included? LC Bumble Blast, Stat Card, and Sticker Sheet

Unboxing LightCore Bumble Blast


Pictures Coming Soon!

LightCore Bumble Blast
Life Element, SF Newlander



Slogan: "The Perfect Swarm!"




Card Stats
Power: 105/200
Armor: 105/200
Agility: 50/200
Luck: 90/200
Totals: 350/800

Light-Up Effect, Front and Back:


A Trio of Bumble Blasts:
Jolly Bumble Blast, LC Bumble Blast, and Bumble Blast

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

Fryno Base Upgrades

Fryno Damage Numbers


Fryno Bralwer Path

Fryno's Hot Shop Path


Fryno is another newlander where on attack is based on enhancing the other.  That carries through his base upgrades and upgrade paths.  In all honesty, I am not a big fan of either upgrade path.  I say that with a lot of disappointment.  I feel like a lot of great things could have been done for Fryno and instead they were just very poorly thought out...I notice this is a pattern with several of the later released characters.

Brawler basically adds Hot Hands, which will deal a quick 7 hits of damage, but only when you hold your primary attack...The issue I have with Hot Hands is that it isn't much incentive over his standard Brawl attack in my opinion.  Spiked Up slightly enhances Hot Hands and then Temperature Tantrum does minuscule damage...it will be useful, but nothing to write home about.

Fryno's Hot Shop does nice damage, but is overall disappointing.  First off, the motorcycle is more or less a scooter and there aren't many motorbikes of any sort with an engine mounted in such a manner...all of that is frivolous and unrelated to the path and game, but it bothers me and is a sign of just how short sighted Fryno's upgrades were...

Born to Ride basically lets you turn into the motorcycle automatically, which is cool, but it takes away "The Horn" from "The Horn and the Hog" and it isn't accented with increased speed, armor, or damage...Hot Rod delivers the extra damage that could have come with Born to Ride in the first place.  Crash and Burn is cool and has a nice radius, but my issue is that I can't imagine using it much outside of just wanting to...Born to Ride/The Hog will go on perpetually and deal 40-60, which is more than this final upgrade.

Imo having an Armor Bonus down Brawler and a Speed Bonus down Hot Shop would have even been better.  I can think of a lot of ways to have made both paths better with very little effort.  Giving Brawler a simple combo with increased damage and letting the Hot Shop have a flame thrower or flame trail come to mind.  I just kind of feel like Fryno was rushed...

I would much rather sit here and sing the praises of two paths and wrack my brain making a suggestion for you...I can do that with most Skylanders, but not Fryno.  I think he is a neat character and in all honestly he has some cool attacks, but it just seems like he got the short end of the stick and was likely the victim of time constraints.

That said, I would have to give the nod to Fryno's Hot Shop for most players since it does more damage and offers a quicker way of getting from A-B.  Brawler would be good for those who prefer close quarters action and don't mind the process of "heating up" and waiting to unleash Hot Hands.  The good news is that his Soul Gem enhances Temperature Tantrum quite a bit.

I think a Wow Pow would greatly help his cause in any future releases.  I plan to play as him a lot, I just think he has a lot of untapped potential. 

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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Skylanders SWAP Force Upgrde Costs

I've had this handy dandy spreadsheet for eons (see what I did there?), and figured it would be more useful and meaningful to you if you could actually see it as opposed to just listen to me talk about it in the upgrade videos...So, here it is:

Skylanders SWAP Force Swapper Upgrade Costs

Skylanders SWAP Force Core Character Upgrade Costs

Index/Legend

Please note that all "Discounted Costs" are reflective of 18 Winged Sapphires and the resultant 36% Discount.  

On the Swappers List:
U1-U3= Upgrade 1-Upgrade 3
P1A=Path 1, Upgrade 1
P1B=Path 1, Upgrade 2
It is broken down by Body and Legs.

Costs are then Combined for:
Base Upgrades
Path Upgrades
Base and Path Upgrades
Base, Path, and Soul Gems for Both Top and Bottom

On the Core List:
U1-U4=Base Upgrades 1-4
P1A-P1C=Path 1, Upgrades 1-3
P2A-P2C=Path 2, Upgrades 1-3

Costs are then Combined for:
Base Upgrades
Base and Path
Base Path and Soul Gem (Newlanders Only are Maxed here)
Base, Path, Soul Gem, and Wow Pow (Series 2 & Series 3 Only are Maxed here)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boom Jet Upgrade Paths with Damage Numbers

Alright, here is the final of the four "test subjects."  Boom Jet was actually the very first SWAP Force Upgrade video I recorded...

I have to stress that outside of Boom Jet, Free Ranger, Trap Shadow, and Freeze Blade all Swappers will follow the 5 Video format.  My first recording with Boom Jet obviously features the Base Upgrades, Storm Bomber up top, and Sky Writer down below...The 2nd Boom Jet took the correct format so I have stand alone Base Upgrade, Squad Leader, and Ace Gunner Upgrade videos...

Once again, past these 4 character everyone will follow the selected 5 video format and I won't have to talk about it anymore...I just have to cover it at the start to avoid people assuming I didn't cover base upgrades or certain paths since they won't have stand alone videos...I do that because not many people read video descriptions...

Anyway, one of the real perks is getting to highlight and document each and every upgrade...And in the case of Boom Jet, that turned out to be a REALLY BIG DEAL...I will tell you why below!

Boom Jet Base Upgrades

Boom Jet Damage Numbers

Boom Jet Base Upgrades with Storm Bomber and Sky Writer

Boom Jet Squad Leader Upgrade Path

Boom Jet Ace Gunner Upgrade Path

Now, if you noticed there was a special note on the Damage Numbers Spreadsheet...

It pertains to Boom Jet's Bottom End Soul Gem, Mach 2.

My first recording featured the Sky Writer Path...Mach 2 granted +7 Speed and looked to deal 32 damage at the beginning of the dash...

Much to my surprise (and shock in all honesty) Ace Gunner did not follow suit.  There is nothing in Ace Gunner to make Mach 2 special or stand out...It should be exactly the same as Sky Writer.  However, I saw 150 as the damage number and assumed it was some freak combo...That was incorrect.  150 is the actual damage number put out by Mach 2 when you are down Ace Gunner.

I am not sure if Sky Writer has it too low, or Ace Gunner has it too high, but there is a HUGE DISCREPANCY between the two paths and their respective Soul Gem.

I thought it might be tied in specifically to the Wii U version of the game so I tested it out on Xbox One while the videos uploaded...Again to my surprise I found the results exactly the same!  Sky Writer saw Mach 2 put out 32 damage and Ace Gunner saw Mach 2 put out 150.

Again, I don't know which number should be correct, or why they are not uniform, but I would strong suggest you check it out for yourself and take advantage of Ace Gunner's unseen benefit!

I know many of you just sport 1 figure (unless Boom Jet is a favorite) so you might be oblivious to the discrepancy.  I searched the net for this and came up with nothing, so as far as I know this is the first report on the incident.  For what it is worth the stats and other upgrades matched up perfectly between the Wii U and XB1 versions of the game.

This again showcases how nice it is to have the Training Ground and how it gives me the chance to document all the damage numbers one-by-one.  Will we see more changes like this?  Stay tuned!

If you have a different version of the game (Wii, 360, PS3/PS4) and can test this out let me know what you observed...Given both the Wii U and XB1 have the 32 vs 150 I am inclined to believe that is not just an anomaly for one version of the game.

Doom Stone Giveaway Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at Toys'R'Us Times Square

Well, while not applicable to the vast majority of us, next Wednesday will be a special Skylanders Day at the Toys'R'Us in Times Square.  Fans can land some sweet deals, see costumed characters, and more importantly...the first 500 will get Doom Stone, the final SWAP Force Swapper (outside of alt-decos) and of course, my most anticipated.

The main reason I'm posting this though is that this gives us an idea of how close the rest of us are to expecting Doom Stone in stores...This is somewhat similar to what we saw last year with Giants...I hope that the delay isn't as pronounced, but I am inclined to believe TRU has a good change of being the first to have him...possibly a mid-week deal like we have seen in the past...Again, that is just me speculating, but the bottom line is we are getting closer to Doom Stone's release!

Here is the official press release on the event:

HUNDREDS OF FANS TO CELEBRATE SKYLANDERS® DAY AT TOYS"R"US TIMES SQUARE ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23 WITH A SPECIAL TOY GIVEAWAY

Fans in Line to be Among the First to Receive the Final Skylanders SWAP Force Character Before it Hits Store Shelves

Activision Publishing, Inc. and Toys"R"Us® are giving fans the rare opportunity to receive a complimentary Skylanders® toy at a special Toys"R"Us Times Square event celebrating Skylanders Day! Before the final Skylanders SWAP Force character, Doom Stone, is released to the public, the first 500 Portal Masters to line up at The World's Greatest Toy Store™ on Wednesday, April 23, will be among the first to get their hands on this must-have figure.*            

Fans attending the event will get the chance to meet Skylanders costumed characters, experience the bestselling kids' videogame franchise at in-store gaming kiosks and receive other fun Skylanders giveaways.

Eager consumers can also take advantage of the following Skylanders deals and discounts, valid only at Toys"R"Us Times Square, on Wednesday, April 23:

  • SAVE $25 Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack (Was $64.99; Now $39.99)
  • BUY ONE GET ONE 50% OFF ALL Skylanders figures and accessories - prices vary**

Where:
  
Toys"R"Us Times Square, Lower Level
1514 Broadway (at 44th Street), New York, NY
4pm Eastern


*All giveaways and event materials are available while supplies last and will be distributed to braceleted event participants only. Limit one per customer. Quantities limited; no rain checks.

**Discounted item must be of equal or lesser value to the lowest priced item purchased. Excludes all clearance items.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free Ranger Upgrade Paths with Damage Numbers

Free Ranger was the 2nd SWAP Force Upgrade I initially recorded, and subsequently we have his Base Upgrades packaged with Storm Focus and Lightning Linguist.  Luckily, I had left Legendary Free Ranger box stock and he will appear in the correct format.

Legendary Free Ranger Base Upgrades

Free Ranger Damage Numbers

Legendary Free Ranger Wind Slasher Path

Legendary Free Ranger Tornado Thrower Path

Free Ranger Base Upgrades+ Storm Focus Path + Lightning Linguist Path

Up top, I don't think you can go wrong with either path.  His Stormblades are so powerful with just the base upgrades, no one could fault you for enhancing his tertiary attack with Storm Focus.  Going that route will gie you a great range to soften up enemies before heading in with Ride the Wind, or Stormblade attacks.

Wind Slasher basically just adds a combo to the base upgrades on the Stormblades...that said, it is an insane combo that deals tons of damage.

Ultimately, I would suggest Wind Slasher for rookie players and those looking for an easy and effective way to upgrade Free Ranger.  If you are more of a defensive player and value range, go with Storm Focus.

For the bottom end you kind of have to pick your poison.  Lightning Linguist offers a single lightning bolt at the START of Ride the Wind.  Tornado Thrower shoots out a tornado AFTER Ride the Wind.  Overall, the Twisters to more damage, but they are limited to a straight line...So if you don't anticipate the move finishing, or have it lined up right ,you could blow your chance...literally.  Lightning Linguist is probably most helpful to beginners while Tornado Thrower will yield greater benefits to experienced players.  That said, either path is cool and you wouldn't have me object if you picked one because you like the looks of it...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trap Shadow Upgrade Paths with Damage Numbers

Please note, as I mentioned in previous posts and the video itself...Trap Shadow was my test subject for "Option 2" in terms of recording.  Thus, his first recording consisted of Base Upgrades with Trap Trickster AND Prowler Path being showcase.  Luckily, I used the 2nd Trap Shadow to follow the selected format and will be able to have some uniform structure.  That said, here are the videos and damage numbers:

Trap Shadow Base Upgrades

Trap Shadow Damage Numbers:

Trap Shadow: Feral Instinct's Path

Trap Shadow: Shadow Combat Path

Trap Shadow Base Upgrades + Trap Trickster Path + Prowler Path


Again, my apologies for this one not following the 5 Video format, but like I said, he was my test character for "Option 2."

For beginners I would recommend Feral Instincts and Shadow Combat.  For veterans I would suggest Trap Trickster and Shadow Combat.

The top paths are tough because Trap Shadow is pretty salty as is in terms of his primary attack...However, the combo granted with Feral Instincts is a big time damage dealer.  That said, Trap Trickster is likely the most beneficial as it enhances the tertiary attack more so than Feral Instincts.

On the bottom end you can't go wrong with Shadow Combat.  Prowler Path is best suited for players who really like that sort of thing, or enjoy the challenge etc.  I have yet to play in-game with these paths, but I have to say that from Woodburrow Shadow Combat is the definitive choice for the bottom end.

Freeze Blade Upgrade Paths with Damage Numbers

Well, here it is...the first in a series of immensely detailed posts outlining damage out from EVERY single upgrade for each Skylander.

I am getting things started with Freeze Blade, one of the test subjects in the recordings debate...However, his test method was the chosen method so it worked out well for him to be posted first.

You can consult the Cheat Sheet below for a quick look at damage numbers...If you are unsure of my explanation (when required), just watch the corresponding video.  Hopefully this method works well for you and comes in handy in upgrading and researching your Skylanders!



Freeze Blade Base Upgrades

Nitro Freeze Blade Base Upgrades
(I will only Double Up like this for "Special" Characters)

Freeze Blade Damage Numbers
Fore More Detail Consult Videos

Blizzard Blade Path via Nitro Freeze Blade

Ice Sculptor Path via Freeze Blade

Trail Freezer Path via Freeze Blade

Ice Skater Path via Nitro Freeze Blade

Skylanders SWAP Force Upgrade Path Showcase

As I type this (3 AM CST), I have 4 videos uploading, 1 rendering, and 1 still to edit/render.

I have mulled over how to stage the upgrades for this game for quite some time.  I ultimately set up a poll and sought your feedback in terms of what you would prefer.  I took all that info and compiled it with my own experiences from a few test runs and have ultimately decided on a set format.

*Let me again stress that this format will be in full force with pretty much everyone, minus Freeze Blade, Trap Shadow, Boom Jet, and Free Ranger.*

The format I have decided on is pretty simple...

I will make a video for the base upgrades and then for each upgrade path.  This format will go for both SWAP Force Skylanders and core Skylanders.

In the past I would take a box stock Chop Chop and go all the way from Upgrade #1 to the Soul Gem or WowPow when applicable.  I still like that format, but the addition of the Swappers and their 4 potential paths really pitched a curveball.

With my old format, the only debate was "should I record the base upgrades again when showcasing the other upgrade path?"  This was a simple debate and the fact I could crank out those 4 upgrades pretty quick resolved that issue.

After a lot of thought and the aforementioned experiments, I truly believe the multi-video format works best for several reasons.  It is the most efficient, easiest to search for, and archives the best.

Let's say you want to know about Freeze Blade's Ice Sculptor Path...If I were to do a "box stock to fully upgraded video" you would have to either spend 30 mins getting a complete education on Freeze Blade's other upgrades, or scrub thru the video.  If I make a video dedicated solely to "Ice Sculptor" you simply find it via a search, the posts here, or the playlist etc and spend fractions of the time only seeing what you want to see.  Say that you took Blizzard Blade and Ice Skater, but wonder if the other paths would have been better...You can simply watch those vids and reference my archived data here to make that determination.

For those of you that are relying on these videos to pick your paths for the first time...You have the most expansive set of data and videos for reference on the web.  I have been playing Skylanders since Day 1 and if anyone has taken the time to archive all of this info and make it available publicly in easy to follow formats I have somehow missed it.  You can literally breeze thru just the spreadsheets and make a good call...the videos will back that up with concrete samples.

If you recall, one of the things I was most pleased with SWAP Force was the Training Grounds with the Enchanted Dummies...Most people overlook this or just use it to get quick cash.  I definitely cash out from time-to-time, but the real reason I was stoked for this added feature was because of the chance it would give me to not only showcase the new upgrades, but also document their enhanced damage numbers!

In SSA and Giants I would simply showcase them at the Ruins or on Flynn's Ship and then go into a Heroic Challenge to give you a feel for fully upgraded gameplay.  The simple fact was, with so many upgrades "enhancing" another one I would have had to spent a ton of time going in and out of Heroics.  Granted, if I wasn't recording this I totally would have done that and archived it...Factor in making videos to upload to YouTube and would just be way too tedious.

The addition of the enchanted dummies, right by the Power Pod at that, is huge for hardcore players like myself.  It gives me the perfect chance to showcase 98% of all upgrades and in a very efficient manner.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...

A HUGE THANKS to whoever it was at Vicarious Visions that came up with this feature.  I really hope it becomes a staple in every future release as well as on the 3DS versions of the game.

That said, to get back to what you probably care about, here is what you will see on the coming posts:

Video #1: Freeze Blade Base Upgrades
Video #2: Freeze Blade: Blizzard Blade Path
Video #3: Freeze Blade: Ice Sculptor Path
Video #4: Freeze Blade: Trail Freezer Path
Video #5: Freeze Blade: Ice Skater Path

Granted, I will almost always record a Top Path and then a Bottom Path, but I can order them in the playlist and on these posts in the split manner for even easier viewing and research.

I actually like this method so well I think I am going to utilize it with the Newlanders and probably S2 and S3 Skylanders.  Basically you would see this format:

Video #1: Punk Shock Base Upgrades
Video #2: Punk Shock Conductor Constructor Path
Video #3: Electrocutey Path

The only time you will see me overlap the base upgrades will be for special characters (Legendary, Enchanted, Nitro, Jade, etc).  I only do this to simply showcase the special character's looks and full upgrades.

That said, hopefully that makes sense...the video rendering just finished so I am off to upload it and start editing/rendering the last one tonight.  Again, some characters (Freeze Blade, Trap Shadow, Free Ranger, and Boom Jet) will not entirely follow this format, but that is siimply due to me recording the Air guys way earlier and then experimenting with Trap Shadow and Freeze Blade.

Hopefully you will like this new format and find it easy to view and utilize for path research!

I will try to make a quick channel update on this tomorrow, but for now...here is the text version!

Currently Playing

  • Skylanders Imaginators
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • Minelogix-Minecraft PC
  • Stardew Valley - PC
  • Wii Fit U (Wii U)
  • Animal Crossing amiibo Festival (Wii U)
  • Yoshi's Wooly World
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS

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