Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weapon Farming in Dynasty Warriors 8 Made Easy

I'm constantly amazed, as I'm sure you all are, at just how much I can talk about a single Dynasty Warriors game as I'm playing it and indeed for a time thereafter.  It seems like every day brings a brand new topic about the game that I can take and pull apart until I can present it in possibly the most long-winded way possible, and it's something that I've found I can't really do for many other things.  So, whatever, I can do it and I like to do it, so that's what I'm going to do.  I'm aware that most of you are probably not as interested in Dynasty Warriors or really any flavor of game KOEI releases as I am, but I hope the deluge of content over the games is not off-putting.  Because, I mean, I'm gonna keep doing it.

Going with the theme of the last Dynasty Warriors 8 post, we're going to talk about trophies.  Or rather -a- trophy.  We're going to cover the Herculean amount of effort that goes into a single trophy called Weapon Collector that, as you might have guessed, tasks you with collecting all the weapons in the game.  You see, the whole weapon system in Dynasty Warriors 8 got a bit of an overhaul that more or less makes it a very different beast from the games before it except, in a sense, Dynasty Warriors 6.  That's not as bad a thing as that comparison might lead you to believe, however, so don't get ahead of me.  The weapons all have an element attached to them that is either Heaven, Earth or Man, which recalls to DW6's Standard, Skill and Strength types of weapons, though they don't have the same sort of effects and really I guess the only similarity is that they all shared red, green and blue and I swear I was going somewhere with that, but forgot.

Anyway, that's -one- of the categories of the weapons, though.  There's actually two beyond the Elemental Shift, and its all about rarity.  Common Weapons have Orbs, but rare weapons and the Fifth Weapon for each character have Stars instead.  These merely denote uniqueness and nothing else, because as you'll learn, each character has Four Orb weapons and Three Star weapons.  (Well, Sword has like four Star weapons, but you get one from Ambition Mode and it's not important)  You need to collect one of each of these seven weapons for every single character in the game for the trophy which is just a Silver trophy even though it will be the actual second-most grindy thing you do in the game.  Yes, Ambition Mode in all its splendor and magnificence has been bumped to third, with Bond-grinding still likely holding first place.  Though, in all honesty, Weapon Farming might just usurp it, it's that bad.

How can it be so bad, you might be innocently asking?  Well, it's pretty simple.  Of the three Star weapons per character, only -one- of them is a guaranteed drop.  That is the Fifth Weapon which have unlock conditions (readily visible in the Gallery once you've beaten every single Story Mode Stage) that you have to follow on Hard Mode.  You have to do that with every single one of the 77 characters included in the game.  That's the easy part, because the thing you want to do is get Xiahou Yuan's Fifth Weapon first.  It's called the Bow of Destruction, and if there were ever a more appropriate moniker, I don't know of it.  You see, what makes the Bow of Destruction so special is that it has an element on it called Cyclone, which is at level 10.  Cyclone breaks through an enemy's guard with charge attacks.  The weapon also has multiple charge attacks that have multiple hits within it that do Wind damage which seems to take a percentage of health rather than do -damage-.  What this means is that a single charge attack from the Bow of Destruction (one that has the multi-wind shots at least, which are C2, 5 and 6) will straight-up murder any officer, even on Chaos difficulty provided the full attack hits them.  Even if it doesn't, it's not hard to do a follow-up and basically it just means that you will not have to worry about the damage -you- do.

What about the other two Star weapons for each character?  Well, first what you want to do is get your Fortune Hunter skill leveled up, which increases your Luck.  Level 10 at minimum, though you'll likely want up to about 15 unless you're crazy and want to grind it up to 20.  Why would that be crazy?  Well, because the way you level the skill up is by defeating officers on a map after you've attained 1,500 KOs.  On the same map.  There are precious few maps that will allow you to rack up that many kills while also leaving enough chattel for you to reap in an attempt to level up the skill (Because, of course, not every single one and in fact most will not do it since it's based on some weird RNG), but if you are feeling particularly interested, then the Yellow Turban Conflict stage is what you want.

This is Zhang Jiao's Story stage and it offers a -lot- of officers plus a handy little infinite spawn of mooks that you can inflate your score with in the course of a few minutes.  All you need to do is rescue Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang and wait for Huangfu Song to change the direction of their approach.  This will divert forces to the lower left portion (south of Zhang Bao) and the square at the southernmost point before you go East into a base will just, as stated, spawn infinite amounts of soldiers after you defeat both Base captains in the neighboring areas.  Get up to 1,500 KOs (or more if you feel like it, I don't know if it affects your chances) and then go around slaughtering officers until you take down He Jin.  You should hopefully get at least 2 levels if not more, and...then you just do it again until you're happy.  Better chances if you perform the stage on Chaos Difficulty, and of course you don't have to use Zhang Jiao when selecting from Free Mode.  In fact, I would recommend it.  I personally used a Level 99 Lu Bu who has max stats and his Fifth Weapon - since it's an early map it's not difficult at all, even on Chaos, so you won't have to spam Cyclone abuse.

So now that you have Fortune Hunter up at a decent level, you'll want to equip that and go to Shu's section in Free Mode and pick the very last stage - Capture of Wei - Wei Forces.  You see, it's not simple enough that you just kill a bunch of officers for a chance at Star weapons.  No, you have to kill unique characters, since generics possess only the -barest- chance of actually dropping them, where Uniques, especially with a proper Fortune Hunter score, have a chance that approaches reasonable and contrary to what I thought prior, they have a chance of dropping weapons that -aren't- theirs.  Capture of Wei on the Wei side offers you a small-ish map (or at least a map where only 30% of it is used) that has no less than 11 Unique Officers (Jiang Wei, Huang Zhong, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhang Bao, Liu Shan, Guan Xing, Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, Zhuge Liang and Guan Ping) in a short timeframe.  Plus it has one more benefit which I will explain to you momentarily.

I've found in my runs tonight that with Level 15 Fortune Hunter, you can expect to walk away from the map with -at least- one Star weapon, which is good.  Not great since there's, you know, 154 Star Weapons in the game not counting Fifth Weapons (Jesus Christ), but it could be worse, and it's honestly a relatively short map.  There -is- a bit of an issue with the scripting, however, in that sometimes Guan Ping and Ma Chao simply refuse to advance on you or on the Wei Main Camp, and Guan Ping is ridiculously out of the way if he doesn't meaning you lose out on a potential chance unless you charge his ass, and even if he does charge, he always charges with Liu Bei (as does Zhuge Liang) who you do not want to kill immediately because it will end the stage and if you kill Liu Bei and, say, Zhuge Liang at the same time, Liang will not drop a weapon.  Which is incredibly frustrating.

The key thing about any and all forms of grinding and farming is the amount of time invested because obviously you want to cut the amount of time spent down as much as possible.  Because grinding/farming is fucking obnoxiously boring and games that rely on it for anything in excess are made by developers who are dumb and also stupid.  And are also jerks.  The good thing with Dynasty Warriors 8 and the way weapons unlock is that there's a little bit of a trick that cuts -way- down on the amount of down-time you have in between runs of the map.  As in, cuts it down to damn-near zero.  You want to know what that funny little trick is?

Let Liu Bei kill you

(After killing all his officers.  It's not even difficult to let it happen, since Capture of Wei - Wei Side is an end-story mission which means it's max difficulty and then you have Chaos on top of that...yeah, characters do a lot of damage.  )

You see, when you lose a stage, a message comes up asking if you'd like to restart from the beginning, which it will do so without any load time (unless there's a cinematic at the start, I imagine) allowing you to get right into it.  And at least with Star weapons (honestly haven't tested with Orb weapons, honestly don't even care) they seem to work on an unlock system in a sense.  Because they're unique, once you have them, you -have- them unless you sell them or something else.  So say you get Guan Xing to drop the Sky Splitter which is one of Guan Ping's Star weapons and then you do as I say and allow Liu Bei to kill you.  When you restart the stage, you can check your weapons and look at that, you still have the Sky Splitter.  This way, you cut out the load into the main menu, the load into the stage selection, into the character selection and loading up the stage proper.  That is a tangible amount of minutes and given that you're damn near guaranteed one or two weapons per run (if not more, one particularly generous run netted me four) using that stage and Fortune Hunter 15, it will potentially shave -hours- off of your general farming, especially if you would use a different method.  I would advise, however, that you end a Farm sessions with a victory - I doubt if it really matters if you quit to menu after a defeat rather than replaying and winning, but it' not to take chances, yeah?

I'm personally up to 90% of the entire Weapons Catalog filled, so it shouldn't be too terribly long before I can get to bond-grinding and then...simply being done with Dynasty Warriors 8 until Xtreme Legends comes out in some fashion.  Since I will most likely be getting it provided it's physical -or at the very least it's localized for the Vita-.  I'm being optimistic that Xtreme Legends is going to get localized (it's barely been out in Japan yet, so I'm not too worried about lack of announcement) but I wouldn't be surprised if KOEI pulls the same bullshit as they did with 7 and cut the English VAs for a little cost and cut out the Disk production for the same reason.  (Because, once again, no dubs = no disk is bullshit)  If it's localized for the Vita, unless it's just a dreadfully shitty port, I'll at least be alright with downloading that since it will be far smaller than the ~11 gigs that standard KOEI fare seems to be on PS3.  I'd say I don't know -why- I'm bothering, but it's obvious - Zhu Ran is in Xtreme Legends.  I can't wait for an official announcement so I can do another "Let's Talk About the New Characters" and probably just devote an entire post to Zhu Ran.  Just you wait.

Update!:  I figure it's appropriate to do a tl;dr of my method here for the folks who...somehow stumble across this and want to be Weapon Collecting Masochists.

  • Get the Bow of Destruction - It's Xiahou Yuan's Fifth Weapon.  The game tells you how to get it.
  • Buff Up a Fighter of Your Choice (Potentially Optional) - Abuse the Academy in your Ambition Mode town and use some (most/all) of that gold you've stockpiled playing every single Story Mode mission.  Get someone to Level 99, buff their stats to 1,000, go all out.  I went with Lu Bu, obv. but you go with whoever works for you.
  • Upgrade Fortune Hunter - Go to Yellow Turban Conflict (Zhang Jiao's story stage) on Chaos Difficulty in Free Mode, rescue Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang and go to the southwest corner (south of Zhang Bao) where Peons spawn infinitely.  Massacre 1,500+ and then go to town on all the officers in the stage.  Repeat as needed; Bare Minimum Level 10, Recommended 15+.
  • Farm Farm Farm - Go to Shu's Missions in Free Mode and pick Capture of Wei - Wei Forces (or find it in the Xuchang maps, maybe).  Equipped with Fortune Hunter and the Bow of Destruction, you should be able to wrangle 1-4 Star Weapons from the 11 officers present per run.  Let Liu Bei kill you to immediately restart the stage.  You'll retain your Star weapons and save a lot of loading time.  Repeat until the trophy dings!
As another side update, I got my Weapon Collector trophy so yay me!  Also Bond-Grinding is definitely number one most grindy, awful thing in DW8.  No question.

okay, I do still wonder sometimes why I do this to myself

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