(Mobile) Contest of Champions: Through a Veteran’s Eyes

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Take Mortal Kombat and insert Marvel characters and you have the game known as Marvel’s Contest of Champions. This game has been in the Apple and Google stores for just over 2 years, and I have been there since the beginning with some on and off breaks.

How To Play

Contest of Champions is very simple in concept. It is a 2d fighting game, and unlike Mortal Kombat, you cannot jump or get behind your opponent.

For offense you have 3 basic attacks:

  • Light attack (L) (tap the screen)
  • Medium attack (M) (swipe towards the opponent)
  • Heavy attack (H) (break opponents guard, click and hold in front of your character)

Each character also gets 3 special attacks:

  • special 1 (s1) – requires 1 full special bar
  • special 2 (s2) – requires 2 full special bars
  • special 3 (s3) – requires all 3 special bars to be full (unblockable)

In order to win you must deplete your opponent’s health completely (sometimes twice in the case of Phoenix).

In most cases, the best way to reduce the enemy’s health is to string your offensive moves into the longest attack pattern possible.

The most common attack patterns are:

M > L > L > L > M

M > L > L > L > L

L > L > L > M > M

Things to note:

  • The 2nd medium attack in an attack pattern will end the attack pattern
  • The 4th light attack in a pattern will end the attack pattern
  • Heavy attacks are not easy to add to a combo, not impossible, but the AI will usually counter attack before fully executing your heavy attack
  • Mix the attacks up and get a feel with what attack pattern best serves you and the character you are using. Ex/ Ghost Rider (awakened) benefits from both having a 5 attack pattern ending in a Light or Medium attack

For Defense you really have only 3 methods:

  • Blocking (click and hold behind your character)
  • Parry (requires proper Mastery investment) – this is a very tricky method, you must block just before the opponent attacks to activate parry
  • Dodge (requires proper Mastery investment) – simply swipe backwards and your character will dodge anything that would have hit them at that moment

Story Recap

All super powered beings (referenced as Champions) of Earth have been captured by the Collector and stored in stasis inside of his Crystals. The collector collects champions from different dimensions and different timelines, which is how the game explains how you can have a powerful 5* Spiderman and a weaker 2* Spiderman (One Spiderman comes from a future where he has tons of experience fighting and has mastered his powers vs a Spiderman with no combat experience and just obtained his powers (at least this is how I justify it in my mind ) ). You are what is called “The Summoner” as you are the being deemed worthy to open the crystals, or summoning champions, and utilize the champions you release to progress through the unnatural surroundings known as the Battlerealm. There are many hidden bosses pulling different strings and the main storyline has some surprising twists that had me dancing around my apartment in disbelief.

In addition to the main storyline, there is a monthly quest called Special Quest. They are different each month and so there is a time constraint on obtaining the available prizes.

Things You Can Do

There are many things you can do in this game so what better way to show you than with a list (yay lists!):

  • Arenas
  • Duels
  • Main Story
  • Monthly Special Quests
  • Catalyst Quests (Usually daily except for the Tier 4 catalysts)
  • Alliance Quests (Requires being in an Alliance)
  • Alliance Wars (Requires being in an Alliance)
  • Global Chat (haha, oh gosh, no, just stay away from this chat)
  • Realm of Legends/ Road to the Labyrinth/ Labyrinth of Legends

Types of Character

There are 6 types of characters, and each type is both strong and weak against another type. Here are the 6 types and a champion for each category.

  • Skill – Black Widow
  • Mutant – Wolverine
  • Mystic – Ghost Rider
  • Science – Hulk
  • Technology – Ironman
  • Cosmic – Drax

Each 3* hero and higher can be awakened. Awakened are hidden passive abilities only achievable by duplicating a character or by using an awakening stone.

Masteries

Since these will affect your entire gameplay, they deserve their own section. Masteries are passive abilities that affect most or all of your champions. For example, getting the masteries Parry and Dexterity allow you to Parry and Dodge attacks as referenced in the defense section. Parry and Dexterity affect all your champions. Deep Wounds is a mastery that only affects characters that can inflict bleed on their opponent. There is also Willpower, which allows you to heal when under a debuff or the masteries that allow you to scout enemy champions ahead (Detect _____ (ex/ Detect Mystic) ). This becomes particularly important if you tailor your masteries for a specific type of character like skill or mystic champs. While in higher tiers for Alliance War enemy champs start to become cloaked in mystery and therefore these Detect masteries can help you strategize your fights to utilize your champions to the best situations.

Review

But Kaveman, haven’t you been reviewing the entire game already? No, it was a recap of what the game is and how to play it (with some added tips). This review will review the game and the company behind it. The company behind Contest of Champions is just as important as the game itself.

Kabam – this company has become notorious for performing acts that make no sense or changing Contest of Champions to eliminate any strategies currently being used. This has become coined as being kabammed

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Kabammed

And if that doesn’t convince you, simply take a stroll into Reddit’s Contest of Champions

https://www.reddit.com/r/ContestOfChampions/

or

search for the hashtag #boycottmcoc which has gained attention from media sources

http://toucharcade.com/2017/03/09/players-upset-about-recent-marvel-contest-of-champions-changes-organize-boycottmcoc-movement/

From my two years experience with this game I have seen Contest of Champions evolve. However through the years it has developed a pattern for nerfing champions and strategies. For example…

  1. Ironfist dominated the contest before the introduction of the Mastery Willpower.
  2. Perfect Block teams dominated the contest to withstand impossible situations before they nerfed block proficiency mastery.
  3. A cap placed on the amount of items that can be held. Kabam realized people were stockpiling health and revive potions before taking a run at what was the hardest challenge of the game at the time, Realm of Legends. This inevitably cut into Kabam’s profit and they capped the amount of items a person could hold and stated it was “For the benefit of the Contest of Champion community”.
  4. The Current and most devastating nerfs have just come in the form of all the best champions being made shadows of their former selves. RIP Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, and Thor. How bad was this update? This update is the cause of #boycottmcoc. This update also was so bad that it caused Kabam to reverse some of their nerfs to try and satisfy the playerbase.
  5. The hidden/secret nerfs. Kabam is notorious for nerfing characters and their abilities silently without announcing they did. Worse, when questioned they will delete threads or deny. During this last update, only a handful of champions were said to be nerfed and by the end of it players were realizing that kabam had once again silently nerfed other characters (poor Storm, Ghost Rider, etc.)

This is the company behind the game of Contest of Champions.

Contest of Champions – Honestly I feel this is an awesome game where you can collect your favorite Marvel Heroes. It is simple in its mechanics, but leaves enough strategy for skill to come into play (so long as Kabam doesn’t find your strategies overpowered and decide to change the game). I was able to complete the Realm of Legends myself just using Strange and a 3* Star Lord. This took my several attempts of restarting but I was eventually able to complete it (woo! Shameless pride!). The Storyline itself is fantastic and I would highly recommend playing the game just for that (or I suppose just youtube the storyline). The game has something new every month, which keeps the game feeling fresh. However, in order to get the newest and best champs comes the cost of grinding in the arena. The champions can be used to fight every 2 hours (less if you are in an alliance and request help).

This game highly favors new players. Your chances of getting 4* characters from Premium Hero Crystals is much higher when you first start playing compared to anyone who has been playing for more than 3 months. This has been Kabam’s strategy pattern of getting new players hooked. Once you hit that Magik (Contest of Champion pun!) 3 month mark you are reduced to the regular chance of getting a 4* hero (just like the rest of us!).

Finally, here is the last thing to know about the mobile game of Contest of Champions. Besides grinding in the arena, or completing the monthly quests (which only gets you a 3*), there is no specific way to get any specific champ you want. However, even the arena champs and the monthly regular monthly quest are specific characters. I can tell you it is 100% random chance what champ you get from the crystals, and it will make no difference between spinning the crystal or just click “Open All”. I should know, I have wanted Ghost Rider since the game started, and when he finally was released into the game I did all I could to get him, and sadly failed. I would also have an awakened Hulk and awakened Wolverine if I could get the champions I wanted, but sadly that is just not how the game works. Go into this game knowing that and you will be less disappointed when you find this out.

Til next time, I’ll just be sitting here in my Cave

(Xbox One) For Honor: My Inner Viking Unleashed!

Fair Warning: This post contains spoilers of the game.

Picture from: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ydN1TtiK4GA/maxresdefault.jpg

I love Norse Mythology. The idea of gods being represented with human flaws and human emotions fills me with excitement. However, this is not a review of the Norse Mythos (which frankly, as I am writing this I feel that would be an awesome, but daunting task to do). While I love the idea that I have Norwegian blood in me and that somehow makes me feel like a strong and brave Viking, this post is about a game. A game that allows a person to channel their inner Viking, their inner Samurai, and/or their inner Knight. That’s right, this game is about the blood gushing, the metal clanging, and adrenaline pumping game called… For Honor.

(I have been strictly preoccupied with online gameplay, with a very small chance to try the storyline. I will contain my thoughts and analysis to strictly online gameplay)

Quick Suggestions When You’re Starting

  • Complete both the tutorials to accumulate 3000 Steel
  •  Buy yourself Champion Status with the Steel (this leaves you with enough to buy 2 characters).
  • Only buy Champion Status if you know you are going to have enough time to play the game during the Champion Status duration
  • Do not buy gear packages when your character is less than 3rd You get gear drops from playing, and most of it will be replaced by the time you get to 3rd prestige
  • Have fun, honestly. You’re about to live your childhood dream. Do it with a bloodcurdling yell and a smile (unless you’re in an apartment building, a little fist pump and a smile would suffice)

 

Game Modes

There are several game modes to choose from. They are: Dominon, Elimination, Team Death Match, Brawl and Duel. For every one of these modes you have the option of facing other players or Bots (usually the bots are masters of the characters they play).

Dominion: Easily my favorite game type. Your objective as a team is to acquire 1000 pts and then eliminate each of the enemy players. Gain points by killing the little soldiers that are half your size, capture one of the three areas (A,B, or C), hold a capture point (1 pt /second), standing on one of your teams captured areas (doubles your pt/s to 2pt/second), and of course killing the enemy players. Each captured area gives you 100 pts. These pts only stay so long as your team holds the area. However, the points will be subtracted from your total if you lose the area.

This is particularly important and here is a scenario as to why:

Your team has surpassed 1000 points and are currently sitting at 1050 points. Furthermore, your team has eliminated 3 of the 4 enemies. In the midst of your team celebrating and teabagging the dead bodies of your enemies, the 4th and final enemy manages to capture an area and subtracts your total below 1000. As a result, all of the eliminated enemies rise from the dead and respawn, and your team must once again acquire 1000 points before once again trying to eliminate the enemy team.

The game is not over until it is over. However, if your team has acquired 1300+ points, then even if the 4th and final enemy captures all areas while your team is taunting and celebrating they will not dip your score below 1000 and their dead teammates will not rise to their aid. Celebrate and taunt at will.

Elimination: This is a simple 4 vs 4 match type with no respawns. To win, all 4 of your enemies must be incapacitated in some fashion at the same time. An execution will make certain your team gets a man advantage or at least permanently killing an enemy for the round, as well as en environmental kill (thrown off a cliff, thrown into a spike wall, thrown into a spike pit etc.). Try to 1v1 the enemy you are paired up with first and then start running towards an ally to help them with their enemy. Alternatively, ditch your enemy and go and help a teammate for a quick 2vs1 to pick up a quick kill. However, in doing so you allow an opening for your enemy to do the same thing.

When it comes to helping an ally, honorable fighters let a 1v1 continue with no outside interruption. Players that are dishonorable will jump in and make it a 2vs1. The choice is up to you. I personally let people 1v1 and will step into fight if my teammate dies, unless I am ganged up in a previous round then all honor is thrown out the proverbial castle window and I just want the enemy to bleed.

Team Death Match: 4 vs 4 with respawns, first team to 1000 and eliminate your enemies wins. This is just a free for all slobberknocker. Try to go in as a team, or at least in pairs. It’s more helpful to fight enemies when you know you don’t have to constantly fend off 2 or 3 other enemies.

Brawl: 2 vs 2 elimination type match up with no respawns. Best done with someone you know and can communicate with. When I play with friends we usually divide and conquer. “You take the one on the left, I got the dishonorable rat knight on the right”. Or let the enemy choose. Ultimately, this can either be treated as a 1v1 with two people, or it can devolve into a button mashing block fest with the Viking vanguard throwing you into a nearby rock and kneeing you in the face unexpectedly because you were too busy dealing with his teammate to notice him running at you… as an example.

Duel: 1vs1. First one to kill the other, by any means necessary. How you kill is up to you. Environment, block and slash, throw around and heavy attack for days. I highly recommend this game type. Go into each game expecting to get your ass kicked and learn something new. If you are dominating using the same button combination type attack then you just haven’t met the right character or skilled player who will put you in your place. Alternatively, you might never win in Duel but that’s perfectly fine. Don’t come out of a match frustrated (although the excessive taunting, teabagging or showboating of your enemy might make that hard).Take each match as a lesson to learn a character you want to get better with.

Character Types

The first thing you do as a game is pick your faction. And when you devote yourself to that faction there is a good chance you feel honorbound to become the best with that faction.

Vanguards: These are the first characters you get for each faction.

Tanks: These characters take all the damage and still dish out power. Whether this is through blocking (like the Warlord), or just… standing there… doing nothing…. Because apparently his thick skin is as tough as any armor… (The Shugoki (aka Sumo Samurai) )

Assassins: These characters dish out heaps of damage and have very little health and armor. So stay offensive

Hybrids: These are a mixture of different classes (as the word Hybrid would imply), and are used greatly for utility. Need a character swept to the ground while your three other teammates heavy attack, in rides the Valkyrie. Need an enemy pushed for half a mile? Bring in the Lawbringer.

Gear

Gear helps you tailor your warrior to the needs of the game mode and your play style. However with the boost of any stat comes a cost of having to decrease another stat, so be wary of that. If you find yourself blocking more often than attack, increase block reduction and reduce your damage. Playing 1vs1 Duel, reduce revive speed. Gear is all about customizing your character to the needs of you and the game type. However, a high gear level does not make you automatically more superior. It helps tailor your attributes to your needs, this does not necessarily make you a god among men (although if you have the Thor lightning strike look and emotes, then you can be a god among men but still die like a mortal). So when you are about to go into a match and you are a prestige 1 character with a 20 armor rating going up against an enemy with 100 armor rating, do not fret. The armor rating just means their character has been fiddled with more.

Prestige

When you are about to go into a match and you are a prestige 1 character with a 20 armor rating going up against a prestige 10 with 100 armor rating, do no fret about the armor, fret about the time that player would need to get to prestige 10.

Prestige put very simply is the amount of experience a player has with that particular character. A prestige 1 character has gone the lengths and fought the battles to essentially get to level 21 (level 20 and then leveled once to get to prestige 1 level 1). But a 10th prestige character has gone the lengths and back, fought the battles, wars and whatever other fighting they could get their hand on and have not come out the other side knowing their character very well (or at least, this is technically how prestige looks like).

Level 20 is the end of the prestige; afterwards you drop back to level 1 and the next prestige. Note: You DO NOT lose your feats. So prestige away and have no fear of losing your armor or all of your hard earned feats.

Gameplay

The gameplay for this game is both complex and simple. The simplicity is that you need to know your character. Know their movesets, know what hidden abilities they have, know if they can take a hit and if so from what characters. Knowing how your character functions and the best way to use them is the easiest method to getting better. The complexity comes into play when you realize every character is like your own and has hidden characteristics and movesets/playstyles. It also comes from when you find yourself being ganged up on and knowing when to block or counter a guard break. And most importantly, it comes from knowing where you are, where your enemy is and how your surroundings will affect how you fight. Fighting on a bridge with no railings? First one to push the other off, or guard break or counter guard break will probably win.

The maps are a stunning battlefield of gore and strategy. The buttons are easy to push, combos are easy to time, and the block system is an amazing step forward in a game type I have never come across before. Is that to say it doesn’t exist somewhere (because inevitably someone out there knows of a game where that concept was first used) no, but it’s never been in a game and so find this fighting style to be refreshing.

However, the servers are more often than not unreliable and kick players from games quite often. This is something I hope will be remedied in the future, or when the initial drop in players come then hopefully there will be less stress on the servers and we won’t have to worry about that. Additionally, guard breaking can be annoying when you know you are right beside the enemy and your guard break magically misses them, or during your guard break the enemy is suddenly attack, or you guard break and the enemy takes a few stumbles towards an edge and then stops just before they would have dropped. It is an amazing game feature but I don’t feel it has been perfected yet.

Executions, dear Thor the executions. Not that the executions are bad, but trying to pull one off consistently can be a headache. To execute you simply heavy attack when the enemy is about to die, that’s it. Sounds simple? Apparently not. My experience has shown that heavy attacks either activates your execution options, or the enemy just falls to the ground in a big heap of non-fatally killedness. And even when you get the execution commands, if you press the buttons they have a 50/50 chance of either decapitating (or whatever execution method your character has) or they fall to the ground in a big heap of non-fatally killedness. It seems silly that it would be this hard, and even when you activate the execution menu, you’re wrong.

Future Expectations

I know there are more characters for each faction to come. I am always excited for that. There are certainly more hybrid type opportunities and different harassing or utility type character voids that can be filled. However, I feel there is one big expectation that may or may not come. A 4th faction. the crowd gasps, a lady faints, babies everywhere start to cry uncontrollable That’s right, I think there is a 4th faction yet to appear. In the beginning video of For Honor, you see that the war is between the three factions, essentially over the lack of water resources. And funny enough, Vikings totally start the fight by not agreeing to peace (as a Viking Faction member, I totally will admit to this). But I feel there is either a secret 4th faction to appear that’s been under our noses the entire time, or there will be a 4th faction that comes in search of water because the area they lived in unfortunately had its water resources depleted. The tricky thinking is to find a historic warrior faction that would allow weapon type combat with fire bombs, bows and arrows and crossbows, but not be associated with projectile based weaponry (sorry pirates). I don’t think it would be disrespectful to think a native tribe could somehow be thrown into the mix and be a good contender, or possibly a Mayan type faction. This is my expectation for future DLCs and future updates.

If you have read this article, I thank you. If you recommend this to someone, that’s pretty awesome too and you deserve a WiFive!

Til next time, I’ll just be sitting here in my Cave.