Saturday, October 11, 2014

Guide for Rerolling Terra Battle Characters

Since a newly created Terra Battle account begins with enough Energy to immediately recruit a random character, many players choose to repeatedly create accounts and clear the tutorial until their first free recruitment ("pull"/"Pact") is a particularly strong one. People who have played PaD (Puzzle and Dragon) know exactly what I'm talking about here. If you're not completely sure you're going to stick with this game for a while, it might be worth it to just keep your first pull and then restart once you know you like it, since the early game will go by pretty quickly once you know what you're doing anyway.

Caveat: for a couple reasons, I don't consider rerolling as critical in Terra Battle as it is in PaD. First off, though higher-graded characters are rarer to obtain from a pact, every character in the pact pool is unique to pacts. You will never spend premium currency and get some garbage monster you could farm up in ten minutes just by playing the game. Second, there is no such thing as leader skills in this game, which means that there are no strategies which depend upon owning a specific character. Lastly, the difference between a very rare character and a more common one is far smaller than it is in PaD--the rare character will probably have a gimmick skill or two and slightly higher base stats. For every SS murderboat in the game, there are A or B graded characters who fill the same basic party niche with 90% of the effectiveness, and gain levels faster to boot.

Still, at least half of you are going to bloody well do it anyway, I suppose. It is a definite edge as you approach endgame.


Unique named characters are graded B / A / S / SS. The little piece of paper which pops out of the envelope will be gold if the character you're about to get is S or SS. The very first character you obtain is always either Bahl the Dark Duelist or Grace the Archer--these reroll tiers are talking about your first gachapon pull after playing the tutorial. Once you clear chapter 1, you should be able to open your first day bonus in the mail with 5 energy.

The game hasn't been soft launched for that long, I haven't played nearly as much as the Chinese/Japanese sperglords, and this is merely my own personal opinion. Still, I'm pretty confident in making these claims. From most desirable to least:

  • SS-grade healers
    Fighting in this game involves dealing damage and taking it, so you're not going to get very far in this game without healers. Your storyline healers are irredeemably bad*, the best farmable option is only mediocre, revival magic is seriously handy in the endgame, and there's actually not that many dedicated healers in the game. The three SS-grade healers are probably the most uniquely useful characters in the game for this reason. Amimari has a fair amount of offensive power, Amina's revival spell affects the whole party, and A'Misandra has the ability to block enemy healing effects.
    It's important to note that their skillsets aren't unique. Two B-grade characters (Sorman and Kuscah) have the same basic skillset--multiple healing spells, a healing boost passive, and a single-target revival spell. Still, if you're going to reroll for anything in particular, a SS healer is the way to go.
    Kuscah is apparently going to be given out to all new accounts until 11/3. Enemy damage output in endgame is so high that having two dedicated healers will be quite useful, but endgame is quite a while away. The SS mages may be a better starter pull for the coming month.

  • SS orbling mages
    There are four SS-grade mages who share the same skilset but have different elements; Lewto in Fire, Piz'fer in Ice, Jennish in Lightning, and Zerro in dark. And what a skillset! The big draw is their area-of-effect spells: between their jobs they have access to five stacking Pincer Area spells once fully leveled. Throw in a self-revival passive in their first job and a self-healing spell in the third, and you have a comically durable mage with powerful spells which can affect the whole board.
    A and S graded elemental mages also exist, but in general lack the self-revival skill and have only 3-4 nukes. Still, they usually have their own gimmick abilities and will probably actually be superior to the SS grade mages until endgame, because of their lower EXP requirements and easier job changes.

  • Yukken, the Negotiator
    Yukken's skillset is at first glance a pretty ho-hum physical attacker. However, she has access to all three weapon types between her three jobs, which means she'll never be at a triangle disadvantage in a stage. Weapon triangle is pretty drat important in this game, affecting skill proc rates in addition to combo damage. If you're going to guarantee having only one SS attacker, there's a good case to be made that it should be the most versatile one in the game.
    Burbaba is an A-graded character who likewise has access to all three weapon types and is a very good starting pull for the same reason. Lategame, he'll fall off due to his more defensive i.e worse passives and three attacking skills compared to Yukken's completely ridiculous array.

  • The rest of SS grade
    I mean, everything's in this grade for a reason, right? For reference, the rate of pulling a SS-grade character seems to be approximately 5%. The tutorial can be run in maybe 6 minutes. Have fun!

  • Levitate-users??
    The first really bad wall the game will throw at you is in Chapter 18, which is really quite obnoxious since it gates access to the good job change farming areas. Chapter is incredibly, obscenely, throw-your-phone-annyoing because of the huge number of stage hazards in it. Characters who have access to Levitation--Eileen in A grade and Gatz/Zafitte/Ellvern/Gegonago in S grade--quite possibly justify their existence as starters solely by their ability to trivialize chapter 18. The flip side is that easy access to Levitation takes up space in the skillset which could be used for offensive skills. Of the five, only Gatz has access to offensive skills before job change, and Eileen never gets any. Still, probably worth it.

  • Characters with direct combat skills
    Characters who don't get any damaging/healing skills in their first job are similar to dedicated supporters in other games--often quite good, but not if they have nobody else to support. Take a pass on them for your first character, for that reason. Almost as bad are theoretically combat-focused characters who don't get their first attack until level 35 or 65.

  • Everything else
    Seriously, if your first pull is something without an early attack skill or anything else distinguishing, your life is going to be miserable for a while.
  • There was talk going around of people who followed the game's twitter getting a code for 5 energy (i.e one additional pull) upon the release of the game. If it's implemented as I suspect it's implemented--as a single code which is just distributed to everybody and invalidated in a few days--a single reroll attempt will give you two shots at a good starter pull just as soon as anyone can figure out what the code is. EDIT: here it is dhth66nWXVCbjdTC; go to Options to input it.

  • There is a toggle to speed up combat animations in the upper right of the battle UI. No, I don't know of a way to automatically turn it on every fight.

  • Quitting the app and reloading in the middle of the battle will return you to the beginning of the current floor. Poor decisions over whether or not the game refreshes the RNG seed/monster spawn has plagued this game since the beginning of beta. Players were at various points, abusing this behavior to reroll individual farming zones in hopes of rare spawns, or trying to find the correct sequence of moves which would guarantee a drop. More confusingly, the iOS and Android versions of the game had different save/load behavior at different points. At the very least, you can still force quit the app if you're in a story dungeon run which has gone south, allowing you to restart the current floor.

  • Your stamina refreshes when you clear a chapter for the first time. Try not to waste too much of it, though it may be unavoidable in the beginning of the game.

  • For quite a while, the best bet for leveling up your characters is going to be the hourly Metal Zone dungeons. They can be rather infuriating, since enemies in the dungeons will flee if not killed instantly, but the experience return for your stamina is unrivaled. Remember that you can bring characters higher than the level cap (they just won't get experience) and that bringing a team of less than six characters increases the individual share of experience each character gets. The Japanese wiki (linked at the top of this post) is currently the only web site I know of which displays Metal Zone times, though I don't make any claims for accuracy.

  • If Metal Zones are not open, or you have a team of disparate levels to power up, some of the storyline stages have much higher experience yields than others. Since you get an experience bonus for killing many enemies in a single turn, and another one for getting kills on the first turns of a floor, the ideal experience farming stage is one with large blocks of enemies which you can easily kill with a single combo. 10-6 (19K xp), 12-5 (25K xp), and 20-1 (200K xp, but hellish to run) are popular.

  • Certain points in the story are quite nice to get to. Chapter 4 gives you a free B-graded elemental sword character and a job change for your starting character. Chapter 8 unlocks the second Metal Zone. Chapter 9 unlocks the second Hunting Zone. Chapter 10 gives you a free S-graded status healer. Chapter 12 unlocks the third Metal Zone. Chapter 17 unlocks the fourth Metal Zone. Chapter 18 unlocks the third Hunting Zone.

  • Job Changes in this game are not analogous to "evolution" in the traditional sense. When one of your characters gains an additional job, you can freely switch them between their learned jobs. Each job has its level tracked individually (so a character could be level 30 in their first job but only level 10 in the second) as well as a unique skillset. Second and third jobs have higher stats and often stronger skillsets but you are encouraged to level all of a character's jobs, since characters may "import" learned skills from their other jobs.

  • The Hunting Zone rotates between days of the week, and generally provides the materials required to job change. Tuesday drops elemental rings and (very rarely) ores. Wednesday drops weapon materials and (somewhat rarely) tears/particles. Thursday dungeon drops both tier 1 and tier 2 racial materials. In order to job change, a character will generally need 15 of their racial material, 15 of a specific elemental ring or weapon material, and 3 rarer special items. A and B grade characters need 3 Tears for their second job, and 3 Particles for their third. S and SS characters need three Ores for both their jobs.

  • Exception: for their second job change, SS grade characters require a rare weapon drop from a specific boss. By all accounts the drop rate is infuriatingly low, but at least you can target the drop you want. Unfortunately, a recent patch changed around the drop locations, so I don't have a guaranteed accurate list for you right now. I'll edit one in here when I find it.

  • Tears can be found with decent probability in Hunting Zone 2, but searching for Ores and Particles is kind of a fool's game. You should consider waiting until Hunting Zone 3 to search for those--with the caveat that Hunting Zone 3 is gated by Chapter 18. Chapter 18 is kind of a brick wall for low-information players, and you may need the power boost from job changes to get past it. It's an annoying double bind, and choosing either to grind for job change materials or levels will be infuriating either way.

  • A particular farmable mob, the Regenercell, is the next best choice for players who did not start with a powerful healer. You are simply Not Going to Get Past Chapter 18 with the healer the game gives you at the beginning. Regenercells can be farmed from stages 14-7 and 14-10, and you should absolutely bite the bullet if you're still stuck with the default healer at that point.
 {source: somethingawful}

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