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I'm all wet. I'm talking about my negligee, of course. ― Nureonna

Opening


Wah, so daunting. SO MANY WORDS. I don't know how many of these kinds of things I've written but I am definitely very happy to receive the patronage from readers and lurkers alike.

So here we are, second part of my partially comprehensive checklist of things to know when you're ranking. Hopefully these tips can help you out and make you be a more efficient player. Today's a good day, so I want to finally finish this draft and get this over with, because sometimes I am just flat out tired of writing out so much stuff.

Sadly, this might also be one of my 'last' posts unless there are things people want to recommend to me that I can write about, given I share some interest in the topic.

Kelerik and I are also working on a FAQ. We hope it helps answers some questions that a lot of players have, although my style of writing might be a little too poignant.

As a last note, thanks to everyone who filled out the spreadsheet. We're hoping it picks up in the future, but if there's any recommendations you can make, please reply on the discussion post concerning it.

And as a last last note, thanks to all my comrades, senders and loyal traders alike, to helping me and stuff. Yeah, I know there's a Lv 29 ranking. And he did it twice. TWICE. Maybe he'll do it a third time. he didn't. qq In regards to that, I would like to remind everyone that that is a very possible feat. No hax involved. Just crazy poking activity, and a person who cashed on a FAWK team early in his career.

You can read my previous blogpost here if you missed it. It got tips and stuff.

Trends


This will be a list of trends I've observed so far after having seen so many FAW events, but I am subject to being wrong incase the meta changes. If you have any questions or comments and want to point out something to me, let me know below.

Bob also has some point data, but I don't want to work on making a scatterplot on a spreadsheet and embedding it yet. Maybe I'll do it later. Meh.

Trend 1: Almost Everyone Works Hard at the Beginning of an Event

First time ranking attemptees might get this wrong a lot. From what I've seen, most of them play that 'catchup' game where they usually rank somewhere kinda low on the first point tally and then creep up the ranks. Sure it works, but there are better ways to get points.

Whatever the case, for anyone that intends on ranking, this is an important trend and one that probably every seasoned ranker follows up on. Almost everyone works hard at the beginning of an event. There are a bunch of factors as to why this is, and why if you plan on ranking, then the first couple of days are usually the most important. Let's see.

Factors

Event Cards (and Other Swag)

Ok, so here's a simple fact. At the start of a new event, for rankers and non-rankers alike, almost everyone wants to rush and get the event cards, usually no matter how long it takes if it's possible and doable. This partly explains the initial rush at the beginning, because some people want to get their event cards quick and then just go easy mode for the rest of the event not having to worry about spending massive BP and sorts near the end of the event incase the event card(s) did not drop for them.

But this explains something else too: That the longer it takes to get the best possible variation of the event cards, usually the longer the initial rush for sends.

This is interesting to know because it's happened in previous events, two of the most prominent being Terror Town and Cyber City. Why that is is because the amalgamation variations of the cards Kiyohime and Ragnarok usually yield the best stats and highest soldier count compared to their drop counterparts, but they take quite some time to get. Getting 4 of the event AW and 4 of the event FAW just to make one card usually takes some time for a player that doesn't have all the time to spend ranking or farming a ton of stuff.

Also, a ton of players went for making full Kiyohime defense teams for AD purposes or so. Ah, yay.

Knowing this also explains another trend, which I'll get into in.

Ranking Headstart

The other thing is that people usually want to get a headstart on their FAW ranking points since unprecedented things can happen in real life or in game. Or it could be the possibility, maybe, that they just want to be able to slack off and rest until the next event. By the time the event's almost over, people usually make sure they're caught up with boxes, have a healthy trader and sender list, and possibly have cleaned up presents.

Also, this helps explain the last factor.

The Mid-rank Reward

The last helpful thing to know is that the midrank reward is the most lucrative for ranking high. You can view this at your AW screen. Here's the breakdown.

Ranks Mid-rank Reward
1-50 3x Premium Ticket & 5x Full Swords
51-100 2x Premium Ticket & 5x Full Swords
101-300 1x Premium Ticket & 5x Full Swords

To compare, the final reward is rather weak in comparison. We'll assume that you know everyone in the top 300 gets 2x of the current UR Ranking Reward so I'll leave that out.

Ranks Final Reward
1-10 n Guaranteed SR Tickets
11-50 Ultimate Summon Ticket
51-100 Premium Ticket + 30 Maiden Tickets
101-300 30 Maiden Tickets

If you've been noticing the point trends in the top 100, you'll know what I'm talking about. Most players in the top 50 start to slack off a lot after the mid-rank reward to try to get a spot in the 51-100 range, and to take a breather for the next event.

So why is it the case that people intentionally slack off in the top 50 to get the Premium Ticket? Well, easily enough, the biggest reason is because Premium Tickets are usable during Premium Summon specials, such as the supposedly increased UR rate or exclusive premium summon cards put into the pool for a limited time.

On the other hand, Ultimate Summon Tickets only offer an increased rate on SRs per R pull, so most of the time players want to settle for Premium Tickets. As for Guaranteed SR Tickets, if you rank anywhere in the top 10 you're getting non-event SRs left and right opening your boxes anyway, unless you're really unlucky. Most people don't rank in the top 10 for the rewards. Usually they rank for other reasons, such as the fact they can't help it or they just want dat sexy praise. Or a better peak rank. Yeah, that's it.

Wrap Up

So knowing all of this, how does this help you? Well, knowing when the rush is prepares you for ranking because you know when points are most readily available. The rush, as a result, usually is at the start of an event for these factors forementioned. It could also be attributed to the fact that some players don't know how much points they should do, so instead they do as much as they can as possible before the first point tally, and then find out they did better than they expected.

Keep this in mind. Instead of having to play the catch up game by starting at a somewhat low rank and working your way up through the ranks everyday until the event ends, you start off strong and keep on a good lead. That way, if something happens or if you feel like you want to slack off, you're allowed to.

Nearly every member that ranks in our alliance does this save for a couple who are busy with school, work, or other real life occupations. It's a good trend to keep in mind if you really want that ranking reward.

The other thing to note that's related to this trend is that because of this, people tend to prune their comrade lists and look for new people during the tail end of an event and the start of an event. You can read more about that here.

Thanks to Abyss for dropping by this tip, I totally forgot to wrap this up as to why its important. Make sure you know this, people don't just get a ton of points at the start of the event for kicks. We work hard for a reason!

Trend 2: Peak Hours are a Thing (and maybe Timezones)

Screenshot 2014-08-24-19-57-51

FAWs like every minute, yaargh

Urgh, this is easily the most complicated part of the post I had to write, like ever. There's no easy way to cut this down, but peak hours are actually a thing. Yes, peak hours. They can also synonymously be called rush hours.

So what exactly are peak hours anyway? Well, it's a term that I'll use mostly to refer to the times that FAWs are sent most frequently throughout a day.

Also, be aware. I'm going to be REALLY subjective about this stuff, so tell me what I'm missing if I'm wrong down there in the comments and I'll definitely take your comments into consideration.

Daily Activity

Most people follow a typical workday during the week with busy mornings and afternoons where they might or might not be able to play very much. Other people might have late night shifts. Some people might even be unemployed and have the whole day to themselves. Well, whatever the case, people are busy here and there and how busy they are probably will affect you in some obscure shape or form.

Since I don't know everyone (and gosh forbid that I try to do that), I mostly assert that people will be most free in the evenings because of this reason: The castle vitality refill is only available at 10 PM on the timezone you set your device to be.

So what's that do, really? Well, in short, not everyone has a super awesome magic school that lets them farm whenever they want with however much vitality they like. The castle vitality helps because it allows a player to go off searching for more AW and FAW if they don't have a high magic school. In addition, although Bobkyou has countered me with the fact he does this, most people, I assume, don't think about changing the timezone on their device. Maybe because they don't know or they're too lazy to. Whatever the case is, I won't blame them. But the standard is that the vit refill happens at 10, and people grab it, and they use it. Unless they fall asleep, die, or become really lazy bakas.

But Spica, Everyone's in a Different Timezone!

Yeah, I know, and that's what I'll also mention. Since a lot of different people are in different timezones, stuff gets complicated, and then your mind overheats and blow up. But let me elaborate a bit.

If you've noticed about the game, this game is popular in mostly three regions: Europe, East Asia, and North America. I've left out some people, of course, but that's always going to happen. Regardless, we're going to think in a broad sense about this. Now here's a table.

Also, Kelerik's right. Europeans have everything... but a nice timezone. Sadness ensues.

Region Timezones
North America GMT-7 ― GMT-4
Europe GMT+0 ― GMT+4
East Asia GMT+8 ― GMT+10

North America

Let's start off with North America first. If you're in North America (we'll assume GMT-7 because you are now Californian/from Seattle/Vancouver), then chances are you'll see peak hours:

  • In the evenings at around 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM, when other North American players are playing with you.
  • In the mornings at around 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM, when all the Singaporeans, Australians, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians are playing.
  • A slight rush before reset at around 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM, when it's late afternoon in Europe on the other side of the world. Europe's weird, I'll explain later.

So in between are somewhat dead hours. Usually, the afternoons until the evenings are kind of dead, and it's a good idea to sleep after the rush hours in the evenings when there's nothing being thrown around. Awesome.

Europe

You guys have like the most awful timezone ever. Like, really. Ok, anyways, let's clock in. We're going to assume now that you are either German, Dutch, or Swedish, because I said so. Adjust accordingly if you aren't as cool as my kouhais Ixy and Rynsk.

  • In the late afternoon around 14:00 to 18:00, since allegedly you guys really like sleeping in the evenings before the reset, and your peak hours in respect to the other regions are absolutely terrible. Sux. Also, this is the same time when the Asians are playing in the evening, so yeah.
  • Really early mornings at around 5:00 to 7:00, since that's when the North Americans are playing.
  • Some slight rush at 10:00 to 12:00. I quickly learned I'm not the best person to cover this, so I'M GOING TO RELY ON YOU COMMENTERS!

I'll leave this to be edited later, but gosh, living in Europe must be really tough for you guys. The pain of staying up is strong.

East Asia

It's a good thing East Asian guys aren't Europeans because those guys are really really struggling. This game really caters to you guys. The times are pretty convenient for attending Alliance Duel battles since you guys share a timezone close to Japan's SO JELLY, and there's a bunch of other benefits that I probably can't think off the top of my head.

Still though, sometimes, you just gotta deal with really odd rush hour times because of the rest of us. Oh well. We're going to assume you're in Singapore now (GMT+8).

  • Evenings at around 19:00 to 22:00. All the Asians, like ever. Also, it's afternoon for Europe so people are playing by then also.
  • Afternoons at around 11:00 to 14:00. Evenings in North America. We said hi, by the way, from across the Pacific Ocean.

Wrap Up

Alright, so I know I'm not the best person to cover this but peak hours are actually a thing, and the best way to see this is to examine how your senders' activity goes during the times for your respective regions. I've talked some amount before about how knowing the trends of activity for ranking and sending AW/FAW go, but now I've kind of learned that... well... it's more complicated than I thought.

Yet for most players, we kind of get a feel for when the rush hours usually are and adjust our playtime for it accordingly. Although Europe's the odd one out, they're still working extra hard to get with us.

It's not to say that the timezone is everything, however. People can't play ALL the time, and you certainly can't catch 6 FAW sent at the same time either. So as a result, it's good to pace yourself throughout a day and know the trends of your ranking traders and senders so that you get the largest breadth of sends without burning yourself out.

Anyways, I'm open to a LOT of comments about this, so if you have a thought you want to express that you feel people should know, then please do share it. After all, I'm not a know-it-all, and neither do I think everyone else who ranks is. But this is just something that might not have been covered in real 'depth', and even I feel like I haven't covered enough.

Let's move on.

Trend 3: Snipers (and why we don't like them)

NlqvHjt

Bee y u so bully

Ok, so its hard to define what a sniper really is in this game. People do complain a lot about them, including me.

What is a sniper? You mean like those recon buttfaces in Battlefield 3? You mean the AWPer in Counterstrike? Nah. Snipers in Valkyrie Crusade, as the community has deemed it, are FAW killers that kill FAWs quick enough to lock out other invited attendees. Usually 15-20 seconds for a FAW to be alive is enough for a good number of active people to make it in as long as they're smart with their notifications. Anywhere from 10 seconds and lower after a FAW is sent and killed is usually considered sniping by most peoples' standards.

I've been asked to cover this in broader detail by a number of my alliance members and other friends that feel as if this should be something that should be said more in depth, as these guys are really annoying, even if they do it with or without intent.

So we all snipe every so once in a while. It's just a matter of how you go about doing it is the problem. Some players think that there's nothing wrong with sniping as senders just want their shit killed fast. Others, like traders, are really annoyed at snipers because that means the people they invite usually don't make it in. Like me. And a bunch of other people. Blegh.

But regardless, most people hate those who snipe FAWs very actively without real reason or premise, so I'm going to try to explain why sniping is bad, what kind of snipers are there, and what you should try doing if you think you're a sniper or if you have been sniping in the past.

The Various Ways of The Sniper by Sun Tzu

So you're in a FAW, you're dillydallying getting those ranking points and working mad hard to get that QTπ ranking reward that you so madly need for your odd team of cute misfits. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you get a FAW with only one other person in it and you're like "Yup, I can catch that."

Then it decks you hard in the face that you can't get in. BOOM, HEADSHOT. "Archwitch not available." In your anger you take a look at who attends and its some random dude with Chinese characters all over in his name that did like 5 mil damage in some 6 or so odd seconds. Or maybe its an English name, whatever.

Whatever the case is, this is a story that's been told time and time again since the dawn of the first fantasy archwitch Cacao. That there are those assholes that just stole yo shit even though it was barely like 8 seconds since that sender sent it.

Here are some facts about snipers:

  • Often intends to use multiple BP if its a FAW he believes everyone else will (and should miss).
  • A sniper doesn't necessarily have to be ace damage dealer in a FAW. Some people get the ace and leave halfway for everyone else to attend. However, a sniper is usually the one that gets the finishing points on a FAW, even if this isn't displayed.
  • They are greedy mean bullies. They also probably haven't showered in 2 days. Hmpf.

Why Snipe?

There are two kinds of snipers which I believe exist in the game, the kind that unintentionally do it, and the kind that do it with intent.

Unintentional Snipers (and what they might be thinking)

  • I didn't really know or think about other people that wanted to attend those sends. I thought that sender usually just relied on me.
  • Don't senders usually want their stuff killed fast? (most do, actually, but its good to be nice)
  • If I kill this FAW fast, then my trader will send another one really soon, I bet!

Intentional Snipers (and what they might be thinking)

  • I want that ace, and nobody is allowed to take it from me.
  • It isn't a crime to snipe FAW anyway, so why should I care who gets in or who doesn't?
  • If I snipe this FAW, that means other people won't get in, and I'll have an easier time ranking, right?
  • I'm a FAWK, and killing stuff fast is what I'm good at because of my super awesome facerekking team that I bought/worked hard for. I'm entitled to killing fast because I'm super buff and manly. I made this up by the way hurr durr
  • I hate a person from this alliance, so I wanna countersnipe him and kill his senders' stuff really quick guhehe

So there are a couple reasons why people will snipe, and most of them are bad reasons, but people sometimes do it for laughs. Especially that last one, might actually happen more than one might think because of a particular... well, I won't explain it if you don't know it anyway.

But you know, sniping isn't always healthy for traders and even if senders might like it at first, they might grow to hate it as they want to rank and trade FAWs too. It's not good to be known as that-one-sender-who-became-a-trader-but-always-sent-to-that-annoying-sniper-dude and get declined as result. Nope.

I don't wanna be a sniper anymore, Senpai. Teach me your ways お願い

That's all good and well, so let's see. There are usually 2 ways that people try to avoid sniping if they feel like they've done too much damage to a FAW.

  1. They flee early, preferably after getting the ace and overkill on minions. Minions give subdue points now, so yeah. Also, by fleeing early, they skip the victory animation altogether, and they can make it into other FAWs quickly.
  2. They wait on the victory screen for a while, like counting to 8 or 10. Some might be impatient because they might have other FAW waiting for them, and others might be really patient even if it doesn't get them the finisher or the ace.

Doing either of these things is a nice gesture on your end that encourages more FAW sharing, because the more people that get in per FAW, the more loving that goes around. It shows that you're a promising trader that knows who to share with, and incites a sense of camaraderie among others. It incites that sense even among your senders who might usually be too slow to make it in, yet still want to reap the rewards.

Doing the former method is popular among players like myself, Holv, Kelerik, and other members of the community that wish to see others attend FAW also. The only problem is if someone else also flees early, and that might be an unintentional snipe. However, often is the case that enough people make it in for it not to be considered a problem.

Doing the latter is a popular method among players that don't usually kill very quickly, because they're nice enough to let other people go in.

Whatever the case, be nice! If you're a person that gets a lot of FAW and wants to make it into everyones', do the first method. If you're a nice guy and want to pace yourself with every send you get, get used to doing the latter.

Closing


HOLY CRAP WE'RE DONE. Yeah, apologies for writing so much crap but do you know how long this draft's been on the backburner? A LONG TIME. So long, actually, that I don't like thinking about it. I started writing this around the 14th of this month, but then continued putting it off because I wanted to go ahead and clean through my presents, and I've gotten a very far way.

The keys for this event are killing me though. I'm slowly coming to realize that I will very much regret this because I can see myself saying "This Premium Ticket didn't give me crap anyway, why'd I torture myself with so many swords and shoes?!"

God, I'm going to die. Also school starts up in my university soon too, so that's why I also wanted to get this out of the way quick.

No pictures. Again. APOLOGIES, I'M SORRY FOR THE LACK OF PICTURES!

As a super ultra final note, we do have alliance slots open like, 6 of them if I recall? in AF since a bunch of members are retiring for school, but I do want everyone to know that we are NOT THAT STRICT OF AN ALLIANCE! We have a terrible image problem, with so many of our own members ranking in the top 100 or so. However, we are a really fun alliance and Bob is considering revising the requirement policy so that more of you promising little guys can get in and get all the QTπ's that you could ever imagine. Check it out, and please don't be afraid to reply. We do grant exceptions to players that show a LOT of promise. And who knows? Maybe you could be the next Geo. Ranking top 10 a couple days after he joined, like a BAWS.

For those of you that are interested, check out the recruitment post here. Thanks for reading through all this crap, I know it's daunting. Sorry… ( ;∀;)

Have a good one everyone. Hope to see you all soon, and as usual, hope you all get awesome drops and have fun with ranking or whatever you do. Peace~

EDIT: One more thing, by the way, but recently it's been a fad now to decorate your userpage? Mine's right here, but I also helped Ryn and Bee decorate theirs. Kelerik also decorated his page too. Sasuke decorated his as an inspiration from our page decorating, probably.

What do you guys think? Nice? Useful? Just for show? Let me know in the comments.

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