Tinkering, tinkering, always tinkering. As of late, I find myself dissatisfied with a static hangar, and am more and more drawn to experimenting with other builds. Change for the sake of change is a trap, though- now that I’m in the spectrum where upgrades to weapons and bots takes a day or more (not to mention a decent chunk of Silver), I can’t afford to be so fickle.
One of the tensions I’ve been experiencing in War Robots is the disconnect between what I want to play, and what I feel I need to play. To fall back on easy Magic: the Gathering jargon, I’m torn between rogue brewing and netdecking. I want to play the game my way and have fun doing it, but by the same token I also want to be battlefield effective. I hold onto the hope that there’s a build out there that might be relatively uncommon, but effective for a player dedicated to making it work.
This is a graph recently done by the sagely petevb on the Wiki Forum, showing the hangars of the top players on iOS. Whenever I’m feeling dissatisfied with the current lineup, my mind wanders to these tried-and-tested builds.
But I just can’t seem to stop tinkering. Especially when I’ve had some really feast and famine games this week.
That second match was one of the worst I’ve ever played. Honestly, the less said, the better. Here’s some of the tinkering I’ve been doing…
The Pin Stalker is a great example of how I get stuck on brewing. You may recall my long-running quest to make the Stalker ‘work,’ and how at last I landed on the Pins as the damage delivery system I thought most synergized with the strengths of the bot. In my last Battle Stories update, I discussed how I felt it should click philosophically, but that I wasn’t really seeing the results on the battlefield.
As a result, this week I benched this fella, and he likely would have stayed there if not by the most peculiar circumstance, and a poster by the name of Shaolin Rogue.
Shaolin Rogue makes War Robots vids for his YouTube channel. And when the last test server went up, he put out a call for requests. Any bot, any build, he’d give it a go at top level, record it, and push it out. Did I have a request?
This six-minute video was like watching The Little Bot that Could, and was all I needed to see to pull the Pin Stalker out of the mothballs. I don’t subscribe to a lot of videos, and I’d not seen Shaolin Rogue’s before, but this was a no-brainer. Insightful commentary and great production, I can’t wait to see more.
I’ve been brickfighting for so long, it’s been a strange feeling to open with a Galahad and head for a beacon first, rather than into the fray. Having reacclimated, though, I’ve been having a lot of fun with my Plasmahad lately. So much so, that I decided to nab a second one.
For a little hangar diversity, I thought I’d try out a “death button” missile setup with an Orkan and Pinatas. Results were underwhelming, mainly because I was equipping a melee fighter with high burst but little sustained DPS. Part of this is certainly due to the fact that I don’t possess any Pinatas leveled past 6, but too often I’d find myself having unloaded on the enemy, then plinking away with Orkan reloads until the Pinatas come back online. In places like the center beacon at Yamantau, that was frequently fatal.
For the now, I’ve replaced the Pinatas with Magnums, as a hedge against this vulnerability. I may level up the Pinatas and bring them back, I’m presently undecided. Tinker, tinker…
This is an example of where I can field a build I know to be effective, but I’m just not enjoying it. To be sure, two Tarans and two Magnums can put up some solid damage. The problem, then, lies in the delivery vector. I’m just not a fan of the Griffin.
The Griffin has commanded about a 25% share of the metagame for some time, and that doesn’t look to be slipping anytime soon. Calls that the Griffin may be made obsolete with the advent of the new “Dash” bot on the test server are sure to be premature. But for all its virtues, I just haven’t found its slow pace to my liking.
In fairness, I also run a Lancelot, but I suppose the difference is in the payoff. With the Lancelot, I know I’m in for some up-close knife-fighting, so the plodding walk has a satisfying conclusion. At some point I’ll probably have to take a serious look at the Griffin, but I’ll be putting it off for awhile longer yet.
With the second Galahad coming aboard and return of the Pin Stalker, something had to give, and it was the recently-acquired Zeus Carnage. I don’t expect this to be a permanent change, but having more bots I’m itching to run than slots to fit them in is a nice problem to have. Pixonic did disclose they’ve got some hangar management upgrades on their radar in this week’s Reddit AMA (excerpts here), but for now I’ll just be hot-seating bots as whim and play dictate.
As for the Carnage, it has on occasion put up some very nice numbers for me. Then there are other times it doesn’t seem to carry its weight. Part of my frustration is with the Zeus, which may or may not still be glitching. I’ve certainly hit for no obvious damage before, and I feel like that possibility is still there.
I may look to pick up a pair of Tridents when I accumulate enough Workshop Points, and give the Carnage another run-out. For now, I’m more interested in going deeper with the Galahad.
As for the remaining bots in my hangar, both the Lancelot and Doc are safe for now. I like having a muscular option in the hangar, and even if it’s slow, the Lancelot is an 800-pound gorilla once it gets where it’s going. It’s a nice feeling to get meched in center beacon on Yamantau, and saying “stick around, fellas, I’ll be right back.” It’s also a hell of a hedge against getting spawn camped. A pity we can’t customize our own skins, because I’d channel me some Woodie Guthrie and write This Machine Kills Reds on the armor bib.
As for the Doc, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve mastered the Hydra Doc build. Time spent on it now is something of a diminishing return, where it’s less about learning and more about just piloting. I may revert it back to the Tulumbas I ran on it when I first got it, or mix it up with some other options. I’ve heard Quad Orkans are pretty good, or perhaps an Orkan frontload and Taran backload.
Tinker, tinker, tinker.
I recently discovered a delightful YouTube channel that makes hilarious videos for War Robots, called “Funny Squad.” Imagine, for instance, encountering an all-Stalker squad armed with Ecus marching in single file. An all-Noricum squad. That sort of stuff.
One of their recent vids was the “Mixed Weapon Challenge,” which saw them going to battle with a crazyquilt patchwork of loadouts.
Recently I encountered just such a bold soul out in the wild, —MEXICO STEEL–.
Tulumbas (range 500m), Pin (500m), Pinata (300m), and Orkan (300m). God love him. Just to use that effectively requires quite a bit of attention to both range and your own control pad. And it seems —MEXICO STEEL– knew what he was doing. After facing him, he was on my side the next match.
What better way to see out a blog post about marching to your own different drummer than with this guy? Here’s to you, —MEXICO STEEL–! Keep doin’ it your way.