The first time
I started playing TWDRTS almost a year ago to the day (login streak 360). I’d played a few mobile games before (something do on on the commute) and either felt myself getting slowly drawn in (i.e. addicted) or bored. Either way I quickly uninstalled. Not with this game though. I was INSTANTLY drawn in by the variety of aspirations on offer…bagging a top toon, joining a top faction, winning a level up etc.
Beth, Heath and Troy
I remember getting my first 4* from tokens (Beth) and she tore through teams as I moved up the raid rankings. I later found out that she was one of the most prized or at least rarest 4* (cue disagreements). My first baby faction was Nightmares (Henry region). Full of newbies like me with one star member, the leader Troy. He taught me a lot and most memorably how to use training grounds to store resources (until then the millions in level ups were a complete mystery). For such a competitive environment I’ve found the game’s community to be fairly unique in terms of willingness of vets to pass on pro tips. Shortly after joining Nightmares I got my first 5* (Heath ‘The Whisperer’) from a Telltale token event (and didn’t appreciate how lucky this pull was at the time). He was the toon that cemented my addiction to the game (I’m sure everyone has one) and he’s one of few 5* that still makes the odd appearance in wars in the world of 6* toons. Back then his AR meant I could win raids easily and I soon became MVP every time in wars. Time to move onwards and upwards.
We’re here to puck you up!
I moved to Mother Puckers (complete with cheesy slogan above), a faction with top ten aspirations for war (we never achieved it in my time ) and a tight knit group of good people. It was there I began to win meaningful rewards and after a month or so had enough tokens for my first 5* token pull. I’d worked so hard in every war to get it. Laughing at myself now, I remember the pull being quite a ceremonial affair (this would become the norm but not so much now) and with the family out and an ice cold beer at the ready Richard popped out. My team started to take shape. Heath’s attack buff, Richard to soften them up and Beth to finish it. Job done. Of course, the top (or even mid level) factions had no problem against me and it was during my time at MPs that I set my objective to get into Retribution. They “pucked us up” every single war. When we faced them I was usually destroyed before I finished one battle. They won most of the solo and faction tournaments too. It was painful to see and so in true “if you can’t beat 'em join 'em fashion” I set off.
First steps on the road to Retribution
I needed better toons. Two options. Place higher in tournaments or spend real money. I tried both alongside the eternal grind (which I really enjoyed back then) on SR for Jesus and Zeke and those godforsaken multi-knife tools. I diligently saved resources for 2-3 months for a crack at a level up and raid tournament. Casually scoring in faction events, watching the boards to see how top faction members were scoring and waiting for the right tournament when they would hopefully be low on resources and I’d have a chance. In the mean time, two of my favourite factionmates (Dizzle and Fro) moved on to HJK out of the blue and it wasn’t the same at MPs after that. There was talk of a faction merger and this was the first insight I had into faction politics (something which I have since learned is a big part of the game). I wanted the security of a stable faction to allow me to work on my team so moved to Brooklynz Finest, shepherded by O.G (who I am still in touch with). I also started reading the forums daily, checking VK and anything else I could find online to give me an edge. Looking back, I’m astounded by my own and many other people’s commitment to achieving their goals in this game.
First up raids. I massively underestimated how many points I’d need. I burned all of my 103 cans and finished 13th (imagine that many people going that hard in a raid tourney now?). Disheartened I saved another few weeks for the level up and had enough toons, gear and food to hit 2 million points (it would have been enough to win the previous 3 tournaments) and went for it when (Tough) Bruce was top prize. I finished 4th. Retribution’s then leader Lauren won the tournament scoring over 4 million but during the tournament I got messages from one of Ret’s former members (Kat) asking about my team etc. Lori was my prize (never even used in the end despite being maxed and waiting around for ascension) but I convinced myself that I was now on Ret’s radar and had a renewed desire to one day win a level up.
I had some good (and very bad) luck pulling for premier recruits - Hunter (single pull), Konrad (definitely not a single pull) and Bluechonne among others. There’s no need to mention here the regrets we all share on failed pulls but like anything luck based it feels bad when you lose and good when you win (although there has been buyers remorse on a few successful pulls too!). I practiced raiding against Achilles (legendary former member of Ret) and Ghoul (of Heart Shaped Box fame) who were top two on the boards. I never got close to beating Achilles (he’s still top ranked despite retiring when ascendance was first launched with godlike foresight of how the game would unravel) but managed to beat Ghoul a few times as my team and weapons improved (it definitely wasn’t his farm team despite what he said at the time ).
Finally getting the call
I moved to another higher level faction with O.G.'s blessing. This time to Kingdom Reborn. Their leader Izm, the coolest person on the boards in Henry, is super devoted to his faction members. It wasn’t long though before I got a request from one of the leaders of Retribution to share my roster and weapons. I was quite proud of my “damn fine roster and decent weapons” as he put it but I hesitated when he asked me to join. I had a loyalty to Izm but after discussing my long held objective with him he agreed I could come back if it didn’t work out. As a psychologist, I think its my fascination with the ins and outs of the in-game society that has kept me playing so long.
In terms of tournament numbers I slotted straight in (cue disagreement ). In terms of experience, knowledge and skill in the game I was way off and I learnt a lot in a short time. Ret is full of really great people - Sal, Darth Vader, Loki (complete with the darkest sense of humour I’ve ever come across), Minyu, S&M, Ash, Crazy, Oli to name a few (I can’t list all 30!). Some of them are F2P and always have been (it can be done!). Real legends that I am proud to be lining up alongside this weekend.
Honestly, the launch of ascendance is the only reason I got the call. For all the negative things about ascendance, which are well documented on this forum, it opened up the game for players like me to have a chance at getting into the top factions. Is that a good thing? From a purely selfish perspective yes but otherwise ascendance has been very divisive with players abandoning their long term factions and friendships to chase the more scarce rewards that have come along with it. That has been quite sad to watch.
Victory at last
So this weekend, with Boobs, Hershel, The Governor, Alpha and Siddiq all doing their thing with precisely crafted weapons I am pretty content with my attack team (a bit ranged heavy I know). Last weekend, with heavy heart, I burned every single resource, piece of gear and toon I had in a solo level up apart from the teams and weapons I needed for this last war. I WON with 2.6 million points (old renown point structure ). Were the prizes worth it? 3 Ulysses and some gear bags I no longer needed. Of course not but it was the most satisfying thing I’ve achieved in the the game (and would highly recommend it as an alternative to the depot). Who knows, maybe it inspired someone new to the game to push on to have their own experience (it will take much longer or more money now though sadly) and with that thought I will enjoy one last ceremonial pull when this war is over. Good luck to you all.