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Beginners Guide to Element TD. I remember playing this in Warcraft 3 back when it was a maze-building TD. They simplified for the mobile platform which I think was a good call. I am writing this to help new players as well as so older players can correct any misunderstandings that I myself have! :-) Elements: --------- You start with one free summons. Every 5 waves (up thru wave 50 so ELEVEN total points granted), you can summon an elemental. One of the biggest ways to mess up is to summon a level 2 or level 3 element before you are ready. Sure you CAN summon a level 2 at wave 10, but you don't really NEED it then and it will definitely mess up your game by eating a bunch of life. Wait to summon higher level elements until you are close to needing them AND have the firepower to take them out reasonably well. Most towers do a certain element of damage....EVEN DUAL/TRIPLE TOWERS!!! They ALL have a damage type in their description. A Vapor tower (fire/water) does WATER DAMAGE, not fire, and not Composite! Elements do normal damage to most other foes, except double damage to favored elements and half to unfavored. This means that you want to have multiple elements in your defense so the half-dmg foes do not leak through and eat your life totals. Also there are 6 elements round robin which is unusual. Most are obvious EXCEPT that Earth does NOT trump Water...it trumps Light. And Light beats darkness which beats water. So: Light > Darkness > Water > Fire > Nature > Earth > Light. Lets look at some element comboes where youd have equal strength towers of two different elements: Light/Dark tower together: 75% light, 150% dark, 150% water, 100% fire, 100% nature, earth 75% This is because one tower might get a bonus or penalty but the other will not, so it averages out. Light/Water together: 100% light, 125% dark, 100% water, 150% fire, 100% nature, 75% earth. You see vs dark, light gets 200% damage but water gets 50%, so 125% averaged. Thus, picking elements that are spaced out 1 apart will ensure you only have a single 75% hole instead of 2 of them since one covers the other's weakness. Using three different elements will help average things out even more. Tower Levels: ------------- All towers have an Effective Tower Level from 1 to 4. A dual element tower level 1 is roughly equivalent to a level 2 single element tower. Whereas a triple tower is ETL 3. This is not really straightforward due to cost differences and power differences between them. For a single element tower it starts at 175 to build. Then +575 to upgrade, then 2250 to upgrade, then 6000 more to upgrade again. So total costs are approximately: Single element: 175, 750, 3000, 9000 Dual Element: n/a, 600, 1700, 4700 Triple Element: n/a, n/a, 1500, 5000 A special Periodic Tower which has a multichromatic element type (making it 100% effective vs everything) is a single level tower costing 9000, so ETL 4. Basic cannon and arrow towers are more like 0.5 ETL. These are special beginner towers that can be sold for full price to help with the early game. It should be noted that all single element towers gain 7 times more stats per level. A level up costs about 3 towers worth of the same type, but gives 7X stats making a leveled up towers much more effective than spamming weaker ones. All dual and triple element towers gain 5 times more stats per level and their cost to upgrade is about 2 towers worth. Thus they are very efficient to level up as well. You can see that a single element tower and periodic costs DOUBLE that of a maxed dual/triple tower, which in theory makes them more space-efficient, assuming they are just as cost-effective as the other towers. They make better use of support towers too. Interest: --------- The game rewards you for not overspending. First, you get 2% interest every 15 seconds of gametime. This is very unusual as most such games do it BY WAVE, not by time! As such, you can actually make a lot more money by waiting as long as possible to kill the entire wave. Ideally you'd shoot up most creeps early then finish them right before the end. Note that once you lose a life, the interest clock STOPS! No interest on the second pass of creeps! No interest during the waiting period between waves either. Interest can snowball pretty well in the latter part of the game. At wave 40, enemies give about 20 gold per kill (roughly 500 for the wave) and you typically can have 15,000 gold in the bank on Normal if played well. This means 300 gold per 15 seconds which is a pretty big chunk of what the wave itself offers. By level 50 or so, you can have 60,000 giving you a whopping 1200 gold per 15 seconds. So interest IS significant. Whether it is worth the big loss to your score is debatable however... Score: ------ The goal is to get a high score which can be counterproductive to the points above. Each wave gives more and more score potential, with a multiplier per wave. One multiplier is how fast you finished the wave. Obviously this runs counter to gaining lots of interest! The next is "clean" which I guess means no leaked creeps. I guess it could mean that you built stuff during a wave too. Need to find out. Next is a static multipler based on your difficulty level. Your total net-worth of your towers and money is added to your total score. This supports gaining interest somewhat but even a fantastic run will net you under 20,000 extra gold and thus score, which is a pretty low amount relative to the other factors. Also, once you "win", your score is largely impacted by how far you can survive the endless waves and having more money from interest obviously helps you do better in the final waves which boost score quite a bit. Finally, once you are done a final multipler is applied to everything based on your Speed...again! I presume this is speed taken for the entire game. Unsure if skipping wave-breaks helps this or not. There are several considerations and tradeoffs when it comes to scoring. Dual Tower Support Strategies: ------------------------------- There are a certain number of dual-element support towers that are CRUCIAL for efficient development. ALL build strategies should highly consider these. Note that the primary three dual-towers are all MUCH more effective at level 3 (ETL4) which requires 3 points in each of their elements. Also note that their damage output is really not bad at all! These are: Blacksmith - Fire/Earth. Boosts DAMAGE of 4 towers by 15/30/100%. Well - Water/Nature. Boosts attack SPEED of 4 towers by 15/30/100% Trickery - Dark/Light. CLONES a tower for 10/20/70 seconds. The blacksmith is pretty straightforward. The Well is actually superior in every way because blacksmith does NOT boost special-effect-damage whereas attacking faster always results in double the overall damage and effects. You will also have less "overkill" damage as compared to the blacksmith. Trickery is odd. It gives a 100% boost basically for one tower but for a period of time. It seems to trigger every 30 seconds. Thus a level 2 one gives you 67% of a random tower, plus its own decent damage. Level 3 one can make a bit over 2 towers at a time effectively. Note that it requires having ROOM to make these new towers and its placement might not be very optimal. Building up your defenses: -------------------------- Note that there are two special basic towers that are multi-element/elementless. A cannon tower with splash and an arrow tower. These are valuable because they have no elemental weakness AND can be sold for full value (minus 1 dollar). This allows you to start out using them instead of an element tower if desired and you can use them to strengthen your defense against certain waves...for example wave 4 enemies auto-rez so a cannon tower really helps and then you can turn around and sell it. You can upgrade each of these basic towers which adds an elemental type...which kinda defeats the purpose of them as they cannot be sold for 99% cost anymore and are subject to elemental penalties. Due to interest you want to hold onto money as much as possible which will help build up even more money over time. As such, you generally want to build your towers such that they kill the enemy as close to the exit as possible without leaking. When you need more firepower you must consider several things: First, you want to diversify your elements. Adding a second element is usually better than adding the same element again. Secondly, while an Upgrade is a lot more cost-effective, you generally do not need 5x the firepower and it can actually be counterproductive by killing the enemy on the first pass instead of the second, costing you interest. The cost of upgrade can also deplete your money and lose interest. Thus, you usually start out with one element tower (or some arrow/cannon), then you add a second element tower instead of upgrading your first tower. Then you either upgrade to a dual or add a third element tower. Once you need more firepower from here however, you typically wind up upgrading to a dual tower instead of adding more single element towers. Enemy Types: ------------ Apart from element, the special abilities of enemies plays a large part in their difficulty. These are: 1. Vengeful - When a tower kills them, that tower's offense is reduced by 10% of current, in a 5x5ish area. Towers that are clumped up are vulnerable to this since each death will affect all your defenses instead of just 1 part of it. 2. Regeneration - They heal 2.5% per second. These creeps are very strong against staged defenses where you intend to soften up creeps with splash towers and finish them off later with finisher-towers, or intend to finish them with the same splash towers later. They can heal up all the damage taken during their trip. Single damage towers do much better against these, as well as bursty towers. 3. Healers - When they die, they heal 30% of creeps in an area. These are really nasty against SLOWing towers which clump up creeps together. They are very strong against splash damage because when one dies, they erase a big chunk of splash on many of their allies. 4. Construct - become invincible temporarily. Not really a problem since your towers automatically avoid the invulnerable ones. Slow shooting towers might have trouble though and leak a few. 5. Turbo - They dash periodically forward. These can potentially zoom past towers with a really small range and/or engagement zone, thus allowing a tower a lot less firing time than anticipated. 6. Rezzers - These die and resurrect once at 30% health. Very good against slow firing single target towers such as Money as they simply wont be able to kill them all. Countered by big splash towers. 7. Timewarp - When killed they reset their status to 4 seconds ago. Great against high burst towers as they effectively rez themselves at full health. They are also good against slow-firing towers. A damage-over-time tower or weaker splash type will weaken them slowly so that when they die, they reset with less than full health. Obviously you cannot shuffle your defenses constantly to adapt to each type of enemy. Plus many of the abilities require contradictory placement of defenses to counter. However, by knowing what creep types are coming and their elements, it can help plan when you need to upgrade your towers or what to place next and when. You also learn that you cannot rely on one strategy to beat everything. Also, certain of these powers are a lot worse than others. Construct is a non-issue for the most part. The regeneration effect is minimized if you dont overuse splash damage AND allow them time to heal. The Heal-On-Die is one of the most problematic ones to deal with because no matter when it dies, it erases your splash damage. Thus, only single target against the same target (i.e. long range towers) until it dies is unaffected. Timewarp is pretty terrible too since you basically have to full-kill them twice. The only mitigation strategy is to use splash damage up front to weaken them then wait a while (4 seconds), then kill them off. This is a terrible plan vs rezzers,healers,regeneration however so not very useful. Tower Strategies to Consider: ----------------------------- Part of the fun in the game is to learn how to use various towers to efficiently win. To get you started, I offer up a few points for thought. 1. Life tower. Uses nature/Light. This is a fast-firing single target, decent damage tower that also restores life. You can get it early in the game and it is particularly valuable to allow you to maximize interest earnings by having bare-minimum defenses. Normally this doesnt work great because harder creeps and elemental-opposed ones leak through and drain your health. But with this tower, you can restore these losses as long as you don't get too far behind. When at full life it even gets a pretty nice 40% damage boost. 2. Money tower. Uses Earth,Fire,Light. Earns 20% more money per kill, upgrades to 30%. This allows you to go with one of two routes. First, you can get a TON of money by using this with interest. OR, you can use this tower INSTEAD of interest so you can get a faster time but still have more money than normal. Beware, this is a great damage tower but is SLOOW. If you upgrade your main defense tower to this, you WILL leak. Your first money tower needs to be non- crucial to your defense AND placed for maximum creep coverage. That means for Grove, bottom row of the middle area, towards the right. This lets it shoot at creeps coming around the bin, all the way around the curve and then shoot at them as they go across the very bottom AND once they go upwards on the right side of the screen. Once you get a second and third money tower in different locations, the speed issues mostly go away. You finish up by adding other non-Earth damage towers towards endgame. Pure Fire works well since you should go with level 3 fire/earth anyways for Blacksmith lvl3 anyways.