Medievia Mudslinger

December 28th, 2002

The Basics of Herobattling - By Izz

You can hear your heart pounding clearly in your head, your breathing is ragged and tense. The smell of blood staining the path you're running on nauseates you. You pause and try hastily to remember some of the spells you learned years ago. Quickly chanting the ancient words you cast the spell of detect invisibility on yourself. Magically, something starts to materialize at your feet before you. A dagger, glowing with a pale aura, greets your frantic gaze. A cool wave of reassurance washes over you, as you realize this well balanced weapon will do a great amount of damage to your foe. You wield the twisted shard of metal.

Suddenly, you hear the pounding of armored boots a few hundred feet north on the path you occupy. With no sanctuary to help defend yourself, the situation seems hopeless. You look at your dagger with shame now, understanding that you are the hunted. You realize you have no choice but to run. Stumbling, you climb up a tower and quickly scan the surrounding area. You run through every possible trick you know; shielding the room won't work, setting traps would be a waste of time, hide and you will be found. There seems to be nothing you can do to flee this hero that is tracking you. He knows and is ready to handle every one of your pathetic moves. You look out across the arena, blanketed with dark clouds, giving you an ominous premonition.

Clattering up the ladder you see a well-armored hand reach up and hoist an equally well-armored body to the top. Bristling with daggers, potions, scrolls, and wands, the stranger seems calm and collected, making you tremble in fear. Smiling, the figure quickly flashes out a tiny black scroll marked with X's and recites it pointing at you. Instantly you feel sick to your stomach, vomiting green bile. Fearing the worst and hoping for the best you lunge at the figure with your shard of metal, missing him by at least two feet. As you brace against the wall, recovering from your attempted backstab, the stranger slams his elbow into your face, making it a mess of bone, skin, and blood. You immediately drop, hanging onto consciousness long enough to see him produce a long, thin dagger. He quickly stabs it into your back, twisting it sharply, with a crack, once he finds your spinal cord. You feel a warm blanket of blood wash down your back as your life ebbs away...

A common enough scenario for the newbie herobattler. A beginner with no prior experience, knowledge, or training in the herobattle arena(s) is forced to go through this rite of passage at least once. The good thing about herobattling as opposed to others modules in Medievia is that it is 100% safe. No equipment, gold, or levels can be lost through a herobattle. A fun and intense experience awaits every hero with virtually no penalties. Besides the fun, the chance to win a "heromount" (a free flying beast that comes immediately when you "call" it) is likely once a good fighting record is established.

What will help someone eventually excel in herobattling is the ability to examine the entire herobattle afterwards, studying the areas where things went wrong. For this reason (and another I will get into later) you should have the ability to scroll back (alt + up arrow in mudmaster) or to "log" (save in a text file) the entire fight from beginning to end.

The next thing you might want to search for would be a friend of equal experience at herobattling as you and who wants to learn the equipment, arena, and tactics involved in a real herobattle. Often, beginning herobattlers will get discouraged after fighting people with incredible records/experience of herobattling. Being defeated so easily is a let down, opponents such as these should be left until later, when one is assured they are ready. The slower paced battle that one can have with another beginner is vital to your training. Exchanging a few backstabs, running away/healing up, reciting scrolls on your enemy, and learning the equipment/arena are all difficult things to master, which makes an opponent of equal strength to you desirable.

The next couple points I would like to make might seem obvious to someone that has played Medievia a few years, or is familiar with either Zmud or Mudmaster, but maybe not to the average newbie.

Aliases are your friend! Take for example a simple thing such as picking up a piece of equipment lying on the ground, or healing yourself. In normal gameplay these things are done at not so frantic/accelerated of a pace as in a herobattle. The speedup that an alias provides is vital to your success. Say you use "ga" for "get all". Now, if you didn't give this much thought you'd think this wasn't necessary, but taking into account you have to pick up roughly 20-50 items in the course of a herobattle, the half second, or quarter second you save with the alias each time adds up. Thirty extra seconds is a lot of time to tick mana, heal lost hps, track your opponent, etc.

If aliases are your friend, then macros are your *best* friend! Macros allow you the ability to press a key and enter the command to the Medievia server without ever pressing enter. The most commonly used macros are for movement and backstab. The ease one can run room to room with out having to slam the enter key repetitively is a definite bonus. Likewise, the ability to not have to type out "backstab izz" and just be able to hit F1 can sometimes provide the edge one needs for catching and killing a fleeing opponent. Be creative with your macros (and aliases for that matter) - you can quickly write a script that entirely uses macros for every action you make in something as specialized as herobattling.

Probably the most important aspect of the herobattle is knowing where and how to get around. The beginning of a herobattle is spent running around passively (meaning attacking your opponent is not an option) collecting equipment. Almost every piece of equipment should be picked up, never eschew anything. Although you might not have a strategy for every piece of equipment you find, you can bet your opponent is scheming one. As I mentioned before, having the ability to "scrollback" or create "logs" is very important in your learning of the layout of the arena. How can you hope to flee a hero with 80 damroll running after you if you don't know what direction to go? And of course, on the other hand, how do you think you're going to be able to catch your opponent when you weaken him enough, invariably causing him to flee away from you quickly. This can be answered a few ways. Some would say don't get too stuck up on learning the layout of the arena (equipment applies to this principle as well), that you will naturally learn over the course of a few herobattles. I believe learning the layout of the arena (and equipment) should be done effectively and right away. Why wait and slowly learn something as vital as knowing what your next move is going to be. Medievia in many aspects can be viewed as a turn based game (such as chess, D&D, etc) when highly refined (two players who know what they're doing) are going to be going at the same speed, effectively getting only so much time, or "turns". With this knowledge I stress the fact that to know your equipment and your arena inside out is paramount. This article, however, is not the place to list equipment stats, or to draw out a map of the arena (find out on your own!).

Now, to end the article, a few all around tips one would want to remember while in the heat of battle:

-Always, and I repeat, *always* keep the sanctuary spell up and with at least a couple ticks. Failing to do this will result in a very quick loss for you. When someone easily has 80+damroll and better backstabbers than is found in the regular game, very damaging triples come into play. Without "sanc" up, your chances to survive and be in a condition to be able to "return" (flee, heal, backstab) against a triple, or double for that matter, are very slim.

-Keep an eye on what room you're in at what time. Never stay long near the rooms that have exits to fire rooms (rooms when you enter literally burn you for a loss of hps), in case your opponent engages you near one of these. Fleeing and landing in a fire room is very undesirable. Also, when backstabbed, quickly glance what room you are in before you flee to return the backstab. Scanning, farsighting, taking a chance and going in the direction you think your opponent is in, are all very bad practices, ones that end up in ultimately wasting precious time. Know your directions, I can't stress this enough. Too many times I see people get mixed up on what direction they need to go and lose because of this.

-Always track your opponent. This is a thief skill, that when trained to superb, is very effective. Unlike regular gameplay, when in a herobattle tracking does not lag your movement at all. Even when fleeing an opponent, tracking is a good idea, because it could just as easily tell you where *not* to go (in the case you want to be moving *away* from your opponent) as where to go (chasing an opponent).

-Identify equipment until you know what everything is. There is no shame having to identify that curious little fuzzy caterpillar laying on the ground there. The only way to learn is to identify it, then have some way to commit to long term memory (study your logs of herobattles). Also, once you have a general idea of what everything is you'll know what you'll need to be wearing early game (hps/mana) and what you'll want to "switch" (change eq mid fight) into late game (hr/dr/ss).

-Run through the arena in your head a few times before a battle to help refresh yourself on the layout. This is especially good for someone who is still shaky on the layout, eventually you'll notice you don't need to do this, knowing what room you're in, all the possible exits, and where they lead will come naturally.

-Spellup before the battle and keep "spelled up". This may be obvious, but so many people in the heat of a battle get so caught up with getting EQ, keeping "sanc" up, staying out of fire rooms, etc, that they forget to keep vital spells, such as "quickness", "armor", "protection from good/evil" up and with at least a few ticks.

-Overtime is something you will encounter as well, depending on the speed/cautiousness (slower, more methodical herobattlers will not strike until their eq/spells/etc are exactly right) of the herobattler. While there is no time limit to a herobattle, eventually "overtime" will be foreshadowed by the herobattle code via an echo you and your partner will see. Basically, all overtime means is that instead of fighting in the large, spread out arena, you will be transported to a smaller, tighter arena. This usually brings the culmination of the battle rather quickly.

-Etiquette and common sense suggest that a bored hero should never be asking for a herobattle regardless of how desperate he is to fight. Herobattling is a gift the gods give us that should not be taken advantage of. Most often a god that sets up herobattles is doing it in between other things that are very time consuming and/or stressful (coding, debugging, etc). A good rule of thumb is to never bother the gods unless you have an unmanageable problem.

-Maybe the most important tip would be just to relax and have fun. Herobattling is a treat the gods have given level 124's as a reward for advancing through the game so well. Remember, nothing negative comes from herobattling, so turn on some music, find a friend that wants to have fun fighting it out, and go at it.

-The last tip I would leave you with is remember the time/effort that gods put up just so you can entertain yourself on Medievia. Setting up a herobattle isn't just pressing a button and letting you fight. It takes work - the god has to monitor the fight, etc. So thank the god after the fight is over. Whether you won or lost, you still need to treat your fighting partner and the god with respect.

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