Coop/multiplayer everything patch: doubling the disappointment for half the stamina. Perhaps that is not the best slogan (albeit accurate) for the shifting meta towards a more cooperative gameplay in Puzzle and Dragons. However, GungHo has been pushing the coop/multiplayer feature for the past several updates as a means to make it more appealing and enjoyable way to play PAD. Upon it’s debut in North America, there was a certain degree of skepticism as we were the unfortunate victim of a poorly timed release of no more solo-play and a challenge dungeon series that had to be played via multiplayer. Thankfully, this issue has been permanently corrected and we are now essentially in the glory days of multiplayer with only a few new updates to come to enhance our quality of life.
Currently, all descends, rushes, Arena, daily dungeons, and limited time hourly dungeons are available to play in coop for half the stamina. The hourly dungeons are of particular importance as only the hosting player has to have the correct time to play and anyone can join their room. Finally, our teams are bolstered with 4 more subs/actives along with an increased health pool to make our runs easier and faster to clear.
However, amongst all of these amazing benefits, many players are starting to feel the pressure to play coop (to min-max your stamina) and the actual pressure associated with matching under a time limit or with another person watching. As such, I wish to pen down my thoughts to help alleviate some of the newfound stresses in Puzzle and Dragons
The pressure to save stamina
I have been playing PAD for over 1,000 days and when I first started, stamina took 10 minutes to recharge. Over time, it was reduced to 5 and then to 3. However, I still remember those dark days of painfully waiting for over 8 hours just to reattempt a failed descend. As such, I have always tried to optimize my stamina usage and coop is triggering my overwhelming desire to get the most figurative bang for my buck. I am lucky in this regards as I have two high ranking accounts (both over rank 500 / 950 days) with overlapping leaders that are capable of clearing end game content. However, most people are not as fortunate and have to look else where to find partners.
Some Puzzle and Dragoners have friends with synergistic boxes and leads, but most have to rely on the various community platforms to find partners. My Community Corner Help Page provides links to various resources; however, I want to provide a couple of noteworthy Discord channels that I have found to be populated and lively:
- The Puzzle & Dragons Reddit community has created a Discord server to aid in your search for the perfect co-op companion! They are the largest and most effective server for North America as there are countless channels dedicated to the various aspects of coop that will quickly refine your search for a partner. They have rooms encompassing meta discussions, help threads, plus egg farming and running dungeons for skill ups. Furthermore, their Admins and Mentors are patient and help with players of all skill levels. If you can imagine it, The P&D Reddit community Discord has it.
- PadRagnarok has created his own Discord channel (along with a successful YouTube platform) as a way to not only connect with his fans, but to facilitate multiplayer matches and act as a helpful medium not only for himself, but the community as a whole.
- Puzzle and Dragons Global Coop is a Facebook group dedicated to helping players find beneficial partners. It may be a better place to post than the various other groups as the sole purpose here is multiplayer.
Even with the opportunity to save stamina, it may not be feasible for yourself. Not everyone is as GungHo as I am when it comes to PAD and you have lost nothing in terms of single player value if playing solo. If you were not min-maxing your stamina prior to coop, I would not stress out about multiplayer and simply view it as an extra bonus for your limited time dungeons. I see countless rooms open everyday for the limited time hourly dungeons on my friends list and you will most likely be welcomed to join someone else or have someone join you.
Matching under pressure
Do not mention Ice, Baby, or Ice.
There will always be some pressure associated when matching orbs in Puzzle and Dragons. However, this used to be done in private and without a wonderful ticking timer at the top of the screen. This is perhaps a kind of pressure that we never expected to have when we first started playing PAD and we need to find a way to overcome this perfectly rationale fear.
My first coop experience outside of myself and real life friends was probably equal parts excitement and nervousness. I only knew them somewhat well and maybe they were more scared than me. However, I just had to remind myself that it is only stamina (no matter how precious) and that like any game or competition, it takes rehearsal and practice to become better. It may sound strange to compare Puzzle and Dragons to a sport, but I have a modest athletic background (went to nationals one year for badminton and won a bronze at U19 provincials) and know a thing or two about performing under pressure.
- Breathe. This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised by the various reactions people have when being forced to deliver the final blow on Arena Kali. Is your breathing calm and steady? Or is it more of the hyperventilation variety or are you perhaps holding your breath? If your breathing is not calm, you are probably quite tense and more prone to making unforced errors.
- Take your time. Do me a favour and count to 180. You probably got to three, but the point is, you have an entire 180 seconds (plus team changing animations) to plan your next move. I play relatively quickly, but others may need to plan out your moves more carefully and three minutes should be sufficient. The ticking clock may seem ominous, but if you know you can make your moves in a shorter time, there is nothing to worry about.
- Mentally rehearse your move. As stated above, you have 180 seconds to plan and begin moving orbs. As such, you can mentally rehearse your move prior to actually picking up the orb. I like to recite the colours in the order I plan to match them as a way to better remember my pathing.
- Understand how your team works. People play better when they are comfortable with their respective team. If you know your team inside and out, you will be better able to make decisions quickly along with matching more calmly. If you have never played a rainbow team before, coop is not the place to make your grand debut.
- Understand the dungeon mechanics. Just like knowing how your team functions, the better you understand the dungeon (where to stall, pass turn etc.) is vital to success. For example, if you are farming Mythic-Plus Rogue Descends, one player has to bring something to deal with the PreDRA floors. Therefore, if you are the PreDRA killer, you have to try and ensure that your partner sweeps the floor before to ensure you have the turn to kill them. You also do not wish to waste a Pass Turn if possible so try and plan ahead accordingly.
- Relax. It’s just stamina. Remember, this is still a game and should be enjoyable. I have failed more times than I care to admit while playing with myself and my Arena partner. Sometimes it is human error, others is just bad RNG, but regardless of why we lost, I cannot take it too seriously. We all make mistakes and if your partner cannot understand this, it is probably best not to run with them any more. Recently, my friend completely flubbed her turn on Arena 2 Kali and we lost after a fun-filled 20 minutes. There was tears, sad laughter, and I was concerned I should call an ambulance as she choked so hard. However, we simply repeated the dungeon and were thankfully successful the next time through.
- Imagine everyone else is naked. Okay, I do not understand how this has ever been helpful advice. I am fully clothed even when I play with myself.
Coop is here to stay as GungHo has continuously improved our quality of life when playing with other players. Some players may have been on the fence before, but it is time to at least try and embrace multiplayer. The stress associated with matching in front of someone else will calm down over time and it takes practice to build up your confidence.