Puzzle and Dragons is a massive game that has unrivaled depth in the mobile game industry. In fact, it really does not feel like you are playing a mobile game and are instead playing a complex RPG that would not be playable without third party websites/databases as there are thousands of monsters and hundreds of different dungeons with diverse spawns and mechanics. This is partially why this website can exist as there is simply so much content to potentially write about.
As such, it can sometimes be overwhelming to stay “meta” or keep up with the rate of new content being released, especially if you are newer to the game and/or non-IAP.
However, these past few months have really felt like a period of catch-up due to the lack of new content actually being released from a gameplay perspective (outside of 3-Player Coop). We have been given an excessive number of stones, 5-coin cost coin dungeons, unlimited rank ups through Legendary Earth, and climaxing with one of the best Player’s Choice Godfests to date (full review can be found HERE).
This article will examine what exactly is Powercreep/meta, how to try and stay abreast or current with the changing landscape, as well as suggestions for fighting off boredom.
Do note that this was in my drafts for a month or two so forgive any dated content as 3P was not released then. I somehow forgot about this and ideally should have been published a few weeks ago.
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What is Powercreep
Powercreep can be best defined as progressively advancing rate of mechanics from both a monster collection and dungeon difficulty perspective. This is important for any longstanding game as it would quickly grow stale if content did not evolve over time as you would run out of things to actually play.
Powercreep is a healthy part of any game and needs to occur in manageable increments to keep the game fresh and exciting. However, unlike many other games, PAD has a fantastic system in place through their evolution system.
If you look at other popular games like Hearthstone (PvP collecting card game), there is also Powercreep, but it advances in such a way that you cannot use cards that are over 2 years old in competative play. This forces players to obviously learn new strategies, but also requires you to continuously purchase new card packs to actually be able to make and form a deck to use.
While this is okay for the more GungHo players who are able to regularly farm the Magic Stone equivalent, it makes it challenging to keep up for a casual player as every 4 months or so the meta dramatically shifts with the release of a new expansion.
By comparison, Puzzle and Dragons recycles old cards back into relevancy through dramatically powerful and new evolutions (think Kushinadahime and Haku ) that can completely turn a card around. As such, acquiring older cards can sometimes be advantageous as they have the chance to be promoted to top-tier status with a new buff or evolution. This results in a lower dependency to continuously roll the Rare Egg Machine and is one of the aspects I love about PAD. Granted there will still be new cards released that further push the envelope of Powercreep (eg. Fujin ), but you can still manage to get by with older cards as I have not rolled the REM for several months and amusingly have a few top tier teams at my disposal.
What does meta mean?
There are probably many different definitions floating around out there, but I like to go by Most Efficient Team Available. What this means is that if something is “meta,” it means they are either the strongest cards currently available or they are the most efficient method to achieve a certain task.
This does not mean non-meta cards are terrible, it simply means they are not at the top of the figurative totem pole at this current time.
State of Powercreep in Puzzle and Dragons
There are two distinct realms of Powercreep: the strength of the cards currently available and the degree of difficulty in dungeon encounters. There needs to be a fine balance between the two in order to keep things exciting. Unfortunately, we are mostly in a state of overly powerful monsters and older dungeons.
In North America, Arena 3 was released in in August 2016 (or possibly earlier) and it was incredibly challenging, but not as impossible as the initial release of Arena 1. Perhaps the saving factor for Arena 3 was the release of the farmable Myr which granted everyone a leader who was at least capable of clearing it.
Unfortunately, GungHo somewhat stopped there at releasing new content barring Colosseum and to this day, we are still playing Arena 3, but we are playing it with far more powerful teams that can trivialize the majority of the dungeon. Thus, the Powercreep has effectively been halted from the dungeon end, but continues to grow by leaps and bounds for the cards available department.
However, with the release of 3-Player Coop, new dungeons and challenges are now finally available. However, the Cosmic Trinity dungeons are going to be out of reach for the average player as they require specific and highly invested teams to succeed.
A period of catch-up
Due to the lull in new content being released (outside 3P), we should be taking this opportunity to bring ourselves up to speed. This has been further facilitated by the Challenge Mode reset (free Magic Stones), generous monthly events, 0-stamina Normals, 5-coin cost coin dungeons, and free Monster Points. All of this is helping level the figurative playing field between players and if you are able to clear/farm Arena 3, you have essentially caught up with Powercreep and the current meta.
Now I am well aware that the majority of the PAD population has not cleared Arena 3, but every day we have more and more players achieve their first clear. Over time, they will begin to raise their consistency as they encounter each spawn and given the current pool of leaders to choose from, now has never been a better time to start your Arena 3 story.
Arena 3’s main reward is the Killer latents which ironically make it easier to farm Arena 3 (kind of like how SDRs made SDR farming easier) but are not required.
If you have not cleared Arena 3, you are not alone, but you should still be working towards it by taking advantage of all the various freebies/lucrative events going on at the moment. You can easily stock-up on monster experience, Tamadras, Plus Eggs, Magic Stones, and rank experience to better position yourself moving forward. Furthermore, with the currently occurring Player’s Choice Godfest, now is your best opportunity to round out your Monster Box.
The voting for this Player’s Choice Godfest was one of the best in recent memory as far fewer 6-star GFE actually made it in along with hitting all the current top-tier Pantheon cards. Furthermore, we can see about three months into the future through the JP server as they receive content before us. This allows us to plan our stone usage accordingly as well as farm all the required part for future evolutions.
The latest JP stream released a whole host of new evolutions and some new cards, but for the most part, it was rebuffing older cards back into relevance so I would still suggest rolling in PCGF if you are missing most of the cards there.
Kushinadahime, Anubis, Dark Metatron, and Dark Athena are still going to reign supreme for the foreseeable future and barring the Monster Hunter Collab, there will not be any dramatic or game-breaking new cards (I discredit new evolutions for existing cards) released outside of a few 6-star GFE.
What if I am not part of the meta?
As stated above, meta is simply the most efficient way to clear content. Furthermore, the meta is fluid as it can change with new evolutions/mechanics. In addition, nothing is ever nerfed in Puzzle and Dragons which means what was once strong/in the meta 5 months ago is still just as strong as it was then (probably stronger with newer cards released) and can clear the same level of content it could before.
While it may feel strange living in the past, the rate of Powercreep for dungeon mechanics is significantly slower than Monsters being released. For example, Krishna was able to form a consistent Arena 3 team back in 2016 and has only improved since then with the introduction of new Reincarnated cards and actives like Fujin . While he may not be as fast nor as consistent as Kushinadahime , he can still get the job done.
What this means is that you will just have to either go slower or work a bit harder to clear the same dungeons as other players.
Fighting off boredom
Puzzle and Dragons is one of the oldest mobile games on the market and depending on how long you have played for, boredom may start to raise its ugly head. The simplest solution would be to release new content to play through (not just releasing new monsters/evos), but that will be coming soon via 3-Player Coop dungeons.
Thus, in our period of waiting we need to find other ways to stem the tide of repetitiveness if you have already done everything there is to do in the game. I am probably the minority when it comes to how much content I have cleared as I do have more than enough resources to invest into any team I want to along with having cleared all the dungeons currently available. However, this is probably not the case for the average player and you do have things to work on and dungeons to farm.
However, let’s assume that the current content is growing stale, what do you do then? One solution is to simply button farm valuable resources and stockpile for new content/teams. This includes SDR, Tamadras, Plus Eggs, Evo materials, etc. as this will enable you to immediately enjoy the new toys as they come in. This is perhaps more efficient on NA/EU as we are able to see can see 3 months into the future through the JP server. When not really feeling it, I simply button one of those dungeons to not waste stamina.
Another point to consider is having fun by using strange or bizarre teams to play through content. This lets you customize your own challenge to re energize your puzzling skills as well adapting to a potentially new playstyle.
While this may seem “wasteful” from a stamina point of view, stamina has never been more abundant with 3-minute recharge and 4x EXP events. Even at rank 830+, I can still have excess stamina to play around with if I pursue those 4x events.
Another thing is to set goals. PAD does not really have an achievement system so you kind of have to make your own. Set personal goals for yourself to stride towards.
When I began writing this article, 3-Player Coop was still not released, but for the most part, the above points do apply. The Arena offers the same rewards as the current Arena 2 with only the boss differing and the Cosmic Trinity drops are out of reach for the average player.
Furthermore, none of these drops are truly key to the success of most teams and are almost akin to Orpharions as trophies.
Thus, you should be still viewing this as a period of catch-up and continuing to develop your current teams.
The rate of Powercreep in PAD has been quickly advancing from the available monsters point of view and the dungeons are only now starting to catch up with the introduction of 3-Player Coop.
How do you feel about keeping abreast with the current meta and the pact of Powercreep?
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