My third match in the Dragon Warrior Randomizer tournament was a victory, albeit a bittersweet one. More on that later.
This was another tough beginning, although not quite as tough as some others. Our starting stats were awful, to the point I briefly wondered if I’d loaded the stock Dragon Warrior ROM by accident instead of the randomized seed. That said, the enemies in the starting zone were basically starting enemies, and while a few of them had HEALMORE, none of them had anything special attack-wise. In all, it was interesting how closely the start of this seed matched “Vanilla” Dragon Warrior. I took a bit to explore, found Brecconary, then actually reset and started over to keep gold to buy a Club, Dragon Scale, and an Herb. That wasn’t much, but it was enough to at least let me consistently hit Drakees and Ghosts to gain a level or two.
Big power boosts were incoming, but even that wasn’t enough to let us do much exploring. Jealkeja and I both struggled with finding much of anything for awhile, and I agonized over how much to grind at points. As I mentioned in the previous write-up, one wrong decision at the wrong time in a head-to-head race can lose it for you, even if you play everything else right.
The flipside to that is that the right decision, at the right time, can, if not win you a race, at least put you in a comfortable position. In my case, that moment of reckoning came during a trip through the Swamp Cave. Realizing that the enemies in there were both easily killable at my stats and gave good experience, and recognizing that my exploration was not going well, I opted to stick around in that cave and grind up levels. I agonized over this for a bit, knowing that every second I spent grinding was a second I wasn’t exploring, and a second my opponent potentially was exploring and gathering items. When I hit Level 10 and acquired HURTMORE, though, I knew I’d made the right choice and it was go time. The funny thing about that was I mentioned I basically didn’t fear exploration after acquiring it, and the first enemy I ran into post-level 10 was…a Wizard, which is highly resistant to HURTMORE.
It’s here that I’ll admit to a bit of gamesmanship. I was watching the race channel, and saw that jealkeja had posted something like “horrible seed”. I simply replied “Agreed, heh” or similar. When he responded with roughly “How many times do I have to explore 15 steps and then die?!” when I was Level 11 and had both HEALMORE and HURTMORE, I just shut up, figuring that, if I wasn’t in a dominant position at that point, I was at least comfortably ahead in the experience department, or he wouldn’t have been asking the question.
Then, a few minutes later, about an hour and 40 minutes into the race, jealkeja forfeited. This meant that, if I could finish the seed at all, I would win. And I eventually did, and I’ll take it, though I wonder what would have happened if jeal hadn’t had to forfeit.
Because the weakest part of my game continues to be “Dragonlord Math”, or figuring out exactly what resources I’ll need to win the game given a certain set of stats. This was a very unusual seed, in that it had huge HP and Strength, roughly average MP…and almost no Agility whatsoever. That, combined with the lack of a Silver Shield, made for a rare circumstance: Namely, it was better to just fight the harder enemies in Charlock, rather than trying to run from them and failing repeatedly. It took me a long while to realize this, and while I knew I could win the game at Level 17 (And possibly even 16 if I could make it to the Dragonlord with full resources), I didn’t realize just how comfortable my position actually was. As a result, the endgame took probably a half hour longer than it would have had I just burned a few more HEALMOREs on the way down to the Dragonlord. While it felt good to have my suspicions confirmed that I was well ahead at the point of jeal’s forfeit (And of course, if he hadn’t forfeited when he did, it may have changed my decision making at some point), we’ll never know if he could have come back given my awful math and equally horrific endgame.
Either way, though, I did win, thus making the top 16, and my next match is against Johnbloodythumbs. Like my previous match, I’m favored seeding-wise, but I don’t put much stock in that, as I haven’t been able to practice as much as I would have liked. But we’ll see how it goes.