Community Stories: From FTP to Baby Whale – Karim_Panda
Published On: April 27, 2022
Community Stories: From FTP to Baby Whale – Karim_Panda
We were recently approached by Karim_Panda, a member of the Raid Community, who was inspired by previous videos showing other players’ progression, and what they’d done with their accounts.
Karim asked us if we’d like to share his story, as he felt it would be a good one to get out to the community, this is the first time we’ve done something like this on Hellhades.com, so please let us know in the comments if it’s something you’d like to hear more of going forward!
While this is a long article, it is packed full of useful information directly from a member of the community who has been progressing through the game for a long time.
Hi, my name is Karim also known as “Panda” which is kind of my spirit animal.
Besides my normal life as a family father and IT consultant, I have 2nd job & pleasure: this game we all love and sometimes maybe hate. I really do games like this with a fantasy background and gacha style where you can collect heroes, items etc. to progress step by step.
If there would be a panda in the game, he was probably my favourite champ in the game 😊 (the bears in Skinwalkers don’t really get close enough for me). Besides that, I don’t have a single favourite champ currently. I was forced to name one then let’s take “Yoshi the Drunkard” to give him a bit of spotlight – he is awesome as a progress champ in all areas of the game and I still use him on higher floors of hard Doom Tower.
Since I saw the video of HellHades with Eharbads – a free to play player who shared what he has achieved in Raid and his experience without spending money – it was always on my mind to share my experience & account story from a bit of different perspective and show my journey from an early game account which basically beat the game.
As you can guess from the title, I am not free to play anymore but I am started as probably the most of you without spending anything. And more than that I was for running for quite a while a 2nd free to play account next to my main account.
My main account I started in begin of 2021 and I am one of the players who quit the game and gave it a second chance. My first account is from the OG times, and I think just quit it when Faction Wars was released so the end of 2019.
What made me stop?
The simple answer is that already at that time it was just too much stuff to do and maybe I also felt that I couldn’t really progress anymore without spending money and/or too much time.
What made me come back?
Even when I quit, the game was popping up again and again in ads and I still felt that was a good game with a lot of potentials so, in the New Year vacation of 2021, I started a brand new account.
A big champion roster of ca. 60 legos and tons of rares & epics
The highest CVC score was 250k
So now let me take you on a small journey with me – the story of a big orc and his smaller dwarf fellow…
FTP vs P2W comparison
Before I start to deep dive into my account let’s get the free to play vs. pay to win topic out of the way. I do very well know what it means to be free to play and what is possible to achieve.
Besides my main account, I started 3 more free to play accounts as referrals which turned out to be a very bad idea very soon. However, after nearly one year I finally finished all the referrals myself:
So, after this initial lesion that it was not possible for me to play 4 accounts parallel in a proper way, I still kept two accounts. My main motivation was after level 30 of both accounts not the rewards anymore.
I wanted to compare the game progress neck to neck dependent on:
FTP vs. P2W
Different starter champs
Different shard pulls
For a long time, my main was a “low spender” I would say my main purchases were:
Monthly Raid Card
Monthly Gem Pack
Over time my Raid budget increased to 50-100 bucks/month and contains now additionally:
HH website subscription and twitch sub
In-game spending for shards & energy/gems
I never bought any book from the shop – but for sure I had an advantage to “farm” more books
I stopped the “experiment” of the 2nd account after ca. 200 days when I reached the end game with the following conclusion:
Knowledge about the game is key
Activity is key: completing quests, fusions, missions, … regularly
You can reach the end game and complete the same content regardless of if and how much money you spend on the game
Over time you will obtain all the tools which are needed for content progress (champs, gear, resources)
Also FTP you can complete all the fusions once you reach certain account progress (I fused on both accounts Yoshi, Brogni, Ruel, Hurndig, Versulf back-to-back).
Spending money on the game can potentially reduce the time you need to spend in the game or better you can achieve more (resources, champs, progress) in less time (per day and overall)
The following paragraphs contain a very detailed description of my account progress over time.
What I estimate based on my perception, memory and data can be summarized in the chart below.
Of course, it is not 100% accurate math but it gives a good indication of which events had the biggest impact on my account progress over time:
I believe I shortly googled which starter champ to use but I wasn’t consuming any created content back then.
In this early “honeymoon phase” everything goes fast & easy. For sure you can make mistakes and progress faster by doing the right things. But getting your first 6* champ and completing brutal campaign (and farm 12-3) and being able to run a few dungeons should be possible for most players. There is plenty of content out if you get stuck early on…
One scheme on shard pulls, in the beginning, seemed to get login rewards a bit earlier…but no lego whatsoever for a long time. Another thing a lot of newer players (and some older players) didn’t know until the recent events about the arena is that around the beginning of 2021 the arena was super hard for newer players without deeper knowledge. So, my account was born in that era and THE reason to search specifically for help was how to get better in the arena (team comp, gearing, …). In fact, I found on youtube a video from HH where he explained in detail how to reach Silver I and after following these tips step by step I made it before day 30. Still, it was very hard to farm Silver and I went down to Bronze I and II quickly since my account power increased and I was only facing horrible teams for beginner Go 1st teams.
In February 2021 I gained my first experience with the Astralon fusion but wasn’t really able to do it. I believe in February I also received Reliquary Tender which was the 2nd champ I took to 60 and still do not regret it today. Her kit is unique and awesome for support and partially hard carry in most PvE content. She is still in my Nether Spider team hard DT especially for her cleanse + healing.
In March 2021 I could complete my first fusion: Yoshi the Drunkard. As I gave him a shout-out in the introduction already he had such a big impact on my account progression. I used him in arena, dungeons, first levels/boss of DT, …kind of everywhere. Especially in Arena, he boosted me to be able to farm Silver easily with a team comp like this:
It didn’t include the High Khatun proposed from HH but a very fast Diabolist as speed lead and Yoshi for ATK/ACC up + messing around with True Fear (super strong debuff in arena). Warmaiden + Kael for finishing off. One thing I prioritized (until today) was arena progress/farming and I suggest everyone do the same at any stage of game progress. Currently, it became very easy but, in the week where no player was in plat, I still managed to stay in Gold IV at least…
Yoshi was not only my first fusion he was rather the lego on my main account – so I decided also to put all my lego books into him. Would I do that still today? Probably not. At the time though it was 100% worth it. The lesson which can be learnt here is that very much the “when” you receive certain champs is way more important than that you receive them at all.
End of March some other very impactful thing happened. Through HH discord I was looking for a clan to progress for clan boss. Until here I had my own clan with all my accounts but couldn’t progress further than hard. Right away I was recruited to the cluster “C1C” where I stayed. This concept of clan cluster is very smart: as you progress you will just rank up within the cluster to better clans and you can still be part of the community. Later on, I took over some responsibilities and led a clan with my 2nd account.
April 2021 with 100ish days in was probably the most important month. At this point, I was already a regular watcher of HH and Ash youtube videos and I still remember the video from HH where he pointed out how good Brogni was going to be along with tips on how to be prepared for a fusion. Still managing two accounts it took me exactly 2 sleepless nights but in the end, I secured the mega-dwarf on my main and 2nd accounts. Also, I had my first lego pull and this was a quite juicy one:
Plus, I pulled even Mordecai during the fusion which was a requirement in the fusion. I kept a copy, so I went all the way down getting all the required epics.
Brogni & Brago I built and used right away, even today in plenty of areas of the game – for a long time they were THE backbone of my account. They hard carried me through almost all dungeons and normal doom tower in the next months.
But the most important progress area of all was clan boss. Without speed tuning, I could progress soon to a 2-key nightmare over the next months.
Mid game to End game
End of May 2021 I reached, for a very short time Gold I with a bunch of refreshes – just to notice that the rest of Arbiter missions included Gold II-IV as a requirement. It felt like it was impossible to reach Gold IV without an Arbiter at least for my account, comp, progress and knowledge at the time. But “luckily” a few days after my Gold I push Plarium changed the arena, so we had the bots like now again and the way the Arbiter was from now on easy.
At this point, I would like to shift away from a monthly view toward achievements and key factors per achievement.
Clan Boss progress
The game-changer and opener for the end game are widely known and spread beating the UNM clan boss at least 3-key. I never had unkillable options but I consumed content about speed tuning and humbled into 2:3, 2:1 etc. comps. Since I had my 2-key nightmare comp I basically had 1 key free for testing. It took me some time to understand speed tunes and figure out a potential comp for UNM.
I decided to compare a counterattack team with a 2:1 comp.
The result was that Skullcrusher went quickly in the vault and I ended up with this comp:
Valerie & High Khatun are kind of a meme in my clan boss team, but they did their job very well in enabling the 2:1 comp. Sandlashed Survivor and gear improvements helped to increase the damage and reach a secure 2 key but the comp didn’t change until I received Lydia. And Valerie I do still use for the daily quest where you must hit the clan boss with a rare champion. So, she is kind of an end game champion for me 😊
Doom Tower progress
I don’t want to dive too much into detail here but rather list a couple of steps on the long way to completing DT hard rotations 1 & 2:
Clearing first stages & bosses on normal including a few secret rooms
Clearing Doom Tower normal (every rotation)
Clearing first hard boss (especially on auto the Griffin for farming 6* Guardian Gear)
Clearing a fair amount of normal secret rooms to farm shards for the epic DT champs
Progressing step by step in hard DT including secret rooms
Pushing hard DT to the limit and finally clear it. Keys here were: Lydia, Seer, Drex, Scyl as champs and the Team Optimiser as well as tips from clan (cluster) mates completed by a good knowledge of the game (by watching content regularly)
Faction War progress
I decided to push not too strong since completing this part of the game is more of a marathon than a sprint. UNM clan boss and the huge amount of shards coming with it widened my roster but still, I struggled a long time to build all necessary champs for all factions. Usually, it was a mix of ’60s and ’50s to complete the 63 stars for eachfaction.
Here is the ordered list of completed factions by date:
Dwarfs: August 2021
Barbarians: August 2021
High Elves: September 2021
Orcs: November 2021
Dark Elves: November 2021
Demonspawn: November 2021
Banner Lords: November 2021
Sacred Order: December 2021
Undead Hordes: December 2021
Skin Walker: December 2021
Knight Revenants: January 2022 (for me the hardest faction of all due to Valk wave)
Lizardmen: February 2022
Shadowkins: February 2022 (same day as Ogryn Tribes)
One interesting thing I noticed is that I was almost everywhere able to auto stage 20 after completing a faction. My progress area now is still to improve times and auto as much possible factions stage 21.
After Initial auto-ing higher and higher stages (up to 25 everywhere) the 2nd priority very soon became reducing the long running times. Brogni + Brago were a nice hard carry but 10+ mins were not fun at all…
Partially new champs helped here (I had to wait quite a long time for CH for e.g.) but also gearing, team setup and team composition reduced the times step by step. Finally, the Team Optimiser (comp suggestions,…) were a big piece of the puzzle.
Great Hall & Arena progress
I don’t want to stress this topic too much and just briefly mention my priorities:
Resistance to 6 each
Crit Dmg to 6 each
Crit Dmg to max
With retrieving Lydia (aka completing Faction Wars) I believe I really entered the late game in Raid. It went in line with insane shard pulls like Siphi, Nekhret, Rotos
This happened just a few months ago (February / March 2022).
At this point, it feels that I kind of “beat the game”. However, Raid is good in still offering a lot of challenges. So maybe the motivation to progress is bigger than ever.
Especially I need to focus more on gear than I have done before. This means shifting away from levelling up (too much) champions and farming dungeons in line with continuous gear upgrades & cleanses.
I do lack top speed gear which is a key, especially in the arena.
My Great Hall is “half progressed” and far from being finished:
The grind is even getting more “grindy” and possible successes might take longer and longer.
So I believe this phase is also a real test for my motivation to continue with the game.
Shout-outs to content creators
The most impact on my game knowledge and therefore account progression is the fact that I am following any kind of offered content & creator in the “Raid universe”. Especially the youtube videos from Hell Hades and Ash ramped up my knowledge quickly and helped to keep up with changes & progression.
Over time the type of consumed content changed a bit and I decided also to spend money in that area for support and access to exclusive tools (especially HH website and twitch sub).
I am almost certain that I would have quit the game a long time ago again without the available content out there!
In the following, I classified a bit the consumed per progression state.
Youtube videos of Hell Hades and Ash
Type of content: Arena, Champ reviews, general progression tips, game news
Tools used: Website Champion reviews especially masteries, Arena Calculator of Deadwood Jedi (IMO an underrated tool)
Youtube videos of almost all known content creators but mainly Hell Hades since he covers all areas of the game a unique mix of being informative & entertaining
Additional content: gear types, gear cleanse, resource management, reducing dungeon run times
Additional tools used: Raid Stages Tool, Raid Optimiser, Team Optimiser + suggestions, Clan Boss calculator, RSL Helper, Bluestacks
Shout-outs to the game:
Playing Raid in an intense way (several hours daily including a monthly budget) plus consuming a lot of content and being part of my community in the Clan cluster I do love the game a lot.
For sure there is also a lot to criticise in the way it is managed and all the weaknesses the game has.
I like to see things more from a positive side and appreciate the good things and tend to take a relaxed stance when the whole community seems to be outraged. In one way or the other, the company together with the content creators and the community will find a way to overcome existing problems (except arena it seems 😊).
Shout-outs to Specific Champions:
Let’s all be honest: even though this game is a lot about strategies, gear farming, speed tuning and all that stuff the real emotions are centred around champions – the lovely animated fellows. Especially since I am a collector type of person the biggest part for me in the new is to collect as much as possible desired champs.
In the following, I crafted my personal tier list for currently still used but also progress champs who might even still step in from time to time.
This topic goes a bit in line with the shout-out to the game itself.
For me, Raid was always a nice addition to my life as a game – not more, not less.
Playing several accounts (sometimes in parallel) and partially very extensive as it can be seen also as an addiction I’d like to emphasize & address the mental health topic.
In my opinion, it is very important to do regularly a self-check if this game is still a game for you which brings joy, and relaxation or it feels more like a 2nd job, burdens and drags you more down than keeping you up.
If you are not free to play the money aspect plays also a role. If you have the feeling that you are spending too much (more than you should/can afford) try to set limits or even seek help.
Personally, my consequence was to completely stop other accounts than my main account. After almost 1.5 years there is still so much to do and achieve in the game and especially it doesn’t make sense to me to let my paid main account suffer from a lack of activity playing a second account is also not effective enough.
And I (try) to set priorities right:
Real-life > game progress
Accept to be not perfect
Accept to progress slower, try to find your own pace
Seek the fun in the game, not negativity
In my clan cluster, I saw also cases where players had stopped the game for different reasons. I felt in one case it was overloaded and struggling with real-life problems caused by the game. In another case, it was the classic case of “I had high expectation for a shard pull and quit over it”.
For me, the game is in some way relaxing, almost a meditation or even therapy. I simply love to watch my roster, watching runs of various areas of the game including the campaign. I play active daily and use a lot of resources regularly. I believe that also keeps me away from big disappointments since I don’t have big shard pulls and rather smaller portions every 2x or specific 10x events.
As mentioned in the chapter before there is still a lot to achieve.
I do have fun collecting more and more champs.
Areas of progression & competition I focus on now are:
I hope I could give you an interesting insight into my personal raid story and some ideas or topics to think about. Some of you might find yourself in a similar situation – others might disagree and have a different point of view or attitude toward the game.
In final words I simply would like to re-phrase: try to have as much as possible fun with the game and find your own style/way of playing which works for you!
Faction Guardians: rare complete, epic almost complete, lego only a few have been completed.
Alt Champ Roster (ca. 200 days)
We hope you liked Karim’s story, as mentioned at the start, please let us know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing more content like this, and feel free to reach out to Neva on discord (Neva#3251) with your stories!
Karim will also be involved in an upcoming HH Gaming Podcast to dive a little deeper into his story with some questions from the team!