Rebalancing Balance

It would be foolish to say that any color or type in this modern age of pazudora is truly neglected. Some monsters might be easier to obtain and use than others, but provided one has an unlimited supply of stones and the will to explore different team options in the game, one will invariably end up loving the top tier gacha-only monsters from each subset defined by the color or type. This works in GungHo’s favor, because the only thing more profitable than making players want certain monsters for their teams is giving them those they don’t want whose value is too big to pass up; this itches the player’s mind and makes him/her dream about building new teams…which can be a quite costly and never ending circulus vitiosus.

On the other hand, if there were ever two types of teams that were traditionally frowned upon by the community, they’d be Balance and Wood. The former started off as a neglected monster type, unsuccessfully popularized by the tremendously difficult to obtain let alone farm Dios, eventually transitioning to a different color (blue). Now green has always had valuable utility gods to easily dismiss, but to this day remains a silly choice when it comes to long-term team investments simply because there aren’t enough opposite color descends or dungeons worth farming like there are with the other colors. Putting aside the sub choice issues that aren’t so pronounced as they were some time ago.

This new update attempts to repair the tarnished reputation of wood balance teams by finally adding uvos for the last remaining, and the least popular Chinese god, Genbu (Meimei). Surprisingly, this package came with another jaw dropping gift – a uvo for perhaps the least popular GodFes-only god, Green Odin.


The unexpected Green Odin ultimate evolution reveal…

Before we get to pondering the changes our cute, baby-faced snake/turtle lover girl has in store, some thoughts on the new Green Odin. First of all, the art: it’s bloody spectacular and continues the trend of jaw-dropping GodFes-only uvo artworks that Lmeta has set. Alas, it also adds little, in this case even far less functionality and efficiency – much in the same fashion to what could have been an earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting Lmeta uvo. Anyway, following the initial surge of joy caused by this sudden artwork reveal, came the cold shower in the form of not one, not two, but three auto heal awakenings. That and a slight stat boost.

How could this ever be meaningful you ask? Well, it probably won’t. He’s unarguably a better monster now and 2k autoheal is a lot. Not to mention the fact that we simply can’t expect uvos for GodFes-only monsters – although that unwritten rule seems to have been broken with the somewhat “forceful” Lmeta uvo chosen by popular demand. But still…what a missed opportunity.

An excellent stat stick as he may be, there are simply far too many green and green/light monsters with immensely better utility to consider this guy a staple in Balance or multicolor teams (Ra, Horus, Gohan, Netero). It doesn’t help that light is pretty much the least desirable subtype due to its omnipresence in the subs usually forming these teams. Right now though, if I were to try to comfort the Green Odin owners I’d focus on all those autoheals and the bind immunity. The other, sexier Odins don’t have those and the difference in skill boosts is only one. Additionally, Odin x Ama grind teams will become stronger and perhaps more viable than ever…as lackluster as they may be in this age of rows and soaring multipliers.


Check out the update details here…

A few months after Kirin, Leilan, Seiryuu and Haku, the two Genbu uvos are finally here. It won’t take more than a quick glance at them to know whether you’re trilled or disappointed, but it might take a bit more to see if that initial sentiment will prove justified…

meimei1     meimei2

For most players, the uvos will seem to be in reverse order. This is because unfortunately, Devil Genbu was made the weaker one, and Balance Genbu the more sensible choice with additional awakenings and stronger potential for synergy.

Devil Genbu still has only one green row enhance awakening, and of course, being the lesser uvo, not even a single additional awakening. So while this still gives the rookie Genbu users a very potent lead for a brand new 12.25x Devil Genbu team with easy-to-farm subs such as Duke Vampire Lord, Drawn Joker, Queen Hera and King Baddie, the more seasoned players will indubitably sigh and look at the amazing Super Devil Haku with 2 dark rows.

As for the Balance Genbu – this is it. The make-it-or-break-it monster for Wood Balance teams. At least the ones fit for the ultra hard dungeons that are already here and are bound to come. Of course, the obvious question today is “How doable is it to make a Genbu Balance team with 3x enhance from the blob (King Woodsie) and enough wood rows?”.

Looking at the cross section between balance, wood, and wood row enhance provided by the exquisite PadGuide for Android, one will find that the answer is all too simple but will nonetheless leave one scratching his head.

Wood Balance monsters with wood rows...

Wood Balance monsters with wood rows…

Going by the rule of thumb that a 12.25x team needs 6+ rows for the row enhance strategy to make sense, the ideal team a regular IAPer could make would be:

W/L Genbu (Leader)

Green Sonia   /   Artemis   /   Ultimate FFCD Archer   /   Airou Balance Boar

W/L Genbu (Friend)

This team would have 6 wood rows and some very nice utility monsters. ECO Shabo and Wind Twin Star Fafnir present another two interesting choices. Needless to say, without a lot of IAPing, it would be rather difficult to put together a team like this and in order to just reach 6 rows, another gacha-only god or Airou Boar would be absolutely necessary (alongside the farmable ECO Shabo and Twin Star Fafnir). So if those prerequisites aren’t met, and your goal is to use Genbu as a lead for a type team, the Devil team route might be a more viable option unless you’re hell bent on going mono-green.

If we are to ditch the type thing and simply stick with wood and/or light rows, there’d be a lot more subs to consider for a Genbu team. I won’t discuss this further as it all depends on what you have but I’m betting the perfect non-balance Genbu team would lean toward mono-green and 2way, and those monsters are plentiful.

That said, something tells me that we’ll see a lot more use for Balance Genbu as a sub seeing as how the new wood Zhuge GodFes-only super rare seems to be all the rage now. She does have that 2way attack awakening which makes her a perfect fit. Additionally, the new Athena will have a 2way and wood row enhance awakenings as well – and she has always been a staple on that team. GungHo is finally getting serious about 2way and I have no doubt that this new Genbu will end up becoming a highly sought after god.

Lastly, ultimate Grodin might not have any wood rows or 2ways but he still is a beast and for the lack of +297s on your, still rather low on RCV Balance team, could complement the turtle girl well.


Underwhelming, not what we had expected, or had gotten used to. All that could be said about this green update. Still, on closer inspection, it makes perfect (business) sense and is in the spirit of all the new movements in Pazudora. It’ll take some convincing for all of us but I’m sure that time will balance out our mixed feelings about the update…

Dissecting the Ver.6.5 Update

When it comes to pazudora, I’ll admit I’m a little obsessed. Having had an extensive period of non-IAPing, interspersed by short bursts of somewhat uncontrolled but still moderate IAPing, then another few months of being a free player, I’d have trouble placing myself in a category as a player. Juxtaposing myself with the average japanese IAPer however, I’d be more inclined to label my sizable amounts of everyday thinking about this game as fantasizing and theorycrafting than actual planning that those with fat wallets can do. After all, one can only have so much proactivity with the limited stamina pool that each day provides, along with many, many distractions and deterrents along the way. Perhaps this is why I tend to have such a critical outlook on every piece of news (let alone a huge update) – rather than just swallow it whole and start acting on bringing those novelties to life like the other players.

Let’s have a look at the new update banner shall we? What do we see?


Idunn and Idunna.


Provided you can stop swooning from their cuteness, the next emotion almost everyone will feel is bafflement. Why them? The expectations of the player base were certainly high prior to the long awaited Fan Festival that promised to unveil a lot of uvos and game elements that GungHo had previously hinted at. With that in mind, any surprises would not have been very surprising. But come on – with many important monster evolutions behind schedule (JP 2.0 gods, Genbu, Angels, Devils) one would expect to see one (or two, maybe three) of those cards’ artworks in the spotlight, not a side-branching version of a Norse god out of the blue (pun intended). Notwithstanding the welcome art update (Loki and Freya need them the most), much more fitting subtype and that sexy new leader skill, this entire pantheon is already fully realized and thus, hardly a priority for the game’s balance. They have their place in a variety of teams, decent stats (they will be getting a small boost nonetheless), skill-ups…wait…did you say skill-ups? Hmm, come to think of it, there was a biweekly dragon dungeon series with their skill-up monsters, and Groove Coaster collaboration is just behind the corner. Heh, well that explains it. Next thing you know they’ll “coincidentally” hold a Norse GodFes…

Regarding my opening paragraph, I cannot help but wonder what’s in it for GungHo when they do these updates. Sure, they want to maintain the balance, show that they care, keep improving the game and strengthen the players’ trust. They also have their sublime way of cashing in on just about anything they do to this game ever so imperceptibly and without ever truly enraging us. Heck, you even have a smile on your face as you’re getting punk’d. How can you not? The game is obviously becoming more complex and enjoyable, only at the price of umm…well, money. And I&I are oh so cute.

Moving on.

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Truth be told, one of the two remaining Chinese gods without a uvo will also be included in the update and that is Byakko (and she’s in a banner, although not the update banner). Her branching uvo is nothing short of spectacular – both Dragon and Devil subtype are very desirable and fit perfectly in their respective teams. Yet the big surprise here is the change in the pattern for the tricolor Chinese gods’ “better” uvo. Devil Byakko’s subcolor is dark like her main color, not blue, and she has now TWO dark row enhances accordingly. Personally, I think that the devil subtype alone would have been a substantial boost to the aging playstyle but I guess this is as much a shout-out to her numerous fans as it is an invitation to the ones who don’t have her to pull and then max skill her via that arduous chaser trial.


The rest of the uvos are the utterly uninspiring ultimate Beelzebub and the only-for-the-pros ultimate Koryuus. The latter don’t have row enhances and our poor beetle seems to be just as pointless as he was before the uvo (hopefully, someone will prove me wrong here). Also, the requirement of orbs in his uvo (250+ stamina at a minimum) seems entirely unjustified.



Last but not the least, we have the technical changes like the buffs for the crappiest awakenings ever (now not as crappy but still horrible)…



…and the much anticipated Friend System Overhaul. It’ll actually be pretty nifty to be able to present more leads to your friends and select theirs. This could pretty much double our choice of friends without the need to add new ones and buy box slots; also, more pal points. Still, “overhaul” is a bit too strong of a word as the system remains just as rudimentary as it was before. No chat redesign, no fluid interface, just a welcome expansion.



Oh there’s also the increase of the monster box’s maximum capacity (now 1100) and something about the special dungeons not appearing if one doesn’t have enough stamina that I don’t quite understand.


This concludes my analysis of this upcoming update. Despite the glaring omissions of the more important uvos for the older gods, and the update’s somewhat small scope, it’s still a big enough change to stir the pazudora community and make the players lucky enough to have these gods to contemplate new teams for about a month or so until the next update, or start +297ing some new monsters. YamaP did not exactly deliver this time as without the technical changes, this is still just a regular update, even a small one when compared to some major ones. But worry not, he’s already making big promises for the next month…a word to the wise – don’t hold your breath, it’s the “silent” updates that really count.



The Numbers of Pazudora

This game is as much about stats and basic mathematical calculations in a dungeon as it is about art and orb matching. From the early days of our gaming careers we are faced with the simple but important decision of whom to invest in. Well, it’s either that or a lot of regret later on.

Growth Curves

Another perfect example of pazudora’s perfect, subtle mash of gameplay and business are the stat-exp/lv growth curves. While the monsters might vary from early (stats peaking around lv50) to late bloomers (stats peaking around lv99), one can observe a rule of thumb which is that lv66 (two thirds of the maximum level) can be reached rather easily by simply feeding the “trash mobs” from normal, special dungeons etc. For it is up to around 1M exp that one can feed those monsters of no value such as knights, devils, goblins and ogres – and not have the cost of the power-up fusion exceed the experience gain. This sum of exp more or less coincides with lv66, or around two thirds of the maximum stats. With the right monsters and utilities, a good player can make do in pretty much any dungeon without maxing out their team (just check out dacho’s “work” – However, it is the not-immediately-noticeable benefit of the added last third of the stats/levels (66-99) that really makes a difference. GungHo’s brilliance in crafting descends is soon made apparent with every team you might choose to take; the enemies’ skills, which are dependent on their HP, timers or just chosen carefully to inhibit certain popular strategies (e.g. delay, nukes) diversify the challenges that the game presents and encourages having multiple teams. At the same time, descends are almost always possible to clear with any decent/fashionable team but require meeting a precondition that can be summed down to either having some monster with a rare skill (pulling a gacha), or increasing your team’s levels (more feasible and easier to plan, but requiring time and effort). It is here that the last third of the stats and levels of a given monster card comes into play. Unsurprisingly, that part constitutes the large majority of the total exp (2 out of 3M, 3 out of 4M, 4 out of 5M exp), and is in fact the crux of a monster’s excellence, and excelling does make a difference in the merciless pit of randomness that is a descend dungeon.



Similarly, plus eggs, the abundance of which is a trademark of pros and super IAPers, even further enhance a team’s capabilities and are also dependent on one’s investment in the game. Compared to maxing out a monster, +297-ing it takes a lot more focus and deliberation, and the cost and time required is tenfold. It opens a lot of possibilities, much more than can be gleaned from the added stats; even a single +297 monster paired with a helper of the same caliber makes for a significant change as that combination is practically like adding a seventh monster. In addition to that, through plus eggs one is able to show his love for a god or a hero to the world, attract friends and pal points. All that leads to every player’s roster being distinct, and the game subsequently feeling more real and important.

As in real life, only on a considerably smaller scale, learning a skill and being merely good at it is far less difficult to achieve than to excel at it. The nuances of the latter, and the saturation of the effort-to-reciprocated-reward ratio are ever so reminiscent to the growth curves and the “last thirds” and “+297s” in pazudora. There, the question of whether to settle for the comfort of mediocrity without failed dreams or strive for greatness at the risk of getting crushed under the weight of one’s own aspirations arises in the depths of each human soul.

Perhaps it’s nice that we’re able to peruse this great dilemma of life in a smaller, more contained medium and to attempt to solve it here, in pazudora. It might lead us to a greater knowing of our own selves, or a more transient, virtual happiness, in life where nothing is certain…

That feeling…

A cosmic whirlpool of man-made quasi-randomness and universal laws of probability, to which the former is intrinsically linked to, gushing out the result of modern Man’s hopes and dreams, the reaction to one’s action. Gambling. Taking a shot. Initiating the process to which the outcome – something seemingly unnecessary on a basic, human level of needs and desires, but altogether simple to explain on a microscopic scale of the evolutionary carrot-and-stick mechanism embedded in our physiology – can lead to however transient and minute, true, palpable feeling of happiness. It is why Man finds it so effortless to become engulfed in that wild, dangerous chase for endogenous endorphins, and consequently, to spin out of control. That also presents an explanation for why playing the game of odds with universe has been Man’s companion since the dawn of civilization. Our minds and bodies (which are becoming increasingly difficult to separate owing to the wonders of science), as well as everything around us, is either drawn by that fundamentally simple nature’s law of striving toward something, whether that be a different molecule, food, water, a companion or a more abstract object of lust, or destined to a slow (or rapid) decay. To question the needs rooted in this is to question the point of doing anything in life since the reasons behind everything can always be reduced to some basic molecular attraction, made more complex by eons of reactions set in motion by…well, that part remains to be discovered. What is really left to debate is the issue of which need to focus on so as to use the time we have been given as sentient organisms in the most optimal way – and it has been more or less agreed that the growing of our intellect should supersede our primal urges, and that a balance between the two is the recommended path which humanity ought to take.

Completing a team…

This modern age of loneliness, but also of tolerance, and of rapid expansion of Man’s knowledge and wisdom, blurs the line between what can be considered a quasi-need and a worthy pursuit. When Man, for the most part, is getting rid of the heavy burden of survival and is being left with a clear path for prosperity of the mind, an entirely different light is cast on the notions of what is right or wrong, real or unreal.  A trip to unseen lands can lead to sensations, perspective and understanding unparalleled by anything a person has experienced in his lifetime hitherto. However, an addicting substance with no nutritional value, easily developed tolerance and the potential to render one a slave to its dopamine-regulated mental trap of steadily decreasing enjoyable effects would not be considered the most wise use of the vast potential one’s life offers. To have the passage to other vistas and sensations (physical or those more ethereal) barred from within is to succumb to the notion of unimportance of a sentient existence, however confined and powerless it might seem when lulled by the illusion of continuity provided by the society and its expectations. A certain dose of alienation to the already familiar joys of life might be welcome in revealing their true value, the miraculous odds which have led to their fruition in this harsh universe powered by entropy.

Pazudora, a game whose inner workings bear a striking resemblance to those of the human society in which we’ve learned to play our roles most dutifully, lest we were to be left stranded on the shores of the truly ruthless natural order outside of the comfort of the cities, and apartments, and beds and chairs that we’ve come to build as a species – a resemblance rooted in the free-to-play model worked out to perfection, offering each a chance to achieve everything that can be achieved. A chance that can be increased with effort, time, passion, ingenuity, knowledge, resources, and the randomly distributed blessing of rolling a stupendous monster or being born in a rich family or a highly developed country which enables you to IAP freely.

I have been fortunate enough to receive some of those blessings over where others I have not, and to learn and start playing this wondrous game against all odds; having lived in neither Japan or US and despite not having been in the area of influence of GungHo’s marketing.

To experience the feeling of rolling a super rare gacha God is akin to getting riches in life that aren’t easily acquired, but which are desired by many. The confluence of hope and incredibly low probability coming to pass, something so few find among the billions living humans, each and every one a central existence in the universe from his perspective.


Mixed feelings of pride, undistilled happiness, a drop of growing arrogance for having something others do not and of excitement, all arising from the surge of adrenaline, endorphin and serotonin rush.

Pazudora is a world of its own, and what makes it so real and “addicting” is that it reflects the way our own world outside of the game works so well. It is necessary to find balance in both for us mortals or we risk losing everything, including our faith in whichever game we are currently playing and the drive to play it. Pazudora can grant one knowledge and perspective on what it is like to want, lose, and gain something but also, about what follows those feelings commonly associated with and described as “happiness” for reaching our goals or succeeding in obtaining something.

I will always strive to create my own goals, distill happiness from otherwise indistinct occurrences, and to keep in mind the carrot-and-stick mechanism that all games, and organisms, operate on. For all its addictiveness, I find that Pazudora helps me with that, so long as I put in the effort to maintain true free will. And through gaining the understanding of that part of life, I become more and more able to delve inside the more intricate and remarkable parts of the human psyche and life.