My recommendations on how to play the game. Contains hints, tips and spoilers. If you want to discover the game yourself, I would highly recommend to read only the first part of the guide - it's as spoiler free as possible.
No-Brainer Heroes is a nice little game. But as any game, it has its own flaws. Below I'll try to share my experience and thoughts on certain mechanics, as well as provide tips on above average strategies for the game.
Keep in mind that certain aspects of the game looks odd. They might be fixed in the later versions, and I cannot promise to keep the guide up to date.
In the end, it's you playing the game. Nothing here is absolute truth or 100% correct. It's not a competitive game either - nothing wrong with playing it your way.
Lets start from the beginning - the Town. Different facilities are useful at different stages of the game, but some are more useful than the rest. Normally you shouldn't have any problems to keep all of them upgraded, and Merchant will help with that immensely - just set all the resources needed to Auto-Buy.
We keep it upgraded just to keep upgrading the rest of the Town. There's literally no other reasons to do that - you don't even need warehouse capacity that much if you set Auto-Sell in the market and Auto-Disenchant in the Smithy.
As for the Technology upgrades, I'll highly recommend to start with the "Dragon Crystal Up", which increases the chance to get the Mission with Dragon Crystal reward from 0% to 1%. We want to start collecting them early, and I'll explain why in the other part of the guide covering Merchant. You don't have to upgrade this Tech past that, it will be of lower priority until the mid/late game.
The other important Tech is the "Hunting" which increases the EXP gain from monster kills. You want to keep it leveled up as much as possible as it drastically increases the speed of your progression.
"Chest Up" can be useful if you leave the game running for too long (which I personally don't do). Other than that, you'll get enough chest ups from upgrading Merchant (+2 from each level).
"Craftman" is useful only mid game, and its value increases later into the game: you shouldn't be doing much gear upgrading in the early game anyway, it's a waste of time.
Duplicated Tech "Special Channel" is literally a waste of money. It increases the rate at which you sell the trophies, and if you're able to at least half-fill the Market storage 1 hour into the game - you're already better than me and don't need my tips. You're selling Trophies like a hot cakes, so Market capacity is never an issue. Just forget about these two.
Important to upgrade as it unlocks new heroes. Another thing which might be important for those who don't play often: it also resets the list of available heroes. This way you can hire few heroes in a row if you're doing few upgrades.
Also, if you see a good Villager and a good hero, I would recommend to hire the Villager instead: you will get the same hero few refreshes after, but good Villagers are hard to come by as they're randomly generated.
Few upgrades are kind of useful at the start, but it quickly boils down only to "+10% selling price" per upgrade. Since Trophies is our main source of income and Gold is much needed everywhere, we want to have it upgraded anyway. Once you get Auto-Sell button, just click it and forget about Market's existence until you need to upgrade it again. Never use the Promotion - you won't have enough Trophies for that anyway.
The same - we keep it upgraded for increased Gold reward: mid game it outperforms sales of Trophies - 1000-1500 for killing 20 enemies roughly equals to 40-80 sold Trophies.
Generally, you only buy items from here either for Missions (purchase 3 for a reward) or to close the gap between your current gear on 2nd tier characters and current difficulty, when the new level of items has just been unlocked. Your main party which does the progression should be wearing upgraded/unique gear which is normally better than Refine 1 items of +1 level. When your main party outlevels your gear, you can drop it off to 2nd/3rd tier teams, without spending too much money on them. The difference in gear quality is so big that it's better to progress faster to unlock new items than to outfit your whole team with top tier gear each Item level. Keep in mind that your 2nd/3rd tier team is normally lower level, so main's team unused gear would destroy their maps when swapped.
You want to progress through the cave to gather at least 500 Dragon Crystals by the end of Act 1. I hate manual combat, and I hate the way the game autopicks the middle battle in the cave - so I select the combat with +3 Dragon Crystals reward, do Auto-explore to let the team fight on their own (and in early game I don't have Action Points to be efficient in manual combat anyway), and once level is done - retreat from battle and manually pick another one. This way I can accumulate Dragon Crystals faster than with just Auto-explore.
After mid game you'll be getting plenty of Dragon Crystals from Missions. Wasting too much time on the same strategy is no longer important - you can do the regulat Auto-explore without retreat.
Don't forget that every 5 levels you encounter the boss battle which gives you Breach materials - pick them according to Breach you need rather than the Dragon Crystals reward.
Boy oh boy, the most useful building in the Town. His items are key to progression, and I'll cover it in a separate paragraph.
Another key facility in mid/late game. Early on you don't need to upgrade anything but your key unique items - do not ever bother with regular items. You want to save a lot of dust, refining, enhancing and breach materials (Cave bosses will help with that, pick them wisely). If you have uniques and some cash to burn - sure, go for it, you'll be upgrading good uniques anyway. But regular items? Never.
Make sure to disenchant items regularly, or even use auto-disenchant. Just grab whatever is best for your current heroes and destroy the rest - don't worry about picking most optimal gear, you'll be changing it way too often. Don't let your warehouse overflow. You really need that dust, a lot of it.
Nothing to say there. You'll need a lot of Magatamas very soon - this is the only way to progress past level 100 - so make sure to grind maps that give them, even if they're lower levels. Otherwise you'll be stuck with level 100 characters and reduced Chest Rate required to progress further.
Merchant is probably the most important building early/mid game. It's your main source of unique items, fruits. books, resources and many more.
As soon as you can unlock Auto-Buy and burn the money on it, I would recommend the following priorities:
- Skill books - key in early/mid game, always buy. When long enough into mid game, remove from Auto-buy forever: your key characters got all their skills, and newly acquired can leveled up from the books you find naturally.
- Resources - always buy enough to have your Town fully upgraded by the time your main party clears the map required for Camp upgrade. If they've slow down, remove resources from autobuy - you better spend these funds on something else, we don't necessary need the excess. Keep in mind that you need Land Deeds and Medals more than Wood and Stone: the first two are used for Dragon Crystal Up and Hunting Tech in the Camp, and you'll need them a lot.
- Refining and Enchant materials - always buy as soon as you make enough cash to not run out dry. You'll need piles of them in mid/late game, and you'll have to wait for Merchant to bring them otherwise. Better stockpile while we can do that effortlessly.
- Time Stones - always buy your maximum available level of Time Stones. Once you unlock new - immediately switch to them and no longer buy the old ones.
- EXP books - pretty helpful in mid game if you manage to get enough of them. Can quickly bring newly acquired strong heroes right into the main party.
- Fruits - always buy from mid game. They're pretty expensive - 20 000 Gold each - but you'll need dozens and dozens of them. They're pretty rare and we don't want to spend Dragon Crystals on them. You will stop when all your characters are fully maxed (except for STR on mages).
- Never buy wines and potions. They're not important, and you better spend money on something else.
- If you're into experimenting, buy a few Skill reset sticks. Do not keep them on autobuy for too long - you don't actually need many.
Don't bother with the buying Chests from merchant until end of early game/start of mid game. First of all, lower level items do not make that much of a difference without upgrades. Second, they're too expensive - you can't afford to buy resources, books, fruits AND chests at a steady rate.
Once you can afford chests, around level 10-11 - save Gold and purchase a bunch of them. Anti-Magic Sword from L5 chest is nice for Alex, and later for Kaira when she becomes your main tank. Arcane Robe from L3 is good for Tina - she will probably be your main healer for long. Phoenix Feather Robe from L11 is nice for squishy characters - this way you can go on without interruption. But what we're really looking for is Assasin Katar from L9 - this one makes your hero Jessie a unstoppable beast. He will be one of your 2 top damage dealers pretty fast.
On Exchange, do not buy fruits with Dragon Crystals - they do not worth 50D, better buy them with Gold. What you really want is to gather 500D from Missions/Cave until the end of Act 1, when you have to fight the first boss. He'll be a tough one - you pretty much have to be overleveled and in a good gear to finish him off... Or you can buy Staff of Archmage for Jeina or Shapeless for your tank character for 500 Dragon Crystals to solve the problem. They're so above the difficulty curve, that you will rip the boss in half and continue going unstoppable for a long time. You should be able to gather 500D before the end of Act 1 if you're not slacking with the Cave.
I would personally prefer the Staff for Jeina because it makes progression really fast. If you don't check the PC too often and want to have better survivability of the team - get yourself Shapeless for the tank, and later you can equip it on your most squishy character (Shapeless have no class restrictions). This will last long enough too.
Don't buy Breach materials either - you should be able to get enough naturally, if you won't burn them on normal items. When your characters hit level 100, you may want to spend some on Magatamas to Limit-Break your main party and get into Act 3. Then they will be getting enough of Magatamas for your other teams without spending Dragon Crystals.
I would highly discourage from upgrading normal items to Enhance 9/Refine 9. They're fast outclassed by a next level gear, and all these efforts go in vain.
What you really want to do is to keep your unique items for the main party upgraded. Unique items are pretty much the same as normal items, but the bonuses they give are too good to pass up, and their efficiency grows with level. For example, Book of Ressurection from L1 Merchant chest gives +20% healing, which makes a huge difference later into the game when you can spam mass team heal. You want that item upgraded, not just a regular book that will be useless two hours later.
If following optimal strat, you won't need all your characters to be well-geared anyway - they'll be in the team just for the company while your main damage dealers wipe out the maps.
So the strategy is easy: as soon as you hit new Camp level, upgrade Smithy, and start upgrading your unique items (the ones with white special effect and item description). Limit-Break (only if you can afford to re-Enhance them and re-Refine them again immediately), Enhance them to 9, Refine them to 9, reroll the Enchantment if needed - and wait for a new Camp upgrade. You may also get a good Enchantment on them, preferrably +Attack% or +Magic Attack% since the Enchantment is not removed on Limit-Break and you only need to roll good Enchantment once. Normally these items are so powerful that you shouldn't worry - a simple L5 Merchant's Treasure Chest Anti Magic Sword that decreases 30% of magical damage taken in the mid/late game saves millions points of damage, more than any Magical Defense could do.
Again, it doesn't worth it to spend too much resources on normal items. If you struggle, just purchase few items from the Equipment Store to get better level - this way you only spend Gold and don't waste precious Breach material on Limit-Break. But normally your main party should be able to progress fast enough and loot the higher tier gear for the 2nd/3rd tier teams which will be far above their map levels.
Here's the problem with No-Brainer Heroes.. Actually, here are three problems:
Normal heroes can't go past level 100, and they can't transfer experience to other characters. Since you're limited with the amount of Teams and the amount of heroes in a team (5), you can't really afford to level up characters that you're not going to use.
Normal heroes don't have good unique abilities like Rare heroes do.
Heroes cannot be removed from the list once purchased, so the literally just clutter your UI with no way to get rid of them.
Long story short: never buy the heroes that worth 200 Gold. Even if you have free slots in the party, just wait for a Rare hero to show up - they're much better. Once your main party is complete, you don't even need to worry about B-teams: you'll gear them up with A-team and drop your weaker heroes into them once you find better ones.
There's also a huge gap between how powerful certain heroes are, especially when combined with certain items.
First and foremost is Jennifer - you pick her up early on and she'll be your power house until late game. Second is any character with reliable AOE attack, they're the king when it comes to progression. Yes, certain characters are much better at single target damage, but if geared properly even Act bosses shouldn't be a problem. For a 2 minute time save on the boss you'll have to sacrifice dozens of hours of map grinding.
Lets start with Jennifer. All you need is to get 3 stars on Magical Attack (because you have no alternatives), Light blast (your #1 skill in the game), Skill Rate (to trigger Light blast more often), Critical Chance (for the same reason - Light blast) and Evasion (in the mid game it's more important than other defensive stats). With a 500 Dragon Crystal Staff of Archmage from Merchant she'll be carrying you far and beyond. This is Skill AOE attack (which triggers far more often than Ult Skill), and it doesn't require charging. Light Slash is fine, but it requires charging and is way too slow: normally when Jennifer is ready all enemies are already dead. So.. we just remove the Ult Skill completely to not waste trigger time on it. Also, first boss drops a gem trinket that adds +15% Magic Attack, and it helps quite a bit.
The other one you obtain early is Wolfe. Accurate Shot, Arrow Storm, Evasion, Critical Chance, Ultimate Rate. No blue skill at all. If you managed to pick up Flaming Arrow from Merchant's chest early on it will help a bunch.
The other valuable characters are Viper (Attack/Poison Mist/Evasion/Crit Chance, Ult Rate), Thor (Melody Attack/Hell's Song/Prep Talk/Crit Chance/Ult Rate), Susan (Arrow of Cold/Cone of Cold/no Ult Skill/Skill Rate/Crit Chance/Evasion), Potter (Fist Attack/no blue skill/Heavenly Flame Fist/Ult Rate/Crit Chance/Evasion), Wendy (quite a bit weaker - Shoot II/no skill/Dumdum Shoot II/Ult Rate/Crit Chance/Evasion).
I think you've got the idea. Anything with AOE must be in your main party to power them through. With good speed they'll be wiping enemy party even before they can act.
I would also like to talk about Jessie. He's a nice guy, a bit weak early on.. But if you manage to get Assassin Katar from L9 Merchant's chest the "early on" ends very, very fast. This Katar allows you to perform another acton if your regular attack landed a killing blow. You see the problem here? No? Well, what if the second attack also lands a killing blow? And a third? And a 4th, 5th and 6th? Then the entire wave of enemies wiped by him alone. If you managed to get the Assassin Katar, level up Jessie with books and put him into front line of your main team. Jennifer and Jessie is more than enough to evaporate pretty much any non-boss enemy within seconds, the rest of the team just stays there soaking in the experience. I also equipped Jessie with the Phoenix Feather Robe that ressurect him if he occasionally dies (being a front liner it happens).
At first you want to have Attack/Berserk Attack/Crit Chance/Evasion/Ignore Defence. Berserk Attack breaks the killing chain, so if you can do enough damage without it, then drop it out immediately. If not, wait until you naturally get enough Crit Chance without it, and remove it only then.
Lets see what can a level 111 Jessie with Assassin Katar and Phoenix Feather Robe do against level 127 map. Alone.
As you can see, he's able to kill most of the enemies in a single attack (his Crit Chance is not maxed), and even if he dies he immediately gets back thanks to the robe.
As for the tanks - they're pretty much all fine, with Walter being the beast as a meat shield (Magical Tolerance and Phisical Tolerance skills give him -40% magical and physical damage taken) while Kaira is in my main team because of AOE Ult Holy Cross Sanction.
Healers are not as important mid/late game because they don't get much chances to heal: you either wipe enemies or they knock out one of your squishies. I like Jerome for bonus exp and buffs, Maria for Unti-magic field and lots of healing and Tina for AOE Ult Earthquake.
Potter is alright, but mid/late game his Heavenly First Ultimate makes him really useful: it stuns all enemies preventing them from killing you. It doesn't do much damage, but it gives time to your core DPS heroes to clear the field.
As you can see, the heroes are not equal. Always try to bring as much AOE on the field as possible, and get rid of the rest of the skills to increase trigger rate of the useful ones.
As I may have hinted - I love AOE. It makes the progression much more faster. Alright, I have less durability and my heroes may occasionally die - so what? If instead they save me hours and hours which I would have to otherwise spend on safe grinding, I'm okay with that.
In mid game I removed everything that is not AOE to increase efficiency. As for the Passive Skills (we assume that Permanent Passive skills are leveled up whenever possible anyway), my go to is Evasion + Crit Chance + Skill/Ult Rate. I want my core skills to trigger as often as possible, hit as hard as possible (thanks to Crit Chance), and preferably don't die myself meanwhile.
Why Evasion? Because as the game progresses your defense falls behind enemy damage. You encounter more ranged enemies, and your tanks are no longer enough to protect you. Later into the game you will be killed in one round even with the top armor, so the only option is to go glass cannon and stack evasion.
As you know, the math behind Evasion is pretty simple: your chance to evade the attack equals to your Evasion minus enemy's Hit. If enemy's hit is 35 and your evasion is 135, you have 100% chance to avoid damage - which is far more than any amount of armor could do.
Another important thing for survivability is the Mirror buff - it fully negates all damage and negative effects from a single attack. If you're doing fine, bring Thor with you - he does quite a bit of AOE with Hell's Song AND passively buffs random hero with Mirror each wave. If you feel like you're dying to often - swap him for Monica later on: she has so many Mirror skills that you can pretty much keep your party invulnerable. The only disadvantage is that she does very little damage herself.
Again, the Skills are not equal, just like Heroes. The +3/+6/+9/+12 Physical Defence sounds alright early on, but when your tank already rocks 2000+ armor it's not that much, just a waste of skill slot. Get a habit of checking your battle field from time to time. See what's going wrong - if you're doing good, try to add a little bit more DPS to the battle: you can swap skills without retreating the party. If you're doing bad, see what other skills were unlocked on new levels.
I'm sure devs intentionally designed the game like that. Sure, -40% of Physical Damage from Phisical Tolerance sounds great.. until the remaining 60% take more than half of your health. At this point Evasion + Shield Block (25% chance to neutralize physical damage) sounds much better.
It's important to note that you don't have to fully clear the map (Progress to 100%) in order to unlock further maps. Often it's better to switch your main party to new maps to unlock new Item Levels, Camp Levels and resources than grinding everything to 100% right away. Even if you want the Achievement Points, it's better to re-visit the map later and clear it within few minutes or just leave your B-teams slowly chipping away at it: they have nothing else to do anyway.
Another thing to consider is what resources the map chest gives. If it's a Breach material or Hero Breach material, you may want to grind it more. For example, you've already past certain level with good chest rewards, and you want to leave the game running to do something else. In this case switching to previous level is better since in a long run you'll get materials that will allow you to progress faster, and grinding to 100% that one particular map with no good reward would be a waste of time. If the drop rates are too low, get yourself the Dark Box trinket for 500 Dragon Crystals from the Merchant: it increases the map level you're in by 4, raising the rates quite a bit.
And you really, really want to progress as fast as possible. There is no real advantage in grinding maps. You'll get better items, more gold and materials in the same amount of time - and you can upgrade your Town faster, gear up your B-team with just the loot instead of buying items. If you don't progress fast and don't unlock new Camp levels (which are gated by grinding to 100% specific maps), you're wasting time.
Don't bother to grind for events either: the rewards stay the same, so getting +5 stone from event that you first encountered 1 Act ago is no longer useful, since now you need hundreds of resources for an upgrade. If you got a special encounter with unique reward - sure, go for it, but grinding it specifically doesn't worth it either.
We all "like" long texts, so I'll try to be short:
- Dragon Crystal Up upgrade from the Camp and farm Cave to get 500 D for Staff of Archmage.
- Jennifer with Light Blast and Staff of Archmage solves your problems for almost whole Act 2.
- Always Auto-Buy important resources, books and items. They refresh slow, and by the time you actually need them it's best to already have a stockpile.
- Enhance/Refine only Unique items (with white special effect and description). Normal items are outclassed way too fast. Limit-Breaking them is a pure crime.
- Try to get as much AOE in your main party as possible. If you die a lot - re-arrange skills (it only cost 500 Gold), change team composition.
- Evasion, Mirror and other skills/buffs that fully block the damage are better than the pure armor or % damage reduction later into the game. Stack Evasion to solve Physical Damage problem - this way Assassins can safely stay in the front line.
- Merchant's chests are cool, some items are simply busted.
- Play the game the way you want and enjoy it at your own pace. If someone tells you there's a "proper tactics", "more optimal strategy" and even write a guide about it - they're just dumb.