Helping Hand: SMITE RPG: Shadows over Hercopolis
Editor’s Note: Today’s piece is dedicated to Doug. Poor Doug just wanted some friends, but instead perished to constant AOE from Odysseus’ Bow/Chaac’s 3.
The latest SMITE Adventure is “Shadows over Hercopolis”, a continuation of the previous “Trials of King Hercules”. This time, a mysterious force kidnapped the King, destroyed his statue, and took all of your loot! Why, it would have to be some godlike being, some trickster … some diabolic fiend who lives to cause chaos and mischief. If only SMITE had an entity like that to be responsible for this despicable deed. Hm. Well, anyway, that’s the mystery that we’re going to solve in this Adventure. Last night, we were joined by PR Juggernaut Gabe, and HiRez Isiah, Community Producer at Hirez Studios! They were fantastic and as a team, we stomped through Normal, and almost beat Hard Mode! If it were not for a game-crippling but, I’d have tactics and more advice for the Final Boss ™ for Shadows over Hercopolis! But today I’m going to do what I can help you succeed in this challenging mode! This Adventure is a good twice the size of the original, and has a series of new challenges and puzzles to overcome! But there is always a way around, and always an easier way to succeed. For example, we were trying to fight all the Spiders/Imps in the Boiler Room, but alas; there’s a better way. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the areas, let’s talk about what you can do in Hercopolis proper!
This is the main hub for where everything is done. All of your quests, trading Diamonds and Rubies (1 Diamond = 10 Real Gems, 1 Ruby = 3,000 gold), and purchasing Chests (Uncommon: 1k, Rare: 2k, Epic: 3k). If you’re trying to get Rubies/get chests with Gold, I recommend once you’ve completed a quest, to surrender afterwards, get it, and get back in. Unless you don’t need them, and don’t mind doing the Normal Mode from start to end over and over. If that’s the case, don’t let me stop you! But I would stop after a quest at the start until I got a reliable team or two and some items. There are four buildings here, and a crushed Statue. You unlock the Statue Pieces of Hercules in Normal/Hard mode, from chests and bosses. If you build the statue, you receive 100 Smite Gems, so it’s worth doing! And they aren’t insanely rare drops either. If you’d like to know where they drop, I have a list (thanks to SMITE Wiki):
Statue – Head: Drops from bosses on Hard and Nightmare only.
Statue – Lion Head: Drops from bosses.
Statue – Left Arm: Drops from small chests in Muspelheim.
Statue – Torso: Drops from small chests in Niflheim on Hard and Nightmare only.
Statue – Belt: Drops from bosses on Hard and Nightmare only.
Statue – Right Arm: Drops from small chests in Niflheim.
Statue – Club: Drops from bosses.
Statue – Tunic: Drops from small chests in Niflheim on Hard and Nightmare only.
Statue – Left Leg: Drops from small chests in Niflheim.
Statue – Right Leg: Drops from small chests in Muspelheim on Hard and Nightmare only.
Statue – Left Foot: Drops from small chests in Muspelheim.
Statue – Right Foot: Drops from small chests in Muspelheim on Hard and Nightmare only.
But you have the Blacksmith, where you buy Chests, then you have the Treasury, where you trade Diamonds/Rubies. Next is the Church, where there are three buffs to purchase (but I’m told they’re broken right now. We didn’t buy any of them), Might, Protection, and Freedom which give 30% Damage, Damage Reduction and Movement Speed, respectively. The Castle area is where the “end-game” content happens. Your Enigma Chests, Awesome Chests, and Minor Chests are found here. But you can’t get those quite yet, as they require Spoiler Charms, which are in Nightmare. So you have to get to the end it seems, and beat Spoiler for the charm, and pick one of those chests as your reward. Completing the Quest in Nightmare Mode gives you a Charm, but I’m unsure if more drop after that. I can only imagine they do, but we’ll just have to wait for that.
There are some gods that are banned in this mode, primarily gods that are featured in the mode (Spoiler, Hercules), and gods/goddesses that have Pets/Familiars. Except Skadi, somehow. But as a note, if you use Skadi, her poor Kaldr can disappear in a number of ways. If Kaldr dies, he might never come back, especially if it happens during a boss fight/phase change/cut-scene change. But gods that have a pet for an ult (Poseidon, Artemis) are just fine, because those are only in the game mode temporarily, then disappear. But as far as I’ve seen, there are definite must-picks or should-picks. This is an MMORPG, so treat it as such. You need a tank (Guardian/Fighter with some manner of sustain), damage (Hunter/Mage, but if it’s a mage, Attack Speed mage preferably) and some kind of healer (… healer, come on. Do I have to spell this one out?!) to round out your three-person squad. I see a lot of people who just run two-damage/one healer, or three damage, but one of the damage has a heal (Ra). It’s all about how you coordinate, and how comfortable you are in playing which gods/roles. Now, you can use a lot of gods in this mode, but some definitely stand out more than the others. But here are a few of the ones that produce the best results, in my estimation:
– Ah Muzen Cab: AMC is a fantastic starter god for damage. He doesn’t really need items to be successful, and smart placement of Hives will give him speed/healing to kite/run bombs/etc. But AMC with items? Seeing constant 960 damage crits is very horrifying when he has a full build.
– Cupid: Honestly, Cupid is good with and without items. One of the few things I like about Cupid over AMC is that the Hearts give one more tiny heal. He’s the other really solid starter god, in my opinion. Pair him with Chaac and Hel, and everyone has some kind of heal that helps the whole team.
– Cernunnos: Okay, Cernunnos has sustain, damage, slows, all kinds of crazy stuff in his kit. It’s pretty bloated, but I think the only thing slowing Cernunnos down in this mode is a lack of a useful ultimate. Cupids ult is still useful, as is AMC’s, but not Cern’s. Fairly certain it won’t affect monsters, much less Elite Monsters.
– Mercury: A non-hunter on the damage list? Oh yes. Mercury’s damage is insane, he can probably use his ult to move to a spot quick-fast-and-in-a-hurry, has minor CC with his knock-up, and let’s be honest, Mercury with a full build absolutely melts encounters/gods alike.
– Anhur: Another fantastic Hunter for this mode, his leap, sand, and sudden burst damage make him another wonderful choice. Plus you can use his Obelisk to kite/hold off boards/other annoying things, and probably to hide behind Surtr’s “Bullet Hell” phase.
– Chaac: I talk a lot of trash about Chaac, as the “King of Mediocrity”. But I’m sorry F., and anyone else who loves Chaac. I was wrong. He’s amazing in this mode, with and without items. He has sustain, mobility, an awesome knock-up ult, and is pretty beefy. Plus he can be a Gundam. That doesn’t help his stats, but it’s incredibly cool.
– Amaterasu: She’s another fighter who frankly, just has everything. She can buff her friends, has solid damage, can dash in a pinch, and has a nice wide-arcing cone ultimate. She’s another one that’s probably okay without items, but with them is unstoppable.
– Odin: The only “tank” characters I seem to see are Chaac/Ama. I feel like a lot of teams probably just go two full-damage/one healer, which is totally fine, but I feel Odin brings enough damage and can use his ult in a pinch to stop melee units from flooding your face if you need, to make sure they fall to their doom. He’s not a major pick but definitely is fun in here.
– Hel: Hel is the best. She is the absolute best. There is no healer better in this mode than Hel, with or without items, if you ask me. Ra is a close second, but that’s because he also dumpsters damage. But Hel can cleanse, heal, aoe heal, drop damage. She’s the best. Bask in her greatness.
– Aphrodite: I’ve heard some people say that Aphrodite sucks, but you’re wrong. I’m sorry, but you are. She can make two people on the team invulnerable in a pinch for a boss fight, she can stun, has a nice long healing row, and has a knock-back. Is she the best? Nah. But is she awesome with items and a competent player? Yes. If you said Aphro is bad, feel shame.
– Ra: Ra deals insane damage with a few good pen/damage items, has an awesome heal (in this mode anyway), and his ult can really save the day when there are lots of baddies running at you. Ra’s also excellent at pulling, thanks to his nice long range. One of our best runs was probably AMC, Chaac, and Ra. Just some food for thought. We’d have won, too …
This is of course, not a catch-all. There is a whole host of gods that are amazing here, with or without items. These are just a few that I have found to be the absolute strongest or have the most potential. I also highly recommend not doing this mode with random people. That’s awful to say, but hear me out: Lots of people just yell at you if you won’t do what they want, their way. Or will refuse to pick what you need for a successful run. Not to mention, communication is key. Running normals for greens/gold/quests? Sure, go wild. But anything beyond that, I highly recommend bringing a few friends with you. Hard Mode doesn’t mess around, and I promise Nightmare Mode’s gonna be even worse. Normal only goes to Surtr, though. If you want to see the Final Boss, you need to play Hard Mode. But I do recommend playing Normal several times first so you can get the items you need for Hard Mode.
Normal Mode is pretty simple. The puzzles are decent, the challenge is just about right. But without items, I don’t imagine you’ll be seeing Surtr. There are a few major encounters/roadblocks to worry about, but I’ll get to them shortly. I’m not going to break down all the various packs you’ll get to, but for the first area, it’s all Harpies, Wolves, and Frozen Soldiers. They’re the hardest because of their icy ground spike attack that hits in front of him. Harpy Matrons have range, Spirit Wolves have a bleed/knock-back-dash. The other enemies are standard fare. Watch out for bridges though! The bridges with Runes on them will collapse under you, and the other bridges have gusts of wind that will blast anything to their doom. That includes enemies. You can use both of these to your advantage in most cases. There are only two bridges that won’t (and it’s for a specific encounter). You can absolutely trigger an enemy, get them out of Line of Sight and watch them run to their deaths (Gateway), pull a Frozen Soldier to walk across the falling bridge, or just laugh as Harpies and Corrupt Archers run to their doom. It’s easy to do and you’ll see how. Some of these monsters give you a hint by falling to their doom before you even initiate. It’s great! But if you aren’t paying attention you might miss it.
The first major encounter is a gate. You have a pair of bridges that have both fall-away ground and icy paths to slide on. You have to run bombs to break the chains that hold the gate open. Each side needs two bombs. This is ideal for someone with dash, leap, or simply a player who knows what they’re doing. I personally avoid it like the plague, because I’m pretty terrible at them, or was. While this is going on, groups of Harpies, Soldiers and Wolves show up to do battle. After each Bomb goes off, Elite Monsters show up. The final battle is a pair of Elites and a group of their minions. This isn’t hard, per se’, but you really have to be on the ball, for dropping those bombs. Anyone can do it if you know how you’ll bounce off the ice. From here you’ll go through a few more packs of enemies, nothing seriously challenging, but the numbers do go up. Crossing a bridge and getting on a boat, where the Draugr awaits. The Draugr are the “again-walkers”, come back to a semblance of life. The key tactic in phase 1 is to stand on the little glop-puddles so they don’t get to Draugr. If they do, he deals damage and heals. That’s a bad thing, by the way. Phase 2, and he leaps into the ocean, becoming a giant. You need to dodge the waves (they can knock you off the boat even in Normal), and the trick is to kill all four fingers at once. Failing to do so, he can Bellow more than once, dealing piles of damage. Phase 3, and he’ll move to the Middle and create a giant whirlpool that deals damage/cripples/silences. You can avoid it in Normal by standing at the far end of the boat, but not in Hard that I saw. Hard Mode had a boat-sized whirlpool. Just power through it and win! It’s time to leave Nifelheim. On to Mordheim!
It’s time to enter Fire Town, where there are new mechanics to worry about! Boars show up that explodes is the biggest one! They deal an absolute ton of damage, so kill them before they get to you. There are way more ranged units, like Fire Imps. The packs are bigger and hit harder. There are Obelisks to blow up and lots of very curious air vents. Fun fact, the first “Nene” that is here does not fight you. He was Doug, and he was our friend. We got him over the first bridge! At least you don’t fall off bridges here. But there’s lots of lava to run over (before the lava hits the surface). The first puzzle encounter has a trio of runes. You stand on a vent, that throws you up in the air to avoid the lava. One of three routes that had water, will not anymore. Now you run down that path, break the item at the end, and run back before the lava’s back. There are also spiders that slow you, fire imps, et cetera. In Normal, I’d just run to the end, it seemed like it was faster that way to let them die in the lava. In Hard Mode, we had way more time, funny enough.
This area felt a little smaller, but it’s a lot of tight corridors and timed runs. There are also Phoenixes to look out for. In Hard Mode, some of these appear to shoot through walls, and their fireballs stun. This can be deadly on one of the last lava walkways, which does have three vents to save you. But if you get stunned by a fireball, you can be murdered in the flames. This will eventually lead to Surtr. Do not let him stand on his pools of fire. He gains a damage/attack speed buff and you will die. You kite him off of those and damage him until phase 2. He’ll move against the wall and start a Bullet Hell segment. The pattern’s easy, and I just tapped left twice or so per fireball. Now he adds a cross on the ground made of fire. Keep him out of fire until the next phase. His next Bullet Hell is much closer to you (center of the room). It’s rinse repeat after that. Defeat him, gain your loot, then fall into Helheim! But what awaits you in Helheim? You’ll have to watch this stream to see for yourself! Since I didn’t complete it, I won’t write about it yet. But it will happen.
Thanks so much to Gabe and Isiah for coming out to show off the mode and do some giveaways with me! There will be more SMITE RPG content to come because this mode is wonderful. I think HiRez needs to invest in a SMITE-themed MMORPG. I wrote about that not too long ago, but I stand by it. There’s a ton of lore they’ve developed that could go well in it.
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