An in-depth guide giving detailed descriptions and analysis of all of Cosmonator’s numerous upgrades, including Level One Upgrades, Level Two Upgrades, Drone Upgrades, Feats, and Master Upgrades. Includes additional technical information not found in the game, as well as some hints regarding how to make the most of your upgrades and how to combine different upgrades efficiently.
Level One Upgrades
(All these upgrades are useful in some form or another, but if you’re just starting out and not sure of what to buy: Shot Spread, Sideships, and Missiles are probably the most useful all-round options to begin with.)
Shot Spread: This increases the amount of bullets that your primary weapon fires. 1 extra bullet is added per additional upgrade. Upgrading this is useful mainly for the total damage increase – but during the first few upgrades the additional bullets also extend the width of your firing arc, which helps to clear more enemies if you don’t have sideships. On later upgrades the additional bullets are added to the centre of each volley; this way the core of your firepower remains focussed straight ahead.
Shot Power: Increases the amount of damage that each of your primary weapon’s bullets does. 1 extra point of damage is added per upgrade. Because each individual bullet’s damage is improved, this upgrade complements the Shot Spread upgrade – the more bullets you fire, the more damage bonus you will receive from a well upgraded Shot Power. In other words, it doesn’t really make sense to upgrade Shot Power without also upgrading Shot Spread, or vice versa (unless you have a very specific reason for doing so). This also means that when upgraded side by side, even though these two upgrades each get pretty expensive once you’ve upgraded them a few times, the total DPS that you get from their combined upgrading should still be worth the extra cash cost.
Life Capacity: Increases your total life capacity (and the amount of life with which you start) by 10. Upgrading this once or twice is quite cheap and efficient, but it becomes expensive later on, and only really worth it if you don’t have other ways (e.g. defensive spells or good evasive skills) of defending yourself.
Missiles: The standard missile upgrade simply arms you with basic forward-firing missiles. The missiles inflict hefty damage, but they have a slow rate of fire and they take much longer than your primary bullets to reach their targets. Because of this their main utility (before you get the chance to enhance them in special ways in the Level 2 Upgrades shop) will be against slow or stationary tough targets like turrets or minibosses.
Missile Power: Increases the damage that each missile does. This upgrade is inexpensive in terms of damage per cash, but since your basic missiles already do enough damage to take out smaller enemies and debris that often get in their way, extra missile damage will often be unnecessary. (Note: In order to conserve superfluous missile damage, you can invest in the Energy Missiles upgrade in the Level 2 Upgrades shop, which allows missiles to cleave through smaller enemies and carry over any damage that has not yet been dealt).
Missile Rapidity: Increases the firerate of your missiles. More expensive than Missile Power in terms of DPS, but you get to hit more targets, which is especially useful when there are large numbers of smaller enemies (in which case extra damage would not make a difference anyway).
As in the case of Shot Spread and Shot Power, Missile Rapidity obviously complements Missile Power: the more missiles you fire per second, the more useful the damage per missile will be, and vice versa. When upgraded together, even at max upgrade level (very pricy), the combined DPS that you get for your cash spent here will still be worthwhile, especially if you have other advanced missile upgrades from the Level 2 shop.
Sideships: Basic sideships shoot bullets straight forward and, when upgraded, also at an angle to the side – very useful for clearing your peripheries. The bullets are relatively powerful but their rate of fire is much slower than that of your primary weapon.
Energy Capacity: Increases your maximum energy capacity. Upgrading this to a high level should only really be necessary if you intend to cast very energy-heavy spells, or if your play style relies on casting quick successions of spells in short periods of time. (Note: Your energy capacity in no way enhances your energy recharge rate. All energy recharge functions, including your basic energy recharge as well as the energy gained via the Drone’s Energy Cell and special abilities like Reap and Energy Snatch, work independently at absolute rates, regardless of how much maximum energy you have.)
Energy Recharge: Increases the rate at which your energy recharges. This is quite cheap at first; upgrading it a few times is essential if you intend to use more than two or three spells. Energy Recharge becomes very expensive on higher upgrade levels, but the advantages of continually being able to cast a large arsenal of spells are massive.
For a generic spellcasting build, or even if you are merely using a couple of spells on the side, it would typically make sense to upgrade Energy Recharge and Energy Capacity side by side. There’s no use having a large energy capacity that is always empty because the energy itself takes too long to recharge.
Phasing: Phasing can be a tough skill to master but it’s incredibly useful once you get the hang of it. At upgrade level 1, it simply allows you to move around rapidly; its real utility only emerges when you upgrade it again: now you can phase through enemies and their projectiles without taking damage. This is especially handy when you’re cornered by laser beams or flamethrowers, or when facing a tight cluster of bullets that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to weave through.
Level Two Upgrades – part 1
Armor: Increases your ship’s armor, reducing all damage taken by 10% per upgrade. Note that this reduction applies to damage AFTER all other modifiers have been applied: so if you also have an active shield, the shield will first absorb 50% of the 10 damage you’d take from a standard enemy bullet hit, and then the armor will absorb 10% of the remaining 5 damage – so the armor’s reduction will be 0.5 damage (per upgrade).
Shield: Absorbs 50% of the damage of a single hit, but takes a quite while to recharge again. This means that the shield is extremely useful in general, but becomes almost completely redundant in shorter, intense moments where you take several hits in quick succession. You can upgrade the shield one more time to get an additional shield that activates after the first hit has been taken (so now you’ll be able to take 2 successive hits with 50% absorbtion each; the first shield to take a hit will start to recharge immediately after being destroyed, while the other one remains active until it gets hit).
AP Bullets: Armor Piercing Bullets enhance the bullets of your primary weapon so that they not only do 2 extra points of damage, but also gain the ability to cleave through enemies that they destroy. This means that the last bullet to hit (and kill) any enemy will always pierce through that enemy, carrying over whatever damage it hasn’t dealt yet. In the case of stronger enemies, this trait is pretty insignificant; but it can make a difference when you’re facing hordes of smaller enemies, clusters of debris, asteroid fields, etc.
Tracking System: Indicates which enemies (or enemy components) are damaged / close to death. If an enemy or enemy component has less than 50 % of their total health left remaining, they will be indicated by a grey target circle; the lower their health drops, the brighter that circle becomes – if the circle is white, the target is at death’s door.
Homing Missiles: Gives your missiles the ability to automatically target and track enemies. On the first upgrade, the missiles merely become partially homing: they will still shoot more or less straight forward, as before, but they will target any enemies that are within a reasonable area in front of you (slightly to the left or to the right). Once it’s acquired its target, the missile will home in on its target until it’s destroyed – even if the target moves out of the initial targeting zone.
Upgrading the Homing Missiles a second time makes the missiles fully homing, meaning that they will acquire targets automatically all over the entire combat area, not just in front of you. The only drawback of this is that you now have no say at all in which enemies the missiles will target (unless you use the Mark spell to paint your own preferred targets).
Note: Fully homing missiles will shoot two at a time, but at half the firing rate than normal or first-tier Homing Missiles. So the actual missile per second ratio stays exactly the same.
Energy Missiles: Your missiles cleave through enemies after killing them instead of being destroyed by the impact. Any latent damage that was not dealt in the killing blow is carried over by the missile, but the damage that it already dealt is substracted from its total damage. So if your missile kills an enemy that has 10 life points (that’s the total life of a basic flyer enemy), and your missiles have a total upgraded damage of 100, then the missile will continue cruising after destroying the enemy, albeit now with a reduced total damage of 90. If your missiles are homing, they will attempt to seek out a fresh target upon cleaving. If you have Napalm, Ion or Chemical Missiles, the special impact effect will not be wasted in the cleaving collision but will be carried over to be used against the missile’s final target.
Napalm Missiles: (Every missile fired has a 1 in 4 chance of being a Napalm Missile.) Upon impact, Napalm Missiles will cause a large area-of-effect explosion that does additional damage to their targets and to any nearby enemies. The area damage is not massive, so Napalm Missiles won’t make a big difference against individual targets, but they’ll turn the table when you’re faced with clusters of weak enemies or with segmented / multi-component enemies. (When one of your missiles hits a target that has tightly clustered components, the Napalm Missile area damage is applied to all the enemy’s components that are within the area of the explosion.)
Chem Missiles: (Every missile fired has a 1 in 4 chance of being a Chem Missile.) Upon impact, your missiles will poison their impact target for 3 seconds, and they’ll also create a chemical explosion that causes damage in a small area for a short time. (Poisoned enemies have their fire-rate halved and will take minor damage per second for the duration of the poison.) The poisoning feature is the main utility of Chemical Missiles, but the gas explosion can also be useful in some situations. If the missile destroys the first in a line of rapidly moving flyer enemies, for instance, the next few enemies in line will fly straight into the gas, and if they are weak enough they won’t make it.
Ion Missiles: (Every missile fired has a 1 in 4 chance of being a Ion Missile.) Ion Missiles create an EMP effect upon impact, totally shutting down the weapons systems of their targets for about one second. This might not sound like a long time, but if you’re firing missiles fast enough, it’s possible to keep a single target disabled completely for as long as you’re firing at it. Moreover, the effects of several EMP impacts stack with each other – so if an enemy is already disabled for a few seconds when it gets hit by an ion missile, the duration of its weapons shutdown will be increased cumulatively. Note that some exceptionally strong enemies and some boss cores are immune / resistant to the crippling effect of EMP.
Note: Napalm Missiles, Chem Missiles and Ion Missiles are ‘mutually exclusive’ upgrades: they do not stack, so once you buy one, the other two become unavailable. Consider carefully which of the three options will be most useful to you. (You can always sell if you’re really unhappy with your choice – but it will put a dent in your sell allowance both for your cash and gems, so still be careful.)
Level Two Upgrades – part 2
In the hands of a Sideship Master, Homing Sideships become slightly larger and more powerful (+30% damage per missile).
Laser Sideships: Upgrades your Sideships’ weapon system to fire short ranged, aimed laser beams. The laser’s rate of fire is improved according to the original Sideships upgrade. This Sideship option does potentially massive damage, but getting and staying close enough to enemies for this to make a difference can be very dangerous. You’ll have to be prepared to spend less time at the back of the combat area, so get ready to take some hits, or make sure to have some defensive / protection spells ready.
In the hands of a Sideship Master, Laser Sideships have a 50% chance of bouncing a laser beam onto a second target within range of their first target. Awesome against bosses with multiple components.
Gauss Sideships: Upgrades your Sideships’ weapon system to fire powerful cleaving gauss bullets straight ahead. Fire-rate and damage are both improved according to the original Sideships upgrade. The overall damage loadout here is the best of the three advanced sideship upgrades, and the fact that the bullets cleave through weaker enemies means that no damage is wasted. On the downside, this option has zero peripheral range, as it fires only dead ahead.
In the hands of a Sideship Master, the Gauss Sideship’s bullets become slightly larger and do 30% more total damage. Deadly against vertical lines of weak enemies.
Note: Homing Sideships, Laser Sideships and Gauss Sideships do not stack; you can only buy one of these three upgrades.
Drone: The fundamental drone upgrade that you need to unlock all its other versatile upgrades. In its basic form, the drone follows you around and shoots with a relatively inconsequential damage loadout.
Although this is not very powerful until upgraded with the Drone Shot Power and Drone Firing Rate upgrades, even in its most basic form the drone will give you an edge when it comes to clearing scattered weak enemies: the drone follows you with a slight lag, so when you strafe from side to side, its bullets will travel at a slight offset to your primary fire and help to cover a bit of extra combat area.
Drone Shot Power: Increases the damage that each of the drone’s bullets does.
Drone Firing Rate: Upgrades the drone cannon’s rate of fire.
Again, these two upgrades complement each other. A specialised build that utilises the drone mainly for support against small targets might favour the drone’s Firing Rate above its Shot Power, but otherwise it really makes sense to upgrade them side by side.
Drone Control: Enables you to place the drone in a specific spot on the screen, then call it back to follow you again whenever you need it to. This way you can momentarily place a forward-firing drone directly in front of a tough enemy, leave it there, and get out of the way to deal with other business. If you have Drone Aim, you can also place the drone at a specific angle to an enemy (or even behind an enemy) if you want it to keep attacking a particular component. (Some enemies have especially squishy components at their rear, so this can be more useful than it sounds.)
While the drone is placed in a stationary position, the efficiency of its Repair Unit / Energy Cell is improved by 50%. (The drone basically becomes an anchored healing / recharging point). This can make a big difference when you really need it – but you’ll need to stay close to the drone to receive any benefit of the Repair Unit / Energy Cell at all, and that can be pretty tricky when the action gets hectic. If you really want to get the most out of the drone’s stationary recharge bonus, it pays to adopt a rapid, constant drop-and-call playing style: drop the drone in place whenever you’re not moving around too much – even if you just place it for a few seconds – and then call it back to follow you as soon as you move from the area, only to drop it down again moments later.
(Basically, you shouldn’t really bother with this upgrade if you’re not absolutely comfortable with the controls of the game already. It requires pretty technical gameplay.)
Repair Unit: The drone acquires the ability to repair your ship while you’re close to it. (Being too far away from the drone only becomes an issue if you use Drone Control to place it somewhere far from where you are; otherwise it will always automatically follow you at repair range.) Only recent damage can be repaired – whenever you’re hit, the maximum life level up to which the drone can repair will drop accordingly.
At its basic, unboosted level, the Repair Unit’s repair rate is very slow – it will take 1 minute to repair 4 life – but this can be boosted by placing the drone into a stationary position with Drone Control (1.5x repair bonus) or if you have the Tech Drone upgrade (2x repair bonus). A Drone Master can further multiply the repair bonus by summoning additional drones; each drone has its own repair unit and they all work cumulatively. (This means that a Drone Master with Tech Drone who has 2 drones at hand, both of them placed with Drone Control and within repair range, will receive a massive 6x bonus to the repair rate – x2 for Tech Drone, x2 because there are two drones, and x1.5 because of the Drone Control boost: 2x2x1.5 = 6; meaning that in 1 minute, 24 life will be repaired instead of 4.)
Energy Cell: This follows the same principle as the Repair Unit, but gives a boost to your energy recharge rate instead of repairing your life. The drone recharges an additional 1 point of energy per second, regardless of how fast your energy is normally charging. Again, this recharge rate can be boosted by using Drone Control, with the Tech Drone passive upgrade, and / or by summoning additional drones.
Note: Repair Unit and Energy cell do not stack; you can only buy one of these two upgrades.
Drone Aim: The drone acquires an auto-aiming system. It will pick out targets all over the combat area, and once locked on to a single target it will keep firing at it until the target is destroyed. Medium-to-low durability, slow moving, and high threat enemies are favoured by the drone’s aiming system.
(Buying this option means you’re sacrificing a lot of potential damage increase – the Dual Shot upgrade would essentially give you a x2 damage increase – but Drone Aim can be really useful as a support weapon to quickly take out weak enemies that are far away from you, especially if you don’t have Homing Missiles or Homing Sideships.)
Dual Shot: The drone shoots two bullets at a time instead of one. The fact that this literally means a 100 percent damage increase for the drone’s cannon should make it the obvious preferential choice for any players who rely heavily on drone firepower.
Tech Drone: The most technical of the drone upgrades, this turns your drone into a completely passive support entity. All drone firepower is forfeited (so make sure not to upgrade the drone’s Shot Power or Firing Rate unnecessarily); instead your Repair Unit or Energy Cell upgrades get a x2 boost to their repair / recharge rate. (If you want to go down this road, you’ll benefit greatly from being able to master Drone Control, for the cumulative 1.5x recharge bonus that it lends your drone’s recharging abilities.)
Close-Range Focus: Increases the damage that your primary weapon’s bullets do when fired from up close. You need to be closer than half the combat area’s vertical span to get any damage bonus at all, so this will really only benefit players with an aggressive playing style. The maximum damage bonus is +25% – when you’re literally nose to nose with your target.
Note: This only works for your actual primary weapon’s bullets, so while you have Magefire or Laser Lance active, Close-Range Focus becomes obsolete.
Meditation: Your energy recharges at twice its normal rate when you’re not shooting. Since you can still cast spells while meditating, this upgrade is ideally suited for a powerful spellcaster build with minimal firepower, in which case the sacrifice of not shooting should frequently be outweighed by the benefits of being able to cast spells more rapidly. And even if you’re more reliant on firepower, there may still be occasions when energy recharge will be more important than pumping out bullets.
Note: Meditation only affects your ship’s main energy recharge rate; the drone’s Energy Cell function works independently and is not affected by Meditation’s energy recharge bonus.
Energy Missiles +: Increases the maximum amount of enemies that your Energy Missiles can cleave through before being destroyed, by an additional 2. (Normal Energy Missiles will detonate upon cleaving through their second enemy kill, regardless of how much unspent latent damage they still have left and of how little life their target enemy has.) This feat is only really useful if you have seriously powerful missiles, and even then, only against large numbers of weak enemies.
Poison Affinity: Increases the duration of all your poison effects on enemies by 30%. This includes all poison effects from spells like Venom and Poison Wind, as well as the poisoning effect of Chem Missiles.
EMP Affinity: Increases the duration of all your EMP effects on enemies by 30%. This includes EMP effects from spells like augmented Laser Bolt and EMP bomb, as well as the EMP effect of Ion Missiles.
Multicasting: Allows you to cast the same level 1 spell twice in quick succession without expending more than one charge. (Cast a spell twice quickly, and only one charge will be spent. You can even do this when you have only a single charge left for a spell.) The spell’s energy cost will still be spent as normal for each casting.
Multicasting obviously doesn’t work with spells that have a duration boosting effect on you (like Power Shot or Spread Shot), as these spells can’t possibly be cast twice in quick succession. It does work with some support spells like Spirit Replica and Deflect, but its main application is for offensive spells. Note that there is a slight cooldown time for this ability – you’ll see a refresh icon in the bottom right of the screen.
Defense Reflex: Makes you invulnerable to all damage for just a little bit longer after taking a hit. You’re invulnerable after taking a hit normally anyway (during the time that your ship glows red after taking damage), but only for a very short time; Defense Reflex doubles the duration of this invulnerability. This only works after taking actual damage: taking hits while protected by spells like Plasma Shield or Energy Shield will not activate the defense reflex.
Shield Recharge +: Improves the recharge rate of your shield (or both shields, if you have a double upgraded shield). Your shield(s) will take 20% less time to replenish after taking a hit.
Conservation: Causes the durations of your firepower-enhancing spells to deplete only while they are actually in effect. In other words, if you stop shooting, the relevant spells’ durations will stop depleting until you start shooting again. Spells that can be conserved in this way are Power Shot, Spread Shot, Chaingun, Energize, Flurry, Geno-Sides, Frenzy, Magefire, and Laser Lance.
Phase Barge: You gain the ability to do damage by phasing into / through enemies. (This is very dangerous if you don’t have fully upgraded phasing – otherwise you’ll simply take damage every time you barge into something.) Phase Barge is extremely efficient against small groups / lines of weak enemies, but be careful when barging into tougher enemies. If you don’t manage to destroy them, and don’t get away in time after executing the phase barge, you’ll be left in a sticky situation.
Missile Inertia: Your missiles accumulate bonus damage as they travel, at a rate of +10 damage / second and for a maximum of +30 bonus damage. (The missiles will start glowing purple when they’ve gained their first +10 additional damage.)
Missile Inertia will give your missiles a slight edge generally if you tend to hang at the back of the combat area (the more distance the missile travels, obviously, the more additional damage it will do) – but for the maximum damage bonus of +30 to become relevant, you’ll need to have fully upgraded Homing Missiles and Energy Missiles. In this case the missiles will keep accumulating extra damage as they roam the combat area and cleave through multiple targets.
Regeneration: When your life drops below 25%, Regeneration will gradually replenish it back to the 25% mark, at a rate of 8% of your total life per minute. Since this feat replenishes a percentage of your total life per minute, it becomes more efficient – in terms of actual life points regenerated per minute – the more life capacity you have in the first place. If you also have solidly upgraded Armor and a Shield or two, this can give you a strong second wind when you’re close to death.
Energy Snatch: Converts cash pickups into energy if you pick them up while phasing. Quite a technical feat, but if your build is reliant on energy and you’ve mastered the skill of phasing, Energy Snatch can save you some precious cash that you’d otherwise be spending on Energy Recharge (which becomes very expensive on higher upgrade levels). Best used directly after destroying strong enemies that leave large clusters of cash pickups, or, of course, cash ships, which now essentially double as potential sources of energy.
Spell Focus: Your currently selected spells (both the currently selected offensive spell and the currently selected support spell) replenish their charges at 1.5x the normal rate. This means that you can keep your favourite spell selected even when you’re not intending to cast it at that moment, simply to make it replenish its charges faster for later use. Unfortunately the fact that you have to actually have a spell selected in the standard spell list, means that you can’t use spell focus to boost autocast spells or hotkey spells.
Master Upgrades – part 1
War Master: A go-to mastery for most builds. At first glance, the +1 bullet damage (for your primary weapon), +25 missile damage, and +1 armor might not seem like massive improvements, but if you already have your primary weapon, missiles, or armor upgraded (and especially if you have any of them upgraded quite high), the benefits should easily be worth the cost.
Fire Master: The first of the spell-enhancing masteries. All your fire-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Magefire spell is unlocked. Fire spells tend to be uncomplicated, powerful damage-dealing spells, so this is a relatively safe spell mastery to get if you’re not sure.
Fire Master’s special spell, Magefire, turns your primary weapon into a powerful flamethrower for a period of time: very useful if you don’t have strong primary firepower, since while the Magefire flamethrower is active, your primary weapon’s firepower is completely redundant. (Your missiles, sideships, and drone will all still continue to fire as normal while Magefire is active; it’s just your primary weapon that’s replaced.) Conversely, this will obviously be relatively less useful if you have a very powerful primary weapon.
Laser Master: All your laser-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Laser Lance spell is unlocked. Laser spells typically deal accurate, precise damage to single targets or pinpoint areas, so you should only go down this road if you’re comfortable with aiming while under pressure. Since two of the Laser Master’s arsenal of spells have gem-augment options that involve EMP disabling, this package combines really well with the EMP Affinity feat, if you have enough gems to spare.
Laser Master’s special spell, Laser Lance, turns your primary weapon into a powerful but thin laser beam for a period of time. As with the Magefire spell of the Fire Master, this is great if you have weak primary firepower, and relatively less useful if you have a powerful primary weapon.
Defensive Master: Boosts several of your defensive upgrades: Life + 10, Armor +1, and Shield Recharge + 10%. (This shield recharge boost stacks with the Shield Recharge + feat, for a shield that recharges at 1.3x the normal rate.)
Plasma Master: All your plasma-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Plasma Shield spell is unlocked. Plasma spells are very versatile: some are offensive, some are defensive, and some are a combination of both. For this reason Plasma Mastery is a great option if you only want to buy one magic school’s worth of spells; using Plasma Magic spells exclusively you’ll be well equipped to deal with a variety of scenarios.
Plasma Master’s special spell, Plasma Shield, is probably the most powerful defensive spell in the game: it makes you completely invulnerable to taking any damage from bullets for the duration of the spell.
Poison Master: All your poison-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Parasites spell is unlocked. Poison spells are all offensive and damage-dealing, and some of them additionally debilitate enemies with a poison effect that halves enemy fire-rate and does additional damage over a set period of time. (Note that not all Poison Spells automatically poison enemies – for instance, Toxic Blast is merely a damage-dealing spell unless you add a poisoning effect by augmenting it with a gem.)
Poison Master’s special spell, Parasites, summons a horde of heat-seeking parasites that roam the screen and eat enemies and stick round even after their targets are dead, until all their potential damage has been dealt. Really high total damage, over time, and really low maintenance – just sit back and watch them do their thing.
Agile Master: You gain a 20% passive chance to dodge enemy bullets, and you can use the Phasing ability twice as frequently. (Your Phasing cooldown time will be halved.)
The bullet dodging feature might seem like a significant bonus at first glance, but since successfully dodging a bullet doesn’t render you invulnerable in the way that taking the hit (even with reduced damage) would, it’s less useful when facing barrages of several consecutive bullets, and completely useless against enemy lasers and flame-throwers (which essentially consist of relentless streams of bullet segments). It does stack with the bullet dodging effect of the Evasion spell. An Agile Master with a gem-augmented Evasion spell will be nearly invulnerable for its duration.
The 2x phasing bonus will obviously only be relevant to players who are using Phasing on a regular basis in the first place, especially in combination with Phase Barge or Energy Snatch.
Missile Master: You gain +25 missile damage, and you unlock the ability to upgrade all 3 the special Chem/Ion/Napalm Missile upgrades in the Level 2 Upgrades shop simultaneously. (These 3 upgrades are usually mutually exclusive, i.e. you could only choose 1 of them.)
The +25 damage bonus alone should already be significant to anyone who has heavily upgraded missiles, and even though the rest of this Masteries’ benefits involve a steep additional cost – each of the three special Missile upgrades costs a gem and upwards of 1000 cash – the combined effect of having Napalm, Chem and Ion missiles is absolutely deadly if you have properly upgraded Missile Rapidity. This is especially useful if you are using either the Flurry or Barrage spells (or both).
Explosive Master: All your explosive-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Nuke spell is unlocked. Explosive spells are mainly offensive and good for dealing area-of-effect damage against large multi-component enemies or clusters of smaller enemies. Exceptions are Limpet Bomb, which is a pin-point accuracy spell, and EMP Bomb, which does some damage but is chiefly useful for its large AOE disabling effect.
Explosive Master’s special spell, Nuke, is a very simple, massive, powerful area-of-effect bomb. Does exactly what you’d expect it to. The nuke can be augmented to leave behind a radioactive cloud, which remains for some time and helps to clear any surviving debris or weak newcomers.
Master Upgrades – part 2
When you summon an additional drone with the Summon Drone spell, you are literally doubling all the effects (including all firepower and any passive boosts, like repair or energy recharge) of your standard drone. Cast Guardian Drone and Summon Drone simultaneously and you will have two drones protecting you with lasers instead of just one, making you almost completely invulnerable. Cast Assault Drone in the same way and you will now literally have quadruple the total amount of damage loadout as usual. You can even summon more than one extra drone at the same time if you want, if you have enough charges and energy saved up.
Energy Master: All your energy-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Energy Syphon spell is unlocked. Energy-type spells are quite versatile, but the one thing that they have in common is that they tend to cost a lot of energy to cast or maintain (apart from Energy Syphon, which actually gives you energy). This is especially true of the Energize spell – it literally drains your energy for every bullet that you fire. The Energy Shield spell similarly drains your energy over time, as you take energy damage instead of normal life damage.
Energy Syphon, Energy Master’s special spell, is a unique and crucial tool that an Energy Master can use in order to maintain their level of energy, given this arsenal of energy draining abilities. Target a strong enemy, and while that enemy is alive / for the duration of the spell you will continually steal energy from that enemy. The rate of syphoning is quite rapid, so even if you don’t have a well upgraded energy recharge, Energy Syphon will easily save your skin while you’re using the Energy Shield, or maintain your damage boost while using Energize. (Note: There are no enemies that contain more or less energy in this way; all enemies provide you with the same rate – but if they are destroyed, the syphoning ends.)
Sideship Master: Your sideship firepower is improved. The specific nature of the improvement depends on your sideship option, but in general the improvement is around +30% damage / rate of fire / efficiency. The different sideship options get the following improvements, respectively:
Standard Sideships: +30% rate of fire.
Gauss Sideships: +30% total cleaving damage per bullet; slightly larger projectiles.
Homing Sideships: +30% damage per missile.
Laser Sideships: Each laser beam has a 50% chance to bounce from its primary target to another target, provided there are any available targets within range of the primary target. The secondary target can be an additional component part of the primary target, so this is especially useful against component enemies, and utterly useless against isolated monolithic targets.
Time Master: All of your time-type spells are improved by 50%, and the Time Warp spell is unlocked. Note that the spell improvement here is 50%, not 30% (as is standard in all the other specialized spell school masteries). A Time Master doesn’t have a large amount of spells that are improved, but the improvement for each spell is quite significant.
Time Warp, Time Master’s special spell, is a slightly watered-down version of Time Slow, but with a very long duration. Everything is slowed down just a little bit – at 70% – giving you a slight but sustained edge when it comes to dodging, aiming, and making pressured decisions.
Note: Time spells do not stack; the most powerful currently active time altering effect will always be prioritised. So if you have both Time Warp and Time Sphere active, the entire playing field will be under the effect of Time Warp, but the area around you that is more heavily influenced by the Time Sphere’s effect will be slowed according to Time Sphere instead of Time Warp.
Spirit Master: All of your spirit-type spells are improved by 30%. Spirit-type spells all involve the summoning of spiritual entities that aid you in some way, be it to draw away enemy firepower, absorb bullets, give supporting fire, or do direct burning damage to enemies. Because these spells all tend to last for relatively long durations and don’t rely on you to have strong firepower to be enhanced in the first place, this mastery is ideal for providing sustained support to magic-users who have weak passive combat upgrades.
Bullet Master: All your bullet-type spells are improved by 30%, and the Bullet Fan spell is unlocked. Bullet-type spells revolve around amplifying your primary weapon’s firepower (so not including sideships, drone bullets, or any other projectiles). The more powerful your primary weapon is already upgraded, the more useful these spells tend to be.
Bullet Fan, Bullet Master’s special spell, lets loose a hail of bullets that covers the screen and then focuses on an area in front of you. Quite versatile, since you should take out any weak peripheral enemies while still being able to focus damage on whatever you want to target dead ahead. The bullets of Bullet Fan inherit exactly the same damage traits as your normal primary weapon bullets (so including damage enhancements of the Shot Power upgrade, AP bullets, War Master, Close Range Specialisation, and even the Power Shot and Energize spells), but the amount of bullets is determined solely by the upgrade level of the spell, so the Shot Spread upgrade and any rate of fire enhancements are irrelevant.
Quantum Master: All your quantum-type spells are improved by 30%. Quantum spells are all support spells, and they all bend reality in funky ways. Since two of these spells (Flash and Time Sphere) also belong to the Time school of magic, the Quantum and Time Master upgrades can work to be a good combo.
Quantum Master’s special spell, Singularity, drops a grenade that upon detonation causes a singularity event which pulls all (or almost all) enemies into the ground-zero centre of the explosion for the duration of the spell. This isn’t very useful by itself, but if you have area-of-effect damage spells (Grenade, Gas Grenade, Poison Wind, etc) to follow up with, you’ll be able to focus all your damage to the entire cluster of enemies that have been pulled together. Very technical, and tricky to pull off; but devastating if done right.
Death Master: All your death-type spells are improved by 30%. Death spells predictably all do damage or enhance damage; specifically they can be used to take down single tough targets efficiently. The Mark spell is central to this mastery: if you use it to mark enemies before following up with any of the other death-type spells, the overall damage dealt will increase significantly. Mark an enemy before casting Hellfire, and each of the deadly homing fireballs will home in on the marked enemy.
Since almost all the death-type spells overlap with other magic schools, Death Master combines well with several other masteries; most notably Fire Master and Poison Master. Combine these three masteries to build a magic juggernaught of pure destruction.
Death Magic’s special spell, Limpet Bomb, fires a missile that attaches itself to its target and then counts down 6 seconds before exploding, dealing massive damage. The spell can be augmented so that the target enemy is completely disabled while the bomb is attached to it.
Spell Master: All your spells are improved by 10%. This is especially useful if you have a really wide arsenal of spells.