Frostborn Wrath: Bombs and Wasps

Let’s talk bombs. Gem bombs have been around since the very first Gemcraft game, but I find myself using them a lot more in Frostborn Wrath.

Partly that’s because the slower advancement in power means I more often face the kind of odds where I need them. Gem bombs, as I use them, are mainly an emergency measure: when the monsters are about to close in on your Orb, usually bombs are the fastest and easiest remedy. Unlike towers, which take time to socket the gem and then fire shots that take time to hit their target, bombs are instant. The drawback is, of course, that they’re not reusable. Throwing a lot of bombs uses up your mana quickly.

Although not always! If a bomb kills multiple monsters, it can be a net profit. And this is something that happens more easily in FW than in previous games, due to an optional Battle Trait 1An extra challenge that improves the XP and loot for the level that causes every single monster to spawn a pair of Spawnlings on death. With that turned on, the later sections of the path frequently become a sea of Swarmlings, easy for bombs to take out en masse. You still wind up with less mana than you’d have if you had killed them without bombs, of course, but not necessarily less than you had when you started bombing them.

On top of that, bombs have simply become more useful over the course of the series. Chasing Shadows introduced the concept of “gem wasps”: little specks or sparks that linger after an explosion, drifting about and darting to hurt any monster that gets close. Suddenly bombs were not just instant effects, but a somewhat lasting defense! Gem wasps are not powerful, but they can be a practical last line of defense, finishing off the almost-dead. And in FW, they’re even better. Gem wasps are now weakly attracted to the mouse pointer. So if one Swarmling wanders off course in an open area, and you bomb it, you can lead the wasps to somewhere more useful. It just takes a little patience.

There are Achievements in both FW and CS for beating a level entirely with bombs and wasps rather than towers. This feels a bit like a Achievement for using only melee weapons in a FPS. It’s not the most straightforward approach, and certainly not the way that the game encourages normally, but it is demonstrably doable. I’d like to think that there are some Gemcraft fans somewhere who really like bombs and never do things any other way.

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1. An extra challenge that improves the XP and loot for the level

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