I've now been playing Puzzle and Dragons for over a year, so I figured I might as well write up all the things I've learned!
P.S. Other PAD players - see anything I missed? Have any useful tips? Leave them in the comments!!
For those of you not sure what Puzzle and Dragons is, have a look at the official website. It's a puzzle based Pokemon-ish battle game in which you build teams of monsters and take on dungeons. It's available on iProducts, Android and Kindle Fire, and totally free to download. The game can have a very steep learning curve - as a beginner I made loads of mistakes and didn't understand many of the concepts, so I really hope this beginner's guide will help you guys avoid some of the same problems I had!
The best thing about Puzzle and Dragons is that the dungeons are constantly changing and the monsters are frequently updated with new evolutions, so there's always a goal to work towards. If you get burned out, it's easy to get excited the next week when there's a special event going on and a chance to get monsters you need and want!
There are two major ways Puzzle and Dragons is played - using in app purchases (IAP player), and not using in app purchases (non-IAP player). I am writing this primarily for non-IAP players, since I tend to lean that way when playing the game and I think it makes it more fun. :)
Step 1: The PAD Dictionary
Since PAD is a super involved game, I thought I'd include a nice intro to some of the lingo used in the game to make it easier to understand what in the world I'm talking about here. :D
ATK/Attack: A monster's attack power.
Awoken Skill/Awakening: Some monsters have awoken skills can be activated through using a TAMADRA. You also have a chance to activate these skills by fusing them with a monster that has the same skill, but it is not guaranteed. These skills are represented by tiny boxes to the right of the monster on their info screen.
Evolution/Evo Fusion: The process of evolving a monster into a more powerful monster using evo materials.
Evolution materials: Monsters that are used exclusively to evolve monsters. See the full list here.
Experience: Used to rank up - received after completing a dungeon level. Amount of experience received varies for each level and also according to player rank and how well you do.
Friend slots/Friend leader: Once you've ranked up enough, you'll have 50 friend slots to add compatible leader monsters into. You always want to pick friends with compatible monsters and skills. Using friend leaders gives you Pal Points.
Gold Egg: The rarest of eggs.
HP/Health Points: A monster's life points - these are added together across the entire team to give you total HP.
Leader skill: The monster you equip into a leader slot on your team will be able to use its Leader Skill. Skills vary widely and will also change during evolutions.
Magic Stones: Special items that can be used to increase monster box capacity or number of friend slots, recover stamina, continue in dungeons after defeat, and buy special monsters from the Rare Egg Machine.
Monster: The creatures you assemble teams out of and use to fight your battles. As of the writing of this instructable, there are over 1600 monsters in the US version of PAD.
PAD: The shortened named of Puzzles and Dragons.
Pal Egg Machine: An egg machine that will allow you to roll for a monster for 200 Pal Points.
Pal Points: Given to the player for choosing a friend leader when entering dungeons. Players on your current friend list will give you 10 pal points. Players not on your friend list will give you 5 stamina. Once you've used a friend's monster, you can't get more pal points from them that day.
200 Pal Points allow you to roll the Pal Egg Machine. Pal Points are also given during special events, up to 1000 Pal Points a day. You can only hold 10,000 Pal Points at any given time.
Player Rank: A player's level. Increases as you gain experience.
Plus Eggs: Some monsters drop with a yellow + on the egg. Each plus egg monster will give you +10 points for HP, ATK, or RCV. These eggs can be used to increase a monster's stats up to +97 for HP/ATK/RCV.
Silver Egg: Contain rare monsters, though they're not as desirable as gold eggs.
Skill: Nearly all monsters have a skill that they can use in battle. Each skill requires a certain number of turns to have passed before the skill can be used. You can decrease the numbers of turns that have to pass by fusing the monster with a monster of the same type or one with the same skill.
Skill Up: Sucessfully fusing two monsters with the same skill can result in lowering the number of turns that must pass before you can use the skill.
Stamina: Stamina increases along with Player Rank and allows you to enter dungeons. As of 11/2/2014 stamina refreshes at 1 stamina per 5 minutes.
Star Egg: The lowest of the rare eggs.
Rank: The player's level. The higher your rank, the more stamina, friends slots and team cost you have.
Rare Egg Machine: An egg machine that requires 5 magic stones to use it one time. The Rare Egg Machine gives you a random monster with a rarity of 3-7 stars.
Rarity: Each monster has a rarity associated with it - rarity is marked by the number of stars a monster has next to its name. Rarity scales from 1 star to 7 stars. The higher the stars/rarity, the more valuable the monster in most cases.
RCV/Recovery: RCV controls how much health you get for matching heart orbs.
Team: Your monster team consists of one leader and four other monsters, as well as a friend leader. Teams come in many different flavors, including mono-color, mutli-color, healer, devil, spike, etc. You want to build teams around different types of monsters and leader skills.
You have slots for five teams when you start the game.
Team Cost: The total cost of all monsters on your team.
Step 2: Getting started & rerolling
When you first start PAD, you'll be asked to choose from three dragons (much like Pokemon!).
These are not super important - chances are your starter dragon will get retired almost immediately. I chose a Plessie just because he was super cute.
During the tutorial that follows, you'll also get a chance to roll the Rare Egg Machine with the magic stones you earn in the tutorial. This is your chance to get an amazing leader monster! There's a ton of fuss about getting the perfect starter monster in PAD, but when I started I just went with what I got.
I was lucky and rolled a Kushinadahime :3 - she's a combo leader, so the more combos you get, the more of an attack multiplier you'll get.
You can search around online to find lists of great starter monsters, but here's a quick list of good choices:
If you don't receive one of these monsters or another monster you like (really, do a search for anything you roll!) it's best to delete the game and try again.
This can be a really tedious process, so it's smart to wait for a Gala or Godfest to do it to increase your chances of getting a good monster by a little bit. :)
P.S. Here's a ridiculously awesome thread ranking starting rolls. It's intense but has so much great info!
Oh! And this post is really good, too.
Step 3: Stamina, Experience and Player Rank
Each dungeon you enter requires stamina. Stamina will vary quite a bit - typically the harder the dungeon, the more stamina it requires! The minimum stamina a dungeon requires is 3 - the very beginning Normal Dungeons will range from 3-5 stamina for each level. The max stamina I've seen a dungeon require is 99.
As of 11/2/2014, You gain 1 stamina point back for every 5 minutes. (YES YES YES THANK YOU PAD GODS)
Stamina can be completely restored by using a Magic Stone or increasing your Player Rank.
Each dungeon level you complete will give you experience and coins at the end. You can see a complete list of the dungeons and the experience they give you on these pages:
This experience will allow you to increase your Player Rank. On the next step, I'll tell you how to rank up in the most efficient ways. :)
Your Player Rank will be the biggest limiting factor for you at the beginning of the game. When you first start the game, you'll only have 20 stamina points/20 team cost/20 friend slots. As you rank up through the game, you'll increase these stats and be able to clean more dungeons at once and have many more powerful monsters on your team.
You can see a complete list of ranks and the associated stats here.
Step 4: Magic stones and PAL points
The only thing in the game you can buy! Magic stones refill stamina, give you another life in dungeons, buy more monster box space, buy more friend slots, and let you roll the REM.
Before I realized they were super limited, I spent them on restoring stamina and adding more friends. Don't be like PAD-noob me. Save your stones for Godfest or until a fancy version of the REM comes along, or buy more box space. Nothing else! (though I totally own up to using magic stones a few times to give myself another chance in a Descended dungeon)
Ways to get magic stones:
I love PAL points! I am much more strict with them. I always save my PAL points until there's a special event. I normally roll when rare evo materials have a chance to appear, but sometimes I'll roll when the King Metal/Jewel dragons are appearing.
You will receive at minimum 200 PAL points a day if you log in every morning. In some events, you can get an additional 1000 free PAL points a day. The rest of your PAL points come from user friend list monsters or having your friends use your leader monster.
You can store up to 10,000 PAL points at a time, or 50 rolls in the PEM.
Step 5: Daily Events and Bonuses
I like to use PadGuide or puzzledragonx.com to plan my week. There are always events happening, so it's good to look ahead and see what sort of Descends and special dungeons will be happening so you can build appropriate teams.
You get daily login bonuses of 200 PAL points and 500 coins if you log in everyday for a week and then never miss a day. You might also receive a message from game admins that includes 1000 PAL points, a TAMADRA, or a magic stone, depending on the current event.
Daily Metal/Jewel Dragon dungeons:
Nearly every day you'll be able to run a special dungeon featuring a certain element of jewel/metal dragon. The elements will vary, and the dungeons are only available for one hour at a time. These are a great way to level monsters in a cost effective way.
To find your daily schedule, create an account at puzzledragonx.com or use PadGuide. You will need to know which "group" you player code falls into.
Pengra Village and Evo Rush! dungeons:
Sometimes the daily metal/jewel dragon dungeons get switched for these. I don't really run them because they can be a huge stamina drain - but it's good to run them once to get a magic stone!
Sometimes the game will give you a King Dragon or Present Egg in a special dungeon you can only run once. These dungeons normally cost 10 stamina.
Descended dungeons are the thing most high level players focus on completing. They're much harder than the standard dungeons and are normally only available for 24 hours, so keep an eye on the upcoming schedules!
Step 6: Best ways to get coins in PAD, aka YAY WEEKEND DUNGEON
There are really two major ways to make money:
Early on in the game when you're a broke noob, it's a good idea to sell excess low level monsters. Say you're really only focusing on leveling fire and wood monsters - in this case you should sell all the dark, light, and water fodder monsters you have. Anything that's not valuable, at least. :D
It will cost you a lot of money to feed them to your other monsters, and you won't receive that same-element exp bonus, so it's not cost effective.
The other coin-maker is the Weekend Dungeon aka the only way you're gonna become a millionaire in this game. ;)
Key things to know about the Weekend Dungeon:
Step 7: Using the Egg Machines
There are two flavors of egg machine: the Pal Egg Machine and the Rare Egg Machine. Both of these machines run special events that allow you better chances to get the types of monsters you want, so keep an eye out on puzzledragonx.com (see the second image) and PAD's Facebook page to see which events are coming up.
Pal Egg Machine
For 200 Pal Points, you can roll at the PEM once. If you save up your points, you can roll up to 10 times in a row. You can store 10,000 Pal Points at a time, or 50 rolls.
Pal Points are best stored until a special event is happening at the machine. Keep an eye out for Rare Evo Materials or Jewel Dragons appearing at the machine.
If you roll the PEM machine when there's not an event going on, chances are really low you'll get any awesome monsters.
You can find a PEM simulator here.
Rare Egg Machine
The REM allows you to roll for rarer monster (3 stars+) for 5 magic stones. This machine is also best left until there's a special event or version of the REM you want to roll.
REM events include Galas and Godfests. During Galas, you will have a higher chance of rolling certain types of monsters by element - Fire, Water, Earth, Light, Dark. During Godfests, you have a higher chance to get certain types of Gods. To learn more about Godfests, check the previous ones here.
The REM also comes in different types. Certain events allow you to roll at special REMs that contain a very limited set of themed monsters, including Hello Kitty, Evangelion, Batman, Sticker Girls, etc. These are rare but well worth a roll when you see them!
I prefer to keep nearly all my magic stones for rolling during REM events.
You can find a REM simulator here, as well as a list of any current event monsters with higher rates of appearing.
P.S. Please note that the REM is a cruel machine. Often times you will get trolled and get a terrible monster - it's not guaranteed that you'll get a good monster even during Godfest.
Step 8: Making the most of your friend list
Unless you choose to add more friends slots with magic stones, you'll have 50 friends maximum.
When you're just starting out, it's best to friend pretty much everyone. Friending folks gives you an additional monster to use in battle and that's all you really need at first. Plus, friending people that use your leader monster will guarantee you a few more PAL points.
As you rank up and begin building more specific teams, you'll want to start culling your friend list and adding players with leaders that work well with your team. In my case, I have a large amount of Ronia, Kushinada, devil, and healer friends.
A couple more ways I control my friend list:
Step 9: Dungeon types
There are three major types of dungeons:
Normal dungeons have no restrictions except for stamina cost. You can use any mix of elements and monster types to make up your teams.
Technical dungeons are very focused on certain element types and allow enemies to use skills instead of regular attacks, which can make them tricky. Higher level technical dungeons also introduce restrictions where you can only use certain types of monsters on your teams or render you unable to use leader skills.
Special dungeons are event based dungeons and are only available for limited amounts of time. These dungeons include:
These dungeons vary wildly in time frames, team limitations and cost, but are a great way to get rare monsters, coins, experience, skill ups, evo materials and magic stones. Always check the special dungeons for the day/week and plan ahead for best results.
Step 10: Descended Dungeons
UPDATE 10/8/2014 - Descended dungeons have changed up a bit and some (Hera, Two Heroes, etc) are now available as normal levels once you clear certain dungeons.
Descended dungeons are a major part of the game - they're a great way to get powerful monsters! However, they take a ton of work to get through.
Here is a list of the descended dungeons.
For your first descended dungeons, I recommend these:
Two Heroes drops either a Berserk or a Highlander, and it's a good idea to run it multiple times to get both. Berserk evos into a great physical team leader, and Highlander does the same for balanced teams.
Zeus' Gravity skill reduces overall enemy HP by 35% - fancy.
Evoing the Valkyrie you receive from Goddess Descended gives you Warrior Rose, Graceful Valkyrie - a great healer team lead that gives 3x ATK to healer types.
Evoing the Zombie Dragon you get from the descended of the same name gives you Corpse Wyrm, Dragon Zombie, which reduces light damage, has great HP, works nicely on devil teams and enhances dark and wood orbs for extra attack.
Keep in mind that not all descended dungeons are easy to access - some have cost, rarity and element limits as well, which make them harder to build teams for.
If you check the dungeon page for each of the descended dungeons on puzzledragonx.com, you'll also be able to see team builds from other players. These team builds can help give you a good strategy in harder descended dungeons. :)
Step 11: How to rank up fast
Increasing your player rank is one of the best things you can do in the beginning of the game and incredibly easy to do when you're under rank 100.
A higher player rank will give you more stamina to use and a higher team cost so you can fight with better monsters.
Players under level 100:
On the weekends, you can increase your rank super fast (seriously, it's like magic!) by running Dragons of the Tower in the Tower of Giants.
Tower of Giants offers runs for half the stamina on weekends, so you use 3 stamina to get around 1500 exp!!
It can be a little tedious, but it can help you rank up and level some of your monsters as well.
Higher level players:
Higher level players have quite a few great places to level up:
As a bonus, these three levels are fire, water and wood element based and routinely offer 1.5 drop rates during the week. This means you can rank up and also feed the monsters that drop to monsters of the same element and level them up pretty quick, too.
I run the above levels based on the elements of the monsters I'm trying to level up and which level has a 1.5 drop bonus running.
Step 12: Monsters 101
Monsters can be up to two types. Both types count toward any leader skill bonus that may apply. For example, Ronia is a Devil/Dragon type and I&I is a God/Healer type.
Monsters come in fire, water, wood, light and dark elements. As with type, they can be up to two elements. The main element (in the upper left hand corner of their card) is the element that counts for any dungeon restrictions based on element.
Each monster in the game has a cost associated with it. This will vary based on the rarity of the monster. For example, a monster with a rarity of 7 stars will have a much higher cost than a monster with a rarity of 1 star.
These monster costs add up to the total team cost when building teams.
Awoken skills are found on the right hand side of the monster card, represented by small tiles. When awoken, the tiles become bright. Awoken skills are one of the best perks of evoing your monsters - you can get HP/ATK/RCV bonuses, auto healing, additional damage bonuses, skill boosts, etc.
You can awaken monsters by feeding them a TAMADRA. Each TAMADRA awakens one skill, and the skills awaken from top to bottom. You can also feed a monster the same exact monster via power up fusion for a chance at awakening, but it is pretty rare.
Skills are something your monsters can use in battle. Skills can do major damage to enemy monsters, convert orbs on the board, heal, poison, delay enemy turns, and apply bonuses.
Skills require a certain number of turns to pass before they can be used. You can decrease the number of turns a skill requires by skilling up a monster by fusing it with a monster of the same skill. Skilling up is not guaranteed, but there is always a chance.
Leader skills are only activated when that monster is set as a team leader - either your leader or your friend's leader.
Pay close attention to these skills as they as what you will build your teams around.
Note that not all monsters come with a leader skill - some require an evolution before they gain a leader skill, and some never gain a leader skill at all.
Step 13: Team Building
Team building is absolutely the trickiest thing about this game. The team leaders you choose are just as important as the subs, honestly!
To make a great team, you need to have:
To get the most out of any team, awakenings and evolutions are key. You want the highest possible HP/ATK/RCV out of any monster, and evolving and awakening your monsters will help with that. Cobble together the strongest team you're got at first and only awaken those monsters. Try out your team using the Team Simulator on PADx - it's a great team building tool!
Anytime you get a monster with a leader skill that you think could work well, do some research and see if anyone's running with that team and if there are any suggestions for subs.
When I first started out and before I got any bonus based leaders from the REM, I used Kushinada as my leader and just tacked on all my strongest monsters - one from each element. That resulted in a pretty well rounded team that got me through many of the starting dungeons.
Right now, my teams are as follows:
I finally ultimate evo'd my Valkyrie!! WOOHOO!!! This team is great when using another leader friend that offers bonuses to healers, or a combo based healer leader like Isis or Bastet.
Weekend Dungeon Team:
I normally team with a friend that has a Kushi or Bastet leader for maximum damage. You can really blow through the master weekend dungeon stage with more problems if you combo well enough.
This is the team I use most often. I switch out the subs depending on what elements I need more of. (Awoken Hera-Ur, Underlord Arch Hades, Drawn Joker, and Corpse Wyrm Dragon Zombie come out sometimes!) I always team with a Ronia leader - this allows for devastating attacks and good healing. The King Baddie is essential as he allows you to do LOADS of damage for one turn. Teaming with a Hera or Lu Bu means lower RCV which can make it very hard to clear many dungeons since you need to stall a ton with a Ronia team.
Step 14: Fighting 101
Practicing & Learning
Step 15: Getting monsters
There are three ways to get monsters in the game:
If you're a non-IAP player, you don't want to rely as strongly on REM pulls - they're costly and in the beginning of the game it's best to use those stones to add more space to your monster box!
I've found that the best way to get great monsters is to farm and then evolve them. Many of the great leader monsters you get from the REM are very well complemented by farmable monsters and monsters that you get from the PEM machine. Save those PAL points and use them during Jewel/Metal dragon and rare evo materials events to get loads of monsters at once.
Your best case for farming? Only farm when there's an extra drop rate (x1.5 or x2.0) - otherwise you're not using stamina as wisely! Ignore those dungeons the rest of the time and focus on upping your rank.
It will take a fair deal of effort to farm and evolve these monsters, but it's worth it to have a well rounded team. Head to the next step to get more info on what you should farm for in the beginning of the game. :D
Step 16: Useful farmable monsters
Mystic Stone Knight/Dragon Knight
Step 17: Farming for evolution materials
Every Tuesday through Friday is your best chance to get evo materials. You can also farm them in the normal and technical dungeons throughout the week, but the drop rate is much lower and can be pretty frustrating. The only evo materials I farm regularly in the normal levels are the lits, dragon seeds, dragon plants, and dragon flowers.
I farm these weekly to replenish all my evo materials, and I try to keep at least two of each evo material on hand at any given time, though I often have 3-4 of of the dub-lits and keepers since those get used all the time. Expand your box space just to store evo materials, for real. You'll thank me later.
Depending on the monster you're wanting to evo, you might also need to farm jewel/metal dragons or Spirit Jewels, too.
Tuesday Dungeon - Keepers:
Wednesday Dungeon - Masks:
Thursday Dungeon - Dragon plants:
Friday Dungeon - Lits and Dub-lits:
Step 18: Leveling your monsters / feeding monsters
The absolute biggest thing to keep in mind when leveling your monsters is to feed the monster you're leveling only with monsters of the same element. You get 50% extra EXP that way, meaning you save on gold.
Check the image above - feeding all fire elemental monsters to Mitsuki results in much more EXP than when I feed all fire monsters to Valkyrie.
This is something I didn't understand at first, and I am terrified to think about how much gold I wasted. :P
Beyond feeding your monsters with normal drops from dungeons, there are also some advanced ways of getting extra EXP:
Step 19: Evolutions and Ultimate Evolutions
Undoing Ultimate Evolutions:
To reverse an Ultimate Evolution, feed the monster one of each element of lits - fire, wood, water, dark, light.
Step 20: Skill Ups & Awakenings
Awoken skills are one of the best perks of evoing your monsters - you can get HP/ATK/RCV bonuses, auto healing, additional damage bonuses, enhanced orbs, skill boosts, etc.
Pay very close to your monster's awakening skills - sometimes they allow amazing damage bonuses. For example, Ronia and Meimei offer awakenings that allow an additional 10% damage by matching one row of dark, fire or wood orbs. If you use Ronia's skill and change the board to only red and dark orbs, you can match many rows at once for mega damage. Same goes for Meimei's skill if you're lucky and get lots of green orbs!
You can awaken monsters by feeding them a TAMADRA. Each TAMADRA awakens one skill, and the skills awaken from top to bottom. You can also feed a monster the same exact monster via Power-Up Fusion for a chance at awakening, but it is pretty rare.
(Baby TAMADRAs are also an option, but they require more time and materials to evo them into a TAMADRA.)
You can decrease the number of turns a skill requires by skilling up a monster by fusing it with a monster of the same skill. (This monster does not have to be identical - it only has to share the skill.) Skilling up is not guaranteed, but there is always a chance.
Only attempt skill ups during a skill up bonus event - the Power-Up Fusion button will let you know when there's one going on. Otherwise, hold those extra monsters in your monster box.
For some monsters (like those that you can only get from the REM) it's nearly impossible to skill them up, and that's okay. My Kushinada will be forever Skill lv. 1.
Step 21: Plus Eggs/+ eggs: how to use and obtain
How to use + eggs:
To get the most out of your + eggs, store them until the monster you want to apply them to is a very high level. For example, I waited until my Ronia was about level 95 before I applied any + eggs. If you do it before, the monster will cost loads more to level, as each + egg adds to the fusion cost.
For a better breakdown of the cost, check here.
Fuse your low rarity + egg monsters together (maybe 15-20 at a time) and keep them in your monster box. Try to use a base monster of the same element type as the monster you want to apply the + eggs to - you'll get more experience that way when you fuse them!
Where to obtain + eggs:
Plus eggs are best obtained in dungeons with a drop rate bonus. Ocean of Heaven is a great place to farm for them on the weekends. You can also keep an eye out for the Tower of Jewels special dungeon.
Step 22: Additional resources
There are tons of places to go to get extra help with the game and find leader friends. I find the PAD subreddit and PADx the most helpful, but the other sites are good too. :D
Other great tools:
My favorite thing to use is PadGuide - it's an offline PAD app for your phone, and it's really easy to use. Much easier than having to google things while you play.
It also gives you the best at-a-glance upcoming calendar of events, gifts and bonuses!