Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dreamblade

If anyone has been following my gaming activities lately they may have noticed that I haven't touched or talked about an MMORPG or even a PC game in a month or so. That is because I have been at my local game store!

I have been pretty much glued to collectible card games (aka. trading card games). Well along with the card games comes another form of gaming nirvana; tabletop miniatures. I decided last week to get into Dreamblade and tonight will be my first full night playing it. Hopefully it will be a ton of fun.

What attracted me to the game is the chess like play. While each player can and often does have different miniatures it does not mean the game rewards the player with the better pieces on the table. This game rewards the person who is a better player.

The rules for Dreamblade are dramatically different than most table top miniatures games. It is played on a pre-defined chess like board. The figures come pre-painted and all rule information is printed on the bottom of the miniature. Pieces move around the board one square at a time and combat is decided via the roll of a set of dice.

With dice comes randomness, but even the newest player learns quickly how to mitigate the luck factor and strike only when the odds are in their favor. There still is the chance for GREAT dice rolls that can turn a game around, but even then a good player will have control of the board to prevent luck from stealing a victory.

This is a great game for those players who don't want massive miniature armies to manage and collect. The warband size is limited to 16 and it is not too often you will find the need for multiple copies of a single high value miniature to be successful. With just a starter set and a quick romp through your local game shop's common/uncommon bin (or eBay) you can piece together a working warband.

Hopefully I will have more to say later when I get done with my night of Dreamblade, but until then have fun!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Day has come and gone!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Along the way I turned 25 and I just have to tell everyone that birthdays around Thanksgiving are the best! I always get the type of pie I want and there is always people in town for a bigger birthday party. Which just so happens to mean more opportunities for presents! Haha...

It was a great birthday and I scored a nice Weber grill. It is one of the old school charcoal grills that Weber is famous for. Maybe I can get in a Weber commercial with it now?

Have a great gaming week.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Playing with my Token Control deck!

I had the chance this past weekend to get a couple games in for The Spoils TCG with my Token Control deck. You can read about it here. I don't have all the cards I need yet, but the deck is playing exactly the way I wanted it to.

The first game I played it against a Warlord/Gearsmith deck which just so happens to be made of my cards. I was teaching another player how to play and Warlord is an easy place to start. Fortunately the person I was teaching was a quick learner and a veteran of many other card games. He picked it up fast and was able to use some of the better parts of Warlord/Gearsmith deck to good effect.

I won the first game, but that was rather expected considering the Warlord/Gearsmith deck was really just thrown together. Still it was satisfying to see my deck performing the way I had expected. My opening hand was full of starting points for various strategies I have worked into the deck. The name of the deck is Token Control and that is exactly how I played the first game. Throwing down with Qutidian Assassinations and Sudden Osprey I was able to get a well built Red Raven through for some massive early game damage. After trading a few creatures I finally was able to punch through for the win.

The second game I decided that we should swap decks so he would have a decent deck to play with. Of course this meant I would have to play the unfinished Warlord/Gearsmith deck. While it isn't exactly like playing sealed or limited play it is still great practice to play with a non-optimized deck. I didn't get a great starting hand with the Warlord/Gearsmith deck, but I was able to stall a few rounds with a Jacque's Trap which stopped an early rush from a Red Raven.

Halfway through the game it was evident my opponent had learned enough about the game to start playing a good bit better. Then I came to realize just how frustrating my deck was to play against. I pulled off a great research combo with 700130x 3lf only to get sucked a Lugubrious Finger Trap. By this time he had been able to build up a very nice Red Raven with several tokens. A Very Big Hat of Invisibility pretty much meant I wasn't going to block it any time soon.

I was able to get some damage across and brought his influence down into the teens, but I was never really threatening to win. He was getting horrible luck with resources for the game. It wasn't until late game when he finally got a second Obsession in play which started opening doors. 90% of the games with my Rogue/Arcanist deck there are 2 Obsession in play on turn two.

He was able to hold onto the Red Raven long enough to finish me off and I was quite pleased to see a new player pick up my deck and be successful with it. Now I just hope to get some more cards and get some testing done against some tougher decks and opponents.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My First Deck Build for The Spoils TCG : Token Control

Totals:
Card total - 80
Characters - 24
Tactics - 30
Items - 10
Resources - 16

Resources:
Obsession - 14
Deception - 2

Arcanist Items:
2x Knobby Stave
2x Napiform Protuberence
4x Very Big Hat of Invisibility
2x Lugubrious Finger Trap

Arcanist Tactics:
4x Voidal Replication
2x Forget
4x Remember
2x 12 Man Brunch of Doom
4x Quotidian Assassination

Arcanist Characters:
2x Sneaking Spitspider
4x Servile Centipede
4x Insidious Ecto-Manipulator
2x Quotidian Ejector

Rogue Tactics:
2x Rapine
2x Yoink!
2x Ambuscade
2x Forced Recruitment
4x Scrag
2x Warehouse Raid

Rogue Characters:
2x Sudden Osprey
2x Heist Planner
4x Red Raven
2x Card Counter
2x Hyperphagic Sarcophyle

How It Plays

The Deck is untested, but here is how I feel it will play. The beginning of the game is all about getting something out on the board. Early game the Rogue Characters play a bigger part because you start with two Deception in play. Heist Planner works well to clean out their deck and start their discard. Hyperphagic Sarcophyle is an even better play because every turn it can do damage without defenders it gains tokens which is important to this build. Qutidian Ejectors are also great in the early game if you are facing fast beat sticks.

The goal by the second turn is to have two Obsession played to meet the majority of your thresholds. With four resources in play the ideal situation to be in is to have a Hyperphagic Sarcophyle or Red Raven on the board. This way you can play an Insidious Ecto-Manipulator and start pumping tokens onto Hyperphagic Sarcophyle or Red Raven. Don't put all the tokens on one card if you can avoid it because a stacked card makes a prime target for destruction or bounce back to your hand.

By mid-game hopefully Knobby Stave will have made an appearance and you will be sitting with a Very Big Hat of Invisibility in your hand. Also you should have a character in play with a few tokens that you can attach the Very Big Hat of Invisibility to. Attack as a covert party and if your opponent manages to throw down a covert defense just pop out Qutidian Assassination to clear path.

Both the Stave and Hat play a big role with Rapine. Once the Stave is depleted simply leave it around to satisfy Rapine's destroy cost.

The rest of the deck is just a varied selection of cards that will help build tokens, allow you to bounce cards, or play a key role against certain situations. Card Counter has a coin flip which puts a token on Red Raven. Yoink! can be used to retrieve stolen or destroyed items.

This deck has a focus, but isn't too overly focused. I think it will fair well against a wide variety of decks. It has a finishing strategy with token built characters and covert items. It has a full line of recycling tactics and support creatures. The biggest concern is being low on resources each turn which is something I may need to work on as I play with it. Now just to get all the cards and get some games under my belt to test it!

----

This isn't a final build yet. I am still considering swapping 12 Man Brunch of Doom for Qutidian Misfire and including a couple Voidal Perversion for more tokens. I just haven't decided what to drop in place of them. Also Voidal Poisoning may be a key card to this deck if I find that my token characters get dumped a lot. If your token creature is about to be bounced or destroyed simply play Voidal Poisoning to dump the tokens for some great effects. Though I think Ambuscade can be more efficient than Voidal Poisoning and is why I have Ambuscade in the deck.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Say Uncle!

My sister-in-law is in the hospital preparing to give birth to her first child which will be my first nephew. It has been quite a journey and I am looking forward to being Uncle Heartless. Now I just need to determine the proper games to distribute as gifts at the proper ages to produce a top-notch gamer by age 13.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Spoils TCG Pre-Release Tournament 11/12

The Spoils

The Spoils is a trading card game developed by Tenacious Games Inc. that is being dubbed as a Tournament Card Game (TCG). The development team is a veritable who's who of the card gaming scene. With names like Jon Finkel, of Magic: The Gathering fame, this card game has been built from the bottom up with competitive play as the core.

On top of making a game that rewards skill while minimizing luck during play the team at Tenacious Games have literally put their money where their mouth is. For competitive play they have developed The Spoils Tournament Experience (STE) where they will be doling out over a million dollars worth of prize money. Not only does that show confidence in their product, but it shows a true understanding of where they plan to take The Spoils as a game.

Casual Gamers?


With all this talk about tournaments and pro-level gaming won't the casual card gamers be pushed out? I have never gotten heavily involved in any card gaming tournament scene, but I have played Magic the Gathering for several years and I’ve dabbled in various other card games along the way. I was able to pick up The Spoils for the first time and within a few games I knew enough to know where I was making mistakes instead of cursing bad luck.

The Spoils plays in such a way that you learn as you go. Every single turn and every single card played brings you one step closer to grasping the possibilities that lie within The Spoils TCG. Immediately upon picking up your first set of cards it is more than evident that the game is filled with many complex combinations.

Fortunately The Spoils has learned from the past of other games like Magic and have improved upon them. There are several common keywords that are clearly defined. The structure of each turn is well documented and well thought out. Throw in a glorious mulligan rule, two starting resources, and you have a quality game on your hands that begins play on the first turn.

A lot of talk around The Spoils has been how it is just another Magic with a few tweaked rules to prevent abuse. What I've discovered is a game that is far more organized and far more rewarding than other major card games. Many luck aspects have been removed and you often find yourself actually playing the deck you built instead of the cards you were dealt.

The Spoils is a refreshing change of pace. What seemed like a Magic clone beforehand has become an entirely new beast to conquer. The cards have a more adult and nerdy theme which suits my interests. On top of that the flavor text is just plain funny… any game that has a card proclaiming “I’d hit that” is a winner in my book.

Pre-Release Tournament 11/12/06

I was fortunate enough to attend a pre-release tournament at my local gaming store, Reality Check Games, this past Sunday. The store owner asked if I could spin up a little event wrap up so here it is.

The tournament started with 10 players in a Swiss format. The initial deck building period was set to 30 minutes which seemed wholly inadequate considering most of the players had no idea what they were doing. Those are the rules though and everyone struggled equally to grasp the deck building concepts. Some players spent more time reading the rules while others spent more time reading cards.

Time rounds began at 40 minutes per round which was extended to 60 minutes due to the fact that we were all struggling to get games moving at a reasonable speed. Once players started clicking with the rules the games started going faster which is a testament to the “learn as you play” flow of the game.

While I don’t have a break down of the rounds I will post the end results.
1. Chris C.
2. Teresa
3. Thomas
4. Josh
5. Matt (aka me)
6. David
7. Dan
8. Meagan
9. Buda
10. Scott
Prizes were given out for the top 8 spots and a consolation prize was given out for 10th; so 9th place was truly the only loser. Even then all 10 players walked away with the cards they played with and an invigorated interest in the game.

The top two players, Chris C and Teresa, were both seasoned Magic players along with the fourth place finisher, Josh. Thomas is a young gun and is the current shop “man to beat” in the World of Warcraft TCG.

Most of the other players also had various gaming experience with card games. Finishing in fifth I have several years of casual Magic game play under my belt. David and Dan cleaning up in 6th and 7th both have varied backgrounds in several games from tabletop miniatures, pen’n’paper RPGs, and other card games.

It was apparent that the more experienced card gamers had the better tactics in winning the games. I don’t want to say better decks because every game I played or watched it was easy to identify where the mistakes were made. Often times a mistake or two resulted in a loss. Unfortunately for me that meant a few too many losses.

Everyone made mistakes. Even the top finishers had their fair share, but with years of card gaming under their belt they knew how to recover and play well enough to overcome to take home a win. And that is the point I want to make. The Spoils is a game that rewards the thinkers and the strategists in all of us. While there is sure to be great deck builds in the future I doubt many of them will make it far without a smart and canny player playing them.

Overall the tournament was fun, well played, and hosted in a great venue. I look forward to plenty of The Spoils in the future. Until then…. wanna touch it?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My first night playing the World of Warcraft TCG

I finally had the chance to play a few games of the World of Warcraft TCG last night. It was a long night and I learned a lot of lessons about the game. Starting off my deck is horribly underpowered due to the fact I have almost no selection of cards to empower it. My ragtag collection tossed into my Shaman starter deck was no match for any of the decks last night.

Game 1 : Shaman Deck vs. Paladin Deck

The first game was against another player that has never played the WoW TCG. He was borrowing a paladin starter deck with a few borrowed equipment cards. We played most of the game open handed so we could get assistance playing. A few rules here and there were missed and we weren't always applying combat damage correctly, but overall it was a fun experience.

Midway through the game I pretty much assumed I had the win when my hero's health was at 28 and the opponent's was at 12. I was doing consistent damage and felt the game was in hand. This is where I made my mistake. In the WoW TCG you can play any card from your hand face down as a resource. I had been holding onto Healing Wave (Heal 8 damage.) for a while and decided to play it as a resource since he had been unable to damage me for the most part.

Once my healing wave was face down the game began spiraling out of my control. He drew a Wraith Scythe (Heal yourself for the amount of damage Wraith Scythe inflicts.) and attached it to his hero. Combined with an ongoing ability that gave his hero +1 ATK he was hitting for four damage a turn and healing for four damage. Unfortunately I had no protectors in game so I could not intercept the damage incoming to my hero.

With a stalemate between our allies I was unable to out damage his Wraith Scythe's healing power and he was able to just beat me down and seal the deal with a Quick Strike.

Game 2 & 3 : Shaman Deck vs. Alliance Druid Deck

The last two games I played were against a rather competitive player who had a dearth of available cards. It showed in the fact that his deck was well balanced and was not lacking for any card he needed. The basic premise of the deck is fast play protectors that stall the game combined with allies that can retrieve dead allies from the graveyard every turn. Throw in the druid healing spells and it is a beast of a deck.

In each game I was only able to deal a single blow before his army of low cost allies overwhelmed the board. With some bigger tank protectors in play I could hold out until he was able to play Tracker Gallen (Tracker Gallen has +1 ATK for every ally in your party.). With 12+ allies in play his Tracker was a 12 ATK powerhouse. If you attempt to kill the Tracker he simply flips Mezzik Darkspear's ability (Destroy an ally in your party. Do damage to target hero or ally equal to that ally's ATK.). So before combat damage resolves he sacrifices Tracker Gallen and is able to instantly do 12 damage to your hero which you can't protect against.

The only counter that works is to have an instant damage card that can hit Mezzik when he exhausts for his ability. Even then with his ability to cycle allies out of his graveyard you can't keep them out of the game.

Overall it was a great learning experience and even with the 0-3 record I still enjoy the game. If I ever get enough cards I think I have a good strategy to counter the Druid deck.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Response to price gouging on World of Warcraft TCG

The Internet is a scary small place. My local game store owner that I unfairly critiscized in my previous World of Warcraft TCG post for gouging prices on booster packs has responded. He would like me to post the following to explain the situation.
"I sold out of the first run of WoW boosters and starters pretty quick. That was the only merch I got at wholesale price.

The second set of product was just starters, and I only got those because I paid RETAIL cost at a local store and I raised the price from $15 to $20 (hardly gouging, as you mentioned.)

The third set of product was a box of starters and a box of boosters. Again I paid RETAIL for those as well (plus tax, btw) and so I kept the starters at $20 (even though that means I only make about $3 each) because I wanted them to be affordable. I did raise the boosters to $7.50 but not because "we're the only ones in town" but because I had to if I wanted to make the product available.

Lastly, the most recent set of WoW product to come in cost me well over retail, because my distributor is charging me $19 per starter and $6 per booster. I'm keeping the product at my previous price, since I think it's unfair to charge more. Hopefully I'll make some money off of coffee, since technically I'm not making any off of WoW.

I do like being the only store in town that has the product, and I go to excessive lengths to get the product for my customers. I had no idea I was getting slammed for it in the process. Hell, I thought I was doing folks a favor."
I want to thank him for replying and straightening out the situation. I rushed to judgement obviously and posted a gut reaction to the pricing without understanding the distribution end. I can't really tell you how wonderful of a store the owners are running. I have been through a few gaming stores in my life and it is nice to finally have one that really cares about the gamers more than pushing product.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG

I was finally able to pick up a starter deck for the World of Warcraft TCG at my local game store. I could of just gone to eBay, but I prefer to support my local hobby shops. However, after what occurred last night I may be apt to turn to eBay for future WoW TCG purchases.

My local game store is owned by a wonderful couple. They are friendly and love to game. I have a blast at the store and never have I had a problem with their prices. Sure they are usually on the high end of suggested retail pricing, but that is expected in a traditional brick and mortar shop.

That changed last night when I saw the pricing for WoW booster packs. They were charging $7.50 per pack. That is almost $4 more than what they should be selling for. It was commented that the reasoning was "Because it is the only box in town." (Please note that this is not a quote from the store owner's mouth. It was a comment that was said in store by another patron.) Sure enough every shop across town sold out in October and Upper Deck will not have any more shipping until January.

I understand the supply and demand concept and the need to make a buck, but honestly I have given my full support to this shop and I feel completely ripped off by this pricing. Instead of being rewarded for being a loyal customer (I could of eBayed remember) I get taken advantage of. This is the sort of thing that turns me off from getting excited to play "hyped" card/mini/tabletop games.

Fortunately the starter sets were priced at a cool $20 which is right on target. Funny thing is that the starter sets come with two booster packs, three over-sized rare hero cards, a solid carrying case, and a 32 card pre-made deck. Really if you break it down to price per card the store should be selling the starter sets for $30.

Looking at eBay: entire 24 pack booster boxes are going for about an average of $120. That is $5 a pack. If I didn't know my store owners so well how would I even know they weren't just buying low-ball eBay auctions and reselling for a profit? Luckily I know that isn't the case, but it probably is occurring somewhere out there right now. Brick and mortar shops have their problems, but gouging the customers is not the way to fix them.

I ended up buying a single booster (instead of the 5 I was going to buy) because in the end I still think it is a great store. The owner is away this week, but when he gets back I do have a letter typed that I will be giving him. I am a customer and this is my way of letting him know my displeasure.

Also on the good side of things the store owners stopped people from buying more than one starter set. That allowed for a lot more people to get started in the TCG and that is a good thing. Honestly I think the first guy in the store would of bought all the starter sets if they had let him!

Update:
9 Nov 2006 - Please read the store owner's response here. It was poor judgement on my part to post a gut reaction without really digging into why the booster packs were costing so much. I want to thank the store owner for explaining the situation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did you vote today?

Today is voting day here in the good ole' USA and I hope everyone got out and voted! Of course I didn't go out and vote, but that is because I sent my absentee ballot in a week ago. Absentee voting > all other forms of voting. It is like having a voting booth delivered to your home. Ample time to vote, no double/triple checking of my ID, and most of all NO waiting in lines!

I also hope you are out there voting with your wallets for the gaming community. That means not buying titles like Madden '07 and Battlefield 2142. That means not paying monthly subscriptions for games like Star Wars: Galaxies. Stop buying crappy games!!!

I also had the day off from class, but of course early this morning my Internet went out. Some unscheduled line maintenance in my area. Unfortunately all the cabling is buried underground so it takes forever to get it fixed. Luckily the Internet just came back up... just in time for me to cook dinner :(

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Playstation 3 : Installation of games required for better performance?

The Playstation 3 will be coming with the wonderful feature of being able to install games onto the console's hard drive, which should speed up game play. This is the next generation, so why does game play need to be sped up? To say it bluntly, Blu Ray drives are just plain slow in relation to the amount of information a Blu Ray disc can hold.
"Originally, Blu-ray Disc drives in production could only transfer approximately 36 Mbit/s (54 Mbit/s required for BD-ROM), but 2x speed drives with a 72 Mbit/s transfer rate are now available." - Wikipedia
PS3 owners will still be able to play games by just putting a disc in, but it is unknown as of this time how bad loading times will be, or if the speed of game play will be affected. Some of the various magazines that have received their PS3 already have stated load times are not a factor and comparable to the PSP. Unfortunately their PSP is different than the ones I've played. The last PSP I touched took upwards of five minutes to load a SOCOM:Fireteam Bravo map. Maybe five minutes is fast in this generation?

Breaking this down further, it means that with the downgraded version of the PS3, only coming with a 20GB hard drive, we're talking about, on average, being able to install four games at 5GB each. Even then, all the Sony talk is pointing out that games like Africa are using almost 20GB of Blu Ray disc space. A huge game may not even fit on the 20GB hard drive that the basic PS3 comes with!

On top of this we really don't know what version of Blu Ray drives are in the PS3. Does the cheaper package come with a cheaper drive? Will all PS3 drives run at the same speed?

Another good question to ask: if the game files are so much bigger on the Blu Ray discs, won't they take longer to read? The more data there is to pull, the more data there is to uncompress. This means longer load times, or Sony really has some kick ass hardware running under the hood. Even with a $600 price tag, I doubt the hardware speeds up the process that much.

It is quite funny to compare this to the PC market. PC games require an installation to run in most cases. The PC game market (pushed by Micro$oft) is moving closer to "plug and play" console style gaming. On the other side, the console market, is now being lead into the area of installing games to get better performance. How long before consoles are so PC like that they require full installs? And how long before PC games are plug and play?

Honestly there are far too many questions looming over the PS3 to make a launch day purchase justifed. Sony does nothing other than downplay concerns, and then restate how the PS2 dominates the market currently. It is that kind of arrogance (splitting from Nintendo) that won them the crown with the first and second Playstation, but it could very well be the reason they lose this round.

Update: 1 April 07 - Edited post and added labels.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Guild Wars Build Challenge : The Ranger / Elementalist

I would like to kick off a new feature focused on Guild Wars, and on putting together some builds to use in Random Arena combat. I'll start off with a bit of a FAQ.

1. Why random arenas (RA) builds?
I believe there is a large portion of players that compete in RA and often times builds that support this player are tough to find reliably. Also there are far too many "cookie cutter" builds out there that blanket RA and it would be nice to throw some flavor in there.

2. What should a build include?
Equipment, Attributes, and Skills followed by some tips on how to play the build effectively. Bonus points for pointing out weaknesses and counters to the build (since no build is perfect.)

3. Anything we should avoid in our builds?
You should avoid builds that rely on another player to be effective. Also don't come with builds that are common knowledge (Boon Prot monks for example). While not required it is always nice to have builds that are effective without relying on a huge inefficient combo.

4. What are my goals for this?
I like to discuss Guild Wars builds. I am by far no expert in Guild Wars and play it casually. So if you are looking for uber game discussion you can go elsewhere. This is an attempt to build some creative characters to play around with.
-----------

Ranger / Elementalist (R/E) - Burning Poison

Equipment:
  • A Fiery Bow is required for this build
  • A longbow or flatbow for general attacking and a shortbow for closer targets is recommended.
  • Druidic armor for the energy bonus.
Attributes:
  • Expertise 11 + 2
  • Marksmanship 10 + 1 + 2
  • Wilderness Survival 1 + 1
  • Fire Magic 10
Skills:
  • Conjure Flame
  • Mark of Rodgort
  • Apply Poison
  • Troll Unguent
  • Whirling Defense
  • Distracting Shot
  • Escape
  • Resurrection Signet
How to Play:

This is a fairly straight forward build that I have used for a good while. It is similar to many barrage ranger builds, but I've never been a fan of AOE in Guild Wars. This build is really just meant to surprise a soft target by dropping a poison and burn on them during the opening volley allowing you to sit back and use distract shot to stop any attempted save skills.

Prior to combat you will need to Conjure Flame and then Apply Poison to yourself. Since Apply Poison has the shorter duration try to cast it as close to combat as possible. This takes a few matches to get the timing right, but you will get it.

Once combat begins you should start out with Mark of Rodgort on the target of choice. It is best to cast it before your first hit so the combo catches the player by surprise. Your first attack will hit for normal damage + fire damage along with applying both poison and burn for a few seconds. Since you will keep attacking it will apply both effects again until Mark of Rodgort is finished. That is the core of this build and just ensure you watch your mana so you can keep Apply Poison and Conjure Flame going.

Troll Unguent is your heal and to help with interrupts against it make sure to use Whirling Defense first. Also; use Whirling Defense when you are in trouble with melee and hit Escape to get out of town. I usually save Distracting Shot to stop enemies res signets, but it can be used in other situations.

Side Notes:

Distracting Shot is favored over Savage Shot because of mana considerations.

Apply Poison works with elemental modifiers on your weapon. Confirmed in game.

Change Log:
  • 3 Nov - Swapped out Favorable Winds for Troll Unguent. Troll Unguent is an essential ranger survival skill and since I did state that builds should be self-sufficient it makes sense to have the rangers best heal available. Unfortunately there is little room to pump up Wilderness Survival to get a better increase, but it is still a life saver.

Update: 6 Apr 07 - Spelling corrected and labels updated.
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