Farming Challenge Points
Challenge points are another matter altogether. No special intention is required to accumulate them: even if you play only one kit and nothing else, simply killing things will eventually lead to Combat Mastery (with rewards for certain amounts of damage done with headshots, melee, grenades and the notorious over-cover grabs) or Mastery in one or more enemy factions (with rewards for killing specific types of enemy units).
While there might be different ways to go about farming Challenge points, it is undisputable that the greatest gain lies in completing Masteries. With a few exceptions, an individual challenge will typically give you 10 or 20 CP, but the completion of a Mastery will give you another 100 to 200, which results in an instant and tangible sense of progress.
Some Masteries are easier to obtain than others. With clever choice of characters, the Biotic and Tech Masteries can be completed quite efficiently. The N7 Paladin, for example, has Incinerate, Snap Freeze and Energy Drain, and it might take only a couple games on Gold or Platinum to complete the challenges for all three – while at the same time accumulating waves played with him for the Earth Mastery. Or take the Asari Justicar: she has Reave, Pull and the Biotic Bubble which can act as Warp – so that too is a chance to complete two or more challenges with the same character (while, again, collecting waves for the Commando Mastery). Both Biotic and Tech Mastery do require playing with at least one or two not-so-obvious first-choice kits; but even then some interesting combinations can be found: the Batarian Sentinel, for example, has the Submission Net and Shockwave (both doable in 2-3 Gold games) and is, at the same time, an excellent weapon platform — so he can be cross-listed.
Weapon Mastery isn’t as trivial to get in any of the weapon categories mostly because there are very many weapons, and most aren’t very good. There are only two, maybe three decent SMGs (if you count the Blood Pack Punisher) and five are needed to complete the SMG Mastery. So it’s inevitable to play some games with quite shitty weapons like the Locust and Tempest. Such a task is best carried out either by an infiltrator, or by one of the several characters who specialize in weapons, like the Turian Soldier – and then it can be combined with collecting waves for that character, or getting points in any powers they might use on top of the weapon.
It’s a lot to keep track of. Which is why I made myself a to-do list!
Every time I decide to play some public games, I look at the list, and go through a thought process similar to this:
- Ah-ha! I am somewhat close to completing the Shotgun Mastery, and Disciple looks especially fine this evening. Being of light weight that doesn’t slow down power usage, it might go well with a power-based character.
- Lo and behold, I can choose between the Drell Adept and the Phoenix Vanguard for the completion of the Outsider Mastery. All other things being equal, I’ll take a look at the state of my Biotic Mastery.
- And indeed, I’ve already completed Smash, but haven’t done neither Reave nor Pull.
- Clearly I’ll take the Drell Adept with the Disciple to the next battle, and likely keep playing with him until I’m done with either Reave or Disciple. Pull takes a while to complete, as do the 90 missing waves.
- So I’ll just come back to the same character, with a different weapon, and perhaps a different style of play, some other time.
All this is quite OCD, I know. Obviously it’s not necessary to go to such lengths; sporadically eyeballing the status of various challenges on the N7 HQ site is more than enough for most (provided there’s an interest in farming CP to begin with). For me, however, the challenges remain a motivation to diversify my play and occasionally take myself out of my comfort zone (where most of the learning tends to happen), so I stick to my list.
From what I’ve seen in other players, those with huge amounts of CP usually play a variety of kits, and in different ways. An excellent player who sticks to a few favorite characters, weapons and/or playstyles, might have relatively few CP regardless of skill. In that sense, the Challenge points aren’t much better a measure of ability than the N7 points. Since both reflect the amount of gaming, they might at best be taken as indicators of experience and zeal.