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  • DHO's Blogs

    1. Voltagesauce
      Latest Entry

      By Voltagesauce,

      Marvel Strike Force Beginner’s Guide
      Last Updated: September 2019

      Section 1 - Introduction

      Hi everyone. I’m Voltagesauce and I have been playing Marvel Strike Force for about 4 months. I just hit level 70 and my total collection power just reached 1M. I am regularly in the top 10 for my Arena shard. My alliance mates thought I was doing pretty well in my first few months, and they told me I should take a crack at putting together a guide for new members since it is fresh in my mind.

      image.thumb.png.5b044c350ab91b18f87eaf88b399ac91.png 

      Section 2 - Why Another Beginner’s Guide?

      There are a few reasons I thought it might be worth the time to write up a guide.

      • Many available guides are outdated.
      • There are many popular content creators with awesome information, but they have been playing for so long that they haven’t gone through the beginning part of this game recently. The game has changed quite a bit since they first started playing.
      • I wanted to come at it from a bit of a math perspective, to highlight why I think certain options are the most efficient methods.

      Section 3 - Disclaimers

      Before we get too far, I want to throw out some disclaimers:

      • I am still new to MSF and even this type of mobile game. This is just my perspective, primarily focused on ranking well in Arena, and using those resources to improve my overall roster.
      • I don’t have many crazy unique strategies for this beginner’s guide. I am going to recommend a lot of the same stuff you see around the internet. I just want to present something organized and up to date.
      • One of the best parts about this game is that it is all about prioritizing and choosing the way you want to play. I want to share some ways I think are effective, but there’s no wrong way to play!
      • I can’t stress this enough: get into a solid alliance when you can. Most people are able to find an alliance that is suitable for them on the MSF discord page. There are a ton of resources available in an alliance (both in game resources from Raids and Alliance Wars, but also for advice and strategy).

      Section 4 - Game Basics

      The most important and basic resource in Marvel Strike Force is the Campaign Energy. This allows for you to farm most of the other resources and provides commander experience. Commander experience is extremely important early on because it allows you to level up and unlock different aspects of the game. Everyone is going to be able to play the game a different amount, but if you want to be as efficient as possible when playing the game, you want to try to level up as fast as possible.

      There are a few ways to do this. 

      First, you can use all of your Campaign Energy. You get one energy every 5 minutes and the amount of energy you can store increases as you level up. If your energy is full, then you are essentially wasting resources. 

      You get extra energy refreshes three times a day at preset times. You must log in within two hours of the preset time and claim the energy. These are your main ways of collecting free energy. You can also use cores to refresh your energy and most people recommend using the 50 core energy refreshes daily.

      The other way to level up is to complete the daily objectives. Some of my alliance members wish that they had taken objectives more seriously early on.. They feel that they are falling  behind some of the players that started at the same time as them.

      So why is leveling up so important? 

      First, it allows you to level and power up your characters higher. Second, many aspects of the game are level dependent. Some will take hours or days to unlock, while some will take months. The following are some of those aspects:

      • Challenges
      • Blitz
      • Alliances
      • Raids
      • Arena
      • Campaigns
      • Alliance War
      • Red Stars
      • Dark Dimension

      Some of these things have more impact on your progress than others, but overall you want to unlock these modes as soon as possible. Most of the modes have rewards that you are not receiving before reaching those levels. Red stars, for example, change your 7 day calendar so that you start receiving 5 red star orbs once a week. The sooner you get there, the sooner you can start getting red stars for your characters and boosting their power.

      Section 5 - Alliances

      Finding a good alliance as soon as you unlock alliances is so important. As mentioned in the disclaimers, having an alliance can really set you up. It’s important to find an alliance that has a similar mentality to yours. If you want to be free to play, then find a free to play alliance. If you want to be casual, then find an alliance that isn’t going to ask you to go above and beyond. My alliance is casual but active, and it has been perfect for where I’m at. If you have read this far, you’re probably looking for an active alliance. I would look for an alliance on the MSF discord or on one of the content creators discords. And when you are looking for an alliance you will want one that is actively participating in Raids. 

      You don’t have to find an alliance that always 100% clears the top Raids, but there are a ton of resources rewarded from Raids that can help you catch up. There are many alliances that are willing to take on new players whoare willing to be active and committed to the alliance. It won’t always feel like it at first, but new players can contribute to Raids sooner than expected if they are getting decent rewards. I wouldn’t be where I am at in the game without my alliance taking me in.

      Section 6 - Prioritizing

      I like to call this game a “macro level” game. What i mean is that progress is primarily measured in weeks and months, not hours and days. This game is all about choosing which modes and characters to focus on and how long to focus on them. Sometimes, this could mean farming the same characters or gear for months to achieve some goal. I am sure there are a few exceptions, but almost no players are able to power up all of their characters to a competitive level.

      I call my approach to prioritizing in this game my Funnel System. 

      The first funnel is game modes. I think an effective way to play this game is to essentially rank the game modes you want to focus on. Some of the options are Alliance War, Arena, Blitz, Campaigns, Challenges, Enter the Darkness (EtD), Fear the Darkness (FtD), Flash Events, and Raids. There are also special events that show up, but they are hard to plan for. Additionally, not all of these game modes are available when you first start playing.

      My top priorities as a beginner have been Arena, Raids and EtD/FtD. I’ll go into why in a bit.

      The other funnel I see are the characters and/or teams. At the beginning, I think an effective strategy is to choose a team to focus on and pour all of your resources into them until they are ready for the next level resource. An example would be to use all of your blue ability mats on the defenders until they are all maxed out. Then you choose another team that you are ready to give blue mats to.

      For me, this turns into one overall funnel, pour all of a certain level of resource (like ability mats and gear) into my Arena team, and when they are maxed out I can move onto my Raid teams.

      Section 7 - Arena

      Now I’ll get into why I choose to prioritize the modes the way I did: starting with Arena.

      The way Arena works is you are placed in an Arena “shard” with people that start playing the game at the same time as you. So essentially it is an evenly matched race to the top. If you are able to get to the top you can snowball by generating more resources than your competition. Let’s look at how the rewards for Arena work. Each day at a specific time you get rewards based on your finish:

       

      Rank

      Cores

      Arena Credits

      1

      500

      1150

      2

      450

      1050

      3

      400

      1000

      4-5

      350

      950

      6-10

      300

      850

      11-20

      250

      750

      21-50

      200

      700

      51-100

      150

      650

      101-250

      100

      550

      251-500

      75

      500

      501-1500

      60

      400

      1501-3000

      40

      300

      3001-6000

      25

      200

      6001-10000

      10

      100



      And in graph form:

      vy7dMqfVHHY4OAPvQOlyR_FY4orRpoVtkHphHsCBIyUucQibfhEIGFFm3sfw-ubhbrsLPbVymQ71yjC4DdOX_2ebt0pNBcQZE0W80eZJFSW9tzCKioOiJJnhgHbQPk0_2d-s1eM

       

      7ck1I5HjdkXCSo3oM8_dVUEBvTL_4GpIQBYxFyIFm84zWzIoaPsIrBbmwcNa5e6n5g8As9Gbyd7cNNOk_DwS9WgAa_W1734ZbuShbDE23EP5CHbnF3i6gueU0ZbDys4X_UDDS3g


      As you can see, both charts are exponential shaped - meaning the rewards are WAY better the closer to the top you get. Comparing rank 1 versus 51 is 350 cores and 500 Arena credits difference. We will get into what you can use resources for later, but anytime you can generate way more resources than your opponent it’s going to help you. That’s why, for me, it’s important to be as close to the top of Arena as possible.

      Now with Arena being my top focus I want to choose a beginner team that can dominate. This is no surprise if you’ve done any searching or read any other guide - the defenders are typically the team that dominates Arena early on. There are currently four defenders: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones. The 5th team member is typically Ms. Marvel or Punisher. Punisher synergizes extremely well with Daredevil and has a farmable node way earlier than Ms. Marvel, so that would be my recommendation. 

      So,  why are the defenders so formidable in Arena? 

      First , they are all “easily farmable.” This means their character shards are available to all players early in the game. Punisher, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist all have nodes early on in the Campaigns. Daredevil is in the Arena store and Luke Cage is in the Blitz store. Second, these characters have a ton of synergy between them. Here are some of the basics that make them strong:

      • Daredevil - Great damage with ult and basic, and special is an “anti AOE” because enemies who use AOE abilities will pretty much kill themselves from all the counters
      • Iron Fist - Main benefit is sustainability. With his passive, he can heal defenders and city heroes at the start of his turn. His special heals his teammates as well. This makes the defenders hard to kill if you don’t burst them down.
      • Jessica Jones - She offers a lot of utility. She provides energy to defenders with her basic and special, which is essential in fights. She also clears negative effects from allies and clears positive effects from enemies.
      • Punisher - Insane damage. Has a massive AOE and can counter everytime Daredevil is attacked.
      • Luke Cage - He protects the rest of the defenders with taunt and defense up. It took me a while to really understand how powerful some of the buffs and debuffs are. Defense up cuts the incoming damage in half and Luke Cage’s ult last for two turns. His taunt also lasts two turns and allows time for Iron Fist to heal everyone back up.

      To reiterate the funnel system I used:I poured anything and everything I could into the defenders. Before anyone else got a blue ability mat, I made sure all my defenders were maxed. I focused all of my blue gear on the defenders until they started needing purple gear. This was to allow me to maximize my rewards from Arena.

      A common beginner question is how long to farm defenders. There are many different answers, but I have seen three main philosophies that I will try to explain:

      • Since the defenders fall off later in the game it is just worth farming them to about 5* each, getting them to 6664 and getting to a team power level between 120k-150k. This will allow players to get a good start in Arena and start doing some decent Raids.

      NOTE: When people say 6664, they mean the basic, special and ultimate abilities are level 6 and the passive is level 4. This is when the purple abilities are maxed out and orange are required.

      • Take all of the defenders to 6* and invest some t4 (orange) ability mats for power levels between 150k-180kish. The main purpose of getting the defenders to 6* is to be able to start EtD.
      • Farm the defenders completely to 7*. Depending on gear levels and how many T4 ability mats a player uses the defenders can be anywhere between 180k and 300k. The main purpose of farming to 7* is to be able to complete the 7th tier of Block Party. I’ll talk about these modes (EtD and Block Party) more in depth later. 

      Ultimately, I chose option 2. I wanted to be able to start EtD as fast as possible, but wanted to focus on some other areas of my roster instead of taking them all the way to 7*. My defenders are about 175k.

      Defenders.PNG.232c3779da846b39e0dd46590fed0704.PNG

      Once I was happy with where my defenders were at for Arena, I decided to choose my next team. My thought process was to choose a legendary that would be my key character for my next Arena team. The three main options for new players are Nick Fury, Magneto and Starlord. Because legendary events are sporadic, my recommendation would be to choose one of these legendaries and farm them even if I don’t know when the event will come back. Ultimately, I decided to go straight for Starlord. I thought his requirements were pretty easy and liked that I could use him for a lot of other game modes. I made sure I had the requirements completed as soon as I could and the event ended up coming 2-3 months earlier than “predicted”, which worked out  well for me. I think a lot of people in my Arena shard missed him on this go because they were waiting until later to farm for him. I am still using my Starlord team in Arena and they can punch up at least 80-90k on the defenders in my shard.

      Section 8 - Raids

       the next mode I chose to focus on was Raids. The great part about focusing on the defenders first for Arena is that they are also one of the best Raid teams in the game.  It’s basically two birds with one stone (and maybe more). Raids are important because you earn rewards for completing nodes.  Depending on how far your alliance gets into the Raid, you get Raid credits, gear, ability mats, gold, character shards, and more. Similar to the defenders, I liked using a Starlord team for Raids because with the right characters they are the best Raid team in the game. I was able to get Minnerva and Vision (no Thanos yet) and I can pretty much complete a whole U6 Raid lane at about 175k power.

      Section 9 - Dark Dimension (EtD and FtD)

      The last of my main priorities have been EtD and FtD. These are called “end game” content, but I think with some planning can be completed earlier on. EtD requires 5 characters at 6* yellow stars or higher. I decided to farm my defenders straight to 6* so that I could start this mode as soon as possible. There are no downsides to play this mode everyday, but it may take a while. As I am writing this, I am still finishing up my first run of EtD. The benefits of EtD are some gold and mega orbs, but when you complete it you get a ton of orange gear, which helps set you up for FtD. 

      etd.thumb.PNG.b091bedcde22fd31a072f32009acd0c8.PNG

      FtD requires 5 characters at gear level 13. There are a ton of resources about which characters to use for FtD, but I think it makes sense to choose characters that you are already working on. I am planning on using at least Minnerva, Groot and Starlord because it will allow me to do FtD, but also benefit my Arena and Raid teams. If you choose to focus on Magneto for your Arena team then Magneto, Jugg or Pyro could make sense for FtD. Similarly, if you focus on Nick Fury on your team then Fury and SS would make sense. And the main reason for rushing to complete FtD is Ultron. You don’t have to look hard to find everyone calling Ultron the best character in the game. Here are a few quotes from my alliance mates about Ultron:

      “Ultron is always like F your synergy enemy team” in regards to reliability beating any team in Blitz with a non-synergy Ultron team
      “You can literally put any 4 characters on to a team with Ultron and win”
      “His Ultron won us that last war”
      “I can’t wait for you guys to unlock Ultron. His impact to your roster is just so impressive”
      “Minnerva is the best character in the game (aside from Ultron)”

      I think you get the point: people love Ultron, and he can contribute in all modes of the game. That is why I am trying to focus on EtD and then FtD, so I can use Ultron in my Arena team.

      One of the main things to consider with FtD is that to get characters to gear level 13 you need 12 specific Superior Unique items (for example Minnerva uses Superior Gamma Radiation). They can be found in the Main Supplies, War Supplies and Orange War Orbs. They are very hard to farm and don’t show up in the stores until level 65. I would recommend buying uniques you might want as soon as you start hitting level 65. It is very heavily RNG reliant and can cause a lot of frustration looking for the specific uniques you need.

      Section 10 - Campaigns

      The Campaigns are probably my next focus. The nice thing about the Campaigns is that the Heroes and Nexus can be completed by a solid defenders team and the Cosmic can be completed with a Guardians team. I still have not completed the Villains Campaign and just started focusing on the mystic Campaign. Sometimes you have to put a little bit into your teams so that you can get to a node with specific character shards or gear, but overall I don’t feel these are as important as Arena or Raids.

      Section 11 - Flash Events

      As of now there are three flash events that show up sporadically, but more often than legendary events:
      Block Party - Requires 5 City Heroes and earns ability materials. The main reason for getting defenders up to 7* is to complete the last tier of block party. That gives you 150 T4 (orange) ability mats each time the event runs.
      Payday - Requires 5 Mercenary characters and earns gold.
      Relic Hunt - Requires 5 Hand characters and earns Advanced Basic Catalysts (required with purple gear).

      I will probably prioritize getting 5 city heroes up to 7* to start earning the T4 abilities. I don’t have many teams that are leveled high enough for T4 abilities, so I decided it would be okay to wait and focus on farming for FtD and other things.

      The other two modes I have been viewing more as secondary priorities and I will only invest resources when I am close to the next tier level. . Some of my alliance members think it would be worth putting more resources into mercenary characters for the gold. Gold is one of the most scarce resources in the game, so that may be something I choose to focus on soon.

      Section 12 - Blitz

      These next three game modes could pretty much be in any order. As of now, I mostly just use whatever characters I have to Blitz. The same teams that are good in Arena and Raids are good for Blitz. I just focus on hitting the milestones for every character since I would be unable to grind for a top 1500 spot with my roster anyway. The reason I choose to list Blitz first is because it is important to keep character power levels as close as possible.  There are times I have powered up a character to make them fit with a new Blitz squad.

      There are some really good Blitz guides out there that I would recommend checking out that explain how to Blitz effectively. The rewards from this game mode are very important to roster progression.

      Section 13 - Alliance War

      I don’t think I have ever put a resource into a character specifically for alliance war. Although I am planning to get Invisible Women when her first event comes around, so that may change in the future. Similar to Blitz, a lot of the teams that are good for Arena and Raids work well in war. I typically put my Raid teams on defense since they have sustain and use everyone else for attack.

      A general rule of thumb is that teams that have short cooldowns and healing can be decent on defense. Teams with long cooldowns and quick burst are better on attack.

      Section 14 - Challenges

      Similar to war, I just use whatever characters are my highest power and see if I can complete the next tier. There is no downside to trying the next tier and losing, so I just try them when I think I might have the chance. The difference in most tier levels seems small enough to me to not make them a priority.

      Section 15 - Special Events

      These are typically Campaign Events for a new character and require certain traits to progress in the Campaign. They seem to be announced a week or two in advance so they are hard to plan for. New characters don’t normally become farmable for a few months (or indefinitely), so these events can be very helpful. It may be worth using some resources to get through the Campaigns if necessary. They also have helpful resources as a reward for beating each “Hard” Campaign node for the first time. An example of an event coming up is a Campaign for Graviton that requires Hero Controller characters.

      Section 16 - Game Resources

      Now I want to get into what to do with all the resources generated from the game modes. Each mode rewards you with different resources, so I will go through each one.

      Cores - We talk about this in the Arena game mode. My recommendation would be to use cores for energy refreshes, and sometimes node refreshes. A common recommendation you will see on the internet is to use all of your 50 core energy refreshes every day. Depending where I finish in Arena I will sometimes even do some 100 core energy refreshes. If I am farming a character and want to speed up the process I will also sometimes refresh the node for 50 cores. This can be useful to finish a farm for a legendary event or for a character to enter EtD. The last thing I would recommend (if you have to) is to refresh the main store looking for the orange superior unique gear that you need for FtD.

      Arena Credits - With Arena credits you have to choose specific toons to farm. There is no character orb. My recommendation would be to start with Daredevil and work him to wherever you want to stop the defenders. Next, would be to focus on a toon that can help you get your first legendary. For me, that was getting Drax to 5*. But this could also be Jugg. This is really going to vary for each player, but I would choose a character that is going to help you meet your next goal and just focus on them. I just finished up getting Vulture to 5* for the Invisible Women event. To give you an example of a prioritization choice I have to make - I am choosing my next farm between Mordo for Phoenix, Shield Security for FtD and Ironman event, or Deadpool for the Mercenary Flash Event.

      Raid Credits - To maintain a well balanced roster I highly recommend using Raid credits for Raid orbs (900 credits) instead of specific character shards (1400 credits). An important distinction to make is that Raid orbs provide 9 character shards, while specific characters are just 5 shards. Some other people argue to use Raid credits on purple gear, but so far I have focused primarily on character shards. 

      Let’s get a little into the math on the orbs versus shards. Since this is a beginners guide we will talk about taking a character from 0 shards to 5*. 5* is a good number to focus on because that’s when legendaries can be unlocked. To get from 0 to 5* requires 310 character shards. So for example, to get rocket raccoon from 0 to 310 shards by only buying his character shards would cost 86800 Raid credits. For that same amount of Raid credits we can open 96 Raid orbs. And with 96 Raid orbs we would be getting 864 shards, or 554 MORE shards than buying specific character shards. 

      You may be thinking, what if you just want a few characters? With 14 characters currently in the Raid store, every Raid orb should net us approximately 0.643 shards per character on average. So by opening 96 Raid orbs, we get a little over 60 shards per character instead of 310 for one. Ultimately, that is your decision. It is clearly faster to farm directly for one character. However, you are putting yourself behind on farming all the other characters. As of now Hand Sentry, Killmonger, Kree Oracle, Mercenary Soldier (not very good), Mysterio, Ravager Stitcher (not very good), Rocket Raccoon, Ronan, Sabretooth, Shield Trooper can all be used for the unlocking legendaries or in the flash events. Also, war machine is on one of the top war teams called Power Armor and is found in the orbs.

      Overall, you get much, much more value out of the Raid orbs if you don’t mind slower farms. There may be times that you want to farm specific characters, but I would highly recommend Raid orbs for having a well rounded team with access to many of the legendaries and flash events.

      Blitz Credits - My philosophy here is very similar for the Raid orbs, but  I will run through the math so you have the context to make your own decision. Again let’s talk about taking a character from 0 shards to 5*. We can buy Blitz orbs (350 credits) or specific character shards (500 credits). Unlike Raid credits, instead of 4 additional character shards the Blitz orbs give gold. So to get a character to 5* from 0 shards would cost 31000 Blitz credits. For that same amount of Blitz credits we can open 88 Blitz orbs. With 88 Blitz orbs we would be getting 440 shards, or 120 more shards than buying specific character shards. It is also worth mentioning that you would get on average about 400k gold from the 88 Blitz orbs.

      It comes down to a similar decision as the Raid credits. You can get to a character faster by going straight there, but you are missing out on shards and gold by not buying orbs. Take a look at who is in this store. As of now, Gamora, Kree Royal Guard, Luke Cage, Mantis, Mercenary Riot Guard, Ravager Boomer, Rhino, Spiderman, and Spiderman Miles all can contribute to unlocking a legendary or in a flash event.

      Note - In a controversial move, Rescue was only added to the Blitz orb, so orbs need to be opened to farm her. She is also typically on the power armor team.

      War Credits - War credits are more similar to the Arena credits. There is no orbs with character shards at this time. I farmed Pyro to 5* and then focused the rest of my credits on orange superior unique items. I would just recommend choosing a goal and sticking with it here.

      Elite War Credits - Because the orange superior unique items are tough to find and the holdup for many players starting FtD, I would recommend saving up 1000 elite war credits for the Orange Gear War Orbs.

      Elite Red Star Credits - Another aspect of the game I haven’t talked about are Red Stars. They are a controversial topic, and I am just going to stick with the math between Elite 4 Star Orbs (5000 credits) versus Promotion Credits (1,000). I will compare this by looking at the upgrade between 3RS and 4RS. To upgrade a character to 4RS with promotion credits you need to already have the character at 3RS and then the cost is 50 promotion credits or 50,000 elite red star credits. With those 50,000 elite red star credits we could have gotten 10 Elite 4 star orbs, which guarantee a 4RS or higher. So, for the price of getting one 3RS character to 4RS, we could have gotten 10 characters (could be duplicates) up to 4RS. Additionally, they could have gotten up to 4RS from any star level below.

      This is a prioritization question. If there is a character that you use in every game mode every day then maybe it is worth it to you, but I just wanted to show some of the numbers so you can make the decision.

      Section 17 - Community Resources

      This game can be really fun because there is no right way to play the game. It also means that there are a lot of different opinions, and luckily, people are willing to share their thoughts. Here are some helpful ideas for different resources I have used:

      • Reddit - Lots of different opinions and frequented by the devs
      • Discord - There is an MSF discord that has a ton of different topics.
      • Content Creators - Primarily on youtube, twitch, or discord. I’m happy to share some of my favorites if you are interested.
      • Infographics - These seem to be really popular for this game as an easy to read and use tool. There are great ones for the uniques, FtD recommended teams, and essential T4 abilities for different teams as some examples.
      • Msf.gg - Has a ton of different information about characters and gear.
      • Your alliance - Self explanatory, but my alliance uses discord and pins a lot of helpful information in the channel

      Section 18 - Conclusions

      This game is all about prioritizing and planning ahead. My recommendation to new players is to  focus on Arena. If you do well in Arena then you can use the cores you earn from that mode to help you out in all other aspects of the game. The easiest team to do well with in Arena is  the Defenders (with punisher AKA Punfenders) and then switch gears to a Shield Team with Fury, Brotherhood team with Magneto, or Guardians/Minnerva Tech team with Starlord. I think Starlord is the easiest legendary to farm for because 3 of the required characters are in the Blitz store. Speaking of the Blitz store, if you want to have a well rounded roster then I highly recommend buying the Blitz and Raid orbs. They provide much more value than buying individual character shards. This will allow you to obtain more legendaries and progress further into flash events and special events.

      Ultimately, this game is fun because everyone plays it differently. This guide is aimed towards beginners hoping to get themselves off to a good start by having a well rounded roster. I am sure there are other approaches to playing this game efficiently, but I feel that I have set myself up well, and I have a lot of choices of what I can focus on next.

      tldr

      • Focus on Arena
      • Get Defenders
      • Put all resources into defenders and stop at 5*, 6* or 7* depending on preference
      • Choose first legendary - Fury, Magneto or SL (SL seems easiest and best to me)
      • Put all resources into legendary focused team - Shield, Brotherhood, or Guardians/Technerva
      • Do Raids
      • Farm superior uniques for gear level 13
      • Beat FtD and get Ultron
    2. When the ex and I talked about getting married, we discussed the military, military life and how things might go. This is hard to explain in words that are understood. And harder for someone that wasn’t in the military to truly understand. So when I deployed in 2010 and came home to find out things weren’t exactly going well in our relationship (and I assure you that is an understatement) I took it in stride. Was I too nice? Definitely, should I have been a complete poopchute? Totally. But in the end, I had somewhere to sleep, and eat (the ship)... We had children to think about. And I was always gone already, so this would be normal to them. I agreed too much, I gave too much, I didn’t fight nearly enough.
       
      I apologize if this is long winded and I won’t go into the details over the next 5 years, but let’s just say they were less than ideal for me. In the first week of January of 2015 I was completely and utterly destroyed, mentally, emotionally and monetarily and it was all beginning to show physically. I had chronic tension, chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression all exacerbated by military life and all of it came to a head. My professional career (the only part of my life I seemed to be able to succeed in) was beginning to falter. I had a break down, I had been asking for pictures of MY children for, well, years... and her remark was that she did not have time to take pictures for me. So my mother, did what an amazing mother would. She started pulling pictures of the children off of Facebook, because evidently she had time to plaster pictures all over FB but not for their father. I had just gotten over a bout of serious depression after finally getting a picture the last week of December 2014 after begging for pictures of the children seeing them play with the toys that I bought them for Christmas. How did the ex respond? She sent a picture of my daughter on the ground playing with the toy I got her for Christmas, in the background was the man she was dating (now her new husband), he was, for all intents and purposes naked on the couch. All he was wearing was basketball shorts. When I responded to her, letting her know how inappropriate it was that she sent that to me, she of course acted like she did not know what she did wrong. At this point I questioned all my own actions and my own thoughts when it came to her and the children. So when I posted the picture to FB and asked the question whether I was incorrect in my thinking, of course the resounding answer was that I was NOT incorrect.
       
      So in that week in January, walking my dog, utterly a broken man. I came to a realization. I had still, been living for a woman and children that were not a part of my life anymore. The woman that I had fallen in love with had replaced me, completely, as a husband and father. Phone calls would always go unanswered, texts were being ignored. When I made it apparent that I wanted a set time and day to talk to the children on the regular it became my fault that my son was acting out at school and that his reasoning was because “mom was making me talk to dad on the phone.” Of course upon hearing this, I didn’t want my time to be a negative thing and I caved and stopped it. Everything welled up. Everything built up to a breaking point. And I snapped. But not necessarily in the way that I think some would. I made a decision. I was not going to live for the family that had moved away and moved forward from me. It was time for me to focus on ME. It was time for me to focus on MY life. There was at this time only one person I could rely on. ME. I had talked to a few people about my decision, for the most part it was met with positive responses. Some said, “if someone had done that to me, NO ONE would be able to keep me away from my children,” but as I have always said, you don’t get to judge someone until you have walked in their shoes.
       
      So I focused on me! 2015 was an amazing year for me, I was in the gym every single day, I am arguably not a runner, okay not arguably, I am NOT a runner. I was already walking the dog 5-7 miles a day. And by late spring, early summer I was RUNNING 5 miles a day! My career skyrocketed, that year I became my commands Senior Sailor of the Year, I went up for regional Sailor of the Year, I became the Surface Navy Association Sailor of the Year for New England, I received a top evaluation and then it happened the epitome of a Navy man’s career. I was selected to be a Chief Petty Officer. A milestone that I had all but written off as I was nearing the end of my career. All this time I was working 10-16 hour days, focusing on my career, my new “kids” (Sailors) and ME. Not thinking about what I left behind. This I know was especially hard on my parents and family/friends back home in Oregon. I still to this day feel as though I have completely let them down, though they may say this is not the case, it will FOREVER be in the back of my mind. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that this is partially the reason why I seclude myself so often.
       
      So last year I retired from the Navy. I said “Good Bye,” to a career that spanned over 20 years, 5 ships, almost 15 years at sea, 1 shore duty, 10 deployments, countless moves up and down the west coast and coast to coast and to the Sailors that had become my children. I went through all the anxiety and depression that one does when separating from the military. But a new realization came to pass, I had the time and the money to right how I was wronged. Not necessarily to try to have a relationship with my actual children as I am a complete stranger to them today. But correct the deficiencies in the divorce decree and actually sever the siphon that that woman had directly connected to my bank account. I had after all been paying over DOUBLE what the state of Missouri would have required me to pay in child support for almost a decade.
       
      It took me almost a decade to have the time and the money to pay a lawyer and pursue what was FAIR with the ex-wife. All the while she has been acting like a selfish, childish, money grubbing gold digger. More shady stuff was attempted to by the ex, which all came out when she suspiciously was nice and agreeable to my terms as well as apologetic for years of childish, selfish behavior and I questioned it all.
       
      So when she agreed to the stipulations of changing things in our agreement of course I was skeptical. And of course she had ulterior motives. So when I got a lawyer, informed her that I was doing so, it was no surprise that she got upset. I did as I always have, told the truth, told her exactly step by step what was going to happen. And she again agreed, "so long as it wasn't going to be different than what we agreed to." My response to that has always been the same, "I am not the one trying to pull anything, or do anything underhanded. Never have I ever done anything that would negatively impact the other." So it doesn't surprise me when my lawyer informs me that he has been attempting to contact her so that she can sign her side of the paper work and has had no response from her. So, my lawyer, which BTW is ranked in the top 10 for family law in the state of Missouri did what any expensive lawyer would. He documented all his attempts and has served her with papers to appear in court. Furthermore, he has filed a motion since I am a veteran and do not live in the state to be represented in person by him so I don't have to go.
       
      There are still days where the memory of her and my lost family takes the wind from my sails, however, moral of the story, what is FAIR is FAIR. You get what you put in, treat people you "care" about like crap, it WILL come back to bite you. Being honest, open, upfront and truthful is always the best way to handle people.
      Will I ever really recover from all of this? I doubt it. Will I ever marry again? I doubt it. But at this point in my life, I find sitting on the patio watching the dog chase dragon flies and enjoying a glass of whiskey to be far more relaxing that worrying about those things.
       
      *That is all*
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  • Blog Comments

    • This really was a good read! Not too many crazy abbreviations like most! Although you did sneak in SS and SL. I was was wondering if a spider verse team would be a viable second team after the defenders? Also I can’t seem to let go of Night Nurse as my fifth member instead of Punisher!? Any thoughts there? And how about character placement (like who’s next to who/front row/back row)? Thanks again for taking time to publish this guide!
    • Very nice write up Voltage! Thanks for taking the time to put this together.
    • I hear you on that and have heard much the same from the ex when she was around to split time. Some folks see it as a burden I guess while I saw it as an opportunity to help shape my kids how I see fit. When my kids were born, I realized I had the responsibility of these new lives in the world while I feel like my ex saw them as an option (of where to spend her time) and I suspect liked leveraging the title of single parent to have folks feel sorry for her. I hope that one day things will s
    • Whats funny is over the years, the ex, before she remarried, always talked about "how hard it is to be a single parent" I always used to tell her, if it's so difficult and such a burden for you, I would gladly take the children full time. And HAPPILY be a single parent.  I'm coming back out there this December to Jan.  I'll hit you up!
    • Great post Hapa. I can relate to some extent with my own experiences spanning nearly a decade of trying to be the nice guy and just living the status quo, but in my fortunate situation, my kids are with me full-time and someday I'll be needing to lay the story out for them of what came and went of their mom as she's not around any more (of her own doing). Next time you're back in Oregon, let me know and we can swap some stories as I missed you on that road trip you took after retirement.
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