Region 3 Strathclyde!
Welcome to Strathclyde!
The fact that you are here now is proof that you are a dedicated player of the game, and may indicate that you suffer from an addiction problem. This part of the Walkthrough can only address some of the game mechanics choices and issues that you will encounter here (you may wish to seek professional help for the addiction issue — we're too far gone to be able to help!)
You may have noted that the general advice given by many players is to move up to Wellsington Tower to buy a new trap mechanism or magic circle and then to retreat back to Castle McKenny to avoid the shock of the more challenging game mechanics in this region. Whether this strategy suits you depends largely on what level of performance you are willing to accept, and how determined you are to reach particular goals.
In many ways, moving to Strathclyde is about changing your focus.
Focus on the money
It's definitely time to concentrate on building cash rather than XP. The expense of the traps in this region is likely to catch you off-guard if you've been an XP-oriented player. If you've been focused on building your XP, you may also have several special missions where you find yourself assigned to an area where your present trap is probably insufficient to the task. If this happens to you, just ignore the mission unless the challenge of trying to complete it using what may be an underpowered trap appeals to you.
I will not sugar coat this: R3 areas are tough to work without the equipment available in them, and that in itself is a little daunting as the mechanisms and magic circles in this region are on an initial glance expensive. The traps used in Strathclyde also do not present you with an obvious wide range of performance or a clear upgrade path.
In general, you will have a choice of (increasingly expensive) options in each R3 location, where no mechanism or magic circle has a clear and obvious advantage. In addition, the benefits you may have available from companions and contracts should be considered, too, before you select a particular trap mechanism or circle. You must weigh and choose between using raw power or using mystic power; between increased or decreased hunting cooldown time, and a host of other attributes.
Even 2 or 3 points difference in raw power or mystic power can make a significant difference in your trap's performance. Think carefully before you purchase your traps -- talk to more advanced players and ask them questions about what traps they like and why. The apparently small differences in power between different traps can be much more significant when you're hunting with one or another!
(£50,000 to travel / 1,200,000 XP)
(£3,000,000 / 1,200,000 XP)
What can one say about trapping ghosts with a dead sheep dummy (sheep is an adjective here, not a noun!) heavily laden with high explosives? Outside of being a bit of fun and revealing a somewhat bizarre sense of humour, not a lot. It is however the first mechanism that you are presented with in Wellsington Tower, the first location in R3.
This crazy contraption will give you an adequate catch rate in this location if you remember the rule about using a lower grade magic potions as bait. Paired with the White phosphor from Castle McKenny it will give you a catch rate just shy of 60%. If used in Castle McKenny it will give you a fairly good 90% or so catch rate, depending on your bait, but will suffer the 'cluster' effect of FTA's (failure to attract) and Angel's Shares if using regular magic potions and special vintages. Despite this, the Explosive Sheep Dummy has a superior performance level in McKenny and can be considered for use there.
Pairing the Explosive sheep dummy mechanism with a Kitty companion and/or the Inspector James Sinclair contract and the Starlight magic circle can give you a catch rate in Wellsington Tower very close to that of the Venus fly trap.
(£4,000,000 / 1,500,000 XP)
Just as odd as the Explosive sheep dummy is the Venus fly trap, an unlikely mechanism for trapping ghosts, yet very effective at trapping those that inhabit Wellsington Tower. Team this trap with either the Zoologist Emma Parker contract (+1 raw power, -1 minute hunting cooldown reduction, and a 10% XP bonus on each ghost caught) or the Lorelle contract (hunting cooldown reduction of -2 minutes and a raw power boost of +3) and you'll find it even better. A very acceptable 85% or better catch rate will help you accrue both cash and XP at a good rate, although it should be repeated that in R3 all baits (except Nessy's and mocktails) tend to have clusters of FTAs. Vintages and even magic potions with high attraction ratings will get more angel's shares than you may be expecting.
Many players choose to skip the Venus fly trap to save money; for some, skipping this mechanism will delay their ability to progress to Dormont Cemetery in a timely fashion.
(£1,500,000 / 1,200,000 XP)
According to the official release from S.C.O.T.C.H. H.Q. this Magic Circle is actually a failed experiment that was accidentally found to have some very useful properties when used with the mechanisms. This stuff packs a wallop into your mechanism, being purely tuned to amplify the raw power of your trap. It works well with The Emerald Pearl, the Explosive sheep dummy, and the Venus fly trap as well, by adding some pretty impressive power to their stats.
Although some Agents feel it is not worth the price, it can make quite a difference to the performance levels of the above traps and is a quite acceptable move away from the bait-burning White phosphor circle from Castle McKenny. Even though it has only 5 more Raw power than the White phosphor, it does not burn bait and doesn't cost as much to operate -- making it a no brainer for those who want to capitalize on their profits. Those who are more patient may choose to go with the next choice in line by waiting out the XP requirement for the Starlight, but the cash-challenged may find some quick relief by using this circle.
(£2,000,000 / 1,400,000 XP)
Deep inside the SCOTCH HQ compound there exists a facility that gathers the most difficult of all magical effects: the pure essence of starlight. This of course lends a bit of Mystic power to this circle, useful if you're out after those unique ghosts. Still its raw power only increases by 5 over the Ectoplasmatic goo, and 10 over the White phosphor. Therefore the Starlight circle's mystic power tends to gain it more attention than the Ectoplasmatic goo.
This circle has a T/SC of +1, meaning (if you haven't figured it out by now) that it adds a minute to your cooldown, which can be cancelled out by using it with the proper companions, contracts and or bait.
Although it has only 5 more Raw Power than the Ectoplasmatic goo, it shows markedly improved results, and is more than worthy of consideration for use with the Explosive Sheep Dummy and the Venus Fly Trap in Wellsington Tower as well as with traps available in Dormont Cemetery.
This circle also has the distinct ability to bump the raw power of the Ghost Magnet mechanism to the point where it is possible to use it in Castle McKenny with somewhat better results than you might expect. If playing around with the trap configurations interests you, then this magic circle is probably for you. It proves that the use of the GM is not as limited as some people claim, and that its longevity can be extended beyond Loch Muir.
Keep in mind that this circle balances its high raw and mystic power combination with a +1 minute cooldown time, which may frustrate players who want to cram as many hunts as possible into each hour.
(£60,000 to travel / 1,800,000 XP)
(£4,000,000 / 2,200,000 XP)
Vaguely reminiscent of the most famous of all swords, this mechanism boasts a very strong mystic boost and a -1 minute T/SC. It is quite adequate for use in both Wellsington Tower and in Dormont Cemetery, and pairs well with both the Starlight circle (although its T/SC benefit is cancelled by this pairing) and, later, with the Golden candles. The X-Kaliboo/Starlight combination will unfortunately not please some of the more aggressive players, but it will give most agents an opportunity to further examine the effects of mystic power.
Although this trap has less power than the Piano-on-a-rope, it requires more XP. Depending on what Contracts and Companions you have available, many players have found this trap to deliver results that are comparable to, if somewhat more erratic than, those of the Piano-on-a-rope. The Novice Bryan Bigglesworth (NBB) contract gives you a 20% XP bonus, which some players feel more than offsets the Piano-on-a-rope's more consistent performance. The Countess Wilhelmina contract adds an impressive 10 mystic power on top of the 25 mystic power the mechanism starts with. The Countess Wilhelmina contract also has a x1.5 loot chance bonus (which represents an added .5x to whatever your loot hunter chance is otherwise).
Also compare the cooldown time and price of this mechanism with the others available at this price and XP level.
(£5,000,000 / 1,800,000 XP)
A piano, suspended by a rope. The idea is that the ghost is attracted by the music, steps underneath the piano, and the piano drops. Theoretically this renders the ghost immobile for long enough to get a shot of it. Of course, since you're trying to trap a ghost, the overall effect seems somewhat illogical, yet it works (At least to an adequate extent). There is of course a chance that the ghost will escape before the dust settles and you will miss the shot. It happens.
This unlikely mechanism actually works fairly well, which is surprising considering that there are few places in a normal cemetery where one could conceivably suspend a piano. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Dormont Cemetery is anything but normal.
Paired with the Starlight circle the mechanism has fairly good performance and, depending on your bait, delivers up a variety of ghosts, but it's the Golden candles that really work for this mechanism. Solid, if somewhat unpredictable when it comes to catching some ghosts the piano is definitely for those who would rather go with Raw Power than the X-Kaliboo's Mystic Power strength.
It's a tough decision to make, as there's only a small margin of difference in raw power for the two traps, and you're sacrificing a lot of mystic, so you need to decide which way you want to go. Pair this mechanism with the Inspector James Sinclair (IJS) contract and you can expect a very good catch rate in Dormont Cemetery, particularly if you can purchase this mechanism the moment you enter Dormont Cemetery.
(£3,000,000 / 1,800,000 XP)
These ornate beauties work extremely well, and are very versatile because they can be used with a variety of traps. With 55 Raw Power and 5 Mystic they are strong enough to boost the Ghost magnet into continued service in Castle McKenny, as well as helping both the Piano-on-a-rope and the X-Kaliboo hold their own in Dormont Cemetery.
Choosing between the Golden Candles and the Starlight circle is a little difficult, and many players have chosen to purchase both of these magic circles. The starlight magic circle definitely helps attract the attentions of a different type of ghost than the Golden Candles do, but the Golden Candles seem to be a lot more versatile if you're trying to farm money -- it is consistently capable of pushing some of your older traps into areas they wouldn't normally do well in.
(£80,000 to travel / 2,600,000 XP)
(£5,000,000 / 2,600,000 XP)
The gang at HQ come up with some pretty interesting mechanisms. This one seems almost normal, if a little techy. 75% catch rate pretty much says it all when you pair it up with the Neon lights. It has the usual characteristic of being very good at catching a few ghosts while having temperamental moments with others. It's £1 million less and has the same XP requirements to buy as the Ghost bus, so chances are you're going to be playing with this mechanism for a while.
(£6,000,000 / 2,600,000 XP)
It seems that the ferry to the afterlife has been replaced by a double-decker bus. All things considered it's probably a cost efficient decision -- at least from the ferryman's perspective. He also seems to have outsourced the driving of this bus ... be careful where you walk!
Oh, but the questions!
Using this mechanism yields better results than the Anti-gravity zone. It catches about 80% of the ghosts that are in Castle McDonohan with the Neon lights armed, and catches well over 90% of the ghosts with the Magic torches boosting the Bus's Mystic power. All in all this is a very good trap and should satisfy most players for quite a while.
The big drop in XP required for this trap (from 5 million initially to 3.6 million after Count Church opened to 2.6 million in preparation for Region 4 Lothian will likely change opinions of this trap as well.
(£4,500,000 / 2,600,000 XP)
This mechanism boasts a cooldown time reduction of -2 minutes. Along with 205 raw power, only two less than the Anti-gravity zone. If you can pair the Slapping machine with the Neon lights magic circle and the Dr Fürchtegott Nussbaum contract, you will have a set-up with a cooldown of a mere 9 minutes that can hold its own in Castle McDonohan with its 270 raw power. Add a companion with an additional cooldown reduction, such as Little Nessy, and you're looking at 7 minute hunts.
Note that this mechanism is a burner mechanism, so it will use two baits per hunt, or three baits per hunt with the Dr Fürchtegott Nussbaum contract enabled. Don't use mocktails or Nessy's Golden Reserve as bait unless you can afford to do so and are comfortable with the expenditure. Don't shy away from using this mechanism, either, just because of its burner status — learn to use its strength to your advantage.
The catch rate for Slapping machine combined with Neon lights begins at about 70%, if not modified by a contract or companion. With the Dr Fürchtegott Nussbaum contract enabled, you may be able to reach a catch rate of approximately 85%.
While using this mechanism, you may also consider mounting the Mini robot companion, the Nurse Chapham contract or the Ghost puzzler badge if you have them. All of these items provide +1 efficiency (-1 bottle of bait required) to counteract this mechanism's burner status.
(Crafted Item / 2,600,000 XP)
The crafted mechanism for R3 is the Suck-o-matic 9000. A vast improvement over the Suck-o-matic 3000, it boasts an impressive 210 raw power, but lacks the Ghost bus's mystic power. There is a caution here as well: this is a burner mechanism, so it requires 2 magic potions or mocktails per hunt. Some may find this undesirable and choose to rid themselves of the blueprint parts required to create it. If you choose to use this trap, you need to thoroughly understand the benefits and costs of using mocktails or Nessy's as bait, and not do so unless you can afford them.
As with the slapping machine, you might want to consider using the mini robot companion, the Nurse Chapham contract, the Professor Albert Zweistein contract or the Ghost puzzler badge with this mechanism, all of which provide +1 efficiency (-1 bottle of bait used) to counteract the Suck-o-matic 9000's burner status. The Professor Albert Zweistein contract also adds 20 mystic power, making this mechanism a stronger choice than the ghost bus.
(£3,500,000 / 3,500,000 XP)
Raw Power and just a touch of mystic, colourful and bright -- it would figure that this magic circle attracts ghosts. A tech-heavy circle, it seems perfectly suited to the Anti-gravity zone mechanism, perhaps more so than the Magic torches. That doesn't mean you have to use them that way, if at all. This circle does, however, boast a T/SC of -2 minutes which can be ideal to balance out the Ghost bus' T/SC of +3min; this may be a very important influence in your decision to use them.
(£3,500,000 / 2,600,000 XP)
Five more raw power than the Neon lights, and the same amount of added mystic distinguish this circle, but this additional power is balanced out by the additional 1 minute cooldown time it entails. This circle can be used with both of the Castle McDonohan traps, but many agents will find that the Ghost bus stats suffer a little more than the Anti-gravity zone when used with this circle. Others will find the better catch rate balances out the additional time between hunts nicely.
As always, contracts and companions may further balance out all or most of the additional cooldown time -- and you'll have to consider how additional cooldown time interacts with your hunting style/strategy to determine whether this circle is right for you.
It should be obvious by now that sometimes even just a few points of difference in raw or mystic power can make all the difference in a trap's performance level -- and that there are no easy answers when you're considering which mechanism or circle to buy.
(£4,000,000 / 2,600,000 XP)
With an impressive 70 power and 10 mystic, Little Stonehenge is the strongest available for use in Castle McDonohan...but only if you chose it as a gift during Celebration Week I. If you didn't pick the Little Stonehenge up then, or if you've started playing since 1 January 2010, you won't be able to purchase or use this magic circle until you can get to Count Church to buy it.
The Little Stonehenge gives you nice power and mystic power, but in exchange you gain an additional +2 minutes to your hunting cooldown. You can expect a 85% catch rate with the Anti-gravity zone and near 95% with the Ghost Bus. If you hover over the "Let's hunt" button, though, this circle may not be the choice for you. On the other hand, it can work wonders while you are asleep or otherwise away from your keyboard.
As usual, pairing this with different contracts, ID badge and companions can decrease the cooldown if you prefer.
(£100,000 to travel / 4,000,000 XP)
(Crafted Item / 4,000,000 XP)
The crafted circle for R3 is the Ivory candle. 65 Raw power and its 15 mystic power makes it superior to Magic torches and Neon lights, but slightly inferior to the Little Stonehenge in terms of raw power, which is a must if you are to do well in Count Church. In some ways, the 15 mystic power makes this circle a logical (if not immediately practicable) next step up from the Starlight circle. There's no question that this circle can be a highly useful item and a desirable addition to your crafted collection, although many people tend to prefer to use it in locations other than Count Church. In Count Church it can be difficult to get a set-up with the Ivory candles that contains sufficient raw power to capture the strong ghosts there unless you have acquired the Time warper platinum edition or the Wormhole platinum edition. If safety and a high percentage catch rate is your primary criteria for using a magic circle, then only use the Ivory candles in Castle McDonohan and other lower locations.
The same time, however, keep in mind that if you're at or near this XP and there is a haunted event coming up, this is a great circle to have in your inventory.
(£7,000,000 / 4,000,000 XP)
This trap has good raw power. With the Lorelle and The White Lady contracts will gain an additional +3 raw power boost. Zoologist Emma Parker will only add a +1 raw power boost but it has a T/SC of -1 minute. The other available contract, the Gwynnyth the shaman will boost your raw power with +2 and has 15% increase in your XP and cash reward per ghost that you catch.
(£8,000,000 / 4,000,000 XP)
The Abyssal phone booth has 220 raw power, 20 mystic power, and a -1 minute hunting cooldown. With stats like that, it's not really a surprise that this mechanism is a bit pricey, but it's definitely worth the price. Many players will select this mechanism simply because it has more raw and mystic power than the Sleeping dragon, but all should at least consider it. It can be a very strong and flexible addition to your hunting arsenal. Now that Kirkyard Cemetery has opened, some players are thinking or planning on skipping this mechanism "to save money for the R4 mechanisms." This tends to be a false economy, and the players who think that are totally underestimating the kinds of GTP gains you can make by using this trap mechanism well.
(£5,000,000 / 5,000,000 XP)
To catch the toughest ghosts in Count Church, you need every bit of raw power you can manage to find ... but the raw power from this circle comes from the additional bottle of bait you need with every hunt. If you can balance this set-up with a Mini robot companion, or if you're okay with the bait usage, this circle will help you pile up Viking ghosts and Techno viking ghosts by the handful.