Spiral Knights: Royal Jelly

Spiral Knights offers its players many ways of earning in-game currency (crowns) and other loot. You could analyse the volatile auction house and play it that way although it’s very monotonous or go and do some clockwork levels that give out a lot of crowns and rare materials. If you’re looking for the easiest route, it’s probably the gate with most tier 1 arenas. The highest reward comes from Firestorm Citadel (tier 3 boss stratum) but it’s much more time-consuming and not to mention the risk of death is far greater. Arguably, the most efficient method is running through the royal jelly (RJ) levels found in the fourth stratum of a tier 2.

This gate appears only in one gate and stays there until it’s shifted off the gate cycle to the left every six days or so. It’s always there though so it’s best to clear the first and second stratum of that gate (tier 1) to avoid the 200 crown penalty if you intend to do a lot of RJ runs. If you plan on doing this, this is the best option. This post will aim to guide you through what is the best way to proceed through the levels.

Preparation

Before you head down to the first RJ castle level (which is at depth 15), you’ll need to clear the previous levels or get lucky and join Basil randomly in an open party group. I always take the risk of the latter but that choice is up to you. A more easier way is to join guild or friends that are also doing it, if you see open slots, you might as well ask.

In terms of what gear to take down there, there are various options at your disposal. You don’t really need to take in optimal gear (some is good enough) but I suggest:

  • piercing resistant armour and/or helmet against the ton of jellies you’ll face. The most common one is the wolver line but one piercing resistant gear should suffice. I’ve managed to do this with other types of gear while always wearing my Skolver Coat.
  • Dread Venom Striker (or Vile Striker) . This sword without a doubt is very handy for the boss level but also a blast to use anyway. It poisons occasionally which is it’s main draw as you’re less dependant on vials (more on that later).
  • shadow damaging weapons. This is a no-brainer, jellies are weak to shadow so take in anything that will make your battles easier. I prefer the Silent Nightblade over the Faust but both are very effective.
  • Guns are very useful for kiting (attacking enemies with no or very little chance of getting hurt) as are bombs (the Shivermist Buster is generally the best support bomb in my opinion even though I don’t have one, everyone that is at least fairly decent with it, makes any mobs a cakewalk). In a party, make sure to take note of other players as recklessly unloading your attacks can get them hit or dead even.
  • The best shield for RJ runs is the Barbarous Thorn Shield or one of it’s lesser forms simply because if you’re using a sword (most likely you are), it gives added sword damage and it also offers piercing protection. That’s not to say other shields aren’t to be considered.

Another thing you’ll need to consider if you are going to take on the Royal Jelly (King; I’ll just add the king bit in for easier notations) is to stock up on certain vials. These will make the battle much easier. The most useful is poison as it’ll prevent the RJK from healing and curse which greatly shortens the battle time. Health capsules are an obvious recommendation and apart from that, the remaining slot should be left for the vial you think is most useful. I think mecha knights are ideal but rare from my experiences, fire isn’t too bad, shock is decent but doesn’t stop the berserking RJK. Stun is the most useful if you can time the throws as the RJK leaves it’s berserk state. The mini-spins will be temporarily stopped allow you to inflict maximum damage. The remaining vials, sleep and freeze should be used on the RJK mob rather than the king itself because it doesn’t last that long otherwise. Only take these in if you’re joining the run late and can’t gather the other vials in time, no vials are entirely useless.

Depth 15

This is the first RJ level and unsurprisingly, it’s the easiest. In a party, it’s best to share the two sides of the map to make things quicker. The room to the left is probably the harder of the two because of the spikes so get out of there as soon as possible to fight the enemies out in the open, it’s much safer. The right room should have the centre area cleared for easier manoeuvring (leave the grey blocks to shield against gun puppies if necessary). Once these rooms are done, the final room is just a wave of more jellies and a few lumbers and silkwings which you should have no problems with.

A love puppy, the most relieving sight in the clockworks

Depth 16

This level can be difficult if you make it so. The first part is simple enough, just go around in a circle and grab the stone and place it north. The enemies in-between are jellies and a lumber on each triggered mob group. There’s a silkwing on the final part which should be taken out as soon as possible but this part is relatively easy.

After this is done, the floor opens up to four rooms. You cannot split here if you’re in a party so it’s best to work as a team and deal with the enemies in a co-ordinated fashion. The hardest room is the north-east one simply because of the tight spacing, spikes and not to mention the explosive blocks (which regenerate). A general tactic is always to take out healers first and this greatly applies here. The longer the silkwing  is alive, the more work you need to do to clear the room. If you’re in a party of four, one or two players should stay back and attack the gun puppy directly to the right of the party button and one or two players should go and hit the blue block. These players should defeat the silkwing straight away to make life easier. A general observation I’ve seen is that players spreading across the room survive better rather than staying together. In pairs, this is okay but sometime ago my entire party got wiped out by a lumber when four of us were trying to kill the silkwing.

In order of difficulty, I’d say the north-east room is the hardiest to clear followed by the south-east room (this room is ideal for shivermist buster users who can just keep dropping bombs in the centre and deal with the four corners of the rooms with ease. The north-west room can get quite messy if you go in with all guns blazing, controlling the space where the party button is, makes this much easier. The easiest room is the south-west room, do this first if you’re low on health, just make sure not to get hit by exploding blocks and/or blast jellies and you should be okay.

Once all four rooms are cleared, that leaves one final room before the RJK. As well as the standard monsters you’ll face here, there’s the likelihood of facing a giant lichen colony if you let the lichem merge into one. This will occur at the very end of the wave unless you can shield-bump the gaint lichen away from the other lichens fast enough. To be honest, this isn’t a great problem and the reward is greater but if you’re running low on health, it’s best to increase your chances of survival by not having to face a crazy oversized lichen in the first place.

*gulp* (Artwork courtesy of Zoph)

At this point, choose whether to carry on or not, if you leave now, you’d be missing out on jelly tokens and a small amount of crowns from the next level.

Royal Jelly King

This is the final level in the royal jelly run. As of writing, RJK has been “downgraded” to a much easier battle. When I started playing, it was insanely difficult and I had to make sure I was on top of everything and not waste any vials. Now, it’s a case of applying as much damage per second (dps) as you can, poison helps but it’s not vital if you’re fast enough. I have actually found it much easier to go in a party of faust or nightblade players and finish the RJK off in about half a minute not even letting it go past the first berserk.

There are effectively two ways to defeat the RJK. I always go all-in and try to end the battle there and then but you could also kill off it’s health supply. This is longer and more tedious but it is an alternative approach but not one I’ll discuss now.

Before activating the party button, it’s best to charge up your sword to attack the RJK (making sure not to take damage before you reach it). The battles start off with you facing some royal minis and jellies in front of the RJK itself, try to ignore the mob as your priority is on the big one. Throw a poison vial and keep attacking it. You can throw other vials on it if you want but make sure not to waste any (just in case). Once you’ve done enough damage, the RJK loses it’s crown and enters the second (and last) phase.

In this phase, run away from the RJK because when it has a pink energy shield around it (it goes beserk), you cannot damage it and each swing it does, greatly damages you (remember it does normal damage not piercing). The normal-sized jellies will disappear but Royal Polyps will pop up (turrets) so just dodge their bullets, it’s a waste to mow them down. As the RJK is spinning around, take this time to use some health capsules or if your health is high enough, start charging your sword ready to go back in when the RJK stops spinning. If you have a stun vial here, use it straight away and throw everything at the RJK, if you do enough damage you’ll defeat it. If not, it’ll go pink again and go berserk once more but just do what you did before and it should be okay.

My Royal Jelly Gear

Weapon Slot 1: Silent Nightblade (will be upgraded to Acheron when I can do so). Weapon Slot 2: Dread Venom Striker

Helm: Royal Jelly Crown. Armour: Skolver Coat. Shield: Barbarous Thorn Shield

That’s all there is to it, really. Some bad luck can ruin your run such as the usual lag, getting cornered by monsters and/or misplacing some vials but with the last update, the RJK has become much easier and quite rightly so (it’s a tier 2 boss after all). You should make enough crowns to invest in some CE which you can use to re-run or call it a day. After doing so many runs, you’ll probably want to do something else but it’s a good way to gain some crowns, running on CE alone, I can’t recommend anything else.

Have fun!

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