Getting All of the U-ISO 8 You Will Ever Need
It seems that whenever a new Spec Op is released, there are a lot of complaints from people not being able to get enough U-ISO 8. Many of these complaints center around the fact that we all only start off with 440 U-ISOs, and Playdom typically only releases a 1 or 2 links for 10 or 20 U-ISOs and about 4 or 5 links for a single U-ISO throughout the course of a Spec Op (barring those times when they have given free links due to issues with the game causing massive amounts of U-ISO loss due to combat validation errors, or as with Spec Op 7, accidentally deactivating U-ISO gifting with half a week left in the Spec Op).
Even without the free U-ISO links from Playdom, we have plenty of opportunities to get enough U-ISOs to finish the Spec Ops. There are 3 very reliable sources, as well as 4 sources that randomly drop U-ISOs, that can provide all that you need. These sources are:
- Ally Gifts (Reliable)
- Ally Maps (Reliable)
- Fights (Random)
- Daily Roulette (Random)
- Spec Op Boss Roulette (Random)
- Lockboxes (Random)
- Spec Op Deploy (Random, with payout typically lower than the cost)
The two most reliable methods of collecting U-ISOs involves having the maximum of 50 allies. If you do not yet have 50 allies, please check out this page on getting more allies. Your allies are going to be the key to success in Spec Ops, even moreso since group bosses were introduced in Spec Op 8. It is important that you have 50 active allies.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT attempt to collect ANY U-ISO 8 until AFTER you have entered the first mission of a new Spec Op. Your U-ISO counter will not work until you enter the first mission for the first time. If you use a link or collect a U-ISO gift before doing so, it will not be added to your reserve when you start working the missions.
Reliably Getting U-ISOs
The most reliable way to collect U-ISO is from ally gifts. Most of the ally gifts are not that special, and there are typically only 2 gifts that I ever send or accept: Small Energy and U-ISO. You can send gifts to your friends at any time, and anytime that you accept a gift from an ally, that ally also gets a gift back of the same item. You can accept up to 50 ally gifts per day. During Spec Ops, this means an easy 50 U-ISOs per day just for gifting.
The next most reliable source of U-ISOs also involves having 50 allies as well. Once per day, you can visit ally maps. From each ally map, you can pick up 4 random gifts, a Distress Call if you don't already have one in your inventory from that ally, and during Spec Ops that have a group boss, the possibility of fighting that ally's currently active group boss. The important thing is the 4 random gifts. These are a random assortment of gifts that are typically the same as the gifts that are available for regular gifting to your allies. Since there are 4 gifts per map and 8 different gifts during Spec Ops, you will want to maximize your chances for getting U-ISOs by having as many allies as possible. As far as I am aware, ally map drop items all have the same probability. If my assumptions on the probabilities are correct, this means you should average 1 U-ISO for every 2 ally maps you visit. So you should expect around 25 U-ISOs on average per day if you have 50 allies. Personally, I do not recall I time that I have gotten fewer than 30 U-ISOs in a day from ally maps, and quite often I have gotten 50 U-ISOs from ally map visits.
Luck of the Draw
The next 7 methods of collecting U-ISOs are highly random and variable, and there is one that I would not recommend due to opportunity cost involved. The first, and probably most reliable of the random U-ISO drops comes from fights. These can be PvE or PvP fights. This method is totally random, is not guaranteed to generate a large volume of U-ISO, and usually will not net you a U-ISO on every fight. You might even go for many fights without a single U-ISO dropping. High volume fighting will tend to net enough to perhaps do one additional Spec Op fight or hero deploy per day. In recent Spec Ops, this method has been more profitable, as it is now possible for more than 1 U-ISO to drop per fight. This means that you should look into PotKettleBlack's The Key to Progress post for strategies on maximizing your U-ISO drop rate.
The Daily Roulette has the biggest U-ISO reward, but also one of the smallest chances. All roulette events in the game are weighted towards certain items, usually consumables and ISO crystals. During Spec Ops, there are three slots on the Daily Roulette for U-ISOs, paying out 20, 100, and 1000 U-ISOs. You only get 1 spin per day unless you spend 5 Gold to respin. However, it is almost certainly better to spend Gold straight up for U-ISO (I DO NOT recommend this prior to the final day of Spec Ops; see notes below on spending Gold for U-ISOs.) Since the Daily Roulette shows up everyday the first time you login after 6AM Eastern time, you should always run this once per day.
In addition to the boss drop and CPs, the Boss Roulette on a Spec Op mission typicially provides the opportunity to get more U-ISO 8. This is a case where running the most effecient path possible can pay off over the long run. Since the more efficiently you run a Spec Op mission, the less U-ISO you spend, the more opportunities you get on the boss roulette. The U-ISO prizes on the boss roulette are not as big as the daily roulette, but getting one of these will often mean at least 1 or 2 more Spec Op fights or deploys for the day. Again, I highly recommend NOT respinning on a Boss Roulette, as you would still be better off spending your Gold straight up on U-ISO.
Lockboxes provide another opportunity for U-ISO. Lockboxes are like a box of chocolates. There are many various prizes you could get, from junk consumables to epic gear to comic book covers, and pretty much everything in between. Lockboxes are currently available as Spec Op Boss rewards, for completing lockbox tasks, and for purchase in the store for 1 Gold. I would not recommend purchasing Lockboxes unless you are trying to recruit a Lockbox hero from boxes that are no longer available through any other method.
You can also get U-ISOs from Spec Op hero deployments. I do not recommend relying on this method for numerous reasons that all go back to effeciency:
- You have to spend 10 U-ISO to deploy the hero for the chance for U-ISO to drop. The hero specific deploys offer the opportunity to earn back as much as 20 U-ISO, so at least with these there is a slim chance of possibly coming out ahead. Class specific deploys can drop as much as 10 U-ISO, so there is the slim chance of breaking even with those. Non-specific deploys only give single U-ISOs or 5 U-ISO bundles, and spending 10 for the chance to get end at less than break even is not a good deal at all.
- Unless you are making an Epic Run, most of the deploys on Spec Ops are going to do little more than eat away at your U-ISO reserve. While most of the missions will have 4 or 5 deploys available, typically, the most effecient path to clear the mission will only require 1 or 2 of these at the most to get a path to Three-Bird the boss.
Last Ditch Effort: Reaching for Gold
As a last resort, and only as a last resort, should you spend Gold to get U-ISOs. This comes down to the value of time over money. If you have followed the rest of my advice so far, you should be able to easily make it to task 25 of any Spec Op at least by the beginning of the second week. This should leave you with about 2 weeks left to finish task 25 and to complete any side quests that are available. As long as time is on your side, you shouldn't have any need to touch your Gold at all. However, if you run into an issue where for some reason you have to leave U-ISOs on the table (such as when real life keeps you from logging in for a day or two), you may end up in a situation where you do not have enough time left to collect enough free U-ISO from your allies. As with farming any item, try to get as much as you can before the last day of Spec Ops. If you get down to the last day, and are still short on U-ISOs to complete the final task, then, and only then, would I recommend spending Gold on U-ISOs. Even in this situation, determine first if it would cost you more to buy the U-ISOs (10 U-ISOs for 1 Gold) or to just pay Gold to complete the last task. In any case, I would recommend not spending Gold for Spec Ops prior to the final day if you have completed the final research task. If you have not completed the final research by the time there are 3 days left and you are low on U-ISO, you are most likely looking at a huge Gold expenditure to complete Spec Ops. In that case, it may be cheaper in some cases to pay Gold to skip the tasks with higher U-ISO requirements, only spending it on the U-ISOs when it is cheaper than paying the cost to skip the task.
Even though U-ISO doesn't flow as freely as it used to, there are still plenty of sources for U-ISO. The key is to maximize your ability to collect all of the U-ISO that is available within the game without relying on Gold.