View Full Version : The general guide on end game team-mechanics
06-17-2011, 02:31 AM
Welcome to my signature guide! I have spent many hours on this, so I hope that you find this useful.
I hope that if you do meet somebody who has been struggling in the upper levels, that you direct them to this guide (assuming that they are willing to listen to feedback).
Note: This guide is still under construction. Updates will be made with time.
To begin with, I've been meaning to write this for quite some time. With so many of the "oldies" recently quitting, heading to O&C, and among the ones that have stayed, reducing the amount of the time that they play, I think that there is something of a gaping hole in the community. Furthermore, the quality of PUGs I have found is at times distressingly poor. Power levelling certainly deserves a lot of blame, but there seems to be a general ignorance of game mechanics.
The purpose of this guide is to help players at the higher levels - Alien Oasis III and beyond. The assumption is that you have a level 45+ character and are reasonably acquainted with it. Why? Well, up until Alien Oasis, things have been not too difficult. There's plenty of room for error. In Forest Haven, the Dark Forest, the Crypt, Lost Expedition, Skeller, and the Swamps (the elite Sandstone and Frozen Nightmare being the exceptions), you could pretty much play casual and do reasonably well. Then all of a sudden in Alien Oasis, you find yourself against these blue alien guys who can pretty much kill you in one volley. The difficulty level has been upped and it isn't going down.
Throughout this guide, I will be describing the different classes, the builds, and how to interact with them. This is strictly a PvE guide - as I do not consider myself to be particularly good at PvP. Bear in mind that this is by no means intended to be a comprehensive guide and should not be your only source.
Your typical character will look something like this:
On the left, you see your attributes. Going left to right, there is a picture of yourself, and a lot of stats. I don't recommend that you judge a player by their stats. It's very unreliable and can easily be falsified. That said, usually when players hide their stats, it is usually cause for concern. The exception being their attributes on the left (a common practice for PvPers, who seem to dislike people copying their builds; I never cared too much myself for it as you can copy a person's build but not their skills).
Attributes are what makes up your statistics. They decide how effective your character is going to be. All builds that you make are a matter of compromises. They key to building a good character is to build one that adapts to your playstyle, that emphasizes your strengths, and makes sacrifices that you don't mind losing.
It's important to remember that the game rounds things, so the numbers given here may not be 100% accurate. I'm looking for a common pattern, but sometimes it rounds up and sometimes rounds down. What I know for sure is that it isn't to the 5th decimal place and above is rounded up.
- The first 3 statistics, str, dex, and int are the amount of points that you have in these attributes. Mostly they are the points that you've spent, but equipment usually does boost them a bit.
- Hit % is the accuracy of your attacks. There is a hit cap of about 86% (it's possible for this reason for birds with their 100%+ hit to miss) for weapons. Having a low hit means that only a small proportion of your attacks will hit their intended targets. Skill damage though is capped at the full 100%, so it is useful to have at least 100% hit; more if you PvP as debuffs to hit% are not uncommon.
- Crit % is the probability that when you hit, that you will have a critical hit, which does double damage. All 3 classes have a buff that increases crit and many types of equipment also increase crit.
Note: Crit damage = 2 x (Your damage - enemy armour)
- Dodge % is the probability that when the target does not miss, that you will "dodge" the target. Evade and some equipment buffs dodge. The implication of this, by the way, is that your actual accuracy is (your hit % - enemy dodge %).
- Health is the amount of hp that you have. Every time you get a hit that did not miss and you didn't dodge, an amount subtracted by your armour is taken off. If you have the misfortune of receiving a crit, twice that amount is taken off.
- H/S: The natural regeneration of your health reserves.
- Mana reserves. The amount of mana you have for using skills. Each time you use a skill, the mana cost is taken off this. For mages, mana reserves are like a second hp bar when the mana shield is up. Each time you take a hit, instead of having the hp bar subtracted, the mana reserves are taken off.
- M/S: How much you regenerate mana each second naturally. It's possible to have a mana regen rate higher than if you constantly spam spells. In that case, you'll never have to worry about mana again (except for mages when they use mana shield).
- Damage: The amount of damage that you do per hit. This will be a range. Some weapons will have a bigger range than others.
- Damage per second: People tend to overvalue this. Basically, it's damage / weapon speed. What it is, is a "potential" maximum damage, assuming that you fully debuffed the enemy's armour. I don't recommend that this be a major deciding factor and that damage per hit is more important, especially with enemies with high armour (bosses). It may however, make sense to use a high DPS weapon for farming lower levels.
- Weapon speed: Appears to be rounded up. How many seconds each time your weapon strikes. High DPS weapons generally have a low damage per hit but are really fast (ex: daggers and dual wielding). 2h weapons are generally slower, but do more damage per hit.
- Armor: How much armor you have, which relates to how much damage you will take when you do not dodge. Damage sustained = damage of enemy hit - your armor.
A combination of your skill points, your equipment, and temporarily, your buffs will affect all of these attribute points. Enemy units can also debuff you, reducing these skill points at times.
Effects from skills
Each time you level, you will be given 5 points to spend on strength, dexterity, or intelligence. You will also be given one skill point to spend on any of the skills of your character. How you spend these points can have significant consequences on how effective your character will be. It will affect their attributes, skill damage, and what equipment they can wear.
Remember the following though (before equipment is taken into account):
Adding strength (str emphasizes survivability, at the expense of damage)
- Each str point gives you 0.02 dmg per hit, so you need 50 points of str for 1 extra dmg
- Each str point gives you 0.03 crit, so you need 33.33 (recurring number) points of str for 1% extra crit
- Each str point gives you 0.025 dodge, you you need 40 points of str for 1% more dodge
- Each str point gives you 0.02 H/S, so you need 50 points of str for 1 H/S more
- Each str point gives you 0.05 armor, so you need 20 points of str for 1 armour more (this one is unverified)
- Str points also increase your hp reserves. Every 2 points of str increases your hp by 1, rounded down.
Adding dex (dex emphasizes maximum weapons damage at the expense of survivability and mana)
- Each dex point gives you 0.15 dmg per hit, so you need 6.67 points of dex for 1 extra dmg
- Each dex point gets you 0.167% hit, so you need 6 dex for 1% more hit
- Each dex point gets you 0.032 crit, so you need 31.25 points of dex for 1% more crit
- Each dex point gets you 0.0125 dodge, so you need 80 points of dex for 1% extra dodge
- Each dex point gives you 0.01 H/S, so you need 100 points of dex for 1 H/S more
- Each dex point gives you 0.025 armor, so you need 40 points of dex for 1 armour more
Adding int (int is like a compromise between everything)
- Each int point gives you 0.08 dmg per hit, so you need 12.5 points of int for 1 extra dmg
- Each int point gets you 0.1% hit, so you need 10 int for 1% more hit
- Each int point gets you 0.02 crit, so you need 50 points of int for 1% more crit
- Each int point gets you 0.005 dodge, so you need 200 points of int for 1% extra dodge
- Each int point gets you 0.005 h/s, so you need 200 points of int for 1 h/s more
- Each int point gets you 0.02 m/s, so you need 50 points of int for 1 m/s more
- This one is not yet confirmed, but every 2 points of int increases your mana reserve by about 1 (the game seems to have some oddities with rounding)
Notes: I am not sure about the relationship between int skill dmg for birds and bears. However, I am reasonably certain that int adds less skill damage for birds after observing int birds in action.
Effects from equipment
Reading all of this, you'll quickly notice something. Equipment tends to have a much bigger impact on a person's stats then their build. However, the contributions to their stats from distributions of str, dex, and int should not be ignored as they are quite significant.
Whenever you have equipment, generally they will add certain attributes. Weapons always add damage for example and virtually all shirts, caps, or shields (plate, leather, and robes), add armour. Carefully read what equipment adds and decide if you like what you see.
Why are pinks so valuable? The reason is because they tend to add on average, the most amount of skills. However, pinks are not always the best. Pinks don't always add skills in the areas that you may want. Or they may not be as useful under various situations.
Unique to certain pinks are the set bonuses denoted by sparkles or the "flames" that you see here. Vanity items can also add bonuses; note the blue sparkles in the image above from the crown of persistence/shield of the hallows bonus.
Skill damage is the amount of damage that you get from using your skills (ex: stomp or slashes for bears, blast shot for birds, fire blast or lighting for mages, etc.). Skill damage is important because skills and not weapons, even in the post-GCD world are the main damage dealer. Naturally, you'll want the highest possible skill damage in any given situation.
What effects skill damage? There are four basic factors:
1. Distribution of skill points (int/dex/str): Different classes will have different amounts of skill damage from dex, int, and str. See the section below for more details.
2. Weapon choice: All weapons boost skill damage. Generally speaking, higher damage per hit has better skill damage (DPS is irrelevant). Generally, int and dex for weaponry, 1h weapons give 90-100% of their damage per hit to skill damage. For int and dex, 2h weaponry offer about 70% of their damage to skill dmg.
The relationship between skill dmg and str weapons remains a mystery. For 1h, swords appear to give more skill damage than axes. I believe at this point that the Gurgox Hammer of the Rift is the overall best choice, as it offers the highest damage per hit (and thus should offer the highest skill dmg). Needs verification - need a fortified bear to confirm. Lances are known to give a fairly low proportion of their weapons damage to skill damage.
3. Other equipment choices: Other equipment can also boost skill damage when they boost damage. All of the damage specified for shirts, shields, and hats go into skill damage. Buffs (rage and blessings of might) also offer an increase in skill damage during the time that they are active.
4. Rank of skill: Higher ranks will offer more skill damage. They can have other effects too, for example a higher rank on super mega slash will cause a stronger "knock" beffect.
From distribution of skill points
Different classes will reap different benefits from the amount of skills.
- For bears, dex adds the most skill damage. Str is number two. Compared to strength, dex has a lower minimum damage, but higher maximum damage. However, dex only adds about 1-2 more skill damage per 100 points of strength or dex. Bears are unique in that their core attribute doesn't add the most skill damage.
- For birds, dex adds the most skill dmg. Str also adds a bit of skill dmg, but not as much.
- Int adds the most for mages. Dex is number two. Compared to int, strength has a lower minimum damage, but higher maximum damage.
[This section will be expanded at a later date]
06-17-2011, 02:32 AM
Bears are the closest thing in PL to a tank. Tanking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_%28gaming%29) is a type of unit whose existence is mainly to absorb the bulk of the enemy fire for the team. The purpose is to allow other players to inflict damage while the tank soaks up the main brunt of the enemy attacks. The other important role of bears is crowd control, which refers to manipulating the mob so that they are both easier to destroy and less capable of inflicting damage on the team. As you might expect, their base attribute is strength and it offers the best survivability.
Bears are not heavy damage dealers. Their skills emphasize tanking and crowd control more so than anything else. Bear skills are the least mana intensive of all of the classes - in fact, you are probably fine with 8 mana per second (maybe less!)
Tanking and Crowd Control
What do people think about when they look at bears? Tanking would probably be the first answer. These skills are the pride and joy of any bear.
- Taunt: Taunting increases your aggro or "threat level". By taunting, you make yourself more attractive. Taunting also increases your also supplements your dodge, which can be very useful in helping you absorb the threat. A single point in taunt is gives the maximum effect, however I recommend putting more points in taunt as this will improve your dodge. It is important to remember that when taunting, taunt is not a "miracle spell". Often, birds and mages will retain aggro, even with multiple taunts. Under those circumstances, stomp can sometimes reset the aggro (just be careful where you stomp). It's generally a good idea to use taunt frequently. It costs no mana, improves your dodge, and helps keep enemies locked on you, which your squishier teammates will appreciate.
- Beckon: The most important spell in crowd control and possible the most important function of bears. Beckon brings the enemy target(s) towards you. Beckon "stuns" the targets affected. Beckon can miss (which is why its important to have a high hit %) and enemies can dodge it. It's a good idea to maximize beckon as soon as you get this skill. Beckon has a huge difference in its pulling ability between 4 and 5, and then 5 and 6. It's very important you learn how to beckon. An improper beckon can easily pull enemies away from mages (whose spells have a fixed radius around them). Another important thing is to work with other bears. You've got to time your beckons together or there could be total chaos. When in doubt, allow the other bear to lead and switch from tanking to DPS gear.
- Stomp: Stomp is both hated and loved. Hated because bears that misuse stomp can scatter mobs and bosses - sometimes causing them to reset. It is the only bear ability with AOE damage and combos with beckon to form the bear combo "smash". It can also combo with a frozen target (frozen by frostbite or ice storm) to form "shatter". Stomp is loved because it can do a reasonable amount of damage and if done properly (I will explain below), can smash targets into a wall or corner. You need 3 points for the maximum area, but I do recommend considering maxing it out.
Note: However tempting it is, I strongly recommend that you do NOT spam stomp. I know that bears sometimes get a bit of envy seeing mages with all the AOE and want something to cause havok. Spamming stomp is counterproductive. All it does is scatter things all over the place. Stomp should only be used to stomp things into walls or corners. The exception is in emergency situations. If you see a squishy player about to die, stomping and scattering all the melee units could save their life (it's the lesser evil in this case). Beckon might work better under that situation though.
The slashes are all melee and require that you close within 4m of the intended target (crippling needs 3m). They are a bear's main damage dealing weapons for individual targets.
- Vengeful: Vengeful slash is the first slash that you will learn as a bear. It has a distinct "knock back" effect on the target that increases progressively as you invest more points in vengeful. Each additional point will increase the average amount of damage by 7. It is open to debate whether or not bears should maximize this skill. On one hand, it recharges rapidly (4.5s), does a respectable amount of damage, and it doesn't cost a lot of mana, but on the other hand, the knockback effect becomes worse as you go on. Retain at least one point though, no matter what else.
- Crippling: Crippling slash doesn't do much damage. Instead, it is mainly valuable for it's rooting effect (it roots a target in place for 5 seconds). I would recommend against investing too many of your points in this skill. Like vengeful, each additional point will increase the damage by 7. However, more points does not increase the duration of the rooting.
- Super Mega: By far the most valuable of the slashes. Like vengeful, it "knocks" back and the knock becomes more severe as you put more points into this skill. Nonetheless, I recommend investing at least a few points, if not maxing this skill out. It has the highest damage and is the fastest recharging of all of the slashes (4 s). It also has a chance of stunning the target and rooting it in place.
Buffs make bears more potent during the duration that they are active. I recommend that you spend a lot of points in the buffs, if not maxing them out.
- Rage: This is your damage dealing buff. It increases crit by 5% and damage by 10 for each additional point. You should maximize this early on, as it will significantly increase your bear's damage output. In fact, this should probably be the first skill that you maximize - yes; it's that important.
- Evade: Evade adds 2 points to dodge per additional point spent. Since dodge is so important, as it causes you to completely avoid the proscribed percentage of incoming shots, you should maximize this fairly early on as well.
- Iron Blood: Iron blood adds armour (up to +30 at level 6) to your bear when buffed. Some people consider this skill to be less important than dodge. Armour is important in that it reduces your damage per hit by that amount, which can have a huge impact when you are receiving a lot of hits. I consider it important for any bear that wishes to tank. By level 50, if you are a tank bear, you should maximize this. Otherwise, consider adding at least a few points to this.
Bears have 2 distinct debuffs.
- Hell scream: This is an AOE debuff that reduces both damage and hit % by 5% for each additional point invested. It's a good idea to maximize this by 50 if you are planning on tanking. Even dex bears will find this skill invaluable as it can noticeably reduce the amount of damage that you and your team take. Hell scream also briefly "stuns" the target when casted. It can also combo to form "Terror" when used with weakness or shattering scream.
- Crushing blow: Crushing blow works very much like the slashes. It works on a single target and you have to be fairly close (3m) to use it. However, instead of doing damage, it debuffs - it reduces the target's damage and dodge. It's particularly valuable against bosses and is also useful in PvP. Put at least a couple of points in this skill.
Bears only have one real "support" spell.
- Heal: This skill isn't really useful in PvE, where health potions are readily available. If you aren't planning on PvPing, don't bother putting any points in this. If you do PvP though, this skill can be useful to supplement your health regen. Keep in mind that health regen can be debuffed by skills such as thorn root. How many points though a bear should invest in heal for PvP is open to debate.
- Pure Strength (100% str): Pure strength bears are still fairly common. They are the "tankiest" off all the bears (highest dodge, health regen, hp, and armor). However, they suffer from very low hit % and absent of equipment that boosts hit %, beckon often misses. They do very little damage from their weaponry.
- Hybrid strength (70% str, 30% dex): Hybrid strength bears are arguably the best bears for pure tanking. Their hit % is high enough that beckon shouldn't miss and they are only slightly less survivable than their pure strength counterparts. They can also wear strength gear without the need to dual spec.
- Dual spec (50% str, 50% dex): Dual spec bears are flexible and it's this flexibility which makes them the most common class of bear today. They can wear both end game strength and dex equipment (albeit with a booster set). Depending on the level and the composition of the party, they can switch to what the party needs - a tank or a damage dealer. I recommend that by the time you reach 50, most bears should probably go dual spec. Just remember not to sell those level 45 pinks that you have. You'll need them as booster sets.
- Dex bears (>50% dex, <50% str): Common configurations include either hybrid dex (70% dex, 30% str) and pure dex (100% dex). These bears sacrifice survivability for more weapons damage. IMO, it's not worth it as the damage gains are modest at best and the loss in survivability means that if you plan on tanking, you'll be chugging health pots. Equipment decides survivability and damage more than points ever could. This type of configuration isn't that common.
Note: Unique about bears is that dex gives about as much skill damage as str.
- Int bear (>50% Int, <50% str): probably the least common type of bear. Int bears use int weaponry. The preferred weapons are the Keeper's Staff of the Cosmos (50), Enchanted Gem Blast Staff (55), Glyph Staffs (all versions for 60) for the AOE damage and high skill damage that mage weaponry offer. Int bears sacrifice survivability, but they don't gain as much weapons damage as dex. The main advantage is that they can regenerate their own mana. It's a fun build to play, but impractical at times. Needless to say, it's not the most popular build. Don't use it in PvP - it won't do very well.
Dex/Int (>30% Int, >30% Dex) is a variation of this that trades survivability for additional damage output.
As a bear, you'll be the first one in the fight. You're in front. You'll get the worst of the enemy fire. It's a matter of keeping yourself and the party alive. Mages rev the dead. Tanks prevent people from dying to begin with.
What makes a bear is the potent crowd control abilities. You're not going to be the one that gets the most kills. Instead, your job is to go in and create the conditions in which the team can wipe out their intended targets quickly, while sustaining minimal damage.
At times, I feel that bears are under-appreciated and are treated unfairly. Experienced players will know the value of a good bear that uses crowd control and can tank effectively. On the other hand, there are some truly terrible bears out there that if you booted them, the team would actually go faster because of their tendency to scatter mobs.
Bears have become the least welcome class in the end game and there is something of a "noob" bear perception. The reason why is because the majority of bears do not tank nor use their crowd control abilities effectively. Many bears focus purely on being an attack bear. Many bears have told me that their job in the team is to spam their slashes and to fire their main weapon. In practice, bears won't be able to do as much damage as a dex bird nor an int mage with this mentality. This has contributed to their bad rep. Essentially, they are a warbird with bear skills. Warbirds will outdamage them.
The other reason why bears have a bad reputation is that there is the perception that bear players tend to "mess up" the most. The very worse thing a bird could do would be to kill a teammate by blowing a barrel up (or a fire vent) with the blast shot or to repulse a boss near death, causing them to reset. Mages can set off fire vent or barrel too (fire blast is notorious for this). But bears when they don't use beckon and stomp can routinely cause mobs to scatter. They can also taunt fire vents or stomp near them causing an explosion. Stomp, like repulse for birds can also cause a boss to reset.
As a bear, you'll have to work hard to diminish this rather unfair perception. Unfortunately, fair or not, the perception is there. Crowd control and tanking are what separate good from bad bears.
So how does a bear tank? Before you begin, bring enough health potions to last the run. Tanking can be pot intensive, especially if you are a dex bear. The objective of tanking and crowd controlling is to drive a mob into a position where they can easily be killed by AOE spells, while keeping the mob off the rest of the party.
1. Survey the area: You'll ideally want your targets to be against a wall when you tank, so find a wall (easy to do in most dungeons - large rooms like in the Bandit Boy Stronghold first room can be a bit of a challenge - drive them to "9 clock position" in that room - away from fire vents and away from the spawning point in the event that the round-up fails). Against large open areas like the Graveyard in Symphony, try hugging the walls and driving targets towards the walls.
2. Buff. Cast evade, iron blood, and rage. You'll need the first two for survivability and the last one to supplement the team's damage.
3. Approach the mob and cast taunt. The targets will have a red "glow" and will be drawn towards you. You can cast Hell Scream now to minimize the amount of damage you take. Alternatively, you could delay Hell Scream a bit until either a mage debuffs or a bird casts shattering scream to form the "terror". Up to you - experiment and see what works. In PUGs though, I recommend casting Hell Scream early as there is no assurance that your teammates will debuff.
4. Go against the wall and beckon. Remember, the objective is to drive the targets against the wall and keep them there. I know that this sounds bizarre, but when you beckon - don't select a target to auto. Beckon (strangely) works better when you do not auto a target.
5. Move away from the wall and opposite to the direction that you beckoned. In a hallway, stand in the middle of the hallway. In a room, stand about 3m away from the wall. If you didn't cast Hell Scream earlier, do it now. The stun effect of the beckon has probably worn off and if your team hasn't debuffed, they won't. (Chances are, you're in a PUG that has players who do not understand the concept of debuffing.) Ask them politely to debuff next time. If they don't, next time, cast Hell Scream as directed in step 3.
6. Cast stomp. This will combo to form "smash" and slam the mob against the wall. This is why having a wall is so critical. Otherwise, the mobs would just scatter when you stomped them, making all that you've done pointless. Putting them against a wall makes it easier to kill.
7. Assist your team in killing. By now, archers should have casted blast shot/cruel blast, mages should be nuking, and so on. You can assist your team in killing. Priority targets are enemy dex units (aliens with blasters and bandit boy birds, along with the green slime mages with fire weapons). They should be taken out with your slashes and crushing blow.
8. As soon as you see the majority of the enemies near death and you're reasonably certain that the team can kill without the need for a tank, move on. It's important that you stay ahead of your group. Nobody wants a bear that stays in the rear and is afraid to die. You won't be getting very many kills if you do that anyways - the birds will get the kills with their cruel blast and mages with their AOE. Repeat cycle for the next mob.
You'll want to always stay one step ahead of the group. Don't expect to get many kills as a bear, but at the same time, you can expect the least amount of deaths. Good bears often have much higher PvE K/D ratios compared to their squishier counterparts. Your job is not to kill, but to tank; a good party will understand that.
For the first time you do this, you'll want to wear the most tanky set that you can afford. Why? It allows the most room for error. As time goes on, you will build in your ability to pull a mob and confidence. You can transition then into more damage-oriented equipment or even wing and talon (if you are dual spec). Eventually, assuming that you are dual spec, you'll be confident enough to use a bow or in the case of strength bears, you'll be confident enough to respec and accept some losses in durability. The reason you want to do this is to improve the team's damage, making runs faster. It also gives you some kills too (it can be quite difficult getting kills as a strength bear - you'll find the wing and talon to be a huge step up in damage output).
Regardless of whether you are dual spec or strength, you're going to be expected to tank. So be prepared for the possibility of tanking. If you are dual spec, make sure that you are carrying both dex and str gear at all times. You don't need end game pinks - ordinary drops will do nicely.
What to do if the mages and birds don't kill?
Hopefully you never have to deal with this type of situation. There are players out there that let everyone else do the work.
There are two types. The ones that just "auto" and the ones that simply hang back, doing nothing.
Dealing with the ones that hang back and do nothing is simple. Just walk towards your social loafers team mates (since you have aggro) and the mob will follow you. Suddenly they will find themselves fighting for their lives. Be advised, this could lead to a group wipe. I was once in a group wipe while playing with my bird in the Stronghold where I found myself supporting a bear, while the other 3 players, a second bear, a pally, and an int mage were unwilling to do anything. I had the misfortune of getting caught in a fire vent explosion as me and the bear were heading towards are team member (the other bear, upon seeing us, decided to run up and try to stomp beside the fire vent, which failed to scatter the mob, but managed to kill me and the first bear). However, around 10 enemy units concentrated fire. This led to a group wipe. Me and the other bear were promptly booted. It's no big loss. You did your job - it's not your fault.
The ones that auto only though are a problem. Tell them to use their spells. Many mages are afraid to AOE. Debuffing, casting AOE, and even healing increase their threat level, increasing the changes that they get aggro. With birds, the most common reason appears to be an unwillingness to burn pots. If they don't listen, finish the run and don't do any more runs with this group.
Against bosses, these are the goals:
1. Acquire Aggro: The ideal boss fight goes with the bear starting with aggro and holding it for the entire duration without any deaths in the party. In order to do this, the best way is for the bear to go in first, taunt, beckon, and stomp the boss into a wall or corner where available. Otherwise, spam slashes and crushing blow.
2. Hold Aggro: This is a challenge because bears do not do as much damage as other classes. If a bear did not get aggro at the start, they need to gain aggro. The best way to do this is to try to use the smash combo and to taunt the boss repeatedly. This may not succeed the first time, but a sustained barrage usually does the job.
3. Protect the rest of the team: Wherever the bear does faces the boss, they need to protect the rest of the team. At the end game, often squishier builds can be killed in one hit. The key as a bear to do this is to be able to know when your teammates are in trouble and to use a well aimed beckon (or stomp) to pull the boss towards you or push the boss away from the vulnerable target when they get aggro. Good aim is crucial as you do not want to reset the boss. Generally your comrade is in trouble if they have low hp and are being targeted by the boss. In such a situation, attempt to beckon the boss, and taunt. You can also stomp, but be very careful about where you stomp - you do not want to stomp the boss and cause it to reset.
Generally, for the bulk of the fight though, you want the boss pinned against the wall (or ideally a corner) and targeting you for the entire fight. Depending on the difficulty of the boss and the skill of the mage(s) in the party, you may or may not need to use health potions. Specific mechanics of certain bosses will require movement, but you want to hold aggro for the duration of the fight.
As a strength bear, you will want to stand your ground in your strength gear when facing the boss. In dex gear when facing the boss, you can kite, but try to keep aggro on you nonetheless unless in the presence of a warbird or pally or a bear in strength gear. Bear in mind that this is intensive in terms of health potion usage, so you'll want to stock up and not rely on the mage. It is even more intensive than when facing crowds. Int bear plays very similar to dex bear, only that gathering mobs is more critical as your relying heavily on your AOE from staff and the skill damage from your stomp.
Working with bears
Working with good bears can make runs a pleasure. They can significantly decrease the mortality dangers and increase the speed of the run. How you interact with bears is crucial to how well the party will function.
If you are another bear, in most cases, it's best to allow the other bear to take the lead. Bring out your 2h weapon or dex gear. Allow the other bear to beckon, stomp, and control the mobs, while ensuring that you do not scatter them. If they are a good bear, you'll want to stomp as they stomp in the same direction (ex: if the other bear beckons into a wall and stomps, you should to - just don't beckon). The reason why players often boot at the sight of a second bear is because multiple bears are quite notorious for scattering mobs. In the presence of a scatter bear, you'll want to ask them to stop, take their place (if you feel patient, teach them how to tank properly), otherwise, go on and tank properly. If they do not listen, consider leaving or booting (or asking the host to).
As a bird, it's best to let the bear stay in front in most cases. Be careful with your roots as they can scatter the beckon. Generally, as soon as they beckon and stomp into a wall, cast thorn wall and cruel blast, then the rest of your arrows. You'll want thorn to "prime" for nature strike from mages and the cruel blast because the mobs are so tightly packed together. Finish them off, while the bear advances ahead of you.
As a mage, you'll want to also allow the bear to go ahead in most cases. When the bear successfully gets targets into the wall, cast hot flash (ice storm + fire blast), then wait for a bird's thorn wall (if possible) and cast lightning. If both shots crit, most of the mob will be dead or near dead. If not, assist the bird in wiping out the mobs quickly. Also, be watchful of the team's health and be ready to heal the bear.
In either case of bird or mage, you don't want to the bear to be behind, but also not too far in front.
06-17-2011, 02:33 AM
Birds are the DPS units. They excel against bosses and have the highest damage to a single target of any class in the game. Compared to bears, birds are much squishier, but do more damage. The base attribute, dex offers the highest weapons damage of all of the 3 attributes.
Bird abilities emphasize maximum damage to a single target. Many of the bird spells have both an effect and do damage. Bird spells tend to be much more costly than bear spells in mana and are the slowest recharging in general. As a bird player, you'll want to keep a supply of mana pots around.
This is your main attack - it will be used against both mobs and bosses alike for damage.
- Blast Shot: This spell is your main attack. It does a lot of damage and up to a 6m AOE blast radius when maxed out. Remember to get Shattering Scream ASAP for the combo "Cruel Blast". This spell is also useful in both PvE and PvP in that it can break shields. Mage mana shields, and shields such as the one on the Galactic Overlord can broken with a blast shot. The only shield that cannot be is the Keeper from AO3. All birds should maximize this spell.
- Shattering Scream: This spell is a debuff spell. As soon as it becomes available, put a point into it. It debuffs enemy armor and damage output. Always remember before you cast blast shot to cast this spell first. It can also combo to form "Terror" when used right before Hell Scream. Put at least one point into this. You should consider putting some more points as the skill is a respectably potent debuff.
Birds can "root" their targets and hold them in place. This is useful not only because it allows you to hit them from afar with ranged weapons (also because it reduces the target's dodge), but because it can also combo with mages to form the potent "nature strike". Just bear in mind that bosses are resistant to the being "rooted" in place. Heal can break a rooted target free.
- Thorn Root: Thorn root works on individual targets. It does significant damage on one target over time, debuffs their dodge (up to -5% dodge per point) and debuffs health regen (up to -26H/S). This is valuable in PvP against bears, warbirds, and to a lesser extent, pallies. In PvE, it's not as valuable, but can still be useful against bosses. Put at least a few points in this.
- Thorn Wall: The most mana intensive of the bird spells, its an AOE version of thorn root. It also does a bit of damage over time and also debuffs dodge (up to -20% dodge). You'll want at least one point, if not more. You need 4 points for the maximum area. This spell should be used as fast at it recharges with mages to combo for nature strike
Other single target spells
As mentioned earlier, birds emphasize maximum single target damage. Each of these spells also comes with their own respective effects. Each of these spells is especially useful against bosses.
- Break Armor: This is the armour debuff, and is the most valuable weapon against bosses? Why? Unlike other debuffs, this debuff stacks. Up to -26 armor and it's also the fastest recharging of the bird spells (5s). This will vastly increase the speed that it takes to kill bosses. All birds should max this one out.
- Blinding Shot: This has a 5 second hit debuff (-5% hit per point invested) towards the target and does a moderate amount of damage. You'll see "stars" over the target when you hit them with this. It's also useful in PvP. Pallies and strength bears are really vulnerable to being debuffed by this as they already have hit issues. Put a few points into this.
- Repulse: Repulse "pushes" the target back. It also does a moderate amount of damage. Use this for bosses and mini-bosses that are melee. Be careful when pushing though, as you don't want to push the boss so that they will end up resetting. Put a few points into this spell. You should also use this spell to help you kite. It can also push away enemies in PvP.
Buffs increase the survivability and damage of your bird. You should spend the majority of your time in battle buffed.
- Focus: If only bears and birds could switch damage buffs. Strength bears need the hit % while birds could find more use for the higher damage that the higher hit %. Focus increases your hit and crit by 5% per point. Hit % isn't as useful as dex birds are already well above the hit cap, but it can be useful for warbirds. The true value of this though, is the +30% crit, which is an effective 30% increase in damage. You'll want this maxed out by level 45.
- Evasion: It works the same way as it does on bears. It increases your dodge (up to +30% at level 6) and armor (+7 at level 6). Max it out and cast with focus before engaging a mob or a boss.
Bird support spells are generally not the best, but in certain situations, especially in PvP, they can be life or death.
- Restore: This does exactly that. It restores some of your health. Unfortunately, it doesn't restore much. At level 6, you get 85 to 108 hp restored over a period of 5 seconds (mostly at the start). If you don't PvP, skip. In PvP though, this can be life or death, so consider putting a few points. Its open to debate though, how many points you should have.
- Meditation: This skill recharges your mana over a period of 3 seconds. Up to 96 at level 6. Unfortunately, it has a very slow recharge (45.5 s). Useless in PvE where mana pots are present. Consider using in PvP though. In long fights with enemies like strength bears, what often kills the bird is running out of mana.
- Avian Scream: Damages enemies within 3m of you and stuns them for 3s. It's only useful when you are in danger of being surrounded and overwhelmed by enemy melee units. More than 1 points doesn't increase the damage dramatically though. I put this in support as it certainly won't be your main attack. This spell is not very useful outside of that though. It isn't used very often in PvP either - too low damage and range.
Avian scream does break you free from being frozen or rooted in PvP. There appears to be a dispute, but perhaps as many as 5 points may be needed to break. So, if you are willing to sacrifice so damage output, it is worth considering. Since the level cap, with 60 points, it is now potentially viable.
- Pure dex bird (100% dex): Probably the most common type of bird you'll see are dex birds (>90% dex). They have the highest damage output to a single target of any build in the game. They are however squishy, and can die easily if not played correctly. Expect to carry quite a few health and mana pots with this build.
Tip: If you want 1 M/S of mana, put 11 points into int and the rest into dex. Based off calculations from Physiologic, this should give you 1 M/S. That isn't nearly enough though, to make a big difference.
- Warbird (50% dex, 50% str): Warbirds are mainly for PvP where they can be quite effective. They can dual spec both strength an dex weaponry. However, if you don't PvP, you may want to consider staying with dex bird, which has the higher damage output. Survivability though is superior on the warbird. You'll need booster sets to wear end game equipment of your level.
- Strength bird (<30% dex, >70% str): Not a very popular build. They can never replace bears as tanks, because they lack the crowd control abilities. They also have hit issues and even less damage than a warbird. Generally I don't recommend this build.
- Int bird (>50% int, <50% dex): Also not popular. Int birds suffer from their inferior damage output. They do have a bit of mana but it's not worth it for what you lose. Int weapons are also less effective on a bird. They are notorious though for being kill thieves in PvE (a reputation well earned IMO). I don't recommend you play as int bird. Don't take them out into PvP either, unless you want a beating. Dex/int dual spec appears to be the most common build.
Playing as bird
Playing as bird tends to be very direct. You are a DPS unit. Your job is to inflict as much damage as possible. The fight against the boss is particular is when you are the most valuable. In fact, some people would go as far as to say the mages are escorts for birds, nuking mobs out of the way so that the bird can get at the boss, while bears hold the aggro.
How you play will depend on the composition of your team. The key question to ask - is there a tanking bear in the team? If the answer is yes, then they are going to be the first one to enter the action. You'll be behind them. As soon as they beckon and stomp the mob against the wall, make sure that you slam the entire crowd with your cruel blast. If there's a mage, then thorn wall first, then cruel blast to enable nature strike. Who should I target? In mobs, always target enemy ranged units. Bandit birds, aliens with blasters, slime mages with the fire balls, and archers in the shadow caves are priority targets. Next up are the healers and finally the melee units, which you can kite around (in any event, the bear should've slammed them against the wall).
One important issue is that you shouldn't be afraid to use a lot of potions. You're an afterburner, remember? If the mage has reduced your pot usage by 50% through healing, they've done their job. If the majority of the aggro was held by the bear and they managed to clump all of the targets together - they've done their job. You will need to do yours. This will inevitably involve picking up lots of aggro and burning both types of pots.
More to be added at a later date
Edit: This is before the level cap rise
A bird is like an afterburner for a jet. You're high performance skills do quite a bit of damage, but you'll burn up on your fuel (mana) pretty quickly. The exception may be if you wear gear like Sewer King, but that comes at the expense of your core competency, damage. The nature of your job also means that you will be using quite a few health pots (even warbirds are advised to stock up). So before you begin, make sure that you have enough pots that you can confidently last through your playing cycle. You can farm lower levels for potions and cash if necessary - by the way, use high mana regen gear when doing so as you won't notice the damage difference.
Ever since the level cap rise, Mimicry and Obedience sets have offered a reasonably high mana regen, which has been a boon to both birds and mages. With the exception of Symphony where there is a mana and health depleting debuff, it is now possible for a bird to go without using mana potions with a 1-2 points in meditation.
As a dex bird, you are largely a damage dealer. It's a very direct job; you don't have many spells that support the team.
Against mobs, generally, you should allow strength based builds to take the lead. Absent of strength based builds, and if there are only int or dex mages, you must take the lead, as the mages can revive you if you die. Generally, you should spam attacks as they appear. Save the thorn wall and cruel blast though for large concentrated mobs to hit the most number of targets and allow for nature strikes. By the way, one of the first things you should do against large concentrations of mobs is to thorn wall to allow for a nature strike. Mobs can be quite intensive in potion consumption, so stock up before an end game dungeon.
Against bosses, you'll want to first hit with break armor (as it amplifies), then the rest of your attacks. Again, absent of a bear, you need to tank and ensure the mages don't get aggro. This should not be difficult under most situations as you have the highest single target damage of the classes. You are more durable (higher base hp) and your evade is better than the blessings of vitality buff on mages. Furthermore, you have the all important repulse (although some bosses can resist it). Often, you will find yourself holding aggro even with a bear because you offer the highest single target damage. Do not be surprised and continue to spam skills. Kite (ideally with a crossbow or long range blaster) and constantly use your arrows as they appear. If another team member gets aggro and they are likely to die, you can use repulse to save them. Try not though to reset the boss so aim carefully.
To begin with, if you mainly PvE, I recommend that you respec to dex bird. It may be harder to stay alive, but it helps more in the long run.
As a warbird, most of my advice is very similar to that of a dex bird. The only difference is that against mobs, you need to be more aggressive than dex bird. Either you or a bear needs to lead and to hold aggro against mobs for as long as possible. You are largely a support unit, unable to do lots of damage, but able to take quite a bit of damage.
Against bosses, the challenge here is that you want to get aggro. This is more difficult than with dex bird as you don't do as much damage. Spam everything and try aggressively to hold the aggro away from high damaging mages.
The reason why I so strongly recommend against warbird for pure PvE is because it takes away from your core competency - single target damage dealing. Warbirds lack the crowd control that bears have, the support spells that mages have, and have inferior damage output to a dex bird, for gains in survivability. While this may have advantages in PvP, for pure PvE, it is a crutch. You'll find your runs go noticeable slower with warbird than dex birds. The game is not at such a difficulty level where dex birds have difficulties constantly keeping themselves alive anyways, so all the more reason to choose pure dex for PvE.
Working with birds
The nature of birds is very direct, so my advice with working with birds will also be very direct.
As a bear, there's very little advice for working with birds. You need to be in front and tanking. You need to make sure that you are in front to tank constantly and ahead of the rest of the team, although not too far. Leave the mobs that you beckon and stomped to walls behind. The birds will help the mages kill them off. Against bosses, you'll want to try to keep the aggro off birds where possible because they are squishier and do more damage than you do.
As another bird, it's very direct what you need to do with another bird. Both of you need to kill mobs as quickly as your skills will allow and spam every move against bosses. Nothing too advanced here.
With mages, if there are no bears, then you need to tank for the mages and to try to keep the aggro off the mages at all times. They can revive you if you die. Make sure that the birds often use thorn wall and root to set-up for the very powerful nature strike when you encounter mobs, especially where they are densely packed or beckon together with a bear. Also, often mages will leave stragglers behind with their AOE. Finish them off fast. Against bosses, you'll want to spam your skills in order to keep your mages alive.
06-17-2011, 02:33 AM
Mages are the closest thing that PL has to a support unit. Int and dex mages are the most fragile builds in the game. They are known for their healing, reviving, and potent nuking abilities. It's far more common for mage weaponry to have procs than it is for weapons of other classes.
Mages spells are generally the most mana intensive in the game. Of all the 3 classes, mages also rely on their spells for the highest proportion of their damage (versus birds who are more heavily reliant on their main weapon). Keep in mind that many mage spells have a delay, such as drain life and lightning, rather than bird spells which are cast right away.
These are the main spells that mages use for their crowd killing. It's what mages are known for when on the offensive. They are the main damage dealers of any mage against mobs.
- Lightning: Your main damage dealer. With a 3 second recharge, this spell is tied with heal as the fastest recharging in game. It hits everything in an 8m radius with lighting. It also debuffs enemy armor by a slight amount. There is a delay from when you first cast to when the lightning appears. Also, whenever you see a group of targets that have been rooted with thorn wall, get close and cast lightning right away. Nature strike I believe is currently the most potent combo in game (over 1,600 damage is possible against armor debuffed targets and this is without orbs/elixirs). Max this skill out.
- Ice Storm: This spell is useful in two ways. You can use it either to combo or to freeze an area and retreat. To combo, it comboes with stomp to form shatter or (a far better use of this spell), fire blast to form hot flash (which does more damage than stomp). The other usage of this is to cast targets on a mob when surrounded and retreat. Bear in mind that bosses resist being frozen as do the slime creatures in the Catacombs and Roach Motel in the Balefort Sewers, making these hot flash impossible.
- Fire Blast: Your other primary damage dealer. It is almost instant. It blasts everything in a 12m radius and as mentioned, comboes with Ice Storm. Max this one out.
Single Target Spells
While they don't have the array of spells that birds have for single target, mage spells are still respectable.
- Frostbite: This spell does have a slow travel time, but it does a moderate amount of damage. It's main value though is to freeze targets in place. Upon freezing, targets can be attacked from afar. Hitting the target with fire blast comboes for hot flash, just as ice storm would once frozen. If you hit a frozen target with a fire weapon, you'll get an effect called "ice melt", which does extra damage. The Keeper's Staff of the Cosmos has a similar (but more potent) effect called "face melt". Put at least one point in this. It's not a priority to max out though, as ice spells don't add that much damage per additional point.
- Drain Life: It's got 2 weaknesses. The first, is it's punishingly slow recharge time (12 s). The other is that it has a slightly delay from when you first cast it to when the drain life takes place. Otherwise, it is the most potent single damage spell in all PL. With a pure int mage and a staff, it can do over 1,000 damage to a debuffed target when it crits. It takes the enemy's health and adds it to your own. Note that if you are at full health, no hp is added, but full damage is still done. Spend at least a few points in this and by level 50, it should be maxed out.
Mages have 2 blessings as their buffs and both are quite potent. They also buff the team. In fact, many players will ask you to "bless them" before they go into battle.
- Blessings of Might: This is the single best offensive buff in the game. It adds 5 str and 1 armor for 2 minutes to the team - more than enough, although your team mates will lose it if they die, or get caught in an exploding barrel. You get +5 dmg, +10 crit per additional point. Max this out for sure.
- Blessings of Vitality: Adds to 2 h/s and 25 hp to everyone in the party. For you personally, it adds up to +40 armor at 6 points. Unfortunately, its duration is short (only 12s out of a 30s recharge). Nonetheless, it will significantly add to your survivability. Put at least a couple of points in it, especially if you are playing as int or dex mage. By the time you reach the level cap, you'd best have this maxed out.
Mages are also useful in their ability to debuff. They can significantly reduce the effectiveness of enemy forces against the team. One drawback is that like most debuffs, they don't stack.
- Weakness: Reduces damage and hit by 5 for each point. This is obviously very potent at maximum -30% hit is a huge amount to consider. It has an 8m area, so be sure to use it when you are surrounded. Spend a few points in this and consider maxing it out by the end game. It can also combo with Hell Scream to form Terror.
- Nightmare: Reduces enemy dodge by 2 and armour by 5 for each point. This spell has a 6m radius and can quickly decrease the survivability of enemies. Use right before you nuke. Spend a few points in this. It should take precedence over weakness when deciding what to max out and by the 50s, you should have this at 6.
Mages are the closest thing in Pocket Legends to a support unit.
- Mana Shield: This keeps you alive ... at the expense of your mana. Bring along a few mana pots whenever playing as mage. The armor buff isn't worth putting more points in. Only spend 1 point in this. You can alternate between blessings of vitality and mana shield for protection, giving you only a brief window of vulnerability. Be advised that bandit birds in PvE and blast shot in PvP can break this.
- Heal: People are always complaining that mages don't heal. In some cases, their claims are justified. In other cases though ... it's because they're too lazy to get pots. The more int you have, the better your heal. This makes pure ints the best support units in the game. Heal can't be buffed and doesn't "crit". All mages should max this out. Be sure to spam heal regularly in teams. Remember to use it when your mana shield is up. You've got a shield. Birds and bears don't. Remember that. Heal is tied with lightning as the fastest recharging spell in the game - 3 seconds. It may not feel like it, but 3s can feel like a long time in the heat of battle.
- Revive: It brings dead people back to life. There's also a small bonus (+1 M/S and +1 DPS from +1 to both min and max damage). Put one point into this, but no more.
One of the more fascinating things about mages is that there are viable builds, whether you choose int, dex, or strength. With birds and bears, int is not a very common attribute. By contrast, int mages can be quite formidable.
They generally have high K/D ratios (>200:1 is not uncommon for pallys) and to many people, are the ideal balance between firepower and durability. On the downside though, pure int mages will always have the advantage in firepower and they can never replace a tank (no taunt or crowd control).
- Paladin/"Pally" (50% Int/50% Str): They often are see wearing the rift or hate sets and later the fury fighter's gemstone sword set. Pallies are dual spec units that are flexible. They are also among the most popular mage builds. Good survivability and reasonable damage (hampered by low hit % and lower base damage). Absent of a bear, they can also tank. This flexibility makes them one of the most popular, if not the most popular of the mage builds. You'll need booster sets to wear end game equipment of your level.
- Hybrid Int (70% Int, 30% Str): Superior damage and inferior survivability compared to a pally. They lose their ability to dual spec and use purely int weaponry. It's often popular for people who are transitioning to pure int or who come from pure int after having difficulties surviving.
- Strength mages (<30% Int, >70% Str): Also known as a "tank mage". To begin with, I highly recommend against this build. The loss in firepower is significant and compared to dual spec, the gains in durability are at best, modest. Strength mages suffer from both low base damage and low hit %. Despite the name "tank mage", getting aggro is hard. With a low damage output, you don't register as a threat to the AI. It's also hard to get them to aggro you without an equal ability to taunt. In the word's of an esteemed oldie by the name of Royce, the pure strength mage is one of the worst builds in the game. No offence intended to any successful strength mages intended.
- Dex/Str mage (>30% Dex, >30% Str): It is a specialized build that comes from the PvP world. They have higher hit, but lower base damage and without the int, the heal is weak. Mana regen is also somewhat negatively affected. It's great though for PvP as the higher hit % is very important as mage where debuffs are common. Dex/str is probably better for PvP, while Dex/int is arguably a better choice for PvE where debuffs are not as common. Where a tank already is present, they can revert to dex gear.
These builds emphasize damage output to a single target. They are very dependent on their buffs. The playstyle is like a hybrid between bird and mage.
- Dual-Spec Dex mage (50% Int, 50% dex): A popular build, especially for PvPers, this like the pally emphasizes flexibility. It much more squishy that the pally. Compared to pure ints, they've got higher crit, lower base spell damage, higher weapons damage, and longer range weapons. They can have mana regen issues (Sewer King is sometimes used for PvE). Dex mages are also very squishy.
- Dex Mage (<30% dex, >70% dex): They are even more dependent on their buffs then dual spec dex mages. They are like birds - stronger 1v1 damage, but weaker AOE damage. Also very squishy.
Int mages are squishy and are the best nuking units in the game. Like dex mages, very reliant on buffs. Keeping yourself alive can be tough. Newer players are advised to start off as pally in A03, spec to hybrid int, and then to an int build with no points in strength. Expect to be in for a shock from the respec from pally due to the loss in survivability.
- Hybrid dex (70% int, 30% dex): They play almost exactly like int mages. Slightly higher main weapons damage and crit, slightly lower spell damage. As one would expect, squishy.
- Pure int (100% int): Highest spell damage of any unit in the game. They are the best support units due to their high heal and base damage in the game though.
Playing as mage
The differences in mages mean that play style is almost like switching to a new class. However, there are many similarities. The abilities don't change. There are 3 basic things about being a mage:
1. Keeping yourself alive. This is especially important if you are the only mage in your party ... nobody can revive you. Unless you like lonely walks or spending plat, this is important. If you are an int or dex mage, you are fragile.
2. Supporting the party. Every few seconds, make it a habit to look on the left side at the health bars of your teammates. Cast heal when appropriate. Also, keep the minimap active and fully zoomed out. If you see a dead comrade on the left and there's an arrow that isn't moving on the minimap - there you are. Revive.
3. Possibly the most important, inflicting damage on the enemy with your spells. To do this, you have to be in a good position to hit multiple targets with your AOE. You're most useful to the team when your life is in danger. Ideally there's a good tank. Not all parties will have a good bear though and often, it's you're job to nuke ... yet keep yourself alive while doing so.
Being a mage is about being a good multitasker. By contrast, birds tend to be very direct - focus on damage dealing, as is bear, which is a focus on tanking and holding aggro. As mage on the other hand, you've got your AOE, and your party.
Pally or paladin is a front line support unit. They excel at rounding up large mobs for the rest of the team to kill. They can also be the reviver of last resort as they often tend to survive the most.
Usually as a pally, you'll want to be in front of the rest of the team, except where there is a strength bear present. You need to do round ups of around 5-10 enemies (3-5 in Nuri where difficulty levels are higher), get them together, and help the rest of the mob kill. Like bear, you want to be able to stay in front where possible and be one step ahead of the team. If you see dead comrades, you as a pally should break off (and not an int or dex mage) to revive the teammate. This is because you are more durable and thus more capable of getting into range.
Absent of a bear or warbird, you should try to gain aggro against bosses too. This is a challenge. You have not equal to taunt and your damage output is less than that of your squishier counterparts. Try holding off skills and firing them in rapid succession for maximum burst damage. It likely won't work on the first try, but eventually, you should be able to seize aggro. Stand your ground and stay in melee range where possible (certain situations, such as Gurgox growling Snake Charmer blast, or Goblin totem may force you to break off, ). Use your blessings of vitality and mana shield, alternating to protect yourself. Expect your heal and shield to be less than adequate. Bring plenty of both types of potions.
Dex mage is a build that is largely for PvP, strong against dex birds, pallies, and if they kite well, strength bears.
As a dex mage, you are reliant on your buffs. When you buff blessings of might, your damage output is very powerful as your crit is nearly 100%, if not over it. Your auto weapon is the strongest in the game at that point. Your skills, while base damage is lower than int mage, has higher crit save for heal.
Given how squishy dex mages are, I recommend that they stay back and allow others (bears, birds, pallies) to lead. Use your powerful crossbow to support and AOE to finish the targets. Do not play too aggressively as it is easy to get yourself killed. I do not recommend daggers because you have to close to close range, where your low hp is a significant liability.
Against bosses, do not be surprised if you get aggro. Do not panic either. The key is to stay calm and carefully kite with your bow. If you are in the presence of a good team, the birds and bears are working hard to steal aggro from the boss. If not, continue to kite in a circle until the boss is dead.
Up until level 50, a dex/int hybrid is actually a better choice for raw nuking. The reason is because int mages have less than 100% hit. At level 50, the introduction of the Cosmos and Shadow sets though swing things firmly in favour of int mages over dex for PvE.
As an int mage, you'll want to stay back. You are squishy. But your greatest asset is your AOE, which has the highest base damage of any skills. It takes some aggression to use it effectively - a paradox. You need to be able to get into a good position and nuke. I recommend always looking for positions where your AOE can hit the maximum number of targets if possible, but only after the team has picked aggro. You may however, lead the party with wand and bracer or staff when your buffs (and mana shield) are up. Balancing the aggression and the need to keep yourself alive is what makes the int mage such a difficult class to play well.
You are the main damage dealer against mobs. When the bear gets them into position, nuke at once. Always be on the look out for thorn walls, as they may offer the chance to unleash the formidable nature strike. Also remember to heal regularly - int mages have the best heal in the game and at the end game, trust me, the team will need it often.
Against bosses, like dex mage, given the high base damage, do not be surprised if you get aggro. Likewise, using your staff or wand, stay back and kite until the boss is dead or acquires a new target. In a good team though, you're role is mainly support against boss fights. The dex birds unload the most damage, while the bears get aggro. Nonetheless, spam spells where appropriate and try to wear down the boss.
Working with mages
Working with pallies means allowing the pally to take the lead or if you are a strength bear, alongside you. Allow the pally if you are in a party without a bear to round up. Then kill them off for the pally. Allow the pally to remain in front of the team to continue to round up mobs. Pallies are however of limited use against bosses except as a revive provider of last resort since their damage output is limited.
With int and dex mages, the key is that they are heavy damage dealers. You need to keep the aggro off of them and set up the conditions, such that they can unload their full damage. This will ensure the quickest runs with the least deaths. Your job is the keep aggro off of them. Allow the int and dex mages to stay in the back and nuke away where possible.
For bosses in particular, keeping the aggro off int and dex mages is vital. If aggro does get on them, all other classes should try to get aggro off the int or dex mages, particularly if they have a staff or bow (or auto). The challenge here is that int and dex mages do a lot of damage when buffed to a single target, which makes getting aggro off tough. They are strictly support units during boss fights. Pally is different in that they can hold aggro, although getting and holding aggro requires a lot of focus due to the low damage output that pallies have.
06-17-2011, 02:34 AM
To be added at a later date
06-17-2011, 02:34 AM
Reserved space for future expansions
06-17-2011, 02:35 AM
v0.1 June 17, 2011 - Began basic guide
v0.2 June 17, 2011 - Added some info into the attributes section
v0.2.1 Oct 28, 2011 - Some modifications for the new level cap rise
v0.2.2 Oct 30, 2011 - Began the main sub sections.
Reserved for future questions
06-17-2011, 03:16 AM
EXCELLENT beginning to what I know will be a great guide.
Quick question though, mind if we post up some info here and you can choose whether or not it's applicable?
For example, I was gonna post some info about the "Working with bears" section.
Just a quick suggestion, you might want to make a table of contents since this seems like it'll be an extensive guide.
06-17-2011, 03:32 AM
Wow that looks good!
06-17-2011, 03:37 AM
Nice! That must've been a lot of work :)
06-17-2011, 04:00 AM
Quick question though, mind if we post up some info here and you can choose whether or not it's applicable?
For example, I was gonna post some info about the "Working with bears" section.
Feel free to post any ideas that you have in this thread.
06-17-2011, 11:48 AM
How long did it take you to write this!!??
06-17-2011, 12:27 PM
Excellent Guide! Great read! I love it, I'll think of stuff to add later, for you :). Yes, I read the entire thing, lol.
06-17-2011, 12:29 PM
Great joB man- now thats a guide!
06-17-2011, 01:48 PM
this is gonna be a big help =) and its good cuz i got to lvl 45 this week lol >.< gotta add more dex points into my build
06-17-2011, 04:41 PM
Some suggestions for the bird section: Even though most bosses cannot be rooted, it is important to spam your root skills anyway. Why? Because of the dodge debuff. Bosses will die much more quickly if you keep them debuffed.
For bosses, I like to lead with one root, break armor, cruel blast, second root, blinding shot, then avian scream and repulse shot to assist in keeping the boss pinned. If you have aggro and the bear can't get the boss off of you, avian scream followed immediately by repulse will send them flying into the wall for sure. Do not expect the bear to be able to hold aggro. You have to be willing to assist in keeping the boss pinned if you want to stay alive.
Working with a bear as a bird: One bird should always try to stay on the heels of the bear, with a talon loadout if you have one. If there are other birds, let them clean up the stragglers and stay with the bear. As the bear is moving into position, run in the middle of the mob group and cast Thorn Wall. This will help the bear get into position and set up the nature strike combo if you have an enchantress. If the bear is following the beckon with hell scream, hold off on the cruel blast until after hellsceam and use Avian scream to help stun any mobs that dodged the bear. Hopefully after the beckon and cruel blast, the rest of the party has caught up and is cleaning up anything still alive. I like to break armor, repulse, blinding shot on the stragglers as im walking away following the bear.
So in summary: Talon birds should stick with the bear, and bow/gun/crossbow birds should hang back a second or two and play cleanup.
Edit: Avian scream is very useful to max if you plan on farming frozen nightmares, as it will free you from being frozen in place. Also works as a ghetto stun skill on regular mobs, and a "swoop in and away" damage skill on bosses. Maxed, it is the second highest damage skill after blast shot. Personally I think avian scream is more useful to max than repulse shot, as one accident with max repulse will make your party angry in a hurry.
06-17-2011, 07:04 PM
Currently cleaning up a bit of material and adding a bit of new content. See attributes section.
I'll be working on the bird section at a later date.
06-17-2011, 07:59 PM
Awesome guide man!! Only thing I suggest is putting revive under Mage buffs and saying how str has a negative influence on int skill damage (forgot the exact numbers:/)
06-17-2011, 08:02 PM
"- For bears, str adds the most skill damage. Dex is number two. Compared to dex, strength has a lower minimum damage, but higher maximum damage. However, strength only adds about 1-2 more skill damage per 100 points of strength. "
I'm pretty sure it's the other way around, and nice guide!
06-17-2011, 08:11 PM
"- For bears, str adds the most skill damage. Dex is number two. Compared to dex, strength has a lower minimum damage, but higher maximum damage. However, strength only adds about 1-2 more skill damage per 100 points of strength. "
I'm pretty sure it's the other way around, and nice guide!
Made corrections. Thanks.
06-17-2011, 08:15 PM
Made some corrections ;)
"Dex adds the most skill damage. Dex is number two"
06-17-2011, 08:36 PM
Made some corrections ;)
"Dex adds the most skill damage. Dex is number two"
Lol - thanks.
08-25-2011, 10:31 PM
I know I haven't had time to work on this guide; I will be working on it soon and I plan to keep it update with the level cap increase.
08-28-2011, 06:13 PM
I liked the guide a lot!!
Just do me a favor and add to pallies. Str/int is not the only combo :) Pallies w a 200/1 ratio!? Whoa! We sacrifice ourself for the good od the group, a good pally aways stays in front heals others, and is always looking at his teamates life bar or a quick timed rev.
10-27-2011, 01:03 PM
This is the best post i have read on stat mechanics. To a resonably new player like me just hitting level 50 on first toon this is golden. Thanks
10-27-2011, 04:50 PM
This guide needs to be updated to the new level cap ... I'll do it when I have the time to spare.
10-27-2011, 09:05 PM
Whoa. Astounded at the amount of work put into this. Best guide I've seen in a long time. Amazing job!
10-27-2011, 11:35 PM
A few minor updates here and there. I will probably make a more comprehensive update on the weekend. I should not have left this guide for 4 months untouched.
10-30-2011, 03:21 AM
10/30; updated the sections 1 by 1 for the working with; will need a more comprehensive write up at a later date. Currently looking for an editor.
10-30-2011, 04:59 AM
another great guide fantasic work!
10-30-2011, 05:30 AM
very good guide! GJ!
10-30-2011, 11:34 AM
Just coming back to PL after not having anything to play it on. Great guide I learned a lot and look forward to implementing these tactics in game.
10-30-2011, 02:58 PM
Just coming back to PL after not having anything to play it on. Great guide I learned a lot and look forward to implementing these tactics in game.
You'll find that this is how an ideal team should proceed. However, in practice, most PUGs will deviate significantly. In Nuri, you'll find yourself often leading the team.
10-31-2011, 01:00 PM
A great guide which should really be a sticky for easy access to all!
One thought for your Mage/Enchantress section is the great advice from your Thoughts and Obserations About Level Cap guide in reards to Nuri's which was "I never thought I would say this, but if you are a mage on an elixir, and there is a dead person far away from your group, don't bother going back and reviving. It is costing you real money. Most likely the player will just leave. Hopefully they have learned their lesson. Do not be too concerned on about the loss in firepower. Compared to an elixir user, the loss of 1 player is relatively insignificant. This will open up a slot for a new player, although seldom do new players come and reach the boss in time. Furthermore, it isn't just money that is at stake. If you are the only person or there are only 1-2 out of 5 people with an elixir, the simple act of turning back will expose your entire group to aggro, likely causing more deaths for your teammates that did do the right thing and follow you."
I believe this holds true not only for Nuri's but the upcoming Mt Fang and probably the releases beyond that. In addition, I'd argue that this doesn't only apply to Mages on elixir but to non-elixired Mages as well as more likely than not the non-elixired Mage will encounter a mob when they attempt to revive which more than likely will end up with 2 players doing the "Walk of Shame".
The point to drive home in all 3 class sections and probably the opening section as well is "don't wander off, there is little room for error"!
11-02-2011, 02:31 PM
There will probably be less and less room for error as time goes on.
07-05-2012, 11:11 PM
I'm considering the possibility of updating this to current era content, depending on the demand for it.
1 star ... perhaps not. I suppose that the era of lengthy technical guides may be over and that demand for this type of thing has fallen precipitously.