Shattered Kingdoms

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 Post subject: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 11:51 am
Posts: 1500
The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck (Part 1)

This guide is intended for new players. It is not for a specific race/class combination, but rather it will gives tips, tricks and hints on how to build a character that can compete in PK. It will help you avoid newbie mistakes and pitfalls, like choosing a subpar race/class combination or using stat trains to max the wrong attributes.

What race should I pick?

The most important decision you will make is the race you pick. If you are primarily interested in RP and don't care whether your character is competitive in PK, you can stop reading now and choose any race you want. Otherwise, if you want your character to be competitive in PK then you need to factor racial weaknesses into your decision.

What is the mechanical effect of a racial weakness? It means the damage your character takes against the particular weakness will be significantly increased and/or you will suffer a saving throw penalty.

Racial weaknesses:

Centaurs - Fire (magma spray, hellfire, flamestrike, flaming bite weapons)

Deep-elf - Iron weapons and light-based attacks (bolt of glory, color spray and flaring light weapons)

Dwarves - Small size (negative modifier to melee damage)

Elf - Iron weapons and negative energy (finger of death, vampiric touch, energy drain, life drain weapons)

Giants - Mental attacks (charm, summon, sleep) and lightning (lightning bolt, chain lightning, call lightning and shocking bite weapons)

Gnomes - Blunt weapons (including self-defense/unarmed attacks)

Griffon - No armor slots (they can wear some jewelry) and griffon-grip (can't wield most weapons)

Half-elf - Iron weapons

Halflings - Blunt weapons (including self-defense/unarmed attacks)

Humans - None

Sprite - Iron weapons, poison and disease

The races that have weaknesses also have advantages such as innate magical protection, large/giant size (positive modifier to melee damage), flight, and infravision. However, the intended target for this guide is new players so I will keep it simple. If you do not have access to a spell, scroll, potion, pill or item that will negate your racial weakness, do NOT pick that race. The exceptions are gnome and halfling, since those races make good casters and you can effectively negate your blunt weakness through proper formation. It would also be acceptable to make an elf, deep-elf or sprite warlock, since their skill set includes the ironguard spell. However, I wouldn't recommend warlock as a first character.

What races does that leave?

Human, gnome and halfling. If you are a new player, your first character should be one of these three races. If you pick one of the the other races, veteran players can and will exploit your racial weaknesses to make your life miserable in PK. As you explore and learn the game, you will find armor, scrolls, potions, and pills that can negate or mitigate racial weaknesses. But for now, you have three choices.


What class should I pick?

The game is occasionally updated, so the information in this guide is focused on the current meta game. That can and will change based on future updates, which you can always find HERE.

Since this is your first character, I will start with the classes you should NOT pick:

Necromancer, Paladin, Hellion, Bard, Warlock, Rogue, Scout and Swashbuckler

But Finney I really want to play a holy knight or a diabolical necromancer! If you are reading this far into the guide, you should realize that I am not making allowances for RP. As with choosing a race, if you are primarily interested in RP then pick any class you want. Otherwise, follow the guide and continue reading. Paladins, hellions and necromancers have special restrictions (alignment, vow and code) and they will generally attract attention (not the good kind) - attention that you don't want or need on a first character.

Bard, warlock, rogue, swashbuckler and scout (not as good as mercenary with ranged weapons and their herbs can be used by every class) are subpar in the current meta game. Yes, it is possible to make a successful character with one of these classes. However, this is not a diving competition and you are not going for degree of difficulty. With that in mind, you should pick one of the following classes:

Sorcerer, Priest, Shaman, Barbarian, or Mercenary

Sorcerer has a ton of utility, defensive buffs and useful PK skills like wands, scrolls and staves. This class can identify, scribe, shrink/enlarge equipment, fly, summon, gate and enchant armor, weapons and jewelry. It also has mirror image and etherealform, which are excellent defensive buffs. It can scribe petrification scrolls that can instantly kill enemy pets, guards or characters. It can also charm humanoids, which can then be equipped with armor/weapons and buffed with haste and giant strength. In conjunction with a purchased pet, you can always form three ranks with a sorcerer which protects you against reaching weapons (charm - F1, pet - M1, you - B1) and backstab (charm - F1 , you - M1, pet- B1). Sorcerers also have access to a lot of other class specific spells, like sanctuary, bless, stone skin, ironguard, etc. through scrolls, stave and wands. A great class for exploring and learning the game.

Priest also has exceptional utility, defensive buffs, healing spells and moderate offensive capability. This class can identify, brew, gate, word of recall, summon, consecrate (clergy version of enchant), resurrect, heal and has moderate damage via spear of faith and harm. Priests also have access to two of the best defensive buffs - sanctuary and protection - and can brew heal and word of recall potions. If you join a tribunal, you can also form three ranks: recruited guard, your character and a purchased pet - this allows you to configure formations based on the enemy you are fighting. Priests also get scrolls and staves, which give them access to utility spells like flight and offensive spells like petrification. Priests also get a religion specific spell, which can be devastating depending on the faith you choose. I recommend Ain, Sadr, Sadal or Alshain.

Shaman is similar to a priest, but lacks a lot of the utility (they do get identify and staves). In exchange, they get spirit aura, spirit horde, call lightning and a whole host of useful maledictions like blind, curse and sleep. You can play this class as either a front row tank or a back row spell caster. Both play styles can be effective, but I would recommend the back row caster since it is less risky. This class is also capable of superb damage via call lightning, which can be cast at range and hits entire groups.

Barbarian should be your first choice, if you want to play a melee character. It can wear heavy armor, use any weapon, and has utility skills like track and butcher. It has limited protection against alpha strikes, like backstab and cleave, via counterstrike. It can also increase damage and attacks per round with berserk/fury, which also has the added benefit of a moderate heal. Unlike mercenary, the barbarian is not tied to a specific weapon. This gives them a lot of versatility in weapon selection. The class can play as a front row tank using a shield and one-handed weapon or it can play from the second row using a polearm, spear or other weapon that has reach. Melee characters also benefit the most from buffs provided by other classes - scout herbs, bless, warpath, luck, frenzy, haste, giant strength, etc.

Mercenary is the other melee option. It has more useful PK skills than a barbarian, but it is also quite easy to ruin your build by picking the wrong specializations. Unlike a barbarian, a mercenary specializes in two weapons. This increases both your accuracy and number of attacks per round with ONLY those two weapons. I recommend picking one front row weapon (no-daichi, epee, kama or khopesh) and either a reach weapon (bill, glaive, battle spear, halberd, pike or bec de corbin) or a ranged weapon (siege crossbow). Mercenaries can self-buff their accuracy and damage with rallying cry and get one of the best PK skills of any class - retreat. This allows you to move your entire group in a specific direction while maintaining formation. Especially useful if you specialized with a ranged weapon or you join a tribunal.

Which of the three races should I choose?

Sorcerer - Human (it has the higest intelligence of the three and you will need it)
Priest - Human, halfling or gnome (all three are good for this class)
Shaman - Human (melee build) or gnome (caster build)
Barbarian - Human
Mercenary - Human


Character Creation

The questions in character creation are zero sum, which means that each question will simultaneously raise one attribute while lowering another. Each of the five attributes are pitted against the others during the fifteen question creation process. This means the most you can gain/lose on an attribute is five points. Due to the restrictions of this forum, I can't really go into more detail.

Unlike most other MUDs, your hit point and mana rolls when you gain a level are NOT based on your character's current constitution and wisdom score on Shattered Kingdoms. As your constitution and wisdom go up, so will your hit point and mana pools. The amount of hit points and mana you gain per level is a random roll based on your class: the roll is NOT affected by your constitution or wisdom score.

What should be I be aiming for with stats?

Good question. The next part of the guide may seem counter intuitive based on your experience with other MUDs, but this is where you need to trust the advice of a veteran Shattered Kingdoms player that has mapped out every single race, stat and race/class combo in Excel like a true nerd.

Sorcerer - max intelligence during creation or with trains afterwards. Leave your constitution, wisdom and charisma scores four or five from maximum. Dump strength and dexterity. Jewelry can be enchanted to increase attributes, so you will enchant your jewelry to increase your constitution, wisdom and charisma to maximum. You can also enchant for fortitude and willpower, so you will use one piece of jewelry that has innate dexterity and put willpower on it and another piece of jewelry that has has innate strength and put fortitude on it. Then you enchant dexterity and strength on jewelry slots that have innate willpower or fortitude. This will put you at max intelligence, constitution, wisdom, charisma and near max on strength and dexterity. What does all this min/maxing accomplish? It leaves open a LOT of trains to be used on mana and art. You want to max both art and mana, which will require 24 trains. That leaves four trains for your stats and if you tinker around with creation - that will be enough.

Priest - same as the sorcerer except that it only takes 18 trains to max mana and art, which leaves you 10 trains to use on attributes.

Shaman - same as priest and sorcerer except that it takes 19 trains to max mana and art, which leaves you nine trains to use on attributes.

Barbarian - it takes 18 trains to max hit points and moves, which leaves you 10 trains to use on attributes. I highly recommend that you max both dexterity and strength, so that you get maximum benefit from giant strength and haste. Leave your constitution four or five from max and enchant jewelry to max it. You should enchant for wisdom, since not only does it add to your mana pool (used by fury/berserk) but it also increases your willpower saves. Depending on the faction you join, you may or may not need intelligence. You will want to enchant for charisma, since it reduces lag when ordering pets and/or guards (if you join a tribunal).

Mercenary - similar to barbarian, but it requires 22 trains to max hit points and moves. That leaves you six trains to use on attributes. Max your dexterity and strength and leave constitution four or five points from max. Like the barbarian, you want to enchant jewelry to increase your wisdom since it adds to mana pool (used for rallying cry) and increases your willpower saves. It is typically a good idea to use one jewelry slot with innate wisdom and then add either fortitude or willpower to it. Depending on the faction you join, you may or may not need intelligence. You will want to enchant for charisma, since it affects your rallying cry, retreat and reduces lag when ordering pets and/or guards (if you join a tribunal).


Equipment and Enchanting

You have seven armor slots: head, body, hands, feet, legs, arm and waist. These slots can only be enchanted/consecrated with armor protection, magic protection and magic resistance. As such, you should look for armor in these slots that has innate fortitude or willpower.

You have seven "jewelry" slots: neck x 2, wrist x 2, ring x 2, and about body. This is where you will fill in the gaps to make your build viable. These slots can be enchanted/consecrated with attributes, hit points, mana, or moves. There are rules governing how enchants stack that you can find HERE.

My recommendations:

Sorcerer/Priest/Shaman (you trained intelligence, art and mana to max)

Ring - innate fort/will, enhancment strength (4/5)
Ring - innate fort/will, enhancement wisdom (4/5)
Necklace - innate dexterity, enhancement willpower
Necklace - innate fort/will, enhancement dexterity (5)
Cloak - innate fort/will, enhancement constitution (4/5)
Wrist - innate strength, enhancment fortitude
Wrist - innate will/fort, enhancement charisma (4/5)

If possible, you will want to enchant hit points on one of those slots, too. That will take a bit of effort, but a priest with max art should be able to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

I am not going to address melee shaman builds, since you can check the guide HERE for tips.

Barbarian/Mercenary (you trained strength, dexterity and hit points/moves to max or as close as possible)

Ring - innate fort/will, enhancement hit points (4/5)
Ring - innate fort/will, enhancement wisdom (4/5)
Necklace - innate wisdom, enhancement fortitude
Necklace - innate fort/will, enhancement moves (4/5)
Cloak - innate fort/will, enhancement constitution (5)
Wrist - innate fort/will, enhancement willpower
Wrist - innate will/fort, enhancement charisma (4/5)

If you end up joining the Hammer or Harlequins, you will also need intelligence so I would recommend the following:

Ring - innate intelligence, enhancement willpower
Ring - innate fort/will, enhancement wisdom (4/5)
Necklace - innate wisdom, enhancement fortitude
Necklace - innate fort/will, enhancement hit points (4/5)
Cloak - innate fort/will, enhancement constitution (5)
Wrist - innate fort/will, enhancement intelligence (4/5)
Wrist - innate will/fort, enhancement charisma (4/5)


Part two of the guide will include the tactical and formation advice, religion and faction options, leveling tips, and general PK strategies.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:39 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 11:51 am
Posts: 1500
Reserved for part two.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:03 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:43 am
Posts: 5602
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
SK Character: Pilnor, Surrit, Berr, Rall
This is the perfect guide for those new to the game.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:15 am 
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Mortal

Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:03 pm
Posts: 148
New? Pfffft, I've played off and on for over two years, and thought that insightful.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:46 am 
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Mortal

Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:21 pm
Posts: 4452
Iron is not a weakness.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Mortal

Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:11 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Probably Camping Losache
SK Character: Arkex, Chronis, Azoreth, Kyln
Finney..? Was I the inspiration behind this guide? Lol
For real though, excellent work on this. It could have prevented that delf swash I rolled for my first gm.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:04 pm
Posts: 1017
After taking a look at what classes to pick and not pick as a freshly starting player to the game. Why is Rogue and Scout on the do not choose list? The two never seemed to be a problem to play since much like a Sorcerer / Priest, you'll be acquiring a pet meat shield in the earlier stages of the game. A Scout branching off once you can tame, and a Rogue inflicting much more damage while behind a pet or using a high end damage move to start and some times finish a fight. With NPC HP being scaled to Player levels both should be relatively easy to start and learn the game with. But as I haven't played in a while, I could be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 9:16 am
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SK Character: NA - Inactive
Just realized that minotaurs got left out of this mix.

Awwww, poor minotaurs. :(


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:19 am
Posts: 309
Iron is a weakness. Even if you are in the third row, iron arrows can and will punish you.

I highly, highly recommend Aludra as a religion for light aura priests. Characters who want to make a priest should be aware that every religion has a unique spell, some are great, and some are terrible. Ain and Dabi are pretty good, I think Sargas is, too, but I'm not sure. Mira is great.


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 Post subject: Re: The Newbie Guide: Building a Character That Doesn't Suck
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:01 am 
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Mortal

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:40 am
Posts: 354
There's a lot of good lightie faiths to chose from. Aludra isn't the best, but it's def. up there. It depends on what you're wanting to get from your lightie priest.
So, breakdown of faiths:

THE GOOD GUYS

Zavijah will give you a serious edge in casting ability.
Aludra will give your tank the ability to mitigate more damage
Dulrik will let you see things nobody can, at the cost of high mana, but there's also heavy armor.
Alshain will let you not get 1-shot by certain skills and abilities.
Ain will give you a spell you can depend on in pvp against low willpower targets

That's it for the lightie faiths unless I'm forgetting something. The rest of the good faiths have spells that are really not worth mentioning here. For grey aura faiths:

THE BAD GUYS

Sargas depends on how many followers of the religion there are. Its a really good pvp spell if there's guys in the religion to cast it on. For yourself as a priest, its not bad, but its true power shows when you're casting it on big giants of grey aura that are somehow in your evil religion. Its a cookiecutter spell for cookiecutter characters.
Ain is same as the lightie version

I don't know much about the other evil religion spells, and that fact alone probably means they are sub-par as all hell.

THE UGLY GUYS (grey)

Mira will help you forget to rest for mana, and other casters in your group as well.
Sadal gives you and your friends a nice, almost passive bonus to just about everything.
Nashira is the best religion ever, but the spell is total [REDACTED]. Total. Don't join for the spell.

The rest of the grey faiths, like Nashira, have some thematic spells you won't ever really use or depend on.


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