Shadowblade FAQ (DROPS+GEAR)

Dark Age of Camelet Guides

Shadowblade FAQ (DROPS+GEAR)

Unread postby PostBot » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:40 am

I. CHARACTER CREATION
I.a. What race makes the best Shadowblade?

As with many classes, there isn’t necessarily a best race to play a Shadowblade; Norse, Kobolds and Valkyn all have their advantages.

Norse have the advantage of higher STR and CON. This is a win for Shadowblades, because we are limited to slashing damage, which is 100% STR based. And, the extra CON plays to our strength of being the assassins with the most HP. Further, DEX and QUI go up quickly as you gain levels, while STR goes up slowly and CON does not improve at all for Shadowblades. So, starting with a higher STR and CON is a good thing.

Kobolds have the advantages of higher DEX and QUI. That means that their defensive skills are better, and they can attack a little faster. But, Kobolds are kind of wimpy, with lower STR and CON. Valkyn, like Kobolds are in the nimble rather than durable category. They have a bit more STR and QUI, and a bit less CON and DEX than Kobolds

Then there are the intangibles. Norse look like every other human-type race, and are harder to pick out as being an enemy, at a distance. Kobolds are smaller, and thus harder to spot on the battlefield (people always target the Trolls anyway, but smaller is still better). Valkyn are a distinctly Midgard race, with a size between Kobolds and Norse.

In the end it’s more likely a matter of personal preference. Some people think Kobolds exude natural sneakiness and deception, perfect for a rogue class. Others think they look like Smurfs. Some like the Valkyn look, others don’t. That sort of thing.

I.b. How should I spend my ability points?

The only abilities that matter for Shadowblades are STR, CON, QUI and DEX. So, spend your points there. Kobolds and Valkyn should put 10 each into STR and CON, and split the other 10 between DEX and QUI however they see fit. Norse should add some to DEX and QUI, but points in STR and CON won’t be wasted. As long as you stick to those 4 abilities you won’t go wrong.

Some people will put more than 10 points into a particular ability. That’s probably a mistake because of the diminishing returns (1 ability point for every TWO points spent from 11-20, and 1 for every THREE from 21-29). The difference of one, or even 5 points here or there won’t make or break a character, so you might as well get the full value for your points.

I.c. Which is better: Shadowblade, Infiltrator or Nightshade?

Better or worse is subjective, but there are clear differences between the three assassin classes:

Shadowblades:

get more HP (around 15% more than other assassins with the same CON)

get 2.2 spec points per level.

have a realm ability of Shadow Run which allows you to run at full speed while stealthed, for a short time

have the Left Axe skill for wielding 2 weapons (see Weapon Skills, below)

can wield two-handed weapons

use throwing knives (an unspecced weapon skill) for pulling

Nightshades:

have direct damage spells (a shout, and one with a casting time)

2.2 spec points per level

are limited to races with extremely low CON (Elves and Lurikeen)

get a realm ability of Viper which doubles the damage of DoT poisons, once every 30 minutes

wield 2 weapons using the Celtic Dual skill (see Weapon Skills, below)

Infiltrators:

get 2.5 spec points per level

get a realm ability of Vanish which allows them to re-stealth immediately, in any situation, once every 15 minutes

can get the Dual Wield skill (see Weapon Skills below)

can wield a crossbow, but cannot spec in it

Some feel that the 453 or so extra spec points that infiltrators receive gives them the advantage. Others prefer the ability to wield a two-handed weapon and skip dual wielding. Most agree that the Shadowblade class-specific realm ability is vastly inferior to those of Nightshades or Infiltrators. Often the choice of which class to play is based on which is your preferred realm, or the server on which your friends play.


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II. SKILL POINTS
II.a. What are some common Shadowblade templates?
More than any other class, Shadowblades are defined by their “template,” or the planned configuration of skills that they will have at level 50. The primary reasons for this are the ability to wield two-handed weapons and the way that left axe works; other assassin classes tend to be much more homogeneous in the way they spec their characters.

The basic templates for Shadowblades are:

Shadowzerker: Puts points into primary weapon (sword or axe), left axe, stealth and envenom. Forsakes Critical Strike for excellent dual wield ability. Attack style is to stealth up to an enemy and let fly with both envenomed weapons. Many Shadowzerkers spec critical strike to level 2 (for backstab) or 10 (for backstab 2), because these styles will bypass a bladeturn spell. Backstab 2 also has a short stun effect that many Shadowzerkers consider to be worth the points. This is even more true now that stunned opponents cannot turn; a stun allows you to set up positional left axe styles.

Critblade: Puts points into primary weapon (sword or axe), critical strike, stealth and envenom. No points in Left Axe. Attack style is to stealthily set up the big critical strike with the hardest hitting weapon they can find.

Soulblade: All weapon, no envenom skill. Points go into weapon, critical strike, left axe and stealth. The soulblade relies completely on weapons to do damage, but has the flexibility of opening with a big critical strike or going toe to toe with strong dual wielding skills.

Five-spec: Puts points into all 5 skills (weapon, critical strike, left axe, stealth, envenom). Foregoes the high damage of any particular specialized template for versatility. A successful five-spec character will start life as a Critblade, Shadowzerker, or Soulblade, and then start putting points into the neglected skill (left axe or critical strike) around level 42. This avoids having skills too diluted at lower levels. Going for the five-spec template usually assumed progression to realm rank 4 or 5, to get the points to max out stealth and envenom.

Here are some typical level 50 spec templates. Note that these are built with the assumption that a character will use realm levels and item to bring skills up to desired levels, and most assume some amount of auto training as well. Please note that there are as many opinions about Shadowblade templates as there are Shadowblades. Maybe more. Take these as examples, not as gospel.



Critblade: Stealth 35, Critical Strike 44, Sword or Axe 44, Envenom 35

Soulblade: Stealth 35, Critical Strike 44, Sword or Axe 41, Left Axe 39

Shadowzerker: Stealth 35, Critical Strike 10, Axe 44, Left Axe 44, Envenom 35

Five-Spec: Stealth 34, Critical Strike 34, Sword or Axe 36, Left Axe 39, Envenom 34


The various templates appeal to different play styles. Some people love the stalking and setting up of the big critical strike; others hate it. Some people like to specialize, others prefer versatility. None of these is inherently better or worse; it’s a matter of how you want to play. A Shadowzerker in a Critblade’s body will not be happy. And vice versa.

II.b. How does auto-training work?

Some classes in DAOC have skills get trained automatically to a minimal level. This includes Paladins (both their Slashing and Chant skills), Warriors (weapon skills) and all three assassin classes (Stealth).

Here’s how it works. If you put no points into Stealth, you will automatically get trained to ¼ your character level in that skill (rounded down). At level 8 you will get Stealth level 2. You will get Stealth level 3 at character level 12, Stealth level 4 at character level 16, and so on.

The best part is that this auto-training is free. That’s right, free. You don’t pay for those skill points, so by auto-training Stealth you get more skill points to spend on other skills. The downside is that there is a limit to how long an assassin can survive without good stealth skill. You certainly won’t be successful setting up a Perforate Artery with auto-trained stealth (well, not very often anyway), and trying to RvR with crummy stealth is suicide.

It is best to pick a level at which you want to have good stealth (generally, the level at which you will start RvRing), and auto-train to that point. A common tactic is to auto-train to 24, for the first battleground. This gets you Stealth at level 6, which is 20 free skill points. To do this, you will need to hold onto your level 22 and 23 training points and NOT SPEND THEM until you get to level 24. Then you can get stealth to 24 (with items) plus the benefit of auto-training.

Some assassins have auto-trained stealth as high as level 40 (10 Stealth). More power to them. No matter what your play style, it is best to auto-train only as far as you need to. There is a cost to auto-training, and you don’t want to play a character with gimped stealth if you don’t really need the points in the end.

II.c. How should I spec for the 24 battleground?

At level 24, you really don’t have enough points to be a five-spec. You need to concentrate on either left axe or critical strike in order for them to be effective. High stealth is very effective at level 24, so spec something like this:


Stealth: 19 + 5 in items = 24

Critical Strike 21 (for perforate artery) or Left Axe 20-21 (for good damage)

Weapon: at least 18

Envenom: 10 or 15, plus items (whatever gets you the level 15 or 20 DoT poison)

II.d. How should I spec for the 35 battleground?

By level 35 it is possible to be a five-spec on the battleground, but you will likely have to give up some nice Envenom damage to do it. It is still recommended that you commit to either Critical Strike or Left Axe, and don’t try to do both.

II.e. How should I spec for the 29 battleground?

For some reason nobody seems to play in the 29 battleground. So, whatever.

II.f. What is a good template for hunting enemy assassins?

The Shadowzerker template seems to work the best for hunting enemy assassins. The ability to apply 2 poisons is a big plus, and you can deal with constant evades better if you are wielding 2 fast weapons.

II.g. How do realm ranks affect skills?

You get +1 to all skills at realm ranks 2-10. So, by the time you get booted out of the 30-35 battleground for achieving Realm Rank 2, you get +1 to all skills. This skill bonus is over and above the limit for item skill bonuses, and should be considered when planning a character’s final template and leveling strategy.

The absolute maximum in skill bonuses is +11 from items and +9 from realm ranks, for a total of +20. But, it’s not realistic to depend on achieving Realm Rank 10. Basing an end template off of achieving realm rank 3 or 4 is more rational.

II.h. How do item bonuses affect skills?

The skill bonuses on items (+1 stealth, +2 critical strike, etc.) are capped at 1/5 your level, plus 1. So, at level 35 you can get up to 8 points in item bonuses. At level 50 the maximum skill bonus from items is 11 points.

II.i. How does the skill point respec work?

When you turn level 20, and again at level 40, you can reset any ONE of your specialization lines to zero. You will get back all the points you spent int hat particular specialization, to spend as you choose.

It is important to note that you must use the respec opportunity during level 20 or level 40. You cannot save them up, and once you hit level 21 or 41, you will lose the ability to respec.

There is a special consideration for auto-trained skills. Any skill that can be auto-trained will be reset to its auto-train level, and not to zero. For example, if you respec stealth at level 20, it will be set to 5, not to zero. This ensures that points gained by auto-training remain in the skills that were auto-trained. You don’t lose the points that you auto-trained, but you also cannot reallocate them to another skill.

II.j. What about those dragon respec stones?

The 1.59 patch added 2 sets of 25 respec stones as loot to each realm’s dragon. These stones drop when the dragon is killed, giving 25 people the opportunity to completely respec their skills, and 25 people the ability to respec their realm abilities.

There are several implications to this. For example, one could go through life as a critblade, and eventually go five-spec long after reahing 50, when you have enough realm levels to make for a robust template. Or, a critblade who started with envenom at 37 could respec upon reaching realm rank 4 (because she would then have envenomskill of 37 + 11 in items + 3 in realm ranks = 51), thereby raising critical strike or weapon skill even higher.


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III. STEALTH
III.a. How does stealth work?
Stealth decreases the range at which other characters can see you. This range is based on a comparison of your stealth skill and the opposing player’s level, and it depends on the class of the hidden enemy as well as on the class of the player trying to find the stealther:


For Assassins who have 16+ levels of stealth trying to spot a stealthed assassin, the formula is:
125 + (50*(Your lvl-enemy stealth lvl))


For Assassins who have 16+ levels of stealth trying to spot a stealthed Minstrel/Ranger/Scout/Hunter:
250 + (50*(Your lvl - enemy stealth lvl))


For non-assassins, and for assassins with fewer than 16 levels in stealth, trying to detect any stealther:
125 + (25*(Searcher's lvl - stealth skill))

That base 125 WU is about the length of the mid-sized horse (the ones that human-type characters get). So, even a level 50 assassin can be spotted by a level 1 character at around 1 horse length.

Detection of a stealthed player is also affected by the “stealth pulse.” The check to determine whether you see a stealthed player is a periodic thing that seems to happen every couple of seconds. So, a stealthed player could be within visible range for you, but still not be visible, for a short time (I have tested this myself using 2 systems side by side). Higher movement speeds make this effect even more pronounced. That is how an assassin can stick perforate artery on a moving target without beign seen; the target traverses their stealth detection range in less time than it takes the stealth check to cycle. It sure is fun Perfing minstrels in full run buff.

III.b. How does Detect Hidden work?

Detect Hidden is an ability that assassin classes get when they have 16 levels in stealth. It doubles the range at which you detect stealthed players. Once you have detect hidden, the formula above changes as described in the formula above.

Do not confuse the Detect Hidden ability that comes at level 16 of stealth with the See Hidden realm ability, which is described below.

III.c. Is there any benefit to having stealth over 50?

There is some small benefit. While there is no movement speed increase from exceeding 50 stealth, you will be better able to sneak around higher level (50+) monsters. This makes it easier to get to enemy areas in places like Darkness Falls or the new RvR dungeons in the frontiers.

Also, here’s a relevant Q&A from the 12-20-2002 Grab Bag:

Q: Last week you said that the assassin with a natural 50 in stealth and an assassin with a natural 38 and 12 in +stealth items would be equally hard to detect (although the natural 50 would have better safe fall). But what about if both of them have a natural 50 in stealth, but one of them has 10 in +stealth items? Does it do any good?

A: There is no hard cap on stealth – so the player with a total of 60 points in stealth will be harder to detect (both for PVE and RVR) than the one with 50. Please keep in mind that the difference between the detect rates at 50 and 51 would be so tiny that you’d have to be running developer tools in order to really notice it. At the 50+ level, you won’t see dramatic change.


So, while there won’t be a dramatic change, there is some tiny benefit to higher levels of stealth. And, as assassins seem to always be looking for that tiny edge, this may be important.

III.d. How do I climb keep walls?

When you have level 25 stealth (which must be trained stealth – item bonuses don’t count), you can climb keep walls. You cannot climb just anywhere; there are specific climb points on each keep that act as ladders. There is a set of climb points in the front and another set on the back of each style of keep. They are more obvious on Midgard keeps than on Albion ones, but you will learn them pretty quickly.

To climb, simply go to the climb point and move forward to go up, or backward to go down.

III.e. Is Safe Fall the most awesome capability or what?

Ummm…. Sure. It’s convenient for jumping down onto the pad from the vault when the gothis are coming. It’s best use may be in RvR, where you may be able to get a tank to drop off a wall and take damage if he used /stick on you.

III.f. How does See Hidden work?

See Hidden is a realm ability available to all assassin classes. It lets you see the shadowy outline of stealthed archers or minstrels (not other assassins) at great range. However, an archer that is using Camouflage is immune to See Hidden. It’s sort of a stealth arms race. See Hidden costs 8 realm ability points, has no prerequisites, and is a passive ability.

Some shadowblades think that See Hidden gets them into more trouble than anything. One tactic enemies can use is for an archer with relatively low stealth to serve as bait for one or more assassins. When a shadowblade using See Hidden goes after the archer, they find a lot more waiting there than they bargained for.

III.g. How does True Sight work?

True Sight is a realm ability available to archer classes. It is an active ability, that works for 1 minute and is available every 30 minutes. Its effect is to make any stealthed player visible to the archer.

You can tell that there is an archer with True Sight around in one of two ways. The first is that you will be unable to re-stealth while True Sight is active. The second is that you will find an arrow in your back and a horde of enemies running directly at you.

III.h. What determines movement speed while stealthed?

Movement speed while stealthed is based on your stealth skill as a percentage of character level, not on your stealth skill as an absolute number. So, a level 50 shadowblade with 50 stealth will move at the same speed as a level 36 shadowblade with 36 stealth.

Run buffs do not affect you while stealthed, nor can you sprint while stealthed. Two realm abilities can affect stealthed movement speed: Mastery of Stealth and Shadow Run. The former adds 5% to movement speed per level of Mastery. The latter is an active ability that allows you to run as fast stealthed as you would unstealthed.


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IV. WEAPON SKILLS
IV.a. Which critical strike styles will penetrate a bladeturn?

A bladeturn is a spell available to all cloth-wearing casters. It will absorb one melee hit before disappearing, and stays up until hit. This spell was originally available to just one caster class per realm, but was granted to all caster classes as a way to balance archers’ ability to do massive damage, from stealth, from a distance.

As you can imagine, this could be a real pain to a class that depends on the big initial hit to kill an enemy. But, there is hope for Shadowblades. Any Critical Strike style that requires a stealthed opening will bypass a bladeturn (actually, it also pops the bubble as it bypasses it).

That means that backstab, backstab 2, and perforate artery will go right through a bladeturn and hit the target.

IV.b. How does Left Axe work?

Left Axe is the dual wield skill for Midgard. It has peculiarities that are important to know about as you spend skill points.

When you wield two weapons with Left Axe, the left-hand weapon must be an axe, hence the name of the skill. You will swing both your primary and left-hand weapon each round, potentially hitting twice.

But, you don’t do full damage with each of these swings. When you wield two weapons, your primary weapon damage is less than if you wielded a weapon and a shield. It starts at a base of 60% normal damage, and increases by 0.5% with each train in left axe. Left axe skill also determines the damage done by your left-hand weapon.

So, if you are a level 50 character and put just 10 levels into left axe, you will find yourself doing just 65% of normal damage with your primary hand, and trying to make up for that with a left-hand weapon that is specced at just level 10. Not good. You will want at least 35, preferably 30 or more levels in left axe by the time you are level 50.

If you are going to use left axe, you will want to keep it specced to at least 2/3, and preferably ¾ your character level or better.

Another factor in using left axe is attack speed. As stated above, you will swing both weapons every time you attack. But how fast will you attack if you have a slow weapon in one hand, and a fast weapon in the other? Weapon speed is the average of the two weapon delays.

This means that, for style damage, you are better off wielding a slow weapon in the primary hand, and a fast axe in your left hand. This is because slower weapons hit harder, at the same DPS rating, than faster weapons. And, style damage is computed based on the damage of the primary weapon. So, by wielding a left axe that is faster than your primary weapon, you get the best of both worlds – faster attacks, and harder hits.

But, you might want to simply attack faster, wielding fast weapons in both hands. There are two reasons that faster attacks are better than slow ones. First, with faster attacks, any one evade, block, parry, or fumble is no big deal. You will recover quickly and attack again. Second, faster attacks minimize the effect that pulsing bladeturn spells have on you.

Then again, remember that the first swing in any fight has zero delay, and many fights (particularly in RvR) are short. Plus, the downside of speed is that it can be difficult to land reactive styles, such as those based off evade. As you approach the lower bound of 1.5 second weapon speed, it takes very nimble fingers to keep up a hamstring/leaper or comeback/frosty gaze chain.

IV.c. Is there any benefit to having Critical Strike, Left Axe or my weapon skill over 50?

All weapon skills benefit from higher skill levels. For Critical Strike, your damage cap goes up 9 points per level of specialization. So, your perforate Artery can do 45 points more damage at level 55 than at level 50.

For Left Axe, Axe or Sword damage, you will do better average damage with higher skill. Higher weapon specialization raises the minimum damage you do with each swing, and speccing above character level even raises the damage cap a little.

In both cases there are diminishing returns to speccing above character level. For Critical Strike, those 9 points don’t make a huge difference when you are perfing for 700+. And for weapons, the improved damage variance is small, but perceptible. Just remember that you get these benefits for the most expensive points you will spend; the skill points that it takes to raise your Critical Strike from 45 to 46 (+11 in items) might be better spent elsewhere.

IV.d. Which is better: sword or axe?

Conventional wisdom says that axes are a tiny bit better, for two reasons. First, axes are slower. That means they do more damage per hit, which means more Critical Strike damage. And, there is no delay on your first hit, so that extra damage has a limited cost in attack speed. Second, some axes give skill bonuses to both axe and left axe. So, if you dual-wield, you can double-dip on item bonuses.

In terms of weapon styles, most agree that Midgard’s axe styles are superior to our sword styles. This is not a bad thing for a Shadowblade, because you will almost always use styles from Critical Strike or Left Axe. It does mean that there is far less competition for swords than for axes when it comes time to distribute loot on raids. But that is a minor consideration.

But, differences in weapon bonuses pretty much disappear now that Spellcrafting is in the game. You can get player crafted swords that have left axe skill if you want, and the delay difference between axe and sword is negligible. So, it’s mostly a style choice.

IV.e. Why would I want to wield a slower weapon?

A slower damage does more damage per hit than does a faster weapon with the same damage per second (DPS) rating. This is very important for critblades, because style damage is computed off of weapon damage. So, the slower the weapon, the bigger the hit on that critical strike. And remember, there is no delay on that first swing.

The downside to a slow weapon is that a miss (or an enemy evade, block or parry) hurts a LOT. And, a pulsing bladeturn spell will cycle about every second swing against a slow weapon. You better do your damage in the first two rounds with a slow 2-handed weapon. But when you do, it’s so much fun.

IV.f. Did I really see a Shadowblade wielding a staff?

Hehe yeah, it’s possible to wield a staff as a Shadowblade. Staves in Midgard are an unspecced weapon ability, so you can’t put points into staff skill. But, staff damage is purely DEX based, and most Shadowblades have excellent DEX. Plus, Critical strike styles do work with staves. So, you can do some pretty mean damage.

This is particularly true against plate wearers, where the staff gets a damage bonus for being blunt. And even against Albion chain wearers, where slashing damage gets a major penalty.

This isn’t something you want to do all the time, but it can be fun to dress up like a caster and surprise those infiltrators who come to perforate you. Envenom the staff and smack ‘em with a garrotte/Achilles heal before they get their perforate artery off. Much fun.

IV.g Can I wield anything other than an axe in my left hand?

Generally, only an axe can be wielded in the left hand. Those are the only Midgard weapons that are designated as left-hand usable.

However, it may be possible to wield weapons from other realms if you plan on “special” servers, such as Mordred and Andred (the PvP servers) or Gaheris (the cooperative server). There is some question whether this is at all useful, because it seems that left axe styles will not work with anything other than an axe equipped in your left hand. And, there is a dearth of logs or verified information as to whether the left axe rules apply to main hand damage if you are wielding, say, a Hibernian sword in your left hand.

V.h How does QUI affect my critical strike damage, particularly on Perforate Artery?

From my (admittedly limited) testing, QUI does not affect perforate artery, nor does it affect non-style damage. I am told that it only affects damage of non-hidden, styled attacks. Higher QUI is supposed to decrease damage per swing, but increase damage over time. For SBs, that depend on the big hit (critblades), the fact that it doesn’t seem to lower PA damage is good.


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V. ENVENOM
V.a. How does Envenom work?

Envenom skill lets you apply poison to weapons. Each application of a poison costs money, and each application gets just one use, whether it is resisted or not.

V.b. Can I envenom a weapon for somebody else? Can somebody else envenom a weapon for me?

Yes, it is possible to put poison on a weapon for somebody else. The only catches are that


you must be able to wield the weapon (axe or sword, no hammer or spear L )

the person wielding the weapon must be at least as high a level as the poison being applied
If the weapon wielder’s level is lower than that of the poison, the poison will not proc, but will disappear from the weapon.

V.c. What do the various poisons do?

There are 4 types of vendor-sold poison:

DoT poisons do damage over time, starting at round 5 per tick (for 6 ticks) at level 5, p to around 80 per tick at level 50. Great for that extra added punch, and probably the most common poison in both PvE and RvR.

Disease poisons debuff your opponent’s STR, CON and movement speed. They also cut any heals cast on the opponent by half. Makes a great pair with a DoT poison; the DoT causes damage, the disease prevents the heals and slows the enemy down just a little.

Snare poisons debuff enemy movement speed by 40%. Unlike snare spells, poison-based snare does not break when the enemy takes damage. Very useful for keeping an enemy from running away between your Perforate Artery and Creeping Death. Another useful technique is to keep one weapon in your pack with snare poison, for those times when you need to escape a fight.

Weakening poisons debuff enemy STR, and at higher levels both STR and CON. At high levels the effect of a CON debuff can be 150 HP taken off the enemy target. If you dual-wield, the 1-2 punch of a CON debuff and a DoT can be devastating.



There are also 2 types of alchemist-crafted poisons:

Lethargy poisons reduce the target’s attack speed, much like the cleric attack speed debuff spell.

Weariness poisons increase the target’s endurance cost for activities such as attack styles and running. These are VERY powerful against melee characters, who depend on styles to do their damage.



V.d. Can I envenom a throwing weapon?

Nope. Well OK, yes you can, but the poison won’t do anything. So don’t do it.

V.e. How do item bonuses affect envenom?

Item bonuses work differently for envenom than for weapon or spell skills. While an item bonus on a weapon skill will give you better damage, it will not grant you the styles available at the higher level. A bonus to envenom skill, however does give you access to the higher-level poisons.

This is extremely important, because an extra 5 points of envenom skill will give you a better DoT poison. It means that no assassin should ever spec Envenom over level 39, because you can achieve level 50 with item bonuses. In fact, getting Envenom to 36-38 is fine, because realm ranks will take care of the rest.

V.f. Can I swap out items to get higher envenom skill?

Yes, it is actually possible to equip a +envenom item to apply a poison, and then swap in a different item (say, one that gives you a +sword skill) to attack with it. The envenom check is done when you apply a poison.

V.g Can I change the poison that is on a weapon, without using it?

As of 1.53, the answer is yes. In addition, as of 1.53 you can “delve” (Shift-I by default) a weapon to see what poison is currently applied. If you attempt to envenom a weapon that already has poison on it, you will get the message that the old effect was replaced by the new one.

V.h What resists work against poison?

As of 1.53, Body resist applies to poisons. This means that the damage of DoT poisons, and the duration of other effects (disease, snare, etc.) will be reduced by the victim’s body resist.

V.i Where can I find the components for those new alchemy poisons?

The most powerful alchemist-crafted poisons are made with rare dropped items. Essence of Lethargy requires Ancient Necrotic Brain Fluid, and Essence of Weariness is concocted using an Ancient Lich Tooth.

Like other alchemy drops, these can be obtained form high level MOBs in Malmohus, Vanern Swamp, and Raumarik. These include Drakulvs near the dragon lair (executioners, soultrappers) and Jotuns in the swamp (broken jotuns, jotun outcasts).

V.j Do poisons stack? And what about DoT procs on weapons and armor?

Poisons of different types do stack with each other, and can be extremely effective in combinations. For example, a DoT poison will do damage, while a disease poison will cut any heals to your victim in half. I’m not sure whether the snare component of disease stacks with that of crippling poison, or whether the STR debuff of disease stacks with that of the enervating line.

V.k Why shouldn’t I put +Envenom skill on a weapon?

Right now it’s not a good idea to put +Envenom skill on a spellcrafted weapon. The reason is that, when you apply poison to a weapon by the drag and drop method, you momentarily un-equip the weapon to apply the poison. If you need the +Envenom skill in order to apply that poison, this creates a situation where your skill is too low to apply the poison.

The workaroudn is to apply the poison via hotkey. Drag the stack of poisons to a hotkey onwhatever quickbar you choose. Clicking the hotkey will apply the poison to whichever weapon you are wielding at the time.

Most would agree that the momentary un-equippign of a weapon is a bug, but there is no timetable for it being fixed. So, for now it’s best to not put envenom skill on weapons.


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VI. GAME PLAY
VI.a. How do I solo as a Shadowblade?

Very carefully.

Seriously, Shadowblades need to be picky about soloing, because our range ability is minimal, and our ability to deal with adds practically nonexistent.

The ideal situation for a Shadowblade is a camp of neutral, static MOBs that do not BAF or call for help. This allows you to set up critical strikes to your heart’s content.. Unfortunately, such situations are rare, or perhaps nonexistent. So, look for the best combination of those qualities you can find.

The best example of a good camp is probably the crabs in Uppland. These creatures are neutral (won’t aggro if you lose stealth) and don’t call for help. So, you can set up your critical strikes, kill things, and rest. This is a great situation for the level 35-36 Shadowblade. At level 38+, Spindels in Spindelhalla have the same characteristics.

It is possible to pull with throwing knives, but then you will generally not be able to set up a critical strike that needs stealth. It is possible to pull, run a bit and stealth before the MOB gets to you, so that you can perforate artery. But it’s dicey, and it’s a lot of work. And, you absolutely must get balanced or weighted throwing knives, for the extra range. Of course, shadowzerkers don’t really need to set up a critical strike anyway, so they have an advantage here.

In general, stick to blue MOBs for soloing. You will evade more, which means less damage taken PLUS more evade-based styles. That means less downtime and faster experience. Once you get realm abilities such as Dodger and Regeneration, taking on yellow con MOBs becomes more efficient.

VI.b. Why can’t I get a group?

The sad truth is that Shadowblades are not valued for exp groups. There are two reasons for this. First, all we do is deal damage, and there are plenty of classes who can do that. Second is that, if we deal the damage we’re capable of, we usually get aggro. And we can’t take aggro from a red con MOB for long – we don’t have the HP to do that.

Still, groups that refuse to take a Shadowblade are stupid. Just like groups that don’t want runemasters, hunters or other classes that have a tough time. Any good player can contribute to a group no matter what class they play.

One thing Shadowblades do well is duo with healers or shamen. The same is true for any melee class, but it is worth nothing this as something for Shadowblades to look for. The buffs you get from either Midgard healing class will substantially increase your damage output and defensive capabilities, and their heals can eliminate downtime. Now that shamen get an endurance regen buff, they are about the best duo class there is.

VI.c. Well, then what SHOULD I do in a group?

The main thing to remember about grouping is that you will be fighting higher level targets than you did while solo. That means that the monsters will hit harder and you will evade less if you get aggro. Your job is to deal damage without becoming a mana sponge for the healers.

To do this, you will probably want to not use perforate artery. If you really feel the need, then wait until the main tank has a solid hold on aggro. But, positional styles such as Pincer are usually more efficient in terms of endurance, aggro and damage.

Use poisons that benefit the group without making you high maintenance for healers. Things like the weakening poison are good, to lighten the healing load overall. And keep a weapon envenomed with snare poison, just in case the group needs to run.

Finally, make sure you have your detaunt style loaded. You won’t have this on a soloing quickbar, of course, but it should be on your grouping bar.

VI.d. What is the Shadowblade’s role in RvR?

In RvR you can do several things. You can scout better than any archer because of your superior stealth skills and ability to climb keep walls. You can assassinate enemy casters, or just about any solo player (you probably want to avoid Albion tanks though, because of armor modifiers against slash damage). You can kill keep archers and defenders. RvRis where Shadowblades shine.

The main problems for Shadowblades are True Sight and groups. True Sight is the archer realm ability that lets them see stealthed characters for a full minute, and is usable on a 30-minute timer. If you are True Sighted, your first warning will likely be an arrow in the back, when it’s too late.

As for groups, it is often tempting to think that you will be able to perf that sitting caster and run away in the confusion that ensues. This rarely works past the first battleground. When dealing with groups, you need to wait for the confusion to ensue first (such as an attack by a group of Mids) or wait for somebody to fall behind or stray from the pack. Patience is very hard to maintain, but it’s usually better than having to release and port back.


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VII. REALM ABILITIES
VII.a. What are Realm Abilities & how do I obtain them?
Realm Abilities are extra abilities that you can 'purchase' with Realm Ability Points. You get 1 Realm Ability point for every Realm Level you obtain, so if you are Realm Rank 2, level 5, you should have 15 Realm Ability points to spend ( Rank 1, level 0, is your realm Rank start point so Rank 2, level 5 is 15 levels above it ).

A full list of Realm Abilities can be found on the Camelot Herald.

VII.b. It says in the manual that we get illusion spells. What are these how do I get them?

We don’t get illusion spells. They were originally going to be part of the Shadowblade class, but Mythic changed its mind. We may eventually get some sort of disguise ability, but don’t hold your breath or you will turn blue (or, if you’re a Kobold, bluer).

VII.c. Which realm abilities should I get?

There are a couple parts to this answer, depending on whether you are still leveling or whether you are primarily in RvR mode.

When you are in the battlegrounds, you will want to get abilities that help you in exp groups as well as RvR. Dodger is widely regarded as very valuable. That extra 3% evade chance means 3% less damage for you, which means less downtime. The quickness needed to get Dodger is always useful too. As you will still be leveling at this point, a great combination to shoot for by the time you leave the last battleground is Aug Quickness 2, Dodger 2, Tireless, and Regeneration. You will be able to solo with very little downtime if you have these realm abilities.

Some people really like Mastery of Pain. The theory there is that you do more damage, thus kill faster, thus take less damage. That works, too. Mastery of Pain is based off of augmented dexterity, which is valuable, and once you have the augmented dexterity you can think about things like dualists reflexes (if you are a dual wielder).

For those who wield two-handed weapons, Mastery of Arms is a viable option. This increases your attack speed without sacrificing damage per hit (which is a problem with higher quickness). It costs three levels of Augment Strength as a prerequisite, but more STR is always good anyway.

Those who go the left axe route may want to look at the abilities to increase damage there. An extra 3% damage from dualists reflexes is pretty cheap, particulalry since it shares the Augmented Dexterity prerequisite with Mastery of Pain.

Once upon a time, Ignore Pain was the thing to get for Shadowblades. But, as of the 1.58 patch we can no longer get this realm ability. Another change made in that patch was to cap Evade at 50%; this affects Dodger. You shouldn’t get Dodger at any level higher than 2, or you will be wasting points putting yourself over the evade cap.

Another very important RvR ability is purge. Because you have to get up close and personal to do damage, you will often be subjected to mez, stun and root spells as you try to escape. Your only antidote is purge. It has a 30-minute timer, but 30 minutes can go quickly in RvR. You shuld probably supplement this with at least one or two levels of Avoidance of Magic, to improve your resists all around.

Just a closing note. At RR3L7, my shadowblade has Dodger 2, Mastery of Pain 2, and Purge. This seems like a pretty good combo, and next on my list are Avoidance of Magic, and then Augmented Strength leading to Mastery of Arms..

VII.d. How does realm ability respec work?

Realm abilities have different uses at different points in your career. Some are better for PvE hunting (for example, Regeneration), while others are useful only in RvR (for example, See Hidden). Mythic recognizes this by allowing each character to respec realm abilities twice.

Respeccing means that all of your realm abilities are set to zero, and all your realm ability points restored so that you can spend them as you see fit. The primary use of respeccing is to change from experience and leveling mode to full RvR mode, but some people use a respec to correct an error (such as taking a skill they thought would be useful, but later decided they didn’t like).

To respec, you must find a trainer. While you are in close proximity to the trainer and have him or her targeted, type

/respec realm

You will be asked to confirm that you really want to do this. If you confirm your decision, all your realm abilities will be reset. This is not a decision to make lightly, but used well can make a big difference in a character’s ability to solo or to RvR.


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VIII. MISCELLANEOUS
VIII.a. Why do I hate Lurikeens so much?

Because every right-thinking person hates Lurikeens. How can you not?

VIII.b. Why do I hate Friars so much?

Because they run around in dresses looking like nice, soft casters – and then evade your perforate artery and whack you upside the head with a staff for 350 damage. Not much to like.

VIII.c. Why do I hate Infiltrators so much?

Because infiltrators are like cockroaches: for every 1 you see, there are 3 hiding behind the walls ready to jump you when the battle starts.

VIII.d. Why do I hate Necromancers so much?

At number one with a bullet on most hated lists everywhere, Necromancers give the shadowblade several reasons to hate them.

First of all, they have a set of spells that makes them very difficult for any melee character to kill. Lifetaps, particularly lifetap shouts, are anathema to melee characters. Add to this DD and DoT shouts, and necromancers are very tough up close.

To make matters worse, the necromancer is the only class in any realm that is utterly impossible to kill in one shot. A level 50 shadowblade cannot kill a level 1 necromancer in one shot, because you must first kill the pet, and then kill the necromancer once he is out of shade mode.

Finally, if you see a necromancer in battle, it’s likely that he will be using PBAEs and such. That makes it very hard to stealth up and get a critical strike opener. Yet another reason to hate those stupid necros.

VIII.e. Why do I hate Animists so much?

Animists are a pain for their own unique reason: those stinking turrets. There are two problems with the turrets.

First are the PBAE turrets. These things will destealth you unintentionally, leaving you twisting in the wind and no critical strike possible. Second are the debuff turrets, which will strike (but, I’m told, not destealth) stealthed players. Ugh.

[I]Viii.f. Do I need a buffbot?[I]

A buffbot is a character, on a second account, whose sole purpose is to improve your primary character. The typical use would be to park the buffbot at the portal keep in the enemy frontier, buff your shadowblade to the gills with AF, STR, STR/CON, DEX, DEX/QUI and Damage Shield concentration buffs, and then add END regen and Damage add timed buffs.

The effect of buffs is truly incredible; it can add 2-3 levels to your effective play in RvR or PvE. When soloing, you become a killing machine. You do more damage, faster, and take much less damage than without buffs. Yellows will rarely get more than one swing at you, oranges are your bread and butter, and even a low red is killable (but somewhat risky).

In RvR, you can tell that your opponent is buffed when she evades everything you try and attacks impossibly fast and hard. The effect is extremely pronounced.

There is much debate about whether buffbots are good or bad for the game, but Mythic has said that they are by no means illegal, so consider them a fact of life.


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