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Miriel’s Tips, Tricks, and General Ruminations on Becoming a Better Mage

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  • Miriel’s Tips, Tricks, and General Ruminations on Becoming a Better Mage

    Miriel’s Tips, Tricks, and General Ruminations on Becoming a Better Mage

    Hi! I’m Miriel, a mage from S265-Frost Summit. (I do have other characters, but Miriel is my oldest, my best and my beloved.) At the time I’m writing this, Miriel is level 41 and trying to get a better battle rating. XD I’m a non-cash player and proud, though sometimes I do feel sad when I see all the awesome VIP and cash players. (And as an aside, since people keep asking, I AM actually a girl in real life as well as online. :P)

    This started out as a chatty little thing about everything I've noticed and want to ramble about. Well, as you can see, it's not so little anymore, but hopefully still chatty! And useful...and entertaining. :P Well, let's get started.

    Since I’ve been here a while, this guide is going to be more of a chatty, random “general observations” guide than a really detailed walkthrough, so if you want one of the latter, try checking out some of the other guides around here (some of which are GREAT!) or looking around on Google. Also, this guide will NOT be a comparison of classes; I’m assuming you’ve already chosen your mage and want to know how to develop from there. (Again, if you want a class comparison, there are some GREAT reviews around here, plus some floating around on other gaming sites.) Of course, everything is based off my experience through the development of my mage, so I hope you’ll join me in watching and learning. :3

    First of all, some general tips and tricks on the strengths and potentials of mages. Since mages are pretty much the only class with magic attack skills, they have very good AoE (Area of Effect) skills, but they’re balanced by lower health, mediocre basic defense and weaker single shots. (You COULD go for a mainly single shot build, building heavy on the single shot skills, but I don’t recommend it, since mage single shot skills (Delphic Thunder Frenzy, Thunderer) tend to be very costly Rage-wise. Instead, I chose to go with the AoE skills and create a more balanced mage with high HP, high defense and good troops to make up for lost health and defense.)

    Starting with low-level mages, you’ll have pretty easy PVE (Player vs. Enemy) battles, plus basically no PVP battles to speak of until around level 20. Since PVE is easy at this point, waste as little Daru as possible on upgrading your troops until you get to harder dungeons; skip Hunter and Priest troops completely (except to recruit 200 for quests) and stick with Lancers. Why? Hunters and Priests are outrageously easy to kill, and since dungeons are pretty relaxing during the first twenty levels or so, you should only have to use Lancers, and you shouldn’t need to upgrade them often. (In my experience, level 5 lancers can kill level 11 monsters fairly well, so don’t waste Daru upgrading Lancers like crazy: wait, and save your Daru for the Paladins, a stronger type of soldier which burns lots of Daru. Additionally, the higher you go in troop type and quality, the more Daru you burn just upgrading your troops to higher levels, so save your Daru for later troops, like Gryphons and Knights.)

    A few tips about various features you’ll unlock prior to level 20: first of all, the game gives you trial cards for both VIP service (30 minutes) and the Spirit Covenant (12 hours) at some point. If you go non-cash, non-VIP, like me, these will be your only chances to experience VIP and Spirit Covenant. At least in the case of the VIP Ticket, the game will try to force you to use the VIP card immediately. DON’T LET THE GAME FORCE YOU INTO USING VIP AND SPIRIT COVENANT TRIAL CARDS RIGHT AWAY! As other tutorials have helpfully noted, refreshing the game at the point when you get the VIP Ticket will get you out of being forced to use it right away. With Miriel, I made the mistake of using both VIP service and Spirit Covenant trial periods very early; I now heartily regret it, because VIP service and the Spirit Covenant give good benefits, even for the short time period of the trial. For example, VIPs can spin a VIP wheel for lots of goodies, but each spin takes a certain number of items called VIP tokens; later in the game, you’ll be able to rack up lots of those through dungeon runs and other instances, but you won’t have many when you get your cards.

    The moral? SAVE your trial cards--so you can use them later, when you have a better character (and thus more benefits), or when you have more time (so it’s more convenient to use your trials), or when you can secrete the cards away somewhere on a dusty shelf in your inventory so they can become the family heirloom, or…whatever. Just don’t, and I mean DON’T, use them if you want to go non-cash and/or want to be able to test these special services at a later, more convenient time.

    A quick tip about guilds, too: when you first apply to a guild, make sure you only apply to high-level guilds (preferably levels 7+), and apply to as many high-level guilds as possible. Miriel’s first guild, Fear, was only level 2 or 3; the members were not very active or engaged in the guild, the community was hardly supportive, and the Guild Altar only allowed for three spins a day. In contrast, my current guild, Nadirim, is something like level 8; it allows for fifteen Altar spins a day—usually more than I can afford—and the community is extremely lively, engaged and helpful. (The only problem is that everyone speaks Hungarian—so half the time I don’t understand what goes on in Guild Chat—but that’s what RosettaStone and language buddies are for, right? :P)

    In case you’re still in these early parts of the game, you’ll have a chance to avoid the mistake I made, which was to sell those “weird items like Soul Crystals and Mount Whips which never seem to do anything.” DO NOT SELL THESE! They’ll be very important later in the game, and you’ll be glad you have them if you keep them: for example, Soul Crystals add lots of cool effects through Soul Engraving, accessible from your Inventory, and Mount training Whips are key to training your Mount (which you’ll get at level 40). In short, if it’s an item you’re unfamiliar with, or one that doesn’t seem to do much, at least Google it before you sell it and see if it does anything later on.

    During the first twenty levels, your skill points should be pretty much auto-directed by the game toward one skill or another. If you want to reset your skill build prior to level 25, you can; I did not, and I now slightly regret that decision. However, the skill build prior to level 25 is not bad, and it basically just opens all your basic skills, so if you want, you can be lazy like me and not bother to reset your points. :3

    After level 20, access to the Arena (which features single-player and multiplayer PVP action), the Hall of Heroes (i.e. PVE multiplayer dungeons), and, later on, the Battlegrounds, opens up. At level 20, or just after unlocking these features, you’ll be pretty weak compared to the gazillions of higher-level players already flocking these instances (or, in the case of Battlegrounds, you’ll be FOREVER at the mercy of high-level and cash players ). Thus, don’t be surprised if you aren’t exactly killing your PVP enemies with ease. In the single-player Arena, however, the game matches you up with potential opponents around your level, so it’s a good idea to start dueling and raising your rank as soon as possible; it only gets harder if you wait. (I made the mistake of waiting with my mage; she’s now stuck somewhere in the 900s and struggling to stay afloat. My knight, Samarru, has had better luck, since I started earlier with her.)

    From level 20 to 30, you’ll definitely want to recruit Paladins instead of Lancers; keep them around five to ten levels behind your hero, never below ten levels of your hero’s level. At level 30, switch to Gryphons: they’re a lot stronger, and you won’t have a prayer in Battlegrounds unless you use Gryphons like everyone else. XD Upgrading Gryphons takes a lot of Daru, so save up all your Daru prior to level 30. Also, be sure to keep your Town Hall and Barracks up-to-level with your hero’s level, so that you can start recruiting Paladins and Gryphons as soon as you reach their levels.

    Between levels 20 and 30 you should gain access to the Forgotten Catacombs. For the first few levels (up to the level ten levels behind your hero’s level) this will give you nice rewards in EXP and loot, and for the first ten levels or so it should be a breeze. But as you climb upwards in the Catacombs, fighting monsters will get significantly harder; high-level bosses are often much more difficult to defeat compared to the five levels of normal monsters leading up to each boss. If your goal is to reach as high a level as possible—possibly even the top at level 100—try to anticipate whether you’re strong enough to defeat a level; if you’re not careful you’ll get killed, and as a non-cash player you’ll only have a fixed number of times to respawn free, per level run, before you either have to pay cash or restart from Catacombs level 1. However, if you’re simply trying to get as much EXP and loot as possible through Catacombs, killing yourself—even on purpose—can be quite useful: as far as I know, dying in battle is the only way to restart the Catacombs, and therefore the only way to farm EXP multiple times from each level.

    Astrals unlock at level 25, and believe me, these are important. A note of warning, however: when I first unlocked Astrals, I wasn't very aware of how much they cost. Make sure you don’t accidentally burn all your money collecting Astrals! (Personally, I find it easiest to rack up lots of gold, at least 200K extra or so, and then go on a long Astral collecting phase, so I don’t have to worry about only having the money to collect three Astrals every other hour or something.)

    As a mage, you’ll want to focus on getting Astrals which boost your Magic Attack (Mysticality Astral), Magic Defense (Willpower Astral), Physical Defense (Fortitude Astral), and, less importantly, Health (including Pristine Goddess Blessing, Blessed Health, and Brilliance Astrals). Physical Attack Astrals are meaningless for a mage, since mages don’t have Physical Attack; Crit-based Astrals CAN be used, but again, if you aren’t going for a single-shot mage, they aren’t so useful.

    When you first get Astrals, you’ll have only two equippable Astral slots available (changing to three slots at level 30, four at level 40), so don’t waste your time using low-level (green) Astrals and trying to level them up. Instead, wait for a higher-level Astral (blue at least) and then equip it, using green-level Astrals to add EXP to your equipped Astrals. For example, instead of using the normal green-level Brilliance Astral as your health Astral, try waiting until you capture a Pristine Goddess Blessing or Blessed Health Astral; then use normal Astrals, such as Brilliance to level up your Pristine Goddess Blessing Astral. As you get higher and higher types of Astrals, replace your old Astrals with these higher ones and convert the old Astrals into EXP for your newer, better Astrals. (And, last but not least, if you get confused about which Astral is better or higher quality or more useful, you can always look at your Astral Value, in the upper left of the Astral equipping page.)

    As a side note: I usually channel all of my lower-level Astrals into EXP for my higher-level, equipped Astrals by sorting the low-level Astrals according to their type: for example, Brilliance Astrals go to my equipped health Astral, Brutality (PATK) and Mysticality Astrals go to my equipped MATK Astral, and Willpower and Fortitude Astrals go to my respective MDEF and PDEF Astrals (the latter of which is a Pristine Fortitude Astral, yay!). This kind of sorting certainly isn’t required, but I find it useful to keep all of my Astrals leveling more or less evenly, since Astrals of each type are pretty evenly distributed in collection.
    Last edited by Elanairiel; 12-05-2013, 04:24 PM. Reason: Cleaning up.
    The Sorceress is Watching

    S265-Frost Summit
    Level 71

  • #2
    As you reach higher levels, your skill build will once again become flexible and malleable to your own whims. As I’m going for more of a balanced build, I like to put skill points towards AoE spells (Rain of Fire, Meteoric Destroyer) and my basic spell (Lightning Strike). Additionally, I would class spell skills into three different categories: Basic Spells (Lightning Strike, Rain of Fire), Secondary/Special Spells (Thunderer, Meteoric Destroyer, possibly Restoration) and Cool/Optional Spells (Delphic Thunder Frenzy, Damnation, and a few others I haven’t unlocked yet). Basic Spells are your workhorse, the spells you’ll be using most often: Lightning Strike, your most basic, basic spell, takes no Rage, and can be pretty powerful, while Rain of Fire is your major AoE skill, and can also be powerful if you build it. Although Lightning Strike never has any QTE (Quick Time Event; extra spell boost activated by pressing keys quickly on the keyboard), it’s still very important, and with a couple skill points put towards it can get very powerful. Additionally, you might as well max the power for this skill since, when you run out of Rage in a battle, you’ll be forced to use it.

    As for the other Basic Spell, Rain of Fire certainly DOES have QTE, and that’s why you’ll want to upgrade it, as soon as possible, to AT LEAST level 2, which is when QTE unlocks for this particular skill. Meteoric Destroyer, your other AoE skill, ranks with Rain of Fire, but takes a longer skill tree to unlock, which is why I’ve classified it in Secondary Spells.

    Speaking of Secondary Spells: these are your spells which are more powerful than Basic Spells, but also costlier (both in terms of skill points and Rage points). Spend points wisely on Secondary Spells, and prioritize Basic Spells. Activate Castinator so you can gain access to Meteoric Destroyer, but don’t waste points trying to upgrade Castinator. Similarly, view Delphic Thunder Frenzy as simply a route to Thiunderer, your most basic and most efficient single-shot spell, which you’ll use a lot in Boss Fights. Don’t waste too many points on Passive spells, which you should mostly just activate as access to other spells (I spent two points fully upgrading Heart Elemental, but most Passives don’t need to be upgraded to more than level 1).

    As another side note: Other mages (such as Vodka in her wonderful non-cash mage beginner’s guide) seem to say that Restoration is useless, since you can compensate for it with Health Runestones and such. I find it useful (and also kinda cool), so if you’re like me, you’ll put at least two points toward Restoration to activate QTE. However, there’s certainly a debate about whether Restoration is useful or not, so think twice about putting it on your Skills bar (although it has helped me defeat my most recent boss).

    This brings me to my third catgory of spells: Optional spells. These, including Delphic Thunder Frenzy, can be very cool in battle and may look tantalizing at first, but they’re usually overhyped, underpowered, Rage-consuming, or generally inefficient. For example, Delphic Thunder Frenzy (a quintessential Optional Spell) has great, impressive graphics and a lot of damage potential, but it only attacks front enemies, and the 80 Rage points it takes are just crippling to your Rage bar: if you’re even lucky enough to build up that many points in a battle, rebuilding your points afterwards will be almost impossible. Use Thunderer instead, which, although it only targets a single enemy, uses up only 50 Rage and deals comparable damage to its targets. Similarly, although Damnation seems like a cool skill at first, it only deals 400 magic damage to a single enemy, and takes 30 Rage. So steer clear of these cool, but costly, spells—unless you’re testing them out for the first time, or in a battle where you’re sure to win—and stick with practical skills such as Rain of Fire or Meteoric Destroyer.

    At level 35 you’ll gain access to Soul Engravings, which give bonus increases to the power of socketed gems in your equipment. Remember all those silly Soul Crystals from earlier in the game? These give your Soul Engraving (accessible from your Inventory, at the top left of your character’s equipment slots page) extra EXP, boosting the Engraving to ever higher levels. (In case you’re confused like me, Soul Crystals are NOT the same as Shadow Crystals: both can be gotten through drops in dungeons, and both should be kept as valuable items, but Shadow Crystals are purely quest items for the quest series Shadow Crystal Daily.)

    When you get to level 40, if you’ve been keeping your Barracks and Town Hall up-to-date with your hero, you’ll have access to two new troops: Knights and Angels. Don’t waste time or Daru switching to these new troops: level 25 Knights are more powerful than level 36 Gryphons, and they’re used by everyone at that level in Battlegrounds. If Gryphons are gods compared to Paladins, so are Knights, compared to Gryphons. Additionally, only recruit Angels when the quests ask you to: there’s been an ongoing debate as to whether Knights or Angels are better, and in my experience, Knights have better attack, defense and health abilities than Angels. Don’t let the pretty faces fool you: Angels are terrible in battle, and their healing skills usually just go to each other, so use a Restoration skill with Knights instead.

    Mounts are something I always really looked forward to, so don’t wait: catch up to level 40 to get your very own first steed, a White Battle Steed! (Remember all those Mount Training Whips from earlier in the game? This is where you’ll use ‘em: each whip counts for 10 Mount EXP, boosting your Mount’s, and therefore your hero’s, stats, and after 1300 uses your Mount Stables will be upgraded to level 2, at which point you’ll get a free Imperial Battle Steed—bigger and badder than the White Battle Steed. Better get working!) Although Mounts may be of more aesthetic use than actual usefulness in boosting stats, Mounts DO boost your battle rating, and they look amazing, so why not?

    As a side note on equipment, you may be wondering how to get good-looking, powerful stuff for your character to wear. Fortunately, most of the clothing for mages (especially female ones *wink wink nod nod*) looks good anyway, but don’t waste your time maxing out equipment enchantments at lower levels: you’ll level up quickly until level 20+ or so, and you should just keep getting new equipment. At levels 30-40, however, you’ll want to start enchanting; you won’t get new, better equipment as quickly, and the enchantments will make a BIG difference.

    In terms of looking beautiful, some of the best mage’s clothes are sets like the Gloridon set, (obtainable through Blacksmith Item Synthesis; requires a little work to get requisite materials), which I used from level 30-35 or so, or the Soulmaster set, obtainable for Insignia in the Arena shop, which I used since level 40. If you get more than one piece from each set (and equip the pieces), you’ll get extra bonuses; if you equip all the pieces, you’ll get some very nice bonuses indeed. For example, the Soulmaster set gives a -1000 MDEF buff for all four pieces equipped; for three pieces, initial Rage (in a dungeon or in a PVP fight) +30 points; for two pieces, Endurance +50 (giving your hero +1000 Health Points). Plus, the bonuses stack, so if you equip all four pieces you’ll get the bonuses from having three pieces and two pieces as well. 8)

    Well, that’s the end of my piece for now, but don’t write it off yet—I still have a lot to go, and hope to be editing this as I go along! Ciao for now, see you around! <3


    ~To be continued~
    Last edited by Elanairiel; 12-05-2013, 04:17 PM. Reason: Just updating, cleaning up. :)
    The Sorceress is Watching

    S265-Frost Summit
    Level 71