Beginner's Guide to Playing a Warrior
From Asheron's Call Community Wiki
Why Play a Warrior
Note: There are no true classes in Asheron's Call. However, characters generally stick to one form of attack: close-combat (Warrior/Melee), archery (Archer/Missile), or offensive magic (mage).
Warriors, generally called melees in game, are usually considered the easiest or simplest class to play. Combat is fast-paced but rather simple - with your available combat options being aiming high, medium, or low, with a slider bar to shift between speed and attack power. Melees are easy to play, only requiring basic supplies like potions and healing kits for long durations of combat. Melees are the only class allowed to use shields (with the exception of some weaker thrown weapons). Shields can greatly reduce physical damage taken - damage dealt with melee or missile weapons. In addition, there are special shields that offer little or no physical protection, but will greatly reduce magical damage taken. The simplicity of recovering health and stamina, along with the damage reduction of shields, give melees high survivabilty. This makes them ideal for new players who are inexperienced with the combat system.
- Melees do not have ranged attacks. This makes some creatures that archers or mages can easily pick off from a distance very difficult for melees.
- Innate attributes are an issue for melees. See Attribute Importance below for more details.
- Melees that do not use Two Handed Weapons cannot deal damage to multiple targets.
- Melees generally do not deal as high damage as mages or archers, but attack faster.
Choosing a Combat Skill and Weapon Mastery
Primary Combat Skills
This skill allows you to wield finesse style weaponry. Finesse Weapons uses the attribute formula (coordination + quickness) /3 with the damage being based on coordination. This skill costs 4 credits to train and a further 4 credits to specialize.
Light Weapons This skill allows you to wield light one handed melee weapons and also helps you to punch and kick. Light Weapons uses the attribute formula (strength + coordination) /3 with the damage being based on strength. This skill costs 4 credits to train and a further 4 credits to specialize.
Heavy Weapons This skill allows you to wield heavy one handed melee weapons. Heavy Weapons uses the attribute formula (strength + coordination) /3 with the damage being based on strength. This skill costs 6 credits to train and a further 6 credits to specialize.
Two Handed Combat This skill allows you to wield two handed weapons. Two Handed Combat uses the attribute formula (strength + coordination) /3 with the damage being based on strength. This skill costs 8 credits to train and a further 8 credits to specialize.
Secondary Combat Skills
There are eight melee combat weapon masteries. Weapon masteries are initially picked through choice of character race but can be changed post Character Creation.
Axes are slow and heavy hitting melee weapons wth very high variance given them poorer damage over time. Axe lacks a loot generated weapon capable of piercing damage, but has both slashing and bludgeoning weapons. Axe has a fair amount of quest weapons at all stages of play. All Lugian and Undead characters begin with this mastery.
Daggers are quick, low burden weapons. Dagger has access to slashing and piercing damage at full power. Many types of Loot generated daggers have the Multi-Strike property. Dagger has a fair amount of quest weapons at all stages of play. All Aluvian characters begin with this mastery.
Maces are another slow melee weapon, similar to Axe. Maces have lower damage variance than most weapons giving them good damage over time. Maces have access to bludgeoning and piercing attacks at full power. Mace a fair amount of quest weapons, but most of these weapons are for low to mid levels of play, and the skill lacks in high end quest weapons. All Gear Knight characters begin with this mastery.
Spears are capable of piercing and slashing damage. Spear has relatively few quest weapons. All Aun Tumerok characters begin with this mastery.
Staves are cabable of elemental and bludgeoning damage and have good damage variance. Staff has few quest weapons. All Gharu'ndim characters begin with this mastery.
Swords have access to slashing damage at full power and piercing damage at low power, with no bludgeoning - its one shortcoming. Quest swords are numerous, appear at all levels of play, and usually have decent capabilities. Some of the lighter Loot swords also generate with the Multi-Strike property. All Empyrean and Viamontian characters begin with this mastery.
Two Handed Weapons are available in all physical damage types and elements. As these weapons require the use of both hands, you cannot wield a Shield. All non-piercing two handed weapons have the Cleaving property allowing the wielder to strike two frontal targets with a single swing. None of the character races begin with this mastery and it should be always taken when the Two Handed Combat skill is trained.
Unarmed Weapons are light and very fast due to a much quicker animation - giving it good damage over time. It has access to all three physical damage types. There is no animation delay when switching weapons or shields. UA has a fair amount of quest weapons at all stages of play. All Sho, Umbraen and Penumbraen characters begin with this mastery.
Strength is very important for all melee skills, being based on the formula (Strength + Coordination) / 3, so the higher strength the better. The exception is Finesse Weapons, being based on (Coordination + Quickness) / 3. Strength also increases the amount of burden units (weight) you can carry, something useful for warriors with heavy shields, armor, and weapons.
Endurance is important in that your health, stamina, and innate resistances are based off of it. Endurance is also the primary attribute for figuring your Natural Resistances. However, the only skill that uses endurance as part of its formula is Armor Tinkering, which is considered an unimportant skill to have on main characters.
Coordination is the most important attribute to melees, since all of the melee weapons' formulas include Coordination. In addition, melee defense, missile defense, and a wide range of secondary skills like healing and cooking are based off of Coordination.
Quickness is a fairly important attribute for melees. Melee and missile defense are based off of it, along with run. So higher quickness will increase your ability to evade and if needed escape. However, some argue that since melee characters already greatly reduce the physical damage they take from having armor and shields, that evading attacks is irrelevant. If you choose to play a character with lower magic usage, melee and missile defense are useful beyond their evading - both skills are used as activation requirements for built-in armor enchantments, and as wield requirements for the powerful Covenant Armor.
Focus is a fairly important attribute for melees. Magic defense is based on focus and self, so higher focus will increase your resistance ability. If you are magic heavy, all the magic skills are based off of focus and self, so higher focus will allow you to more effectively weaken enemies with magic, and it will give you access to self-buffing faster than someone with low focus. If you are magic light, focus is still important, because Arcane Lore and Alchemy, two important skills for a low magic user, are based off of focus.
Self is not very important for melees. Self is only useful for the magic skills and magic defense - and melees can usually get by having 10 innate Self if they invest some points into focus.
Dereth is world full of magic. The benefits of magic use are so great that nearly everyone has at least one school of magic, and most have three. There are however alternatives to magic that will grant you the same or similar benefits.
Playing with 3 Schools is the easiest way to go. With Life, Creature, and Item enchantment trained your character has full access to Self and Other buffs. If you specialize one of the skills you will have a much easier time casting debuffs on your enemies. With all three schools, acquiring spells is fairly simple - you can buy level 1-6 spells at scroll vendors in towns, and 7s are found as treasure on creatures. You also have the advantage of not depending on equipment for your standard buffs - this makes it much easier to create a suit of armor and equipments with cantrips, or stacking buffs. But having all three schools has disadvantages. First, it is a huge skill credit investment. Second, you will lose much of your carrying capacity, with either 3 side packs taken up by Foci or varying space taken up by the old complex component system. Third, if you depend on casting all your buffs, these can be removed by dispelling traps and creatures. And last, at lower levels before your skill is high or you have acquired special augments, if you die, your buffs are removed and you have to recast them. You also gain a vitae penalty when you die, temporarily reducing your skills, which could sometimes knock you down a tier in spell levels.
Playing without Creature Magic is the next easiest. You can cover your skill and attributes buffs fairly easily with built-in enchantments on equipment and certain consumables such as Beers. The only thing you lack is the ability to buff other players' or debuff creatures' attributes and abilities. However debuffing creatures skills and attributes are not nearly as important as the life magic defuffs. There are disadvantages. It can be quite difficult to get together a nice suit of armor and jewelry that covers all the creature enchantment buffs you need, and there is the additional challenge of creating a suit that covers both standard buffs and cantrips.
Playing without Life Magic is difficult but can be done. Without life magic, you lack the ability to buff others or debuff creatures. You can cover your life buffs in a similar fashion to creature enchantment, but be aware that life protections only come on clothing and jewelry. Debuffing with life is critical, and luckily there are several options that have the same or similar effects. First, there are weapon imbues: Physical and Elemental Rending imbues mimic the effects of life vulnerabilities, and the Armor Rending effect is similar to an imperil. Second, there are Runed Weapons. The level 100+ and 120+ versions of these have a special cast on strike ability that allows them to sometimes cast the Imperil spell on your target. Third, there are Alchemical Throwing Phials, also known as grenades. These grenades are thrown weapons that cast on strike the vulnerability and imperil spells. They do not require thrown weapons skill to use but they do require high alchemy skill to wield. The restoration abilities can be covered with various special quest orbs, healing skill, and simply potions.
Playing with only Item Magic is a difficult task, but rewarding. You merely have to combine the methods above for playing without creature and life magic. But this creates its own problem - you must rely on your armor, jewelry, and clothing for all of your creature and life magic buffs and any cantrips you need as well. This makes creating a fully functional suit a long process. However, once you have a suit, you have some distinct advantages over your casting friends. Your buffs can never be dispelled, and will never disappear when you die - unless you lose a piece of your equipment upon death (a rare occurence). The other advantage is that instead of spending 20 credits just to train creature and life magic, you only need 10 credits to train Arcane Lore and Alchemy, and 18 credits to specialize them both. This allows you to pick up many secondary skills like lockpicking and cooking.
Playing with no magic at all is a very difficult role to play. You have the same advantages and disadvantages as playing with only item in terms of buffing. But without Item Enchantment, everything is harder. Since you have no item enchantment, you cannot buff your own armor. This means in order to have decent physical protection, you must use Covenant Armor, or its loot tier 7 varient Olthoi Armor. That makes completing a working suit of armor very time consuming. In addition, you cannot buff your own weapons. This means you have to rely on self buffing weapons, a rare occurrence in loot, but a somewhat common trait in quest weapons. You also lack the ability to use Portal Magic, a branch of item enchantment. This makes travel difficult - you must rely on numerous portal summoning gems and your own knowledge of the portal network system. Playing with no magic is only recommended for experienced players.