"Finally!" cries the nerd with glee, rubbing his (or her) hands together in glee "What I was looking for!" The nerd begins to casually look over the 'Suggested Builds' section, ignoring all the advice given elsewhere in the guide. Such is life…
In this section three 'suggested' builds will be covered. You can succeed with a variety of 'builds' in the game, but these three are arguably the best, because offense is the best, for reasons that have been explained above. What Vocation you like best is subjective, but regardless of that choice, they’ll do better with one of the builds below. Therefore, depending on your play-style, you’re likely to find one of the following approaches to be the build you want to emulate-the Strength-based build, the Magick-based build, and the Hybrid build.
The builds below are split into steps-basic changes in their growth rates as determined by their level and Vocation. These steps are cumulative, and track attribute gains at the apogee of each step. Base shows the base-or starting-attributes of the initial Vocation (Fighter, Strider, or Mage) that you choose. Levels 2-10 shows their advancement to for said levels in their base Vocation-the numbers shown in this row will be the character’s stats as of level ten. Levels 11-100 shows the growth during the next 90 levels (ideally you’ll get to Gran Soren and change your Vocation depending on what you want your build to be by level ten). The stats in this row will will be the character’s stats as of level 100, which will constitute around 75% of the character’s overall growth. Finally, the Level 101-200 shows their stats as of level 200, the ideal finished version of the build.
The defining premise of the builds below is that offense trumps all, so that claim will be justified again below, in case there was still any doubt.
Strength/Magick > Hit Points. Strength > Stamina. Strength > Defense. All attributes can be boosted with items, but Defense is only important as it fortifies your Hit Points. Hit Points are good, but unless you get one-hit-killed by something (increasingly unlikely as you level up), you can always gobble some consumables. Same for Stamina, save Stamina, while being useful, regenerates on its own, hence needs even less baby-sitting than Hit Points.
Offense, however, has no upper limit, and is ceaselessly beneficial. In fact, the higher your base offensive stats, the more they’ll gain from Augments like Acuity, Clout, Bloodlust, Autonomy, and Exhilaration. Offense can be further boosted by Demon’s Periapts, Conqueror’s Periapts, and Taglius’ Miracles. The upper limit of usefulness for Hit Points is based upon the damage foes can do and your Defense/Magick Defense’s ability to mitigate said damage. The upper limit of usefulness for your Stamina is… well, it funds your offense and, in the case of shield-bearing classes, your defense. Both can be restored at will with curatives. The higher your offense, the faster foes die. The faster foes die, the less you need to worry about your Hit Points (and by extension, defenses) and Stamina. Offense trumps all. The only questions that remain are what Vocations you want to play the game as, and tied to that, what type of offensive scheme you want to pursue…
This build is less annoying than the Magick-build simply because you can play your formative levels as an Assassin, and by the time you switch to Sorcerer, you’re pretty strong already… and of course, you’d probably want to keep playing Assassin, only switching to Sorcerer right before you level. It is tied with the Strength-build for the highest combined offense in the game, and is ideal for Mystic Knight players. By using all the offense-boosting skills in the game, you can easily end up with jaw-dropping combined offensive powers… alas for the Magick Archer, their bows only deal Magick damage. Many skills, however, use both, and of course there are plenty of enchanted melee weapons that use both Strength and Magick, most notably Heaven’s Key (daggers). To get this class up to snuff you’ll need to also advance in Vocations as a Warrior, Fighter and Mage… not including Assassin and Sorcerer, which you should do automatically just by leveling them.
The Assassin’s leveling stats from levels 11-100 give it the best combined offense (6 Strength/2 Magick, 8 overall) in the game, making it an obvious choice for a Hybrid-build. Vocations that come close include Warrior (5/2), Ranger (4/3) and Sorcerer (2/5), but eight offense per level beats seven, so Assassin it is. Although the Ranger is somewhat tempting as a substitute-90 fewer Hit Points, 270 more Stamina, 90 fewer Strength, 90 more Magick Defense, ultimately offense wins over Stamina… As for levels 101-200, Sorcerer was obvious, as it’s the only other class that gives three offense, and since the hybrid’s Strength score was 398 points higher by level 100… well, it wouldn’t be a Hybrid-build unless the gap was closed, right? This build ends up with 3700 Hit Points and 4150 Stamina, which are actually pretty good. A combined offense of 1214 is tied for the top spot, but 555 overall defense is lousy… the Hybrid-build largely apes the Strength-build, but promises mediocre returns with Strength and Magick. These will only shine when they’re combined by enchanted weapons and/or skills.
The Magick-build is weaker than the other two builds in single-stat offense as well as in combined offense. Worst of all, it forces you to play 190 agonizing levels as a Sorcerer. The payoff? Probably the strongest version of the Magick Archer in the game. On the plus side, this build only really needs to max the Mage, Sorcerer, Magick Archer and Assassin Vocations… which… well, that’s still a lot of Vocations. Oh well… Still, for pure Magick power, this is the way to go. A potent Magick Archer can kill anything in the game… well, except Metal Golems, but they’re quite rare.
The Magick-build ends up 90 points of Magick behind the Strength-build’s Strength, and their total offense of 1124 is likewise 90 points fewer than both other build’s total offensive scores of 1214. Their 3048 Hit Points aren’t too far behind the Strength build, but the Strength-build has 50% more Stamina. Ouch. On the other hand, their Magick Defense is 657-102 points higher than the total defense of the other two builds. Overall the Magick-build enjoys a total defensive score of 834, plainly superior to the 555 total defense of the other two builds… still, offense is king. Combine that with the fact that 200 levels of Sorcerer grinding is just horrible, and this is the weakest-and most difficult-of the three builds to make. If you’re a fan of the Magick Archer, however, you’ll make the sacrifice.
The Strength build has many merits. First, as compared to the Sorcerer (around which the Magick-based build is… well, based) the Assassin is much easier to play. This versatile build can switch to Strider, Fighter, warrior, or Ranger, where it’ll perform better than the base Vocation would have sans Assassin leveling. Why? Because Assassin gets all the Strength, and nothing else matters… okay, that’s not entirely fair, but despite being the weakest class in defense, the Assassin has fair Hit Points and good Stamina, so no worries. The Assassin also has the best Augments (Bloodlust, Autonomy) in the game and best defensive skill (Invisibility), so it’s really an easy Vocation for less adventurous gamers out there (but ones still adventurous enough to sacrifice at the altar of power-gameyness).
If you choose to play another Vocation between levels, the Strength-build’s Stamina will also provide lots of blocking power for the Fighter, and as well as an enormous reserve for offense. The only weakness of the Strength-build? They cannot easily harm physically-immune beings, which are thankfully limited to Phantoms, Phantasms, Specters, Banshees, and Living Armor. To fully power the Strength build, you will have to max the Warrior’s Vocation rank to get Clout… and spending time as a Fighter to get Vehemence and Exhilaration can’t hurt. Once you hit 200th level, the stagger power of Longbows really recommends switching to the Ranger vocation-since Invisibility has been nerfed, there’s really no overwhelming reason to stick with Assassin.
The Assassin-based Strength build has moderate Hit Points and phenomenal Stamina. Its 956 Strength value gives it the single greatest one-stat offense in the game, and with 258 Magick it has 1214 total offense-tied with the Hybrid-build. On the other hand, its 555 total defensive score is… well, it’s abyssmal. Still, for a Strider/Ranger/Assassin player, the defense isn’t too much of an issue-whether climbing or shooting, you tend not to be taking damage (especially if you’re using Invisibility!)
Here’s an alternative, Warrior-based build. The differences are obvious, this build has an outrageous number of Hit Points, but suffers by having much less Stamina. It’s Strength is 190 points lower than the Assassin build, and its combined offensive power is 1024. On the other hand, it has 190 more Defense for a combined defensive score of 745. All in all the Warrior is rather tedious to play, and you should be more than willing to trade Hit Points for Stamina, and defense for offense.
A more interesting Strength-build is the Warrior/Ranger. It ends up with the same Strength as the pure Warrior build, but trades some Hit Points for Stamina, making it more balanced. It also has more Magick Defense and less Defense, but the same overall defensive total of 745. This is the suggested build for Strength-build Pawns, in fact, although it’s arguable whether a Pawn would benefit more from Hit Points or Stamina… in theory, it would let a Pawn perform more skills, but good luck trying to get a Pawn to sustain an offensive that would actually threaten their Stamina… on the other hand, since you can bring them back to life with a button press, worrying about their Hit Points is probably a waste of time.