Sacred:Nephytes 1.8 Shard Mage Guide

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Originally posted at DarkMatters for review and discussion.

1.8 Shard Mage Guide


OK, I think I got a pretty good build going, so I thought I would share it for the community at large. The shardmage is a Battlemage who will primarily rely on Ice Shards for his early leveling, until going to platinum where he will branch out a bit for additional safety.

First let us discuss the skills to take, and how to place the points as you level up.


Ok you'll start off dropping points into Magic Lore, and Meditation. I like to keep this up till they're around level 10 each. Once that happens, I catch Water Magic up to my level. From there on in, I keep Water Magic maxed out, and do so until after level 51.

By level 53 or 54, you should have skills that look like this (before item bonuses)

These numbers might be off by a couple points. There may be a few points left over to stuff a couple into parry.

From level 53 - 75 is when we're going to work on Agility, Parrying, and Constitution. Over this period we'll gain 88 skill points which should get those three skills in the mid 30's ranges. Apportion points how you see fit according to equipment (for instance if you find a shield with a huge constitution bonus, place points primarily into Agility and Parrying).

From level 76 - 100 we're going to put all our points into Trading, to pump it to level 100.

From level 100 on, we'll mostly be maintaining trade at our level, and pumping up Air Magic, and making additions to Constitution, Agility and Parrying.

With the exception of Trade, you'll want to place your points into the skills you will feel to give the largest pay-off. The skill growth rate generally drops to abysmal levels post 50, which is why I chose that as a bench mark for Meditation and Magic Lore, and why you'll likely use them for the last 4 skills as well.

Update: Skills at Level 108

Just a little look at the route I've taken my current HC Ice Shard Mage. For the next while I'll be working on Magic Lore, Constitution, Agility and Parrying. Of course, maintaining trade at my level is a constant part of this throughout the rest of the game as well.

Combat Art Selection:

From the start you'll be using Fireball as your primary attack spell. If you get really lucky in an early quest and get another Fireball rune, feel free to read it, but I wouldn't recommend using more then 1.

After this, hoard every rune you get, and make sure to pick up sellable loot so you can start a little gold stockpile. Largely for the first 50 levels or so, you'll be trading in every rune you for Ghost Meadow's and Ice Shards. The only exceptions to this are to read the first Phase Shift rune you get, you only seem to really need 1, so the rest are exchange bait. Also read any Stoneskin rune you get (to a point where you are comfortable with it's regen time), and whatever choice you made of Flameskin/Whirlwind/Shield Wall. Starting around levels 30-40 I start reading any Gust of Wind runes I get my hands on as well. The same goes for Ring of Ice although I start that a bit later, closer to level 50.

What level to aim for on Ice Shards and Ghost Meadow? Well, I consider the optimal level for Ice Shards to be around 2/3 my level, and whatever Ghost Meadow it takes to get the Ice Shards regeneration time down to 1.5 seconds. Don't be shy about Ghost Meadow though. There is simply no such thing as having to high a Ghost Meadow skill. I'm generally particularily pleased when I get Ghost Meadow above my character level.

Don't feel bad if you're not hitting the 2/3 character level for your Ice Shards. It isn't necessary. It's just terribly nice. You'll be fine maintaining Ice Shards close to half your level. I really can't recommend having a lesser Ice Shard then this though, mostly cause I'm anal and will do Wolf quests until I meet at least 1/2 Character level for Ice Shard level.

Allright, now that you've been told how to level Ice Shards, lets discuss WHY you've chosen Ice Shards over the other spells.

It is my opinion that Ice Shards is the most versatile of the attack spells. It doesn't have the absolutely concentrated damage of Meteor Storm, nor the wicked Stun effect of Gust of Wind. What it does have is a much greater utility and party friendliness.

Meteor Storm has a delay between you clicking a target, and the Meteor's landing which can cause them to miss should a creature move. Further, I'm just not thrilled with the delay overall. It is however less rune intensive then Ice Shards, which can be a nicer bonus for those of you who are less patient in the collection of runes through the early stages of the game.

Gust of Wind is a powerful spell from my observations as well. It does however have a nasty effect of pushing creatures around the screeen which can severely effect your party members ability to enjoy grouping with you, or otherwise provide damage output in the killing of creatures. However, we'll be using Gust of Wind as a secondary attack form with this build.

Now let us discuss why we've chosen the other spells in our collection.

Stoneskin: This is simply a great spell, and while with great equipment it's not necessary, it simply never hurts to be safe. It adds to our physical resistance as well as boosting our defense thus making it harder for creatures to hit us in the first place. As an added bonus, it gives us a bit of Poison resistance as well.

Flameskin/Shield Wall/Whirlwind: The primary reason for this spell type is it's chance to block missle weapons. I find missle users to be the biggest danger to my health typically (other then certain boss type creatures like Raptor's and Big spiders). My personal choice is generally Flameskin as it damages any creature close to me, and add's to Fire resistance as well for if you like killing dragons. If you have enough runes it's quite possible to maintain all three at decent levels, and pick the one you want for different encounter types.

Ring of Ice: This spell creates an area around the caster, which doesn't move after being cast. The bonus of this spell is it slows creatures, including their attack rate which is why I particularily like it. Oh, it also does some damage. I've found keeping it around 1/4 or so of your level is enough to maintain it's general effectiveness.

Gust of Wind: This spell is something we're going to boost around level 80. Why do we want this spell if we have Ice Shards as our main damage spell? Well, it's damage is all poison, which makes it an effective back up for when we encounter creatures who are very resistant to physical and magical damage which is what our Ice Shards uses as a damage type. In addition if we find ourselves in a desperate situation where we're getting mobbed, casting this will knock creatures far away from us and stun them, giving us time to deal with the situation in a much safer and more leisurely manner.

Ghost Meadow: Lowers cast time, and once it's level 54 (I think) it last for 3 minutes. All we really need to know is it lowers the regeneration allowing us to cast spells faster and thus increase our damage over time potential.[size]

Socketing our Equipment:

For the first 60 levels, I mainly socket Ice Shard and LL into all my available sockets. Socketing Ice Shard's only gives a 1/3 regen penalty of what we would get to raise it by a level. Thus if you would normally get a 3 second addition to regeneration for adding an Ice Shard level, socketing an Ice Shard will give us a 1 second addition to regeneration.

The Life Leech runes (Vampire Combat Arts with 3% LL) will help keep us alive by continually drawing life from creatures you're damaging and giving it to you.

Once you hit level 60, I highly recommend heading to a gold server, going to Braverock Castle, and doing some power shopping, looking for rings and amulets with a bonus of 40 or more to defense. For those of you not knowing what to look for when you go shopping, I'll try and do a pathetic illustration of what you would see.

Super Cool Amulet Name

Resistance: 100

Level: 67


Minimum Level: 50

Blah blah bonus

blah blah bonus

The part in Bold is what you're looking for. [Socketing 12 or so of these in your armor in addition to your parry/agility can take your defense from 1000 to over 5000 quite easily. This is quite an immense bonus, and will up your survivalability considerably. Obviously the higher the Defense number the better. Until you reach level 90 or so, I wouldn't worry about what the ring/amulet has except Defense.

Once you hit 90, and have a decent trades kill, you should be able to start finding amulets/rings with additional bonuses such as Split, Life Leech, Experience bonus, and other wonderful things written in orange. ((I learned all about socketing from RUN1, he's my guru! Love the defense bonus, thank RUN1 for teaching me, so I could share it with you.))

Equipment in general:

For a large part in the early game you'll be relying on magical/rares/set pieces for your equipment.

I start of with mostly Dagowits (once I start finding them) and then replace the Head, Body, and belt with Blackstaff pieces.

For gloves,boots,arms and greaves I generally like rare items with a high Regeneration Spells bonus. Rares tend to be best here, as they'll give you other bonuses which can be excellent.

For my rings/amulets I look for ones with the defense bonus shown above, and equip those to help boost my defense early on.

Of course however, you'll have to base your equipment on what you find in game. Generally what you want to look for when deciding which piece of equipment to wear is this: Does it increase my damage while maintaining/decreasing the regeneration time of Ice Shards. If the answer to this question is yes, then it's what you want.

I always use a 1 handed weapon and shield post level 15. The reason for this is quite simple. More sockets, and more possible bonuses then a two handed staff will give you.

Side Note: A lot of people like to wear the complete Blackstaff set as it gives you permanent GM, thus negating the need to recast it every 3 minutes or less. I believe however, that the total bonuses you can get from wearing just a few select set pieces and really good rares, outweighs the lazyness factor of needing to recast GM.

Item bonuses:

This is largely stolen from Alexfrog's WE Guide, and slightly modified for the Battlemages special needs. Yes, this part is mostly a plagarized effort.

  • Focus on items with as much bonuses to the following as you can get:
  • Bonus to (your attacking CA) (More damage, without increasing regen times much at all!). This is the most important.
  • Bonus to Mental Regeneration (more spell damage and faster spell regen)
  • Bonus to skills you use, such as Magic Lore, Parry, etc...
  • Life Leech ("Each hit draws life from enemies X%"). (This keeps you alive while killing monsters. You should have enough, once you get good items, that your leeching keeps you health meter full, and constantly restores the damage you are dealt. (Alexfrog has) about 12%, and it does fine, some people like more. I like 15-20%
  • Split %. (Creates new monsters that die easily, increasing exp gained and giving more item drops).
  • Bonus to finding special items. (This increases your rewards gained).
  • Bonus to experience gained from monsters. (Also increases rewards gained, which by the way we get when socketing Ice Shard runes, which is another reason I like to socket them).
  • +% Critical Hit. (A critical hit deals several times the damage of a normal blow, and help you kill monsters faster).
  • Bonus to Movement Speed (Running fast lets you get to monsters quicker, and increases killing speed).
  • Spell Regeneration bonus (Even faster regeneration times for your spells, I haven't found the cap for this yet).
  • Bonuses to Defense.
  • Bonuses to Resistances, especially physical resist.

And of course, sockets on items are great, as they allow you to put runes or jewelry in them, and can be very versatile in helping you get whatever item modifiers you are lacking.

That's about all I can think of at this point. Anything I've missed addressing, let me know and I'll edit it in if I have an answer.