Sacred:Tharkane's The Dark Elf Compendium Part 4, Sacred PLUS

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Originally posted at DarkMatters for review and discussion.


The Forge

Alienated from your evil kin by your own choosing, you find yourself roaming Ancaria as a vagabond without a people. Your deeds do little to allay the fear your very presence inspires amongst the farmers and common folk of the lands you travel through...and were it not for the sealed letter officially proclaiming you a servant of Prince Valor, the town guard would ruthlessly pursue you. Secretly, you wish they would...however, as much as you would relish such sport, it would not help matters any if you were to slay the very ones you are now sworn to defend.

Wizards seek new spells to strengthen their arsenal...and the Wood Elves seek to become closer to nature to order to increase their power. As the grimoire is to the Battle Mage, and the sacred grove to the Ranger, so is the Forge to you, Dark Elf. In Zhurag-Nar, the master smiths were endlessly at work fashioning new and more devious weapons of war. You watched them eagerly, seeking to understand their ways.

Thus far, you have been bitterly disappointed at the lack of smiths in the Ancarian countryside. Those you have found have been bumpkins capable of little more than fashioning farming implements. If only you could, you would return to Zhurag-Nar and submit your blades to the masters. Alas, such cannot be. You would be slain on sight as a weak-willed traitor to your own people. To think, you fell victim to the wiles of a Wood Elf...

Fear not, Dark Elf. The time you spent observing the master smiths in your youth can assist in guiding the hands of those simpletons you are forced to deal with, transforming their crude knives and dull swords into something respectable, something worth wielding in a warrior's hand.

The Basics

You will find (or perhaps purchase) armor and weapons with slots capable of receiving amulets, rings, skeleton skulls, combat art runes, or Blacksmith art runes. These you must bring to the Blacksmith at his forge in order to blend into the slotted item. It takes skill with the hammer and anvil to do this...something which you have had little time for.

In Bronze level of difficuly, when you are first starting your journey, slotted armor and weaponry is a great boon to ensure your utter domination of the battlefield. Do not cast these items aside...instead, bring them to a Blacksmith at the first opportunity. By adding items to those slots, you can increase your defense, attack, levels of combat arts, skills, or increase the accuracy of your blows.

It is likely that the first slottable items you will find will be combat art runes. At first, you will want to read at least one or two of your own runes to give you ability with with the CA in question. However, you will want to save the combat art runes of the other characters, and use them in your slottable items. Combat art runes for the Vampiress and the Wood Elf are the most valuable in this regard. Look closely at any of those CA runes that you find.

The Vampiress CA runes you want to use in your items are those which add life leeching to the item. The Wood Elf CA runes you will want to use are those which add + 15 to Attack and Defense, and + 15% to all Resistances to the item they are placed in. Conversely, you may also place Dark Elf Combat runes which add + 15 to Attack and Defense in an item. This would be preferable to using the Wood Elf rune with the same effect, but it is likely that you will find more CA runes for other characters than you will for your own.

I suggest using the CA runes I described above because in the beginning of your journey, boosting your attack and defense ratings, resistances, and possessing the ability to leech the life of your opponents with every blow will make a tremendous difference, especially in Hard Core play online. Even with Combat Arts such as adrenaline and testosterone, you will still come out ahead if your base attack and defense ratings are high to begin with. Then, using those CAs simply serves to make you even more frightening in battle!

Using this rune slotting strategy, you can easily boost your attack and defense ratings over + 60, jack up your resistances over + 60%, and have a life leech rating of +12% with every hit when you are very low level. You can attain these totals by using the slots on helmets, shoulder guards, bracers, belts, leg greaves, gauntlets, boots, weapons and shields to achieve this goal. The total effect can be quite staggering, considering your low level and relative inexperience.

You will want to devote your ring slots to rings which boost the damage you inflict. Ideally, such a ring will also have an attack or defense rating bonus. Sometimes, they do not. No matter - you will want these rings to primarily boost damage you inflict. Keep the damage diverse - try wearing four rings which, when they are all combined, boost at least three kinds of damage. Poison is ideal, fire is good, and physical damage is almost always present on every ring. I do not suggest that a Dark Elf wear rings which do not feature added damage. The reason is simple: you can gain the armor skill, so unless a resistance ring is very exceptional, you will not want to use them. Damage is your business, warrior.

Even more prized are those rings which not only add damage to your blows, but also boost a statistic or skill. The most common stats boosted are Dexterity and Strength. I would suggest using those rings which boost Strength, since this increases the overall damage you inflict with melee weapons and increases your attack rating.

Ideally, your amulet slot will only be used for an amulet which adds defense. My philosophy is thus: you wish to attain the highest attack and defense ratings possible without the aid of any Combat Art. This way, as you are developing your Dark Elf in either Hard Core or Single Player, your chance of survival is greatly increased. On a Hard Core server, it is not unusal to run into opponents which out-level you by a great margin. Having a naturally high resistance, and attack and defense rating will serve you well, since at low levels your CAs will not be on par with the enemies you face. However, when you use adrenaline and testosterone to boost those naturally high ratings, you will become much, much more powerful and will stand a better chance of surviving the encounter.

Weapon Sets

For Dual Wielders

Wielding two weapons offers a distinct advantage in combat. By electing to sacrifice the relative comfort of a shield - and its attendant bonuses to resistances and defense values - you choose to concentrate most of your energies upon the weaknesses of your enemies. The weapons do not strike a target at the same time; instead, they hit one after the other, in sequence. In Sacred, the character display only shows the value for total weapon damage for one attack. When you select a weapon slot, the display tells you an average of what damage the weapon in that selected slot will inflict with one attack.

Naturally, with two weapons in one slot, things are complicated somewhat. The display cannot list both weapons in the slot separately. Instead, the damage threshold of both weapons is combined, and an average of the combined totals is displayed. Thus, in one dual wielding attack sequence, one weapon hits, followed by the other. The display counts both of those attacks as one for damage calculation purposes.

When using combat arts such as Hard Hit or Multi-Hit, however, the special move only affects one weapon in the slot. This translates to be the weapon in the right hand. When Hard Hit is used, for example, the normal dual wielding attack sequence is nullified, resulting in one strike by the aforementioned weapon.

Do not be discouraged, warrior. Though only one weapon will strike, that weapon is imbued with the damage bonuses and modifiers of the other weapon. This is the true beauty of dual wielding, for your weapons lend their advantages to each other. The first Blade Masters combined toxins with blades ensorcelled by the priestesses to perpetually burn with fire. No foe could stand before their mastery of combat.

The modifiers and bonuses of both weapons in a weapon slot combine together, or "stack." The potential here is staggering. The rings you wear upon your fingers contribute to the damage you inflict with any weapon. Wearing rings upon your fingers that adds diverse damage to your blows becomes very important to the Blade Master. Ideally, a ring that a Blade Master would covet would be one that inflicts damage, adds a +% modifier to that damage, and also offers an attack or defense bonus. A ring that adds 8-14 fire damage to a blow might not seem like much...but let's say that ring adds "Fire Damage: +11%". Another item you are using adds "Weapon Damage Fire: +33% Strength." Finally, one of your swords has a fire damage modifier on it as well - let's say "Weapon Damage Fire: + 25% Physical Regeneration." The fire damage you will inflict with every blow of a weapon will be considerable, modified further by qualities such as critical hit bonuses.

Herein lies the strategy, and the best way of arranging your items, rings, and amulets. Think of each ring on your finger as representing a weakness of your enemies. You discover these weaknesses by observing their resistances. The most common damage resistance in the game is resistance to physical damage. The second most common resistance is against fire. Third on the list is resistance against poison. The least common damage resistance amongst your foes is resistance to magic damage. Use this to your advantage, Blade Master.

Building the weapon sets

The Blade Master is a precise, surgical warrior on the battlefield. He wields both of his weapons with unparalleled skill. Each blow is intended to kill. His weapon sets are the heart of his trade - and he builds them with the utmost care. In the beginning of your journey through Ancaria, you will simply pick up the best weapons that you come across, and wield them both in your hands.