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A Guide to Gearing Up

ZadozexZadozex
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edited September 1, 2016 in Class Discussion
This guide is aimed at both new and veteran players to give some insights into the gearing up process. Given how random the gear in this game can be, it can be a challenge to decide when to replace a piece or even what pieces are considered good. I’ll lay out a road map for building up your character. While the advice I give will be generalized for all classes, I will sprinkle in class specific tidbits here and there. I would strongly recommend you visit your class forums or talk to knowledgeable players about specific stat priorities for your class though.

Gear Overview
The first thing you need to do is consider your gear as a whole. The sum total of all the stats your gear gives you defines how strong your character is. Each piece of gear has a certain number of “stat rolls” that are determined when the gear piece is dropped, as well as a fixed number of seal slots. Each stat roll is randomized when the loot is dropped and certain stats can only appear on certain pieces (e.g. Cooldown reduction will never appear on a helm).

Armor:
5 armor pieces (3 stats each/1-2 seal slots)

Weapon:
1 weapon* (3 stats/1-2 seal slots)
*Assassins get 2 weapons.

Offhand:
1 offhand* (3 stats/0 seal slots)
*Beserkers and Mages have no offhand

Accessories:
2 rings (3 stats)
1 necklace (3-4 stats)

Mounted Weapons*:
1 Crossbow (3 stats/ 1-2 seal slots)
1 Lance (3 stats/ 1-2 seal slots)
* Only one mounted weapon can be active at a time. The stats on the active mounted weapon DO apply to your character while you are on foot. You can swap between which weapon is active during combat if needed.

So depending on class and seal slot luck, you have up to 33 stat rolls and 14 seal slots (16 for assassin) to work with.


Builds and “Bottleneck Stats”:
Before you can evaluate how good a piece of gear is, you have to first determine how it fits into your overall build. Again, I would consult with your class forum or veteran players to get a better idea of what is considered a good build for your class. For the purposes of the guide, I will make some general assumptions based on my knowledge of certain classes. Generally speaking, DPS classes will want to maximize DPS, tank classes will want to balance HP and damage (survivability and threat), and priests are a mix of damage/HP.

For each different build, there are usually one or two “bottleneck stats” that you will try to cap out to maximize your performance. Bottleneck stats are stats that are important to your build, can be capped, and only appear on certain pieces of gear. Bottleneck stats and their associated gear pieces include:

Critical Percentage (Crit %) [85% physical/95% magical] – Gloves, Weapon, Necklace, Crossbow, Lance, Sealed Familiars
Cooldown Reduction (CDR) [50%] – Shoulders, Necklace, Spear, Set Bonuses
Cast Time Reduction (CTR) [50%] – Shoulders, Rings, Crossbow, set Bonuses
Evasion Power (EP) [20%] – Helm, Offhand, Necklace, Dexterity (+20 dex = 1% evasion)
Physical/Magical Attack % (PA%/MA%) [No Limit] - Weapon, Offhand, Necklace
Health Percentage (HP%) [No Limit] - Rings

When evaluating your build and how to achieve your desired bottleneck stat caps, you should consider not only the stats on your gear itself, but also possible set bonuses, familiar buffs, passive skills you have, active buffs you apply, and buffs that may be applied by party members.

An example of this is if a mage were to stack up to 95% critical rate on their gear, when they receive the priest Ellora’s mark buff (15% crit%), they would be well over the cap, making the buff useless. In this case, it would be better to aim for 80% crit% and assume that for party content you will always have a priest to buff you up to your cap of 95%. For a deeper discussion on these external buffs, I would consult the class forums.

A general evaluation of each bottleneck stat for each class:
Guardian: CDR (cap to 50%) > HP% (as much as you can get) >PA% (as much as you can get) > Crit%
Priest: Crit% (cap at 80% from gear) > CDR = CTR (Depends on your build) > MA%
Mage: Crit% (cap at 80% from gear) > MA% > CDR = CTR (Depends on your build)
Assassin: Crit% (assassins have crit passives, so up to softcap ~50-60% > PA%
Berserker: PA% > Crit%

A final consideration for your build is how much HP you should aim for. I’ll touch on this below in the roadmap section in more detail. While going pure DPS seems like a great idea, without a certain minimum level of HP, you are far more likely to die. A dead DPS does no DPS, so you have to decide what HP level makes you feel comfortable.

Gear Evaluation:
Gear evaluation is a messy business. Everything is random, so try to think of how each gear piece fits into your overall goal, not just how it replaces your current piece.

Think of your bottleneck stats first! If you are a Guardian that wants to reach 50% CDR and a shoulder armor drops with triple constitution stats and two seal slots, at first thought it might seem like an amazing piece. But if you consider your bottleneck, only three gear slots can have CDR. If you don’t get CDR on your shoulders, there will be no way to hit your cap! So this triple constitution shoulder piece would not be considered good for a Guardian.

Aside from your bottleneck stats, you need to know what other stats are good for your class. Below is a general breakdown of the stat priorities for each class that aren’t considered bottleneck stats. These stats have no cap in the game, so just get as much as you can. Any stat not listed for a class can be considered useless for that class.

Assassin/Berserker: Strength/Physical Attack (Great), +HP/Con/Crit Damage (decent), Dex (meh)
Priest/Wizard: Intelligence/Magic Attack (Great), +HP/Con/Crit Damage (decent), Willpower (meh)
Guardian: Constitution/Strength/Physical Attack (Great), +HP (decent), Dex (meh)

My general philosophy on gear pieces is as follows:
- 3 great stats/2 seal slots = Perfect
- 2 great stats/2 seal slots = Great piece. Likely a permanent keeper
- 1 great stat/2 seal slots or 2 great stats/1 seal slot = Decent piece. Use if you need a set bonus
- 1 great stat/1-2 decent stats/1 seal slot – Bad piece. Use if desperate for a set bonus. Replace ASAP.
- Everything else can be sold to a vendor or broken down for tempering stones.
JhaycenTazzieSpunkidPandarkvadorKlixenElefeloKamenRiderIcarusVikira_Hakain

Comments

  • ZadozexZadozex
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    edited September 1, 2016
    Roadmap to a better character:
    So now that you’ve considered your build and you’ve learned to evaluate gear, how should you go about building your character? The gear in this game is entirely based on luck. Some lucky people will get perfect pieces to drop for them (*cough* my wife got three triple int/dual seal slot mage pieces in her first 10 FK runs *cough*), while others will need to rely on sheer volume of dungeon runs to finally get good gear. Another avenue is the auction house to fill in gaps in your gear. Every player has different constraints on their time, available gold, and ability to run dungeons, so there is no one true path to gearing up, but I will give as specific advice as I can.

    Starting out:
    Start with lower level heroic gear. Many new players make the mistake of rushing to 35 and attempting the harder level 30/35 dungeons in quest blue gear. This is a recipe for disaster. Lavalight Cave (LLC), Carleon Manor (CM), and Ruins of Matron (ROM) are all easily soloable to a level 35 character and drop a lot of heroic gear. Heroic gear from these dungeons is also much cheaper on the auction house. Build a starter set before tackling tougher content. These dungeons also drop a decent amount of gold, other useful items (seal stones), and help you complete achievements for free elluns/mark boxes. Win/win all around!

    A character with well optimized lower level gear will be much more powerful than a character with poorly optimized high level gear. The only differences between lower level gear and higher level gear is the stat rolls can be higher (e.g. 80 intelligence on a piece instead of 50 intelligence) and the base defense (armor)/base DPS(weapon) is higher. Unless you are a tank, the base defense of an armor piece doesn’t matter much and even for tank, well optimized stats are more important than pure defense. The one exception is it would be a good idea to buy a cheapie level 35 heroic weapon from the auction house regardless of stats just for the high base DPS.

    Feel free to mix and match set gear to maximize your stats. Most of the low level sets have good 2-3 piece set bonuses. Mixing pieces from multiple sets will give you multiple set bonuses.

    Remember to focus on your bottleneck stats. This is where the auction house can be extremely helpful. If you are trying to maximize your crit%, but you are having no luck getting crit% gloves or a necklace to drop, go check the auction house. Sometimes you can find really good deals on pieces that will round out your build.

    Becoming Stronger:
    Once you have your base set of gear in place, all of the content should feel easier to you. Soloing is a breeze and you can pull your own weight in harder content. Now you are ready to run FK and attempt to get max level heroic gear. Pray to RNGesus that you have good luck and get some good pieces, but don’t be desperate to upgrade. Consult my gear evaluation list above. If you are replacing a perfect/great lower level piece with a decent/bad higher level piece, odds are you will actually lose overall character power.

    That said, don’t be quick to throw away decent/bad pieces even if you can’t use them right away. Eventually you might get 2-3 good/perfect pieces from FK and having that one decent/bad piece in your bank to complete a set bonus might be worth it.

    Don’t ignore your bottleneck stats as you upgrade your gear! If you bought a really nice pair of triple crit% gloves from a low level set and then FK drops a single crit%/dual intelligence pair of gloves, that will seem like a good piece, but you’ve now lost a lot of crit%. See what you can do elsewhere in your gear to account for the loss. I tend to save pieces with varying levels of bottleneck stats so that I can reoptimize should I replace another gear piece. For example, as a Guardian, I want max CDR and I have one necklace with dual CDR stats/Phys Attack% in my storage while I am actively using a single CDR/dual Phys Attack% necklace now. If I were to find a different pair of shoulders with less CDR, but better other stats, I can revert back to my dual CDR necklace in my bank to maintain max CDR.

    Gear tempering:
    Another misconception I see in newer players is the reluctance to temper their gear. Level 40-80 tempering stones are quite easy to farm up yourself by soloing the lower level dungeons and they are cheap to buy on the auction house as well. You can get up to +10 in all your gear pieces fairly easily with these stones and it will add a good amount of DPS (weapon) and defense (armor) to your character. There’s no reason not to get to +10 on all your pieces.

    You can get to +11 and +12 fairly reasonably without using de-rank protection. You will fail a lot and lose a rank each time, but if you have the tempering stones to burn and a lot of patience, +11-12 is achievable for free.

    Going beyond +12 without de-rank protection is not recommended. Unless you are a tank, super hardcore, or PvP focused, you shouldn’t need to temper your armor past +11-12. For weapons, you will want to go as high as you can. There are a lot of dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and achievements that give a lot of ellun. +20 on a weapon is easily achievable for F2P players. I recommend saving up a good amount of ellun (200+), then buying a tempering success booster pot for 3 ellun from the Ellora shop and trying to temper many times in a row.

    Seal slots:
    I’ve gotten this far into a gear guide and haven’t mentioned sealed familiars a single time. What gives? Well I think the complicated part of gearing is dealing with all the random pieces the game throws at you. Eventually you’re going to equip some of those random pieces and then seal slots can be used to fill in the gaps of your build. You control the stats on your seal slots! This is why two seal slot pieces with 1 good stat are just as good as 1 seal slot pieces with 2 good stats.

    Seal slots are also the most difficult to discuss because depending on your gold and dedication, you might be limited in what sealed familiars are available to you. There is a big, big power gap between a player with full heroic seals vs full elite seals. Hopefully with the in-game events and free mark boxes, most folks have access to at least a few sealed heroics, but I shall try to give advice to both groups.

    Generally speaking the following sealed familiars are the desirable ones:
    Magical DPS: Blue Bloodwyrm < Gilded Benthic (for some builds) < Venomous Caspert
    Physical DPS: Ruby Bloodywm < Bonethorpe < Garme/Karresh (crit%) < Agnas/Terror Kerav (Phys attack)
    HP: Coldtusk < Grumpy Gros < Phantom

    You should always seal your gear with at least the elite familiars above. You miss out on a significant amount of character power otherwise. If you follow my advice above on gearing up, you shouldn’t be switching out gear pieces so often that replacing sealed familiars is a huge hassle. Elite familiars are quite easy to level overnight while you are sleeping or while you are away at school/work.

    For raw DPS classes, just pick the best DPS familiar from above that you can afford. For tanks/priests, you will likely want a mix of the DPS and HP familiars, especially early on when you can only afford elites. Once you start sealing heroics, the all stat bonuses will give you significant chunks of HP, so dedicating seal slots to HP elite seals becomes less of an issue.

    Pets:
    Pets are a broad topic and have a great guide dedicated to them here: Familiar Guide

    Like seal stones, pet buffs can be used to fill in gaps in your build or further enhance your strengths Grab the best pets you can find and use them as needed. If you are a priest with low HP, perhaps a tank pet that gives an HP buff is better for you than a pet that increases your magic attack.
    CreamTazzieRolotomasi1pwnyKlixenPperkElefeloMastasVikira_Hakain
  • CreamCream
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    edited September 1, 2016
    Good job Rider!!!! I will pin this for others to benefit from this basic valuable information.
  • JhaycenJhaycen
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    edited September 1, 2016
    This is an excellent guide! You explain everything very clearly and thoroughly. Thanks for taking the time to put this together, Zadozex!
  • RolotomasiRolotomasi
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    edited September 6, 2016
    " A must read for all new riders" ~ me~ lol Thanks for posting such a comprehensive and thoughtful guild.
  • KlixenKlixen
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    edited September 18, 2016
    Well done Zadozex! Brilliant info!

    After the terrific advice you gave me about my guardian, I was going to ask if you'd consider writing a noobie guide (but you read my mind) :-)

    I do have a question about physical DPS stats though:

    Which is better, gear with Strength or gear with Physical Attack stats? I remember reading somewhere that your Physical Attack % is based off your Strength. Which makes me think that maybe raw Strength on my gear would actually give me more DPS than Physical Attack (which on paper, looks like it has higher DPS than Strength). What do you think?

    Thanks again for taking the time to write up this wonderful guide. I'm so glad it got pinned, very well deserved :-)
  • ShaeruShaeru
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    edited September 19, 2016
    Also, Klixen, note that for guardians, 1 point of strength gives 1.2 points of Patk.
  • PperkPperk
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    edited September 19, 2016
    Great guide and extra like for "Pray to RNGesus" :D
  • ZadozexZadozex
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    edited September 21, 2016
    Glad everyone is finding this guide helpful!
    Klixen
    Klixen said:

    I do have a question about physical DPS stats though:

    Which is better, gear with Strength or gear with Physical Attack stats? I remember reading somewhere that your Physical Attack % is based off your Strength. Which makes me think that maybe raw Strength on my gear would actually give me more DPS than Physical Attack (which on paper, looks like it has higher DPS than Strength). What do you think?
    When it comes down to question like this, the best I can offer is “it depends”. You really just have to do the math on this one unfortunately. As noted above, 1 strength = 1.2 physical attack for a Guardian. So if you are comparing an item with 50 strength (60 physical attack) against an item with 65 physical attack, then perhaps the 65 physical attack might be stronger.

    Also, as you mention, Physical Attack % is based solely on the DPS you gain from Strength. So let’s assume you have 10% Physical Attack% and look at the item comparison above again.

    50 strength = 60 physical attack.
    60 * 10% physical attack % = 6
    60 + 6 = 66 total physical attack with physical attack % factored in

    Now the item with strength pulls slightly ahead, but essentially the strength/physical attack comparison is a wash. I would probably look at what other stats are on the item to make a determination on which is best.

    You also want to consider future scenarios. As a Guardian, you want to focus on cooldown, and maybe right now you haven’t had much luck finding shoulders or a spear with CDR on them, but you do have a good neck with CDR. Unfortunately it doesn’t have Phys Attack %. So you evaluate all of your gear decisions based on your current items and you focus on raw physical attack over strength since you have no phys attack %. Then two weeks from now some really good CDR shoulders drop for you. You are able to swap out your necklace with one that has Phys Attack % on it. Now you’re wishing your prioritized strength before.

    Moral of the story is try to stay flexible and plan for the items you want to get, not necessarily the items you have right now. Also, don’t be afraid to save items that are good for your future build even if you can’t use them right away. I have several items in my bank that I’ve saved just on the off chance I replace another of my items. Right now I use dual CDR shoulders with dex as a third stat. They’re the only dual CDR shoulders I’ve ever found sadly. I have dual CDR on my lance and single CDR on my neck (with dual Phys attack %) which gets me to the CDR cap. If I could somehow find a triple CDR spear or a legendary necklace with more CDR (while maintaining my DPS stats), then I could swap out my shoulders to a single CDR/dual strength/2 seal slot piece I’ve had sitting in my bank for over a month. I would still be at the CDR cap, but have a much better shoulder piece.


    Klixen
  • KlixenKlixen
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    edited September 21, 2016
    Zadozex you are a legend! That is exactly the info I was looking for.

    Now that I know the numbers, I can do the math.

    One last question, how can I see how much Physical Attack % I have? I've hovered over all the stats but I can't see anything that tells me how much my % is. I'm trying to work out just how much Physical Attack % each point of Strength gives.

    If I can figure that out, then I'll know which one is best.

    For example:

    Ruby Bloodwyrm - +65 Physical Attack / +1.97 Physical Crit Rate %
    Chakai - +21 Strength / +1.97 Physical Crit Rate %

    On paper, the Ruby Bloodwyrm looks like the better option. But if raw Strength gives a decent Physical Attack % then the Chakai seals might be better. I just need to know how much Physical Attack % each point of Strength adds. Then I can work it out :-)

    Thank you again Sir.
  • ZadozexZadozex
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    edited September 21, 2016
    Strength doesn't actually give physical attack %. The only item that gives physical attack % for a Guardian is a necklace.

    Ruby Bloodwyrms are way better for DPS stats. It would take 300% physical attack % for the Chakai to break even with the Ruby Bloodwyrm. The highest Phys Attack % I've ever seen on a neck is 30%
  • KlixenKlixen
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    edited September 22, 2016
    Aha! That's why I couldn't find it.

    I'll just stick to Ruby Bloodwyrms then :-)

    Thanks again.
  • Vikira_HakainVikira_Hakain
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    edited June 2
    This helped me a lot, being lvl 55 and having almost no DPS is dissapointing so i've been looking at guides. Thank you you did this very clearly and without any trouble.