Original source: Eliveru's Comprehensive Guide to The Mage Class
Famous Mages: Thothamon, Greystar, Dooku (incidentally, all alterers)
(table credit to Rhynst)
The mage on Ancient Anguish is vastly underrated and undervalued. They are rarely a sought after member of a party, are vastly ignored by powerplayers and have one of the less pretty looking alcoves within the hall of heroes. The average player views a mage as a hit and runner with a penchant for exploring and treasure hunting, useful for little else.
This is a guide that aims to achieve 3 things:
* Raise the profile and reputation of mages on Ancient Anguish /me Teach some intermediate and ‘top’ players how to play a very powerful class indeed /me Raise interest in mages and thus increase Ancient Anguish’s player base perhaps
Now a word of warning… primarily this is a guide for powerplayers and people wanting to powerplay every so often. Although there will be tips and tricks here useful for everybody, it’ll be littered with comments like ‘don’t waste time doing x as it’ll net you no experience, coins or skills’. If that sentence already made you queasy with powerplayer-hate, then you’d best stop reading now. Many of the suggestions in this guide are the completely opposite of chilling.
So here we go… what is a mage on AA? What do you want your mage to be?
At this point I should probably tell you a bit about myself. I’ve been playing AA for almost 8 years now. My second character happened to be a mage, and I’ve got or had a mage in every school, and had a mage of every race apart from dwarf. I’ve got three on the mage alcoves in the Hall of Heroes at the moment, have successfully worked out a tanking routine for a mage, and have had dozens of hours soloing and bashing as one as well. I hope this guide can help at least a few of you out there.
WARNING: This will be a long read.
An AA mage fits the roles of soloer, tank, basher and explorer with varying degrees of success. Generally, we do the best soloing or exploring, make slightly above average bashers and a below average tank. Compared to a class like cleric which make excellent tanks, bashers or soloers, one can see why the mage has been largely neglected by most experienced players.
To start we’ll investigate a mage’s abilities (dodge), their skills, and their spells. Each school will be analysed and coontrasted with each other, with race choices for each school discussed, then an exposition of how to do what mages do – tanking, bashing, soloing, exploring, treasure hunting, bounty hunting and unique hunting. There’ll also be notes on equipment choices, useful alias’ and a levelling guide, bugs affecting us, guild choices, and much more.
Abilities - Dodge
Let’s start with the one thing that’s common to all mages : the dodging ability. On AA (to the best of my knowledge) is based solely on 3 things: your opponent’s dex, your own dex, and the amount of weight you’re carrying. There may be some factoring in of the skill level of your opponent as well, but this, if the case, will be largely irrelevant, as I’ll explain later. So how do we maximise dodge’s effectiveness, and to what extent is it ‘worth it’?
First, why is dodge useful?
- It’s free (no need to buy equipment)
- /me Related, you don’t need to go find equipment. Can log in, get a staff and already be ‘equipped’.
- For most races and situations, it is more effective
- /me You can carry more stuff, and with high dexterity, most mages fit straight in
And why does it drive some of the biggest mages around like Thothamon and Dooku to use defend none and wear armour?
- It’s a hassle to keep everything in your deeppockets
- /me The more int boosters, scalping knives etc that you gather, the worse dodge gets
- /me Related, the bigger staves (ie tetsubo) are pretty heavy
- /me A dodge that fails… ie ‘x monster predicts your attempt to dodge!’ hurts a lot
- It’s worse on larger monsters
- /me It’s useless if you’re pure hit and run (whereas armour will reduce the entry damage)
Now let’s see why you’d use defend none while wearing armour
- /me You’re still not at max dex, and you’re fighting scary things that have much more dex than you
- /me You’re a dwarf, and have no boomerangs, darts or frost spells
- /me You’re tanking for a powerparty, and that involves killing things like Razar and Hawkeye where a failed dodge would not be pretty
- /me You’ve got your grubby hands on some top grade armour that’s too good to pass up
- /me You can’t be bothered keeping up the anally retentive steps below
So let’s talk about the easier to deal with defence first…none. To maximise its effectiveness is pretty simple – get the best stuff you can find. You got deeppockets to cover for your carrying capacity…so even a puny elf mage can lug around Armour of Ichor and still carry stuff, provided the strength spell is on.
More interestingly… if you’re going to use dodge, how do we maximise its effectiveness? Let’s look at each of the 3 components that make up dodge:
The opponent’s dex
There’s only so much you can do about this. If you’re indiscriminately massacring the mud, you’re not going to skip a few high dex kills just because you can’t dodge them as well.
The easiest way you can impair the opponent’s dexterity is through the humble oak boomerang. This item is a mage’s best friend for under $300 a pop, and its –1 dex penalty to the opponent quickly adds up as time passes – more detail in the equipment section.
Related is the barbed dart from the dalair weapon seller. I personally don’t bother with the way it breaks all the time, and that the seller is dead half the time, that it’s not as convenient as the boomerang. However, if you’re admirably keen with these things, then –2 dex on an opponent is huge.
Finally, there’s the dex reducing ice spells. There’s 4 in total, 1 in each of the schools (including the basic one) apart from Drowgar. A ~40 spell point spell that reduces dex by 1 for a while, reduces the opponent’s attacks every so often and then also does a bit of damage sounds great doesn’t it? Unfortunately they 1) Do not always trigger the frostbite which reduces the dex 2) work less well the higher level the NPC is and 3) you get a lot more damage out of most other spells with similar cost.
As such, in only limited circumstances (explained in the ‘Alteration soloing’ section) are these ice spells really useful to a powerplayer.
In most circumstances an oak boomerang is all you can do in this field… make sure you have one or more at all times.
Your own dex
This of course is also something that is largely unchangeable. Your race will determine the amount your dexterity will max out at, so your race is probably the largest factor overall in determining whether you use dodge or none.
The only piece of gear practical to a mage to increase his or her own dex is the +1 dex –1 con semi-unique black staff from the Yeti Area. This is useful at 30-50ish skill.
Then there’s the reverse, thinking cap, tcap, tcrap. If you’re going to dodge, this thing is strongly not recommended. The only possible exception is a situation where you’re elf, and have the other 2 int boosters already.
Your own weight
This is the part you have most control of. To dodge reasonably well, you need to absolutely minimise the amount of stuff you carry – ideally a staff, a pipe, and a golden amulet. And that’s all. The only things you should allow in your inventory must be worth their weight, if it will gain you either more experience, money or skills. Otherwise it’d just cause you to take more damage for no good reason, and is thus inefficient.
The essentials are obviously
- Your real weapon and
- Your pipe.
If faced with 2 roughly equal weapons, take the lighter one if you’re going to be doing some dodging – ie azakath instead of tetsubo.
Now feel free to add to that any weightless items that are neat or help – of note is the leather sheath or black scabbard – adding to leg protection for no weight addition. Of course, extra stuff like hooded falcons, pet snakes and whatnot are weightless and do nothing, so feel free to get them if you like them.
Next are the items you’d probably get despite the fact that they hamper your dodging. Namely
- Nightblue Cloak and Spidermedallion
- Golden Amulet
- Good Zarkan rings.
The first two are self explanatory – any mage wants extra int. Golden amulet provides some protection to every single part of your body for the cost of 1 weight – ‘Only the best piece of armour in the whole game’ – Lunger, mid 2004. The same sort of argument applies for the Zarkan ring.
Following this are the situational items. These are
- Black Robe/Magic Surcoat
- A non unique medallion
- A runed breastplate
- Thinking Cap
- Robe of Turkey feathers
- Sturdy ring.
- A black robe or magic surcoat depends on whether or not you’re fighting magic hurling monsters – if you’re even only occasionally taking one on, by all means it’s worth it.
- A non-unique medallion is very good for anyone casting drowgar spells any more than once a kill. Even the non-unique medallion reduces spell costs, and depending on which spells you use, can quickly stack up to be very significant. Well worth the 1 weight if you’re a drowgar mage deprived of spidermedallion.
- A runed breastplate, at last checking, weighed one, gave +20 to two resistances, and evaluatedd as ‘good’ for the body. If that is still the case, and you can get your hands on one, then go for it.
- Thinking cap…bleh. Use it if you really want to, but give it a good thought.
- The robe of turkey feathers depends entirely on whether you believe that the rumours concerning it. As the robe gives you a blue aura, which some say means the robe actually gives you the spell effect of blur, either higher armour class or dodging. I’m on the side that thinks the rumours unsubstantiated, and as such wouldn’t take the robe. If you do believe the rumours to be true, then by all means take it. Otherwise, it’s not worth the weight for its protection.
- The sturdy ring is the same idea. If you believe it lets you do more damage, -and- you’re a race that actually deals damage (ie human, orc or dwarf) then go for it. Otherwise, +% damage on an elf’s damage is still going to round down to roughly zero. If you don’t believe the rumours, then ignore this item.
And then there’s everything else. I’m sure I’ve missed a few important items. If it’s going to make you more experience/skills/coins than the experience/skills/coins you’re going to lose by taking more damage by it reducing the effectiveness of your dodging, then take it. Otherwise, chuck it in a trashcan.
Remember, every extra item makes quite an impact in the long run.
Now to put it into action. Obviously you’re still going to need smokes, medicinals, heals (maybe some that don’t go in the deeppockets), etc. What you’ll need is to ‘keep’ all your essentials in your inventory (help keep ingame if you don’t know about it). Then you need a ‘put all in deeppockets’ alias. Then a heap of alias’ for getting stuff out of deeppockets, get packet from deeppockets, get medicinals from deeppockets, etc. At the start of a fight, you’d need to use your put all in deeppockets alias, then try to use up the heals that cannot fit in deeppockets first. You get your heals out as you need them (through your efficient alias system) and in general try to keep your inventory as clear as possible at all times. This applies to any hunga-mungas or boomerangs you’re looking to use as well (with boomerangs, perhaps don’t pick them up until the fight finishes).
If you don’t have deeppockets…well then the ground is your pocket! Same alias’, just you got to get stuff from the ground instead.
Any elf or orc mage following these instructions should dodge like a charm on all but the most dextrous of monsters on the mud (illarin, achrya, few others). Humans and half elves should do well enough, and dwarves…well…*cough*.
There’s four schools for a mage to choose from – conjuration, alteration, drowgar and invocation. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here I’ll go through each school and their major spells, and how to use them effectively.
First we’ll take a look at the interesting basic spells:
The first and cheapest direct damage spell of a mage, this is really quite good. There’s no reason to not pick this spell up and use it to supplement your physical damage in the first handful of levels. It’s even useful later on to cast on frost giants at mid levels or to finish off an almost dead foe.
Rating: 5/5. Excellent for the first 10 levels.
One of the most asked questions on mage board is ‘should I get magic missile?’
The answer to this question to me had always been no, but recently I’ve been swayed the other way. In reality it’s not that important a question, but choosing the right option can save you a few hours while leveling up.
The situation where you should not get magic missile is where you will be joining invocation upon attaining level 10, as fireball is quite cheap to get upon joining. That, or you’ve hogged glimmer for the early levels so much that you have enough study hours to get acid arrow or venom spit about level 11.
In all other situations, I think magic missile is worth the 400 study hour expenditure. Although it has been criticised for being very unpredictable and barely better than flame dart, the bottom line is that it is actually better. This makes it better to use against harder monsters, as it takes less time for you to exhaust your spell points casting MM than FD, and therefore you can leave the room faster, therefore taking less damage from the harder monster.
The argument against magic missile has commonly been that ‘you shouldn’t waste 400 study hours if you can just save up for acid arrow’. It’s true that you can get acid arrow at the end of level 12 or so without buying magic missile, and it takes until level 13 to get it if you did take magic missile. However, getting to level 13 with magic missile probably takes half as much time as getting to level 12 with flame dart. Overall, if you’re just looking to get through to level 19 as soon as possible, magic missile will get you there faster.
However, once you get your main attack spell (acid arrow or venom spit) this spell becomes pretty much totally useless.
Note that its damage is at least partly fire as well, so it’s good on frost giants.
Rating: 3/5. Not a great spell, but you should still get it if it’s going to help.
Your first defensive spell, and one that has lately raised some interest. It has been rumoured to help dodging (my testing on it has been inconclusive). What is true is that it obviously is going to provide some benefit of some sort. Therefore you might as well get it while you’re leveling up – a few less points of damage taken never hurts.
This spell has been linked with the turkey feather robe’s blue aura – it’s not true that the robe gives the same description effect as the spell – a blue aura on the robe compared to ‘x is hard to look at’ for blur. I don’t see any necessarily connection for the rumour that turkey robe provides the blur spell to the wearer.
This new-ish spell is somewhat interesting, but in the end probably causes more annoyance than anything for most people.
It has an interesting use against rooms with 2 monsters – casting it on one would separate them, making the fight much easier for a solo mage or a small party. Possible rooms where this is useful are Optio, orc captain/lieutenant, the cold hand clan, lava men, etc. This results in needing to later on chase down the NPC that fled, which can be rather annoying. The upside is that every time it flees, when you re-enter the room with it, you get a free physical hit on it – it can add up should the NPC keep fleeing.
Rating: 2/5. Someone creative may come up with a great use for this spell, but that person hasn’t been me so far.
Light is a must-have, self explanatory.
Rating: 5/5, essential.
Identify is similarly useful.
Rating: 5/5, again essential.
Knock is a useful utility spell for convenience with doors and treasure chests, and getting out of tight spots.
Rating: 5/5 essential.
Rope trick, apart from being a quick way up to pendleton, also provides some added mobility when stuck in certain areas like windmill and underground forest.
Rating: 5/5 Essential.
Cantrip is just irrelevant. But what’s 3 study hours?
Charm seems like it never works, and I can’t really see any practical use for it either.
Scry is essential for anyone who plans on bounty hunting or gathering information.
Rating: 5/5, you’ll end up using it.
Mark is an essential spell for a lot of other spells (notably the teleporting ones).
Rating: 5/5 Essential.
Know Alignment is completely unrelated to combat or ‘convenience’ as such. It might be useful in exploring to know if certain npc’s are really evil or good. Hazy mist is neutral, the negative spectrum is shown as horns and positive is halos. Note that it can detect more gradations than the cleric prayer, which shows demonic, evil, nasty, neutral, nice, good, saintly.
|Neutral to Demonic||Neutral to Saintly|
|hazy mist||hazy mist|
|very faint red||very faint yellow|
|bright red||bright yellow|
|glowing red||bright white|
|demonic red||pure white|
|horribly red||blindingly pure|
Comprehend Languages is useful for exploration for the subhuman races.
Locate object I haven’t really played around too much with, mainly because I don't see a practical use for it
Ice flurry is very similar to magic missile, and the same arguments apply to it. Ice flurry is superior to missile in that it provides frostbite sometimes and that it’s something different, the disadvantages that it costs more in study hours and spell points, and that it has no bonuses versus fire giants. Choose the one you prefer.
Rating: 3/5. The comment I’d make for the rest of the ice spells are the same as this one.
Protection from Elements is a decent trade for later on – 55 spell points and a parsnip for 20 fire and cold resists. When tanking, every bit counts, and this spell permed isn’t a bad way of boosting resistances.
The conjuration mage is one of the most commonly seen mages. It is from this school that mages have gotten much of their reputation as soloers, treasure hunters and explorers.
This spell is the heart and soul of the conjurer. For a cost around 37 (depending on int), it dishes out a whopping 50-70 damage on average (depending on int again) every single casting, extremely reliably. It works on 99% of the monsters in the game, and can be cast every 2 rounds, the favoured spell of all hit and runners.
The sheer efficiency of this spell is what makes it so deadly. A skilled berserking fighter on average would deal out 15-20 damage every round, whereas a mage with constant spell point supply can dish out 50-70 damage per 2 rounds, plus the average of say, 10 staff damage dealt during that time. Of course this is contingent upon always having spell points… this will be discussed later in the ‘soloing’ and ‘bashing’ sections.
There’s a good reason alteration and invocation mages often use this spell instead of their own school’s attack spells.
Rating: 5/5. This is the sole reason anyone would be a conjurer, for very good reason.
Conjuration’s version of the self-protecting spell has one major difference – it can be cast on others. Any experienced tank would know that this makes a huge difference to the damage one takes. It’s in most cases worth casting on yourself to reduce physical damage taken as well… but as has been often documented stoneskin is better. This spell however lasts longer, so is a better choice when perm mages cannot be found to help you out with perming stoneskin.
As this spell is cast infrequently, and most mages have it anyway, it’s not really an exclusive conjuration spell as such.
Rating: 3/5. Not much to say about it really, one of those spells everybody has.
Now here’s an interesting spell. For a minimal financial outlay and 70 spell points, a conjurer can create a whole stack of heals that on average would heal about 120 hit points and spell points. Sounds good? The catch is that these heals are rather inefficient compared to other heals that can be bought – that is, they fill you up to extremely full or drunk, while healing you less.
That is not to say this spell doesn’t have its uses. When you’re poor, a hero’s feast is well worth the inefficiency in healing. When you’re stuck in some area or far from civilisation, virtually free heals is great. When bashing, this is one of the best ways for a conjurer to hurl even more acid arrows. When your ranger friend’s wolf is about to feral and you’re far away from anywhere, a hero’s feast inevitably will have some meat in it.
This is quit a versatile spell, useful in many situations. It is quite an exclusive conjurer’s spell, as its increased spell cost out of school makes it virtually worthless for the other schools
Of note is the fact that the smaller items of food from the feast are weightless (thanks aelenfear), and not bad in terms of efficiency either - that is, being extremely stuffed from the apples, jerky and sandwiches (the weightless ones) heals you about as much as, if not more than being extremely stuffed from kniggets.
Who's getting HoH running ideas?
Rating: 4/5. An underrated spell.
A conjurer’s version of teleport, it is quite useful. It transfers not only you, but can also move anybody else with you into the marked area. Also it doesn’t have the problem of people on the other end coming back through – so it’s often used for making gates from your guildhall into another guildhall to use their goodies. This is quite a good spell in a party, to move the whole party to a far away area (ie SE isles) or past guards (like orc mountain’s guards). It is also cheap to cast for yourself, only 60 spell points at low spellpower. Once again, it’s a spell that all conjurers probably have, and most other schools’ mages would take this at some point as well.
Rating: 4/5. Yes it’s just another teleport spell, but quite useful to a powerplayer.
Flame Arrow is about the worst spell ever coded. Don’t get it unless you’re going for a full spellbook. This spell is said to scale at levels beyond 20, the degree to which it scales and its effectiveness at higher levels is not yet fully understood.
Wizard’s eye is useful for keeping an eye on stuff you want to camp but don’t want to be at yourself– namely NPCs with uniques and dark strangers. Nice to have but not essential.
Choke is just a poor man’s version of spider legs that doesn’t even last past the kill you cast it on. Not too useful unless you’re the sole mage basher bashing for a non-necromancer on a high hit point monster. Mostly useless.
Secret Chest and Instant Summons are related spells that essentially give you little storage spaces anywhere on the MUD for several hours. Instant summons allows you to retrieve items from these secret chests from afar. Useful in certain situations (like hall of heroes runs) but not essential.
Find familiar is just a cute little spell that can act as an extra wizard’s eye. Another idea is to mark the familiar, let it sit somewhere you want to teleport to every so often, and have it act as a second location mark (explained in more detail later).
And finally, Tiny Hut and Secure Shelter. Essentially, these create an extra room in almost any room in the game, for you to safely run away to and stash items in. It is mainly a hit and run mage’s tool, and would only be used on certain kills that are hard to run away from like alton and effaw at any rate (shouldn’t you be tanking those out anyway?).
Rating: Can be useful in certain circumstances I suppose. 2/5.
So what’s all this mean as a package? The spell that is repeatedly cast in a school is the spell that defines the school, and in this case it is acid arrow.
A conjurer is the closest a mage gets to raw power. A conjurer slays anything he/she likes until the spell points run out, and that is the key here. A conjurer’s main question is: how do we upkeep our spell points?
The race you choose for your conjurer plays quite a part in how effective they will be. As acid arrow defines how well you do, we will have to investigate what makes it work better.
The amount of damage an acid arrow deals is based on your intelligence primarily, and the opponent’s armour has some part to play as well in reducing its damage. The amount it successfully hits is based upon primarily your dexterity compared to your opponent’s, (perhaps your intelligence has a smaller part to play as well), and the opponent’s armour class also factors into it.
Since you’re probably not going to choose your kills based around low dexterity and also low armour class opponents, the important aspects of this mage is obviously dexterity and intelligence.
Another thing to mention here is that Acid Arrow’s damage increases as your increase your intelligence, and as you increase your intelligence the spell cost also increases. In other words, the damage increases as spell cost is increased…that is, the damage you get out of every spell point stays roughly (if not exactly) constant. So unless you’re doing a hall of heroes run where damage per second rather than damage per spell point is important, intelligence is actually not quite as important as it seems.
The next consideration is other sources of damage – most conjurers would only use 2 others. One is obviously the staff damage you’re going to be dealing. Now this is dependent on both strength and dexterity – how much your staff hits, how much damage it does. However as this requires that a) you have a good weapon b) a good weapon skill and c) that you’re actually going to stay in the room for any amount of time, it’s obviously not quite as important a source of damage as acid arrow. It’s more effective for bashers than soloers as well.
The other source of potential damage is thrown weapons and bows. Both of these depend entirely upon dex for their effectiveness.
The common vein from the above discussion is that a conjurer’s major stat is actually not intelligence or strength, but dexterity.
In my opinion, an ELF makes the best conjurer. My main mage Eliveru is, you guessed it, an elf conjurer. With 19 intelligence and 18 dexterity, their acid arrows rarely miss, pack a huge punch, allows them to dodge all but the best monsters (and the best do fall quickly), their low hit points are compensated by the high dexterity in most cases, and have roughly the same power at log in as fully equipped with all int boosters. This is the ultimate solo mage, hopeless at tanking, and not much better as a basher.
Second on the pecking order is surprisingly, ORC. Now don’t knock this choice unless you’ve actually gone and played an orc mage. With the above discussed correlation between damage dealt and spell points used, an orc ends up spending roughly the same amount of spell points to take out a kill as an elf would, just it might end up taking 1 extra acid arrow (1 extra garlic, 2 extra rounds). With an orc weighing in with 3 more constitution than elf however, he can easily take those 2 extra rounds. However an orc does miss more acid arrows than a mage, and as such slightly inferior in that respect.
What an orc does have over an elf however, is strength. With 15+2 strength, an orc mage can do some real damage if the staff skill is at a decent level. In a party, where constant damage is preferred generally over the sporadic damage an elf mage provides, an orc mage would be preferred. The higher strength also gives more flexibility with carrying capacity and equipment choices. Overall, the difference is simply whether you want raw power, or close to raw power tempered by some actual damage from the staff. If your connection is horrible, the 3 extra con can save a few trips to Lars as well.
Equal third would have to be HUMAN and HALF ELF. They have the same dexterity, with the elf getting more wis and int, and human more str and con. This would be a preference thing of course, but a word of warning – with the 16 dex that these 2 races get, the misses you’d get with acid arrows can quickly get depressing.
Dead last would have to be DWARF. They have minimal dex or int, making acid arrow miss a lot. Their low dex and high strength cries out for you to use armour and defend none. This is a bit of a battle mage, and would be neat if you didn’t regularly get runs of 2-5 acid arrows missing on 9k’s. Want a reason to get annoyed? Go play a dwarven conjurer.
Playing Style – Tanking
Don’t even bother trying to tank with a conjurer. I’ll bow down to you and let you write this section if you manage over 150k/hr per person.
Playing Style – Bashing
A conjurer makes a better basher than most people think… the problem is that most people do not use them to their full potential. A conjurer lugs out acid arrows instead of the hastes that make a party mage famous. The (mostly correct) perception is that the haste comes out to help the party more since it
- should deal more damage than the acid arrow
- /me makes the hasted person skills faster
- /me a double haste on a tough kill can drop it real quick
- /me it doesn’t cause complications in the NPCs’ scripts, so no ‘turning’ on the mage.
However acid arrow has some definite advantages. It
- is independent of the damage anyone else in the party does
- /me costs less both spell points wise and financially
- /me can be cast a lot more than haste if the mage uses hero’s feast, smokes and medicinals well and
- /me 50-60 damage every 2 rounds can drop a tough kill pretty d**n fast as well and finally
- /me contrary to popular belief, it does –not- make your skilling slower, sure, your experience to skills ratio goes up, but your skills to time ratio stays the same as long as you keep hitting things.
So although the alterer may come out a slightly better basher, the conjurer is not far behind. Remember to cast armour on you tank first thing, grab the biggest staff you can use well, and keep extremely stuffed and very drunk through hero’s feast as much as possible (you do know that the more drunk you are, the faster you regenerate spell points, right?). Always be smoking your pipe and binding your wounds as well. Learn which kills ‘turn’ on you if you cast spells on them, or do bad effects, and then learn which kills tanks appreciate being killed fast. Don’t bother wasting spell points on easy stuff like Bulette, your tank much prefers the old wise sage or Razar dead faster.
Remember to use deeppockets and at least one other container.
Playing Style – Soloing
This is the interesting bit of a conjurer, its greatest strength. Though the question of ‘how do we keep a constant supply of spell points’ was touched on in the last section on bashing, this is where it will be fully explored. For as long as a conjurer can keep up her spell points, she can keep destroying the mud as fast as any other class.
Most obvious are potions and elixirs. They’re great for instant consumption, and are very useful when far away from civilisation. They do come at a steep cost after a while however, and also are subject to tolerance – that is, they get less effective as you drink more of them, until a cleric (or gremlin food, or the steam bath) fixes you up. That is not to say you shouldn’t use them, when you’ve exhausted the options below, which is rather quickly, you should jump right onto these. Potions are a bit better than elixirs, so use them before elixirs first.
Related is tea and medicine. Good to get when you can of course, but this applies to any character in any class. Just be careful of not getting ‘cross-legged’ with the tea and thus not being able to drink your other heals.
Next is perhaps the most important area to my non-alteration mages’ playing styles – monks’ meditation. Essentially, it allows you to ‘meditate long’ about 15 times each reset, and for a cost of 500 odd coins, and 15 seconds, you get back around 70 spell points. The best thing is that this is not subject to tolerance. The area is in a reasonably central part of the MUD and can fill you up from zero to max spell points very quickly. This is your first stop when you’re in a situation where you have about 100 hit points and only 20 spell points, for good reason.
Of course, you’re also going to lose hit points. This is where food and alcoholic drinks come in. They heal spell points as well as hit points… so the problem you might be seeing here is, our heals end up healing a lot more spell points than hit points. But on the flip side, we want to be taking a lot less damage than the spell points we use – that is, every 2 rounds, we’ll be using about 37 spell points, and hopefully only losing about 20 hit points.
Now we have real choice about what we use – there is only 2 choices with potions and elixirs (and you’ll probably end up using both), one place for meditation, and tea and medicine are essentially the same thing. There is, however, a huge range of potential food and drink heals. Drink heals are largely similar, and there is not much to discuss about it – just use your favourite type, mine happens to be sunsets and chickers.
Food is much more diverse. The ‘efficiency’ of a heal is how much it heals you versus how stuffed it makes you. In other words, although I might be able to eat 3 king’s feasts in a row to heal about 100 hit points and spell points, and end up extremely stuffed, I could alternatively eat maybe 10 legs of lamb to heal 150 hit points and spell points before I hit extremely stuffed, or 40 berries to heal something like 400/400. Obviously you want to use the most efficient heals as possible – for more hit points and spell points overall.
The general rule is that the less something heals, the more efficient it is. Free heals are the best examples of this – berries, apples in hermit’s area, carrots, hams, etc. They all heal insubstantial amounts, but boy can you eat a lot of them. So make sure you get your hands on these every time you visit these areas. Next out of the major heals are lambs, merchant’s feasts, kniggets and knuggets. This is mainly a question of which area you’re near when you need heals.
What I really want to talk about is inns – namely, eastroad inn, wayfarer’s rest and (not really an inn) the slaughterhouse in dalair. The slaughterhouse in dalair (‘buy 1’ first, when that’s out, ‘buy 2’, then ‘buy 3’ etc) and wayfarer’s rest (‘buy bread’ then ‘buy pie’ etc) rate special mention. These two places provide heals that are far and away more efficient than any of the take-away heals you’d get. Eastroad inn’s a convenient place to stop by on the way to meditation to top up on hit points. These places should be used as much as possible.
On top of that, the 2 inns allow you to ‘sleep x’ where x is the amount of seconds you want to sleep. This is another way of healing hit points and spell points without using potions or tea etc. Sleeping at the Eastroad with ‘Sleep x’ lets you heal at a greater rate too, for more cost.
Finally I should mention the two other free heal spots that allow you instant healing conveniently without touching your stuffed/drunk level or your tolerance. These are the ravel pool and fairy ring fountain. When you’re low, taking these two spots can quickly heal you about 80/80 which means an extra 2 acid arrows right there.
There’s also bedrolls. Long seen as ‘newbish’, this is one of the better heals for a mage. Every 3 minutes or so, you can crawl into your cocoon, and provided you’ve got your wounds bound and are smoking during that time (smoking while sleeping, that’s dedication), to easily heal up at least 120/120 for no cost in tolerance or stuffedness/drunkenness. It fits into your deeppockets easily, and only requires a few good alias’ and some common sense about which rooms are safe to sleep in to use well. Perfect for treasure hunting in far away lands, for poor people, and those of you who aren’t willing to do what I’m going to talk about right after this (it’s almost the same effect, for a lot less typing).
Say you’re an elf mage, and therefore there’s no real point in getting staff skills as you’ll never do any real damage anyway. 90% of your damage is from acid arrow. We’ll start with a staff, a pipe, smokes, medicinals, a load of kniggets, 3 chickers, and armour cast.
To begin combat, we put all in our deeppockets, so all that’s left in the inventory is the staff and the pipe. We start the fight, and use our ‘dotimes 100 cast acid arrow’ alias – this way your full attention is on your hit points and spell points. If we start losing more than 30 hit points, we take a knigget out and eat it, then a chicker, etc.
The second there is a huge difference between your hit points and spellpoints (ie 130 hit points 60 spell points), we run off to meditation to meditate to full. Coming back, those spell point should be enough to finish off the monster. If we ran away on something like 90 hit points 10 spell points, on the way to meditation we’d visit one of the aforementioned inns on the way, to top up to 120 hit points or so, then go on and meditate to full. If we’re lazy about it we’d use potions and bedrolls (but beware, money drains very fast with potions).
When we’re cut from meditation, then there’s no choice but to use potions. After every kill, we rebind ourselves, use our ‘breakdo’ alias to get rid of the dotimes cast acid arrow alias, and put everything in deeppockets, and move on to the next kill. With no lag, and careful choosing of kills, this should net a good 100k/hr at least.
Good Conjurer Kills
Assuming a good knowledge of the mud, the best kills for a conjurer are those with minimal hit points – sage, wyvern, fairy queen, etc. After that, are those that do minimal damage – bulette, riognach, wigwog etc. Also, the stacking kills are great for conjurers– Fleeyp, Illarin, etc. Then there’s treasure hunts. Kills that have much hit points and do much damage – chaos warrior, arcane mage, Zorgon, Blor etc are strongly recommended against.
Of note are certain kills like sage, which do a lot more damage if you stay in the room. There is no shame in hitting and running on these kills – plus it’s much easier to run off to meditate on these kills. I like to keep 3 keys which are adjacent to each other for these purposes – R T and Y for example. R aliased to the direction into the room with the kill, T aliased to acid arrow, and Y aliased to the direction back out of the room. This way you minimise the chances of the lag causing you to stay in the room one extra round, thereby chancing the NPC doing a whole heap of damage to you.
Some other (not a complete list) of kills that mages do kill that really should be hit and run instead of toe to toe with are Zarkan, bort, dwarven paladin, Effaw, holocaust spirit, imam, Illarin.
The alteration mage would probably be equally common as the conjuration mage. However an alteration mage is virtually of a different class to a conjuration mage and here’s why:
Like acid arrow is the spell a conjurer casts over and over again, haste is the one repeatedly cast by an alterer. Weighing in at 90 spell points at high power for alterers, most mages can cast this spell twice when at full spell points. It has the awesome effect of doubling the attacks per round of the person having the spell cast on them for about 12 rounds (dependent on random rolls and intelligence also).
This spell is popular as it
- increases the skilling rate of the person under the effects of the spell (twice the hits, twice the skills theoretically)
- /me can potentially do a lot more damage than acid arrow – the damage of the extra hits a fighter gets over 12 rounds should easily be higher than the damage of 90 spell points worth of acid arrow, even if the acid arrow is cast at in-school cost
- /me in a party, no NPC ‘turns’ on a mage for casting haste in combat
- /me it never backfires (unless you’re in an anti-magic room)
Rating: 5/5. Great spell all round.
This is one of those spells that every mage has. It’s basically an enormous container (the biggest in the game actually) that only you can use, and the other great thing about it is that anything inside it is instantly weightless.
A lot of people new to the game would say ‘so what? I can just buy a sack’. But this is the spell that allows a mage to carry the most ‘stuff’ out of any class in a party, the spell that makes dodging a lot less of a hassle for any solo mage, and one of the most convenient spells around.
Rating: 5/5. Must have.
A spell that just gives you +2 strength for nothing. With a strength spell on, mages of a particular race are actually stronger than rogues, rangers, shapeshifters and necromancers of the same race, sharing the same strength as the clerics. One of those spells that every mage gets and uses as much as possible (except maybe the elven conjurer), in effect giving all mages 2 more stats than any other class.
If you are going to going toe to toe with monsters at all, you should try to have this spell cast on yourself (and hopefully enhanced or permed).
Rating: 5/5. Another one of those spells every mage has.
Enhance skill is primarily used to boost a low skill so that it’s easier to hit monsters with. As far as I can tell, the skilling rate is still based on your base skill, but you should wield a weapon that’s suited to your enhanced skill. Gaining skills is invariably better with enhance skill on.
The boost this spell gives to your skill greatly diminishes once your skill goes past 50 or so, going down to no effect at around 70. As such, a lot of alterers eventually grow out of this spell, but it’s still a good one to help out party members slightly lacking in their skills, to sell perms with, and to cast on marksmanship when doing a bit of PK or hall of heroes running.
This spell is most useful when levelling up or when upon reaching level 19 still possessing low skills.
The bigger brother of conjuration’s armour and drowgar’s silk armour. This spell is supposed to protect better than either of the alternatives, but lasts a very short amount of time when not enhanced or permed. As such, armour is a better choice when perms or enhances are not available.
It can’t be cast on others.
Rating: 3/5. Good when you can perm, which might not be often.
The poor man’s perm – this spell essentially extends the time a spell will last. That is, if you just cast deeppockets, enhancing it will make it last about an hour instead of about half an hour.
This is obviously useful when perms are not on hand, and for enhancing cloudkills for high hit point kills, and for enhancing hastes when in a party (as enhance costs less spell points and the same components as haste).
It also has the effect of restoring mystic sword to its maximum power (for those who don’t know, with every hit, mystic sword loses some of its damage potential).
Rating: 4/5. Just a useful spell to use. To boot, it costs next to no study hours in school.
The opposite of enhance magic, this spell has its uses (like getting rid of cloudkills, bad rolls on enhance skill, other players’ gates into your guild hall, etc).
In addition, several areas in the game have ‘shortcut’ solutions when this spell is used. Not always practical but it’s something to know. I’ll leave you to find these areas for yourselves.
Rating: 3/5. Something that you’re bound to use sometime, even if you don’t touch it at all some playing sessions.
Only alterers can cost this spell, and at that, only alterers with more than the whopping 180 spell points this spell requires.
Elves and half elves can cast this spell naturally. Humans require 1 int booster (or a Dubo potion), being the 2 painful spell points off, orcs require 2 and dwarves 2 or 3 (can’t be bothered checking). The (not so) rare reagent nightshade is also required. This can be obtained by a) a lucky visit to pendleton when he’s got some in stock b) treasure hunt chests and c) a ranger’s foraging.
The spell is pretty simple – it makes spells that would otherwise wear off after some time stay there until you log out – so in other words it’s just a convenience spell. However, it saves a lot of effort to go and recast your spells every 15 or 30 minutes, and as such is very valuable. It is easy to sell permed spells to other players for 10-15k coins a pop.
Most mages who are going to play for more than 1 or 2 hours at a time like to have their spells permed for convenience’s sake, and a poor alterer can easily make a heap of money selling this.
Rating: 5/5. Another great spell.
The alterer’s transport spell has 2 fundamental differences to its cousins.
First is that it doesn’t allow anyone else to travel with you – reflected in its lower cost. As such it is more of a soloer’s spell.
The other is that it allows you to teleport to living things – unlike the other 2. This makes it an essential spell in bounty hunting – you can pop out right next to your prey and hammer them with your ammo whenever you like. This property also allows you to have a second marked ‘area’ – so if one mark is at crossroads, you can put another one on a random monkey on south east isles, and now you can teleport yourself between two spots.
Rating: 4/5. Not essential for all, but still useful for most powerplayers.
Uglify just doesn’t have anything to do with combat.
Burning Hands is fireball’s little brother – and it shows.
Lock portal The only time this might be useful is locking a power party inside Alton’s caverns or another out-of-the-way area without a key… so as you see its uses are almost non existent.
Tongues is the bigger brother of comprehend languages. It’s useful for non-human mages who are exploring certain areas.
Power Word: Harm just cannot compare to acid arrow. Not only does it do massively inferior damage, it actually heals undeads and is overall fairly useless. Most alterers faced with a choice between this spell at in-school cost of around 37 and the out of school cost of acid arrow or venom spit at 50+, would still take the latter 2. There’s a good reason for that.
Picking a race for your alterer is a much less straightforward process than picking one for your conjurer.
First is the question of how easily you will be able to get perms – if you can easily get your hands on at least one int booster or two every time you play, or get perms from friends, then human, orcish and dwarven alterers look a lot more promising. On the other hand, if you have to be self sufficient, elf and half elf are better choices.
If you plan on trying your hand at tanking as a mage sometime, then elf and half elf are disaster choices.
Therefore, there’s no real actual ‘best’ alterer, as they’re quite diverse, so the following is simply my opinion rather than any definite statements of fact:
The best alteration mage would be human. An int booster is not that hard to come by – a friendly shout out looking to borrow one, a visit to the master flame for the commonly not-out thinking cap or a perusal through ‘who class’ usually nets you a way of getting perms. Past that, a human alterer has a whopping 17 strength and 17 base intelligence – allowing the alterer to not only throw out fairly long hastes and the occasional respectable damage spell, but also deal loads of damage with the staff, provided the staff skill is above 50.
Most of my alterers in the past have been humans, and they are simply the most flexible race for it. They can bash very well, solo reasonably and reach great potential while tanking (explained in the playing styles later on in this section).
Next up would be orc again. An orcish alterer is much more dependent on equipment and friends’ help. They require a whopping 2 int boosters to perm themselves, mostly relying on other mages to do it for them. Past that however, they have 1 more con and 1 more dex than a human mage – therefore letting them do more damage with their staves and have more grunt while tanking.
The drawbacks are that with 2 less intelligence, an orcish mage’s hastes can last a good 2-3 rounds less, which all adds up, as unlike most attack spells, haste’s cost stays constant irrespective of intelligence. The other is that, at base intelligence and wisdom, and orcish mage doesn’t meet the prerequisites to wield the staff of Azakath – one int booster is required.
Overall, an orc makes a better tank, about the same quality basher and soloer – at the cost of a lot more dependence on others. It’s a question of preference mostly.
Third I think would be pure elf. An elf alterer is once again quite different to the two races above. With 3 less strength, an elf cannot wield tetsubo (the most damaging staff) and cannot use Azakath with more than a few bands on it (ie not at its greatest power). As such, the physical damage dealt out by an elf is much less. I have tanked for many hours for both Greystar (a human) and Sinius (an elf) both with 100 staff, and the damage difference between the two is absolutely huge.
The upside is that there is no need of other mages or of int boosters to cast permanency. This gives the elf much more freedom to just ‘go out and play’. The elf’s hastes also last a lot longer, and at 90 spell points a pop, an elf can easily toss out 2 at the same time in a party, to make short work of a particularly hard kill.
The main issue with an elf is that a soloing elf mage, hasted, still does pretty ordinary damage. As such, the playing style is a little bit different for maximum efficiency (see below).
Next would be half elf and dwarf en par. These two races are just…. unsuitable. The half elf’s only advantage over the elf is the ability to wield tetsubo – which is arguably a big difference, but in the end, 2 less strength and the same dex as a human, or 2 less dex, 1 less int than an elf makes for a fairly inferior mage.
A dwarven mage has laughable intelligence – the hastes fizzle out after a disappointing 6 or 7 rounds a lot of the time. Minimal dex certainly doesn’t help the cause, and although there is some imposing strength in a dwarf, the downsides are simply too high.
Playing Style – Bashing
Bashing as an alteration mage is simple. Have deeppockets on at all times, carry at least 1 other container (preferably 2) and do the equipment for the party. Always be smoking and bound, and don’t just blindly haste on anything – save up your spell points for nasty kills like Lihnne and Razar, or just kills with huge hit points like huge dragon and red eyed elf.
Most of the time a party rotates the person getting hasted – if that’s the case try to be logical about who to haste on what kills. The fighter should be hasted on medium-hard kills like Jarl, the fighter and the 2nd highest damaging basher hasted on the really hard kills, and then yourself and the other weaker bashers on easier kills.
Playing Style – Tanking
In my opinion, the alterer is the best school for a tanking mage – based upon the premise that on the vast majority of kills, 90 spell points spent on haste would kill a monster faster, and therefore prevent more damage than 90 spell points spent on power word heal would heal or the damage 90 spell points worth of web defender would prevent.
Of course, that’s also based on the premise that 90 spell points spent on haste does more damage than 90 spell points spent on any other spell – this is true for a decent basher and the vast majority of the kills on the game.
Now a word of warning, if you’re looking to tank as a mage, you really do need to be a pretty good player to not completely fall apart.
When tanking as an alterer, the bashers you get are of utmost importance. You need at least one ‘Big Bad Basher’ who is there to deal out massive amounts of damage. A fighter with 80+ skill in something good – two handed axe or sword or two weapon with dual elemental orbs is great. A possible replacement is a highly skilled ranger – though the fighter is preferable.
Although just you and the fighter is doable – it is then required that this fighter be also able to disarm things – every bit helps. So if they’re not using a weapon good for disarming, get them a rapier to carry in their inventory to disarm things with too. If they don’t know how to do this, then they’re probably too ‘newbish’ to really make this party work – a mage tank is very fragile.
Preferably, you can also attract a ‘Nice Fast Healer’ of the clerical or paladin variety. This would really save you a lot of money, and with a big weapon, they can deal out some nice damage themselves. It is much better if this basher is attentive and reacts quickly for your cries for help.
Other possibilities are rogues and rangers – they help you trip things up, this helps greatly. Shapeshifters and necromancers just don’t fit in, and another mage is fairly useless too. (The question arises, if you’re using them, why aren’t the rogues, clerics and paladins doing the tanking? Oh well.)
Yourself – you need the best gear you can get your hands on. With deeppockets, you can lug around anything you like, even if you’re not sure it adds to your armour class. When you type ‘eq’ – every bit should be covered by the best you can find – and more. Add on everything you can, sheaths, pet snakes, a knight’s pack just in case it does add armour class, a turkey feather robe just in case the blur rumour is true, a whitegolden ring just in case it does add armour class, a whistle on a string, etc – you can easily carry it all.
Armour of Ichor would be the best for a mage tank – the extra fountain of spell points is tremendous – at around 30 spell points for your average big kill, that’s an extra power word heal or 1/3 of a haste per kill. Drakhyra is immensely easier with Ichor boosting your hit points and spell points with every guard slain.
Armour of Gaius is always a contender as best armour for any tank, for obvious reasons. Star armour and blessed radiant armour aren’t bad either. Anything worse and you’ll be looking at being knocked about like a rag doll.
The int boosters (not thinking cap) are also very helpful – longer hastes create happiness. A boomerang does miracles too. Wigwog skin can be worn for free resistances (it doesn’t interfere with casting ability).
Of course, have stone skin permed, anything that’s bless-able blessed, and make sure your bashers are paying attention. Try to have one of your bashers hasted on any 6k+’s, and 2 people hasted if it’s a hard kill. Almost all spell points should go into casting hastes, though do cast protection from elements when you need it (if you don’t have it permed), and the occasional power word heal when there’s a great hps-sps imbalance.
A party led by a mage can go anywhere from disaster (50k/hr each or something) to outstanding (200k/hr each), depending on the personnel involved.
Oh and, if you’re chugging two murky blue potions every big kill, that’s only normal. Any more than that, and you should probably start steering clear of whatever you’re killing.
If there’s no cleric bashers in your party, make sure you can locate one when you need purges, or else it'll all go pear shaped once tolerance adds up.
So good luck on any aspiring mage tanks out there!
Playing Style – Soloing
Admittedly, I don’t have much experience with soloing as an alterer for efficiency as such. Most of the times when I solo as an alterer are because I have glimmer and am desperately looking for a haul of 20k study hours.
My style for that is to gather my equipment (whether I’m dodging or no defence), and fill deeppockets up with heals. I then start a fight with something, cast a haste, throw a boomerang, and then eat heals and cast power word heal until either the NPC dies or I have to flee. This way all the damage is dealt out by my staff, so I maximise my skill gaining, and when I have glimmer, this gives mountains of study hours.
However the above style is quite expensive and from a purely experience-making perspective, not ideal. It is often needed when playing like this to also every so often cloudkill big money rooms like Optio and then come back to collect the loot later to feed the constant loss of money.
What would be faster would be to cast a haste, and use acid arrows or venom spits instead to compliment your damage. This way, for a good 10 rounds, you’re getting in 2 hits per round with your staff, with the occasional 50 damage nuke launched. NPCs should theoretically die faster this way, thereby saving you heals and also time, thereby being more efficient.
In comparison to a conjurer’s style, an alterer must stay in the room to get the full effect of haste, thereby suffering more damage from anything that you’d rather not stay in the same room as. In addition, with most weapons (or if you’re an elf) 90 spell points spent on haste is only slightly better than 90 spell point spent on an in school acid arrows or venom spits. Then after the initial 90 spell point investment, each additional attack spell (ie AA or VS) required for an alterer is obviously at a higher expense than the additional AA’s required by a conjurer.
A solo alterer also requires the strength and stoneskin spells and a very good weapon to function well – whereas a conjurer can do fairly well without any of these three.
In other words, an alterer sacrifices much flexibility when soloing in comparison to a conjurer and is much harder to play. Personally I make almost twice as much experience with my conjurers than my alterers. However perhaps the most famous mage of them all – Thothamon, is an alterer who only soloes.
Good Alterer Kills
Thus, you're looking for things which do little damage first (bulette, hermit, treasure hunts, giant ogres), then things that die fast and give good money (various guards)...then maybe low hit point things
The drowgar school’s tome resides outside of the mage hall – the only one to do so. Bring a map, head south and east from Duendar, the area is near a river. It is a curious mix of spells, the cumulative effects of which is a mage which is somewhat halfway between a conjurer and an alterer. In contrast to the other schools, a drowgar mage actually has 2 or 3 main spells that are frequently cast.
One special property of a drowgar mage is its affiliation with the symbols of Losoth – namely spidermedallion, the blade of Losoth and the non unique medallion. All these items reduce the spell costs of the drowgar spells, and even the humble non-unique medallion reduces the cost of venom spit by 1 and spider legs by 4 (for an orc in school). For an average kill which will require say, 1 spider legs and 6 venom spits, that’s 10 spell points saved, which for an orcish drowgar is 1/3 of another venom spit. Though this seems small, it does quickly add up.
So in other words, always have at least a medallion.
Now let’s look at the spells:
Roughly equivalent to acid arrow, this spell is different in one major way: the same way all manspider spells are different: the pre-delay. When you cast a manspider spell, it takes 2 rounds before the spell effect occurs – if you leave the room during this time or the target dies, the spell is cancelled and you lose your spell points. It also makes hit and running almost impossible.
On the upside, this spell does seem to do on average, a little bit more damage than acid arrow, and using spidermedallion or a normal medallion, it costs a bit less too. Perhaps one day we’ll see an elf mage with good shortsword skill, the blade of losoth and a medallion outperforming conjurers on these bases.
If you’re happy to stay in the room, venom spit is just as good as acid arrow, if not better.
One other thing to mention is in a pk situation, or if you're an alterer (so both AA and VS cost the same), you can cast venom spit, then the round the damage actually occurs, immediately cast an aciid arrow. In a pk situation this smacks the player with 100ish damage in one round, and in a NPC fight, it lets you take less damage if you initiated combat with the venom spit (only useful when hitting and running for something you want, generally)
Rating: 4.5/5. Loses half a mark for the pre-delay making you less flexible.
One can think of this as a mini haste which doesn’t increase your skilling rate. The legs sprout out for quite a while (depending on int), usually about a minute, for minimal cost. The legs do 10-20 damage every few rounds, are blockable and parry-able, but are well worth their spell points.
The legs travel from kill to kill, and are very efficient damage/spell point used-wise.
Rating: 5/5. I always use this spell when bashing, tanking or soloing with a drowgar.
Think of this as a mage’s pet wolf. For about 10 rounds, we get a spider ‘helper’ who does the sort of damage a ranger’s wolf does. It disappears if you leave the room, and doesn’t travel with you from kill to kill. I also recall it being incredibly buggy, though I can’t really remember how. It also has pretty ordinary dex, so in those 10 rounds, it’d probably only average out to 5 hits, for an average of 10 damage = 50 hit points, not too efficient for 40+ spell points.
However, with more int boosters and spell cost reducers, the effectiveness of this spell can be en par with the other spells, and it does increase the damage/second of a fight, making them last shorter.
Rating: 4/5 if you’re a high int race, 1/5 if you’re not.
Halfway between conjuration armour and alteration stoneskin, there isn’t much to say about it.
Expose hidden is neat, but we do have silver amulets after all for no sps cost. I guess expose hidden doesn’t make you initiate combat.
Poison shield…poison resistance….great?
Web ladder is useful in some circumstances when you can’t get one, like when someone takes your party’s ladder at riognach.
Silk pack is inferior both to deeppockets and real packs, so there’s little reason to use one except in emergencies.
Web Wall is good for annoying people I guess, which is why it’s a bad spell.
It does, however have a bug associated with it in the alton area *cough*.
Web shield is useless for what it says it does – stop knives and arrows, from testing. However, Thothamon reckons it raises armour class, and he knows all, right?
Web mouth has no combat use.
Web defender costs huge amounts of cash, is quite useless as the little shadows all rescue in the same round (and thus take 20 damage each, when they only have 40ish hit points, bug?), and are all gone within 2-3 rounds.
A drowgar isn’t as reliant on perms as much as an alterer, but must stay in fights longer than a conjurer. The other interesting thing is, int plays a larger part in a drowgar’s effectiveness than the other 2 races, on the spider bite spell. An orc or dwarf has almost no use for this spell while the elves and humans have some use. Of course, spider bite isn’t essential.
I think there is a 3 way tie for best drowgar race – elf, human and orc, depending on style.
The elf drowgar would play similarly to a conjurer. With long lasting spider legs and spider bite, and a high damage venom spit, you’ve got one killing machine. However the elf does need to stay in combat for spider legs and spider bite to do their thing, which may be hard with their miniature constitution. The elven drowgar would be a pretty good solid basher.
The human would sacrifice some dex and int for sturdiness and staff damage. Personally I’d prefer the human to an elf, but there’s not much difference.
Orc is the race of my drowgar. It foregoes the spider bite, but can stay in fights better than both races while dealing the same damage/spell point used, and doing more staff damage. I find orc to be very useful, but the foregoing of the spider legs may be too much for some to sacrifice.
The half elf, as usual, is completely inferior to one of the 3 above races.
The dwarf’s int makes even spider legs last minimal time, and venom spit seems to miss slightly more than AA too, not helping their cause. Not a good race for it.
Playing Style – Bashing
A bashing drowgar is pretty much the same as a conjurer – see above. Instead of using hero’s feast, you should pick up alcohol when your tank does, and keep spider legs on at all times in combat, launching venom spits on harder kills.
Playing Style – Tanking
A drowgar tank is a bit easier than a conjurer one, but not much so. Therefore, the best advice is probably to change to alteration and try that instead.
Playing Style – Soloing
The soloing drowgar is, I think, the second best behind conjurer. Though a drowgar lacks the flexibility of an instant-cast spell, and must stay in the room for spider legs to have its full effect, he can deal out more damage in that time. His style is halfway between a conjurer and an alterer’s – you should carry some heals, try to finish fights low on hps/sps, and heal up using the more efficient healing sources mentioned in the conjuration section, and use meditation, and move on.
Because of the inability to hit and run, some kills are much less efficient to do with drowgar – dwarven paladin, zarkan etc. You need to be more picky about what you kill as a drowgar. However what you can kill, you should kill faster than a conjurer.
A typical fight would go like: before initiating combat, cast spider legs, spider bite (if high int race), then initiate, launching out venom spits when you can. When the thing dies, run off to an inn to fill up, then meditate once, then go to the next kill.
Good Drowgar Kills
A Drowgar excels on the same sort of kills an alterer does.
I feel invocation is inferior in every respect to any of the 3 above schools, which contributes to red being the least common of spellbook colours. Fireball is inferior to both venom spit and acid arrow, lightning is impractical and dangerous, anti magic shield can be cast out of school, and a cheaper cloudkill is hardly a good reason to join invocation, and power word heal is its only genuine claim to unique-ness.
With that being said, an invoker probably can still make more experience solo than an alterer, though much worse than the alterer in a party. It is also a very useful school to spend a few levels in at mid-levels in before switching into your end-game school, because fireball’s very useful at levels 10-19.
When I say fireball is inferior, it’s not inferior by that much. It appears to miss more than acid arrow and does less damage, and is less predictable, but overall its efficiency in damage/spell point used is still not much worse. It also rips up frost giants of course. Fireball is said to scale at levels beyond 20.
A ‘blinding white’ has long been the fears of many player killers. With a huge random factor, a bolt can do hundreds of points of damage or next to nothing (for its cost). It also can go awry, hitting yourself, someone else or miss. Additionally, it can only be cast outdoors, and has a 4 round delay instead of the usual 2.
Apart from the obvious use in instant-killing that annoying bountied player who speedwalks from drakh to the arctic in 2 seconds, the 4 round delay and potential damage has some promise in solo. With anti-magic shield on, a mage could fire off 2 lightning bolts, meditate up to full spell points, come back, fire off 1 or 2 more, and the thing would probably be dead. The problem is of course, there’s only so many things worth killing in the outdoors.
Lightning also does partial (all?) fire damage, and thus destroys frost giants efficiently. If you want to use it as a solo spell, some outdoor big kills are wyvern, astaroth, giant ogres, bokwa, anasazi spirit, drakhyra gate guards, squids, wandering housecarls…and that’s about all I can think of. As you can see, not that many kills, especially if there’s competition.
Rating: 4/5. One step short of kickass.
Power Word Heal
An in school invoker gets almost 1:1 hp healed to sp used ratio. Obviously it’s not as efficient as a cleric’s cure, has a 3 round delay, and costs a component too. However, it still does have its uses – when tanking or soloing, when there’s a sps overflow, and when going for skills – so used in conjunction with haste.
Rating: 4/5. Yes it’s just a crappy cure, but it’s useful.
Cloudkill is the other big unique spell of an invoker’s. It’s immensely useful for gathering equipment, getting quick cash, unique running or killing something that’s too hard for you (though hopefully, by the end of this guide, there won’t be anything in this last category). Some people absolutely hate others using it, and will steal the cloudkilled thing’s equipment. My approach to this is fair enough – you’re not expending any more energy to kill it than the risk they’re running by killing the thing in a cloudkilled room, so they’re entitled to the stuff. Anyway, if you cloudkill for a living, you’d have a very miserable life if you got annoyed every time a cloud kill got stolen.
Beware the legal consequences with this spell. If someone gets hit by the cloudkill while you're still in the room, combat will start, and the legalities of the fight are very messy. Also, cloudkills in very public places is utterly illegal, and some players get very annoyed at cloudkillers.
I've gotten notice that recently cloudkill has been changed so that it still logs as a player attack, but combat does not initiate automatically with the person who got it by it any more.
It is also buggy in certain *cough* areas and *cough* kills, to the player's benefit
Rating: 5/5. I’ll explain how to use this most effectively in the unique running section.
Continual Light has no combat use.
Alarm is useful to gather information and check resets, like wizard eye.
Gust of wind is a good courtesy spell to clean up after cloudkills.
Solid Fog is annoying, and is thus a bad spell.
Anti-Magic Shield is essential for mage-mage PK. It also raises your resistances so it’s useful when tanking. Note that only you can perm it on yourself, as if others try to perm it gets reflected by the shield.
Magic Mouth has no combat use.
Globe of Invulnerability, even Thothamon hasn’t found a use for this yet.
Mystic Sword…needs a revamp to make it remotely useful. One possible use is maybe a mage dual wielding mystic sword and an elemental orb, with 2 weapon enhanced. Still hard to see that being better than tetsubo, however.
It is good for emergency use though...and i hear it gets combat bonus' on certain kills, though i haven't really tested it enough to tell.
Dimension door is the most expensive of the teleport spells…and in most situations the least useful, as you often don’t want the door to be 2-way.
Invocation is very similar to conjuration in playing style, so the same race choices apply.
Playing Style – Bashing
Please don’t put the poor tanks through this sort of pain…
Playing Style –Tanking
Or the bashers…
Playing Style – Solo
The solo style would be quite similar to a conjurer’s. Note that you’d definitely want anti magic shield on if you’re going to use lightning.
Good Invoker Kills
Clear out the frost giant steading first, as you do double or triple damage to those critters with fireball. Then just do hit and run with lightning on outdoors kills, then the easy indoors kills with fireball. There’s really not that much to it, and it all comes out to be reasonably efficient solo.
Also, read the bit under lightning for kills ideas for lightning.
One of the favourite past times of mages (and certainly Thothamon), the treasure hunt, coded by Dawg, is one of the most unique features of AA and is really quite relaxing and rewarding (financially).
A treasure hunt usually starts with a treasure map, or if you run across one. A map is usually obtained from a dark stranger – one in neville (13n, 3e, 3n, 3w) and one in delair (16w, 7n), or if you’re lucky, from the normal shops. There is also one secret room which sometimes sets with a map in a northern area, but I’ll let you find that by yourself.
When an unread treasure map is read for the first time, a treasure hunt site is spawned somewhere on the MUD. The monsters in the hunt spawn according to your alignment and level – an evil player spawns good aligned kills, and a high level player spawns higher leveled kills. If you simply read an already-read map, you get directed to where the site attributed to that map is.
A ‘stadia’ as displayed by the map is one map room in AA. The hunt sites always have 2 rooms, the first empty half the time. When you kill the monster(s) in the second room, you have to search a particular part of the room to get your treasure chest, and a few seconds after that, it all collapses and all that’s left is a pile of rubble and your newfound treasure.
Since recent downgrades, treasure hunt items are worthless for high level use, apart from selling to shops for heaps of money. Many have hidden magical abilities, which can be bore out by a mage’s identify spell, increasing their sale price. The high level hunts provide locked and trapped chests – requiring disarming and lockpicking (or smashing). To disarm a chest you need some fine tools – available from bort in neville, (enter curtain, from where the stranger is). A mage can then either smash the lock – ‘smash lock’, smash the chest (though this may damage goods inside) ‘smash chest’, or cast knock on the lock.
Treasure chests always contain some coins, and often come with more treasure maps, and miscellaneous heals. They also can contain mage components (sometimes nightshade and mandrake), amongst other random items.
The south east isles is a valid place for a treasure hunt to spawn – if you keep running into the ocean when you’re following your map, a ride on the Atlantis probably will solve your problems.
If your primary goal is to make money from the hunts, as a mage, then you’d want elf treasure hunts. They spawn with up to 10ish elves in the hunt, each with 2-3 items, often magical, one can make easily 10-25k cash from just one such treasure hunt. To get these, you’d need to be evil to start (as elves are good to start).
If you’re out to make some experience too, evil treasure hunts (that is, when you’re good), are generally easier.
Alarm and wizard’s eye and find familiar are very good spells to keep an eye on whether the stranger has respawned.
Treasure hunts, along with the style of mage play I promote of never staying still, really help newer or intermediate players learn the layout of the map well.
This is one of my favourite ways of playing AA. After a reboot, I run around, gathering all the uniques I can, no matter how bad or good they are. So far my biggest haul has been 35 uniques, and it’s really quite unfortunate that the auction list has to have a 25 item cap (though I guess I see the logic in it).
The single best school for this activity would be conjuration, and the best race is elf. As is clear from my previous discussions, this is the combination that has all of its power in the sps, and is the least equipment dependent – exactly what you need at reboots.
When going for uniques, it’s important to know which uniques are often sought after – and thus you need to watch for them. Conversely, the hardly-touched uniques can just be cloudkilled, or uniques that have guards in the way (flying shield).
You need to keep an eye on reset times – every 15 minutes, some areas reset. The built in Z-mud time logging how long you’ve been on, as well as just fingering yourself, is a good indication of when your most wanted uniques might reset.
Always have a combination of kills you’re actively killing and cloud killed stuff, and as usual abuse monks’ meditation. For example, after my initial few grabs, I settle into a pattern of cloudkilling something (say, glock), while killing wigwog myself. Whenever I get extremely stuffed and drunk, I go and meditate up to enough sps for a cloudkill, cloudkill that, meditate back up again, and by then I’m probably back down to very drunk/full.
Being in eldar really helps here, the tea is great at reboot, and potions become essential if you’re going at high speed
So here’s a list of uniques and semi uniques and ‘good rare items’ you can hunt for, see if you can beat my score next time (tell me if I miss any):
Helmets: Skull helmet, Helm of Hanza (sort of), Thinking Cap
Body armour: Star armour, Armour of Ichor, Guilded Full Platemail, Golden Fieldplate, Black Mithril Platemail and Armour of Gaius (sort of), Dragon Platemail
Robe: Nightblue Cloak, Weird Looking Blue Cloak, Magic Surcoat, Black Robe, Strangely Patterned Cloak, Purple Cloak (not too sure if this is unique)
Gloves: Reflective Bracers, Brass Knuckles, Slap Glove
Shields: Wigwog skin, Flying shield, Shield of Gralain, Shroud of Gustanado
Misc: Drute’s Bauble, Evil Eye, Golden Amulet, Medallion of Night, Spidermedallion, Belt of the Giant, Ring of Tongues, a good Zarkan ring, Garnet Ring
Axe: Draqisfang (well, Draqisfang is almost anything)
Club: Krakadoom, Stone Smasher Maul, Hammer of Gralain, Mace of Darkness, The Destructor, The Trolloc Basher
Curved Blade: Blade of Sethic
Flail: Morning Star
Knife: Shadowspawn, Gemmed Rondel Dagger
Longsword: Starblade, Bloodred, Diablo, Pendragon, Evil Blacksword, Sword of Virgis
Marksmanship: Crossbow, Silver Longbow
Polearm: Awesome Scythe, Orcish Poleaxe
Rapier: Sword of Gilian, Crystal Blade
Shortsword: Blade of Losoth, Ebonblade
Staff: Tetsubo, Glimmer, Staff of Azakath, Black Staff, Crosier of pain
2H Axe: Rakar, Great Mithril Axe
2H Sword: Elvenheart, Two-Handed Powersword
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but by my count there are 66 desirables in the game, all but one (Zarkan Ring) is some form of unique. So next boot, you sure can get at least a few of them.
Most people have their personal preferences for guilds, so disregard this section if you have a ‘favourite guild’.
Otherwise, guild choice can directly impact upon your effectiveness.
Knights and Ravens don’t accept mages, which rules it down to none (not too useful if you wanted a benefit), Scythe, Eldar, Chaos, Bear and the Monks.
The pick of the lot is Eldar, assuming your race can join it. The tea is extremely helpful to mages, they offer storage through quit out (though obviously not through reboot), and the people are friendly… and talkative. Eldars can also access the elixir seller without having to wait for the slow gate guard.
Next best is Scythe. Orcs and Dwarves who can’t join Eldar should flock here for their central location, the extremely convenient rooms, and the bar (which supplies efficient heals, and does not ‘cut’ you.) Beware this guild can also be very mean to newcomers, and the conversation is hardly charming most of the time. Also, since losing the geo-throne to bears, and the inundation of wannabes, this guild no longer is a safe haven for knapsacks and uniques – though knapsacks aren’t so useful to mages. Note that scythers are also barred from nepeth, though they do get priority access to one or two other areas.
The monks’ are the next best, assuming you can gather up the mana to use their healing salves and mpray – both very useful. In fact, if you have mana in plenty of supply, monks just may have to be the best guild, their salves, i hear, are absolutely overpowered *cough*, and mpray sure is more efficient than power world heal, plus you can swing back the other way. Of course, monks’ mana is tricky to come by in large quantities. They don’t have their own heals service though, and hardly anyone is ever on.
Bears are next. Their constant grasp of geo means knapsacks are always available now, and they at least sell some heals (and quite a few early desirable uniques are near the bear guild). They also have a storage like the monks, which may sometimes net the occasional good item. Their shop supplies ladders, which can also be useful early on in a reboot. Unfortunately the conversation is often inane.
Chaos as far as I can justify it, come last. Their only benefit over the others is the channel command, which involves whining and asking for channels. They don’t have heals to sell to you, or any real benefits. And do i even need to mention what their chatline's like?
Bounties sure don’t happen much any more, and the general skill level of the runners are lower, and thus one doesn’t need to be very skilled to catch one any more, I’ll give the basics.
A mage’s primary mechanism for tracking down a bounty is via scry – you get to see what the description the room the quarry’s in is, so obviously you need a decent grasp of the mud’s areas. Other ways include the Eldar tracking ability (don’t recall its name), getting a ranger to track them down for you (which may be the only choice if they’re in a dark room), and whatever other tricks the elite bounty hunters use that I don’t know of.
Generally, a bounty probably won’t fight back, and a lot simply quit the second you touch them. So buy some heals to last a few rounds, but not too much as most likely it’d be wasted. Also, make sure you have 100 thrown weapon (or close to it) and some amount of marksmanship skill.
A silver amulet is essential – bought at Maigyn. Rub it, and suddenly you can see rogues in the shadows after searching.
The argument ‘opponent’ doesn’t work in player killing. Thus, ‘throw hunga-munga at opponent’ isn’t going to work. I use a system where all my alias’ are set to ‘cast acid arrow prey’ for example, and then I nick prey to opponent for when I normally play, and then when I have to hunt a bounty, I re-nick prey to the name of the player.
Mark is essential as a bounty hunting spell. A marked bounty who quits out and comes back is still marked. Once you have a bounty marked, barring a few areas, you can teleport any time right next to them and whoop their ass. Most of the time, if a bounty doesn’t quit, it’s only a matter of time before a marked bounty dies.
It’s common courtesy to not lightning zap your bounty. However if they’re an annoying speedwalker or quitter then they’re free game. A decent lightning zap and a hunga munga in the same round finishes most bounties.
One way to stop fast runners in their tracks is the bola from venletta’s area – take advantage of the couple of rounds where they’re surprised.
Make sure all your alias’ are easily accessible, and you want to be dealing as much damage in the first round or two as possible – this usually is an acid arrow and 2 hungas. Couple that with a few staff hits, and a slow bounty is usually dead within 2 rounds.
If they fight back, then it’s more fun, and truly, you have a greater chance of eventually killing them if they fight back. Generally, be careful of your own hit points, as mages don’t have much. There’s a few dirty tricks to exploit players with poor alias systems – pass them an empty container of the same type, and they’ll fail to get heals out of their containers. Give them a frisbee, and bad alias’ will attempt to throw the frisbee not theirknives, give them a pea-shooter, and the same happens for bows. An onyx medallion prevents enemy mages from casting spells – though it’s very rare to see a bountied mage.
Once you’ve attacked a bountied player, they’re given 10 minutes (or was it half an hour?) to take you as free game, so be careful.
If a bountied player quits out on you, they sometimes are silly enough to log back in – right at west gate. This can result in an easy kill for the prepared hunter.
Those are the basics, so good luck on the next bountied player you see.
I’m not much of an explorer myself, but I’ll cover the unique points of a mage which make them a bit better at exploring than most other classes.
Use identify on suspicious items – this usually gives you extra information.
Hard kills can be disposed of by hit and run from a tiny hut safely.
Comprehend Languages and Magic Mouth can help with certain race-based areas.
Knock can save you effort on locked doors with keys you can’t find.
Teleport can quickly get you out of a sticky new situation.
Know Alignment may alert you to what an NPC’s true intentions are.
Otherwise, a mage is mostly like any other class when exploring. Make sure to bring enough heals to get by, a thesaurus, and an inquisitive mind.
Grab a good easy staff – strong branch, crooked staff, old staff, are good choices, use Zhou extensively, and get hopefully about 20 skill by level 10. Kill in the easy newbie areas – manor, park, fairy ring, ship, etc. Don’t be afraid to use spell points to kill things, just because smacking things with a staff may get you more staff skills at level 10, it’ll take you twice as long to get there, and the mage who used spells might already be level 12 by then.
Get the essential, cheap spells – light, identify, mark, flame dart, blur, knock and rope trick. If you’re not going to go invocation at level 10, then either magic missile or ice flurry (see previous discussion on these 2 spells).
More experienced players may use flasks of oil and flame dart and free heals to destroy the steading's giants mid levels too.
should be pretty straight forward.
If you got magic missile, levels 10-12 should be reasonably straight forward. Just use smokes and medicinals and free heals to kill reasonably easy 2-4k’s. Around level 13 you’ll get acid arrow, which as documented is very powerful, and then you can take down almost anything you like. Life onwards will be as described as under the conjuration – soloing section.
If you didn’t get magic missile, level 10-12 will be a very painful slog taking aeons. I tend to do treasure hunts during these levels if I don’t have magic missile, as you get ok experience, and they’re about the only things you can kill with flame dart worth any reasonable experience. Burnham messengers, little Nepeth guards, drakhyra militiamen, delair soldiers, brigands and packrats are also good choices.
After Acid arrow, try to get hero's feast and armour, then the out-of-school spells are generally more useful - deeppockets, strength, cloudkill, enhance skill, enhance magic, etc
Life’s slightly harder for a drowgar than a conjurer while levelling, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I’d recommend getting venom spit first, as spider legs benefits from you staying in combat, which benefits from you having staff damage, which is absent during the mid levels. Otherwise, same advice as above.
The order for spells should be something like venom spit, spider legs, silk armour, spider bite (if high int race), then the out-of-school stuff
This should be roughly the same as conjurer as well. The difference is, you should hang around the giant steading and the Rune area more, for those giants which fall so very quickly to fire spells. I’d recommend also thinking about another school once you start piling on the study hours.
The order should be fireball, lightning and anti magic shield (if you're going to use them), cloudkill...then save up study hours and switch to a better school
When I say going from levels 10-12 with a conjurer without magic missile is a hard slog, the entire leveling process with alteration is painful, TEXTalmost as bad as leveling a shapeshifter, not much fun at all.
An alterer excels when he has all his spells together – which doesn’t happen until the end. None of the alterer’s spells individually make him ‘good’ by themselves. As such, there is no real order to get the spells.
All but one of my alterers have been raised by first spending time in other schools.
The one who had to level via alteration used magic missile and the frost spell, along with a little bit of partying, to tide him over until he had enough skills and spells to get anywhere.
If this is your first mage, I strongly recommend one of the other 3 schools to level up with.
The order for alteration isn't so important, but you want stoneskin, strength, deeppockets, enhance skill, perm, enhance magic, and either venom spit or acid arrow out of school
Instead of writing an essay about alias’ as well, I’ll just copy over the alias system Eliveru has, and you can work out why I have it like that, based on what I’ve said so far.
1 = unwield weapon 2 = throw hunga-munga at prey 3 = cast aa 4 = wield weapon 5 = smash lock 6 = attach bottle 7 = distill herbs 8 = detach medicine a = assist z adv = advance am = apply medicine bc = buy chicker bd = breakdo bg = buy gold bm = buy medicinals bo = throw boomerang at prey br = bind wounds of defiance bu = buy knugget bw = bind wounds c = cast cc = climb cliff cl = climb cs = climb slope cv = climb vine da = drop all db = drop bedroll dc = drink chicker de = drink elixir dn = drop all knigget dp = drink potion dt = drink tea eb = drop bottle ec = enter crevice eh = enter boat en = eat knigget ep = extinguish pipe fume = do fill pipe, smoke pipe g = search ga = get all from corpse gac = get all from cabinet gb = get bedroll gc = get chicker from dp gd = get all from dp ge = get elixir from dp gg = dotimes 100 search gk = get all knife gm = get medicinals from dp gme = get medicine from dp gn = get knigget from dp gp = get packet from dp gpo = get potion from dp gt = get tea from dp k = kill prey kk =dotimes 100 kill prey ke = kill elf km = kill man ko = kill orc ku = kill undead lb = look in belt ld = exa dp lm = look at man lo = look at prey load = do put all arrow in quiver, put all arrow in quiver 2, put all arrow in quiver 3 lp = exa dp mk = cast mk prey ml = meditate long o = open oc = decorpse p = peer pb = push black eye pd = put all in dp pi = cast hl pn = put all knife in dp po = put all arrow in quiver rb = roll bedroll rp = dotimes 100 cast aa rs = raise staff at opponent sa = sell all sc = cast scry prey sea = search sh = spellpower high sip = sip from fountain sl = spellpower low sm = spellpower medium sv = say visit t = etell greystar tp = cast tp living ub = unroll bedroll wd = wield weapon
As I warned you, it was a long read, and I commend you if you got up to this bit. I wanted the guide to be as comprehensive as possible, and hopefully I’ve covered most bases. I hope this guide has given you a deeper insight about how an AA mage works. Have fun mage-ing out there!
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