A Guide to Success in Atlantica
So I've been hearing a lot of people asking how to level fast. As many of you might know, I'm the crazy guy who levels like...crazy. So you want to know my "secrets"? Well here you go.
First and foremost, always be in a party. Don't fight in a party, but be in the party. This is called long distance party (ldp). We usually have one going in the guild, so when you log in, ask for an invite.
The are a couple reasons to be in an ldp. One is that you get free bonus xp every time anyone in the party (including yourself) win a fight. This xp goes to your merc who is the lowest lvl, or has the least xp if two mercs are both the same lvl. It can even go to your main if all your mercs are higher lvl/have more xp. That last part should not be happening much. This will help keep your merc lvls up while you focus on getting your main the most xp.
You also get a number of xp books every time someone in the party wins a fight, but since they're only 100xp each, not that great of a bonus. The xp books can be turned in to Goncourt, but it's hardly worth it since it starts to cost a lot and takes a lot of time that could be spent fighting and gaining xp.
Unfortunately, being in an ldp does not help regain stamina the same way actually fighting with a party does. When fighting with a party, you regain 1 stamina every other fight if you have one other person with you, and 2 stamina every 3 fights if it's a 3 person party fighting together.
Reason NOT to fight with others in a party: the xp gets spread around evenly. All the xp gained is put into a pool, then split up between every main/merc in the fight, which is fine if you want to keep your mercs up, but is a severe hindrance to getting your main leveled.
Ok, now to the actual leveling of your main.
You should already be familiar with how xp is awarded while fighting. You get a little xp every time you do something, and a much larger chunk for whoever gets the killshot on something. So it should seem simple to make sure your main gets as many killshots as possible. Of course, it's not always that simple, especially for sword or bow mains. To make the most of this, you need some form of aoe attack. So single hitters are at a disadvantage, but there are ways (some not the most pleasant) to make up for it.
For melee mains, there's a spell called Break Down. It doesn't do a huge amount of damage, but does hit all 9 spots. I would only recommend it for sword or spear mains as they have the least aoe potential. If you're going to use it, then you need to make sure your mercs weaken the enemies first, to ensure the spell kills as much as possible. This means you need aoe mercs (viking and gunners are probably the best options to accomplish this).
For range mains, there's a spell called Chaos Wind. Another spell that doesn't do a huge amount of damage, but unlike Break Down, this one does damage over time. There are some issues with Chaos Wind, namely that it heals some enemies, especially some of the more annoying bosses. I don't know if I'd even recommend this for bow mains, but if you really want an aoe, then give it a try.
So for sword, you could try using Break Down after weakening enemies with mercs.
For spear, I'd recommend just using regular attacks or Lightning Spear. Outside of boss fights, mobs usually have 5-7 mobs arranged in two horizontal rows, with an extra on one end if there's 7. Use mercs to weaken stuff (Archers aren't a bad choice because they can weaken mobs in the 2nd row, and since spears/guns hit the front target hardest, a killshot on the 2nd row isn't always going to happen).
For axe, just use your main attack as it hits 3 in a row horizontally. It's not a bad idea to weaken the mobs on either side of the main target with your mercs, since the main target gets hit the hardest, then a bit weaker on the sides. This will help make sure your main gets all 3 killshots.
Gun main works a lot like spear main in that you'll want to weaken the mobs behind the front target to get the kills.
Bow main...umm...Just try to get as many killshots as possible I guess. There is some good though in the fact you can snipe any mobs that are almost dead and run behind their healthier buddies. You could use Chaos Wind, but that spells is a bit iffy and takes a couple turns before it's ready to cast.
Cannon main, I shouldn't really have to explain. Just blast away with that cannon, making sure to hit the most mobs each time. You can use mercs to weaken the mobs around the main target you're planning to hit, since only the center hit does a lot of dmg. Deep Insight isn't bad (at least after 50 when it hits all 9 spots), but I'd recommend getting an Artilleryman at 30 to cast it for you, then blast away with cannon.
Staff main, get Evanescent Scud, use Evanescent Scud. It takes a couple turns before you can cast it, so use those to weaken the mobs with your mercs, then wipe them all out with that spell. Don't use any spells before that unless absolutely necessary. Casting anything before that will set back the turns until you can cast Scud. I'll explain more about that later.
P.Saw main is easy, you should know what to do if you have one since that means you have a lvl 100 character already.
Music main, use Ravaging Melody. Every fight. Make note of how much damage it does, so you can weaken stuff with your mercs, but leaving it alive so the next tick of dmg from RM finishes it off. You can use your normal attack for some extra hits while RM is doing the heavy lifting, especially for sniping runners or hitting bonus mobs.
Effectively leveling your main mostly comes down to efficiency. Always do something with your main, hopefully that something is getting killshots.
Don't worry about your mercs falling behind, it'll happen anyway. They'll catch up when your main hits 95 and it starts taking a ton of xp to level. Plus you'll probably end up replacing most/all of them at some point anyway.
Now for a little bit on where to kill. Short answer, just do the quests. Running through the entire game is a super long quest that will always tell you where to go next. There are side quests, but some of those are huge time wasters. Quests for new mercs can be worth doing, but they suck up a lot of time and you'll find yourself over-leveled for the next town, which can be good or bad. Kill what the main quest tells you to kill, and try not to get stuck for too long on one part.
If a quest tells you to get basic/location/item info on a particular mob, ask in guild! As long as it's for the main quest, then pretty much anyone higher level than you will have it since they'll have done the same quest at some point.
If a quest tells you to craft something, get the materials for it, start the craft, then buy some crafting books to fill the workload. This will save you a trip to kill stuff, save stamina, and is quicker than auto-crafting. Then you can move onto the next quest without even leaving the area around the quest giver.
Doing quests will also make sure your mercs don't fall too far behind, since the amount of xp shown in the quest reward is the amount given to each merc you have and also to your main.
Ok, time for some tips and tricks that never get explained through quests, and most people won't remember to mention unless asked.
Guarding - Guarding is extremely important. But it has to be used right. Effectively guarding has a lot to do with AP, but that will be explained next.
So you've seen the green circles under your characters during a fight. Those show who can take an action that turn. They're given to your 5 characters with the highest ap over 100 (except on the very first turn where you'll always get at least 1, but can still get up to 5 if your people have more than 100ap). If you only have 4 characters, then you only get 4 circles. If you have 9 characters, but 6 are dead, you only get 3, provided the survivors have enough AP.
But wait, your main doesn't have a green circle, even though they have over 100 AP! What to do, what to do... Guarding is the answer. When a character guards, they lose 50 AP, take half dmg from normal attacks, and their green circle shifts to the character with the next highest AP above 100 (Waiting is NOT the same, as you don't lose AP, but you DO lose that green circle for the turn). So learning how/when to guard can help make sure you always have the right character doing what you want (hopefully main getting killshots [notice a running theme?]).
You can even use guarding to do more than one thing per turn with a character. This still results in two green circles being used, but also usually means more xp.
If, say, your main has 200 AP, you can use them to take two attacks that turn. Since a normal attack takes 100 AP, you use that, but then they'll still have 100 AP left. Now guard on your mercs until your main has another green circle, and make a second attack!
AP - You need AP to do pretty much anything but wait. Normal attacks are 100 AP, most magic is 150 or more. Scrolls are 50, but those are a special case since they don't actually consume your turn. Each turn your characters gain some AP, the amount is determined by what type of main/merc they are, AND how many empty spots you have in your formation. That's where this guide will focus for this part.
To level your main fast, they'll need to take a lot of actions. This can be severely hampered if they can't get to 100 AP every turn. This isn't a concern until at least lvl 30, but gets progressively worse at 40 and 50 when you fill up your formation.
Each character gains additional AP for empty spots (whether the extras are stored in merc room, disabled in the formation window, or just flat out empty). The sweet spot is 6, as in Main + 5 Mercs. That gives you the most characters for maximum AP gain, since no one gets more ap for more than 3 empty spots. This means your characters will almost always gain at least 100 AP per turn, so you can make sure your main attacks as much as possible. This is not advisable for PvP, since you'll want as many meat shields as possible for that, but this isn't a PvP guide, so whatever. You have to be a little more picky in what you bring along, but the benefits are worth it for sheer leveling speed.
Bonus Mobs - I'm something of a stickler for making sure bonus mobs die. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but trust me, it is. I'd say there's around a 50% chance on any given turn that you'll have a bonus mob (it's obvious most of the time from the little symbol above their head, but it can be tough to tell which one has the bonus if there are flyers). Anything done to a bonus mob nets double xp. Also, if the bonus mob is killed that turn (and only on that turn, if they die from DoT dmg on their own turn, it doesn't count), there is a chance of getting a box. So not only do you get double killshot xp, but you can get free stuff too! Of course, these boxes aren't so hot until you start getting Old Treasure Boxes from 90+ mobs, but every little bit helps, right?
Since the bonus resets every turn, you can get more than one bonus per fight (if you were extremely patient, you could kill every mob on bonus, but that's an extreme waste of time), but only one bonus per turn. So if you can kill a bonus mob, do it!
At lvl 20, you receive some free stuff in the your mailbox (community > mailbox > inbox). Make sure you get the stuff, and use the special license they send you. It lasts for 7 days, but cannot be activated if you're above lvl 25. For the love of all that's holy, don't get to 25 without using that license. It will make your life so much easier as you can scout mobs before you fight, see the health of whatever you fight, and you can teleport without having to run everywhere. I guess the auto-battle is nice too, but whatever.
Gear - Gear is important, ya know? But when should you upgrade your gear? How are you going to afford equipping all those mercs? Well, it depends on your leveling philosophy. If you want to level your main really fast, then that's the gear you need to keep as up to date as possible. As with xp, you can let your mercs lag behind a bit without too much worry. If, however, you want to keep your mercs in up to date gear, that's your choice, but it gets expensive.
Here is an easy way to factor in whether you should upgrade your gear or not. If you're using gear with +'s, then it's not always clear whether you should get new equipment (and since the higher you get, the lower +'s you'll see for sale, and it all gets really expensive). Gear is spread out in tiers based on level, i.e. spirit is lvl 1, sea king is lvl 15, angkor wat is lvl 25, etc. So the easy way is to consider the + on the gear vs what you could upgrade into. If a lvl 50 piece of gear is +4, then it's about equal to a lvl 60 piece of +3 gear, and a lvl 70 piece with +2. This is a rough estimate and there are some outliers, such as dark/blood knight lvl 50 gear vs the stuff from bran castle boxes, gilgamesh vs amon, but it's usually fairly accurate until 100+.
If you're not into upgrading gear all the time, at least make sure your main's weapon is the best you can get/afford. Their armor is important for stats, but overall, the weapon will make the most difference.
Money - Ugh, the bane of every new players' existence. The second most asked question (maybe first for some, but I get more questions about leveling than making gold). Well here's a tip, and it requires a bit of legwork to get going, but can turn an almost immediate profit.
Ornate Treasure Maps! These are usable items (for sale on the market under Treasure), that make a treasure chest appear somewhere in the world. This is where the legwork comes in. To make it most effective, spend an hour or so running around visiting every town. Every single town in the game, from Sapporo to Vancouver. It sucks, but it'll pay off, and not just with treasure maps. Don't run directly through any mobs and you should be fine, even running by within a couple feet works.
So you've saved every town in your list, allowing you to teleport or travel agency to them. Hopefully you have at least 60k gold to get started (gotta spend money to make money!), ~40k for the map itself, and the rest for travel agencies (disregard if you used that 7 day license at lvl 20, at least for those 7 days). Use the map, and a small window will open up telling you the town closest to where the chest will appear, as well as coordinates. Now you have 5 minutes to get to that spot. The chest won't appear until 5 minutes have passed. Once it appears, you have 1 minute to start a fight with it (beating up a box? sounds fun!) or else it will disappear. Other players can also take it, but the spot is usually somewhat out of the way and the chances of a random person running by and grabbing it is really low, especially if you're already there and get it right away.
One hit from pretty much anyone will "kill" the chest, then you just have to loot the "corpse" and you're done. Now take whatever you received to the nearest town and sell it for a profit!
But really, how much money can you make from these chests? That sounds like a lot of work, and a little risk. And what if it shows up halfway between New York and Vancouver?
Well, I've opened a number of these chests and the lowest amount I could get from an item they've given was 180k. That's the lowest I've seen at least, while the highest was hydra's claw which sells for around 3mil. I'm not sure what all drops from them, but I can say with relative certainty that at this time, it'll always be for a profit, just a bit of work after the initial running.
If the chest shows up halfway between New York and Vancouver, well, you're kinda screwed. Sorry, it happens. Wait 6 minutes and try again. If you have a nice mount you can possibly make it provided it's not exactly halfway between those towns, but it'll be close.
To wrap it up, if you want to level fast, gear up your main, level up the spells you need (buy the books in the market for the spells you want, at least up to 20, 40 if they're cheap), and get those killshots, while making sure to stay in an ldp, and doing whatever quests you can that don't seem like they'll take too long.
FireAndIce guild website (Atlantica Online, delphi server)