WHY CHOOSE ARCHER/HUNTER?
Index Code: [XCSAW]
I suppose this is the first thing I should comment about before getting into the skills and armors and whatnot. People often ask this kind of question. Why be an archer/hunter? Are they better than other classes? What use is there for an archer/hunter? The first thing I'm going to say is the most important thing when choosing a class of character. PLAY WHAT SEEMS MOST FUN TO YOU. This is a GAME, in the end the only purpose it serves is fun.
I've had the benefit of playing to 60 UM in every class (on a test server) which gave massive insight and experience. After all that, archer/hunter is still my favorite class. That's why I play sniper in other games, that's why I play ranged classes. That's why my toon is female even though I'm not. Do what is most fun to you, because if you don't have fun you have epically failed the most important quest in this game. Don't just pick a fighter because they are easy to play, play what you enjoy playing. Now every class has strengths and weaknesses and archer/hunter is no exception.
- Archers/Hunters have range, the longest range of any class in the game. Besides casters, all the other classes have to fight in close combat. This range also means we take less damage since most targets cannot strike back from a distance.
- Archers/Hunters have decent HP. We have enough to be able to solo effectively in PvE. We are not tanks but we can take a hit and live to tell the story.
- Archers/Hunters don't need to rely on parties. We can solo just fine so we don't have to wait around for others in order to get some EXP.
- Archers/Hunters have very high DPS (damage per second) against single targets. Combined with our range, this makes us very good in PvP and boss fights.
- There are much less people playing archers/hunters than there are fighters/warriors and other classes. This means you will be part of a smaller population, and it also means that archer/hunter gear is less than half the price of other classes, because the demand simply is not there. Though this also means selling your old gear can be difficult.
- Archers'/Hunters' main attack is classified as "shooting attack". This means we get .3 ATK for every 1 LUC when we use a bow. So we get a serious ATK boost from having LUC; which means making 95% critical hit LUC builds is our specialty.
- Ultimate mode archers/hunters get a skill called Magic Defy which basically makes the threat of enemy magic a moot point. It's a serious advantage that makes it easier as you don't have to really worry about magic hurting or killing you, both in PvE and PvP.
- Archers/Hunters do not specialize in AoE attacks. But we can kill equally fast by burning through mobs one at a time. This means because of a mobs reset range we are not limited to finding spots on the map that support effective AoEing. We can kill effectively and quickly anywhere.
- In PvP, because of our range, we have the ability to kill enemies even if they are hiding behind their guards or towers since we don't have to be close to attack them. This also makes us very powerful against squishier classes as we can pick them off in a few shots before they even realize what's going on. Also because we are LUC based, or should be, at high level we have the ability to do more damage to high defense targets like guardians. Our LUC somewhat bypassing their defense and thus giving us the ability to take them down (with help). Absolute Attack and Pantera Vision skills makes anyone a two hit kill.
- Unlike mages/pagans, archers/hunters do not have cast times on most of our skills. So there is no delay when we fire off our skills and being hit does not prevent us from attacking or using a skill.
- The most dangerous attack is the one you never see coming. That pretty much describes our ability in PvP, especially when fighters are running in getting all the attention while we go unnoticed picking off targets one by one. Consider it an honor when warriors start targeting you as they recognize the threat you pose.
- The very highest of end game bosses need archers/hunters to kill or assist in killing them.
VS OTHER CLASSES
- Archers/Hunters level slower than fighters/warriors, defenders/guardians, mages/pagans, and priests/oracles. The latter three need to have parties though, otherwise they won't level much at all. But archer/hunter is not THAT slow. Especially in UM towards higher levels, archer/hunter is a fairly fast class to level.
- Archer/Hunter damage gets cut in half at close range. So if I normally hit for 1000, I would likely hit for around 500 if the target is very close to me. There are ways around this though, we call it kiting and I explain it in detail later.
- Our native stat (every class gets 1 stat point in a certain category every time you level up) is LUC. Unfortunately LUC is best in large quantities. Which means if you are not a LUC build, or if you are lower level, that extra stat is kinda wasted.
- Archers/Hunters are best suited for high LUC builds, as I said. But this requires a LOT of stat points to pull off effectively. Which means you need not only LUC but DEX and STR as well. To do it properly you will need very good gear, which can be expensive. It's something to keep in mind; LUC builds are great but they are complex. This is also why it is usually recommended to play archer/hunter only in HM or preferably UM mode. Because in Normal mode you have almost half the stat points of what you get in Ultimate mode, which puts you at a serious disadvantage in your build possibilities.
- There is this annoying programming issue in the game; land obstacles. Sometimes you cannot attack and the reason given is that there is a land obstacle. But in a lot of cases there is simply NOT anything in your path and it can be annoying for archers/hunters especially since we attack from range. Sometimes you have to move closer to your target, thus giving up some advantage just to get around what seems to be a programming issue. Jumping before you attack can sometimes remedy this.
In PvP it really comes down to the team you are playing with. PvP is not a solo man's game. Your build, mode, gear, and level are also huge factors. It's not fair to pigeonhole a class and say one is better. But I will say some GENERALITIES. Of course this is not always true in every case, there are too many factors involved. But IN GENERAL, this is how archers/hunters tend to stack up against other classes, assuming mode and level are the same.
- Typically if they don't use Health Assist archers/hunters can kill them in one or two shots, and certainly kill them before they kill you. UM archers/hunters are at a serious advantage in this match up because of Magic Defy skill.
- Most are not battle builds and thus a healer can't really hurt you but some are attack builds, which puts them in a similar category as a mage. Again Magic Defy is a huge advantage and if they don't use HA they typically are pretty easy to take down and usually do not pose a big threat to archers/hunters.
- In my experience if you keep the proper dispelling potions on you, assassins are not a huge threat. You can damage them from range but if they get close their biggest advantage is stunning you, but that can be negated with a stun cure scroll. They typically don't hit hard enough to kill you fast like a fighter could.
- Given that they are the same class things are pretty even. At this point it comes down to build and more so to who attacks first.
- If they are a tank build they can't really kill you. They can still be annoying with all their debuff skills and very hard to kill with their high DEF and HP, not to mention their untouchable skills. But while a tank may be impossible to kill he likely can't hurt you either. Battle builds are more troublesome as they CAN kill you but still have most of the benefits I just listed. They will have less HP and DEF than a tank but if things get bad for them they will pop an untouchable skill which makes them very hard to kill. Lvl 60 UM battle guards are the most overpowered class in the game, making them very much hated in PvP.
- Their damage is so massive and so fast that most of the time if they get close to you you will die. They also have respectable HP so it can be tricky to take them down before they get close enough to kill you. If they do get close you best hope is to run. You simply cannot stand toe to toe with a similar level and mode warrior and expect to come out alive. We are a ranged class and gimped at close range.
CHOOSING YOUR MODE:
Index Code: [XCMDE]
Before we begin I should explain the modes. When you create your character you have the option to choose between four modes at the bottom of you customization window. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Ultimate. Both Hard and Ultimate modes are locked and you must first get a Normal Mode character to level 40 to unlock Hard Mode and then a Hard Mode character to level 40 to unlock Ultimate Mode. By the way, you don't have to keep these characters on your account. Once you reach level 40 and unlock the next mode, your account is flagged so you can delete any or all of your characters, you can even switch factions. Once a mode is unlocked on your account there is nothing you can do to "re-lock" the modes. So don't worry, when HM and/or UM is unlocked, it's unlocked forever on that account on that server, no matter what you do.
The other point to make is this. Everyone abbreviates the modes. Normal Mode is called NM, Hard Mode is called HM, Ultimate Mode is called UM. You'll see those letters a lot in this game and that's what it means.
Wait, what about Easy Mode? Easy Mode is pretty much a waste of time. You get the same amount of stat and skill points as a NM but need less EXP to level up. However you are capped at level 30 and can't use special skills, so there is nearly nothing you can do with an easy mode character in the end. The EXP difference isn't big enough to warrant choosing Easy over Normal mode.
Normal Mode is usually just played to unlock HM. This is not always true though. My Normal Mode character was a level 58 mage which I leveled just for fun. There are lvl 60 NMs out there. Depending on your class, the usefulness of such a high level NM toon varies. In general, I don't recommend that one takes an archer/hunter to level 60 in NM unless you don't intend on playing HM at all. I've seen how they struggle with the lack of stat points. My UM archer/hunter with gear that most would call uber still struggles. Archer/Hunter builds are tough, and even in UM can be tricky to pull off. I've seen NM archers/hunters at high level and they are nearly gimp against high level mobs because they just don't have the stat points available, and typically don't have the funds to make the uber gear they would need to stand a fighting chance. Let's look at it this way. There are three reasons to play Normal Mode.
- You need to get to level 40 to unlock Hard Mode.
- You want to go even higher, to 50+, to farm to help fund your next character.
- You decide to take NM to higher level, maybe even 60 and use it as your main character.
Everyone has to play NM to at least 40. If this is your only intention for Normal mode I don't suggest you play archer/hunter. Archer/Hunter will level slower than other classes and you end up just making this task take longer and more of a struggle. As much as I don't like seeing everyone play fighter/warrior, I have to recommend that class for this purpose.
If you've decided you want to take an NM up to level 50+ in order to farm and fund your next mode character. Again I have to recommend you don't do this as an archer. You need more stat points to make an effective archer. You can make an effective fighter/warrior with far less resources and thus far less gold needed to make your farming toon competent. There is no point in making a temporary farming toon that needs 100s of millions worth of gear just to do the job. And there's no point in making this task more expensive or more of a struggle. In the end, this character is a means to an end and will be replaced by the very toon it is temporarily funding. In other words, you use a 50+ NM to fund an HM until that HM is the same level and therefore superior. Then the NM gets fired lol. You have to give this situation some thought before deciding. The choice is different for everyone. In any case, I do not support archer/hunter for this sole task. If that's all you want I have to swallow my pride and again recommend the fighter/warrior class.
I support playing archer for you main class.
It's the class I love and it is a class I like to see being played and built with care, time, and quality. It's a class that is hard to be successful with if you don't have the proper amount of stat points. That is why I don't fly a banner for playing archer/hunter just to unlock the next mode or temporarily farm for another character. You don't want to put the time and quality and resources into such characters and thus archer/hunter is not suited for those tasks.
If you want to play NM as your main character, is there a good reason to do so? Yes. People do it. Like most MMOs, Shaiya is very time intensive. Grinding is tough, it takes months of daily play. It could potentially take years of more casual play to reach the highest mode and level. The point I'm making is that it's 5 times easier in NM to level a character, in terms of the EXP needed. So if you don't have a whole lot of time to devote to the game, yet you still want to reach the higher level stuff, NM may be the way to go for you. The problem is simply that after about mid 50s you will be pretty weak as a NM archer/hunter and unable to do anything solo as you won't be able to kill the mobs alone.
The journey to 60 as an NM archer is not easy. You will need uber gear. You will need others to help you. The only way you can kill solo end game mobs is with amazing gear. But again, it's just a game. How much time you want to spend playing and what level and what objectives you want to do in the end will ultimately determine what mode you should be. In the end I would rather be a lvl 60 NM than a lvl 45 UM. Don't think that you'll be able to get to 60 NM as an archer/hunter unquestionably though, it will take time and more importantly it will take tons of gold or other people to heavily assist or drag you along.
HARD OR ULTIMATE?
Unlocking HM is not really a problem, even if you don't play 10 hours a day. Reaching lvl 40 in NM is fairly easy. An experienced player could do it in a few days. A lot of people simply choose to unlock HM and then make a lvl 15 or 30 HM toon to PvP with. I don't recommend PvPing in NM. I think it's worth the time to unlock HM/UM and PvP with that toon. But If you are serious about your main toon being a useful PvP or end game archer/hunter then really it comes down to will I make it a Hard Mode character or an Ultimate Mode character? Both have benefits and drawbacks.
You get 7 stat points and 4 skill points every level. You need roughly 4 times the amount of EXP that a normal mode does to level up. You get skills not available in NM. You CAN lose EXP when you die but you don't need resurrection runes and you can stop the EXP loss much cheaper with a no xp loss item. You can use the leader rez function when you die in a party. Because you don't need rez runes, PvPing is much cheaper and death is not a big issue in HM.
You get 9 stat points and 5 skill points every level. You need more EXP to level up than an HM but it's not a ton. Basically a lvl 60 HM is equal to a lvl 59 UM in EXP so it's really just that last level extra in UM. You get skills not available in HM. You cannot lose EXP ever as when you die, you are either resurrected in some way or deleted. Of course, you need constant resurrection runes in UM and if you are in a situation in which you will die a lot you need to activate a continuous resurrection rune. this makes PvP pretty expensive for a UM. Death is an issue for UM characters, you must be careful. But in my opinion the extra stats and skills and ability to wear goddess armor is worth it.
HOW SERIOUS ARE YOU?
UM is seriously fun, yet you have to be serious about it or it won't be fun. To me, the point of playing UM means I want to be the best I possibly can be. If I didn't care so much I would just be HM because honestly HM has a few big advantages over UMs, the most obvious one being that you don't need runes, you can die as much as you want, PvP for hours with no worry, etc. The advantage of UM: better skills, 2 more stats per level, 1 more skill point a level, and the ability to wear goddess gear. That's about it. And I'm willing to pay the price of runes to get those benefits.
Someone who chooses that should be pretty serious about their character. If not, HM is just great because honestly what's the difference? 118 points at lvl 60 and a couple skills, most of which you will be perfectly fine without. Also there is goddess gear. But to the average player it will not be easily or cheaply obtainable.
My point? The benefits are not huge but the cost of them is. Anyone willing to pay those costs should be pretty serious about it, otherwise a well built HM is pretty comparable to a UM and allows you to play in a more casual and less expensive manner. A completely broke UM has no hope of even legendary gear much less goddess; and a HM with great gear is better than a UM with crap gear. So all I'm really saying is if you can't afford to play UM to its fullest, better to play HM to its fullest. Just my opinion but UM is about wanting to be the best you can be, and that requires a lot of time, resources, or in game gold.
Everyone has a different playing style. It all depends on what you want and what you are willing and able to do to get it. Ultimate Modes are the most powerful characters, but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for you. If you can't afford rez runes just forget it and stay Hard Mode. If you are a PvP junkie and don't have a way to keep a supply of continuous runes on you then again just stay Hard Mode. The choice is different for everyone. Personally I would not like the idea of being an HM toon, unable to wear the best armor, not having the maximum amount of stat points that I could, but that's me and my perfectionist attitude. HM with great gear CAN be competitive against UMs with great gear.
THE ULTIMATE ARCHER/HUNTER:
If you're reading this then you've chosen Ultimate Mode for your archer/hunter. You have the potential to be one of the most powerful damage dealers in the game. But be warned, UM is not to be taken lightly. I see so many UMs get deleted and it just seems silly to me. To be successful in UM you must either be good enough to not die or more importantly you must take the necessary precautions to prevent the deletion of your character. If you don't then you are not really serious and you probably would be better off with an HM archer/hunter instead. When UM characters die, they have 180 seconds or so to get resurrected or they are deleted. There are basically 4 ways to get resurrected.
- A lvl 31 or higher priest/oracle that has resurrection lvl 2 skill can bring you back to life. This is the best and cheapest way to save your UMs life, but there is not always a priest around to save you.
- Normal resurrection runes. These are one time use AP items. You keep them in your inventory at all times, and when you die you can click "OK" and be resurrected in the nearest town and one rune will be used and disappear. These also save you if you die after having been disconnected, you don't have to be there to click "OK" have at least one of these and you are safe.
- Continuous resurrection runes. These need to be activated, and once you click them they run for a set period of time. They come in 3 hour, 6 hour, 7 day, and 30 day timers (the 3 and 6 hour versions stop counting down when you log off the character, the longer ones do not). When you have a continuous resurrection rune activated, you can die an unlimited amount of times, and every time you will be resurrected in the nearest town. This is essential when you want to PvP in UM as you will die a lot.
- The last way is a target resurrection rune. This allows anyone to resurrect someone else. It's basically an item that gives any class the ability of a priest's/oracle's lvl 2 resurrection skill. They are one time use of course and disappear when you resurrect somebody.
Now we've got that out of the way. If you are serious about being a UM archer/hunter you should always have a few normal resurrection runes on you at all times just in case. Lag, disconnection, eyes bigger than your bow, accidents happen and it's not worth the risk of losing your toon, the time you spent on it, and all the gear you have. However, you really shouldn't need continuous resurrection runes unless you plan to PvP or do end game stuff.
For the first 50 levels or so as a UM archer I rarely died. One of the reasons UM comes after HM and NM is so that you'll have some experience and know how when you get to UM. If you play smart you can minimize most of the risk of UM. Especially in PvE UM offers a big advantage, because the mobs themselves (for the first 50 levels or so) are designed to be weak enough that even a NM can kill them. Working with nearly double the stat points as a UM you will be able to cut through them far easier and thus the risk of dying is minimal if you play smart. This changes after lvl 50 as the end game stuff is made to be challenging for a UM, which is why NM archers/hunters are practically rendered useless at that point unless you have awesome gear. But for the most part it means that you will be able to play UM for much of the time with little risk IF YOU PLAY SMART.
HOW TO PLAY SMART
Keep one resurrection rune on you at all times. You can get away with just one, so long as you stay out of PvP. At higher level and better gear you can start protecting your investment a bit more. Note that you can drop rez runes in PvP. But PvPing in UM means continuous rez runes at all times, which means lots of gold, which means you don't have to worry about deletion as you already have the funds to stop that. It also means Prevent Item Drops at all times so you won't have to worry about dropping expensive gear or your rez runes. So please tell me you can swing for a single rez rune by the time you start your serious UM archer/hunter. If not, perhaps consider getting one of your previous mode toons up a bit higher and making some gold with it first. So you've got your rune(s) and you're ready to go. Here are some tips to protect that valuable rune; although they apply to keeping you alive in any mode, it is especially important to do so in UM.
- A rune is worth more than a potion. Admittedly I've made this silly mistake before, even after many months of playing; not wanting to waste a potion and pushing my luck trying to kill a mob, only to get a bit of lag or something and die. Value of potion: 10k ; Value of rune: 10 mil ; Value of being such a newbie after a year of playing: Priceless.
- A rune is worth more than a kill. If you're going to die, just RUN. Don't get the Kill Fever. The mob will reset, you can rest, and then kill it. As they say, know when to hold em know when to fold em. And don't get ganged up on. As an archer/hunter you are a single target killer. If you aggro too many mobs to handle, again RUN. Let them reset and you can go back to killing one at a time.
- A priest/oracle on your side is always a benefit, not to mention the fact that a good archer/hunter takes little damage, and a priest can handle the little that you do, and also resurrect you (after level 31) if you do happen to die. However, it can be hard as an archer/hunter to get parties or duos so you can't count on having a priest in your pocket all the time.
- Test your damage. Unsure whether or not you can kill it before it can kill you? Try it out cautiously while prepared to run. I like to test it with Rapid Shot, once you get it. If my RS doesn't significantly move the target's HP bar, I know it's gonna take me a while to kill it, which likely means I am in danger of being hit pretty hard by such a mob.
- Find mobs you can easily kill. As an archer/hunter your best and fastest way to level up is to kill mobs that you can actually kill before they reach you. Attack from maximum range and by the time the mob runs all the way to you it should be dead or close to it. That is the ideal killing strategy of an archer/hunter. In general my advice is look for yellow or green mobs and kill those.
- Level difference trumps all in this game. Green names on a target means they are roughly the same level as you, Yellow means they are one or two levels higher, Orange one or two higher than that, Red even higher (and red mobs ignore the defensive abilities of your armor as do purple and gray), Purple mobs should have you turning around, Gray mobs are so far out of your reach that even if you somehow by the grace of a higher power were able to take them down the game does not award you any EXP. This is to discourage even trying because it will end in your death every time. Blue, light blue, and white mean the target is progressively lower level than you.