Guide to choosing a class
This article will attempt to give some insight into choosing a class, bear in mind that class selection is largely a matter of personal preference and different players will have varying opinions on what constitutes the best class combinations, there is no right or wrong answer, and selection depends on a players preferred play style.
In addition to the guide below there is a fantastic guide by Black Screen Gaming found at https://blackscreengaming.com/alter_aeon/articles/classes/index.php
What is the best class?
Firstly, think of the concept you want to play as Alter Aeon is a multi-class MUD and the different combination of the 6 classes can accommodate almost any concept you want. The reason to pick the concept first is that the best class is the one you want to play. There is no "best" class in the game: there are some combinations that are simpler, or require less management, or less preparation, etc. and each combination might be better in a particular situation but unlike a modern MMO like WoW there is no "meta" tier list, there are no DPS meters that gatekeepers could use to judge you. Play what you think sounds cool and is fun.
What class is most newbie friendly?
Necromancer and Druid are generally considered the easiest classes as you will have minions between you and the enemy keeping you from harm. Mage and Thief are also quite friendly to newbies as they both deal high burst damage, killing their enemies before they're in any real danger. Warrior and Cleric, while just as strong, can be tricky for newbies as both classes require more planning when training their stats or learning skills. If you are new to the game (or MUDs in general) you can start out in the game playing a Necromancer or Druid and if you don't like how they play you can just create another character to try out another combo.
What is the best class for player killing?
Player killing, also known as PK, is a very minor part of the game; completely optional and requires opt-in which is only temporary for the current session. You should not put too much thought into which classes counter other classes. Your enemies will be NPCs the overwhelming majority of the time and NPCs don't have classes.
If you plan on relying on minions such as those provided by Necromancer or Druid for damage/protection it's highly recommended you choose the minion class first or at latest second. The reason is that minion power is directly impacted by cast level. If your minion class's level lags too far behind the level of the areas you are exploring they will be too weak to protect you or deal sufficient damage to your enemies. It's advised that you not combine both Necromancer and Druid as minions are summoned using a shared pool of points; you will not have enough points available to summon minions from both classes. It's a much better idea to put the minion class you don't plan on using as your last class so the utilities provided by your support classes will be more powerful.
It should also be noted that for new players Thief does not synergize very well with minion classes. Thieves want to move stealthily through areas and dragging low-charisma minions around who can't sneak is very much antithetical to that goal.
All classes when played right can be played solo; however some are generally better and easier to solo than others. Necromancers and druids work well as solo choices; as minion classes they can effectively create their own small group and tank to protect them. They also have a range of attack spells. They also fall somewhere in the middle of hp vs mana trade-off. Depending how they are played and what other classes they are combined with, mages make a fairly poor or good solo class, because of their poor hp they tend to be more squishy and die easily, although their powerful attacks mean that they can inflict a lot of damage, blitzing through enemies quickly. Warriors make good solo choices as they are tough and can inflict a lot of damage. Thieves can take a lot of getting use to as a solo choice however they do have powerful abilities such as sneaking and backstabbing. Clerics are perhaps the weakest solo class and generally work better in groups where they can take a backseat away from the fighting providing utility support with healing, cursing and movement refresh.
In many games Warrior is the most basic, simplest class you can use; that's not the case in Alter Aeon. Warrior has 3 main stats compared to other classes' 2: Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity. This makes stat training extremely difficult. To add insult to injury the main feature of warriors (Combos) requires that you learn nearly every ability in the Warrior's skill book. To add tragedy to the insults and injury many of those skills require 4 practices instead of the 3 most other skills in the game need. You will need to plan your practice usage carefully when playing warrior. This huge problem is exacerbated to a complete debacle if you combine Warrior with Mage or Necro as you now must train 5 stats instead of 3. If you go Warrior/Cleric, which is one of the most popular combinations for new players (Paladins are cool, right?), you will need to not only manage ALL 6 stats at once, nearly all of Cleric's important spells are frontloaded to early levels making a tricky experience of practice management downright frustrating.
That caveat does not mean Warrior should be avoided. On the contrary Warrior is an incredibly powerful, easy to play class. One just needs to manage their expectations when choosing a caster as their second class. You will not be a warrior simultaneously throwing fireballs or smiting foes with holy fury until much much higher level. Until then you will be a warrior who occasionally uses the minor utility spells those classes provide.
As mentioned Alter Aeon is a Multi-Class MUD. You will always be more than one class at a time. The order you level those classes in determines your playstyle. It's very important to note that two similar combinations can play completely differently, e.g., Necro/Warrior plays completely differently than Warrior/Necro. It's not impossible to reverse class order later but it will get harder the higher level you are
These are some popular, tried and true class setups that can start you off on the right foot
Classic Mage: Mage/(Cleric/Warrior)/Thief
The classic Mage setup, this was the typical setup of Mages before the Necromancer and Druid classes were introduced. First class Mage means your damage will come entirely from Mage abilities. Second class is either Warrior or Cleric, your choice. Warrior second gives you more HP, Cleric second will give you slightly more Mana and higher level defensive Cleric spells. Thief comes in 4th to provide access to Dodge/Sneak/etc. Necro would make a good Fifth to provide access to Blood Sacrifice to recoup some mana after battles but your 5th/6th classes are relegated to utility spells.
Classic Warrior: Warrior/Thief/Cleric/Mage
The classic Warrior setup. Warrior/Thief as first/second provides the highest HP/move available as well as access to the strongest melee weapons and armor in the game. Cleric third is suggested for newer players as your healing and Sanctuary will be higher level. Mage fourth will eventually allow you access to all the Mage defensive spells as well: Shield, Displacement, and elemental shields. In the end it makes for an incredible effective, well-rounded character.
Playstyle: Melee Fighter or Tank, based on equipment
Classic Thief: Thief/Warrior/Cleric/Mage
The classic Thief setup. With main class Thief the vast majority of your damage will come from Thief skills like Backstab, Crippling Strike, and Flourish. Warrior levels provide access to lots of HP and utility in the form of Parry, Shield Block, Second Wind, Retreat, Armored Skin, etc. Again here Cleric third is the preferred choice for newer players as you will have stronger Cleric defensives. More experienced players may swap Cleric with Mage for earlier access to spells to help with stealth such as Darken and Infravision.
Classic Cleric: Cleric/Mage/Warrior/Thief
The classic Cleric setup. You will be the best healer in the game and will lay waste to any undead. Unfortunately to anything that is not-yet-undead your damage will be somewhat mediocre, Mage second will help with that giving you some cheap, powerful blasting spells. An indispensable character for any group as what is a group without a tank and what is a tank without a healer but a soon-to-be corpse. This is arguably the best setup for someone who wants to be a healer but due to Cleric's dubious abilities as a damage dealer this can be somewhat slow to level, however at level 25 they get access to the highest damage minions in the game: literal incarnates of their god. Which smooths out the damage to say the least
Playstyle: Healer/Support/Re-deads the Undead
Mountain Man: Warrior/Druid/Cleric/Thief
The Mountain Man build is the ideal build if you want to play a Warrior but with a trusty companion by your side. You will play this class almost as if you have no classes in Druid since you'll be ignoring 90% of all their abilities except for Call Animal and some utilities. Druid second also provides fantastic access to some of the powerful rune carving abilities if you're interested in crafting your own gear. Cleric third here is quite important as you will want strong Cleric defensives to protect yourself and your buddy. Thief 4th again provides access to all the most useful Thief utility but since this build won't be using higher level Thief abilities it coming in 4th is fine. An advanced player might swap Thief for Mage to ensure access to more powerful Mage defensives and is willing to wait longer for access to thief skills like Dodge or Sneak. Necro comes in last, it provides almost no useful spells for us as it's also a minion class.
- Druid called animals scale with DRUID_CAST_LEVEL at cast time giving you a powerful, useful companion without having to sacrifice warrior item slots
- Lots of utility with very little practice investment compared to other warrior caster combos
- Most of Druid's utility comes in the form of skills rather than spells so can be learned/used without WIS/INT
- Druid abilities will be almost entirely ignored until your warrior is level 15-20 since you won't learn Call Animal until level 9 Druid and you won't be using any Druid spells at all until much much later.
- This is both a good and a bad thing. The good is that your already difficult practice management as a Warrior doesn't get much harder. The Con side is that it feels like a dead class until you get your animal companion
These tips are intended for new players, as you gain levels and learn the game you may and should diverge from these suggestions.
- Ignore all of Druid's damaging spells, you don't need them, they will be a waste of practices
- Ignore (almost) all of Druid's minion spells. Earth Wall is required for Mud Walker which is a utility skill you will want later. The other minions will too weak to be useful
- I personally recommend not to waste your time on brewing until much later. By the time it's useful you will know it's time to learn it.
- Don't bother with Carve Weapon or Carve Totem, those create items which you won't need, don't waste your practices
- Druid abilities to prioritize:
- (Important) Call Animal: this is what makes the combo, if you learn nothing else from the druid kit, learn this
- Carve Runes and all of its descendants
- Woodcrafting: Not a druid ability but you can create some weapons and armor completely for free. When combined with Druid's rune carving you can make some legitimately great gear (particularly club weapons)
- Mudwalker is useful and quite cheap to learn but it's low down the priority list since Warrior is already starved for practices anyway
- General Info:
- Maintain a separate warrior set and druid cast set. Do not wear some warrior items mixed with some druid items. That won't make you a better druid, it'll just make you a worse warrior. You won't be using druid spells, the druid items will just be wasting space when you don't need them.
- Before adventuring out put on your Druid set, call your preferred animal companion, switch back to your warrior set and then do protect <animal> to keep it alive
- Note: if wandering through an aggro area you may want to to protect off. Even if your companion gets into combat you can drag them along without having to flee.
- Many low level DRUID_CAST_LEVEL items aren't actually DRUID flagged, be sure to keep an eye out for them as they are particularly useful for this combo.
Playstyle: Warrior with a furry friend
The most popular Necromancer build and one of the most popular class combos in the game in general. Necro's powerful minions provide nearly all of your damage, your cleric spells provide defense, healing, and weaken your enemies with curses. Mage third gives access to even more strong defenses though will be too weak to be adding any damage until you're nearly max level. Warrior 4th here is important to give precious HP to a very squishy set of classes. Thief should be your 5th to give some more XP and the thief utility. Druid should be last because it's the other minion class and its overlapping ability-set provides no value.
More or less the same as the Witchdoctor build but uses swaps Necro minions for those of the Druid. Druid plays like a middle ground between Mage and Necro with a few strong minions instead of a horde with lots of damaging spells.
Playstyle: Speaks for the Trees
These are playstyles for players that are looking for more risk/reward gameplay or already know the game well and have a plan
Arcane Spy: Thief/Mage/(Cleric/Warrior)
An advanced Thief setup that takes OG Thief but swaps Mage to second. You will be doing some of the highest damage possible in the game with the combination of Backstab and Mage spells. Early and powerful access to Mage abilities makes traversing the game unnoticed virtually a given. Cleric third means you're even squishier but your critical Sanctuary and Faith Shield will be more powerful. Warrior fourth means more HP and access to some of the higher level Warrior utilities like Second Wind.
This can be incredibly powerful in the hands of an experience player who can plan their practice usage correctly. It is a newbie trap however as it is the most Multi-Attribute Dependent (MAD) class in the game. You will need to train all 6 stats to be effective in addition to a host of required skills and spells. If you pull it off it's one of if not the best solo combinations but half the battle with this combination is planning your character all the way to level 30 before you even start. Mage here is third to provide access to high powered defensives and some much needed mana. As you will be using Warrior skills for your damage having Thief as 4th is fine. Necro should be 5th for access to Blood Sac and maybe even some Skeletal Spiders to help you navigate through aggro areas.
Playstyle: Holy Warrior
The Death Knight: Warrior/Necro/Cleric/Thief
Strange as it may seem this build uses virtually none of the Necromancer minions until a much higher level. Similar to the Mountain Man build you will be playing this as if you have no levels in your secondary class, eschewing nearly every skill and ability save a few.
Note: If you want to be a a warrior leading hordes of undead into battle this is not the build, you should look above for the Witchdoctor build but go for Necro/Warrior/Cleric/Mage instead of Necro/Cleric/Mage/Warrior.
- Arguably second best tank combo in game
- Necro's spells provide you with some of highest HP, AC, and resistances available
- Demon summon spells provide lots of tangential utility
- Extremely difficult stat management combo. You will be constantly starved for practices
- This is not a damage focused combo, your minions will be effectively cosmetic unless you run a necro set and even then they will be much weaker than main class necros
- Because you won't be wearing a NECR_CAST_LEVEL set while generally running XP your minions won't be just 5 levels weaker, they will be 21 levels weaker than a main class Necro (5 from your Necro class lagging your main Warrior, plus 16 more levels because you won't be wearing a cast set) So if you want to be a badass warrior running around with hordes of minions you should play Necro/Warrior, not Warrior/Necro
This combination is slightly misleading as one might assume you would be a warrior with a bunch of necromancer minions to help with your damage (In fact, in game messages even directly say this) but this is not the case. At least until much, much higher levels. You will be main class warrior so you will be wearing warrior equipment. This is a problem for necromancer since for minions to have any sort of durability or power you must have NECR_CAST_LEVEL gear on. Gear which has both Warrior stats and Necro stats is extremely rare and is usually only found by random. This means your minions will be so useless as to be not worth even learning the skills. The tanking minions will die in only a couple hits, the damage minions will simply not do any damage, the paltry selection of Necro damage spells will be absolutely anemic.
If this is the case, what is the point of Warrior/Necro? The answer is that Warrior/Necro is arguably the second best tank combo next to Warrior/Thief. The reason for this is three spells: Bone Blade, Bone Shield, and Bone Armor. These spells create items which are (arguably) the best possible tank items a warrior can wear at a given level. If cast with a Necro cast set they can create monstrously powerful items with perfect stats for a tank. Warrior/Necro/Cleric therefor makes you a virtually unstoppable juggernaut. Rounding out your top 4 with mage will eventually give you access to even more defensive spells
These tips are intended for new players, as you gain levels and learn the game you may and should diverge from these suggestions.
- This combo is a warrior with some necro utility, not a hybrid caster, do not waste mana on spells that will barely tickle the enemy.
- Do not bother wearing NECR_CAST_LEVEL/INT/WIS/MANAREG in your main gearset, you should have separate warrior and necro sets and the necro set should really only be necessary for casting the bone armor/shield/blade spells
- Ignore all of Necromancer's damaging spells (Coldfire, Tarrants Spectral Hand, etc.) except Sickening Touch which is very useful even at low cast levels to halt mobs' fast in-combat regeneration.
- Ignore nearly all of the necro minions until later, trust me, they will not be worth the effort
- Necro abilities to prioritize:
- Harvest Teeth
- Skeletal Spider
- Bone Blade, Shield, and Armor
- Blood Sacrifice (You won't be casting many necro spells but it will be absolutely vital to recoup mana for your cleric/mage spells)
- Demon Lore/Familiar
- Soulsteal/Soulforge (You'll need soulstones for demon familiars and you'll want to soulforge them into higher tiers for better familiars)
These are some general overviews of how other combinations play
One of the rarely-seen class combinations, since many of the spells in both classes overlap, and many of the druid analogs of these spells require huge amounts of setup time or are otherwise restricted. For example, call lightning requires one to be outdoors with the weather cloudy, while ball lightning has less lag and is unrestricted.
This is an "advanced" class combination insofar as Necromancer and Thief are polar opposites. Thieves are an in and out, one hit kill type class. Necromancers are a minion class making lots of noise (sometimes literally with many Necro items having the HUM flag which negates a Thief's ability to sneak)
The Inquisitor (CT)
A very weak choice due to the absolute lack of synergy between the classes. Having the thief as a second class severely impairs the ability to do damage and none of the cleric utility spells can increase the typical methods that thief has of dealing damage. For example, the cleric faerie fire curse lowers armor, but backstab and shadow strike, the strongest direct damage skills available to the thief, hit through armor anyway. Thief cleric is a slightly better choice, as cleric is much better as a secondary than a primary class due to its utility value.
Divine Explorer (TCW[MD])
This combination used to be ill-advised in a similar way to Inquisitor (CT) due to the lack of synergy. However, modern Cleric provides an abundance of tools that synergize extremely well with thief. A powerful Faerie Fire and Bless can make up for the severe lack of Hitroll on Thief equipment, Faith Shield/Sanctuary are powerful defensive tools as always, and Cleric's vast toolset against undead gives Thieves better matchups against skeletal creatures which are largely resistant to stabbing attacks.
Arcane Spy (TMCW)
A very squishy but viable combination for advanced players. Thief/Mage is one of the highest damage class combos in the game adding a wide elemental arsenal to the thief's raw physical damage. Cleric third serves the vital defensive role of providing faith shield/sanctuary. Warrior fourth is almost a requirement due to the lower health of the main 3 classes and the need for Warrior utility like Parry, Shield Block, Disarm, and Cry of Victory.
Similar to the Paladin combo described above this can be incredibly difficult to manage stats but is for the player who prefers to use holy spells and abilities to be their main source of damage instead of hacking and slashing. While lacking heft in early levels once Petition Incarnate arrives Warpriests can dish out lots of damage.
The Ranger (TD)
Thief druids are extremely rare. Thief and minion classes don't pair very well together. Druid is slightly better than Necromancer because Druid has a few minions with the ability to sneak but, not to be too mean to the loyal minions, they're not very good at it. It is possible, there are a handful of high level Thief/Druids but it is not for the faint of heart.
The Cropkiller (ND)
Rare combination due to an almost full circle Venn diagram of their ability sets and both of their minions competing for a single pool of minion control points.