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  18.7 Shade guide
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    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:33 am 
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Posts: 4965
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Based on the popularity of some of my previous guides, and since I'm not ridiculously swamped at work these days, I'll put together a Shade guide for shits'n'giggles. You have entered the Dragon, turn back now, or forever hold your peace that you cannot rely on ignorance on DPSing.

Shade Guide to poking holes


The shade is a completely different animal than any other profession in AO. Shade is different because every conception you have about twinking in AO, and level/TL preparation you have learned in all your years of AO, no longer apply. Shades are weird, I'm just putting it out there. Once you read this guide, though, you should have a very good idea of how to operate one with reasonable confidence.

Main reasons for picking a shade:
* you want to do insane damage
* you want to solo like a boss
* you want an interesting challenge
* you want a DPS with utility

Picking your breed:

Opifex - the obvious choice. Shade spirits are sense/agi based, and therefore playing opi lets you have an easier time swapping spirits without a lot of extra gear. Other stuff like getting armor on earlier and some boosted AR from trickle, evades from trickle are nice. In 18.7, if you plan to PVP, opi's are arguably the strongest breed so you can't go wrong there. The lack of HP on a perfectly built shade will max out at about 1800 at 220 atrox.

Solitus - a reasonable choice. there's really no point in going soli unless you're interested in a specific breed perk or shadowbreed. Overall a decent choice but you might as well go with opi since you're not gaining the 4HP/BD boost from atrox.

Atrox - a good choice for HP but suffers on sense which is annoying, and also lacks ability to swap spirits as easily as opi at most levels. Overall a very good pick, and arguably one of the strongest.

Nanomage - arguments have been made lately for the significance of the 5k NM DB absorb in conjunction with Sharl's cybernetic tattoo which would provide a total 10k absorb shield. To add to that, a damage to nano perk.. but seriously, don't pick it, you'll be so frustrated it's just not worth it. low HP, low sense, horrid agi. Not a recipe for success.

TL;DR, opi is the obvious choice, if you really want tankiness, go atrox. if you want serious team power, maybe try soli (sphere... hello!)


Starting out - basically do the same thing you've always done: max your weapon AR first, get a bit more HP with BD, max evade close and make sure you can use your stims/kits/nanos.

poke stuff on newb island or the starting area for a bit. The only thing I'd recommend is that you pick yourself up some newcomer armor. since it levels now to 200, it's a win win. However, if you're a veteran or for whatever reason you've got it, claim your DB parasitic armor. It does exactly the same thing as newcomer, but adds 5% XP on each piece, AND!!!! you don't have to Rclick to level it.

Note that the back piece for the DB parasitic armor doesn't level. so you might want to replace it with something else (we'll discuss later). For the moment, just make sure you have some armor that you can level up with once you leave newb island.

I left the starter area around level 8 I think. I went straight to nascence and started poking chimeras. The weapons I had from newb island were sufficient.

Your first perk choice, I feel is a critical one. The BEST you can do, is put a perk into Totemic Rites. The reason for this is that you get add dmg on the perk itself, but the perk action not only does damage, but gives you a 15 add dmg buff as well that lasts longer than the recharge. This is critical at early levels. It means you can get your DPS up and keep it up indefinitely. It doesn't cost anything, and you won't be needing the AR. Win/win.

I would spend some time getting Spec 1 at the tempestrous birdies in nascense while they don't run away from you which makes it a lot easier to farm. Plus, you really need your spec 1 early on to keep up your damage.

TL 2

Around level 15-20 you'll find your damage to be really starting to feel sluggish, and at level 20, I recommend that you take a trip to the subway. On the lower level, mobs drop the illegally modified ofab weapons and the obvious choice is the illegally modified viper. I found one within about 10 minutes and got another from a dude who looked frooby. I gave him some credits and he was happy. Pick up some stims and kits while you're here since they drop frequently.

For perks, your best bet is to always go further in on lines that will let you, but realistically none let you, so you have to diversify. Exultation is pretty low damage, but does a small heal so if you find your damage to be OK but you need more survival, you can take exultation, but my preference at 20 was to take piercing mastery. The 200ish damage stab perk felt valuable enough that it was worthwhile.

I don't recommend IPing first aid early on, or treatment. But since your armor adds some first aid, it's nice to be able to pop a low stim from time to time, but more often than not, it's not the stims that help but the kit at the end of a fight to heal up.

Your illegally modified viper requires 150 piercing to equip. Remember to upgrade your belt to a 3 slot and snag some cheap NCU's to hold you over till later. Pick up your comp melee skill nano and you should have no trouble getting your viper's on.

At this point you're ready to smash stuff for a while. but you can also go to TOTW to get an exarch robe. There's nothing wrong with this. TotW mobs are easy to kill and give great XP at level 20. You might even come out a few levels ahead with some rings and exarch robe and a barrow strength.

If you can, get these things:
1x barrow strength
1x notum ring
1x platinum ring
1x exarch cloak
1x ring of eternal night

That's all you need from TOTW and honestly, those things drop pretty fast so you might be able to get them at level 20.

If you don't get them at 20, make sure to visit TOTW later to pick them up before you ding 61.

The next thing you will need is a few levels, and set yourself up to equip fear forged blades from SoM. In the early levels, 90% of your damage is coming from weapons, so you really need to make sure you're getting decent weapons somewhat frequently.

I went to nascence to level again, and just fought predators, malahs, weavers, then transitioned over to the crip cave. The deep red crips were a bit much for me so I stuck with the other mobs till about 35. That's when I went and sorted out my FFB's. Most people will get help in SoM, but it should be recognized that FFB's drop VERY close to the entrance, and you can actually get some easy kills on unrelenting fear without too much hassle (get a Hot and/or an RRFE, kill the little spiders, then whack the boss). He drops FFB's about 50% of the time, so within 4-5 kills you'll definitely have a pair.

If you had help in SoM, try to get a couple NCU's and a belt from Neleb (NCU's drop off the guy near the nebulas and off Neleb). Don't worry if you don't get all your stuff on the first pass. I went back twice to get all my stuff, (solo, the second time). Ideally, you want:

2x FFB's (weap)
1x dream mesh (belt)
4-5 x dream circuits (NCU's)

A fully stocked deck gets you a colossal 350 max HP, which is a lot for a shade who is pretty bloody skimpy on health (I couldn't find any chest spirits with max HP on them until well over 100... maybe it's bad luck... dunno).

Which brings me to an important point. Early game you simply don't have evasion power - you can't go "defish" because you don't have enough melee init, so you're fighting full/almost full aggro the whole time. Your only option is to get somewhat beefy AC's and health and hope your damage can ghost em before they reclaim you. For this reason, in every circumstance, you're looking to limit the number of mobs you're fighting, and two, dispatch them rapidly so they don't do a ton of damage on you. On the bright side, most shade perks recharge in 30 seconds so you've almost always got your firepower up for the next fight. That said, for absolute certain, right click your combat chat and select "Other misses". You DEFINITELY want to see when your target is missing you. If you're primarily fighting red targets, they won't be missing much, but yellow/green targets should start missing you around level 50 or so.

This brings up an important concept for shades. Shade doesn't work like keepers, or advy's or MA's, or doctors, or enforcers. Shades function like shades. Out of combat, shades are slowish to heal. You can quickly drop and pop a heal kit, and this is a valuable use of treatment, but I really don't recommend spending a lot of IP on it early on - by mid game, if you can use a QL 50 kit, that's pretty good I'd say. It'll heal half your health in one shot and that's very substantial. So, basically, if you're not, generally, healing yourself... when should you be healing?

Well, it's a bit of a tough question in early game, since shades can't actually heal themselves in combat that well either. But lets pretend they can. FC thinks shades should be healing themselves in combat, so lets figure out when and how that's happening. It's supposed to be happening late in the fight. So, before we go further... here is a sort of early game perk prioritization checklist:

Early game perk choices
1. Can I get limber? Take it and use religiously. (Note this is not acrobat... don't prioritize acrobat unless you get an action)
2. Can I afford a point in spirit phylactery? Take it and use religiously.
3. Can I get totemic rights heal? yes? take it and use on CD. Note that you could also take Sublime rapport - this is the other heal line, but I found it lacklustre before I could get 3 perks in the line. (note that I'd recommend maxing TR line, generally)
4. I have a perk left over. Ok, take piercing mastery. alternately, you're trying to get on a weapon/keep it out of OE.. then take PM.

Ok, the perk choices in early game should give you an idea of how you're going to be operating. A shade's modus operandi is to defer HP loss till later using damage mitigation techniques that emphasize establishing an early imbalance, and leveraging it till the point that the deferment is no longer possible. Using this technique, I was able to solo Ely tiigs at level 70 quite easily (which is difficult on many profs, and especially squishy ones).

So, what does that mean in laymans terms...?

Above all else you're MOST concerned with picking a fight you can control, and not a fight that you can't control. A shade in a 1 v 1 fight is a scary opponent, but if there are two mobs and one shade, it starts looking bad really fast for the shade. Why? Because limber only lasts 40 seconds, and a shade can only get a capture vigor on one mob (which WILL be on cooldown if you used on the first mob).

So, your best bet is to use an aggression enhancer to pull a mob from his buddies towards you well out of range of social aggro. This will heavily swing fights in your favour. How to fight though?

In very early game you're really only looking at dishing as much damage as you can as fast as you can. But around 50-90 you might want to start refining your approach a bit because if you do not, you start running the horrible risk of actually dying, repeatedly, against mobs which you SHOULD be able to steamroll. And that's not good. The reason is that shades simply aren't tanky this early in game. So you need to leverage your advantage and toolset, RIGHT FROM THE START.

While the mob is being pulled, I pop limber or blur. As soon as the mob is within reach, I pop capture vigor on him (this is one of the strongest single perk in your arsenal - even if you don't put any more perks in the line, take this one perk because it's so strong early on) The effect the perk has is enormous. It does 4 things, all of which are incredibly useful to you. first it lowers your target's AAO. This means he hits less hard, AND misses more. it also boosts your AAD, this means you evade more, but it also boosts your AAO which gives you more damage (higher beneficial skill) and finally lowers your targets AAD which gives you a better than to crit! Hell ya! not only that but the buff on you persists for about a minute.

Note: here I hope you have activated "Other misses" in your combat window. Because you go from evading 1/40 hits to evading about 3/10 hits, even if you're not even using limber yet.

This should be your 100% go to approach when fighting a mob: establish defense through actives and debuffs. Always be the first thing landing on the mob, ALWAYS.
Note: that if you want to continuously fight, at level 60 you can stagger blur and limber but be advised blur's duration is only 15 seconds.

Next, you want to land any dots. So if you have the second perk in SP (unsealed blight) use that. You want dots to be ticking for longest to get maximum damage out of them. Next you want to land your ritual of devotion. It may not seem that important, to do this one early on, but because all add dmg is applied to any proc damage and perk damage, later in game the best thing you can do is preload your damage so you're doing a lot of damage all fight, rather than building damage slowly. It's only 15 add dmg, but it helps. Get it up fast as you can and then use the lifetap to gain back a little of the HP that you've lost (Here's your in combat healing!!!). Now hit your specials and any other damage perks you've got (exulation/dimensional fist, etc.). If the fight goes long enough, prioritize landing the lifetap again before the fight ends.

Generally speaking, this is always the way you go to have the best chance of surviving an encounter:
* establish defence,
* debuff target and reduce it's damage dealing capability,
* leverage position (increased sustain) by boosting self damage,
* deal heavy (buffed) damage, while healing (all of your damage/dot procs return drained HP)
* look for the opportunity to land your spirit siphon

Do not underestimate the value of spirit siphon. Used correctly and frequently, you should be able to almost completely refit your spirit assemblage while you fight. Spirit siphon checks 100% dimach vs 85% NR, so for this reason, you should keep your dimach maxed at all times.
Ideally, you want to be fighting mobs who are red to you. This will ensure that spirits obtained are the right level for you or just above. Orange mobs are OK but spirits dropped will generally be lower than what you need. Yellow mobs will drop spirits that are already outdated.

At level 35 or so (once you've equipped your FFB's) if you go into SL there are a whack of mobs like kolanas and rafters and stuff walking around that are easy targets with very few tricks. Work your way around Nasce, and kill and spirit siphon every mob you can. You can go straight to the crip cave with FFB's and wreck shop. Later you can do the dungeons in the crip cave which I found to be sparsely populated and easy to choose your fights. As soon as you're able to work through the crip dungeon, you're ready for ely.

In ely, stick with your FFB's, and perhaps get a HoT from a fixer and just go whack mobs. Coral rafters, Kolanas, and hoalths are all good targets (watch out for Hoalths social aggro - a puller is really ideal here) and even the unred mobs by stormshelter. After that, head up the hill and work on spiders. If you like Nasc hecks, do that too, but I find them boring. Never stop using your spirit siphon.

Since you want to be fighting red mobs, the trick is to find mobs with low AC's and not a lot of health, then hope that you beat them faster than they beat you leveraging your advantage over them faster than your HP drops.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Eventually, you'll feel like spiders aren't quite doing it for you, and this is where things start getting a bit sticky.

The next mob you'll need to face is the mortiig. Mortiig's have a lot of damage, lowish AC's, and smalling health. The trick, of course, is to beat them before they beat you.

Key's to fighting Mortiigs:

1. good weapons (QL 80-90 rapiers, one rapier + one nippy, one FFB one nippy, worst case scenario, one FFB+one rapier)
2. about 1500 HP minimum - if you don't have the HP, consider upgrading NCU's so you can fit a behe or omnimed or similar. I also would try to get a hack'n'quack since it was really nice for gradually refilling HP between fights.
3. a broad perk toolset that focussed around evades/debuffs/damage
4. reflect graft
5. enough AC's to eat a few hits
6. an aggression enhancer to make good pulls

The last one is the most important. I never died in a 1 v 1 fight with a mortiig, but I've died 3 times where there was unexpected social aggro.

I found that it was quite difficult and/or expensive to purchase shade nanos (other than the ones in gardens). this meant that I was rolling with the nanos I bought in Jobe, for the most part of TL3. I was able to get a nippy on at level 70 (QL 152) without any AI armor, or any hardcore twinking (I put three perks in PM, and was maxed on AI levels which all went into Champion of light infantry), add a wrangle... and the 40 piercing from modifiers on FFb's that I hotswaped, and the NJS went on beautifully (thanks Ustarlen for the loan).

Based on this, even with a REALLY cheap setup... you're able to get some pretty beefy weapons early on. The equivalent rapier is about QL 110 I think, but anything 80-99 is totally reasonable.

The proc of choice is up to you, but there are three procs worth discussing that are available when you go to fight a mortigg:

1. 68dmg 15% recover/ 25% chance

2. ... acitation/ 4s stun/10% chance

3. 15% chance /33 point dot 6 hits /75% recover on first tick

4. ... -rapidity/ 5s 250 point init debuff/100% chance

ok, so all of these are actually pretty useful, except I'm not convinced that the flat damage tick one is that helpful.

Here's a bit of a comparison:

1. (68+69 add dmg)*25%* 36 hit/min = 1233 DPM (Note I had 69 add dmg in recent testing I did)
Recovery: 185 HP/min

2. 4s stun * 10% chance * 36 hit/min = ~14s stun/ 60s fighting (not bad, that's basically ~25% perfect mitigation)
no recovery

3. 6s Dot * 15% chance * 36 hit/min = 32s/min of Dot active and 32*33 = 1070 DPM... but you actually need to add a bit to this because the first hit of the proc takes your add dmg with it.
recovery: 15%*36*(33+69)*0.75 = 413 recovery
(I use this one)

4. -250 init debuff on the mob permanently as long as you attack it. I would use this one, or at least test it, but I couldn't find it.

So, basically, there you go, you have some ways to recover a bit of lost health, and some ways to slow down the mob attacking you. Notably, as you increase your PM skills (psychological modifications) the amount the init debuff does goes up:

Weak debuff if PM <=524 (-250 inits)
Medium debuff if 525<= PM skill <=909 (-350 inits)
Strong debuff if PM >=910 (-500 inits)

So that's a pretty nice spread which means this nano is useful for quite a large range of skill (Note: I was able to get 525+ PM at level 85 with no problem, using only a nanoskill brain spirit) At 525 PM, I would recommend that this proc be used as it will mitigate a ton of damage mainly because it's uploaded on the mob on the FIRST HIT.)

My gut feeling is that this nano probably will do better than the other two, but I'm not convinced it would function better than the stun proc vs average mobs.

At Tl3, you really want to have your sneak attack maxed as well as concealment. With maxed conceal+Sneak attack, with a main hand nippy, I could hide from most mobs and sneak attack to start a fight. SA's at start of fight were doing anywhere from 650 damage to 2800, but more often than not they were doing really reasonably strong damage which gives you a VERY solid advantage going into the fight. With maxed sneak attack/conceal, you're able to start making VERY big plays in team fights as well, which is something I haven't talked about yet.

Shade gets a profession specific special (as well as advy) called backstab. Backstab is a fabulous method of doing damage, as long as you understand how to deal with the aggro generation. Backstab AR and crit multipliers scale off your sneak attack skill, in roughly the same method as AS multipliers scale off AS skill. The difference between AS and backstab is that backstab can miss. It doesn't seem to miss that often, but in early game when your skill is low and you don't have a lot of AAO, you will notice it does miss a bit.

Since it does have a chance to miss, you really want to make sure that it doesn't miss. So, use blur and spirit phylactery perks before hand. Interestingly enough, SP perks nicely synergize with backstab via the detaunts on these perks. hurrah!

Capture Vigor: Taunt NPC by -220.
Capture Essence: Taunt NPC by -900.
Capture Spirit: Taunt NPC by -2300.
Capture Vitality: Taunt NPC by -5000.

Now, these detaunts might be a little low, but they still help. And really, it all just works together nicely. Use the capture line first to detaunt the mob and reduce his AAD and AAO, then backstab him while your team tank has aggro. The -AAD gives your backstab a better chance to hit, (and the hit to crit) The mob might look at you for a bit, so just make sure you've got your evasion buffs up, and if he does swing, you'll have a better chance of avoiding his hits due to your debuffs running on him and your evade buffs and your self buffs that came from the SP debuffs. Voila, same effect as early game which we practiced. In this sense, your early game learning of shades combat modus operandi have set you up for proper shade damage dealing.

Let's review:

In solo combat, we evade buff ourselves first, then debuff the target, then leverage position by having increased sustain in the fight, so in that time we self boost damage, then we damage deal and drain health to be ready for the next fight.

In team combat, we debuff the target first, then we evade buff ourselves, then we leverage position by boosting damage while we've give the aggro target (our tank) increased sustain as a result of lowering the opponents damage output, then once we've damage buffed we use our big attacks like backstab to finish the kill, we drain health if necessary to get full HP.

Generally speaking, if you look at the modus operandi, shade combat is reliant on leverage. Leverage comes with time: shades debuffs leverage the fight in the shades favour, so that the shade can leverage other aspects such as buffing through perk actions and dealing damage through stacking dots and damage procs. The longer the fight goes, the more chance of winning the shade has. (Note that this doesn't really apply at low level, but later on it's intrinsic to understanding the ebb and flow of combat.)


If you haven't learned from the patch notes, be advised that Shades can now use token boards. In early game, this doesn't make a huge difference (although, at Tl3, a 250 point board will get your a massive 450 health which shouldn't be underestimated... should you be able to get yourself 250 tokens - that's 35 vet points for one method). At level 100, however, tokens start to be a very significant game changer.

A 400 token board at level 100 is going to significantly boost a shade's staying power in a fight. While in previous years a shade was really a glass cannon who was absolutely dependent on a tank to soak damage, a shade with a 400/1000 token board at level 100 is going to be a force in his own right. You won't have as much tank as my 85 twinked enforcer with 5k AC's and 8000 health (I'm not shitting you), but you'll be able to string together about 3200-3500 health, which is a very decent chunk of health when you consider how much you can debuff your targets in combat.

So, lets talk about damage mitigation, because really, the first 50% of a fight for a shade is about ensuring that the shade can survive for the next 50% of the fight. Sounds weird, but the further and further you get into the game, the more you'll find that if you're fighting mobs of the appropriate level which will garner you with valuable spirits, the more you'll realize that you're fighting deep red mobs which REQUIRE tactical plays to take down. And those tactics are what we absolutely need to have knowledge of, or you will get stomped, and stomped, and stomped. And we don't like having to run all the way to OA for a Hack'n'Quack just to get mashed the next time, now, do we?

So lets talk about perk choices at level 100 and how these can pave the way for good tactical fighting.

With a turd more HP than half a cunt-hair, you should be able to survive for about 10 seconds vs a ely heckler if you just start a fight with it and start hitting. That's about 5 normal hits. If he crits you, you'll go down quicker. A heckler will hit you for about 800 damage with no AC's, no evades, and no reflects. The trick, of course, is slowing down the rate at hits arrive, and reducing the damage that gets through.

So we need to figure out how to either:
1. extend that time, or
2. kill it in 9 seconds.

Luckily, shades can do either, but if you attempt some half ass hybrid, it's not going to work and then we have to do lots of running around for buffs and whinging about stuff. Down to business.

First, lets briefly discuss what we should have at our command:

1. about 3500 HP
2. about 2500 AC's (yech)
3. about enough evasion to dodge maybe 1/20 hits (yikes)
4. spirits that are about 20 levels too low (mortigg's spirits are in the 'equip at 66-73' range)
5. buffs from level 25-50, maybe one or two for level 100+ that you are short about 200 nanoskills for (ugh)
6. some OK weapons (OK)
7. some really solid in combat perks (wewt)
8. some more CL! (OK!)

Ok, so, basically what we're looking at, at level 100 is that we're dreadfully underprepared for the hell that an ely heckler is going to put us through. Yet, that is the grim reality of the situation.

Because we are really hamstrung by the huge disparity in levels between mortiigs and hecklers, if this aspect of improvement is simply too much for you (I don't blame you), it may be worth spending some time in the TINKER TOWER, where mobs are about 130-160 with... Low AC! lowish HP! and will drop some nice spirits for you, and give you a lot of XP still; or go to the Reck, which has some decent levelling content for levels 90-150. At some point, though, you will, with 90% certainty, have to deal with killing a whack of ely hecklers.

We should also discuss what we can do to prepare for this next range. The first thing to be aware of is that there are a few KEY upgrades that we can make to make our life a lot easier. With 100 CL available on the 400 token board (210 on the 1k token board) we can EASILY upgrade our dream mesh belt (bye bye 100 HP) and dream circuit NCU's (bye bye 250 health), for a 6 slot belt and upgraded NCU's. But should you?

How about this:
1. upgrade your belt to 6 slot (lose 100 health, 15 NCU)
2. find 2 NCU's giving about 30-40 NCU each (lose 50 health, gain 60 NCU)
3. Go do the ely sanct key (4 more NCU)

This should be a total upgrade of about 40 NCU while losing 150 health. It's not the greatest trade, but it means you should be able to juuuust squeeze in Essense of behemoth with your Hack'n'Quack and regular buffs. And now you've gained 850 health to boot. With HnQ and behe, you ought to be able to survive almost any encounter with much increased sustain and stronger debuffs.

Now, lets talk about perks. The first thing you should be aware of is this:
Spirit Phylactery 4 has just opened.. and with it comes capture essence.
Static boosts are low, but this badboy is a SERIOUS game changer.

After using capture vigor we have established a +15 AAD on self + -52 AAO on target advantage (defensive) for a total boost of 67 extra defensive rating.

Now, we use capture essence, and we get a further +22 AAD on self + -75 AAO on target for a total boost of 164 defensive rating!!!
(add 26 from static boosts for 200 overall)

This is a boost in several different ways, this is only the defensive aspect, but there is an AR advantage as well that boosts your weapon damage, perk damage and crit rate as well. But the defensive rating is more important for the moment. The defensive rating adds to your own survival, but it ALSO reduces the mob's weapon size.

A mob's weapon size is directly proportional to it's AAO rating. Hence, any reduction in AAO on a mob not only reduces it's chance to hit, but reduces the amount it hits for. So, by taking these 4 perks in SP and using capture vigor/capture essence at the start of any fight, you're reducing the maximum and minimum damage that the mob can hit you for as WELL as greatly increasing your chance to evade any hit he throws at you.

You also get a DoT out of it, which really doesn't do a crapload of damage, but it's extra. Consider, on the other hand the benefit of perking CiB instead. For 4 perks in CiB you get constant 62 AAD and 7 crit decrease. The 7 crit decrease is nice... because you'd be getting hit so much if you took CiB. meh. good thing we took SP instead (note that if you were intending to fight multiple mobs on an ongoing basis, CiB may be better, but since we can choose our fights, SP is far superior).

If you intend to fight vs Ely hecks, or vs any red mob on RK, I highly recommend that SP is maxed and you use the capture vigor/capture essence debuffs as part of your opening salvo.

We have 6 perks remaining.

2 in acrobat for limber (200 evades for our fight, can't go wrong)

Leaving 4... and here, again, we want to get as most out of a line as we can, and here we have a choice. We can go with sublime rapport which gives quite small static bonuses.. but a pretty meaty AC debuff with ethereal touch, AND about a 160 heal on a 12s cooldown (exultation), and a fast damage perk in dimensional fist. Dimensional fist is a great damage perk, doing about 500-600 damage at 100 on a 16s CD. This perkline is comparable in value to totemic rites at level 100 - slightly more healing, slightly less damage, better for team fights, not as good for solo fights.

* the AC debuff lasts 40s on 38s CD and does -600 AC's of all types, boosting everyone's damage by 60 points who hits the mob, as well as boosting your damage, white hits and perk damage
* dimensional fist is relatively spammy and you can get three off in the period of the debuff of ethereal touch (note that if you swap targets you can't use this.. it needs ethereal touch running on it)
* exultation is the beast heal available at this time at 160HP/12s it's not fantastic by any means, but it is regular, and always lands.

The first alternate is totemic rites.

For 4 perks in totemic rights you get a +15 add dmg buff, a +35 add dmg buff (both of which you can keep running full time), as well as 38 add dmg from static buffs. 88 add damage is not a small number at this stage in the game, and the damage from these perks is of course affected by the add dmg which makes them marginally better.

You still get one life tap in this line, but it's not the most effective, only providing 20% of the hit every 30s. this translates into about a 200 point lifetap on a 30s CD. It's not bad, it's just not great.

The final choice is piercing mastery,

Here, the 4 perks go straight into reasonably strong DD perks and gains you 45 piercing skill. with perforate becoming available at level 90, this perk is already 10 levels old, but the damage on these is substantial. The drawback is that there is no life tap, no heal, and no extra defence.

So, the circumstances under which each of these perklines is the best option is a pretty big grey area. I don't claim to know the answer, but consider this:

You should, with good pulling be able to isolate each mob you intend to kill. That means you should have a strong advantage using 4 perks in spirit phylactery. The problem with SP is that you don't get a lot of damage out of it. If you felt that limber was sufficient for defence paired with buffed HP, then you could forsake that extra 200 buffable defence for more damage perks. But this moves you closer to the suicide build, which really only works when you have a full team complement with you.

If you are getting buffed with H'N'Q before going to fight (which you should), you'll have a constant source of healing which is generally more than sufficient especially when you have a decent chunk of HP behind you to soak a few hits. My preference is to go with totemic rites. The 88 add damage simply is too good to pass up. with a 100% uptime, you're boosting all damage done by a large amount and while maintaining a strong advantage via SP, you're in a very good position to make best use of your weapon damage and natural procs. With good weapons, I think this is the best way to go. If you didn't have good weapons, I think the best thing to do is to go with Sublime Rapport and utilize the -AC debuff, spammable dimensional fist, and use exultation to help maintain HP throughout the fight - but that's a hunch.

The best thing to do is test each build and see for yourself. The piercing mastery line frustrates me because I don't like having to get behind a mob I'm fighting which is always facing me. So I opt primarily for choices that don't require my to get behind him. If I was constantly teaming... then I might take PM over TR.

Whatever way you cut it, if piercing skill is needed to maintain weapons out of OE, take PM and just suck it up. The mobs will drop rapidly due to huge white damage and lots of perk damage. Just make sure you're keeping the mob debuffed so when it gets angry with you... it doesn't one hit destroy you!

The Reck

SL is not the only place to level these days, and there is certainly some value in visiting the new area called "The Reck", which is whompable from Tir as well as Rome and newland I think. There are some very nice items which are equippable early on which will most certainly boost your damage dealing capability.

The first I'd like to mention is this one: The Experimental Optic enhancer ... -enhancer/

This badboy is a really nice item akin to the gurgling river sprite for MA's that drops at hollow Island (thanks Quick for the beautiful upgrade to my 90 MA).

Consider: A 120 shade with 5% crit in hud 3, a Igoc, and a predator circlet is sitting at a base crit % of 3%+5%+1%+2%+2% = 13%
Sure, 2 igoc's are expensive, but you can take them off another toon for a few levels just for kicks. Add to this a 8% crit boost from MA/agent for some really solid damage from white hits.

next, consider that you can equip about a level 140ish flurry of blows, which boosts crit rate by ~17% for 15 seconds (the recharge for this item gets longer for lower QL's, and the amount it buffs the crit% drops with lower QL.

So, basically, if used when you only want a significant burst of damage, you can get around 30% crit rate for 15 seconds. This isn't bad at all, in fact, it's pretty substantial. That's like every 3rd hit doing double damage, which is basically like boosting your damage by a minimum of 30%, but due to the melee init boost that accompanies it, could boost damage by more.

So, this item is definitely worth considering as an alternate slot for boosted damage dealing rates throughout TL4. At 150, when level 2 offensive research attunement device becomes available, you might be better off going with it (due to the 40 AAO boost on it which affects all perks/weapon damage). Shade's are equating about 11 add dmg with 1% crit according to this calculation I did in 2014 for the shade community, however, this was for 220, and at lower levels, the balance is probably skewed to the crit scope - so it's all about preference. ... -breakdown

The bottom line is, crit does boost damage rate a lot - but you'll be stuck with the crit scope due to the difficult requirements to equip (i.e. no swapping for nano hud/evade hud).

Just for reference, a level 150ish nippy is doing 1700 damage crits.
If you are going for crits, you SHOULD use large weapons. If you are going for add damage, you want to maximize your perks/procs/hits per minute to get the maximum number of touches where the add damage applies. Basically, if you are well equipped go with crit, if you are underequipped, go with add dmg, but a healthy mix of both is ideal.

Some nice crit items are available in TL4-TL5

* Igoc lvl 120 (2%)
* experimental optic enhancer no lvl lock (5%)
* flurry of blows (QL 150ish) (18% crit/15s)
* enough NCU to take crit buffs (8%)
* goddess boots (level 150) (1%)
* predator circlet (no level lock) (1%)
* vision of destruction (level 150) (2%)
* other scopes - viral targeting scope (10-15% but at a hefty melee init cost) - if you can pick one up generally speaking, any scope with 11% + critical on it will outperform the level 3 offense research attunement device, but obviously you want 14-15% crit since that's the biggest improvement. Using a too high one in mid game, however, makes your defence sub-par due to the strain on evasion.

Broadly speaking, A shade will perform very reasonably with just a few items to boost damage OR evades OR attack rating OR HP.

I would preferentially choose HP>add damage>evasion>AR in that order.

Gear choices:
So, here is a list of items that seem to work pretty nicely on shades:

* Dchest (300 HP, 42 add dmg)
* barrow strength / might of the revenant (+15/+32 add dmg)
* alien augmentation device (defence+offence) (500 HP/ 15 add dmg)
* offensive attunement device (20 add dmg -> 75 add dmg at 150)
* NCU's/belt from SoM (total package gives 350 HP and crappy NCU)
* token boards as high as you can - alternately swap on a CoH collar for much needed NCU/evades/melee init/HP
* shade ofab gloves
* predator armor
* newcomer armor/DB parasitic armor
* shade ofab pants
* miy's melee armor (whichever slot)
* living dragon armor gloves (+22 add dmg)
* robust backpack (400 HP, +60 rad dmg)
* in a pinch, nova Dillon armor provides piercing skill+other small modifiers
* Exarch cloak transitions nicely to a 1/5 robe of the reanimated gladiator, Perfected Alien Tank Armor (kinda a pain to make, but adds 300 HP), and eventually Blood soaked cloak of dishonour
* ToTW rings - which add a bit of NCU (if not needed, use XP rings)
* Ectoplasm's tattoo's - these are a bit of a shot in the dark but if you can find some of high enough level, they actually have some reasonable stats. My preference is to avoid them since they are a bit of a random drop and not very reliable.

to keep an eye out for:

1. Bronto burger quest with Corporal Ashley Winstead - gets you ... 2F&pid=355 faster than your shadow ... ur-shadow/
2. Scheol quest I don't recommend - the item you get has been superseded by the common token board., - you're seriously stuck for tokens... sure, do the quest, but honestly, the 70 AAO/ 70AAD and 1.2k HP is far more valuable.
3. Ado quest for the syndicate brain spirit of guile - which is a super fantastic item valuable all the way till 220 ... -of-guile/
4. The quest series from the Reck for a whack of XP and a fun runaround.
5. Penumbra quest and key for Sharl's cybernetic tattoo which is a game changer ... ic-tattoo/
with an active that gives a 5000 absorb shield on a ??? cooldown (can't find it sorry)
6. Bazzits quest - the frustratingly annoying repetitive Bazzit's quest. Yes, you really must do it. Better at 150 than 220.

That's the bulk of the relevant quests for TL4-5.

NEW Nanos!

Now, the last thing to mention is that there are some new nanos for shades which can really boost gameplay in the mid levels. In no particular order:

* Dissolving vitality - similar to sneaking health drain, but does 25hp/s instead of 95hp/s. cast at start of fight and let er go. (700BM/700TS)
* the fast attack line (open to MA/shade/keeper/enforcer) Fervor of the _______ PM/SI
* Release me now! breaks roots/snares on a 2m CD, 100PM/100SI
* Shades Caress - cast it on a mob and all hits have a 100% proc to heal you for 500/700/1200 for level <149, 150-199, 200+, has high reqs at 800Pm/800SI, lasts for 10s, and has a CD of ??? nothing listed.
* Winding serpent - 25 AAD for 29 NCU ... a bit of a waste. 338 PM/ 338 SI, but if you have lots of free NCU, fire it up.
* Smoke bomb - forces you into sneak WHILE in combat, and breaks combat. HAs a 5m CD. No nano reqs.

Of these, if you have the nanoskills, dissolving vitality will make the biggest impact in your game, and, as soon as you can use it, you should be using it religiously to maintain your health in combat. When you can use shades caress, use that for emergencies.

Winding serpent is useless, and a serious waste of NCU. Smoke bomb is PVP oriented and situational, release me now is PVP oriented, but also extremely useful in PVM if you are running away from a lot of mobs and get rooted/snared. Use liberally! The fast attack line is highly useful, and If nothing else, make sure to get the +70 fast attack buff since it is usuable on others which is a significant boost. since fast attack recharge scales linearly with skill, this nano is HIGHLY valuable at around 600-800 skill where you can start knocking off a big chunk of recharge for a relatively small NCU investment. Absolutely pick this up.

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:33 am 
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...1 year later...

TL5 is, for the most part, a continuation of TL4. Your perk setup should focus around acrobat for defence, with your remaining perks put into damage (or defence) lines. It's hard to say what the best choice for perks is, but you might want to experiment a bit to help you decide. Your three most common options are:

* Spirit phylactery (I used this)
* Totemic rites (I used this)
* piercing mastery (I didn't use this)

Because I was doing a lot of solo levelling, I really needed to prioritize survival and healing to make sure I wouldn't run into problems when I had a lot of unsaved XP, so spirit phylactery was valuable for defence, while totemic rites provided some healing as well as boosting the recovery amount on the basic damage proc.

At level 150, you can upgrade your attunement huds, and, the purple hud with 75 add damage becomes a very reasonable choice to boost all hits by a substantial amount (The alternate choices are the defence attunement hud, or the optic enhancer for +5 crit).

In terms of levelling, you're kind of stuck in Adonis until 160, but this isn't too bad, since you can do dark ruins, which is actually really a very reasonable place to get levels for 150 all the way up to about 190ish.

I did a lot of dark ruins, daily missions, and collected Doja chips in dark ruins for a quick spike in XP at the end of every days grind. If you can find the people for ado hecks, that's also very good XP, but in all the time I was in ado, I only got about 4 hours worth of good hecking teams.

Your role doesn't change a lot if you're in a team or not, and because spirit phylactery adds a detaunt, it retains a lot of value since you're debuffing the mob with -AAO, making it hit less the tank less frequently, and reducing the damage it does when it does land a hit, AND you're detaunting it meaning you can boost your DPS without fear of taking aggo - if that is a consideration. However, I found that with full defensive spirits I could tank hecks with no problem using this simple perk cycle:

1. pop dance of fools before fight
2. debuff mob fully with Spirit phylactery
3. as soon as DOF is finishing, use BLUR, follow up immediately with limber
4. Use damage perks

Using this cycle, you first establish defence, then stack blur+limber while DOF is down to keep the best evasion rating, then heal up any damage done using totemic rites.

Because the perk cycles are so quick, I would just keep cycling them until the end of the fight.

Note: At some point between about 180 and 210, you'll find that some mobs hit REALLY frigging hard, and if they catch you with a crit, you'll splat in two hits. Even with maxed BD I was having a hard time getting much past 8k HP even in the SL levels. So it may be a worthwhile investment to get a few points in CiB for the crit resist. I relied on debuffs, aggro management and healing for a large part of my levelling which also translated to doing more damage, so it's a tradeoff. Eventually you'll want a few points in CiB, and even a few points of crit resist will reduce the crit chance on mobs do on you quite substantially.

At 160-170, it's worthwhile heading to penumbra, and absolutely endeavour to finish pen key and the penumbra quest (sharl's cybernetic tattoo). The tattoo you won't be able to use in combat for some time, but it's really a core item all the way through the game. As soon as you get it, you should spend the time to equip it since it adds 7% XP and that alone is worth it. But it also gives 50 comp lit and this, as well makes it a lot easier to equip belts/NCU's and the like.

Penumbra mobs aren't too hard to kill and give about the same XP as dark ruins mobs, so you can actually run around and just kill stuff, but my recommendation is to stick to quests in penumbra, then get to inferno as soon as you can.

I made the mistake of doing pen key later, and it was kind of annoying to travel back to pen a few times while doing so.

You DO want the pen key because this makes it a lot easier to farm the predator buff which is really a core buff for shades for PVP.

By 190, you should most definitely have moved to inferno. Even tagging along in a couple of missions will net you a huge whack of XP.


There is not a lot to say about TL6. You basically just want to keep doing dailies, get inferno missions as frequently as you can, and prioritize levels over research until you hit 205. You can dish out very reasonable damage in inferno missions, and be careful about how fast you unload, stray aggro can squish you in a heartbeat, so avoid doing backstab/fast attack/piecing mastery all at once. It's better to do DOF/spirit phylactery/backstab to make sure you're detaunted before unloading the big damage.

Staying alive is worth while, for sure.

As soon as you can, consider upgrading your weapons, spend some time in milky way checking corpses for medi-blades. These are the cheapest, BIG upgrade you can do. Even with just one in main hand and a 190-199 kyr'ozch rapier offhand you'll boost damage so much.

There is quite a lot of piercing skill available in perks, buffs, attunement hud (upgrade to +75 skill at 200) and trader umbral wrangles become better, plus duel wielding your FFB's from level 30 will boost your skill a lot. Equip the hacked medi blade as soon as you can.

Use your spirit creation nano religiously in inferno hards to start collecting your base spirits. I recommend not doing any combines until you have a FULL set of the relevant defensive/offensive spirits. Basically, you really need to consider how much it takes to upgrade, so wistfuls are valuable. (I'll go over the spirits later).


There are many different ways to spend your XP/SLXP and everyone will tell you a different story. I don't have a personal preference on the topic of research so I won't suggest how to do it. In retrospect, I think it turned out reasonably well for me, and all I did was prioritize the +60 piercing level 10 research over everything else. The bottom line is, for shades, the vast majority of level 9/10 research really doesn't add a lot of value, with the sole exception of the line giving 60 piercing at level 10. I prioritized this line as soon as I got to inferno and made sure it was completed around 206-209 when I was trying to put on hacked medi blades. After that, I was kind of whimsical about research and really didn't dedicate a lot of time or effort towards any other line OTHER than APO.

Apo line gives significantly greater value than any of level 9 or 10 research lines. Getting Apo 6 is basically like getting a full other SL level of base stats so there is a lot of value there. I found after Apo 6 at 219 I could get all my spirits upgraded to max without any trouble whatsoever (only using upgraded yellow belt) but with that I could self all my top spirits with no perk resets.

Blackened legacy and Black heart are my next priorities, but they aren't very significant. My gut feel is that prioritizing hitting 220 is a better bet since it will result in more teaming opportunities due to perception.

Gear wise, if you're still in XP gear at 215-219 that's OK, but for most stuff on RK it's worthwhile collecting some gear to swap into that gives better modifiers, like crit/add dmg/HP/evasion. At around 210-215 you can EASILY be participating in stuff like Dust It Off (DIO) as a dedicated damage dealer, but its not really acceptable unless you're in level relevant gear. So ideally, collect/build some armor to use on RK, and by this time you most definitely should have equipped 2x hacked medi blades.

TL7 Armor Options

Combined commando/mercanaries - always reasonable filler for any slot
Dustbrigade operative armor - best slots are chest/sleeves/pants, but boots are OK too
QL 300 penultimate Shade Ofab gloves - a core item adding 75 piercing skill and 32 sense and 350 HP
Dustbrigade Combat chest piece - not bad, especially if you need stamina/strength to keep CC/CM out of OE
Living dragonarmor chest - OK, but kind of past it's prime
Sharls Cybernetic tattoo - Fine, but by this point, it's better for CL buffing
DB Operative helmet - great item
Subspace storage device - great head piece - arguably the best, but lacks damage and crit
Vision of destruction - best for raw damage dealing +2 crit, +15 add dmg, +50 melee init
SE shade Ofab helmet - 150 conceal, HP/AAD/AAO, a decent choice for defensive oriented shades
Bloodsoaked Cloak of Dishonor - great back piece, arguably the best. 75 RS and evasion, no HP or damage though
ERBP - not really that great due to no +melee damage
New DB operative backpiece - great if you can get it (nodrop)
Awakened beast sleeve - best in slot for AR, some HD/ND/HP and 45 skills
Awakened BOC - 100 AAO, lots of base stats, very useful for PVP, beats out BSCoD I'd say
The ICC reward backpiece - +30 damage is decent, a bit of HP. low AC's though
Bastion shoulderpad - good for nanoskills/AAO/AAD/crit +damage
Superior shoulderpad of brawn - decent for crit/AAO/AAD
Goddess boots for +1 crit
Slippers of screaming for evasion/RS

In wrist slots, you're pretty much locked into the perfected DB bracer (right wrist) and
either a 5/5 melee arul saba left wrist or the Tier 3 DB infused bracer (better if you can get it)

For rings, there are several options, but:
gruesome misery +1 crit, some add damage is arguably best
Shade ofab ring for 20 piercing/20 AAO/20 AAD is great for PVP
+28 melee damage (or all damage) ring is solid
Improved HHAB is good for utility and convenience

In hud's/utils:
QL 200 Flurry of Blow's is still pulling weight - 20% crit for 20s is pretty significant still, time averaged 3% crit, but better generally because you can use it during a fight. The 50 melee init static modifier is still valuable.
Snipers friend - 5% crit is very valuable
Viral targeting scope 13-15% crit is great. swap with a green defensive hud for lowering threat/taunt
green defensive attunement hud - great for tanking/reducing taunt
stellar shade nanodeck - for obvious reasons
Luxury huds/utils:
ACDC - great all around
DB escape module - not sure if needed, but adds AR and evasion - probably only really needed for PVP

Unless you specifically gear towards HP, you'll have lowish HP 12k-14k and this can be problematic. In most situations, teams will often have an enforcer due to the value in getting area aggrox, so you may not collect aggro easily, but generally, if you simply run sacrificial embrace, and use spirit phylactery on CD interspersing with damage perks, you'll provide VERY good utility to your team while not threatening to pull aggro every 30 seconds, which makes things a bit easier for the enforcer, while still doing very respectable damage. If you're in a team with a soldier who is expecting to tank, it will be imperative that you run spirit phylactery on CD, run a non-damage proc(s) and generally try to take out adds/towers/ etc rather than going full ham. A soldier - even if he knows what he's doing, won't be able to out taunt you if you are playing for DPS.

There are many things to do at TL7, but here are the BIG ticket items:

1. Start the DB quest
2. get inferno hard missions as frequently as you can, and use spirit creation nano on CD, collecting MANY spirits.
3. Keep doing your daily missions, AI daily, etc.
4. Try to get the ICC AI mission as it gives a lot of AXP as well as an AI helmet or other useful AI loot
5. get comfortable with being a high end damage dealer (learn how to detaunt/control aggro)
6. get comfortable with being a glass cannon and how to stay useful while not aggroing the big boss (i.e. do towers at DB2, debuffing at DB1, killing adds in AI sectors, debuffing on beast runs, etc.)
7. do as many 12 man runs/vortex/mitaar as you can to collect Beta spirits
8. Collect gear from DIO, DB1/2/3, TNH belt (yellow) Or hadrulfs, beast armor, POH upgrades, AI armor, etc.
9. keep tokens coming in so you can eventually upgrade to paragon -> offense/defence -> 5k board
10. hunt Dyna's for BSCoD, or beast for Boc, or Tara for RBP (Note: OFAB backpiece isn't BAD, but for 30 ICC commendations you can get a decent backpiece adding 30 add damage which is also an OK choice),
11. do battlestations for tokens, XP and VP - you'll probably want AT LEAST the shade ring of shadows, but possibly also SE shade helmet, for certain Shade gloves, and possibly the chest piece and pants (for comp lit), and maybe the backpiece. I only bought the ring+gloves, the other slots I'll use other gear.
12. Dreadloch camps - the main item here is sniper's friend, but a dreadloch stab thing is OK too (100 melee init is useful)
13. AI raids: really core item here is the Viral targeting scope, try to get +14/+15 but a +13 is a decent pickup as well.

I'm getting about 37% crit rate on my shade currently and I'm frequently not only the highest damage dealer in any given instance, but I'm frequently DOUBLING damage of the next highest person.

here's where that crit rate is coming from:

13% scope
5% sniper's friend
5% DB operative chest
3% on Superior icy pads of Brawling
2% on Igoc
2% on Apo 3
2% on Vision of destruction
3% base critical chance
20% for 20s on flurry of blows (I am still using this item since about 150) - 20s uptime, 120s downtime = 20s/120s * 20% ~ 3% crit

= 38%

I also spent some time building a 5/5 melee damage arul saba which is pulling a lot of weight with all the perk/proc damage shades can put out. I'm not sure what kind of add damage I have, but I generally try to keep all 4 totemic rites procs up full time while fighting which add about 500 damage. 75 on perfected DB bracer, 45 on 2500 token board, 40 on operative chest, 30 on 3 pieces of CC, 45 on Improve puncture of tarasque, about 40 on spirits and 200ish base add damage on TR perk line and I'm hitting probably close to 1.1k add melee damage. In a team that's easily 1.3k.

That kind of damage means 5k crits on medi blades, about 1700-1800 damage on sacrificial embrace, and all perk damage scaled up appropriately. It's monsterous and you need to be careful about pushing damage if you don't have a competent tank.

Note: I've been mentioning sacrificial embrace - it's the level 195 nano. the highest level nano only adds another 150 damage to the proc, but it's proc chance improves from 25% to 26%. It's worth upgrading, but the skill reqs are quite high. With 15% health drain on each proc, you can actually generate a big chunk of healing from this nano. At ~1k add damage, you're proccing 1800 damage, and healing 0.15*1800 = 270 HP which is a fair bit since you'll get about 49*0.26 =12-13 procs per minute resulting in about 3500ish healing just from sustained damage dealing on the target - that adds to TR which heals about 10k per cycle, natural HD (about 200), and sneaking health drain which does 1k/10s or 6k/min.

All in, using spammable stuff and naturally occurring heals, you can heal about:

3500 + 10000 + 200*60/2s + 6000 = 25000 health/minute

In emergencies, you can use shades carress, which procs a 100% to hit heal of 1200 health per hit and lasts for 10 seconds.

This is super valuable in a raid where there is big AOE damage, like beast or phobettor, since everyone will be focussing on the mob and they will proc the heal several times each. In a pinch, carress can easily heal for 5k-8k every 2 minutes and is multiplied by heal reactivity/heal efficiency which can do up to about 2k on some targets. Use this nano frequently - it's cheap, helpful and has a low cooldown.

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:34 am 
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More stuff for TL7

Hyde has put together a writeup (and I've argued with him a bit on some points) about MA shades, located here: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10896

MA shades are:

1. slightly out damaging piercing shades (assuming reasonably similar setups)
2. are finicky to play (due to some slightly irritating perk sequences)
3. have slightly less defence than piercing shades (offensive feet spirit vs defensive feet spirit)
4. Require more fine tuning on IP (requires phys init, MA, lines to be maxed, with brawl as an optional line)

Hyde's write up is very good, and describes some of the in's and out's of it.

Generally speaking, I think MA shades are probably better in PVM and less good in PVP. However, shades kinda suck in PVP right now anyway so that point is irrelevant. MA shades excel significantly on RK and vs aliens, but are not quite as strong vs SL mobs due to the much wider swings in white hit damage due to weapon damage templates and the effect of high AC. Some perks (-AC) make up for it a BIT, but the change is still significant.

Other resources:

Combining your spirits for endgame is a bit tricky.

The BASIC premise is as follows:

If a slot has base stats, you can combine either offense OR defense spirit with base stats (Eye, brain, ear, Larm, Rarm, chest, waist, leg, feet)

If a slot is wrist/hand, you can combine defense+offense to make a "power" alpha.

If a slot has nanoskills you can combine the nanoskills with essence to make a "Will" alpha (which can be added to either offense or defence) (head, Rhand, ear - eye there is none, chest is different, waist is none).

General tips:

* Check the price of the beta's before you combine.
* If you combine a 220 spirit with a beta it becomes QL 250, BUT requires the most amount of betas to upgrade to 300, which can be extremely costly in some cases. For example, lets say you are building a right arm alpha. Here, you absolutely want to try to get a QL 290 or QL 300 right arm spirit, then upgrade with only ONE beta, because the beta's are 200M + each. Most other slots are much cheaper.
* Pay attention to where beta's are dropping - 12m/vortex are the most frequently completed xan zones, so these are usually most available, while mitaar is not completed that frequently and usually these spirits are more expensive.

Here is a guide on combining - note that in MOST cases, you can combine any base spirit (non xan) of 230 or higher there are a few exceptions, can't recall what they are off hand. ... ht=spirits

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:35 am 
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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 12:54 pm 
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This is starting really impressive. Very nice work in the making. :)



  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:54 am 
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Wow, fantastic guide. Thanks! Now I think I can play my shade more skillfully.
Anything new to add after the recent patches?

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 12:29 am 
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Loogaru wrote:
Wow, fantastic guide. Thanks! Now I think I can play my shade more skillfully.
Anything new to add after the recent patches?

Yes definitely.

I only revisited this guide a couple days ago, in fact, I'd only written it up to TL4.

I've got a bunch more stuff to add to this, loosely:

* spirit combinations (beta -> alpha -> alpha power/alpha will -> super combined alphas)

* endgame perk setups

* endgame perk prioritization

* late/endgame proc choices

There's a few important distinctions here because Shades have some pretty ridiculous utility but you have to consider what the most important aspect is. like, will fast damage outweigh debuffing with inits or AAO? Do you have a crat/NT in team to debuff NR? etc.

Like, the shade alpha box gives some very useful nanos - the nanite depravation does -200 evade close, and -200 NR.

Most shades will probably not even consider the effect of -200 NR, but that's half of what Dead man walking provides, and approximately equivalent to giving your doctor/MP/crat/NT 200 more nanoskills to land debuffs/dots/nukes.

And that's just the start, right? Most people don't consider that sort of utility... But since doctors can actually be a healer AND provide reasonable DPS in a fight, it's really worth considering whether you want to be an enabler, or a pure DPS. It just depends on what the team makeup is. Just as an example, if a doctor spends 8 casts getting UBT on the boss at DB1, while you unload damage, and collect aggro, then the doc is all of a sudden torn between healing you and debuffing the mob. This puts you at extreme risk because if the doc gets debuffed (lizard, -99% HE, nano gone) he can't heal you and now the glass cannon shade is even deeper into aggro. Vs, say, you running the -200 NR debuff proc. Now the doc can land the debuff rapidly, load dots, while the tank retains aggro, and now the damage/taunt is spread more evenly across three players rather than the shade just becoming roadkill in the next debuff cycle. An alternate choice here is to use the -1400 init debuff proc, which is an OK choice, but I'd choose the -200 NR proc because UBT>the shade init debuff, and enables doc dot/malp spam as well (fully offsets the damage loss from shade).

So ya, there are definitely some things to consider.

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 6:28 pm 
Strong Leet

Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:56 pm
I started a small side project Shade. Yesterday I searched Google for "shade spirit guide". This was 4th in the search results, and by-far the best result. Seeing it today bumped here, I can't not reply. As always, great guide Noobas =D>



  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 1:04 am 
Growing Leet

Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:04 pm
my 2 cents (which may already be stated cause i only skimmed the guide)

tl7 endgame

Nanite depravation should be run 100% of the time. It is the only proc in that line of nanos.

i run Degeneration of Haste almost all the time. I seem to take less damage when compared to running the stun proc. I never run the green one. dont even remember what it does. And the Add dmg proc doesnt seem to make enough of a difference to warrent losing the damage mitigation from haste

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:34 am 

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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:10 pm
This thread really reminds me i shout do some stuff on my shade

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 10:51 pm 
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Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Tlaski wrote:
my 2 cents (which may already be stated cause i only skimmed the guide)

tl7 endgame

Nanite depravation should be run 100% of the time. It is the only proc in that line of nanos.

i run Degeneration of Haste almost all the time. I seem to take less damage when compared to running the stun proc. I never run the green one. dont even remember what it does. And the Add dmg proc doesnt seem to make enough of a difference to warrent losing the damage mitigation from haste

hoo ha ha, I didn't know nanite depravation was in a different line.... that is fricking awesome.

Ok, Running top level degen vs stun proc vs damage proc...

-1400 inits will vastly outperform the stun proc in general because the stun proc doesn't land on bosses, and some mobs have stun resistance. -1400 is huge, and is like fighting a UBT'd or Malaised mob, so, yes, that will very significantly reduce damage you take, plus, it procs 100% so the mob will always have it running.

Now, the problem for me has never been taking damage from a single target - 1 v 1, a shade always wins. The problem for me is adds. Shades don't do well when faced with 2 angry mobs, and this is why I prefer to take the damage proc. The damage proc adds a BEAST load of damage.

The top damage proc is 26% chance to land a 895 (base) mini-nuke.

Now, the thing is that this base damage nuke takes on all your melee add damage, and, assuming you're using totemic rites, you'll have 1200ish melee add damage, bringing your nuke up to about 2k damage.

This 2k damage nuke IS NOT REDUCED BY AC'S. And that's huge, HUGE. It lands regardless of evasion, nano resist, AC's, and everything else. The proc chance is 26%, and it lands on Sneak attack, backstab, fast attack and normal hits.

Assuming you get 3 backstabs, and 10 fast attacks, and 36 normal hits per minute, that's an extra:

(3+36+10) *0.26 * 2000 = ~25k dpm

Ok, so that's very substantial. And that's not counting keeper damage aura/soldier damage aura/keeper procs and soldier suppressive horde. That can easily scale up to 32k dpm in continuous combat.

So, that's 8-12% of your TOTAL damage output in continuous fighting.

It's substantial, If you need the damage mitigation from degen, sure, use it. But I don't find I need that. I only use degen if there is no dedicated tank so I can scale back my damage.

Here's something else: with 18.7, you get a health drain on all the damage procs. You get 15% health back on any damage. So on a 2k nukeproc, you get 300 health back. And this helps a lot in continuous fighting regenning lost HP.

The green procs are a 15% damage over time and nano drain over time. The return is nano instead of health. This will do more damage over time on long fights, in my experience (because you also get add damage applied to the first hit) and also keeps ticking damage if you get a run of no procs which, to be fair, is pretty rare at 26% chance. The -nanopoints DoT is helpful vs some mobs like beast who do big nukes. Shade running this proc, and trader using nanodrains can run him out of nano and KEEP him at zero nanopoints for an entire fight - which obviously stops him from nuking.

edit: the DoT proc doesn't OD the damage proc on long fights - but it will do more if there is an effect mitigation like a nuke, while damage is slightly less, plus, the damage is only marginally less than the damage proc - also, the lower your add damage is (i.e. if you do a defensive setup), the dot proc will significantly outperform the damage proc. HOWEVER... the nano drain really isn't that valuable for a shade, so I recommend the damage proc as the default.

I calculate, based on 1200 add damage that the dot proc does:

49*0.15*(299+1200) + 299*(49*0.15*5) = 11025 + 10988 = 22013 DPM vs 24480 DPM for the damage proc

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:58 pm 
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Updated, and added links to Hyde's MA shade guide.

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:28 am 
Baby Leet

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:51 am
Great looking guide Noobas!
Forgive me if I am missing any of the below but here are a few notes I have:

-I know there is a quest in Ely that gives you a QL 120 Bloodlust however it doesn't seem to mention it in the AO Universe guide itself but is on the shade forums. For those that don't know the Bloodlusts are really nice agility and sense buffing weapons for swapping spirits etc.

-For Piercing Mastery perkline it is worth noting that the first two perks(stab and double stab) require you to be behind the target to fire and do very little damage for the time they eat up cycling your perks. On top of that they are not prerequisites for any of the remaining perks in this chain. In my opinion it makes sense to remove these two perks and not fire them at all. Especially when raiding(Sectors, Beast, DB, etc.) and the mobs health is falling so fast you can't finish the perk line off before jumping to another mob as dropping 200 dmg on an 200+ mob is sad to say the least.

-Tactics for team fighting: I find that allowing someone else to agg first works out much better than having the shade pull since we lose two very nice damage attacks otherwise. If you have a tank that is even better but basically run up to behind the mob after it is attacking the puller, hit sneak, then sneak attack, backstab, and fast attack that way you can get your two highest weapon attacks off before it switches agg(fast attack just because you like going all in :P ) I have not had the luxury of using the new smoke bomb nano which allows us to re-sneak and attack again(at least that is my understanding so correct me if I am wrong) but for the time I spent leveling up my shade I could only fire sneak attack once on a mob so the beginning of the fight made the only sense prior to this nano.
Caution is needed though as this is also a sure fire way to die if you cannot tank the mob yourself long enough for the tank to get agg back. Do not use this strategy in that case or you will be visiting reclaim more than playing. [-X

-Personal suggestion for perk hotbars that I use is to put all PM, TR, and SP perks on individual hotbars and tie each hotbar to a specific key(I use 1, 2, and 3 respectively) and then setup each slot of that hotbar to fire off of the same key that way you can spam 1 until all of the PM chain has fired, 2 until all of the TR chain has fired etc. and on top of that you can put your fast attack and backstab on some of the empty slots so they will be firing when available as well. This makes perking/playing so much easier in my opinion but to each their own. It works better to finish an entire perk chain before hitting a different line as if you delay enough with perks in another chain it can timeout the first chain you started and prevent you from finishing the best damage perks of the chain.
Also I like to put sneaking health drain in my SP line so it fires off and is refreshed everytime that perk chain is cycled which is more than enough to keep it running at all times and at full def my shade's casting is slow enough to prevent me from spamming SND too much prior to finishing the SP chain. As a side note you can cast SND on multiple targets so you get healing from multiple sources. An example would be soloing a boss that spawns adds where you can

Keep up the great work Noobas! :D

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  Re: 18.7 Shade guide
    PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:59 pm 
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Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Thanks Dalt. I thought I mentioned the ely quest + bloodlusts. to be honest, unless you're twinking, I don't really think the 120 bloodlusts are worthwhile. I did do that quest on my 150 shade, but on the 220 one I only used QL 260/280 or something that came from LotV iirc.

Ya, I agree with your prognosis on fighting, but I also find that waiting until "someone" else has aggro can retard progress because sometimes people aren't keen on DPSing like shades are (or they just lack impetus). So I generally just rock up and sneak/sneak attack, then start unloading damage, if I arrive a second late, spam sneak and SA and backstab.

The first two perks in PM will do 2k damage or more by late game, so they aren't really that bad, and you only need to be behind the target for the first perk. There's also another gap after the next two perks, I think at lacerate. After that you can restart the last three perks, this works out decently, because you can tie PM 1 to backstab (you'll always be behind target for BS), and PM2 (you need PM 1 to fire for PM 2). Then tie 3/4 together, and 5/6/7 together and then you can spread them between targets if needed. ALSO, the perks use a check on self if used, so you don't need to use them on the same target, ever. Same with the TR/SP lines.

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