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Post by SapphireMinx on Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:48 am

Archer Basics

If you're just starting, itching to play, and just want the absolute minimum to get your archer leveling, try Archer Starter Mini.

The archer is a damage class, specializing in dispatching enemies at range, and relying heavily on their basic ranged attack. This guide is intended to be a starting point for learning to utilize your archer's strength. For further specialized reading, try the links and information in the post below. See the Glossary for a list of definitions for some of the abbreviations and slang used in this guide.

per 5 attribute points:
1 Strength
4 Dexterity
The standard approach to stats is the 'Pure' build, where in for every level (5 attribute points), 1 point is allocated to strength, and 4 points are allocated to dexterity (yes: no points are ever allocated to vitality or magic). This build is all about firepower, more dexterity means faster kills, and faster kills mean safer archer.

While a consensus is difficult to reach, most archers can agree that points spent in magic are wasted points. Some archers however choose to allocate small amounts of vitality to bolster their survivability at the cost of damage, two such build are: 3 dexterity, 1 strength, 1 vitality per 5 points, or 7 dexterity, 2 strength, 1 vitality per 10 points. Vitality-heavy builds reduce your efficiency when out hunting, but can be useful in bolstering your survivability in PVP in lieu of high refines and shards.

(Brief descriptions, and leveling advice)
Archers have a wide and daunting range of abilities, the ones you choose to use, and with what regularity, may be personal, here nonetheless are some brief recommendations. See also Damage Penalties, and Playing Your Archer sections.

Max : Maximize this ability
Efct1 : Effective at level 1, you may decide to conserve mana by leaving it there
Opt : Levelling Optional
Halt : Levelling not advised
Pace: Ability should be maximized, but not necessarily immediately
NA : Usage of this ability Not Advised, generally leave it at level 1

Bow Mastery (Max) Passively Increases damage
Blazing Arrow (Max) Duration damage buff, keep active.
Winged Blessing (Max) Passively Increases range
Flight Mastery (Opt) Increases flight speed of white wings only

Frost Arrow (Max) Slows target's movement
Knockback Arrow (Efct1, Halt) Knocks target back, buying time (effect does not work in PVP)
Stunning Arrow (Max) Stuns target for a short time
Aim Low (Pace) Freezes target in place

Winged Shell (Max) Absorbs damage and regenerates mana
Wings of Protection (Pace) Duration buff, increases evasion and movement speed
Wings of Grace - Stun and slow immunity, damage reduced, movement speed increased

AOE (Area of Effect)
Wingspan (Efct1, Opt) Archer-centered melee range aoe with a knockback effect
Thunderous Blast (Efct1, Pace) Target-centered ranged metal aoe
Sharpened Tooth Arrow (Max) Target-centered ranged aoe, reduces targets' max HP
Barrage of Arrows {PVE(Efct1, Halt)} {TW(Max)} Target-centered continuous aoe, drains mana over time, continues until target dies. Generally only max this ability if you actively participate in Territory Wars.

Winged Pledge (Efct1, Opt) Melee attack
Wingspan - see above

Lightning Strike (Efct1, Opt) Adds damage, converts entire shot to metal element
Thunder Shock (Efct1, Opt) Adds damage, converts entire shot to metal, reduces target metal resistance
Deadly Shot (Opt) High damage shot, long cast delay
Take Aim (Efct1, Halt) Low damage for cast time but fire instantly by pressing twice to generate chi
Quickshot (Halt) Ineffective for damage, but can be used for chi generation (not as effective as instant take aim for this purpose)
Viscious Arrow (NA) Damage over time ability, low wood damage, generally not worth the cast delay or the mana
Serrated Arrow (NA) Damage over time ability, low physical damage, generally not worth the cast delay or the mana
Stormrage Eagleon (NA) Metal damage over 30 seconds with a 30% slow effect, generally a poor usage of sparks as damage does not compete with advanced spark eruption, and sparks can be used more lucratively on other abilities in PVP

Damage Penalties
Ranged Weapons encounter a 50% damage penalty in melee; the metal damage abilities and the melee 'Winged pledge' and 'Wingspan' abilities however do not suffer this penalty, and can be used to deliver full weapon damage. There is also a 50% 'Air to Ground' Penalty, so try to avoid attacking targets on the ground while flying.

Playing Your Archer
Your ability usage here will form regular patterns. Rely heavily on low mana abilities and regular attacks (the lowest mana ability). Your goal as always should be dispatching your enemy quickly, consuming the least MP/HP possible. All that follows in this section are recommendations.

Melee/Short-range Enemy
Opener1: Frost Arrow
Opener2: Take Aim (effective only after 85 or so)
Snare: Knockback Arrow
Difficult opponents: Stunning Arrow / Aim Low
If reached: Winged shell and Lightning Strike/Winged Pledge/Wingspan
i.e. Frost Arrow -> Regular Shot -> Regular Shot -> Knockback -> Regulars to finish

Ranged Enemy
Precast: Winged Shell
Opener: Take Aim (any level, fire instantly for chi)
Snare: Knockback
Difficult opponents: Stunning Arrow
i.e. Winged Shell -> Take Aim -> Regular Shot -> Regular Shot -> Knockback -> Regulars to finish

Basic PVP Tactics (assumes use of a HP charm). Your ability usage here will depend on the conditions of the fight, and your target's class and armor-type. Individual fights, manouvres and strategies can be complex, following however are some basic PVP tips to get you in the right mindset.

Dealing Damage:
-For arcane armor, focus on regular attacks
-For heavy armor, focus on metal damage skills (Thunder Shock, Lightning Strike, Thunderous Blast)
-For light armor, use a combination of regular attacks and metal skills
-Try to find opportunities to do large bursts of damage to get past your opponents charm, Spark Eruptions are good for this.
-Deadly Shot/Take Aim can be effective for sniping, but should generally only be used on unsuspecting targets, or those you can kill in a single attack.

Protecting your HP:
If you notice your HP dropping too quickly or your opponent sparks, focus on avoiding damage while your HP charm catches up and the threat passes, by use of:
-Stunning Arrow
-Winged Shell
-Wings of Grace

Generally in these situations you will want to use only your standard ranged attack, and carefully to avoid pulling aggro. Your target should be that of the tank in your group (you may use 'Assist Attack' from your action menu while targetting your tank to acquire his target). An archer being more expendable than a cleric may choose to throw down their life for one... when picking up such a target, unless you are easily able to dispatch them, cast winged shell for your own protection, and run the monster to the tank.

Monitoring your aggro here is essential, you should aim to NEVER pull aggro from a tank, as this will generally get you killed, occasionally kill the entire group, and ALWAYS make you look incredibly noobish.

As it is impossible to see your own accumulated threat, and your tanks accumulated threat, you should plan your attacking before the fight, and try to avoid guess-work mid-fight. My reccommendation is to choose your starting point based on the level and ability of the tank (the latter if you know it) i.e. for a tank of significantly higher level, start dealing damage at 95% boss HP, for a tank around your level start at 85-90%, for a tank 5 or more levels lower start damage at 80%, and for a tank 10 or more levels lower start at 65-75% boss HP; this method removes guess-work, and ensures the tank gets a solid headstart. This is a rough guide though, your experiences will form a better one.

(49+) When you have it, you should use Sharpened Tooth Arrow after a few swings by your tank (use a level 1 weapon if you're paranoid about an early pull), reducing the bosses maximum HP by a percentage, and forcing their current HP to the new maximum. Immediately after use, cancel your attack, and wait for your planned starting point (remembering that it will now be at a lower HP value - your debuff's reduction was not time spent sticking the boss to the tank).

Weapon: Bow, Crossbow or Slingshot
Soulshards: Garnet (+Physical Attack)
You don't need to pay too much attention to weapon type until the later stages of the game (where slingshots are considered the better PVE weapon, and crossbows the better PK/PVP weapon).

At level 19 you can get the 'Trial Crossbow' from your FB19, a weapon you will likely use until your early to mid 30s, from there you will want to be using 2star, 3star, or mold weapons and replacing every 5-10 levels generally. For a list of recommended weapons by level, see this link.

Armor Type: Light ('all resist' preferred)
Soulshards: Citrines (+HP)
Useful Modifiers: Dexterity, Vitality, HP, Physical Resistance, -Interval
Accessories: Optional, physical resist type recommended
Headgear: lower level HP helm

PVP: Player Vs Player
PVE: Player Vs Environment -- Monsters, bosses, FBs... any encounter where you are facing something other than a player, is considered PVE.
TW: Territory Wars -- Guild Vs Guild, large scale battles
HP: Hit Points, your health... the red bar
MP: Mana Points, the blue bar
Aggro: Term used to refer to a monsters attention, your abilities and attacks will generate 'aggro' or threat, and you have 'pulled aggro' when dealing enough damage to cause a monster to leave the player tanking it, and run after you.
Grinding: Gaining experience by simply killing monsters over and over again... what you end up doing when you run out of quests.
AOE: Area of Effect, any ability or spell that affects multiple targets within a given radius
Kiting: basicaly 'hit and run', shooting a monster then running back to avoid being hit, hitting again etc, it often involves slowing the monster. The aim of kiting is to avoid being hit altogether.

Sadly the author of the above guide has all but moved on. Let me say however that the response to this guide over the past months has been truly humbling, it is great to know that I've had a role in helping so many archers, and I hope that more can find inspiration in the wall of text past.

As in the title, the above guide is Archer BASICS, information that didn't make the cut may appear gradually below:

Total Damage = (1+[dexterity/150]+[Skill Multiplier]+[Bow Mastery])x(Equipment Physical) + Static Skill Bonus
-Percentage multipliers should be converted to decimal (i.e. 120% = 1.2)
-Total damage is modified by enemy defense

While the pushback effect of Knockback Arrow does NOT affect other players, it will affect pets.

The base speed for flight is 5.0 (not your runspeed) -- add this to any speed modifier on your wings.

Want to get to a certain (points per level) build but don't know what your stats should be?
Use this: (Level - 1) x Points per Level + 5
Or for the 'pure' build, just: Strength = Level + 4 and the remainder into Dexterity.

Previously a part of the actual guide, no longer all that relavent as dramatically increased gold prices and alternative levelling methods have sent these squads into all but obsoletion. Retained here for historical value Wink.
A zhen group is a special AOE-grinding party for level 59+, to briefly describe it, archers and wizards stand in a central point, channelling a damage AOE, with a cleric channelling a healing AOE. Lurers, often on mounts, run monsters spawning nearby into the wizard/archer aoe, everything dies, and everyone gets large amounts of experience. There are special Zhen-friendly locations you will likely learn about from other players.

During zhen groups, which last a minimum 1 hour, training esotericas are used (boutique item), and as an archer you will also need to have an equipped MP charm (boutique item). Due to the high mana drain of the archer AOE, Barrage of Arrows, zhen groups are very expensive, keeping barrage at level 1 will make them slightly more affordable.

To begin a zhenning session, before the wizards/clerics begin their spells, the archer must duel a cleric or wizard and cast Barrage on them, after the duel ends and the mighty archer is victorious, the barrage will continue with that player as the focal point. Other players then begin their AOE and lurers begin to bring mobs over.

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