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Ravyn's Starting Elf Strategy
A Note from Ravyn -- This is intended to be a very general overview of the leveling strategy I've developed. It is by no means all
my own since I learned vitually all of these things from veteran players. Every player has their own particular style of play, and
this guideline can be worked into your own style however it helps. I also realize that some of the things I mention here will
seem absurdly obvious to experienced players, but this is intended to help all players regardless of experience. As with making any
character, luck within the game is always a factor, so adjust as needed by either stepping up or backing down.
The Starting Roll
--Speed --as when starting any class, always roll for maximum spd (40 for elves)
--Brains --45+ ...since elves start with low energy and str, you want good brains so you can luckout the easy monsters and conserve mana.
--Magic Level --6+...the higher the starting magic level, the sooner you gain 'force field' and 'teleport', which are important in being able to move to size 8 and up
--Energy -- elves max starting energy is the second lowest of all classes, and low starting energy makes you susceptible to instant death encounters. I shoot for 40+, but will take less if I'm in the mood to try shriekers.
--Strength -- i don't pay much attention to strength unless I'm thinking of taking a low energy roll, but since i like to melee a lot to conserve mana, i like 15+, but, as i said, it's not that important if you've got other good numbers
Basic Tips -- just basic 'habits' of play of all 'good' players and some general terms i use later on
Gold -- elves aren't too bad at carrying gold, but obviously not as good as gnomes or dwarfs. It takes only 1 gold coin to cross the line between no-speed- loss and speed-loss. And it's very easy to die if your spd is very low from gold when you enter combat, especially if you have no blessing or your blessing fails. Always hang on to some gold after you max your mana out so that you can re-up if the drops aren't good, but spend any extra on books or ammys. when you know you're close to your max before you start losing speed, be careful about picking up more or when selling your swords or shields. 0 speed with no blessing = instant death by greed, as does failed transport with a blessing and 0 speed
Poison -- since my strat isn't exactly good at finding amulets of protection, it's not unusual to be poisoned frequently from cursed treasure. In the first 14 lvls, it can be a problem since your sin may be too high at times for gurus, and I hate giving a medic gold I could spend on mana. If it's really bad, go ahead and pay, otherwise just deal with it. You can always fight some smurfs and hope for some smurfberries if you have enough energy, or you might get lucky and get some althelas from a size 5 monster. Whatever you do, don't go begging Councils or Vala to heal some weak poison under 5.0. They're players, too, trying to stay alive same as you, not the Phantasia Rescue Squad. Once you start acquiring charms, though, you may want to break down and buy ammys in order to keep from using your charms on cursed treasure.
Sin -- I don't worry overmuch about sin when first starting an elf. I pillage every chance I get because I'll need the mana. I only sacrifice a virgin occasionally, because that can really run the sin up. You should get enough orbs from other monsters to keep it 'guru' worthy if you're just pillaging. Once you get close to getting your blessing or decide to trove, you want to keep it as low as possible without wasting too much time and age fighting flocking monsters for orbs. that means no more pillaging or sacrifices. *Special note--you will want to have 0 sin if you're lucky enough to reach lvl 1k and want to get a crown, and especially if you want to find the Grail.
Shields -- 'Make do with what you find' is my motto until you absolutely have to buy it or are ready to move to the next phase of leveling. When you're lucky enough to get a smithy to buy your current sword and shield, it's okay to upgrade, but only if you're going to have enough mana. if you can't max out your mana and still improve the shield, just sell the sword. Anything under a 50 I sell no matter what. And check your degenerations --if you're close to a degen, wait until after it to buy your shield
Swords -- Sell, sell, sell! !! I always sell my sword whenever I can. They are plentiful enough that you'll find another, and you'll want the gold for mana. Only time I've ever bought a sword is after making Council.
Quicksilver--i never buy it. make do with what you find
Books --I don't worry about buying books until much higher lvls. Some elvers prefer to buy books rather than mana at the 400 post and trust to 'luckout' Personally, when I buy books, I try to buy as many as possible at one time, so I'd rather use my gold for mana except for when I have to get rid of extra gold.
Tomes -- I never buy these until the higher lvls (over 500) either. Again, I like to buy them in bulk, so I wait until I've got gems I can sell to add to the gold I'm also getting rid of.
Blessing--Though some purists have little or no respect for troving, I personally hold no such opinion. I trove for all my characters since it allows me my Blessing as soon as I gain teleport and have a viable shield, so that I can push my lvling harder and faster. Otherwise, you will have to get one the old fashioned way. See the rules to find the monsters that drop a Blessing. No, I will not explain nor teach you how to trove. Figure it out or ask someone else.
Degenerations -- When you're first learning any class, don't worry about degens -- concentrate on learning how to best play your class as you move up through the sizes. As you get more experienced, you can start paying attention to them. Yes, I'm a moderate 'degen nazi,' but only because I use degens as a yardstick by which to judge my play/luck. As long as you're not playing your character 'too' safely, you'll be able to make up the stat losses when you get to the bigger-sized monsters, and you should be able to lvl fast enough to still be able to gain in stats despite degens.
Stat Boosters -- these are treasures that boost your base stats permanently, at least until the next degeneration. Primarily, these are important in helping to offset the drop in stats due to degens. Secondly, over time, they make your stats much higher than they ever could be simply from lvl increases. Stat boosters help make the difference between an average character and a great character.
Rings of Power -- Rings can save you from death, but you run the risk of them being cursed. A cursed ring can consume you whether you use it or not. Never pick up a ring dropped by a nazgul unless you have reasonable fear of being pk'ed. Nazgul rings have a higher % chance of being cursed. If you really want a ring of power, then get it from the dark lord. If you pick up a ring by mistake, then wait for a smeagol, force field, and rest until he's successful at stealing it.
Movement --I, as I think most experienced players do as well, prefer to move diagonally, and since starting co-ords are rarely identical, I equal them up in different ways depending on my mood. Doesn't matter how you do it, so long as you're moving towards the 100 post. After leaving the post, just move outwards diagonally. Evasion will of course unequalize them at times, just keep them close so that it's easy to 'move to' post.
Combat -- I do rely on the elve's brains and speed to save me the time of meleeing long, boring monsters and using precious mana to boost. So yes, I use and depend on luckout against all monsters except the really nasty ones. I rely most heavily on the Elf's excellent magic. For 'heavy hitters' (monsters that do a lot of melee damage quickly), I boost. Boosting is using your defensive spells to increase your stats during battle -- forcefield, incr str, and haste. I boost depending on the monster -- some monsters I just forcefield and melee, some just force field and str, etc. If my shield or energy is particularly low, I will use para when necessary. For monsters that have special attacks (those which require charms to block), I bolt most of them outright. If you don't have the mana to bolt one outright, you can either para and evade, or try to para and melee depending on your mana. As the with any class, the more you play elves, the more you will know what your character can and cannot do at any lvl or size you find yourself. Live, die, and learn.
* note: all levels listed are approximate or average lvl of my elves at that point
Playing to 100,100 Post --lvl 0 through 2
move toward the 100 post while working to get your co-ords near equal. Try luckout first on anything that shows up except for the flocking monsters. Rest back to full energy then move on. Pillage whenever you can. you will hit size 2 around the 80,80 area. at 100 post, spend all gold on mana then move on. if you get a lucky pillage or gold drop one or two clicks after leaving post, go ahead and double back to get more mana. after a few clicks away from post, it's not worth the mana or age
Play to the 400 post
It's further to post this time, so now is when you want to decide to take it slow or just play it like I do. I just keep moving towards the post diagonally. Keep pillaging. Instant death is very possible at any click. Here's where your luck begins to become a factor. Shield will make it much easier. I don't care about my shield, I just keep going. Yes, that means I am sometimes a lvl 2 fighting size 5 at the 400 post. Yes, that also means I die a lot. If you don't have the patience for dying a lot before you get started, might as well go back to fighters.
You hit size 3 around 170,170. If you find your energy low or you're facing a heavy hitter, bolt em. If you don't have the mana, try to evade and rest. You hit size 4 around 265,265. More here to bolt like ogres and other heavy hitters. Failed luckout could mean death. Same for size 5 around 360, 360. try to live and make it to post.
On 400 Post --as low as lvl 2 to as high as lvl 5
Once here, I again spend all gold on mana. 400 post is my first 'camping' spot. I camp out here until a few conditions are met, then I move on. I move one click off post, then hunt. Re-up mana whenever it gets low, which can happen fast. I seldom boost str or spd here since my max energy is still too low for prolonged melee against multiple monsters. So I just bolt the baddies like ogres, hobgoblins, cino's, feno's, etc. Chaladruis is the most dangerous monster here, requiring around 200 mana to bolt at size 5, it hits hard and fast, and often has a friend or two or three....
Playing to 900,900 post -- lvl 6 to lvl as high as lvl 16, depending on Blessing
Depending on my luck, i will hunt off post at 400 until i manage one of the following:
1) - gain force field spell (lvl 8 or so depending on starting magic level) , have at least a 150 shield, and max mana
2)-- gain force field spell and teleport (magic level 60) spell and at least 500 mana
3)-- have a shield in excess of 300 and mana in excess of 2000
Conditions 1 and 2 are when my luck's been especially bad. i move straight to size 8 Under condition 3, i will move out as far as size 7 while waiting to gain forcefield and teleport. once i get force field, i move into size 8. i Deplore walking all the way back to 400 post for mana when the gurus haven't been rewarding me, but it's not as bad since my lvl is higher than when i got to the post and i can cover more ground faster. Once you get teleport, you can tp back to the 400 post easily for more mana. I get my blessing once I get teleport, which makes it safer for me to move into sizes 9, 10, and 11. You start getting wraiths and thaums at size 9 -- bolt them out right or para and evade. The bigger the shield the better, but I'm not afraid of size 11 if I have at least a 300+ shield. If you want to push it, tp straight to 900 post as soon as you get blessing, but have some gold for mana. Otherwise, move toward 900 as fast as your shield and mana will let you.
This will be camp number 2. Do the usual post routine. Max the mana (use the gems from the trove if you have to). From here, I teleport outwards into the monster size I want to fight. It will be a little while before I level high enough to have enough max mana and shield to move to size 14. Titans appear at size 14 and require 4500+ mana to bolt depending on your ml. If you don't have a blessing by then, you should get one before moving into size 14. As long as I have a 1k+ shield, and decent mana, I try to fight in size 13, tp'ing back here to re-up mana. if my mana gets low and I have no gold, I'll drop back down to size 8 or 9 till I get enough gold to go back up to at least 3k mana, then tp back to size 13. Once I can handle a titan (Max mana of 4500+) I usually fight in size 15 until my max mana gets to at least 6k+, then I jump to 1600 post. I figure if I'm going to risk the #90+ monsters, might as well do it at size 19 as size 16. If you're fairly new to these sizes, you might want to ease your way up through 16, 17, and 18 first. Until your max mana gets above 9k, though, you'll probably not be able to bolt a leanan or ungol flat out, so you may need to forcefield a couple of times then try to para and evade them. you can try to para then boost and melee if you've got the mana to forcefield several times during the combat, but with few or no charms, their special attacks can really mess up a good character. To be safe, para and evade. If you're a risk-taker and don't mind losing a lvl 25+ character, take your chances
1600 Post and beyond -- lvl 25 to lvl 200+, depending
This is the last camping spot before jumping the Dead Marshes. I don't play in the Marshes except when in extreme need of gold and even then, it's quite rare for me to go there. Sure, the monster sizes range in the low 20's if you're sticking close to the 1600 post, but in my opinion, the monsters are only good for gold and slightly more experience than size 19. I'd rather play at size 19 where I at least have the chance of the stat boosters. You should lvl here till you've managed to save at least 200 gems (less for experienced players). 200 gems will let you buy a 30k shield and still have 50 gems left over for mana money. Remember -- don't buy the shield if you're close to your next degen. Once you have the shield and gems for mana, you can either jump to Morannon (3600 post) or get a gwaihir and go to the Plateau. The Plateau can be a very dangerous place to lvl even for experienced players, so new players should just jump to Morannon and fight at size 41 until you feel comfortable with going higher.
* Note regarding pick scrolls -- once I can handle size 19, when I get a pick scroll, I choose ungol. Ungol can drop good gems, but mainly it can drop silmarils. Silms add 2 to base spd, and especially as an elf, your speed can be an edge in any combat. It allows for more attacks during melee and more attempts at boosting and para when you need to rely on your magic. Some players like picking the Dark Lord because they believe they get bigger gem drops. Well, that's possible, but the dl doesn't always drop gems. At least with ungol you've got the chance for a silm. I'd rather save my charms so as to be able to defend against special attacks when I jump. the choice is yours as to which you'd prefer to pick.
Okay, that's it for my starting strategy. Going beyond the 1600 post moves into 'advanced' play, and that's a different area of gameplay. until I can write an advanced strat, this will have to do. Any comments on info that I've overlooked would be appreciated so that I can edit this strat and make it more useful. Good Luck and happy hunting.