Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Equipment Selection & Enhancing

As the game stands now, each hero can equip 7 pieces of equipment, among which Blue +1 and above come with their own equipment skills, for a total of 5 equipment skills to choose from. But only one equipment skill can be activated at a given time, so it’s worth examining how to go about choosing the right one.
There’s a bunch of equipment in the game, but I’m mostly going to focus on the ones that have their own skills at Blue +1 and up.

I. Equipment Types
Equipment can mainly be divided into Attack, Defense, and Support types.
Most of the time, you’ll want to choose a Defense type skill for your tanks. DPS/Nukers have a bit of freedom in what they can choose, but you’ll mostly want to stick to Attack type equipment.

II. Equipment Enhancement
(1) After being equipped, equipment will boost a hero’s attributes, and the more that equipment is enhanced, the higher the hero’s stats will climb. But actually, I believe that a piece of equipment’s biggest value lies not in these stats that it provides, but in the skill effect that it adds to your hero’s arsenal. So, you shouldn’t see raising hero stats as the primary goal of equipment enhancing, but rather your goal should be to level up an equipment’s skill.

(2) White and Green equipment have no skills, so there’s no need to waste Shadow Essence and gold on these two kinds of equipment. Synthing them and equipping them is all you need.

(3) Blue equipment and above only need to be enhanced to Lv 5 to unlock their skills, so I recommend enhancing all of your Blue and above equipment to this point. This way, you have them all at your disposal depending on the challenge you’re facing.

(4) At odd numbered enhance levels, e.g. +7, +9, +11, etc., skill effects also get enhanced. So when enhancing, you should stop at +7 or +9. Stopping at +8 is less effective.

III. Which Skill to Choose?

(1) When choosing which equipment skill to activate, it’s not about just choosing the skill of the highest level equipment, but about choosing the skill that best matches your lineup. For example, if I choose to activate electric blade for all my heroes who can equip this Purple +1 skill, then all their basic attacks will get an electric blade effect, which is especially good for my Gearz, who has an AoE attack. By being smart with your choice, you can really see a big bump in damage dealt.

(2) Equipment Effects Don’t Stack
There are some aura/buff type equipment effects that do not stack, e.g. the Skeleton Scepter that reduces magic resistance of nearby heroes. So remember when setting your lineup to only give one hero this equipment. Usually Blaine or Alma will equip this to go with their innate enemy debuff abilities.

(3) Usually Blue +1 equipment is not the best long-term option, so only enhance these to +5. Unless you haven’t already unlocked Blue +2, you pretty much won’t be using Blue +1 equipment.

(4) Blue +2 equipment skills are pretty decent, but still mostly just used in early/mid periods of the game, so again, just enhance to +5 unless you’ve just got tons of Shadow Essence to burn.

(5) At Purple +1 you start to see some core equipment come on the scene, so I would consider enhancing some of these to +9 or +11. For example:

Lil Green Armor increases HP regen (including healing and lifesteal effects). This is a core piece of equipment for the likes of Jacob and Karas (although mostly just Jacob), so if players have Jacob as their main tank, then they might want to enhance this one to +9 or +11.

Sapphire Scepter or Scepter of Life increase ability power and magic resist, which is great for mages, so if you run a magic composition, these would also be worth investing Shadow Essence in.

Sebastian Shield is a great choice for Ariel to fill the vacuum when she hasn’t cast her own shield skill, but I feel like it’s not quite as useful for other heroes.

Aix Electric Blade and Venus Grail are awesome choices for AD Heroes and Healers respectively. I recommend enhancing these as high as you can.

Magic Blade and King’s Oath, in my opinion, aren’t very strong, so I haven’t paid much attention to them.

(6) There are quite a few good pieces of Purple +2 equipment, but nothing that becomes an instant favorite to me like Electric Blade and Venus Grail.
Knight Spirit (attack speed buff), Killer Blade (crit strike buff), and Blood Axe (enemy armor debuff) all have good equipment skills and the heroes that can use them are all pretty good as well, so I recommend enhancing these.

Aside from these, Staff of Light goes pretty well with Sebastian, but it has a much narrower range of usefulness than the ones I mentioned above.

(7) Orange is the highest level of equipment in the game currently, and only the highest-level players will be able to equip these.
Among these, the one that is basically like a cheat code is called Frost Wail (summons a doppelganger of your hero to the fight). Invest heavily in this one.

Robert’s Gauntlet will give you an energy boost after use, so for mage heroes that rely on casting their ultimate first to get the upper hand, e.g. Emily, Aurai, Blaine, Merlynn, etc., this is a good piece of equipment to have.

Arthur’s Sword has a great effect, giving basic attacks a chance to deal stun, which can be put to good use with heroes like Saizo or West, shoring up a team’s crowd control capabilities.

Butterfly Dagger is key for Smoke or similar heroes who rush into the enemy formation because it can free that hero from control skill effects and increase attack speed, both making life easier for this kind of hero. Especially since Smoke has strong lifesteal already, this will increase his durability considerably.

Outside of these, Lufia’s Ward and Golden Apple could both be a tank’s main equipment, but I really only think that because the other equipment options for these heroes aren’t so great, so these are my choices by default.
I’m not yet familiar with the rest of the equipment out there, and especially since Orange equipment comes with a pretty hefty price tag in terms of resources, for now it’s probably best to just stick with Purple +1 and +2.

In conclusion, in my opinion, the equipment I like best and find most useful are:
Electric Blade, Venus Grail, & Frost Wail. After that it’s Knight Spirit, Killer Blade, Blood Axe, Robert’s Gauntlet, and Lil Green Armor.

Big thanks to West from forum
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