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Build Flexibility, Part Two

Andrew Corpuz Posted:
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Part 2 continues discussing unconventional builds' functionality. Tips on changing one's build, the purpose of flexibility, as well as extreme imbalanced builds are also provided.

Unconventionality in Other Builds

As seen in Part 1, we can apply the ways we created Monk-less and Exorcist-less builds, in forming and improving almost any unconventional build.

Steps to improving the efficacy of an unconventional build:

  1. Identify the common strategies that your build sacrifices
  2. Explore potential strengths and growth opportunities of your build
  3. Be prepared to handle opponents capitalizing on your build's weaknesses
  4. Recognize how you can catch opponents off-guard with unconventional play
  5. Toy around with your formations and remember the importance of shifting around mercenaries during battle

For example, if you didn't want to use an Oracle or a Shaman, you would lose the ability to use an active heal. Compensate with either greater damage or using a lot of passive heals, especially two for your main (Monk + Prophet/Exorcist/Princess). Additionally, since you have less Staff, a high level Fast Casting may not be entirely necessary. Be prepared to lose mercenaries from spike damage. Highly aggressive or highly defensive play through turtling can mentally frustrate the opponent. Be careful which mercenaries you front line, and be prepared to move ailing mercenaries to the back during battle.

I want to win in PvP! OP IMBA builds FTW!

As in most MMOs (and PvP games in general), Atlantica has its share of overpowered strategies.

However, creating (or in most cases, copying) an OP IMBA build is not always an easy choice, as unconventional builds do not possess extreme exploits.

Firstly, it requires the player to take some risks when choosing mercenaries. An OP IMBA build is never guaranteed to be OP IMBA forever. Therefore, the player also has to plan ahead in the case the OP IMBA-ness ends soon or finds the build not to his liking.

Secondly, it usually requires the user using moderately intelligent strategy, and living in the moment of the current patch. Overpowered builds are usually deflowered in a future patch whether it be by nerfing the overpowered mercenary combinations, or by introducing a new skill in a new or existing mercenary that limits the build's strength.

Lastly, even if their strength does not diminish in the next patch, the current patch will always have counters to OP IMBA builds. When the overpowered builds become popular enough, other players will use the system in place to find the effective strategies.

Structurally, how does Atlantica allow for such unconventional flexibility?

Skills exist to counter lop-sided builds. For example, too many bows? Whip out a Princess! Too many staffs? Whip out an Exorcist! Too many long-ranged stunners? Whip out a Spartan! Scroll usage, while expensive and not the most popular option, can partially replace the function of essential mercenaries such as the monk.

Even though there are many ways to gain the upper hand in battle, each way currently has an ample enough amount of counters

Whenever new mercenaries or skills are added, the team at nDoors seems to try to use those mercenaries to provide counters to existing overpowered builds.

Atlantica allows players to raise dozens of mercenaries at once, giving players the ability to change formations rather quickly. Since players in PvP often fight against other players whom they are familiar with, ideally, a player can anticipate his opponent's strategies. Thus, "extra" mercenaries could be swapped in before the fight to help specifically counter the anticipated tactics of the opponent.

Players have the flexibility to try and use different builds without having to create a new character.

Want to change your build? Let's make it happen!

Unlike in most MMORPGs where you are stuck with your main character's class and sometimes even skills indefinitely, you can change both rather easily in Atlantica.

Changing your main's and your mercenaries' skills as well as the skill point distribution can be a good way to try something new. By using skill decrease books, though costly, you can easily change the functionality of your entire formation.

One of the quickest ways to make a more drastic change to your formation is by changing your main character's class (and appearance as well). (The only way to create a Chainsaw main is to create a new character once you have a character who has reached level 100.) Simply obtain a Secret Vial of Amnesia in-game or through the item-mall. Then, visit the shaman-like Divine Deity in the Bazaar in Rome. You will be greeted with a screen that looks similar to the character creation screen. Once completed, note that "all your skills will be reset to zero". You will also have to re-do any quests related to quest-based skills, such as the level 100 Monk Dingxian quest.

Once you bring your main character back up to par, obtaining new mercenaries may be in order. Unless you completely despise certain mercenaries and/or have a slew of extra mercenaries, be wary of firing your mercenaries before level 100. The potential benefits of sending a mercenary independent at level 100 can outweigh the cost of purchasing an extra mercenary room. Additionally, do not send more than one mercenary independent (or fire him/her) unless you have another mercenary of adequate level to replace the let go mercenary. Doing this may leave glaring holes in your formation. As the game becomes increasingly difficult in higher levels, you may become more frustrated than you anticipated when raising your low level mercenaries.

Having difficulty leveling your new mercenaries? Here are some atypical words of advice.

  1. Once you are past level 50-ish, do not change your formation drastically until you are a little bit past level 100 and several of your mercs are at or very close to hitting level 100. Why? It's much more difficult (and possibly time consuming) to level a team of half-low-level mercenaries if you are not of high enough level than it is to raise a few mercenaries to 100, one-by-one gradually implementing new mercenaries. If you do change your formation drastically, store the swapped out mercenaries in mercenary rooms if you can.
  2. Unless you can handle it, don't bring too many low level mercenaries into any battle. Both in parties and in solo play, the quantity of EXP received by a mercenary partially correlates with level.
  3. When completing quests with high experience rewards, swap in as many low level mercenaries as you can. Use easy low level quests + your high level mercenaries for the daily 3% and for daily 2% in Free Leagues; this will save your low level mercenaries for high reward quests while still giving you the maximum total amount of experience possible.

Fighting for the Future

Players can also hire mercenaries and teach them skills for short periods of time through Gladiator Proximo in the Rome Plaza. When hired, their levels match that of the main character. Though pricey, using Proximo is quick and easy way to test if mercenaries will work in your build and whether or not you like them, without having to go through the arduous process of leveling.

So what good is build flexibility? All I care about is winning.

  • Distinguishes Atlantica from other MMOs
  • Integrates a plethora of strategies
  • Provides greater entertainment and greater game longevity through variety
  • Forms a stronger community through greater individuality
  • Brings greater pleasure in winning; not the same challenges over and over again

Who cares about winning? I just want to have fun with friends in PvE.

Then you can have any build. However, this is not suggesting that the game is so easy that any build with zero strategy will work indefinitely.

As in most MMORPGs, with enough grinding/farming for level and/or equipment in addition to items, it's very possible to work one's way through much of the game with little thought to one's build/formation.

This is possible since every mercenary is useful in PvE. For example, one of the least commonly used mercenaries in the game (in general) is the Princess. Even if you have zero long ranged characters, she can be extremely useful against long-range heavy mobs. For example, she is extremely useful against the Servants in Frozen Adlivun, one of the most annoying mob groups for players around level 100.

For those primarily interested in PvE, even though you may think you have a build that does not work for PvP, you may want to take a closer look. While peculiar build choices are typically not as powerful as standard formations, they can be extremely dangerous in the hands of a skilled, intelligent player, especially when faced against an opponent who is not prepared to deal with the peculiar build. If you find yourself losing very frequently in Free Leagues, plan your skills more diligently and consider trying different strategies.

Unlike in other MMOs, other players rarely laugh at your peculiar build, provided it can work.

As a side note, the best builds for PvE are AoE builds with strong survivability, and a few long-ranged for hitting flying mobs.

I am a true rebel! Even at the cost of my sanity!

Here are a few ideas for themed builds that could work even with extreme/glaring weaknesses.

Theme: Absolutely Zero Healing
Example Build:
BT | Spartan | LK
Janissary | Witch | Main(Sword)
Elementalist | D. Archer | Viking/Inventor

Victory: Killing the main.
Weaknesses: Other spikers, stun.

Notes: With zero healing (active / non-passive), your ability to survive becomes greatly diminished. Therefore, you have to find other ways to diminish damage. Additionally, you could try using any of the healing mercenaries, just don't give them any healing skills. Since the temptation is there to give them those skills, part of the challenge would be the strength in your willpower. :]

Theme: Monk-less, Exorcist-less, No Active Healer, Weak Front Line, Minimal Long Ranged Build

Witch | Spear | Spear
Spear | Sailor | Princess/Spear
Elementalist | Prophet | Musician(Main)
Victory: Varies wildly depending on opponent
Weaknesses: Spikers, AoE, Debuffers

Notes: This build attempts to stray far away from conventionality (as described in part 1) while still being reasonable. It attempts to utilize the Spear's AP drain capabilities to the fullest extent. Be prepared for many quick losses against certain formations.

If you are really up to the challenge (as well as some tedium), you could always raise a slew of the same D-Mercenaries, such as in some of the formations that arise in Arena. Whenever builds like this come up in Arena, their payout dividends usually stay low. These builds - or builds similar to them that are slightly more balanced - would also likely be ferocious in auto-battle free-league.

So now what? I have an unconventional build.

Go play and have fun in Atlantica! Did you know there will be new mercenaries coming soon? Don't fret! You have the flexibility to make relatively easy, strategic changes to your formation for both need and entertainment.


Andrew Corpuz