Hello my fellow Atlantica friends! For my first MMORPG.com Atlantica article, I have written a guide on the mysterious and deadly Dark Archer mercenary, the final upgrade form of Archer.
Class: Upgraded C-class mercenary from D-class Weapon: Bow + Arrow Armor: Long-Range
Why Dark Archer? She's quick, agile, and sexy to boot. Like any wielder of the bow, she is lethal to any character or monster no matter where they try to hide in a formation. Though she has rather low survivability, if used well, she can be a vital force in crippling the enemy formation at any point during battle.
Once you get your archer to level 100, you may transform your D-class archer into the C-class Dark Archer through a quest. Aside from the class difference, there are two major functional abilities that separate the C-class Dark Archer from the level 100 D-class upgrade of the archer, Hero Robin Hood - the Dark Archer has a much higher base defense stat and can also learn an additional skill.
Obtaining A Dark Archer
The Dark Archer quest giver is the prophet-look-a-like centaur, Chironia, who stands among the trees right outside of Prague.
Chironia won't give you the first objective until your main character meets the quest's level requirement of level 100; otherwise, you are good to go. Chironia's first objective requires an archer at level 100. If you do not even have an archer yet, you may obtain one by persuading one who is wandering around the map or in a town.
Unlike the majority of the standard scenario quests, Chironia's Dark Archer quest requires you to fight monsters in independent and guild dungeons. Here is a summary of the mob killing portions of Chironia's quest line so that you can plan your conquests ahead of time:
- Open Independent Dungeon 94, Arachne's Nest, and kill Giant Destroyers (the purple bees who are more plentiful on the left side of the map), then obtain location info on Arachne's Bodyguard (the blue spiders), then the dungeon boss, Evil Arachne
- Open Guild Dungeon Marksburg Castle, and kill Veteran Snipers, one Enraged Rock Beast (2nd floor mini-boss), and then Luxurious Clocks (only on third floor) 3) Open Independent Dungeon 98, Hypogeum of Death, and loot Hades monsters (the two more lethal monsters of the dungeon), then kill the dungeon boss, Agasura
Unless you are capable of surviving these dungeons on your own, team with others who are adept at completing the dungeons. If you don't want to run any of the three dungeons multiple times, as you run each dungeon, once you complete an objective, teleport to Chironia, receive your next objective, and teleport back to the dungeon to finish the next objective. Be sure to let your party/guild know that you need these quests for Dark Archer so that the proper mobs can be allocated to you.
Once these mobs have been vanquished, Chironia is surprised and more than satisfied by your talent, rewarding you with the item required to upgrade your lovely lady into the even more lovely Dark Archer.
Just like regular archers, Dark Archers are primarily used for two purposes: sniping (regular bow attack) and silence. Thus, early on, most prioritize raising Silence over the extremely situational Deadly Shot. It is also wise to preserve some skill points for "Multi-Arrow", a skill unique to the Dark Archer, which is useful for hitting multiple targets.
Silence prevents enemies from using any skills. Silence is a row skill (after level 20 upgrade) that can be targeted two rows deep. It lasts three turns instead of two once the archer has received either the level 100 Hero Robin Hood upgrade or Dark Archer upgrade. Like many skills, raising Silence level significantly increases its accuracy.
Silence usually does not have much use in PvE, especially since most mobs do not use powerful magic skills. In addition to its high, 3-turn cooldown, Silence only targets a row of mobs, making it impractical for 1v3 PvE. However, for many bosses without Silence Immunity, Silence can prevent the boss from casting extremely powerful AoEs. Since most bosses will only execute an AoE every few turns, plan ahead, always leaving your archer with enough action points and cooldown points to cast Silence when needed. It is important to keep in mind two things when casting Silence on bosses:
- bosses can dodge Silence regularly, even if it is at maximum level plus charms;
- Silence is dark magic so it will provide a minor heal to Evil type bosses.
Silence has much more significant use in PvP, where most skilled PvP players have their Dark Archers' Silence at maximum level.
Early in a match, your Dark Archer can snipe, cast Multi-Arrow, or cast Silence on the front or middle row.
Silencing the front row early in battle is usually the least useful tactic. Besides already being exposed to skills such as the Viking's Freezing Axe, front rows are usually comprised of melee, many of which cannot use magic to penetrate a Holy Guarded front line.
Silencing the middle row early is especially useful if you have a Viking or Elementalist who can freeze or silence the front-line. This forces the opponent (if they only have one monk) to choose a row for Holy Guard. Silence on mid-row cripples the opponent even more if you have an Exorcist to seal back row staffs. Unless the opponent is keen to move his staff characters out of the back row, a Viking/Elementalist, Exorcist, and Dark Archer combo can silence nearly an entire party, if not all, for two turns.
Silence is usually most harmful when used on the back row (where most players place their staffs). Therefore, many often opt out of using Silence early in battle, instead using Dark Archer's focus fire abilities to create a hole in the opponent's formation as soon as possible. Once a character in the back row is exposed to Silence, aim and fire. Beware though, many players will prevent back row silencing by switching a near dead mercenary to the rear; if that near-dead mercenary dies before other mercenaries in front of it, the other two characters still in the rear to will remain free from Silence until one of them is exposed.
Purification scrolls and Holy Guard can destroy a non-flexible plan that depends on Silence. Consider using the Dark Archer to help cancel a purification scroll instead of casting Silence, especially if the scroll is used pre-emptively. If your build relies on other hexes/debuffs/dots, the Dark Archer can help stun or kill the monk before she is used to cast Silence.
While a fun skill to have, its use is rather limited in PvE because of its massive Action Power cost.
On the contrary, Deadly Shot can be extremely frightening in PvP, especially if your archer's health and Action Power managed properly. If combined with other damage, Deadly Shot can be critical in making a successful surprise assassination on the opponent's main character. Near the end of a long battle, with damage from the timer and with time running out, Deadly Shot (as well as Deadly Strike from other mercenaries) can give you a kill to put you ahead. Especially in a formation with other D-Class ranged with Deadly Shot, consider raising Deadly Shot to an Intermediate level. Use Secret Vials of Potential if necessary.
Multi-Arrow is a low-to-mid damage magic skill with a cross targeting range. Because of its relatively low, 2-turn cool-down and Action Power cost (low compared to most multi-hit damage magic skills), Multi-Arrow can be released early in battle and frequently.
In PvE, multi-arrow is seen frequently, especially since the Dark Archer's other magic skills are not as useful in usual PvE. In combination with the basic bow attack, multi-arrow can be particularly cruel to flying mobs because of its quick cooldown, and as other mercenaries have difficulty striking them regularly.
Multi-Arrow usefulness in PvP is limited since the Dark Archer is better used for Silence, scroll snipe, or damage snipe. However, it can be useful for adding damage to or perhaps even killing a few mercenaries that are near death.
Initial Formation Placement
If the importance of the Dark Archer's Silence ability is high in your formation, and if the opponent has the ability to use Silence, placing the Dark Archer in the back-row will help preserve your Dark Archer from harm and give her freedom to act. Additionally, though not a bad choice, placing her in the middle row can be risky. Even with her increased defense and high level of dexterity, she has a somewhat low survivability for a ranged C-class mercenary, almost comparable to a Cannoneer. She is most susceptible to magic damage. However, if your formation has several staff characters or if others have skills that are more essential to your strategy, placing her in the middle row may be the wisest choice.
The Dark Archer is a feisty and tenacious mercenary. Focus on her strengths, and your opponents will be frustrated endlessly.