Optimization Academy of Lore: Builds and Combat Expectations
What this guide will do and what it will not do:
This guide is meant to give guidance of what is available for a character - advice on the equipment of each category and strategies complementing builds. While the suggestions given within the guide will be adequate in generic situations, it may not answer specific questions that will present itself as you play.
To ask for specific advice visit AQ Questions and Answers, Equipment Comparison, or other guides within this forum.
Players are expected to make decisions on their own to build characters to their liking in terms of aesthetics and playstyle through guidance in general strategies, we acknowledge that a less optimized character is viable to a certain extent.
Ward_Point explains how to use the advice within this guide
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 Definition of Builds, Playstyle and Stats
[1.0] Stats formulas
[1.1] Pure Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage, Beastmaster
[1.2] Blood Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage, Beastmaster
[1.3] Beast Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage
[1.4] Ranged Mage
 Combat Expectations
[2.1] What are MasterCrafts?
[2.2] Status Conditions are Magic: Tactical advantages
[2.3] Guardians: Elementalising No Drops
[2.4] Equipment progression Pathways
Definition of Builds, Playstyle and Stats
A build is the base of a character, it determines the style of delivery in the amount of damage, bonus to hit, defenses and health. New players have the dilemma of choosing a build, it is costly in terms of time and gold spent to change builds. The below information of melee damage percentages are calculated based on 200 stat points in Str/Dex/Int/Cha/Luk. For damage percentage values based on stat cap raise to 250 stat points and the upcoming 300 stat points see A Contriver's Nonpareil: Stat Caps.
What is a Warrior and Ranger?
A Warrior uses Melee weapons, while a Ranger uses Ranged weapons of base 50% melee +38.5% from Str for Warriors or +30.8% from Str +7.7% from Dex for Rangers +11.5% from Luk for 100% and may expend 100% melee of Sp to use standard skills +88.5% melee. The sub category of 100% weapon special proc rate Bows and Guns are designed for Defensive Rangers as the 80% output armor lean does not affect it.
What is a Hybrid?
A Hybrid uses Melee and/or Ranged weapons of 100% melee for twelve turns, expend 125% melee of mana as a given resource to cast standard spells +100.625% melee per turn for four turns and may expend 100% melee of Sp to use standard skills +88.5% melee. Largely underdeveloped due to lack of recognition in its benefits which result in no demand are quickcast spells, a no turn cost spell that removes a mage's 77.875% melee turn cost, this permits using the invested Str and Int for 22.125% melee each on every turn, Werepyre subrace has the same power as quickcast as it has mana cost skills along with a toggle split damage and accuracy between Str/Int in place of either Str or Int to pair with Dex.
What is a Mage?
A Mage uses Magic weapons of base 37.5% melee +28.875% from Int +11.5% from Luk for 77.875% for sixteen turns, expend 125% melee of mana as a given resource to cast standard spells +100.625% per turn for four turns and may expend 125% melee of Sp to use standard skills +100.625%. The sub category of 100% weapon special proc rate Wands or Tomes that compress a standard, efficient spell of base 75% melee +57.75% from Int +11.5% from Luk for 144.25% and a mana regeneration of 60% spell cost to reuse either of the two spells are designed for Defensive Mages as the 80% output armor lean does not affect it. Largely underdeveloped due to lack of recognition in its benefits which result in no demand, are quickcast spells, a no turn cost action that removes the assumption of a mage's 77.875% melee turn in a turn cost spell to eliminate casting spells in Offensive armor lean inefficiency.
What is a Beastmaster?
A Beastmaster uses Melee, Ranged and/or Magic weapons that use Cha for stat damage of base 37.5% melee +28.875% from Cha +11.5% from Luk for 77.875%, pets deal +15.4% to their base 20% and expends 22.125% melee of Hp, Mp and Sp resources per turn to use guests of base 25% melee +22.125% from Cha +22.125% transferred to them from the weapon and a weapon+skill compression bonus of base 5% melee +4.425% from Cha for a total of +24.875% more than Warrior/Ranger/Mage, they may use standard Cha skills that are identical in damage and cost as a Mage's skill, although not recommended as it doesn't account for the Cha weapon's transferred power. Largely underdeveloped due to lack of recognition in its benefits which result in no demand and shortsightness of players who obssess over power and statuses MCs, Cha weapons that used a MC to remove the weapon penalty to be as strong as Melee/Ranged weapons were viewed negatively and thus were changed into Str/Dex/Int weapons that takes -5% melee to use Cha in place of Luck for Lucky Strikes, known as Ferocious Strikes.
Strength (STR): The primary stat to warriors granting Str/8 stat damage, *3/40 bonus to hit to Melee and /10 stat damage Ranged weapons.
Dexterity (DEX): The primary stat to rangers, granting Dex /8 blocking, /40 stat damage,*3/20 bonus to hit to Ranged weapons. A secondary stat granting *3/40 bonus to hit to warriors, hybrids, beastmasters and mages, crucial to using Ranged as an alternative to Magic weapons.
Intelligence (INT): The primary stat to mages, granting Int*3/32 stat damage, 3/40 bonus to hit to Magic weapons.
Endurance (END): The tertiary stat granting 23.8((5.25+0.5625*Level+0.00375*Level^2)+End(1+0.066*Level)/16)/1.4) health, it can edge out unfavourable chaos in numbers and allow more risky strategies.
Charisma (CHA): The primary stat for beastmasters granting Cha*3/32 stat damage to Cha weapons, /15 stat damage *3/40 bonus to hit to pets and guests, it increases attack rate for pre-sweep standards of beastmaster pets with Training Difficulty.
Luck (LUK): The tertiary stat granting Luk/40 blocking + bonus to hit, *3/8 Lucky Strike stat damage at a 10% rate and contributes to Initiative saves, whoever has the the higher Random number roll from 1 to 100 and + Luk, goes first.
*Stat damage is distributed in 25% to Base and 50% to Random, Skills/Spells/Pets/Guests may be inefficient/increased or efficient/decreased stat damage determined by melee% cost.
The values for melee% damage that represents the described builds found below assume standard non MC equipment and a base accuracy of 85-Pure build's BtH, they can be adjusted according to output modifications namely Armor/BtH Lean, Proc, Boosts/Penalties and Elemental compensation, they are in the format of (Neutral Lean Weapon Attack(1-proc)+proc*.85(LukMod+.98125)(100+10/proc))/1.1, 100% melee Skill, 125% melee Spell/Skill, 40% melee Pet and 60% melee Guest.
LukMod refers a Weapon special's Base+Random+SpecialLukStat% being modified by a number that represents Luk stat's new potential value with the stat cap of 250 relative to the previous stat cap of 200, it is added to .98125 composed of base .5 and an assumed 250 Primary's .48125.
[1.1]Pure Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage, Beastmaster
A maximized damage and blocking build, selects between Str/Int as Primary, Dex as Secondary, Luk as Tertiary or make the unselected one Secondary and either Dex/Luk as Tertiary.
Luk Mod .14375 Weapon Luk 12.219%
Warrior/Ranger/Hybrid Weapon/Skill 83.406%
Mage/Beastmaster Weapon 62.555%
Hybrid/Mage/Beastmaster Spell 104.258%
Pet+Luk Warrior/Ranger/Mage 13.25+3.809% Hybrid 9.5+2.731% Beastmaster 33.353+4.888+Guest 50.044%
Lv Prime Second Tert
020 070 | 030 |
040 120 | 080 |
060 150 | 140 | 010
080 190 | 180 | 030
100 230 | 210 | 060
120 250 | 250 | 100
135 250 | 250 | 175
150 250 | 250 | 250
[1.2]Blood Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage, Beastmaster
A moderate damage and blocking build with additional health to utilize health cost equipment with reduced repercussions if the attack did not connect, selects between Str/Int as Primary, Dex as Secondary and Luk as Tertiary or make the unselected one Secondary and either Dex/Luk as Tertiary, End as Quaternary.
Luk Mod .12075 Weapon Luk 10.143%
Warrior/Ranger/Hybrid Weapon/Skill 82.425%
Mage/Beastmaster Weapon 61.819%
Hybrid/Mage/Beastmaster Spell 103.031%
Pet+Luk Warrior/Ranger/Mage 13.05+3.152% Hybrid 9.3+2.246% Beastmaster 32.87+4.057+Guest 49.455%
Lv Prime Second Quat Tert
020 050 | 010 | 040
040 100 | 060 | 040
060 140 | 120 | 040
080 180 | 160 | 040 | 020
100 220 | 200 | 040 | 030
120 240 | 240 | 040 | 080
135 250 | 250 | 040 | 135
150 250 | 250 | 040 | 210
[1.3]Beast Warrior/Ranger, Hybrid, Mage
A friendship and teamwork-centric build that sees Pets and Guests as equals to the character, selects between Str/Int to pair with Cha as Primary and makes the unselected one or one among Dex/Luk as Secondary.
Luk Mod .14375 Weapon Luk 9.523%
Warrior/Ranger/Hybrid Weapon/Skill Dex 77.273% Luk 65.008%
Mage/Beastmaster Weapon Dex 57.955% Luk 48.756%
Hybrid/Mage/Beastmaster Spell Dex 96.592% Luk 81.26%
Pet+Luk+Guest Warrior/Ranger/Mage 30.909+3.809+46.364% Hybrid 23.55+2.731+35.325%
Lv Prime Second Tert
020 040 | 020
040 070 | 060
060 110 | 080
080 140 | 120
100 170 | 160
120 205 | 190
135 230 | 215
150 250 | 250
A caster equally trained in arts of a ranger build that has half Str to utilize Ranged weapons with as high proc as possible, as they surpass Magic weapons and have skill costs of a Warrior/Ranger, Dex/Int as Primary, Str as Secondary, Luck as Tertiary and End as Quaternary for additional health to utilize health cost equipment with reduced repercussions if the attack did not connect.
End Luk Mod .048875 Luk Luk Mod .071875
Lv Prime Second Tert Quat
020 040 | 020
040 080 | 040
060 120 | 060
080 160 | 080
100 200 | 100
120 240 | 120
135 250 | 125 | 010 | 40
150 250 | 125 | 085 | 40
Players are provided eight active slots to hold one weapon, armor, shield, skill, spell, pet and misc for each of the eight elements to attack the largest elemental weakness of the enemy and defend against the enemy's attack element, the options under Skill Point bar has a More button to select Ready Inv Before Battle setting to avoid a hard hit should the monster go first and its attack element does not match the defending equipment. Battles are slower if the player opts to attack at a lesser elemental weakness and monsters hit harder if resistance are lower than the values expected at their level.
At early levels multielemental monsters are easier to deal with as the range of what is considered good resistance for the other seven elements is only a few percentage of resistance off from the primary element. Resistance miscs allow players to fight against high level enemies that otherwise cannot be defeated, they become significant as secondary defense as the player levels since armor and shield resistances grow at a rate that leads to a widening of the ratio among the seven element resistance's spread to the primary element.
At times there are specially designed monsters that derive their power from stacks and present status conditions, they may require specific equipment and actions to offset that power. Be aware of unbeatable boss monsters, they are not mandatory to continue in quests, they may have stats and levels exceeding that of the player's cap, invulnerability to statuses, unique elements and actions that immobilize or inhibit the player to a high degree.
What are MasterCrafts?
Adventure Quest has a tradition of releasing an annual set of stronger than normal items that in the past were referred as "Ubers". That term became inaccurate as equipment similar in power existed outside of these sets and may be released as separate items. The appropriate term is Mastercraft, which is defined by a 10% increase in prices for a 5% increase in overall power. This power may translate into a boost in small quantities in damage, bonus to hit, health, mana, defenses, bonus to saves and status conditions, known as a Power MC, or on easing the compression penalty of 10% by 5% on compression of up to three items in one slot.
Mastercraft armors and shields, more on the former attract the attention of players as these equipments are used by all builds. Those who grind experience to level quickly may find themselves low on gold to train stats and develop other categories of equipment should they constantly choose them early on.
Its necessary to remember that Mastercrafts are the final polish for equipment, they are by no means mandatory to enjoy normal gameplay and generic situations. At times there will be MC items that only appear for a limited time for real money currency of Tokens, halt and take into consideration for example if the proc of a special produces an acceptable special output before even glancing at its MC. Ideally any purchase with Tokens should be with miniscule flaws to stand the test of time for any future item to defeat it and with the thought that it will be an item of permanent usage on the active inventory accessible in battle.
Status Conditions are Magic: Tactical advantages
Monsters have varying stat spreads, therefore a save advantage is established when it is lacking in the targeted Monster save stat, given that the player chooses items whose save Stats complements the character's build.
There are items whose triggers can be activated by the player through status conditions granting a 7.5% power bonus, while there is a downtrigger of -5% if not activated.
For the player and monster to successfully inflict status conditions, the value the random number generator from selects from 1 to 100, must be higher than the difficulty, that starts at 50, modified by (Monster Level - ItemLevel)/2, save potence/resistance/weakness, there are two selected stats involved as well, a minor stat most often Luck/20 capped at -+10, a major stat is SelectedStat/10 capped at -+20.
VirtualStat is a stat value expected of to an item's level, it may be used if the thematics of the item do not associate to a particular stat, major VStat is MIN(2*Level+30,5*Level), minor VStat is 5*Level-Expected Primary-Expected Secondary) Expected Secondary is MIN(4*Level+32-Expected Primary,5*Level-Expected Primary) rounded to nearest 5, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 250.
Afraid, blind, chi shield, choke, control, daze, dazzle, damage cap, defence boost, elemental shield, mana shield, panicked, paralysis, regeneration, stat reduction floored at -200 are Defensive and bleed, bonus damage, bonus to hit, burn, celerity, defence loss, disease, elemental vulnerability, poison, spiritual seed, stat boost capped at 500 are Offensive. Non damage associated Defensive status conditions involve attacking afterwards to reclaim the invested power, its multiplicative with Armor Lean. Burn, control's damage, poison and spiritual seeds are additive as they deal damage based on the applied power and level.
If the player can expect the monster to not act or be immobilized before the turn ends, armor and shield attacks locked to an element receive Elemental compensation from the expectation of using the attack's element against the monster's lower resistances while maintaining as good as possible resistances from the item may be used against the monster's highest resistance to take advantage of not receiving a punishing strike in poor resistances.
Guardians: Elementalising No Drops
Guardians purchased the privilege of elementalising their Guardian weapon, Weapon of Awe, UltraGuardian Scythe, Guardian Armor, Armor of Awe, UltraGuardian Robes, Guardian Shield, Shield of Awe, UltraGuardian Shield from the default of Neutral, which grants flat or even resistances for each element. Upon selection of an element you will notice alongside the focused element's resistance, there will be two other secondary resistances based on Elemental Wheel as allied elements. It is recommended to select an element based on filling the most lacking in performance of the elements for weapon, armor and shield.
The strategic choice is to elementalise the equipment to Earth for those seeking Power MC equipment since there are no weapon compatible with Staff Emblem below 10% proc, Mages have Seismic Righteous Claymore, a Melee/Magic Earth Sword in Golden Giftboxes compatible with Sword Emblem.
If a player has joined a modern standard subrace namely Werewolf, Vampire, Werepyre or Neko, Guardians have the default element of the subrace as a second no drop armor available in battle, which is Earth for wolves, Dark for vamps, Earth and Dark for Werepyres, Earth and Light for Sol Neko or Water and Dark for Luna Neko. Adventurers can only access the second no drop outside of battle by clicking options under the character's vitals bar, More settings and Adjust Armour/Weapon Between Battles. If the player is at least level 70, an additional final quest is unlocked after the subrace is level 10, that upon completion would update the no drop to level 70 and above like the Advanced purchaseable versions in the subrace class shop.
Equipment progression Pathways
The standard tiering of items is 20 levels due to that value being the lifespan of what is considered a good Armor. However with resistance miscellaneous items they can last up to 45 levels saving gold or tokens.
Arrows trailing a linked item indicate a purchase pathway progression through leveling. Certain items are linked at specific tiers with unique names as that is when the player should replace their current equipment with a new series. Arrows only correctly point to the item when the browser window is not restricted to a small area causing the furthest right words to appear on the next line under.
Items of Defensive and Offensive natures identifiy more closely with the nature on the left and less on the right, those on the lesser end are mixtures of both natures, the nature that constitutes the item the most by melee power determines the category it goes into. Items separated by commas and bounded by arrows (A, R > T, X) are on the same power tier, tiers are determined by the accuracy of the penalty for an equivalent status with respect to rounding and balance errors.
Dual element and Compression items will be identified by the first four letters of the underlined words. Guardian Account items, Seasonals, Z token purchases, Package items and Heromart items will be identified by the capital letters in this sentence.
Equipment progression pathways begin with items from basic shops in the hometown of Battleon and the Rip in the Sky, Elemental Plates and Shields are the first to be picked up, followed by weapons. There is at least one for most elements furthest to the left next to the Lean letters, items on the right are rewards upon quest completion, seasonal items, guardian account, guardian only, token or golden giftboxes whose exchange rate of 1 Ultra:10 Rare:25 Common is an equivalent of 4% U, 10% R, 86% C.
Remember to read the entries on items thoroughly, one needs to address special proc and armor lean synergy as well as meeting stat associated requirements to function effectively before making a purchase especially with Tokens and Golden Giftboxes. New item information entries made by Game Developers can be found in Info Submissions under their respective categories.