So, as it happens, I had a backup of this from the old forum. I couldn't find a backup of my Monster AI guide one unfortunately. Here is the skill one, very much as it was (as in, I had no time to correct any potential mistake, and additions from other players, which were quite noteworthy are equally no longer in it, since it was a private copy). That topic of discussion did come up with many a player these days, and I figured I might as well repost it. I mean, it's only been a year right ?
Disclaimer : The writer of this page is positively bonkers. Follow these tactics at your own risk, Holy water of lymilark and phoenix feathers will not be distributed as a compensation for the potentially resulting deaths.
I'm back, with yet another over the top ye oldie title. This one is a shameless reference to Worms, and it's Lightside and Darkside. Let me detail.
Lightside essentially is how things are most commonly done, it is a direct approach, almost predictible, but reliably efficient. It is essentially how everyone tends to use the skill when they look at what it can do. A straight exemple here would be Smash, able to bypass an enemy defense, pushback and deal increased damage compared to a normal hit.
Darkside refers to unconventional use or methods of a skill that is either frowned upon, ignored or flat out was not made for that purpose. Basically, playing dirty. You horrible horrible person.
I like to think of myself as a shameless Darksider. Unconventional tricks and ridiculous stunts, tactics that are sometime so complex people dont know or dont care to use are my speciality.
This treatise is essentially my attempt at showcasing some of the least known uses skills can have, and occasionally their misuses or non-use by most. See it mostly as something of a potential or experimental text. Some of the tactics I'll describe here are Very specific and simply do not apply outside of specific contexts. That also means that the context in which they Do work tend to let them be Very useful.
Let's start with a relatively well known skill, Shock, an alchemy skill. Shock is technically meant to have two self admitted uses, one is to deal light damage, and the other is to stun opponents around the Target. During your training, you're encouraged to target yourself with it. As many who trained it will tell you, this often has more bad results than good, as anything hit by the shock will aggro whoever is using it. In short, if you wanted to avoid getting hit by stunning monsters near you every second, you'll be sorely disappointed to notice that 6 monsters have aggroed you and are now mauling you, shocked or not.
What the game does not tell you, but is still rather well known from other players is that you can actually target a monster with the skill. This will indeed negate the potential aggro, as a monster will not aggro another monster.
Normally, it would stop there, you'd be using the stun of the skill and make the best of it to curb stomp the opposition.
Two things to note about Shock that is not actually mentionned and are actually key to make the best use of it : The first is how Ludicrously long ranged the skill is. By that I do not mean how far the lightning errupting from the shocked target reach, but how far you can launch the skill onto your target. The distance of a Shock is actually longer than Fireball. That means you can actually launch the skill well outside of most aggro range with complete impunity, as it will generate absolutely no aggro. This in turn will allow you to deal constant chipping damage if you so wish, and the enemy AI will not react to it at all. The damage is small, but can be globally increased to reach around 400 per hit through ranking Fire and Wind Alchemy Mastery, the skill itself, and using Elemental Wave. Elemental Wave will increase the range of the lightning strikes, and the duration of the skill, which can quickly turn the skill as an efficient whistling damage to any group of enemies.
The second use is very practical and often ignored : Shock stuns the unstunnable. Well, not exactly, but all those monsters with Advanced Heavy Stander who do not flinch when you attack them ? Shock will stun them, complete with the stunning animation. It is extremely efficient in taking those monsters down with ease.
One bad side of Shock should be mentionned, however limited it's effect is : An enemy targeted by Shock cannot itself be shocked. That means if two alchemists were to use Shock on two different targets nearby, the lightning of one wouldn't strike the other. Think of it as Shock insulating the target.
That one was a bit complex, let's go with a simpler one Wire Pull, the puppetry skill. It's use is very simplistic, you use your control bars to pull an enemy directly toward you with force, knocking them back. Aside from training, few people have used this skill, because it is inherently impractical. Normally, you dont exactly Want an enemy closer to you. It was designed to quickly seperate a monster from it's group, but it has seen little use in most cases. There is however one thing it is extremely efficient in : Seperating healers from their groups.
Healers have a very simplistic AI, especially monsters who use Party Healing. They will essentially put almost All their focus unto Healing and thus will not actually attack even when actively aggroed. In some cases such as the Martial Art Tournament in Avon and Grandmaster Missions, you will encounter NPCs who heal their allies, often for a lot, and greatly lenghtening the fight. There is a trick to it however. The Healer cannot heal if they are not in range, especially Party Healing users. A few uses of Wire Pull are generally enough to get an enemy out of Healing range, and haplessly Healing only themselves, leaving their allies to be mauled by yours. In a few clicks, you've disabled their healer. The higher the rank, the farther you can reach with the skill, making it easier to seperate them from the group.
Another rather simple one, and one which I referenced in my other guide, involve Barrier Spikes. Barrier spikes are generally looked down on when you reach a high level and have a strong character, as it doesn't scale properly with your character's progress. It has a fixed amount of health, which can only be increased by so much, lacks defense and protection, and is generally quick to fall down, even when maxed out. Normally, people would use it to hide behind. That's it's obvious function. However, it can be used in a few original ways.
One of which was thought of by the devs, but in a limited way. Once you've reached a specific rank, your Barriers will deal retaliation damage, the monsters hitting them will take damage per hits in melee, proportionnal to their damage. That seems straightforward. An old trick, used by veterans of times past revolved around this single feature : It damages what hits it. And it does not take into account the attacking enemy's defense or protection. This used to be a favorite method of players to whistle down the health of Melee Immune monsters, like the Demi Lich and the Banshee of Peaca. repeatedly placing barriers between the monster and themselves, and letting them slowly kill themselves on it.
What is less commonly suspected is that it is affected by Splash damage as well, making the skill a bit more efficient than it supposedly could be against enemies with a wide Splash. It's still pretty limited though, what good does it do ? Well, think big. Think very big. Girgashyi big. That's right, the big chicken's Staff attack counts as a melee attack, and has a deliciously large splash area. At rank 1 Barrier Spikes, an alchemist may place 4 barriers, with a rather high health, further bolstered by any Clay Mastery bonus. If you have 4 alchemists with those skills, you have 16 barriers. All of them if hit will deal retaliatory damage, ignoring the monster's protection and defense. It turns out that annoying Staff attack of his may have atleast a little bit of use to you. Girgashyi is easy to trick into aggro, it react strongly to Healing in particular, and anything that hits it, so it would be rather simple to have someone act as a distraction while the rest set up the barrier field. Again, this has Limited use, but it's possible, most importantly, this help for any group who want to rake up damage where they can find it. Someone has to be crazy enough to try eventually. Any monster with similarly wide range melee attacks are equally affected.
Not done with barrier spikes. Nope. There is one more thing. Most people use barriers to hide behind. One must wonder though. Is it their real use ? Barriers, by definition are meant to Hinder, not directly protect. Sometime, you dont want the barrier to be close to you, but close to your enemy rather, pinning them, and hindering Their movement. Any instances in which you can set up barriers before spawning enemies in a specific, predictible location actually makes these barriers useful, as it give you time to act depending on what spawns. In the case of instant aggro, this is doubly useful, as it allows you to react properly : even if destroyed in one hit, the barriers cannot be crossed as long as they've not disappeared from the ground fully, and this takes an extra second. Valuable time to anyone in a tight spot.
There is also the use which I mentionned in the other guide : Since barriers can be attacked by anyone, players included, one can actually use a barrier to either trigger a jump attack to a nearby enemy (Thunder) or use it to hit a monster behind a different obstacle or at range (Fireball). In the case of the jump attack, this is particularly useful, as it ignores obstacles. A barrier placed against a tangible wall, with an enemy behind said wall will be hit by the area of effect of a thunder used on the barrier, even through the wall. Again a trick of veterans of old when it came to Peaca.
Let's follow up with Support Shot. This one was looked down upon for many years, mostly as a rather useless skill, who didn't deal much damage. Pah ! No damage ! No good ! This has changed considerably when melee damage saw another use, particularly because of Support Shot's property to apply from 70 (rank 1) up to 100% (master) increased melee damage to the target for the next melee hit. Percents have a high tendency to go crescendo with a player's progress. Raids in particular saw a great use for this rediscovered feature, and Support Shot found some use once more.
And in all of that, many missed another little feature of Support Shot. Stun. That's right, the skill has a strangely long stun time for an Arrow based skill. An enemy hit by Support Shot will actually be stopped in it's tracks for a short few seconds, long enough for an archer to load a nice little Magnum Shot at a full 100%. The fact that Support shot has an almost non existent cooldown, and is fast to aim makes this skill doubly efficient for archers with said Magnum, letting them Knock an enemy about with no risks. Keep in mind this is full Stun, that is the enemy while hit will neither move nor activate a skill for this time period. This is equally useful to impair a mage or alchemist monster.
Let's continue with everyone's latest favorite Final Hit. It's use is meant to be a final skill to utterly crush an opponent or a large group, with dual wield weapons (and knuckles) negating pushback for the enemy and stun for the user ,although you can still be pushed back/frozen/etc. It's very high damage and ease of use has been very attractive to all it's human users. In some cases though, it can be used as something completely different to great effect.
That's where you ask if I'm nuts to use it for anything else than it's intended purpose (Yes, Yes I am, but that's beside the point). It has in fact a secondary use, if you use it with anything else but Dual Wield weapons. If you do, what happens is you'll actually Knockback an enemy on each strike, which can lead to some trouble for the user if used without care, as hitting an enemy already on the ground lead to instant retaliation, and none likes that. There comes a time however, when you face 2 to 3 magic users loading high damage skills, such as Fireball and Thunder, both seperated by a non negligible distance, and with passive melee resistance. The knocking effect of non dual wield Final Hit is constant, even if the enemy has Heavy Stander. That means you can easily juggle with two of such monsters while your allies focus the third through normal means. In short, you would be using it as a delaying skill. Properly timed, you'll not even get hit, and still deal significant damage to both even. The difference with the conventional use is that you will basically lack the normal damage output, and really now you terrible terrible person, why would you want to deal less damage if it means giving your party a reprieve ?
Joke aside, this little bonus does not apply to monsters who have Advanced Heavy Stander, and thus will not be knocked back by your onslaught. However, the fact that you yourself will be temporarily immune to stuns, and attack Much faster can actually reverse the tendency if you use a heavy duty two handed weapon with high damage and/or crits, just be careful not to die in the process.
And lastly (for now) let's talk about everyone Least favorite skill when it comes to Fighter, Respite. Everyone looks at how the skill is supposed to work, and feel very disappointed at the result. Indeed, the skill doesn't regenerate your health all that much, and stamina is rather common to get. Nevermind the fact that both are basically free, but I will not judge.
Respite has the evil little tendency to apply a debuff on the user with a rather nasty penalty if they were to use Magic or Alchemy after Respite. The debuff lasts a while too, what a horrible thing to do. It takes away part of your health, stamina and mana, and slows down it's regeneration for a little while. Awful stuff. Well in some cases, you actually want it to happen. Yus, you do want to hurt yourself. Because there is one skill that require you to be hurt to use it, Life Drain, and Life Drain comes with it's own little benefits. Life drain ignores protection and defense when it steals the target's life. That means again, some monsters that would be immune to damage will actually see their health sapped all the same. But those monsters tend to have Highly damaging attacks as well, so if you try to get hurt on purpose to fuel Life Drain, you might just get yourself killed. What better way to get hurt in a controllable manner than using Respite and then literally any magic oriented skill ? Woosh ! Instant life Drain at the ready all in the safety of your.... anywhere you're currently doing it ! I should note, this tactic works even better using Dorcha Conversion. It does not necessarily invalidate Respite for this, but it gives you more options*.