Treharne's Assorted Guides

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After some inspiration from a couple of other people, I've decided to start writing some guides (or something hopefully amounting to them) to share what I know about the game. I'll be adding more as time goes on. Hopefully they'll be useful to someone. --Treharne/Ruvelia/Raika


Build Advice

Three Tenets to Consider for All Builds

No matter what role you want your character to play in combat, there are three things that every role needs to take into account to some extent if they intend to pursue optimization. Some builds care a little less about certain tenets of the three than others, but that said, all builds should at least consider them. In no particular order...

  • Uptime. Ideally, you want any statuses you throw out to be able to stay up constantly by way of reapplication by the time the original duration elapses. Not following this means that there's likely to be odd spots in your combat rhythm where you're missing some statuses and thus are inconsistently at your full power, which can in some cases create vulnerable spots in your rhythm where you can be KO'd where you wouldn't be otherwise. Most relevant on buffing and debuffing builds, but still applicable for any build that runs either of those effects in smaller quantities (self-buffing counts too), runs cover and/or taunts in order to be a tank, or runs a Repeats or Damage Over Time damage-dealer setup (though the damage-dealers care in a different manner). Big Hits damage dealers care the least about this, though they still need to be mindful of the uptime of their passive effects to some extent.
    • Repeats and Damage Over Time differ in their caring in that it's a waste of damage to reapply the same attack to targets still suffering from it (with the potential exception of reapplying a Damage Over Time effect on an enemy that got a high deflection percent on the same one earlier in the hopes of getting less of a deflection percent this time), so ideally these two want to apply their damage to targets not currently suffering from the attack in question if they have one that becomes available for use again before its first use expires. Failing that, power is more important than duration with these two when it comes to clearing most fights quickly. It doesn't particularly matter if a Repeats or Damage Over Time effect has an enormous amount of damage over its full duration if you're fighting enemies that won't survive the full duration (unless you have Overkill, but that's another story and even then it's somewhat limited, more on that elsewhere), and even if the damage per use is enormous, a low-power, long-duration attack of these types won't contribute much to the damage per round, which is generally more important than the damage per use when it comes to clearing fights quickly. As a result, both of these do quite nicely with low uptime but high intensity attacks, but do be mindful of how their damage per round matches up with their cooldown, because that's still relevant in terms of efficiency (especially when trying to gather EXP by doing lots of fights in rapid succession) even if the matter of overlapping or having downtime on the damage ticks is less of a concern.
  • Energy management. If you have no EN left, you can't do anything meaningful until you recover some. It's no good having all your statuses up and plenty of options to use if you don't have the EN to use them. It's also worth noting that ENBreak and ENMod synergize with one another and the former makes the latter worth more than it appears. Debuffers and Big Hits damage dealers care the most about this, the former because many powerful debuffs are hideously expensive and the latter because as the only build type with one-and-done effects rather than lasting ones, it has nothing to offer if it stops being able to throw out new attacks. Other builds care to some extent for the general reason that they can't do anything meaningful if they run out of EN, though the lingering nature of Repeats and Damage Over Time attacks as well as buffs generally sticking better than debuffs (since you can trust your allies to be around longer than any particular enemy group will) means they can afford a little more downtime for energy recovery purposes without suffering too much in their main role. Tanks tend to vary somewhat in how much they care about this, with Cover tanks probably caring less than Aggro or Taunt tanks, though all three tend to have some energy problems, usually by way of running a ton of passives and toggles to boost their durability which leaves them a little short in terms of maximum EN, which also restricts their natural EN recovery rate somewhat.
  • Rotation blank spots and/or overcrowding. Strike is ideally a last resort move that exists to fill any instances in which you have nothing better to use (or perhaps functioning as a minor energy restorative at the same time if upgraded as such). If you're using Strike more often than you need it as an energy management tool (if upgraded as such), you either need more active options to use, or to pack more Recharge so the active options you already have are available more often. At the same time, some builds, notably Big Hits damage dealing, suffer if you have too many options competing for the same usage turns, especially if some of those are outside the damage-dealing role itself, so be mindful that running too many active (and non-instant) buffs or debuffs on a Big Hits damage dealer competes with their damaging attacks and eats into their overall damage output.

Considerations for Level Grinding Via Combat

For people only planning to get to Level 60 and stay there, this section probably won't be very useful. It's reasonably easy to get to Level 60 in about a month even with little to no combat by way of Social Actions, and efficiency doesn't particularly matter for those only wanting to go around the leveling path once. For those who intend to do so more than once by way of remorting, by all means, read on...

  • More enemies is generally better for EXP than stronger enemies. AOE effects like having lots of enemies around, and the increase in EXP from increasing the difficulty is rarely more than one would get from having an extra enemy in each fight. Having said that, once the Pheromones rating is maxed out and the limit on how many enemies can appear in one fight is reached, increasing the difficulty -- and thus the level gap -- still remains as an option, and since the increase applies on a per-enemy basis, it's a lot more noticeable with lots of enemies around.
    • Additionally, it's also worth explaining how difficulty and the level gap works. Enemies will spawn at a level equal to your own plus the numerical value of the chosen difficulty as displayed on +haz (so DN+2, for instance, spawns enemies two levels above you). If this number would be lower than the area's minimum level or higher than the area's maximum level, however, it displays different behavior. If the number would be lower than the minimum, enemies simply spawn at the area's minimum level. If the number would be higher than the maximum, enemies simply spawn at the area's maximum level. This is important because it's the level gap, not the difficulty, that affects EXP (difficulty might affect EXP slightly through increasing the base numerical rank of the enemy, but it's much less of an impact than the level gap is), and as such, both the minimum and the maximum need to have their special behavior taken into account. In the case of the maximum, it means that EXP will go down somewhat once the numerical difficulty level is larger than the actual level difference allowed by the maximum. In the case of the minimum, it means that if you can survive an area in spite of being underleveled for even its minimum, the EXP payoff can increase drastically.
      • This behavior is also applicable to progress during daily missions for tokens, so in order to ensure getting to +400% (the maximum) within the 40 fights, it's best to go through the mission at least two levels under the area's maximum rather than trying to be overleveled for the area's maximum.
  • Survivability is first priority when it comes to a grinding build, followed closely by clear speed. Survivability means you can reliably expect to not get defeated while auto-battling whatever you've chosen to fight for EXP and at whatever difficulty and pheromone settings you've chosen. Being defeated interrupts EXP grinding via auto-battle, and as such, is a point of inefficiency. Once you can be sure you won't be defeated, clear speed becomes the next concern, as the same amount of EXP in a smaller time period means more EXP per time unit. The more complex equation here would be checking your EXP against the time it takes for each battle to finish in case there's a longer fight that's actually more efficient, but clear speed is still generally an applicable concept.
    • Keep in mind that once you start a fight, there's a 60-second accountwide cooldown across both Flexible Survival and Rusted Promises before you can start another fight on any character on either game on that same account. 60 seconds is effectively "maximum" clear speed. It's possible to go faster than that, but due to the cooldown it won't make your EXP-per-time-unit any higher, and may even be reason to consider looking into raising the difficulty/pheromones rating if you can survive the new setting and the new setting still comes reasonably close to 60 seconds per fight.
    • Survivability also somewhat takes the form of ensuring you have enough resources to keep going fight after fight without stopping. If you run out of energy five fights in and have trouble regenerating it, there's a chance you might get defeated due to an inability to do anything in the sixth.
  • Getting any sort of reasonable EXP payout from combat requires some source of damage output. This might seem like an obvious statement, but you can't actually defeat opponents and get EXP from them if you have no way to reduce their HP to 0. As such, you need some way to do this, whether doing it yourself, bringing along some pets, or getting another player to help. It's an obvious statement and yet it's important to remember because not all roles level by combat equally quickly, the reasons of which are explained to some extent above.
    • Having said that, be mindful that on some level, partying with other players is inefficient for any given player EXP-wise. Compared to the EXP while solo, having extra party members reduces the EXP per person in two ways. One, while it's not quite a total split, having 2/3/4/5/6/7/8 players in a party reduces the EXP gain of each party member by 33%/45%/50%/54%/56%/58%/60%. While this adds up to the party as a whole gaining 134%/165%/200%/230%/264%/294%/320% of what would be generated solo, each player comes away with less per fight, so the question comes up of how the EXP would compare to everyone just going solo. Two, more players involved in the same fight means more processing time for each round in that fight because of the increased number of possible interactions between allies, enemies, and each other. This increased processing time means each fight takes longer, so not only do you get less EXP per fight while partying, each fight also takes longer. There are still some situations where partying is beneficial in terms of EXP to someone (typically an altruistic DPS-oriented soloist dragging one or two less solo-capable characters around), but for the most part it's actually a detriment to EXP gain. Looking into getting this fixed.
      • While pets increase the processing time for each round (as they are extra combatants), they're not players and thus don't eat into your EXP. They're about the only practical option for solo grinding for many low-damage-output builds, unfortunately.
      • For what it's worth, one of the two reductions can be mitigated or bypassed to some extent. KO'd players in a party still get their share of EXP when an opponent is defeated, so it's possible for the aforementioned altruistic DPS-oriented soloist to drag around a couple of unconscious people and still have them get EXP while also largely ignoring their impact on processing time as unconscious people are in most cases not valid targets for powers and in all cases can't take actions while unconscious.
  • EXP multipliers are your friends. Each different source stacks multiplicatively with each other source, and there's at least a good six or so out there (the XPBonus status, the Experience Enhancer from the "list items" shop, token items, number of enemies, level gap, area reward percent as displayed in +haz), so pile them on!
    • The Experience Enhancer works by taking a certain percent of your mako battery each hour while in combat and giving that same percent as a bonus to your combat EXP. It will eat any mako batteries you have if you have spares on you and it happens to reach an hour tick while not having enough left in your current battery meter to pay for the next one, but more importantly, it's really useful for people who don't have mako batteries lying around because of the often-overlooked fact that when you level up, you get a full refresh of your natural mako battery (the one that shows up on the right hand side of the web app), and any energy you had left over in that battery when you level is converted to Patrol Points at 1 PP per 10% battery remaining. This means that you get about three to four hours of "free" Experience Enhancer use per level (well, assuming you have nothing else you'd want to use mako battery energy on), and the matching ratio of mako battery percent consumed per hour to percent increase in EXP earned from combat means that each full mako battery meter of energy is worth an extra hour's worth of combat EXP. As such, if you can earn more EXP in an hour of combat than you would earn from one 10 PP social action, it is more efficient EXP-wise to use the Experience Enhancer than to simply allow the battery to convert to PP upon leveling.
    • Area reward percent governs most things to do with payout for fighting in an area. It goes down when enemies are defeated, goes up if the area is left alone for a while, and can be forcibly restored through the "nanite restore" command for (500*area max level)mg of builder nanites per 10%, topping out at 130%. Since "most things" also includes EXP, it pays to keep this high if you plan on staying in one spot to gather EXP. You can check the area reward percent for your current area with +haz, or the percents for all the areas in your level range (along with other information) at the terminals on the second floor of the Zephyr and RSX headquarters buildings.
      • Area reward percent also governs daily mission progress, so remember to keep that area reward percent high if you're aiming to get the maximum of 20 tokens from a daily mission!
    • There's a token shop item that's +50% EXP for a week for 100 tokens. Since you get 110 tokens from your first remort and it only goes up from there, if you can manage to refine your remorting process so that you can get back to Lv60 in a week (or even something like ten days without it), you can just use the tokens from starting the next remort to pay for the boost for that one, and so on down the road.

An Observation on Role Balance in Parties

Most of the content of this segment is derived from a combination of pieces of the segment on level-grinding and a long ramble I've done before on the topic.

While there are technically four different combat roles in the game (possibly more, depending on how much one wants to subdivide each one) and a variety of hybrid derivatives thereof, the possibilities can all be simplified down to two values ("force rating" and "force multiplier") and an axis ("offensive force" and "defensive force").

A "force rating" is a flat value that encompasses a character's (or party's!) general ability to deal and receive damage, the two most basic tenets of the combat system, and the ones that have to be taken into account because you win or lose a fight based on which side has all its members reduced to 0 HP first. A "force multiplier", on the other hand, is a multiplier that encompasses a character's ability to tilt the overall force rating comparison between their party and the enemy party more in their party's favor by way of non-damaging methods to increase the amount of damage their party deals or reducing the amount of damage their party takes, artificially extending their offensive and defensive capabilities.

Then comes the axis of "offensive force" and "defensive force". Perhaps fairly intuitively, offensive force pertains to a character or party's ability to deal damage or to increase that ability in some capacity, while defensive force pertains to a character or party's ability to safely take damage without being defeated ("survivability", if you will), or, again, to increase that ability in some capacity. It sounds simple enough, but the methods of doing these things can vary wildly. To break the values and axis down by role...

  • DPSes (damage-dealers; perhaps DPR would be more appropriate as the game times combat by rounds rather than seconds but the generic term is DPSes in the role-playing game community) have a high force rating, perhaps the highest of the four main roles, but the lowest force multiplier. They are heavily on the offensive force side of the axis, as the point of their role is to pour out a constant stream of damage in order to do the grunt work of bringing the enemy party's HP to 0. They rarely have much to contribute to empowering the rest of the party, hence why their force multiplier is so low. Still, their high base force rating and offensive focus makes them an excellent recipient for the benefits of offensive force multipliers.
    • There's a DPS variant that might be best called the Soloist that takes the high force rating and low force multiplier to the extreme. Their offensive/defensive force axis is much more balanced toward the center than a normal DPS, as they have to be capable of surviving on their own without outside help, but this entirely selfish focus means they generally have little to nothing to offer in the way of force multipliers to help anyone else with. At best, they might have a few debuffs and the occasional splash from a self-buff. Still, incredibly high force rating, basically no force multiplier is an entirely valid strategy when there's nobody around to multiply you anyway.
  • Tanks have a decent force rating, though it's mostly on the defensive force side of the axis, and a decent force multiplier (also largely defensive!) to go with it. They're typically incredibly durable, laughing at hits that would seriously hurt the other roles, and tend to artificially extend the durability of their allies by pulling damage to themselves in at least one of three ways: taking a larger piece of the enemy aggression roulette for themselves (in an attempt at getting enemies to focus attacks on the tank), forcing enemies to focus attacks on the tank for a little while via taunts (and penalizing the damage dealt to anyone not the taunter), or just straight up stealing a certain percent of incoming damage from allies and taking that chunk instead of the ally doing so. These methods tend to be referred to as Aggro, Taunt, and Cover. All of these mean that less damage is going to targets that aren't quite as capable of taking the damage as the tank, thus artificially extending the rest of the tank's party's ability to survive damage.
    • Aggro Tanks tend to have slightly more offensive force (and to an extent, a higher base force rating as well) than the other two types at the expense of a lower defensive force multiplier because while the roulette is unreliable compared to the other two methods, it still can cripple the enemy's offensive force to an extent by way of Front Row shrinking enemy area-of-effect sizes while the Aggro Tank has the largest slice of the roulette, and the fact that aggro is based to a good extent on damage output also means that the Aggro Tank tends to pack more damaging attacks than its counterparts.
  • Supports, the combination of healer and buffer (as it's rare to need twelve different heals in this game, so healers usually want to run something else for when they don't need to be healing, and seeing as two useful healing tools in Regen and HPBuffer are technically buffs, it makes sense to pair the two into one larger role), have only a modest force rating, the vast majority of it defensive in nature, but a fantastic force multiplier, especially on the defensive force side of the axis. On top of artificially extending allies' health pools by way of passive and active healing and granting ablative health pools that take damage so the recipient doesn't have to, supports can just straight-up improve the raw stats of their allies, often their entire party at once (or close to it). Their offensive/defensive axis can swing to some extent based on what stats they choose to improve -- a support packing increases to DamageBuff and Haste is a completely different beast from one packing Defense and MaxHP -- so it's a bit more unpredictable as to which type of force multiplier any given support is favoring. Still, their healer side gives them a defensive base to start from, so that part can at last be relied on to some extent.
  • Debuffers are the last of the four main roles, and in the pure form of their role fall into a similar force rating and force multiplier to Supports (though some hybrid a little with DPS, as Tactician improves Damage Over Time effects in addition to debuffs). Strictly speaking, they don't improve the party's force rating so much as cripple the enemy party's, but the contribution to the general ratio between the two makes it largely a moot distinction. They have a few complications to deal with that Supports don't -- the inability to pre-debuff, deflection messing with the magnitudes of their debuffs (though thankfully at only half the listed deflection percent and after the flat reductions against high rank enemies), the aforementioned flat reduction against high rank enemies making it hard for small debuffs to stick on those enemies, the fact that enemies generally are less permanent than allies so debuffs need to be reapplied with each new fight, and so on -- so they're less common than Supports... but if used right, they're still incredibly important, as they can do things that supports can't on account of being strangled by hardcaps on stats, or even tag-team with a support to create a larger swing across mirrored statuses (for instance, Accuracy/DefenseDebuff, Defense/AccuracyDebuff, or DamageResist/DamageBuffDebuff) than either would be able to do alone. A support and a debuffer combining their force multipliers can be hideously effective. They're admittedly even more unpredictable on the offensive/defensive axis than supports are due to not having a healer core to fall back on, so which side of that axis they fall on depends largely on which side of the axis they choose to cripple in their enemies, with a debuffer crippling enemy defenses favoring the offensive axis and vice versa.

All this ties back into the priorities mentioned for level grinding: survivability, followed closely by clear speed. If you look at how most people try and form parties for things, first they'll look for a tank and a healer, the two roles they can trust to have a heavy defensive leaning and a high force multiplier. That covers making sure the rest of the party survives whatever they're fighting. After that, they start looking for DPSes in order to complete fights faster. They could do just fine with pure defensive force, but even if they'd have no trouble surviving, each fight would take forever, and nobody likes that. Looking for DPSes adds the offensive force and raw force rating that the party is missing, and gives the healer (often a support, so has some buffs as well) something meaningful to apply any offensive multipliers they have to. Buffers and debuffers are rarely specifically asked for because, unlike the other roles, they can be all over the offense/defense axis depending on which buffs or debuffs they have, and thus can't be reliably chosen for fulfilling either requirement. They're still very nice to have, but they're not marked as requirements due to this, and without a good offensive and defensive base force rating to work with (provided by the DPS and the tank, respectively), they're not helping as much as they could be.

I hope this makes any sense and at least provides some insight into party composition.

Combat Mechanics

Useful Notes on Statuses

While the Statuses page on this very wiki gives some information on how the various statuses in the game work, there are still some specific insights and calculations to be gleaned from them. Some of what's stated here might be repeated elsewhere on the wiki, but it's good to have particularly relevant parts consolidated in one place.

Bit of terminology for the unfamiliar: Softcaps are values at which each extra point in a status is worth less than the ones that led up to the softcap. You can go beyond them, but it becomes increasingly inefficient, hence soft cap. Here on Flexible Survival, the softcap-related value drop is a cumulative halving in value for each softcap passed, so points beyond the first softcap take two points to have the same effect as one did before, points beyond the second softcap take four to have the same effect as one did before any softcaps, and so on. The softcaps are also based on effective rating rather than listed rating, so something with softcaps at 50 and 100 would take 150 listed points in that status before the second softcap applies, because 50 + (100/2) = 100. There are also hardcaps, which cannot be surpassed, period.

  • Accuracy as a status hard-caps, positively or negatively, at one third of the base Accuracy rating of the attack being used (so for instance, attacks with a listed accuracy of 75% cannot benefit from more than 25 Accuracy status nor suffer from more than -25 of it, the latter likely by way of AccuracyDebuff). Going over this limit still has some use in making sure it's harder to pull back below this limit by its opposite, but it won't improve (or ruin) the accuracy of the attack any further.
    • Accuracy also has softcaps, but as it would take an attack with over 150% base listed accuracy for them to even come into play, there's maybe one attack in the game that would even be affected by that, and it's the side effect of a revive rather than meant as a practical attack.
    • The Accuracy combat skill, however, is not related to the Accuracy status; rather, its stated improvement in accuracy manifests in the form of a -5 penalty to the effective Defense of all enemies when calculating it against your attacks. This is important for reasons I will explain in the Defense section.
  • Attack level-scales (so its listed value in the rpinfo for a power or item will be multiplied by your level scaling value), adds damage to attacks 1:1 after all other multipliers, and caps at one third of the damage the attack would otherwise do without it, after all other multipliers. As a result, other damage modifiers don't improve its effectiveness any, but they do increase the hard cap on how many points worth of Attack can actually apply to a given attack.
  • Cascading is separate from Flurry though they functionally work the same way in terms of improving what percent of the initial hit damage a repeat attack's repeats will each do. As a result, the Flurry bonus does not count toward the Cascade soft or hard caps, and reaching just the first Cascading softcap alongside Flurry 3 makes for 67.5% of the initial hit damage per repeat, which is a 35% step up in per-repeat damage from the baseline of 50% of the initial hit.
  • Confused only functions against AOE moves, but it screws with them pretty heavily, both inflicting a chance of targeting the wrong side (which can get really unpleasant when you accidentally throw a huge buff on an already powerful enemy like a Prime) and adding some extra deflection percent to all of the targets of the AOE if the AOE doesn't already miss hard enough to be over 50% deflection for a given target. It also adds this extra deflection after any deflection reduction from the attacker's class skills, so it becomes impossible for a Confused attacker to score a deflection percent of less than their Confused magnitude with an AOE attack.
  • Cover does not allow you to benefit from a deflection chance on the damage you cover from someone else, so Defense won't help you any in taking less damage from your Cover. Also, like any attack, the incoming damage from Cover cannot be reduced by more than 80% through means that directly reduce the amount of damage taken (DamageResist, possibly DamageImmunity, Durability, Avoidance, deflection but that's not relevant to Cover).
    • It's also not particularly advised to run more Cover than your damage mitigation options are capable of reducing down to about 20-25% of the pre-mitigation amount of damage you take for the other person, because once you start taking more than about that much, you're mostly just moving damage around rather than actively reducing it, and pulling too much damage from too many people at once can get a tank KO'd. There's a readout of what the pre-mitigation and post-mitigation damage amounts were when you cover someone, so it's pretty easy to calculate based off that.
    • Incidentally, this also means it's theoretically possible for builds not intended as pure tanks to run a limited amount of Cover to spread the damage around and apply multiple peoples' mitigation options to any given attack's damage, as long as they're mindful of the 20-25% limit. This isn't a terrible idea in parties with healers, as AOE healing and regeneration becomes more efficient when multiple people actually need a little bit of it each, and the Cover network makes the party a little less like a bunch of separate health bars and a little more like one large health bar that benefits disproportionately from AOE healing and regeneration.
  • DamageBuff has an invisible falloff with level (the details of which are explained on the Statuses page), but it's somewhat hard to notice since the 1.07x level-scaling per level means it's unlikely to result in less damage being dealt than the level before. It's also worth being mindful of the fact that most things that improve damage by some percent (DamageBuff being one of them) stack multiplicatively with one another, which can result in some terrifyingly large amounts of damage being dealt if piled up properly.
  • Defense (and its debuff counterpart) soft-caps but does not hard-cap normally, unlike Accuracy, and it applies after Accuracy does rather than as a simultaneous counterbalance. As a result, something like a base 75% accuracy with 35 Accuracy status against 45 Defense status results in an adjusted accuracy of 55% (75 + 25 due to the one-third cap, -45) rather than the 65% one might expect (75 + 35 - 45). It could be said to have a hard-cap of sorts in the minimum chances of passing each accuracy roll (5%/10%/15% respectively, with each one failed before passing one or just failing all three resulting in a cumulative 25% deflection), but that's not quite the same as the sort of hard-caps that most statuses have.
    • Additionally, the stuttered application of Accuracy and Defense means that applying one as a debuff while packing the buff version of the other on oneself makes for much larger shifts in the chance to hit cleanly or to not be hit cleanly than one could do alone. Accuracy paired with DefenseDebuff augments the already good accuracy of the attack with negative Defense on the enemy's part, making the final effective accuracy higher than the cap on Accuracy adjustment would seem to indicate is possible; likewise, Defense paired with AccuracyDebuff forces enemies to start at a lower accuracy value before Defense comes into play, making it much easier for Defense to drag the success chances on the accuracy rolls down to absolutely pathetic values.
    • Also, level difference between attacker and defender matters some. There's a roughly 10-point effective Defense shift per level in favor of whichever of the two is higher leveled. This is part of why trying to punch above your level can be so difficult sometimes.
  • EnergyBreak is one of a small handful of statuses that actually gets more powerful with each new point you add. 100 EN with 0 ENBreak is effectively 100 EN, and thus each point of EN restored can power 1 EN worth of actions. 10 ENBreak means that 100 EN is functionally 111 EN, and thus each point of EN restored can power 1.11 EN worth of actions. 20 ENBreak ups this to being functionally 125 EN and each point powering 1.25 EN worth of actions, 30 ENBreak makes it 143 EN and 1.43 effective EN per actual point of EN, 40 ENBreak makes it 167 EN and 1.67 effective per actual, and the cap at 50 ENBreak makes that 100 EN effectively function as if it were 200, and each point of EN restored functions as two. Notice that despite these intervals being 10 ENBreak apart each time, the amount of extra effective EN each one grants (as well as the value of any EN regeneration that happens) gets larger and larger with each interval up until it hits the hardcap.
    • As a result, this increased effective value of EN regeneration means that EnergyBreak increases the effective value of EnergyMod, giving the two some powerful synergy for solving energy maintenance problems. However, EnergyBreak also affects items that have negative EN costs -- ones that thus are instant EN restoratives rather than ticking at the start of each round -- but the effective value means that at worst it just breaks even on those so they're no more or less effective at any given value of EnergyBreak.
  • EnergyMod is a slight oddball in terms of statuses because it cares about magnitude and duration as a pair rather than looking for one and just hoping for "enough" of the other. Many people like "fast" EN restoratives, ones that restore a decent chunk of energy in a short period of time (generally two rounds or less) as time spent at low EN is time where big important active abilities can't be used, but there's also some value to "slow" EN restoratives, as they can keep their restoration running for long periods of time to help prevent or at least slow the onset of low EN in the first place. The latter especially likes EnergyBreak, as it makes one's effective passive EN regeneration much better than the norm.
  • Haste functions interestingly as of a relatively recent change in its function, but also importantly has a fairly close relationship with the Speed combat skill. Notably, the concept of 'turn charge'. After an action is declared, the higher of either the action's adjusted charge time or this 'turn charge' value is used to determine when your next turn comes. The catch is that as of the change, Haste affects turn charge as if you had half as much Haste as you actually do, as opposed to the charge for an action, which still uses full Haste. The base turn charge timer is 1000 ATB units, though each point of Speed shaves off 100 from this. As ATB is only counted in 200-unit blocks, however, this creates certain breakpoints that generate a lower turn charge speed. Additionally, as long as you're careful about using anything with a particularly long charge time, this governs your number of turns per round (so the base 1000 timer is effectively one turn per round).
    • Before getting into the breakpoints, it's worth noting that actives with negative charge times apply that negative value to the base turn charge before Haste adjustment, so things with negative charge fire instantly and cause your next turn to come sooner. Things with -1000 charge don't even end the turn you're already taking.
    • The first breakpoint is when the turn charge timer hits 800, resulting in 1.25 turns per round. Speed 2 and 3 reach this automatically, while Speed 1 requires 25 Haste and Speed 0 requires 50.
    • The second breakpoint at a turn charge timer of 600 results in 1.666etc turns per round. Speed 3 needs 34 Haste, Speed 2 needs 67, Speed 1 needs 100, and Speed 0 needs 134.
    • The third breakpoint brings the turn charge timer to 400, which means 2.5 turns per round (and that's one hell of a jump). It's probably the last remotely practical breakpoint even for the higher Speed values, needing 150 Haste for Speed 3, 200 for Speed 2, 250 for Speed 1, and 300 for Speed 0.
    • There's also a hypothetical fourth breakpoint with a turn charge timer of 200 and as a result 5 turns per round, but not only would that play havoc with one's ability to actually have enough to use with all those turns, but the Haste requirements are insane even on the fastest of classes, requiring 500 Haste for Speed 3 and an extra 100 Haste for every point of Speed by which the class falls short.
    • From this, you can kind of see that Speed 0 has a hard time keeping up in terms of reaching the turn charge timer breakpoints. That's why most damage classes (and in fact the majority of classes in general) tend to be Speed 2 or higher.
  • HPBuffers don't count against the 80% mitigation limit when it comes to ways to reduce the damage you take because it's classed as moving the damage around (to a phantom HP pool with no life it needs to maintain) rather than actively reducing the damage you take once it's hit. Cover also falls under this 'moving' classification, for what it's worth, and things that reduce the enemy's damage output in the first place such as DamageBuffDebuff or taunts also don't count against that 80% because that's modifying how much damage they're putting out, not how much damage you shave off of it with your own resistances.
    • Additionally, while HPBuffers can be penetrated to some extent by combat skills, there are very few situations in which they can be completely penetrated. While they won't totally shield you from damage against particularly strong opponents, they can still shave off a noticeable portion of the incoming damage, and that's still valuable, especially due to not being part of the 80% mitigation restriction. Multiplicative layering works defensively too!
  • InstantCooldown is a little strange as it's sort of a lesser alternate version of Recharge, applying only to the thing with the highest cooldown presently remaining. Having said that, it's still useful in terms of peeling some time off the cooldown of especially high cooldown actives.
  • Recharge shaves off one fifth (20%) of the base cooldown time at 25 Recharge, one fourth (25%) at 33, one third (33%) at 50, two fifths (40%) at 90, and one half (50%) if you're crazy enough to go all the way to 150. It does softcap every effective 50, but even 50 points of it means all your actives are usable one and a half times as often as they would be otherwise, and that can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of many actives.
  • Regen is affected by Healing and HealGain.

Cross-Transfer of Combat Skills to Pets

As of an update in early 2017, various combat skills on a class also add combat skills to pets. Here's the list.

  • Enduring Minions on the player gives pets Regenerating equal to half its level, and Durability at half a level lower than that to a minimum of +0. As such, this amounts to +0.5/1/1.5/2 Regenerating and +0/0.5/1/1.5 Durability for Enduring Minions 1/2/3/4, with no detrimental effects on classes that don't have it at all.
  • Front Row on the player gives pets Support equal to its level.
  • Taunting Strikes on the player gives pets Opportunity equal to its level.
  • Roll With It on the player gives pets Speed equal to its level.
  • Rage on the player gives pets Healing equal to its level.
  • Overkill on the player gives pets Penetration equal to its level.
  • Reactive on the player gives pets Tactician equal to its level.
  • Warded on the player gives pets an equal amount of Warded.

As such, the extra combat skills that each class would give, were one to run a pet while in that class and with all the combat skills of that class (along with at what levels the points in the corresponding skills are given)...

  • Anarchist gives +1 Penetration (Lv60).
  • Berserker gives +2 Support (Lv7, Lv32), +2 Healing (Lv9, Lv16), +2 Tactician (Lv23, Lv56), and +1 Warded (Lv15).
  • Blood Warrior gives +1 Support (Lv28), +1 Healing (Lv12), +1 Penetration (Lv39), +1 Tactician (Lv49), and +2 Warded (Lv34, Lv42).
  • Bounty Hunter gives +2 Warded (Lv21, Lv42).
  • Brawler gives +2 Penetration (Lv16, Lv53).
  • Brother's Keeper gives +1 Speed (Lv25) and +2 Warded (Lv39, Lv54).
  • Captivator gives nothing.
  • Classless gives +1 Warded (Lv58).
  • Combat Medic gives +2 Warded (Lv25, Lv53).
  • Corporal gives +2 Warded (Lv14, Lv60).
  • Cursed Lover gives nothing.
  • Den Keeper gives +1.5 Regenerating (Lv2, Lv16, Lv49), +1 Durability (Lv2, Lv16, Lv49), and +1 Warded (Lv14).
  • Determinator gives +2 Warded (Lv14, Lv39).
  • Fox Magician gives nothing.
  • Heavy Fighter gives +2 Penetration (Lv37, Lv42).
  • Midnight Templar gives +3 Support (Lv9, Lv19, Lv30), +1 Healing (Lv44), and +2 Warded (Lv32, Lv46).
  • Milk Maiden gives +3 Warded (Lv19, Lv34, Lv44).
  • Mobster gives +1 Regenerating (Lv21, Lv49), +0.5 Durability (Lv21, Lv49), +3 Support (Lv4, Lv36, Lv39), +2 Opportunity (Lv12, Lv30), +2 Speed (Lv2, Lv28), and +2 Warded (Lv32, Lv46).
  • Monster Monarch gives +2 Healing (Lv12, Lv32), +3 Penetration (Lv16, Lv39, Lv57), +1 Tactician (Lv28), and +2 Warded (Lv36, Lv53).
  • Monstrosity gives +1 Healing (Lv21) and +1 Penetration (Lv16).
  • Nurturer gives +3 Warded (Lv28, Lv39, Lv49).
  • Pack Rat gives +1 Warded (Lv52).
  • Plague Doctor gives +1 Healing (Lv28) and +3 Penetration (Lv23, Lv37, Lv59).
  • Point Man gives +3 Support (Lv12, Lv21, Lv34), +2 Opportunity (Lv32, Lv57), +2 Healing (Lv23, Lv49), +1 Tactician (Lv42), and +2 Warded (Lv37, Lv60).
  • Raccoon Guardian gives +3 Support (Lv7, Lv25, Lv54).
  • Regen Scrapper gives +2 Speed (Lv16, Lv42) and +3 Warded (Lv23, Lv39, Lv51).
  • Sniper gives +1 Penetration (Lv19).
  • Strategist gives +1 Tactician (Lv14).
  • Street Samurai gives +1 Speed (Lv49).
  • Tormentor gives +2 Penetration (Lv19, Lv60).
  • Tousky Party Escort gives +3 Support (Lv7, Lv37, Lv54), +1 Opportunity (Lv25), +3 Speed (Lv9, Lv34, Lv59), +2 Healing (Lv14, Lv46), +3 Tactician (Lv2, Lv30, Lv52), and +1 Warded (Lv28).
  • Tukupar Itar gives +3 Opportunity (Lv9, Lv19, Lv54), +1 Speed (Lv46), +2 Healing (Lv12, Lv56), and +1 Warded (Lv32).
  • Two-Tailed Wizard gives +2 Speed (Lv32, Lv49), +2 Healing (Lv9, Lv37), and +2 Warded (Lv21, Lv42).
  • Wasteland Paladin gives +2 Support (Lv14, Lv49), +2 Opportunity (Lv21, Lv37), +1 Tactician (Lv15), and +2 Warded (Lv16, Lv44).

How Enemies Scale With Difficulty

The way enemies scale with difficulty is threefold (or fourfold, in the sense that some templates don't show up below certain difficulty levels), which makes each step up a bit more intense than the last. Here's the breakdown of the ways they scale.

  • First, as mentioned in the level-grinding guide-section, enemies will spawn at the difficulty rating (as stated in +haz with the notation DN+2, for instance) in levels above you, unless constrained by the area's minimum or maximum levels. If the maximum is lower than what their level would otherwise be, they'll spawn at the maximum level for the area. If the minimum is higher than what their level would otherwise be, they'll spawn at the minimum level for the area. This is important because level-scaling -- which governs health and damage, on top of inducing an invisible Defense shift on both sides by about 10 Defense per level in the direction that favors the higher level -- can add up to a pretty big advantage if the 7% increase in health and damage and the +/- 10 Defense is allowed to stack cumulatively enough times.
  • Second, each enemy's numerical rank is increased by 5 per level of difficulty above Standard (DN+0). For those who aren't familiar with numerical ranks, they're the numbers that show up next to something like "Boss" or "Minion" when you use the terminal. The number is the thing that actually changes the enemy's stats; the title is just a label. Still, each rank title corresponds to a certain range of numerical ranks, with the one listed on the terminal being the lowest numerical rank that still fits within that title's range. I don't know the specifics of the in-between numerical ranks, but the named ones should offer some benchmarks. In order from lowest to highest...
    • Underling starts at rank 30. Relative to if they were a player, Underlings have 25% as much health, do 30% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 30% of the normal magnitude.
    • Mook starts at rank 40. Relative to if they were a player, Mooks have 33% as much health, do 40% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 40% of the normal magnitude.
    • Minion starts at rank 50. Relative to if they were a player, Minions have 67% as much health, do 60% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 60% of the normal magnitude. A player can have four pets of this rank out at a time; any pet that isn't a child, roo pet, or Oregonian dedication clone of the player is considered a Minion-rank pet.
    • Mid Boss (perhaps better titled as Mini Boss, but so it goes) starts at rank 65. Relative to if they were a player, Mid Bosses have 80% as much health, do 75% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 75% of the normal magnitude.
    • Boss starts at rank 100. These have the same scaling as players (so 100% across the board). A player can have one pet of this rank out at a time; children and roo pets are considered Boss-rank pets, while the Oregonian dedication clone is peculiar in that it takes up the Boss slot but is considered Minion rank for stats, likely due to the fact that players can be optimized far further than any pet can.
    • Hard Boss starts at rank 160. Relative to if they were a player, Hard Bosses have 500% as much health, do 180% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 200% of the normal magnitude (at least that's what the wiki source on this says; I've seen it be 240% with Prime backups). These are nasty foes, especially with additional rank scaling behind them, because the last named rank is...
    • Final Boss starts at rank 200. Relative to if they were a player, Final Bosses have 1500% as much health, do 250% as much damage, and any statuses they output are at 400% of the normal magnitude (though I've seen Primes have 480% before). These are never encountered randomly in any zone; this is always the domain of Primes and the game's various actual boss fights, sometimes dubbed superbosses or raid bosses. However, the fact that they cannot be encountered randomly means they are unaffected by the difficulty setting.
  • Third, each difficulty level above Standard (DN+0) gives them a certain amount of free combat skills on top of the ones they get from what enemy they are and any templates they have. Each difficulty level gives them 1 Damage, 2/3 Tactician, 2/3 Flurry, 1/2 Accuracy, 1/2 Fast Loading, 1/3 Healing, 1/3 Durability, and 1/4 Avoidance, all rounding down except for Tactician and Flurry which round up. This compounds with the health and damage increases from level and rank increase to create the full impact of stepping the difficulty up one level.