As a disclaimer, I know that more information can be provided (I'm still not 100% up to date on the changes in the last year).
Other people may think differently about the basics, so bear in mind that these are just the templates and suits that I use and that they all work.
Tactics vary per template, so I didn't add them to the initial post. Usually it's a variant of honor-hit-kill-repeat.
Vampire or wraith
1. The template:
First 100-200 points:
First choose vampire, wraith or both.
Vampire: 100 necromancy, 0 spirit speak
20% hit point leech for every melee hit (ranged hits react differently)
Wraith: 40 necromancy, 60-80 spirit speak (numbers can be manipulated)
Up to 50% hit point leech from melee hits
Mana leech from all dealt damage (depending on opponenent's mana)
More management needed (frequently casting curse weapon)
Both: 100 necromancy, 100 spirit speak
All of the above plus necromancy spells
More skill points needed for forms.
Second 120 points:
Swords gives the best variety of weapons as well as the hardest hitting melee weapons.
Fencing gives the leafblade with armor ignore and feint specials on one weapon (no weapon switching in PvM!)
Macing gives hard hitting weapons as well, cheapest of skills to buy powerscrolls (good start for new players!)
Archery gives ranges weapons, but the hits are weaker than all other weapon types.
Throwing gives the weapon with the highest damage per second than any other weapon in the soul glaive. Adding armor ignore to that weapon makes it even more attractive.
Get 120 points in one of these weapons.
Third 100 points
100 points is enough, if you go higher than 100, go with 120 (but unless you have parry, the advantage is minimal)
Fourth 100-240 points:
Tactics vs. anatomy.
Get both. Tactics gives more damage than anatomy
84 is good, more is better, less is likely not enough (unless your template is tight)
Good to get the weapon+bushido+parry total to 300 for mana cost reduction on weapon specials.
Also good for blocking blows (taking less damage)
For archers or throwers, a good alternative to parry for getting that weapon+ninjitsu+bushido over 300 for mana reduction on weapon specials.
Mirror images are great if you're in close quarters or fighting an archer (Medusa, for example)
Cookie cutter templates:
Note: These can all be fine tuned for your needs
Sampire (Author's favorite):
80 spirit speak
For throwing (wraith):
80 spirit speak
60 parry (or ninjitsu)
Old school (defensive)
Choose a weapon with armor ignore, feint, whirlwind, high swing speed, high damage, etc.
Sword: Broad sword, long sword, katana, daisho, radiant scimitar, etc.
Fencing: Leafblade, kama
Mace: War axe, hammer pick, tessen
Throwing: soul glaive
Archery: race change token, soul glaive
Always have stamina leech and mana leech (even for wraith!)
Swing speed is a must (but can be compensated for by other items)
Damage increase is a must (but can be compensated for by other items)
Then you have a choice between hit lower attack, hit lower defense, slayer, area effect. Use area effect for whirlwind weapons, slayer for whatever you need to slay, and hit lower attack for anything with no specific slayer.
Author's favorite: Broad sword with SSI, DI, slayer, stamina, mana leech
The bare minimum:
All 70's resists (after your form)
25 hit points
Swing speed increase
Mods to avoid:
Reflect damage, mana regeneration, stamina regeneration, etc. (anything which can be better compensated by other items/skills/tactics)
Just get as many stats as your suit allows. Cases can be made for high everything.
Str: gives damage and hit points. You need a lot of that
Dex: gives stamina for swing speed increase. You need a lot of that (enough for max swing speed)
Int: gives mana. You need a lot of that (At least enough for back to back special moves), but you don't need to max it out.
My "main" sampire has 100 str, 125 dex with the rest in int. I really need more str.
He also has 40 points of stamina on his suit, 25 hit points, 24 mana, 5% swing speed and 10 dex. (Taken from memory, fey leggings, ranger's cloak, crimson cincture, and the rest imbued)
Edited by Farsight, 17 August 2012 - 10:06 AM.