Paladin Evolution

This evolution is written for the original Prophecies campaign.

Class Combo: Warrior / Monk

General concept

Since the original Guild Wars Prophecies campaign debuted, there has been one ultra-popular class, the warrior/monk. By combining the strengths of the warrior’s melee combat abilities and strong armor along with the monk’s healing abilities, the resulting character can be a resilient damage-dealer in combat. This build can also serve as a solid starting point for new players. Yet, the class isn’t just for beginners; warrior/monks can be successful throughout all of PvE, and this class-combo continues to used by experienced players for end-game activities.

Unfortunately, this specific class-combo has at times been a target of ridicule. Due to the warrior/monk’s strong popularity and its relative attractiveness to newer players, many inexperienced players use this class combination. When they join teams, these new players are often prone to making mistakes ranging from minor things such as poor use of their skills on up to totally devastating, party-dooming actions. This has sometimes led to an unfavorable impression of warrior/monks among many Guild Wars players. If you play a warrior/monk, you will sometimes be viewed by other players as being a newbie until you can prove otherwise. Like any class combo, the warrior/monk is no better or worse than the skill-level of the player using it. Players who take the time to learn the game and understand how to properly use this character can go a long ways in helping to improve the general opinion of warrior/monks in Guild Wars.

Style of Play
Relying on melee weapons, the warrior fights his or her battles up close. Closing the gap with their enemies is often one of their first actions in combat. As a warrior attacks, they gain adrenaline. Skills based on adrenaline “charge-up” during a fight. Some of the warrior’s most powerful attacks are adrenaline-based. Meanwhile, most monk skills and some of the other warrior skills require energy to activate. The warrior has the smallest energy pool, and the lowest energy regen rate in the game. A few of the more popular monk skills are continuous enchantments that further cripple the energy regen. Warriors should be cautious not to equip too many energy-intensive skills, or they may risk over-taxing their limited energy pool.

The charge-up aspect of adrenaline combined with the warrior’s need to continually run from target to target has an unfortunate side-effect. After a battle, warriors are often tempted to rush and attempt to reach the next group of monsters before their adrenaline wears off. While this may seem like a good idea to the warrior, this kind of behavior is one of the worst things a player can do in Guild Wars. The other characters in the team are dependent on their energy, and after a battle they may need significant time to recharge their energy pools or their spell timers. Even though the warrior may be “charged up” and able to unload several powerful attacks, they are but one member of the team. Teammates may be nearly useless without their energy. Running to the nearest group of monsters and attacking at this point can easily lead to the total and utter annihilation of the entire party. Such rushing behavior can get a player kicked out of teams or even their guild, and it badly tarnishes the image of warriors. If new players only learn one thing from this guide, hopefully it is this – Do Not Rush! Instead, by playing patiently and coordinating their actions with their teammates, a warrior/monk can be a tremendous asset to any team.

Obtaining Skills
Many of the skills used in this guide are found quite early in the game. Nearly all of these skills can be obtained relatively easily thru quests. While progressing thru the game, this character evolution undergoes various skill changes, including a fairly major one when it shifts from Sword to Axe. It is possible to substitute various skills or spells relatively easily, though it is always important to limit how many energy-intensive skills are used.

Consistency and Versatility
The basic warrior / monk build presented here strives to be a consistently robust damage-dealer. In many situations, the warrior/monk endures well and is able to deliver steady damage to most enemies. By utilizing healing spells like mending or healing breeze, the character attempts to be less of a burden for the party healers. Though it will never be confused with being a true healer, the warrior/monk’s ability to resurrect, heal, cure conditions or remove hexes from allies gives this character some much valued flexibility in aiding the party.

Armor Crafting
Warrior armor requires iron ingots for crafting. In addition, certain armor types also require some tanned hide squares, fur squares, or steel ingots. A good source of iron ingots (and steel) comes from salvaging weapons and warrior armor dropped by foes.

Beginning in Pre-searing
After entering Lakeside country, speak with Van the Warrior to get the “Warrior Test” and obtain Frenzy and Healing Signet. After this, head west and look for Warmaster Grast near the statue of Balthazar. He will give you the “Grawl Invasion” quest along with the skills Sever Artery and Gash. You may want to gain a level or two before trying to complete this quest. Start by hunting the weaker foes back near Ascalon and work your way south and west. Eventually you’ll find Ashford Abbey which gives you a new waypoint on your map. There are several quests between Ascalon and Ashford which you may want to undertake for extra experience.

Once you’ve reached the Abbey, talk to Mhenlo. He will give you the monk secondary class. He’ll also give you “A Monk’s Mission” along with the skills Orison of Healing and Bane Signet. During the quest, just keep healing Paulus and yourself with the orison and you’ll complete it easily. After completing that quest, Mhenlo offers to make your monk secondary permanent. You can do this now, or try your hand at some other secondaries first before returning here and officially making yourself a Warrior/Monk. After this, Mhenlo will offer another quest, “Blessings of Balthazar” along with 2 more skills, Retribution and Symbol of Wrath. Head out of town and mop up the undead in the field to complete this.

Your next stop is Duke Barradin’s Estate, found in the western region of the map. Reaching this location will give you another waypoint. In addition, you’ll find some quests here, two of which give you warrior skills. Speak with Little Thom to obtain the “The Vineyard Problem” quest along with the skills Cyclone Axe and Executioner’s Strike. For this quest, Cyclone axe alone will let you defeat the aloes. Next, speak to Duke Barradin to get the “Warrior’s Challenge” and the skill Hammer Bash. Agnar the foot is fairly easy to kill, and you don’t necessarily need to use Hammer Bash to defeat him, though it can make it easier.

Before you leave, there’s one other skill you should pick up. Talk to Lina the Healer by the resurrection shrine to get the “Adventure with an Ally” quest. Team up with someone in Ascalon and then speak with her again. She gives the Resurrection Signet as a reward. Now that you have all your pre-searing skills, I suggest the following skillbar setup:

– Frenzy
– Sever Artery
– Gash
– Bane Signet
– Symbol of Wrath
– Retribution
– Orison of Healing
– Healing Signet

For attributes, raise Swordsmanship as high as possible, then use the whatever points you have left to raise Smiting Prayers. Any points leftover can go into Healing Prayers, Tactics and finally Strength. The rationale for this attribute assignment is fairly straight-forward. A majority of warrior damage will be delivered by your weapon. By raising swordsmanship, you’ll increase your damage with the sword as well as the duration of the sword skill effects (bleeding & deep wound). Since there are 3 smiting skills available, raising smiting prayers allows you to make each of those skills more effective. With just 1 Healing Prayers skill and 1 Tactics skill, there’s no reason to devote many points to them yet. Finally, you have no Strength skills, so the only benefit from strength is armor penetration. Given how weak the enemy armors are here in pre-searing, you’ll barely notice the effects of armor penetration in this area.

More on Bleeding
The foes here in pre-searing have low hit point values, and as a result, Damage Over Time (DOT) effects are very powerful here. Sever Artery is a DOT type skill that causes the foe to bleed. Each “tick” of health degen is worth 2 points of damage per second, so the 3 ticks of health degen caused by bleeding adds up to 6 damage per second. Combined with your other weapon attacks, the combined damage adds up quickly.

You can see when a foe is bleeding since their health bar turns slightly pink in color. In addition, they also have a reddish cloud ring around their feet. Once they are bleeding, further uses of Sever Artery will not improve the bleeding, though it can possibly make it last longer since a new bleeding attack will reset the timer for how long the bleeding will last. It’s usually wiser to apply a new bleeding attack to another nearby foe that isn’t already bleeding instead. That way, you’ll end up with 2 enemies losing health rather than just one.

Once you have a bleeding foe, you can finish them off even faster by using Gash. In addition to dealing extra damage against a bleeding foe, Gash delivers a deepwound which lowers that foe’s health by 20%. In pre-searing, once a foe falls to 50% or less health, you can sometimes use Gash as a killing blow.

Unfortunately, certain foes are immune to bleeding, including all elementals and most forms of undead. When facing those kinds of foes, Sever Artery and Gash are useless skills. When adventuring here in pre-searing, you may want to avoid areas like the catacombs (undead) or some of the mountainous areas (elementals). If you want to explore there, you may want to switch to Axe (along with moving your attribute points from Swordsmanship to Axe Mastery) and then swap out the 2 sword skills for axe skills. In addition, you can also try to rely more on your Smiting skills for those foes.

Skill Use
You can easily kill most foes in pre-searing with just your sword attacks. Frenzy will allow you to attack faster, and charge up adrenaline faster. The downside is that enemy attacks will deal 2x damage to you while it’s in effect. That’s not a major issue, however, since you’ll tend to hit the enemies much harder than they hit you. When Sever Artery is ready, activate it to cause the target to bleed. When Gash is ready, hit the bleeding target. If you need healing, use Orison of Healing, or the Healing Signet. Beware that when activating the healing signet, you suffer 2x damage as well. If you activate healing signet during frenzy, you’ll suffer 4x damage. As a result, it is best to avoid using the Healing Signet while Frenzy is active. Instead use the Orison as much as possible for healing, and only try to use the Signet in emergencies when you run low on energy.

The other 3 skills are a bit situational. You can run Retribution constantly if you’d like. It will cut down your energy regen rate. However, your energy requirements are fairly low for this stage of the build, so it’s a viable option. It causes extra damage to enemies that attack you, but does nothing against enemy spells cast at you. Since you face very few casters in pre-searing, Retribution works fairly well against nearly all foes here. Since the warrior fights up close to his foes, Symbol of Wrath’s adjacent range works fine for some added AoE damage against your enemies. In later stages, the damage per second will cause foes to scatter, but in Pre-searing the monster AI does not appear to be affected by this as much. Finally, the Bane Signet can serve as a useful ranged opening attack, and can useful for pulling or aggroing enemies from range.

The combined damage output from Retribution, Symbol of Wrath, Frenzy, Sever Artery & Gash will tear thru most foes you face in Pre-searing so fast that it may lull you into a false sense of security. This is just a training area, so don’t get too over-confident in this build. If you want a dose of reality, try facing some charr north of the wall for a tiny glimpse of what stronger foes have to offer.

Pre-searing equipment
As you adventure in pre-searing Ascalon, keep a lookout for better weapons to replace the ones you have. In addition, look for stronger shields. A few other items you may want to keep an eye out for are a long range bow (for pulling) and possibly an off-hand focus item. Long bows have a longer range than spells or wands, making them useful for attacking monsters and pulling them from long distances. Meanwhile, you can equip a focus instead of a shield to give you extra energy, at the expense of some defense. At various points, you may find having a few extra points of energy is more useful than the extra armor. You can enable up to 4 weapon sets, allowing you to quickly switch between a sword + shield, sword + focus or a bow.

When you decide you’ve spent enough time in the training area, talk to Sir Tydus and accept his invitation to join the Academy. Once you do this, there is no turning back. You will be thrust into a small PvP battle against other players leaving the training area, and then undertake a small mission before finally ending up in the actual game.

Once you enter the PvP area, you can cast Retribution on yourself or a teammate to add a bit of extra damage potential for the ensuing fight. During the battle, you should focus on enemy casters whether they are live players or henchmen. They have the weakest armor, and are the easiest to cutdown with melee attacks. Activate Frenzy, then follow it with Sever and Gash as they become available. Once you drop a foe, move to the next target and continue. Use the orison to heal yourself or your allies as needed or use the Healing Signet to cure yourself if you run low on energy. If a cluster of enemies develops, you can move into their midst and activate Symbol of Wrath to hit multiple foes. If one of your own casters comes under attack and you can’t reach them quickly enough, you can activate the Bane Signet to damage and knockdown that foe.

Post-searing Ascalon area
After leaving the training area, your first priority is to craft some new armor. Visit the AL 50 armor crafter. Craft a Ringmail Hauberk, Ringmail Leggings, Ringmail Gauntlets, Ascalon Boots (needs 1 fur), and a Duelists Helm (needs 1 steel). If you don’t have enough money or crafting supplies to do that, work on building up enough gold and materials until you do. Once you have completed your crafting, you will also want to get a few of runes. Buy a Minor Swordsmanship rune and stick it on your Duelist helm. Also get a Minor Strength rune, a Minor Vigor rune and a minor Absorption rune. You can put those runes on any of your other pieces of armor, You could use major or superior runes of Vigor and Absorption. However, this armor will eventually get replaced, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to salvage your runes back. The cheaper route of using only minor runes works fine.

Between the minor absorption rune and the ascalon boots, you’ll have a global -3 damage reduction. In conjunction with the new AL50 armor, this will enable you to shrug off much more damage than you did before. As for weapons, you’ll start finding significantly stronger weapons as you explore the area around Ascalon. You’ll also find a lot of players selling weapons. For now, don’t waste a lot of gold on a sword or shield. You’ll find decent enough equipment as you play.

If you visit the skill trainer, you’ll see 2 skills that you were unable to obtain in pre-searing: Banish & Healing Breeze. Only primary monks get those for free in pre-searing. I recommend buying them both. Meanwhile, there are several quests available in the Ascalon area. It’s well worth doing the ones that provide skills as rewards. One of the first ones worth doing is Ambassador Zain’s “Helping the People of Ascalon” quest. He is located a short ways south in the explore area of Old Ascalon. After completing his quest, he gives you Mending and “For Great Justice!”.

Speak to Warmaster Grast in Old Ascalon to obtain a trio of quests, one after the other. First, you can undertake “Gargoyle Trouble” to obtain Wild Blow. Then you can get the “Military Matters” quest. The reward for doing this is Power Attack and Sprint, a pair of useful strength-based skills. In addition to those skills you can obtain the “Into the Breach” quest with rewards of Penetrating blow and Endure Pain. However, you don’t need to do this quest right away. With the 2 new skills from the Military Matters quest, you finally have enough skills to overhaul your build significantly. For now, I recommend dropping all the Smiting Prayer skills along with all the smiting prayer attribute points you’ve invested. Focus attributes in Swordsmanship, Healing Prayers (at least 3 ranks) and Strength. Change up the skillbar to this:

– Sprint
– Frenzy
– Savage Slash
– Gash
– Power Attack
– Mending
– Orison of Healing
– Rez Signet

Next, find Grazden the Healer a ways further south of Ascalon. He will offer a trio of quests, one after the other. First, he will give you “Protecting Ascalon” which rewards Heal Area and Vital Blessing. Then he will offer “Sowing Seeds” which will give you Heal Party. Finally he’ll give you “In Memory of Paulus” which rewards Live Vicariously and Resurrect. Once you have Resurrect, you can replace the Rez Signet in your skill bar.

Though you are still rather limited in your skill selection, this skillbar will suffice for most of the areas near Ascalon. Sprint will allow you to close the gap on your target much quicker. In addition, it gives you a way to de-activate Frenzy. Both are stances, and only 1 stance can be in effect at any time. Power attack gives you an additional attack skill. It comes in handy if you face foes that are immune to bleeding. With 3+ ranks in Healing Prayers, Mending will give you 2 ticks of health regen. Between Mending and Orison of Healing, you should be able to keep yourself healed fairly easily.

It’s now time to work on the “Into the Breach” quest and begin your trip to Piken Square. Talk to Gate Guard Hollis along the way to get the “Supplies for the Duke” quest which will eventually give you “Watch Yourself!” and Purge Conditions as a reward. Meanwhile, head into the Breach and fight off the charr for the “Into the Breach” quest. You could return for your reward at this point, but you’re well on your way to Piken Square so it’s worth pressing on for now. Follow the sign posts, and keep alert for enemy charr. Eventually you’ll find your way to Piken Square. In Piken Square, you can get yet another skill quest from Armsman Pitney with the rewards of Mighty Blow and Dismember. There are several other quests here, but none have skill rewards. If you get the quest to find the Duke’s Daughter, it will become a lot easier to do it later after you’ve obtained more map locations.

In the meantime, polish off the “Supplies for the Duke” quest and Pitney’s quest for skills. At some point you can map back to Ascalon city, head out the gates and talk to Warmaster Grast to get your reward for the “Into the Breach” quest you completed earlier. You are almost ready to begin some missions. But first, some changes are in order.

By this time, you may notice that the armor penalty from Frenzy becomes a bit too difficult to bear at times. As a result, you may wish to drop it. Most foes in the missions bleed, so Sever Artery and Gash will continue to work well here. Missions are a good opportunity to hone your playing skills as a team player. A skill like “Watch Yourself!” benefits all nearby teammates, temporarily bumping armor by 20 points which results in a damage reduction of nearly 30% while it’s in effect. However, you will need some ranks in Tactics to improve it’s duration. You can pick up a Minor Tactics rune and put it on your last open slot of armor. Continue to raise Swordsmanship as high as you can, but keep at least 3 ranks in Healing Prayers. Then split the remaining points between Tactics and Strength. Skill-wise, I suggest trying:

– Sprint
– “Watch Yourself!”
– Savage Slash
– Gash
– Power Attack
– Mending
– Orison of Healing
– Resurrection

General teamplay tips
Around Ascalon, the party size is 4 players. You can link up with other real players or henchmen or a mix of them. Typically, you’ll want a mix of character types for best results. As a warrior, you’ll want to link up with monks, mesmers, necromancers, elementalists and rangers. After combat, these other professions will need time to recharge skills and energy. Be sure to wait for all of them to be ready to continue before rushing off to the next group of monsters. Just because their health bar indicators are near full does not mean they are ready to press on. Make sure all players indicate they are ready before moving on. Having the casters “ping” their energy bars to indicate when they are fully charged can be a convenient method to indicate this.

A tactic many teams will employ at various points is “pulling”. This is often done when multiple groups of enemies are too close together and the ensuing battle would be overly difficult to win. To pull them apart, a ranger or spellcaster will attack a monster from range in order to lure just one group to the party. As a warrior, you should hold your ground near the other players, or even slightly back from the teammate that does the pull attack. Do not rush at the enemy the instant they are attacked. Doing that may still cause too many monsters to trigger. Instead allow just the one group of monsters to come to you. The entire party may need to perform a fallback to lure the foes (especially enemy archers or casters) far enough away from other groups before they can safely be engaged. Once they are clear, you can then use Sprint and run toward enemy casters or archers that are still at range. Pulling is also useful if youre group employs traps. In that case, wait until the monsters enter the traps before advancing toward them.

Finally, help your allies. You can use “Watch Yourself!” to help buff your nearby allies armor in combat. The increased armor will cut damage, making it easier for your healers to keep the party alive. With Orison of Healing on your skill bar, you can also provide some additional healing to your teammates if they come under heavy attacks. You may not be able to reach them in time to fend off their attackers, but the range of the orison may be able to provide enough help until you arrive. Even a few points of curing can be the difference between life and death, and ultimately between success or failure within a mission.

Great Northern Wall
In this first mission, you’ll face a variety of foes, all of which bleed. Keeping up mending should allow you to survive very easily. None of the foes should be too difficult for you to defeat, especially if you allow your team adequate time to rest up between combats. Toward the end of the mission, you may find the Sprint skill to be very useful.

Fort Ranik
You’ll face more Charr here, along with some possible ambush locations. At a few points, the foes are unreachable due to terrain. To help here, you may want to bring a bow or wand to help fire at them from range. Another option is to equip some ranged smiting skills like Bane Signet or Banish. If you do, you can momentarily dump an extra point or two in Smiting Prayers to help improve their damage.

After completing mission 2, you’ll obtain the Frontier Gate waypoint. Starting from there, you may want to undertake the “Mysterious Artifact” quest obtained in Ascalon city. The quest arrows can help guide you to Serenity Temple. Along the way, you’ll find the “Caravan in Trouble” quest which gives Smite & Hamstring as skill rewards. In Serenity Temple, you can also obtain the “Replacement Healers” skill quest from Priestess Rashenna. The rewards for this are Infuse Health & Strength of Honor. Once you have these, you can map back to the Frontier Gate and then explore from there heading northward to reach the Ruins of Surmia.

Ruins of Surmia
Prince Ruric will accompany you thru this mission. Try to wait for your allies to recharge spells & energy, since if you go too fast, the prince will rush ahead. Near the end of the mission, you may find sprint to be very handy to help cover more territory while defending the Prince and the mages.

Nolani Academy & Grendich Courthouse
Once you’ve finished mission 3 you’ll obtain this important waypoint. From here, it’s much easier to reach the location for the Duke’s Daughter quest. You should also head north to obtain another waypoint, Grendich Courthouse, which has a unique skill trainer, Taltosh. You can obtain Disrupting Chop, Wary Stance, Judge’s Insight & Restore Life from him.

For the mission, you’ll likely find sprint to once again be a useful skill, as you need accompany the speedy Prince Ruric in the later stages. He won’t slowdown very often, so you may need the sprint to keep up with him. Go where he goes, and engage only the charr he attacks if possible.

Northern Shiverpeaks & Yak’s Bend
Once you arrive, it’s time to update a few pieces of your armor. Craft an AL50 Gladiator Hauberk, Gladiator Gauntlets and Gladiator Leggings. Expert salvage your old armor to try to recover the minor runes, then apply the same set of runes to your new armor (minor strength, minor tactics, minor absorption, minor vigor). Keep your AL 50 Ascalon boots and AL 50 Duelist’s helm. This new armor will last you for quite a while. It is strong enough to allow you to easily survive in areas up thru the Maguuma jungle, where you’ll finally get a chance to craft stronger gear. If you find yourself dying a lot between now and then, it’s NOT the fault of your armor.

One other thing I suggest trying to find is a Fiery Hilt for your sword. These can be bought from other players extremely cheap, as they are very easy to find at higher levels. It’s probably worth only 50 to 100 gold, so don’t pay more than that for one. If you can’t find a seller in Ascalon District 1, see if you can enlist a higher level guildmate to help you track one down. They may even just hand you a free blue Fiery Sword that they’d otherwise be selling to the merchant for a mere 50 gold. If you can’t find one, don’t let it hold you back. You can easily survive without it, but having one does make things easier. Why get a fiery weapon? In the Shiverpeaks, you’ll face some Ice Elementals which take extra damage from fire. In addition, elemental damage works better against the summit dwarf warriors’ armor (+20 vs. physical).

Once you’ve got yourself re-equipped, it’s time for a new round of skill quests. Speak to Van the Warrior to get his “Securing the Vale” quest. The rewards are Seeking Blade, Swift Chop and Irresistible Blow. He will also give you the “Wayward Monk” quest with rewards of Vigorous Spirit, Pacifism and Divine Boon. Also speak with Grand Mason Stonecleaver for “Helping the Dwarves”. That will reward you with Protector’s Strike and Remove Hex.

The Stone Summit Dwarves you face here in the Shiverpeaks are much more heavily armored than the Charr, and they tend to hit a lot harder as well. In addition, you will discover that they employ some annoying anti-enchantment skills which they like to use to drop your Mending. However, for now I still recommend using the same tried’n’true build that you’ve been using. Due to the Ice Elementals annoying water hex slowdowns and the number of other hexes cast by dwarf necromancers and mesmers, you may find having some hex removal is very useful in this area. With the larger number of characters (party size = 6 now), it makes it easier to specialize your roles. As a result, you can possibly drop the Orison of Healing and bring something else. Once you’ve obtained the skills from the new skill quests, you can revamp your skillbar slightly:

– Sprint
– “Watch Yourself!”
– Savage Slash
– Gash
– Power Attack (or possibly Seeking Blade or Protector’s Strike)
– Mending
– Remove Hex (or Orison of Healing)
– Resurrection

When fighting the Summit Dwarves, make sure you take out the Dolyak rider’s first. They are extremely good at healing other dwarves, and neutralizing all your damage, but they aren’t very good at healing themselves. Once the Dolyak rider is down, take on other casters or elementals and then focus on defeating the remaining dwarves. As you explore the shiverpeaks, keep an eye out for a good axe. When you reach Kryta, the build is going to begin using one. In addition, start looking for good strength-based shields. In the near future, you’ll want to focus more on strength instead of tactics. Dumping points in tactics purely for equipping a shield is a waste of attribute points. If you can’t find a strength-based shield, there’s always the option of using a focus item instead.

Beacon’s Perch
You may see offers by other players for getting a run to a high end area called Camp Rankor or Droknar’s Forge. Ignore these advertisements. You do not need to go there yet, and you will arrive there naturally thru completing missions. Using the mission-route will save you a lot of money, and give you a better chance to improve your skill-level with this character.

In Beacon’s Perch, Master Saberlin will offer you 2 quests with skill rewards one after the other: “Hungry Devourer” and “The Deserters” The rewards for these are Flurry & Divine Spirit and Bonetti’s Defense & Balthazar’s Spirit. After reaching the destination for the Deserter’s quest, you may want to continue on northward up to Ice Tooth Cave where you’ll find a unique skill trainer. Marna can teach you Distracting Blow, Dolyak Signet, Holy Strike & Succor. After you have those, return to Beacon’s Perch, and head west. Continue thru the Ettin cave and you will eventually reach the next mission area.

Kryta area
The areas around Kryta are being plagued by an invasion of undead. Most of them are immune to bleeding which turns Sever Artery and Gash into useless skills. Without many other swords skills at this point, it’s time for a major overhaul. When facing these undead, an Axe works much better. Swap out all your attribute points from Swordsmanship and put them into Axe Mastery. In addition, you’ll want to craft an AL50 Executioner’s Helm (either in Ascalon or Yak’s Bend) and apply a Minor Axe Mastery rune to it. Remove any points in Tactics, keep Mending at a minium of 3, and then raise Smiting Prayers as high as possible. Any leftover points go into Strength. Finally, switch up your skillbar:

– Sprint
– Cyclone Axe
– Penetrating Blow
– Dismember (or Executioner’s Strike)
– Judge’s Insight (vs. undead), Remove Hex (vs. hexing foes) or your choice
– Mending (or Healing Breeze)
– Purge Conditions
– Resurrection

Undead can cause multiple conditions including Crippling, Bleeding, Disease, Poison or Blindness. As a result, the Purge Conditions skill is extremely useful here. In addition, since the undead take 2x damage from holy, it’s worth bringing Judge’s Insight to cause them massive damage. If you can manage to get yourself surrounded by undead, Cyclone Axe + Judge’s Insight can deal a huge amount of damage to them.

Some areas around Kryta have fewer undead, but instead are populated by Skale or Mergoyle that use many hexes. When facing them, having some form of hex removal can be helpful. If you aren’t finding undead or hexing foes, then consider bringing another axe attack skill instead.

Once you’ve begun using the axe, you may find you like it better than the sword. It tends to be better at causing spike damage (a large burst of damage). With the new enemies having progressively higher health values, you may find you like using spike damage more than relying on conditions like bleeding. Many warriors often move to axe in the later stages of the game, and the Kryta area tends to be a natural place to make this transition. The axe features more adrenaline-based skills than the sword, making it somewhat better for warrior builds that attempt to do some spell-casting or utilize enchantments that reduce energy regen.

There are some other skill quests you can obtain around Kryta. None of these skills are necessary for this evolution, but they are likely worth doing to conserve skill points. Do whatever quests you’re comfortable with, complete the three Kryta missions, and then move on to the Maguuma Jungle

Maguuma Jungle
When you arrive in Druid’s Overlook, get the “Eye for Profit” quest from Trader Versai. The rewards are Axe Rake and Smite Hex. Now that you’re past the threat of the undead, you can change up your build again. Begin by removing your points from Smiting. Keep Axe as high as possible, and then raise Healing Prayers next. By now you may have enough attribute points to raise Healing Prayers to 8. Doing so will bump Mending up to +3 health regen which can make a big difference. Any additional points can go into Strength. On the skill end, Judge’s Insight is not necessary here, so it can be replaced. In addition, you may find yourself encountering fewer conditions here, so Purge Conditions may not be as necessary in all places, though it’s still helpful when facing Maguuma Spiders. Try the following skillbar:

– Sprint
– Penetrating Blow
– Dismember
– Executioner’s Strike
– Cyclone Axe (or Disrupting Chop)
– Mending
– Purge Conditions (replace in areas where you don’t face many conditions)
– Resurrection

When you reach Ventari’s Refuge, you may want to upgrade your armor. You can obtain AL65 armor here, which can be a worthwhile bump. However, if your armor seems to be holding up OK, you can wait a few more missions until you reach the Amnoon Oasis, and upgrade there. If you’re low on funds, I’d recommend waiting. Another option is using collectors to obtain armor. However, it won’t have the extra energy that Gladiators armor gives you. One collector that can be worth visiting is Aaron Fletcher in the Sage Lands, east of Druid’s Overlook. For 5 ancient eyes, he’ll give you an AL71 executioner’s helm which will be a huge upgrade from the AL50 one you’ve been using.

Outside of Ventari’s Refuge, speak with Deep Root to get the Dropping Eaves quest. It will reward you with Rebirth & Shield Stance. Once you have Rebirth, you may want equip it instead of Resurrection. It has drawbacks, but it is often better, especially when an ally’s corpse is too close to enemies. Rebirth lets you resurrect them from a distance and bring their body to you, avoiding potential problems.

Crystal Desert
When you arrive here, you can craft AL71 armor. If you didn’t upgrade your equipment at Ventari’s, you probably should upgrade it now. The foes in the desert are significantly more difficult than anything you’ve faced so far. There are many foes that spring up from the ground, as well as others on moving patrol paths. However, if you are cautious and stay close to your party, you should be able to succeed.

There are collectors items you can obtain here which are very worthwhile. Kelsay Pradist in the Salt Flats east of Seeker’s Passage will give you an AL80 Executioner’s helm for 5 jade mandibles, and Brandon Harlin in the Vulture Drifts north of Dunes of Despair will give you an axe (6-28 dmg, 9 req, +15% dmg while enchanted) in trade for 5 encrusted loadstones. On your way to finding the various cities and missions, you should find some of these collector drops. You can hunt for additional ones or usually buy them for about 100 gold each from other players in the cities.

In the areas where you face Hydras which use fire spells, or Sand Drakes or Sand Elementals which use earth spells, you may find a skill like “Watch Yourself!” can make life much easier. It will reduce the punishing effects of those elemental attacks by nearly 30%, allowing you to possibly survive some massive elemental spike damage that would otherwise kill you and your nearby comrades. You can dump some spare attribute points into Tactics to make it last longer. This setup can work for exploring many regions of the desert:

– Sprint
– Penetrating Blow
– Dismember
– Disrupting Chop
– “Watch Yourself!”
– Mending
– Purge Conditions (many desert foes can cause blinding)
– Rebirth

In the 3 desert missions, you’ll face a number of Enchanted armors (warriors & rangers) and Forgotten casters (snakemen). The rangers like using Throw Dirt to blind you, so you will want to keep Purge Conditions handy. During the battles, focus your attacks on any forgotten monks and necromancers. Once they are dead you can polish off the remaining forgotten casters and enchanted much easier.

While you’re in the desert you should also do the Forgotten Ones / Forgotten Wisdom quests which will eventually reward you 15 attribute points.

You can win the ascension battle against your doppelganger rather easily. Temporarily change up your build by putting all your attribute points into just Axe Mastery and then Strength. You don’t need to bring any skills whatsoever, but if you want to, you can bring a few useless ones to make the Doppelganger waste a few extra seconds casting them if you want. Just don’t bring any healing or damage skills. Some useless ones to bring would be ones like Blessed Aura, Balthazar’s Spirit, Essence Bond or Scourge Healing which do nothing useful here by themselves. However, the doppelganger will waste precious time trying to cast them while you attack him.

Dragon’s Lair
After Ascending, be sure to restore your attribute points and skill bar. In the Dragon’s Lair mission, you can use the same skillbar as you used in the desert. However, you may want to bring a signet of capture. The Facet of Strength has Gladiator’s Defense which can be a useful elite later on.

Droknar’s Forge / Southern Shiverpeaks
Once you arrive in Droknar’s Forge, I recommend crafting some AL80 armor. I recommend Gladiator Hauberk, Gladiator Gloves and Gladiator Leggings, but you now have the choice between Ascalon boots or Knight’s Boots. They function similarly, but have different crafting requirements as well as a different appearance. Now that you have the highest level armor, you should also upgrade to at least Major Runes of Vigor and Absorption. You can also craft an axe here with +15% damage while health >50% if you’d like. In situations where your enchantment gets removed that can be a better options than the desert collector axe you picked up earlier.

There’s a lot of elite skills around that you can cap, but you probably won’t use most of them. Cleave is the first elite you really want to get. It is found on dwarf warrior bosses in any of the missions as well as one in the Frozen Forest. Once you manage to capture it, I suggest replacing Executioner’s Strike (if you’re using it) with Cleave. Here in the mountains, you may not face as many conditions, but you will face some hexes from the Ice elementals as well as from the various casters. As a result, you may find that putting a few ranks in Smiting prayers is worthwhile. Sprint is still helpful in these areas, but is not a must have. A possible build for this area is:

– Cleave [elite]
– Penetrating Blow
– Dismember
– Disrupting Chop (or Cyclone Axe)
– Mending
– Smite Hex
– Rebirth
– Utility (Signet of Capture, Sprint, “Watch Yourself!”, etc)

Disrupting chop can help a lot against the various casters you’ll face, especially ones with slower elementalist or necromancer spells. In certain explore areas where you face fewer casters, you may want to bring a different attack skill like Cyclone axe.

In addition to the missions here, you will want to complete Vanyi’s “Hero’s Challenge” quest to get yourself up to the full 200 attribute points.

Ring of Fire
There is a considerable amount of elemental damage (fire from hydras & drakes, lightning from mursaat casters and ether seals) in this region which can lead to a sudden spike death if you are not careful. As a result, it’s advisable to bring some extra defense again. Good old “Watch Yourself!” can do wonders against those threats. In addition, some of the battles where you face Mursaat casters (especially bosses) or Ether Seals can be very challenging, but some well-timed Disrupting Chops can turn the tide in those battles. You’ll face some hexes, especially if you explore Perdition Rock. The need for equipping a running skill is not as necessary here – you’ll typically need to go more slowly, staying with your party, and avoid wandering into ambushes or patrols. Thus, sprint is not really necessary here. A possible skillbar for this area is:

– Cleave [elite]
– Penetrating Blow
– Dismember
– Disrupting Chop
– “Watch Yourself!”
– Mending
– Rebirth
– Utility (Signet of Capture, Smite Hex, etc)

Max out Axe Mastery, and keep Healing Prayers at 8 in order to keep Mending at 3 ticks of health regen. The rest of the points can go into Smiting Prayers, Tactics and/or Strength.

Abaddon’s Mouth
If you like using just henchmen, this particular mission can be problematic for a warrior. To help get past some of the walls with archers, you may want to use a ranged spell that doesn’t require line-of-sight to kill them. Fortunately, you have one; you can equip Banish. Even with only 7 or 8 ranks in Smiting Prayers, with enough uses, it deals enough damage to eventually take out the Jade Armors and/or Mursaats guarding the walls. It may take several minutes to clear them all, but once you have done that, you can then engage the Ether Seal (don’t forget to use disrupting chop on it when it tries to zap you), and then break thru without blundering into a huge ambush. Keep up “Watch Yourself!” as much as possible to help ward off damage from the Ether Seals, Mursaat and Jade armors.

Hell’s Precipice
Try to find an Icy shaft and upgrade your axe (or a backup) with it. Cold does more damage to the Titans and Imps (aka Spark of the Titans) you’ll be facing. As long as you focus your attacks on a single target, and make sure you choose the targets in the right order, you can easily succeed here. This mission features two very popular warrior elite skills which you’ll want to capture: Eviscerate and Hundred Blades. You’ll likely need to replay this mission a few times to cap both skills and finally complete it.

End Game
Congratulations are in order. You’ve completed all the missions, a great many quests, and have hopefully developed some powerful playing skills for future success. Feel free to try out builds with the other weapons, and track down the remaining warrior and monk skills at your leisure. Though it goes far beyond the scope and intent of this evolution, Warrior/Monks are very well suited for solo’ing various areas of the game. In addition, farming groups for certain areas like Sorrow’s Furnace or the new PvE Tombs area often employ a tanking warrior. The builds for a variety of these end-game activities can be found here in our forums.

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