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Choosing the Best Class for Your Playing Style
One of the things that is great about a class based game is that each class has it's own strengths that make people want to play that class. On the flip side of that every class also has it's disadvantages which will make you wish it could do x like class y. The strengths and weaknesses of each class are the very factors which insure that teamwork and grouping in the game will become neccessary to conquer the epic monsters in the game.
That having been said each class has it's own strengths and weaknesses that will be addressed here and we will try to address what you can expect from all of the classes at higher levels. In the end we are hoping that you will have enough information to choose the right class for you from the get go.
There are four distinct types of classes in Everquest. It's a little more complex than that as some classes borderline on one another such as druids and bards but in general every class falls into one of the four categories:
- Melee classes are the bread and butter of the game. Warriors, monks and rogues are melee classes. These classes are designed to hack and slash. Monks and rogues have some extra abilities which keep them more interesting than the warrior class however they suffer from fewer hit points and items.
- Priest classes include clerics, shamans and druids. These are the healers in the game. These classes can make other classes stronger with their healing and buffing spells. Each has it's own other advantages and weaknesses which we will cover below. They have harsher item restrictions than pure melee classes but a much wider range of items than mage classes.
- Mage classes include wizards, enchanters, necromancers and magicians. These classes can use very few types of armor and even fewer weapons. They are very weakest classes in melee combat and also have the fewest hit points. They make up for it with the most powerful spells in the game.
- The last category is the hybrid classes. These include rangers, paladins, shadowknights and bards. These classes are a mix of other class types. All hybrid classes can melee well and can cast spells to boot. The problem with this type of character is that they level much slower than other classes and that they are not as good as any of their parts. For example a ranger is half druid and half warrior. He will never be able to fight as well as a warrior and he will never be able to cast as well as a druid. What he is however is a fine mix of the two class types. The druid class could also be considered hybrids in a sense. Druids are part ranger, part cleric and part wizard in many players eyes. However they do not suffer a hyrbid experience penalty.
What I am going to attempt to describe below is a comparison of all of the classes in the game by category of what they can do and what they can use. Depending on your personal style of play you should be able to get an idea of what classes you should be narrowing your decision down to.
First and foremost we will discuss items beginning with armor. There are many different types of armor in the game and not all classes can wear all types. Warriors, paladins, shadowknights, clerics and bards can wear the widest variety of armor. They can start with cloth armor and move all the way up to magical platemail. The only armor they cannot wear is pure mage armor such as damask and gossmer.
Rangers, rogues and shamans are next in line when it comes to armor selection. They can use cloth, leather and chainmail types which will be readily apparent from the beginning. What many players do not realize is that they can also use high level platemail types of armor such as rubicite and green splinted platemail. They cannot wear store bought or bronze platemail.
The next in line of armor selection is the druid and monk classes. They can only wear leather type armor. This includes several types of magical armor such as bone, spiked and snakeskin armor. These classes can not use high level magical chainmail or platemail which will become an apparent weakness at higher levels. In defense of monks however they are the best dodging class in the game which will prevent them from taking as many blows as other melee classes. It should be noted that at higher monks can wear some high level magical platemail(such as green splinted plate) but you will not receive this armor until you are of very high level.
Now that we have covered armor we should discuss weapons. One thing that should be noted is that each different class has it's own type of special weapons. For example paladins have access to the holy swords such as Ghoulbane which will dish great damage especially to undead. Rangers will gain high powered one handed weapons that will cast ensaring roots randomly on successful hits. We will not be covering all of these weapons here except to say that each class get a fair shake. Paladins have the most powerful of the special weapons which will help them make up for the lack of duel wield and kick/slam.
Warriors, shadowknights, rangers and paladins have the largest selection of weapons. They can use basically any weapon they can find including 1h/2h blunt and slashing weapons as well as piercing weapons. Paladins however can not use the archery skill as it is beneath them to wage warfare from distance.
Rogues can use any one handed weapon but excel in the use of piercing weapons. They also are somewhat limited in what weapons they can duel wield because of the need of a piercing weapon for backstab.
Bards can use most weapons in the game and can train in all of the different melee weapon skills. However I have yet to find many 2 handed weapons which are actually wieldable by the class. Considering that they get duel wield and not double attack it would probably be foolish to equip a 2 handed weapon anyway.
Druids are next in line but not by much. Druids can use 1h/2h blunt and also can wield scimitars which no other priest class can. At first this does not seem like a big deal and many young druids choose to go the 2h blunt route. However the druids special weapon is an oaken scimitar and there are also other mid level weapons such as the silverish scimitar which are fine weapons(7/28). By choosing to use a scimitar a druid can also use a shield or magical shield to help their armor class and perhaps get some magical bonuses.
Clerics and shamans encompass the next tier. They are allowed to use both 1h/2h blunt weapons only.
Last but not least are the mage types which can use very few weapons. They can use staffs, daggers, giant snake fangs, and a few throwing weapons.
Next in the scheme of things we will cover hit points. Warriors have by the largest amount of hit points per level. Not far behind them are monks, shadowknights and paladins, following them are rangers, bards and rogues. After which will come priest classes and finally mage types.
Next we will attempt to cover melee combat. melee combat is the meat and drink of the game. melee combat encompasses any time you stand and fight an opponent at close range with weapons. It is neccessary not only to dish out damage to your enemies but it also allows your "tanks"(melee classes) to keep a monster occupied while your spellcasters can get off their spells from distance.
On the issue of melee we can split things up right off the bat by the category your class falls under. melee and hybrid classes get 5 skill points * (level+1) for their various melee skills. This means that at level 1 you can raise any of your melee skills(say 1h slash for example purposes) to 10. Priest classes only gain 4 skill points * (level+1) meaning their skills would max at 8. Mage types only gain 3 skill points * (level+1) meaning it would max at 6. This will become more and more apparent as the levels add up.
More importantly however priest and mage classes never get an extra attack. Shamans are the exception because of their races innate ability to slam. However it will only slam for 1 point of damage. While this may be a nice addition at level 1-10 it will be more or less useless beyond that point. Anyone who is under the impression that they should choose a priest class because they can melee as well as cast spells should get this out of their mind right here and right now. Your extra hit points and armor may keep you alive longer if a monster turns on you but it will not allow you to melee a monster after level 15 or so.
Having covered that we will go into the extra attacks and skills of the various melee classes. Warriors get the most extra attacks. Warriors get both duel wield and double attack at level 15. They also get all of the defensive melee skills earlier than any of the other classes(these include dodge, parry and riposte). Warriors also can bash though a shield is required for non-large races(large races can slam without a shield). Bash allows you to not only dish damage but also stun your opponent. Warriors also can kick which will not stun but generally does a bit more damage than bash. Warriors also get the disarm attack at level 35.
One can argue that monks are actually the best melee class damage wise and it would be hard to argue against them. Although monks do not get the toys of a high level warrior they also do not have to depend on them. Monks hands and feet can attack for a large amount of damage as well as being able to disarm their opponents earlier than a warrior. They are also lightning quick and magical in nature at early levels(all special monk attacks are magical but you will need magical gloves such as netted/woven which are available at EARLY levels to punch). Monks are the best duel wielders in the game though you will probably never want to actually use a weapon as your hands do more damage in a quicker amount of time. What evens them out melee wise is that they cannot wear much armor(and must depend on dodge/block) and that every time they gain a new and improved special attack the skill starts off low and will take some time to train it to a reasonable level.
Paladins and shadowknights get most of the skills of a warrior they simply get them at later levels. Noticeably missing is kick and duel wield. Rather than being able to kick paladins/shadowknights will have to rely on bash. This is not a big deal to a shadowknight who will likely be an ogre or troll and will be able to slam and use a two handed weapon. It is a big deal for a paladin however whose special weapons are one handed and will need to rely on a shield in order to bash.
Rangers get most of the abilities of a warrior just a bit later. Noticeably absent is the bash skill and the fact that you will not gain double attack until level 20(though you do get duel wield at 15).
Rogues are next in line and are the true wild card melee wise. They have most of the skills of a warrior. They even get some of the skills before a warrior(such as disarm). Rogues will not be able to duel wield as large a variety of weapons as a warrior or a ranger however. The trump card of a rogue however is the backstab skill. Backstab may not be very useful when soloing but it is a great extra attack in a group. Not only can it act as an instant taunt to get the monster off of your comrades but it will also do a ton of damage if succesful. It is the highest damage extra attack in the game(edging out the flying kick of the monks).
Lastly we will cover bards. Bards are the weakest of the hybrid classes when it comes to melee. Bards do not get kick or bash. They do gain duel wield but do not gain double attack. They also do not gain parry, riposte, or disarm.
Healing is one of the most important abilities in the game. Healing allows you to not only reduce downtime but also to increase your efficiency in a battle. Healers can double, triple even quadruple and more the amount of damage a player can take during the course of a battle. This is very important at higher levels when monsters hit extremely hard and have an insane number of hit points.
When it comes to healing clerics are first and foremost number one. Not only are their healing spells efficient than the same spell when cast by another class type but they also have the two most powerful healing spells in the game exclusively. These being superior heal(which heals roughly 650 hit points) and complete heal(which will completely heal any player). You will not get these spells until level 34 and 39 respectively but they are incredibly useful(though they may not be the most mana efficient way to do things when you first get them depending on who is your tank). Clerics also get group heal spells which aren't very useful in most situations but can be useful when fighting monsters who cast area effect spells.
Next in line would have to be druids and shamans who gain all the way up to the greater heal spell(at level 29). While their greater heal is not as mana efficient as a clerics it still is very useful and will allow them to fill in as a cleric in many groups if a cleric is not available. Another very useful spell is regeneration and pack regeneration(which is a group regeneration).
The next class would have to be a paladin. Not only do paladins have the ability to lay hands(which heals nearly 1000 even at level 1) once per game day but they also gain all the way up to the greater heal spell(at level 49). The problem is that they get their heal spells later than druids and shamans and also have much less mana and fizzle considerably more.
A good distance behind paladins are rangers. Rangers never can cast beyond the heal spell(which they gain at level 39) and generally are not all that useful healing wise during the middle of a fight. They can be quite useful however in reducing downtime.
Bards should be mentioned in the same breath as rangers. Bards healing is more of a regeneration spell. It is not incredibly useful in fight but it is great when resting to reduce downtime and will save the other healers in the group from having to waste their mana.
Way in the back of the pack are the necromancers and even further back the shadowknights. Their spells can be very useful when soloing as they are lifetap style spells which not only heal the caster but damage the target. The only heal spell which they can cast on others(besides their pets) is the dark empathy spell which will heal your target but will damage yourself.
Buffing spells are an important part of the game. Buffing spells last for a pretty long period of time and can add to a players armor class and hit points. It is important to note that all mage types also receive buffing spells however their buffs can only be cast on themselves and will not be discussed other than to mention that they do exist(in the form of shielding spells).
Clerics are the kings of buffs. They have three(and in essence four with the guard spell) lines of spells. One is the courage line of spells which adds considerable armor and hit points. The second is the holy armor line of spells which adds armor class. Third is the symbol line of spells which adds hit points but requires a material component.
Shamans and druids also get their own buffing spells which can compete with the clerics somewhat but are not as mana efficient. They also only have two different lines of buffing spells rather than the three(or four) that a cleric posesses. Druids second line of spells is an armor class and thorn spell which can only be cast on themselves.
Paladins follow the mix with their ability to cast all three of the cleric lines of buffing spells. The weakness is that they gain the spells much later than clerics and have less mana to cast them with. They are not incredibly useful if there is a cleric, shaman or druid in the group but can be great if there is not or if you are soloing.
Enchanters can buff with the haze line of buffing spells. These spells are not as powerful as those of priest types but they are great if there is no other buffer around.
Rangers can cast druid buffing spells although as with paladins they get the spells quite late.
Last but not least is the necromancer. This might be surprising to some but necromancers can cast spirit armor which is the level 19 cleric armor class buffing spell and they get it at a very early level 20.
Stat Increasing Spells
Stat increasing spells allow you to enhance some of your ability scores such as strength, intelligence etc. These spells can be quite useful if used in the proper situations.
Bards have the ability to boost certain stats for their entire party at once which makes them a contender in this category. The problem is that bards can only sing one song at a time(though they can cycle between the one they sing fast enough to keep a couple effects going on at once) and they will often be better suited to sing other songs in a group.
Shamans are the kind of stat increasing spells. They can increase every statistic a player has with the exception of intelligence and wisdom. It was deemed that intelligence and wisdom boosting spells could toy with the mana balance in the game and they were left out. Not only can shamans increase other players ability scores but they can do so at early levels which makes them a desired member in a party.
Clerics, druids and enchanters can enhance a players stats but they are way behind a shaman. Generally they can only increase a small number of stats usually strength. All of these spells are different. Enchanters probably are the most useful being able to not only increase a players strength but also render him invulnerable at the same time.
Enchanters have several stat increasing spells such as berserker strength which not only grants strength(in exchange for agility) but also makes a player invulnerable for a brief period of time.
Necromancers can also cast a strengthen spell on other players and both necros shadowknights can cast siphon strength which not only strengthens themselves but weakens their target. Rangers get feet like cat at level 15 which will increase the agility score and strength of earth at level 30 which will increase strength which grants them a bit of added usefulness.
Damage shields can be a quite useful bonus in Everquest. These spells will do damage to any monster that does damages to you. Generally the monster will hit you for quite a bit more than the damage shield will hit back but it adds up. The weakness of these spells is the generally short duration. Rangers and druids get a special line of damage shields which add armor class and do a very minor amount of damage which have a long duration. Problem with that line of ranger and druid spells is they can only be cast on yourself.
Druids and magicians are the kings of damage shields. Their damage shields can be cast on others and do a pretty good amount of damage. They can also be stacked which allows you to add them all up to do extra damage to a beast.
Rangers can also cast damage shields though they get them much later than their druid counterparts. A side note is that a rangers damage shields are much more useful when cast on themselves than a druid casting them on himself. This is because rangers can absorb more punishment and wear better armor than a druid thus allowing them to fight longer and do more damage.
Necromancers and shadowknights(though much later) can also cast damage shields but they can only be cast on their person.
Damage Absorbing Spells
Damage absorbing spells are a different twist. These spells will absorb a certain amount of damage rendering the caster invulnerable. The problem is that these spells generally can only be cast on yourself. All pure mage types get damage absorbing spells(in the form of leatherskin style spells) but with the exception of the enchanter they are self use only.
Enchanters are thus the kings of damage absorbing spells. Beginning with the level 16 Rune I spells and growing from there(next in line is the level 24 Rune II spell). The problem with these spells are that they require a component and can thus get expensive if you use them often. I recall a time when Talyanya the high enchantress blew somewhere near 50pp in one night of adventure in lower guk.
The only other class that can cast a damage absorbing spell on others is the cleric class and they don't receive it until level 49. In actuality the word of divine spell is not a damage absorbing spell(which absorbs x amount of damage and then expires) it is an invulnerability spell which renders every member of the party invulnerable for a short period of time and can only be cast once per 15 minutes.
Necros, wizards and magicians can cast damage absorbing shields but they can only cast these spells on themselves.
Direct Damage Spells
Direct damage spells do direct damage to one target. They are the bread and butter of offensive spells for most classes. There are also direct damage spells which only affect certain monsters(such as undead) which will be discussed in the next chapter.
Wizards are the kings of direct damage though this will not become readily apparent until higher levels. At early levels wizard damage spells are similar to all other mage types and also druids. This discourages many a young wizard into abandoning the class. However wizards don't begin to peak until level 20 when they receive Force Shock the first of their high powered direct damage spells. Things only get better from there and at level 50 you will be dishing out well over 1000 points of damage with your DD spells.
Druids and magicians are next in line when it comes to dishing out direct damage. Magicians spells generally do a bit more damage while druid spells are more mana efficient. However the edge here might have to go to magicians when you consider that most magicians will have a higher intelligence than druids will have wisdom thus equaling more mana.
Shamans and enchanters can also dish direct damage though they are quite a ways behind druids and magicians in most instances. There are periods of time during certain levels(for example between level 34-39) when a shaman can outdamage the aforementioned druids and magicians when those classes are waiting for their next spell in line. Shamans generally are more DD efficient than enchanters.
Clerics are the weakest direct damage class in the game. An argument can definately be made that their efficiency with special case monsters(see below) can make up for this somewhat. However cleric spells are usually high damage high mana consumption spells with a poor dmg:mana ratio.
Bards can dish direct damage though they really never will. It can be useful when soloing as an additional attack but bards should rarely be soloing and in a group their songs are better used for other purposes.
Rangers can also cast direct damage spells though they are casting old spells and have low mana and their mana should be saved for healing, buffing and damage shields.
Direct Damage - Special Monsters
This category of spells encompasses being able to cast DD spells on special case monsters. These fall into two categories undead and summoned. Undead requires no explanation summoned however might. Summoned monsters include elements and are much less common than undead though in the elemental planes they will be plentiful.
Clerics reign supreme when it comes to direct damage attacks on special foes because they can damage both types. Clerics mana:dmg efficiency on undead beasts is matched only by high level wizards. Wizard spells do have a shorter recast time and more mana than a cleric allowing them to actually outdamage a cleric in most circumstances post level 24 however clerics will maintain an edge over other classes. Clerics also get the ward summoned line of spells starting at level 19 and culminating with the level 49 expel summoned. While druids still mantain an edge over them versus summoned opponents it keeps clerics competitive with other classes versus these beasts.
Druids have to rank second because of their ability to cast spells versus summoned foes. They are the only class which can cast banish summoned.
It can be argued that necromancers should actually rank above druids in this field but I will stick with druids. Necromancers get all of the undead DD spells that a cleric receives but they get them one circle later. The argument could be made this is more useful than a druid because undead are more plentiful. However at higher levels if a druid wanted to stick to summoned beasts he could move to an elemental plane.
Magicians also gain spells versus summoned foes though they generally get them very late. They do not receive ward summoned until level 16 where a druid gains the spell at level 5.
Each of the hyrbids can cast special damage spells. Hyrbid special DD spells are received a bit later than a true caster but are still quite useful(especially for fetching or finishing runners). Both paladins and shadowknights receive spells versus undead all the way up to the level 49 dismiss. Paladins generally get them one circle earlier however. Rangers have spells verus summoned but they only have two ward and then dismiss. They get dismiss at level 39 which is 10 levels earlier than the paladin or SK special DD spells. However they miss out on the expulse variant of the spell which might hurt them in middle levels. It probably will not however as there are not many level 25-39 elements running around.
Damage Over Time
Damage over time spells often have a very efficient damage:mana ratio but it will take time to kick in. These spells generally do x amout of damage per round(6 seconds). The problem is that it will take a couple of minutes to get the full damage out of the spell. This is the bread and butter of necromancer damage spells.
Necromancers are the masters of DoT spells. They receive a couple of different lines of DoT spells which can be stacked with one another and they receive both of them by level 12. These being the clinging darkness line of spells and the heat blood line of spells. When stacked together you will be doing a lot of damage every round while your pet tanks the mob. You can also stack the disease cloud spells with these for even more damage(though not much more).
Shamans and druids also receive DoT spells though they are not as effective as a necromancers. However these classes can cast spirit of the wolf and when combining SoTW and DoT you can take down monsters with little effort or danger(though it may be quite boring and is considered cheesy).
Enchanters also receive DoT spells beginning at level 1 with the choke spell. They are the enchanters most effective offensive spells for efficiency.
Shadowknights and rangers also receive DoT spells. Rangers only receive one the level 30 stinging swarm which druids receive at level 14. Shadowknights however get several different spells which can be stacked. At level 9 they receive disease cloud(not all that useful but it helps). They receive the clinging->engulfing darkness spells at level 15/22 respectively. However things don't really get rolling until heat blood at level 30 which can be stacked with engulfing darkness to maximize damage. Shadowknights receive their final DoT spell with the level 39 heart flutter(which also reduces strength and armor class).
Area Effect Damage Spells
Area effect damage spells can be useful when fighting several foes at a time. An area effect spell can damage several opponents at once. There are three types of AE spells. First is the personal based area affect spell(PBAE) which centers around the caster. This can be useful for clerics and shadowknights as they might be able to absorb the damage of the beasts around them(and it acts as an AE taunt spell). The second is area effect target spells which will do damage to everything around the target including the caster. The last is the rain spells. These spells do three rounds of damage and should be cast on your tank. It will damage all of the monsters surrounding him but will also make them really want to kill you if you aren't careful.
Wizards are the kings of area effect spells. Not only do they sport(and also PBAE spells though I don't suggest using them) the most damage:mana efficient rain spells but they also come in several flavors. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of fire/cold/magic based attacks which can do a good amount of damage to different types of monsters. For example you aren't going to do much damage to a fire element with a fire based attack.
Magicians can also cast some quite good area effect spells. They have both PBAE and rain spells which come in several varieties of damage types. They are probably second to wizards in this area.
Druids excel at outdoor area effect spells. They can cast both the tremor->earthquake line of spells which are person based and can damage a very wide area(though aren't very mana efficent) as well as the lightning based area effect spells which center around the target. The weakness of druids area effect spells is that they are outdoor specific.
Necromancers and clerics can cast person based AE spells from the word of pain->shadow line of spells. These spells will damage everything around you and have a decent ratio(though not enough to kill a blue at higher levels alone) but will turn all of the monsters targetted against you which may not be a good idea especially if you are a necromancer. This can be quite useful however if you have 2 clerics or necros both casting these spells as you will be able to eliminate several foes at once.
Rangers get the druids lightning based attacks though much later. They have the same advantages and disadvantages of the druids AE spells however having less mana they are more of a parlor trick than anything else.
Bards also get area effect damage spells though you will rarely use them beyond the early levels.
Last and least are the shadowknights. At level 49 they receive word of shadow a level 19 cleric and level 20 necromancer spell. It is a PBAE and the damage is not a whole lot at this level. It can be useful for taunting monsters however and is the only spell which shadowknights ever get that can do direct damage(even if it is area effect direct damage) to non-undead enemies.
Teleportation spells can drastically reduce a players travel time. All pure casters(priest and mage types) can both bind affinity and cast gate. The combination of these two allow you to change where you will spawn after you die and then gate back to that point. Wizards and druids get extra travel spells which allow them to teleport themselves or their entire party to one of a number of locations.
Wizards are the masters of this arena. Wizard teleport locations are generally safer than druids which can teleport you into the middle of trouble from time to time. Wizards are also able to teleport into the alternate planes of existance and are the only class which is able to do so.
Charm spells allow you to charm another being and use them as a pet. Charm spells can be quite unpredictable as animals will not like you trying to charm them if you fail and the unpredictable duration is further complicated by these animals breaking charm and attacking you.
Enchanters as you might suspect are the lords of this domain. They are the only class which can charm a wide variety of monsters.
Bards at level 27 get a charm song. They can charm two mobs and force them to fight each other.
Druids can charm animals and force them to serve as pets. The problem is that there aren't many level 30+ animals to be charmed with the exception of griffons and there are not many animals in indoor zones (save wolves in permafrost).
Necromancers can charm undead and force them to serve their will.
Summoning spells are defined here as any spell which summons a pet to server your will. We are not including summoning food/drink or weapons in this category.
Magicians are arguably the best in this field. While necromancers can also summon pets of equal strength magicians have a choice of several different types of pets(water, earth, fire and air) which each has it's own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Necromancers and shadowknights can summon undead skeletons to do their dirty work for them. Necromancers are much more useful in this field as their pets are much tougher than their shadowknight brothers. Shadowknight pets however are simply an added extra for an already potent class where necromancers require their pets to allow them to get off their DoT spells and for their DoT spells to take full effect.
Enchanters can create illusionary pets with the Pendril's Animation line of spells. Enchanter pets are not as effective as a magicians or a necromancers but they add on to the class and are a welcome addition.
For the sake of this editorial we will consider utility spells to be anything that is not a damage or a defensive spell but does something a bit different. It is a very wide topic and I will attempt to explain what most classes can do in this respect.
Druids and shamans have perhaps the widest range of utility spells. Spirit of the Wolf(which allows you to travel faster in outdoor zones) is probably the most well known and liked of these spells. Enduring breath will allow you to breath underwater and can be quite useful when rooted underwater or if you wish to travel to one of the underwater adventure locations. Winged courier allows you to transfer an item to a player far away and spirit pouch(shaman only) allows you to summon a special container which will reduce weight in items. Druids and shamans can also cure the various afflictions which you will receive over time(disease, blindness, poison, etc) and can cast invisibility and levitation spells.
Enchanters also have several types of utility spells. Probably the best of their spells are the quickness line of spells which will increase a players attack speed. Enchanters are also great in the way of debuffing spells such as Tashan which will lower their opponents magic resistance.
Magicians have their own style of utility spells. Magicians can summon just about anything you would ever need including bandages, food/drink and weapons. Magicians also can summon magical pouches and cast invisibility.
Enchanters also have their own blend of utility spells. Enchanters can cast mesmerize and AE mesmerize spells which can calm monsters and prevent them from attacking. Enchanters can also cast illusion spells which will grant them access to areas previously unreachable by appearing to be a race which they are not. Add to this invisibility, confusion and all sorts of other "mess with you" spells and the enchanters are a very useful addition to a group.
Necromancers can cast an area effect weaken spell which can be somewhat useful as well as fear spells. To help themselves they can also feign death and cast invisibility/see invisibility and infravision.
Wizard utility spells include invisibility and scout spells. The scouting spells include the popular eye of zomm which creates a controllable eye which can be used to peek into unscouted terrain and the bind sight spell which allows you to see through someone elses eyes.
Clerics and paladins can cast invisibility versus undead, fear and calming spells. Calming spells allows you to avoid conflicts with otherwise aggressive monsters. Fear spells are also useful if you are outnumbered and clerics even gain an area effect fear spell at level 24.
Rangers can cast invisibility(outdoor at level 15 and indoor at level 49), spirit of the wolf, root and water breathing spells.
Shadowknights also sport a few utility spells including an AE weaken spell and invisibility versus undead. They can render themselves invisible and grant themselves the ability to see invisibility and infravision.
Bards are the most effective class when it comes to group utility spells. They can grant the entire group a spell similar to spirit of the wolf, water breathing and invisibility as well as casting area effect calm spells on their opponents.
We that we have covered the spells in the game it's time to cover special skills available to different classes.
Paladins have perhaps the best class specific skill in lay hands. This ability can only be used once per game day(about every hour and a half) but will heal close to 1000 hit points even at level 1. This is a life saver.
Shadowknights have the harm touch skill which is the exact opposite of lay hands though not near as effective. Where lay hands heals damage harm touch causes it. It will do (level*10)+1 damage when used. This means it will do 11 damage at level 1 and 501 damage at level 50. Like lay hands it can only be used once per day. The main problem with this skill is that it can be resisted as a spell and it often doesn't do full damage.
Forage is a skill gained by rangers, druids and bards. This skill will allow you to scrounge up food and water and will reduce the amount of money spent on food and prevent you from having to make food runs.
Tracking is gained by rangers at level 1, druids at level 20 and bards at level 35. This is an incredibly useful skill as it allows you to not only track down monsters in outdoor zones but also to discover if monsters have spawned in indoor zones. This skill is almost a neccessity for finding rare npc's in outdoor zones.
Instill doubt is a skill gained by rogues and bards. It is a skill based fear spell which will cause your opponent to turn and flee.
Safe fall is a skill that rogues, monks and bards will gain. It will prevent you from taking damage when falling from great distances if succesful.
Hide and sneak are gained by monks, bards and rogues and can be used together as a skill based invisibility spell. Sneak will cause you to move slowly and hide will only work if you are standing still. They are not the most effective way to go around it but they do work and are better to have than not have.
Apply poison and create poison are rogue specific skills which when working will allow you to create a poison and poison blades to do a DoT damage to your opponents.
The rogue skills of sense and disarm traps can be used to find traps and remove them. There are some deadly traps in the game and these can help in exploring new areas though traps are few and far between in Everquest.
Pick locks can be useful if you are stuck in a dangerous place behind a locked door. It is gained by rogues and bards.
Alchemy is a special skill available to shamans which will allow them to create potions which can be passed out to party members.
Last but not least pick pocket will allow rogues to steal from their target. Beware this can result in being attacked if caught and will lower your faction with the friends of the victim.
All Is Not Well...
Now that we have covered what each class can do let's talk about what they can't do.
Warriors can both dish and absorb punishment. The upside is that in a group they will always be fighting and a part of the action. The weakness is that there isn't much variety in being a warrior. Your battles will consist of nothing more than hitting the kick or slam button and occasionally taunt. After you receive dual wield and double attack at level 15 there isn't much to look forward to from that point on. You do receive riposte at level 25 and disarm at level 35 and they are nice additions, but they aren't much to strive after. Warriors find themselves relying on their party members more than anyone else. It is your job to stand there and take the punishment and you will need to have faith that your healers will heal you before you die. Finally having a lot of hit points can be a curse as well. You will not be able to solo very effectively at higher levels unless you don't mind resting for 30+ minutes after a fight while regaining your hit points.
Monks have enough extras to keep them a bit more interesting than warriors. You can sneak and feign death which might save your life a time or two. Perhaps most importantly is the mend wound skill which can heal you during combat(but it can only be used every 5-10 minutes which makes it a one shot per fight type of deal). Monks can dish a whole lot of damage however they can't take as much as a warrior. There aren't many items which you can use and your human eyes can be a weakness(monks can only be human). The lack of armor will become more apparent at higher levels and a level 10 monk will look much like a level 40 monk. There is of course the level 50ish green platemail armor that monks can in fact wear but you will not receive it until you are very high level.
Rogues can make a very fun class for the right type of player. They have many special skills which prevent them from becoming as monotonaus as a warrior although some of these skills will not be used very often. In traditional pen and paper RPG's the sense/disarm traps and pick locks were very effective tactics. In Everquest they can be used but you will find very few circumstances where you can use them. Pick pockets is great as you can actually steal keys off NPC's(since picking locks is not as effective as many rogues would like) and you can lace your pockets with gold. However around level 30 you will find that you have all the equipment that you need and can buy and that extra money will largely go unused. Another problem with being a rogue is that you will not be liked very well by many NPC's and a lot of them will refuse to deal with you.
Bards are a great class in a group. They are the only class which can cast a wide variety of spells which can enhance every member of your party. The weakness in bards is primarily the same as their strength. They are great in a GROUP. Bards suffer a fierce experience penalty when soloing and most of their spells are most useful in a group. If you love to group then a bard might be the right solution for you as they can do so many different things casting spells, using rogue skills and being a decent fighter who can use most items. If you plan on doing a lot of soloing bards might not be the best choice unless you want to level slowly.
Rangers are an excellent class for both soloing and grouping. Rangers can fill in as a warrior and can also cast healing and buffing spells on themselves and others which will reduce downtime when soloing or in groups without a priest. Tracking will give them a leg up on finding the rare npc's who carry some of the most powerful magic items in the game and will also make it easy to find targets in outdoor zones. The inability to use most platemail armor will rear it's head during the late 20's to high 30's until you are able to get a hold of rubicite or green splinted platemail. Your offensive spells are by and large useless because they do not do much damage and will suck a lot of your mana.
Paladins make a great class at higher levels. They can heal, buff and damage undead. The holy paladin swords are very powerful and they can use a wide variety of items. Be prepared for a long hard trek if you choose a paladin. Other than the ability to lay hands they are nothing more than a weak warrior without kick for the first 9 levels. Up to level 20 they are still quite underpowered. If you wish to use an extra attack you will have to wield a shield as bash requires it(and you never receive duel wield). With the exception of lesser heal(level 15) your spells will be underpowered at lower levels and you won't be able to double attack until level 20.
Druids are one of the best solo classes in the game. The ability to track coupled with their strong outdoor spells allow them to be the king of outdoor soloers along with high level wizards. Group teleport and healing spells insure that you will be desired in most classes indoor or outdoor. The weakness of druids doesn't really begin to show until around level 30. Druids can only wear leather type armor and cannot wear mage type armor. This means that you will not be able to stand toe to toe at higher levels and take advantage of your damage spells or limited melee ability. What it means is that at higher levels mage types might actually have a higher armor class than druids. The other weakness is that they will often become healers in groups without a cleric which means medding during battle which canbe quite boring.
Shamans are one of the most loved group classes but they can also solo with high efficiency. They are loved for their utility spells and they can use up to chainmail type armor and some high level magical platemail. The weakness in the class is that their heal spells end with greater heal and that their utility spells will be in high demands which will equal out to a lot of meditating at high levels. Their offensive spells are decent but are not the most effective in the game which means you will have to turn into the healer in many parties which will mean a lot of meditating during the battle.
Clerics are a powerful class that is always in demand. They are mighty undead destroyers who also happen to have the best healing and buffing spells in the game. By soloing undead clerics can often powerlevel through the early levels and by having the ability to wear platemail they are a favorite choice of many beginning players. Be warned however their strengths are also the same factors which make them a boring class at higher levels. Because you are the best healers in the game you will be expected to meditate during fights to heal the tanks so they can fight the toughest possible monsters. This means that you will do very little fighting after level 30 and will basically become a first aid kit for the rest of the party to carry around.
Wizards are probably the most viable solo class at higher levels. They are also in much demand by parties looking to take on powerful challenges. Their group teleport spells can help a party escape from sure death situations and their sight spells can help scout out new locations. However being a wizard is a long hard road. At low levels wizards are probably the weakest of all classes and you may find yourself shunned at early levels. You can kill monsters quickly but it will blow all your mana and you will be forced to sit and meditate. When you are sitting and meditating you are very vulnerable. Wizards like most mage types have low hit points and you will not have a pet to guard you. Some wizards also complain that being a wizard can be very repetitous root and nuke then med and do it over again. Nonetheless they are quite powerful and should not be overlooked.
Enchanters are the masters of illusion and confusion spells. They are not a great solo class but are highly sought after in a group. They are also one of the more interesting classes in the game as they can do so many unique things. Charm is also a useful(albeit dangerous) tool. Weaknesses are their low damage DD spells, the fact that their spells are resisted more than other classes, and the fact that they are most effective in a group.
Necromancers are one of the strongest classes in the game. They are also one of the most difficult to play. You will find very few NPC's who will deal with you and this will cut you off from some of the more interesting quests in the game. You also don't have much in the way of direct damage. You will need to rely on your pet or a tank so you can get off your damage over time spells and slowly eat away at your opponent. That having been said your pets are quite powerful and you have a wider variety of spell types than most other classes perhaps only matched by druids.
Magicians are another interesting class. They have several different types of pets and can summon many different items. They are useful to lower level parties whose tanks may not have magical weapons. You can also summon bandages which can be used to practice the semi useful bind wound skill and save your healers mana. Weaknesses of the class is that you will never be able to match damage with a wizard and the fact that buying 4 new elemental summoning spells every level can get quite expensive.
We have gone in this guide over the positive and negative side of all of the classes in the game. I'd like to be able to tell you which class and race to choose right off the bat but in a game such as Everquest this is impossible. There are so many great options that it purely depends on your playing style. Hopefully this editorial will help you ease the decision making process and more importantly will let you know of some weaknesses your class may experience at higher levels. There is nothing worse than dedicated a large amount of time to a class only to discover that you dislike what it can do at higher levels and want to play a different one.