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Going Solo Guide
Okay, you're anti-social, don't like waiting for other people, are terminally frustrated with watching the mage sit on his tukkas and meditate, or you're just having the bad luck to be on at a time when no one else you know is around, and you want to do something by yourself. (ref)
Well, it isn't going to be easy. Running solo means not having to depend on other people, but it also means you have no one to count on. Get in a little too deep? Fighting a "Risky" blue when his "Gamble" big brother shows up and commences to whale on you? Better be wearing your running shoes, cause you've got no backup.
First and foremost, expect to die. Get used to it, get over it, or don't go out alone. When that train of Elite Gnoll Guardsmen decides to crash the beatdown party you were throwing for that Scrawny Gnoll, and the exit is blocked by that smelly mobile house that calls itself an Ogre, as your health plummets towards negative numbers the only thing you can do is try and find a place where your corpse can be recovered by your soon to be naked and starving self. It's going to happen. Sometimes it's going to happen a few times in a row. Send yourself your condolences, and get on with life. When you play the Lone Wolf, dying is part of the price.
And don't expect to be able to play any class you'd like to. Most class/race combinations are designed for use in a group, and have major Achilles Heels that a soloist just can't afford. Scratch most of the melee classes right off the top and don't even *think* of playing that Halfling Rogue as a solo. To run solo you have to be self-sufficient. This means you have to be able to hold your own against blue cons and typically have some source of healing (with one exception).
The standard solo classes are:
- Bard (Post-18)
- Shaman (Post-50)
- Enchanter (Post-50)
Other Class Options
Trolls are just plain awesome as melee fighters, even the Shaman who is limited to the Blunt weapons can do well, and the Troll healing ability is so high that you don't need anything else. On the downside, everybody hates you, and I mean everybody. Not only will most humanoid NPCs go ballistic as soon as they see you, but PC's don't like you much either, because you're always in the way when they really feel the need to be somewhere on the other side of you. You can expect to take on much tougher opponents than your non-Troll equivalents and win, and you can expect to die regularly when an NPC you didn't see drops the magical equivalent of a tactical nuke on your receding forehead.
Wizards are combat mages. Although lacking any healing talents and being fairly pitiful in Melee, they have more raw magic damage-potential than any other spellcasting class. The best defense is a good offense - if they're dead then what do you need armor for? On the other hand, they level slowly, and staring at the inside of your spellbook while you recover mana gets old, quick. If you normally want to be part of a party, but still want the capability to do *something* on your own, Wizards will work, but they aren't recommended for the dedicated loner.
Shamans aren't as effective in combat magecraft as Wizards, or as good at healing as Clerics, but they are more effective in Melee, and are limited to the hardier races. If you want to have good relations with the NPCs then play a Barbarian, or if you don't care then be a Troll. Save your magic for healing yourself or "nuking" a running opponent.
Clerics aren't generally suited to soloing, but the Dwarven Cleric has AC bonuses for size, a very good strength and stamina, and is capable of working alone. Same as the Shaman, save your mana for healing yourself and finishing off your opposition, or for when things have gotten just a *bit* too hard to handle. The exception is that Clerics in general can do very well against Undead, so if you're stuck with either going solo or logging out, you can always go looking for Dracula as a Cleric.
Monks aren't the best soloists, especially at lower levels (before Mend and Sneak reach Master). All kinds of things work against you: your Mend skill sometimes seems as likely to hurt you as help you (and always at *just* the wrong time), you lack any way of quickly finishing a running opponent, and you wind up leaving a lot of loot behind because every pound you pick up can drop your AC. In fact, lower-level Monks as soloists would be hopeless except for one thing: Your equipment is entirely disposable. If you die in a place where your corpse is too dangerous to get back to, then leave it. You don't need it much, anyway, because cloth and bits of leather aren't that much of an improvement over your bare-naked AC. Even with leaving heavy loot behind, by 10th level you'll find it easy to replace your kit out of your banked cash. Later, with Sneak and Mend at Master and Feign Death at Average, Monks become one of the best classes for soloing.
At all times, your very first priority has to be knowing everything there is to know about the area you hunt. Where things spawn, where they move to, what you can handle and what you can't, and first and foremost, where the exits are. When you're on your last bubble of health, there's no time to waste figuring out where the door is. The most likely time for a soloist to die is right after he gets a new level. This is when you have to move to a new zone, or a new part of your regular one, and the information you need is sometimes purchased with your life.
Next, you have to know what you can fight, and what you can't. Just because something /con's as "Upper Hand" blue doesn't mean you want to fight it. It may have some nasty special attack, or a bad habit of running towards other mobs when it's almost dead and getting help, or it may lie in the patrol route of something you can't handle (or at least, can't handle both at the same time). Needless to say, the way you find these things out is by trying them, and sometimes they turn around and bite. Never go into a fight that you aren't positive you can win if you can avoid it (but you have to do it sometimes, if only to find out if you can). Most especially, /con everything. Just because that kind of creature was an easily handled "Risky" blue last time doesn't mean it isn't a "Gamble" yellow this time that will kill you. A party can afford to get buck fever and take on something a little stronger than it should be, you can't.
Then, you absolutely must know when to turn tail and run. In general, the time to run is while you still can, which even for opponents you can outrun this is at no less than 2 bubbles of health. Get any lower, and you start slowing down, and he'll be tagging you all the way back to the zone line or the guards. Each time he gets you, you'll be a little slower, and he'll have that many more opportunities to nail you before you reach safety. Nothing in this world more frustrating than dying 3 feet short of the zone exit, knowing that if you had just run a few seconds earlier you would have made it. If it is faster than you, reconsider fighting it in the first place. If it is faster and aggressive, reconsider fighting anywhere *near* it. Bravery is for idiots.
So is bad behaviour. No, you can't count on help when you're solo, but it sure is nice to get when you need it. I can't begin to count the number of times I've been in a bad spot, and those nearby have helped me out of it. Sometimes, they did it just to be nice, but more often it was because they knew me, and I had helped them out before.
Things to do
- When you're in good shape, but some guy is crawling past you with a train on his trail, obviously on his last legs, tag something in the train and light out for the exit yourself. Much of the train will often transfer to you, especially if you actually hit whatever you were aiming at. But you were in good shape, and your odds of getting out alive are very good. Sometimes the guy you saved won't even know who did it, or even what happened, but when he does you've made a friend for life.
- When people are playing the "Oiled Piglet Chase", trying to kill off something on its last legs that's running away, and you're not busy, step in and tag it. They *will* notice this, and most will appreciate it.
- When someone is fighting multiple opponents, stop for a second and assess the situation. Is he in good shape? Does he seem to be dishing out enough damage to win against all of them? If the answer is obviously "No", then target something you can handle and take it out. If it is iffy, ask him if he needs help.
- When asked for help that won't cost you much, give it. Somebody wants a bit of food while they look for their corpse? Someone is yelling for help (and is smart enough to say *where* they need it)? They need someone to break trail so they can recover their corpse? Little kindnesses can go a long way. When you're lost, outnumbered, and desperate, they won't always save you, but every time they do everything you put into them is paid off in spades.
- Whatever you do, don't be a jerk. They'll remember that, too. Not only will they not help you when you need it, they may look for opportunities to arrange your death. Something as simple as just not getting out of the way when you're pulling a train may be all it takes. A soloist's life is too often hanging by a thread, and it frequently doesn't take much to push him over.
Last, don't expect to gain great rewards. You'll level more slowly, die more often, and in general just have more trouble than someone in a group. This is simply how it is, and you'll have to get used to it.