So you want to be a Troll Shadow Knight? So you want to be the most hated class/race combo in the game? So you want to level the slowest, loose the most XP when you die, be KoS in virtually every zone in existence, have vendors refuse to sell to you, have the most limited bind spots of any class and kick more ass then any two classes put together? Then read on young apprentice.
I am Troll, I am Shadow Knight. Trolls by themselves are very powerful. Strong, great stamina, good dex, slam and regeneration. Shadow Knights by themselves are very powerful. Harm Touch, taps, DOTís, good melee skills, reverse kiting and pets. Put the two together and you have a very formidable character.
The main problem with TSKís is that they are so hard to play, and so few people have the conviction to play them above level 20. They simply give up and start Druids or Necros. But I refuse to give up. I am darkness, and I crush everything in my path. To be a TSK you must play smart. You must know what you are, but more importantly, know what you are not.
You are not a flat out warrior, nor are you a caster. You are a hybrid. You are the bastard child of two professions. But you are superior to them as well. To play your TSK you must never go head to head, toe to toe with you foe. You are not a warrior. Weaken them, DoT them, sicken them and fear them. Use your mana, that is what its there for. Use you pet. Sure it sucks for the level you get it, but it can buy you a few seconds to cast a spell, give you a few seconds head start if you need to run, assist you as a DoT during your combat or take the first brutal attack from an enemy you are about to engage. Being a TSK is all about using all your abilities to your advantage. Taken in part you are weak and ineffective, but used properly as a whole and taking advantage of all your skills, you are a destroyer.
You are an evil race/class, so play it that way. Faction will be hard if not impossible to raise with the good cites, so donít bother, you donít need them for anything. Grobb, Neriak, Ogguk and the Evil Outpost in Kunark will provide for all your needs. The only thing you will need the good cities for is to kill their guards and NPCís. You will never freely enter Freeport, Qeynos, High Pass, Rivervale, Halas, Erudin, anything on Faydwer and anything on Kunark except the Evil Outpost in Overthere. Learn to love it, kill everything you see. Donít try to raise your faction, you will only frustrate yourself. Especially since you will see that every other class/race combo in the game except you will be able to get their faction up enough to go where ever they want. Verant has a pole up its ass for TSKís, and they shoved it right into your heart. Prepare to play the hardest character to play in the game, love it, excel at it and shove it in their face that you can take their best NERF and love it.
Level 1-9. You will start your life in the swamp. It is your home, and you will always come back to it. It will always be there for you as well. Initially you are nothing more then a warrior without kick. Deal with it. Go to your guild master Hukulk and give him the note, you will get a tunic and some XP. Then run out into the swamp and kill decayed skeletons. Stick close to the guards, but not so close that they steal your kills. Once you have 4 bone chips, go back into the Shadow Knight guild and give them to Hukulk. He will give you some XP and a rusty 2 handed sword. Use this sword, master it. MASTER IT!! The 2 Handed sword will be what you live and die by. Once you have you 2H slash maxed for your level, then work on 1H slash and blunt. Kill everything that cons blue or white. There is no need to travel deep into the swamp to find things to hunt. You will never really need to get out of site of the guards. Watch out for the good NPCís that wander around. Remember their names if you see them, so you can hunt them down and kill them later. As you move up in levels you will start hunting closer and closer to Guk killing Frogloks of all sorts. As you move past level 7, you will find a small tower just North West of Guk. Hunting there will get you lots of good Skeletons and Kobold Hunters. Stay in this area until you reach the magic level 9. Now you will have spells. Go buy them and memorize them. Now you will want to cast your spells over and over again. Cast them on yourself and on other creatures that people are fighting. Max your skills out as soon as you can. Now you wonít have enough mana to cast some of the spells until you are at level 12 or so, but that is ok. Practice all you can and continue killing skeletons and other creatures. By now you should be level 10 and have a good amount of cloth armor and maybe even some leather pieces.
Level 10-13. Leave the swamp that has been your home for so long and go to South Ro. Here you will fight Orcs. Try to get into small groups with other Trolls and kill as may as you can. You might be able to start here in South Ro before level 10 but it could be risky. Save your coins now. You will want to start investing in full leather or chain mail. These 3 levels will go by quickly. Try to buy as much equipment as you can off of higher level characters that donít need it any more. You can get some good deals that way. NEVER EVER BEG! YOU ARE A KNIGHT AND IT IS BENEATH YOU!!
As an alternative you can go to Nektulos Forest and hunt the scummy little Halflings there. The only problem with this is that you will receive bad faction hits with the good cities, but you shouldnít care. They deserve to die anyway for looking so small and stupid. The Dark Elf guards will not harm you, and you can use their city, bank, buy and sell, protection, Etc. You can even get a bind there.
Level 14-15. If you fell brave, you can travel to the Gnoll side of High Pass. The common drop off these Gnolls will be large chain mail. In a few hours you can collect a full set with pieces to spare or sell. Armor sells for 1 plat per AC point if itís non-magic. You might even get a bronze weapon off one if you have not bought something even better off a player. The journey to this side of High Pass is VERY difficult for you at this level. You might be able to get a Teleport to East Karana and run there, or you might try the arduous journey through Feerrott, Lake Rath, Rath Mts., South Karana, North Karana, East Karana and into High Pass. But that is exceedingly dangerous. Prepare to die a lot! But you have locate corpse, and you are a TSK. You will prevail and live to kill your enemy.
If you are not so bold and want to play it a little safer, you can go straight to Oasis of Marr and start hunting Caimans with a group or get into a Orc crossing group. The Caiman, Crocs, DW Caiman and DW Crocs provide GREAT XP. You can solo easily blues and white, even some yellows. If you choose to fight Orcs with a group the XP will come FAST. The problem is, things can get out of hand fast too. Overpulls, trains, undead agros and Sand Giants can ruin your day. Get used to using locate corpse on both you and your group mates. The good news is that you will get lots of bronze weapons and leather armor. That which you donít use can be sold only a few steps away at the gypsy camps. You will make a lot of coin here. As you reach level 15 you will get new spells. Buy them and max them out like you did the level 9 spells. You get some great spells here, make sure that you use them.
Level 16-19. Here you need to be at the Oasis of Marr. Solo All manner of Caiman and Crocs. Get in Orc groups and KILL KILL KILL. You should have saved up enough coin to have bought some Bronze armor at auction and at the very least have bought a full set of chain (If you didnít kill Gnolls for it). You should at the very least have a bronze long sword and 2 handed sword. You might even have bought or had given to you a Fine Steel weapon or something magic. Stay here and kill. Then kill some more. Here you will master the art of reverse kiting. Create a pet, then sit and med up to full mana. If you give your pet a rusty dagger or spear it will hit very quickly and be a big help. When your mana is full, cast Darkness on your target, cast it till it sticks. Start to melee. Cast Str drain, disease and then fear. Cast fear until it sticks. The beast will now run from you, since it has darkness on it the movement will be very slow. You and your pet will happily chase behind it hacking away. As your fear and DoTs were off, recast them. Proceed until you are oom (out of mana) and then finish off melee. Keep you eyes out for Giants and other nasties and you will be ok. If you need to, cast Shadow Step and bolt for a zone or to characters willing to help you. If you become a master at this you will have an excellent career ahead of you as a soloist. Only a select few classes can efficiently solo, and you are one of the best at it.
Level 20-23. You have many options here. You damage cap is gone and you have double attack now. The world is your play toy. You should get a bind in Neriak and start hunting in Najena with a group. You can start camping the Ogre Capt. for Large Bronze armor and Bonecracker for his whip and other goodies. A full group 20-23 will have no problem here if you play it smart.
You can also go to the Orc side of High Pass. Get a bind there at the zone and get into an Orc group. The action here will be fast and furious. Trains and over pulls will be common. It is a blast. You might get lucky and kill one of the named orcs. He Drops the Shiny Brass Halberd. This is an excellent weapon for this level. You will hit like a Mack truck with it. The problem here is that you will never be able to enter High Pass after where the orcs spawn, so in order to sell or bank you will need to run to Neriak. This is not bad, it should only take 15 min each way. At this point you want to definitely have full or almost full bronze armor and at the very least a Fine Steel weapon. Hopefully you will have a SBH (Shiny Brass Halberd) or something else you bought. Dark Reavers sell for 350-600 plat and you can easily buy one at the Sunday EC (East Common) auctions.
You can also go to Lake Rath and get a bind in the arena. Here you can hunt Aviaks with a group and even solo them. XP for Aviaks is better then Orcs, but the action is slower and I didnít like the loot. You will level very fast in HP (High Pass). At level 22 you get your new spells. The best of which is Vampiric Embrace. This spell acts like a life tap. You cast it on yourself and it procs during battle. This spell should ALWAYS be cast on you, as should Str Drain. Max out you skills with these spells. Each school of casting should always be maxed.
Level 24-28. Can you say South Karana? This is where you must be. Solo Aviaks, Centaurs and Elephants by reverse kiting them. Better yet get into an Outside Paw Gnoll group and watch the XP fly. By now you should have nothing short of full bronze and even some magic armor and a magic weapon. If you get a few pairs of Gnoll Hide Gloves they sell for about 100 plat. Save up and buy a Dark Reaver or something else magic. It is a MUST. You can also get into a Treant group. They give great XP and loot. You can sell at the Centaurs if you need to and all the Gnolls drop Fine Steel weapons. For the first time in your life you will have a good influx of money.
Wrap up and a few things I missed.
1. At level 4 you get slam. This means you can still use a 2 handed sword and get a bash like attack. This is a HUGE plus. At higher levels, if you give your pet a shield and a piercing weapon and you use a good 2 hander and slam, you can effectively stop a caster from casting. No other melee class can do this. You will rock their world. Duel a Wizzy, Mage or Necro and go right at them. They will either melt in front of you, cry like a schoolgirl or gate.
2. Practice all your skills and keep them maxed out. I can not emphasize Sense Heading enough. When you are running from a MOB that is about to rip you apart, you can NOT afford to not know where the zone border is.
3. Be kind to newbie TSKís. Encourage them and teach them. If you have extra armor or weapons that you are not going to use and you donít need to sell then give it to them. Remember how you felt when someone gave you a nice gift. PAY NO ATTENTION TO TWINKS! THEY HAVE EARNED NOTHING! So that is what they deserve.
4. Role-play, role-play, role-play. People will remember you for it. It will earn you many friends.
5. At level 18 or so a great way to make money that only Ogreís and Trolls can really do is to head over to Cazic-Thule with a full load of backpacks. Have arrows (it helps to fletch), water, food, bone chips and spell components. Offer to buy, trade, pick up or be given any Fine Steel Weapons that drop. These things drop off the lizzies like crazy and most of the people in Cazic-Thule get encumbered fast. I remember many a time I left Cazic with 280+ in weight. You creep along at a snails pace, but here is the beauty part of it. Nothing is going to attack you at this level in Feerrott or the swamp, so you can creep your way right up Ogguk where the merchants are indifferent to you, or all the way into Grobb where they are warmly to you (you get more money in Grobb but it takes longer to get there). If you are lucky and pick up a Stein off of a dead Bouncer that someone killed they are +10 or 15 Charisma (this helps you to get a better price for things at the merchants). I would make a couple hundred plat in a few hours on busy nights doing this.
Well here I will leave you to figure the rest out for yourself. If you have made it this far you have achieved the greatest accomplishment in the game. As you reach level 30 and beyond you will find yourself growing more powerful. You are a truly great class, but are on by FAR the most difficult road. You will find that there are only a few TSKís your level or above and as you grow more in level and experience. You will be as rare and wondrous a site as you are powerful. You will be looked upon in awe for your shear size and power. Warriors will envy your damage output. You will be a master tank, great at crowd control, a bar none puller, a MASTER taunter and a force not be reckoned with. You are a Troll Shadow Knight.
TSK Tarew Marr