EverQuest II Extended Class Choices Guide



EverQuest II Extended Class Choices Guide by Gralthak

Class – Some people got it, some don’t…

Help choosing a class is probably the single most common topic posted by new folks here in the forum.  With twenty four classes and eighteen races to choose from it can be a little overwhelming to someone without any experience in the game.  We’ll go over each class and what they each bring to the table soon enough, but for now we’ll cover some basic information regarding the classes that might help you make your decision.

The first thing to know is that all of the twenty four classes all fall into one of four general categories.  Any class in this category can perform the basic functions of that type; any ‘Fighter’ type class can serve as a tank in a group for example.  Continuing with this example while any ‘Fighter’ type can tank some of the classes trade some of their effectiveness at tanking for more utility in other areas.  Again, this isn’t to say that they classes that give up some of their specialization for utility can’t fill the core roles of that type of character, it’s just that the more ‘pure’ a class the better it can do so.  The downside is that the more ‘pure’ a class is the less it is able to do other things.  A good example of this from the ‘Fighter’ type would be the Guardian class and the Bruiser class.  A Guardian is the most pure of the Fighter role, able to tank extremely well and take huge amounts of punishment but not much past that.  A Bruiser on the other hand can still tank, but gives up some of the Guardian’s ability to control monster hate and absorb damage for the ability to do far more damage and perform tricks like healing and feigning death.

The four basic categories of character classes are thus:

Fighter:  Focus primarily on the ability to absorb or avoid damage and control monster hate (who the monster is attacking).  Their ability to do damage is usually fairly low but they can absorb far more punishment than any other type giving the Fighter more time to do damage.  While a Scout or Mage can put forth huge amounts of damage in short periods of time, the Fighter is the marathon runner to their sprint… slow and steady, enjoying the luxury of being able to survive long enough not to have to hurry.

Scout: Deal large amounts of damage, generally physical and close combat in nature.  As a secondary focus many scouts have abilities to hamper the effectiveness of their foes or increase the abilities of the scout’s friends.  While there moderate armor and high agility allow them avoid some hits and absorb a fair amount of damage in general Scouts are unable to survive damage for any significant period of time.  The strength of the Scout lies in being able to kill a foe before it is able to strike back.

Priest: These classes focus on healing and influencing the abilities of friends and foes.  The exact method of healing varies greatly, some classes in this category use magical wards that function like damage preventing shields while others might use reactive spells that heal their target every time it takes damage.  Regardless of how they do it the primary role of a Priest is to keep themselves and their allies alive.  In addition to being able to heal and resurrect their friends the Priest classes also have the ability to significantly improve the abilities of their party or hurt their foes.

Mage: Similar to the Scout the focus of Mage classes is their ability to do huge amounts of damage.  While the Scout does so with a dagger or bow the Mage classes do their damage with the power of magic by summoning up great balls of fire, streams of lightning, or clouds of hideous disease.  Mages are extremely fragile however, unable to sustain even brief periods of assault from their enemies.  To address this the Mage classes have many methods of keeping their foes at arms length so they can rain down ruin with impunity ranging from magically chaining foes to the ground, summoning creatures to guard them, or charming a foe to fight for the Mage.

*All* the classes fall into one of these categories, the differences between each just lies in the specifics of how they accomplish these goals.  When confronted with choosing your character class these categories are a good place to start if you’re confused by the amount of choices.  First try to figure out which broad type of character you want to play and you’ve managed to narrow you choices down to a much more manageable six classes.

Subtype – Breaking it down even further

In each of the categories we discussed above there are three pairings of two classes each.  The two classes in each of these pairing are very similar to each other and usually only vary by their focus on offense or defense.  Continuing with the Fighter examples there is a subtype of Fighter called ‘Warrior’ which contains the classes of Berserker and Guardian.  Both of these classes are very pure examples of the Fighter, able to withstand large amounts of punishment and keep monsters focused on them rather than more fragile members of the players group.  But there is a key difference between them despite how similar to each other they are.  Guardians focus on defense, taking the core tanking ability of a Fighter to highest levels but forgoing almost any other abilities in exchange for unparalleled defense.  Berserks however focus on offense against multiple foes.  They are still able to absorb huge amounts of damage, but they give up a bit of the narrow focus of the Guardian in exchange for the ability to do damage to large numbers of foes at once.  While this damage isn’t near that of any of the Scout or Mage classes the Berserker can stand in the midst of a horde of foes and dish out steady damage to all of them while surviving the wave of attacks.

We’ll break down these subtypes more detailed below:

Fighters subtypes are Warrior, Crusader, and Brawler.

Warrior classes, as discussed above, are the most ‘pure’ of the Fighter types and are able to absorb the most damage but lack much utility past that.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the Warrior classes are walking walls, requiring massive amounts of punishment to put down and able to keep the focus of a monster even when it is being pummeled by his allies.  The Warrior classes are Guardian and Berserker.

Crusaders are a blend of spellcaster and Fighter, while they are able to absorb damage well they are not up to Warrior standards.  They make up for this by gaining magical abilities to heal themselves and their allies as well as damage their foes.  So while a Crusader might not be able to just stand and take the same amount of beating as a Warrior he can heal himself to counter some of the damage he has taken.  The Crusader classes are Shadowknight and Paladin.

Brawlers are skilled martial artists and fill the role of ‘tank’ much differently from the other Fighter types.  While Warriors and Crusaders survive large amounts of punishment by dint of heavy armor and large amounts of hit points the Brawlers take another path.  They forgo the heavy armor of the others for lighter leathers that allow them great mobility.  The focus of a Brawler isn’t being able to take the hit, it instead is avoiding being hit in the first place.  Parrying, dodging, riposting, and blocking a Brawler can dance around a foe and return good damage.  Their weakness is that with their very low levels of armor if their avoidance fails them they will take large amounts of damage.  The Brawler classes are Bruiser and Monk.

Scouts have subtypes of Predator, Rogue, and Bard.

Predators are masters of stealth and damage.  Similar to Warriors discussed above they are probably the most ‘pure’ of the Scout classes in that they focus almost solely on filling the core roles of the scout.  Able to do horrible damage to an enemy in short periods of time they are often more than capable of slaying lesser foes before they can even return attacks.  Predators, however, are fragile and must be careful to use their stealth to their advantage; caught in a straight fight the Predator is unable to weather attacks for long and without the element of stealth lose access to many of their most damaging attacks.  The Predator classes are Assassin and Ranger.

Rogues waylay their foes with attacks to cripple and disorient them as well as being able to do huge amounts of damage.  Able to stun, slow, and otherwise weaken their enemies the Rogues not only inflict damage of their own but leave foes more vulnerable to attacks from the Rogues’ allies as well.  The Rogue classes are Brigand and Swashbuckler.

Bards are radically different from the other two types of Scout.  While still able to do significant amounts of damage the Bard can, more than any other character, greatly improve the performance of his allies or devastate the ability of his foes.  Given the role of making everyone around him look good the Bard classes are often overlooked in favor of more traditional ‘heroic’ roles, but they should never be underestimated.  The addition of a bard of either type to a group can dramatically improve the strength of everyone.  The Bard classes are Dirge and Troubadour.

Priests fall into the subtypes of Cleric, Shaman, and Druid.

Clerics are holy warriors, able to wear heavy armor and strengthen their allies as well as weaken their foes.  They have access to many reactive heals which automatically grant health to an ally whenever they take damage.  With their plate armor and heavy weapons they are also capable surviving reasonable damage and  putting forth a fairly decent offense when outfitted and specialized properly.  The Cleric classes are Inquisitor and Templar.

Shamans are tribal priests and have the ability to heal their friends as well as many abilities to increase their and their allies, utility.  Increasing defense, health, armor, and speed are just some of the abilities that Shaman have access to.  Shamans often heal using powerful wards that prevent a specific amount of damage for a time and heal whatever is left when the spell expires.  Limited to lighter armor than the Cleric the Shaman is still a force to be reckoned with.  The Shaman classes are Defiler and Mystic.
Druids bring the power of nature to the fore.  Their healing tends to resemble the growth in nature, healing their targets slowly over time but for large amounts in total.  They are also tied into the various circles of standing stones throughout the world and are able to create magical gates for instant travel to distant lands.  The Druid classes are Fury and Warden.

Mages contain Sorcerers, Enchanters, and Summoners.

Sorcerers are engines of magical destruction.  They focus almost solely on doing tremendous amounts of damage to their foes with the power of their spells, making them the most ‘pure’ of the mage classes.  Whether focused on blasting single targets into nothingness or laying waste to large groups of foes they are able to deal unprecedented amounts of damage.  The Sorcerer also has the benefit of being able to magically teleport themselves and their party instantly to a small number of locations in the world.  They are, however, often the most vulnerable classes in the game with access only to the very lightest of armor, low hit points, and weak defense leaving them unable to survive even brief assaults.  The Sorcerer classes are Wizard and Warlock.

Enchanters use tricks of the mind to both damage and baffle their foes.  They can manipulate enemies into standing slack jawed while their friends are slaughtered or even trick them into fighting as a magically charmed ally for the Enchanter.  Enchanters are also masters of energy and are able to drain power from their enemies or increase the power of their allies allowing them to fight even longer.  The Enchanter classes are Coercer and Illusionist.

Summoners call on magical allies to help them fight.  They might create an undead wizard to help the blast foes apart or a sturdy earth elemental warrior to hold foes off of them but in the end when fighting a Summoner one is seldom fighting just one target.  With the versatility of their magic minions Summoners are often regarded able to perform alone far better than any other class.  The Summoner classes are Necromancer and Conjuror.

Good vs. Evil – The Classic Question

Two of the three subtypes of each category contain a pair of alignment specific classes.  One is available only to evil players based out of Freeport or Neriak, while the other class is similarly only available to good players operating out of Qeynos or Kelethin.  Also the classes are, in general, similar in ability but opposed on their focus.  To clarify what the means a Warlock and a Wizard are very similar in abilities but the Wizard focuses primarily on doing damage to single targets while the Warlock focuses on doing damage to groups of foes.  Similarly Troubadours focus on greatly increasing the abilities of their allies while Dirges focus on greatly diminishing the effectiveness of their foes.  The net result is often almost the same, but it allows players a lot of choice in how they choose to go about doing whatever it is they want to do.

Regarding good and evil classes, the good classes generally focus on defense, buffing, and healing while evil classes focus on offense, debuffing, and damage.  In most cases there is little end difference in the effectiveness of the two options and simply a difference to how they accomplish the end results.  Good and Evil class parity is as follows (Good classes listed first, then their Evil version):

  • Paladin – Shadowknight
  • Monk – Bruiser
  • Ranger – Assassin
  • Swashbuckler – Brigand
  • Templar – Inquisitor
  • Mystic – Defiler
  • Illusionist – Coercer
  • Conjuror – Necromancer

The remaining classes are considered neutral and are available to all alignments and races.

The Myth of the ‘Best’ Class

If you spend any time at all on the forums you’re also going to see, or maybe even ask the question yourself, the query of ‘which class is the best?’  The honest answer is that there is no ‘best’ class in the game.  For a game of such complexity EQ2 has done a very impressive job of balancing the classes so that there is no obvious stand out that is better than others.  While some classes might excel at certain actions better than others remember that the classes that don’t do that action as well have gained other abilities in exchange for that lost effectiveness.  Don’t forget too that any class in the general category of Fighter, Scout, Priest, and Mage can do the basic roles of that type.  Try not to concern yourself so much with what the ‘best’ class is and instead focus on what is the ‘best class for you’.

Narrowing the Field

With the above information you should be able to narrow you options down greatly.  While you might not know the specific class you want to play choosing some of the options I’ve discussed will allow you a much smaller range to have to think on.  For example if you know you want to play in Freeport and that you want to be a Warrior you now only need to look at five classes instead of twenty four; a much more digestible choice to have to make to be sure.  If you can choose a subtype you can often remove any further choice from the matter if you know which alignment you want to play.

Once you have your options narrowed down to a more manageable amount you have a few options on how to move forward.  A good place for information on each class in their official forum, especially given that the nature of the game is constantly changing due to regular updates.  Read up a bit on the classes you are thinking of and ask any questions you might have either in the class forum or in the Newbie Yard.  If you can reduce your options to a small amount another path is to create each of the classes and play them for a sampling of each ‘flavor’ to see which you like the best.  The downsides to this are that many classes don’t mature until later levels and this method can be time consuming.  But remember, you’re likely going to be playing your character for a long time to come… a small investment up front to make sure you’re happy will pay off greatly in the long run

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