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Thread: Coldshade's Shade Guide

  1. #1

    Coldshade's Shade Guide

    This is a copy of the guide I posted for my guild on our forums. A lot of it rehashes stuff already covered in Aelynn's and Munkeezon's superb guides, but some of it is new as well, particularly the combat tips at the bottom. Feedback is always welcome

    Here is a guide explaining how I played my shade.

    The shade is an incredibly high-damage character with certain unique restrictions and capabilities. The easiest way to describe them is a kind of melee agent, although a high-level shade will typically outdamage an agent of a similiar level. At level 206 Coldshade is one of the highest-damage characters in the game in a prolonged fight, can solo as well or better than most classes, and has a 19-move, 30-60k alpha-strike every 45 seconds + a dimache every 5 minutes. That is why you would want to play one.

    The drawbacks are limited equipment selection, hard to twink because you need to depend on drops for your implants, lots of aggro/deaths, and a limited team role in that all you do is damage. But they are a lot of fun, and very different from all other classes.


    - Opifex. Probably the strongest choice for a shade because our spirits and Tier armor, as well as a lot of our abilities, are based on agility/sense. An opifex shade will have higher evades, be able to get into higher spirits, and be able to upgrade Tier armor faster than shades of other breeds. A ql176 spirit has an agi/sense req of 781, and that's hard to hit for other breeds.

    - Solitus. As with most professions, the 2nd best choice. Slightly more robust than the Opi shade, slightly less agile and will have to wait a bit longer for spirits etc.

    - Atrox and Nanomage. Non-standard shades, bring the same bonuses to the shade profession as they do any other class. Will have a harder time at higher levels, mainly due to the extreme sense/agi reqs of spirits ql154+.

    Perks - This is the big one. A shade is all about his perks. Myself, and all of the high-level shades I have talked to have gone with Piercing Mastery and Totemic Rites. I also took Acrobat and am now working on Spirit Phylactery.

    - Piercing Mastery gives you some nice damage perks, and buffs up your piercing skill obviously. Requires that you be behind the target, so it's most easily run when someone else is holding aggro. Even if you have aggro or are soloing though, you can dash "through" the mob while mashing on the key and the perks will land as you "fake out" the mob into showing it's back to you. Practice will help you refine your timing.

    - Totemic Rites gives you a constant damage boost, and two sets of perk attacks that must be chained one after the other. The first type of TR perk attack does damage and gives you a short-term damage boost that stacks on top of your constant damage boost. The second type does very high damage and gives you back a % of damage dealt as a heal. (For instance, the TR perk you can train at 190 will heal you for 45% of damage dealt. Do 10k damage with it and you'll get an instant heal for 4.5k)

    - Acrobat is absolutely essential in my mind. Regardless of whether or not you want to tank, you will be at some point. When maxed, Acrobat gives you a constant boost to your evades, as well as two perk boosts that stack to give you a whopping +1k to evades. The perk boosts last 45 seconds and recharge every 65 seconds, which means you are likely to avoid a lot of hits for all but 20 seconds each cycle.

    - Spirit Phylactery is what I am training now that I maxed out Totemic Rites and Acrobat. It gives you two types of attacks that must be chained just like Totemic Rites. The first type of attack is an Add All Offense/Add All Defense drain with a detaunt attached. Don't count on the detaunt to do much in the way of letting you avoid aggro, but the agg/def drain is quite nice. You hit harder and more often, and your opponent hits you less frequently. The second type of attack is a HP/Nano point dot, handy but not overwhelming by any means.

    - Basically all of our perk attacks are more effective when run in sequence, and Totemic Rites and Spirit Phylactery actually require it. As a side note, make sure you have your opponent targeted when running your offensive perks. If you target yourself (to FA stim yourself for instance), you won't be able to run any perks past the first attack. You can perk, target yourself and stim, and then switch back quickly and continue perking however.

    - More of an ability than a perk, backstab is a special attack that is unlocked when you hit 101 base sneak attack skill. It gets a multiplier at 235 SA skill, and again at 420 skill. It requires that the target be fighting someone else, so you will never land this one while soloing, and you can't fake out a mob like you can with the piercing mastery perks. Not to be confused with the "Stab" attack of the piercing mastery perk line.

    Weapons - Weapon selections and even skills used should change depending on where you are hunting and what your level range is.

    - Silvertail Daggers. Superb newbie weapons, made in the Jobe backyard. QL15 ones will remain effective to level 30 I am told. has a guide on making these weapons.

    - ITD's. At lower levels, while hunting on Rubi-Ka or at lower non-heckler opponents, many shades like to use Improved Tango Dirks. They have good damage, great crits, and are reasonably easy to come by. The problem with ITD's is that they require brawl, which is only buffed by 1 spirit in the left arm slot. Brawl is also a dark blue skill, so it becomes expensive in IP to use them early on. They also lack the sneak attack requirement, and thus lock you out of your backstab capability. You can either do without the backstab, or just dual an ITD with a sneak attack weapon. Until your backstab hits the 3rd multiplier at 420 sneak attack skill though (base, not boosted by spirits or buffs), you really aren't missing out on that much. As soon as you start hunting hecklers in Adonis +, get rid of the ITD's because their min damage is terrible. Available from the trader shop.

    - Compressed Blades. CB's are a nice weapon 130+ when you have IP to blow on Brawl. They give you sneak attack, fast attack, and brawl, and have a great backstab multiplier. You are most likely to get a 10k+ backstab with a compressed blade. Their higher min damage makes them vastly preferable to ITD's when hunting hecklers in Adonis or better. Good dual weapon with ITD if you are still doing RK missions, as they'll give you fast attack and backstab. Great with other weapons because they'll give you brawl. Can be blitzed as a mission reward.

    - Sigd's. Very good min damage, which means these are the weapons of choice on high-AC mobs like Hecklers. Even on Rubi-Ka and pre-Adonis, these weapons will guarantee a consistent rate of good damage. No brawl, so 130+ it's nice to dual them with a brawling weapon so you get that extra attack. Available as boss loot from SL bosses, or in SL gardens up to ql150.

    - Eye-gougers. Stay away from these unless they are ridiculously high-ql (260+).

    - Bronto Vet Lancets. Avoid these regardless of ql.

    - Newland Fish Knives. Superb weapons, great min damage, add brawl and fast attack. Dual with a sneak attack weapon at higher levels so you don't lose your backstab. Rubi-Ka dyna boss loot, so camping or forum trolling is the way to get these.

    - Die Kleine Nadels and Bloodlusts. Good weapons, use if you don't have something with a higher min damage. Hecklers, redeemed and unredeemed are strong against the Nadel's disease ac, and only hecklers are weak against the Bloodlusts chem ac. At high ql's they are very nice however, and make great weapons for RK missions. Drop off of bosses in SL only, and are NoDrop, so you can't buy them.

    - Nippy John Stilleto. At the moment, the be-all and end-all of shade weapons. Incredible minimum damage of 250 makes this the ultimate choice. Currently selling for 300-400 million, hopefully that will come down as more enter the market. Drops off the Nippy Slither boss who is found in Adonis Abyss. I still can't quite solo him at level 206, so bring a friend or two and be ready to spend a few full days of camping to get a pair.

    - Slayerdroid Crystal Claw. Don't bother for hunting high-AC SL mobs, but good if you are still doing RK missions. Not entirely sure who drops this item, but I think it's the Obediency Enforcer in Eastern Foul Plains. Price on the forums is usually about 10 mill when they are available.

    Armor - Please note that shade's cannot wear the vast majority of head/back armors.

    - RK armor works fine until you can get into Tier 1 armor. I used Elite until level 163, but I'd recommend getting Tier before that. CAS, omnified carbonum etc are all solid choices to start out with.

    - Tier armor. Try to get into Tier 1 as soon as possible. If you can manage a full set by 125, you're twinking. Try to get into it by 150 if at all possible though. It has good ac's and some decent boosts, although some won't make sense, like the Treatment boost given by the chest piece. Easily one of the best looking Tier armors in the game. Guides to get Tier armor can be found all over the place, but a good guide is available at The main advantage to Tier armor is it can be upgraded to Tier 2 and eventually Chosen/Faithful armor, which are great for any profession.

    - Tatoos. Not entirely worth it in my opinion. Makes a female shade look naked, looks nasty on a male shade as they used the same textures. Low ac's, some decent skill boosts, but more buff/social armor than something you want to wear into battle. Tattoo drop locations are posted on the official shade forum on the Anarchy Online website.

    - For head armor, I scrounged and invested in a Dragon Circlet. Skinchips will also work, as will a Thar's circlet. Dragon Circlets are Tarasque loot in Camelot, or sell for 15-25 mill on the boards. Thar's circlets drop off the Mala-anna mobs in Nascence (look like medusas), but I haven't run across drops in higher zones. Skinchips are typically found on bosses in RK missions, RK dyna-camp bosses, or at the Merc camp.

    - For back armor, you can use an ancient container, web cloaks, or backpacks (notum threaded, robust, etc). I use a web cloak for looks because it's invisible, but the ancient container has slightly better ac and stat boosts, and the named backpacks are nice as well. All can be found for sale on the forums.

    - Because we are unable to wear a token board, I recommend getting a cyborg token board at 190+ (Requires 500 Sense as well). It drops off of cyborgs in Perpetual Wasteland and Mort camps. An Anything is also nice if you are lucky enough to have one, and is available from Mercs.

    - Shades can also wear most pieces of Azure and Omni Armed Forces, so if you feel like camping those more power to you.

    Spirits - The almost-symbiant implants for shades. It's all we can use, but they are more powerful than standard implants of the same level, often by a fair bit.

    - All spirits use a sense/agi req, are available only to shades, and buff multiple skills. We don't need to use a treatment clinic, which is handy because you can pop in a buff spirit out in the field, buff up, and then toss in your more combat-related spirits and take off. Spirits drop off of, reasonably enough, spirit mobs. Spirit mobs can be found all over SL zones, and inside the temple of the redeemed/unredeemed.

    - Spirit Siphons. These allow you to "siphon" a spirit from ANY mob in SL zones. They require Psychic to use, and have a max level of mob that can be siphoned. To use them, you must wait until the mob is below a certain % of health specific to the ql of siphon you are using (it will tell you the exact % if you try to use it too soon). Once successfully siphoned, the mob has a 25% chance of dropping a spirit, or thereabouts. You can even siphon a spirit mob to get a chance of 2 drops on the same kill. They are available from the Yuttos dealers, (Yuttos Tools I believe), scattered across SL. They also drop from Spirit mobs infrequently. {Edit: I am told that there are some mobs that are siphon-immune/resistant. The only type mentioned are the Weaver-type spiders, but there may be others.]


    - Strength. Involved in the piercing and brawling skills, as well as a req for a lot of the nicer RK armors. I kept it close to max for most of my levels.

    - Agility. Arguably our most important stat. Involved in spirits requirements, numerous skills including Piercing and evades, and Tier armor. Keep it maxed as frequently as possible.

    - Stamina. Important for brawling and hp, as well as a req for a lot of RK armor. Keep high/maxed.

    - Sense. Involved in some of our skills, but not as important as agility. I actually only raised this as much as I needed to equip spirits or Tier, or when I had the IP. Secondary to Strength and Agility in my mind.

    - Intelligence. Another secondary stat. Important to nano skills, but don't max unless you have IP to blow, like at title maxes etc.

    - Psychic. Used for siphons and nano pool. Raise it high enough to boost your nanopool to the point where you can cast your proc buffs, then leave it alone until you have IP to spare.

    Last edited by Strifethorn; Mar 16th, 2004 at 19:21:23.

  2. #2
    Combat Skills

    - Piercing. All our best weapons use piercing. Keep maxed at all times.

    - Evades. Keep Evade Close maxed no matter where you hunt. Keep Dodge Ranged high/maxed if hunting on RK. Duck Explosion is only a real concern if you are doing PvP, but some RK mission mobs use it, so keep it at about 50% of the other two if you find some mobs are critting you like mad in missions.

    - Sneak Attack. Keep it maxed once you start using a backstab weapon. At level 150+ you'll start to do some serious damage with it.

    - Fast Attack. Used by a lot of weapons, keep it high/maxed if you have a weapon that uses it.

    - Brawling. I only raised brawl at 130+ for Compressed Blades, but if you are going the ITD route keep high/maxed. Dark blue skill, so can be expensive in IP.

    - Parry and Riposte should only be raised high enough to equip a weapon that has those skills as requirements. This may change if Funcom ever makes Parry actually useful.

    - Dimache. Shade dimache is different from all the other professions. It does low damage, heals for a high % of damage done, and recharges in 5 minutes. Kind of like a first aid stim that recharges every 5 minutes. Not very worth it unless you have IP coming out of your ears, so most of the time only raise it enough to equip a weapon with dimache as a requirement.

    - Martial Arts. Don't bother. Shades have the weakest MA template of any profession. "Triple wielding" by meeting the MA requirement on some weapons may seem like a good idea, but you are actually trading in high-damage piercing attacks for low-damage MA attacks.

    - Nano Pool. Raise it enough to cast your first stun proc and then ignore it until you have IP to blow. A shade doesn't cast any nanos at all once buffed, so you only need enough nano to get out your buffs.

    - Body Development. Keep it as high/maxed as possible. Shades die often enough as is without tossing a low body dev into the mix. You'll want every hit point you can squeak out.

    - Computer Literacy. Dark blue skill and no spirits buff, so we only get a +20 from the generic buff on top of base until you get the 500 sense and level 190 needed to equip a cyborg token board. Luckily most of our buffs are low-NCU at lower levels. Try to raise it, but don't cripple more important skills like evades to do it. A good "extra IP at title max" skill.

    - Treatment. Shade implants don't use treatment, so raise it high enough that you aren't sitting forever waiting on health kits/coils and forget about it.

    - First Aid. SL First Aid stims can be a life saver, especially if you solo, but if you are still doing RK missions don't worry too much, as RK stims are only marginally effective at best.

    Nano Skills

    - Sensory Improvement and Psychological Modifications. These two power all of your non-proc buffs, so keep them high/maxed.

    - Time and Space and Biological Modifications. Raise them enough to cast your first Stun proc nano, then forget about them until you have a lot of IP to spare. The only exception is if you plan on doing PvP, in which case you'll want to use the highest DoT proc available to you. In PvM though, the stun is the most useful proc, and the lowest one will work quite well for most of your career.

    - Matter Metamorphosis and Matter Creation. Not a req for any of our nanos beyond Mat Met for generics.

    Combat Tips

    - Until you get your large lifetap from Totemic Rites at level 190, you are basically tied to a team. If you want a character you can solo with from day 1, make an adventurer or MA. Make a lot of friends as a shade, so that you always have a team.

    - A good combat cycle is to start with a brawl/fast attack/backstab opener, wait to take a hit or two, use your Totemic Rites line to buff your damage/heal up damage taken, hit your acrobat perks, and use your piercing mastery perks while you are hard to hit because of acrobat perks.

    - If you find yourself taking a lot of damage, stand still. I seem to get hit a lot more often while dancing back and forth trying to do my piercing mastery perks. It's better to forgo some damage and stay alive. The only exception is if you are doing enough damage to alpha-strike the mob dead with piercing mastery perks before they kill you.

    - At some point in time you are going to find that your perks are resisted a lot. Be patient, level a few more times, and as your attack rating rises you'll start to land perks again consistently. Get a soldier to buff you with automatic targetting if you have the NCU, and ask your crat to run the agg/def speeches. Getting a fixer to debuff the mobs evades can also help, and soldiers have a Tracer perk that will do the same thing.

    - The Agg/Def slider is your friend. Play with it to find out optimal settings for you in each situation. Most of the time you will be on full defense once you start pumping out the damage perks. If you find that you dodge most attacks, you have another prof in your group that is great at holding aggro, and/or you want to make the doc work, bump up your slider to attack slightly faster. Most piercing weapons are pretty fast to start with anyways though, so even on full D you'll be swinging at a reasonable rate.

    Useful websites/resources - Official Shade Forum at the Anarchy Online website. - AO Shades, a website devoted to the profession - Item database, nano formula list, damage calculator etc - Similiar to, but the armor config utility is superior in my opinion.

    Your fellow shades - Shades make up a small % of each server, so we tend to be a closer-knit community. Regardless of which faction, most shades are willing to take a few minutes and chat.

    I hope this helps out those looking to play one of the most unique professions in a MMORPG. Please bear in mind that this is just my opinion, and there are likely other ways to be successful, but this has worked for me. Happy hunting to all!
    Last edited by Strifethorn; Jan 21st, 2004 at 22:26:25.

  3. #3
    For the whole Cyborg tolken board, you might want to mention in your guide that it's for lvl 190+

  4. #4
    *goes to check out forums* ffs how can i miss a post.. thats a physicial impossibility.
    GalxandJoan "Toxinator" Rox :: 202 Doc
    He "Tearspoint" Totem :: 215 Nano Tech :: Equipment :: Perks
    General :: Band of Brothers :: Band of Brothers Forums

    Account Created
    2001-08-23 04:59:27

    Account Status:

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Thumbs Up

    That is a terrific guide! Thank you! Only thing I would like to add is in regards to head armor we have one more very good option.

    Shades can wear infantry helmets! This little goodies start at level 75, and use Str / Sta as a requirement. Their AC are AWESOME, and they also boost your evades and HP (that's a good thing too). Infantry helms are very rarely dropped by named sided mobs. Prepare to shell out about 10m for a decent one.


  6. #6
    Originally posted by Simcha
    For the whole Cyborg tolken board, you might want to mention in your guide that it's for lvl 190+
    Thank you for pointing that out. I didn't actually notice that because by the time they were in game it wasn't an issue for me. I've updated my guide to reflect that.

  7. #7
    might want to add the Staff of Pelias to the weapons list unless ya think it is not a good weapon.
    "Weapons are made to kill, but the human mind decides the amount of pain they inflict"

  8. #8
    As far as the Staff of Pelias, Infantry Helms, and all the other items I missed goes...I never used them. I never came across them, or had any experience with them. Thus the disclaimer at the bottom that there are other ways to go:P I could likely add to the guide several times and not encompass all the options, but what I was shooting for for my guild was a good jumping off point. I also wrote it because I am frequently asked if I have tips for new shades.

    The staff seems like a alright weapon, but I haven't come across any yet, and don't know where to go about getting one. Plus I prefer to have two daggers as opposed to a single staff or spear.

    The infantry helm is also nice, but I again never happened on one, and haven't sought one out because I think they look kind of funny Occasionally I opt for style over stats, especially with a prof as aesthetically pleasing as a shade We're a sexy group of people heh.

    The nice thing about AO is that there are the multitude of options available
    Last edited by Strifethorn; Jan 21st, 2004 at 22:42:41.

  9. #9

    Thumbs up

    Great stuff Strifehorn! Someone sticky this. Edit: does not work remove the dot after com to make it and all is well
    Last edited by Seraphael; Jan 22nd, 2004 at 00:30:10.
    Seraphael - 200 fixer
    Pepzi - ** agent
    Troxitazz - retired trader

  10. #10
    You said to have T1 at 125 is twinking... but my shade will be in Tier 1 by level 81. The agi req is easy to meet with the best spirits you can use, but getting the comp lit to put it together will require you to jump through some hoops...
    Valea, RK2 Omni Eternalist - 2000+ Pharma Tech
    Sirrala, RK2 Omni MP

    I do what I have to do...

  11. #11
    Originally posted by Seraphael
    Great stuff Strifehorn! Someone sticky this. Edit: does not work remove the dot after com to make it and all is well
    Changed the URL, so it should load properly now Thanks for pointing that out.

  12. #12
    bump because someone said they had trouble finding it.

  13. #13
    Very good guide!

    One VERY tiny little correction, and only for those that would even give a rat's behind:
    - Silvertail Daggers. Superb newbie weapons, made in the Jobe backyard. QL15 ones will remain effective to level 30 I am told. has a guide on making these weapons.
    These will actually get you all the way to 50 without any real issues, I've found. By 30 I swapped one of them out for a better weapon on my shade, but kept a silvertail in the right hand all the way to level 60 before it became noticably decrepit.
    --The connections that enable us to learn are infinitely more important than our state of knowing.

  14. #14
    great guide bump/sticky!

    PS: tango dirks are also mission rewards and maybe u could mention the other shade specific perks.

    - Slybabe rk2
    Last edited by Sly~; Feb 23rd, 2004 at 04:01:26.

  15. #15
    Originally posted by Tarryk

    By 30 I swapped one of them out for a better weapon on my shade, but kept a silvertail in the right hand all the way to level 60 before it became noticably decrepit.
    Now who would that Shade be eh Tarryk? :P Sneaky lil trox shade runnin around somewhere?
    LilFelix -<[ E ]>- What? MA's are uber again? Nerf!
    Celesite -[ E ]- Sexy, Squishy, Deadly... Yummm!

  16. #16
    My infantry helm is not ugly! It's just a little odd hehe, if they take the pot of the top of tier2 I'll wear that over the infantry even though it has better stats because w/o the pot it would look just too cool.
    Pimpernickel 220.19 Shade Stuff
    WTB Ogdan/Captured Spirit/Exsequiae patterns 1m per part and always in effect.
    100M for Spirit Siphon QL 272+

  17. #17


    this needs a sticky!
    Healios clan Doctor
    Megawattz clan Enforcer
    Gaspard clan Adventurer

  18. #18
    I don't like what you're saying here. You're telling every shade that they NEED to go for PM, SP, TR, and acrobat. I would rather see a thorough investigation of all perk lines instead. This just makes every shade the same.

    You did a fairly thorough rundown of the majority of shade weapons, why not all the perks as well?

  19. #19

    Re: Coldshade's Shade Guide

    Originally posted by Strifethorn

    Here is a guide explaining how I played my shade.

    I only wrote about the things I felt I had experienced enough to be knowledgeable about Hence I didn't touch any of the other perks, because I don't know them.
    Aggro Monkey/Leather-Clad Bondage Boy. Hit me harder!

  20. #20
    Well, when you do learn about them (and I expect that you will) I would hope to see them included eventually.

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