This guide assumes that you have read the New Player Guide and looking for how to progress beyond the beginning of the game. This guide will focus on when to upgrade, how to upgrade, how much to upgrade, which quest lines to rush (and when to rush), leveling strategy, along with a long term planning ideas. It's followed by Intermediate Guide, Advanced Guide and eventually by the End-game Guide.
At the start of the game, getting action efficiency is key. You don't have any buffer actions and thus will go into negative actions (aka fatigue) quite often every time you sleep. Unless you buy a lot of actions with credits and solve this problem, the best way to deal with this is to get action masteries and eventually get to buffer mastery. The action masteries get better with every following one on the chain. These are:
- Limitless (4)
- Prevail (4) (takes very long)
- Buffer Efficiency (Ideally 5, in practice at least 4)
The other masteries that are critical to get early on are the combat and mining exp masteries. Getting these early on, when the global boosts are especially more powerful for you compound their value. For the global boosts to be more effective, we want the % exp masteries. Therefore, we need these masteries:
- Skilled Weaponry (4)
- Knowledge Weaponry (3)
- Skilled Extraction (4)
- Knowledge Extraction (3)
If you choose Orthoclase or Anorthite ores for investing in mining lasers (they are much cheaper after all), I would recommend getting some early levels in their specializations, up to level 3 at most.
The Equipment Conundrum
Your equipment doesn't need to be the best that you can buy that is allowed by your level: it must depend on your current objective. If you can complete your objective without switching or upgrading your items: don't. Save your money for later; invest in market since putting an order in the market doesn't have a cost. There are many quests early on which will require hefty ore and money investment.
The starter T1 items are recommended because the upgrade resources are actually cheaper than of T0 items, and they provide much better benefits: enough for our purposes for many levels.
When upgrading, as T1 reinforcements are cheap, take the 100% chance upgrade option. For all other gear, take the 10% option as it's statistically cheaper.
There is a very simple principle about empowerments: DON'T. Not until you reach T5 or T6 gear, it's just not worth it. It's very expensive and you will either need the money for quests or the small stat increase it will bring won't be enough to make a difference unless you invest a lot of money for mass empowering and do it all the way to 9 stars.
The new Expertise mastery equalizes all experience gain of ores at max level, but it requires lvl 100 in Mining. Therefore, mining the highest exp ores until lvl 100 Mining and then picking whatever you want. However, there are many different long-term strategies here, all relating to income vs exp. While I recommend people to hold until at least level 80 mining to choose, preferably 100 now (for lower level mining lasers aren't that good and Expertise), some do choose to jump in earlier. Whether you want to focus on mining lasers for passive income, or focusing on gear and getting more kills on critical monsters that are required by daily quests or main questline is up to you. However, masteries really play a major part in all mining lasers expect one type: flat. Flat mining lasers give you a flat amount that is never modified; however, they work regardless of whatever ore you are mining. You will gain Orthoclase even if you are mining Jaspil. Therefore, the different paths of mining are as so:
- You echew the multikill masteries and focus directly on mining masteries. This just about slows all outlined plans in he following guides to 3x the duration needed, but you will have good income. Pick an ore type and buy the base ore, purity and double ore mining lasers in order. Also, level up Prospector first when the companion hits the level cap.
- You choose to wait until mining level 100, pick Flat Orthoclase, then Flat Anorthite mining lasers and level them up when you have some spare gold. These 2 are the cheapest and grant their return back quickly, they are always worth it even if you aren't selling the ores on the market to make the gold back. Lots of quests, crafted items and empowers use these, so they never fall out of the meta.
- You mix and match the above 2 options and wait until your core multikill masteries are done, while picking the flat Ortho laser. Then, at lvl 80, you choose an ore to specialize, then pick the ore specific mining lasers as before (base, purity, double).
- You get to lvl 80 mining, get all the Jaspil mining lasers and stay there until lvl 100 and preferably stay there afterwards. This way you arrive at lvl 100 Mining with some income after lvl 80.
My personal recommendation is the 4th option. Flat ores until lvl 80 Mining is quite worth it and the income from Jaspil covers the mining laser upgrade gold costs in up to 3 weeks. I'm a player that pushes hard on games to achieve critical objectives asap rather than to idle on while also optimizing your passive income by just a bit more. If you want a more relaxed time, pick the 3rd option. If you don't care about mining too much, pick the 2nd option.
The Beginner Times
Your first goal should be to have all your T1 gear fully upgraded, you should have no trouble clearing the questline up until the abyss monsters. A good T1 base will last you until the beginning of Enter the Abyss questline.
Next, your objective is to complete the Gishin Excavation questline as fast as possible for the T2 augments and upgrade those to prepare for the next phase. These augments will be with you until level 100. The progression here will be slow but steady, your focus going between buying ores and buying upgrades for your T1 set if you haven't finished it yet.
To help your purposes of clearing the required monsters easier, complete the 2nd quest in the Sidearm Instructor questline to get the T1 sidearm. Only continue this questline until you reach level 30 for the T2 sidearm and likewise for level 50. The sidearm reward quests need quite a lot of ores, so only take it when you meet the level requirement.
The 1M gate
The last quest of Enter the Abyss questline is the first big limiter on your progression: pay 1M gold. At this point, your goal should be selling everything you own to afford this cost ASAP because it unlocks the first dungeon and the Abyssal Riches daily questline, which you can only complete one quest in it that rewards the dungeon runs (Extracting Wealth quest). The quickest way to get this funds would be converting all your monster drops to points to form a platinum and sell it on the market. Since the restructuring of the plat scaling, you can craft up to 8 plat safely and profit by selling it on market. Unsorted Valuables are the easiest thing to buy to make this. There may be cheaper options on the market, but that requires quite an effort to comb through all of the market to determine the best value on a spreadsheet. Just buy unsorted valuables for ease: they will be the meta for quite a long while.
It's recommended to buy a level 6 experience injector from the market and use it after saving 8 runs (4 days worth). Dungeons will give a great deal of exp, and you fight the monsters one on one, so you will easily calculate if you can win by looking at the dungeon monster's stats.
By this point, you should be really close or arrived at level 50 and thus can switch out to T3 items (after the 1M quest). Remember to follow the equipment guideline I've wrote here. However, T1 items are definitely not enough for the next phase.
As always, gather the money for the equipment by selling plat.
The Great Abyss Difficulty Jump
The jump from killing monsters in Wastelands and in Abyss is extremely high: you might not even kill a single Mammoth Bat when you were able to kill 5 Warped Tormenters (the last monster in Wasteland). They are that hard to kill. The solution is T3 gear. At this point, your goal should be to get T3 equipment and upgrade them until you can kill 2 bats. 4 fully upgraded T3 equipment will be enough. The reason for this goal is another goal: Unlocking the Death of Darkness dungeon, the 2nd dungeon. The daily mission that gives 1 run of this dungeon is also unlocked with the same The Finished Map quest.
Now to the hard part: you will grind, very slowly, through the Taming the Abyss questline. It will slow your progression, since you won't be leveling as quickly and killing only 2 monsters at most means you won't be getting that much gold and loot from the monsters. Using brutality and juggernaut injections when you are against the harder enemies in the last few quests is recommended.
Following this rush strategy, I've achieved finishing the map in 8 days of playtime.
Dungeons give great exp rewards, and should always be completed with experience injectors. The fact that you can save attempts is why we rushed all the quests to unlock the dungeons in the first place. Save your runs and do them all under a lvl3 or higher experience injection for maximum benefit. They are relatively cheap in the market.
The 1st dungeon is relatively easy and doesn't require item prep.
The 2nd dungeon is hard: I recommend waiting until level 70 and crafting an earring before trying out the dungeon. If stuck, the 2nd dungeon can be completed with brutality and juggernaut injections. 4 fully upgraded T3 or T4 pieces, brutality and juggernaut injections will be enough to clear the monsters.
With the restructuring of the plat production, producing plat and selling it for profit is much more viable. By selling up to 8 plat, we can basically get some plat for free on the side and thus can invest them. As plat will take a great part of the game after the early game is finished, I recommend using part of your income for Recyclobot (called Rbot after this point), for it's an essential part of increasing your income later on.
We definitely don't have the funds to go after the companion abilities; they are also very weak for now, as their max level can only be the current level of your companions. This is the reason we will increase the level cap of the companions: we can upgrade the abilities later, but our companions weren't gaining exp to level up while staying at their capped starting level of 5, it's time to fix that fast. The passive fortitude and savagery gained by Drone and Drake are very powerful early on.
Once you have slowly leveled the companions' max levels to 20, you will need to prepare for the almighty lvl 20 → 25 companion level jump, which features a staggering 10 plat cost per companion. As a new player, it's just impossible to get all 52 plat required to get them to level 25 (where it starts requiring 2 plat for 5 levels until level 50). Therefore, you will have to prioritize. As this guide is focused on progressing through gear and mainline quests for gear: I recommend you level up Drone, then Drake. These 2 companions give Fortitude and Savagery and they give great amounts of it when we've just started the game.
Until you have leveled all your companions past level 25, don't spend plat on any ability whatsoever, no matter how tempting it is. The levels on companions are more valuable.
The previous questline was the last important quest to rush, as the next main questline gives abyssal T6 (level 100) augments. Since the strategy was to rush unlocking the 2nd dungeon, we will need to wait quite a while to arrive to that level. For now, your goal should be switching back to killing Warped Tormenters, the last enemy in Wastelands, or Karth Drakes for compendium, to farm experience to level up until level 80. This is the point where we can transition into T5 equipment and skip T4. T4 and T5 share the same upgrade materials, so waiting until level 80 would save us resources.
You can switch into shiny T5 gear to make a push for killing the max amount of monsters against Abyss monsters, or just keep killing Wasteland monsters to casually level up until level 100, where the mainline quests will finally be relevant. Killing the slightly lower reward Wasteland monsters isn't detrimental to your progression, as Compendium rewards will start to be completed on your way to level 100 and beyond. This will be mentioned in the next Intermediate Guide.
Thank you for reading, all feedback is appreciated (just write about it on discord).