One of the fastest leveling Aion’s class are Mages with two subclasses Spiritmaster and a Sorcerer. The big difference between a Spiritmaster and a Sorcerer is the relationship between either of them with the elements. A Sorcerer is fundamentally a scholar. A Spiritmaster is an artist. Spiritmasters have an instinctive rapport with wind, fire, water, and earth. They can coax fearsome elemental spirits into existence with the power of their charisma and their will, then send them hurtling toward their enemies. A Sorcerer could tell you what formula invokes the power of fire, but a Spiritmaster would just snap his fingers and order his Flame Spirit to attack.
Spiritmaster’s pets are called Spirits. As you level up, characters will obtain new skills that allow you to summon larger and more powerful versions of the spirits. A Spiritmaster has skills to summon one of four spirits at a time: earth, air, fire, or water (at level 10). Upon Aion’s release, characters will also be able to summon an additional fifth kind of spirit that is specific to a character’s race. Asmodian Spiritmasters will be able to summon a spirit that is a combination of the elements of fire and earth, and Elyos Spiritmasters will be able to summon a spirit that is a combination of wind and water. Once your character summons a spirit, it stays with your character until it dies, the spirit dies, you log out, or your character crosses into a new zone. The spirit is relatively cheap and fast to summon.
The tactical play of a Spiritmaster is to summon the right spirit while facing different kind of monsters. A Spiritmaster is fairly dependent on its spirits for damage and support.
- Fire spirits specialize in melee combat.
- Earth spirits are the masters of defense, making them good for tanking.
- Water spirits focus on ranged magical damage.
- Wind spirits have magical melee abilities.
Spirits have many skills that a player must actively initiate, such as attacks, heals, or buffs. They cannot just make their spirits into “automagic experience harvesters.”
The first thing to understand is that the basic controls for your pet have two modes; manual and automatic. Changing between the two modes is as simple as clicking a small button located on the spirits control bar. I highly recommend that anyone serious about this class plays only in manual mode. The reasons for this will be clarified later but it allows you much better control of your pets’ actions. Automatic mode plays much more like the defensive modes of other MMOs pet classes and can be a problem at times in Aion.
Automatic Mode – While in automatic mode your pet will always be in what is best defined as defensive mode. This means that anytime a hostile target attacks you it will automatically begin attacking, seems nice but can be a real bother if you don’t want your pet running off after every little bit of aggro. Times when this mode becomes especially hindering are during PvP situations where there are aggresive mobs in the area or when you are attempting to just run through an area of aggresive mobs in order to reach another area. This mode also makes it very difficult to pull your spirit off of a mob with which you are already engaged in combat. Again I don’t recommend anyone uses this mode if your are serious about playing the class.
Manual Mode – In manual mode you gain a higher degree of control over your pet relative to how and when it atttacks, or doesn’t attack, a hostile creature or player. In manual mode your spirit will not automatically attack something that attacks you but it will still initiate auto-attacks following the issuance of a command. Manual mode also allows you to easily withdraw your pet from combat when you wish in case you want to run away without losing or having your pet despawn. Initially you may not find much difference in these two modes but the ability to have absolute control over when your pet attacks is highly advantageous.
Spiritmaster in a group
In a group, a Spiritmaster weakens and wears away at monsters using the selective use of its spirits and various debuffs. Its abilities allow high burst dps classes like the Assassin and the Sorcerer to take down monsters quicker. A Spiritmaster in a group uses skills like Magic Blocking to dispel or reflect a target’s buffs. Spiritmasters also possess skills that raise a target’s item drop rate, making raids much more productive and efficient.
Spiritmaster and PvP
When you think about PvP, Spiritmasters also have the huge advantage of essentially being in two places at once. A Spiritmaster can take to the skies while leaving its spirit below to cover it from the ground. A Spiritmaster’s water spirit has a command ability unique within the game. It crashes a flying opponent from the air, causing the opponent to fall immediately to the ground. That trick seems something that would be great to take advantage of in PvP.
Both Spiritmasters and Sorcerers in Aion are very mana intensive classes and as such understanding of mana efficiency is crucial to properly playing either class. Different situations may alter things like cast sequences thus changing your mana usage and effecting efficiency accordingly. Depending on whether you are in a group or soloing you may use different pots or have more or less time for recovery effects.
As a Spiritmasters the first recovery skill we receive is Energy Absorption, a Sorcerer skill by trade but one that all mages receive as a tier 1 skill. It may not seem like much but you should always use it when its available as it ends up being about a 4 mana per second regen. The next skill we receive is Mana Treatment which every class in the game receives and I will discuss in conjunction with potions in the next paragraph. The last skill we get is Spirit Absorption, a skill that sacrifices a fraction of our spirits health pool in order to restore a percentage of our maximum mana. The Spirit Absorption skill is a skill for our class as it comes just as we’re starting to fall off the losing side of the mana efficiency curve.
Potions and the Mana Treatment skill offer us several combinations of mana recovery methods available at any time. A couple of things everyone should realize is that the over time effect of the weaker mana potions may recover slightly more mana each but does not stack with mana treatment. This means you cannot have both up at the same time which suggests that the use of the stronger instant potions in combination with the mana treatment effect goes much further towards maintaining our mana pool. This means in situations where you are constantly casting you’ll receive more mana recovery without using over time potions but when moving slow the over time potions may be cheaper and just as effective.
The last thing to note about mana efficiency is casting sequences and the relative value of a skill based on its damage versus its mana cost. For the sake of PvE combat its generally beneficial to only use the most efficient skills in this sense while in PvP combat the necessity for more damage or a certain effect can override the value of efficiency. For example at level 20 we gain our first stigma, a skill called Vitality Absorption which many people mistakingly use as a nuke in PvE. The problem being that the skill is very expensive because of its overall effect making it massively less efficient then the majority of your other skills. Details regarding skill efficiency, cast sequences, and situational use will be covered in depth further but keep in mind that if you find yourself having mana trouble it may be due to the use of just such an inefficient skill.