Skill Training

Here I will be giving some factual skill data, as well as my own personal perspective on what works best. One thing to keep in mind, is that mages are allowed to reset their skills once per six months, so no matter how bad you think you messed up, you can always get yourself straight again. You can find the details for resetting under: info skills

Evocation vs Summons
Perhaps the biggest choice in the guild for all new mages, and one that has been discussed and asked about time and again. The undeniable truth is, you will need to pick one. There are a few reasons for this. One, mixing the two is bad. Using summons while also using evocation creates a major GXP penalty that is just a fact of life for mages and their design. Beyond this, there is a shared pool for skills for a large part of early mage life. Putting a point in summons reduces by 1 the amount you can train evocation. These soft caps create a limit on how far any skill can be trained. If you attempted to train both summons and evocation, and even used them individually to avoid the penalty, you would have two very weak skills which would hinder your progression. Once a mage reaches guild level 160, the soft caps are removed for each of the three primary skills, with a new limit of 150 for all of them. This limit goes up by 1 for each skill (no longer shared) with each new guild level.

All this being said, there are some notable differences between the two paths. Summons are simply more difficult to use. Prior to getting the spell Focus Mind, they can be difficult to keep out steadily. For GXP, they need to hit successfully, so you will need to choose your battles accordingly. Evocation on the other hand is simply a matter of always using the strongest avaialble spell. It is my very firm opinion that new mages will be doing themselves a favor starting with Evocation, and once you have some skills built up, reset and move to summons if this is a more appealing path. Evocation, genrally, will do more damage, gain more GXP and simply be less difficult for the early guild levels.

As mentioned above, once you have reached 160 and beyond you can train both, and use either one you wish going forward. At the top end, Summons are very difficult to recommend. They cost more SP to keep running, but do less damage. They die quickly and easily to large mobs, vanish when linkdead, and do not bring many perks to the table other than looking cool.

You can train your skills anywhere as a new mage by typing study [skillname], but only up to 5. Beyond this there are hidden areas in the guild which you must locate to train them further. If you have put effort into this, and are truly stuck, you can seek out an admin/advisor for a hint. After mage level 111, you can train skills from anywhere.

What is the optimal GXP rate
There is no exact recipe for max GXP. Through practice and experimentation you should discover methods of combat that are more fruitful than others. The command lstats is the perfect tool for determining this. Do an lstats reset, then start fighting. Stay in combat as much as you can for around 5 to 10 minutes, then check your gxp rate in lstats. In the past, Summons were at an advantage over Evocation for GXP gain, and this may still be believed among some mages, but I can comfortably say that similar gains can be pulled with either path. How you are hitting as well as how you are being hit can both be used to your advantage when gaining GXP. Through experimentation you should be able to find what works best. The higher your mage level, the higher your potential.

How much to focus on Abjuration
There is a fair amount of flexibility here, and much can depend on how experienced the player is, what options they have available to them etc. There is no right or wrong way to do this. My personal opinion here is to train it equally to whichever offensive skill you have chosen.

Sub Skills
Again here, my opinion is to keep them even. There are benefits to both sub skills under Evocation / Summoning / Abjuration. I would at the very least bring them each up to 50/50 before experimenting with moving one out further than the other. Under Evocation, I do think leaning more towards Power is a better way to go at higher levels. Choosing to focus on one more than the other will have no significant impact on you for the most part, as you still will need to adhere to the rule of not raising one to be greater than twice the other. You may also find you benefit some early on by focusing a bit more on power (evocation) and absorption (abjuration).

The info file states that this skill should always be at least 1/4 of your mage level. This can be frustrating at first keeping it up, but it should be maintained. Concentration and saturation become a bigger issue as you go up in guild levels, and Renewal can help substantially with these. My personal take on this is to keep it even higher if you can stand to do so. The added regen and saturation reduction are just incredibly handy. It is a truly useful skill.

This skill primarily opens up how much you can train other skills. It has the side benefit of raising your maximum spell points, though not by much. It will be the skill you raise simply so that you can then raise the skills you really care about most.

This skill will increase your saturation pool size, which on its own is very handy. It's value grows the bigger your mage level. This skill will also begin to gain some value in later guild levels by allowing higher training of potential, which in turn allows higher training of other skills.