The contents of this guide serve as a reference for players looking to build a Swordsman character.
These are also my personal opinions and experiences on the game, they are NOT facts and they are not intended to offend anyone.
The information is subject to change as new patches and balance changes are implemented. Any and every significant modification will be documented on a post in this same thread.
- Who is Cathexis?
- What is a Swordsman?
Getting some things out of the way
4.1 Tree of Savior as an evolving game
4.2 Some classes are lackluster
4.3 Don’t restrict yourself to a linear build
4.4 The “tank” dilemma
4.5 Undeveloped PvP
4.6 Demystifying kTOS
- 4.6.1 “Content at early levels is much harder and requires people to get more CON into their builds.”
- 4.6.2 “I heard DEX and evasion fall off at late game”
- 4.6.3 Earth Tower
- 4.6.4 “I heard this is THE BEST build on kTOS right now”
- What classes should I pick for my build?
- What armor should I use?
8.1 Full STR
8.2 High STR
8.4 High DEX
- Recommended builds (Coming soon / Under construction)
So here we are once again, just a few days away from starting the international release of Tree of Savior.
If you are a new player, trying to build a character in this game may seem daunting with all the possible class choices that are available. It is easy to feel lost as to where to start.
It is just as difficult to attempt to make a good guide, considering the amount of information that covering every class requires. I was unsure whether I should make multiple guides, or just a huge one which is what I ended up choosing, so hopefully it will turn alright.
With this guide, I will attempt to cover everything related to the Swordsman tree including classes, skills, stats, general tips, etc.
However, I am not going to cover every single aspect of the game, as more general information is already covered on other media such as guides, websites, wikis, etc. This guide will only include information that comes directly from the Swordsman tree.
Because of this reason, I will assume that when reading this you have at least some basic knowledge on how some things on the game work as well as term used in Tree of Savior.
For example, even though I could list the effect and description of every skill, that is information that is easily found on several websites/skill builders, so I won’t cover it. I will rather use the space to elaborate more on the benefits of taking that skill, tips or anything I can think of that is not being covered on the skill description.
I always say that I will try to “keep it short”, which is never true, so expect a huge wall of text. Which is why this time I decided to include the “Sections” part, so you can know the contents of this guide and move to the ones that you are most interested in.
Also, while I don’t think that I will be able to cover every single build, if you have a question that I didn’t cover or would like to explore together a build that you might find interesting, just leave a comment bellow and I will do my best to help.
This is also why I encourage everyone to post in this thread instead of sending me a private message, as other people might have that same question or other members from the community can provide their knowledge and experiences on the matter.
Just keep conversation in this thread as polite as possible. I will ignore every post that I consider harmful to healthy conversation as well as those who choose to create conflict with other posters. We are all here to have a good time.
#Who is Cathexis?
A swordsman player who has played a bunch of different builds.
(iCBT2)[Level 200]: Swordsman->Peltasta->Hoplite C3->Doppelsoeldner
(iCBT2)[Level 200]: Swordsman->Peltasta->Barbarian C3->Fencer
(iCBT2)[Level 195]: Swordsman->Peltasta->Hoplite->Rodelero C3
(iCBT2)[Level 81]: Swordsman->Highlander C3
(iCBT2)[Level 65]: Swordsman C3
(kTOS)[Level 280]: Swordsman->Peltasta->Hoplite C3->Doppelsoeldner->Dragoon
(kTOS)[Level 1xx]: Swordsman->Highlander C3
(iCBT2)[Level 200]: Due to a popular exploit, a character that had all the Swordsman classes including Fencer C2, Centurion, Corsair C2, Cataphract C3, Squire C3, etc.
I also made a few guides during iCBT2, you can check them here if you are interested:
What is a Swordsman?
To put it simply: the front-line in this game.
Playing a Swordsman involves melee combat as well as naturally being the “tank” for your comrades.
However, while every Swordsman will have a similar playing style, the Swordsman tree contains different classes that will allow you to shape your character to fit the playing style you want to have.
#Getting some things out of the way
In this section I will mainly cover my views on the current state of the game, as well as things that you might want to consider before deciding on a build for your character.
Tree of Savior as an evolving game
The first thing that we all have to take into consideration is that Tree of Savior is a fairly new game.
There are still many things that require tuning, balance changes to be made, as well as the introduction of new content and classes to the game.
While some things might seem frustrating at the moment, we should expect (eventually) changes that will make things better.
The most important thing is to let our opinions be voiced through constructive feedback that the developers can take to improve the game for us.
This however means that things will change, more ranks, classes and content will be added in the future and they could do or break builds. So expect some builds to fall off, some to rise up and new ones to emerge as the game keeps on evolving.
Every build is viable
The game doesn’t enforce specific builds to clear content.
And in my opinion, this is to be expected. With the high amount of different classes that the game offers, everyone should be able to play every aspect of the game regardless of what classes they choose to build their character with.
If they made it so that one specific build is required to clear a dungeon, then every person that doesn’t have that build will feel frustrated with their character as they wouldn’t be able to progress without that build. It just wouldn’t make sense to do this.
While there are some builds that make more sense than others and thus might be stronger, it doesn’t mean that a different build won’t be able to get to max level.
So don’t worry too much and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Some classes are lackluster
While every build is viable, we have to remember that this is still an evolving game.
I will advise against picking some classes or circles simply because they are not good right now. But they are most likely going to be improved sometime on the future with either a balance change or a rework of said class.
While you could pick those options for your character and still be able to complete the game, I will advise against them simply to make your experience playing this game smoother and to not have to deal with frustrating moments while leveling up.
We can expect several and constant changes to the classes in the Swordsman tree as the game keeps on being improved once it launches.
###Don’t restrict yourself to a linear build
The game has a weapon-swap option, as well as a mechanism that helps you to automatically switch to the weapon set required to use the skill you activated, as long as you have said set equipped.
Making use of this weapon-swap system highly raises the usefulness of your build, as you are able to bring out different playing styles for different situations.
Even if you mainly want to play a 2H weapon build, don’t be afraid to switch to a 1H weapon+Shield when the situation requires it.
###The “tank” dilemma
Every Swordsman is a tank. It doesn’t matter what class you choose, by simply being a Swordsman you are naturally a tank.
You don’t need to be a Peltasta C3 or a Rodelero C3 to be a tank.
This is mostly because Swordsman gets as much as up to 3 times the amount of HP other classes get.
However, this game is unlike others where the role of a “tank” is heavily enforced and it is a requirement for clearing content.
There is no real “tank” role in this game. The only responsibility of a “tank” in Tree of Savior is to get and keep aggro on mobs, as well as deal as much damage as possible.
Some party compositions are even able to get by without using a “tank” for their dungeon runs.
Tree of Savior is a game where dealing the most damage as possible is the most efficient way to get through content. Because of this, every person in a party is responsible for bringing some sort of damage to help clear mobs and bosses faster.
Also, the protection for a “tank” doesn’t come from the Swordsman tree, it comes from other classes on the Cleric tree.
The Swordsman’s job is only to get aggro, and the Cleric will provide all the protection for the party.
As a final, personal, note: You might see videos of people using Swash Buckling to aggro mobs, then just stand there pressing C (Blocking) all the time to “tank” the damage.
This is highly unnecessary and in my opinion you are just wasting your party’s time. Just taunt and help clear the mobs faster. There is no need to do this at all.
Of course, I am not saying that you should blindly charge into the mobs every time, just be smart about it and when the situation is under control just deal damage instead.
Right now PvP is extremely undeveloped.
What does this mean? Well, it means that classes have not been balanced around PvP and there are still many things that need to be adjusted/implemented before PvP becomes something “real”.
I wouldn’t take PvP seriously for now.
Expect many things to change in the close future, mainly around class balance changes and gimmicky builds.
There is also no game mode for structured PvP, and even though guilds can fight one another, there is no structured Guild vs Guild system with rewards or anything alike.
PvP still has a long way to go in this game.
Tree of Savior has been open on Korea for quite a while now. And many of us have been playing on that server, exploring the new content.
Unfortunately, many people who don’t play kTOS take early information released from players on kTOS and start spreading it as if it was something final. This often leads to inaccuracy of information which just confuses new players and others who are not playing kTOS.
I will try to cover the most frequent questions that players have regarding information that comes from kTOS.
1.- "Content at early levels is much harder and requires people to get more CON into their builds."
Absolutely not true.
This mostly got spread around because inexperienced players were having a difficult time on some content of the new area (Orsha), which has been toned down through patches anyways.
Early game is as easy as it has always been, and there is no need to modify your build expecting some nonexistent difficulty.
2.- "I heard DEX and evasion fall off at late game"
While there are more magical mobs later on in the game (magic cannot be evaded), the remaining physical mobs can still be dodged quite frequently and DEX is still a viable choice for builds.
This doesn’t mean that DEX builds will fall off later on, as they are trading some potential damage for a reliable evasion level.
Don’t expect it to work with a half-assed evasion build though. Either you go with a good evasion build, or you don’t go for it at all.
3.- Earth Tower
You might have heard about Earth Tower and it’s difficulty. And before you ask, yes, people have completed levels of Earth Tower (the Tower is divided in 20 different levels, but as of March 24, 2016 not all the levels have been completed.)
While some builds are being preferred over others right now, it doesn’t mean that you need an specialized build to complete Earth Tower (like full CON, Peltasta C3, etc).
In my opinion Earth Tower is just being used as a temporary solution to the game, as it has no real end-content for now. Once they add more content, then Earth Tower will stop being as troublesome without a good party.
For now, it is possible to complete Earth Tower by just having Peltasta C1 on your build.
4.- "I heard this is THE BEST build on kTOS right now"
People love to just blindly follow these kinds of trends.
Players on the Korean server are experimenting and working around their builds just as much as many people will on our international server.
Many kTOS players still are using inefficient builds because they are trying stuff out. Just like them, don’t be afraid to experiment with your build. And a lot of them are using what I consider terrible Swordsman builds, but they are still learning, just like everyone else is or had to at one point.
While they have their own regional meta as for popular builds, I highly expect this to change in our version as better and more refined builds are crafted by our community.
My advice is to not just blindly follow a “this is THE BEST build” advice. There are many ways to play this game and it comes down to the skill and creativity of players to figure out the best build for themselves.
A build that might be bad on the hands of one player, might shine on the ones of another.
Choose what YOU want to play.
[As a note, it is true that the Swordsman tree is perhaps the weakest when it comes to PvP, but hopefully it will get balanced in a soon future.]
#What classes should I pick for my build?
I like to think that building a character in this game is like going to Subway and getting a sandwich.
There are some ingredients that you might like, and others that you might not. The idea is picking the ones you like the most, and while there might be some “recommended builds”, there is always room to customize them by adding or removing components of it.
In the end, no matter what ingredients you pick, you will always end up with a sandwich, there is no way to go wrong and you will get to eat.
So don’t be afraid to pick classes that are interesting to you, just because they are not to other people.
My only advice is to aim to move always forward, either going deeper into a class or choosing a higher rank class. Try to not mix multiple low rank classes because overall higher ranked classes will result in a better build.
In this section I will provide a general description of each class, as well as reasons for which you might or might not pick them for your build and the general playing style you can expect with them. Advice for what skills to level up will also be detailed where necessary.
Now, I have to say that I am going to be mean to some of these classes, not because I hate them or anything, but because the game is still in development and it is the sad true that some classes are extremely underwhelming or lack an identity to make them a good choice.
Don’t let my words discourage you from playing one class, IF that is what you want to do with your build. Only you know what will be the most fun build for yourself. Don’t let your memes be dreams, or your dreams be memes, or whatever it is.
Also, I am not going to cover the description of every skill, it is highly advised to consult this guide while having the skill information at hand. You can find that from several sources, here is one of them: TOSBase Skill Simulator
The base class of our tree. The first circle is mandatory and luckily it is a good one. It provides good skills and attributes that will complement the classes you pick later on.
Overall it is advised to not get more than C1 of this class, unless you want to go for a very gimmicky Shinobi build (more explained on that class’ section).
You will also hear that C2/C3 are for PvP builds, due to Restrain. And while that is true, it is also exaggerated.
Choosing C2/C3 is NOT the best way to build for PvP. It has it’s pros and cons, just like everything else.
Restrain allows you to have another form of CC on your kit, but your build turns into an “all-in” one trick pony. It is very lineal and leaves no room for additional playing styles that you could use by choosing other classes. For example, manually blocking with Peltasta or Highlander allows you to deal easier with opponents who deal physical damage.
Not to even mention that your build suffers even more as it loses better tools to help on PvE, not only for leveling but for group content such as dungeons as well.
- Gung Ho (Level 5): This buff increases your physical attack while lowering your defense. Don’t worry too much about the defense reduction as it is barely significant. I recommend leveling this skill up first as it provides the best damage for SP at early levels.
- Bash (Level 3): Getting level 3 of this skill allows you to acquire the Knockdown attribute, which makes this a realiable CC skill with 3 Overheat.
- Thrust (Level 0~1): This is skill only useful at level 1 as a reliable source of Pierce damage, but not a good one. If you are a Hoplite or a Fencer, you can skip this skill.
- Concentrate (Level 5): While Gung Ho remains as a better buff later on, during early levels I recommend leveling the attribute for Concentrate first, as it provides the best damage at the beginning.
- Pain Barrier (Level 1~?): The main use of this skill is to deal with staggering. Level 1 should be enough on most builds; however, if you want to specialize in PvP then you can take points off from Concentrate and put them into this skill. Your early game PvE will suffer, but you will have a better buff for PvP at higher levels.
Bash and Thrust are not damage skills, so I don’t recommend you to level up their attributes to increase their damage as you will soon replace them with better skills from other classes.
- Restrain (Level 5): The only reason why you are going into this circle. Get it as high as possible as you need the highest possible chance of it’s effect activating.
- Pain Barrier (Level 10): If you decided to take on this circle for PvP, then you will also want to max this skill for a longer duration.
- Pommel Beat (Level 0~1): It provides you with a Strike skill, so level 1 should be enough.
- Gung Ho (Level 9~10)
Get the attributes to add more effects to your skills.
- Restrain (Level 10)
- Pain Barrier (Level 15)
- Double Slash (Level 0~5): A decent damage skill that deals more damage to Bleeding targets (from Thrust), which also has a higher chance of landing a critical hit thanks to it’s attribute. I recommend getting level 5 of this skill and level up it’s damage attribute if it is a source of damage in your build. However, if your build has better damage sources from other classes then I would spend these points into other skills like Gung Ho or Concentrate.
For now we are still waiting on confirmation on whether or not we will get the changes to Sky Liner. As soon as this is confirmed I will add the necessary changes to this section, as well as the possible builds emanating from it.
Regardless of whether the changes to Sky Liner actually go through or not, there are a few aspect that make this class interesting for a build.
A Highlander prides itself on the ability to apply negative status to enemies, including Shock, Bleeding, Armor Break, Staggered, etc.
While people usually link this class with the word “DPS” for builds, it is not entirely accurate. It does have more damage than it’s counterpart, Peltasta, at Rank 2. However, in the overall picture of a build, Highlander brings more combat-effectiveness rather than straight up damage, which are often more useful as they provide different playing styles to use against different opponents; something valuable in an environment like PvP.
Highlander is a good class to choose for people who like to rush straight into battle for fast-paced combat, staying on top of enemies and not letting them breath.
Keep in mind that choosing Highlander over Peltasta will mean that you won’t have Swash Buckling, the AoE taunt skill of the Swordsman tree, and might have an impact when you do PvE content with other players. While it is more laborious to perform the job as a “tank”, it is not impossible, you just need a comprehensive party.
The first circle ins’t particularly impressive, as most of the class’ potential comes at later circles. The main benefit it gives is the ability to use Two-Handed Swords and the ability to block incoming attacks with them.
- Wagon Wheel (Level 1): This skill remains as a CC source rather than damage, so level 1 is more than enough to fulfill it’s role.
- Cartar Stroke (Level 0~5): This skill isn’t as strong as it was on the past. If you plan on taking a class with reliable Strike damage (like Barbarian, Cataphract, Rodelero, etc), then I would suggest skipping this entirely or getting level 1 for the CC effect, but it is not necessary. For a PvP build, I would also recommend skipping this skill to better spend those points elsewhere.
Cross Guard (Level 1~5): This is a pretty great and sometimes overlooked skill. It has nice scaling and I would recommend getting Level 5 of it regardless of what build you are planning to end up using. However, at least get level 1 if you would rather spend points on the damage skills of the next circles.
While it requires to use a Two-Handed Sword to block, it can still be used with other weapons such as Rapier or Spear by using weapon-swapping. This way you can take advantage of the Staggering effect, which makes opponents vulnerable to Pierce-type attacks (Hoplite, Fencer, Dragoon, etc).
Crown (Level 5): This is skill is often overlooked because of the lack of details as to how much INT/SPR the Shock effect reduces. To this day, there is still no clear formula for it, but it can go as far as to potentially reducing the INT/SPR values to 1, extremely weakening any magic user.
While this skill doesn’t scale up that well in terms of damage, adding more skill points to it significantly increases the duration of the Shock effect and with a cool-down of 30 seconds, then the up-time becomes an important aspect of it. Definitely pick this skill if you are planning on using a PvP build, and also if you plan on picking Doppelsoeldner C2 later on your build.
The skill distribution for Circle 2 and Circle 3 is heavily dependent of the changes to Sky Liner. Once there is a confirmation, this section might change.
Moulinet (Level 0~5): If Sky Liner remains as a 0 CD skill, then I would just skip this skill and spend points elsewhere. Otherwise, I would get level 1 to have an additional damage skill.
This skill doesn’t particularly scale that well into later levels in terms of damage, it is the reason why I prefer to leave it at level 1, sacrificing some damage at early levels to end up with a better skill set at later levels, as Moulinet will get replaced by stronger damage skills, while the points you spend on other utility skills from Highlander will remain as effective.
- Sky Liner (Level 5): Regardless of what cool-down this skill ends up with, it still deals some significant damage to Bleeding enemies and the damage can be increased by other modifiers, like the Attribute, even if it doesn’t particularly scale that well by itself.
- Cross Cut (Level 1~5): This skill will remain mostly as an enabler for Sky Liner or other skills that rely on the Bleeding effect of it, so level 1 is enough to get the most out of it. You could spend more points on it to increase it’s damage, but same as other skills, it doesn’t particularly scale that well and it will be replaced by other damage skills at later ranks, so while it provides some decent damage at early levels, in my opinion it is not worth to spend more points in this skill to end up with a stronger build at higher levels.
- Crown& Cross Guard (Remaining points): All your remaining points should go into these two skills. If you follow my advice for later levels, then it means you will get both to level 10.
Skull Swing (Level 1~5): This skill applies Armor Break (reduces defense to 0), which makes it a great utility skill. While it’s damage scales off decently, I would simply keep this skill at level 1 as you will soon get more damage skills from other classes.
The Armor Break effect lasts for 10 seconds at level 1, and goes up to 30 seconds at level 5. You might want to consider spending more points on it for the extra duration, useful for longer fights (like bosses) and to keep a higher up-time on it. Each additional level increases the duration by 5 seconds, so you can decide how many points you want to spend on this skill.
- Vertical Slash (Level 0~5): Another skill based around dealing damage, and like Sky Liner it also deals extra damage to targets. If Sky Liner remains at 0 cool-down, I would simply skip this skill. Otherwise I would get at least level 1 of it, and consider spending more points depending on how valuable this skill is as a damage source in the overall build (whether or not it gets replaced by other skills from other classes on the build).
- Crown, Cross Guard, Moulinet, Sky Liner, Cross Cut (Remaining points): The rest of your points will go into any of these skills, depending on how valuable they are to your overall build and playing style.
As a last note on Highlander. If you are planning on using a pure PvE build, then I would recommend for you to focus on the damage skills rather than the utility ones, following the advice I put on each one of them. As the utility skills are not as impactful on PvE as they are for PvP.