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Class Overview - The Viking - Tough Meleer & PvP Powerhouse
Vikings have an assortment of abilities which make them almost indispensible in the early-to-mid levels of Atlantica Online. While they are not as tough defensively as the Swordsman, they do have the ability to dish out some serious damage on their opponents with their standard attack, and they are a decent tank in their own right in the early levels. Their keystone ability however is the magical attack Freezing Axe, which applies both a multiple-round damage-over-time effect, as well as immobilizing the units in the row on which Freezing Axe is cast.
These abilities make the Viking a very good choice for your party in the early game, but ultimately the Viking's low magic defense causes him to be greatly outclassed by other mercenaries in the late game. Vikings are too easy to kill in the late game, but in the early-to-mid game they are a good addition to most any build.
The Axeman class is essentially the main character version of the Viking. If you choose for your main to be an Axeman, he will have the same abilities as the Viking, but with good magical defense. This makes for a very tough and dynamic main. Axemen and Artillerymen are currently the main character in almost every current winning build in high-end PvP.
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Stats & Equipment
The Viking's stats are the biggest influence on the viability of the class in the long run. At the higher levels, his extremely poor Magic Defense ends up making him quite vulnerable to magic attacks. There are multiple class C mercenaries with powerful magic attacks which can hit any unit in the opposing formation in the late game of Atlantica Online, and once those mercenaries arrive on the scene, the Viking's lifespan tends to shorten significantly on the battlefield.
Some of the Viking's strengths are his high Strength stat, allowing for high-damage attacks, and his reasonably high Defense and Vitality. These stats allow the Viking to tank pretty decently in the first 40 or so levels of advancement, but by the mid-game there are several other mercenaries with much better stats for front-line positioning in your formation.
- Strength: 330
- Intelligence: 140
- Dexterity: 110
- Vitality: 310
- Defense: 280
- Magic Defense: 50
As far as equipment goes, it's a very good idea to give your Viking the best axe possible. The Viking attacks horizontally in Atlantica Online, hitting both your selected target and the targets on the sides of your target. If you've killed a unit in the front ranks of your opponent's formation, this can be a good way to hit targets which would otherwise be protected from physical attacks by units in the ranks in front of them. Additionally, the Viking's attacks are powerful, and using a better axe simply magnifies that power.
In terms of armor and accessories, It is recommendable to give the Viking equipment which increases his strength and his ability to stay in the fight for as long as possible. Items which increase Strength, Vitality, Defense, and Magic Defense are indispensible for this. The Viking's real power in most fights is his skill Freezing Axe. Because of the power of this skill, your opponent will probably choose the Viking as one of the first targets to take down, particularly in PvP. So it is a good idea to use equipment which boosts his defensive stats, to increase his survivability.
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- Guard Dispel - This spell can be cast on a single row of the opponent's formation. It essentially cancels out the spell Holy Guard which is on any of your opponent's units in that row. This allows your other mercs to use magical attacks on those mercs which previously had Holy Guard on them.
- Deadly Strike - This spell can only be used when your mercenary is on the verge of death. It is a very highly damaging attack, targeted to a single enemy unit. Using this ability will tax your mercenary's action power both on the round in which it is used, and on the following round. It really is a last ditch sort of ability, but it deals out significant damage.
- Break Down - This is an area-of-effect spell, targeting every unit in the enemy formation. It is one of the weaker AoE spells in the game. However, if it is used on a formation which has the ranged skill Chaos Wind in effect upon them, the spell Destructive Wind will activate. Destructive Wind is a high-damage area-of-effect, damage-over-time spell.
In addition to these 3 basic class D melee mercenary skills, the Viking has one skill which really defines the class' power:
- Freezing Axe - This magical attack freezes all three of the units in a single rank of your opponent's formation, and applies a damage-over-time effect to them. It's a good idea to kill a unit in the front ranks of your opponent's formation, so that you can freeze the middle or back rank of your opponent, as any smart player will put their most vulnerable mercenaries further back, or the mercenaries with the most devastating abilities. This skill can very easily turn the tide of any battle, be it PvP or PvE.
Now that we have the basics on this unique class out of the way, lets move on to some in-depth analysis of the Viking class. When is the Viking worth keeping around for the length of your advancement in Atlantica Online? What is the best way to train your Viking's skills and stats? Which party formation builds is the Viking most suited for? And is the Viking (Axeman) really one of the best choices for your main character, and if so, why?
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Training Viking Skills
When considering how to go about training your Viking's skills, the most fundamental question really is, "Am I training up a normal mercenary (a Viking), or am I training up my main character (an Axeman)?" There is a definite divide in terms of the best way to train up the skills of either of these classes.
For a Viking, the best choice really is to simply train up Freezing Axe as high as it can go. Some people do hold onto their Vikings beyond level 60, and if this is you, then it might be a good idea to train up a bit on Guard Dispel or perhaps Break Down or Deadly Strike, but in the long run you really are going to find that your Viking is simply dying way too quickly to magic attacks, and you'll end up ditching him for another more powerful class C mercenary. It's worth considering that there are no top winning PvP builds with Vikings in them.
There are however a ton of winning PvP builds with Axemen as the main character in them. Their high magic defense totally removes the great weakness of the Viking class, and you find yourself with a main character with the prized skill Freezing Axe, through the full duration of your playtime in Atlantica Online. If your main is an Axeman, the obvious skill to train on him would be Freezing Axe.
From there, there are some other important considerations about the Axeman class' skills.
First of all, the skill Break Down is unique to each of the class D melee mercenaries. No other class has this skill. And the Viking is perhaps the only of the three class D melee mercenaries worth having as your main. As regular mercs, none of the three are worth keeping around into the highest levels of AO, so having an Axeman main is a great opportunity to have the Break Down skill in the late game, and to combine it with Chaos Wind (a ranged merc skill) to produce the devastating spell Destructive Wind. It is reasonable to keep a Gunner or Artilleryman into the later stages of the game, particularly in the case of stun formation builds for the Artilleryman. So if you have an Axeman main, it's a viable option to train up Break Down.
The other two skills, Guard Dispel and Deadly Strike, are also worth training for their own reasons. Guard Dispel is highly powerful in PvP in Atlantica Online, as Holy Guard is indispensible in PvP, and Guard Dispel will cancel out Holy Guard on your enemy's units. Deadly Strike, on your main character, could spell the difference between victory and defeat in close matches where most of the mercenaries on both sides of the fight are already dead. In the long run though, training Guard Dispel is probably the surer bet, and having this spell into the higher levels is really a great asset to the strength of your team.
So, the best skills to train on an Axeman are probably Freezing Axe, Guard Dispel, and Break Down for stun builds with an Artilleryman in them. It is reasonable though to train up Deadly Strike alongside these skills.
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Training Viking Stats
You can only adjust the increase of stats so much, with the limited number of uses allowed for refund vials, but which stats should you seek to increase on Vikings and Axemen mains? The answer is to increase the stats which enhance the class' strengths.
For the Viking, it's may be best to raise his Strength and Vitality the most. With higher strength his standard attacks will do more damage to your enemies, and with higher Vitality he will have more survivability. Higher Dexterity will increase his ability to dodge slightly, and higher intelligence will make his Freezing Axe attacks more likely to hit and do slightly more damage. Really, every stat for the Viking is worth considering. We'll leave this one to personal preference.
For an Axeman main, the story is a little different. If your main dies in battle, the fight is lost, so his survivability is a much more important factor. It's recommendable to increase his Vitality first and foremost, followed perhaps by Intelligence and Dexterity. There is inconclusive evidence at this point as to whether Intelligence increases Magic Defense, and as to whether Dexterity increases dodge chance, but some evidence does point to these hypothesis. I'm willing to bet that these stats do add to defense, and if that's the case, then they're worth increasing on your Axeman main.
Another consideration is that some players have found that a character with higher Intelligence will receive stronger heals from Shamans and Oracles, adding as many as 40-100 points to the effect of their heals. This is an unusual game mechanic, but if it's there, it's worth considering in your stat increasing strategy.
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In the long term, the Viking simply ends up being far too easy to kill to be worth keeping in your party. While the Viking's abilities are quite strong for a Class D mercenary, there are quite a few Class C mercenaries who have equal or stronger abilities, who bring better stats and survivability along with them, making the Viking a less than ideal choice for the later game.
However, as a main character choice, the Axeman is a very, very strong contender. You can bring those Viking/Axeman skills with you all the way into the late game, which really enhances the power of your party. The Axeman and Artilleryman are two of the most ideal mains in the game, when considering long-term strategy.
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From all of the evidence, the status of the Viking class in AO is pretty clear. While the Axeman is great as your main character for several very substantial reasons, the Viking as a hirable mercenary is not a good choice for the higher level game. Vikings are extremely helpful to have around in the early and mid-game, even indispensible, but by the mid-levels they begin to lose their luster, due to their extremely low Magic Defense and poor survivability.
I really believe that the spice of Atlantica Online is the dynamic nature of the strategy in the game, allowing for interesting decisions about which mercenaries to use, how to assemble your party and party formation, and how to go about decimating the opponent's party in PvP and PvE. It really is the thinker's MMORPG, and is a truly innovative game. If you're looking for more information, guides and tips on AO, Bright Hub is a great place to go to find it. Have fun on the battlefield, and enjoy your mercs!