by: M.S. Smith
; edited by: Simon Hill
; updated: 4/17/2012
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The Rook is the most iconic character in Demigod, thanks to his constant use in marketing for the game. He is a powerful character, as you'd expect, but his key role in the marketing campaign does not mean he is without weakness on the battlefield.
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Meet The Rook
All the demigods in Demigod can be built in a variety of different ways, but they also have core characteristics that don't change. The Rook's primary focus seems to be slow, steady assault against enemy defenses and support of others assaulting enemy defenses, and for this role he is well suited. The Rook's attacks do a great deal of damage, and he can take down defensive towers relatively quickly from the very start of the game. The Rook also has the ability to build his own towers as well as mount an archer tower and a light tower on his shoulders. These towers are at least part of most Rook builds as the towers themselves are powerful. Buy building a chain of them, The Rook can in effect create a defensive base that slowly creeps towards his enemies. As older towers are taken down new towers are placed. It is a powerful method of lane control, and will eventually put major pressure on your opponent's defenses.
The downsides to the Rook are his large size and his speed. He may be powerful, but he is the opposite of a character like the Torchbearer, who is quick and hits hard from range. He is an easy target for enemies, and his presence usually has the psychological effect of attracting attention. Speed is a more pressing concern, as the Rook is extremely slow and can't escape from difficult situations without a teleport scroll. This means that anyone playing the Rook needs to be extremely patient and methodical. All your movements need to be planned with some greater goal in mind, and engagement in battle must only be on your terms.
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Power Of The Tower
The towers the Rook can build are one of his most unique traits. Many Rook builds focus heavily on the ability to build towers, as they let the Rook create his own base. This allows the Rook to control the "lane", mowing down enemy creeps and preventing capture of flags by enemies.
Most Tower builds focus heavily on the towers extremely early, preferably gaining access to Tower Of Power II by level 5 and Tower Of Power IV by level 10. Towers do not need to be at a set level in order to be useful - they are always good to have. In addition, the lane control that results from building towers translates into more experience for the Rook, which in turn means quicker access to more and more powerful abilities.
Besides the obvious focus on the Power Of The Tower, Tower builds pick up Structural Transfer with the aim of fully leveling it. Structural Transfer is basically a life-tap ability which can only be used against structures. It is particularly useful for Tower builds because it can be used on your own towers, so a Rook in a field of his towers can survive by cannibalizing them. Tower Builds also generally pick up and level the Archer, Tower Of Light, and Trebuchet abilities. These add-ons further increase the base-attack ability of the Rook, ensuring that once you do creep your field of Towers to the enemy's door-step you can do more than just knock.
Most Tower builds do not pick up the Hammer Slam or any of its upgrades. Boulder Roll is usually picked up for its defensive qualities. More heated is the debate between using Stat upgrades or going for God Strength. God Strength allows for greater offensive power, but the Stat upgrades increase general health and armor. I prefer the God Strength abilities because the Rook can do insane damage against defenses when fully upgraded with God Strength and a few +damage items.
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Tank It Up
Given the Rook's large size and slow speed, it is natural to want to play him as a sort of tank character. The Rook is quite durable, and he can also do some incredible damage using his Hammer Slam and his regular white-damage attacks. Playing him as a tank capitalizes on these facts, and also involves some degree of Tower use.
The trademark of any heavy Tank build is a serious investment in Hammer Slam. Although slow, Hammer Slam is one of the most deadly AOE attacks in the game. Having Hammer Slam IV by level 10 is a must, as is learning how to use it. Remember that it is slow to activate, so be sure to use it only when you are confident your blow will land before an enemy can move. Boulder Roll, even at just its first level, is often considered a requisite for this reason - it activates more quickly, stunning the enemy and allowing your Hammer Slam to easily connect.
Towers are also used in this build, although you'll have less because you are not investing heavily into the Power Of The Tower skills. Tanks can do lane control like Tower builds, but given their offensive power it is also a good idea to keep mobile. Rather than focusing on slowly moving forward your lane, instead join in with allied demigods and fight alongside them, using your towers as support while your Hammer Slam and white damage quickly slay enemy demigods. Gods Strength is also a good skill to level up, in order to increase offensive power.
The other abilities are usually considered non-core, but there seems to be less consensus about what a good Tank build is like. Some builds nearly entirely forsake the Power Of The Tower skills in favor of investment into the Structural Transfer skills, which can pay dividends if you're attacking the enemy's defenses. Others forgo the God Strength and go after the Stat tree. As far as I know these are all valid approachs, but this is likely because the Tank build is less specific than the Tower build.
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Rook To The Races
While the other builds focus on the Rook's strength as a sturdy, albeit slow, defender of the line, there are some builds which theorize that the Rook's heavy offensive ability could be even better if the Rook himself is more mobile. As a result, builds have surfaced which focus on the Rook maintaining mobility. Some maintain that Fast Rook builds are gimmicky, and I'm inclined to agree. They can, however, be fun.
Like a Tank, offense is important. Leveling up Hammer Slam and Boulder Roll is a must. I have seen builds that leave Hammer Slam until well into the teens, but I disagree with these builds - not all games last until level 20, and fewer are decided after you have the chance to invest all your skill points. It is important, as a fast Rook, to be able to hit your enemy with a devastating Hammer Slam so that you can kill them rather than allowing them to retreat. God Strength is also important to further increase offensive power.
Structural Transfer and Power Of The Tower are of secondary importance. Structural Transfer is suggested because having a self-heal is very nice, and since this build is in many ways similar to a tank, you should be nearly as good at end-game base attacks. Power Of The Tower is important, but not for the reason you think. As a Fast build, you use your Towers not as defense, but as scouts. Pop them up at various points and you'll have advanced warning of incoming enemies.
The Fast builds are far more dependent on equipment, so I'll post specific suggestions for gear. You'll want to focus on two things - increases in movement speed and increases in damage. Both of these can be obtained by several different items. Obviously, armor will suffer because you're not going to have room to equip any, which is why this Rook build can be so difficult to play correctly. Also, remember to keep a stack of teleport scrolls so you can quickly move from one side of the map to the other