This section makes the implicit assumption that your assassin will be using the assassin-exclusive katar-class weapons.

Despite the demand for top-of-the-line gear, start simple then get the fancy stuff to suit your needs: higher-end equipment is made to complement your skill as a player, not to cover your lack thereof. If you're a poorly-skilled player with a crappy katar who obtains a Bartuc's Cut-Throat, nothing changes: you're just a poorly-skilled player with a better katar. However, if you're a good player, then you'll be able to outperform a less skilled player any day of the week because the real thing always shines through.

In LOD, there is an incredible variety of weapons and the use of charms and runes can boost the capabilities of a character without taking up valuable equipment slots or even more valuable attribute points.

Still, not even all of the assassin's strengths and perfect equipment can compensate for a lousy player. Despite the amount of space given to items, skill and understanding are still the most important aspects of the assassin, especially the changing demands of her equipment. For this reason, all general stages of an assassin's equipment will be covered, starting with weapons, followed by jewelry and armor, then finishing with sets, runes, and jewels appropriate to the assassin's level of development; this will be divided into three sections:

For more information on items and affixes, please refer to the Horadrim Library and items section of the Arreat Summit.

Dual Claws vs. Claw & Shield

This debate will last until the end of time, and there's no perfect answer to it. It's very dependent on your build, your equipment, and your play style, but I'll try and sum up some of the basic arguments for C/S and dual katars, as well as give some basic mechanics of dual katars.

On normal attacks with dual katars, you alternate katars, and the speed is primarily based on the weapon in the right side. (i.e., for the fastest normal attacks, put the faster katar in the right hand slot.)

On strike charge-ups with dual katars (Tiger Strike, Cobra Strike, Pheonix Strike) you use the left-equipped katar only, and use an average of the two katars' speed.

On katar charge-ups with dual katars (Fists of Fire, Claws of Thunder, Blades of Ice) you use the right-equipped katar as the primary attack, and average the two katars' speed. You can hit with both katars, in which case you'll do damage with the left-equipped katar and apply any elemental and leech effects to the attack. You won't, however, get benefits on the left katar such as blindness, monster flee, crushing blow, etc — basically the same things that Blade Shield transfers. Dragon Claw acts exactly the same as katar charge-ups.

On katar charge-ups with C/S, the attack is slow. The base frame rate appears to be 18. Or, it may simply be that there is an inherent speed penalty for katar charge-ups. Regardless, it's about 50% slower than a strike charge-up.

When using Weapon Block, dual katars deteriorates durability from the right katar as if it were a shield. This can be very expensive with katars that add bonuses to skills, as the repair costs get pretty hefty. On the katar charge-ups and Dragon Claw, you will lose durability on both katars — which makes sense, since you're attacking with both.

C/S allows you to use a shield. Duh. This means you can have a 76% resist all shield (a monarch with 4 perfect diamonds), faster blocking speed, increased block rate, %Damage reduced, high defense, and a whole host of other mods you can't find at all on a katar. You can get bonuses to skills, -DR, -MDR, stat bonuses, damage bonuses, all sorts of things that are hard to find on a katar.

Furthermore, you will always be using one katar. You can count on that katar's speed and damage and effects.

In order to keep the same blocking percentage, you need to put points into dex. It works out that you basically have to put 2 points into dex for the character's lifetime, every level, to sustain the blocking percentage. That can be painful, and while you don't need the highest block percentge possible for a shield, it does mean in practice that you'll be adding points to dex often. Again, depending on the build this isn't a bad thing necessarily.

dual katars gives, in general, higher skill bonuses. It gives you Weapon Block, which gives a blocking percentage that is independent of dex. Weapon Block however cannot be improved by +% blocking items or block speed, so it can result in block lock. The animation for an assassin's blocking is close enough to the shield's base blocking that they're pretty interchangeable.

If you're going to be making an assassin that uses charge-ups as their main damage, or doesn't focus on katar damage so much (traps, Venom, Pheonix Strike, Tiger Strike/Dragon Tail in order of least to most), the only real great reason to use dual katars is to get higher bonuses to skills. You won't be hitting with that second katar except with normal attacks (or Dragon Claw, possibly), it won't give any speed up to the attack, it'll not allow you to charge up any faster. This shouldn't discount the bonus to skills that katars can give — particularly for non-melee-based assassins and Venom assassins, higher skills give significant boosts on a damage scale, similar to how a sorc works.

If you're going for maximum physical damage with katars, dual katar is most optimal. You can effectively double your damage by either attacking with Dragon Claw regularly or using a katar charge-up as your normal attack. However, unless you have two very good katars (each being 150+ damage and reasonably fast) you'll not begin to approach the damage you'd do with a good 2h weapon.

I've personally found it very difficult to find two good katars that I'd want to use. Especially ones with bonuses to all assassin skills or Pheonix Strike. Keep this in mind when planning on dual wielding — it can be hard to get really nice katars.

Finally, an assassin looks somewhat wrong with a shield. She doesn't run right and it looks goofy. She looks "correct" with dual katars — which is a shame, since dual katars often aren't the best thing.

— Kalbear

last updated: Thursday, July 01, 2004 — version 0.10
© 2004 AK404. All rights reserved.

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