This is a guide meant to aid and guide nubbies starting their way in Spiral Knights. A guide that would have made my life easier if it existed when I started playing.
First and foremost, useful links that you will be looking up during the course of your SK career to gain valuable information regarding darn well near everything. The single most important link that you'll be referring to each and everytime you have a question, the Wiki. Seriously, avoid pestering people about questions that takes seconds to wiki and is far more comprehensive at answering your question than most people would.
The SK forums provide an invaluable insight in the game and it's players and their thoughts and ideas. Emphasis given (in order of priority) to General Discussion/New Recruits, Arsenal and Announcements. From here, you can see discussions about current game meta, ask and receive answers to many questions you may have, news and updates from OOO, video links and even critical analysis of the various weapons gears, monsters and levels.
As of updating this guide, I have not played as SK in a while. I do, however, keep track of news and updates. They do not come often and everything in this guide should still be completely relevant (par from a few discrepancies here and there).
When you first start your game, you will be in a tutorial level, a set of missions that teaches you the basic fundamentals of the ancient art of "making things that move not move anymore". It basically teaches you...well the basics. You'll get through quite quickly but remember to pick up everything that's dropped, especially the crowns (currency). The old rule of "destroy everything" no longer applies as much.
I won't go through a great amount of detail regarding this as it's very straightforward and should be completed in no more than half an hour.
After you finish. Welcome...to Haven! NOW, listen to me as this is VERY *IMPORTANT*. I want you to stand still. Don't do anything. I want your character to be as stiff as 85% of the people in Haven. You don't move a muscle until I explain some important fundamental basics. What I will allow you to do though is breath so you don't die and scroll down to continue reading.
A player just starting out is when he is at his most vulnerable. He is ill-equipped and ill-acquainted, prone to costly, future damaging mistakes because of a simple thing...lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge and a natural want for more. As a new player, standing at the gates of Haven, one of the most natural things that comes to mind is "how do I get better gear?" and "what can I do with my money?". You might buy armour or weapons that might not suit you or the levels you'll be doing, you might find that the thing you just bought normally costs far less than what you paid, etc.
"Patience is a virtue. Knowledge is power. Impulse is the enemy."
So how do we deal with it? With a few simple rules.
Firstly, DO NOT buy anything unless you know damn well what you're buying no matter how awesome it sounds.
Secondly, DO NOT sell anything unless you damn well know what you're selling no matter how useless that thing is.
Thirdly, TIME IS MONEY. Learn how to best maximise them both.
Finally, WAIT until you really need something and have looked at other alternatives BEFORE deciding to buy/sell anything. Sometimes, no matter how good something is, there might be something out there better and/or cheaper.
A horror story I like passing around is the one how a guy sold all his materials to a vendor, including a Book of Dark Rituals which sold for 50cr. You nubbies out there would not know what that is. So let's apply what we've learned thus far. Put yourself in his shoes. Wiki the material and find out what it does/what it's used for and find out what they normally go for if being sold/bought from other people. Now ask yourself, would you have done the same thing?
Once you've done so, I will use my magic powers to allow you to move. Not only that, I'll let you do whatever the hell you'd like so long as you learn and follow those four fundamental rules.
SO CAN I PLAY NOW?
Yes you may! I'll tell you more about Haven later but as of right now, you must be bored as hell. I want you to open up the Mission interface (default key "M") and continue the missions. The next few missions are easy enough that you only need your starting gear to finish them. If you can, I would recommend doing it with a party just so you can see how they play. Additionally, the missions will teach you more about the mechanics of the game (such as crafting, accessories, damage types, monster families, etc.) via dialogue sequences. The missions are also a great way of obtaining various rewards (which may only be obtained once).
Let me talk a little about death and reviving. At this point, you would not be dying a lot (if at all). The first few floors of T1 is well....how can I say this...you'll have to try quite hard to get killed. So you might not have shaken hands with the Grim Reaper, or Hades, or Annubis, or Kira, whoever. If you do find yourself dead, you'd notice you revive automatically. That would be your "Emergency Revive" kicking in. You get one Emergency rev for each floor. If you advance to the next floor without having used one, you will replenish some health as if you had used one before hopping on the elevator.
So what happens if I die having already used up the emergency rev, y'say?
Another thing to note is that gone are the days that people were able to part half of their health to revive fallen teammates. In order to revive fallen team members they will need to part one of their own sparks. From this, a spark etiquette emerges. Firstly, you do not expect, let alone ask, to be revived. Secondly, you do not join a party knowing you won't have enough sparks to cover yourself (if you find yourself constantly dying you're probably not yet ready for the mission anyway and should be more concerned about the ones you can do). It's only polite.
One thing to note. During the course of playing, you will stumble upon Minerals. Luminite, Crimsonite, Dark Matter, Valestone and Moonstone (yellow, red, purple, green and blue minerals respectively). For reasons I will explain later, avoid the green and blue minerals and only go for the purple, yellow and red minerals and remember to pick the largest of the three (now of course this does not mean you don't pick up any minerals if there's ONLY green or blue).
Once you're ready to read on, I'll tell you about something that this guide, when first written two years ago 2011, revolved on. Energy.
What is energy? Energy is another type of currency much like crowns. It's similar to crowns only in that it can be traded between players. That's where the similarities end. Unlike crowns, energy enters circulation by players buying it, with real money, from OOO as opposed to beating up monsters into submission. Every single amount of energy in game had at one point been purchased by someone else. They are also used to purchase Items from the Supply Depot. Try it! Press (default key) "K" at anytime to open up the depot. From here you can buy gear (not recommended. Not recommended at all), Weapon/Trinket Slots and Rarities amongst other things.
Every now and then you may encounter places to use energy whilst venturing down in the clockworks. It may be to unlock a gate with goodies behind it or a danger room (with goodies behind it), activating a Spiral Co. Laser turret thingy or bringing a lifeless mecha back to life (quite frankly the latter two is a waste of energy).
So how can I get energy if I don't buy using real $£€? -Are you daft? I just said you can buy it from other players- Simple! Open up the energy interface. You can do so by clicking on your energy meter when your Arsenal/Inventory (default key "I") is open or whenever your doing anything where spending energy is an option (e.g. Whilst crafting, standing in front of a mecha knight). There will be three tabs. The first tab is for real money transactions.
Historically, there were two kinds of energy. Mist Energy, a kind of free energy that refills everyday capped at 100, and Crystal Energy (ce), what energy today is, and were used in crafting, reviving, and, more significantly, to play. You used to need 10energy to advance each floor. Today, Mist Energy has been removed, elevator fees are gone and Crystal Energy is simply called energy since there's no need to differentiate anymore. So what's the history lesson for? Just so you know that when anyone says "10ce", they simply mean "10e" (they hipster iz all) and why there's a 0 energy symbol above the elevators.
As of writing this guide, ce *ahem* e costs 7,566cr per 100e. So for guide's sake, I'll assume the rate of cr/e to be 76cr/e.
Fun Fact/Anomaly: Since the update to remove elevator fees and Mist energy was introduced, market value has remained very stable as opposed to the update having any impact at all.
This place consists to five areas. The town square, Bazaar (NPC shop area), Arcade, Advanced Training Hall (found in the town square) and the Garrison (which is the entrance to the Laboratory, Guild Halls and Hall of Heroes). Explore the area, talk to various NPC’s, visit the training hall, browse goods, mess around with the Auction House (the AH). Messing around at the AH? Remember the four rules.
The Hall of Heroes is where you'd go to buy "almost" any recipe you need (boss recipes not included) and the Laboratory is where you'd go for all things Battle Sprite related. Don't concern yourself too much about it.
Haven bored you already? God you're hopeless. Let's carry on to the next topic. Battle Sprites.
BATTLE SPRITES a.k.a. PETS
Depending on how many missions you've done thus far, you may or may not already have a Battle Sprite (from now on Sprite). A sprite is a NPC that follows you around and aids you in combat via ordering it to do certain skills. There are three sprites to choose from, each with their own distinct skills. In the missions, you get to try out each Sprite in turn one at a time of whom has access to two of the three skills.
Afterwards, you will need to choose one sprite. You will need to choose wisely as once you choose, you can't take it back for a replacement. You may, however, decide to purchase another sprite from the depot (though quite expensive, especially for someone new to the game). Since you had a chance to try out each sprite (if you need to try out sprites multiple times before deciding, simply do the missions again), I will not concern the guide which sprite to pick or what each sprite is about. I will say, however, that a certain sprite is better than the rest. Which one? Four rules, m'boy. Four rules.
After obtaining your Sprite (and I'll be assuming you know how to navigate the sprite interface and feed your sprite), you'll notice the appetite bar. A full appetite bar means your sprite is starving (contrary to what it may have you believe). Feed your sprite with the best materials you can obtain, in particular, 5* materials. Now, I understand as a new player that has just started, you will not have any of those. However it is important to understand straight off the bat that FAVOURITE FOOD ≠ BEST FOOD, atleast only for the early levels.
Remember when I said that you should avoid green and blue minerals? Let me tell you why. Go to a red crafting station (the station you go to to craft various sprite food, there's one in the Lab and one beside the AH, left side). Marvelous! Now! Tell me what ingredients you need. In particular, the one at the bottom. Excellent. It will either be Luminite, Crimsonite or Dark Matter (depending on the sprite food). Lumis/Crims/DM are the most valuable minerals simply because they are needed in crafting sprite food and Vales/Moons have nearly no value at all since they're only used in making certain, underpowered (as of this guide) bombs. You need to remember there's no way to get rid of those minerals any other way. So once you get Vales/Moons unless you plan on making bombs, they're useless (as of yet).
As your sprite levels up, your sprite will receive points to allocate to improve his skills (allocate these as you see fit) and, more importantly, perks. Think of these as trinkets. These improve your knights abilities, not your sprite's (e.g. Undead Low perk equipped, you yourself, not your sprite, will be dealing more damage against undead).
From this point onwards, it should be obvious your goal is to complete the missions and eventually finish them. But do it slowly, take it a step at a time. There's no need to rush, you can do the missions over and over again until you get the hang of them. One of the milestones you should be looking for is finishing the mission 3-2 "Blades of the Fallen". After completing this mission, you can be glad to say you're now clad in T2 Vanilla gear and just in time for the next mission which involves fighting the Snarbolax (D'aawwww you're first baws ccc:). The important piece was the Calibur given in Blades of the Fallen. Compared to all the other weapons given to you thus far, the Calibur is leagues ahead in terms of damage in T1 and should be good for much of T2.
Hold your ground against Ol' Snarby and I'll congratulate you to gaining access to T2!
T2 AND BEYOND
Snarbolax down, 3 more bosses to go....But I'm scared....How hard is T2 anyway? It shouldn't be THAT hard now is it?
Well, up to now, all you've really fought are those teensy wittow bebis in T1 aye? Now compared to T2, that's what they are, tiny little bebis. T2 isn't so much hard as it is being unfamilliar with many of the monsters you've come to know and love in T1. The ol' walk up to them and keep clicking just doesn't cut it anymore and you'll find yourself dead in 3...2...
You'll need a bit more brain to hold out in T2. Brains....and quick feet. You'll learn very quickly that evading is by far the best way to stay alive (well, killing things before they even get a chance to do anything works too....but you're not powerful enough to do that yet now are ya?). Getting hit incurs far heftier penalties in T2 than it did in T1 (four bars of damage if ill-equipped), enemies are harder to dodge, they introduce new moves and, to top it off, they start inflicting nastier statuses on you. Shocking really (i c wut u did thar).
In all fairness, it's not as hard as I make it out to be but I must say that it is quite a steep difficulty slope in comparison.
What about gear and equipment? Well honestly to be fair, you should ditch your Cobalt Set and Calibur for something a bit more practical. Why? -because shut up that's why- Weeellll...I'll be blunt, other weapons does it's job better than the Calibur. Not that the Calibur is a terrible weapon, mind you, as I said, it's enough to last you much of T2. Remember the four rules when choosing other weapons and armour and if you happen to conclude going through with the vanilla set is the option for you, then so be it. You've thought it through (which is important).
Once you're concerning yourself which 4* armour weapon to go for and getting worried what T3 has in store for you, I'd say you're well past the beginner stage. Gratz nubby, this is where we part. I expect great things from you. Seeya guys in another two years.
TIPS, TRICKS, EXTRAS
• Join a good guild and choose friends wisely. Good friends and a good guild help enhance the game for you (it IS a mmorpg after all). Friends and guildies would be more than willing to help you out with that troublesome mission.
• Hit ‘n’ run. Charge your sword, smash, run away, repeat. The safe way of killing things.
• Shield cancel. Swing once or twice and shield immediately to cancel that sword animation. Effectively you swing faster.
• Shield bash. Get close to an enemy/enemies, then shield. They will be pushed away from you.
• Run ‘n’ gun. While running, shoot just enough times before you need to reload (Blasters take 3 shots before reloading so shoot twice, etc) then stop shooting and wait until you pull your gun back then shoot again. This is so you avoid the reloading animation which can leave you highly vulnerable.
• Attack the healers first!
• Save your sparks and use them wisely. You want to save them for the really tough missions.
• Stick with your teammates. Especially on harder floors where you can’t Rambo everything and they may need some help.
• Wiki before buying!
• Try to get behind gun puppies and attack.
• Before pressing group buttons, charge your sword.
• "The 300" (Exploiting terrain). After attracting some aggro, you may want to retreat to an area and fight on your own terms where you have the advantage.
• Swords with a 360 degree charged attack (only tested with Caliburs) can hit the same enemy multiple times at point blank (twice for most targets, three times for stationary ones such as gun puppies). Get up close and personal!
• Boss missions. Snarby/Twins/JK/Vana (compared to other missions of similar depth and tier) give more crowns per floor. Maximise time spent grinding for crowns by doing these missions.
• If you die, spectate your teammates. You'll learn a lot about what they do right and why you died. There's a reason they're still alive.
• Avoid the Cautery Sword....*AT ALL COSTS*.