Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: The Nightblade
Reckoning with the Nightblade
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is all about destiny, your destiny. It's also about freedom and wild combat. Mix them together, and you have a fluid system that rewards your playstyle with Destiny Cards, symbols of your greatness, your essence. Of the seven destinies that await the player, only one focuses solely on the shadow arts: the Nightblade.
Where brawlers crash around the field and acolytes faint as the sound of swords clashing, the Nightblade watches from the shadows, preparing for a surgical strike, ready to drink blood and breathe poison. As the Nightblade, the player becomes the ultimate ranged assailant and carries a tactical playbook Sun Tzu could appreciate. If a tactical battle filled with blurred movements and critical hits from any distance sounds like your kind of rave, then let Nightblade welcome to you the party.
From Rogue to Nightblade
Of course, to become an Nightblade, the finest of Finesse, the player must allocate 109 points to Finesse, which means reaching level 36. This journey can be made much shorter by following a few simple guidelines.
- Select the Rogue destiny to boost ranged and piercing damage and drop dodge damage.
- Bows are your primary weapons. Fire early; fire often.
- Use Daggers or Faeblades to inflict poison/bleeding and reload arrows.
- Critical hits, bleeding, and poison are your game. Beware heavily armored foes.
- Dodge, don't block. With nearly the weakest armor in the game, health is easily stolen.
- Use Amalur Foundry's talent calculator to plan your progression.
These basic thoughts apply for any rogue, regardless of tactical persuasion. Of course, when choosing actual abilities, players begin to differ. Here's a full rundown of all the abilities available to the budding Nightblade.
Tier 1: The Rogue
Rogue Destiny: Requiring only one point in Finesse, all players begin with access to this destiny. With it, ranged and piercing damage increases and damage taken while dodging reduces.
Precise Weaponry I: Although charged attacks don't blend well with dodging, which is the Rogue's primary defense, such attacks are still viable. Buy the first point for the option. If you have a knack for it, upgrade it.
Dagger Mastery: Even those enamored with bows, myself included, still rely on either the dagger or faeblade. The daggers offer focused attack patterns and early mastery access. Unless you favor the faeblade, invest here with a point every level.
Bow Mastery: By far, Bow Mastery is top priority for any Rogue. The more you invest, the more damage each attack does and the more attacks you have before reloading. At minimum, invest one point every level; consider two points.
Shadow Flare: This quick attack staggers opponents, a useful if not essential option for the Rogue. After investing into Bow Mastery and Dagger Mastery (unless you're saving for Faeblade Mastery), drop a point here; then, one every-other-level.
Assassin's Art: Such a waste. Without ranks here, stealth kills soon fail to actually kill, but even for the best rogue, such kills are a rare beauty thanks to a handicapped Stealth skill. When you have a spare point, invest here, but only then.
Tier 2: The Scout
Scout Destiny: This destiny requires 11 points invested in Finesse and increases the benefits from the Rogue destiny. It's a straight improvement, nothing fancy.
Precise Weaponry II: Like charged attacks, delayed attacks are a risky but useful. Drop a point here for the option. If you're fond of it, upgrade it once a level.
Faeblade Mastery: With a broad, wild attack pattern, these weapons damage anyone too close. While I prefer something more controlled, the faeblade is a solid choice while reloading your quiver. If you've passed on Dagger Mastery, invest here.
Drawpower: Even better than Bow Mastery, this talent wrecks armored enemies, the greatest threat to any Scout. Invest here early and often for amazing results.
Envenomed Edge: This talent doesn't start strong. The poison damage is slight, and the 25% mana cost only earns a 15% chance. This, however, is a powerful late-game talent and a serious threat to bosses and elites. Invest early but slowly.
Frost Trap: Adding an elemental option for the Scout, this talent is useful for harassing over-aggressive foes. That said, useful isn't essential. Unless you're fond of the trap, don't bother investing past the first rank.
Tier 3: The Hunter
Hunter Destiny: With 28 points allotted to Finesse, the Hunter Destiny is available. Improving upon the benefits of the Scout destiny, the Hunter also increases natural crit chance, making the Hunter even more lethal.
Arrow Storm: This is the worst bow talent yet still worth some investment. The charge time makes it risky in melee, and it glitches in-doors. So, invest only one point initially. Once you have "spare" points, then upgrade.
Inoculation: Some of the strongest enemies in the game utilize poison; most, however, don't. As such, poison resistance is nice but not great. Grab the first rank, mostly for the future upgrade, but wait for spare points before further investment.
Icy Explosion: The real benefit to this talent is the chance to stun with Frost Trap, a chance that increases with each rank. This clearly takes priority over Frost Trap, but unless you're fond of the original, only invest a point.
Lunge: With this talent, extending combos and evading enemy attacks becomes much easier. To conserve mana, utilize Lunge as a combat maneuver, not as an attack. Likewise, only buy the first point, initially; later, spend spare points to upgrade.
Tier 4: The Ranger
Ranger Destiny: This destiny, a direct improvement upon the Hunter destiny, is available with 49 points invested in Finesse. No need for elaboration.
Precise Weaponry III: Given the Ranger's knack for dodging, a dodge-attack is an obvious benefit. That said, this attack requries some finesse (no, seriously) and can backfire if misused. Earn that first point, then test it. If you use it well, upgrade. Else, just wait.
Smoke Bomb: Ideal for quick escapes, this talent allows the Ranger to reasses combat and strike from the shadows like Batman himself. As a tactical, not offensive, talent, the first rank should be sufficient until Poison Bomb unlocks.
Barbed Arrows: Despite the minor chance to cause bleeding damage, the Ranger's speed and number of attacks should still yield results. And when this talent works, the damage is huge. Give this talent investment priority.
Enduring Agony: True, this talent adds no new ability to the Ranger's aresenal. It does, however, improve upon several useful ones: Shadow Flare, Envenomed Edge, Barbed Arrows, and more. This talent easily warrants a point-per-level.
Blade Honing: Since this talent doesn't improve bows, the primary weapon for any Ranger, it isn't as important. Faeblades and daggers are still reliable weapons, though, so this talent is still worth the first point. From there, invest with caution.
Tier 5: The Assassin
Assassin Destiny: With 76 points invested in Finesse (technically, granting access to Tier 6), this destiny becomes available. Like all destinies, this one improves upon the benefits of its predecessors. The Assassin also gains Evasion, a constant 6% chance to negate damage.
Precise Weaponry IV: Focusing more on speed than patience, my Assassin never saw much use for a parry-attack. Some players love it, though. Invest a point to test the option. If you favor it, upgrade it. If not, just keep it in mind for slower enemies.
Poison Bomb: This talent applies massive poison damage to Smoke Bomb, adding bite to a the tactical maneuver -- and at no additional mana! Buy the first rank for the damage. Then, unless you hate Smoke Bomb, buy the three ranks soon.
Scattershot: Although less glitchy and more controlled than Arrow Storm, Scattershot is still a prolonged charged attack, which is less viable in melee range. Still, it can deal serious damage, so buy the first point. If you like it, upgrade it.
Mysterious Toxins: Buy it. Between Envenomed Edge, Poison Bomb, and gear enchantments, the Assassin will be slaying many poisoned enemies, so this talent quickly becomes a mob killer. Invest heavily for high damage.
Tier 6: The Nightblade
Nightblade Destiny: The Nightblade defines the Finesse hierarchy. At any distance, the Nightblade has an improved 12% chance to land a critical hit. For offense, the Nightblade increases piercing damage by 20% and ranged damage by 30%. For defense, he has a 60% damage reduction while dodging and a solid 11% chance to evade damage. Best of all, the Nightblade has Assassination: a 300% increase to land a critical strike after successfully evading damage. Not only is the Nightblade an offensive monster, but he also punishes anyone who tries to resist.
Gambit: Hurling bombs at enemies is a wonderful feeling but not so useful. By now, Poison Bomb and a few arrows and dagger slashes should do the job just as well, if not better. Buy the first rank, but only buy the rest if you're fond of Gambit.
Paralytic Poisons: As much as I favor poison talents, this one's not great. Even when maxed, the 8% chance to stun isn't much, even given an entire mob of poisoned targets. This is worth spare points, sure, but that's all.
Execution: Again, this one's not great. With Barbed Arrows and enchantments, some targets will be bleeding, but even the maxed 14% chance to hit might not help. Buy the first point for the 10% chance, but wait for upgrading until maximizing other talents.
The Summary at the End
As a true Nightblade, few enemies will live long enough to see their death-bringer, and they will sorely regret their vision. But, if you should ever (however unlikely) find yourself bored, just visit a Fateweaver and test the Archmage or the Warlord. For guides to those destinies, check my Kingdoms of Amalur collection. And be sure to post your own suggestions and stories of success here.