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Vampyr might not be the most complex RPG, but when you’re already wondering whether to drink someone’s blood in Whitechapel because you want some more experience points, things can get a little tricky.
In this guide, I’ll be covering all of the general skills, their uses, and providing a general assessment of how each skill can play into a potential build for the newly risen Dr. Reid. Whilst I won’t be providing detailed builds in this article I will highlight which specific skills are suited to certain strategies to point players in the right direction.
You can also check out two build guides that'll help get you started:
As always, if you think I’ve missed a particular strategy or overlooked something important, leave a message in the comments.
Coagulation is a fantastic ability regardless of your approach to combat. For starters, it’s free! Bar the relatively short cooldown, Coagulation has no blood cost and will lock up an enemy for a period of time. It’s great for much-needed crowd control and has practical use against a number of the game’s bosses who will frequently spawn a number of supporting enemies at certain points during a fight.
Both of the two available upgrade paths are viable for Coagulation. The top upgrade path simply makes the ability to freeze an enemy for longer. This is the way to go if you’re unsure which path to take or if you’re lacking in other crowd control options.
The bottom path, meanwhile, is excellent for a blood-based build that frequently wants additional resources for its skills. Not only can it take advantage of the temporary freezing of an enemy, but it can make good use of the blood you drain.
It seems like both of the defensive skills are really good. Similar to Coagulation, Blood Barrier is great because it’s a practical skill that also comes with no additional cost. A shield that blocks a set number of hits is great both on the offensive or defensive. Meanwhile, both upgrade paths have a practical use.
As is usually the case, one upgrade path, the lower one this time, simply makes the skill better at what it does and allows you to absorb more hits before the shield breaks. This is the upgrade you generally want to go for and is especially good for slower, two-handed weapon wielders or for those struggling due to a lack of crowd control.
The upper upgrade path adds an AoE damage effect when the shield breaks instead, along with adding a blood cost to the skill. I don’t think this is quite as effective but is certainly worth considering for a blood-based build that has access to plenty of blood draining abilities.
The game will force you to select one of these skills at the beginning, but fortunately, they’re all decent but have different uses depending on how you want to go about playing the game.
Claws is a basic, close-range physical attack that hits fast and costs a relatively low amount of blood along with a short cooldown. The ability's primary use is as a “combo-linker” in the middle of your attacks. Its biggest flaw is that Claws is a physical-based attack, similar to your weapons. If the enemy resists your regular attacks, this skill won’t make much difference.
With careful use, you can stun-lock many enemies by simply hitting with your weapons and then striking them with Claws before they have a chance to hit back. Since the ability has no stamina cost, your stamina will already have started regenerating whilst you’re hitting them with the attack, meaning you can go back to beating down the foe with your weapons.
The top upgrade adds a blood drain effect, along with rendering the cooldown virtually insignificant. This upgrade path plays into the strategy I described above and the blood draining effect has some use for a blood-heavy build.
The bottom path adds a substantial damage increase to the ability, along with a stun effect. When fully upgraded along this route, Claws becomes the most damaging basic skill in the entire game. This is better for a stun-based build that’s using slower weapons and simply wants to take advantage of the high damage output and the ability to cover slower attacks.
Blood Spear is a good, all-around skill and a solid replacement to a gun. Given that blood can be replaced relatively easily, it provides a more consistent long-range option rather than having to constantly rely on using up ammunition.
The top upgrade is the basic improvement path that simply improves the skills single-target damage. This is the route you want to go for a blood-based build, and will make the skill your primary go-to attack of choice in most fights.
The bottom upgrade instead turns the spears into a shotgun-like spread; sacrificing range for greater crowd control. Generally, I prefer the single-target approach here, other skills provide better area control, and if I’m relying on Blood Spear I’d rather upgrade it to do the most damage.
Unlike the other offensive skills which are optimized for specific ranges, Shadow Mist instead focuses on an area-of-effect attack. It’s not as direct as the other two skills, and plays a more defensive, space-controlling role. That being said, it’s still a good option, providing excellent crowd control as well as being Shadow-based which seems to be the least resisted type of attack overall.
The top upgrade simply improves the damage and effect overall. I’d recommend going this route if you’re using Shadow Mist simply as a solid crowd control option. A two-handed weapon build, for example, would benefit from simply making the skill better at what it does.
The bottom upgrade is weaker in terms of pure strength, adding damage-over-time, but also comes with a blood draining effect that is fantastic for a blood-based build. If you’re focusing on spamming lots of different abilities that require blood, you need a good set of abilities that are going to recoup your blood loss, and this upgrade path for Shadow Mist might be the best there is.
Spring is a good shadow-based attacking skill that’s useful for any build lacking a long-range option such as Blood Spear or access to a strong gun.
Both of the different upgrade paths are worthwhile to consider. The top upgrade makes Spring deal out more damage, making it useful for a blood-based build or if you’re lacking a strong high damage skill like Claws, for example.
The lower upgrade path adds a stun bonus which makes it an obvious inclusion for stun-based builds. This route also allows you to auto-bite any stunned enemies which you use Spring on in combat, which is a nice bonus.
Shadow Veil is the major dud in Vampyr’s skills list. It’s a weird ability. It provides a kind of stealth protection for Reid that allows him to get close to an enemy and stun them. The obvious combo then, would be to combine this with a stun-based build that relies on upgrading your biting potential to take advantage of all your stun opportunities.
This doesn’t work out quite as planned, however. Many enemies will simply bypass the Shadow Veil as the game progresses and it’s a skill that’s using up valuable experience points whilst not contributing in every encounter. A gimmicky ability overall and not one I’d suggest wasting much time on.
For the upgrades the top path is the way to go, adding a bigger damage bonus. The bottom path makes the ability free (minus a stamina drain), but does little else; I guess it might come in handy in an “evil” playthrough where most of the game’s districts have fallen, as a way to get around safely.
And we start off with the worst. Rage has the advantage of hitting more targets than the other two ultimate abilities but has little else going for it. Its damage output is eclipsed by both of the other skills and its damage counts as physical which is underwhelming for an ability with such a hefty cooldown.
Now we’re talking. When in doubt take Abyss. This is the simplest and overall strongest ultimate skill of the three available. Not only is it Shadow damage, it clocks in as the most damaging ability in the game when put up against the other skills.
Another handy bonus is that the move has a long animation when you use it, whilst quickly returning control to Reid. In this way, you can use it like a mini Coagulation, shutting down a troublesome enemy (and dealing them a boatload of damage) and giving you a little breathing room.
A decent alternative to Abyss, especially for blood-based builds. Blood Cauldron swaps out raw damage for some area-of-effect blood damage and a handy blood regeneration boost, hence its synergy with certain character builds.
If you already have Spring and Shadow Mist I can also see opting for Blood Cauldron over Abyss as a way to diversify your damage types a little.
Upgrade this. It should go without saying that upgrading the game’s primary method of healing is something of a no-brainer.
The top upgrade path keeps the cooldown low but doesn’t provide as much healing on each use, boosting your regeneration instead. This is the route I’d take if you’re unsure which way to go. The bottom meanwhile, increases the cost and cooldown but adds substantial healing in one go.
In theory, the bottom upgrade path has more use in a blood-heavy build. However, I simply preferred the flexibility of the top upgrade path, especially as the quick cooldown and lower cost makes it easier to deal with aggravated damage.
You want to upgrade this, at least a little bit. It's more important on low-kill, “good” playthroughs, as the level difference will mean that enemies are able to kill you in fewer hits. Regardless, you definitely want to invest some points here, regardless of your strategy. Autophagy and regeneration through biting means you don't have to go mad with upgrades, though.
This is the most important ability in the game. Since stamina dictates everything you do, from attacking, to dodging, to using certain skills, it’s vital that you upgrade it often.
Stun-based builds want better stamina in particular, because of the greater stamina costs of wielding a heavy weapon. Blood-based/dual-wielding builds shouldn't neglect their stamina reserves either, however. High stamina means you can stun-lock many enemies by simply alternating between your main and off-hand weapons in a combo.
When in doubt upgrade this.
The logic is that this combos with a stun-based build to get the most out of all the times you'd be biting the enemy, or you combine it with Shadow Veil. The reality is that the bite rarely does all that much damage unless you're upgrading it frequently. You can pump plenty of points into it to make it decent, but for all that experience, you could have invested it in numerous other abilities and have gotten a better trade-off in terms of the damage dealt.
This ends up being much more practical for a stun-based build. Again, you want a good payoff for repeating being able to bite enemies. Stun-based builds won't have as much blood for using Autophagy, so the regeneration you keep getting from biting will keep you alive whilst also refilling your blood meter to boot.
Worth upgrading a few times if you're using a heavy blood-based build. Don't go overboard, just upgrade enough to get the most out of your blood draining from Coagulation, Claws and Shadow Mist.
A worthwhile upgrade. Stun-based builds will appreciate the additional blood resource from all the biting they'll be doing. Blood-based builds won’t see as much use, they regenerate blood from other skills and typically you'll be using a weapon that doesn't stun as much. A few upgrades early on won’t hurt, though.
An upgrade here or there while the skill is low cost is worthwhile later on. Frankly, the combat medicines aren't worth all that much and the more expensive upgrades quickly become a case of diminishing returns. Your points are better spent elsewhere.
This has the same problem as the medical bag upgrade. Many of the game's guns are pretty powerful, but are hampered by the fact they use a finite resource when your other long-range options (Blood Spear, Spring) do the same but can be replenished in the middle of battle.
As with the medical bag, the latter upgrades get ridiculously expensive, too. It’s worth throwing a few points in here to snag the cheaper upgrades, if you use a gun often, but otherwise, this can be left alone.
And there you have it, a guide to all the skills in Vampyr. As I said, the game’s RPG aspects aren’t especially complex but it can help to know what you’re doing early on to get the most out of your experience points and playtime.
Don’t forget you can respec Dr. Reid at any time when sleeping. Just note that whilst the first respec is free, future ones will incur an experience point cost.
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