Titan Quest – Immortal Throne – Skills (walkthrough)

Titan Quest - Immortal Throne - Skills


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                   -   I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L   T.H.R.O.N.E   -

                                               Copyright Mister Sinister, 2007
                                                        Dedicated to Padopolis

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As you already know, there are NINE different Schools of Training that you can
follow in Titan Quest - EIGHT in regular Titan Quest, and NINE in the Immortal
Throne Expansion Pack, yep ?

Well because I'm feeling generous, I think it's about time to go through, in 
some more depth, the nine schools of training, each of their powers, what they
do and whether (in my opinion) they are worth their weight in gold, or plop.

Before we do so, however, I need to point out that even though I have played
the game many, many times, I have (for obvious reasons) not been able to play
every single combination of character class available and so, whilst I have 
used all the skills in the game, I have not fully developed all of them, and
so whilst my thoughts are both genuine and sincere, you may not always agree
with them.

Therefore IF any of you read this and think "he's got that wrong, because xyz"
or what have you, then please do feel free to drop me a line.  If you're 
respectful and make sense, I'll happily include your thoughts in this section
and give you full credit (up to the point where it becomes more like a thread
than an FAQ !!).

So without further ado, let's get cracking !!

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   Game Description : Excels at dealing massive lightning and cold damage to
                      single opponents or small groups.  The Stormcaller has
                      limited personal defences but can slow, freeze, and 
                      stun enemies with frost and thunder attacks.
   Sinister says    : In my opinion Storm is one of the best schools in the
                      game.  As with all schools it has offensive and defensive
                      skills, but it has two of what are, I believe, THE best
                      skills available - chain lightning and summon wisp.  
                      There are some skills that you are generally quite 
                      unlikely to use, however.
      Skill Name    : ICE SHARD
      Description   : Projects a deadly shard of ice at the target inflicting
                      cold damage and temporarily slowing them.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Whilst ok as a low-level projectile, it quickly loses
                      out to skills like Lightning Bolt.  You can augment it
                      at higher levels to increase the speed and number of 
                      shards, but it's still not your handiest skill.
      Other Ideas   : [Viro Melchior says]
                      "I've played all the way through Normal and Epic, and up 
                      through the end of Egypt with a friend (Hunter/Rogue) in 
                      Legendary.  I rely almost completely on Ice Shards for 

      Skill Name    : STORM NIMBUS
      Description   : When active, the player is imbued with the power of the
                      storm, causing their attacks to strike with cold and 
                      lightning damage
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : VERY handy to have if you choose the Storm School, this
                      adds damage to EVERY attack you to.  Unfortunately it 
                      places what's called a reserve on your energy, meaning
                      a block of it becomes unusable whilst the skill is in
                      effect, but in my opinion this is a VERY handy low-level
                      Storm Skill.

      Skill Name    : SPELL BREAKER
      Description   : A pulse of negatively charged energy dispels hostile 
                      enchantments on allies or, when cast on enemies, breaks
                      their beneficial enchantments and negates a portion of 
                      their energy.  This attack inflicts bonus damage when
                      used against Magical creatures.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : In my opinion this skill is not one you will use very
                      often.  It's just easier to make spellcasters your 
                      primary targets when you encounter them than faff about
                      dispelling their spells (although it CAN be quite fun if
                      you have the patience) ;)

      Skill Name    : THUNDERBALL
      Description   : Hurls a ball of electrical energy that damages and stuns
                      enemies in a small blast radius.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Whilst it looks and sounds cooler than the Ice Shard, it
                      isn't THAT much better in my opinion.  At higher levels
                      you have the option of adding mini Thunderballs to it, to
                      big-up the radius and stun-effect, but as with the Ice
                      Shard it's quite a slow-moving projectile, and sometimes
                      you will find your enemies just move away, which is quite

      Skill Name    : HEART OF FROST
      Must Have     : STORM NIMBUS
      Description   : When Storm Nimbus is active, the air around the player
                      becomes icy cold and slows any attackers within its 
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : I think if you are going to sink points into Storm Nimbus
                      then there is absolutely NO reason not to big-up that 
                      skill, by adding cold damage and slowness for your foes
                      with this skill (and lightning damage at higher levels
                      with another skill).  Bear in mind this affects you
                      ALL the time, and whilst it does mean you have to give
                      up a bit more energy in reserve, I think it's worth it.
      Skill Name    : SPELL SHOCK
      Must Have     : SPELL BREAKER
      Description   : Inflicts energy burn damage and disrupts enemy spell-
                      casters' ability to use skills as their beneficial 
                      enchantments are abruptly shattered by Spell Breaker.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : Whilst a nice add-on to the Spell Breaker skill, I don't
                      think it's genuinely worth sinking any more than 1 point
                      into this ability.

      Skill Name    : VELOCITY
      Must Have     : ICE SHARD
      Description   : Increasing the speed and damage of Ice Shard.  Gives each
                      shard a chance to punch through its target and keep going.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : If you're REALLY serious about keeping the Ice Shard power
                      and maxing out its effects, then you will definitely want
                      to invest in this skill.  I personally think it might be
                      worth sinking 1 point into, just to keep Ice Shard in 
                      reserve (although I myself chopped the whole skill in
                      favour of higher-powered ones when I played).

      Skill Name    : SQUALL
      Description   : Creates a wind storm in the target area that decreases
                      the projectile attack accuracy of enemies caught within
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Whilst it CAN be useful in rare situations - like when
                      you are absolutely swamped with a sea of archers or 
                      spellcasters, it is rare that you will find a use for
                      the Squall power.

      Skill Name    : FREEZING BLAST
      Description   : Encases enemies in ice, immobilising them but also making
                      them more difficult to damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Useful AND surprisingly satisfying.  Like when Jean Grey
                      freezes Toad in midair in X-Men 1.  Unfortunately you can
                      virtually FORGET smashing more powerful enemies to bits
                      though, as the ice protects them to some degree from
                      taking damage, making this a more flash-than-substance

      Skill Name    : LIGHTNING BOLT
      Description   : Calls down a powerful bolt of lightning from the heavens
                      to decimate your target.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : YES !!  Now THIS is what I'm talkin' bout !!  With a 
                      judicious use of the shift key, you can call down bolts
                      of lightning to strike target WAY outside your normal 
                      range, and there is very little time between casting the
                      skill and the impact from the blast, which means it is
                      easier to target enemies that are on the move.  Love it !

      Skill Name    : CONCUSSIVE BLAST
      Must Have     : THUNDERBALL
      Description   : Enhances the power of Thunderball causing sparks to leap
                      from the initial explosion.  Each spark that hits an enemy
                      inflicts lightning damage and stuns.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Useful ONLY if you are looking to use Thunderball on a 
                      repeat basis, which is kinda doubtful.  It does have a 
                      satisfying effect insofar as it DOES stun enemies that
                      are close to the blast radius of the initial Thunderball,
                      but beyond that it is rather limited in its effect.

      Skill Name    : OBSCURED VISIBILITY
      Must Have     : SQUALL
      Description   : Reduced visibility inside the Squall makes it difficult
                      for enemies to effectively attack or defend themselves.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : Kinda the same effect as narrowing your eyes to slits
                      then yeah ?  Thought so.  Butt-useless unless you're 
                      heavily reliant on the Squall effect.

      Skill Name    : STATIC CHARGE
      Must Have     : STORM NIMBUS
      Description   : Electrical energy builds inside the player while Storm
                      Nimbus is active and passes through enemy weapons that 
                      come in contact, delivering a powerful shock.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Since this is more a reactionary power than the Storm
                      Nimbus I can't really give it a 5 - however it is a very
                      useful addition, and keeps those sonsofb!tches that want
                      to hurt you really painfully at bay somewhat :)

      Skill Name    : ENERGY SHIELD
      Description   : Creates a shield of energy that will nullify all incoming
                      damage from electrical attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : I think this is a VERY useful power to have as it protects
                      you from both lightning AND cold damage, and you will come
                      across PLENTY of that in the game.  Unfortunately it does
                      nothing to protect you from physical hand-to-hand damage,
                      but it looks cool, AND you can cast it on other people 
                      too !!
      Skill Name    : TORRENT
      Must Have     : ICE SHARD
      Description   : Increases the number of shards cast, sending a deadly 
                      torrent at enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : If you are dead set on keeping Ice Shard then this is a
                      MUST-HAVE skill for you, as it increases the number of 
                      shards you can throw.  At maximum level it adds another
                      4 shards to your arsenal, bringing the total you can 
                      possible throw up to a whopping 5 !!

      Skill Name    : SUMMON WISP
      Description   : Summon an immortal Storm Wisp from the atmosphere to 
                      battle your enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : The Storm Wisp is one of the single greatest skills you
                      can master in the Storm School.  Although the little 
                      fella might not LOOK like much, if you check out his 
                      stats you will see that he has a LUDICROUSLY high chance
                      of dodging any attacks (hand-to-hand and projectile alike)
                      which makes him THE bane of bosses and sub-bosses let me
                      assure you.

      Skill Name    : STORM SURGE
      Description   : When activated, each enemy hit has a chance of unleashing
                      a violent squall of storm energy
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Handy to keep on as it gives you a chance of countering
                      any hand-to-hand strike you suffer with a storm blast.
                      This does combined cold and lightning damage to your foes
                      AND stuns them for a split-second as well !!  BONUS :)

      Skill Name    : CHAIN LIGHTNING
      Must Have     : LIGHTNING BOLT
      Description   : Causes electricity to leap from the target of your 
                      Lightning Bolt skill and strike additional nearby enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : The COOLEST Skill in the Storm School.  Chain Lightning
                      causes a regular lightning bolt spell to chain to nearby
                      adversaries, causing MUCH hilarity and LOADS of damage.
                      GET ... IT ... NOW !! =)

      Skill Name    : EYE OF THE STORM
      Must Have     : SUMMON WISP
      Description   : A wisp ability that increases the lightning and cold 
                      damage of all nearby allies for a duration and provides
                      protection from lightning and cold damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Since your wisp is never going to be that far from your
                      side in combat, this is a VERY handy skill to add to your
                      repertoire.  See how handy this little guy is !! :)

      Skill Name    : REFLECTION
      Must Have     : ENERGY SHIELD
      Description   : Gives Energy Shield the ability to reflect a portion of
                      enemy attack damage back at enemies who hit it.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : If you're going to go for the Energy Shield (which I did),
                      why not go for the Reflection Spell to fling some of that
                      damage back at your enemies ?  Works for me !! ;)

   Conclusions      : The Storm School is great for those of you that like to
                      pummel enemies from afar with either spells or arrows,
                      and the Summon Wisp and Chain Lightning skills are LEGEND
                      in my opinion.  This is a school well worth considering.
                      It lets itself down a little in hand-to-hand unfortunately
                      so anybody that is big into that type of fight should
                      consider their alternatives.  The biggest drawback for 
                      Storm for ME is that some of its best powers (it's going
                      to sound stupid to say) take a LONG time to get ahold of,
                      which CAN make it less gratifying than, say, the Earth 
                      School where damage-dealing is THE main focus of play.
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

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   Game Description : Adept at raining down destruction over large hordes of
                      enemies.  With most skills designed to deal damage, the
                      Pyromancer relies on a colossal Earth Elemental to hold
                      the attention of enemies.
   Sinister says    : If you like fire and earth then this is the school for 
                      you, plain and simple.  Its skills are, as the game says,
                      aimed almost solely at battering and damaging your foes
                      using magic, and so there isn't a whole lot of diplomacy
                      or subterfuge ... or subtlety for that matter ... involved
                      in studying this school.
      Skill Name    : EARTH ENCHANTMENT
      Description   : Imbues your weapons and the weapons of nearby allies with
                      the power of rock and flame.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Adding luscious fire damage to your weapons AND those of
                      your allies early on in the game is a simple MUST-HAVE
                      skill for any serious pyromaniac.  Get it !! ;)

      Skill Name    : FLAME SURGE
      Description   : Three jets of flame erupt from the caster's hands each
                      inflicting incinerating fire damage to enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Whilst this is far from your most devastating power, and
                      you will in all likelihood wind up downsizing it later
                      in the game, it is a good skill to pick up early on, and
                      offers you the chance to get the drop on multiple enemies
                      that are bound for hand-to-hand combat with you.

      Skill Name    : BRIMSTONE
      Must Have     : EARTH ENCHANTMENT
      Description   : Boosts the physical damage of attacks and provides a 
                      chance of causing critical fire damage while under the
                      effects of Earth Enchantment
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : If you, like most people, are going to be using Earth 
                      Enchantment religiously during your campaign, then this
                      is another must-have power for you !!

      Skill Name    : HEAT SHIELD
      Description   : Casts a protective head shield on the target that absorbs
                      damage caused by fire.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Annulling fire damage is a handy skill indeed.  It will
                      help you with traps, flaming arrows, Flame Liches and all
                      sorts of other nastiness that you will encounter, PLUS you
                      can cast it on other people to help them out too ;)

      Skill Name    : RING OF FLAME
      Description   : Encircles you in a searing ring of flames burning all
                      enemies that come within its radius.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A great power to have, as it has a good chance of burning
                      anybody that enters hand-to-hand combat with you, in 
                      addition to which it looks kinda cool.

      Skill Name    : VOLCANIC ORB
      Description   : Lobs a burning orb of fiery brimstone that explodes when
                      it hits the ground inflicting fire and physical damage to
                      enemies in a small radius.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : The Volcanic Orb is a damned handy skill, marred only by
                      the fact that it must be lobbed, hence taking a little
                      while to get to its target area.  It can be augmented at
                      higher levels making it more appealing, and should not
                      be overlooked as part of your arsenal.  Use the shift key
                      whilst throwing it to increase your target-range on

      Skill Name    : STONE FORM
      Description   : An impervious layer of rock envelops you for a short 
                      duration boosting regeneration but prohibiting movement
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : This is one of those 50/50 powers in my opinion.  It does
                      give you a FREAKY regeneration rate whilst it is in use,
                      but you are completely unable to move, meaning your foes
                      are able to get into better positions to batter you from
                      when the Stone Form is dropped.  Used sparingly, it can
                      be a life-saver.

      Skill Name    : SUMMON CORE DWELLER
      Description   : Draws forth a powerful elemental guardian from the Earth's
                      fiery depths.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A simple must-have power for anybody in this school in my
                      opinion - the Core Dweller is a fearsome beast to behold
                      and whilst he is slow to move, he can batter your enemies
                      good and proper, plus he can be augmented at higher 

      Skill Name    : BARRAGE
      Must Have     : FLAME SURGE
      Description   : Reduces the recharge time of Flame Surge allowing it to
                      be cast more frequently and efficiently.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : If you're going to rely on Flame Surge than consider 
                      popping some points into this skill.  If, like me, you
                      downgrade your Flame Surge skill, then you should look
                      to bleed points from this skill first.

      Skill Name    : STONE SKIN
      Must Have     : EARTH ENCHANTMENT
      Description   : Tempers armour, increasing protection and fire resistance
                      while under the effects of Earth Enchantment.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : A very handy skill indeed - it will make you battle-ready
                      and able to withstand a greater pounding during combat
                      than you otherwise might be able to, REGARDLESS of what
                      type of armour you are wearing.

      Skill Name    : INNER FIRE
      Must Have     : SUMMON CORE DWELLER
      Description   : Increases the Core Dweller's speed and adds fire damage
                      to its attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Reducing the worst point of the Core Dweller's power - its
                      basic lack of speed - is surely a good thing.  This is a
                      very handy skill to give the big dude, and at its best
                      level you will find he becomes really quite sprightly !!

      Skill Name    : SOFTEN METAL
      Must Have     : RING OF FLAME
      Description   : Intense heat from the Ring of Flame softens the metal of
                      enemy armour and weapons, decreasing their effectiveness.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Handy insofar as it weakens the attack strength of those
                      people that are looking to batter you in hand-to-hand,
                      however the Ring of Flame will often strike those foes
                      before they strike you, and so this skill is more useful
                      for those of you that like to wade in rather than think
                      fights through before entering them.

      Skill Name    : CONFLAGRATION
      Must Have     : VOLCANIC ORB
      Description   : Increases the explosion radius of Volcanic Orb and causes
                      enemies hit by it to catch fire and suffer burn damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : A good skill if you are heavily reliant on Volcanic Orb,
                      however if you are not, then it is one to be avoided.

      Skill Name    : MOLTEN ROCK
      Must Have     : STONE FORM
      Description   : Adds retaliation fire damage to Stone Form.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : To be honest, this skill REALLY isn't worth putting any
                      more than one point in.  At best it does 15 fire 
                      retaliation damage, and that just won't make much of a 
                      mark on your enemies by the time you come to do battle
                      with them at level 24.  Best avoided unless you just HAVE
                      to have it ;)

      Skill Name    : WILDFIRE
      Must Have     : SUMMON CORE DWELLER
      Description   : Allows the Core Dweller to ignite an area of ground 
                      causing severe burn damage to enemies within.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : A good move to give your Core Dweller, as it gives him
                      a ranged move to compliment your already brimming ... get
                      it ?  Brimming ??  Arsenal of weapons ... hehehe.

      Skill Name    : FLAME ARCH
      Must Have     : FLAME SURGE
      Description   : Increases the damage and number of flame jets created by
                      Flame Surge
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : If you keep Flame Surge on, then this is a MUST-HAVE add-
                      on for that skill.  Even if you don't put many points in
                      it, it augments (as it says) both damage AND quantity of
                      flame jets ;)

      Skill Name    : FRAGMENTATION
      Must Have     : VOLCANIC ORB
      Description   : Causes the Volcanic Orb to violently explode on impact
                      sending out fragments of rocks that each inflict physical
                      damage to the enemies they hit.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A SERIOUSLY impressive add-on for those people that want
                      to use Volcanic Orb.  I personally only ever sink a few
                      points into it, but it really does mount up :)

      Skill Name    : VOLATIVITY
      Description   : Enhanced by the volatile energy of the Earth, your fire
                      attacks have a chance of inflicting greatly increased 
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Worth sinking a couple of points into just for the chance
                      of doing a damage modifier, this is a cool skill that
                      boosts all your fire attacks' chances of doing more 
                      damage, and that CAN'T be a bad thing, non ?

      Skill Name    : METAMORPHOSIS
      Must Have     : SUMMON CORE DWELLER
      Description   : Under tremendous head and pressure, the composition of 
                      the Core Dweller hardens making it more resistant to 
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : To be honest I never put THAT much into this skill, just
                      because it's not that much more inconvenient to just
                      summon another Core Dweller when the first one dies than
                      it is to keep it in the fight longer.  Sometimes summoned
                      creatures can be a BIT of a pain (particularly if they
                      are in a provocative mood) ...

      Skill Name    : ERUPTION
      Description   : Volcanic fissures form in the ground, emitting deadly 
                      geysers of molten flame and fiery chunks of brimstone.
                      Each fragment inflicts physical and fire damage to the 
                      enemies it hits.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : DEFINITELY a skill to pick up.  You pick where you want
                      your miniature volcano to erupt (preferably right under
                      the feet of some unsuspecting foe), and WHAMMO !!  Toast.
                      You can increase your casting range by holding the shift
                      key when you use this power to make it even BETTER !!

   Conclusions      : With damage-dealing powers coming at you left, right and
                      centre, it's hard to see the drawbacks of the Earth school
                      unless, of course, earth and fire are NOT your favourite
                      elements (as was the case with me).  The Core Dweller is
                      handy, but sluggish, and this school offers you benefits
                      in both hand-to-hand and ranged spells, so it's a good
                      damage-heavy school to follow for heavy-hitters.
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

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   Game Description : The Warrior excels at dealing out physical damage but 
                      pays little heed to defence.  With higher mastery levels
                      the Warrior can learn to deal damage to several 
                      adversaries at once.
   Sinister says    : You can say THAT again !!  In my opinion there is nobody
                      better at doing large amounts of hand-to-hand damage to
                      individuals or small groups of enemies than the Warrior
                      School ... with Dream and Rogue being hot on its heels.
                      Forget range - this is about close-quarters brutality,
                      pure and simple !!

      Skill Name    : WEAPON TRAINING
      Description   : Years of training with the sword, axe and club allow you
                      to attack faster and react quickly to enemy attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : ANY skill that increases your attack speed is tops in my
                      book, but this one also increases your offensive ability
                      which increases your chances of doing critical strikes,
                      and general effectiveness in combat.  Coolness :)

      Skill Name    : BATTLE RAGE
      Description   : Each enemy hit has a chance of sending you into a battle
                      rage that adds bonus damage to attacks and increases
                      Offensive Ability for a short duration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Were it not for the very low chance of activation (even
                      at its highest level you have a paltry 12% chance of using
                      this skill), I would give it a 4.

      Skill Name    : ONSLAUGHT
      Description   : When used as your default weapon attack, Onslaught charges
                      up as you hit enemies causing increased damage.  The first
                      hit always charges Onslaught to the first level of the 
                      skill and it continues to charge until it reaches your 
                      current skill level.  Onslaught dissipates rapidly when
                      not actively attacking.  Apply this skill to your left 
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : One of the handiest skills for the Warfare Master, and it
                      is available at level 1 !!  You can one level of charge
                      for each level of skill you have in this ability, and
                      it can HUGELY affect the amount of damage you deal in 
                      combat, so it is WELL worth purchasing.

      Skill Name    : DUAL WIELD
      Description   : Learn to effectively wield two weapons.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : It is a pity that only the Warfare School has this power
                      at its disposal, because it is SO very very very useful
                      it's unreal.  Wield two single-handed weapons instead of
                      just a weapon and shield combo.  This can MASSIVELY 
                      increase your damage-dealing potential.

      Skill Name    : DODGE ATTACK
      Description   : Even the sturdiest armour has its chinks.  The best way
                      to stay alive is to not get hit.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Never a truer word spoke !!  At maximum level, this power
                      will give you a 21% chance to dodge attacks, which is 
                      quite decent really, and worth investing in.

      Skill Name    : IGNORE PAIN
      Must Have     : ONSLAUGHT
      Description   : Total focus in the heat of battle allows you to ignore 
                      physical and piercing damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Decent resistance (15% at maximum level) to both piercing
                      and regular damage is not to be sneezed at, but it isn't
                      as glamorous as some of the other Warfare skills by ANY

      Skill Name    : WAR HORN
      Description   : The triumphant call of your war horn temporarily stuns
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Good, but the duration of the stun effect is unfortunately
                      random, and will range at maximum level from 1.5 - 6.5 
                      seconds, which can be PLENTY of time to inflict massive
                      amounts of pain and damage in combat, or surprisingly 
                      little, depending on how lucky you are really !!
      Skill Name    : HEW
      Must Have     : DUAL WIELD
      Description   : A Dual Wield technique that causes increased damage by
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Definitely worth purchasing to compliment your regular
                      Dual Wield skill.

      Skill Name    : CRUSHING BLOW
      Must Have     : BATTLE RAGE
      Description   : Provides a chance for attacks to cause bonus damage while
                      in Battle Rage
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : IF and ONLY if you are going to rely very heavily on the
                      Battle Rage power, then this is a VERY capable addition

      Skill Name    : BATTLE STANDARD
      Description   : Throw down a mighty standard to embolden the hearts of 
                      nearby allies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Battle Standard may LOOK plop at lower levels, but at 
                      its highest level it gives you a SHEDLOAD of bonuses, 
                      which can really help to turn the tide of battle for you
                      AND your allies.

      Skill Name    : WAR WIND
      Description   : Executes a devastating spinning attack that can damage
                      up to four enemies.  Initially each hit is not as powerful
                      as a normal attack but the effectiveness increases every
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : At its highest level, you can hit up to 7 targets at the
                      same time, making this a real crowdpleaser of a skill.
                      Attach it to the right mouse button and use it sparingly
                      to maximise the movie-style fight quality of your scraps.
      Skill Name    : CROSS CUT
      Must Have     : DUAL WIELD
      Description   : A Dual Wield technique that can hit up to 2 enemies with a
                      cross-cutting scissor motion.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Reasonably good, and definitely worth putting at least a 
                      couple of points into as part of your AWESOME Dual Wield

      Skill Name    : HAMSTRING
      Must Have     : ONSLAUGHT
      Description   : An attack aimed at the enemy's legs reduces their ability
                      to run and increases their vulnerability for a short 
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : It slows your victims, and reduces their defensive ability
                      AND armour, making it worthwhile - especially considering
                      you don't actually have to independently select it - it
                      will just be a part of your regular Onslaught skill !!
      Skill Name    : COUNTER ATTACK
      Must Have     : BATTLE RAGE
      Description   : Provides a chance to counter attack an enemy after being
                      hit in Battle Rage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : Maximum 15% chance to do a modest counter-attack ?  I 
                      think you can do MUCH better at this level, so I wouldn't
                      sink more than 1-2 points into this skill personally.

      Skill Name    : TRIUMPH
      Must Have     : BATTLE STANDARD
      Description   : Seeing the inevitability of your triumph, enemies lose
                      hope and the strength of their attack diminishes.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Definitely one to add to the already impressive Battle 
                      Standard, as at maximum level this baby will reduce the
                      amount of damage your enemies can inflict by 40% !!!!!

      Skill Name    : LACERATE
      Must Have     : WAR WIND
      Description   : Adds bleeding damage to War Wind and increases the 
                      number of enemies hit.  Requires at least one weapon be
                      a sword or axe.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Decent attack that can hit up to 3 enemies at maximum
                      level, but which requires you to have a sword or axe in
                      your hand (which is POSSIBLE but not 100% certain given
                      your style of play obviously), reducing the appeal of
                      this power.

      Skill Name    : DOOM HORN
      Must Have     : WAR HORN
      Description   : Your War Horn heralds the doom of your enemies, shattering
                      their nerves and reducing their ability to defend 
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Since it gives you (at maximum level) a 25% reduction in
                      your enemies' health, PLUS reduced armour, I think it is
                      worth at LEAST 2-3 points personally.  Assuming you have
                      the War Horn skill at any rate !!!!!

      Skill Name    : TUMULT
      Must Have     : DUAL WIELD
      Description   : A Dual Wield technique that hits up to 3 adjacent enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : A good, firm attack that perfectly rounds off what is 
                      without a DOUBT one of the Warfare Master's greatest 
                      skills - Dual Wield.  Definitely sink something into this,
                      even if it's just 1-2 points !!

      Skill Name    : ARDOR
      Must Have     : ONSLAUGHT
      Description   : You build momentum as you drive your attack forward, 
                      attacking and moving more rapidly.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : As I have said previously, ANY skill that benefits your
                      attack speed gets two thumbs up in my book, and this one
                      works in conjunction with your Onslaught skill, meaning
                      that the more you hit people, the more powerful you 
                      become AND the faster you move AND STRIKE !!!!! =)

      Skill Name    : ANCESTRAL HORN
      Description   : The ominous call on this ancient heirloom will summon
                      forth ghostly heroes of old from the Elysian Fields to do
                      battle once more.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Whilst it is undoubtedly a very impressive skill, being
                      as it is in fact the ONLY summon-skill which the Warfare
                      Master has at his disposal, it is time-limited, which 
                      SUCKS in my opinion.  At maximum level you will benefit
                      from the assistance of 5 warriors for a paltry 24 seconds
                      so this skill, whilst powerful, MUST be reserved for 
                      desperate situations.  It is DEFINITELY worth having, but
                      use it wisely.

   Conclusions      : If you have ever wanted to be in the movie 300 ... or 
                      Gladiator ... or ANY other similar movie, then this is 
                      MOST DEFINITELY the School for you.  It has virtually NO
                      ranged attacks, and can only work its wonders up-close and
                      personal, like a good warrior should ;)
   Sphere Rating /5 : 5 if you like up-close and personal, 3 if you don't.

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   Game Description : The Theurgist combines offence and defence with insidious
                      life stealing skills that leech enemies' vitality while
                      bolstering their own.  At higher levels the ability to 
                      summon a powerful Liche King dramatically increases 
                      damage-dealing ability.
   Sinister says    : NICE !!  This School boasts some of the most VICIOUS
                      skills in the game, with powers such as Cascading Life
                      Drain and Enslave Spirit.  It is definitely NOT one for
                      the goodies two-shoes out there, and it is HEAVILY 
                      reliant on range for its powers to take full effect,
                      so those that like to wade in might want to avoid it, 
                      unless it is coupled with Warfare of course.
      Skill Name    : DEATHCHILL AURA
      Description   : A deathly chill radiates from the character slowing the
                      attack and movement of enemies as it diminishes their life
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : A decent aura, and a very helpful one to have early on in
                      the game.  You might wind up reducing it in favour of 
                      other skills later on, but I would never want to be 
                      totally without its benefit.

      Skill Name    : LIFE DRAIN
      Description   : Leeches life from an enemy to replenish your own.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : YES !!  THIS is what it's all about.  Not only does this
                      power enable you to bleed life directly from your enemy
                      from afar, but it transfers a portion of it back to you,
                      healing you in the process !!  We LOVE it !!  At maximum
                      efficiency, it converts 260% of the attack damage back
                      to you as health ;)

      Skill Name    : TERNION ATTACK
      Description   : This powerful wizard's trick causes your staff to shoot
                      three projectiles by channeling magical energy into it.
                      Initially each hit is not as powerful as a normal attack
                      but the effectiveness increases every level.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4 (if playing a wizard) 1 (if playing anything else)
      My Comments   : This skill is either great or worthless, depending on the
                      type of character you want to play.  Basically, if you
                      are going to be using a staff ?  Then it can (if you have
                      a HUGE bank of energy to draw from) level large groups
                      of monsters in no time flat.  If you are playing ANY other
                      type of character (hand-to-hand, archer, assassin, etc.)
                      then it is UTTERLY worthless.

      Skill Name    : RAVAGES OF TIME
      Must Have     : DEATHCHILL AURA
      Description   : Accelerates the effects of time on adjacent enemies' 
                      equipment causing weapons to dull and armour to crumble.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : If you are going to be retaining the Deathchill Aura, then
                      this is a REALLY cool skill to use to augment its power.
                      At its highest level, it will deal a whopping -36% damage
                      to your enemies when they get into hand-to-hand, and that
                      CAN'T be bad news for you.

      Skill Name    : VISION OF DEATH
      Description   : Assaults the minds of surrounding enemies with images of
                      their own death causing the weak-hearted to flee in horror
                      and more resolute foes to fight less effectively.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Purely on the basis that fleeing enemies are still going
                      to return, I have to give this a 3.  It may buy you some
                      time - perhaps time enough to destroy 

      Skill Name    : SPIRIT WARD
      Description   : Casts a protective ward that will reduce the damage of
                      undead attacks on the player and nearby allies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Whilst it does its job well, and benefits both you AND
                      any nearby allies, at the end of the day all this power
                      actually does is protect you from Undead, so it's NO 
                      use against other types of creatures.

      Skill Name    : CASCADE
      Must Have     : LIFE DRAIN
      Description   : Causes Life Drain to blast through the primary target
                      and hit multiple enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : WICKED skill.  This is the equivalent of Chain Lightning
                      to the Storm School, and you get it in a third of the 
                      time !!  Cascade makes Life Drain snake from one target
                      to another to another and so on (depending on the level)
                      which is VERY cool.

      Skill Name    : DARK COVENANT
      Description   : Mysterious otherworldly entities offer great power to
                      Spirit Masters who can commune with them.  The cost, 
                      however, is measured in life.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : To be honest the bonuses this skill imparts are poor
                      when contrasted with its cost.  Any skill that bleeds 
                      you of life to keep it running should be viewed VERY 
                      sceptically in my eyes.

      Skill Name    : SUMMON LICHE KING
      Description   : In ages past, powerful sorcerers learned how to cheat 
                      Hades and persist as undead liches long after death had 
                      robbed their bodies of life.  A dangerous practice of 
                      Theurgists is to bind the souls of these ancient liches
                      to their will, thus acquiring their powers.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This is the first of TWO summons which the Spirit School
                      has to offer, the other being the Outsider.  The Liche 
                      King is a ranged unit, but a DAMNED handy one, who is 
                      heavily upgradable.  Whilst he won't last long if he is 
                      made the object of repeat enemy fire, he can dish out 
                      PLENTY of damage considering his frail exterior, and 
                      makes a worthy addition to your entourage in my opinion.

      Skill Name    : SPIRIT BANE
      Must Have     : SPIRIT WARD
      Description   : Adds damage against undead to the attacks of those under
                      the effects of Spirit Ward.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : If you're going to, then sink 1-2 points into this skill,
                      but think carefully before you put any more in, as in my
                      opinion it ISN'T all that useful.

      Skill Name    : ARCANE LORE
      Must Have     : TERNION ATTACK
      Description   : The magic practitioners of older civilisations devised
                      many insidious techniques to bolster the destructive 
                      capabilities of their magical staves.  Knowledge of these
                      methods will unlock the true power of your staff attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4 (if you have a staff), 1 (if you do not).
      My Comments   : If you HAVE a staff and intend on relying on it almost
                      exclusively ?  Then this is a REALLY cool skill.  Its 
                      only real drawback is the amount of energy that it takes
                      to cast, but this isn't so terrible at higher levels.  If
                      you have no intention of using a staff, then you can and
                      SHOULD totally avoid this skill.

      Skill Name    : NECROSIS
      Must Have     : DEATHCHILL AURA
      Description   : Weakens the constitution of adjacent enemies making them
                      more susceptible to attacks that directly damage their 
                      life such as vitality damage and life leeching.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : A healthy addition to the Deathchill Aura - why not sink
                      just a couplea points into it for good measure ?  You 
                      might as well, plus the benefits are quite good :)

      Skill Name    : ENSLAVE SPIRIT
      Description   : Slip through the barriers of your enemies' consciousness
                      and dominate their mind, binding them to your will.  While
                      enslaved your enemy will be forced to obey your commands
                      but eventually they will regain control of their mind and
                      turn against you.  Ineffective against monsters five or
                      more levels above you.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : I would have given this skill a 4 but the restrictions on
                      its use mean that you have to be dealing with characters
                      of your own level or only slightly higher (or much lower)
                      to get it to work, and later on in the game you will wind
                      up fighting beings that are CONSIDERABLY more powerful
                      than you are, which is when this skill comes a cropper.
                      It is DEFINITELY worth having, and it can get you out of
                      a LOT of jams ... but longer-term, think carefully about
                      it - you MIGHT want to reassign some points from it to 
                      other skills.

      Skill Name    : DEATH NOVA
      Must Have     : SUMMON LICHE KING
      Description   : Emits a wave of death that will deplete life from any 
                      living being it contacts.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Even if you only sink a point into this skill, it adds 
                      another death-dealing attack to the repertoire of the 
                      OH so cool Liche King, and that cannot be a bad thing :)
      Skill Name    : UNEARTHLY POWER
      Must Have     : DARK COVENANT
      Description   : Draw upon even greater otherworldly powers to augment 
                      yourself and allies in battle, but be wary of the cost 
                      exacted from your own vitality.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : Again, it's OK insofar as it benefits you and your 
                      buddies, but the cost is direct to you, so it cannot be
                      sustained indefinitely, and it will leave you vulnerable
                      to attack from others.  Perhaps best used (if at all),
                      in the presence of powerful allies ;)

      Skill Name    : WRAITH SHELL
      Must Have     : SUMMON LICHE KING
      Description   : Allows the Liche King to diminish its corporeal presence
                      making it less vulnerable to all types of damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This increases the life (or unlife) expectancy of your 
                      Liche King, and that is a GREAT thing in my book.  The 
                      poor lad has a tendency of dying (again) prematurely 
                      otherwise =./

      Skill Name    : CIRCLE OF POWER
      Description   : Creates a circle of power that protects allies from the 
                      undead and damages any undead creatures that pass within
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Compared with the Spirit Ward and its upgrade, I find
                      this to be a MUCH more useful power.  You can target a 
                      specific area for it to affect, and if you are in ANY 
                      doubt about just how effective it can be, just do battle
                      with some Empusa Soul Carvers, and you'll see ;)

      Skill Name    : DEATH WARD
      Description   : Places a magical ward on the player that protects them
                      from death by granting additional life when their life
                      gets dangerously low.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3 (sceptical)
      My Comments   : This is going to sound REALLY stupid, but I couldn't seem
                      to get this skill to work ... I just ... died !!  I think
                      that, in order for it to work, the person hitting you 
                      must knock you down below the pre-defined level of health
                      (which is calculated on the basis of your level of skill
                      with this power).  Take too much damage too quickly, and
                      you're screwed.  I think it's worth a point just for the
                      odd time it saves your life, but as I say, for ME ?  It
                      just didn't seem to want to work =./

      Skill Name    : SUMMON OUTSIDER
      Description   : Calls forth a powerful extra-dimensional entity from 
                      beyond the ether.  The link can only be maintained for
                      a short time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Although he is only available for a short period of time,
                      the Outsider can help you to turn the tide of battle in
                      your favour, as he is a BIG boy, quick, and reasonably 
                      powerful to boot.  At the very least he can act as 
                      cannon fodder whilst your Liche King moves into a better
                      position to zap your enemies from afar ... and you just
                      throw your head back and cackle with glee !!!!! =)

      Skill Name    : ARCANE BLAST
      Must Have     : SUMMON LICHE KING
      Description   : Drawing upon ancient arcane craft the Liche King forms
                      deadly bolts of elemental energy and launches them at 
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : BIG ... UP ... THE LICHE ... KING !!  These things are 
                      VERY cool, and have a good range to boot !!  Multiple
                      blasts and at higher levels, really quite good damage.
                      Definitely one to outfit the dead dude with.

   Conclusions      : The Spirit School boasts some impressive and powerful 
                      skills, but its reliance on magic over physical attacks
                      is sure to be its greatest pitfall.  When paired with 
                      something like Warfare or even Defence, it would be 
                      quite interesting though !!
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

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   Game Description : The Defender specialises in surviving battles but offers
                      little in the way of offensive enhancements.  Many skills
                      focus on utilising the shield to deflect attacks and
                      disable enemies.
   Sinister says    : Yyyyyyyyyyyyeah.  Whilst this School of Training DOES 
                      have SOME natty skills ?  Like the Shield Charge ?  For 
                      me it is WAY too reliant on your having a shield.  If 
                      you like Eric from Dungeons and Dragons then this is 
                      DEFINITELY the School for you - otherwise be VERY VERY
                      CAREFUL when picking it.  You don't want to come a 
                      cropper, especially since you can't undo it later ;)
      Skill Name    : CONCUSSIVE BLOW
      Description   : Adds a chance for attacks to stun enemies and increases
                      the duration of stun attacks when wielding a club type
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Stunning is COOL because it gives you the opportunity to
                      inflict even MORE damage on hapless opponents as they are
                      staggering about in their stupored state.

      Skill Name    : BATTLE AWARENESS
      Description   : Enter a state of heightened awareness that allows you 
                      and your allies to perceive and respond to attacks more
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Granting a bonus to your Defensive Ability is never a 
                      bad thing, and you must have this skill to be able to 
                      benefit from its modifications further up the food chain.
                      I wouldn't sink TOO many skill points into it though ...

      Skill Name    : BATTER
      Description   : A shield attack that hits for increased damage and slows
                      enemies' attacks for a duration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you rely on a shield), 1 (if you don't)
      My Comments   : A shield-only skill, but one which does have good 
                      benefits.  It is good being able to use what would 
                      otherwise be a solely defensive tool for a bit of an 
                      ass-whupping ;)

      Skill Name    : ARMOUR HANDLING
      Description   : Understanding how to properly adjust and move in armour
                      allows you to wear heavier armour and shields than an 
                      untrained warrior of equivalent strength could manage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Good Armour = Good Defence; Good Defence = Less Dying.
                      The reasons for having this skill are mathematically
                      simplistic - get it !! ;)

      Skill Name    : ADRENALINE
      Description   : Each enemy hit has a chance of triggering an adrenaline
                      rush that boosts life regeneration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Fair play whilst I don't really like the Defence School,
                      I DO love this skill.  They hit you and it makes you heal
                      quicker ?  BRING IT ON !!!!! =)

      Skill Name    : RALLY
      Description   : The resolute call of your horn can turn the tide of 
                      battle, inspiring all in its range to fight with renewed
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A decent skill which promotes your health regeneration
                      for a given period.  Since it benefits your allies as 
                      well as yourself, it can really help to turn battles in
                      your favour.

      Skill Name    : QUICK RECOVERY
      Description   : A strong shield arm allows you to block multiple attackers
                      with amazing speed when necessary but it can only be kept
                      up for a short time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Considering that you lack range with Defence Mastery, you
                      could benefit from being able to block physical attacks
                      in multiples, and at high speeds.  Therefore this skill
                      is well worth studying.

      Skill Name    : SHIELD SMASH
      Description   : A shield fighting technique that inflicts damage with both
                      the weapon and the shield.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Turn the shield into a WEAPON ??  BONZA !!!!!  Definitely
                      one to invest in, even if only a couple of points.

      Skill Name    : RESILIENCE
      Must Have     : ADRENALINE
      Description   : Increases how often an Adrenaline rush can be triggered.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Big-up the number of times you can use the Adrenaline 
                      Rush in a given period of time ?  YES PLEASE !!

      Skill Name    : FOCUS
      Must Have     : BATTLE AWARENESS
      Description   : Focus allows you and your allies to react quickly to 
                      enemy attacks increasing the chance of a successful 
                      shield block.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you rely on a shield), 1 (if you don't)
      My Comments   : Another very useful skill if you are going to be relying
                      on a shield.  If not then it's one to avoid really !!
                      But then if you AREN'T going to be relying on a shield,
                      why the HELL did you choose Defence Mastery !?!?! :)

      Skill Name    : SHIELD CHARGE
      Description   : A running attack that slams into the enemy with your 
                      shield causing bonus damage and stunning them.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This skill is definitely one of the best the Defence 
                      School has to offer.  It enables you to close the gap
                      between you and your enemies rapidly, and to slam into
                      them causing damage and stunning them.  It is also one
                      of the most visually impressive skills in the Defence 

      Skill Name    : INSPIRATION
      Must Have     : RALLY
      Description   : Gradually restores lost energy to allies allowing them
                      to continue the fight.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : I like this skill.  Using an aura to bolster the health
                      recharge rate of your allies is COOL, as whilst they are
                      alive they WILL keep fighting for you.  TO THE DEATH !!

      Skill Name    : REND ARMOUR
      Must Have     : BATTER
      Description   : Increases the effectiveness of Batter causing it to hit
                      three targets with enough force to dent their armour.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you rely on a shield), 1 (if you don't)
      My Comments   : As I have said repeatedly of these types of skills, if 
                      you HAVE an intent to rely on a shield in combat in 
                      general ?  Then this is a cool skill to have, DEFINITELY.
                      If you do NOT ?  Then why waste the points !!

      Skill Name    : DISABLE
      Description   : A fighting technique that utilises the shield to crush
                      foes and throw them off-balance.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3 (if you rely on a shield), 1 (if you don't)
      My Comments   : To be honest I think this skill arguably loses out to 
                      Shield Charge - however it does give decent slow effects
                      at higher levels ... even if the damage isn't really 
      Other Ideas   : [Viro Melchior says]
                      "Disable is amazing.  You are comparing it to Shield 
                      Charge, but Disable (and the other two abilities on the 
                      right hand edge of the Defender menu) are passive.  
                      There is a chance every time you attack that they are 
                      used, for ZERO energy.  Plus they all add your shield 
                      damage into the equation, which later on gets to be +100 
                      damage or more (my Defender/Pyro has a purple shield
                      that hits for 199 damage)."

      Skill Name    : DEFENSIVE REACTION
      Must Have     : ADRENALINE
      Description   : Increases damage and attack speed during an adrenaline
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Adrenaline Rush is one of your handiest skills, so if I
                      were you I would kit it out with additional powers at 
                      every possible opportunity.  This skill should get MORE
                      than a 5, as it increases your attack speed and you KNOW
                      how much I love that ;)

      Skill Name    : IRON WILL
      Must Have     : BATTLE AWARENESS
      Description   : Grants allies the resolve to hold out against great 
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of this power.  It gives
                      stun resistance, reduces entrapment duration, reduces 
                      freeze duration and gives skill disruption protection ...
                      but it's like Han Solo said ... it's no match for a 
                      Blaster at your side ;)

      Skill Name    : DISRUPTION
      Must Have     : SHIELD CHARGE
      Description   : Increases the shock effect of Shield Charge, startling
                      adjacent enemies and disrupting spell use for a time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you rely on a shield), 1 (if you don't)
      My Comments   : I think this is a really handy skill to have to be honest.
                      I SERIOUSLY rate the Shield Charge skill, and being able
                      to increase the number of people that you hit is ALWAYS
                      a good thing ... BRING THE NOISE !! :)

      Skill Name    : DEFIANCE
      Must Have     : RALLY
      Description   : A percentage of all damage inflicted by enemies will be
                      revisited back upon them for a short time after using 
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Using this skill you gain increased elemental resistance
                      and can reflect some damage back at your enemies.  At 
                      maximum level 60% of it to be precise !!  However the 
                      effects are transient, and don't last too long ...

      Skill Name    : COLOSSUS FORM
      Description   : Assume the form of a towering Colossus and lay waste to
                      your enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Whilst I really do love this power ... and I do ... as
                      I cannot HELP but utter the words "Magic Sceptre ... make
                      my Monster GROW" every time I use it ... and it is REALLY
                      good for enabling you to cover distance very quickly and
                      to smite your enemies LIKE the Colossus ?  Try going 
                      through a door ... or down a flight of stairs, and you 
                      will very quickly learn its shortfalls.  It's CR@P at 
                      that sorta thing !!

      Skill Name    : PULVERISE
      Description   : A fighting technique that utilises the shield to slam
                      into enemies, knocking them senseless.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : This power gives you the ability to strike multiple foes
                      causing damage, reducing their offensive ability, and 
                      creating a skill disruption effect.  In short, ruining 
                      their day.  It's not fantastic, but it ain't half bad ;)

   Conclusions      : Of the 20 skills in this School, 9 of them rely on you 
                      having a shield in your possession, so if you are not 
                      planning on using one, forget this school.  Also, think
                      VERY CAREFULLY before pairing Warfare and Defence.  They
                      may SOUND like they go hand-in-hand, but you will be 
                      sacrificing almost all your ranged powers, PLUS you will
                      have to have two weapons on your primary, and a weapon
                      plus a shield in your secondary, to make full use of the
                      combined powers of both Schools.  Defence is a handy 
                      school, so don't think I'm being TOO harsh with it, but
                      for me it just doesn't cut the mustard.
   Other Ideas      : [Thomas Graham has gotten in contact with me to give you
                      guys a different perspective on the Conqueror (Warfare+
                      Defence Mastery), as he loves it.  He says]
                      "(The Conqueror) was my very first character ... and 
                      he's currently my strongest.  Basically I gave him a 
                      shield and grabbed all the shield attacks from Defence 
                      and buffed him up with all the other melee power from 
                      Warfare - completely ignoring dual wield/war wind/
                      ancestral horn. I took War Horn though, as it's useful 
                      for running out of trouble. I also ignored Concussive 
                      Strike from Defence as maces are really slow as to not 
                      really make it worth it (As I also prefer to hit as fast 
                      as possible, gives me more chances to get a shield 
                      attack in).
                      "I always keep a bow handy in the second slot. I use it 
                      for overly tough boss fights (Typhon on Normal, the bull 
                      on epic and legendary etc) and for pulling out groups of 
                      monsters in rooms where it'd be suicide to go Shield 
                      Charging in. Generally he can wipe the floor with most 
                      monsters and with Armour Proficiency, Ignore Pain and 
                      all those other skills, he soaks it up very nicely too. 
                      Not to mention that Warfare and Defence have the most 
                      Health bonuses of all the schools as you level them up. 
                      I also keep Shield Charge handy for getting rid of those 
                      pesky archers and casters (Especially Machae Archers), 
                      and even using it in melee range to just pummel some 
                      "The slowing effect on Batter is great, it really 
                      reduces the amount of pain coming your way and as a 
                      general rule I find my shield does more damage than my 
                      weapons. This also makes it great for Disable, Pulverize 
                      and Shield Bash. The slowing effect on Disable is too 
                      chancey to rely on, but I only max it out because it's 
                      another chance of hitting with my shield instead (Which 
                      tends to deal a FAIR bit more damage than my main 
                      weapon.) He also has Onslaught which powers him up 
                      quite considerably. With +Speed and skills like Weapons 
                      Training and Ardor, I seem to have hit some kind of 
                      Weapon Speed cap =(. Nothing I do can make him strike 
                      any faster than now - not even activating a Battle 
                      [He also points out that, if you check out the bonuses 
                      gained from levelling up your masteries, Defence gives 
                      the most health of all of them).]
   Sphere Rating /5 : 2

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   Game Description : The Wanderer can call on denizens of the forest to deal
                      damage and shield them from enemies.  Healing and 
                      defensive auras allow allies to survive longer and fight
                      more effectively.
   Sinister says    : Find me a RAINBOW !!  Ok so it's not that bad really - 
                      Nature Mastery DOES give you control over more creatures
                      than any other School - three in total - and it has a 
                      healthy emphasis on healing and restoration which can 
                      compliment other schools well - it just isn't that strong
                      as an offensive school unfortunately.
      Skill Name    : REGROWTH
      Description   : A wave of healing energy rapidly restores lost life to
                      the target ally.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Basically ESSENTIAL maintenance for those times when you
                      get caught with no potions left ... and you will ;)

      Skill Name    : CALL OF THE WILD
      Description   : Summons a wolf companion to fight with you in battle.  At
                      higher levels more wolves can be controlled at once.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 to begin with ... 2 as the game progresses
      My Comments   : You can summon a wolf, which is cool because no other 
                      School will give you a summon THIS quickly - however the
                      wolf is available at level 1 for a reason.  At its best
                      level, this skill will enable you to summon 2 wolves - 
                      however they are EXTREMELY prone to premature death - 
                      especially when they face more powerful monsters later 
                      in the game.  Even when souped-up, they aren't all that,
      Other Ideas   : [Viro Melchior says]
                      "I'd agree with (your ranking above) *until* you go to 
                      Epic.  All summoned monsters are given more hp and armor 
                      at the Epic and Legendary thresholds.  So while your 
                      pets get ripped to shreds in the Orient and Hades of 
                      basic difficulty, they are much tougher once you go up 
                      to a harder mode.  And because the "difficulty" scales 
                      slower in these modes (along with your levels going up 
                      slower), the pets remain useful in Orient + Hades on the 
                      higher difficulties."

      Skill Name    : HEART OF OAK
      Description   : Bolsters the life-force of yourself and nearby allies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Boasting a steady increase to your health regeneration
                      rate, and extending same to nearby allies, this is a 
                      COOL skill to have.

      Skill Name    : ACCELERATED GROWTH
      Must Have     : REGROWTH
      Description   : Allows Regrowth to be cast more frequently.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Even if you only sink a couplea points into this skill,
                      being able to heal yourself more frequently means you are
                      likely to survive longer.

      Skill Name    : MAUL
      Must Have     : CALL OF THE WILD
      Description   : A gnawing attack that rends enemy flesh causing bleed
                      damage for a short duration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Whilst I would only learn this skill if you are SERIOUSLY
                      a dog lover, if you DO want to keep the wolves on, then
                      I would strongly recommend it be studied.

      Skill Name    : PLAGUE
      Description   : Plague afflicts nearby enemies with a debilitating ailment
                      that reduces their health and quickly spreads to other
                      nearby creatures.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Poison damage rocks - just ask the Rogue !!  Being able
                      not only to poison your enemies, but also to see that 
                      poison spread to their allies, is just plain fun :)

      Skill Name    : BRIAR WARD
      Description   : A protective grove of briars grows around you that 
                      enemies cannot pass through.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : To be honest, most reasonably powerful enemies are just
                      going to smash their way through this, so it is of 
                      SERIOUSLY limited use.  It grows all around you, so you
                      cannot really use it to escape ... it is a PLOP power.

      Skill Name    : SURVIVAL INSTINCT
      Must Have     : CALL OF THE WILD
      Description   : An instinctual will to live is triggered whenever health
                      is low.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Again - a seriously cool power but only for the hardcore
                      dog lovers out there.  It allows your poochies to absorb
                      a percentage of the damage they inflict, and to do more
                      damage than usual ... unfortunately it usually won't be
                      enough to save their furry little hides =./

      Skill Name    : FATIGUE
      Must Have     : PLAGUE
      Description   : Saps the strength from diseases enemies causing them to 
                      move more slowly and fight less effectively.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Offering a myriad of nasty potential effects, this is 
                      worth sinking at least a couple of points into as and
                      when you get the opportunity ... it can reduce enemies'
                      health, damage AND speed !!

      Skill Name    : TRANQUILITY OF WATER
      Must Have     : HEART OF OAK
      Description   : Provides a chance to use skills at 50% reduced cost while
                      under the effect of Heart of Oak.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Giving you the POSSIBILITY (as even at maximum power it
                      is a reasonably modest 28% possibility) to use your other
                      powers at a 50% reduction to their energy cost is worth
                      taking a gamble on - even if it's just one point you
                      sink into it as a skill, non ?

      Skill Name    : DISSEMINATION
      Must Have     : REGROWTH
      Description   : Causes regrowth energy to disseminate from the initial
                      target and leap to additional nearby allies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : VERY very useful when you are doing larger-scale combat
                      in Elysium later in the game.  This is, in fact, the 
                      power that the Elysian Warriors use to heal each other.
                      I definitely recommend getting at LEAST 2-3 points in
                      this power.

      Skill Name    : STINGING NETTLE
      Must Have     : BRIAR WARD
      Description   : Causes enemies who hit the Briar Ward to suffer poisoning.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Ok so it makes the Briar Ward a little bit more manly,
                      but still - it's a bit naff.  Stinging Nettle ?  Paleeze.

      Skill Name    : SYLVAN NYMPH
      Description   : Summons a powerful forest Nymph who can bring down enemies
                      with her magical bow and cast enchantments to strengthen
                      allies in battle.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : She's quick, she's mean-tempered and she has a VERY 
                      naughty laugh when she does things she knows she shouldn't
                      like shooting monsters in the eye from afar.  Also, you
                      can choose where you want her to materialise (which is of
                      very little consequence, but a nice touch).  The Nymph
                      has a high rate of fire, but skips (SKIPS) everywhere
                      she goes, which is really NOT good if you are trying to
                      play a manly character.  She is the second (or third if
                      you sank loads of points into the Call of the Wild) 
                      summon for this School.

      Skill Name    : PERMANENCE OF STONE
      Must Have     : HEART OF OAK
      Description   : Protects allies from the elements, reducing the damage
                      caused by elemental based attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Whilst it may SOUND naff, and even at its highest level
                      you get a maximum of 18% resistance, this is ELEMENTAL
                      resistance - i.e. resistance to ALL the elements and, as
                      such, it cannot be sneezed it.

      Skill Name    : STRENGTH OF THE PACK
      Must Have     : CALL OF THE WILD
      Description   : The howl of your wolves emboldens the hearts of those who
                      hear it causing them to fight more fiercely.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : I like this skill, as it enables the wolves to do 
                      something for you and your other allies (if you have any)
                      for a change.  You will benefit from increased damage and
                      speed, and you KNOW that added speed makes me go weak at
                      the knees ... heh.

      Skill Name    : OVERGROWTH
      Must Have     : SYLVAN NYMPH
      Description   : Allows the Nymph to create a living shield around allies
                      that absorbs damage and harms enemies that strike it.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Another natty power - this enables the Nymph to give you
                      a level of protection from physical damage, PLUS it has
                      a chance to perform piercing retaliation against those
                      who would harm you whilst under its protection.
      Other Ideas   : [Viro Melchior says]
                      "Overgrowth is nearly useless.  [The Nymph] doesn't cast 
                      it often, and it isn't enough damage on any difficulty 
                      to really make a difference considering how fickle she 
                      is with it."

      Skill Name    : SUSCEPTIBILITY
      Must Have     : PLAGUE
      Description   : Weakens the constitution of adjacent enemies making them
                      more susceptible to physical and elemental damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Giving negative modifiers to the Damage Resistance and
                      Elemental Resistance of those people standing around an
                      afflicted (poisoned) adversary, this just makes the 
                      pleasure spread like wildfire through the ranks !! :)

      Skill Name    : REFRESH
      Description   : Substracts time from recharging skills allowing you to use
                      them more frequently.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : I think this is a MUST HAVE skill for the Nature Master,
                      as it can enable you to employ some of your most powerful
                      skills more often.  At its highest level it reduces the 
                      recharge time of skills by 52 seconds when used, and that
                      can mean the difference between life eternal and a quick
                      and painful death on the battlefield.

      Skill Name    : SANCTUARY
      Must Have     : BRIAR WARD
      Description   : The power of the grove revitalises those within and 
                      reduces the energy consumed by skill use.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : If ever you GET Briar Ward to this level, then I would
                      seriously look to invest in this skill, as it boosts both
                      Health AND Energy Regeneration whilst you are within the
                      Ward and, since you cannot go anywhere whilst it's up ?
                      That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me !!

      Skill Name    : NATURE'S WRATH
      Must Have     : SYLVAN NYMPH
      Description   : Imbues the Nymph's attacks with the power of the elements.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Giving that tricksy little Nymph the power to fire arrows
                      through her enemies (a skill otherwise reserved for the 
                      Hunting School Masters out there), and enhancing her 
                      strikes with Elemental Damage is COO-WELL !! :)

   Conclusions      : Clearly NOT a School for those people that like to fight
                      in the front lines, unless backed up by something very 
                      physical like Warfare or Earth, Nature can easily be as
                      much a hindrance as a help.  HOWEVER, when paired up 
                      intelligently with other schools (i.e. using Nature as 
                      pretty much a supporting School), it can be put to VERY
                      good use and, if you are looking to become a Druid, then
                      this is the way to go !!
   Sphere Rating /5 : 3

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                                                      /  ¦

   Game Description : Master of bow and spear combat.  Piercing attacks 
                      penetrate enemy armour and high level bow skills will tear
                      through large groups of enemies.  The Hunter must rely on
                      speed and range to stay out of the reach of enemies.
   Sinister says    : I really like this School.  If you want to fashion your 
                      character into an archer, then this is the way to go.  
                      NOBODY wields a bow and arrow better than those that 
                      follow the Hunting School ... NOBODY.  Of course if you 
                      want to get up-close-and-personal ?  Then this is NEVER
                      going to be a school for you.
      Skill Name    : ENSNARE
      Description   : Casts a weighted net around the feet of an enemy holding
                      them in place but not preventing them from attacking if 
                      you are within their range.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This is quite simply one of the single best low-level
                      skills in the whole game.  You can pin a single enemy,
                      whether a low-level grunt or even in some cases a boss,
                      in place for a given period of time, which gives you 
                      (depending on the level of the skill) usually plenty of
                      time to riddle them with arrows or other attacks.  Go 
                      on ... tie it to your right mouse button and have a 
                      Legolas moment ;)

      Skill Name    : TAKE DOWN
      Description   : A brutal thrust from your spear delivers devastating 
                      piercing damage to enemies and diminishes a portion of 
                      your enemy's total life.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you wield a spear regularly), 1 (if you do not)
      My Comments   : Only of any use if you wield a spear as a regular part
                      of your arsenal.  I never do, so this skill is totally
                      lost on me.

      Skill Name    : WOOD LORE
      Description   : Central to survival in the wilderness is the ability to
                      hunt with bow and spear.  Great familiarity with these
                      weapons allows you to wield them with exceptional speed
                      and precision.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : ANY skill that increases your attack speed is quite 
                      simply a must-have in my opinion, and this is one of 
                      those.  Increased speed gives you increased damage-
                      dealing potential :)

      Skill Name    : MARKSMANSHIP
      Description   : Marksmanship skill allows you to create and fire arrows
                      that fly faster and increase pierce damage.  Apply this
                      skill to your left mouse button.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A very useful and improvable skill is Marksmanship.  It 
                      increases the effectiveness and damage of all your regular
                      arrow attacks, and as the Hunter you will be using PLENTY
                      of those !!

      Skill Name    : ART OF THE HUNT
      Description   : Hunting experience gives you the edge when facing familiar
                      quarry such as Animals and Beastmen.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Whilst I heavily improved this skill during my playtime,
                      it is best implemented against animals and beastmen, and
                      so part of its effectiveness is lost when it is used 
                      against tougher and more powerful enemies ...

      Skill Name    : HERBAL REMEDY
      Description   : Living off the land, you learn to identify and utilise 
                      medicinal plants to create healing salves.  When applied
                      it will fortify against poison and healing is accelerated
                      for the duration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : It's good to be able to use a healing skill now and 
                      again, and this one is reasonably cool because it also
                      helps protect you from poison damage.  I have never ever
                      used it in-game to be truthful, largely because being a
                      ranged character you tend to try and avoid taking hits
                      wherever possible, but it's cool to know it's available
                      should you want to learn it :)

      Skill Name    : BARBED NETTING
      Must Have     : ENSNARE
      Description   : Barbed hooks on the hunter's Ensnare net tear into 
                      enemies as they struggle causing them to bleed.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Whilst I have never bothered to put any appreciable 
                      number of points into this skill - I think I just put
                      one in for good measure - it is totally worth having,
                      as the opportunity to inflict additional damage on a 
                      paralysed foe appealed to me ... and still does !!

      Skill Name    : CALL OF THE HUNT
      Description   : Those who answer the call of the hunt will fight with
                      increased speed and cunning.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A GREAT skill which is only restricted by the time limit
                      imposed upon it - however at higher levels it runs for a
                      respectable amount of time, and can DRAMATICALLY improve
                      your fighting skills for the duration (as well as those
                      of your allies !!)

      Skill Name    : EVISCERATE
      Must Have     : TAKE DOWN
      Description   : Targeting vital weak-points on your enemy causes sustained
                      damage from bleeding.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 (if you wield a spear regularly), 1 (if you do not)
      My Comments   : Again, if the spear is your weapon of choice, then this 
                      is going to be a very popular skill for you.  If, like 
                      me, however, you virtually NEVER use a spear, then this 
                      skill is NEVER going to make your highlight reel.

      Skill Name    : MONSTER LURE
      Description   : Drops down a decoy to attract the attention of nearby 
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : To be honest I think this is the worst skill in the whole
                      School.  It creates a dummy a VERY short distance away
                      from you, which lures monsters to it until they smash it
                      to pieces.  Since it's very close to you to start with,
                      they are not guaranteed to spot it and might hit you a
                      few more times until it catches their eye, so this isn't
                      a fantastic skill by any means :(

      Skill Name    : STUDY PREY
      Description   : By observing your prey from a distance you may discover
                      its weakness, resulting in greater pierce damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : This is a skill which you can use to target a small area
                      of enemies at a distance, increasing the amount of 
                      piercing damage they take for a little while.  A green
                      eye appears over their heads - it's the same power the
                      centaurs use on you ALL the BL**DY TIME !!

      Skill Name    : PUNCTURE SHOT ARROWS
      Must Have     : MARKSMANSHIP
      Description   : Incorporating a more streamlined shaft into your arrows
                      allows them to pass through targets and hit additional 
                      enemies in their path.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : I would give this ability MORE than 5 if I could - it is
                      DEFINITELY one to get if you use a bow-and-arrow.  The
                      chance of penetrating the bodies of your enemies and 
                      hitting the people behind them increases as the skill 
                      improves, as does the satisfaction of using this skill !!

      Skill Name    : GOUGE
      Description   : A combat technique that uses the spear or bow to inflict
                      deep wounds that will result in prolonged bleeding.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Increasing the amount of bleeding damage your spear OR 
                      bow does, makes this a good skill to add to your 
                      repertoire regardless of whether you prefer to use the 
                      spear or the bow - I would recommend sinking at least 
                      1-2 points into it personally.

      Skill Name    : FIND COVER
      Must Have     : ART OF THE HUNT
      Description   : Making use of available cover as you press your attack
                      allows you to avoid unnecessary damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Since you are at range anyway, you should find you are
                      able to avoid the majority of attacks - just stick and
                      move and you will be able to avoid many projectiles.  This
                      is one of those nice to have powers, but I wouldn't say
                      it is in ANY way mandatory for this School.

      Skill Name    : EXPLOIT WEAKNESS
      Must Have     : CALL OF THE HUNT
      Description   : Take full advantage of your enemy's mistakes and 
                      vulnerable moments to inflict savage wounds.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This skill enables you to inflict additional piercing and
                      bleeding damage when attacking.  Consequently it is well
                      worth investing some pointage in ;)

      Skill Name    : TRAIL BLAZING
      Must Have     : ART OF THE HUNT
      Description   : Grants those who follow the hunt endurance to relentlessly
                      track their quarry, preventing even the most tangled 
                      thicket from slowing pursuit.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This skill doesn't benefit your attack speed per se, but
                      instead it increases your movement speed.  This has 
                      certain obvious advantages insofar as you can peg it away
                      from combat quickly, or take advantage of mistakes your 
                      enemies make in double-quick time.

      Skill Name    : DETONATE
      Must Have     : MONSTER LURE
      Description   : Adds a hidden explosive charge to the monster lure causing
                      it to detonate when destroyed.  In order to detonate the
                      lure must be at full energy.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : Ok ... whilst I admit that love almost EVERYTHING about
                      this School, THIS and Monster Lure I just really don't 
                      get.  What makes THIS power really pants in my opinion
                      is that whilst it can cause the Monster Lure to explode
                      when it reaches zero health, it doesn't always, as the 
                      Monster Lure MUST HAVE full energy to discharge this 
                      power !!  Why bother !?!?!  Just SHOOT your enemies - 
                      don't wait in hiding for this thing to take them out ...
                      JUST ... SHOOT ... THEM !!

      Skill Name    : FLUSH OUT
      Must Have     : STUDY PREY
      Description   : Draw your enemies into the open, making them more 
                      vulnerable to attack.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : If you're a big fan of using Study Prey, then this power
                      should go from a 2 to a 4.  I never use it personally, so
                      this is rather lost on me.  However I can tell you that
                      it does reduce both the Defensive Ability AND the 
                      Elemental Resistance of those enemies it affects.

      Skill Name    : SCATTER SHOT ARROWS
      Must Have     : MARKSMANSHIP
      Description   : A secret of master fletchers is the ability to craft 
                      special arrow heads that burst on impact sending out 
                      razor-sharp fragments in all directions.  Each shard
                      delivers piercing damage to the enemies it hits.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : ANOTHER power which I would cheerfully give more than 5
                      points to were I able ... this one gives you a chance to
                      have any given arrow you fire explode into a set of 
                      smaller barbs, each of which does additional damage.
                      Using this with the other Marksmanship upgrades can level
                      large (and I do MEAN large) numbers of enemies in one or
                      two arrows - it's SO COOL !!!!! :)

      Skill Name    : VOLLEY
      Description   : A combat technique that uses the spear or bow to rapidly
                      strike three times in succession.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : YET ANOTHER kickass power for the Hunting School - THIS 
                      little beauty enables you to fire three arrows (from 
                      time to time - there is a percentage chance that it will
                      work), which means you do even MORE damage to even MORE
                      monsters with your bow and arrows ... YEEEEEEES !!!!! =)

   Conclusions      : If you are an archer or have even the SLIGHTEST liking
                      for Legolas from the Lord of the Rings, then you should
                      SERIOUSLY consider this school.  Whilst its emphasis is 
                      on wielding a bow and arrow, it does have some spear 
                      skills available, and some modest healing powers should
                      you want to brush up on those, so it caters to pretty 
                      much two main types of warrior - the Archer and the 
                      Pikeman.  The biggest drawback of this school is in its
                      total lack of summons, but apart from that I love it !!
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

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¦ ¦   ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦  ¦  ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦  ¦   
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                     / ¦
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   Game Description : The rogue is unmatched at dealing rapid damage to single
                      opponents or wearing them down with poison and bleeding.
                      Reliant on hit-and-run tactics, the Rogue is less well
                      suited for handling hordes of enemies and must employ
                      trickery to avoid being overwhelmed.
   Sinister says    : Ooh !  NASTY.  I love it !!  I agree with the game - the 
                      emphasis of this School is DEFINITELY on doing large 
                      amounts of damage to very specific targets.  Later on you
                      can pick up a couple of skills that will sort out larger 
                      groups of enemies, but the mainstay of the skills 
                      available in this School are for the Assassins out there.
                      People that single-out their targets and go for the 
      Skill Name    : CALCULATED STRIKE
      Description   : Used in place of your normal attack, every fourth hit
                      with calculated strike will deliver increased damage.
                      Apply this skill to your left mouse button.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This is a GREAT skill to pick up early on in the game.
                      It doesn't matter what type of weapon you wield - every
                      fourth time you strike with this power it makes a cool
                      noise, and your enemy goes DOWN ... it's cool !! :)  Of
                      course it stops being QUITE so cool when you're fighting
                      stronger adversaries later on in the game, but UP UNTIL
                      that point it rocks.

      Skill Name    : BLADE HONING
      Description   : While active, this skill ensures that the blades on the
                      swords or spears of yourself and allies will remain razor
                      sharp and inflict increased piercing damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Similar to Marksmanship or Earth Enchantment, this power
                      can remain constantly active - however it is limited in
                      that you must be wielding either a sword or a spear for
                      it to remain on.  Therefore even if your second weapon
                      is a bow and arrow, if you switch to it (i.e. away from
                      either a sword or spear), this power will automatically
                      switch itself off, which is a pain in the butt.

      Skill Name    : ENVENOM WEAPON
      Description   : Coats your weapon with deadly poison while activated.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Adds poison damage to all your attacks, which is great !
                      BE an Assassin ... g'wan ... ;)

      Skill Name    : THROWING KNIFE
      Description   : Throw a piercing blade at your opponent capable of causing
                      prolonged bleeding.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5 at the outset - 2 later on in the game
      My Comments   : When you first use this power you will throw your head
                      back and laugh with glee - I virtually guarantee it.
                      It's one of those "you think you have me ?  Well think 
                      again !!" kinda powers - however when you're throwing
                      these beauties into the knees of a cyclops and he's about
                      to hammer you into the ground with his club ?  You will
                      come to see its limitations =./

      Skill Name    : DISARM TRAPS
      Description   : Expertise with traps and magical devices allows the Rogue
                      to easily disable them and avoid their damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Even if you just put a point onto this skill, its effect
                      is passive, so you never need to activate it, and it does
                      reduce the likelihood of traps going off in your face.
                      However if you have a good sense of hearing, reduce the
                      rating I have given this skill to 1 as you will be able 
                      to get around traps that way.

      Skill Name    : NIGHTSHADE
      Must Have     : ENVENOM WEAPON
      Description   : Oils harvested from deadly Nightshade plants give your
                      Envenomed Weapons the ability to slow enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Since the poison effects you get from envenom weapon
                      work with your regular attacks, why not bolster them at
                      every opportunity ??

      Skill Name    : FLASH POWDER
      Description   : A magician's trick turned to more nefarious purposes, 
                      flash powder blinds adjacent enemies impairing their 
                      ability to hit with weapons and potentially disorienting
      My Rank (/5)  : 1
      My Comments   : I LOVE this power, but it has all the practical use of 
                      popping a balloon as a method of distraction.  You throw
                      the powder down and BOOM - where's he gone !?!?!  Oh 
                      look !!  He's RIGHT where he was to begin with !!  GET 
                      HIM BOYS !!!!!  It's like that ;)  It works great on
                      low-ranking enemies, so it might be worth a point or
                      two, but I wouldn't bother with any more than that ...

      Skill Name    : LUCKY HIT
      Must Have     : CALCULATED STRIKE
      Description   : Uncommonly good fortune provides a chance that calculated
                      strikes will slip past enemy armour causing tremendous
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Even if you just pop a point or two into this skill, it
                      actively increases the chances of calculated strikes 
                      doing more damage.  I can't do maths to save my life, 
                      but it's an (x)% chance of doing more damage on every 
                      1 in 4 hits ... which is kinda slim, but worth adding
                      for the crack ;)

      Skill Name    : OPEN WOUND
      Description   : Adds a chance that weapon attacks will inflict bleeding
                      damage when using a sword, spear, bow, or axe.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Given that this skill can affect your bleeding damage
                      chances with no less than FOUR main weapon groups, I 
                      think it deserves a high rating.  Bleeding damage takes
                      a little while to slay your enemies, but it can weaken
                      them to the extent that they are like leaves on the 
                      wind - pushovers in other words ;)

      Skill Name    : LAY TRAP
      Description   : Drops a mechanical bolt trap that will trip when enemies
                      draw near and rapidly fire out deadly bolts.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : GREAT when it comes to weakening larger numbers of enemy
                      troops (which as I have said before is something that 
                      the Rogue School is a bit thin on the ground at doing
                      otherwise).  It doesn't slay huge amounts as the bolts
                      are a bit hitty-missy, but it does its job well, PLUS
                      you can lob it ... use the shift key whilst aiming to
                      increase the range ;)

      Skill Name    : POISON GAS BOMB
      Description   : Lobs a bomb that will burst on impact releasing a cloud
                      of toxic gas that damages enemies and impairs their 
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Another lobbable weapon - this one causes a cloud of 
                      toxic fumes to arise, poisoning all within the blast 
                      area.  Unfortunately it doesn't do huge amounts of 
                      damage until higher levels, but it can be upgraded so it
                      is definitely worth putting at least a couple of points

      Skill Name    : LETHAL STRIKE
      Description   : A single deadly hit that multiplies the damage of a normal
                      weapon attack.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : THIS skill is simply BEAUTIFUL.  Think of it as focusing
                      your hatred and energy into doing just ONE hit ... JUST
                      one ... but that hit is usually going to be powerful 
                      enough to slay the enemy you are aiming for.  Simple, 
                      effective ... just like an Assassin should be !

      Skill Name    : RAPID CONSTRUCTION
      Must Have     : LAY TRAP
      Description   : Expertise in assembling traps reduces the amount of time
                      it takes to create a new trap after one has been set.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : I think it's worth having even if just on a low-level,
                      as the quicker you can roll out your traps, the more 
                      chance they have of damaging your enemies ... obviously !!

      Skill Name    : TOXIN DISTILLATION
      Must Have     : ENVENOM WEAPON
      Description   : Learn alchemical processes to distil natural toxins, 
                      increasing the potency and duration of all poison attacks.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Increasing power and duration of ALL your poison attacks ?
                      HELL YEAH !!  BRING IT ON !!!!! :)

      Skill Name    : ANATOMY
      Description   : With a deep knowledge of anatomy, attacks can be directed
                      at vital points in the body increasing the chance and
                      effectiveness of bleed damage.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Since poison and bleeding are two of the main weapons the
                      Rogue Master has at their disposal and, consequently, two
                      of the main areas which you should upgrade wherever the
                      opportunity presents itself.

      Skill Name    : MANDRAKE
      Must Have     : ENVENOM WEAPON
      Description   : Adds a chance for poison to cloud an enemy's mind, sending
                      them into a state of confusion.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : And here's another example of that !  With a chance of 
                      sending your enemies loopy for a moment or two, you can
                      focus your attacks on those that are compus mentis, and
                      then pick off the stragglers afterwards.  I love it !! :)

      Skill Name    : SHRAPNEL
      Must Have     : POISON GAS BOMB
      Description   : Packed with volatile liquid and metal scraps, the Poison
                      Gas Bomb will explode violently on impact showering the
                      area with deadly Shrapnel.  Each fragment of shrapnel 
                      inflicts piercing damage to the enemies it hits.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Expanding on the damage potential of the already rather 
                      cool Poison Gas Bomb, once that explodes, additional 
                      smaller fragments spray out in all directions, causing
                      EXTRA damage, and making a really cool snapping sound.

      Skill Name    : MORTAL WOUND
      Must Have     : LETHAL STRIKE
      Description   : Stuns victims of Lethal Strike and greatly magnifies the
                      impact of poison and bleeding damage caused by the attack.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Giving you a percentage modifier to both bleeding and 
                      poison damage, this is YET ANOTHER must have skill for
                      the Rogues and Assassins out there.

      Skill Name    : FLURRY OF KNIVES
      Must Have     : THROWING KNIFE
      Description   : Learn to throw additional knives at once and cut down 
                      enemies with a lethal flurry of razor-sharp metal.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Being able to throw not just one, but a whole BUNCH of
                      knives has a fantastic appeal I must say.  It's kinda
                      like the ultimate in goodbye fatalities ... however
                      as with the Storm Skill Torrent, there isn't really a 
                      whole lot of control you can exert over the direction
                      the additional knives go, making this a less than ideal
                      skill.  It also gives the knives additional piercing 
                      damage ;)

      Must Have     : LAY TRAP
      Description   : Modifications to the Bolt Trap increase the number of 
                      bolts fired per round.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Even if you don't like to set traps, I would sink at least
                      one point into this skill, as it will benefit any and 
                      all traps you create.  You never know when it might come
                      in handy, non ?

   Conclusions      : If you like the idea of being an Assassin, or just 
                      focusing all your energy and attacking power into beating
                      your foes down, one at a time in devious and often brutal
                      ways ?  Then this is a SERIOUS contender as a school for
                      you.  If you like the wholesale slaughter of LARGE numbers
                      of troops at the same time ?  Then consider looking at 
                      other schools before plumping for this one.
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

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¦  ¦   ¦¦  --/  ¦  ==  ¦  =  ¦ ¦ ¦    /¦ ¦
¦  ¦  ¦ ¦¦      ¦   ¦  ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦   / ¦ ¦
¦  ¦ /  ¦¦      ¦  ==  ¦  =  ¦ ¦ ¦  /  ¦ ¦
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¦      / ¦ ¦   ¦     ¦¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦      ¦ ¦
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   Game Description : Expand your consciousness to draw more deeply from the 
                      power of the dream realm and exert your will upon 
                      physical reality.
   Sinister says    : Ah yes, the NEWCOMER School.  Dream wasn't available for
                      us to play about with in regular Titan Quest, and so it
                      is the one EVERYBODY that used to play Titan Quest wants
                      to explore.  Is it worth it ?  Read on ;)
      Skill Name    : SANDS OF SLEEP
      Description   : Puts enemies to sleep, rendering them immobile for a 
                      duration or until awakened by an attack.
      My Rank (/5)  : 3
      My Comments   : Oh deary ... deary me.  The first skill in this new school
                      and it's the power to send people to ... sleep ??  Truth
                      be told it's not THAT pants, but they will wake up as soon
                      as you hit them, which makes it more useful as a "let me
                      slip by" skill than a "now you DIE" skill.  Having said 
                      that, it does of course enable you to get a free hit in
                      before they can counter, so it's not THAT bad really !!

      Skill Name    : PSIONIC TOUCH
      Description   : Psionic energies focused within your weapons will create
                      a bone shattering resonance when they contact your 
                      enemies.  Apply this skill to your left mouse button.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : A skill which augments your regular attacks, enabling you
                      to do both Vitality Damage AND a percentage of additional
                      damage to boot ?  FAIR PLAY !!  The maximum you can do
                      using this skill is an additional 96% TOTAL Damage, in 
                      3 charge levels.  Pick it up !!  PICK IT UP NOW !!!!! :)

      Skill Name    : DISTORTION WAVE
      Description   : A wave of force is projected outward that forms chaotic
                      ripples in the fabric of reality and delivers devastating
                      damage to the body and mind of enemies.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This is the same power that the Cyclops Polyphemus uses
                      against you when you fight him - a direct-line attack
                      that sends a wave of force out towards your adversaries.
                      It's upgradable, and impressive, and should form a good
                      part of your arsenal early-on in the game.

      Skill Name    : TRANCE OF EMPATHY
      Description   : Force enemies to share the damage they inflict upon you 
                      by forming a telepathic link to their minds that conveys
                      only pain and siphons life in retribution.  Trance 
                      Skill - Only one trance can be active at a time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : The first of three Trance skills that are available to 
                      you as a result of studying this school, none of which
                      are dependent on each other to exist.  This is one of
                      the best of them in my opinion - it converts a percentage
                      of the damage you do to your enemies back into life for
                      you, AND reflects a portion of the damage they do to you
                      back against them.  KILLER :)

      Skill Name    : LUCID DREAM
      Description   : Increased conscious control over your dream state enhances
                      abilities that derive power from the dream world.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Even if you don't heavily upgrade it, this skill will 
                      add damage, electrical burn damage AND vitality damage
                      to your dream powers (all as percentages - NOT fixed 
                      numbers), so it's well worth having.

      Skill Name    : PHANTOM STRIKE
      Description   : Vanish from the waking world and reappear before a target
                      enemy to deliver a monstrous attack.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : AGAIN I find myself giving a 5 to a power in this school.
                      This is an AMAZING power to watch.  You turn invisible in
                      a cloud of dream energy, and stalk your prey until you are
                      within striking distance, whereupon you decloak yourself
                      and hit them.  If your enemies are closer to you than 
                      their regular starting positions, they will try and fall
                      back to their regular starting positions which can help
                      or hinder you, depending on how many enemies stand by them
                      and where they started.  Once upgraded sufficiently, you
                      can hit more than one person (six at the highest level)
                      with your strike.  GET THIS SKILL RIGHT NOW DAMMIT !! :)

      Skill Name    : PREMONITION
      Must Have     : LUCID DREAM
      Description   : A precognitive sense of the imminent future allows you to
                      stay one step ahead of your enemies in combat.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Giving you bonuses to both your Offensive AND Defensive
                      Abilities is less than awe-inspiring, but you should feel
                      the benefits in battle.  It's worth picking up even if
                      you don't sink massive amounts of points into it.

      Skill Name    : SUMMON NIGHTMARE
      Description   : Calls forth a nightmarish phantasm from the dream world
                      to serve as your familiar.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : The only summon that you can have in the Dream School, 
                      and he is QUITE the little devil bless him.  He can be
                      upgraded later on to give him extra powers, some of which
                      are quite unique.  You should definitely get this little
                      dude at your back.

      Skill Name    : PSIONIC BURN
      Must Have     : PSIONIC TOUCH
      Description   : Psionic energy within the target ignites and explodes 
                      outward, burning through their material being and 
                      inflicting severe damage to adjacent targets.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : There is absolutely NO reason not to get this skill.  It
                      gives you additional Electrical Burn Damage AND a bonus
                      percentage damage against Demons.  The only reason I 
                      wouldn't give it a 5 is because the additional percentage
                      damage you get only affects Demons.  The Electrical Burn
                      bit affects everybody though ;)

      Skill Name    : DREAM STEALER
      Must Have     : PHANTOM STRIKE
      Description   : Devastate your enemies and steal their power by ripping
                      the very dreams from their minds.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Since Phantom Strike is such a cool skill, I would put
                      a few points into this skill as well.  It gives you energy
                      leech potential, stun time and additional damage for your
                      enemies, so it's the icing on an already kickass cake.

      Skill Name    : CHAOTIC RESONANCE
      Must Have     : DISTORTION WAVE
      Description   : Amplifies the physical distortion effect, causing it to
                      shatter armour and break bones
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : This skill increases the damage of the Distortion Wave,
                      and reduces the Armour Rating of your opponents.  Another
                      cool skill for the Dream School !!

      Description   : A restful state of mind causes increased life recovery
                      and damage absorption for the player and allies.  Trance
                      Skill - Only one trance can be active at a time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Ah yes, the second Trance skill.  This one increases 
                      both your health and energy regeneration (but not to 
                      insane levels), and gives you the ability to absorb a 
                      percentage of the damage you sustain, which is nice.  15%
                      at its highest level.

      Skill Name    : HYPNOTIC GAZE
      Must Have     : SUMMON NIGHTMARE
      Description   : The mesmerising stare of the Nightmare is able to 
                      dominate lesser minds and throw them into a state of 
                      confusion, causing them to wander aimlessly and attack
                      phantom images.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : There is something very satisfying about a pet that is 
                      able to think for itself.  Your nightmare is quite the
                      little puppetmaster !!  He can possess your enemies, 
                      just as a Spirit Master might, and cause them to fight
                      at your side for a spell.  Well worth having !!

      Skill Name    : DISTORTION FIELD
      Description   : A field of psionic power bends for fabric of reality
                      around the player, negating some of the damage from 
                      enemy attacks and dealing retaliatory damage to enemies
                      that strike you.
      My Rank (/5)  : 2
      My Comments   : Warping the fabric of reality to both absorb some of the
                      damage that is dealt to you, and dealing damage to your
                      enemies in retaliation is all well and good, however at
                      its MAXIMUM level of power, there is a paltry 5% chance
                      that this skill will work ... which is MEGA plop.  I'd
                      get it, but I wouldn't rely on it too heavily.

      Skill Name    : DISTORT REALITY
      Description   : Sends out a powerful ripple of distortion around the 
                      player that tears the fabric of reality, causing severe
                      damage to enemies caught within it.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : THIS is, in my opinion, the best skill in this School.
                      It sends out a circular shockwave of force from you at
                      the centre through your enemies.  The amount of damage
                      that it inflicts is great at higher levels, and the 
                      attack can be further upgraded so as to freeze those 
                      enemies that it doesn't kill outright !!  I LOVE IT !! :)

      Skill Name    : TEMPORAL FLUX
      Must Have     : LUCID DREAM
      Description   : A subtle acceleration of time around the player allows
                      them to move more quickly, anticipate attacks, and 
                      negate the slowing effects of enemy skills.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Giving you the powers of additional total speed, together
                      with a chance to avoid projectiles AND a resistance to 
                      being slowed is NOT something to be sneezed at.  It is
                      not the greatest of powers, but it can prove to be a VERY
                      helpful addition to your arsenal.

      Skill Name    : PSIONIC IMMOLATION
      Must Have     : DISTORTION WAVE
      Description   : Psionic energies ignite into a surge of electrical power
                      that causes horrific burning over a short duration.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Causing massive amounts of Electrical Burning Damage, 
                      together with a bonus modifier when used against Demons,
                      this skill is a GREAT add-on for your Distortion Wave.

      Skill Name    : TRANCE OF WRATH
      Description   : Waves of negative psionic energy emanate from the player,
                      disrupting enemy thoughts and burning through their 
                      physical being.  Trance Skill - Only one trance can be
                      active at a time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 4
      My Comments   : Interestingly this skill isn't so dissimilar to the Earth
                      skill "Ring of Flame", which is available at level 4.  It
                      actively attempts to zap anybody that comes within a 
                      certain distance of you, and can be maintained for as long
                      as you wish (or have the energy to support it).  It takes
                      a barely noticeable amount of energy to use, and can help
                      ward off those pesky hand-to-hand warriors that get a bit
                      too close for comfort.

      Skill Name    : MASTER MIND
      Must Have     : SUMMON NIGHTMARE
      Description   : The Nightmare is able to speak to the minds of your other
                      minions and coordinate their attacks, making them more 
                      effective in combat.
      My Rank (/5)  : 1-5, depending on what other School (if any) you pick !
      My Comments   : First off, this skill ONLY affects other pets, so don't
                      misread "minions" and think it means "allies".  Therefore
                      if you pair Dream with either Hunting, Defence or Rogue
                      say ?  FORGET this skill entirely as it will do you NO
                      good at all.  If you are a Nature Master or a Storm or
                      Earth Master for example ?  Then it's well worth it, as 
                      it gives your pet/s bonus Damage and increased Health
                      and Energy Regeneration rates.

      Skill Name    : TEMPORAL RIFT
      Must Have     : DISTORT REALITY
      Description   : Enhances the power of the distortion ripple, unleashing a
                      surge of psionic energy that causes massive damage to 
                      enemies and temporarily freezes them in time.
      My Rank (/5)  : 5
      My Comments   : Petrifies those enemies that are not automatically slain
                      outright by the power of the Distort Reality skill, and
                      gives a great big fat Electrical Burn Damage bonus to
                      the latter as well.  I HIGHLY recommend this skill.

   Conclusions      : Well I have to say I am VERY ... V-E-R-Y impressed with
                      the newcomer school.  It has something for everybody 
                      really.  Phantom Strike is a GREAT hand-to-hand skill, 
                      the Trances serve to benefit you and your allies, the 
                      Nightmare is a very clever little pet, and can help out
                      other pets as well depending on what School (if any) you
                      pair Dream with, and your ranged attacks (both mid-range
                      as Distort Reality, and long-range as Distortion Wave)
                      are among some of the most powerful in the game.  Bonza !
   Sphere Rating /5 : 4

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S                                                 
This guide is dedicated to my good friend Padopolis - mon canard !!
                                               Copyright Mister Sinister, 2007

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