Darkness Rises is a fascinating action RPG with in-depth character customization options. From class to essences, three sets of skills, two sets of gear, runes, jewels, and other improvements, there is plenty of action taking place behind the scenes of successful hacking and slashing. You might not feel the need to tinker with your character during the first 30 minutes of the game, but you’ll change your mind soon after that, once your power begins to lag behind the recommended number for adventure stages and dungeons.
Once you decide to spend some time on the character screen, the options might seem overwhelming at first. In this guide, we’ll start from the basics – your character essences and skills, as well as the resources you need to upgrade them. For useful info on gear and costumes, check out our dedicated guide instead.
A Matter of Class
When you first enter the dark fantasy world of Darkness Rises, you’ll be asked to choose a class. The selection screen, however, does not do much in the way of characterizing each class’ strengths and weaknesses.
On the other hand, the class you choose will largely determine your play style on a particular character, as well as the skills you have access to and the essences you should prioritize. The basics are as follows:
- The Warrior is a melee hero with high defense and the ability to dish out a lot of damage over a short period of time. One of the easiest classes to play with, especially for beginners.
- The Wizard is a ranged hero with balanced stats across the board. Also a fairly easy class to handle, she nevertheless requires a bit of additional planning and positioning in order to avoid chunks of melee damage and use her abilities from afar.
- The Berserker is a melee hero and slightly more capricious than the warrior. He has high HP and can deal incredible amounts of damage, but he suffers from slow attack and movement speed, as well as from average defense stats.
- The Assassin also prefers melee attacks, but is much faster than other classes. Her attack stats are average, while her HP and defense stats are fairly low.
- The Archer was introduced later into the development of Darkness Rises than the original four classes. She is a ranged hero with massive damage capabilities that can outrank other classes during raids. Provided, of course, that you keep her out of harm’s way.
As you decide which class will work best for you, you should also consider that the game encourages you to play all five through the account-wide stats boost. Thanks to the latter, each character will receive a percentage boost to their stats (up to a possible total of 12%), depending on the strength of the other characters.
Essences: The Nitty-Gritty
One of the most basic ways to upgrade your character and improve his or her power is through essences. Once you’ve completed enough of the tutorial, the game will guide you to the menu, then to the character screen, and finally to the tab called “Essences”. Here, you’ll find the following screen and options:
The essences that you can improve are fairly straightforward. They include your ATK, DEF, and HP stats, as well as your Crit Chance (or Activation), enemy Damage Decrease, and Defense Penetration. Leveling these stats is done in increments of five. Once all stats have been upgraded five times, you can increase the cap for all of them by another five, and so on. Especially due to this incremental development, it’s not necessarily worth prioritizing one or more essences above others.
All stats require gold and “Mystical Essences” to be upgraded. In addition, each stat requires a special essence. The DEF Pen stat, for instance, will ask you for a number of “Air Essences” per level. You can find these essences in your “Items > Inventory > Character Inventory” tab:
Here, you can also click on a specific essence that interests you in order to find out where you might be able to obtain it. Say, for instance, that you need more “Air Essences”. By clicking on the purple crystal and then on “Source”, you get the following info:
Your character can then clear adventure stage “10-8” several times for the required essence. You can use clear tickets to do so instantly or, if you’re a pure F2P player, you can set up a BlueStacks Key Combo to have your hero do it automatically. You can also use bonus essences tickets to have an adventure stage yield more essences.
Meanwhile, you’re also likely to receive essence chests for a number of in-game activities, including PvE events, log-in bonuses, and more.
Normal Skills: Unlocks and Upgrades
In the game menu, you’ll also find your “Skills” submenu, where the first unlocked tab will be “Normal Skills”. Three of the abilities you will use during combat are selected from this screen, which includes a total of five skills and their five respective links.
Each class has different abilities, but all are upgraded using gold and SP (Skill Points). While gold is relatively easy to come by, this is not necessarily the case with SPs. You can earn them by completing the game’s storyline, through rested bonus, daily and weekly activities, as well as some achievements.
This might seem like an abundance of SP, but as you upgrade your skills, you’ll notice that they start to require A LOT of SP per level. In addition, you won’t be able to respect any upgrades once they are made, which is why you should not upgrade skills you do not believe you’ll use later in the game. The game guide will urge you to use your SPs whenever they are available, but you’ll be happier in the long run if you resist the temptation.
Which skills, links, and upgrades you should choose depends on your class and whether you intend to play PvP. Note that each game mode (PvE, Co-Op, Duel PvP, and Team PvP) has its distinct skills tab, and skills must be equipped separately in order to become available in different modes. More importantly, while linked skills are immediately equipped with their respective base skills when you play PvE, this is not the case in PvP. In PvP matches, linked skills are stand-alone and must be equipped as such.
You can check out our PvP guide for more info on choosing the best PvP skills.
The Rage Skill
The rage skill is essentially an execute you can use during PvE encounters. When fighting normal monsters, each kill gradually fills your rage meter, which then allows you to instantly dispose of 2 to X enemies. When you fight bosses, the mechanic is slightly different and the rage skill can be activated once your ATK is bigger than a certain percentage of the boss’ remaining health.
Although it cannot be used in PvP, the rage skill can be a lifesaver in tough PvE boss encounters. Also, did we forget to mention that the animations are slick as hell?
You can find the rage skill screen under the “Skills” submenu once you have progressed far enough in the game. Here, you’ll need to use “Rage Skill Tokens”, which are fairly rare (so far, we’ve only gotten them from achievements) in order to improve the skill and be able to either execute more normal mobs or execute bosses sooner.
In our experience, you should always prioritize boss executes since the latter can be genuinely useful and normal enemies tend to die more or less instantaneously anyway.
Well into the game, you’ll finally unlock your ultimate skill, which definitely delivers on its name. This skill can dish out massive damage with an initial cooldown of 60 seconds, but it can be fairly difficult to upgrade compared to other skills. You can find the ultimate screen under the “Skills” submenu:
To unlock or upgrade an ultimate, you’ll need specific ultimate skill scrolls. For your first ultimate unlock, you’ll be provided with enough scrolls by completing the storyline. For further upgrades, however, you’ll have to collect the scrolls yourself and this can be fairly time-consuming.
Scrolls will sometimes, though rarely, appear in the honor shop, where you can buy them using currency you’ve obtained during PvP matches. You can also obtain up to three scrolls per week by completing enough weekly missions and, when you’re advanced enough in the game, you can get them from the dungeon “Gate of the Dead”. The latter requires the completion of stage 19-1, no less than 2,000,000 power, and 100 soul fossils to enter.
That’s basically it – a comprehensive guide to skills, skill points, and character essences. Don’t forget to try Darkness Rises on BlueStacks to dramatically cut back your grinding times as you upgrade your character in the true spirit of F2P. Until then, we’ll see you in the dungeons of Listeria!