The main goal of the Cleft of Dimensions is, very simply, to kill monsters to gain levels. This is facilitated by gaining 'experience points' or XPs. After gaining 2000 of them, your character gains a level.
As you gain levels, your character becomes stronger and thus monsters become easier to kill. The easier a monster is, the less XP you gain upon killing it. To counteract this, you need to seek out and kill progressively bigger and nastier monsters.
Gaining a level also allows you to:
- Use better weapons, armor, and other gear, which enhances your combat abilities AND
- Learn new skills and spells, which equally enhance your combat abilities
To sum up, you need to gain levels in order to use better items, and get new abilities, which both let you kill more monsters to gain even more levels.
One important thing to remember as a newbie is that at very low levels, there are drastically reduced penalties for dying. This serves as an incentive to wander outside of safe zones and explore or experiment, with no risk of losing valuable items.
- At levels 11 through 15, necromancer NPCs will recover your corpse for free.
- Below level 11, characters don't even leave a corpse when dying. This means that all your equipment and inventory stays in place while you are moved to your recall point.
Characters at level 15 or below can also use the "Recall" command at any time, teleporting them back to town. You can even recall from combat, although this incurs a 25 XP point penalty. Above level 15, you will need to buy scrolls of recall or use similar items to recall.
Characters below level 10 receive an additional 20% XP per kill, and characters below level 5 receive 40% extra per kill! These bonuses won't allow you to break the 200 per kill barrier, however.
Monsters in newbie zones aren't aggressive, and will passively wait around for you to kill them. This makes them among the safest areas to explore. Until very high levels, aggressive monsters remain uncommon, but it's still a good idea to develop a sense of caution as you gain levels, and "consider" unfamiliar monsters before attacking.
Most areas(excluding interior dungeon-like areas) have a map that is accessible via the "map" command. These maps generally don't show you a room-by-room breakdown, but instead give you a general idea of the layout of the area. Towns will usually have shops and other points of interest marked for you already. In addition to the map, you can also get a much broader regional view via the "atlas" command. Both of these commands in tandem can make finding your way around the Cleft much easier.
- Truce's newbie areas are Truce Canyon to the north, Guardia Fields to the south, and Rabite Forest to the west (and slightly north).
- Viorar's newbie areas are Zigolis Swamp to the north, Luon Highway to the south, and Douglas Island via ferry.
- Viorar's ferry dock is on the west side of town, and the ticket to Douglas Island costs a mere 1 silver coin.
- While Bequerel Mine doesn't have any aggressive monsters, it is a level 11-15 area and is easy to accidentally wander into, just outside Viorar's east gate.
Unsure what zone or area you should be exploring at your level? The "area" command will display a list of zones that are roughly within a small range of your level("area all" will show you the list of every area in the game). Not every area will display on the map or atlas, and may require some off-the-path exploring!
Picking a Starting Town
There are some things to consider when picking a starting town
- Easy Mode - Truce
- Truce is a more compact town, and is the center of a populated region of the Cleft.
- The nearby towns are easier to find.
- For beginners, Truce may have more helpful NPCs nearby.
- There are also a few newbie-focused intro quests in Truce.
- Medium Mode - Viorar
- Viorar is in an isolated area of the Cleft, the closest town is pretty far away.
- North of Viorar is a region covered in eternal night, so you will need more light-type objects.
- Viorar lacks intro quests, and assumes you have a general idea how to conduct yourself in MUDs.
- Viorar shops close at certain hours.
If you don't like where you started, you may head 'up' from the fountain room to return to the tutorial area, and pick another town. Once you reach level 6, it will be impossible to do.
Basic Shopping Skills
Although you will commonly receive pieces of new equipment by killing monsters, you will still need to buy things from shops to ensure that your weapons and armor stay up-to-date as you gain levels. Equipment never wears out from using it, so there's no need to waste money until you find an actual upgrade.
Try Before You Buy: Typing 'info item' while in a shop will identify the chosen item out of the shopkeeper's inventory. This is a free service, and is useful for comparing a new item to what you already have.
Sell Your Old Junk: Typing 'info' alone in a shop will allow you to see what types of items they are willing to buy. Find a shop that buys weapons and/or armor to sell back equipment you don't need anymore.
Buying In Bulk: To buy an item in bulk, simply enter the command 'buy #*item.' For example, buy 5*sword will buy you five swords, as long as you have enough money to buy the desired quantity of said item. To buy one at a time, simply type 'buy item'.
Equipment for Lowbies
When creating a character, you start out with a basic weapon and some flimsy armor. These will serve you well for several levels while you learn the ropes.
Newbie weapons are granted to your character as soon as you make them, dependent on what weapon type(s) you chose during character creation. For their level, they are quite good. You won't really need to even consider upgrading until about level five.
- Level 5 weapon shops exist in Crysta (for players starting in Truce) and Monstro Town (for players starting in Viorar).
- Level 10 weapon shops can be found in Rocket Town (near Truce) and in Viorar.
- Low-level weapons of various types can be found in newbie areas as drops from monsters or rewards from minor quests, too.
Remember that attacking while unarmed will generally do very poor damage at any level. Despite this, it is possible for a high-level character to do more damage unarmed than with a very low-level weapon, so upgrading your weapon as you level up is almost mandatory.
Even low level armor will improve your damage reduction. Because the damage numbers at low levels are commonly in the single digits however, you may not even notice a difference! Extra equipment will help you feel less naked at the very least, though.
- Level zero armor can be purchased in Truce, and level five armor is available in Viorar and Crysta.
- Level 10 armor shops can be found in Truce and Viorar also.
- Assorted pieces of low-level armor can be found as monster drops or scattered in various other shops, too.
Damage reduction from armor only lessens damage from normal melee attacks. Monsters using spells or other special skills to attack will ignore it. Most monsters, especially low-level ones, don't do this, so armor is an important stat at any level. Good armor can't do any better than half incoming damage. Very poor armor can cause you to take up to double damage!
The amount of damage reduction gained from a certain armor score is dependent on the wearer's level. This makes it mandatory to upgrade your armor as you level up, or you will actually take more damage from attacks. However, even armor items very far below your level will slightly improve your armor stats, so it is almost never a good idea to go naked.
The Armor Stat
Armor scores are stats that reduce damage from melee attacks, but their calculations and the way bonuses are applied can be misleading.
There are four different types of armor score: bash, slash, pierce, and exotic aka magic. The exotic type of armor score protects against melee attacks of unusual damage type, such as 'flame', 'laser', 'vines', etc. Armor score doesn't protect against damage from actual spells regardless of their damage type.
Low numbers are more beneficial for armor scores. When a spell's affect reads something like 'affects armor class by -15', this is a bonus. Positive numbers are armor penalties. (The 'saves' stat works similarly.) On the other hand, when looking at an armor and seeing "Armor class is 5 pierce, 6 bash, 5 slash, and 6 vs. magic.", positive numbers in this category mean better armor.
Any changes to your armor score, whether from spells or items, will change the readout on 'score' or 'report defense' immediately, so you can always know what your armor scores actually do.
Eventually you'll acquire enough items that dealing with your inventory screen may become a bit of a hassle. You may find yourself with a collection of water bottles, or more rabite meat than you can shake a stick at. Thankfully, there's a few things you can do to help mitigate this beyond simply dropping or selling your excess items.
- A few stores scattered throughout the Cleft sell various containers, often a bag or backpack of some variety, sometimes other things. You might even find a few pieces of loot that can server as containers in a pinch. In their most basic form they will simply serve as a way to organize your inventory (putting all your food or lights in a backpack, for instance). Several containers will actually lessen the weight of the items contained within, so it's always worth keeping an eye out!
- Containers can also be used to create a locker at certain locations, such as the Truce and Viorar banks. A locker will have the same capacity as the container used to make it and you can upgrade your locker from a better container anytime. Just make sure you don't lockercreate <container> with a container you want to keep, because you'll lose it for good.
- Have you decided to buy a second water bottle for those long trips away from town, and having trouble using it? The game will understand such commands as "fill second water bottle" or "eat fifth apple".