So I want to give PvP a try, and for various reasons I wish to do so on another character.
Can anybody give me even the vaguest idea of what kind of credit investment we're talking about for the 'obligatories' (tri-trans, essential non-class skills, plus are there any 'must have' artefacts for PvP)?
Please don't misunderstand me here, I'm not expecting to buy my way into the combat ranks. Once I've done the grind to a decent level, spent all of my lessons/freecredz wisely and actually taken the time to learn how the new class works, what kind of shortfall am I left with, just in terms of credits? Guessing that the answer will likely vary by class as well; this is precisely the type of information I'm asking for.
Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
I take my hat off to you.
Learning other skills past that is really up to you, but avoidance can be a nice damage decrease. Can't really recommend any artefacts until you tell us what class you wanted to be.
→My Mudlet Scripts
Transcendent in Survival
A bloody good weapon if your class uses them.
And a very good curing system.
From there, it all depends on what class you use.
If you need 4 trans skills (tri-trans+survival for example, or dual-trans+survival+vision), get an iron membership (just one month is enough) and the 600 credit package. This will cost $223 and get you 100 bound credits, 660 unbound credits, and 5 lessons per day (on all your characters) for the month. Combined with reaching level 70, you'll be able to trans 4 skills and close to virtuoso in another. Alternatively, you can buy 3 of the 2000-lesson packages for $180, which will let you trans 4 skills plus about skilled in another.
If you only need 3 trans skills (dual-trans+survival, or tri-trans), get an iron membership (at least one month) and the 400 credit package. Costs $165, will get you 100 bound credits and 440 unbound (plus the 5 lessons per day), which is enough for 3 trans skills and close to expert in another. Alternatively, buy 2 of the 2000-lesson packages for $120, which will bring you to just under 3 trans skills (you'll be about 100 lessons away).
This is more to give you an idea of the costs, rather than telling you what you'll need. You can also just spend what you can afford (or spend nothing at all, but at least an iron membership for $25 would be a good idea), and buy the rest of the credits with gold if you don't mind waiting a bit.
Trans survival, whatever necessary trans class skills.
Trans avoidance is pretty necessary honestly if you're not a tanky class, otherwise you're going to suffer heavily from damage.
Don't overlook the 2.5 lesson bonus on the first thousand or so converted credits.
You don't need any artifacts when starting out combat. I can't really think of anyone successful who started out by buying artifacts, they're something most people buy as and when they feel they're a good idea.
I disagree with this idea you absolutely require a good curing system. Numerous people managed just fine on tin can systems (Carmain pre omni on nexus, Mizik until a couple of months ago on a barely working version of vadi m, etc). A good system let's you worry less about defence, but then I would also make the argument that using a less capable curing system will force you to understand defence more, and may be a better idea initially. Unless you make one yourself of course, in which case you will have to learn the ins and outs thoroughly anyway. Mostly depends if you want to get passable at combat or learn it in depth.
We can likely help more if you suggest a few classes you might be interested in, as lesson requirements very pretty hugely between them.
ETA - Serpent for ninjaness
May be worth mentioning that I'm not interested in RPing a religious char; not sure if that limits my prospects as a Knight in Shallam or Mhaldor?
Jester is an interesting class. On one hand it has this reputation of being incredibly op, but in practice its really not that great. In the past it dominated but over time its suffered from progressive downgrades and no upgrades, with increasingly large random factors added to a lot of their attacks. This has had the net result of it becoming fairly underwhelming in reality, with a lot of fundamental flaws that frustrate a lot of people. It can still work, but its not anywhere near as scary as a lot of things now (and its probably the most script heavy class offensively due to all the things you'll need to manage). Would not recommend. If you do want to go this, you will absolutely require trans avoidance (jesters one of the most fragile classes), and have to learn to be very aware of avoiding locks, as you don't really have many "oops I messed up buttons, halp" akin to fitness etc.
Knight is a very good class to start out as. Does require investment for passably good weapons/armour (unless you make your own, which takes time/possible investment in a hammer of forging although you can borrow), very good group utility (some of the best, actually), mechanically logical kill strategies. Not that script heavy, you'll likely want a limb counter and can get by with just that. You wouldn't necessarily need trans avoidance due to knights high base tanking, and fitness gives you a bit of breathing room when learning to avoid locks and such.
Serpent is an incredibly powerful class. Amazing defence, amazing utility, some of the fastest kills on the game. Its also one of the hardest for someone new to combat to learn (many top tier people can't get the hang of serpent, either). It caters to a specific kind of player, and many people will claim in this generation of AI you almost require an artie dirk of some level. You will not start out doing well as a serpent, it will take a lot of work and you might still hate it. I'd start out as a different class first, but review serpent later if its something you think you'd still be interested in after learning how stuff works.
Tl;dr: I'd suggest knight for someone starting out, from your list.
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I'm now torn between Knight and Serpent. I'd say I like a challenge, but if that were the case I'd just make another Bard...
So... Shallam or Hashan Runey is looking best so far.
Bm is pretty much the defining "god this is op right now". You can check the last few days deathsight history if you want proof. In groups, bm is pretty unparalleled for melee. Its got outstanding support (voidfist, incredibly fast stun/afflict, impale, impaleslash), an instakill which is extremely viable (brokenstar), meshes well with just about every class matchup there is. Its also got an extremely diverse set of options in one v one. You would need trans avoidance, but if you're looking for a really fun class with a lot of options, bm would hands down be my go to (and really, the class is just so cool flavour text wise).
Yes, I am a blademaster fan.
→My Mudlet Scripts
If you want another interesting class, I''m going to throw monk out there. As Nellanudra said, it can be highly effective with just Tekura and a smattering of Kaido, but the upper level stuff will require Trans. It's also one of the better bashing classes, so you will have less of a hassle their as well. Futher, it also has a very very low upkeep cost, requiring only leather armour.
Another class you might want to look at is Magi. it's highly effective with just the two class skills and survival. It also has one of the more fun
mechanics in the game in retardation, that even experienced fighters can fall to.
Edit: Iocun is right by the way. My pipes are probably my best investment ever. You don't really need all three, but you should at least get one for elm.
That's what that was? I swear sometimes it just ate herbs for the hell of it. Sometimes like 3 at a time.