The following guide was originally posted on the BM forums by Erikson.
Alright. So, here's the first class guide I'll be posting. I figured I'd start with a class I'd say I know well and one that might be confusing to someone playing it for the first time. Hopefully this will be helpful to those playing the devil class for the first time or trying to decide which class they want to play. As I intend to preface any class guides that I end up writing, this guide's based on my own experience, and it's intended to give suggestions and illuminations based on how the code works. How that fits into your character concept is up to you to decide. My favourite aspect of the demon classes is the customization, and it'd be a shame to see that wasted because of a notion that there's only one right way to play any given one of them.
Why (not) play a devil?
I'll start by listing some basic pros and cons of playing a devil. If you're already playing one or have played one before, chances are most of this information won't be news to you.
1) Maintenance Cost: The devil class, amongst all classes, is probably the one that requires the least work to play properly. What I mean by this is that, while other classes need to put in a lot of work (as in the actual work command, ie a job) in order to equip themselves properly for efficient levelling and combat, devils gain what they need in the form of offense powers. Additionally, their skills are less expensive than most other classes. You can start a brand new devil character and never have to work to gain the offense and buff skills you need, if you choose.
2) Streamlined: All you really need for a devil is buffs, offense, and vitality. Mystics are an added bonus; you can invest in them without fear of hurting your overall performance. The opposite end of the spectrum from cultists and warriors, this means you don't have a lot of stats to juggle and determine the best synergy for. If you want to kill things faster, raise your offense. If you want to last longer, raise your buffs or vitality.
3) Customization: As a demon, you get a lot of power to customize your character. As a devil, you have further options in the form of what type of offense powers you use and what mystics and buffs you want to gain. At the risk of sounding like a five-year-old, the devil class appeals to my sense of imagination.
4) Godlike Power (?): Ever wish that the sky would just open up and rain fire on the hapless peasantry? Seen a female character running around in white and wish that it would rain? Do you just want to see sharp pointy things fall on people? Well, now you can make it happen! That said, using global damage effects is not the best way to make friends, but if you're a sociopath anyway, the powers you can gain as a devil might appeal to you.
5) Solo/Support: Devils, like mages, work better in groups of mixed levels than the more physically oriented classes. This is because their offense powers don't suffer the same level-based miss chance as in-round combat attacks do. However, don't think that this means that piggybacking is the only way to level, as devils are surprisingly effective at solo levelling as well.
1) Upkeep: While they don't require a lot of maintenance in terms of keeping equipment repaired, devils do need fairly constant upkeep on their powers. Forgetting things like turning on your engulfs can put you at a disadvantage in a fight. Chances are you'll want to keep elemental weapons ready to summon at any time you're at risk of getting into combat. On top of that, you'll need balls. Elemental balls. To throw at people. What?
2) Wimps?: Devils get a bad rap from most people in terms of PvP. While it's true that it no longer takes 3 fighters of equal level to take down one devil, I don't think that this is a major issue for a well-built devil. However, you do need to be ready to take initiative in PvP, and don't expect the same power curve as other classes. Given even ground, a physical fighter will almost always beat a lower level character and almost always lose to a higher level character. A devil can beat a higher level character, then turn around and get stomped on by a lower level one if they're not careful.
3) One Event Screws All: Watch out for demon-immunity events. They'll screw you hard. And they never call back the next day.
The primary stats for a devil are Offense, Buffs, and Mystics, as well as Vitality (though every class needs vitality). Offense is the cheapest stat for a devil that has a use in levelling and the primary focus for the class. Buffs are the second most important stat for a devil (other than vitality) and are needed for some of a devil's elemental powers. Mystics are inexpensive and can actually decrease the cost per train for other stats in small doses, which means that you can add them for flavour without negatively affecting your character's level growth.
How Devils Work
Okay, now that that's done with, here's a rundown on how devils work. This section will be primarily focused on the offense stat, the element types, and how they work together. Unfortunately, I don't have the full list of abilities here at the moment, but I'll try and do my best anyway.
Elements: "Why can't I train the Demonic Shadow stat?"
This part may seem a bit obvious to players who've been around a while or who've been through all the helpfiles, but it gets asked about, so I figure it's worth explaining in relative detail. All of a devil's offense powers are based on one of four elements: Demonic Fire, Demonic Lightning, Demonic Ice, or Demonic Shadow. Here's how the levels of those attributes are determined.
To start with, bear in mind that to gain offense powers, you have to actually 'spend' your offense stat on them. This means that if you need 10 offense to gain electrical punch (which you do), that means that when you gain electrical punch, you'll lose 10 'unspent' offense, and you'll need to train more in order to get new powers.
Each 2 unspent offense points gives you 1 point of Demonic Shadow (and, by extension, the rest of the elements). Once you gain a power, however, you increase that power's element by the amount in offense that you spend on it.
For example, say that you're a new devil. You have 0 offense, and 0 in all your elements (as long as this is the case, they won't appear in your score). Now, say you train 10 offense, the amount needed for electrical punch. If you were to check your score, you'd see that you now have 5 in each of your Demonic elements (half your unspent offense, as stated before). Now, say you gain lightning punch. From there, you'd need to dive in the pool at the demon spa (which is under the alley next to the Magic Box - the pool where you dive is north of the entrance). At this point, if you were to check your score, you'd see that you now have 10 Demonic Lightning and Demonic Shadow but no Demonic Fire or Demonic Ice.
Keep in mind that Demonic Shadow counts as all of the element types. What this means is that whenever you raise any element by gaining a power from that element, you raise your Demonic Shadow by the same amount. When you gain Demonic Shadow by raising your offense or gaining a Shadow power, you raise all of your other elements by the same amount.
The engulf powers (engulfing shadow, engulfing lightning, engulfing fire, engulfing ice) add their cost in offense to their respective elements, but not the buffs part of their cost.
Each demon power has a helpfile on what levels in what elements you'll need to gain it. Using these, with a little bit of math, you can figure out what order you want to gain your powers in. Again, keep in mind that half your unspent offense goes toward all your elements, so if you have Lightning Punch (10 points), Lightning Whip (10 points), Lightning Weapon (10 points), and Engulfing Lightning (15 points, for a total of 45 points), you could gain Shadow Kick as your next power because you'd get the last 5 shadow from the unspent offense you'd need to gain it.
Choosing Your Element(s)
As a new devil, you'll almost certainly want to pick one specific element and focus on that and demonic shadow. This is simply a matter of efficiency. Your powers for your primary element will boost your shadow, and vice versa. Your character concept should be the main deciding factor in which element you choose, but here are some mechanical considerations when choosing your element.
You get to burn things. 'Nuff said? Okay, maybe not. The fire element is very versatile. As a fire devil, you can gain flame whip, fire breath, and fire weapon. Flame whip is useful because it's an endround skill as well as a command attack. Fire breath is useful because it's a long-delay attack; on BuffyMUD, the longer an attack's delay, the more efficient it is in terms of damage. Fire weapon improves your weapon damage and works well with shadow blade. Fire rain is also a fairly powerful global damage power, and cremate can slay vampires.
A personal favourite element, although it may not technically be as effective as fire. As a lightning devil, lightning whip and lightning weapon are two useful powers. Lightning whip is the lightning devil's longest delay power and doubles as an endround attack, and lightning weapon works well with shadow blade. Lightning storm isn't all that dangerous, but is a fun power to have.
I don't have much first-hand experience with ice devils, but I've seen them played often enough that I think I can speak on their strengths. First off, they get frost breath, which, like fire breath, is an effective long-delay attack. Second, they get ice blade. It's useful, and they can get it before the other types get shadow blade, but it doesn't have any synergy with shadow blade. The biggest stand-out power for them, in my opinion, is shard hail. It's the most dangerous global damage effect.
Choosing Your Build: Specific Powers and Considerations
Okay, so the description for this section may be a bit ham-handed, but basically, these are suggestions that are more or less universal.
This isn't an offense power, but just a personal recommendation on building any devil. I'd recommend training between 80 and 100 vitality before anything else as a devil. Personally, I usually start with 85. Vitality is particularly useful to a devil because of the engulf powers - the longer you last, the more damage you can give back to your opponent.
The Demon Timer:
Shown as 'DT' in the default devil prompt, this timer tells you how long you'll need before you can use another offense power. You can't slay an enemy while you have a DT. Different attacks will have different DTs, and some have different DTs in different situations.
This is probably one of the first powers you'll want to get. It's a very versatile power because it's both a weapon you can throw and an attack you can use mid-fight. When used outside of combat, it won't give you a demon timer and will create a ball you can fire as a powerful throwing weapon. In-combat, it gives 10 DT (2 rounds) and does middling damage.
These powers are fairly basic, but in my opinion aren't necessary early in a build. They're useful in that you can set multiple punch/kick powers before entering combat, but this will add time to your upkeep between fights. Mid-round I consider the longer-delay attacks more useful. These add 5 to your DT when used.
These are good powers to get early on if your element includes them. They give you an end-round attack as well as a fairly powerful command attack, and can be used at a distance (though ball powers are more effective for this). 15 DT (3 rounds).
Personally, I consider these essential to any build in the long run. There's really no downside to gaining them beyond their cost, and they can do significant damage. You can have one elemental engulf (fire, ice or lightning) and engulfing shadow active at the same time. These don't give you a demon timer, but can't be activated while you have one. Additionally, they will prevent global powers of the same type from affecting you (for instance, if you have engulfing fire active, you won't be burned by fire rain).
Shadow blade/Ice blade:
Probably one of the most essential powers for any devil. Shadow blade will store a blade to call and has no timer outside of combat, but a 25 DT when used in combat. Call blade will call your weapon and has no timer. These weapons can slay an enemy fairly early in a fight (I find they usually work at bleeding slightly) and do significant damage, but break fairly easily and will decay before long once summoned.
These powers bolster your weapon damage, and work well in conjunction with shadow blade. No DT out of fights, 5 DT mid-fight.
Elemental Slay (cremate, electrocute, freeze, soul rip):
Aside from their use as social attacks, cremate's ability to slay vampires and the cosmetic aspect (note that electrocute is currently glitched and won't actually work as a slay to my knowledge), these powers also give you an extra end-round attack. I recommend getting them around the time that you're able to.
These powers have a low DT at 5, making them useful if you just need a bit more damage to be able to slay your enemy. The only one I would afford a major priority to is evil gaze - I believe from testing that it's actually more efficient for its timer than most other demon powers.
These are pinning powers. Fairly straightforward. They don't count toward your elements or cost any points in offense.
This is a power mainly used to harrass other characters. It has a significant DT, making it less effective for face-to-face combat, and will send a fairly strong minion to attack your target. Note that this isn't a 'pet' like you might expect from some games; it won't take damage for you, and it won't follow you. Think of it more as an assassin you're sending after your target.
Global Damage Powers:
These are more of an RP tool than anything and will put a significant delay on your ability to hunt, but the constant damage ones might prove useful for PK if used properly. Lightning Storm will soak people standing outside and randomly strike them with lightning for significant damage, but not often enough to really help in a fight unless you're really lucky. Fire rain does more constant damage, but not as much, and won't soak people for obvious reasons. Shard hail is a more powerful variant on hail, and will both hurt severely and constantly while soaking other characters.
Those are the powers I'm really familiar with. I've used Lightning Fury before, but I found it didn't do anything significantly useful. The rest of the powers I consider largely aesthetic.
Choosing Buffs as a Devil
Part of the fun in creating a demon is that you can choose whatever buffs you imagine the race of your character having. If you're playing a race from the show, some of these will be self-evident. However, keep in mind that as a class that's not focused on physical offense, a devil's more likely to benefit from defensive buffs. From a mechanical standpoint, auras tend to be my first priority as a devil. The skin buff tree is also useful; I believe it is particularly so because of the volume of hits a devil will take when fighting an opponent their level. Wings are also useful, as they have a defensive effect as well as allowing for fast travel, especially coupled with teleport.
If you want to play a character with a large amount of offensive buffs, I suggest playing a Brute or a Warrior. The latter still has some skill with demon offense while also having the physical stats needed to benefit from offensive buffs.
Mystics are completely subjective. In fact, I almost didn't decide to put this section in here, but decided that I'd at least put in some details on what the mystics actually do.
This lets you change size, between 0 and 25 feet, I believe, plus the inch value of your character's height. You have to request that an immortal set you with this power once you've got the points in mystics it costs.
This will randomly inform you when a player character attacks another player character. Think Doyle, if you've seen Angel.
Demonic Outfit Change:
You can use outfit even when not at home. Useful if you're a metro or tend to forget to put clothes on before you walk out the door in the morning.
As one might expect, this allows you to see people through doors and breakable walls, look at other characters' inventories, and see through clothing (allowing you to see focused descs, eyes, and such - not private parts, though).
This lets you see in every direction. Fairly costly even for a mystic power, and you need X-Ray vision first. This makes you harder to sneak up on (unless someone actually has the sneak technique, which makes it kinda useless). It's a bit of a headache, though, as where exactly things are located relative to you often doesn't display correctly.
Teleporting & Teleport Boost:
This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Keep in mind that you can't set it inside someone's home, including your own, though you can set it outside someone's front door. This is like a recall command of sorts, for those familiar with other codebases. Teleport boost allows you to save more teleport locations. See help teleporting for syntax details.
Hunting as a Devil
Okay, so now that the options available to you as a devil are dealt with, here're some personal tips on levelling as a devil. It's fairly straightforward once you get the hang of it, though somewhat less straightforward than other classes. My usual tactic when I'm hunting is to find an enemy I intend to kill, summon a ball, remove the ball, call a blade, sheath the blade, call another, shadow blade again to have one stored, hold a ball, then fire at the enemy. From there, I use my best attack (generally either the longest delay attack or shadow gaze) until I can slay the enemy. Keep in mind that demon blades will generally break once used to slay an enemy, and you'll probably want at least one blade on hand per enemy you're fighting. Between attacks, I suggest setting your stances. Keep in mind that unless you've trained your physical stats, you only need to detect the one against most NPCs to figure out what both are.
PVP as a Devil
OK. Well, PVP's always got more factors to consider than I can tell you how to deal with, but here're some basic suggestions for fighting other player characters. I only plan on covering specifics for the devil class.
First off, as a devil, you need to be prepared. If you get caught with your proverbial pants down, you're pretty much screwed, more so than nearly any other class except perhaps a soldier. You want your weapon powers to all be set, you'll probably want your kicks and punches set (if you're planning for a fight), and you'll want some blades handy. If you're going after someone, try and sneak up and send some balls at them. Make sure your auras are on if you've got some. If you're going to use amulets, I recommend vitality or speed for their defensive value.
Devils don't get a lot of fight control powers, so don't expect to be great at running away unless you've got buffs or mystics to help. Try and keep your opponent unarmed against your blades, if you can; though this is a fairly universal tactic, a devil's blades are their primary way of holding their own inround.
That's more or less it, I believe. If anyone has suggestions or questions about this guide or devils in general, feel free to reply.