Dragon Builds

Written by Racktor, November 8th 2017 - Last Updated August 1st 2018


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Introduction

In this guide there, we will only focus on the three most common dragon builds out there: melee/conquerer, caster/primalist, and hybrid. There are tons of ways to build your dragon to your specific preference and this guide is not meant to be followed to the T. Mix it up how you want and find what works for you.

To build a dragon, you are relying heavily on your scales and your training points. Dragons don't have the myriad of schools bipeds have to customize their abilities and tailor their attack type, so the avenues are rather limited. For example, there is no way you can build a dragon healer that will be in any way as effective as a biped healer.

All builds also have two things in common. Firstly, Dragon Breath and the Evasions are essentially useless. You can't gain enough evasion to avoid enemies at higher tiers often enough to make it worth your loss in damage output and Dragon Breath doesn't affect your abilities enough to make up for the overall DPS loss from your other abilities. Unless you have no other choice (ex. on some Conquerer scales), tech'ing your scales with Dragon Breath is just a waste of a tech space.

Secondly, when you are creating spells, your buff spells should be techniqued with cleansing. Healing spells should be teched with Potency, Heal Recycle, and Cleansing in that order of importance. Only casters and hybrids should worry about using and tech'ing offensive spells. Primal Spark and Primal Chains are also useful for all builds as they can be used to keep enemies at bay.

That all being said, there are a lot of specific things that dragons can excel in, creating a niche of their own, so let us begin.

Melee

Melee dragons are the most common dragons in Istaria due to the fact they're just so good at dealing massive amounts of damage head-to-head while also enduring large amounts of damage. Ancients with T6 repaired scales are especially great at going toe-to-toe with even the strongest of enemies, easily taking down what bipeds have to hack away at for a long time.

Training Points

When building a melee, you are going to want to focus on Tooth and Claw, Strength , and Health . Dexterity is another option but it is largely useless and not recommended for any sort of focus.

Strength is your main damage output modifier. If you're looking to do as much damage as you can, tooth and claw is the best thing to place your bets on. Strength increases your damage output more per point, but you require 4 training points per 1 point of strength compared to 3 per point of tooth and claw. This means, at most, you can gain 150 points of strength compared to 200 of tooth and claw. Furthermore, since nearly all physical dragon abilities are based off of the tooth and claw skill, your damage output won't suffer on average unlike if you were to focus on one skill for a biped.

Health can range from your most important statistic or put to the backburner if you're aiming purely for damage output. Dragons are pretty tanky in their own right and generally don't need many training points in health to survive attacks. However, it certainly isn't a waste to place points into health - some enemies can deal massive amounts of damage that only a few extra health points can save you from. If you want to be more tanky, then skilling health can help with that. Health is also notable as the most efficient skill to put training points into. While 600 training points nets you 150 strength and 200 tooth and claw, it will get you 600 points of health, which is no small amount.

On the opposite end of the scale, neglecting health entirely puts you into what is commonly referred to as the glass cannon build. Glass cannons have an impressive damage output, but generally are the first to die in every fight. Usually they put nothing into health at all and view it as a technique they can use if nothing else fits on their scales. With the addition of T6 scales a few years ago, glass cannons are a lot more viable when it comes to surviving, but a full T6 scaleset will actually hinder their damage.

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Scales & Claws

The scaleset of a melee dragon is usually built on the back of either strength, armor, or health scales in order of popularity. Depending on what base scale you take, what techniques you can put onto your scales will vary. The base scale is usually going to be the statistic you want to focus the most as scales give more of each stat than techniques, so be conscious of that when making your scale set.

Armor scale sets will usually be techniqued with health, strength, and tooth and claw. Sockets are added where possible and some may choose to add the tech kits Grazing Winds and Razor Teeth. Personally, I usually opt out of the latter tech kit as I've never felt enough of a difference in the individual ability it affects to feel like it's worth losing out on a socket.

Strength scale sets and health scale sets work the same way with the primary statistic swapped out for health or strength where needed.

Claws are usually either triple-socketed or techniqued with Battle-Forged. The other tech kits - Sharper and Rending - are in no way inferior to Battle-Forged, however. Sharper is essentially the same but focuses on to-hit chance instead of tooth and claw like Battle-Forged. Rending goes a different route and gives your claw a chance to proc a DoT instead. The technique kit you wish to use is up to you.

Melee claws are usually socketed with strength and health/armor crystals with the third slot being reserved for either the ARoP crystal, a technique kit, or a crystal that adds a chance to do extra damage or a DoT.

Crystals elsewhere generally are health, armor, and strength crystals with the exception of the head scale, in which a Tooth and Claw jewelry crystal can fit. Whichever crystal this boots out of the rotation is up to you.

When you reach ancient, the rules change, however, as the scales are very different from regular scales and can only take two techniques. As with other scales, you cannot technique what's already on the scale by default. So for any scale that adds armor and strength, you cannot add an armor or strength technique to it. This vastly limits your options, but as many of the statistics you want are already on the scales, it doesn't really matter much.

The possibilities are as follows, excluding epic items, quest armor rewards, or legacy techniques (such as Primal Vengeance). What I've written first is what I suggest.

If you are trying to min-max your build towards a specific stat, it is a good idea to swap out T6 scales that do not naturally add your statistic prior to techs with T5 scales that do. My current scaleset on my melee dragon has the hindleg and wing scales swapped with T5 scales and he deals more damage than he does when in full T6 scales. However, he is losing out on some tanking ability, so it's up to you what you want to focus on.

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Epic Items

Melee dragons have a selection of epic items available to them, but most generally don't really matter what you choose and is up to preference. (Ex. Whether you choose a Virrak, Ebbe'it, or Algontoth Wyvern or a Flame Elemental Ally is up to you.) However, I do have a few recommendations to make.

While it may seem tempting, I do not recommend getting the Reklar's Tail Scale of Strength whatsoever. While the statistics are nice and you can pick it up for just that if you like, the passive on it is comparably useless when measured up against the Tail Scale of Power. The Power one reduces incoming melee damage to 75%, while the Strength one reduces all incoming spells to 75%. Very few mobs in this game fire off damaging enough spells to make guarding against them any sort of use. Far more often, you're going to be beaten to death by melee abilities. If you do not mind losing out on approximately 100 strength, TnC, and dex, it's not a bad idea to pick up the Power tail scale just for that survivability.

The melee claws, on the other hand, are a toss-up as both are pretty good to use. The Demon Claw, which is more popular, is great for giving a chance to do massive damage. It has a chance to limit the armor of your foe to 0, making it very weak to any melee attack you do. On the other hand, Valkor's Blood Talon is a godsend for group fighting. Its passive DoT is an AoE and saps health to you from the damage it does, usually negating all damage you take from the group of enemies that you are fighting. If you have the time to, making both and swapping them out situationally is also a possibility.

While not really an epic item, another good item is the Ceremonial Chest Scale awarded by the Imperial Army questline. It gives a massive amount of armor and resistances and can be techniqued with drag-and-drop techniques, making it a must-have if you're looking to up your survivability.

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Caster

Caster dragons - short for spellcaster - are a more up-and-coming build as more balance is added towards their end of the scale. With the most recent addition of new spells, casters are becoming formidable and on equal footing with melee dragons, able to deal great amounts of damage while also keeping enemies far away from them if needed. They also have a large range of AoE spells to their disposal which are not to be trifled with against large groups, allowing them to take down various enemies at once, and their breaths are nothing to scoff at.

Training Points

Casters have three primary skills they're going to want to choose to focus on. In order of importance - Primal, Power, and Health. Focus is similar to dexterity for melee characters - it increases accuracy, but in the end, doesn't do much for you as many mobs aren't going to dodge very often in the first place. It's generally best to avoid it all together instead of putting points into it. Primal increases your accuracy anyway as well as your damage, although less of both than the primary statistics, and thus is far more useful. Power is the strength of casters - it is the primary modifier for outgoing damage. If you want to deal lots of damage, focus heavily on power and primal.

Health can be either neglected or focused on heavily. Neglecting it may lead to you being an easier and squishier target if you're caught up with, but otherwise, it won't hinder you to the point where you cannot fight. Putting a lot of points into health, on the other hand, will make you able to take a lot of hits. Since casters are usually away from the fight or hold their enemies away with spells, they usually don't need to put too much into health unless they plan to fight larger groups of enemies with AoE spells.

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Scales & Claws

Caster scalesets prior to ancienthood are usually built on the back of power, armor, or health scales depending on what statistic you want to focus. Your primary statistic should always be the base type of your scale as it gives more of the skill than techniques can for that tier. Usually, casters can avoid using any of the scale technique kits as they do very little for them - Razor Teeth is useful for Bite and Grazing Winds focuses on Galewind, both abilities you likely won't be using too much as a spellcaster. Sockets on any scale that can take them, on the other hand, is a trait they share with melee and hybrid builds.

When building up power scales, you will want to technique any combination of armor, health, and primal onto it. If you have the crystals for it, socket any scales that can take sockets. Power scales are good for casters that want to deal massive amounts of damage, but do not mind taking a lot of damage if they are caught up with or caught in a mage battle.

Armor and health scales are more for those who want to play more cautiously and build up defenses rather than the offensive. These scales are teched with primal, power, and either health or armor depending on the base type of scale.

Claws for casters are a bit more limited than for melee dragons as there aren't as many tech kits available for them. However, the one that is available is quite powerful - Deadly. Deadly adds DPS directly to your spells, so be sure to use it on your claws if you want to increase your damage output. The other technique slots should be filled up with sockets if you have crystals for your tier. Alternatively, you can fully socket your claw without Deadly, but I don't recommend it.

T6 scales are another story once you hit ancienthood. These scales add massive amounts of health, but comparably little armor, so you will be more survivable but will not necessarily take much less damage than a T5 scaleset. Your possibilities for techniques are very limited since T6 scales add so many base stats, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to customize yourself.

The possibilities are as follows, excluding epic items or quest armor rewards. What I've written first is what I suggest.

If you are trying to min-max your build towards a specific stat, it is a good idea to swap out T6 scales that do not naturally add your statistic prior to techs with T5 scales that do. My current scaleset on my caster dragon has the hindleg and wing scales swapped with T5 scales and she deals more damage than she does when in full T6 scales. However, she is losing out on some tanking ability, so it's up to you what you want to focus on.

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Spells

Spells are a caster's lifeblood. Beyond the usual cleansing buffs and potent heals, casters need a few more techniqued spells in their roster to be viable, making them a bit more complicated than melee who get abilities they can excel with through questing.

The AoE dragon spells are Barrage, Blast, Gust, and Tempest. Tempest and Blast are 'regular' and 'improved' versions of a ranged AoE spell while Gust and Barrage are 'regular' and 'improved' versions of a self-centered AoE spell. The newest dragon spells added recently that casters use extensively are Primal Strike (2-hit single-target spell), Primal Spark (ranged stun), Primal Chains (root spell), and Primal Burst (high-damage 3 to 5-hit single-target spell)

Casters also have the choice between two repeater bolts - Improved / Regular Prime Bolt and Drain Bolt. Drain Bolt is generally considered the far superior option because while it does less damage, it casts slightly faster and has a smaller range of damages, making it less likely to do a lot less damage than its top range. Drain Bolt also heals you for a percentage of its damage, which improves survivability. It can only be teched in the last two tiers, though, so be conscious of that.

The techniques I personally use and recommend on my spells are as followed. I've numbered the technique possibilities in order of preference.

I highly highly highly recommend that you do not use Mental Bane on Prime Bolt; it is essentially a waste since Drain Bolt is far superior.

Furthermore, I do not recommend techniquing Chains with anything as it has a 10 second recycle compared to its 30 second debuff, allowing you a few chances to re-apply it. The only technique it can take is range, which adds 10 seconds to its recycle for a few extra meters of range that you are very unlikely to use as very few spells reach that far.

Finally, it is generally a good idea to technique a second prime bolt with range and only range to use as a pulling spell. It'll range as far or further than Dragon's Reach, giving you more options to pull enemies with. Note that teching any repeater with range causes it to no longer be a repeater!

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Epic Items

Caster dragons, like melee dragons, now have a selection of epic items available to them. Your ally, though, really does not matter between whether you choose a Virrak, Ebbe'it, or Algontoth Wyvern or a Flame Elemental Ally; it's up to you. For everything else, I do have a few recommendations to make.

Reklar's Tail Scale of Power is a must-have. It decreases incoming melee damage which can drastically increase your survivability if you get stuck in a close-encounter and otherwise adds a good boost to your main damaging stats and your armor over T6 repaired scales.

Between the two caster claws - Void Claw and Primalist's Claw - it is usually best to get the Primalist's Claw. It simply serves you far more in the long run than the Void Claw. While the Void Claw does make you cast faster, it doesn't add anything to your DPS like a T5 claw teched with Deadly and only has a chance to do a mind ethereal DoT to one target, which is rather lackluster unless you're fighting mobs weak to mind. The Primalist's Claw, on the contrary, adds a whopping 25 DPS and has a chance to give two great buffs in case you ever get into a bind. The Primalist's Claw is tougher to make than the Void Claw, though, as it requires the essence from Shaloth the Myloc Queen while the Void Claw needs the comparably easier to get Void Essence from the Memory of Elial atop the Peak of Storms.

While not really an epic item, another good item is the Ceremonial Chest Scale awarded by the Imperial Army questline. It gives a massive amount of armor and resistances and can be techniqued with drag-and-drop techniques, making it a must-have if you're looking to up your survivability.

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Hybrid

Dragon hybrids are a relatively unknown and unused sect of dragons that can take a bit of trial and error to understand and get right. These dragons use both their spells and melee abilities equally, sacrificing maximum damage in each for the sake of versatility. When built right, hybrids are horrifying monsters that can rip you apart in close range, chain you down, then back up and finish you off with a few well-placed spells.

Training Points

The training points of hybrids generally is 'a little bit of everything'. Much like casters and melees, they're going to want to focus very little if any points into focus or dexterity, especially since they will be low on points to begin with.

There are a few ways to go about building up the TPs of a hybrid. The most simple way is simply to split your points four ways between power, strength, primal, and tooth and claw. Less common is splitting points two ways between primal and tooth and claw or power and strength. Whichever way works best for you is how you will want to pursue it; the skills likely give more bang for your buck in terms of point:skill ratio, but the stat may make you deal more damage in the long run.

Hybrids also have the option of plugging points into health, but usually they will neglect health as there are so little TPs to go around in the first place.

Hybrids may also focus on one statistic more than the other as well to give a 'leaning hybrid', so to speak, where it's more proficient in one type of damage (melee vs spells) than the other while also not specializing one way or the other.

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Scales & Claws

Hybrids have a wide variety of scales they can choose the base from - armor, health, power, and strength depending on the path they want to take.

Generally, for a 50/50 hybrid, I would recommend using armor scales as a base and teching all of them with power/primal, strength/tooth and claw, and health/armor where the grouped statistics can be switched with each other depending on preference.

Hybrid claws are another story as you cannot tech a claw with two tech kits at once as they will conflict or overwrite. Thus, you will have to choose - will you use Deadly and empower your spells? Or will you use Battle-Forged or one of the other melee tech kits to emphasize your melee ability? Perhaps you'll use Rending and focus more on the possibility of a DoT? Or will you just negelct all the tech kits and use crystals instead? There's a wide variety of options and it's up to the individual to find out what works best for them and their playstyle.

Once hybrids reach ancienthood, the gates of customization open up for them. Both sets of T6 scales are equally viable to mix-match and create a powerful combined set from. Refer to the melee and caster scales above for techniques that best fit each scale. If you see dragon's breath or other useless techniques, remember that you can swap it for the opposite build's technique - power or strength for instance - as it won't conflict on that scale.

Listed below is just one of many possible scale combinations. I don't have any particular recommendation one way or the other, but this is how I personally will build my own hybrid. This is in no way all the combinations possible - just the ones worth mentioning.

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Spells

Hybrids can use spells just like casters can, if with a bit less oomph behind them. Their techniques will remain the same, so I will direct you up to the caster spells section for any questions you may have regarding techniques on spells.

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Epic Items

Hybrids have a large variety of epic items to choose from. Like the others, they can choose any of the allies without any real rhyme or reason beyond personal preference, but they also have free reign over all the dragon claws.

Just like casters and melee, though, I recommend using only Reklar's Tail Scale of Primal. The incoming spell reduction on the melee version is generally useless.

When choosing a claw, look for what you imagine yourself doing the most. Valkor's Blood Talon is good for surviving large-crowd situations. Demon's Claw is great for dealing massive amounts of damage once the debuff procs. The Primalist's Claw is a good all-around claw for buffing up your spells. The Void Claw is okay, but I generally don't recommend it, though, when compared to the other claws.

In my opinion, Valkor's Blood Talon is the best claw for hybrids as the debuff is not only very deadly, but also procs off of both melee attacks and spells. It's possible the Demon's Claw is the same, but the Blood Talon also helps heal back the damage that a squishier caster may take compared to a tankier melee.

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