(Guide) IP distribution

(Tips) on which skills may have low benefit

These tips are mainly designed for lower level new player froob play where “improvement points” points can be scarce and so can be an issue. If you raise skills that are of low benefit in the beginning, it can considerably hinder if not completely make your character unplayable. Now these skill are not completely useless and they can be reset. However skill reset points are rare, and it’s these points that are the real problem. Specially the full ip reset of which you only get 1 of, and its the only way to reset your abilities. The point of this list is to make sure you don’t use your ip resets unless absolutely neccesary, by means of not raising skills that are of little to no benefit to you in the long run. Below is will make a list of skills you might not want to raise, unless you know exactly what you are doing. I am a very critical person so something may sound harsh and generalized, but i assume you want a clear answer if you are reading this.

  • sense check (http://wiki.aodb.us/wiki/Skills_Costs_and_Dependencies_Chart) Many implants can (be designed to) require sense, which is why i usually max it. But if you plan to not use those you won’t need high sense. Many ranged skills+Initiatives +evades depend heavily on sense, so if you also don’t need those, if for example you plan on fighting full agg, can keep your weap at full speed, and don’t plan on taking any aggro/hits, you can simply not raise sense (as much). If you are not short on ip, and plan on leveling your character to max level, you can safely raise this aswell.

  • agility Increases jump height. also check (http://wiki.aodb.us/wiki/Skills_Costs_and_Dependencies_Chart) Many ranged skills+some melee skills+evades depend heavily on agility. So if you don’t need those, you may not need agil. Many implants can (be designed to) require agil, which is why i usually max it… But if you also don’t plan on using those you won’t need high agility. If you are not short on ip, and plan on leveling your character to max level, you can safely raise this aswell.

  • intelligence check (http://wiki.aodb.us/wiki/Skills_Costs_and_Dependencies_Chart) Some implants can (be designed to) require intel. A 2 cluster Headimp(nanoskill+electrical+empty) and 3 cluster Headimp(nanoskill+…+…) always require intel. . All nanoskills + treatment depend very heavily on intel, and since most builds use either one of those, it’s why i usually max it. There are some soldier builds that don’t really need to max intel, in order to get enough MC TS for his TMS.

  • Psychic: Not very usefull in the beginning of the game. You can still raise your Nano pool a fair bit even without any psychic, since raising sense+intel+stamina will also let you raise Nano pool a bit. ear(ncu+nanocost+…+…), waistimp(nanocost+…+…) and leg(skilllock+…+…) also requires psychic but nanocost/skilllock clusters are only beneficial at higher levels and by that time you will have plenty of ip. If you are not short on ip, and plan on leveling your character to max level, you can safely raise this aswell.

  • Strength: Increases jump height. also check (http://wiki.aodb.us/wiki/Skills_Costs_and_Dependencies_Chart). Many melee skills and some ranged skills depend heavily on this. Also it is one of the easiest to buff for equiping implants, if you are planning to make a low level twink, however compared to agil/sense few implants can be designed to require strength. Imps that always require str are the rightarm(1hb/2hb/piercing+AAD/AAO+FA), leftarm(healdelta+…+…). Certain armors benefit from high strength. If you planning on leveling your character to max level, you can safely raise this aswell.

  • Stamina: Raising this skill by 2 points/level is enough to max out Body development. also check (Skills Costs and Dependencies Chart - Anarchy Online Wiki [AOWiki]). Many melee skills and some ranged skills depend heavily on this. Also it is one of the easiest to buff for equiping implants, if you are planning to make a low level twink. However compared to agil/sense few implant can be designed to require it, fortunately agil boosting feet/waist/leg imps are on that short list. Also the best 3 cluster chest implants tend to require stamina, although you could just use a 2 cluster chest imp. Certain armors benefit from high stamina. If you are not short on ip, and plan on leveling your character to max level, you can safely raise this aswell. Troxes have a low stamina ip cost as well as higher natural max hp, so if you want a high max hp twink, being a trox, maxing stamina, then equipping high ql hp boost imps, is a good choice.

  • Nano Pool: The professions that don’t really have to raise this skill are, Crats, Engies, Fixers, MPs, Soldiers. Basically professions that are not constant casters won’t have to raise this skill. Mainly because your nanoregen from stims+nanocost+nano rechargers will almost always regen it faster than you deplete it from casting, making the size of the pool insignificant.

  • Duck Explosions: Useless unless you are do pvp with a trader/odd weapon users.

  • Nano Resist: It gives you a chance to counter lower level nano users. However it’s very rare that mobs will cast nanos on you. And even if they do, the monster will most likely be higher level than you making it a low chance of resisting. And even if you do get hit its no big deal.

  • Deflect: It may block a small percentage of hits, but not worth the ip invested. Needed for “Blessed with Thunder”(unarmed damage+DoT special) also needed for " Flower of Life"(unarmed self heal+ short enemy snare special)

  • Physic init / melee init / ranged init , you only need one of these, check your weapon to see which ones it uses.

  • Nanoc init: only raise it enough to instacast the nanos you want to instacast (like nanos you cast in the middle of a fight). If you can already instacast your (mid-fight) nanos with only a high lvl nano formula recompiler equiped (like enfos/Ma’s/fixer/engies/soldier/classic agents) you don’t have to raise this skill.

  • Riposte: Only used for Martial artists using the unarmed item " Upon a Wave of Summer" which is a root/snare reducer. Skill is needed to equip “Mangler Claw”, “Spear of Forbidden Ceremonies”

  • Brawling: Very few weapons even allow you to use this skill. And only certain specific weapons have good base damage + brawl attack. In those few cases it’s helpfull to raise brawl. People using MA though really benefit from raising this skill though.

  • Sharp objects: in pvm it is only usefull to kill for example “fanatics” which have to die fast or else they blow up, but mostly a pvp only skill

  • Dimach: Dimach skill itself does alot of damage with long cooldown and is in itself a pvp only skill, but if you use unarmed/MA weapons, raising this skill also allows you to use cool items in combat like for example: “Bird of prey”(ape fist=better random often stunner) “Bright, Blue, Cloudless Sky” (100% stun+initdebuff), “Shen” (100% stun+damage+ long cooldown) Tree of enlight/Wizdom of Huzzum (team heal+damage). These items can be used alongside other MA items because it locks dimach skill not MA skill.

  • Vehicle skills: You dont have to raise any vehicle skills in order to use a yalmaha, just use eye/ear implant to boost vehicle air. Raising vehicle air skill at low levels will let you use a yalm at very low levels, and at later levels it will let you use faster yalms. If you do raise this skill at lower levels to use a yalm very soon, you will most likely end up resetting this skill at later levels since by then your base skill will be enough to use the lowest ql yalms.

  • Adventuring: Useless.

  • Perception: Don’t have to raise this because there are many buffs for it.

  • Psychology: Used for Taunting devices, which interrupt your auto attacks, making you do less damage, losing most of its purpose. Also needed to make certain jobe implants, however froobs can’t get enough to do the ql200 shiny clusters anyway, so you will need a paid player to make those anyway. It does increase the chance of a crat charm landing though.

  • Concealment: Useless unless you are an agent/advie/shade and plan to use aimed shot/sneak attack.

  • Trap Disarmament: Useless

  • Trade and repair: This whole section is mostly useless at lower levels. Except Computer Literacy, that skill is very usefull.

  • Mechanical engie and Nano program At lower levels it is mainly raised by Engies and Crats in order to use (Trimmer - Positive Aggressive-Defensive - Anarchy Online Items Database). At later levels a tradeskiller may raise it to craft certain items.

  • Break and entry: is needed for opening high level locked doors, which if you use the correct mission sliders is unlikely to prevent mission rewards, and if the reward is of vital importance , you can ask someone else to open it for you. mostly raised by Fixers, to get higher bonus % loot level. Also raised by character who farms dungeon chests in RK/SL for certain items like iq rings/jobe clusters on RK, and improved nanos in SL

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Shotgun is strength dependant.

Psychology is important for Crat charms.

B&E helps you pick locked doors and chests.

Nano Resist… Unless you like being rooted, snared, dotted, drained, nuked, and hit with Unmake and palsy every few seconds, you’re going to want this.

Duck Explosions: helps you survive trapped chests and doors and from being one shot by traders.

Nano Pool: every class needs this. Crats for calms, charms and general crowd control, Fixers for short hot and evac especially, and you can never have enough nano as an MP.

Psychic: many nano skills are dependant on this.

Just a few MINOR corrections for you.

This post is fairly garbage considering that various play styles/classes/setups may require some of these skills. To put it another way, take the OPs post with a grain of salt and if unsure, ask in the profession forums/an experienced player in game (not just some random 220).

ANY ability skill should be maxed, trickle (for the uninitiated that is when a skill gets bonus points for more skills in that particular ability EX: 2he may require 60% str 40% stam, if you max both, more points are added to the skill, albeit it may be a few but it is significant at endgame and just in general) is a powerful thing, never underestimate it EVER.

Nano pool is subjective, I dont have a single point in it and I never run out of nano and I am an Atrox Enforcer and I constantly cast. Prime example of a subjective skill based on a multitude of variables.

I wont go into detail on every skill in the game and how its useful or what you should or shouldn’t max because that would be way too long of a post when there are multiple profession guides around.

Not only that, but as I touched on a little bit every skill in this game is completely subjective to play style/goals/profession/what you deem fun. There are obvious skills you should max, like if you are a shade, you should max piercing for weapon skill. But that can change down the road if you want to be piercing and MA, or just MA. When you reach those crossroads than you start fiddling with resetting skills etc. For the most part, every skill has a use, dimach may be more useful to a shade or MA than an Enforcer (shades get a heal, MA a shorter cool down).

This game takes some knowledge and skill to figure out IP distribution. The only advice I can give is, play the game, learn along the way, make mistakes, dont waste your IP resets you only get a few (you know like getting to level 200 and resetting evades because you dont see the point in maxing them since you think you get hit all the time), communicate with others if you are unsure. You can max every useful skill for your class and still have enough left over to fill in those spots you think you need. But like I said, that will take knowledge, time and experience.


I specifically stated in the introduction these skills are not completely useless. And that skill reset points being rare is the main issue. I also specifically stated that if you know what you are doing it’s fine to raise these skills. Although i understand the sentiment mainly because of the “Title” of the thread.

I think it’s not a bad start but disagree with much. For example, Air Nav is a skill I raise as soon as possible to 81… and then never raise it again. With less then that you’re not flying anywhere, you’re getting killed by mobs way higher then you as you try to run to get to that mission location that has that SHINY piece of gear that you have to HAVE. (Why the F is it in Southern Foul Hills?)

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The information your post is grievously inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.


This post does more harm than good…
You should really stick to the game and get a better understanding before writing guides.
This helps nobody…


I don’t want to sound too negative since you’ve obviously put some effort into this, which is appreciated. But AO is a complex game and IP spending cannot be covered with a simple one-screen post.
I would advise newbies to use the “Suggested IP distribution” available in the skill window and maybe read up on some profession-specific guides if they feel like it. These forums and discord are also great places to ask for specific tips that match their goals.

On my main (a doc), I’ve used rifles, shotguns, pistols, 1he, 1hb, tradeskills, mapnav and a bunch of other skills. Whenever I learned something new, or changed my mind, or just wanted to try something different, I could reset a few skills. AO is quite forgiving. No permanent harm is done by experimenting; in fact it’s what makes this game so much fun for many people.


just the fact, that IP Reset Points are very limited. especially with the level caps on rk2019

I agree that, although a valiant effort, you can’t distil this topic down to this generic level.

I think part of the issue is that this guide is trying to provide advice on building a twink (i.e. IP min-maxing) rather than a generic leveling toon, where, for example, all attributes will be maxed eventually. But the language is pitched at a new player who doesn’t yet understand the skill system well enough to make their own informed decision on what to raise, and therefore really won’t be making a min-maxing twink.

Edit 19 May 2019: Original post has been updated, so some of my original criticism is no longer valid.

this is a great post and I don’t understand all of the hate. The only points where I disagree are with strength/stamina and brawling. Brawl is one of the few damage-scaling special attacks. Damage range of brawl is independent of the weapon you are using. Most froobs are going to want to raise strength or stamina or both for equipping armor. not everyone can use agi/sense or int/psy armor. Most good froob armor uses stamina or strength (carbonum, rhinoman, mantis, CAS, junkmetal, miy’s tank/ranged, lya’s sangi, desert nomad)

I would also add “initiatives” with an asterisk that they are almost never worth putting more than 25-50% into, just because they hardly do anything for the IP cost. Also nano init is an exception, anything past instant cast is a waste.

I have added Roshanna’s and Hungrygamer’s notes. Except for “weapon initiatives” which either speeds up your weapon or lets you go more deff slider -evades- , i consider that to be usefull.

the thing is that raising weapon speed via IP points in initiatives requires huge investments for very marginal speed increases. most of the time its not worth bringing it to max because of the way IP costs increase exponentially, whereas the benefit from initiatives is linear. It’s worth noting that most weapons people use these days are already 1/1, and that initiatives are less useful at increasing speed when you lower the agg/def slider anyways, and also, there is a lot of cheap equipment which can boost initiatives so you dont have to spend your IP there.

That’s one way to look at it, the other is that inits allow you to keep your attacks at 1/1 with a more defensive posture, which is essential for evade reliant professions.

Sure, it can be expensive for some professions, but for others (e.g. MA) it’s relatively cheap and IMHO a great IP investment.

Edit: All of this is why I don’t think a universal IP guide is possible…

Well thanks to all the feedback, we have at least something now :slight_smile:

Really there’s only the viral compiler that reliably boosts your initiatives and even then your statement is not particularly accurate either. On casting profs (doc’s, NT’s, etc) you will still want to raise your nano init. If you were referencing Flurry of Blows, that’s an active item that is not always up. While it is a great tool to use it can’t really be argued that it’s the same effect as being able to attack 1/1 while full D which every endgame profession should be able to do (evade prof or not). In case you didn’t know, full D generally reduces the amounts of times you can be crit and by proxy, the damage you take.

Additionally, PVE is one thing, but in PVP you may want to raise your inits to the point that you can almost ignore UBT or other init debuffs if you get hit with them. Soldiers do this pretty regularly as they generally don’t have enough NR to avoid getting by UBT in the first place.

As Auctoria said, it’s not really possible to create a generic and blanket guide to IP and while I applaud your efforts OP, I too agree that this thread does more harm than good and sets a lot of people up to some painful IP resets later on down the road.

Actually raising these skills may set people up for some painful ip resets, which is the reason i wrote it. The introduction explains the reason why this guide has the tone and harshness that it has (rarity of ip resets), and should not be taken as absolute.
However i understand that people have a tendency to simply not read the introduction, and try to understand where someone is comming from, or try to see things from the perspective of a new player. But i love you all and i do not mind these discussions at all, as confrontation is one of the best teachers. If anyone has a specific critisism and reasoning, i will think about it, however the “this is bad” is not very usefull to me. Although i have been interested in the natural psychological tendency of “splitting”, and the loss of specific effects.

How long have you played mate?

Again, I have read over what you wrote (as did everyone who has replied to this thread). We are all appreciative of the attempt to assist newer folks but in general, every veteran player who has played this game is telling you you’re flat wrong with 99% of your “guide”.

We have all stated that you’re doing more harm than good. it has nothing to do with not reading your introduction. Put simply:


You can’t write a guide on how to raise skills (or not) and then put a disclaimer saying that this shouldn’t be taken seriously or as gospel. The first thing a new player would do seeing this is follow it to the T and end up hating the game, rerolling and/or quitting all together because they feel weak. The statement that I am not seeing things from your perspective is irrelevant because your perspective is demonstrably wrong. That’s like you saying that fire is cold and then pouting when I tell you you’re wrong. Look, if you want to gimp your self, that’s your prerogative, but don’t make something that others could follow when it’s clear to anyone who has played for any length of time that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Also, this is the most cringey crap I’ve read all day. In the words of Dr. Zoidberg “ITS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD”

TLDR: your “guide” gives overall false information that is not accurate at all. As such, there’s no reason to delve further into each individual piece of information that is wrong.

I have read your message i think i have managed to decode it. You seem to be offended by the this is gospel implication that the title of the thread may make people think. Even though the introduction adresses this issue, the inaccurate title is my fault. So i have changed the title to also represent the this is not gospel thing.

Since 2003, both froob and paid. And i get the impression that you seem very knowledgeable. So any veteran tips would be very much appreciated by the AO community. Here is a link to the thing which used to be named “guide” but is now also called “tips”.
((Tips) (Froob) Froob tips -still in progress-)