Guide to Herald of Xotli

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The Epic Beginner’s Guide to Herald of Xotli

Written by CimmerianHoX.

Intro


If you are still reading this, welcome! This is my guide to playing the Herald of Xotli. I decided to make this guide after the recent update gave the HoX a few exciting new features. As a friend of mine was contemplating playing this game, and I noticed that my favorite class did not have a recent, relevant forum guide on all aspects of the class, I have decided to go ahead and make one. In this guide, I will go over the basic gameplay aspects of the HoX, all of the HoX’s feats, and various ways to build your class into a sword swinging, firebreathing, curse casting, tentacled demon of the otherworld.

What is a Herald of Xotli?

A Herald of Xotli is usually a human being, ostensibly Stygian or Khitan, who has given themselves over to the worship of the strange god Xotli, whose desire is to destroy everything in existence, usually with fire. For some strange reason, Cimmerians and Aquilonians don’t feel like worshipping the almighty deity that is Xotli. Heralds specialize in fire magic and wielding two handed greatswords, because these are things that please Xotli. They also wear cloth armor, because anything else would spontaneously combust under the intense heat radiated by the awesomeness that is each and every Herald of

Enough Lore. What’s a HoX?

HoX is one of the three mage classes in AoC. Unlike the other two mage classes, HoX is a hybrid mage/warrior who wears cloth armor but wields a two handed sword. They use both mana and stamina to cast their spells, abilities, and combos, and deal a mix of physical and fire damage.

Pros:

  • You get to swing a massive sword
  • Some of the highest AoE damage in the game
  • You get to transform into a demon
  • You get to transform into TWO demons
  • You get a self rez
  • You get TWO self rezzes
  • The Herald never truly dies. He only rests.
  • Some of the best fatalities in the game. Period.
  • You get tons of AoE crowd control to keep your enemies close
  • You get an insta-cast AoE nuke to burn your enemies to death with
  • You get an insta-cast AoE root to keep your enemies from moving while you burn them to death
  • You get the strongest AoE damage spell in the game
  • Did I mention AoE!?!?!?

Cons:

  • Unless you feat insta-cast inferno curse or hell on earth, your debuffing is sub-par
  • Most of the time you have to be in melee range of your enemies to kill them, unlike other mages
  • You can only wear cloth armor for protection
  • You can only wear cloth armor for RP purposes
  • You can only wear cloth armor, so your defenses are made of paper
  • You can only wield a two handed sword, a dagger, a talisman, a throwing weapon, or a crossbow
  • You can only wield a two handed sword
  • There is no such thing as a HoX who uses anything other than a two handed sword
  • Your combos can be abominably slooow
  • No female demon form

How do I HoX?

This is a very good question. As a HoX, you have to balance out your melee combos and your spells. Much of your power will come from your feats, and feating is a huge part of what makes a hox a HOX. A HoX that does not feat is just a HoaX. (ok that was really bad) The rest of this guide will be devoted to how to use your abilities, what to feat, and how to use your feats.

Important Stats

HoX is a dps class. Thus, any stat that increases your dps is useful. This includes Strength, Intelligence, Magic Damage(Fire), Combat Rating(Anything), Hit Rating, Critical Rating, and Critical Damage Rating. However, these stats are not equally important. Most of your damage will come from your Hellfire Breath and Burn to Death combo. Both of these rely on Magic Damage and with the recent update, Intelligence. So typically, you will want to focus on getting stats in this order:

1.Critical Rating
2.Magic Damage/Intelligence
3.Combat Rating/Strength

Combos, Abilities, and Spells


These are the innate ways to kill your enemies that come standard with your HoX. I will discuss feated abilities, combos, and spells later.

Combos

Hell Strikes: This is the HoX’s bread and butter combo. It has decent damage and a fairly low cooldown. However, since HoX is a hybrid damage class, its bread and butter combo does lower damage and has a higher cooldown than comparable combos of other classes such as Barbarian’s Butcher. Use this combo when you don’t have higher damage combos or abilities available, as it’s mostly a filler combo.

Molten Steel Slash: This is the HoX’s debuffing combo. It applies an elemental wrack, which decreases the target’s invulnerability to fire, ice, and lightning damage by 10% for 30 seconds. Unfortunately, the mediocre damage and the very slow speed of this combo means you will not be using this very much. Either you could better spend your time doing something else for more damage, or in a group or raid setting someone else can debuff much more easily for you. I do not recommend using this combo frequently, but if you do want to go ahead and use it, use it before your other combos so the debuff increases your damage.

Burn to Death: IMPORTANT This is a combo that applies a DoT and is HoX’s strongest dps ability. The DoT applied by Burn to Death only lasts a short time, but it deals very high damage per tick, and with feats it can do even higher damage that can spread to other targets, burning huge swathes of enemies. Try to always use the highest rank of this combo for maximum dps. The combo steps can become quite long, but the resulting damage is always worth it. With recent updates, the DoT part of this combo now scales with intelligence, so its damage will now be even higher with pieces of gear that were previously of limited use to HoX.

Pillar of Infernal Flame: IMPORTANT With this combo, you stab your blade into the ground, causing an eruption of flame to damage everything around you. This combo is unique in that you can damage enemies standing behind you with it. It is our strongest burst combo, dealing a huge chunk of damage in one hit. However, there are downsides to the combo. Its cooldown can be rather long, and even with feating cooldown reduction it is still long. Furthermore, the combo does all of its damage at the end of the combo, which is a rather slow animation, and if it misses, all of your damage misses at the very end of the whole animation, so you will have spent all the time performing this combo for nothing. But when it does connect, enemies tend to blow up. A nice aspect of this combo is that you can have multiple ranks of this combo slotted, and each cooldown is independent. I use the two highest ranks of Pillar for maximum AoE damage, since I can use one while the other is on cooldown.

Body and Spirit Wrack: This is the HoX’s mana burn combo. It damages a target’s mana, and when feated, also gives the herald some of the mana drained. It’s mostly useful for raiding, specifically a certain raid boss named Louhi…

I Eat Your Heart: It does just what its name says. Against minions, this combo performs a fatality that rips their heart out, killing them instantly, and heals you. Against normal enemies, it doesn’t do much damage. Use it to clear minions in raids or heal yourself in bad situations where you need the health. The long cooldown kinda affects its utility.

Abilities - Buffs and Stuffs

We only have one.

Hellfire Step:This is your charge ability, letting you leap directly into the fray at an enemy, which also roots them while you’re charging them, before giving you a buff that pulses minor damage around you for a few seconds. Useful for getting into fights or chasing down enemies who are fleeing.

Spells

Hellfire Breath: IMPORTANT This is your bread and butter spell. At low levels, it has a cast time and isn’t that great. However, once properly feated, it becomes an insta-cast AoE cone nuke in front of the HoX that can be cast while moving and in between steps in combos. One of the most powerful spells in the game and an essential part of what makes the HoX fun.

Desecrating Essence: IMPORTANT This is other bread and butter spell for HoX. It turns you into a tentacle-faced demon for half a minute, giving you increased health and damage while stunning enemies all around you and pulsing fire damage all around you for the duration of the demon form. Use this at the beginning of large fights to give you time to set up on many enemies at once by stunning them, then wrecking them with your AoE spells and combos. I cannot stress how much fun it is to turn into a demon, stun everything around you, spam laugh a few times to hear that ugly demon laugh, do your cultural dance in demon form, then run away or die because you spent too much time having fun in demon form instead of actually fighting.

Word of Command: This is a quick casting AoE root spell that freezes enemies around you in place, making them easy pickings for your other abilities. Great for keeping enemies from getting away from you, or getting to you. Once feated, this spell becomes instant-cast, which makes it a very powerful and unpredictable cc.

Dread Visage: This is a cone AoE fear that sends your enemies running about in circles. This is mostly for PvP, as in PvE, it is difficult to land combos on feared enemies, and tanks will hate you for this.

Inferno Curse: This is an AoE debuff spell that decreases the combat rating of those afflicted as well as applying an elemental ruin to enemies, decreasing their invulnerability to fire, ice, and lightning damage by 15% for 15 seconds. It’s the better of the two debuffing options for the HoX, but still not really worth your time unless you have it feated for insta-cast. Then you should use it all the time.

Contract of Protection: This is your four hour mage shield buff. You cast it and it decreases a certain amount of incoming damage. It’s good for you. Like vegetables.

Burning Skull: This is a buff type spell that damages an enemy that hits you for a little damage. It has a cool animation, but in its base form, this spell has some serious flaws. The buff only lasts 10 minutes, and it only holds three charges, with a delay after every charge has been used that’s depicted by the burning skull circling you when activated. So after three hits or ten minutes is up, you have to reactivate this ability. It quickly becomes a nuisance to have to constantly click to reapply Burning Skull, despite its cool animation, and I tend not to bother with it in the heat of battle, reactivating it when I have time and feel like doing it.

Arcane Abatement: This increase your protection against cold damage. Only certain enemies and necromancers do cold damage……I sometimes forget we even have this ability.

Demon Maw: This is a useful buff. It increases your fire magic damage, but it also applies a DoT to you that hurts you. However, you can convert the DoT to a health regeneration buff by casting Hellfire Breath. Since as a HoX, you want to be casting Hellfire Breath all the time anyways, that DoT will never be a problem for you unless you run out of mana. So this buff is basically a free damage and healing increase.

Exultation of Xotli: This is a buff that briefly increases your weapon damage bonus, only to give you a longer lasting but weaker debuff to your weapon damage immediately afterwards. The buff has a short cooldown, but it isn’t worth it until you get it feated. Then you get a massive spike in weapon damage for key combos like Burn to Death or Pillar of Flame, which is followed by a manageable debuff to combos where you can cast spells or use Hell Strikes in the meantime.

Phoenix Cloak: IMPORTANT This spell has changed greatly, and is one of the biggest reasons HoX has gone from being weak to being strong. It now gives a 6 second buff that grants 5% increased movement speed and more importantly, 50% damage deflection. You basically take very little damage for 6 seconds while getting a movement buff to charge into battle or run away or spin around in circles. However, when feated, that movement speed bonus increases to 20%, while the duration of the buff increases to 12 seconds. For a buff on a 120 second cooldown, that’s pretty damn useful. Use this spell whenever you are in a bad spot, and it will take care of you.

Feats


This is the fun part. A lot of what makes HoX special is the depth of customization you can attain through feat choice. Go deep into the Avatar tree, and you can become a demonic blade-wielding terror, almost constantly in one demon form or another, spreading damage with powerful combos. Go deep into the Possession tree, and you can make whole crowds of enemies instantly disappear with powerful spells, while resisting critical crowd control that would down lesser mortals.

[!] = Recommended

Avatar

This feat tree is focused on increasing PvE melee damage output through buffing combos and demon form. It is the less popular of the two feat trees because it offers fewer survivability and burst damage tools. However, in my opinion, it offers the higher dps of the two feat trees, it just requires heavy investment in order to wring the most out of this feat tree.

Fiery Weapons and Improved Fiery Weapons: This gives all your melee hits a chance to proc extra fire damage. The damage isn’t bad, but it doesn’t proc that often. Both are good to help you advance down the feat tree.

Spreading Flames: ! This causes your Burn to Death combo’s DoT to spread to nearby enemies, dealing the same damage to them. This basically turns your best dps combo into an AoE. Always get this.

Demonic Fortitude: Ability Gives you a spell that refreshes your stamina and energy at the cost of mana. You generally want mana more than stamina to get off Hellfire Breath at every opportunity, so this is pretty much a waste of a feat point.

Demonic Leech and Ether Thirst: Demonic Leech buffs your Body and Spirit Wrack to give you mana back for using this combo, while Ether Thirst increases the mana drain on Wrack. Really only good for Louhi-specific raid specs.

Rage of Xotli: Increases the damage of Hell Strikes. A small damage increase, this feat really should be a 5 point combo instead of just 3, but if you use Hell Strikes a lot, this feat increases your dps.

Demonic Strength: Increases weapon damage in demon form by quite a bit for 3 feat points. Worth taking, especially this high up in the feat tree, since you will be in demon form a lot.

Flame of Xotli: ! Increases the DoT damage on Burn to Death by 7% at max rank. That’s a lot of damage increase for your highest dps combo. Definitely get this.

Reaching Flames: ! Increases the AoE size on your Pillar of Infernal Flame. Good for hitting massive waves of mobs in raids and group dungeons, since your job as a HoX is to do as much damage to as many enemies as possible. This feat is great for two feat points spent.

Demonic Supplication: Ability Increases the duration of your demon form once every 15 minutes. The duration increase is very nice, but fifteen minutes is such a long cooldown that half the time I forgot I had this ability even when I had it. Now with Demonic Strength being a much better feat than the Mindless Brute feat it replaced, I would say there are plenty of better options to get over this.

Blood Pit: When you perform I Eat Your Heart or sometimes when killing an enemy, spawns a little red pool on the ground that heals you when you stand near it. Handy for leveling, and gives fairly good value for 1 feat point even at level 80, as it gives you a little bit of that much-needed survivability that Avatar has so little of at this stage in the feat tree.

Fire Lance: ! Ability A fairly fast and strong combo that you should always consider fitting into your rotation. Something of a faster, higher damage Hell Strikes with a longer cooldown.

Butcher: Increases your overall melee weapon damage. This feat is a great boost in damage to all of your melee combos, and should always be looked at for Avatar heavy specs.

Flaming Hatred and Searing Hatred: ! Decreases the cooldown on Pillar of Infernal Flame. At this point in the feat tree, your five points are best spent here. Remember that you can have multiple Pillars in your rotation, so this cooldown affects every pillar that you use. That makes for a much shorter downtime for two combos instead of one, and greatly increased AoE dps. Searing Hatred is a decently strong DoT that is a good investment for one feat point if you have one to spare, adding a DoT to all enemies struck by your huge AoE Pillar.

Wrath of Xotli Significantly increases the power of the fire pulsing from your demon form. On Avatar of Xotli, your upgraded demon form, the damage increase is very noticeable for two feat points spent, dealing huge damage every two seconds. However, there are many other feats vying for attention this deep into the Avatar tree, and two points spent here may mean sacrificing something more important such as instant Inferno Curse for a PVE spec. Choose wisely.

Damning Eloquence and Burning Hex: If you have points to spare, Damning Eloquence is a very nice investment to make your debuff spell insta-cast, which makes it much easier to fit into your rotation. However, with recent changes to the class, there are so many other places to invest your points that this can be sometimes overlooked just like Wrath of Xotli. The DoT from Burning Hex is rather low and should not be a priority feat.

Improved Burning Skull: ! This changes your Burning Skull to passively do damage to a nearby enemy until your Burning Skull is activated. This is basically a free damage increase that’s there until your skulls get consumed, which is actually pretty neat for a one point feat (see what I did there?), as it can add quite a decent amount of dps for little to no extra interaction required. Best suited for group or raid settings, where you won’t be hit. Less useful when you will be hit a lot, preventing this feat from activating all that much.

Hellfire Feast: Gives you physical mana tap when in demon form. For some situations where you are fighting for a very extended amount of time, you will run low on mana, and this will keep your mana flowing quite well, considering you’ll be almost constantly in one demon form or another. If you find yourself having mana problems, look to this feat to help you.

Searing Curses, Flame Cleave, and Hell on Earth: Ability This feat line is a tough sell. Searing Curses adds damage to one of your slower, lower damage combos, which increases its usefulness, but not by too much. Flame Cleave gives you fire combat rating, which is always nice to have. However, all of this builds up to Hell on Earth, a spell of questionable usefulness. It creates an area of molten ground that gives you an insane amount of fire combat rating while you’re standing it, while debuffing nearby enemies with Physical and Elemental Torment, which is a stacking debuff. However, the situations where you can afford to restrict your sphere of movement to a limited area as a melee class are not that many in a raid situation and especially in group raids. And in the few cases where you can actually stand still for a length of time, the debuffing can be done far more easily by other classes. I personally ignore this whole feat line, but for some fans of the Avatar tree, it might be quite powerful.

Demon Within, Desecreation, and Avatar of Xotli: ! Ability The whole reason you invested in the Avatar tree to begin with. Increases your demon form duration, greatly decreases your demon form’s cooldown, and gives you a SECOND demon form, more powerful than the first. All of these are great for any HoX. If I had anything to complain about, it’s how ugly the Avatar form looks. You abandon the tentacle faced demon for a ponytail, tree stump feet, and a toilet seat wrapped around your neck. Seriously?

Possession

This feat tree contains core feats that every herald should have in their arsenal. Any feat build is going have a decent number of feats from this tree. Fortunately most of the good feats are relatively easy to get.

Hellfire: !!! Reduces the casting time on Hellfire Breath while increasing its cooldown. This is the most important feat for the HoX, and is core to its identity. You must take this feat first no matter what.

Flame Tongue and Fury of Xotli: Flame Tongue increases your combat rating every time you cast Hellfire Breath, which is great for increasing your damage and quite useful for a PvE HoX going into Possession. Fury of Xotli gives you a chance for your Hellfire Breath to be cast for free. While mana is important when you have limited mana to work with and Hellfire Breath is the largest use of mana, this feat is competing with a lot of other useful feats this high up in the Possession feat tree, so pass on Fury of Xotli or at the most put one point in it.

Xotli’s Vengeance: Gives you increased magic damage when using combos that is consumed by Hellfire Breath. I personally don’t like this feat. You want to cast Hellfire Breath at all times, so you won’t often get the chance to build up the stacks to use for other spells in the Possession tree. besides, the other two feats at this level are better. Only pick up some points in this if you need the few extra points in a dps-related feat to get down to the next level in the feat tree.

Spitfire: Ability Gives you a fairly short-range insta-cast spell that applies a DoT that can spread and debuffs enemy healing. Great for PvP, but the damage increase for investing extra feat points is either bugged or not noticeable, so for PvE, if you want to get this feat, only spend one point, as the heal debuff isn’t all that useful for you.

Lingering Hell and Touch of Hell: Lingering Hell extends the weak AoE pulse of damage you get after casting Hellfire Steps, and isn’t that great. But you want to spend all those points so you can get the 15 second cooldown reduction on Hellfire Steps from Touch of Hell, which is very important in PvP.

Improved Word of Command: ! This increases the range on your AoE root and more importantly, makes it insta-cast. This is a very powerful feat for two points and makes one of your cc abilities extremely quick to use and unpredictable. For PvP this is essential, and for leveling in PvE it is still very good.

Demonic Link: This increases your magic damage in demon form. More damage, especially magic damage, is always useful.

Flame Lash and Inferno: ! Ability Flame lash is a single-target ranged spell, probably one of our longest ranged spells, with a fairly short cooldown, though not a spammable one. It’s a useful ranged nuke to pull mobs or hit fleeing enemies, and also does a lot of damage. It should be spammed on cooldown if attacking single mobs and bosses. Inferno on the other hand is a giant AoE that ticks damage every few seconds to everyone around you. Both spells gain increased damage from stacks of Flame Lash, which last for 15 seconds and can stack up to 10. While the Flame Lash spell does good damage even without stacks of Flame Lash, Inferno does pathetic damage at no stacks, but this increases to very good damage at 9 or 10 stacks. It is recommended to use Inferno at max stacks only and use Flame Lash when you aren’t fighting multiple mobs that require AoE. One point in Flame Lash is generally enough for PvP as a ranged nuke, but investing in all of these two feats is a good way to go for PvE.

Roots of Hell: Mostly useful in PvP. Increases your knockback resistance in demon form.

Undying Glory of Xotli: ! Ability Here we go. HoX’s first self rez, on a thirty minute cooldown. For leveling, the usefulness of this feat cannot be overstated. It saves you a trip back from the rez pad and can be a lifesaver in completing objectives in a timely manner. If you are leveling, shoot for this feat first.

Thundering Voice: ! Another great feat. Gives your hellfire breath an interrupt, with a cooldown on the interrupt. Great for preventing cc from enemies at critical moments on your spamming spell. You should nearly always get this.

Glorious Exultation of Xotli: ! Yet another great feat. This turns your fairly weak melee damage buff into a powerful ten second buff on a twenty five second cooldown. For one point? This feat is definitely worth it.

Phoenix Wings and Improved Phoenix Cloak: ! HoX gets a good damage reduction that slightly increases their movement speed as well for six seconds. For a hefty eight feat points, you can turn this buff into a twelve second, 20% movement speed increase spell that transforms you into a tanky, speedy monster. Great for PvP, even useful in some PvE situations. Definitely always worth it to get all this has to offer.

Burning Words: Adds a DoT to your root spell. The DoT ticks rarely but for good damage. However, this feat pales in comparison to most of everything else in the Possession feat tree, and generally shouldn’t be a priority.

Molten Flesh: Ability This spell gives immunity to fire damage, while splashing enemies with fire when they strike you with melee hits, for ten seconds. Useful to become invincible against other HoXes in PvP for that short while, though its usefulness in PvE is limited to very few situations. I have to confess that I have one point in this spell even in PvE just to ignore some dungeon mechanics that deal fire damage that would kill any other dps. It’s rather funny to see your group yelling at you to get out of some fire AoE while you’re standing there with this ability running. But generally not recommended for PvE use.

Clarity of the Mad: Gives you resistance to fear. Mostly useful in PvP.

Knowledge of the Underworld, Hatred of the Living, and Tongue of Xotli: ! Ability Two feats that increase fire damage and Hellfire Breath damage leading up to the single strongest burst AoE damage spell in the game. Tongue of Xotli deals huge amounts of damage in a large cone in front of you, with numbers climbing into the high thousands, and leaves behind fire pits that pulse for additional damage afterwards. The damage of this spell is insane, and is the whole reason you feated into the Possession tree anyways.

Horrible Visage of Xotli, Insanity of Xotli, Dark Blessing of Xotli, and Chains of Anguish: ! Ability This very long feat line contains an increase to the stun duration on your innate demon form stun, which makes it one of the more powerful stuns available to any class. The next two feats, mostly useful in PvP, drain stamina and mana from those afflicted by your stun, crippling your enemies even after they make it out of the stun. Finally, Chains of Anguish is a kinky single target ranged spell…or so it seems. It wraps your selected target in chains, dealing very strong damage over time with a sexy animation involved, but there’s more to it. Any enemy between the target and you also receives that damage over time. Stick this spell on that annoying ranger or mage at the back of a horde of mobs, and watch everything in between get cut down to size. The fear resistance of this spell working in tandem with Clarity of the Mad is just icing on the cake for a very strong spell for both PvP and PvE. The fact that both Tongue of Xotli and Chains of Anguish are such desirable ultimate feats is what makes the Possession feat tree more popular than the Avatar tree.

General

There are some useful feats from this tree, mostly for Poss/Gen builds. I’m only going to list the feats worth considering.

Spiritual Armament and Spiritual Aegis: Increases your armor and protection, respectively. Useful.

Mystical Attunement: Increases your magic damage. Useful.

Purge: Ability Gives you an insta-cast spell that removes snares and roots from you while giving you a 3 second resistance to incoming snares and roots. Useful mainly for PvP.

Unleashed Power: Increases the size of your Pillar of Infernal Flame and Word of Command. Very useful for PvP. Also increases the size of Inferno Curse, but you probably won’t be using that in a Poss/Gen build.

Tome of Erlik: Ability Gives you increased spell damage for a short time. Very good for use right before powerful nuke spells like Tongue of Xotli, and probably good for some builds.

Alternate Advancement


Prima already has a very good AA Starter Guide, but I will touch on the usefulness of some of the HoX-only AAs that give new combos or abilities.

Herald of Xotli Gold Feats (Pick 1)

Red Shadows of Xotli: Get this AA first if you’re even thinking about doing PvE. A second self-rez on an 8 minute cooldown that instantly puts you in demon form? Yes please! Passively increased Strength and Intelligence by obscene amounts? Yes Please! This AA single-handedly increases our staying power in any sort of PvE situation by a huge amount, whether be it coming back to finish trekking through hordes of mobs in Khitai with no rez pads in sight, or rising again to return to dpsing the boss that’s wiped half your raid with all the conqs dead, or getting up after accidentally falling off that reaaally high cliff to walk away fine. And the short 8 minute cooldown leaves you plenty of leeway to die again. In PvP the self rez has slightly more limited use, but it can be funny to rez next to a point you were capturing in Jhebbel Sag after the enemies who killed you have left, or to live slightly longer to keep enemies off of the flag that they just dropped. The passive stat points are always good.

Prince of Terror: This AA takes a backseat to Red Shadows, but offers several things that Red Shadows can’t match. Firstly, it buffs your damage by a huge amount over a short period of time, giving you better burst. Second, it lets you crit on Burn to Death, so the damage on your best dps combo just went through the roof. Finally, it changes the typing on several of your combo finishers to dark damage and adds a debuff to your enemies, changing up your damage type and letting you debuff for your team. This shouldn’t see much use with Red Shadows being the predominant AA for PvE, but it can be nice to have in some situations where dying doesn’t happen as much or coming to life again isn’t so difficult. It has some usefulness in PvP as the burst buff to your spells makes them nuke even harder, while the off chance you catch someone with Burn to Death will make them feel the pain. Besides, the wings that emerge from you with this spell look drop dead amazing.

From the Beyond: This AA is good in PvP, instantly transforming you into a demon and rushing an enemy, after which, for a decent amount of time, your Hellfire Steps has a five second cooldown, letting you chase much better. In actual practice, the transformation takes away your ability to stun enemies with your demon form, and the charge is only situationally useful. Sometimes the fight is brought to you, in which case you’ll want to be more effective in the middle of the fray.

Herald of Xotli Silver Feats (Pick 2)

Enslaving Fire: This AA gives you another Pillar combo that stuns enemies for up to 4 seconds. A second stun on top of your demon form stun is always nice, and while the combo is very slow, it is an AoE Pillar combo, and the damage is nice.

Hunger for More: This AA lets your Hell Strikes hit a second, and at max rank, a third target, for full damage in addition to your main target. More AoE is nice, and this could a good AA to pair with Enslaving Fire. However, the next AA is also a possible choice.

Quickening Death: This AA gives you a Hell Strikes combo that reduces the cooldown on your demon form, which is very useful for Avatar heavy builds and works well in conjunction with Enslaving Fire also benefiting from Avatar heavy build. However, the combo animation is probably the longest in the game, limiting the usefulness of this combo.

Feed the Pyre: This buffs your Burning Skull by letting you have 6 charges of Burning Skull instead of 3 and lets them trigger off of your own attacks. If you will be reactivating your Burning Skull frequently and do not like the look of the two Hell Strikes AAs, this one is for you. Gives your Burning Skull much more uses in a PvP setting especially.

Leveling a HoX - Feat Advice


Ok, so you’ve got your brand new HoX and now you know what all the combos, spells, and feats do. Now how do you put them all together? To me, the following makes sense as the most logical progression for leveling while building a feat spec that is still useful at level 80.

The first five levels: (Level 10 - 14)
If you don’t do this right away Xotli will be most displeased with you.

The road to level 30: (Level 15 - 30)
Grab one point in Spitfire, get comfortable using it, while also getting the damage bonus from Flame Tongue. Instant Word of Command comes next and gets you your on-demand cc to get out of bad situations, while Demonic Link gets you more damage and lets you feel the power of demon form. From there, max out Flame Lash to prepare for the power that is Inferno, also giving you a ranged pull so you don’t have to rely on a damn crossbow. Finally, finish with the two most important feats at this level with self-rez and silence on your hellfire breath.

The path to the split: (Level 31 - 42)
Here you’re getting used to including more buffs and spells by bringing Exultation of Xotli in to practice around with, as well as getting that buffed stun for more leeway in disabling enemies, along with Inferno as a great spell that you will need to learn when to use, and finally getting all the upgrades to Phoenix Cloak to truly get you a defensive tool for when you need it. From here, there are two paths to take depending whether you want to round off Possession tree or go into Avatar. I personally had great fun leveling Avatar, so I went that way, but Possession build is easier to finish off from this point.

Part Enemies like the Red Sea: (Avatar 43 - 70)
Set Fire to the Rain: (Possession 43 - 70)
To take the Avatar route, follow the path down to Fire lance, taking feats that up the damage of Burn to Death and your overall damage, before finishing with cooldown for Pillar of Infernal Flame. Get used to your new rotation with two powerful Pillars and Flame Lance all on comparable cooldown timers.
To take the Possession route, just finish out the feat tree, grabbing the two end spells, get resistance to fear, then swing on over to the general tree to get yourself some mana regen and armor, which you will probably be lacking as a cloth wearer.

Become the Devil in Iron: (Avatar 71 - 80)
Burn All of Creation to Ashes: (Possession 71 - 80)
Round off both your builds, and you have fairly workable builds that you can go to Khitai or start raiding with. However, for more specialized end-game builds, you may want to re-spec. Which leads us to our next topic.

How to Build Your Herald


I thought I’d try something a little different with this section. Sure, you know what all the feats are and what they do, but getting into building an actual spec for what you want can be a bit tricky at times. In this section, I’m hoping to teach you how to make informed decisions about which feats are best for what you are trying to do with your build.

Avatar or Possession?

This really should be up to your personal feel for HoX based on your leveling experience. Sure, those first twenty three points in Possession are nigh mandatory, but after that, the split in gameplay becomes notable between the Avatar HoX who focuses on combos and demon form, as opposed to the Possession HoX who focuses on spells. This really comes down to a matter of whether you favor combos or spells as a person.

If you love your demon form like I do, and want to be a demon as much as possible, to enjoy the initial stun and the amped up damage that comes from it, then an Avatar build is definitely something you should try. Having two demon forms on independent cooldowns, each with the initial AoE damage, means you can have a very high uptime on demon form. Throw in the power of combos that get buffed in Avatar, with spreading Burn to Death, lower cooldown Pillars, and the unique Fire Lance combo, and Avatar can be a very enjoyable ride.

So what does Possession offer? You sacrifice a lot of power and uptime on your demon form, but you get access to the two most incredible spells in the game. I think every player in the game needs to experience the joy of making an entire horde of enemies drop dead before you with a Tongue of Xotli. The sheer power of this spell is unmatched, as far as I know, by anything else in the game as an AoE nuke. Chains of Anguish is a very different spell, but it is just as enjoyable to use, with that powerful DoT, combined with that ecstasy-inducing animation, mowing down everything between you and your target. If you go into Possession tree, it’s to experience the joy of these two spells.

I went with Avatar. Now what?

Well, believe it or not, your focus will now be how many feats from Possession you will be taking, as this will constrain how many feats in Avatar you will be working with. If you really want, you can try and feat every single feat in the Avatar tree and nothing else. Of course, this is a terrible idea and you should never attempt to play with a feat build like this.

PVE Avatar
If you are going to be doing PvE, the self-rez from the Possession tree, Undying Glory of Xotli, is practically mandatory, even if you go heavy enough into the Avatar tree to pick up Hell on Earth. And the other two one point spells at that level, Thundering Flames and Glorious Exultation, are also crucial feats. If nothing else, the Thundering Flames feat is a key feat to the success of T3 raids on at least one boss, so plan on using it, while Glorious Exultation gives you so much damage for one feat point that it really shouldn’t be passed over. To get to these feats, you will want to spend 1 point and only 1 point in Spitfire, for the damage the spell offers. The damage increase from extra points in Spitfire is either too low to be of consequence or else non-existent altogether. Flame Tongue should be where most your points go to get you down to the next level, as the combat rating is what you’ll be wanting. Max out Flame Lash along the way, as you’ll be wanting it later. These feats are what you’ll take to get down to your self-rez. This means you will be spending 23 feat points in Possession at the very least. However, since you’re already this far down into the Possession tree, you might as well spend 3 more feat points and pick up the Inferno spell the next level down. With max stacks, this spell does great AoE damage over time and greatly improves any HoX dps spec for cheap. So plan on spending at least 26 points in the Possession tree to get the crucial feats there.

This leaves you with 53 feat points to work with in the Avatar tree. Now, you have to decide if you really want Hell on Earth or not. It’s a powerful feat, but I personally dislike its constraints, and the feats you have to get through in order to reach it aren’t the greatest to me. Besides, the whole reason you went Avatar tree is to improve your demon form, right? So you will want to feat at least 41 feat points to get down to Avatar of Xotli. Along the way, you will really want to get the feats: Spreading Flames, Demonic Strength, Flame of Xotli, Fire Lance, Flaming Hatred, Demon Within, Desecreation, and Avatar of Xotli. With 26 points in Possession and 41 points in Avatar so far, you have 12 points left to play around with. Where do those points go?

Do you still want to invest in Hell on Earth given 12 points to spend? Well, let’s see here. It will cost you 11 points to grab Hell on Earth since you will need to fully feat Searing Curses and Flame Cleave, so you’re left with 1 point to spend. Improved Burning Skull is probably where that feat point will go. But this leaves out so many other feat options that could give you more reliable damage when you need it.

For the more traditional Avatar dps purist, the best thing to do is feat out other feats in the Avatar tree. One point in Improved Burning Skull gives you constant damage to at least one nearby enemy so long as your Burning Skull doesn’t activate. Since you got one feat point in Burning Hatred, one point in Searing Hatred will give you Pillars a pretty powerful DoT. Five points in Butcher will give you a considerable damage increase, and is where a large chunk of your feat points will go if you want damage. To me, the final two points are a tossup between Wrath of Xotli and Hellfire Feast. Wrath of Xotli gives you more damage, but Hellfire Feast gives you mana back to do consistent damage. It’s up to whether or not you have mana issues or not. Either way works.

But let’s say you want to go for some more survivability in your Avatar spec. This may be because your Avatar spec is for open world exploring and faction grinding in Khitai, or else you don’t care particularly for getting the most possible damage out of your HoX and would rather kill your enemy and live to see them die too. So you want to put your 12 remaining points in the Possession Tree. Well, there are plenty of ways to up your survivability from this tree. Phoenix Cloak is a somewhat decent survivability spell, but if you want to spend a whopping 8 feat points to buff it up with Phoenix Wings and Improved Phoenix Cloak, you will have yourself a great survivability spell to work with. This has its uses in PVE besides just fighting solo. If your tank can’t hold aggro reliably or mobs spawn and start hitting you, popping this spell will let you live a lot longer, and the increased duration and movement speed will give you better time to reposition yourself out of harm’s way. But if cc is important to you, or resisting cc is something you want? You can grab Improved Word of Command and Horrible Visage of Xotli to buff your two main cc abilities and keep enemies locked up a lot longer, while Roots of Hell will give you resistance to Knockback, which is especially handy if you want to avoid getting knocked off ledges to certain death from falling by pesky mobs that sneak up on you. The choice is yours.

PVP Avatar
Avatar generally isn’t the greatest for PvP, as you will almost certainly be sacrificing survivability somewhere to be able to get all the feats you want. You’ll spend at least 41 points in the Avatar tree to get your second demon form. This leaves you 38 points to play around with. Normally, you want to live as long as possible, so getting all the feats for Phoenix Cloak becomes important. It will cost you 33 points to get down to Phoenix Cloak, picking up maxed Spitfire for the heal reduction the spell offers as well as Improved Word of Command and Roots of Hell to give you an insta-cast root as well as resistance to knockbacks, and one point in Flame Lash just for the ranged nuke it gives you to deal with fleeing enemies. You are left with 4 points to play around with. Those points can either go into the Avatar tree for more damage where you want it, or you can throw three points into Horrible Visage of Xotli to get your stun up to snuff and put that last point in Molten Flesh for immunity to fire damage for a short time. As you can see, there isn’t much leeway with making a PVP Avatar spec, but it can be effective in the right hands.

I went with Possession. What are my options?

Despite the fact that all the core feats a HoX would want are in the Possession tree, the fact remains that feat builds for Possession HoX are less varied than those for Avatar HoX. This is due to the simple fact that you want both end-game feats from the Possession tree. Maybe if you want to try some ridiculous and creative build where you only get one endfeat from Possession, you can do that, but to me this is a silly idea and Xotli would be most displeased with your attempts to do so.

For any Possession spec, getting down to those two endfeats should be a priority. So plan on spending at lest 49 points in Possession tree. Going down the feat tree, if you are PVE, of course you will want to pick up the self-rez, only one point in Spitfire, and maxxed Flame Lash for Inferno, while if you are PVP you would naturally pick up maxxed Spitfire, only one point in Flame Lash, Lingering Hell with Touch of Hell, Roots of Hell and Improved Word of Command. This gives you 30 points left to work with. Now, there are several ways to spend your remaining points, depending on whether you are PVE or PVE spec.

PVE Possession
Just as Avatar isn’t the best spec for PVP, Possession generally has lower dps than Avatar for PVE. However, it can still be quite a fun and effective playstyle. If you have spent your 49 points in Possession for PVE, you will have 30 points left. Here, you have a few choices. You can be very brave and dump all of your 30 remaining points into Avatar, and you can actually pick up Fire Lance and Flaming Hatred or Butcher in this way. It will give you a fairly strong mix of spells and combos with a rotation that can include Fire Lance and lowered cooldown Pillars.

Another choice would be to try and fully feat out the Possession tree. However, like an Avatar-only tree, this is a terrible idea, as you will be getting a lot of PVE-centric as well as PVP-centric feats that have little to no synergy together and end up with a suboptimal build. It won’t be as horrific as an Avatar-only build, but it would have a lot of wasted potential in it.

The third, final, and usually most popular option is to go into the General tree to get maxxed Tome of Erlik. This costs 23 points to do and leaves you with 7 points to work with. Generally, there’s nothing more you want to do in the General tree and there is nothing of value you can pick up in the Avatar tree with only 7 points, so you’ll probably end up rounding out your Possession tree with your remaining points. Knockback resistance or a better Phoenix Cloak aren’t bad bets, and the fear resistance is also worth looking at. Ultimately, you’ll be left with a fairly decent build.

PVP Possession
Here, there is basically just one way to go about a PVP Possession build. You will want all of the survivability feats in the Possession tree, so this means Improved Phoenix Cloak, Clarity of the Mad, and at least one point in Molten Flesh. You will also want Purge from the General tree to aid you in escaping roots and snares. This leaves you with 2 spare points. Generally, putting those two points in Unleashed Power for great range on your Pillars is not a bad idea. But if you want, you can pick up the self-rez to make for some very situational but fun plays, or put another point in Molten Flesh to actually heal from enemy fire damage, which can be fun. In any case, you will have a very easy time making a good Possession HoX build for PVP.

Herald of Xotli Builds


For those of you who just want me to hand you the builds to work with, this section is for you. There is a good variety of ways to build HoX for both PvE and to a lesser extent, for PvP. These are the builds I can think of, though they are open to suggestions by those who can come up with better builds.

PVE

The Raid Avatar
For damage and more damage, this build is what you want to go with. It lands you all of the most useful damage feats from the Avatar tree as well as a good number of helpful dps tools that leads down to the lovely Inferno spell. This build sacrifices survivability and utility to do the one thing that HoX does the best - kill anything and everything as fast as demonly possible. Note the one point in Hellfire Feast to assist with mana problems. That point can be shifted to Wrath of Xotli for more damage, or the point from Wrath of Xotli can be shifted to Hellfire Feast if you really have bad mana problems and just don’t wanna stop breathing. fire.

Avatar with Improved Phoenix Cloak
This spec is the jack of all trades Avatar build, able to raid and do 6-mans while still being quite good for doing factions in Khitai and generally being self-sufficient with the survivability of the Possession tree mixed with the crushing damage of the Avatar tree. The dps of this build won’t be the absolute highest, but you get some self-preservation tools in the form of a double-duration Phoenix Cloak and the Molten Flesh spell, which is great in dealing with fire damage and is situationally very useful.

Avatar with Hell on Earth
If you really want to go deep into the Avatar tree and get Hell on Earth, this is how I would do it. You get the bare minimum to get both Avatar of Xotli and Hell on Earth, before reaching down to barely clear the three useful one point feats in Possession, picking up a bunch of spells for various situations along the way. You will probably be using this almost exclusively for raiding, to limit the handicap of Hell on Earth and maximize its usefulness.

Possession with Fire Lance
This build lets you go for burst potential of a Possession PVE build while keeping some feats from Avatar to give you the spreading Burn to Death and the Fire Lance combo, keeping some of the power from the Avatar tree for your combos. It’s more useful in fights where you won’t always be close to your enemy, such as Hollow Knight in T3, as you will be able to deal more damage from a safer distance.

Poss/Gen PvE
This build is designed to solely maximize the damage of your spells for PVE with a Possession build that brings in the buffing of Tome of Erlik from the general tree. This is an old classic that has held up well. Like the other Possession PVE spec, this lets you deal more damage from afar than what’s possible with an Avatar build, and should be considered for when the situation requires it.

PVP

Poss/Gen PvP
The classic PvP build, taking advantage of the survival feats from Possession and General trees to keep you alive as long as possible to let you do your damage.

Avatar PvP
While this is far less popular than Possession for PvP, Avatar can still be a potentially viable build to go heavily into. You sacrifice Purge from the General tree in order to get the necessary feats from the Avatar and Possession trees, grabbing Phoenix Wings in Possession while going down to Avatar of Xotli in the Avatar tree. This build lets you get two stuns in the form of both Desecrating Essence and Avatar of Xotli, and benefit heavily from the Red Shadows of Xotli AA with near-constant demo form as well as get a lower cooldown for a potential Enslaving Fire AA stun combo.

Leveling Gear


Getting gear for a HoX while leveling can be somewhat annoying even into the higher levels unless you find a guild that likes to run pre-80 dungeons. On the one hand, while HoX can use both Strength and Intelligence to boost its damage, a good deal more cloth armor is devoted to dex for assassins than it is to strength for HoX, so HoX still has to share a shrinking portion of the cloth armor pie with other mages, who might declare priority in loot drops that only have intelligence on them in dungeons. Furthermore, while there are two-handers dropped in the world that are good weapons in their own right, most of the decent HoX weapons are from dungeons - Vyre from Sanctum of Burning Souls, Hellfire from Cradle of Decay, Talion from Toirdealbach’s Tomb, and so on, while much of the armor you’ll find tends to be either entirely intelligence or entirely strength based, making itemization a mixed bag. It’s best to go for intelligence armor while leveling to make best use of your hellfire breath and let the melee damage come from the stats on any two-handers you can find. After the quest reward from Tortage, Keen Claidhmore is a common blue two-hander that can be picked up that offers good stats in the 30s, while Sanctum is frequently run for level 40s, making both Vyre and the HoX-specific cloth armor a chance of coming up for grabs. Gear becomes a bit sparse until you make it to the 60s, where by then a good two-hander can be picked up in Ymir’s Pass at the end of the questline, which should last you into the 70s. Personally, I don’t find the strength offered by the HoX-specific Dark Ember armor that’s dropped starting at level 40 to be all that useful, and I believe that you are better off with the Necro-specific Eidolon armor that gives a good chunk of intelligence. Other than drops, quest rewards are really the best way to get armor to tide you over to level 80. Below is a list of prominent pre-80 dungeon HoX pieces and where they drop.

Eldermind Hood and all the cloth wrists - Black Castle, Level 32
Vyre - Sanctum of Burning Souls, Level 40
Kel’Avashk Armor - Sanctum of Burning Souls, Level 40 (HoX specific armor, fight for it!)
Hellfire - Cradle of Decay, Level 43
Decayer, Flamelash, and Fleshflayer Gloves - Cradle of Decay, Level 43
All of the Accessories - Toirdealbach’s Tomb, Level 47 (Really, all of them are good for HoX)
All of the Accessories - Cistern and Main System, Level 53-57 (Same thing here)
All of the Cloth Armor - Cistern, Main System, and Catacoms, Level 53-59 (Check the stats)
Falchion of the Arena Master - Ardashir Arena, Turan (Really great if you have the expansion)
Cloak of Hugin or Munin - Quest from Amphitheatre of Karutonia, Level 63 (Either one works)
Hellfury Armor - Amphitheatre of Karutonia, Level 63

Fresh Level 80 - Where to Gear


So you just hit level 80 and are ready to start enjoying life in the clouds. Where to begin? If you have the Khitai Expansion, the choice is clear. All of the best, readily obtainable pieces HoX gear are to be found among the factions of Khitai or in the many, many dungeons scattered throughout the Far East. Forgotten City Unchained in the Gateway to Khitai map drops many useful accessories for a budding HoX, and pieces of Brittle Blade gear can be picked up early just by joining their faction and completing a few quests.

But how do you survive Khitai? You still only have random pieces of green gear from quests while leveling, and you’re not dressed to impress even going solo into Khitai. Should you raid for gear? Ehhhh…probably not. HoX does not get rewards from Tier 1 raiding that’s worth the trouble. The HoX armor and sword from the old world raids are mediocre at best, lacking critical rating altogether. The quest purples that are rewarded for doing Tier 1 are also useless. There’s the bow/crossbow reward for Yakhmar that benefits no one except Ranger, and there’s the cape reward for Vistrix that doesn’t give you the dps you so strongly desire. Besides, for the Yakhmar encounter in T1, you aren’t even allowed to damage the boss for the majority of the fight. In Tier 2, if you can get into one of those as a fresh 80, there are some slightly more viable options for HoX, but I’ll get into those later. All of the gear from Tier 1 and Tier 2 also potentially drop from World Bosses…yeah…

I would recommend buying a cheap set of level 80 blue cloth armor off the market to keep you alive while you do Khitai to the point where you have yourself some pieces of blue gear to work with. An entire set would set you back a gold or so at the very most, and that can be made back relatively quickly. I don’t recommend shelling out money for a Nemedian Cursecaller cultural set, as not only are the stats less than optimal, the set also looks fairly terrible, with the possible exception of the short-shorts for female heralds. From fresh 80 blues, you can quickly armor yourself in Khitai gear after doing a few quests in Grasslands, and work your way towards a full set of your chosen faction’s armor.

Getting accessories is possibly the easiest part of gearing a fresh 80 HoX. Forgotten City Unchained is manageable for a fresh 80 HoX and can quickly net you good rings and a necklace for dealing magic damage. And don’t forget the free purple accessory you get from completing your Destiny Quest that can last you for quite a while. The purple cape from the quest in Amphitheatre of Karutonia isn’t bad for a fresh 80 to wear, but if you really want a cape of your own, you can do Tarantia Commons and work your way through the questline to get the quests for Crow’s Nest that will net you some good fresh 80 blue accessories, including a cape.

Getting a decent first weapon is slightly trickier. The T1 HoX sword might as well be a pretty paperweight. Sure, it’s better than the sword you had before you were 80, but do you really want to get a sword that has such limited long-term use? the T2 HoX sword is worth mentioning only because its sheer stats are higher than other, more optimally designed weapons for how much effort you have to put in to get it. If you have the cash to burn and want your fresh 80 weapon right away, you can just buy yourself your first sword. In my personal opinion you have several options depending on how much money you have. Carnage is a cost-effective twohander on the market with decent damage and a little critical rating for a couple gold. A Vanaheim Raidbreaker with a Bel’s Mirth gem is a respectable weapon for a HoX, though the price can be a bit steep for some people. If you want something that looks cooler but is arguably not as useful, you can also drop some cash on a Blade of Black Bile, or slightly more cash for the Greatsword of the Death Master. Or if you have a high priest’s treasury sitting somewhere in a pyramid in Luxor, you can drop all of your money down someone’s throat for a Feather of Ibis, a very respectable weapon that many Heralds aspire for. But if you have that much money sitting around then why are you still reading this guide?

My personal recommendation for getting a HoX weapon boils down to how much help you’ll be getting in getting into group dungeons or raids. Xibaluku has some half-respectable two-handers if you are brave enough to go down there to get them. Otherwise, a quest for T2 nets you the Searing Sword, which is not a HoX-specific sword but has good stats and more importantly, critical rating. And while doing T2, you might get some pieces of armor that give better defenses than the paperweight defenses of some of the early Khitai blue armor. But inevitably, all roads lead to Khitai, and that is where you will want to go if you want good gear.

Buy

Silksteel Cloth Armor Set - Cloth Armor - Roughly 1 gold for the set
Carnage + Austere Brilliant Diamond - 2HE + Gem - 2 gold 50 silver
Vanaheim Raidbreaker + Moonstone of Bel’s Mirth + Igneous Marquise Jet - 2HE + Gem - 15 gold
Blade of Black Bile - 2HE - 25 gold
Feather of Ibis + Moonstone of Bel’s Mirth and other gems - 2HE + Gems - 500+ gold

Solo

Necklace of Tireless Sagacity - Necklace - Destiny Quest
Ring of Insightful Action - Ring - Destiny Quest
Ghostweave Drape - Cape - The Breach
Lacunal Nexus - Necklace - Forgotten City Unchained
Wreath of Ether - Ring - Forgotten City Unchained

Group

A Father’s Will - Ring - Crow’s Nest, Tarantia Commons
Jovian Spirit Cape - Cape - Crow’s Nest, Tarantia Commons
Lost Soul of Jovus - Crow’s Nest, Tarantia Commons
Darksun - 2HE - Xibaluku
Shadowdrinker - 2HE - Xibaluku

Raid

Rage of Xotli - 2HE - Tier 1 (Ugh)
Ardent Fire Cloth Set - Cloth Armor - Tier 1 ( :confused: )
Fury of Xotli - 2HE - Tier 2
Infernal Zeal Cloth Set - Cloth Armor - Tier 2
Searing Sword - 2HE - Tier 2 Quest

Faction Recommendations


For the most part, factions for HoX are an easy choice. However, not all of it is as obvious as it might first seem. Some factions offer situationally useful pieces of armor that might be handy to pick up just to slot in later to deal with various solo encounters, or might make progressing through Khitai that much easier just by where they’re situated. Here are my recommendations.

Brittle Blade vs Shadows of Jade
This one is easy. Brittle blade has the best dps set of armor out of all the factions, hands down. The Shadows HoX gear is terrible by comparison, and if you really want to dress like a Shadows member, their demo/necro gear is a better bet. But let’s be honest, the Brittle Blade HoX set is what you’ll want as a dps.

Wolves of the Steppes vs Hyrkanians
Having attempted to progress in each faction, I’ve found myself drawn to the sexy armor of the Wolves of the Steppes. Sure, Hyrkanians have Trial of Flame, which is one of the better swords for HoX, but there are other options for HoX to pick up that are just as good or almost just as good in Amphitheatre Unchained or elsewhere that were not available to past recommenders of Hyrkanians, while the Wolves offer a uniquely beefy set of armor that looks pretty damn amazing to boot. The damage on it isn’t as bad as some of the other HoX sets that we’ll cover later on in Khitai, and the survivability it offers can’t be matched by any other HoX set you can readily attain. So it’s fairly even which way you go with this faction choice, but my personal recommendation is that you choose the Wolves to make your life easier.

Scarlet Circle vs Last Legion
Here I make another recommendation against the grain. The Last Legion offer an intelligence cape, but I recommend the Scarlet Circle because, once again, the cloak the Last Legion offers is not the best, while the Scarlet Circle offers a cloak of its own that is almost just as good, alongside a set of protection bearing mage armor (don’t use the HoX set, it’s terrible, again, use the demo/necro set instead if you want to play SC dress-up) and most importantly, is easier to advance the storyline with thanks to Pra Eun’s status as a Scarlet Circle member. The actual benefits in gear from either of these factions is minimal.

Yellow Priests of Yun vs Children of Yag-Kosha
Children of Yag-Kosha offer a nice intelligence ring, but the Yellow Priests of Yun have a flute and naked dancers five times a day. I went for the flute. You should go for the ring.

Tamarin’s Tigers vs Scholars of Cheng-Ho
The Tigers have a very good intelligence necklace and tiger mounts. The Scholars have basically nothing going for them except maybe the Moon Child pet, with their armor being some of the worst offered by any faction, specializing in immunity of all stats. But in all honesty, that pet has nothing on a tiger mount. You should really go for the Tigers every time.

Non-Faction Acessories
Getting good accessories for HoX as a fresh level 80 is very easy, with Forgotten City Unchained offering Lacunal Nexus and Wreath of Ether as magic damage items, while the Breach offering Ghostweave Drape. From here, upgrading to better rings is quite easy with options open from Cang Jei’s quest and other places, while the Tigers necklace is a good upgrade to the Lacunal Nexus and better capes available from the Vile Nativity, among other places.


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