KNoC is not for everyone.

First up KNoC is a difficult class to support and (I think) requires a lot of other classes to work correctly. Where as, oh I want to be a Healer, could be accomplished with just 3 classes (I used Healer, Warrior, Crossbowman and could go on Epic hunts with a team). KNoC is not so kind. KNoC is an inner circle Mage with basically no support for any Mage Skills, limited Evasion, limited Power, limited special melee attacks and no Healing.

My point of reference: I took KNoC, Mage, Conjurer, Wizard, Battle Mage, Chaos Warrior, Berserker (Evasion & 2H Slash) and Healer to start. Working on Druid (Forest Mist), Sorcerer (Anti-Mage debuffs), Warrior(AoE), and Spiritist (Spirit Walk). KNoC might be the most versatile biped I have ever played.

So what special things can KNoC do? Well, what do you like?

Crafting (or more specifically Harvesting) Support: Summon Absorption Shield is a unique and powerful KNoC ability. It reduces your ability to do damage by a lot (70%) while protecting you near completely. It can be cast on others as well as on self (as long as you cast it on them first then yourself). When harvesting and eyeing that Motherload between 3 Mithril Golems, go get it and just ignore the Golems completely (no joke Ė it works, Iíve gone afk).

But the big shield is not your only special defense, you also get a stance at 80 called ĎArmoredí which reduces 30% damage output and 30% speed but adds +1000 Armor on a plate wearer. I have found it to be an effective middle ground in solo and small groups when I want to tap some of that Inner Circle Mage damage. Also of note switching stance takes very little time. So you can save the big hits, quick swap, bam bam bam and swap back. This works especially well if prepped with other abilities like Banish Armor or multi-cast / perfect spell.

The final damage output reducer 'defensive wall' requires the use of the summoned shield. -50% damage output for 15 seconds and +100 block. This is only really useful in single opponent fights, such as against an Epic (other than Elial), as blocking only works against the opponent you are attacking in melee. But late game play involves some daily epic hunting and if you are tanking an epic the summoned shield comes with an extra taunt (Brandish). Taunts in the game are weak, lasting only one hit, but they can keep damage off of squishier teammates in a pinch, and as far as I know KNoC is the only class to get a taunt in Istaria.

Summoned versus Crafted Weapon or Weapon and Shield: I feel this is situational and you will end up with both. There are some really neato techs you can put on crafted gear as well as epic gear that will outshine what you can summon in a number of cases. That said the abilities you get (which show as level 0 in character sheet only when the item is summoned) are pretty nice and include an accuracy debuffer on the weapon, with defensive wall and the extra taunt on the shield. I had originally thought it would be fun when harvesting to be able to summon a weapon even when overburdened. The practicality of this wanes in use as generally ignoring the walking nodes (which do not trigger bonus harvest crystals) in favor of hiding under the absorption shield is faster. Further, the only way to equip anything when holding a summoned weapon is to right click remove the weapon from your buff bar (meaning you cannot gather from your harvest nearest button and enjoy automatically grabbing that mining pick out of your tool bag).

So what you get (imho) is a high ceiling character which supports a few different play styles (and the ability to swap between them based on your mood).

Super Casual = Turn on all those defenses and use Shield Scrolls (damage not effected by your reducers) to kill. Just pull whatever you see and be patient (really patient). You will have to reset the Absorption Shield occasionally, and of course recast the shield scrolls on timer (bring more than one type of shield scroll)

Half Casual (Solo) = Use the Armored Stance and go nuts, if you get in trouble you can always pull that Absorption Shield up. Watch out for mob types that avoid armor (i.e. ethereal damage).

Tank & Damage for a Healer = Put the shield on them and let them heal you while you show off what inner circle mage can do for damage, backed by some pretty good melee abilities.

High Ceiling = Try KNoC as KNoC. Bring up and down your defenses and offenses to maximize both. You will be scary busy, but glimpses of that high ceiling will be evident.

Natti