So with the Growing Weapon event, a lot of people made Battle Mages and all the useful info is buried in a huge megathread. Since nobody's writing a guide I figured I'd post a simple skill overview and answers for the most frequently asked questions. I don't claim to be an expert on the class, but I feel like I understand the basics pretty well. Everything here is either my personal experience or something I've learned from other knowledgeable players. Comments from other battle mage players are appreciated. Spoiler: Skeleton build Fire Chaser/ Palm Blast (Max) Water Chaser/ Dragon Fang (Max) Shadow Chaser/ Stabbing Wheel (Max) Light Chaser/ Sky Assault (Max) Neutral Chaser/ Pole Master's Expertise (Max) All Chaser skills are paired with an associated physical skill, which automatically levels up by one point for each point you put in the chaser. Conveniently, each of the paired physical skills generates the associated chaser when it hits an enemy. Neutral chaser is generated from the third hit of the basic X-string attack combo (which, for battle mages, has brief super armor at the start of each swing). A chaser is basically a little bubble of magic energy that floats along behind you. They can be used in various ways, but the way that matters in terms of levels is that they all do fixed magic damage when launched, and generate an associated buff when they're consumed. Chasers come in two sizes, normal and giant. Giant chasers are generated if your combo count is 15 or higher at the time it would be created, and deal a lot more damage than the normal-sized one. Being able to combo smoothly is therefore directly relevant to Battle Mage damage (and it's also why extra hit effects like Growing or Liberation weapon are so good). Max all of them. Whether or not you lean physical or magical, you'll be using these skills frequently, and the buffs are both very strong and crucial to playing the class correctly. Fire chaser buffs more than +400 Str/Int at max level, Shadow chaser is +35% physical/magical crit, and so forth. The in-game descriptions for all the chasers are a complete mess. The wording can be interpreted to say that just having the chaser gives you the buff, instead of getting the buff when you consume them, which is just wrong. Shadow Chaser claims it does the most damage when it doesn't. Neutral Chaser says that it buffs physical critical but it actually buffs move speed. All the descriptions imply that a medium sized chaser exists when it doesn't. Just don't believe anything the descriptions say. Chaser Launcher (automatic max) Combined with the chaser skills above, this is essentially the core of battle mage play. Chaser Launcher lights up for 0.3 seconds after you strike an enemy with any skill that isn't Chaser Launcher. If you can push the button during this window – and it does take a little practice to get the timing down – your oldest chaser shoots forth at whatever it is you hit, striking it and doing small AoE splash for magic fixed damage of whatever element the chaser was. And, in case you forgot, that means you get the buff from the chaser you just fired. So in theory battle mage play is pretty simple. Hit things, get chasers, shoot chasers. All battle mages will do this, if they want to be playing optimally. Unlike Exorcists, “physical” and “magical” battle mages play basically the same way. All battle mages deal physical percent damage and magic fixed damage, and leaning one way or the other just tends to change what proportion of your damage comes from each source. Spear Mastery (0, max) Pole Mastery (0, max) Pick the one that corresponds with your weapon and max it. Spear Mastery raises physical attack, hit rate, and physical crit. Pole mastery raises all of those things and also grants magic crit equal to the physical crit. At max, Spear Mastery gives 40% physical attack, 6% hit rate, and 12% physical critical. At max, Pole Mastery gives 40% physical attack, 6% hit rate, 11.7% physical critical, and 11.7% magic critical. In general, giving up 0.3% physical crit is a good trade for 11.7% magic crit, so Pole Mastery is just better...at least for the leveling portion of the game. Chaser Generator (max) Passive buff that regularly generates chasers even when you aren't hitting things, but importantly also grants you a chance to generate extra chasers whenever you hit something with an attack or get style points (those points on the right side that determine your dungeon ranking). That means all kinds of ordinarily non-chaser-generating moves will now also give you chasers, and in some cases a lot of chasers. If the move doesn't normally generate a chaser, Generator will just give you another of the type most recently created. More chasers equals more damage, mostly. It isn't hard to see why you max this. Fusion Chaser (max) This is an attack that combines your two oldest chasers which uses the Palm Blast/second x-attack animation with super armor from start to finish. You get one of three effects based on whether your chasers are the same, opposing, or different but not opposing. All of the effects are fine and it's not worth trying to go for a specific one. The damage of the attack is based on the values of the combined chasers, but whichever two you combined it's very high. Maxed Fusion Chaser should easily be one of the hardest-hitting single hits you can deliver. On top of that, striking something with Fusion Chaser grants you a buff to strength, intelligence, and critical rate for both physical and magical. This buff stacks with Fire Chaser, Shadow Chaser, and even itself if you Fusion Chaser more than once within the duration. At the non-contracted max of 28 the buff is 134 str/int and +24% crit rate. You can charge Fusion Chaser by holding the key for extra damage, but it's very rarely correct to do so. It doesn't have a huge hitbox and it's very easy for your target to wander out of the way if you charge it. It's way more important to just connect with it to keep your buffs rolling. A missed Fusion Chaser eats the chasers and doesn't give you anything. Full Swing (1, 10, sp dump) This is a baseball-style windup and swing with Super Armor that hits a forward facing arc with a little bit of Y-axis reach. It does pure percent physical damage, and amongst the generally mediocre percentages for battle mage physical skills, Full Swing's not bad. You want at least one point to unlock the higher level skill; past that is up to you. Ten points unlocks the TP, which is a reasonable utility upgrade even if you aren't using it for damage. The upside for Full Swing is that it has a relatively short cooldown and it's flexible enough to slot into combos easily. The downside is that it's not really super powerful even when maxed, but very few battle mage physical skills fall into that category. At some point even magic-focused battle mage players will have to pick one or two of the mediocre physical skills and put some points into them because there's nowhere else to put them. Full Swing's not a bad choice. Punto Wave (1, 10, max) This consists of 9-15 stab attacks directly forward that do very little damage, followed by a very large Full Swing-like finisher that does substantially more. All of the attacks are percent physical, although the stabs in particular are a very low percentage. At level 26, each stab does 77% physical damage, which is pretty close to nothing even if you have a great weapon. The reason why Punto Wave is still critically important for Battle Mages is that it reduces the cooldown of Chaser Launcher while it's active, allowing you to fire a chaser with each stab if you spam the key fast enough. Combined with Chaser Generator, Punto Wave will continue to fuel itself with new chasers, making this move a reliable chaser machine gun and one of your best damage skills even at level 1. You also have to spam X or the Punto Wave key in order to get it to the max amount of stabs, so I suggest putting this and Chaser Launcher on keys that you can alternately press very quickly. Raising the level of Punto Wave doesn't really do much of note. Level 10 unlocks the TP, which can be used to add extra stabs, which is pretty good. Beyond that the only real effect is raising the damage of the finisher. You can cancel directly into it by pushing Z as a pseudo-Full Swing effect. Not great, but again, you'll have to pick a skill or two to raise anyway, and Punto Wave is an acceptable option. Dragon Strike (1, sp dump, max) Formerly known as Golden Dragon Spear, this ability summons that spear and stabs it forward, super holding everything in its path. Then it generates seven fixed-damage “dragon chasers” and slams those into the enemies for additional damage, followed by an explosion. Like most percentage skills for Battle Mage the percentage on this is low. The dragon chasers and the explosion are fixed damage but the fixed values on this are not very high either. The primary benefit of this ability, and why you want at least one point, is that just like Punto Wave, Dragon Strike lowers Chaser Launcher's cooldown while active. During the entire duration of the ability you can machine-gun chasers at the targets, and it's just as good for this purpose at level 1 as it is at max. Raising the level increases the damage it does, but no amount of leveling is really going to make it deal significant damage in addition to your chasers. If you're looking for a damage skill to raise it isn't the worst, but for the most part since the skill does almost everything you want it to do at level 1, I recommend leaving it there. Battle Groove (max) Passively grants a strength, intelligence and evasion boost based on your combo count. Just like with generating giant chasers, combo count really matters, and this is another place where extra hit effects are really good. There are six stages to Battle Groove, indicating points at which the buff “levels up”, and stage 6, the highest, is accomplished at 116+ hits. Even if you don't get 116 hits on everything, the early stages are easy to get to and offer huge benefits, and it won't be too hard to combo up on anything you actually need stage 6 on. At the non-contract max of 13, Battle Groove offers over 800 str/int and over 33% evasion at stage 6. You want this. Teana Transformation (auto-max) This is the first Awakening Active, and upon use you transform into a different and much larger form that also has a much larger weapon. It also disables all of your skills except buff skills, and you get exactly three different skills while transformed: Chaser Launcher, an uppercut on Z, and a brief AoE super hold on back-forward Z. Add the X-attack and that's all you get to do. During the transformation you have super armor and can't die; anything that would kill you ends the transformation with you at 1 hp instead. Also, instead of regular chasers you create Teana Chasers which deal physical percent damage. Even for more physically-oriented Battle Mages, Teana isn't a huge damage increase (and is probably a decrease before level 6 at the least). All of your skills being disabled means that you can't use your high-damage moves, and, equally crucially, lose access to all your buffs. The compensation is that the normal X attack hits a huge sweeping area, including enemies that are flying that are normally very hard to hit, and that the AoE hold has a very low cooldown, which makes it good for supporting parties. Also, the super armor functions as an effective damage increase against enemies that are normally very hard to approach. You need at least 4 chasers to transform; any extras get turned into Teana Chasers. This counts as consuming the chasers for the purposes of obtaining their buffs. Enchanted Swing (1, sp dump, max) A bigger full swing that requires a chaser to use. If you have more than one it'll consume your oldest one. This attack hits in the same arc as Full Swing but with a much larger radius, and it applies a debuff to every target struck that depends on the type of chaser. The two relevant ones are Fire (reduced physical defense) and Water (reduced magical defense). You'll want to tag anything big with whichever one of these debuffs is better for you – usually Water, even if you are a “physical” build. The All-In-One patch significantly reduced the values on these debuffs, but every little bit still counts, especially when you get it for just one point. Leveling this skill raises the debuff magnitude by a little bit, and raises the damage percentage by a lot. It has a pretty reasonable damage percentage but on a ~30 second cooldown it isn't a thing you do all the time. Like Dragon Strike the skill does most of what you want it to do at level 1, but this is also a fine place to drop extra SP. Ultimate Punto Wave (1,max) Just like Punto Wave except that it stabs faster, has a longer range, and the finisher is a massive blast of energy with huge range. A third chaser machine-gun skill is always welcome, and the finisher for Ultimate Punto Wave has some real teeth to it. You can also cancel into it with Z. I recommend maxing this because the Ultimate Punto Wave finisher is almost the only battle mage skill that actually does good damage without having to rely on chasers. It's still not spectacular compared to what other classes get, but it's one of the best things for this class. That said, it still performs fine at level 1 if you want SP elsewhere. Multirole (1) Passive that sets whichever is lower of your strength or intelligence to equal the other one. Also provides a small amount of strength, intelligence, and physical/magical crit. This is where the physical/magical line, which was already blurry, gets even more blurred. Since all battle mages deal both physical and magical damage, a point in this is a must take. In addition to this the first point gives around 250 str/int and a small amount of physical/magical crit. Raising this skill costs 80 sp per level for a tiny amount of stats. By this time your shadow chaser and fusion chaser should be crit capping you even without gear, so the crit doesn't even do anything. I suppose if you have really nowhere else to put SP you can put some here, but it strikes me as incredibly inefficient to do so. Apostlize (1, max) The Second Awakening Active is an additional transformation that requires 2 chasers and can only be activated when already in Teana Transformation. Like Teana, Apostlize grants Super Armor for its duration. Unlike Teana, you have full access to all of your skills while transformed. In addition to that, all of your chasers become Dragon Chasers (not the same as Dragon Strike chasers) that grant all of your chaser buffs at once when consumed and which deal physical percent damage. You're also immune to all abnormal status. Finally, when the transformation ends, either by pushing Apostlize again or running out the duration, you'll perform a screenwide physical percent attack with a very high percentage. Similar to Teana, depending on your stats you may not actually see a damage increase in Apostlized form. Aside from a small strength/intelligence boost, all you get is a bonus to your basic x-attacks. If your physical attack stat isn't keeping up, the dragon chasers will probably wind up doing less damage than your normal chasers. The reason why I still recommend a point in the skill in the skeleton build is that the combination of super armor and status immunity can trivialize some otherwise tricky situations even if your damage is the same or slightly lower. Obviously if you're really skilled you may not need Apostlize to bail you out, but equally obviously for players new to the class it's better to have the escape button than not. Spoiler: Other class and subclass skills Focus: Physical Critical (0) Focus: Magical Critical (0) I don't recommend either of these. You can throw some points in while leveling but you already get so much crit just from your own skills that by even middling-high levels these skills are doing virtually nothing for you. With zero crit enchants at level 85 you should easily be at 100% without even having to stack Fusion Chaser with itself. Mana Shield (1, sp dump, max) Absorbs some damage into mana. As the only melee F.Mage, this is probably more useful for the battle mage than for any of the other subclasses. There's even a subclass specific passive that makes it better. Really a personal preference thing. If you feel like you're dying too much, or just taking too much damage, it doesn't cost a lot of SP to max this out. If you're a real pro and don't need this, that's also fine. Ancient Library (0, sp dump, max) Minor mana restoration and int boost. While leveling the mana restoration might actually be more important. Otherwise, raised intelligence is hardly a bad thing, but you might find better places for the SP. Purely magic builds may find this enticing instead of plugging points into a mediocre physical skill. At max, 20, you get 265 int for 500 sp. Phase Shift (1, max) Shifting out of hitstun and knockdown is very valuable, but you get that with 1 point. Maxing it reduces the cooldown, which I can see as being very useful in some situations. For general dungeon PvE one point is enough. Double Swing (0, 1, sp dump) Just what it says on the label. Two overhead smash swings on whatever's directly in front of you. The second swing has a small AoE, and you can launch a chaser on each swing. All the damage done is physical percent. Like the other physical skills the percent is kind of small. I suppose if you're really committed to being physical you can put points in this, but I wouldn't bother. Even for people who love physical percents this just isn't enough of them to be worth the SP. One point gets you the OTG if that's something you're interested in. Otherwise this is totally skippable. Time Bomb (0,1, sp dump) Stab forward and stick a time bomb on whatever you hit, which lasts 12 seconds, dealing small damage over time and then exploding for slightly more damage. Anything with a bomb stuck to it takes a small penalty to magic defense. The damage is pretty unimpressive and the debuff basically unnoticeable at higher levels. The value in Time Bomb is that each tick of the bomb counts as a combo hit and so it lets you build and maintain your combo count without actively having to hit things. That's pretty nice but it's also a benefit you need just one point to get. I suppose if I were to come up with some reason to put more points in Time Bomb, it's that it's probably a very slight damage increase because it ticks while you're doing other things, notably making and launching chasers. The debuff increases in magnitude as well, but it's a fixed value rather than a percentage so it's more impactful on easier content. From what I can tell it does basically nothing in True Ancients. I'm not at all convinced it's worth the SP for that purpose. Chaser Press (0, 1, max) Combines all of your current chasers into one giant ball of energy, which you then slam into the ground for AoE damage around your current position, dealing some percentage of all of the chasers' combined damage. It maxes at 10, where it deals 100% of the chasers' combined damage. The size of the explosion depends on how many chasers you feed into it: at 8 chasers you get about a screen's worth of real estate. A fully leveled Press can get to some pretty scary damage, so if you're interested in that, maxing this skill isn't the worst. Area damage in particular is kind of a weakness of battle mages in general, so for early dungeoning I will put a slight recommendation on Chaser Press. Later when Press isn't one-shotting rooms any more it gets less appealing, and especially when you get to Otherverse our best set really doesn't want you using this at all. There's some one-point utility to Press: each chaser used for it grants you its buff when the Press hits, so it's a good way to buff up quickly if you have all different chasers, or if you just want to refresh your buff with chasers that are soon to expire. Also, once Generator is fully leveled, sometimes you can wind up stuck with all of the same kind of chaser and need some way to get rid of them so you can generate new ones of a different kind, and Press can do that for you too. Finally, there's a bug where if you have the Evolution Chaser buff and you fire off a normal chaser, it consumes a huge amount of mana (where it normally doesn't). Pressing off the old chasers makes sure you don't bleed yourself dry by accident. If you don't need that utility, just skip it. Meteor Assault (0, max) Dash forward surrounded by energy, delivering a single hit of physical percent damage and huge knockback to anything in your way, then hop back to your starting position. The skill can be charged for extra damage and super armor. It's a controversial skill because it looks cool and delivers a big hit, but functionally it's not doing as much damage as one of the chaser machine-gun cubes would do. To top it off, it's a little cumbersome to include in combos. I wouldn't recommend this even for “physical” builds. That said, you have to pick something, and if this catches your interest, fine. If you really want to dash like a meteor you might as well max it. It has no utility to speak of so unless you're all-in, get out. Chaser Evolution (1, sp dump, max) A buff that causes all chasers generated while it's active to become Evolution Chasers. When you cast the buff, you pick an element that the chasers will take on. These differ from regular chasers in three ways. Firstly, when you consume them they give you all your chaser buffs at once. Secondly, instead of doing area splash damage, they only hit the exact target you launched them at. Lastly, instead of doing all their damage in one hit, they do it across 5 separate hits, although they're very closely spaced. The damage of the chaser is based on the selected element, with a multiplier. You can even use this ability while Apostlized and it will replace the Dragon Chasers. Depending on your build you may see a damage increase from this. Being only a single-target ability limits how good Evolution Chasers are. You probably don't want to have this buff up all the time, since most dungeons involve hitting more than one thing most of the time. It's convenient to buff up all at once, but it's better to just use regular chasers and buff up the hard way if there are multiple targets. The way Evolution Chaser deals its damage in 5 hits gives it some 1-point utility value. Launch enough of these at a target vulnerable to hitstun and it will be functionally paralyzed by it. There are even bosses that can't get out of Evolution Chaser. This even works on some bosses that would otherwise be immune to holds. Additional levels in this skill raise the damage. Sometimes you really want to hit one thing really hard. In that case, Evolution Chaser away. Chaser Launcher EX (0, 1, max) If you ever wondered why battle mage is called bug mage, this skill is probably 50% of the reason. In theory, what this does is mash together up to three of your chasers into a mega-chaser and shoot that at a target for huge damage. Most of the time it actually does that, or something like that, and for that reason it's worth consideration. Especially at higher levels, you often have way more chasers than you can launch with regular Chaser Launcher, and cashing more of them in for damage should be an absolute no-brainer. That said, sometimes Chaser Launcher EX malfunctions. Sometimes the mega-chaser you shoot just randomly explodes for no reason short of its target and doesn't damage anything. If you have the regular Chaser Launcher TP, the mega-chaser's area damage is reduced by 99%, so EX becomes just a single-target attack. If you use this while Apostlized, for some reason the resulting chaser will be a percent magic attack, even though basically none of our other abilities deal percent magic damage and our magic attack value is always half or less than our physical attack value. Even with the bugs holding it back, EX is still worth at least one point, if only as a way to use up chasers. If you can't handle the bugs, it's okay to skip it. The raw numbers on the skill would make it an auto-max if there weren't any bugs, and the bugs don't happen all the time, so maxing the skill is still completely defensible as well. Spoiler: TP Skills Basic Training Upgrade Considering how often Battle Mages use X, this is probably one of the best classes for Basic Training TP. That doesn't necessarily mean that you should take it. For what it's worth, it does help out your Apostlize x-attack damage as well. A reasonable default option if you can't think of anything else. Chaser Generator Upgrade Increases the rate at which generator produces chasers and raises the chance that the generated chaser is giant when it otherwise wouldn't be. Neither of these effects is what you really care about; 15 combo for giant chasers is very easy, and the automatic increase is just a handful of extra chasers total across the whole duration of the ability. Skip. Chaser Launcher Upgrade Increase the damage of all launched chasers by 10% and grants a substantial amount of bonus time to Launcher's timing window after an attack. 10% damage on all launched chasers is not a small amount, and for only 2 TP. That said, this does bug out EX Chaser Launcher's AoE damage, as previously discussed. I think it's an acceptable trade. I don't like that it IS a trade because of bugs, but I can't do anything about that. Chaser Press Upgrade If you're playing with maxed Press, extending out the range is probably nice, but there are probably better ways to spend the TP. If you're all-in on Press (like with tainted gear imbues), go for it, otherwise skip. Chaser Upgrade Increases capacity by 2. Really more of a convenience thing, since it lowers the chance that you get trapped by Generator into all of the same chaser, especially considering that our best OV set has capacity -2. Of course you could always find some other way to change up your chasers. Being able to hold more chasers is also an indirect buff to Chaser Press. Double Swing Upgrade I don't like the base skill, but if you do, then you probably max that and take this. Dragon Strike Upgrade If Dragon Strike was where you dumped your spare SP, this isn't a bad home for your spare TP. Full Swing Upgrade Reasonably okay even if your Full Swing isn't too high. One of Full Swing's disadvantages is that the windup takes a fraction of a second and you can be interrupted or the monster can move away. This TP actually makes you swing faster, so it mitigates a disadvantage as well as increasing damage, which is useful even if you're just using Full Swing to tag monsters on the Y-axis for a chaser launch. Fusion Chaser Upgrade Raises the damage and the value of the buff. A solid option since you should be hitting Fusion Chaser every chance you get. The value of the bonus is not very large, but it should be applying almost all the time. Meteor Assault Upgrade I suppose if you still want the skill after everything I said about it you want this too. Punto Wave Upgrade One extra poke per level and 10% damage to the finisher. Each extra poke is basically a chance at another chaser created and another launch guaranteed. Really solid choice to make your rapid fire even better. Stabbing Wheel Upgrade One point lets you grab an unlimited amount of targets with Stabbing Wheel and is a must. Past that it just raises the damage and shockwave range – not particularly interesting things. Time Bomb Upgrade Slight increase in damage and debuff magnitude. I guess if Time Bomb's working for you this is worth a look, but it doesn't seem great to me. Spoiler: Battle Mage FAQ 1) Spear or Pole? The most popular question, but much less of a big deal than people think it is. Whether or not you use a spear or a pole, battle mages play the same way and do the same things: combo, generate chasers, shoot chasers. It's not like Exos where you wear a different set of gear and use a different set of skills; you wear the exact same gear and the majority of your skill selection is the same. Sure, there can be some crazy physical battle mage who refuses to shoot chasers, but even that crazy person would have to admit that they weren't playing optimally. And it's not even possible to have a magic battle mage who avoids physical attacks since basically every battle mage skill is a physical attack, including all the chaser generating skills. What the spear vs pole question comes down to is, given the near-identical playstyle, what does each weapon offer? Poles give you extra magic crit from Pole Mastery, extra Int on the weapon, and attack faster. Spears have a little extra range and a little more physical attack. That's it. What I'm getting at is that especially while leveling, the differences just aren't big enough to care about. If you want an “optimal” answer as to which growing weapon to take, it's a pole, because the faster attacks and extra magic crit far outweigh the spear's extra physical attack for that stage of the game, and the range is pretty meaningless. But you can take a spear and do exactly the same things and you won't be tremendously disadvantaged. Taking one or the other doesn't commit you to any particular path. The “optimal” path is probably to level with a pole and grab a spear once you're 85 with endgame gear, but even then that depends on what endgame gear you're going for. More on that later. 2) I don't know what I'm doing, how do I play this class? Playing a battle mage is really just a few nested minigames. The first one is generating and shooting chasers, which should be fairly easy to learn: use your fundamental skills and then launch the resulting chaser. After that, chaining together these moves and chaser launches into a combo is probably the second-level minigame, and you really only get better at it through practice. After playing for a while you get a feel for the cooldowns and when to fill in the gaps with your X-attack. The third-level minigame is chaser and buff management. It's possible to just mash moves and Chaser Launcher and not care about which chasers you're creating, and that's not totally ineffective. But to play the class at a higher level you're going to have to make sure you're constantly buffed correctly. Battle mages weren't given all these buffs for no reason, and missing 400+ str/int and 38% crit is definitely going to impact your damage. At a minimum that means making sure that you generate and launch one fire and one shadow chaser every 30 seconds. Adding the others is a matter of personal preference and depends on how hard you want to be on yourself. Especially tricky is that at higher levels, Chaser Generator will frequently fill up your chaser capacity with chasers of the same type, so you have to sequence your moves to plan ahead to create space. Once you've got that down, the rest is easy. Keep your buffs rolling, hit things, hit things with chasers, machine-gun them with your cubes when you can. 3) I just hit 85. What endgame gear am I aiming for? The generally accepted best endgame setup for battle mages is Relentless Chaser 9-set, acquired in Otherverse A (OV2). All the bonuses are great and the penalty to Chaser Press is acceptable. As with any chronicle set it may take some time to farm but hopefully not an excessive amount of time. Death Sentence, Adrenaline Shock, and Dual Steady Fast are usually mentioned as the other workable options but I have no direct experience with any of them. The typical slots are all except weapon and magic stone, with the magic stone slot being filled with an elemental tear or the Forgotten Land Iridescent Metastatic Ore. I prefer +all elemental damage for the slot but if you intend to make more use of Evolution Chaser you can focus one element and just use Evolution Chaser to force all of your chasers to be that element. At our patch point the “best” thing is an epic gear setup with Magic Cataclysm and Refined Amnesia Stone Ring that essentially lets you transform and stay transformed all the time while vastly increasing the damage you do while transformed. Whether this is a realistic goal for you depends on your money and your patience. Short of an epic, the best weapon to get is the Requiem/Liberation weapon from the Ancient dungeons. The extra damage effect on it is an extra hit effect, which essentially cuts all of our combo count requirements in half. Even some epics don't measure up to that. Either pole or spear is fine. If you're planning to farm other epics and to eventually get Magic Cataclysm/Refined Amnesia Stone Ring you should probably get a spear, although if you're going to do that you should get an epic spear anyway. 4) Okay, seriously, what's up with all these bugs? I'm not going to recap the bugs; there's a better post in this same forum that does it better than anything I could do. There's really no doubt that battle mage is the buggiest class in the game. But it's not like you play the class and DFO crashes to desktop. There's really only one bug where bad things can happen, and that's the Evolution Chaser mana bug. Otherwise, all the other bugs are just ways in which the class is weaker than it should be. That isn't a small thing since, as you may have deduced from my comments on various skills, the class isn't really that powerful to begin with. Of course the class is good enough to do all the content we have now, but in the grand scheme of things none of it is hard enough to be testing the limits of class balance in any meaningful way. Realistically speaking the power level of the class isn't where it should be to start. My point is that the bugs are best understood as part of a larger problem of developer neglect. The class desperately needs a balance pass, just to tune up some of the numbers, and probably has needed one for a while. These bugs have been known for over a year, which is a long time to leave clearly nonfunctional programming in the game. It's not a good feeling to look at kDNF, which is usually kind of a preview for interesting things coming up, and see that they haven't even fixed those bugs there yet. I can't imagine what it would feel like to be an actual kDNF battle mage player. In DFOG right now, the bugs shouldn't impair the performance of the class to where anything is not possible to do. Whether or not they impair your subjective experience with the class is up to you.