These are simply my notes about playing on Warrior difficulty – not a full walkthrough. If you don’t want to go in blind and waste time, but without having your hand held at every step and everything spoiled, it should be about right.
Guides such as puzzles and riddles solutions, the properties of liquids in barrels, secret doors locations, relic locations, etc. are easily found elsewhere on the interclicks.
I went in with a heavy-duty but not super-optimised party (Runepriest / Hunter / Freemage / Druid). Yet a lot of combinations are viable, even on Warrior. You don’t need “the best”.
Stuff that helps when creating the party
- Expert in Prime by level 3, and the Identify spell. Do not have *anything* identified before that, money is scarce in Warrior mode until Act III. But keep in mind that Prime magic won’t do much more for you until you’re in Karthal to unlock Master (and get the Implode spell). Although the ward against all magic forms (stacking with more specific wards *and* crystals) is also an appreciable side benefit. By Act 3 you’ll have money, but free Identifies greatly help during the early, harder stages of the game.
Master in Primer magic also brings the Beacon spell, sold in Karthal. Since so much of Act III involves criss-crossing the map dozens of time, this spell is appreciable.
- A Light magic caster for Crusader Armour. This provides an important HP buffer, which also protects against mana drain from transparent spiders. It’s a robust anti-ambush and boss management tool. Light magic also has its trainers easily unlocked, so you’ll only be held back by promotion for grandmastery.
- Expert Fire magic for the Burning Determination spell (sold in Sorpigal, but not in Seahaven). It starts being useful as soon as you run into guys with a shield bash. Keep in mind that stunned, paralysed, etc. characters do not get xp when an opponent dies. So Burning Determination *is* an xp booster as well.
Fire is also excellent DPS against the naga and some sorts of undead.
It’s not *mandatory*, though. With enough knowledge of the game you can do without Prime or Light. Going without Fire, I’m more skeptical about. But for your first playthrough on Warrior, having these three schools in your party loadout is recommended.
Having two healers (a “healer” is a person with Light and/or Earth magic) is safer. If your only healer is incapacitated and nobody can revive them, well… Also make sure that both healers don’t run out of mana at the exact same time.
A common approach on Warrior is to have everybody start with one point in a ranged weapon. As often in RPGs the early levels can be the toughest. But you often can manoeuvre (when not ambushed…) to get several rounds of fire to soften up some early encounter. For mages, it’s also better damage than foci during the early levels.
Not wasting points
Do not spread points around. Ideally, you should always be beelining for a specific skill expertise/mastery/grandmastery you know you can unlock.
Now, in practice, this is seldom feasible. Because in practice :
- For your main skills, it is quite common to be ready to get to the next tier before you can actually reach a trainer to do that. So keep a small cluster of core skills filled as far as feasible, and when you access relevant trainers whip out the chequebook. Gaining access to a new city means an expensive training spending spree.
- If you know you’ll be unlocking the next tier of your main skill in 1-3 levels, you may want to stockpile points until then. Don’t put points in lesser skills because you want to spend the points you have *now*.
- One point in projectile weapons will help during the earliest stages, as discussed above.
- One point in medium armor, focus and/or shield is sufficient to equip markedly better equipment, for many classes.
Even with two Grandmaster healers, Endurance helps with burst damage and characters getting focus-fired on. And Mysticism grants your casters extra rounds of activity in combat. Namely, the rounds not spend drinking potions. It’s not critical, but it helps with the most important rounds of a fight – the early ones.
As always in RPGs, plan character development ahead and stick to it. Of course, it’s markedly more difficult in your first playthrough, when you don’t know the skills and spells well yet.
For a reasonably thorough playthrough, you’ll reach the final stretch — with a point of no return — a bit before level 31. That’s *without* any DLC, Deluxe content, unlockables, whatever. The final stretch of the main story will gain you about two additional levels, but there are no trainers during that span.
Attack the block
Melee characters *need* a way to get past blocks, starting with the moment you run into… well, it becomes necessary within minutes of leaving Sorpigal. There aren’t too many ways around this :
- Warfare Expert gives an unblockable attack. But it requires mana. So do raise the Spirit of that character to 9-ish during the early levels. Also keep a stack of the smallest mana potions, since they’ll be sufficient for Warfare Experts (but not for higher skill levels, or characters with more Spirit).
- Light magic has a cool melee spell that prevents Blocks. However, in difficult fights your Light magic guy will be renewing Crusader Armour almost every turn.
- Dual-wielding characters with lots of attacks will exhaust enemy blocks through sheer volume.
- Coordination between characters, with one throwing in a minor melee attack to have an opponent (perhaps) spend a block for this round. This is useful at points, especially early on. But later on everybody has better things to do.
- The Acid Splash spell also helps, but it isn’t sufficient. Consider it a good reinforcement for tactics that exhaust enemy blocks.
Feeblemind is a condition that prevents *any* spellcasting. Blackfang brigands are trigger-happy with it, among others. It can easily cripple the party.
You’ll might find pieces of jewelry with 100% feeblemind protection before you really need them. Also keep an eye on merchant stock for those. Start by putting the feeblemind prevention jewellery on the characters who can dispel feeblemind, obvs. That would be Air Magic, though the Dispel Magic from Prime Magic can be used if the situation’s bad enough.
Paralysis is another major pain in the arse. Normally you have the burning determination buff on, but sometimes things get screwy. ”Water flow freely” scrolls are thus good to have – IME paralysis tends to target your Water Magic guy.
About other schools
Even at low levels, Air Magic provides you with Gust of Wind and Eagle Eye. Gust of wind is great to keep a simple non-boss, not-too-resistant-to-air opponent at bay. It can save potions for a party at the tail end of a fight that broke bad, and is great during early encounters with blockers or ambushers.
Eagle Eye boosting Perception can be critical to open secret doors if your party doesn’t have a Perception expert. On higher levels, Air brings nice DPS but you need to have access to the Crag.
Even at Novice level, Dark magic provides you with a low-light vision spell, a secrets detection spell (for the spans of time without Rosalie, Spike or a certain dragon blessing) and a ward against Dark damage (which is great against ghosts). Pretty great for one point.
Earth magic is loaded with great utility, healing and foe softeners. Regeneration, stone skin, poison blasts, poison remover, entangler… However, it loses utility against bosses, earth elementals and the undead due to immunities. And you can’t Master it before the Crag.
Water magic has nice stuff. Water ward against naga priestesses, ice spells that lower enemy attack rate, excellent protection through liquid membrane… But you also need to access the Crag.
Magic Focus works surprisingly well even as a mere Expert if you have the relic from the Ubisoft pack. And the critical chances this skill provides are usually key to a DPS mage build.
Items, barrels, elixirs, etc. that improve abilities shouldn’t be spread around in most case, but focused on a specific character. For instance :
- White liquid barrels on your Perception guy (who’ll be a physical fighter). You need to beat the difficulty threshold of Perception-based secret doors. Perception is especially useful on characters who cannot Grandmaster their physical attack skill.
- Resistance boosting liquids barrel on healers, to maximise the chance of still having a healer standing even after big magic onslaughts.
- Destiny points on your main criticals guy, preferably a physical damage one.
- Vitality/health elixirs on the character with the lowest health, since so many attacks in the game are AoE. Once you don’t have a markedly weaker link health-wise, consider focusing on one healer instead, so they remain standing to save the day.
Avoiding a weak link is chiefly to improve the chances of a simple Regeneration (or Heal Party) keeping everybody up even if they get knocked out. Rather than having to resurrect them in mid-fight.
- Spirit/mana elixirs on the person who can least afford to take pot breaks, and consumes the most expensive mana pots. This likely means (again) a healer.
Plan your vacation in Ashan
The main difficulty in M&MX:L is that it’s a mind-reading exercise to determine in which order you’re meant to do things so you don’t run into overwhelming opposition. Especially on Warrior mode, where you can’t afford to routinely burn through stacks of potions during the first half of the game.
You can consider :
- Taking the Maximus quest *before* you open any barrel in town. If only to have antidotes at hand before fighting any giant spider.
- Buying the Cure Poison spell first, to save on antidotes. Spiders and some brigands poison like they’re no tomorrow.
- Clearing the wilderness of most everything (not the two spectres in front of the Cursed Ruins…) before tangling with the lighthouse and the den of thieves. Be careful about the area East of the itinerant merchants, though. It has an ambush on the bridge, for starters.
- Noting the abundant resources (buff statues, fountains, buff crystals…) that renew every day in the Act I wilderness. They make things way easier, and will also be useful for the Cursed Ruins and parts of the Lost City later on.
- Doing the Mysterious Crypt next to the castle during that early clear. The earlier you equip those sandals, the sooner they’ll be level 4.
- Alternating between the lighthouse and den of thieves to keep the hard fights for last. There’s a jump in difficulty with level 3+ in the lighthouse, and near the end of the den.
- Completing Rosalie’s quest at the end of the Den of Thieves only once you have no other choice, since she’ll then leave.
The Western bridge won’t be opened until you’ve done the Elemental Forge of Spring.
Collect naga tea (from the itinerant merchant and the bounty hunter at the lighthouse) once you can afford it. This quest is solid xp in act II, once you can get the other three samples.
No, the “teleporter” behind Portmeyron doesn’t work for you yet. These will much later, with a dragon-god’s blessing.
Rest in the wilds using supplies. Your stats are too low for the well-rested bonus from inns to be useful, and at the early inns supplies are cheaper than lodging. Furthermore, supplies are *way* cheaper than potions, so never hesitate to rest. Even if it saves you *one* small (100gp) potion on the next fight then it’s worth it.
You *probably* don’t need to buy gear before late in Act III. The most likely exception are melee weapons for Might characters whose relic weapon is unlocked too late in the game. Buying something blue for those in Seahaven, Karthal or the Crag will be necessary as you work your way toward their relic.
Buying something even earlier will help if you don’t get *any* suitable drop (even grey weapons are twice as powerful as your starting one). Merchants renew their stock daily.
But save a bunch of money for spells and training. Spells and skills are usually more important than gear, unless you’re heavy on physical damage.
If you’re not burning through pots like crazy, your finances will start markedly improving by the middle of Act III. Earlier if you don’t have to buy a lot of spells.
The level of what’s offered in shops seem to rise with the level of the party. So it’s better to buy later rather than sooner.
While fighting archers, mages and other ranged types, you can in many cases retreat behind the nearest corner. That’ll force them to run after you, and then at the corner *you* ambush them to force melee.
Do keep in mind that ranged opponents cannot shoot past other opponents. If you have a goblin in melee range and there are three brigand archers behind the goblin, they can’t shoot you.
Explore every square. There’s a lot of chests, and some “chests” (the freshly-dug “shallow graves” with a shovel atop) are difficult to spot until you’re right on top and facing the right direction. Likewise, it’s not always easy to spot the barrels with drinkables. And sometimes the small coffers get lost in the visual clutter.
If you cannot move to close with an enemy and there’s no enemy in a square adjacent to your, it’s a bug. Ctrl + Alt + C to clear, then move.
The order of actions is important. A typical example would be to shoot your poison or acid spell *before* the physical fighters attack, so they benefit from the debuffs to the enemy.
Against bosses or when you know there’s gonna be a big ambush, use the buff-tuck-rush technique. Move as close to the encounter as is safe, cast all your buffs (wards, stoneskin, crusader armour, fire shield, etc.), rest. Though 8 hours elapse, only a single turn passes (somehow).
Then you can rush in with full mana and health, and several turns of ongoing buffs. Which allows you to focus on the offensive early on, to dispatch enemies and thus eliminate sources of damage. That also means that some so-so buffs, not usually worth sacrificing a round of combat to cast, become more interesting. Like the Might-boosting one or the Destiny-boosting one.
There’s a well-known difficulty spike after you reach Seahaven. Opponents jump up in power. What you can do is :
- Hire Edwin as soon as you reach Seahaven. Every bit helps.
- In the forest, find the advisor. He’s North of the path along the Northern The Eye lake shore, guarded by three Earth elementals. Then take the Western path, keep going North until the water, grab Spike, go North-East and reach the Lost City. Yes, there’s this tough group of Blackfangs, but it’s worth burning potions on these. It gets easier after them.
- We do this because monsters in the Lost City level 1 and 2 are level-appropriate for you. There are *big* ambushes near the end, though. But it’s arguably better to gain precious levels so you can handle the wilderness around Seahaven and Karthal.
- There’s also a “pocket” of lower-level monsters in the Sacred Grove. But like the Lost City, they’re behind a group of elite mobs (earth elementals, in this case).
- Most Black Guards south of Seahaven can be handled if you aggro them, then run to a bottleneck where they can’t flank you. Burn a bunch of potions if needed, for killing them opens up the Tower of Enigma, a non-combat area with good loot. Do bring the dog and a traps detection spell, though… Also, the small chest holding a staff relic is very easy to miss.
Do note that one specific group outside of Karthal escorts a boss… but you can still access the Karthal sewers or the Enigma Tower without killing these guys.
- There’s a Mysterious Crypt in the northern shore of The Eye.
- Clearing the way to the Crag is also worth burning through too many potions – it unlocks Air, Earth and Water Master magic, among others. Continue all the way West along the path South of Seahaven, go South into the Alloth Grove, then go West again until the Desolate Wilds. There aren’t *that* many goblins and orcs to take, though there’s an ambush near the Crag.
- Clearing the manor of Morgan’s spy (accessed via the Karthal sewers) allows for access to Karthal and its trainers. Access to trainers is *big*, especially for a well managed-party.
- You can access the second floor of Falagar’s mansion while you’re there (but after training in Karthal). For some reason, I thought it would unlock later in the story. An Elemental Shard is there, too !
Don’t forget to do the Dangerous Caves (the early ones are one to the North-East of Sorpigal, one to the North of Seahaven, one South of Portmeyron, one to the North-East of Karthal), and the Cursed Ruins (near Portmeyron castle, guarded by two spectres). If you’ve cleared the forest, the way to the Crag and the Karthal sewers, you probably can handle most of these.
Note that you can’t solve the quest at the bottom of the Cursed Ruins without a specific character class, which sucks. This is the case for all promotion quests – they’re in the world and you can get the quest tokens, but they’re entirely class-locked.
The central Karthal slums are difficult to navigate. Make sure you haven’t missed a part hidden behind stairs and ramps and convoluted topography.
Skull Rock (in the Desolate Wilds South of the Crag) is tractable early on if other areas are too tough. Be water-warded and keep in mind that naga are vulnerable to fire. It also grants the two-handed sword relic. There are big big ambushes, though.
Keep an eye on where to unlock elemental shards and promotions. These are priority objectives worth burning potions on.
The water shard is the second, at the end of the fourth level of the Lost City. It opens various shortcuts in cities (frex, to bypass the confusing part of the Slums in Karthal) and the outdoors, you gain access to shipwrecks all around the map, it allows access to Grandmaster Water Magic, it allows access to a slice the North-Eastern portion of the map, it allows access to a slice of the North-Western map… That’s big.
The air shard is next – in the part of Skull Rock that’s only accessible by walking on water. The puzzle to access the boss is one of the more annoying ones, the guards before that have high DPS, and the exit is hard to spot (just walk around the edges, several times if necessary). But like the water shard, it opens up important parts of the map.
The fire shard can only be accessed when doing the The Cure quest from Ciele at the Crag. The gigantic crystal spider’s room in Lost City level 3 only opens then. And to do The Cure, you need an open hireling slot. I once had the spider room accessible earlier than that, and the spider seemed weirdly off-script. I went back to an earlier save, since I strongly suspected killing the seemingly bugged spider would lock me out of the fire shard.
The bonuses from the Light, Darkness and Fire elemental challenges are nice to have, but nothing essential. Still, it’s useful and it’s good experience.
There is a spot to trade and buy supplies in the Vigil level 3. There even are two fountains – one just after Markus Wolf, and another in Ker-Thal.
Rosalie and Maximus are great, though you can only keep them for so long. Once Rosalie joins, make sure to return to the spider well so she can spot a secret area within for you. Opening it requires something like Might 15 (approx.).
Get Edwin as soon as you reach Seahaven, and Spike as soon as you can free him. This may be the best generalist combo, and it can be worth it to delay the The Cure quest (from Crag Hack’s lieutenant, Ciele) and Falagar’s escape — which both require freeing up a hireling slot — to keep Spike. Careful in the South-Western mountains, unwittingly stumbling upon Edwin’s quest (which means that he leaves) is easy.
Once firmly into Act III, things get more fluid. Which hirelings are the best will depend on the party. The goblin chef, the other experience booster dude if Edwin’s gone, the treasure hunter, the bodyguard… lots of good choices. Some are just comfort though (the potions seller, the pack horse, the victualer…) and sacrificing a hireling slot for mere convenience may not be wise on Warrior difficulty.
It’s not really a power-gaming party, but it’s the one I liked. Runepriest, male Hunter (I specify male since the voice direction on female orcs is cringeworthy), Freemage, Druid. With one of each species, you can access every area.
But this plan can also serve as an inspiration for other parties.
Here I preferred a Hunter to a Barbarian since the relic spear can be found way earlier than the relic mace, and because I like Harpoon. Plus, grandmastering the melee weapon skill was important since I loathe missing.
At least the casters’ stats progression is simple – 2 magic, 1 vitality, 1 spirit every level, but take more spirit at “level zero”.
The Hunter, OTOH, needs to raise everything except magic. Howbeit, spirit can stay at 9 or so and it’s probably okay to relax perception at 20-ish. Especially if you equip the Blackfang gloves relic from Karthal (Blackfang hideout shop), and since you can cast Eagle Eye and will have the Hunter drink all Perception barrels (and Might, and Destiny).
I focused the Vitality, Fire resists, Dark resist and Light resist on my runepriest. The magic increases and most life increases were focused on the freemage until I could reinforce the life of the druid as well. I focused the rest of the resists and most mana on the druid, until I could boost the mana of the runepriest as well.
This is a mana-heavy party, so you’ll rest a lot. It is also less efficient against opponents with high overall magic resistance scores, such as naga priestesses, than a physical-heavy party is.
Planning up to Seahaven
- Rush Master Light Magic (not actually unlockable until Seahaven).
- Along the way, one point of medium armour if you find some good leather (but the druid has priority).
- Fire magic expert so as to have Burning Determination (bought in Sorpigal) ASAP.
- Fire magic master (not unlockable until Seahaven), then save your points.
Note the synergy of Radiant Weapon with the Hunter’s Warfare skills. Radiant weapon can “clear the way” of blocks when you want the Hunter to debuff the armor, or prevent spellcasting, of an enemy that blocks.
- Expert spear (not actually unlockable yet), then expert warfare
- Expert medium armour since you’ll prolly find some decent leather (but the healers have priority) (not actually unlockable yet).
- Expert Two-handed and Expert Dodge (neither currently unlockable) then save points.
- Seahaven is where you actually unlock your Expert skills (except for Warfare, which you unlocked in Sorpigal).
- Expert Prime, buy identify, start with identifying Crag’s helm for the Hunter.
- Expert Focus, identify and equip the Thunderstaff.
- Master Air (not actually unlockable until the Crag), Master Prime (not actually unlockable until Karthal). Get Whispering Shadows to spot secrets in Castle Portmeyron.
- Rush Master Earth Magic (not actually unlockable until the Crag). Get Cure poison, Regen, Poison spray and Stoneskin once the freemage has Identify. These are excellent spells that benefit greatly from magic power from Earth magic levels and the Magic stats.
- Along the way, one point of medium armour if you find some good leather.
- Expert magical focus so you have a decent attack other than spamming ice bolt. Works better for mana capacity at this stage than taking Mysticism would, heh. And you’ll be able to equip the other staff relic — from the Tower of Enigma — later on.
- Expert Water Magic then Expert Mysticism (neither actually unlockable until Seahaven).
Seahaven and the Crag
Seahaven is money-burning time on training and spells (though you can’t buy Expert-level water spells there or in Sorpigal). Also get situational spells such as wards, now that you have some dough. And don’t forget to spend saved skill points.
Since this party is heavy on elemental magic, it’s then time to brute-force a path toward the Crag. You can also get the Titan’s Legging (no fight) at the lake, and answer the advisor’s questions in the woods. You’ll have to rest after every combat encounter, but it’s doable without that much trouble if you know the way.
After paying for all that Crag training you won’t have to cash to actually buy the spells. But check the prices at the House of Mojo to get a sense of when you should be back to inject another fortune into the Crag’s economy in Water and Fire spells. Seahaven has the Air basics, so no need to go to the Crag for these.
Do not sell the two nicest magical foci you find. The runepriest and druid will transition to those soon, and having decent ones in your bags will thus come handy.
Promotion will come late in the game, as the lost Dwarven fortress is a tough place and requires Elemental Forge quests to reach. So, no grandmastery in quite a while. But still :
- Max out Light Magic.
- Expert shield, then Novice focus. At this point you can can switch to the relic shield you’ve got and a one-handed Novice-wieldable focus with a nice bonus, as the spear becomes less and less likely to hit. Though on one playthrough I found a novice-equippable spear with +60 mana…
- Max out Fire Magic.
- Expert Endurance, because the healers must stay alive.
- For the last stretch, Expert magical focus allows to equip a better focus and get more crits on fire nukes.
- One point in Endurance once the medium armour relic starts giving you bonus levels to this skill.
- Reach spear grandmastery level, then get two-handed mastery.
- Endurance to Expert, since we already have one point in it.
- Time to grind the Dodge levels to grandmastery. This skill is chiefly useful at Grandmaster level, but Marauder is one of the easiest, fastest promotions. So you’ll be grandmastering dodge and spear relatively soon. Just cast Eagle Eye before having your Hunter open that chest, just to be sure…
- The rest can go into Endurance, unless you feel real strongly about Magical Affinity. But you don’t have too many levels left at that stage.
- Once Prime is ready for mastery, save your points. Then in the Crag, bring Air Magic to grandmastery level.
- Expert mysticism, because chain lightning is 30 mana a pop.
- Once Master Prime Magic is unlocked you have Implosion, for enemies that are decidedly too resistant to Air magic. Darkness is also a viable path, but since Prime was raised first for Identify…
- Magical focus to grandmastery-ready level, because you want lots of critical strikes.
- Endurance Expert to survive bad damage bursts.
- Grandmaster-ready Prime. It means a more viable Implosion against high air resistance targets, and stronger crits (from Heroic Destiny and Hour of Power) partywide.
- The rest can go into Mysticism.
- Mysticism to unlocked Expert, then bring Water Magic to Master level.
- Time to raise Earth Magic to grandmastery-ready level. At Master level, Regeneration becomes sufficient for some rabble encounters, freeing up the priest to fire-nuke.
- Water magic to grandmastery-ready level. Druid is the fastest, easiest promotion around, and the “quest” for water magic grandmastery will be done soon after getting the water dragon blessing. You can explore the water in the Crag’s port to do the hundred steps – and there are chests and stuff in there too.
- Endurance to Expert, as part of the emphasis to keep the healers alive.
- Then Endurance or Mysticism as points allow.
Hunter and especially Druid have early and easy Promotion quests. Then you can unlock the Freemage promotion quest. This is good, since Sudgerd is hard and having your Runepriest backed by three promoted characters with grandmasteries, Nurture healing, harmony, harpoon pulling, traps, super-stasis, etc. will make reaching that fire doable earlier. And grandmastery is *much* stronger than mastery.
The hunter will be decked out in relics fairly soon – Crag Hack’s helm, Unbreakable then the vampire armour, the Blackfang gloves, the Titan leggings and eventually the spear. The runepriest can use the sandals, shield and ancestral mask. The freemage and the druid each have a relic staff. The druid can equip the conical hat from the Vantyr Range.
Relics often aren’t best-in-slot equipment, especially the spear and the Lyre staff. But it’s unlikely you’ll find better stuff in shops before the end of the main storyline (level 33+).