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Warning: This page is obsolete. I am no longer improving or maintaining it in any way. I recommend that you do not read this page.

This page offers my general advice on planning equipment. For more specific advice, consult my Sword Guide, Handgun Guide, or Bomb Guide. To learn about me and why I write this stuff, return to my user page.

Which Items?

Think entirely in terms of 5-star items, because that's where everything ends up. Instead of asking "Do I want a Magnus?", ask "Do I want a Callahan? Do I want an Iron Slug?" Some 5-star versions of an item may be good, and others may be bad, or at least not what you wanted. So, as you plan your equipment, start by examining the 5-star items on the wiki. Once you know which 5-star items you want, you can look back in their alchemy paths, to figure out how you'll get them. (There is one exception to this 5-star focus. The bomb Radiant Sun Shards doesn't have a 5-star version, but many bombers use its 4-star version happily.)

If you are focused on 5-star items, as I recommend, then you will never buy 0-star or 1-star equipment. The 0-star and 1-star items are all dead ends; they can't be upgraded to the 5-star level. Even when you are just a starting player, you should save up for 2-star or maybe even 3-star equipment. The 1-star stuff is not much better than your starting equipment anyway.

In choosing a sword or handgun, damage type is the primary consideration; see my Sword Guide and Handgun Guide. Bombs are more idiosyncratic, and damage type is not the primary consideration for them; see my Bomb Guide. Also check out the Swordmaster Guide, Gunslinger Guide, and Bombing Guide.

In choosing armor and helmets, I recommend that starting players build a general-purpose armor set. For example, Divine Veil with Skolver Coat offers all four damage types, four statuses, and two offensive bonuses. A mixed Skolver-Vog Cub setup offers three damage types, two statuses, and two sword bonuses. A mixed Nameless-Justifier setup offers three damage types and two handgun bonuses. Once you have a general-purpose set, you can obtain additional armor pieces, to construct specialized sets. However, it is worth noting that not everyone agrees with my idea. Some people suggest that you optimize your first set of 5-star armor for Firestorm Citadel.

In the shallow strata of the Clockworks, monsters deal primarily normal damage. As you go deeper into the Clockworks, monsters increasingly deal their preferred damage type (e.g. piercing for slimes). However, even on Stratum 6, and even in highly specialized areas (e.g., Firestorm Citadel), there is still a great deal of normal damage being dealt. So your armor should always include some normal protection.

Your shield works only while you activate it; while it is active, it blocks all damage and status coming at you, until it breaks. Among shields, only Barbarous Thorn Shield and Swiftstrike Buckler offer offensive bonuses. As far as defense is concerned, your shield should always offer normal protection, and should usually offer one other kind of damage protection. See the Shieldbearer Guide.

Craft or Buy?

This table shows the crafting costs at each star level, excluding materials. For example, crafting a 5-star item requires 800 energy, 5,000 crowns, and a recipe that costs 25,000 crowns. When CE is selling at 6,000 crowns per 100 CE, this works out to be 78,000 crowns total cost.

Stars Energy Crowns Recipe At 6,000 At 7,000 At 8,000
★★☆☆☆ 50 400 1,000 4,400 4,900 5,400
★★★☆☆ 200 1,000 4,000 17,000 19,000 21,000
★★★★☆ 400 2,500 10,000 36,500 40,500 44,500
★★★★★ 800 5,000 25,000 78,000 86,000 94,000

This second table shows the cumulative costs, for crafting an item from scratch, excluding materials. The table assumes that the alchemy path starts at the 2-star level, although some start at the 3-star level; adjust accordingly in those cases. For example, crafting a 5-star item from scratch requires a grand total of 1,450 energy and 48,900 crowns. When CE is selling at 6,000 crowns per 100 CE, this works out to be 135,900 crowns total cost.

Stars Energy Crowns Recipes At 6,000 At 7,000 At 8,000
★★☆☆☆ 50 400 1,000 4,400 4,900 5,400
★★★☆☆ 250 1,400 5,000 21,400 23,900 26,400
★★★★☆ 650 3,900 15,000 57,900 64,400 70,900
★★★★★ 1,450 8,900 40,000 135,900 150,400 164,900

It is usually cheapest to buy 2-star and 3-star items, rather than craft them. For example, you can often buy a 3-star item on the Auction House for about 16,000 crowns, which is far cheaper than the 21,400-crown cost of crafting it yourself. So why does anyone craft 2-star and 3-star items in the first place? There are three reasons. First, it is common to mass-craft 2-star items in search of unique variants; these tables ignore the value of unique variants entirely. Second, when someone doesn't have time to play Spiral Knights on a given day, she may use her 100 ME to craft two 2-star items (or half of a 3-star item), which can be sold for a small profit. Third, if a recipe can be used to make many desirable items, then its cost per item is amortized. For example, a gunner who wants to make all four 5-star Gunslinger Sashes might want to buy that 3-star recipe and craft it four times, rather than buying four premade 3-star items.

It is usually cheaper to craft 4-star and 5-star items yourself, rather than to buy them premade. The reason is that crafting a 4-star item requires the 3-star precursor item to be heated, which requires it to be bound. So a 4-star item can be sold only after the seller pays an 1800-energy unbinding fee. The seller passes this cost on to the buyer, so the buyer is paying a lot. The same thing certainly goes for 5-star items. The same thing goes for boss items purchased from Brinks using tokens; those are automatically bound.

If you have a 4-star item that you don't like much, should you craft it to 5-star, or switch alchemy lines? Well, the 5-star version may be different from the 4-star version, so make sure you're not giving up prematurely. However, more than half of the cost of making a 5-star item comes in the final upgrade. So, even if you're invested in an alchemy line to the 4-star level, you're still less than halfway to 5-star; it's not too late to switch alchemy lines.

Many players use their ME to defray crafting costs. For example, if you need to craft a 5-star item, then you need save up only 700 CE, because you can use 100 ME to fill out the 800-energy crafting cost. However, you should not fall into the trap of thinking that this 100 ME is "free". If you don't have time to play Spiral Knights on a given day, and your 100 ME for that day is going to be wasted, then by all means use it for crafting. But if you do have time to play, then you can use that 100 ME to adventure in the Clockworks and earn crowns and materials. For example, running Firestorm Citadel twice uses about 100 ME and earns you about 22,000 crowns (plus materials, heat, and enjoyment). So, in a sense, that 100 ME is extremely expensive.

In What Order?

On the Arsenal forum, people often ask questions about which item they should upgrade first. The short answer is that it doesn't really matter much. But there are some cases in which a better answer can be given.

Typically, you want your entire set to reach a given star-level, before you push any of your items to the next star-level. For example, you want to have a solid 4-star set of equipment, before you start building any 5-star items.

Upgrade the items that you use a lot, first. For example, that sword that you use only rarely is not a high priority.

The conventional wisdom is that offense is more important than defense on Tier 3. This suggests that you should upgrade weapons before armor. However, people often choose armor that gives offensive bonuses. Also, a lot of armor doesn't "mature" until it reaches 5-star. For example, the popular Divine Veil and Vog Cub Cap are very different from their precursors. So, if you need the protections that they offer, you might want to upgrade them with high priority.

Weapons and armor are weakened, when they are used on a stratum of the Clockworks that is shallower than their intended stratum. For example, on Stratum 4 a 5-star sword does not much more damage than its 4-star precursor, or even its 3-star precursor. You start seeing the full power of a 5-star sword only on Stratum 6. Similarly, a 5-star armor piece doesn't enhance your health as much on Stratum 4 as it does on Stratum 6. So if you're going to be farming the Royal Jelly Palace a lot, don't worry about upgrading your items to 5-star immediately.

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