Be 007 Sort Of...
by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
So you think you have what it takes to be an agent of the AFS? Are you prepared to move with guile and subtlety through the enemy ranks striking at the opportune moment? The Spy is a natural extension of the Ranger and one of the deadliest classes you can choose in Tabula Rasa relying on stealth and assassination. Like the Sniper, you will kill your enemy swiftly and mercilessly, very likely before he has even reacted to your presence. Unlike the Sniper, you will not be crouched behind a rock 80 meters away, this will be up close and personal. Knowledge of your surroundings is pivotal.
How to become a Spy - As we stated above, the Ranger is part of the Tier 3 class selection and requires you to follow the Soldier branch. When you gain enough experience to become level 5 you will receive a mission to find the Soldier and Specialist trainer. Choosing the Soldier branch will allow you to continue along until you receive enough experience for level 15 and will need to see a Commando or Ranger trainer. While Spy trainers can be found at many locations, the most accessible is just outside the Foreas Command Center in Foreas Base. After training as a Spy you will receive the following skills:
- Signature Ability: Cloak Wave
- Ability: Polarity Field
- Ability: Traitor
- Ability: Polymorph
- Training: Blade
Cloak Wave- Adds a stealth bonus to the user and nearby squad members. It creates a light displacement field, providing a limited invisibility bubble. With a radius of 25m and a total duration of 1 minute, squad members have a short time to move slowly through a tricky area. Requires 100% adrenaline to activate, and Logos Vortex, Enhance, Hide and Around.
The limited invisibility bubble is not completely fool proof. Enemy Bane can still have a chance to detect the squad if they get close. Cloak Wave requires all members to stick close, restricts the movement speed and will break at the slightest action from a player. Cloak Wave seems best suited for sticky situations, but shouldn't be relied on all the time.
Polarity Field - Exploits holes in target's armor, allowing specific damage types to hit more effectively. Each pump lowers the resistance of a different damage type and increases the debuff effectiveness.
- Pump 1 Electric, 5% resistance reduction
- Pump 2 Photonic (Laser), 10% resistance reduction
- Pump 3 Kinetic (Physical), 15% resistance reduction
- Pump 4 Incendiary, 20% resistance reduction
- Pump 5 Cryogenic, 25% resistance reduction
Each cast of Polarity Field takes 30 power, lasts for 30 seconds and has a 45 second cooldown period. The Logos required are Defend, Transform, Negative and Effect.
Traitor - Use this ability to confuse the target's allies such that they perceive it to be a traitor. Affected enemies will tend to attack the target, often ignoring attacks from their real enemies. Note that officers, mechanized units, and others may be immune or resistant.
This particular ability is an extremely unusual form of crowd control that will help the Spy not only move damage away from him, but focus additional attacks on his target. This is a beneficial skill to assist the spy in getting through crowded areas, while in a squad situation it can divert enemy attention in a pinch. It does have its limitations with certain types of creatures, it's wide 50 meter range at Pump 5 makes it quite powerful.
- Pump 1, duration 10 sec, 10m effective radius around the target
- Pump 2, duration 15 sec, 20m effective radius
- Pump 3, duration 20 sec, 30m effective radius
- Pump 4, duration 25 sec, 40m effective radius
- Pump 5, duration 30 sec, 50m effective radius
Traitor requires Logos Enemy, Attack, Friend, and Control.
Polymorph - Assume the shape and abilities of a Bane soldier for a time to walk freely in their ranks. You can take the forms of: Thrax Soldier, Thrax Technician, Caretaker, Kael, and Hominis Machina.
There is much debate over the actual utility of this ability. Very few would argue at least Pump 1 allowing you to move among the Bane for a few minutes without being beaten senseless is always a good thing. Once cast, you will inherit the abilities of whatever you morph into. As a Caretaker, you can heal. As a Kael, you are immune to physical and become really tall. A recent PvP change to this particular skill changed things to when you take damage from another player your Bane form drops, meaning you can't just run around as a Kael or Medic like you used to.
Hominus: Two Minute Costume
- Pump 1 Thrax Soldier, Ability: Kick
- Pump 2 Thrax Technician, Ability: Repair and Revive Machines, Deploy Turret
- Pump 3 Caretaker, Ability: Heal and Rez
- Pump 4 Kael, Ability: Ground Pound, High Health and Resistance, Immune to Knockback and Stun
- Pump 5 Hominis Machina, Ability: Self Revive, Very Strong Attack, Very Slow Movement
Polymorph lasts 2 minutes and uses 5-10 Programmable Micromech per cast. Requires Logos Self, Transform, Target, Looking.
Blades - Allows the use of Blade weapons. These weapons are amazingly deadly, but suffer the limitation that they can only attack targets in the melee range. Each skill level above Novice grants a 10% damage bonus. At Expert skill gain massive damage bonuses when striking a target's back. The alternate fire for a Blade uses the hilt, taking the skill level/knockback ability of your Hand to Hand training, instead of the Blades training. Since they are designed to get up close and personal, they do not take damage when smacked against the enemy.
What can you say about Blades? They are hands down one of the most powerful weapon sets in the entire game. Running around like Jedi you can see spies circling around their targets bringing pain and suffering to everything. Blades also require no ammo, which is a big credit saver to the Spies that wield them. Pump Blades to at least 3 to gain the backstab bonus, but preferably all the way to Pump 5 for the best back-stabby action.
What Skills to Keep:
Your mileage may vary but there are a few abilities you might want to keep from your earlier days as a Ranger/Soldier/Recruit:
Sprint - Sprint is an integral skill (especially if you plan of PvPing) because it allows you to move and kill quickly without being knocked down as easily. Incorporate this with Motor Assist Amor.
Firearms - Most agree you should take this to at least Pump 3 as you can't always depend on your sword especially at long range. It never hurts, but you will rely mostly on your blades.
Rage - Rage is still a very useful damage bonus that will be used as a Spy. At a minimum, Pump 2 will allow your squad to share the benefits.
Fire Support - Just a useful skill to have along for a mass AE and might just come in handy.
Net Gun - The ability to pin down an enemy is a useful one so drop at least a point into this. It's quite useful for getting around behind something and backstabbing it.
The Stealth Armor Debate
With changes to the armor rating of most armor sets, Stealth armor is not quite as "versatile" as it used to be. While Pump 5 does reduce you r visibility in areas with a high density of enemies it makes little sense at this point for a Spy. Considering you are in range to be kicked, stomped, and shot on a regular basis, maxing Reflective armor is a much more viable option for the Spy. It might behoove you to keep a set of Stealth around to sneak with, but for the most part it's going to sit in your bag.