Comprehensive Shade Guide

Class: Shade
Faction: All Factions
Level: All Levels
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The shade is a mix between a predator and a parasite. Dark and aggressive, the Shade sucks the life and energy out of opponents, robbing them of the basic elements they need to subsist. The Shade stays out of harm's way by relying on concealment and good combat mobility. Shade's can't wear any armor, but have nano-tech enhanced tattoos grafted into their skin to give them some protection. As a genetically engineered profession dependent on an abundance of notum, a Shade must begin life in the Jobe research facilities in the Shadowlands. - source: Anarchy Online Character Selection.

1 - Breeds
2 - Skills
3 - Weapons
4 - Armor
5 - Nano Formulas
6 - Spirits
7 - Perks
7.1 - Shadowland Perks
7.2 - Alien Invasion Perks
7.3 - Lost Eden Research
8 - Shade in PvP
A kind of disclaimer

Before we start I would like to point towards the Shade Profession Boards at the Anarchy Online Forums. Your unanswered questions will get most input there.

1 - Breeds
If you've actually seen a member of the shade profession on Rubi-Ka or in the Shadowlands then you'll know that by far and away the most popular breed is Opifex. The slight-framed homo opifex has highly developed senses and is very agile. These two attributes are central to the fighting style of the shade and as a result dress and equipment are also tailored to these attributes.

That's not to say it's the only breed to choose for a Shade - solitus is always a good, solid choice that offers perfect balance between the attributes of strength, stamina, intelligence, psychic as well as agility and sense.

For those of you who start a Shade mainly for PvP and have the Alien Invasion Expansion the Atrox breed might be interesting. Atrox gets highest Health increase per spend point and have access to Mongo Rage which gives you Mongo Rage. Downside would be the low Sense. ( Thank you for the information, Oddyog! )

Last but not least... the Nanomage breed. If you want to be different, this would be a good choice.... The obvious downsides are the low Agility and low Health... those drawbacks can be fixed with the available equipment though.

2 - Skills
The Shade profession is very Increase Point (IP) intensive and although variety is the spice of life, we do all worry about handicapping ourselves on poor choices of skills. Get the lowdown on the important shade skills then cut your own path...

Strength Good for some skill points and to equip certain armor
Agility Very important for lots of skills as well as spirits and armor
Stamina Also very important for hitpoints
Intelligence Used for Nano skills
Sense Very important for skills, spirits and armor
Psychic Used for Spirit Siphons

Important skills
Piercing For equipping better weapons and get better Attack Rating (AR). Piercing weapons are the main choice for Shades
Sneak Attack To get backstab and its backstab mods. Also Sneak Attack is a popular attack in PvP
Evade-ClsC For avoiding hits by melee weapons
Run Speed Only way of travel in SL, handy if you have to flee
Melee Init. To increase attackspeed on our daggers, they are fairly quick to begin with, max this eventually to fight at lower aggdef setting. Our daggers use this Initiative
Psychological Modifications Shade nanos utilize this nano skill to buff our stats
Sensory Improvements This is the second nano skill that is used to buff our stats
Body Development Because we have low hitpoints (HP) and need all the help we can get

Beneficial skills
Martial Arts Fist damage, some piercing weapons will work with MA combined attacks. However the use of Martial Arts to Shades is small and not recommended to raise.
Dimach Useful sometimes, does not get much better after 600 skill. Shade dimach skill is totally different from other professions. It's a Lifedrain special with a "fast" recycle of five minutes. It's very weak compared to some of the perk special drains Shades get though
Riposte and Parry For equipping weapons, not useful at higher skill levels, Parry also useful for deflector shields. For Riposte there are deflection shield projectors which add a damage shield. Basicly raise these skills only untill you can equipt the weapon of your choice.
Multi Melee For equipping two daggers (dual-wield). This can be buffed and our weapons often have low multi melee requirements
Fast Attack Most of the weapons shown in the weapon section require Fast Attack to equipt, as well as Flurry of Blows which can be useful. Fast Attack lock timer can be reduced by higher skill, but the use of having a faster Fast Attack ( haha... faster fast :D ) is discussible.
Computer Literacy To equip better NCU. Good idea to keep this high so you can equip better NCU. while our Nanos are fairly low in costs equipping better ncu opens up more room for outside buffs, especially nano skill boosting buffs so we can buff ourselves better
Phys Init. Fist attacks use this one. see Martial Arts above. Fist attacks can be used in conjunction with some weapons
Dodge-Rng Will be crucial to raise of you venture beyond Shadowlands to Rubi-Ka and/or PvP (Player versus Player)
Duck-Exp Only few monster attacks check against this evasive skill. For PvP this skill might have some use versus Shotguns and few other weapons.
Nano Resist Raise this if you plan to PvP, but is also useful for Shadowland mobs as they cast some relatively nasty nanos
Biological Metamorphosis Used for our "proc" nanos. Keep maxed if you want to use these
Time & Space As above. Also used for nano kits/coils
Map Navigation Raise map navigation to 130ish to use the monster map upgrade
Adventuring Raise adventuring to 150 to use the Elysium map nano crystal
Treatment Raise this some, no need to honestly max it. Use it for Coils and treatment kits. No real point keeping it maxed unless you want the best possible kits/coils
First Aid Is a skill to try and keep raised. Dark blue, but this is a welcome addition with some first aid spindles and stims, can be the difference between life and death
Nanopool Raise your Nano Pool for being able to cast your nanos. The Proc buff nanos are very heavy on (Nano Points) NP cost

Notes: Shades have a green concealment skill, but Backstab attack does not require you to be concealed, so you do not have to buy this skill to use Backstab. With the newest Concealment Buff (see Nano section) it is said you have a good chance to sneak from many monster. Also, Shades have a huge issue with Computer Literacy (Comp Lit), as we cannot use a token board and as it's a dark blue skill we will have some issues getting into decent QL NCU's.

3 - Weapons
Before showing you a compilation of weapons that are said to be good for Shades, I feel I have to explain one of the outstanding attacks Shades (and Adventurer) have access to.


Backstab can be the best attack for a Shade coming from a weapon and is based on your Sneak Attack skill. Backstab is not initially available, there are some milestones to pass... once passed the icon for Backstab will show up in your action window:
You have to wear a weapon with Sneak Attack special
You have to reach 100 skill points (including spirits, armor etc... but without nano buffs) Sneak Attack

For a successful Backstab attack you have to be behind the fighting target and the target has to fight someone else... for example the tank of your team. As soon as the fighting target turns attention to you, you can not perform Backstab anymore! Additionally Backstab does not require you to be concealed, a reason many PvM Shades do not bother raising Concealment skill.

Backstab has 3 tiers:
First Tier Backstab enabled 100 Sneak Attack Skill
Second Tier Damage multiplier added 235 Sneak Attack Skill
Third Tier Critical bonus 420 Sneak Attack Skill

Common advise would be to keep the Sneak Attack skill as high as possible, because Backstab uses the Sneak Attack skill as Attack Rating (AR). Also the Damage Multiplier increases with higher Sneak Attack skill and the lock time is reduced (cap at ~20 seconds from what I have heard... correct me please if I'm wrong).
Note: You might have to relog to find the Backstab icon in your actions window.


So we finally come to the important part of this section... the weapons. Since Shades are basicly the profession excelling in piercing it is highly recommended to use piercing weapons. Additionally some Shade Perk lines have Piercing as attack skill... and require you to wear a piercing weapon.
When you start your Shade you'll arrive at the Jobe Training Ground. After talking with Scientist Drake Rodriguez there, you should get two Worn Daggers.
Naturally, you'll want to ditch those starting knives and get something better when you first arrive at Jobe. Fortunately, it's possible to make your own from components that can be looted off the corpses of your foes. Here's what you need:
These drop from the Shining Coiler snakes
These drop from the Beit Gras that can be found under the bridge
These drop from the Silvertails, horse-like creatures. Little advise: higher QL Horns drop at the Silvertails in Nascence Bridge to Frontier, with these you might create the highest Notum-Infused Silvertail Dagger (QL15).

The Notum-Infused Silvertail Dagger will be a good weapon for the following levels. A recommended follow up weapon is:
This weapon is special loot drop at Steps of Madness , get it as soon as you can equip it! You might need the help of a team or a higher level player.

The Fear-forged Blade should help you for quite some time. Replace it once you can equip a better version of the following weapons (better in this case means with higher damage stats):

The Energy Rapier is available in QL 1-300. Preferable have one Type 992 since you need the specials, the second can be without the Type, here you can read up how to add the Type.
Important note: This weapon requires you to have the AI Expansion!
Suggested level range: 50-220

This weapon is not easy to get, but worth it! You will need quite some help and head out to Nippy Slither in the Adonis Abyss ... or have too much cash ;)
Available Quality Levels: 140-160
Suggested level range: 130+ ... or as soon as you can equip it

This is another not so easy to get weapon, but like the Nippy John worth the hassle....if you accept the slower attack & recharge on it compared to Nippy
To get it head for Anitaap's Shadow in Inferno... or.. well it's not nodrop ;)
Available Quality Levels: 220-260
Suggested level range: 130+ ... or as soon as you can equip it

Quite a good weapon found on Alien City Generals & Fleet Admirals. Since it has no Sneak Attack, you should pair it with another weapon for Backstab.
Available in Quality Levels: 1 - 300
Suggested level range: as secondary weapon ... whenever you find a good quality one.

On first look this might not look interesting, but I have heard about some Shades using this successfully in PvP. However it's again a not easy to get weapon, dropping from Inferno Catacomb Boss and Lord of the Void... also again... no nodrop flag ;)
Listed Quality Levels: 200-300
Confirmed available Quality Levels: 250-300
Suggested level range: 130+ ... or as soon as you can equip it
Note: This is a two-handed weapon!

These weapons can be bought as MK1 version in Tower Shops with Victory Points. You need Biomaterial to upgrade them, here you can read up where to get the Biomaterial and here the Tradeskill Process is described.
MK1 to MK4 are missing Sneak Attack, so MK5 and MK6 are the versions you want to look for. The Viper is a good alternative to the Kyr'Ozch Energy Rapiers, but the Viper is nodrop!
Available Quality Levels: 1-300
Suggested level range: 50-220
Important note: This weapon requires you to have the LE Expansion!

The following two weapons are considered to be endgame weapons:

This weapon and the item to improve it can be gained by the Escaped Prisoners, here is the tradeskill process.
Suggested level range: 210+ ... if possible, earlier!

This is an upgrade of the Lord of Deceit/ Lady of Deceit of Deceit from the Beast. The upgrade tool you find at LoX: The Alien Thread (Mitaar Hero)
Suggested level range: 210+ ... if possible, earlier!

These have been the examples for prefered piercing weapons at the current patch version 18.0.1 .... of course there are a lot more piercing weapons which you may choose as well!
Two examples for those of you who have only upgraded to the Shadowlands Expansion:

Newland Fish Knife - Two Stars
Newland Fish Knife - Three Stars
Newland Fish Knife - Four Stars
Newland Fish Knife - Five Stars
Available as One Star to Five Stars, which reflect the quality level ranges of the weapon.
Do note that this weapon has no Sneak Attack... so you can't Backstab with it!
Suggested level range: 5+

This weapon can be found as loot on monster in the Shadowlands
Suggested level range: 5+

Like the Newland Fish Knife a weapon without Sneak Attack.
Available Quality Levels: 1 - 200
Suggested level range: 5+

Final note on Criticals
Critical hits are generally not very important untill endgame for Shades since the majority of damage is (usually) triggered by the perk actions. However with the new high end weapons Deceit of the Xan and Hacked Medi-Blade/Improved Hacked Medi-Blade which have a nice critical damage modifier a high critical chance setup has it's advantages as well.
But be aware for a high critical setup you have sacrifice on other sides. For example with a Viral Targeting Subunit reduces your initiatives, other items with critical modifier reduce your health or defenses - mostly not actively, but by not wearing available enhancing items or armor. Apart of the Subunit most items increase your critical chance only for a few percentages...often enough only by 1%. Additionally Shades have no own critical buffs ... nor Shade specific critical chance items.
In case you still head for a maximal critical chance, you should look for Mark of Peril from your friendly Martial Artist and Take the Shot from your friendly Agent, which are the most important outside buffs ... and they stack even! (Stack means you may have both buffs running in your NCU)

4 - Armor
From the natty Sundance to the luxurious (read expensive and difficult to get) here's the lowdown on Shade Armor.

Contrary to popular beliefs, Shades are allowed to use normal armor but there are some armor sets which are entirely off-limits to us, those have a "not Shade" tag in the requirements.

Shades (and Meta Physicists) have access to "magical" tattoos. These are dropping in-game off various monsters in the Shadowlands. They give a fairly nice boost to AC's (Armor Class) and some skills and look stunning.

An important note, before we get into detail with armor available to Shades: As Shade you are not able to wear a sided token board. This doesn't mean you have one slot without use though, there are some neck items which can replace sided token boards quite well. Here is a small compilation... by no means it could be considered complete though:

Rubi-Ka Armor
Now let's get back to armor. Like mentioned above Shades do not have access to all armor types. Basicly most old fashion Rubi-Ka armors are out of reach for you, especially all kinds of tank armor and pretty much all helmets. However there are some types of armor left Shades can wear... many of them are generally popular even among other professions. Let me give you some of the popular examples
Carbonum Armor is tradeskilled line, you can find a guide how to craft it here. Shades can wear all parts including sided versions except the helmets.

This kind of armor might interest you, it uses the equipment abilities Shades need already for their Spirits... Agility & Sense. As side note: You can wear even the omnified version. Again this excludes the helmet, but includes some shoulderpads.

This is a high level armor line, requires level 175. You may like to have one or the other part of this armor, but at that level you have access to some better armor lines already. However if you still like to get it, you can read up how to get it here. Of course you can not wear the helmet.

A crafted armor. Before you can make your Prowler you have to get your hands on the according Crawler part , out of the Crawler you can make your Prowler Armor

Since those are the most popular old fashion RK armors which Shades can wear, I'll stop here and go on to armor lines which Shades can wear and are found on Rubi-Ka.
Miy's Armor
This is quite a nice line of armor. It's available in quality 1-300 and different versions: Melee, Nano, Ranged, Scary & Tank. You get boosts in health along with various skills defined by the version. Additionally you can wear the helmets!! This armor is dropped by not human NPCs like Cyborgs, Medusas etc.
A little note: So far the cloaks have not been seen ingame.

This armor is a special Halloween loot - means it is only dropped during the Halloween season (patch) of some nasty looking mobs called Uncle Pumpkinhead. The reason I add this armor here is that there are some quite nice boosts on it, you may not want all pieces, but some of the boosts are quite nice. Also.. since this line has no helmet but glasses you have access to all parts.

The Enhanced Dustbrigade Armor is pretty much endgame only, you can find out how to get it here and here. While it's pretty much endgame armor, not all parts are really useful for Shades... however it's better than running around naked, no?
To my understanding the only useful part of Tarasque's Armor.. especially for pushing out more damage. The equip requirements are quite low compared to the place you need to go for it.

Shadowland Armor
While Shade's origin are the Shadowlands there are surprisingly few really beneficial protection gears for you. I'll try to reflect them in order of availability & use for levels... starting with low level gear.
Well.. it has some Armor Class, not really an overwhelming armor and some might argue if it is worth the cash.... yes, it is buyable! You have to talk with the Vendor at the Jobe Training Area. The armor is comparable with the Newcomer Armor from the ICC Island.
Ectoplasm Tattoos give some protection, are rather easy to equip and buff some of the key skills like Piercing & Sneak Attack. For early levels a good way to start.
Note: Level locks!
Entophagous Tattoos are Clan only, comparable to Ectoplasm with little altered ACs, little higher key skill buffs and some additional health.
Sombreous Tattoos are Omni-Tek only, comparable to Ectoplasm with little altered ACs, little higher key skill buffs and some additional health.

These tattoos add quite some health & nano as full set, however the benefit might be a reason for a good brawl ;) They drop from Redeemed / Unredeemed mobs.
Note: Careful, "Not Omni/Clan" tag!
A very popular armor set for many professions. Sadly the place you can hunt it is often camped by high level characters who want to sell it... in addition it is not really a common drop. In case you want to hunt it yourself head for the unique predators south-east Elysium, good luck.
A white armor set... white for Shades, how well fitting! Actually it's not a really Shade specific line, but it is required for the Shade Tier (see below). It is quite good at ACs and helps on Nano Resistance. However you might want to go forward to your First Tier, if you gained this set.
Find out how to gain it here.
Quite a nice set of armor - but seldomly seen. Possibly because Tier armor is (or was) considered to be better. It comes in different flavours devided like the symbiant units. The most useful unit for Shades is actually the Infantry version... and mostly only few pieces are popular: gloves & boots.
Here you can find a guide on how to get... well also craft this leather armor.
This once was the first of three armor versions known as top gear and still isn't a bad choice. However it is not really easy to get hold of. First you need the Jobe Suit (not all parts but most), then you have to hunt additional parts... or buy them. Here you can read up what to do.
Quality: 100 - 160 (leveling by right-click, if your skills match)
Important: Cases have been reported that you might level the Tier armor above your skills to equip the armor! Watch out when you start leveling it!
Note: Since Alien Invasion Expansion was released it is not considered top gear anymore. And since Lost Eden Expansion you might think twice before going this route.
This is the follow up gear of First Tier, more buffed skills, better ACs and you actually get shoulderpads and a helmet... well headgear it is called. Downside from my point of view is the availability of items you need to enhance, but feel free to read it up here and judge yourself.
Quality: 160 - 220 (leveling by right-click, if your skills match)
Important: Cases have been reported that you might level the Tier armor above your skills to equip the armor! Watch out when you start leveling it!

Top gear back in the days when Shadowlands was the highest expansion. Still not really a bad choice if you have invested into Second Tier. The glyphs to upgrade Second Tier to Chosen/Faithful can be found (inactive) in Pandemonium, so this final step is really easy compared to previous steps. With Chosen (Omni version) and Faithful (Clan version) you also get a backitem.
A guide how to upgrade can be found here.
Quality: 220 - 300 (leveling by right-click, if your skills match)
Important: Cases have been reported that you might level the Tier armor above your skills to equip the armor! Watch out when you start leveling it!

Important note: Neutrals are not able to wear Chosen or Faithful, for them the end of the tier is Second Tier!!

Alien Invasion & Lost Eden Armor
These two expansions I have under one headline, because both do not offer many really helpful lines. All three Alien Armor examples are available in Quality 1 to 300. The Ofab line starts at Quality 25 in steps of 25 quality levels.
This armor is crafted, the items needed can be found during city raids and additional parts are buyable or in case need to be quested for. Here you can find out what you need to know.
Combined Commando's (CC) is a combination of Strong & Supple - which makes it pretty much the most valuable alien armor. Here you can find out again what you need to get it.
This armor (CM) is also a combination of Strong, now with Enduring. Since Enduring is not as hard to find as Supple, it might be easier than the above mentioned CC. Again here you can find out again what you need to get it.
This armor line comes in three different versions: the "basic", the Improved and the Penultimate ... for upgrading you need Kyr'Ozch Bio-Material - Type 935 which you can find as loot on Alien Mothership Bosses.
Ofab armor is considered to be an upgraded version of Tier. The process is different though, you need Victory Points (VPs) to buy the basic on at the Tower Shop Shade Booth. The VPs you gain by fighting on the Battlestations most effectively.

Well... because not all backitems can be worn as Shade I guess a little compilation would be helpful, no?
This is the first (lowest) backitem Shades can wear - at least to my knowledge. The robe is a very common drop in the Temple of the Tree Winds of the first Faithful you meet... think it was the 2nd room, so not that hard.

These two cloaks are quite comparable, except the "not=Omni/Clan" tag. You can get it by investing some time and luck... along with some help to get it early. The monster you have to kill are spawned inside either the Redeemed or Unredeemed temple in Elysium with some Insignias of the different alignment. Sadly not really a 100% chance to get, but not rare either.

This is a popular backitem for many professions... surely for you too!? It can be found on unique named monster in the Adonis Temples.
Note: Watch out for the "not Clan/Omni" flag!
This is most likely one of the most popular backitem I have ever heard about. Sadly along with the name you very often hear a very loud groan... it's rare... and hard to get. You would have to go all the way to Inferno to an area where the named heckler wait for you, there you have to look for Astapalya... good luck!
Well.. a nice little backitem, but really really hard to get. It drops of Notum Scourges in northwest Penumbra (maybe also at Brinks in Inferno), but I'm not sure if Shades have a chance to hunt for it at the level you have most use of it.
Note 1: The type of the shroud alters when you right-click it.
Note 2: Very very low droprate, there are reports of more than 1000 kills without a drop.

These backitems are part of the Tier mentioned above.
The OFAB backitem is - like the other OFAB gear - available at the booth in the Tower Shop. Same procedure like with the other parts, but little more VPs required.
series Reanimator's Cloak as well as it's upgrades are wearable by shades. Reanimator one only helps some on nano skills while the Reanimated series buffs more skills. Here you can find out how get one.. or two... or more. Gladiator might be the kind you want most.
A sexy backitem... not really armor, but some might like the increase of critical hits.

Besides the listed ones Shades also can wear Infantry Chest Cover and Net of Adonis, but yet I have to see or hear about a Shade using those.

various special armor parts & utilities
Okay okay.. not really armor, but still worth a look at. Adds some evades - if you skilled Dimach to such an amount. It can be found on Pisces in Pandemonium
A nice headgear from Pisces in Pandemonium. Comparable to Predator Circlet with some more ACs, but only 1% additional critical chance. Like with the above Pisces part you need high Dimach skill to equip.
Again a Pande-Loot, this time Gimini. Helps some on your evades.
Shoes, not only interesting for girls I believe. With some luck you may find them on an unique monster called Creepy Spider in Inferno, near the northeast incarnator.
You'll want it!... really! Very helpful Computer Literacy buff, but that's not all. On activation you get a nice 5000 damage point absorbing shield... absorbation of all damage types!
Here you can learn how to get it.

These shoulderpads are gained by hunting in Alappaa, for the superior version you need to follow our crafting guide.
Pretty much one of the most popular shoulderpads lines - nothing more needed to add ;)

Personally I wouldn't wear either of them. Still there is a reason to have one of them: Skin of the Believer. You don't need to wear them, just right-click them to get the absorb up. You may say 500 is not much, but at the level you can get the first the buff can be a real life saver.
Withered Flesh is loot from Temple of the Three Winds, Corrupted Flesh is loot from Inner Sanctum

Here we got something helpfull from Temple of the Three Winds/Inner Sanctum, besides the add damage from simply wearing them you also receive a nice damage buff by right-clicking them!

5 - Nano Formulas

The Shade utilizes two types of nano, the first type are self-only skill buffs and the second, again self-only, are Process or "proc" buffs. Unfortunately the requirements are very high and you will need to seek out help from Meta Physicists or agents (if they go into False Profession) for Infuses, Mochams etc.

In the first group of skill buffs Shades have 5 "lines" and a few additional lonesome nanos, namely:
Line Buff list Effect(s)
Piercing buffs Whetstone Effect
Sharpen Dagger
Piercing Tooth
Piercing Gash
Probe of Death
Master Piercer
Puncture of the Tarasque
Improved Puncture of the Tarasque
First 4 Nanos purely buff your piercing skill, follow up 4 Nanos increase all damage types slightly and top 3 Nanos also increase your Multi Melee
Sneak Attack buffs Footpad Apprentice
Silent Dagger
Dagger in the Back
Shuffle of the Rogue
First 4 Nanos only buff your Sneak Attack and Fast Attack skills, top 2 Nanos also give a little Defense Modifier
Multi Melee buffs Dual Defender
Double Cover
Twice the Shield
Double Fence
Duplex Wall
All 5 Nanos buff your Multi Melee & Parry skills
Agility buffs Sneak
Improved Prowler
First 4 Nanos buff your Agility by a good amount as well as Evade ClsC, Dodge Rng & Duck Expl ... the top buff also increases your Runspeed.
Martial Arts buffs Slap of the Zombie
Knock of the Poltergeist
Kick of the Phantom
Hand of the Shadow
Touch of the Specter
Voice of the Banshee
Kiss of the Vampire
All 7 Nanos increase your Martial Arts and (more important) Dimach skills.
LE (PvP) debuff Shade's Caress Removes auras from Keeper NCUs
Concealment buff Shadow in the Night Well... buffs your concealment of course
Run buff Faster than your Shadow Buffs your Runspeed by a moderate amount
Lifetap buff Sneaking Health Drain This buff gives you an additional proc, a lifetap
Defensive Debuff Nanite Depravation
Basic Nanite Depravation
These buffs gives you additional procs, debuffing Nano Resist. & Evade ClsC. (they are of the same line)

The "Proc" buffs require Psy Mod, Biological Metamorphosis (Bio Met) and Time&Space (T&S). They are all on the same line so you can only have one running at a time. These buffs will give the chance of an attack doing a special effect as listed below:

To run these nano though requires the Shade to have "Specializations" and these need to be quested for. It is important to get "specced" as quick as possible to utilize these buffs. There are quests that can be completed and have the specialization books as reward, please see our Specialization Guide for more information.

Possibly an important note might be that the high quality procs don't increase in chance as much as the requirements increase. For example Quintessence of Stupefication has only 1% higher chance to stun your target than Quintessence of Transfixion, but requires 582 more skill points in Psychological Modification (along with higher requirements in the other 2 skills). You might want to think twice before improving to use that nano... especially when you need to increase other (possibly more important) skills.

Micandy's point of view:
Leveling up, don't be ashamed of not keeping up with the nanos at your level req. Get some buffs to cast them and throw on higher weapons, but selfing them maybe not. At end game, the old nanos are easy, with the notable exception of the proc nanos. Most shades will not use the top ones, since they require over 2k PM and ~1750 BM/TS. Personally, I can use the very highest one with 300 spirits, +70 phulaks, infused nano enhancer, nano hud3, comm relay, and mochies. If you feel like swapping in a bit more stuff and/or perking CoNC fully, it's possible to self. (Obviously, nobody does this in battlestation! Most people will be selfing the second or third best version of a proc at 220 without swapping gear. Only reason I ever go to this much work is for beast DD wars, where I throw up the highest direct damage proc.)

Like mentioned before you can only run one of these procs at a time, here is a list which proc is useful at a given situation:
- stun proc - PvP and fighting "normal" monster without a team
- damage proc - for increasing dd in a team and fighting easy monster without a team
- init debuff proc - very useful for soloing aliens or boss monster since they are immune to stuns. The Init debuff can increase the chance of interrupting the nukes from the aliens.

6 - Spirits
Unlike the other 13 professions on Rubi-Ka and Shadowlands, Shades cannot utilize standard implants. This is both a boon and a curse...

Spirits work like implants, except they are pre-made and we don't need a surgery clinic to install them, which gives a nice advantage for hotswapping spirits for certain situations.
Spirits are very similar to implants, but have some important differences.
You cannot customize the spirits, they come pre-made in various shapes and forms.
Spirits overall boost more skills total than implants and give a biggest boost for an equal level to QL implant.
Spirits are not defined like implants, but can be compared with symbiants and are classed by their Prefix names which indicate a specific level requirement to use. For this reason you cannot over equip these as you could with implants.

You will notice some spirits tend to be pretty much useless, while others you will end up having a hard time which to equip in the designated slot. Most slots have three different spirit-types, but some slots only have two and others four.

Finding Spirits
The easy way (?), is to simply kill Spirit-type mobs in Shadowlands and hope they drop. Another more success granting way is to get a Soul Capsule, either looted from spirits, or bought from Yuttos Tools. Use this on a monster when it's close to death (10% or less health left) and there's a chance a spirit will drop when it's killed. It's only useable in the Shadowlands though.

Here is a little compilation of known Spirit camps with approximate level of the spirit monster:
Playfield Appr. camp level Location
Nascence 10 Temple North of Jobe Bridge
30 From misty forrest, run west across the bridge, and zone into research, you'll see the spirits.
50 Enter the swamp from the unredeemed portal and turn right. follow the wall until you come to a fairly large pool of water. In the water is a little tower with a black door.
50-65 Dungeon on the Southwest side of the core.
Elysium 70 Lake in East Elysium
80 By the Redeemed town in East elysium
80ish Scattered near Ergo's Cave
80-95 Before the Lethe Dungeons
165ish Dungeon just SE of the yuttos camp in Central Elysium
Scheol 90-115 All around Necropolis/Ergo and the Mausoleum in NE Scheol
100-115 Before the Lethe Dungeons
Adonis 120-140 Saccelum, north of the west brink
130 Before the Lethe Dungeons
Penumbra 150-170 Northeast Penumbra
150-165 Before the Lethe Dungeons
Inferno 195-205 Yuttos marshes and Spirit Dungeons in Redeemed/Unredeemed temples

Close Up
The one big advantage with spirits, is just that you need no clinic to switch. So you essentially swap in some nano spirits to buff, then swap back into combat spirits, etc.

From the Field
The spirit system is fairly easy to figure out. Each spirit is prefixed by a title (ranging from Bitter to Wistful) to denote QL. On a side note, except the QL210 spirit name, they are in alphabetical order. Also worth mentioning is that not all spirits come in all QL's, and not all variations on a spirit come in all QL's. There are also a suffix which indicates the type of spirit:

Suffix Kind of buffs
Essence Buffs 1-3 basic abilities
Knowledge Buffs nano skills and nano pool / max nano
Strength Offensively geared spirits
Weakness More defensively geared spirits

Naming consistency is a bit off, with alternate spellings of Defense among other things. The less common classifications of spirits are Offense/Offence (Strength), Defense/Defence (Weakness), Clear Thought/Insight/True Seeing/Understanding (Knowledge).

QL Level Ability
Prefix QL Level Ability
1 1 3 Bitter 140 103 316 Nostalgic
5 4 12 Blue 150 110 339 Oppressed
10 8 23 Comfortless 160 117 361 Pathetic
15 11 35 Depressed 170 125 383 Pessimistic
20 15 46 Despairing 180 132 406 Pitiable
25 19 57 Discouraged 190 139 429 Poor
30 22 69 Dismal 200 146 451 Rejected
40 30 91 Dreary 210 154 683 Dispirited
50 37 113 Gloomy 220 161 716 Somber
60 44 136 Grave 230 168 749 Sorrowful
70 52 159 Grieving 240 176 781 Sorry
80 59 181 Heartsick 250 183 1063 Tragic
90 66 203 Joyless 260 190 1106 Troubled
100 73 226 Lonely 270 198 1149 Unhappy
110 81 249 Melancholic 280 205 1191 Upset
120 88 271 Miserable 290 212 1233 Weeping
130 95 293 Mourning 300 219 1276 Wistful

Here is a compilation of Spirit buffs
Slot Type Buffed skill(s)
Eye Essence Intelligence
Discerning Weakness Perception, Multimelee, Sneak Attack, Concealment
True Seeing Sense Imp, Psy Mod, Nano Init, Time&Space, Matter Creation.
Ear Essence Whispered Psychic, Intelligence
Knowledge Whispered XP%, Psy Mod
Strength Whispered Perception, Concealment
Head Essence Intelligence, Sense
Clear Thought All Nano skills, Nanopool
Offence Melee Energy, Dimach
Chest Essence Stamina, Sense, Strength
Knowledge Mat Met, Bio Met, Sense Imp, Nano Pool, Nano Init, Max Nano
Strength Dimach
Weakness Melee Ac, Max Health, Energy AC, Body Development (HP), Projectile AC
Left Arm Essence Strength
Strength Brawl, AddAllOff, Piercing, Physical Init
Understanding Mat Met
Weakness Heal Delta, AddAllDef, Radiation AC, Chemical AC
Right Arm Essence Strength
Strength Piercing, Physical Init, AddAllOff, Riposte, Parry, Fast Attack
Weakness Physical Init, AddAllDef, Riposte, Radiation AC, Parry
Waist Essence Sense, Stamina, Agility
Knowledge Nano Cost Modifier, Max Nano, Nano Pool
Strength Piercing, Melee Init
Weakness Radiation AC, Fire AC, Cold AC, Chemical AC, Projectile AC, Energy AC, Melee AC, Max Health, All Evades (more duck-exp), Body Development
Right Wrist Offence Runspeed, Sneak Attack, MultiMelee, Added Radiation, Poison, Melee, Fire, Energy and Chemical damage per hit
Weakness Riposte, Parry, Nano Resist
Left Wrist Defense Riposte, Parry, Nano Resist
Strength Multi Melee, Runspeed, Added Radiation, Poison, Melee, Fire, Energy and Chemical damage per hit, Melee Energy
Legs Essence Agility, Stamina
Defense All Evades (less on evade-clsc), Poison AC, Melee AC, Energy AC, Max Health, Heal Delta
Right Hand Defensive Cold AC, Fire AC
Strength Fast Attack, Martial Arts, Added Poison, Melee, Energy and Chemical damage per hit
Insight Time & Space, Matter Creation
Left Hand Defence Fire AC, Cold AC
Strength Fast Attack, Martial Arts
Feet Defence All Evades, Heal Delta, Agility, Add All Def
Strength Sneak Attack, Physical Init, Concealment, Melee Init, Martial Arts, Add All Off

With release of Legacy of Xan (LoX booster pack) you have access to upgraded spirits for all spirit slots. The upgraded spirits are grouped as Alpha and Beta, Beta Spirits are only available at quality level 250, Alpha Spirits are available from quality level 250 to 300.
To obtain those spirits you have to head for the LoX playfield, where you have to complete two questlines... the Arid Rift and the Neretva Canyon. Each questline leading towards either The Alien Threat a.k.a. Mitaar Hero or Ground Chief Vortexx and after completing both following The Xan a.k.a. 12-man-instance.

For a complete crafting system of your Alpha Spirits, please visit LoX Spirits crafting guide.

7 - Perks

Perks are attained for every 10 levels and every shadowlevel, which will result in a total of 40.
Shades are meant to do most damage through their perk specials. And quite frankly they do if you spend them in the Shade-only perks. Perk Specials also have to be used in combat, meaning you cannot initiate combat with them.

The Shade Perk specials all run off Piercing skill except Shade Touch. You also have to wield at least one Piercing based weapon.
The perk specials having piercing as attack skill increase with higher piercing skill. Devide your (buffed) piercing skill by 2, this sets the quality level of the perk item. Let me show you by the Ritual of Devotion special of Totemic Rites:

First Perk action for a result of 1 to 500

Second Perk action for a result of 501 to 1000

Third Perk action for a result of 1001 to 1500 (or above)

For example with 1500 piercing you get a "quality 750" perk item. This way the second perk action item is the base of your special and has a quality 250 damage calculation. (Thank you for this information mr_road!)

7.1 - Shadowland Perks

Totemic Rites (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +208 add damage to all damage types
+40 Martial Arts
+100 Sneak Attack

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Ritual of Devotion 10 Direct Damage (DD) to target & add damage for you
Devour Vigor 40 Lifedrain & Direct Damage
Ritual of Zeal 90 Direct Damage & add damage for you
Devour Essence 120 Lifedrain & Direct Damage
Ritual of Spirit 170 Direct Damage & add damage for you
Devour Vitality 190 Lifedrain & Direct Damage
Ritual of Blood 204 Direct Damage & add damage for you

Specials: Intended to be used in a progressive chain: Ritual of Devotion -> Devour Vigor -> Ritual of Zeal, and so on...

Piercing Mastery (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +200 Piercing Skill

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Stab 10 Direct Damage
Double Stab 30 Direct Damage & Damage over Time - requires Stab flag running on target
Perforate 90 Direct Damage - higher damage with Double Stab flag running on target
Lacerate 130 Direct Damage & Damage over Time - requires Perforate flag running on target, higher damage with Double Stab flag running on target
Impale 190 Direct Damage - bonus damage with Lacerate flag running on target
Gore 201 Direct Damage & Damage over Time - requires Impale flag running on target, higher damage with Lacerate flag running on target
Hecatomb 208 Direct Damage & Damage over Time - requires Gore flag running on target, higher damage with Lacerate flag running on target

Note: The Stab special is intended to be used from behind the target, the following actions do not require you to be behind the target. ( Thank you for the information, Micandy )

Shade Touch (7 Perks)
Passive boosts +100 Martial Arts Skill
+30 Evade ClsC.
+30 Dodge Rng.
+30 Duck Expl.

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Atrophy 20 Direct Damage & Damage over Time & Initiative debuff
Consume the Soul 60 Usable when target is below 15%, does little damage to target with Lifedrain. Both increase the more perks are trained
Doom Touch 130 Direct Damage & Armor Class (AC) debuff
Spirit Dissolution 205 Direct Damage - requires Ritual of Spirit flag running on target

Sublime Rapport (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +200 Dimach
+40 Parry
+30 Evade ClsC.
+30 Dodge Rng.
+30 Duck Expl.

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Exultation 10 Lifedrain & Direct Damage - gets better with more perks trained
Ethereal Touch 30 Armor Class (AC) debuff - gets better with more perks trained
Dimensional Fist 90 Direct Damage - requires Etherial Touch flag running
Disorientate 150 Direct Damage & Stun
Convulsive Tremor 190 Direct Damage & Damage over Time & Initiative debuff
Symbiosis 203 Improves the Ritual (Totemic Rites line) specials making you do even more damage. For example with Ritual of Blood you get an add damage buff

Spirit Phylateracy (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +400 Max Health
+100 Sneak Attack
+150 Defense modifier (AAD)
+60 Offense modifier (AAO)

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Capture Vigor 20 AMS/DMS Leech and detaunt
Unsealed Blight 40 HP & Nano Damage over Time - requires Capture Vigor flag running on target
Capture Essence 100 AMS/DMS Leech and detaunt - requires Unsealed Blight flag running on target
Unsealed Pestilence 130 HP & Nano Damage over Time - requires Capture Essence flag running on target
Capture Spirit 160 AMS/DMS Leech and detaunt - requires Unsealed Pestilence flag running on target
Unsealed Contagion 202 HP & Nano Damage over Time - requires Capture Spirit flag running on target
Capture Vitality 203 AMS/DMS Leech and detaunt - requires Unsealed Contagion flag running on target

Specials intended to be used in a progressive chain like Totemic Rites.

Note: I'm also not going to say in this guide which perks are the best or which suck. Having Shade designed around perks might very well make for some interesting varieties. Reseting a single perk sets a 2 hour timer before you can reset the next, you should really sit down and plan how to progress your perk points. Think how you want your shade to evolve, want to go full defence, gear for solo, offensive, little mix of everything, etc.

Examples for perk setups provided by mr_road:
damage focussed: Piercing Mastery and Totomic Rites maxed, perk to Shade Touch 7 when it becomes available for the large damage perk (but requires MA skill maxed). you will be quite squishy though.

solo/defense focussed: Acrobat maxed, Spirit Phylateracy perked to the best AAO/AAD that is available, Totemic Rites perked to the best health drain available. Spirit Phylateracy provides amazing evades based defense against a single target. Totemic Rites is useful for the heals and large damage perks. due to no Piercing Mastery perks, this shade will have a lower ql weapon and have less AR.

Acrobat (4 Perks)
Passive boosts +30 Agility
+30 Multi Melee
+30 Multi Ranged
+190 Dodge Ranged
+190 Duck Explosives
+190 Evade close

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Limber 60 Buffs all three evade skills
Dance of Fools 140 Buffs all three evade skills

Careful in Battle (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +300 Defense modifier (AAD)
+80 Critical Decrease

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Evasive Stance 40 Defensive modifier - increases with perks in this line

Spatial Displacement (10 Perks)
Passive boosts none

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Removal 1 90 Reduces time of snares
Removal 2 160 Reduces time of roots
Purge 1 200 Reduces time of snares & roots
Purge 2 204 Reduces time of snares & roots
Great Purge 212 Reduces time of snares & roots & Buffs resistance against snares & roots for a short time

7.2 - Alien Invasion Perks

These perks require you to have Alien Invasion expansion. To gain available perk points you have to kill aliens, with every completed alien level / defender rank you receive one point. However these alien level are 'real level' locked, please have a look at AI Levels & you.

Shadow (10 Perks)
Passive boosts +50 Sneak Attack
+100 Dodge Ranged
+100 Duck Explosives
+100 Evade Close
+100 Concealment

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Blur 15 AMS & DMS debuff of your target
Diffuse 105 Lifedrain - increases with the number of perks in this line
Chaos Ritual 210 Direct Damage

Counterweight (6 Perks)
Passive boosts +100 Multi Melee
+100 Multi Ranged

Perk Specials Name Level Effect
Full Frontal 55 Ranged Init. & Runspeed debuff of your target
Confinement 125 Direct Damage & Taunt

I do not think there is a ideal path to take here, it all depends how you want to eventually play your shade.
Levels 10-200 you might want to pick two lines to focus in, and a third to put the "leftover" points in, and bother with a 4th in the shadowlevels.

7.3 - Lost Eden Research

Lost Eden Research works in a different way than SL & AI perks, please read our Research Guide in the Lost Eden Section. Also our guide on Research Caps might be interesting to you.

Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 +10 Sneak Attack
50 +10 Concealment
75 +15 Sneak Attack
100 +15 Concealment
125 Drain Essence
150 +25 Sneak Attack
175 +30 Concealment
190 +20 Agility
190 +20 Sense
200 +60 Concealment

Assassin's Awareness
Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 +5 Psychic
50 +15 Computer Literacy
75 +15 Time and Space
100 +15 Biological Metamorphosis
125 +10 Psychic
150 Shadowed Gift
175 +30 Psychological Modifications
190 Siphon Being
190 +20 Intelligence
200 +60 Psychological Modifications

Honed Senses
Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 +5 Sense
50 +50 Max Health
75 +10 Sense
100 +20 Computer Literacy
125 +25 Body Development
150 +15 Sense
175 Twisted Caress
190 +20 Stamina
190 +100 Max Health
200 Blackheart

Killing Blows
Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 Devious Spirit
50 Misdirection
75 +15 Fast Attack
100 +10 Agility
125 +25 Fast Attack
150 +15 Strength
175 +30 Fast Attack
190 +10 Heal Delta
190 +20 Stamina
200 +60 Fast Attack

Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 Sap Life
50 +5 Agility
75 +10 Strength
100 +15 Evade Close
125 +15 Riposte
150 +25 Dodge Ranged
175 +30 Evade Close
190 +20 Agility
190 +50 Evade Close
200 +25 Agility

Malicious Forethought
Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 +4 Max NCU
50 +2% Add XP
75 Toxic Confusion
100 Elusive Spirit
125 +10 Parry
150 +15 Intelligence
175 +15 Strength
190 +50 Biological Metamorphosis
190 +50 Time and Space
200 Sap Life

Stiletto Mastery
Passive boosts Level Skill enhancement / Proc
1 +10 Piercing
50 +10 Multi Melee
75 Concealed Surprise
100 +15 Piercing
125 +25 Melee Initiative
150 +25 Multi Melee
175 +30 Piercing
190 +50 Melee Initiative
190 +50 Multi Melee
200 +60 Piercing

Compilation of the Proc actions

Note: Only one of each proc type can be active!

8 - Shades in PvP

Seriously I'm not the right person to write about Shades in PvP, about their chances to kill... to survive.. or whatever. However ... I really really have to show you a very nice point of view SixCharacters gave me as reply:
If you're not in a pretty good setup, you're not going to take out anything but greens and docs :P
Anything you can't perk pwn j00.
Also in terms of perk setups for PVP, they are very different from PvM, as TR is basicly useless in pvp most shades will go with root/snare removal/resist.

This may not be useful to you... maybe not even funny, but from my (doc) point of view... I nearly spilled my coffee all over my monitor & keyboard ;)

Well.. in case you gained some knowledge and experiences in Shade PvP feel free to share with us. You may contact us by the AOU forums or PM me directly, your (reasonable ;) ) input will definitely be appreciated!

A kind of disclaimer

Like you might have figured during the guide, I am not playing a Shade myself. The basic reasons I picked up rewriting this guide are... well for one that it already existed and it would be a real pity to remove it completely... also within the AOU team was no one who volunteered (apart of me) or plays (played at the starting time?) a Shade. Additionally I heard some ... complains ingame that such a guide did not exist anywhere else and the guides at the Shade Profession Acadamy were outdated, too fragmented and at times not definite enough for help - this is not my personal opinion since I found most guides quite helpful for writing this AOU guide, but it was true that no guide had all the info and I collected info at various places... especially from really helpful input on my questions from the Shade community at the AO forums.

I hope I haven't forgotten a source of information. Think all are at least mentioned in the credits below, mostly also at the point within the guide when I quoted their info. castaras, Ciekafsky, Dac---, Keex, mr_road, Micandy, PooNaGe, sannz, SixCharacters, Solssss & Voyvovoy, thank you all again!

Last updated on 07.23.2021 by Saavick
The guide is based on information provided by Aelynn, Darga and Neshade which was originally published at the AO Shades website, published here with permission of it's owner.
Updated and rewritten by Niodemus
Additional information and corrections provided by castaras, Ciekafsky, Dac---, Keex, mr_road, Micandy, PooNaGe, sannz, SixCharacters, Solssss & Voyvovoy at the AO forums, thank you very much!
Do you have questions about this article or found an error? 7 comment(s) - Click here to view them!
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