Rod or Fist: an Evaluation of Karok's Weapons

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With the release of Karok's second weapon, the cestus, Karok players now have to decide which weapon is better for their playstyle. This guide will attempt to weigh the pros and cons of the two weapons, allowing for the most effective smashing of fomors possible.

The Pillar: a Rod of Death[edit | edit source]

Karok's default weapon is the pillar, initially a wooden trunk that has been filled down at a bit at the ends. At level 24, in addition to unlocking his second weapon like all the other characters, he also gains the abilty to throw his pillar and fight unarmed. While his movements in combat vary drastically in these two styles, they will both be covered under this title and not treated as different styles.

The advantage of the pillar is reach. Similar to Evie's staff before the revamp, Karok's combos have him slowly grabbing the pillar more and more at one end until it is swinging around in a full circle and coming straight down in front of him. Will Pillar Stomp, he can smash the smaller enemies like spiders and toads should he get swarmed. Thus, it is hard to sneak up on Karok when he is swinging around the giant pole. Absorb shock gets activated quite frequently with attacks, due to the large hit area of the pillar. When he dodges, he rolls and deals damages to anything in his path.

The downside of this weapon, though, is that it is heavy, and slows Karok down. Attacking with the pillar is slow, and requires a bit of distance to start off, and if your enemy is fast, they might break your stance before you can get a hit off. In addition, his attack combo with the pillar tops out at 3 normals + a smash, unlike the others who have 4 normal attacks + 1 smash. While some might see this as an advantage, it does take some getting used to if you have played the other characters first. Aside from Pillar Toss, he lacks any sort long-ranged attacks, requiring him to be right beside most enemies to do damage. A Pillar Karok should also be careful when running in Hoarfrost dungeons: since he does damage when he runs, it is quite possible to break the bridges without meaning to, or even damage the bridge itself.

While Unarmed Combat is technically a different style, I would not consider it as such. It is currently unknown if the pillar's stats remain with Karok after it has been tossed, but they definitely do not if you lack a weapon. The good news is that Karok can still fight effectively in a battle without a weapon, unlike all the other characters who are then restricted to object-smashes, kicks or grabs. The bad news is that Karok still has the 3 normal + smash restriction as with the pillar. Increasing skill in Unarmed Combat improves the effectiveness of these attacks.

The Cestus: a Fist of Pain[edit | edit source]

At around the start of February, 2012, Karok's second weapon, the Cestus, was released. It is effectively a metal glove that fits over his right hand with some magical capabilities enhanced into it. For instance, after learning Blast Mastery, Karok is able to add a Blast smash after any smash combo by quickly pressing the grab button. This blast will also unleash certain abilities if he has learned the skills. When Karok absorbs damage from an attack, his cestus gets a charge; the level of charge can be seen in the colour of miasma around the cestus. Level 1 charge has a greenish hue, Level 2 charge has a reddish hue, and level 3 charge is a deep blue. Use of any cestus requires at least Cestus Mastery rank F; unlocking this skill is similar to Evie's scythe mastery, in that there is no requirement past talking to Marrec.

The cestus's attacks are much faster, allowing for swifter movement and maxing out the combo quicker. In addition, Karok gains the ability to 'weave' in his dodge; he spins around and to one side to deal damage. He is even able to follow up this weave with a smash attack. The blast attack is able to do quick damage in a concentrated area, while the pillar combos tended to spread the area of effect around. The weaving ability also allows him to avoid enemy attacks a lot easier than with a pillar.

Choosing the cestus is demanding, though. The skills in general are more expensive, and don't overlap much with skills learned before the cestus is available. As he has a smaller weapon, it is harder to trigger Absorb Damage through straight attacks, with Karok pretty much needing to hit the attack as it comes in; weaving does allow him to absorb attacks and charge the cestus, but that requires much more attention from the player. Should Karok take more than one hit when weaving, he only gains one charge until the weave finishes. As the charges to the cestus only come from dodging attacks (or using SP: Gigantic Strength), these skills may go largely unused in dungeon runs, especially lower level ones.

It is currently unknown if Unarmed Combat has any effect on Karok's combat skills with the cestus, since he is technically not unarmed, but the fighting styles are somewhat similar.

Which to choose?[edit | edit source]

As with all secondary weapons, this is for you, as a Karok player, to decide. Do you not want to think about when to dodge and just soak up the damage? Do you want to be lightning first with your blows and blast your enemies away? Are you better off without a weapon and just want to rip those wisps apart? There is only one wrong way to play, and that is to die all the time. Enjoy your time as Karok, and show those fomors what it means to challenge a giant!