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Optimal Leveling Route

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The Optimal Leveling Route is a sequence of guild levels designed to maximize your characters' Hit Points and overall dungeon-readiness.

The most important aspect of the Optimal Route is to make your characters' Constitutions as high as possible as early as possible, so they can gain as many Bonus Hit Points as possible while they gain levels. Only Legacy Characters can start out with true maximum Con (5 points above the starting racial maximum), but non-legacy characters with high Con can still get most of the benefit from the Optimal Route as well.

The Optimal Route involves three stages:

  • Warrior to Level 28
  • Nomad to Level 30
  • Wizard to Level 41

Leveling these three guilds in this specific order (if you reverse Warrior and Nomad you will lose 28 HP), along with having maximum Constitution, will maximize your characters' Hit Points.

Not every race can join all three guilds in the Optimal Route: Elves and Osiris cannot be Warriors, Giants and Morlochs cannot be Wizards, and Gnomes cannot be either. These characters can still benefit from following the portions of the Route available to them.

Why it works

The reasoning behind the Optimal Route can be found on the Guilds: Statistics page of the Mordor HelpLesson (paraphrased here):

QUOTE(Mordor HelpLesson)
A character will only receive AH hits when making a level in a guild if that guild is the highest guild the character is a member of.  For example, a level 25 Healer will not gain any hits making level 26 if the character is also a level 30 Thief.  The Healer would need to make level 31 (because they were also a level 30 Thief) before they received any hits - and by that point, ML would have been passed, so the character would only receive MH hits.

Since Warriors have the highest AH ("Average Hits") of all guilds -- 6 -- you must level them first to get 6 HP for each level up to 28, which is Warrior's ML. You will then get an additional 5 HP for levels 29 and 30 if you level in Nomad.

Nomads get exceptional Attack and Defense up to Level 30, so it is a good idea to level all characters in Nomad to 30 anyway.

For every level before ML, characters also receive Bonus Hit Points if their Constitution is 17 or higher. This is why it is important to get Con as high as possible as soon as possible.

The Wizard portion of the Optimal Route takes advantage of this: Wizards have an ML of 41, so they can continue receiving bonus hits for 11 levels more than Nomads, who have an ML of 30.

After the Optimal Route

After finishing the Optimal Route, all characters should be leveled in one of the fighting guilds (in order of preference: Warrior, Ninja, Paladin, Villain or Seeker). These guilds provide the best melee skills in the game, and more importantly, the highest Defense available. Defense is the single most important trait in surviving the dungeon: the higher your Defense, the deeper you can safely travel, and the faster your party will progress.

It is also possible to level in Nomad instead of one of the fighting guilds. Nomads gain Defense (and item use) faster than any other guild, and can progress through the game extremely quickly. There is a downside, however: past Level 30, Nomads gain only 1 HP/level instead of the 2 HP/level all the other guilds gain. And while Nomads gain Defense faster than all other guilds, they quickly reach a maximum score of 175 at Level 197. The other fighting guilds can be leveled productively for far longer, reaching as much as 276 Defense at Level 450 (in the case of Warriors) -- although this level will only be reached long after you "win" the game.

Choosing Nomad as the fighting guild for spellcasters in the third or fourth position of your party may be a good choice.

A previous version of the Route recommended leveling Nomad just behind another guild, up to their maximum A/D at Level 197. Recent research has shown this to be not particularly effective, especially if you level one of the fighting guilds as well. There is a high degree of redundancy between the guilds, and Mordor only uses your highest ability score from all joined guilds. Concentrating on a single fighting guild (or Nomad) will produce the best results overall.

Additional hits from forfeiting quests

Due to an oversight in the programming of Mordor (some would call it a bug), when you lose levels from forfeiting quests, you only lose AH hits -- you will not lose any bonus hits you gained during those levels. Therefore, when you regain those levels, as long as you are still below ML, you will gain additional bonus hits. This technique can allow your characters to gain quite a bit of additional HP during their early levels -- 100 or more is possible, depending on how many quests you receive and forfeit and how high your Con is.

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