Brawlers (Monks and Bruisers) constitute two of the six fighter classes (the other four are Guardian, Berserker, Shadowknight, and Paladin). In the game, tanks fall into two possible categories: Mitigation Tanks and Avoidance Tanks. While Mitigation Tanks rely on their heavy armor to deflect as much damage as possible, Monks and Bruisers rely upon their skills to avoid getting hit instead and so are called Avoidance Tanks.
An Avoidance Tank can easily tank as well as a Mitigation Tank on all but Epic encounters, where a large proportion of the Combat Arts the Epic creatures have disregard a tank's avoidance skills. This means that, in Epic encounters, Brawlers are hit more frequently and, being limited to leather armor, tend not to hold up to the punishment as well as a tank wearing plate.
Brawlers can turn out respectable Damage Per Second in such situations, however, or can work as an Off-Tank, providing relief and back-up to a raid's Main Tank and do quite well.
Starting Out Edit
The initial starting islands offer quick leveling for Brawlers, but not much in the way of useful weapons or equipment for them. After level four, there can be little benefit to remaining on either. Kelethin's starting area in Greater Faydark does offer a bit more in the way of Brawler equipment, however.
To leave either of the islands, simply speak to the captain aboard the ship docked near the large central tower. The captain will deliver any who ask to their home neighborhood in their city of allegiance. In Kelethin, simply going through Echo Echo Canyon will leave the newbie area.
Choice of Race Edit
There are no particular racial advantages or disadvantages with regard to Brawler classes. Racial choice is entirely about looks and location. Good races have their choice of starting in either Greater Faydark or Frostfang Sea, Evil races have their choice between Timorous Deep and Darklight Wood. Neutral races may start in any of the four cities.
It is no longer difficult for new Brawlers to obtain gear. As of Update:57 the quest lines were revamped and the gear throughout all four newbie zones was standardized. Following the quest lines will regularly reward Brawlers with new armor and weapons. Some jewelry is available from quests, but as a general rule of thumb the jewelry obtained from Named Monsters is better than the quest rewards.
Hotbar & skills Edit
After a few levels, a Brawler's Hotbar will begin to fill up with new skills.
There are several basic kinds of skills (Combat Arts) for Brawlers: Attacks, Buffs, Debuffs, Taunts, and general Utility skills. See each class description for a listing of applicable skills.
Which Buffs are used depends upon the Brawler's function at the time. A Brawler's main Buffs come in the form of stances, and they typically have three stances available after their first few levels. These are an Offensive Stance (which ups the Brawler's damage-dealing capabilities at the cost of defense), a Defensive Stance (which ups the Brawler's defense at the cost of dealing more damage), and a General Stance (which gives a moderate buff to both defense and damage).
Brawlers who are tanking should generally be using the Defensive Stance, while those who are supporting their group in a DPS capacity should be in an Offensive Stance. Often, the General Stance is best for solo work, though this can vary depending on what is being fought.
What is important for a good Brawler is organizing skills on the Hotbar for maximum efficiency, and to avoid confusing skills. Note which skills require specific combat positions (some blows require that the Brawler be behind or flanking their opponent, others that they be facing them), and which are useful only in a group, and arrange Hotbars accordingly. Keep Feign Death in easy reach but not somewhere it's likely to be clicked by accident, as it can cause serious mayhem in a group if the tank accidentally feigns death and the mob turns on the rest of the group.
There are a few extras which are very worth getting for a Brawler as well. The Bloodline Chronicles Adventure Pack contains the skill Devastation Fist which is very handy. Bruisers will find Sonic Punch from Desert of Flames very useful as well.
Guild membership Edit
Most guilds will welcome a Monk or Bruiser to their ranks, as Brawlers are useful both as tanks and as DPSs. A Brawler who knows how to use their class to maximum advantage can be sought after, though it may be difficult, with a Brawler, to be accepted to high-end raiding guild as they tend to prefer dedicated tanking or DPS classes and most players who have not played a brawler have the misconception that plate tanks are superior in tanking ability.
Brawlers have several compatible tradeskills. Note that while a Brawler may take up any profession, some are better suited to a Brawler's needs than others. Some of these are:
- Alchemist: As an Alchemist, a Brawler will be able to create their own Journeyman and Expert skills. The poison and potion side-line of Alchemy is also a nice money maker.
- Tailor: Since Brawlers are limited to leather and cloth armor, Tailoring is a fine tradeskill for them -- they'll be able to keep themselves in Mastercrafted armor right from the start, and creating bags is always good for making money at low levels. Additionally, Tailors create Hex Dolls, which are useful to Brawlers (especially those who are soloing), and a good way to make extra cash.
- Provisioner: A Provisioner never wants for food or drink, and these can be expensive to buy at upper levels. Provisioning isn't as profitable as it once was on a time-per-gold ratio, but a Provisioner's goods always sell if reasonably priced, and the raw materials are easy to get, so this profession can provide a steady income for a Brawler.
- Woodworker: Brawlers primarily use crushing weapons, and many of these are made by Woodworkers in the form of batons and staves, including the Brawler-specific Bo Staffs. While a Brawler has no use for the shields (and many of the other weapons a Woodworker makes), these can be sold for a handy profit. Additionally, Woodworkers create totems which are useful to the Brawler and which are always a good seller on the Broker.
Brawlers are excellent solo adventurers. They deal out sufficient damage to take many mobs down before they can be hit too many times, and their Feign Death skills can help them move through dangerous areas more easily, and to divide tough groups of mobs into conquerable clumps. Monks also receive the Wind Walk skill, a power-draining sneak that can get them out of tight situations. Brawlers are very independent as well, and don't rely upon pets or minions to get their work done.
Soloing Brawlers often work in their General stance for average mobs and then move down to a Defensive Stance for handling the heavy hitters. They should also not be afraid to move around in a fight: often the difference between killing and being killed for a Brawler is controlling the fight. As mentioned elsewhere, Brawlers have some skills which require specific positions or other events to be most effective. For example, a stomp which does more damage if the opponent has just been knocked down is one that should always be used after the opponent receives a knock-down blow; a blow which must be made from the target's flank or back should be used to start the fight, or after stunning the mob to get behind it.
Brawlers also have blows which use Health instead of Power as their charge -- use these cautiously, especially in a close fight.
In a group the brawler can take on one of three roles:
- Main Tank: In a Main Tank capacity, the Brawler will use their Defensive Stances and Buffs to improve their avoidance, mitigation, and stamina as much as possible. The most important thing in this role is to use Combat Abilities that generate a lot of Hate and Threat so that the target mobs remain interested. Brawlers tend toward generating most of their Hate through high damage, but using Taunts is generally crucial, especially if other characters in the Brawler's group are dealing high damage loads as well. Brawlers deal very well with single-target encounters, but in group encounters must often switch targets regularly to maintain high Hate on the encounter and keep the mobs from turning on other members of the Brawler's group. Be sure to warn your group that you'll be doing this and let them know why. Practice changing targets when you solo, as this will help.
- Off Tank: Depending on the Brawler is Off-Tanking, they can either go full DPS or full Avoidance for their Stance and Buffs. Either way the Brawler will normally only be Off-Tanking one mob at a time, and will normally have the support of a Healer; with the group concentrating on the Brawler's target before the Main Tank's target, the Brawler shouldn't really be taking that much damage, but some experimentation may be necessary.
- DPS: Brawlers in DPS mode should change to all of their speed, strength, and damage increasing Buffs. When in this role the Brawler should be very careful and measure out the damage they do to avoid pulling Aggro off of the Main Tank. It is neither cool nor clever to show how much DPS you can perform by doing this: it puts the group in danger as things can quickly go pear-shaped. If you make a mistake and end up with Aggro, you should immediately Feign Death so that the tank can more easily regain Aggro and build Hate again. It is better to do constant high damage than it is to do spikes of very high damage, and this will enable the Main Tank to maintain Hate and thus lower the chances of the Brawler pulling the mob off of them.
Note that, in general, Monks are better defensively while Bruisers are better offensively, but a well-played Brawler of either class is a force to be reckoned with.
Collection quests Edit
There don't seem to be many (if any) collection quests geared toward equipment for Brawlers and in fact many of the collections which have a range of rewards still exclude anything of use to a Brawler. (Note: Old info - some items can be used)
Brawlers are limited to leather or cloth armor only, and are generally limited to crushing weapons such as blunt weapons and bare hands. They can use some ranged weapons, but no bows.
There are speciality lines of brawler armor and weapons in the game. Usually the armor is chest pieces (only) called Gis. Not only are these normally very good pieces of armor for the Brawler, but, when worn, they take over all the other display properties of what the Brawler is wearing (except cloaks) and produce an outfit unique amongst the player classes.
Similarly, there are lines of weapons only Brawlers (and now Beastlords) may use, such as Fist Wraps (for a bare-handed fighting look), and Cestutes and Katars (for a slightly different fist-fighting look). Brawlers may not use shields, but can fight with a two-handed weapon or with two dual wield weapons.
When looking for armor, a Brawler should be concerned primarily with Strength, and Stamina for avoidance, damage, and power. While mitigation is nice, keep in mind that a Brawler's job is to avoid being hit at all, not to slough off the damage once hit.
Getting religion Edit
For Bruisers, Rallos Zek the Warlord is a good choice of deity. Rallos offers a wide range of useful blessings and miracles, including an evac, many of which increase the Bruiser's Hate gain or allow the Bruiser to inflict massive damage in an AOE. Additionally, the pet bestowed by Rallos Zek (for the quest Flesh and Steel) gives the Bruiser additional strength.
For Monks, you have a few choices: Mithaniel Marr is a good choice for melee characters. Another one is The Tribunal,especially if you like to Role Play and are a barbarian, who traditionally from EverQuest Live (1) had this deity choice among others, such as Marr. Some monks in EverQuest Live lore followed Quellious, but for EQ II miracles, blessings, deity buff, and deity cloak stand-point, they do not offer much for a melee class, unless you like to remain low on the hate-list and have help mesmerizing. This deity is more suited to enchanters by the set-up of these blessings and miracles.
Hunting spots Edit
The current newbie quest lines will leave a Brawler well geared. The quest rewards for all four newbie zones are absolutely identical and will keep a player busy until the early-mid 20s, level wise. Players who are not grouping are recommended to avoid the "old world" zones, which are not as soloer-friendly as the newer content starting with the Echoes of Faydwer zones.
Suggestions for hunting areas:
- 1-20 -- Darklight Wood, Frostfang Sea, Greater Faydark, Timorous Deep.
- 20-30 -- Butcherblock Mountains, Nektulos Forest. At this point in the game leveling is easy enough that you will rarely find groups interested in running dungeons, but Crushbone Keep, Stormhold and Fallen Gate are worth a run or two for the AA's.
- 30-40 -- Quest lines in Butcherblock Mountains will keep players busy until their mid 30s, and Steamfont Mountains can be started. The best bet for dungeons are Kaladim and The Ruins of Varsoon.
- 40-50 -- Everfrost can be started around this level. Steamfont Mountains is good until close to 50. In the late 40s, The Sinking Sands can be attempted.
- 50-60 -- The Lesser Faydark, The Pillars of Flame, Tenebrous Tangle
- 60-70 -- Probably the levels where hunting content is the thinnest. The Barren Sky and The Bonemire for players in the low 60s, and high 60s can tackle Loping Plains and Kylong Plains
- 70-80 -- Work your way through the Kunark zones (Kylong, Fens of Nathsar, Kunzar Jungle, and Jarsath Wastes in that order) or head to Moors of Ykesha. Mid 70s it should be possible to start on The Sundered Frontier as well. Players interested in speed leveling could probably get away with skipping Kunark entirely.
- 80-90 -- Tackle The Stonebrunt Highlands and move on to Velious and Great Divide.