The following is a list of common strategies that will help improve your game. Some may be obvious, but their usefulness cannot be overstated.
Activating the Teleporter
Your primary goal in each area is to activate the teleporter, instead of killing mobs. While searching for it, ignore the enemies that spawn along the way, but try to memorize the location of chests (Explanation ahead). The sooner you activate the teleporter, the better it is for you; the game's difficulty increases as time passes and it is harder to pass through each area on higher difficulties. After you have activated the teleporter, clear the map of enemies and go back to collect any chest that you have enough funds to acquire. You may not have enough funds for them all, so plan on what you need (the more expensive the chest, the higher the possibility of a better grade item). Keep in mind that the longer you spend collecting chests, the more difficult the game is.
Also keep in mind that some shrines are disabled after activating the teleporter. Sometimes there can be four or more health shrines on a single level, each potentially containing two items. These are, however, only on certain levels. Use the below strategies to help maintain a good balance of time and character strength.
Another option of gameplay is to farm/grind. Farming/Grinding is a very time consuming and extensive but a significantly safer way of completing a play-through, as it includes sitting in the same spot for a long period of time without activating the teleporter, killing any bosses that spawn. This is where kiting skills become most useful, due to the player constantly kiting monsters and bosses in the same spot. Typically, an effective way for a player to farm is to find an open and flat place which will make kiting an easier task, then to sit in this spot killing bosses that spawn and grabbing the items they drop whilst killing any monsters in the area.
However, when using this strategy it is highly recommended to possess the item, Warbanner, and for the player to start early in the playthrough. Warbanner will greatly increase the player's survivability and stats so long as they stay inside of the range of the banner, and starting early is most beneficial as the leveling up curve of the game will result in you laying down a minimal amount of banners later in the game.
Note: Attempting this strategy without this item can prove to be very, very difficult.
Using Command Artifact
Being able to choose what you receive from chests is extremely useful. Getting massive stacks of a single item can be a very viable strategy, depending on the item.
- Choosing the First Aid Kit every time a basic chest appears eventually lets you heal for more damage than you take, making health-conservation less of a hassle.
- Choosing Tough Times every time will result in about 75% damage reduction with a reasonable number of stacks.
- Choosing Infusion at the earliest opportunity will allow the player to more effectively build up health over the course of the game. This is especially important with Glass active. Once 9999 health is reached, Infusion and other max health-increasing items no longer remain useful.
- Choosing the Barbed Wire at every opportunity will eventually create a forcefield of death around the character that will kill any enemy in a matter of a few seconds. However, it takes a very large number of them to make this an effective option - no less than triple digits. About 250 will cover the entire screen. It is important to note that while the radius of the wire-field and the amount of damage dealt both increase with every barbed wire gained, the number of enemies affected at a time will always be one (this usually doesn't matter because the damage output kills things ~instantly with enough wire). With enough barbed wire, it is possible to kill the final boss by just being in the room.
- Choosing Bustling Fungus as often as possible will eventually cause you to regenerate the entirety of your health bar in the first tick, once you have 23 of them. Surpassing this number would appear to have no further benefit (as you are already healing 100% of your max health per tick); that said, crowds of monsters attacking in unison can and will do 200% damage or more in an instant if not taken seriously, and more fungi means more survivability in those circumstances. As the difficulty increases, it also will become very hard to stand still for 2 seconds without being hit or performing any action (watch for rocket-firing elites). Bustling Fungus will not trigger on a rope/ladder. Time Keeper's Secret is a good pairing for emergency healing.
Kiting as a Ranged Character
Kiting is the act of running from your enemies, typically while dealing damage to them in order to keep their focus on you. Kiting can also involve slowing your opponents so they cannot keep up with you, making the Prison Shackles useful for this strategy. Kiting works best for ranged characters simply because they can kite without constantly moving toward danger.
Dealing damage while kiting differs from character to character, but the essential ideas remain the same. While running from mobs, a character should quickly turn in place to face his assailants and throw a few attacks at them when the character is a far enough distance away to avoid being caught before they can turn and run again. The Huntress is renowned for the fact that she is the only character who can attack while running without a pause, and who also can fire backwards (depending on proximity of the nearest enemy). However, she is typically unlocked a bit later in the game (anywhere from 4th to last, depending on your luck getting Monster Logs) and as such players should be used to "normal" kiting by the time she is available.
Keep in mind that a character can turn around in midair. This allows a character to jump while kiting, turn in midair, and fire before continuing to run. This is especially helpful on the Engineer character, as his Tri-nade attack will have a higher chance of hitting his oncoming targets. With skill or any jump-boosting item, depending on the character, this can be done without causing the character to "freeze" when they hit the ground as the attack animation completes.
You will inevitably have to change direction while kiting, either to remain in your chosen "arena" or to stay safe. Since characters take no damage from simply touching enemies (except for Jellyfish), it can be possible to walk or jump directly through a group of enemies. To play it safe, use a ladder or ledge to get some height to try to clear the group without passing through them. Otherwise use the "escape" skill that most characters have, which often provide invincibility frames.
Kiting as a Melee Character
While kiting best works with ranged classes, melee classes with invulnerability frames or a movement speed ability and point blank attacks can kite rather effectively. These include the Bandit's Smokebomb and Dynamite Toss; the Mercenary's Blinding Assault, Whirlwind, and Eviscerate; HAN-D's FORCED_REASSEMBLY and OVERCLOCK; and the Miner's Drill Charge, Backblast and To The Stars.
This method of kiting is a little counter-intuitive. Instead of running away from the enemy, the character should run towards it. The character should then use their point blank attacks before using their movement ability to run away. This is best seen on a case by case basis.
The Bandit should use his Smokebomb prior to combat and enter into the enemy group before using his Dynamite Toss. This will stun the mobs and allow the Bandit to make a hasty getaway. Keep in mind that successful Lights Out kills will allow him to repeat this process indefinitely. Note that, while invisible with Smokebomb, the Bandit is not invincible. Any cross-fire towards allies or AOEs such as fire trails will still damage the Bandit.
The Mercenary should charge into battle with Eviscerate and follow up with a Blinding Assault through the enemy. After the first Blinding Assault, he may use Whirlwind to deal additional damage before using Blinding Assault two more times through the enemy and finishing with an Eviscerate. This deals an incredible amount of damage, but if the enemy isn't dead, the mercenary needs to be ready to retreat before they recover. Note that if a truly hasty getaway is needed, the third Blinding Assault can be used away from the enemy to get a head start on running.
HAN-D's method is a little different as it can sustain itself fairly well using its DRONE ability. However, kiting can be necessary with a large number of powerful mobs since Drones are only created on a kill. HAN-D should OVERCLOCK, run into the enemy mobs, and use FORCED_REASSEMBLY before laying on the HURT. Hitting the mobs with HURT after FORCED_REASSEMBLY will allow HAN-D more time in OVERCLOCK, which lets it keep its movement speed for running away.
HURT has a significant knockback and often stuns enemies, allowing effective kiting early in the game (Elites have significant reduction to these effects, and bosses are immune to them).
Enemies will maintain forward momentum when bounced by FORCED_REASSEMBLY, even if they're running into a wall, so be careful they don't "jump" up onto your safety ledge or land behind you as you finish your animation.
The Miner can easily charge up a Drill Charge to dash through a group of enemies, and then Backblast out of the group. This also leaves a window where damage can be output via To The Stars whilst the enemies are stunned, whilst still leaving the Miner out of range of their attacks. This tactic usually reduces enemies to quite low health, where they can be finished off with a Crush if they approach the Miner. When trying to escape a large crowd or powerful enemies, Backblast can be used to stun them, and a uncharged Drill Charge can be used to add extra distance.
Used during a jump, the Miner's Crush animation will typically be complete by the time he lands, allowing his relatively powerful main attack to deal good damage while staying moderately safe by bunny hopping through a group. Drill Charge and Backblast cause a slight pause on landing from a normal jump, so be cautious of where you land.
Acrid has a lot of options because it has good ranged attacks combined with a melee attack. Epidemic should be spammed every time it is up as it is an easy skill to land and provides a large portion of Acrid's damage. Acrid excels in killing large mobs by spreading Caustic Sludge across the ground and fighting over it. Neurotoxin is a great skill to keep the mob over your Caustic Sludge or just to hurt monsters while keeping your distance. The best way to utilize Festering Wounds is to jump back and forth passing over enemies while using the skill in the air (similar to the Miner). Remember that the DoT portion of Festering Wounds will stack. Combining these tactics is what makes Acrid such a versatile character.
Infusion in Boar Beach
If you make it to Boar Beach with Infusions then it is possible to easily farm health from boarlits, which are relatively low-health for their position in the game. If you avoid killing the Toxic Beast, then boarlits will continue to spawn, and situating yourself at the top of the area will allow you to kill any boarlit that spawns up there with relative ease and with little risk (of rain -HA!).