-- by KaVir
This is the standard style of play for the dragon class, and is the natural continuation after classing. It has all of the abilities described earlier for the hatchling, but these abilities can be enhanced with powers. Note that you'll also lose your Dragon Hatchling talent when you class, so make sure you fill the extra empty slot (personally I recommend using the free slot and the extra slot from classing with Toughness and Natural Fortitude, if you don't have them already).
Not all dragon powers can be used while in Dragon Form - those that can are as follows:
- Dragon Form is a must, improving your natural armour as well as your claws, bite and breath attacks.
- Treasure Hoard is an extremely strong power, designed to compensate for your lack of equipment, although you'll need to feed some choice items to your hoard before it becomes a must-have (so it's probably best to raise Dragon Form first).
- Draconic Rage can provide some very meaty bonuses, although it relies on the elemental powers for most of its strength. If you focus on rage you'll also want to pick up some ranks in Extended Rage.
- Chill of the Tundra, Eye of the Storm, Fumes of the Pit, Fires of the Volcano and Winds of the Mind (referred to here as the elemental powers) provide you with a selection of bonuses. In particular its worth noting that the armour bonuses are scaled (meaning 1 rank gives +5, 2 ranks give +4, 3 ranks give +3, 4 ranks give +2 and each rank after that gives +1). Thus you should strongly consider getting at least 1 or 2 ranks in each of these powers early on, to give yourself some cheap protection.
- Salamanders Gift provides you with regeneration and regrowth.
- Lord of the Skies strengthens your wing attacks, removes your flight penalties, and increases your flying movement rate.
- Lashing Tail enhances your tail attack.
- Hydra Shape, Serpent Shape and Wyvern Shape provide you with alternative versions of Dragon Form, but are not available until age 200.
Personally I would recommend getting Dragon Form up to rank 10, then getting 2 ranks in each of the five elemental powers, all the while collecting treasure. Then pump Treasure Hoard up to rank 10, and finally get Draconic Rage up to 10. However I know that some people prefer building up Draconic Rage before Treasure Hoard (and even a single rank in Treasure Hoard can give you a decent Speed bonus, if you're having trouble with a low Speed). If you don't want to bother with rage, you could instead try getting Lord of the Skies up to rank 10 (to get rid of the flying penalty). You might also want to consider getting Salamanders Gift to rank 1 (for regeneration while fighting) or rank 5 (for the quick-healing head tech), but the rank 10 bonus is worthless for Dragon Form.
There are also various talents which work well for Dragon Form, as follows:
- Natural Fortitude (which in turn requires Toughness) provides a very nice bonus to your armour (note that the usual unarmoured choice of Evasion doesn't work so well for Dragon Form, as it is lightly encumbered by default).
- Dragon Blooded doubles the breath bonus given by Dragon Form, and also gives you an armour bonus.
- Iron Talons doubles the claw bonus given by Dragon Form.
- Powerful Metabolism doubles the bite bonus given by Dragon Form.
- Chromatic Pedigree, Crystal Pedigree, Metallic Pedigree and Celestial Pedigree are only available via subclasses, but each give some extra bonuses and bypass, as well as some other benefit.
- Unarmed Mastery and Whip Mastery are the only two weapon mastery talents you can benefit from, so you might as well get them both.
- Ambidextrous can be helpful if you primarily fight with your claws.
- Armour Proficiency removes the speed and cooldown penalties you normally suffer (as Dragon Form is always at light encumbrance).
- Berserker Rage and Tireless Rage can benefit a strongly rage-oriented build.
- Red Dragon Descendant, White Dragon Descendant, Blue Dragon Descendant and Black Dragon Descendant provide an extra 20% immunity to the appropriate damage type, and double the bonuses of your appopriate elemental power.
- Psionics and Psychic Mastery can greatly enhance your Winds of the Mind power.
- Elemental Spell Focus is good for dragons that focus on spell sigils.
- Burn, Freeze, Shock, Great Burn, Great Freeze, Great Shock and Venom will improve your bypass with the appropriate damage type, which is primarily useful for breath weapons and spell sigils.
- Cleave and Great Cleave improve the bypass of your claws.
- Smash and Great Smash improve the bypass of your bite, wingbash and tail.
- Endurance isn't a priority, but if you don't need anything else it's worth having.
- Instinctive Dodge improves the natural cooldown defence of your feet from 33% to 50%.
- Sure Footed doesn't apply the 5% immunity, but the defence bonus is doubled (because you have four legs).
- Tough Hide provides a bonus to your dragonhide, and the doubled Resistance is applied after adding the ranked bonus from Dragon Form.
I strongly recommend Natural Fortitude, Dragon Blooded and one of the Dragon Descendant talents, as well as Iron Talons if you're playing a melee build. The four Pedigree talents are extremely good, but only accessible at age 200 via subclasses, so it's best not to worry about them early on. If you've one or two free weapon mastery slots, you should fill the first with Unarmed Mastery and the second with Whip Mastery.