Developed by XL Games, the folks behind ArcheAge, and published by Kakao Games, Moonlight Sculptor is an MMORPG based on Nam Hi-Sung’s light novel, The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. This is a story about a manipulative, money-hungry jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold named Lee-Hyun. While living a harsh childhood of poverty and illegal labor hounded by loan sharks, he becomes a legendary Continent Of Magic player.
He eventually auctions his character, Weed, away once he is able to find real work legally. He uses the utterly absurd amount of real-life dosh (3 million dollars!) he earns to finally pay off the loan sharks, but this makes him realize that he can make a ton of cash and pay for his grandma’s medical bills and sister’s education by grinding MMOs to dust.
And a fancy new VR MMO called Royal Road just got released. While Lee-Hyun is kind and loving to his family, this same love and kindness leads Weed to scam, smooth-talk, and grind his way to online glory, fame, and real-life fortune. Which is tough for him since he accidentally unlocked the Moonlight Sculptor class, something with little in the way of combat ability.
Now XL Games’ version of Moonlight Sculptor and Royal Road isn’t quite as advanced as Royal Road from the light novel. For one thing, this Royal Road is not a VR game. Unlike Weed from the light novel, you won’t get to dodge attacks with your real-life martial arts skills here, and it doesn’t have the Fame stat Weed loves to abuse so heavily. It’s a darn good game though, an old school MMO with some modern anti-frustration features.
Just like old MMOs there is less emphasis on twitchy action and more on pre-combat preparation, strategy and exploration. Not to mention loads of grinding, as in the original story. This game is blessed by some very funny, high-quality writing as expected from not just the same publishers as Guardian Tales, but also a game based on a light novel. That being said, your adventures running into Weed are more grounded and less bonkers than Knight’s adventures to avenge Kanterbury.
Now, enough of that intro, let’s delve into our Moonlight Sculptor beginner’s guide, as we present you a bunch of tips, tricks and strategies to make your life crossing the Royal Road smoother.
1. Travel The World, Make New Friends, Meet Exotic Creatures, And Kill Them All!
It’s pretty easy to get caught up auto-grinding quests in this game and just mulching monsters all day. There is much to explore in this game, and you can get rewards from doing so that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you just laser-focused on the main quest mission you have at the moment. Turn off that autogrind once in a while and take a walk across the Royal Road. See the sights!
Meeting People, Meeting Quests
If you see NPCs around, especially those with names similar to what you’d expect from a player, there’s a chance it might be a side or secret quest waiting to happen. Some are given quest markers, some are not. Sometimes, you have to talk to them, and they’ll ask you to do something like go kill monsters or deliver stuff to other NPCs like a normal quest. Sometimes, you can merely stand still next to them for a second and watch them get into a lover’s quarrel or something.
Sometimes, they don’t give you a quest and they just hint toward something, and if you figure out what they’re talking about you get a reward even if it didn’t appear in your quest list. You’ll typically know if you ran into one though if you get a purple HQ quest in your list. And the rewards aren’t small either: Some of them allow you to learn new skills for combat. Later in the article, there will be a tip that makes finding these hidden quests much easier though.
Filling Out The Codex, A Fancy Way To Say Indiscriminate Murder
When you’re in an area, the main quests will typically involve fighting only a fraction of the monster types there. In an area where the quests will tell you to fight, say orcs or goblins, you might find bears or deer or giant scorpions or whatever walking about. Take your time to murder them too and put them in your Codex not just for rewards (the final reward for filling out an area’s monster Codex section are red butterflies, Moonlight Sculptor’s equivalent to bound gems, and before that it’s a ton of gold), but so you can see their HP bars during combat.
Once you kill enough of a monster, you can see their HP while fighting, allowing you to make better decisions like when to run away. Take note that certain monsters only appear at night, and they give unique drops. Put them in the Codex too!
Library Cards? HA!
If you see books lying around on the ground, grab them asap. They usually hold various tips, either involving general gameplay, recipes, or give direct access to secret quests, though sometimes they just give a hint towards said quests instead. You can read those from the Collection menu though. The real reward is that they sell for 10000 gold a pop! Once you’re done following their advice, you can sell them to an NPC vendor. More adventure, and easy money.
Another form of exploration is cooking. You only learn recipes by figuring them out yourself, or reading the Chef Notes in the Memo Collection section of the Collection menu. That being said, blacked-out recipes still tell you if you have the materials to make something and how much of each ingredient you have, just not what those ingredients are.
This means you should take stock of what you’re carrying if you’re going in blind. You have a Satiety bar, and keeping that in the blue gives you a 10% ATK buff so learning to cook as many recipes as you can is pretty important.
2. Things To Notice As A Beginner
There are a couple of easy pitfalls for new players to fall into, mostly involving valuable items getting lost prematurely, though there is one more thing quite useful. Here are the things we’ve run into that are likely to fly over a newbie’s head.
Read The Memo Collection
In the Collections Book, inside the Other tab, there is a subcategory called Memo Collection. Inside, there are memos you can read. Of note are the Chef’s Notes and Some Adventurers’ Journals. The Chef’s Notes outright tell you how to make a lot of the recipes you can unlock through experimentation, and Some Adventurer’s Journal entries give away the location of hidden quests and how to get them, or at least give some clues.
Best of all, you don’t need to collect the actual notes to read these, so it’s just there, hidden in an obscure part of the menu waiting to make your life easier. Take a read!
Save The Good Potions
Early in the game and from your various login rewards, you will get a decent number of Superior HP Recovery and Mana Recovery Potions. You should save these for when you’ve got either a much higher Constitution or Wisdom stat than you started with, or for really rough battles. These potions are rare since you can’t buy them easily. Look for a designated Potion Merchant (there’s one in every town worth it’s name) and buy some Advanced HP Recovery potions and their Mana-based counterpart.
Take the Superior stuff out of your Hotbar and jam the Advanced stuff in there instead. Early on, they heal more than the Superior potions, but the Superior potions heal more later in the game because of their percentage-based healing. Once you find a good HP or Mana Drain Option Stone or some equipment with lots of HP or Mana Regeneration as a stat, you can ditch potions for everyday use entirely and only carry fifty to a hundred for emergencies.
Register Materials For Collection… Some Other Time.
You’ll find early on that you can register materials like Cloth and Ores in the Collection Book for a reward, usually an extra 10 weight units of backpack space, about half the weight of a suit of armor. This requires a huge amount of said materials and early on, they can be difficult to come by in appreciable amounts. Save them to craft items like say, your first cloak in Baran or some better flasks and arrows so you don’t have to buy them. Once you’re strong enough not to care about such materials anymore, then you can register them for collection. Or sell them for more gold!
3. Easy Grind, Easy Life
A lot of what you’ll be doing in this game is grinding, grinding, and more grinding. Just like Weed, you’re gonna spend a lot of time just killing everything for cash. Here’s some tips to make the grind a bit smoother.
Semi Auto Or Full Auto
One thing you’ll notice early on is the Auto button (marked by a pair of rotating arrows), which, for lack of a better word, puts your character into a mouth-frothing berserker fit. Not only will they kill everything in sight, they will actively walk around looking for more things to murder if everything around them is dead. The Auto is automatically set to… Auto, which means once you use it to finish a quest, they will keep murdering enemies anyway until your character dies or you turn it off. This is excellent for doing quests and grinding.
Sometimes though, you may want something a bit less aggressive. Places like Chaotic Entrance dungeons tend to have many enemies in rather tight spaces, and being able to control your character’s movement more precisely is important to avoid getting lynched by an angry mob. Not to mention the full Auto AI’s pretty dumb at navigating mazes and corridors.
If you want a setting for self-defense and precise command without sacrificing skill-spam DPS, hold down the Auto button and set it to Semi. It allows the character to fight as if they’re on Auto (they will spam skills at the enemy until they’re a mushy puddle) when attacked or if you pick a target, but they will not actively go out of their way to eviscerate everything on the map.
Auto While Asleep
The game has a power saving option for when you leave the game running for an extended period of time. Behind that relaxing, friendly grey screen is horrific violence as your character tears everything with an HP bar apart in an Auto-induced rage. Long enough and the screen blacks out completely, but the bloodbath carries on for as long as your batteries run or the wifi is stable. You can use this to grind while sleeping!
This is safest to do in a low level area where you won’t need to use your mana potions, though doing it in a spicier place ensures better profit if you’re confident your character isn’t gonna die. Or worse, chug through your food and potion supply.
Your backpack will fill up while doing this, and a backpack over the weight limit gives your character a Movement and ATK Speed debuff that gets worse as they pick up more stuff. The ATK Speed debuff can be pretty serious if you’re in a deadly area, especially if you’re relying on HP Drain rather than HP Regeneration. Good thing Teleport Pictures exist!
Baby’s First Stabbing Implement
In the player market, your first big purchase once you hit your first million Gold (This shouldn’t take you more than a day or two of solid early quest grinding especially with the earlygame rewards handed to you) should either be a cloak, or if your stats allow for one, a weapon. A purple tier III weapon will do, at such an early stage you might not have the stats required for a gold weapon.
Also, a purple weapon lasts unusually long for how early you can start using it as long as you feed it enhancement scrolls, to the point an upgraded purple tier III weapon can out-damage a gold tier I weapon without upgrades. As for the cloak, they are a piece of armor that offers a lot of protection considering they have no stat requirements.
Don’t bother buying purple flasks or arrows though if you’re an Alchemist or Archer. You’re better off crafting special ammo using one of the various town crafting tables, and even the cheap green tier ammo works fine for a good while.
Talk Quests First
If you have a bunch of quests that involve chatting with NPCs, do those before any combat quests, especially if those chatty quests are in the same place. It could lead to them asking you to do multiple kill quests in the same area, so you don’t have to go back and forth from place to place on the map.
Also, chatty quests are easier and often lead to places that have multiple NPCs. You could use this to spot more side quests easily.
Two Hotbars, Three Tactics
You’ve got two hotbars and the ability to swap them out mid battle by pressing the button at the very lowest right of the screen. Auto only uses whichever hotbar is currently active, so you have a few options on how to use them.
Say you’re a Paladin or an Alchemist, you can have separate hotbars for combat skills and support skills. This lets you easily switch roles on the fly in team scenarios like boss raids. Swap hotbars to heal people, then when you see they’re all good or everything is on cooldown, swap hotbars again to resume the beatdown. This is good if you have a team and are about to go in an organized run.
You can also have certain really powerful skills with long cooldowns in your second hotbar alone while you keep your spammable bread-and-butter combat skills in your first. This way, you can stay on Auto and still have total control over when you unleash your strongest attack. You just have to swap hotbars once a big juicy opportunity presents itself. This method is useful for going solo.
If you want to save on Mana potions by force, you can have an entirely empty second hotbar so your character only uses their basic attack. Assuming you have powerful HP Regeneration and Drain but lack Mana Regeneration, this is useful for night grinding if you’re too lazy to haul your Mana potions back home.
4. Preparation Is Key
No, don’t buy a thousand potions before a fight! There are a few different situations you can find yourself in, and different ways to prepare for them. The differences mostly being how much stuff you bring. The weight limit imposed on you means if you want to make the most of a grinding session, you need to go in light. But if you’re about to get into a solid fight such as a boss raid where the rewards are few but high quality, and the risk is very high, you might want to bring your best potions and some good food.
Night Grind? Pack Light
When night grinding, your main form of profit will be from the junk you can sell for gold along with materials you get for dismantling armor you don’t need, along with EXP. Ideally, you don’t want to be chugging valuable potions doing this so this is normally done in an area where you can roll over enemies easily with just your basic attack. This way, you minimize the use of mana and healing potions across your (hopefully) 8 hours of sleep.
If you’re an Alchemist or Archer, bring some cheap flasks or arrows so you can save the good stuff for real fights, and leave your mana potions at home. You could also bring some healing potions if you’re a heavy sleeper. Chug some of Weed’s EXP increase potions if you have them, or some food that can do the same thing beforehand to make the most of the grind.
If you have equipment that gives you Mana and HP Drain or Regeneration (A single purple HP Drain Option Stone heals 300 HP everytime you hit something, almost as much as an Advanced HP Potions’s 450, and with no cooldown), you can ditch the potions entirely, and even hop into slightly more dangerous areas to grind.
One last thing, if you’re not running a Strength character like a Paladin or Warrior, you will inevitably end up with an overweight backpack if you go night grinding. If it gets overweight, you get a movement and ATK speed penalty that gets worse if you carry yet more stuff.
The question is how long do you delay that debuff, and if you can survive the grind even with the worst of it. This is another reason to thin your backpack out before a night grind. Stuff your heaviest material stacks into your home’s drawer. Drawers have limited slots, but infinite carry weight, so you should put only your heaviest item stacks into each slot to make the most of the drawer space.
Big Fight? Big Glug
On the other hand, if you’re about to enter a high risk fight like a boss raid, give it your all. Bring your best potions (Thankfully, Superior Potions have no weight, but if your Constitution stat is low, like if you’re an Alchemist or Mage, you might be better off with Advanced HP Potions, which have weight but have a flat heal of 450 HP rather than 20%).
Eat a ton of food to get the Very Full buff, and top it off with whatever piece of food gives you the buff you want. Chug some buff potions, and bring your best ammo. And join early because even the lowest level raid boss has 3 bars of roughly 1 million HP each, and most players hop into raid rooms the second they are announced.
Once you join, you’ve got 4 minutes to prepare. Your main risk here is the usual “not getting killed” bit you have in most games rather than worrying about how much you’re spending to make profit or how much space your bag has, since the rewards are usually a few highly valuable things (like Gear Enhancement Scrolls) rather than a ton of gold fodder.
5. Buffing Up
There are quite a number of ways to make your character stronger, and while you can get by with just putting on whatever equipment gets dropped on your lap after a kill, it’ll make things like night grinds difficult. Not to mention you always want to get stronger for obvious reasons. Here are some ways to get stronger.
Nerds Stick To The Library, Jocks Stick To The Gym, And The Archer Sticks To The Pet Store
While generalist builds are technically possible, Moonlight Sculptor does not take kindly to them unless they use the Sculptor class. Each class is often stuck with skills that only make use of their two primary stats. There’s also the issue of weapons and armor being available only with a certain stat requirement, making it hard for say, Alchemists to equip a Greatsword or wear Plate armor without utterly wrecking their skills.
Put those stat points on your recommends, and instead of bulking up a stat you don’t do well in (Say, you’re an Alchemist and you saw a nice suit of Leather Armor that needs Agility) just to be able to use better armor, stick to what you CAN equip, and do the next step.
Don’t bother going after Leather armor (the best, most balanced kind of armor) if you’re not an Archer. Take whatever you can wear and enhance it instead. The stat bonuses for enhancement are fairly large, usually enough to make a suit of armor with abysmally uneven stats become at least viable for stopping attacks they aren’t made to stop.
It ensures squishy nerds like Alchemists, Mages and Archers can still take non-magical blows (a lot more common than magic attacks especially early on) without having to upgrade their Agility or Strength for leather or plated armor, while Paladins and Swordsmen can block attacks with their faces even more effectively than normal.
Another thing, classes also get specializations toward certain armor types, so you don’t want to lose those buffs by forcing yourself into Leathers anyway.
Other than Enchantment, there is also the use of Random Options and Options Stones. These give your equipment auxiliary special stats like extra Strength, Defense, or the particularly noteworthy HP Regen and Drain, extremely useful for saving potions. Option Stones allow you to have more control over the process, as each Stone has a pre-determined stat it can give to an item. You can also fuse three Option Stones of the same quality into something stronger.
Wait a second, how the heck is sculpting statues supposed to make me stronger? The game is called Moonlight Sculptor for a reason. Sculptures, when placed in your home or lawn, give you a buff that lasts for as long as it’s planted on the ground, and reaches you anywhere across the world. You will eventually get a questline that not only teaches you how to make sculptures, but gives some to you outright. You can only craft sculptures yourself once you hit level 80, but every town has a sculptor NPC or crafting table that can do it for you.
For a nominal fee of course. Namely, some gold and whatever materials are needed for the sculpture you want. The more sculpture types line your home, the more buffs you get, though you can’t have two of the same sculpture type on the floor even if they’re of differing quality.
Sculptures can be polished and upgraded for more powerful bonuses. You get materials for sculptures either by gathering rocks and chopping trees down, or from good ol’ fashioned murdering everything in sight and dismantling junk equipment. Now make like Weed and carve some art!
5. Class Overview
In Moonlight Sculptor, there are several character classes that only roughly fit the typical MMO archetypes. You’ve got the AOE flask-bombing Alchemist, the charming animal-loving Archer, the tough as nails Paladin, the spell-slinging Mage, and the one every MMO needs to have, the good ol’ sword-swinging Warrior.
While their stats start out min-maxed, it is possible for you to put points in other stats to even them out, but this is generally inadvisable. If you’re going to even anything out, it’s their main two stats.
Archers in most games tend to be DPS-focused ranged damage dealers. Royal Road Archers are special in that they have that, but they also have a much better synergy with pets and mercenaries than other classes thanks to their abnormally high Charisma stat.
In fact, their synergy with pets is so good that Charisma-focused Archers are a common, deadly free-to-play build. It helps that having powerful pets do most of the killing for you makes auto-grinding very easy, but it also lets them overwhelm enemies in PVP. For one thing, Archers have a stun, and after that the pets happily eat the Archer’s opponent alive!
Their high Agility also lets them wear Leather armor, which offers both Physical and Magical damage protection, with their middling constitution being the only thing hampering their tankiness. Archers use Arrows as ammo, but thankfully you can get by using the cheap ones vendors sell if you prefer firing finger guns with a Charisma build. Or you could craft good arrows and not look like a total cheapskate.
Paladins are a very tough support class with extremely high Constitution and healing spells. They can deal decent blows using one-handed weapons, and carry a shield too. They can also cause debuffs against enemies using their AOE attacks.
Their middling Agility and Strength allows them to wear Plate or Leather armor to battle depending on which stat the player focuses on, though their Strength is still a bit better. Their “just okay” attack power can make autogrinding slightly less rewarding for the time spent, but mix that with their healing spells and toughness, and you’ll be spending less money chugging potions.
Not to mention you can pick Strength for their second stat anyway just to clobber things harder. If anything, Paladins have the most potential for more varied stat builds since only their Charisma and Intelligence are truly abysmal, and their on-the-edge-of-bad Wisdom is still useful if you want more mana for healing people.
If Paladins are stone walls, then Warriors count as lightning bruisers. They have high Strength, allowing them to carry greatswords, battleaxes, and other heavy objects like your night grind backpack. They also have middling Agility and good Constitution, so they can be pretty tough while still being relatively nimble compared to the lethargic Mage and Alchemist.
They are the go to for melee damage dealing since they get to use big scary two-handed weapons like greatswords and warhammers, though they can also equip one-handers like angrier Paladins if they get enough Constitution.
Mages are squishy ranged damage dealers focusing on elemental damage. They have extremely high Intelligence and good Wisdom, but everything else is rather poor. Unfortunately, this limits them to wearing Cloth armor. Cloth armor protects very well vs Magic but does nothing to stop monsters eating your face, and there is a lot more face-eating than there is magic early on.
This leads to a fairly tense, potion-chugging earlygame, though it can be mitigated quite nicely with armor enhancement. Everything about them is offense, offense and offense, with powerful attacks that cause debuffs and deal heavy damage. Stock up on Mana Potions or get some form of Mana Regen for them so your wallet doesn’t beg for mercy.
Alchemists are similar to Mages, except less skewed towards elemental rock paper scissors and more toward massive amounts of non-elemental area damage. These poison-huffing dorks start out pretty weak since they don’t get their signature AOE spam for a short while, but after the first two skills, darn near everything they learn has some kind of area damage or serious debuff like Sleep.
They also have the advantage of their main weapon, the Spell Dagger, being tied to their Wisdom so they can be spammier and statwise, tougher than Mages. That being said, Mages typically get to wear better Cloth armor earlier than Alchemists (Cloth armor is tied to Intelligence and Alchemists focus on Wisdom), so they even out in the squishiness department. These guys are pretty good for farming large crowds of weaklings once they get some form of HP and Mana Regeneration, but have a tougher time racking up big numbers against raid bosses.
For ammo, they require Mana potions AND Flasks. Thankfully Flasks are cheap, and roughly 1500 of the green-tier ones can last you all the way to level 60 before running out, provided you got a purple tier 3 Spell Dagger early.
You can only get the Sculptor by picking “Choose Later” in the Class Selection screen. You’ll have to go through part of the main quest without a class and once you hit level 28, you’ll get a new quest allowing you to learn how to be a Sculptor. This means you’ll be suffering early game hell, but it’s worth it. While they have middling stats all around at the beginning, skill-wise Sculptors generally have extreme single target DPS and a heavy reliance on critical strikes.
They get AOE attacks much, much later than other classes. This usually means Agility builds are common so they can make use of non-spell Daggers (I mean, what’s a dagger but a chisel you use to carve bad guys?) and Leather Armor, though you can technically build them any way you want. Makes sense since Weed from the novel lacked flashy class skills and relied on real-life martial arts dodging, and striking monsters repeatedly in the same spot to rack up bonus damage.
They also have the ability to summon golems. For certain powerful skills, they make use of ammo statues called Jahav’s Ideals and Jahav’s Desires which you can purchase at any town NPC. If you see a Sculptor in a boss raid, they’ll usually take first place in damage assuming everyone else is roughly the same level, and they don’t eat a red hitbox attack. If you’re a Sculptor though, just try not to aggro everyone all at once like more blood-hungry Alchemists and Warriors tend to enjoy doing.
And this ends our Moonlight Sculptor beginner’s guide. Hopefully, the tips and tricks we listed in this article not only helped you play the game more effectively, but also made you curious about the light novel and Weed’s quest for gold and glory. If you have your own tips to add, feel free to leave them in the comments below!