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The Best Skills and Armor to Get First – God of War: Ragnarok Wiki Guide

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After its opening prologue, God of War Ragnarok will quickly open up with lots of features, skills, gear, and places to explore – and it can get a bit overwhelming. This page contains some of the best skills, weapon attachments, and gear to get first to start tearing through your enemies as you explore each of Ragnarok’s various realms.

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Best Skills to Get First

The following are some of the most important skills you can unlock for Kratos by using experience gained from battles and completing side quests:

  • Glacial Rake – Glacial Rake is a powerful ability that you can get fairly quickly if you save your XP first. You should have enough XP (750) if you save it all until just before returning home after tracking the bear. By holding R1, Kratos drags his axe through the ground, sending forward a shockwave of ice. This attack is very fast to use, it almost always applies frost to the enemies that it strikes, and it can hit many targets in its path. You can of course choose a ranged ability like Vengeful Sickle, or more varied movement attacks like Whirling and Evasive Storm if you prefer, but this is the strongest singular skill that you can buy for the Axe when you’re starting out.

  • Hyperion Grapple – After a particularly fateful encounter with Thor, Kratos will pick up his Blades of Chaos, which grants you a whole other set of skills to unlock. There aren’t too many options here to start out with, but we recommend saving your XP after Glacial Rake and putting the points towards Hyperion Grapple (750), which you should be able to buy before your next big fight. By holding R1 when aiming, Kratos will yank himself towards enemies, rather than pulling them towards him. This inflicts a large amount of stun and also allows Kratos to get close at a moments notice. For an extra 250 Experience Points you could instead buy Blazing Surge to increase the power of your Ranged Heavy attack instead, but we think that Hyperion Grapple is an essential movement technique that offers players a lot of flexibility.

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  • Serpent’s Snare – Use the Frozen Flame you get from defeating one of the first early bosses to upgrade your axe and increase the number of skills available to you. If you only bought Glacial Rake and Hyperion Grapple, you should have just enough points to buy anything you want for the Axe. We suggest purchasing Serpent’s Snare for a satisfying and powerful heavy attack that makes your target double as a ranged frost detonation bomb. You have plenty of purchasing options at this point, so you could also get away with another Ranged or Movement ability, or perhaps another skill for the Blades of Chaos if they are your preferred weapon of choice.

  • Permafrost and Immolation – Also unlocked at weapon level 2 is Permafrost for the Leviathan Blades and Immolation for the Blades of Chaos. For those confident in their combat abilities, these skills allow your weapons to be supercharged on successive hits (so long as you don’t take any damage). You can see the circle with the weapon icon start to fill next to your health as you are successful, and a fully charged weapon will deal a ton more damage for a short duration. Even better, get the next skill in the tree when you upgrade your weapon again to press L1+Triangle when charged to expend your charge and shoot out waves of frost or explosions!
  • Watchful Protector – At this same time, you will finally have enough points to unlock something for Atreus. His skill tree is quite small at the moment, so you may choose to save his XP and buy something more powerful later on, but we would suggest buying the first upgrade here, Watchful Protector. This allows Atreus to distract enemies if Kratos is becoming overwhelmed, which can give you enough breathing room to finish a tough fight.

Best Armor to Get First

  • A New Shield – Once you visit Sindri’s House for the first time, there are a number of things you can do. First on the list is Brok’s kind offer to make you a new shield while he repairs your Guardian Shield, and you have two options to pick from. The Dauntless Shield is the classic God of War 2018 experience, rewarding parries for last-second blocks. By comparison, the Stone Wall shield cannot parry enemies, but it absorbs damage from normal and even Yellow attacks. When you charge either shield by parrying or absorbing damage, you can unleash that energy at your enemies by double tapping L1. If you’re looking for a more straightforward defending experience, we recommend the Stone Wall shield to start with. The upcoming enemies have some unpredictable parry timings and ranged attacks, so you may be grateful for the extra defense from the Stone Wall. Otherwise, take the Dauntless shield if you want a more risk vs reward approach, as its parry attacks can not only stagger enemies but send them flying when you unleash a shield bash in response!

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  • Offensive or Defensive Armor – While you’re talking to Brok, you can also have a look at his available Armor. You probably only have enough Hacksilver to purchase one set at level 1, but here’s what you can expect from each set of gear when it is one level stronger and it gains an extra perk. The Fortified Husk set strengthens Kratos’ blocks and parries, adding a chance for you to retaliate against your foes with an explosive counterattack. The Vidar’s Might set is all about dealing more damage at the end of a combo, and empowering Kratos to do more damage after for a period of time. Both sets are viable options, but if we had to recommend one over the other, the Fortified Husk set will keep your health above 0 for longer as you learn the combat systems. Whatever you choose though, try to wear only a single set rather than mixing and matching, as the effects of each piece of armor compound to work stronger together when equipped at the same time.

Note that your starting gear doesn’t look like much, but with enough upgrading it will eventually massively boost your stats across the board. This makes it a decent armor to come back to later in the game, but you may want to amass a lot of late game resources first!

  • Nidavellir’s Finest Armor – Strength and Defense are great, but if you find yourself constantly at low health, stopping to take on one of Svartalfheim’s first side quest is a must. By destroying the Mining Rigs in the Bay of Bounty for the In Service of Asgard Favor, you’ll earn unique resources to craft a set of Nidavellir’s Finest, which greatly increases your Vitality, and allows for additional health boosts when grabbing stunned enemies. The bracers and waist give you more time to get over and grab enemies for said health boost, but you can also mix the chest armor with the other armor sets to get a nice mix with your vitality boost.

  • Armor of Radiance – Just a bit further into the game you’ll revisit the realm of the elves in Alfheim. After the story quest is complete here, you’ll be prompted to explore a large desert to the north that’s home to a lot of optional content. Exploring the barrens will net you a new set of gear from various legendary chests: the Shoulder Straps, Gauntlets, and Belt of Radiance. Both the wrists and waist can cause your last-second dodges to activate a Realm Shift, which slows down everyone for a second and lets you get off some major counterattacks. Coupled with the chest gear’s chance to give you a runic blessing on these dodges, you can obliterate any enemy with a well-placed dodge and counterattack!

Best Weapon Attachments to Get First

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  • The Furious Maul – You won’t have many Leviathan Axe handles to choose from early on, so we recommend upgrading The Furious Maul grip that you equip after meeting Thor for the time being. This is as good a time as any to mention that unlike the first game, you can keep your starting equipment and upgrade it all the way through to the end game, so feel free to experiment with new items you find, or keep upgrading the stuff you like.

  • Cursed Empress Handles – Once in the Bay of Bounty, beach on the central island and go to the West of Sindri’s shop. Here you’ll fight a miniboss Draugr known as The Hateful, and once defeated it will drop a number of things, including the Cursed Empress Handles for your Blades of Chaos. These handles have a low chance of granting an increase to Strength and Runic damage every time you hit someone with them, while also providing a better stat increase than the basic Steel Handles you start with.
  • Rond of Aggravation – Finally, to complete your gear with a new piece of equipment in every slot, you’ll want a new Shield Rond. You need to complete the Weight of Chains Sidequest, which you can start by going to the island near the giant geyser to the North of the central island called The Watchtower. Follow the quest until you zipline over to this outcropping to the East. Open up the chest to find the Rond of Aggravation. This Rond is best suited for Parrying, as it rewards you with a Rage Burst on a successful Parry, but even if you don’t want to parry with your shield, it has excellent stat increases to Defense, Vitality and Luck, so it’s worth getting if you want to move away from basic equipment.

In This Wiki Guide

God of War: Ragnarok
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