The following is a list of general tips and tricks that should help you better understand the game, and hopefully help you avoid getting into a bottomless pit of XP debt.
- In terms of combat ability, your initial race and class choice (not including remorting to an Immortal) really doesn't matter much at all. At equal levels and grades of equipment all of the races and classes are very evenly matched, so it really comes down to what "flavor" of character you want to be. Do you want to be the sneaky thief, the tinkering engineer in a steam powered battle mech, perhaps a necromancer with a horde of undead underlings? Really look into the back story of the nations and the various classes and pick what feels like what you would want to be in the Dragon Tavern world. (Personally, I chose the Bonelord as the thought of a guy with a serious sadistic streak in an enchanted bone armor suit flinging harpoons on chains everywhere to mow through enemies sounded like a lot of fun. Twisted, maybe, but fun :) ). The only tactical decision you have to make is on whether or not you want access to one of the nation-specific Immortal Paths, as these definitely do have very different combat abilities, so it would be a good idea to read up on those before you ultimately decide who and what to be.
- Your overall SC (Success Chance) in a fight is the most important stat that you have. If you can't hit the enemy in a fight it won't matter how much gold and XP you could get from it, or if you could get a multistrike or instakill attack. If you really want to be able to handle the higher levels you should focus your initial skills entirely on the ones that boost your combat ability, and for the Ultimate skills it is highly recommended that you max out the generic Support one first in order to get a clean 10% SC boost to anything that comes at you.
- Skills, equipment and abilities that increase your XP gain per fight and little else are very, very bad. Since enemies get notably stronger with every level, if you level up too quickly you won't be able to afford equipment comparable to the enemy's and will very quickly find yourself overwhelmed by equal-level opponents. These skills and abilities should only be taken if they also give significant supplementary abilities on the side. The Immortal Learning skill, for example, should be avoided like the plague.
- When going through the first 50 levels and buying the standard equipment, skipping item tiers will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you just start exploring through a sublocation with Legendary Explorer, for example, and you find you are able to handle all of the enemies through its entire level range with your current equipment (even if your SC is barely above 50%), do not spend anything on equipment until you have leveled up to at least the upper limit of that sublocation's range. You'll probably need an equipment upgrade at that point, but the amount of cash you should have built up by that point should let you buy a really good one.
- When you notice your SC penalty for your AS/DS getting too high to be manageable and decide it's time for an upgrade, it's usually best to go for the best bang for your buck at that point, and buy the item that will give you the highest overall boost to your SC at that time (even if you don't manage to skip all the tiers of that item as was mentioned in point 4). For example, if you have 150k gold and could buy either a weapon that boosts your AS by 90 (a 9% SC boost) or a Support item that gives +70/+70 to both AS and DS (for a total of a 14% SC boost), go for the Support item.
- Death is bad, and so is having to drop items because you can't carry them. A good rule of thumb before the Ultimate sublocations is to fight until either your health is dropped by 51% or greater or you reach 90% encumbrance, then return to the tavern. In Ultimate sublocations, make it 80% encumbrance considering how much stuff an Ultimate Boss can drop.