Blood Magic in 1.8+: Living Armor and its uses So, we've already gone over the basics, and the intro-level Sentient Gear. Now let's talk about another new set of armor, this one a bit further down the tech tree: Living Armor. What it is and what it is not First off, Living Armor is NOT the Bound Armor you may recall from 1.7.10, which was some of the most powerful armor you could equip in that era, with the right setup. Having said that, while it may be less absolutely powerful, it is still a very viable suit of armor which has a lot of practical uses. It might not be the disputed master of all armor, but it is a very handy little suit in most situations. Unlike the Sentient Armor, however, it is NOT infinitely durable. It can be repaired with Binding Reagent in the Anvil, or you can just use the binding reagent to make more. However, if a piece breaks in the field, you lose ALL properties until you get a replacement, so take care! It IS, however, able to be directly enchanted. I would suggest the Repair enchantment for the previously mentioned issue. Protection might also be of use. How do I make it? Well, first off, you need a Tier 3 Blood Altar set up. Not too difficult for most players who have been steadily progressing, particularly not if you already have a suit of Sentient Armor to protect yourself in your first dive into the Nether. The Living Armor is made in the Alchemical Array, using the Binding Reagent and a piece of Iron armor. You will need one reagent per piece, so that's four of them you need. However, you need a minimum of 400 will to make one, and it takes 10 will per shot. This means your Lesser Tartaric Gem just isn't going to cut it. You need a Common Tartaric Gem. Which requires a Reinforced Slate, hence the Tier 3 requirement. Put down the ash in a basic alchemical array, augment it with the binding reagent, apply the armor, and voila! Note: you need ALL FOUR pieces of Living Armor for any of the features to be functional. What does it do? Well, what do you want it to do? Pardon, that was a bit snarky of me, but there is a bit of truth there as well. In short, the living armor will adapt to your particular needs based on activities you have performed while wearing it. You can find a list here, or simply read on. For example: * Should you feel the need for speed, simply running around frequently (aside from being a good cardiovascular workout) will unlock the Quick Feet ability, which increases the speed at which you move still further. * If you find yourself branch mining with this suit on, you may find that your pick develops a certain momentum of its own. The Dwarven Might upgrade will let consecutive swings with your pick go progressively faster, up to a point. * If you find yourself constantly being poisoned, your armor might adapt the Poison Resistance trait, which will cure a poison effect on you every so often. Lower levels, the cooldown is quite long. * If you are a practitioner of the art of self-sacrifice, spending your own life essence to power your blood altar, you might find your armor adapting the Tough Palms trait to further increase its effectiveness. * Working out requires fuel to build your body, so consuming hearty meals will unlock the Body Builder trait which grants knockback resistance and, at far higher levels, bonus hit points. * If you find yourself being injured on a regular basis, you might find your armor adapts with the Toughness trait, mitigating a portion of that damage. Similar in concept to the Protection enchantment. * As you are wounded, you will recover from your wounds (hopefully!), and your armor will adapt to your body's natural regeneration with the Toughness trait, giving you more maximum hit points. * Using your melee weapons in combat to defeat foes will help your armor unlock the Fierce Strike trait, giving any melee weapon you use more damage per swing. * If, however, you prefer to use bows and kill things before they reach you, you may find your armor developing the Trick Shot trait, which gives bonus arrows shot at your targets every time you draw your bow back. * Some people are mighty in combat, some are not. If you find yourself expiring more frequently than you prefer, do not despair. Your armor may forge a bond with the Grim Reaper himself, giving you a stay of execution. There's a very significant cooldown, though. * Healing is a slow process, however it can also unlock the Solar Powered trait, increasing the rate of your natural regeneration as long as the sun shines. It also grants a small amount of damage mitigation, and higher levels might even provide short bursts of fire resistance to protect against sunburn * As you gain experience, so might your living armor. The Experienced trait increases the amount of experience you gain from any source. * Should you wish to become an Olympic long-jump competitor, your armor can help you with that. As you jump, you can unlock the Strong Legs trait, increasing the height of your jump. Furthermore, since what goes up must come down, it also provides a small measure of protection from falling. * Speaking of falling, should you find yourself constantly dropping from heights, you may find your armor adapting with the Soft Fall trait, reducing fall damage. * For the courageous of soul, those who like to charge into combat may find their armor adapting to accommodate this tactic. Sprinting and attacking may cause the armor to develop the Charging Strike trait, further increasing the damage these charging strikes deal. It also increases the amount of knockback you deal as well. * Should your weapon be an instrument of precision, and your blows dealing critical damage frequently, you may find your armor can help you with that by taking on the True Strike trait to cause these already powerful attacks to be even more deadly. * Delvers into the nether may frequently encounter a fiery fate. Have no fear, for those who are somewhat charred, your armor can acquire the Gift of Ignis trait which will temporarily protect you from the flames. There is a significant cooldown after each activation, so try to not get too carried away. * The Sigil of Haste is an interesting tool (which will be covered in a different treatise) which, among other things, permits you to step up meter high stairs instead of requiring jumping. Doing so enough will unlock the Step Assist trait on your armor, letting you do this even when your sigil is powered down. * Finally, combining an Elytra with a Living Armor Upgrade Tome will give the gliding mechanics of the Elytra to your armor. A price for everything Sadly, there's no such thing as a free lunch, not even when you begin warping the very fabric of reality. Each of these upgrades I have listed will cost some measure of effort from your armor, and there's a limit to how much your armor may accept these augments. The link listed above will give you the point costs. Your armor starts off with 100 points to distribute. Once it hits this cap, no further abilities may be unlocked by your armor. Customization So, as you may have noticed, some activities will provide progress towards multiple abilities, some of them you might prefer to do without so as to save your points for something else. For example, slaying a monster with your sword might gain you progress towards your next level of Fierce Strike, but picking up the experience orbs he dropped might also net you progress to the somewhat less desirable Experienced trait. So, how do you take more control over what your armor will gain? There's a couple of ways, the hard way, and the very hard way. First off, to do this, you need to be Tier 4, because you're going to need access to Dusk Runes. To clear your armor of all augments and to have them materialized in the form of upgrade tomes, you will need the Sound of the Cleansing Soul ritual. It will cost 20k LP for every time it strips you of your augments. Upgrade Tomes can be right-clicked to imbue your currently worn armor with that particular augment at that particular level, but that is only the beginning. Two tomes of the same level and type may be crafted in an anvil to produce one of the next higher tier (if possible). Keep in mind that just because you can craft the next tier, doesn't mean you will have the points on your armor sufficient to use it. Upgrade tomes can also be crafted with a Training Bracelet to produce an interesting item which will 'lock' your living armor to prevent anything else from leveling. So, for example, you want Furious Strike but not Experienced? Craft a Furious Strike Training Bracelet and that will be the ONLY skill permitted to level while you have it in your inventory. Having multiple training bracelets functions as a 'white list' of augments that can be accepted. So having Furious Strike, True Strike, and Toughness training bracelets will only permit those three skills to level. This can be handy for precision leveling to get precisely the augments you want, but will require inventory juggling to get the proper levels. Expanded Capacity You may find your current suit of living armor somewhat lacking in abilities, but capped on points. Whatever to do? Well, it isn't cheap, but there is a ritual to help with that, as a one-time process. The Ritual of Living Evolution will increase your points from 100 to 300. It also is a Dusk ritual, and requires a LOT of LP. User discretion is advised. There are also rumors of the Draft of Angelus, which requires an Alchemist of the highest level of skill to brew, which might also augment it. Both of these tactics are one-time per armor only and may not be repeated. In Conclusion The Living Armor is one of the most versatile suits available, with a variety of abilities it can acquire. Being able to have precisely the augments you wish, however, is a far from trivial process. Still, many seem to find the reward to be worth the effort. As far as what might be 'optimal'... I will leave that to each individual practitioner.