ByAlan Bradley, writer at
Alan Bradley is a freelance games journalist, vagabond, and collector of oddities. Find him @chapelzero on Twitter.
Alan Bradley

While one of Torment: Tides of Numenera's strengths is how it merges its mechanics and fiction, sometimes this can lead to confusion, especially for new players trying to decipher its systems or crack the code of its unique lexicon. This is especially challenging at the very beginning, when you’re attempting to build a character to match your play style but are totally unfamiliar with the game’s terms and lore.

As someone who had this issue himself and who ended up restarting the game a number of times after I’d gotten a better handle on what some of the game’s terms meant and what areas I should focus on, I’m here to help.

Since easily the most important and central decision you make when building a character in Torment is what class you’ll play as, I designed a quick guide to steer you through each and illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of all three of them.


Glaives are the closest thing to Torment’s version of tanks, but they’re more versatile (and, frankly, interesting) than most game’s tank classes, who primarily exist to take thorough, regular beatings.

Glaives are just as capable of dealing out pain as absorbing it, but they are the only class capable of wearing heavy armor. They also unlock a taunt ability that lets them draw your enemy’s ire, so in that way they resemble the familiar damage sponges we’ve been trained to expect since the launch of vanilla .

But Glaives also possess a suite of abilities designed to make them more deadly, from an overwatch-style power that allows them to end their turn early but strike any foe that comes within range during their off-turn, or a hooking ability that lets them throw a chain around their foes and drag them within pummeling range.

They excel at taking on multiple foes at once, with abilities that let them ignored the Flanked debuff and that grant them additional attacks on other enemies after they slay their target or attack all foes in a line.

Glaives are definitely the most approachable of the three classes, and with their blend of DPS and damage resistance they’re also the most capable of going solo (though I wouldn’t recommend it for any of the classes, especially early on). They’re a good starting point for newcomers but won’t make you feel like you’re playing a stripped down version of the game.


The temptation is to boil Jacks down to Torment’s “rogue” class, but resist it. While they do have abilities around stealth and deception, they fit better into an appropriately named jack-of-all-trades frame.

They can do a little bit of everything; a little bit of magic, a little brawling, a little sneaking. They’re adventurers more than anything, explorers. As such, they don’t specialize in any one area but are broad and flexible, allowing them to adapt to any number of situations.

Like the Glaive, they have some abilities that allow them to challenge multiple enemies at once, from their scatter bombs to their ability to attack successive targets after landing a hit.

They also have some low level hedge magic that lets them tweak situations to their advantage, and a short range teleport to get them out of tight spots. And then there’s a range of miscellaneous skills, like their sucker punch that stuns enemies or their ability to telekinetically shove back enemies that attack them in melee, that are useful in a huge number of different situations.

Jacks are a great class for inventive players that like to think on their feet, or players that don’t want to pigeonhole themselves into any one, exclusive role.


While Nanos most closely resemble the wizards or sorcerers from other fantasy settings, in Torment they’re actually calling on the power of ancient technologies to effect their spells and cantrips.

They definitely have access to the flashiest abilities available in Torment, but like spellcasters in other games they rely more on their abilities to be effective, lacking the sort of passive combat strength of more martially focused characters.

But, they can be extremely powerful when they do have full access to all of their various powers, and they’re not purely combat oriented; Nanos also double as Torment’s most effective healers.

On top of an impressive arsenal of direct damage abilities, Nanos can also debuff a party’s enemies or clad their allies in magical armor. In this way, they’re not just DPS or healers, but can also be built as supports, teleporting allies around the battlefield, manipulating gravity to aid the party, or mind controlling enemies to turn them on their friends.

Like the Jack, Nanos have access to a number of multipurpose abilities that allow them to adapt to varying circumstances, but their main role as powerful magical artillery should never be underestimated.

Nanos are the best choice for players that like to stand in the rear of a fight and devastate their opponents with arcane force, or manipulate the battlefield like a warlord or fighting general.


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