My stout adventurers are now level 39, and I'm still not seeing how Shrapmetal is better than old-fashioned magic bows, the more destructive element spells, or whatnot. Of course, at level 39, my spell casters are "only" expert at Dark magic. We're not strong enough to venture into the area where mastery is taught! (Yesterday we tried to take on Darkmoor--it was like an old silent movie comedy! Skeletons? Piece of cake! Evil spirits? Veterans? No problem-o! Eyes--oops! After having my nether regions repeatedly handed back to me on a platter, we had just enough spell power left to get back to New Sorpigal!)
Another argument against the Dark: apparently, having and practicing Dark magic, you can never get back to Angelic status--or at least, that's how it seemed. I was basking in all those free, powerful perks that Ragwort mentioned re: temple donations, when wham! Back to "Respectable!" Okay, so at least my righteous Archpriest can cast Day of the Gods and Hour of Power. But Shrapmetal? There're not enough blue potions in all of Enroth (or are we in Erathia in 6? I can never remember,) to keep my magic-users in spell power. And drawing a bow doesn't use any points. . . .
(Sigh) Maybe, as G.P. says, I just need patience. Okay, gods, please grant me patience, and I want it NOW!