Tips for DDO Noobs

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Tips for DDO Noobs

So, you've made a new character on DDO. You've learned how to leave Korthos, find groups, use the chat, (maybe) check your mail and use the Auction House. But, you can tell you're not getting the most out of your character and you're not sure *why*.

DDO has a very sophisticated character building system and it's easy to be caught in some very dangerous traps.

But, before we get into a list of "Dos and Don'ts", lets enjoy a video that rejoices in new people. From a noob-friendly alliance in Eve Online is the recruitment video TEST: Newbies Welcome. Even if you don't know what a frigate, a web, a scram, a neut, or a titan ship might be...you should be able to understand the sentiment.

Lets see if I can take the themes from the Newbies Welcome video and apply them to DDO.

  • Newbies aren't stupid. Newbies are new. Asking simple questions and feeling overwhelmed or insignificant is a normal part of any "new" game with complex lore and mechanics. It's the responsibility of the experienced players to help you out and have patience with your questions. They were new once too, and someone helped them.
  • Frigates aren't worthless. Frigates are priceless. "First life" and "28-point" characters can do a lot and contribute right up into epic elite content. Even easy to farm gear can be invaluable.
  • New players aren't a liability. New players are our greatest asset. DDO newbies are our game's future. You may be a newbie now, but if you stick with the game, you'll eventually lead a raid, pass choice loot to someone who will later tell stories about your generosity, be an officer in a guild, and open quests on elite for groups of clueless newbie toddling around the Harbor.

After enjoying the TEST video, let's take a walk on the wild side, and enjoy a World of Warcraft fan song and machinima. The lament of every caster: Why do I have to wear this Big Blue Dress?

My DDO Toons

Some quick links to notes on my toons.

Noobs Should Be Prepared...Be A Girl Scout!

"I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout." The Girl Scout Law

I realize this may seem a bit silly because most DDO players are male. I'm not. I was a Girl Scout and earned my Gold award. This is roughly equivalent to the Eagle Scout award available to Boy Scouts. Scouting had a big impact on my life, and shaped a lot of my positive values. Even as a 40+ year-old matron, I live by the Scout motto "Be Prepared". This is my favorite explanation of the motto: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency."

Male or female, I think this is an excellent standard to use. When you know you want to be a better player, but are unsure "how"...focus on being prepared and learning the "job" (a job can be a role, a class, a quest, a raid) well enough to handle any emergency. "Watch and learn"; watch how experienced people fix things that go wrong, and learn to do that for yourself.

This will start with simple things like learning the map of a particular dungeon and maybe being able to anticipate where the traps are (so you can stop before you die in them) and eventually advance to things like being able to jump in when the primary tank dies in a raid, or having enough UMD to scroll raise all the dead folks and prevent a wipe. Start out by stepping forward and "helping the new girl". No matter how green you are, there's always someone even more new. Even something as simple as guiding a caster to a shrine you have on your map from a previous run can be helpful.

If thinking "Be a Girl Scout" is likely to make you laugh too hard to take it seriously, just remember this: Like the Dark Side, we Girl Scouts have cookies! Come join us!

Eachna's Rules for Noobs

  • Make choices that limit being a "burden" to the party, instead try to be an asset. Don't expect 100% of your healing to come from healers. Don't expect 100% of dealing with traps to come from trappers. Don't expect only arcane casters to provide crowd control, or only archers to provide ranged damage. DDO is designed to be a group-based activity, however, you should always work on being an asset to any group, rather than expecting everyone else to take care of you. There are a number of ways to increase your self-sufficiency. New players can easily put in the effort to be self-sufficient, which can make up a lot for lack of experience with the game.
  1. Buy potions. There is a nice vendor in the Marketplace (aptly titled "Potion vendor") available to sell you a wide range of potions. Buy the best level of Cure potions you have access to (the more red in the icon, the more it cures). Buy Curse Removal, Fear Removal, Disease Removal, Poisoning Removal, and Blindness Removal. Buy Lessor Restoration. If you're low on platinum, buy 10 of each. If you have the cash, buy 100 of each. They are consumables, but they last a good long time. 100 of each of these potions (except the healing potions) will probably last you into epic levels.
  2. If you can cast some sort of cure spell on yourself, for goodness sakes, USE IT.
  3. Learn where the traps are, and learn how to jump over/run through traps. Several types of traps can be (mostly) avoided by skilled movement. For example, some traps can be avoided if you run down the center of a hall or hug a particular wall/edge. Fire and acid traps can often be "jumped over". The up-and-down spike traps, and the spinning blade traps can both be avoided by running over them after they've fully extended. The corollary of this is don't be stupid and "trap with your head". Don't just blindly storm down every hallway because you jumped over a trap a few times in the past and have to be first to the kill. If you don't have good Spot, and there's a trapper in the party, hang back just a little and let them take the lead. I don't care how awesome you think you've designed your character to be...if you've died in a trap you're useless until someone else can help you out.
  4. On the subject of trappers, the difference between a trapper whose an asset and a trapper whose a burden is their gear. +1 or +2 skill gear will not cut it at level 13. Trappers can normally increase their skill-boosting gear by +1 every two levels (all the odd level), and they should do this at least until they hit +13 gear. There's usually a few extra levels of "breathing room" before they need +15 gear, but only a few. The first two trapping skills to max out with skill points are Search and Disable Device. If you have more points left over, then Spot. If you have even more points left, you should put them into something else useful, like UMD, . Once your skills are at max, you should get the highest skill boost gear you can use at your level. When buying random generated skill-boosting items in the Auction House, don't pick ones that have two effects. You "just" want a Spot item or "just" want a Search item. Named loot is different. The Goggles of Perception from the free-to-play Tempest Spine raid (for example) give +10 Search and +10 Spot in one item and can be useful for several levels. The unsuppressed Dark Blue Ioun stone from The Dreaming Dark gives +15 Spot and +15 Listen from level 5 and up, which makes it the best Spot item in the game (until you're in epic levels). With random (or crafted) items, in heroic levels it's never constructive to stack two effects on one trapping item.
  5. Run past the trap. If you die in a trap, if someone "rezzes" (raises) your character, PLEASE run your ghost past the trap area BEFORE accepting the raise. When I say "past the trap" area, I mean on the far side, so that you don't have to pass through the trap again. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen a noob get raised and run to the start of the trap. Then they die on the second pass through.
  6. Learn to collect (and use) "clickies". These are items with a certain number of charges per rest. The first clickie every character gets is the Ring of Waterbreathing from the end chest in the Grotto tutorial. I like to run the Sharn Syndicate chain each life because I usually get offered at least one item with a clickie in the reward list for each quest. Expeditious Retreat clickies help you keep up with the faster people in the group. Aid clickies lend you a few extra hit points. Prayer and Heroism clickies are both worth their weight in Large Devil Scales because they help you increase your chance at making skill rolls. Every trapper should carry a Heroism clickie. Clickie's are the noob's answer to using scrolls. Wealthy, skilled players will take the Use Magical Device skill and carry a large selection of scrolls from all the classes. Since noobs are poor, and unskilled, and haven't yet fallen in love with UMD, they should look for clickies. When you are wealthy, amend this to "Learn to put points in UMD and use scrolls".
  7. Put points in Jump. I used to put Balance on all my characters. I've since cooled on it. While it does have a (small) impact on how quickly you stand up, it has no effect on whether or not you get knocked down. Jump, however, is universally useful. It can allow you to reach high perches, to avoid traps, and reach quest objectives. I would recommend choosing Jump before Balance. If you have the skill points to spare, both are useful.
  8. Learn what Crowd Control options your class has. Every build type has some sort of crowd control. The bare minimum is the free tactical feat: Trip. Every character in the game gets this. Melees get attacks like Sap, Stunning Blow/Stunning Fist, and Improved Trip. Casters usually get spells. Ranged combat types may also get spells, or simply control crowds by killing targets from a distance. There are some wands or items that can be used for limited crowd control. Blinding enemies is a form of crowd control, as are Fear and Paralyze effects.
  • Don't be "That Guy". In my first serious raiding guild on the Orien server, our guild leader would spout reminders and then finish them up with the tag line "Don't be That Guy". So, she'd say something like "Make sure to pick up Curse pots...don't be That Guy" (ie: the one player who doesn't have potions to remove curses). "Make sure to hand in the raid now that we're done...don't be That Guy" (ie: the one person who forgets to collect the raid reward at the end, shows up 3 days later on the next raid day, and discovers they have to wait ANOTHER three days to be able to run it again). That advice absolutely works...I still think "Don't be that guy" when I finish every raid or I notice I need to resupply some consumable. I'll add more as I think of them, but here are some That Guy things to avoid:
  1. When you finish a raid, hand it in immediately. There's a 3 day timer that starts from the time you collect your end reward. It keeps you from running the raid again until it finishes. If you forget to collect your reward, that timer never starts ticking.
  2. When you're going to do the Caught in the Web raid, make sure to have a stack of 100 potions of Remove Curse.
  3. When you're going to do the Against the Demon Queen raid, make sure to talk to Zawabi the Djinni *twice*. The first time you talk to him, it clears a flag from the last time you did the raid. The second time gives you the pre-raid quest. Also, when you're entering the pre-raid quest, double check that you don't have a message in red stating you haven't picked up the quest on the quest box. If you _do_ have a message in red, go back to the refuge and talk to Zawabi again (because you were That Guy).
  4. Don't share the pre-raid for Vault of Night. If you do and anyone accepts it, you'll make them unhappy.
  5. Don't forget to bring an Underwater Action item when you're going to do Shadow Crypt flagging. One of the flagging quests is 95% swimming underwater.
  6. Don't forget a Deathblock item any time you're going to face beholders. Also don't forget to equip it.
  7. Deathblock does not protect you from level drain. I repeat: DEATHBLOCK DOES NOT PROTECT YOU FROM LEVEL DRAIN. You want both Deathblock and Deathward any time you're around hostile spell casters.
  8. Double check a character you haven't played for a while is flagged for the raid _before_ you join the raid group.
  9. Tower of Despair has a special mechanic to teleport your character to the raid entrance if they visit it once. Run out to the raid entrance and get access to the teleporter while you're doing the flagging quests. Don't wait for raid day to get around to it. Don't forget your Boots of Anchoring. One of the bosses has a power that will kick you out of the raid if you don't have the boots. This means you will end up doing all the work and getting none of the loot.
  10. Also for Tower of Despair. If you're not a light monk, don't forget your Pale Lavender Ioun stone. If you don't have a pale lav, don't forget your Jewelled Cloak, or Mantle of the Worldshaper. The final boss's stun can be mitigated by spell absorption items.
  • Get yourself some Adamantine Ore. One of the first things I do when I reach level 9 on a new character is to go farm the free quest A Relic of a Sovereign Past. One of the first things I do when I find a new noob who is looking for instruction, is to teach them how to farm the quest for themselves when they're at the right level. I -always- for -every- toon farm: Nightforge Gorget, Nightforge Armbands, Nightforge Helm. I also like to grab a Nightforge Spike if I have the time for that final run. I carry each character's Nightforge gear from level 8 to their max level (because the clickies are useful). Most recently I've started collecting suits of Nightforge armor for my toons. It's nice ML: 8 adamantine armor with a blue slot and a colorless slot.
  • Wear items that give you Fortification. I can't stress this highly enough. The more Fortification you have, the less criticals affect you which translates into the less damage you take. The less damage you take, the less cures or potions you need. The less you die. The less of a burden you end up being, and the more you become an asset (going back to my very first point). If you can, get Heavy Fortification by level 8 (Heavy Fortification sapphire augment) or level 9 (the Nightforge Gorget). You're gimping your character if you don't have it by level 11 (Minos Helm). Lootgen Fortification 100% items also work.
  • Learn how the hirelings work if you're going to use them. Cleric (and Favored Soul) hirelings get a little bit of a bad rap. The hireling AI in DDO is pretty awful. Hirelings will stand in Area of Effect spells (while taking damage). They'll stand in lava (while taking damage). They'll run through traps, and stop in the middle (while taking damage). If there's a way to stand in one spot and take damage, hirelings will find that way. I'm not going to pretend they're wonderful marvels of modern computer programming. But, the thing that gets people most incensed is that the healer hirelings don't heal. There's a trick to getting them to heal, and it's pretty simple. If you're low on hit points, RUN TOWARD THE HIRELING. I've figured out through pure observation that hirelings have a very short line of sight. If your hireling isn't healing you (and they have spellpoints), if you run close to them they'll suddenly "perk up" and cast a healing spell. Give it a try if you don't believe me.
  • Learn to swap accessories. I group similar items in the same quickbar. So all my helms go in one area, all my gloves in another. If (for example), I run into a ghost while on my paladin, I can swap to her Ethereal Gloves and be able to hit it. Then, when that combat is over, I can swap to her regular gloves. If I'm on my rogue and I'm having trouble finding the trap box, I can swap to her Nightforge Armbands, use the Heroism clickie, and then swap back to her regular bracers when Heroism is cast.
  • Pick reliable over sexy. Noobs have poor gear. Nothing you get walking into the game is amazing. DDO is a game that's nearly all about the gear. Having good and solid "reliable" gear is better for your character than chasing after this month's "sexy" new item. This month's sexy new item is going to be next month's trash. In rare cases it may devolve to being old and reliable, but that takes time to sort out what's worth keeping. Instead of being upset (for example) that you don't have Flawless Red Dragon armor at level 20, go out and farm up a nice set of Commendation armor in Eveningstar. Read up on the Cannith Challenge gear. It's still amazing if you want to Epic Reincarnate a lot. You can wear it from 20 to 25 easily, and some items are worth it even to 28. In heroic content, I will continue to sing the praises of the Nightforge gear made with adamantine, and the loot from the free raid Tempest Spine. It's not the "best" gear, but items from both those areas can legitimately be used right up to 19th level if you don't find anything "better".

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

When you join a group, don't be shy about letting them know you're new to the game. Occasionally, you'll have a jerk who will immediately kick you out. More often than that, you'll end up with a bit more kindness and patience than if you'd stayed silent.

If you don't admit to being new, people will tend to assume you're an experienced player who is playing badly. There is much less tolerance for bad play than there is for being new. I've seen quite hostile people do a virtual 180 degree turn and become friendly and helpful once someone has identified themselves as new. I've also seen groups of people get playfully competitive over how much they can each help the noob out.

Worst case, if you identify yourself as new and someone is rude, they were going to be rude anyway. In most other cases, they're likely to be varying degrees of nice to you.

If you let people know you're new, they'll be likely to share useful play tips, offer named loot that you can use, or (if you're very lucky) offer you a free pass to a pay quest. I'm active (and have loot stashes) on multiple servers. When I meet a new person on a server where I have a stash, I'm quite willing to escort them to the bank and pass over a few useful items like a pile of 10 adamantine, a stack of unbound cure potions, and a couple crafting shards they can use to boost their hit points or trapping skills.

It all depends on what few items would be constructive help.

Try to Play Each Class

You may be limited in what classes you can access, but you should try playing each class to level 20 at least once.

I started out playing a paladin. This was when paladins were on the long sharp slide from being beloved tanks to one of the most terrible classes in the game. I got very comfortable playing a paladin, I knew all the ins-and-outs of their deeply lacking build options. While I was a paladin, I took pretty much all the other classes for granted.

Then, I played a cleric. That really opened my eyes to the pressures on healers. This was when clerics were at the height of being "healbots" and only a few hardy souls would play them as anything else. My first couple of cleric lives were a rough time for me. It's not actually _easy_ to keep track of 5 to 11 other people and try to keep them all from dying, especially if they're each running in a different direction. You learn to be aware of your environment and you just look at quests differently when you're thinking of how you will have to heal people. It also teaches a lot about resource management and situational awareness. You also go through a cycle of caring too much about deaths, to not caring at all, and learning to care just enough to make you fight hard to keep everyone alive without letting deaths be distressing.

After cleric, I tried rogue. Like many people trying rogue for the first time, I wandered out into level 5 and 6 quests on Elite with my Korthos Troubleshooting set, and blew up one trap box after another. When people asked my skill levels and I told them, they laughed in my face. When I say that, I mean they turned on their microphones and literally laughed. It was a bit humiliating. One of those times, someone finally took pity on me and gave me an explanation on how trapping works. A trapper succeeds and fails almost entirely on the quality of their equipment in heroic levels. Trapping helps teach you how to look at a piece of gear and judge it's usefulness and worth. Not it's plat worth, but whether it's worth carrying it around and using it. It also teaches you to be less "lazy" about swapping gear every few levels.

After those three, I tried other classes. I played a Pale Master/Trapper multi-class. That was fun, and I learned a lot about managing skill points (a small lesson but very valuable). I tried an artificer, and learned about pets and ranged damage. I played a bard and learned to love her Disco Ball, and how to raid heal without a decent "Mass" curing spell.

I also tried refinements to classes I'd already played, and seeing how close I could get to mimicking the powers of one class with another class (or multi-class split).

Each class that you play pure (or mostly pure) up to level 20 teaches you the strengths and weaknesses of the class, and how to fit that class into a party. It also teaches you what is reasonable to expect from that class when it's played by someone else. You will end up with a lot more patience for a beleaguered trapper or healer or DPS or caster (and perhaps less patience for one clearly playing badly) once you've walked in their boots.

Avoiding (or Mitigating) Damage

Defense in DDO can be confusing. Like most things, it's a disparate collection of systems hammered together by different teams of developers, over what started out as an online adaption of D&D rules and turned into a sloppy mess.

Armor Class

Armor class: This is a number on an increasing scale (ie: the lower your AC, the worse it is). Armor class is really only important in heroic content. Even there it's becoming less useful as the developers are trying to phase it out with newer systems.

  • Light Armor. This, in general, has the lowest Armor Class at a particular level, with the highest potential Dodge bonus for the categories of armor.
  • Medium Armor. This is supposed to be the balanced position between Light and Heavy armor. Instead, it's the armor that you wear if you want to wear heavy armor but your class doesn't let you. Except in a few very rare cases, there's not much use in looking to build a character that wears Medium armor. Still, it is useful if it's the heaviest armor you can wear.
  • Heavy Armor. This, in general, has the highest Armor Class at a particular level, with the lowest potential Dodge Bonus. Most heavy armor also limits some skill checks.
  • Clothing. Robes and outfits are a special case. There's armor no cap to your potential Dodge bonus (just the normal in-game cap), but there's also no Resistance Rating bonuses. Robes and outfits tend to give the least amount of protection and are usually only worn because of limitations specific to particular classes. They're classified as clothing and are usually worn by arcane casters or monks.

Evasion is a special feat loosely connected to the armor you wear. Evasion only works if you wear light armor or clothing.

If you want to _avoid being hit_ the best armor to wear is light armor.

If, when you are hit you want to _avoid taking the most damage_, the best armor to wear is heavy armor.

If you're a monk or arcane caster, you'll probably wear clothing.

Fortification

When you get attacked, there's a chance of a critical success on a roll. This means the attack does significantly more damage than a regular roll. If the monster has enough bonuses built into them, a critical hit can kill you.

Fortification is a way to mitigate critical hits. It's based on a percentage number, but you can have more than 100%.

  • Light Fortification is 50%.
  • Medium Fortification is 75%.
  • Heavy Fortification is 100%.

After that you have "insightful" and "exceptional" fortification, which stacks with regular Fortification. And there are a few in game bonuses (feats, enhancements, etc) that provide extra stacking Fort.

By level 9-11, you want 100% Fortification. By epics, at at bare minimum, you want at least 125-150%. 150% or more shows you worked on it.

Resistance Rating

  • Physical Resistance Rating (PRR): This is a newer system that's become important in both heroic and epic play. PRR lets your character soak a certain amount of "physical" damage. Physical damage comes from weapons, unarmed attacks, and blade/arrow traps. In general, Heavy Armor will have more PRR than Light armor, and magic armor will have more protection than non-magical armor.
  • Magical Resistance Rating (MRR): This is another newer system that's important in both heroic and epic play. MRR lets your character soak a certain amount of "magical" damage. Magical damage comes from spells, effects, and elemental/force/spewing-type traps. In general, Heavy Armor will have more MRR than Light armor, and magic armor will have more protection than non-magical armor.

As a general rule, MRR will be 30-50 points lower than PRR on an individual character. For PRR, 50-75 is as much as you'll ever want in heroic levels (more can't hurt, but you shouldn't stress over getting the numbers higher). In epics, it's probably a good idea to try to at least get a PRR of 80-100.

Miss Chances

Each of the miss chances is tested separately, and individual tiers in each chance do not stack with each other. If you have Dusk 10%, Incorporeal 50% and Dodge 20%, nearly any attack against you will have three (extra) hidden rolls to check if you're missed. If you have Dusk 10%, Blur 20%, and Displacement 50%, you will only get one miss chance and it will be at 50%, not 80%.

  • Concealment: This is miss chance that represents being hard to see. There are two common tiers: Dusk (10% concealment) and Blur (20% concealment). More rare is Displacement (50% concealment). These tiers do not stack with each other. The True Seeing spell (and similar effects) negates a concealment bonus. Very high level and epic mobs may have True Seeing.
  • Incorporeal: This is a miss chance that represents phasing in and out of view, like a ghost. There are two common tiers: Ghostly (10% Incorporeal) and Incorporeal (50% Incorporeal). These tiers do not stack with each other.
  • Dodge: This is a miss chance that represents simply moving out of the way. Dodge is strictly limited by armor type and Dexterity. It takes a bit of study to create a Dodge build.

Everyone has multiple chances of enemies being unable to hit them. A simple way to protect yourself is to find items that give you always-on Blur and Ghostly. Easy-to-Farm F2P sources of Blur include the Bracers of Wind from the Cannith Challenges (pick up and use your free daily Challenge token), and the Cloak of Invisibility from Tempest Spine.

Learn the Roles

There are a number of roles in DDO, most of which can be found in other MMOs. While there are a wide range of spells and effects in the game, there are a few very commonly used terms that are helpful to know.

It's very important to note that while specific roles exist, in most cases many different classes can fulfil the same role. Just because a particular class is capable of performing a particular role doesn't mean the player is planning to use their character in that way.

  1. Casters or Spellcasting. A number of classes are given spells in DDO. Most offensive spells are limited by "DC" (Difficulty check) and possibly "SR" (spell resistance). DC-based spells require an investment in the class's "casting stat" to have the best chance of being effective. You want to put as many build points as possible into your casting stat, spend extra points on enhancements, hunt down a good Tome, and get the best gear possible at your level in order to increase your casting stat DC.
    1. Divine casters. These are Clerics, Favored Souls, and Druids. To a lesser extent, Ranger and Paladins have divine casting options, but they don't play as DC casters. "Divine" spells are granted by gods and do not incur "Arcane spell failure" from wearing metal armor. Divine casters all use Wisdom as their casting stat. Druids cannot wear metal armor or use metal shields, but this is not because of Arcane Spell failure, it's a limitation of the class.
    2. Arcane casters. These are Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, and Artificers. Wizards and Artificers use Intelligence as their casting stat, and are further limited by having to acquire scrolls of varying levels of rarity to learn their spells. Sorcerers and Bards use Charisma and do not need to scribe spells from scrolls. Arcane casters have a penalty assigned to wearing armor called "Arcane Spell Failure". It's a percentage chance any casting of a spell will fail. There are various ways in game to work around spell failure.
    3. Healers. Healers "heal", that is, restore hit points to their wounded group members. Healers are also expected to deal with certain debuffs. Clerics, Favored Souls, Bards, and Druids all have their particular strengths as healers. Wizards, sorcerers, and artificers can all act as healers for Warforged and Bladeforged characters. Although it's nearly a non-existent play style now, if you ever see someone talking about "toaster heals" they're referring to casting repair spells on constructs.
    4. Buffers. Buffers cast spells that make individuals or the group better at their particular roles, by either being more offensive or more defensive. Every class with spells has buffs.
    5. Necros. Necros (or Necromancers) use instant-kill spells to take out opponents. Wizards and Sorcerers are the most common Necros, but Clerics and Favored Soul builds are also popular. Both Bards and Druids get limited access to necromancy spells, but are _very_ hard to play in this role.
    6. Crowd Control. Crowd Control casters, "control crowds", that is, they stop groups of enemies from attacking by forcing them to engage in useless activities (like lying down, being stunned or dazed, dancing in place, or simply standing still). Both arcane and divine casters have crowd control spells. Bards control crowds with spells and also their unique Bard Songs.
    7. Nuking. Nuking refers to using spells to do a large amount of damage, usually of a particular element (ie: an "acid nuker" has focused on acid-based spells). Any class with damage-dealing spells can nuke. Certain classes specialize in certain types of damage. Divine casters get Light (and alignment) damage spells; wizards and sorcerers get the four elements (fire, acid, cold, and electricity) and a little Force; Artificers get Force and their elemental Rune Arms; Druids get a number of elemental choices but tend to specialize in either Fire or Cold elemental spells; Bard finish things off with their Sonic damage.
  2. Combat roles.
    1. Melees engage in hand-to-hand combat with opponents. There are a number of weapon styles for melees, including Two-Handed Fighting (large weapons held in two hands like great swords or great axes), Two Weapon Fighting (dual-wielding), Single Weapon Fighting (a single one-handed weapon used like a fencing rapier), Sword and Board (A one handed weapon paired with a big shield), or Unarmed Combat (a martial-arts based monk).
    2. Ranged combat. Ranged combatants attack targets that are not within touching range of them. Most casters use ranged spells. In addition, there are short and long bows, crossbows, repeating crossbows, and throwing weapons (axes, daggers, hammers, and shuriken). Some classes, particularly Rangers, Monks, and Artificers, are very easy to turn into effective Ranged Combat specialists. A popular (and surprisingly deadly) flavor build is a tiny halfling monk throwing returning shuriken.
    3. Tanking. Almost any class can take on the tank role. Tanks put themselves between the party and the big mean boss, to try to keep squishier party members from being squashed. "Intimi-tanks" use the Intimidate skill to keep monster attention. "Evasion tanks" dodge damage from monsters to keep themselves alive. In one older raid Pale Masters are able to tank a specific boss's mini-boss minions by absorbing negative energy. In general, it's common to have a melee class act as tank, as they can take hits and do damage up close.
  3. Trapping. Rogues and Artificers are the only two classes given access to trapping skills (open locks and disable device), although other classes can sense or find traps (using spot or search). There are actually two kinds of trappers in the game. Those that remove dangerous traps to protect themselves (and possibly their group members), and those who set traps to harm monsters. One is simply a sub-set of the other.

Note: While on the topic of roles, try to refrain from telling other people how to play their roles, particularly in relation to your character. The people who play characters that have access to specific roles may not want to limit themselves to focusing on supporting your backside through a quest.

DDO is not like WoW or other strict, role-defined MMOs. A "healer" is also expected to able to defend themselves (with spells or weapons). A damage-dealing "DPS" is still expected to be able to heal themselves at least a little bit (using potions, clickies, or scrolls). Many people like to "splash" two levels of Rogue to get trapping skills in an otherwise focused combat or casting build. Part of the learning curve of the game is understanding how to gear and stat your character to both excel at their primary role and be useful in multiple secondary roles. "Glass cannons" that do only one thing well to the extreme of neglecting secondary roles are highly frowned upon in DDO.

It's also possible to go to the opposite extreme and be "A Jack of All Trades and Master of None". You want to do at least a couple things well. A good rule of thumb is to have one reliable source of damage, and one reliable "support" skill. Support skills can be loosely grouped into "everything that doesn't do damage": things like crowd control, trapping, buffing, and healing. For classes with few or no built in support options (like fighters and barbarians) self-sufficiency can be thought of as a support skill.

Use Tactics

"Foreplay is for sissies. Real men go in, unload, and pull out!" Mary, But I'm a Cheerleader

I chose this quote to represent what you should *not* do. It's always a poor tactical choice to simply go in and swing wildly at mobs. You may not die, but it's still not good tactics.

  • Choose your targets. Kill the most dangerous target first. This is usually casters of all types, or Champions. Bosses (Red and Orange Names) are usually the last target to be killed. It's usually better to get rid of their swarming bodyguards before you go for the big name.
  • Control range. If you're good in very close contact, get right in the face of your opponents. If you have a bow or ranged spells, move back to the very edge of your range and snipe your targets.
  • Use the environment. Break line of sight by hiding behind things. Get height over opponents by climbing boxes or perching on ledges. Fight in doorways so you can't be swarmed.
  • Learn the combat system. DDO has a 5-swing pattern to combat. You basically slash sideways, then overhand swing, then back-hand swing, then turn and swing, and then have a very slow closing swing. Then the pattern starts all over again. Twitch-type players can make use of the first two very fast swings, "twitch" their character to one side or the other, which breaks the attack chain, and start it over again. Even without twitching, there are some DPS benefits to manually clicking the mouse to attack instead of depending on Auto-Attack.
  • Use crowd control. This is particularly useful if you're soloing quests. If you're one person (or one person plus one hireling), a group of six weak mobs can still wear you down by simply swarming in and spamming their special attacks. If you can pin down a couple and distract them, that leaves you time to kill the uncontrolled mobs and go back to the controlled ones to then destroy them after. You might even get a few seconds to knock back a healing potion or renew a useful buff.

The use of tactics is something I often debate with other players in the game. It's pretty common to shrug off tactics and simply wade into combat throwing around large amounts of damage and ignoring any sense of strategy. It's not too hard to build a character that can be played this way. But there's a subtler downside to this play style. Approaching the game and combat with an eye for tactics, is a skill like any other. It involves developing certain problem-solving skills, muscle memory, and reflexes. Like any other skill, if you don't use it, you lose it.

The developers of the game go through phases where they make the game more (or less) hard for the player base. When things get easy...peoples first reaction is to complain it's too easy. Then, they brag about how awesome their pet builds are. While bragging, they scamper through dungeons mowing monsters down with no concern for their or other party members safety. When it swings back to being hard, the lazy people who haven't maintained their tactical skills have a harder time adjusting to the difficulty level than people who did maintain their skills.

What Class Should I Play to Get In The Most Groups

The simple answer to this question used to be cleric. It's a free class, "everyone" wanted a healer, and they were something of a scarce resource. The gearing was also much easier than the other best choice, rogue. First-life, 28 point clerics used to be playable right up into epic levels with only a little dedicated gear. In high-level epic play, the game has changed a lot from those days. Most builds are self-healing. If you want to show up to Epic raids as a Cleric, you better have more in your tank than "just healing". You should be able to necro, or nuke with light spells, or do lots of weapon damage.

For heroic play, clerics are still a strong contender. For the first few levels, a cleric is less useful at healing than cheap potions purchased from vendors. Once you get over that early hump it's fairly smooth play. Turn Undead (and the enhancement "Mighty Turning") is your friend if you decide to play a cleric in heroics. Stunning or destroying undead is a very valued way for clerics to contribute to the kill list and they have a nice mix of damage dealing spells, necromancy spells, and crowd control. When they reach epic levels clerics tend to slow down and be solid second-tier choices behind whatever build is the flavor of the month. Playing either a light nuker or a DC caster is very gear intensive, and DC casting also requires a number of past lives (a bare minimum of nine). "Slowing down" is not the same as useless. You'll just need a few extra tries to kill mobs, and to take a little extra time farming a good set of everyday gear.

Also very useful is a wizard/trapper or ranger/trapper. Experienced players can be a bit impatient if you don't have the locations of every trap in the game memorized (from sheer repetition), so it will be important to mention that you're new to the game and could use pointers on finding trap boxes. If you announce this, usually someone in the group will be happy to play "spotter" for you. Watch the group carefully as often the spotter will simply stand in one spot and jump up and down when they want you to search for the trap box, rather than typing or saying something. You may also find yourself in the bewildering situation of being accepted to a group of experienced players who all bounce effortlessly through the traps and leave you behind to disable them. In that case, you've been included to disable trap boxes and earn everyone the trapping XP bonus. If that happens you're only expected to avoid dying and to go at your own pace (no one will spot for you but you don't have to rush at a breakneck pace to keep up with everyone). I've learned to enjoy these runs when I play a trapper, as it's usually mostly combat-free for me. Wizard/trappers face the same issue as clerics in epic play as they slow down and stop being as effective as they were in heroic play. This is for exactly the same reasons (they 'need' past lives for DC casting and/or to farm a lot of gear).

Paladins are a very strong contender for both heroic and epic play. They can heal themselves and can be self-sufficient with a small collection of scrolls and potions. They're immune to fear, and can make themselves immune to level draining. As you get more experienced with play, they make great solo characters that can be used to farm gear for other, weaker characters on your account. If you're brand new to the game and want to rush through both heroics and epics to get to "end game raiding", you can't go wrong with a Paladin.

Other melees can be useful, but where possible, you should consider a self-healing/self-buffing melee. Rangers, and Bards are stronger contenders than a fighter. Fighters are very respectable and I don't mean to denigrate them at all. Unfortunately for new players, they're completely dependent on others to keep them alive. They have no gear, past lives, favor, or game knowledge to get themselves through quests without depending on the kindness of others or hirelings (or both). A light monk or artificer can also be self-healing melees, but they're pay classes, and their players need a certain amount of game knowledge to make them function properly.

Barbarians have been given self-healing abilities in 2015. I haven't played a Barbarian since these changes so I can't comment on how effective they may be. They may be effective at self-healing or they may be more like monks and artificers and be dependant on player skill.

Bravery Bonus is a Trap!

Bravery Bonus is a trap!

I'm sure plenty of experienced people will disagree with this statement, but honestly it is. "Bravery Bonus" is a system coded into DDO whereby players get the maximum XP return from doing quests on the elite setting chosen so they exactly match up to their level. A level 6 character would therefore do a quest that's listed as level 4, on elite, which increases that quest to level 6. It's a simple enough concept and probably makes sense. "I'm playing a level 6 character so I should be doing a quest at level 6." However, a quest that's elite and on level 6 is not the same difficulty as a level 6 quest on normal. An elite level 6 is closer to a level 8 or 9 quest on normal. With a new player who hasn't stuffed their storage bank with the best gear, you end up with a level 6 character with level 2-3 gear, trying to do a mislabelled level 9 quest. If they can't handle it, they get told they suck. It's very rare for people to bother to explain how the system works.

Elite quests are more than two levels harder than their level rating. There are no clear-cut rules, but number-crunchers have worked out that they're usually about 3 (or even 4) levels harder than an equivalent level quest at normal.

It becomes even more confusing because people will do things like announce their "streak" numbers, and jealously guard them. "I can't do this quest on Hard, I have a streak of 800". It implies to the noobs that those 800 completions are better than a lower number. The truth is that you only need an elite streak of 5 to get the maximum benefit from Bravery Bonus. If they do _this_ quest on hard, after five more elite quests they'll be exactly where they were before. The streak element of Bravery bonus is more of an e-peen score than an experience boost.

The devs have implemented a system to pause streaks (thus allowing people to step in and help those doing quests on normal or hard), but purists and zergers don't like to pause their streaks. 0

The people who can best make use of bravery bonus are experienced players who have gone through many lives. The same people who tend to avoid noobs, and are not usually interested in teaching anyone how to play the game. An experienced player has done all the quests many times, and is often focused on burning through multiple lives to reach a greater goal. For them, the best return on time is to minimize quests and maximize XP. Favor is often ignored, or, at best a secondary concern. When they run elite quests it's because they know the exact route they'll take and how to minimize the time they'll spend in the quest.

A noob is in the opposite position. They need very little experience to get each level, and what they _want_ is Favor. Favor unlocks many things, from buffs (handy if you're not in a guild), to extra backpack and bank space, to special vendors with unique supplies. Even more precious is the "Total Favor" rewards. These are often glossed over in passing ("I've unlocked Drow" or "I've unlocked Vet 4"). The Total Favor rewards include permanent +2 stat tomes, a race (Drow) and class (Favored Soul) that would otherwise have to be bought with points, and access to 32 point characters (also otherwise bought with points). These rewards are earned by simply running the quests and gaining favor each increase the power level of the characters you can play in the future. The total favor rewards are designed to give the game more replay value.

Another thing a noob probably wants is to do is actually experience the quest. They'll want to wander down all the hallways and open all the doors, and see what happens when they pull every lever. This is called "flower-sniffing" in game and isn't as popular as taking the most efficient route and doing the least amount of work possible for the experience rewards.

A person playing through their first life of their first character on DDO is better off finding a small group of like-minded people and flower-sniffing their way through quests on "Hard". They would die less often, be able to spread out the favor they get among many different factions, and level a little slower (allowing them to accumulate more favor rewards). Also, I'll let you in on a secret. A lot of the super hardcore players who solo all the content and finish 28 levels in a week run epic quests on Hard instead of Elite. Epic Hard quests complete so much faster that they get more xp per minute, which is often all they care about.

Since there are ways to farm xp potions in the game, I now dedicate a certain amount of time to doing that, and then I force myself to break my streak a few times each life as I level. It can be a little painful (who doesn't like to see a big number score), but it helps me get through quests that are too hard for me to do on Elite, or to group with people who are going slower in Hard quests.

UMD in DDO

"Impressive... but I always have a backup to my backup..." Lokael, the Partycrashers quest in DDO

If you're a rogue or an artificer or bard or a wizard (or any class with a lot of skill points)...consider putting points into Use Magical Device every level. Even though you don't know what it can be used for. "UMD" is awesome, even on a first life character. In fact, in a way, it helps level the field a little for new first life characters. In it's simplest form, what it does is allow you to use magical items you wouldn't normally be able to use. Two of the most common items are wands and scrolls. But, what it -really- does is let you take on roles that are not part of your character class.

A well-skilled user of UMD can cast buffs, heal, raise the dead, and do some spell-based damage even if they don't have a single spell point. Once you've mastered UMD, you always have a backup to your backup.

It can be a little confusing to new players because they look at a wand or scroll or item and it says it needs UMD 20, or 30, or 38, and they don't see how they can get the skill at their level. The trick is that it's a Charisma-based skill and your Charisma bonus is added to your UMD skill, and there are a couple items that boost it as well. Here is the full breakdown. When you hit epic levels, that's when it really shines! Even before epic levels, you can do interesting things with UMD like raise dead party members, buff your weapons, or heal a tank in a heroic raid.

For a noob, you want a few items to use UMD:

  1. An item that gives Persuasion (this boost Charisma skill checks).
  2. An item that increases your Charisma.
  3. An item that gives +3 to UMD. Delera's Tomb (a pay quest) has a nice low-level necklace that does this.
  4. You can get a skill tome that boosts UMD but those are rare and expensive. If you luck into one it's very worth using.

Then, you put max skill points into UMD.

For my characters, I find two rings that have the same icon (so I can recognize them), and augment slots. Then I use Cannith crafting to add in crafting prefixes and suffixes.

Ring one, which I use at level 20:

Prefix: Charisma +6
Suffix: Persuasion +3.
Yellow slot: +150 spellpoint augment

Ring two, which I change to at level 24:

Prefix: Charisma +6
Suffix: Persuasion +3
Yellow slot: +200 spellpoint augment
Colorless slot: +2 exceptional charisma

The spellpoint augment just lets me do two things with the same item (boost casting power while also boosting UMD). With a nice UMD ring and a decent Charisma score I can UMD any scroll I might have an interest in using.

I've been in raids where all the healers died and I was playing a rogue. I switched over to heal scrolls and healed the tank. As the proper healers were available to be raised, I raised them, and basically "saved" the raid. UMD skill and UMD gear is what let my rogue do that.

Farming Free Quests For Heroic Elite Gear

Read the wiki and learn to farm the free quests. There are some amazing items to be found in the free to play quests, many of which are as useful, or more useful, than items found in the pay quests. The more experience I get at playing the game, the more I realize that a fair amount of the old reliable free gear is competitive as the best in slot for Heroic normal, hard, or elite content.

Something important to note here..."Best in slot" does not always mean "does the most damage". Best in slot means different things to different people. In my case, I like gear that can easily be re-used on different builds or when TRing into different classes, that has augment slots in heroic levels, and that allows me to consolidate 'needed' features.

I have, and swap between, about 20 characters. That is _A LOT_ of gear to manage. Struggling to get ultra-rare items for each character isn't "worth" it to me, especially for heroic gear. This makes my gearing style good for newer players, as I can provide pointers on ways to get good, solid gear quickly and easily. I've taken the time to get familiar with the gear that drops in free quests.

Years ago, loot was designed under a different paradigm than during the past few years. It used to be that the loot designers made sure there was what might be described as solid "core" gear available in the free quests, and it was expected that players would gear all of their characters primarily from the free content. Pay quests were meant for situational swap-in gear. The older gear is therefore cohesive and different items fit together neatly with just a few items from pay quests. The newer gear often has bigger numbers but it lacks the elegance of the older gear. It's also deliberately designed to try to force you to replace all your gear every few levels. Resist the urge and get to know the free gear. If you're going to TR a lot, the free gear is still very valuable.

A List of Useful Heroic Noob Gear From Free Quests

A quick note about augment slots. While recommending heroic gear, I'll frequently point out pieces that have augment slots. Augment slots are meant to allow a small amount of customization. Augments can be found in chests, bought in the AH, or purchased from NPC vendors.

This gear will be useful in Heroic normal, hard, or elite quests for many levels. It will probably be either useless in Reaper mode, or only useful for a few levels.

  • Sacrifices. The humble Sacrifices quest in the Korthos Island tutorial area results in an end reward list that always includes the boots "Anger's Step". These free boots have a twice-per-rest Expeditious Retreat clickie. This is a spell that lets a character run very fast. The quest can be run as many times as you want and will always produce the same reward list. I usually grab two pairs of the boots per character, plus whatever item I need to make my set. If you have trouble running fast enough to keep up with a group, Expeditious Retreat will help your toons run faster.
  • The Collaborator. Also on Korthos, this quest is given and completed in the Tavern. Since I usually play Undying Court clerics, or paladins (both of which can use scimitars), I usually grab the scimitar named Fintan's Bite. It's a ML: 1 scimitar with Bodyfeeder, and a little boost to the jump skill. Bodyfeeder is a power that usually shows up in the high single digits or low teen minimum levels of random loot. This sword is a little bit of a hidden gem in low level free gear.
  • Necromancer's Doom. This Korthos optional quest gives you a shot at the Protective Gloves (the only named 'Shield' clickie in a free quest) or the Runic Gloves (+1 Competence bonus for UMD checks). They drop in the chest behind the locked door, so be able to open locks.
  • The Korthos "sets". There are several sets available and I quite happily make use of them when in lower levels. I really like the trapping set, devotion set and the potency set. However, if I played a lot of melee, I'm sure I would like the others as well. You can't really go 'wrong' by getting the set that looks like it belongs to your class or play style.
  • Where there's Smoke. This is one of two free to play quests in the Cerulean Hills. The Crude Bauble has a fairly high drop rate in the end chest and is quite nice in the trinket slot. It has False Life +5, Fortification 25%, and a little boost to Intimidation. There are very few lowbie trinkets worth having in the F2P quests, and this happens to be useful on any build.
  • One of the "best" two-handed low-level weapons in the game is a great axe named Carnifex that comes from a pay quest (which means F2P players can't get it). A nice substitute is called "The Sword of the Thirty" and it comes from the free quest "The Tear of Dhakaan" in House Phiarlan. It's an awesome sword that comes with a red augment slot. I love this sword and nearly every toon I play on Orien has one, even toons that don't often use greatswords. It's possible to farm this quest without completing it as the sword is in one of the first chests on the map. You'll need to have good Intelligence to get past a locking rune.
  • Stormcleave Outpost. This quest has a number of interesting items scattered around the location. One favorite is the Lesser Boots of Striding and Springing. ML: 7, 20% movement boost, +10 Jump, and a colorless slot. I've been slowly farming these to replace all my Marshwalker sets.
  • A Relic of A Sovereign Past. Heavy Fortification at level 9? Yes, please! All the adamantine items from this quest have their uses, but the Nightforge Gorget is a stand out prize with Heavy Fortification at level 9. Using the quest to make a set of light, medium, or heavy adamantine armor and putting a heavy fortification augment in the blue slot is just as good. Either way you get Heavy Fortification at level 9. The bracers give you a heroism clickie. The helm gives you a Protection from Evil clickie. Both of these items can be carried for the clickies at end game! Within the weapon choices are two excellent slashing weapons: The Nightforge Avenger's Blade (a longsword with an 18-20 crit profile) and the Nightforge Stiletto (a slashing + piercing dagger with an 18-20 crit profile). Neither weapon is keen, so they each benefit from their proper Improved Critical feat.
  • Tempest Spine. The only free raid, and the only raid you can run multiple times the same day without a raid "bypass". There's something for everyone in this raid. Most items are level 8 or 9. I'm particularly fond of the Cloak of Invisibility, with Ghostly, a green slot (good for Resistance +3) and a once-per-rest Invisibility clickie. Other shining examples are Maelstrom, the Star of Irian (a mace with 2 augment slots), Nightblade (a Keen falchion with 2 augment slots), the Goggles of Perception, the Choker of the Silver Tongue, and the Robe of Arcane Puissance and the other Robe of Potency. Those last two robes have identical stats and simply drop in different chests. The weapons with two augment slots are good to use in combat, and also good for classes with some casting ability (as a way to carry spell power augments).
  • Invaders! This is a bit of an unusual quest as you farm tokens and turn those tokens in for items. The Ring of Balance is useful for everyone (best for True Neutrals but any alignment can get use out of it). I also really like the Scepter of Healing. When you play a lot of clerics an item that gives Devotion and a red slot for extra spell power is really nice. When it also lets you use your Wisdom as a bonus for To Hit and Damage, well then it becomes "must have".
  • Xorian Cypher. This quest is routinely farmed at level for a belt called the Planar Gird. It's pretty rare (I only have one and I've played steadily for several years). To be completely honest, the belt is not really "all that". I mostly keep it for bragging rights. If a newer player pulled one I'd suggest they consider trading it for something more useful to them. Caveat: If you play a trapper it's really nice to have it to boost your trapping rolls.
  • Lordsmarch Plaza Chain. Three quests that are the home of the Sora Kell set. The last quest (Eyes of Stone) is also the home of a nice set of heavy armor/docent, and the much-loved Stonedust Handwraps. The handwraps are incredibly good for monks (consolidates a number of useful effects) or turned into a pet collar for an artificer or druid pet.
  • The Lords of Dust chain has a huge selection of gear, as well as being the "gateway" chain that connects the Eberron quest zone with the Forgotten Realms quest zone. If you can, try to get an Envenomed Blade. It's a short sword that can paralyse enemies. They're a very common drop so likely "someone" in a run will be willing to give theirs away. The chain has a wide selection of armor and weapons: light and heavy armor, a quarterstaff useful for casters and melee, a dwarven axe, a bastard sword, a maul, a short sword. I'm quite fond of the Staff (useful as a pre-epic spell stick) and the short sword. It's a good chain to get weapons and armor that will help you "get by" until you have proper epic gear.
  • Watch for special events. Crystal Cove and Risia are (mostly) annual events that allow you to farm very useful and valuable gear. It's not "sexy" gear, but it is absolutely "reliable" gear! The events are open to pay and free players alike.

Random Notes on Gear

  • Always have Heavy Fortification as soon as you can get it. If you can farm epic tokens, you can farm Heavy Fortification augments. "But I wanna TR fast!" is no excuse for not having Heavy Fortification.
  • "Smiting" weapons are less useful than you might think if they're not either naturally adamantine, or if they don't have an augment slot to put in an adamantine augment. As soon as you reasonably can, get an adamantine smiter.

Farming A Relic of a Sovereign Past

For this quest MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A RETURNING THROWING WEAPON (buy one in the Auction house or from the guild vendor).

In short: get the quest (the quest giver is hidden in the bowels of House D). Enter the quest (the quest entrance is hidden in the bowels of House K).

Run down the first hall. Turn left. Look for a door guarded by two dwarves, with a pull lever on the right side of the door to open it. Run past it. Find _another_ door with a pull lever guarded by two dwarves, this pull lever is on the left side. You'll have to run around or through some lava to find the second door. Open that second door. If you're in the right spot, when you step inside you'll be able to see a gate opened with yet another pull lever. These dwarves love their pull levers!

Pull the next lever to open the gate. Run down the long hall and check each side room. You're looking for a room with a chest. Loot the Silver Key in the chest. Run out of this hall back to the main room. I always turn left and hug the wall again. This time you're looking for a big round door with a key hole. The door with the key hole should be past another big round door that needs two lit runes to open it.

Unlock the key hole door with your Silver Key. Pull the lever to raise the gate. Run down the hall. Watch carefully as you run down the path with a metal track in it. You're looking for large dark purple gems that are labelled "Adamantine Ore". Follow all side branches. Each section of the mine has three alcoves with duregar miners and guards. There should be adamantine gems in most (but not all) alcoves. The placement is random for each run.

When you come to a force field with a target at it, hit the target with your throwing weapon. Unlike most targets, you _can't_ activate it with your hands. After each force field is another side passage with more mine alcoves. Examine the ground, the track, and the side areas with storage boxes for stray adamantine ore. When you've completed this successfully, you should have 13 or 14 pieces of adamantine ore. The last one or two pieces will be in the final room. There are exactly 15 pieces of adamantine ore in each run. If you reach the final room along the track and don't have 15 pieces of ore, backtrack and find it.

Kill anything hostile in the final room, and talk to the only guy left standing. He'll make you Nightforge gear with the ore you just collected.

Useful Things to Do With Throwing Weapons

Returning throwing weapons are somewhat unappreciated heroes in DDO. A returning throwing weapon acts like a magical boomerang. You throw it, it hits a target and then returns to your hand. Most people call them 'Throwers' as a nickname.

  1. Throw them at distant monsters as part of trying to kill them, just like the DDO devs intended.
  2. Blunt throwers are useful to smash perched skeleton archers.
  3. Any throwers can be used to hit distant targets, and aerial targets. You don't need to be proficient with them to use them to trigger targets. These usually trip levers to lower bridges or open gates.
  4. Greensteel throwers can be used to make a wide range of clickies. Several greensteel weapons can be made with useful click powers (stoneskin, displacement, raise dead, etc). You usually only need the shavarath stone and small/medium materials, which makes them "cheap" (at least from a greensteel perspective). Weapons, unlike accessories, don't need to be cleansed of the Shavarath taint. So, you swap items to the thrower, use the clickie, swap back, and you're good to go.
  5. Lailat in the Against The Demon Queen raid likes to hide on a distant ledge. A thrower is useful for non-casters to keep doing damage to her. Hint: You want Cold Iron to help break her damage resistance. The crystal in the Fall of Truth raid can only be targeted by ranged attacks (including throwers). Alchemical Crystal will break its damage resistance.
  6. The Nightforge Spike is a handy minimum level 8 adamantine thrower that you can get by handing in Adamantine ore. I like to place a random elemental damage augment in the red slot and fling it at anything that needs ranged damage. The spike itself doesn't break the damage resistance on much of anything, but the elemental augment does do damage each hit.
  7. If you aim it at a distant enemy you can annoy them and 'pull' them closer to you. A few of their neighbors may follow but you shouldn't get the whole pack.

Make Your Own +5 Thieves' Tools

Go to the Device Workstation in House Cannith. This is the same device you use to make traps or pet collars.

Combine: 100 Mechanical Trap Parts and a +5 weapon. You will get 50 +5 Thieves' Tools.

Pay Stuff to Pay For

So, DDO is free to play. Many people who start the game plan to never put a cent into the game. You can do that, but with a few small purchases you can support the development team and get some useful account upgrades.

I recommend buying $20 (adjusted to your local currency) in Turbine points in the store. That's just a little more than one month's subscription price. That should give you about 1600 TP. Buy the shared bank space (1500 TP). You get slots in the bank you can use to pass bound-to-account gear between characters, and some bag slots to hold collectibles. There are a disgustingly large assortment of collectibles in the game, so you having bag slots in the bank with help.

Another option is taking advantage of one of the big holiday sales that occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and buy one or two of the expansion packs. The expansion packs are usually bundled with deeply discounted Turbine Points and include things like epic powers or extra character races.

By buying points or packs with money, you get two extra character slots per server. You can also post more auctions and connect to the game a little faster. The extra two characters are useful because they can either be played (giving you more build options) or used as extra bank storage (aka: "mules").

Packs to Get First (Farming or Buying):

  1. Gianthold is going to be the most "bang for your buck". You get an epic zone, a heroic zone, a wide range of useful gear, and a busy zone that's popular even with the dwindling player base. The heroic zone becomes playable when most of the free quests have dried up, so it helps you claw your way to the higher heroic levels. A lot of loot comes out of this pack (with both heroic and epic versions)
  2. Next is the Shroud. It's not as popular as it once was, but the greensteel items you make there are useful from level 12/13 to end game. With just the Shroud and the free quests, you can easily level from 16-20 even on a third-life character. The trick is to make sure to spend time in the wilderness slaying monsters. You'll want to do this anyway as it's how you get the materials to make your greensteel items.
  3. Finally, I recommend farming for the Vault of Night pack. It has epic and heroic zones in one pack, and is wildly popular. Most of the gear is a bit weak and dated, but the quests have some of the best experience point payouts in the game. Two must-have raid items are the Sword of Shadows (for two-handed melees) and the Kundarak Delving Boots (for everyone when they Reincarnate). Also, people just -enjoy- The Vault of Night raid. It's DDO adventure design at its best.

After this, it's a matter of what you want to do. Do you want to stay at epic levels? You're going to want the Menace of the Underdark pack and Epic Destinies. Do you think you'd like to True Reincarnate a lot? Then you'll want a few lower-level packs like Tangleroot and Delera's. If you like killing undead the Necropolis Bundle is worth it, you get four tiers of heroic quests, a heroic raid, a heroic wilderness zone, and a matching epic zone with several epic quests and an epic raid. New packs will cost more in points but tend to be popular with players who are trying to farm all the rare items.

Easy Staves for Staff Builds

With this set of staves you should be ready for any content from 1-19, and with the Stout Oak Walking Stick you should be good for epic levels, at least until you either get Sireth or a Thunderforged weapon.

  • Cannith Craft: Screaming of Bleed with Masterful Craftsmanship. ML: 1
  • Staff of Nat Gann: A nice little silver Dex-to-damage staff that gives a small Dex bonus and stacking Dodge. From the Chronoscope end list, BTA so any toon on your account can grab it, guaranteed to show up within 3 completions. The epic version isn't bad if you're not using the Stout Oak Walking Stick.
  • Chieftain's Spear: I find this one a bit hard to farm (it comes out of 3BC). However, it tends to show up in the plat AH. Breaks piercing and bludgeoning DR as well as doing low-level Con damage on anything vulnerable to bleeding.
  • Radiance II greensteel staff: There's a grind to get this, but the hard part is the 6 large devil scales and the shards of power. I prefer Rad II over Lit II on a staff user, because they're almost guaranteed to have sneak attack damage (from halfling, rogue, and/or dark monk) and blinded mobs are vulnerable to sneak damage.
  • Triple Pos Greensteel staff: If you have the tolerance (or mats) for a second greensteel item, you can't go wrong farming this baby for undead bashing. It won't break zombie DR, but all the other effects should smoke them.
  • Rahl's Might: You can get this farming Mindsunder in the end reward list, and I think you may be guaranteed to see at least one version of it every 3 completions. Even if it's not guaranteed 1-in-3, it shouldn't take more than 1-2 days of farming to snag one. It's a d10 damage die, as well as a x3 multiplier (plus some nice effects). It also breaks slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning DR. It's basically a pole arm masquerading as a staff. The Force version is everyone's favorite, but the Shock and Bleed versions are nice runners-up.
  • Stout Oak Walking Stick: The go-to staff for level 20+ Staff users, at least until Sireth, you get this from handing Villager comms in to the trader in Eveningstar.

If you're very very patient farming Delera's Graveyard (I try to squeeze in at least 2 runs a life if I can find groups), you may find a BTA flametouched iron lootgen staff in the reward list. You can deconstruct it, throw on low level ghost touch/lesser undead bane enchantments, and use it as a undead beater. It will even work on the ghostly skellies in future runs of Delera's.

Help For Paladins

Paladins in DDO are not like Paladins in other MMO's. For several years paladins had a reputation for doing very little damage, but being unkillable.

In the fall of 2014 the devs redesigned Paladins, and they're once again an effective melee class. Even with all the changes, they're a bit of a challenge to play. A paladin "needs" Strength, Constitution, and Charisma (16/16/16 is not unreasonable). They also need enough Wisdom to (eventually) be able to cast 4th level spells. A low Wisdom can be boosted with an item or tome.

Two weapon fighting is effective on a paladin, but you need a base 32-point character (or a Drow), and 34 or 36 build points would be even better. Every Paladin needs as much Charisma, Strength and Constitution as they can get. You need a 17 Dexterity by level 11 if you want to take Greater Two-Weapon Fighting. The "easy" way to get a two-weapon fighting paladin is to play a Drow. Drow get +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, and +2 Intelligence. Without Drow _or_ 32-point builds it becomes unlikely you can build an effective two-weapon wielding paladin.

Sword and Board is somewhat useful if you want to tank, however, there's very new little content that needs a tank, and the old content that supported tanking is rarely run. Still, it can be a handy backup build. Take Exotic Weapon: Bastard Sword for a little extra weapon damage while tanking. With Two-handed Fighting and a Bastard Sword, you get Glancing Blow damage when using a shield.

For pure damage output, two-handed fighting using a Greatsword or Greataxe is probably best. Make sure to cast your "Holy Sword" spell and take the Cleave enhancements in the Knight of the Chalice enhancement tree.

Feats I recommend: Take the two-handed fighting chain (Two Handed Fighting, Improved Two Handed Fighting, Greater Two Handed Fighting) and Power Attack. You'll want either Improved Critical Slashing, or Improved Critical Piercing, depending on whether your endgame damage will come from a two-handed sword or greataxe or real bastard sword, or a faux bastard sword like the Star of Day or Celestia. If you want to use a bastard sword, take Exotic Weapon Proficiency Bastard Sword. Since you have some extra feats take Empower Healing Spell and Extend. Take Weapon Specialization in whatever type of weapon you're using. Then, spend your last couple of feats on whatever you'd like for flavor (maybe a little shield bashing, or Magical Training, or Quicken). I like Precision as Paladins enjoy a lot of extra damage on Critical Hits, and Precision strips Fortification from enemies.

Turning Paladin: With 18 Paladin, 2 cleric, you can take Improved Turning in both classes, and the cleric's "Mighty Turning". If you have some Turning gear, this makes for a pretty effective Turning paladin in heroic levels and older epic content.

Playing a Cleric

Clerics have several possible roles in DDO.

  • Healing
  • Turning Undead
  • Crowd Control
  • Necromancy (draining and killing targets)
  • Light and Alignment damage (aka: nuking)
  • melee or ranged combat

In general, a single cleric can do two of the three following things well: healing, casting spells with a DC check, weapon-based combat. Spells with a DC check include spells from the evocation, necromancy, and enchantment schools. There are not enough spells in the other schools to specialize. Nuking spells do not require a saving throw and as long as you carry and use a radiance item, you can do well at nuking without specializing in it.

Soapbox Speech: By default, a noob player should expect to heal party members when playing a cleric. This is both because of how useful it is, and to learn the pitfalls of healing (how to keep track of the position of other party members, how to manage your spell points, how all the spells function, etc.) Even if you don't plan to be a healer long term, one life playing a healer will give you a deeper understanding of the role and make you a better party member in raids and groups. In other words, you'll be less of a noob when dealing with other people playing healers as long as you've been a healer once, yourself. You'll also be less of a noob when trying to heal yourself with the many self-healing options available in the the game. Playing a healer in a different game doesn't count as being a healer in DDO. The resources and responsibilities are unlike other MMOs.

This means a noob cleric will either be a healer and a DC caster, or a healer and a melee.

Gear for Any Cleric

Turning Gear

In Heroic Levels:

Sacred increases your effective Turning level.

Hallowed increases the max HD turned.

Eternal Faith increases your Turning Level and max HD turned (it's equivalent to Sacred plus Hallowed).

Lesser Turning gives you +2 additional turns on a rest.

Silver Flame increase total HD of undead turned by +6.

Turning is based on your Charisma attribute. Anything that boosts Charisma directly improves your turn results.

Note: I'm not certain Silver Flame appears on any named items. It can be cannith crafted.

  • Signal of the Silver Flame is a Scarlet Dust scarab turn-in gives Lesser Turning.
  • The Sacred set from The Red Fens (Sacred Helm and Sacred Ring) gives both Eternal Faith and Lesser Turning.
  • The Token of the Faithful from And the Dead Shall Rise gives both Eternal Faith and Lesser Turning.
  • Dalorent's Seal an Eerie Dust scarab turn-in in the Necropolis gives Sacred and Lesser Turning.

So, it appears that the "best" heroic turning gear is: Token of the Faithful plus Silver Flame OR Sacred set plus Silver Flame

In Epic Levels:

Radiant Servant gives +1 Turn (stacks with Lesser Turning) and an Exceptional bonus to Turning Level.

Insightful Faith gives an Insightful bonus to Turning Level, Max HD turned, and total HD Turned.

  • Radiant Servant set from the Tower of Despair raid gives the Radiant Servant Exceptional bonus.
  • Gloves of Immortality from The Fall of Truth gives Eternal Faith.
  • Drowned Priest's Torch from epic Two Toed Tobias gives Insightful Faith.
  • Epic Seraphim from Mark of Death gives Sacred, Hallowed, and Insightful Faith.

So, it appears that the "best" epic turning gear is: Epic Seraphim plus Silver Flame plus Radiant Servant set. OR Gloves of Immortality plus Drowned Priest's Torch plus Silver Flame plus Radiant Servant set.

Technically, the Radiant Servant set isn't epic gear, as it's ML: 18. However, there's very little undead content in levels 18 and 19. This means as a matter of practicality it won't be used for turning until epic levels.

F2P Options: As far as I know, there's no F2P quest gear that boosts turning, other than getting the unbound Token of the Faithful. You can Cannith craft Sacred, Hallowed, and Silver Flame enchantments.

Some items may be able to be passed to F2P players. Ex: Dalorent's Seal is made by giving unbound Eerie scarab powder to Squire Rale in the Necropolis. If he accepts the powder from someone who doesn't own the pack, then a F2P player could get the Shield.

Devotion Gear

If there are only two pieces of advice I could shoehorn into any cleric player's head they would be...

  1. Always have an option. Never lock yourself into only doing one thing well, and avoid burning all your resources early in a run.
  2. Have Devotion in your accessories. Devotion items increase the potency of your healing spells. Even if you're not a "healbot" or you never touch another character, a source of Devotion in your accessories is invaluable. Something will happen, and the stars will be out of alignment, and you'll click away from your Devotion spell stick and suddenly your healing spell power will be crippled. Having backup Devotion in your accessories will be invaluable for keeping yourself (and others) alive.

A devotion gear list to be added later.

Healer Cleric

I write a lot about healing and how it impacts noobs. First and foremost, I'm a healer. I love watching other players' health bars and seeing them go from (almost) empty to full after I click a button. When I do cleric lives, I love pulling my old, well-loved healing gear out every few levels and seeing all my Positive spell power and healing spells get better. I love the sound (and the yellow cloud) when I turn on the Radiant Aura.

DDO's overall metagame (ie: how people play the game) has changed a lot over the past few years. The player base has shrunk enough to allow the more solo-oriented players to have a strong voice in the development direction of the game. The game has gone from realistically needing a full party to get through content to being solo-friendly, even including raids. Some raids that don't allow soloing still allow completion with just two or three people. This means that the demands have changed from being strongly focused on one single role, to being self-sufficient and doing several jobs well.

If you want to be a full-time healer (sadly) there's not much of a place for you. But, you can easily play (and enjoy) the game by healing about 70-80% of the time, and only killing stuff the rest of the time.

If you really want to be a focused healer it takes skill to build your character, and time to hone your skills, just like any other role. You'll have gear and consumables you'll want to farm just like the DPS-focused characters. Healing is a bit like trapping...there's a minimal level that almost anyone can do and "get by", and too often outsiders think that minimum is the entire limit of the job. If you specialize, there's just as much depth for you in the game as any other role or build.

This build will assume a 32-point build. If you only have a 28-point build, drop Strength and then Charisma.

Half-Elf:

  • Str 13
  • Dex 8
  • Con 14
  • Int 10
  • Wis 18
  • Cha 13

Everyone Else:

  • Str 12
  • Dex 10
  • Con 14
  • Int 10
  • Wis 18
  • Cha 12

Why does half-elf get some uneven stats? Because Half-Elf Dilettante requires a minimum of 13 to use certain feats. Everyone else should start with all even-number stats.

Why is strength higher than dexterity? Because monsters can hit you with fatiguing effects that drop your strength. If it goes low enough, you end up in a state called "helpless". You can move, but you can't use any clickie, item in your inventory, cast any spells or SLAs, etc. So, once you're helpless you can't drink a potion or cast a spell to remove the fatigue. On a noob cleric, no matter what, your reflex save is going to be bad...and your living/dying in traps will revolve entirely around how well you learn to jump over them/run through them, rather than succeeding at saving throws. So, given the choice between _maybe_ not being helpless, and _maybe_ dying in a trap, I vote for avoiding the helpless state.

Feel free to try a build with a lower Strength and a higher Dexterity. These are simply guidelines to get you started.

Feats

  • 1-Extra Turns or Wizard Past Life (+ Fighter Dilettante if half-elf)
  • 3-Maximize
  • 6-Empower Healing
  • 9-Quicken
  • 12-Mental Toughness
  • 15-Improved Mental Toughness
  • 18-Spell Focus: Evocation

You don't need Empower Healing before six levels of cleric, as that's the soonest you can get your Radiant Burst.

You want Mental Toughness and Improved Mental Toughness no later than 15th level, as that's when the demands on your spell points ramps up.

If you want to do a feat swap at some point, you can swap at 11th level (when you get Blade Barrier) and dump Power Attack for Empower. Empower will let you get the last extra bit of healing goodness out of your SLAs.

Spell Points

A cleric without spell points can end up being close to useless. There are a few useful abilities that don't count on spell points, but, it's a state you want to practice avoiding at all costs. You want to avoid dying, and you want to avoid running out of spell points. As long as you're alive (and have spell points), you have options.

In general, the best way to avoid running out of spell points is to be very cautious about turning on your metamagic feats. I do have some exceptions, but _in general_ I almost never use my metamagic feats on my regular spells, I only use them on Spell Like Abilities (SLAs). With a SLA, you get to turn on your metamagic feats for free. The Radiant Burst and Radiant Aura are two SLAs. If you put points into the Divine Disciple tree, you can buy SLAs along the left hand side (my two favorites are Searing Light and Divine Punishment).

Most players take the opposite attitude. They leave their metamagic feats on all the time (or at least until they run out of spell points). They're killing more than I do, but they also run out of options before I do, and I'm usually fixing them up when they die or otherwise need help.

The way I make my spells more potent is by doing everything I can that increases my spell power ratings. Spell power is a system in DDO that increases the amount of damage (or healing) that spells do. Each point of spell power is worth 1% of increase. 100 points of spell power is therefore a 100% increase. In heroic levels, it's not uncommon to have 100 or more spell power by 10th level, in your better elements.

I try to always carry Devotion items (they boost Positive spell power), Nullification items (they boost Necromancy spell power), Impulse items (they boost force and untyped spell power), Radiance items (they boost light and alignment spell power), and Combustion items (they boost fire spell power).

On a character that's mostly healing with a little light nuking as a backup, you'll want Devotion and Radiance, with Impulse once you get Blade Barrier. Make note of the other spell powers and you can collect those items for later lives.


Enhancements

Start by putting points in the Radiant Servant tree. You want to unlock Mighty Turning (T2) and the Radiant Burst (3rd core). In general, you should do this by putting points in all the undead enhancements (Extra Turning and Improved Turning). I usually put one point into Altruism as it boosts your positive (ie: healing) spell power a little and helps unlock things.

After you get both of those, you want to work just a little bit of survivability in Warpriest. Toughness and Wall of Steel should each be set to 3/3 as you get the points. Take the first and second cores. If you have to spend a couple extra points to unlock something, Sacred Touch is kind of harmlessly useless and therefore the least waste of extra points.

Once you have some PRR and extra hit points, you go back to Radiant Servant and pick up the Regenerating Turns (T4) and the aura (T5). You'll also want to dip into Divine Disciple enough to at least get the 2nd tier of SLA (Searing Light). The way I dip into trees is for some levels, you'll get AP but you won't be able to spend them because the next useful enhancement is gated behind a level requirement. When that happens I spend those accumulated points in a secondary tree.

While in Radiant Servant pick up 2 extra points of Wisdom.

I find the whole left side of Radiant Servant to be much more useful than the right side. On the left, you have a line of Turn Undead boosting enhancements that culminate in the much-loved Radiant Aura. The undead line includes an option that lets you destroy any undead you turn for no additional cost. On the right you have a line of enhancements that include you exploding into a burst of healing light on death, and a pact-style heal on one target that only fires once every 3 minutes.

Make sure to apply the meta-magic feats to both your Burst and Aura, and any offensive SLAs you have.

Play Style

This will revolve around getting used to testing the reactions of other players to what you do.

When you join up with a new group, when you first enter the dungeon, start casting buffs. Have all your mass/group buffs in a single hotbar and just click through them one at a time. If people run off, don't worry. Don't chase after them, don't try to cast buffs from far away. If they don't want your help, don't force it on them.

Usually at least some people will linger when they see and hear the buff animations fire. If not, at least you've buffed yourself. If you've unlocked the Radiant Aura it should always be the VERY LAST buff you cast. Most radiant clerics do this and it signals to more experienced players that you're "done" buffing. New players will learn it as you turn on the aura and then go toddling into the quest. Aura comes on = buffing is done.

You're going to stick behind DPS toons. This is easy to do, because clerics are lacking in any sort of speed boosting ability, and simply can't keep up with the rest of the party. This means your goal will be to get the best "Striding" or "Speed" item you can, and simply run full tilt trying to keep up with the party.

All of your healing spells are ranged, meaning you don't have to be standing right next to a character to use them. You'll learn to measure the range visually as you get comfortable with healing in DDO. The feat Enlarge allows you to throw heals from very far away (for most of your line of sight in game). I find it too expensive to use, and a weak crutch. You think to yourself..."great...I can heal from down the hall". And then there will be a tiny knee-high obstruction between you and your target (possibly even so small you don't notice it) and you have no idea why you keep throwing heals and missing them. So now you've used Enlarge and it fails, and you have to run down the hall anyway.

I figure it's just better to count on mobility and run (as slow as it might be) to catch up to people who need heals, than keep missing them from very far range. On a noob/1st life cleric I also don't feel there's enough feat slots for Enlarge. You should certainly experiment with it at some point, it's quite fun to have (when it works), just save it for a second life or second cleric build.

A not-very-self-sufficient melee character will notice when you're throwing buffs and heals, and if they're any sort of decent player, they'll keep an eye on you in return. The same is not true if someone is self-sufficient and keeping themselves healed. Remember, your goal is to fill a useful role (healing weak party members), not _being_ a weak party member. So, if you're keeping anyone alive, they should try to keep you alive in return. If you're not keeping anyone alive, you should be doing your best to kill monsters (just like everyone else). Presuming you do find a heal target: you heal them, you attract aggro, a monster attacks you, they _should_ run up and kill the monster for you. They get a kill, and they get to keep their "pet" healer alive to keep healing them.

If that doesn't happen (if they take the heals but don't kill mobs attacking you, or you don't have a heal target), you need to be prepared.

Crowd Control ("CC") is always good. Command, Hold Person, and Greater Command are Enchantment school. Soundburst is an Evocation spell. Cometfall is Conjuration. This makes it hard to fit in three different school boosts as there's never enough gear slots. I like Command and Soundburst as low level CC spells. At higher levels, Cometfall is very nice as has a knockdown effect, and makes a loud "boom" sound as the comet lands. In all seriousness, playing a cleric is a rather quiet job. When the Aura or Burst are your flashiest effects it can get rather dull. I like to slot a couple "noisy" spells to keep my attention focused.

Damage spells work also. Your damage spells probably won't kill them on the first hit. If you need to run away from the monster, run TOWARDS a melee toon. Hit them with a Light damage spell (Nimbus of Light, Searing Light, Holy Smite, Divine Punishment). Hopefully, if you drag a sickly mob right next to your heal target, they will be motivated to kill it for you.

Insta-kill spells. Clerics get a few necromancy kill spells. Slay Living is the first. You need to be within 'ranged touch' range, which is a stupid way of saying "within a few steps" of the target. After Slay Living is Destruction. That hits from a pretty far distance. To be honest, once I get Destruction I almost never bother with Slay Living. It's kind of a shame, as Destruction has a long cooldown. Once I can slot Destruction I just get too lazy to run up to mobs and Slay them. Slay Living is still really nice if you're not as lazy as me. Last is what's supposed to be the cleric's mass-kill spell: Symbol of Death. This is a little tricky to use, but, what you do is place an animated glyph and any mobs within a very close distance of it when it triggers (it triggers when an enemy moves) has to make a save or take damage and be level drained. Very low level mobs will die from the combination. Unfortunately it only kills very low level targets, and so in higher level content it gets used as a mass level drain spell. You can either place it over a group while some boss is monologuing before a fight, or throw it down where you are when you're swarmed. These are all Necromancy spells. Your one Evocation Insta-kill is Implosion. It's a very flashy spell (the mobs have a special animation and then "pop" and disappear when Imploded) and it can get up to 5 targets, which is nice. But it has a long-ish cooldown. Nearly every cleric player I know learns to love Implosion, even if all they want to do is heal party members.

DoT Spells. The cleric's Damage over Time spell is "Divine Punishment". This can be a little complicated because you're juggling the "ticks" of the time passing, as well "stacks" of the spell. If you cast Divine Punishment once and ignore the target, the spell sucks. It just does a little damage and aggros the mob. Where it shines is on monster with a lot of hit points (like a boss). When you have a big target lined up, cast the spell over and over as it comes off cooldown. The first couple of ticks will be small. Then, the second casting will stack with the first, and your damage doubles. You can get a third stack on as well. TRIPLE DAMAGE. Then the first casting expires, and you cast another to keep that triple-stack going. Divine Punishment on a triple stack can be a beautiful thing. The cooldown is just long enough that you can cast it and then pass around a little healing before you have to go back to it. I think every healer cleric should get good at casting Divine Punishment.

A note about Pale Masters: I like to help heal Pale Masters. They're the wizard version of Radiant Servants, right down to having an aura and burst that heals themselves and damages enemies. With their wide range of insta-kill effects there's nothing quite so impressive as a Pale Master (or two) moving through a group of mobs, level draining and then killing five different ways. They're a little fragile and both their burst and their aura cost them spell points to cast (instead of using a secondary ability like the Radiant spending Turns). The "Harm" spell can heal Pale Masters. But, they have a distressing tendency to tend to try to hide 'behind' clerics. You have to be facing a Pale Master and have a direct line-of-sight on them for Harm to work. It takes some good reflexes to turn, 'face' the PM, and throw a Harm their way. Don't heal them full-time...they won't like it and it's a waste of your spell points. But, if you see them take one big hit keep an eye on their bar and if they don't recover from it quickly, Harm them.

Doing Damage on a Healer Build

Even as a healer, you should be prepared to defend yourself, and kill mobs. There's any number of reasons for this, from not wanting to be a burden, to the times you end up playing solo, to having to fight your way down a corridor of mobs to recover the soul stones of the rest of the party.

At very low levels, being able to use a popular twink weapon like Carnifex or Sword of the Thirty is useful. This is one of the many reasons I love to play half-elves. They can get free martial weapons proficiency at low levels with the racial feat Fighter Dilettante. Then, in later levels they can swap it out for Monk Dilettante (add wisdom to AC when they wear robes) or Paladin Dilettante (for an increase to saving throws), or even Barbarian Dilettante (for extra hit points). It's a really nice flexible feat slot that (in effect) levels with you. If you don't play a half elf, you either need to use a racial weapon, a god weapon, or try to scrounge up enough points in UMD to cast Master's Touch. Master's Touch will let you use any one-handed weapon (you need the other hand to hold the scroll) as if you were proficient in it. You can purchase the scrolls at any arcane scroll vendor.

Racial and god weapons: Scimitars are very nice. The have a good crit profile and do a reasonable amount of damage. Elves and half elves get access to them through the Undying Court. Longswords are almost as good. They're not very "sexy" damage wise, but there are a _lot_ of nice named longswords. Either can be used with a shield to give you extra PRR and AC. Unfortunately, bows are a terrible choice. The rate of fire on bows is really slow and they require a lot of feats to make them worthwhile. A noob healer cleric should never count on a bow as their main source of weapon damage. Save that for later lives, when you have a lot of gear and can plan your build around bow use.

At mid levels, a cleric starts to be effective with damage spells. The best mid-level damage spell is Blade Barrier. However, even before Blade Barrier you have the often-overlooked Holy Smite. This is an Area of Effect spell that does damage and has a chance of blinding enemies. The fighting types you group with will love blinded enemies as they're very easy to kill. As mentioned above, you can also try out insta-kill spells. Slay Living and Destruction are nice mid and high level options. Once you get Implosion, you're "set". If you get swarmed by angry mobs looking to beat up the healer, just fire off an Implosion. That will pick off at least a couple, and the ones left behind will probably be grabbed by a melee or ranged player. You need to be careful, Implosion has a very long cooldown. Have a backup to your Implosion-ey backup.

Eventually, you may transition into wanting to try to out-kill the combat characters. Good for you! A DC-based caster or light nuker will be in your future. Otherwise, enjoy the warm glow of being a self-sufficient team player.

A Thankless Role And Long Term Progress

Being a healer is a bit of a thankless role. At the end of each quest, you get an xp report that lists the contributions of all the party members. The trappers get mentioned. The DPS gets mentioned. The people breaking boxes and finding hidden doors get mentioned. Healers aren't included. There's no "healing score" that's tracked and listed on the score card. Very rarely someone will say "Thanks for the great heals", but people tend to take it as their due and just move on to the next quest. Then again, people take trapping, DPS, and box-breaking as their due as well.

If you know your own worth, if you have confidence in yourself, the job is fantastic. Nowhere else in DDO can one person have such a marked impact on up to 11 other people. There's plenty of challenges to set for yourself. You can try to get your burst and aura into particularly high healing levels. You can try to find a way to heal Warforged (hint: Repair scrolls are a good start) and practice your targeting to Harm Pale Masters. You can master your metamagic feats, when to use them (and when to not), and how to get the most out of your SLAs. In epic levels, you can train yourself to heal a single target (like a tank) using nothing but the Epic Destiny powers Rejuvenation Cocoon and Renewal. After you get good on a cleric, you can move to Druids (they have very potent heal over time spells) and Favored Souls (like a cleric, except they have no Turn Undead and fewer spell slots). You can try out a healing bard. In epics, you can raid heal single-target when playing a Paladin. You can play a Pale Master (getting wizard lives can be very handy on a cleric) and practice keeping yourself alive without the crutch of regenerating turns. After you play through any one of these classes and go back to cleric, you'll improve as a healer.

Battle Cleric

This presumes a pure 20 cleric, or at least mostly pure (splash no more than one 1evel of fighter). If you want a deep splash in another class you may lose access to valuable cleric spells, and you should know what you're doing on your own. Deep splashing a cleric is not a choice a noob should be making (however, it works quite well once you have experience in the game). If you want to go for a more sophisticated Battle Cleric build, "Axel's THF Melee Cleric Build" is a great start.

We could go with a 16/16/16 split, but that would gimp our Intelligence. One of my many rules is never throw away skill points. I would start with this:

  • Str: 16
  • Dex: 8
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 8
  • Con: 14
  • Cha: 14

Any extra build points go in Wisdom. This will make it easier to cast your spells as you level.

As you level up, put all points into Strength.

Half-elves are custom-made for the role of pure-class battle cleric. They get healing amp, can take Fighter Dilettante for full martial weapon proficiency, and can substitute for the cleric's poor selection of divine weapons by using the dilettante enhancements to increase their weapon potency.

Dwarves can use Constitution for damage, and there are a lot of sources of stacking Constitution bonuses in the game.

Halflings get the nifty Jorasco Dragonmark line. This gives cures and heals that can be meta'd for free. I believe the dragonmark healing also works when suffering from Anti-Magic or a quell's Intercession. On a race with a Strength penalty, like halflings, I'd take a 14 Strength. It's not worth wasting build points trying to get a 16 strength.

Elves make very good archer clerics. You can be a pure cleric, worship the Silver Flame (for bow proficiency), and pick up Arcane Archer. If you can keep most mobs at range, the Constitution penalty won't be that bad. Racial arcane archer clerics are their own special build and should be planned out very carefully. Again, this is not a build for a noob.

Drow make very good two-weapon fighting clerics. However, their Weak constitution makes them very squishy in melee.

You can easily get through a life on a melee cleric with top DPS with just two weapons:

  1. Sword of the Thirty
  2. Whirlwind

Both can be purchased (usually) in the plat Auction house (although they can be rather expensive) or farmed on a previous life/other toon. Both bind on equip and have a red augment slot. Put Radiance augments in the red slots as you'll be putting Devotion somewhere else.

What about Carnifex? What about the Sword of Shadows. Yes, if you have those, feel free to use them.

It really helps to splash one level of fighter. This unlocks Martial Weapon proficiency, gives you one extra feat, and give you access to Haste Boost.

Feats

  • 1-Power Attack + Toughness if splashing Fighter (+ Martial Weapon: Great Sword if Human) (+ Fighter Dilettante if half-elf)
  • 3-Cleave
  • 6-Empower Healing
  • 9-Great Cleave
  • 12-Quicken or Extend
  • 15-Mental Toughness
  • 18-Improved Critical: Slashing

You don't need Empower Healing before six levels of cleric, as that's when you get your Radiant Burst.

Quicken or Extend: Depends on your play style at this point and whether you're in groups. If you're soloing most of the content, then you want Extend for your self-buffing. If you're in groups, you want Quicken for the no-interrupt casting on your cures and heals.

You want Mental Toughness no later than 15/16th level, as that's when the demands on your spell points ramps up.

Enhancements

Start by putting points in the Radiant Servant tree. You want to unlock Mighty Turning (T2) and the Radiant Burst (3rd core). In general, you should do this by putting points in all the undead enhancements (Extra Turning and Improved Turning). I usually put one point into Altruism as it helps your positive (ie: healing) spell power a little and helps unlock things.

After you get both of those, you want to work on getting the Ameliorating Strike (T4) in Warpriest. Toughness, Divine Might, and Wall of Steel should each be set to 3/3 as you get the points. Take the appropriate cores as they become available. I like to take the Blur core and Ameliorating Strike and then stop.

Once you have Ameliorating Strike, you go back to Radiant Servant and pick up the Regenerating Turns (T4) and the aura (T5). While you might think a melee cleric shouldn't spend so many points in the Radiant Servant tree, the aura is a perfect fit for melee builds. This allows you to apply heal effects to yourself, and other toons standing close to you, without having to 'watch' health bars.

Make sure to apply the Empower Healing feat to both your Burst and Aura.

Spells and Buffs

Divine Might (enhancement) and Divine Favor (1st level spell) should be your basic buffs. As much as possible, keep them up at all times. Divine Favor has a fairly short duration in the lower levels, so I wait until I'm running towards a group of mobs before casting it.

Cure light wounds is nearly useless (cure potions from the market or guild vendor are better). Cure Moderate wounds is the first spell you'll find useful to cure yourself or other players.

Command is very nice as crowd control at low levels, especially paired with Soundburst, but both have DC checks. Soundburst has secondary sonic damage even on a save, so may not be a bad choice on a battle cleric. Try it for yourself and swap it out if you don't like it.

Nightshield gives a small boost to saves, and also protects from Magic Missiles. There are a number of low-level quests where this can save your toon's life.

Protection from Evil gives a little boost to AC and saves against attacks from evil creatures. It also "wards against mental control or compulsions", which basically means immunity from the Command spell being used on you. If you've ever been locked down by a Witch Doctor or Vampire spamming Command at you, you know how useful that can be.

Prayer is useful as a short party buff. I also like it to help boost any trapper in the party (it gives a luck bonus to skill checks). Prayer stacks with Heroism.

Seek Eternal Rest: A _must have_ spell for boosting Turn Undead. A battle cleric should have a high charisma for Divine Might, which means turning will also be strong.

Searing Light is a good ranged spell to snipe enemies. There is no saving throw.

Divine Power isn't that great. It gives an enhancement bonus to strength (does not stack with the better Divine Might), a few temporary hit points, and a BAB equal to a fighter of the same level. IOW, it's really only useful if you're having trouble hitting things. It costs 25 sp, which is a lot for such a weak buff.

Deathward: Every cleric should have this no excuse :D. It protects against death spells, and negative energy attacks (like Deathblock), but also protects from level draining (which deathblock does not do).

Freedom of Movement: Every cleric should have this, no excuse. :D. It helps movement across slippery surfaces, passing through webs, protects from Hold Person, etc.

Holy Smite: This does holy damage and can blind on a failed Will save. If they save, they take half damage. Good for a melee cleric to throw on a pack from a distance to grab aggro and do one pass of damage.

Stalwart Pact is a nice little buff before combat. It gives a boost to saves and some temporary hit points if the target drops below 50% health. It acts as an "oh shit" button.

Turning Cleric

Clerics can solo or strongly contribute in a group and level from level 1-20 almost entirely by using their Turn Undead. This is because there's a huge amount of undead content in the game.

Morninglord is the best race, because they have a racial boost to turning undead (Bane of the Restless). Another good choice is Drow, because they have a racial boost to Charisma.

If you want to build a turning cleric you really ought to get 3 cleric past lives first.

Starting Attributes:

  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 8
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Cha: 18

You want to try to have a Wis of at least 14 for saves and to make it easier to cast high level spells later. Only a battle cleric should dump Wisdom, and only because they need Constitution, Strength, and Charisma for melee.

Put all level-ups into Charisma

If you have enough build points, you can go for a 16/16/16 build (Charisma, Wisdom, Constitution) or 18 Charisma/16 Wisdom build for both casting and turning potency.

Feats:

  • 1-Extra Turning
  • 3-Improved Turn Undead
  • 6-Maximize
  • 9-Quicken
  • 12-Empower
  • 15-Mental Toughness
  • 18-Improved Mental Toughness

Note: I'm hoping I didn't forget a turning feat here. I wrote down notes but I feel as if I may have lost a feat somewhere.

About Extra Turning: I have to admit to not liking this feat. A Turning cleric will have more Turns than they can easily spend. If I wrote up a turning build without it, I'd get comments that I'd forgotten it. If you agree, you can swap it out for something like Empower Healing, or Extend (for buffs) or Enlarge (to throw heals from across a large area).

Splashing Paladin: Pros and Cons

There's really only one class worth splashing on a Turning cleric, and that is paladin.

If you splash two paladin, you lose your cleric capstone, and you get a hit to DC casting.

You gain a lot for that small loss.

  • Divine Grace boost to saving throws.
  • Full melee weapon proficiency (useful in lower level content).
  • Access to T2 paladin enhancements.
  • +1 to your turn levels over a pure cleric (as long as you put full AP into paladin Improved Turning).

Enhancements

Start by putting points in the Radiant Servant tree. You want to unlock Mighty Turning (T2) and the Radiant Burst (3rd core). In general, you should do this by putting points in all the undead enhancements (Extra Turning and Improved Turning). I usually put one point into Altruism as it helps your positive (ie: healing) spell power a little and helps unlock things.

Once you have the burst, you can move over to Warpriest and work on unlocking three tiers of Wall of Steel. I usually take three tiers of Toughness and one of Sacred Touch.

After you've picked those up, go back to Radiant Servant and work your way toward the Radiant Aura. For levels when you can't put more points into Radiant, work on getting Light and Positive Spellpower in Divine Disciple, and the Searing Light SLA.

You're going to take Radiant Servant for the T5 Aura and Capstone, and pick up whatever SLAs and cores in Divine Disciple you want and can afford.

Note: if you take paladin levels, take Extra Turning and Improved Turning from Knight of the Chalice. It will stack with cleric enhancements. Instead of Warpriest, get your defensive enhancements from Paladin, and spend less in the DD tree.

If you don't take paladin levels, it's a good idea to grab the Sunburst core from Divine Disciple. It has no save and destroys any undead vulnerable to light damage.

Spells and Buffs

_THE_ spell every cleric interested in using Turn Undead needs to take is "Seek Eternal Rest". It's a level 2 Turn buff spell that boosts your level for Turning.

At higher levels, Undeath to Death is useful. In short, it acts like a spell-based version of Mighty Turning, with a casting DC instead of a turning DC. Since Wisdom is a little low it won't work as well as on pure caster clerics, but it's a nice way to clear some targets before (or after) throwing down a Turn Undead.

When choosing spells, try to prioritize Light spells and spells that don't have DCs, or that at least do half damage on a save. Also try to avoid spells with Reflex saves, as Evasion will destroy what little chance you have of doing damage. Things like Searing Light, Nimbus of Light, and Divine Punishment all don't have a save. Soundburst has a Fortitude save, and Holy Smite has a Will save.

Even if they're only situationally useful, you can still take either Cometfall or Blade Barrier. Either one has a use, even with easier saves for the targets.

With a few Divine Disciple spells and SLAs, and the regular light damage spell slots, you'll be well-positioned to protect yourself (and others). Fill in any extra spell slots with self and party buffs.

In epics, a fire-based Draconic Burst is very useful. You can get fire spell power elsewhere in the cleric trees and throw a Combustion augment in a spell stick with a red slot. Judgement and Judge the Many are very potent from the Exalted Angel tree.

Play Style

A Turning cleric is a little bit healer, a little bit light nuker, and a whole lot of trouble for undead. In quest zones full of undead like the Necropolis, Delera's, and the Catacombs, if you're not leading the kill count, you're not playing the build right.

In epics, it's very tricky to get your turns to hit. As a rule of thumb, you can probably build to turn anything before, and including, Menace of the Underdark, on Epic Elite. Any content after that is tough. Fall of Truth is iffy, but possible, but you better have all your past lives and gear in place. Epic 3BC and epic Necropolis quests are pretty much impossible on Epic Elite, _except_ the little undead kobolds in Two Toed Tobias. Due to poor conversion in the zone, they're a much lower CR than other mobs.

At all levels, undead champions tend to be warded against Mighty Turning.

Caster Cleric

You can't go wrong using the template from EllisDee's Necro Cleric.

If you don't want to be a necromancer, just specialize in light spells (Sunbolt, Sunbeam, Sunburst, Searing Light, Holy Smite, etc.), and take evocation boosts instead of necromancy boosts.

My favorite DC spells tend to be necromancy, enchantment, and evocation spells. So, I'll grab spells like Implosion, Destruction, Slay Living, Command/Greater Command, and Blade Barrier. I'll start with taking the Light side Divine Disciple spells, and then enjoy the capstone in epic levels with the necro ray and bolt spell, and the very lovely Word of Balance.

Although it's not too popular with others, I like Fire Storm. It's a little expensive (in spell points) for what you get, but it's a nice AoE and it actually triggers damage twice per casting. This makes it extra-useful when you're running in Rainbow/Double Rainbow from Shiradi.

Speaking of Shiradi, playing in this destiny on a cleric is rather difficult as clerics don't have many AoE spells that are useful. I tend to cycle through Holy Smite, Fire Storm, Sunburst, and Blade Barrier. I like the fire version of Draconic Burst and will also use Wild Throw from Shiradi.

Trapper Cleric

Cleric-Rogue builds are rather rough to play, and not for the faint of heart (or the actual new player). If you have a character that's been through at least one life and has access to decent cleric and rogue gear (Cannith Crafting is always useful here), then you can give one a whirl.

Racial Arcane Archer Divine Theory Build

"Then he got an idea! An awful idea! THE GRINCH GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!" How The Grinch Stole Christmas

This build is still a work in progress. The plan is to create a template for racial Arcane Archers that works with 7-feat builds, and in particular "divine" classes like Clerics and Favored Souls. I'm also using half-elves as they're my favorite race. However, Aerenal elves can get an enhancement that allows them to apply their Dexterity bonus to bow damage, which is a better choice from a pure numbers perspective.

Here are my notes on testing the build.

"Bat and Ball" Stick/Shuriken Halfling Theory Build

This is my second theorybuild. The core of the build was put together by a friend, but I'll be refining it. The idea (as far as I know) was my own.

Gearing for the True Reincarnation Train

This is slightly more advanced than some of the previous information, but there's no reason you can't plan for later lives while on your first life. It assumes you have access to all the content in the game, have skilled into Cannith Crafting (50-60 in each school is fairly useful) and have some common unbound or account-bound items on a bank storage toon (a "mule").

All Cannith Crafted items presume Masterful Craftsmanship which lowers the minimum level by 2.

Craftable trinkets can be looted as rare items (more common during the Winter games) or created from Shards of Power found in the Shroud. The intention is that all my TR's will end up with at least two craftable trinkets.

Korthos

Make sure I have their set and their backup set. "Their set" is whatever is most useful for their primary class. The backup set is usually the Troubleshooter set (because I usually splash trapping on a TR), the mnemonic necklace (on any blue bar at all), and a couple pairs of Anger's Step boots. I grab a pair of Feather Falling Boots from the bank mule. Make sure they have their clickie water-breathing ring from the free stuff Jeets passes. Gear is pretty relaxed at this point and it's not uncommon for me to have an empty gear slot or two because I want to jump into quests.

  • Korthos Set gear usually takes up boots, gloves, necklace, and/or goggles.
  • Armor is a craftable special metal like adamantine, mithril, or darkleaf. Casters get Bound to Account robes, each has their own color-coded set of robes designed to look nice with their hair and skin tones. Monks get Bound to Account outfits (also color-coded). Armor is usually bound to character and stored in their TR cache. Pull whatever it is out and craft Invulnerability on it, and use a Masterful Craftsmanship token to make it ML: 2. For level 1, wear the free item Jeets gives your toon.
  • Belt: BTA from a mule. Craft False Life +10 and Masterful Craftsmanship (ML: 2).
  • Swap Ring: Ring of Moderate Fortification 75% (ML: 3).
  • Craftable Trinket: +10% Melee Alacrity or Ranged Alacrity (ML: 1).
  • Gloves: Gloves tend to be "whatever" but trappers get 2 pairs of BTA gloves from a mule. Put Disable Device +7 and a Masterful Craftsmanship shard in one pair, and an Open Locks +7 and a Masterful Craftsmanship shard in the other pair. These items become ML: 3 but are carried from level 1 (it saves a trip to the crafthall later). If they're not trapping, I can put Constitution +2 on them.
  • Trappers get a pair of Seach +7 goggles with Masterful Craftsmanship (ML: 3). See note above about gloves.
  • Main ring: "Whatever" (usually boosts a stat or skill they need). Off-ring is, for now, a Jade Ring slotted with Master's Gift, or a craftable ring with a colorless slot. The craftable ring gets Feather Falling (ML: 1 with Masterful Craftsmanship).
  • Weapon: BTA from a mule. Screaming of Bleed in whatever item they will specialize in (ie: greataxe users get a BTA greataxe). Fintan's Bite if they can wield it.
  • Blunt weapon (for skellies and incorporeals): Ghost Touch of Righteousness. Throw a +1 on it once they get a few levels.
  • Rustproof Weapon (for oozes): BTA qstaff from a mule. Craft Screaming of Everbright. Throw a +1 on it after they get a couple levels.
  • Make sure any trappers have a big stack of +5 Thieves Tools for disabling traps.

3rd/4th level

Quick gear juggle.

  • Weapons: Everything stays the same (except this may be where I start dropping in +1's on the items that can take them and throwing in a Lifeshield boost if I have the time). Pull out Carnifex if the character can use it. If Carnifex is being used, pull out the Antique Greataxe.
  • Bracers: BTA Bracers of Wind from the Cannith Challenge pack. Perma-blur with ML: 3.
  • Cloak: Phiarlan Mirror Cloak or Cannith Crafted with something like Intelligence or Charisma.

5th level

First serious gear breakpoint.

  • Abashai set. Default is all 5 items if you don't have better gear.
  • If I'm not using the Abashai set, I'm probably using Cannith crafted gear with the Abashai gloves. The gloves are useful for any character using a melee weapon.
  • Ioun stones for swap. Everyone gets a Pale Lavender Ioun stone. Trappers get a Dark Blue Ioun stone. I've been starting to switch over to Cove trinkets from my old reliable Deep Purple Ioun stones. The Stalwart Trinket is very nice with Stoneskin and a little stacking fortification. The Nimble Trinket is also nice with Blur and stacking Dodge.
  • The main Korthos set stays on.
  • Armor/Robes: Leave them as they are.
  • Belt: Re-crafted with +20 False Life.
  • Weapons: Pull my "Delera's Beater" off the mule. Pre-crafted and stored. +1 Ghost Touch of Lesser Undead Bane on a Flametouched Iron BTA quarterstaff. One of my paladins has a silver maul with a red augment slot and I usually craft it for Delera's as well. Hers becomes Ghost Touch of Righteous.

After the 4th and 5th level re-gearing I usually take advantage of any down time to Cannith craft and fill in missing boosts based on the class and needs of the character.

7th level

Second Gear Breakpoint. Red Fens Gear.

  • If a divine, put on the Divine Blessing set (helm and ring).
  • If a trapper, upgrade all skill items to a base of +10 (ml: 7 with Masterful Craftsmanship).
  • Everyone gets Lesser Boots of Striding and Springing from Stormcleave Outpost. I've noticed they're easy to find or relatively cheap in the Auction House. I've been putting +2 Dexterity augments in the colorless slot. If the character is a dex-based class (like an artificer) I use a +2 Strength augment.
  • Off-ring continues to be Jade Ring or craftable ring slotted with the Master's Gift. If craftable, add Alacrity (Melee or Ranged) to the starting Feather Falling.
  • Gloves: I used to always swap in the Claw set for anyone meleeing (which is everyone, even future casters, at this level). Now that I'm gearing everyone with Bracers of Wind, I've been keeping them in their Shocking Gauntlets.
  • There can be a bit of gear crafting at this point to fill in missing boosts.

8th/9th level

Third Gear Breakpoint. Tempest Spine Gear and Nightforge adamantine gear. This is a big breakpoint and I basically re-slot all my gear. Any lingering Abashai gear goes in the bank. This is when gear starts to get a little "serious". There is focused Cannith Crafting based on the present and future role of the character. Everyone will end up with maximum False Life, some extra Constitution, appropriate skill boosts (usually trappers).

  • Armor: Armor wear-ers swap to the Nightforge suit (slotted with Heavy Fortification). Robe wearers switch to the Robes of Potency (also slotted with Heavy Fortification). If they don't have Robes of Potency they upgrade to the best enchantment boost with Lifeshield and Invulnerability for their level.
  • Cloak: Cloak of Invisibility slotted with Resistance +3. If the character is missing this item, put on their ML: 8 Mabar Cloak. If they don't have either, put on the Mantle of the Worldshaper (for a little bit of spell absorption) or a crafted cloak with Resistance.
  • Trinket slot: If there's no permanent-in-slot Cove trinket, the craftable trinket may be updated to have a bit of Devotion or Good Luck (whatever fits). All characters get a Kaelth's Touch swap-in Trinket from their bank (one of the Necropolis scarab turn-ins).
  • Neck: Nightforge Gorget slotted with Fear Immunity (Paladins need a different augment, maybe Blindness Immunity). Caster Divines get a Choker of the Silver Tongue and slot Heavy Fortification in their robe's blue augment slot. Necklace of the Silver Flame usually gets pulled out for swap-in deathblock.
  • Helm: Divines keep their Fens Helm. Others may get a BTA crafted helm with a useful stat boost.
  • Goggles: Trappers get Goggles of Perception (or crafted search goggles if they don't have them yet). Others may get BTA crafted goggles with a useful boost (+4 Attack, or Melee/Ranged Alacrity, or Spell Focus).
  • Weapons: This is where weapons start to vary by character. Carnifex or the Antique Greataxe may still be in use for the last few enemies before casting becomes very effective. Maelstrom may be in use. A heroic Sword of Shadow will come out of the bank if they have one and are set up to use it. A Sword of the Thirty augmented with Devotion or Radiance may come out of the bank for melee divines who 'need' that red slot or don't have a heroic Sword of Shadow.

Somewhere between 9th and 13th level I'll re-craft ooze and undead beaters (assuming they don't have a Triple Positive greensteel) and do the final +13 skill boosts for Trappers. After the full 9th level re-slot it's mostly a series of small gear juggles.

10th/11th level

  • Weapons: Caster Divines will slot a Dalorent's Seal and a Scepter of Healing, if they have them. Augments will likely be Nullification and Impulse (for necro divines) or Combustion and Impulse (for nukers who use fire).
  • Greensteel accessories come out. If they have a "Smoke" greensteel item with perma-Blur, the ML: 3 Bracers of Wind will finally be banked.
  • Two-handed fighters graduate up to a Whirlwind if they have one, and don't have a SoS. Self-healers put a +66 Devotion augment in the red slot (if they don't have it elsewhere), or an offensive spellpower/elemental damage augment (if they do have Devotion elsewhere).

12th/13th level

At the end of this breakpoint all characters should have their signature weapons for this life. This is the point where +6 stat gear and +13/15 skill gear starts being slotted.

  • Sora Kell sets come out for those who can use them.
  • If they don't have Heavy Fortification elsewhere they'll make sure to have a Nightforge Gorget augmented with Fear Immunity.
  • Greensteel weapons come out. Particular favorites are Mineral II scimitars and Triple Positive blunt weapons.
  • Goggles: Trappers get Tharnes Goggles and I get to stop holding my breath every time I Search on a trapper stuck in Goggles of Perception.
  • If I've found an affordable pair in the Auction House, I swap the Lesser Boots of Striding and Springing for 30% Striding lootgen boots.
  • Gloves: Divines get their Gauntlets of Eternity.

14th/15th level

  • Armor: "Whatever" armor or robes gets swapped for heroic Gianthold dragon scale if they have it. Otherwise they farm it.
  • Neck: Since only white dragon scale wearers get Heavy Fortification, the old trusty Nightforge Gorget usually gets hauled out again. The neck also continues to swap in Deathblock from the Silver Flame necklace.
  • Trinket: The ML: 15 Shard of Xoriat comes out as a swap-in trinket.

18th/19th level

This is the last gear juggle before TR at 20 or epic levels.

  • Boots: Boots of Propulsion come out and the 30% striding or Lesser Striding and Springing boots are finally retired.
  • Cannith Sets come out of the bank (by class/role). I don't like the Tinker's set, so I ignore that on trappers. Clerics get the Alchemist's set. Melees get the Fabricator's Set. My bard, artificer, and any wizards get the Magewright's set.

20th level

At 20th level I either immediately (or nearly immediately) True Reincarnate again, or, break out the Cannith Challenge epic gear and the Eveningstar Commendation gear set. Even with a character focused on getting multiple lives I may have a reason to run them at epic levels for a little bit. Most often it's that they're missing high level heroic gear (Ioun stones are a common item, Tharnes Goggles for trapping are another) and so I may want them to farm older quests or raids. The other likely reason is there's a new pack out with bound gear they will want later.

Random Notes about TR Gear

Heroic TR Gear

  • Jade Ring and the Gift of the Master augment. Jade Rings have colorless augment slots and are a ML: 1 item. This makes it a perfect item to slot a Gift of the Master from levels 1-4 or if you don't want to Cannith craft a ring with a colorless slot as you level.
  • Bracers of Wind + Cloak of Invisibility is some serious "win" on a TR. 20% Blur (Concealment) and 10% Ghostly (Incorporeal) with a green slot (which is good for either Heavy Fortification or Resistance +3, depending on the build). It's just a whole bunch of stacking mitigation that can be useful until 20, or greensteel Blur, or Warpriest perma-Blur, etc. I plan on farming those cloaks on all my characters and I already have a few pairs of bracers to swap around. If you don't have the Cloak of Invisibility but you have the ML: 8 Mabar Cloak that's quite nice as well. The Invisibility Guard procs a _lot_ and it seems to force mobs to shed any aggro they have.
  • More about the Cloak of Invisibility. I started out slotting them with Resistance +3. I've slowly started to re-farm the augments to put Heavy Fortification in the Cloak and Resistance +3 in the Nightforge armor or Tempest Spine caster robes. This way when they're able to switch to heroic dragon armor they don't lose their fortification and don't have to put on the Nightforge Gorget to keep it (allowing me to keep the Choker of the Silver Tongue or Silver Flame necklace, or a crafted necklace). Heavy Fortification is more useful in heroic levels than Resistance (although they're each great if you can slot both).
  • Along with the Bracers of Wind and the Cloak of Invisibility, the Phiarlan Mirror Cloak is very nice and easy to get (it has a high drop rate and is usually left behind by other players). It has 17 spell resistance, which is awesome at low levels. On undergeared toons it can be worn right up to level 11/12-ish.
  • For elemental casters (Wizards, Sorcerers, Druids, Artificers), the Ring of Elemental Essences (ml: 3) is a good low-level source of elemental spellpower. For necromancers and divines (Wizards, Clerics, Favored Souls) the Splinterskull Acolyte ring has nullification and devotion (ml: 5) and a colorless slot. If you get a ML: 4 Heal skill augment this is a perfect place to slot it.
  • I really like the Nightforge Gorget slotted with Fear Immunity. I started using Fear Immunity augments on my clerics because a raid healer who is Afraid is helpless (Fear prevents potion drinking and spell casting), and epic Gloves of Immortality have a yellow slot. Fear is one of the few states that can shut down a character but still has an "immunity" option.
  • On my trappers I like the Goggles of Time-Sensing (Chronoscope), the Goggles of Perception (Tempest Spine) and Tharne's Goggles (A Vision of Destruction). While technically you can get away with having a set of Crystal Cove Spyglasses, I find there's too much competition for the trinket slot (including the Cove Greater Stalwart Trinket). The Tharne's Goggles are the hard ones to farm as the raid is rarely run.
  • Arcane casters (and Druids) should consider farming up a pair of Bracers of the Glacier and Gloves of the Glacier (both ML: 13, both from A Vision of Destruction). They give a bunch of of nice caster bonuses, and a +72 Glaciation spell power set bonus if both items are worn. This allows you to carry two "other" spell sticks and still have some cold spell power in gear.

Epic TR Gear

There some really nice ML 18/19 gear that's great for Epic TR lives. You can wear it from 18/19 right through to 28 if you stay in Epic Hard content (or only do some of the easier EE quests).

Even if you don't wear it from 18-28, you can wear it until your toon is high enough level to use higher-level gear.

  • heroic elite Treads of Falling Shadow make a good replacement for the Cloak of Invisibility's Ghostly in epic levels, plus give Striding 30%, and a total of +8 dexterity (+6/+2 stacking).
  • heroic elite Goatskin Boots give the new Speed XI enchantment (Striding 30% plus an 11% boost to Melee and Ranged attack speed), and have a yellow slot (good for a Feather Falling augment).
  • heroic elite Bracers of Twisting Shade are good for trappers. +17 search/disable device plus some blur and resistance. This version has the same trapping version as the Epic Normal and Epic Hard versions of the Bracers. Only Epic Elite is "better" (+20 Search/Disable).
  • heroic Sage's Spectacles
  • heroic Guardian's Ring gives +24 Sheltering (PRR) and a yellow slot. This is a good spot for your epic Master's Gift augment.

Alchemical Crafting Shortcuts

  • Alchemical AC (Shield): 15 Strings Prayer Beads / 5 Vials Pure Water
  • Alchemical AC (Armor and Helmets): 2 Tomes: Prophecies of Khyber / 6 Silver Flame Hymnals
  • Force Damage Ritual (Weapon): 3 Luminescent Dust / 9 Fragrant Drowshood
  • Force Critical Ritual (Weapon): 6 Sparkling Dust / 12 Deadly Feverblanch
  • Resistance Ritual (Jewelry): 4 Lightning-Split Soarwood / 22 Funerary Tokens

The Alchemical Armor bonus can be applied to Cosmetic Armor or Helms.

Greensteel Shortcuts

Make your base item, and bring shards and all mats to green steel altars.

"Triple Positive" Undead Beater

  • "Triple Positive" Undead Beater: Positive / Dominion / Material

"Smoke" (Blur) HP

You can go with either Fire or Air first as both boost Dexterity skills.

  • Fire / Escalation / Material
  • Air / Escalation / Material

"Smoke" (Blur) SP

I prefer +4 Charisma/+6 Intelligence skills, as that way you get the best bonus when splashing trapping (as well as to Spellcraft).

This means Fire/Air/Both

  • Fire / Escalation / Ethereal
  • Air / Escalation / Ethereal

Playing a Life You Don't Like

You've played through your first life or two in classes you like. You have some gear, some experience with all the quests, you're learning the locations of the different quest zones. Maybe you've run enough Shrouds to get your first greensteel item. Then, for some reason, you're going to play a character class you don't like. Usually this is to get the benefits of the Past Life feat.

If you're honest with yourself and you can admit you're still a bit green, it's still best to play through the class pure. You will learn a great deal about the class (and possibly learn to enjoy it). Also, if you haven't reached the point of having 36 point character builds (on your toon's third and later lives), you're still better off playing a pure class life. You want as many build points as possible, and as much relevant gear as possible farmed and waiting for use on a template like this one. You also want skill and stat tomes already applied to this toon on previous lives. It's probably not a bad idea to do at least one rogue splash in a class you enjoy as a trial run to make sure all the trapping and melee gear is in place at each level.

But if you're ready (build points and gear) and certain you don't want to experience the unwanted class, there's a simple class split that allows you to build a toolbox character and mostly ignore the extra class levels.

  • 2 Rogue: for trapping and evasion.
  • 8 Fighter: good BAB, a lot of feats, all (non-exotic) weapons and armor available.
  • 10 "whatever": You do your best to ignore the third class, and just cherry-pick some useful enhancements and features.

Build notes: You want Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence for this build. You need enough Constitution to not die, but this is a build where you might only start with a 12 Con. Intelligence MUST start at at least 16 on a trapping rogue build. You need enough Wisdom so your trapping won't be hopeless at trapping (12-ish). Charisma is a dump stat (even if you're including paladin/bard/favored soul/sorc/warlock levels).

To level: take 1 rogue, 2 fighter and then alternate the remaining "whatever" and fighter levels. At 9th level, take the second rogue level.

For Archers: You might also be able to do something like this with Arcane Archer: 2 rogue/8 ranger/10 Whatever. You'll want to have the good bows and support gear AA's use before you start on this life. Rangers get a lot of skill points and make good splash trappers.

For Monks: A Monk-oriented player can do a similar split with 2 rogue/8 monk/10 Whatever. Your Wisdom-based DCs will suffer no matter what, so you'll have to build for Strength or Dexterity. Any Light Monk finishing move buffs should still work. If you farm up a couple quarterstaves, you can do a pretty nice Monk/Acrobat build and use your "whatever" levels to improve that. Acrobats are pretty flexible builds so there's usually some enhancements or buffing spells in every class that make them better, and every class in the game can use Quarterstaves. Since you'll still get offered handwraps in loot lists, you can slowly build up a collection of perfect hand wraps as you level on the staffs. If you want to stick with unarmed combat, just look for attacks that stack tiers of weapon damage and ignore the ones that require a DC check.

Space Management

"And I just sat there, alone, organizing my character's outfits for two hours straight. I've never even done that with my own closet." Syd, the Guild

Nearly every MMO out there makes inventory management into a torturous experience. DDO is no exception. There are a number of ways to deal with storage.

  • Backpack pages.
  • Bank pages.
  • Shared Bank.
  • Bags. Bags can be used to hold materials, gems, and collectibles.

Quest Stuff

Re-Playing Threnal

Most people who have played the Threnal pack hate it. However, to make your Gift of the Master XP augment, you'll probably want to play it twice. That's once for the heroic cloak and once for a second cloak for the augment. The heroic cloak is quite nice on its own and shouldn't be passed up. Here's how to re-set a character who played it once to do a short form of the adventure. You will get the chain reward list at the end.

From the DDO wiki: "To do a fast-repeat of the chain simply check your journal, if it has West, East and South listed as completed, select West and abandon it. That will reset South and West but will keep you flagged for East.

Once you have completed West again, speak to Sal Danek and ask "is there more to do here" and this will open the Southern Excavation set of quests again. (Can be done with East as well, but who wants to defend Coyle for 15 mins?) Do a fast Casual run for end reward."

Lordsmarch Chains

Siegebreaker Puzzle Solver

Inferno of the Damned Quick Guide

Inferno Quick Guide