View Full Version : Way of the Assassin - Rogues have been robbed

08-11-2007, 06:25 PM
After using Way of the Assassin during various periods over the last months here is my feedback.

Compared to the bard specialties, Way of the Assassin is much less effective.

First, the bard specialties usually don't require useless skills. Way of the assassin requires damage boost II which is linked to the poisons that are used 5 times per rest (base). The additional requirement of damage boost II rather than just damage boost I, simply wastes action points. Such is the case because most of the time an Assassin Rogue will only use his or her boost for poisons and not waste them for a few points of damage boost. Also required are move silently II and hide II. Both of these are again wasted as sneaking skills do not currently reward much of the current gameplay. Many rogue builds avoid putting any points into these two stealth skills and simply rely on items or stat bonuses for the rare occasions stealth is needed.

For comparision, consdier the most common bard specialty, Spellsinger. This requires that the bard take Energy of Music, Concentration, song magic II, Lyric of song and a feat in one of the following (enchantment focus, empower, maximize, heighted, mental toughness). Each of these feats and enhancements provides some bonus and none can easily be claimed as wasted.

Way of the Assassin:
The basic bonus granted is +2 hide, move silent (again not very useful), Bluff and +1 poison save are minor. The real benifit are the poisons.

Here is the breakdown:

Using damage boosts (5 base) an Assassin can activate this ability which lasts for 20 seconds. During this time, any sneak attacks have a +2 hit bonus and a +20 confirm critical. Note, the +20 confirm critical has no impact on damage, it simply ensures any critical roll will be confirmed (given the already high +hit most rogues will have when they are landing sneak attacks, not a very useful bonus). Lastly are the poisons which can only land during the 20 second duration of this ability.

All of these poisons allow a save vs poison before they are effective - it is not very difficult to save against this poison (I found a +12 fort save was enough to prevent all saves exect a very low roll). In addition, Fortification resists apply and creatures not affected by sneak attacks can not be poisoned.

Icechill: -1 dex and decrease movement 50% for 5 seconds
Soulshatter: -1 will save and slightly lowered SR for 5 seconds
Thoughtburn: -1 Int and prevents spell casting for 5 seconds

As you can see, the poisons are more or less useless. Their extremely short durations make them ineffective against all but casters and even then, the short duration make one question how effective in a battle these poisons are. Also consider that the poison can only land during a sneak attack and that there is only a 1 in 4 change the poison will land with each sneak attack AND that the creature still saves vs poison to be effected and you quickly see why no rogue that I'm aware of uses or keeps the Way of the Assassin.

There should be no shortage of suggestions to improve this situation:

Increase the duration of the poisons
Increase the effects of the poisons
Increase the chance the poison hits (just 1 in 4 isn't enough)
Add more poisons that actually have uses against creatures during fights (stun, paralyze,etc) - how about poison that can make creatures insane and attack anything in sight) - There are MANY texts available on effects of poisons.
Allow the poisons to land on any hit, not just sneak attacks (this would be a realistic simulation of how poison would work in most cases)
Make the poison stick to an item when poisoned by an Assassin and and allow one or more uses before it wears off (possibly allow Assassins to poison other party members weapons)
Adjust the enhancement required to make way of the Assassin easier to acquire
Make the +20 Critical add to the critical damage done (like seeker weapons)

I hope Turbine will review this - these specialties are intended to replace prestige classes and the current state of the Assassin is that we've been robbed blind.

08-12-2007, 04:58 AM
i agree

08-12-2007, 07:52 AM
Exactly why I havent been able to bring myself to use way of the assasain on any of my rogues, just seems way of the mechanic is more usefull. (It even let's me DV patient Warforged!!)

08-12-2007, 12:43 PM
in PnP blade venom is usually 100% effective on the first swing, 50% on the second swing, 25% on the third and ineffective after that. this reflects the as you are fighting the blade venom is probably being wiped off. 25% for every sneak attack swing looks better when you consider this.

i think i favor the icechill one which slows my enemies. i have noticed a slight difference. not much. and yeah, 5 seconds is kind of short, but in a fight that usually is over in seconds, i think it might be sufficient.

the bonuses to stealth are not favored in most quests. true. but rogues are really good at looting so i like those skills. it helps me steal. i like that.

the bluff bonus is also helpful because improved feint is an amazing feat for rogues allowing you to sneak attack even if you have aggro. that's pretty good. so it really depends on your priorities.

personally i feel the +2 to sneak attacks and +20 to confirm crits alone justifies taking it. anything that helps me hit better and land crits easier to me is worth it's weight in enhancement points.

the rogue damage boost comes in handy fighting things like undead. things rogues typically have trouble dealing with.

so in all, i would say it's one of the better ones to have. just my opinion. i'm guessing the devs had some of these things in mind when they implemented it.

09-02-2007, 11:45 PM
Does indeed lack compared to other class enhancement lines.

09-03-2007, 01:10 AM
Just wanted to point out that at least one of the bard enhancement lines, Virtuoso, has requirements that are far more useless than the requirements for Way of the Assassin. The Perform enhancement requirements have absolutely zero effect on the game currently. If you want to compare apples to apples, you should probably compare that one to Assassin, not Spellsinger.

That being said, I agree that this enhancement line isn't likely to see much use in the game. But I think some of the other class enhancement lines are also in the same boat.

09-03-2007, 01:42 AM
Been using Way of the Assassin on my rogue since 6 or 7th lvl, and I very much like it. The +2 to hit on sneaks and +20 to confirm crit rolls is invaluable when dual wielding puncturers. I combine this with imp. crit pierce and rogue haste boost III. This means with haste boost and assassin focus boost on (which are on seperate timers) I am attacking at +51% (rogue haste boost stacks with haste) rate with 17-20 crits (16-20 with rapiers), and the confirm bonus makes them virtually auto crits even on elite. Plus i just took imp. feint so the "all the time" +2 bonus to bluff is great. Damage boost I never use, and extra points in hide/move silently are nice even though ddo doesn't make good use of these skills unfortunately in most cases. I have considered swapping out assassin focus but am sticking with it, mainly for the bluff, sneak attack to hit, and confirm crit bonuses. The poisons are OK but dont seem to work too often.

Feyfox, rogue12/ranger2, halfling male, Sarlona
proud member of Heroes of the Red Dawn