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Joseph
09-10-2009, 03:43 PM
Greetings and welcome to DDO:EU!

(Notice to EXPERIENCED PLAYERS: This guide was put together as a resource to HELP the new players who have ever been here and are getting killed constantly at low levels and getting very frustrated at the game. Many of those players try to solo and fail miserably. This guide was NOT intended to replace experience or conventional wisdom on 'how to play a character when you have been here since the game started' - rather, it is here to help that level one Sorceror or Wizard who has no access to Drow or WF, and has never played before, actually enjoy their first time playing experience by being able to contribute more than one or two spells and then getting the mother of all beat downs when they run out of mana - which, as many low level players have complained, happens almost immediately. This way the new and low level player can actually make a MEANINGFUL contribution to melee or ranged attacks at low level, defend themselves, and enjoy the game a bit. As those of us who are more experienced know, getting to level 4 is easy, and takes almost no time if you are experienced. If you are not experienced it can be quite a chore, or you can feel entirely useless when a level one barbarian can run content on elite that you can't even kill the first three monsters before running out of mana and using most of the cleric's mana. I'm not trying to encourage 'bad' characters, rather enjoyable characters that will ease players into learning their roles and how to better play the game. Hopefully that is a little more clear now.)

If you are interested in playing an arcane caster (from this point forward just called 'caster'), then please read on.

To my fellow long term / time players, please note that the suggestions below are geared for someone who is totally new to the game and wants to play a caster - and also quite likely wants to stop getting killed every quest. I know some of the suggestions are over simplified (for instance, if I had to choose I would play an 18con/18int Dwarf Wiz in this position), but an experienced player can make more experienced and informed decisions about their play style choices.

(Note: This guide assumes 28 point builds, with no Drow or WF or multi-class, and is designed to be overly simple so that you can get a better understanding of basic low level survival and learn from there).

First, as a caster, if you ever play solo, you will absolutely end up in melee. If you are unprepared, you will also absolutely end up dead.

To prepare yourself you will want the following:
1) Just enough strength to use a weapon
2) Just enough dexterity to get an armor bonus or use a bow
3) As much constitution as you can possibly afford to get

It is also very important to note that, at level one, the only difference between the base HP of a caster and that any other class will be a max of 8 HP for a barbarian. Otherwise you all have almost the same HP. That is an important thing to consider when comparing the 'effectiveness' of your caster against that of another class.

With that in mind, the points you have available to use will depend on the race you want to play. While there are no 'wrong' choices, some have inherent bonuses over others that add to certain caster abilities and play styles.
For example:

Dwarf:
Bonus +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
Bonus: Magic Resistance, Poison Resistance, Balance

Elf:
Bonus: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution
Bonus: Long Sword and Long Bow Feats, Immune to Sleep
Bonus: Arcane Archer is possible later

Halfling:
Bonus: +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength
Bonus: +1 to all saves, +1 to hit, +1 to Armor Class

Human:
Bonus: One Extra Feat on character creation, One Bonus Skill Point at each level

Now that you have a basic idea of the races, we need to consider what impact various character stat points have on the ability of a caster to perform a given role. With that in mind, it is imperative to remember that a pure class caster will almost 'never' manage to successfully hit anything at higher levels without the use of magic (such as Tenser's Transformation), and even then others will always be better at it.

If you want to be a caster and melee character, there are other threads you should be reading.

If you want to make life a lot easier at the low levels and increase the adaptability of your character through the higher levels, the please, keep reading ;)

First: Primary Stat:
Sorcerers = Charisma
Wizards = Intelligence

Note that for new players, your primary stat should ONLY be considered as controlling spell level and spell DC (how hard your spells with saves are to resist). The mana amount is negligible (as in barely noticeable), so don't even consider it.

The difference in spell DC between 18 Primary Stat and 16 Primary stat is explained here http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=193600 / so decide for yourself if it is worth it to you <-- Updated from Sweyn, thanks for the input!

So - it really is OK to have a 16 primary stat instead of 18. In fact, if you are a sorcerer who will only ever cast direct damage spells or self only spells, there are builds where you can quite comfortably start out with a 14 Primary stat, but since you are new, we will work with a 16 primary stat for now (which is perfectly acceptable).

So what about the rest of your stats? Well - that will depend on what race you select and what each race is best suited for. I will take from the above list for races and list each one to help you decide, and I will only list the race that is 'best' in either Wizard or Sorcerer.

Also keep in mind that for ALL of these races, as you level up, always put your character stat point increases into your primary casting stat, and always take any toughness enhancement you can get from Action Points until they are at least level two (20 free HP is nice).
__________________________________________________ __

Dwarf:
Bonus +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma
Bonus: Magic Resistance, Poison Resistance, Balance
Preferred Caster: Wizard (Sorcerer is NOT recommended for new players on this build)
ST: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 to melee hit and damage)
DX: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 AC and +2 to ranged hit)
CN: 16 (costs 6 build points, returns +3 HP per level)
IN: (If Wizard): 16 (costs 10 build points, returns +3 skill points per level)
WS: 8
CH: (If Sorcerer): 14 (costs 10 build points)

Level 1 Feats:
Free Feat: Toughness (+3 HP First level,+1 every level after, plus access Dwarf Toughness Enhancement later for more HP).
Class Feat: Maximize or Empower

How to Play:
Get a Quarterstaff (for when you have mana) and dagger, shield, and set of armor that allows you to use your +2 Dex bonus for when you are out of mana and out of your starter wand.

Alternate:
As a Wizard, when you are out of mana, you can always cast Master's Touch and go to town with a large weapon - doing considerable damage and being protected by your armor somewhat as well.

As You Level Up:
Look for Armor and Shield clickies that will allow you to be protected a little better and let you dump your armor and shield in favor of casting Master's touch and doing damage that way. Don't forget to put Action Points into constitution as you level up for more HP!

Ranged:
Remember, you can always do damage with a crossbow!
__________________________________________________ __

Elf:
Bonus: +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution
Bonus: Long Sword and Long Bow Feats, Immune to Sleep
Bonus: Arcane Archer is possible later
Preferred Caster: Wizard (Sorcerer is possible also)
ST: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 to melee hit and damage)
DX: 16 (costs 6 build points, returns +3 AC and +3 to ranged hit)
CN: 12 (costs 6 build points, returns +1 HP per level)
IN: (If Wizard): 16 (costs 10 build points, returns +3 skill points per level)
WS: 8
CH: (If Sorcerer): 16 (costs 10 build points)

Level 1 Feats:
Free Feat: Toughness (+3 HP First level,+1 every level after).
Class Feat: Maximize or Empower

How to Play:
Get a Quarterstaff (for when you have mana) and longsword, shield, and set of armor that allows you to use your +3 Dex bonus for when you are out of mana and out of your starter wand.

Alternate:
As a Wizard, when you are out of mana, you can always cast Master's Touch and go to town with a large weapon - doing considerable damage and being protected by your armor somewhat as well, but since you are an Elf you have the added benefit of your longsword use.

As You Level Up:
Look for Armor and Shield clickies that will allow you to be protected a little better and let you dump your armor and shield in favor of casting Master's touch and doing damage that way. Don't forget you can do a lot of damage with a bow as well! Don't forget to increase your dexterity at low levels with Action Points to improve your bow skill and armor class.

Ranged:
As an Elf you have access to the long bow! You can do decent damage with this weapon! If you choose the right stat spread you can even be an Arcane Archer later!
__________________________________________________ __

Halfling:
Bonus: +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength
Bonus: +1 to all saves, +1 to hit, +1 to Armor Class
Preferred Caster: Sorceror or Wizard (I prefer Wizard)
ST: 12 (costs 6 build points, returns +1 to melee hit and damage)
DX: 16 (costs 6 build points, returns +3 AC and +3 to ranged hit)
CN: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 HP per level)
IN (If Wizard): 16 (costs 10 build points, returns +3 skill points per level)
WS: 8
CH (If Sorceror): 16 (costs 10 build points)

Level 1 Feats:
Free Feat (if Wizard): Toughness (+3 HP First level,+1 every level after).
Class Feat: Maximize or Empower

How to Play:
Get a Quarterstaff (for when you have mana) and dagger, shield, and set of armor that allows you to use your +2 Dex bonus for when you are out of mana and out of your starter wand.

Alternate:
If you are a Wizard, when you are out of mana, you can always cast Master's Touch and go to town with a large weapon - doing considerable damage and being protected by your armor somewhat as well.

As You Level Up:
Look for Armor and Shield clickies that will allow you to be covered a little better and let you dump your armor and shield in favor of casting Master's touch and doing damage that way. Don't forget to put Action Points into dexterity as you level up for more AC and ranged to hit bonus!

Ranged:
Use throwing daggers! As a Halfling you get a bonus to hit with these weapons!
__________________________________________________ __

Human:
Bonus: One Extra Feat on character creation, One Bonus Skill Point at each level
Preferred Caster: Sorcerer (Can also excel as a Wizard)
ST: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 to melee hit and damage)
DX: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 AC and +2 to ranged hit)
CN: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 HP per level)
IN: (If Wizard): 16 (costs 10 build points, returns +3 skill points per level)
WS: 8
CH: (If Sorcerer): 16 (costs 10 build points) <-- Thanks Dragon Killer!

Level 1 Feats:
Human Bonus Feat: Toughness (+3 HP First level,+1 every level after)
Class Feat: Maximize or Empower

How to Play:
Get a Quarterstaff (for when you have mana) and Longsword, shield, and set of armor that allows you to use your +2 Str bonus for when you are out of mana and out of your starter wand.

Alternate:
Be a Wizard :p

As You Level Up:
Look for Armor and Shield clickies that will allow you to be protected a little better and let you dump your armor and shield.

Ranged:
Remember, you can always do damage with a crossbow (maybe a shortbow as well -I forget and can't access the compendium right now).

Cheers, and enjoy!

As a note, my first ever caster was an Arcane Elf Wizard, with these same stats as listed above. At the time I played him, I leveled him to cap, and enjoyed it (most of it) :) Elves are squishy. He was not the 'best caster in the game' - but he got the job done, and more importantly, I enjoyed playing him. With a potion I could get almost any strength, intelligence, or dexterity rune in the game.

(by the way, if you get to WF - they can self heal, which means you can make a wicked WF caster - my personal preference these days is a 32 point WF wizard with maximum constitution and intelligence - but if I started out with this character I never would have wanted to play an Arcane caster ever again - the min/max builds are rewarding at high levels, but can be prohibitively difficult to play at lower levels - hence the suggestions above to help you make an easier caster and get more enjoyment from your playtime)

Good luck with your caster. If you are on Ghallanda, look me up.

Sweyn
09-10-2009, 03:55 PM
1) Just enough strength to use a weapon
2) Just enough dexterity to get an armor bonus or use a bow

1) You can use a weapon with 6 strenth, str is important for carrying weight, but a +6 item is fine.
2) Dex is useless, you ac wont matter, don't wast any points into here.


That said, the difference between 18 Primary Stat and 16 Primary stat is exactly +1 (or 5% in the D20 system).

Wrong, 1 DC is WAY more than 5%

http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=193600


So - it really is OK to have a 1 primary stat. IN fact, if you are a sorceror who will only ever cast direct damage spells or self only spells, there are builds where you can quite comfortably have a 14 Primary stat, but since you are new, we will work with a 16 primary stat for now (which is perfectly acceptable).

There is no reason not to max out your primary casting stat. All spells except for buffs rely on spell DC. All you need to points into are your primary casting stat, and constitution. IF you are left with a point or 2, put it into INT for skills.

Just a few points i noticed.

DragonKiller
09-10-2009, 03:55 PM
Human:
Bonus: One Extra Feat on character creation, One Bonus Skill Point at each level
Preferred Caster: Sorceror
ST: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 to melee hit and damage)
DX: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 AC and +2 to ranged hit)
CN: 14 (costs 6 build points, returns +2 HP per level)
IN: 16 (costs 10 build points, returns +3 skill points per level)
WS: 8
CH: 8

Level 1 Feats:
Human Bonus Feat: Toughness (+3 HP First level,+1 every level after, plus access Dwarf Toughnes Enhancement later for more HP)


I'm sure it's just a typo, but pretty sure you don't want a 16 Int and a 8 Cha on a Sorc. Also I don't think a human will ever get access to the Dwarf toughness enhancements :D

Joseph
09-10-2009, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the input guys. What I was doing with this guide, rather than telling people how to make the best class and role specific caster, was to help the new players who instantly die or run out of mana in a quest and then have nothing to do for the next ten minutes.

There have been a lot of complaints about this. Most of us who have been here a long time are min/max players because that is how the game has been built (ever since the days of the +10 attack boost).

New players do not know how to play well enough to put together a character like most of the rest of us do, and really - until they hit level 14 or so, a build with 14 str, 14 dex, 14, con, and 16 primary stat does not suffer THAT much. Eventually they will realize and or learn new things and want to try a character again that they will build themselves.

Case in point - my girlfriend wanted to play a cleric (pure healing) so she picked a heal bot. Needless to say she died in PUGS, constantly. She was very angry and frustrated and was going to quit. I helped her make a 'battle cleric' build with 16 Wisdom instead of 18 wisdom, and she is now at peace.

The same holds true for her sorceror. She just wanted to spam fire at things and then put up a shield and fight when she was out of mana, so the -1 DC by having a 16 (when comparing it to the max for all races except Drow) was not that big of a deal for her playstyle.

In closing, yes, all of us long time players can roll better characters than these listed above - but most of us played havoc getting those same characters solo through Sigmunds or elsewhere at low levels. This guide is all about helping people who do not know how to play the game, but want to play the game , having fun and enjoying their experience enough to maybe stay. :rolleyes:

spifflove
09-10-2009, 05:10 PM
1. ember great ax
2. pathfinder set
3. insight googles
4. 8 str.

This is plenty of dps to last you up until web.

dbrowdy
09-15-2009, 01:09 PM
Nice guide. Sorry to find it on page 6.

Joseph
09-07-2010, 09:05 PM
Nice guide. Sorry to find it on page 6.

Yes, this was written to help the 'I am a caster and I basically get one shotted' folks out. It was on page six because the 'conventional' wisdom is often lacking in wisdom and instead clings to what they deem as best.

The logic is that if it was not possible to survive long enough to learn your class, that you would never succeed - thus the loss of two stat points would be less game breaking than the lack of being able to survive or enjoy your character.

Add - I realize this is / was a necro thread, but I am directing some new players I met here and elsewhere to get a better idea of how they can make their caster more survivable and live long enough to learn their class.

Arcane casters really are NOT that hard to play if you pick something that is playable and not the end all be all maximum power build that only shines after level 12 and Minos Legends or similar type of build.

One last thought on the 'best' builds - if you give a super car (Lamborghini, as an example) to a first time driver, they absolutely will not be able to drive it as well as someone who has previous driving experience. Playing an Arcane caster is the same - so for all of those who come in here shouting how you must have the best and anything else is sub-par - sure, a Ferrari or Lamborghini is most definitely superior to the grocery getter you inherited as your first car - but it is also not something you will enjoy driving until you know how to drive and can truly understand 'why' it is a better car.