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View Full Version : Melee Swashbuckler feels underwhelming?



Poisonjammer
06-11-2014, 06:23 PM
So I've tried a DEX and a STR build, tried going human and taking weapon finesse/SWF/precision, tried going human and taking power attack, SWF and cleave - and I realize pure bard is gimpy and level four is not a proper display of potential, but there are other builds (I guess they're multiclass builds, in hindsight, or THF builds) that seem to survive better AND deal more consistent melee damage.

If I max dex/cha, even with precision, I don't hit often enough for tact to matter, although I'm fairly survivable.

If I max str/cha, even with PA/Cleave, I take way too much damage to solo reliably.

I'm thinking I need to maximize dodge chance, as there's the enhancement that knocks people down when they miss you (which I assume works if you dodge) and hitting proned targets is better than nothing.

Any ideas would be super welcome, I'm VIP with 28p build and all races unlocked. I'd like to make a stable, solo, pure bard. Should I be splashing harder into spellsinger early for the boost to my songs power? At Level 4 I'm not really needing to do a lot of fascinating/lots of mobs are undead, so I'm not sure that the CC solo route will be super beneficial just yet.

I'm okay with having to stop and healspam after every encounter, so long as those encounters are fairly speedy. It's when the healing after the fight was shorter than the fight itself, or when you finish the fight at 12/68 hp that I have a problem with. I'm PROBABLY asking for the moon here, because Bards are jack of all trades, and they sure as **** aren't tanky (especially tanky AND dps-y). But I see you guys post these insane builds that are super detailed and well thought out, with past lives and epic destinies and whatever, and I figure scrapping up some ideas for a first life newbie or even explaining some of the basics would be great.

In a previous post I made, someone gave me the idea to max dex or str. Like I said, the dex/cha bard was pretty solid - even with my starter gear I was laying some hurt on hard. But fairly quickly I began to notice that the time I was fighting was taking forever - i was missing even with my song and then my song would wear off and I'd be even more screwed. I made the (in my eyes) mistake of taking the active that does XdX sonic damage and lowers threat - I solo I don't need that, ugh.

Sorry, I'm rambling, I've been up all night for work and I've been playing around with builds for about 6 hours, just looking for some help. Thanks guys!

(Biggest question - are rapiers always the way to go?)

Jhaeran
06-11-2014, 06:40 PM
As a non-expert - level 4 isn't a good deciding point either way. Later levels, even ~lvl 10 or so will give you a better indicator since you can compensate for some deficiencies with gear.

I'd look around at the existing builds - even the recently updated with 3 SWF bard builds - https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/422251-New-U19-Builds-for-Characters

Then check out their overall strategies, then specifically look at their early level strategies. Sometimes you suffer in the younger levels to mature later - worst case, you pick up a carnifex and throw that around till around lvl 7 or 8 regardless of your build (although usually STR builds). Some of their strategies/decisions will resonate with you and you can either use the builds outright or modify them to your liking.

Poisonjammer
06-11-2014, 06:55 PM
As a non-expert - level 4 isn't a good deciding point either way. Later levels, even ~lvl 10 or so will give you a better indicator since you can compensate for some deficiencies with gear.

I'd look around at the existing builds - even the recently updated with 3 SWF bard builds - https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/422251-New-U19-Builds-for-Characters

Then check out their overall strategies, then specifically look at their early level strategies. Sometimes you suffer in the younger levels to mature later - worst case, you pick up a carnifex and throw that around till around lvl 7 or 8 regardless of your build (although usually STR builds). Some of their strategies/decisions will resonate with you and you can either use the builds outright or modify them to your liking.

I was actually hoping one of those people who made those SWF builds would see this and comment on a 28 point first lifer variant. I'm not really sure what's the most important to have, and to be honest there is a LOT of information in these builds that is straight over my head and will likely be over my head for a while. Even just the numbers I'm fuzzled.

I know it goes against everything most DDO players do, but I just want to be confident in a build up TO level 10 or so, because for me, trying to figure out fixing it is overly problematic. I can try and use the character planner (I have) I can sit down and build a number of characters and run them through a couple of quests (I have) but nothing I have tried has clicked with me, and if I take the time (people say it's easy to level but I don't have a LOT of free time, I can maybe get a level or two a week if I focus, and I'm fretting over all this chargen stuff) and get a character up those 6 levels to 10 and find out I've built wrong and am playing wrong - that's going to devastate me.

jalont
06-11-2014, 07:11 PM
I'm enjoying mine... immensely, and it doesn't seem underwhelming. It's a new iconic test build, so it never saw level four, but... you shouldn't be having any problem at level four anyway.

SoVTyphoon
06-12-2014, 12:40 AM
I'm doing a mainly bard life right now and feeling basically the exact opposite of what you're describing. I'm sprinting headlong into every big fight with a fascinate on the way and dropping haunted trash one by one with melee dps. Blur and displacement keep a bard all sorts of safe, and self healing is gravy. UMD gives a ton of support options.

Sonic Blast, Hypnotism and Soundburst were excellent CC options for low levels until trash started making saves, and at that time Fascinates were online, and will from there on out be the linchpin to dealing with huge groups.

The Swashbuckling line is very strong late in the build, but early on Warchanter and Spellsinger have a few tools to keep you alive longer. If you're getting hammered every fight, look over every feat, spell, song and enhancement that Bards have. You're almost certain to find something you can use to make your life easier.

If this is your first bard life ever, it's actually a good thing to slowly level from 1 and master your extensive toolkit. I can't imagine how overwhelmed I'd be if I started at level 4 or 7 and had to spend 30 minutes just figuring everything out. Don't try to play bard like a barb. Use anything helpful to you before, during, and after combat. Learn to love highly unfair fights(in your favor).

If need be, bring a hireling for low levels. As you get used to bard, you'll actually get that funny feeling where everything seems smoother without having to manage the hireling.

Rull
06-12-2014, 07:40 AM
Underwhelming indeed... at lower levels

Not all weapon styles work in the same way. Onehanded fighting is horrible with just one or two feats spent. Two-handed fighting is pretty good even without feats, but the feats don't add as much. But generalizing, they do end up at the roughly the same point.
This has been the case between TWF and THF as well. Most buids that are intented to use TWF use a twohander up until they can get at least Improved Two Weapon Fighting.
The same effect, yet more severe, applies to single weapon fighting.

To illustrate the point, I made a little tabel about the power progression of styles, along with some graphs.

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll244/kvaccount/styles_zps6d493923.png
The numbers are abitrary and only represent the relative power of the styles

Saekee
06-12-2014, 10:03 AM
Underwhelming indeed... at lower levels

Not all weapon styles work in the same way. Onehanded fighting is horrible with just one or two feats spent. Two-handed fighting is pretty good even without feats, but the feats don't add as much. But generalizing, they do end up at the roughly the same point.
This has been the case between TWF and THF as well. Most buids that are intented to use TWF use a twohander up until they can get at least Improved Two Weapon Fighting.
The same effect, yet more severe, applies to single weapon fighting.

To illustrate the point, I made a little tabel about the power progression of styles, along with some graphs.

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll244/kvaccount/styles_zps6d493923.png
The numbers are abitrary and only represent the relative power of the styles

Interesting chart. I understand some of the numbers--can you break them all down in a new thread?

shadowowl
06-12-2014, 10:19 AM
it would kind of depend how you played I never really understood why some people insist on using their high level style at low level. if for example i make a ranger I don't twf or use a bow at low level I find a big 2 handed axe and start killing kobolds lol all things being equal when you have little to no feats you use a two handed weapon. so even if i was making a SWF I would likely be using a two handed weapon till around level 10. even if I was making an archer I still use a two handed weapon until around level 10 or when ever I get manyshot and then I switch back and forth till much higher when I finally stick with the bow.

To me it makes no sense to use SWF at low level likely you will take power attack and cleave no matter which style you pick and those to me suit two handers much better at low level even if it's just a quartersaff.

you can even look at your chart and see this. no matter what your build is use two handed weapons at low levels. it works better. even on casters I use Two handed weapon + master touch usually in combination with spells but still low levels two handed weapons rule. I think the only exception I can think of is repeating xbows because they are pretty awesome at low levels.

Maelodic
06-12-2014, 12:31 PM
I was actually hoping one of those people who made those SWF builds would see this and comment on a 28 point first lifer variant.

Hey, sorry a bit late to the party. If you're looking for utility oriented melee- both my build (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/443015-U22-Maelodic-Merrily-Murdering-the-Masses-(20-Bard)) and CThruTheEgo's build (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/443235-The-Count-of-Monte-Cristo-dps-CC-survivability-focused-pure-swashbuckler) are very similar- the main differences being CThru's focus on Enchant DCs and Will Saves. His build does a bit more than mine- but they're extremely similar.
Something you may consider as a 28 point player is to go Drow to get a total of 32 points- the bonuses Drow gets are (mostly) points you'd spend there anyway, so you get some breathing room.

Even though you can get 20 CHA at level 1, I'd actually recommend something more like this:
STR 10
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 12
WIS 8
CHA 18

If you want one more point in CON, lower INT to 10 and DEX to 13. The difference will be 28 HP at endgame, and considerably less before then. I'd recommend the above split. Drow gets some awesome bonuses to SR, shortswords, rapiers, and shurikens as well so you'll be able to make use of the throwing potential of Swashbuckler.

Let me know if you want to be a thrower or a thrower/melee hybrid and I can make a variant for you.


Early levels, if you find yourself having issues to to-hit- be sure that you're keeping all your buffs on as well as precision (Skaldic Rage will add +2 to your to-hit as well), and try to find weapons with higher + values- you do zero damage when you don't hit. Even if the choices are between +1 Icy Burst of Greater Awesome DPS and a +5 Rapier of Nothing Else, if the +5 Rapier hits and the +1 does not, then you'll want to be using the +5 Rapier.
There's also nothing wrong with asking people you pug with for a ship invite for some buffs there- as well as taking quests on lower difficulties.

Feel free to rely on Invisibility at lower levels- even without levels in stealth, you can break monster agro by going into stealth while invisible around the corner.

Let me know if you need anymore help.

Poisonjammer
06-12-2014, 03:16 PM
Thank you all so much! I saw these posts and couldn't wait to get home I was so excited to reply, so please pardon my phone text.

I was thing drow, just for the +cha, and I'll look into 2hf for the early levels, I just figured with such low str I would hit even less than with my rapier. I'm going to try to do some researching when I get home for a good sturdy weapon to use for low levels.

I also wasn't sure about enhancements. I figured I should take all swash to get tack right away, but maybe relying on buffed songs and rage would suit me better early.

Paleus
06-12-2014, 03:40 PM
The numbers are abitrary and only represent the relative power of the styles

Can I just get some clarification? Are you saying that the relative power represented by the graph is based on actual numbers at their base? Or are you saying that numbers are completely and truly arbitrary, thus meaning that the entire graph is completely arbitrary. Because if so, you sir have made the single greatest chart foot-note of all time....of all time.*

*Not an empirically true statement.

Lonnbeimnech
06-12-2014, 04:09 PM
Thank you all so much! I saw these posts and couldn't wait to get home I was so excited to reply, so please pardon my phone text.

I was thing drow, just for the +cha, and I'll look into 2hf for the early levels, I just figured with such low str I would hit even less than with my rapier. I'm going to try to do some researching when I get home for a good sturdy weapon to use for low levels.

I also wasn't sure about enhancements. I figured I should take all swash to get tack right away, but maybe relying on buffed songs and rage would suit me better early.

on a cha build, this

http://ddowiki.com/page/Moonhowl_Axe

Maelodic
06-12-2014, 04:36 PM
on a cha build, this

http://ddowiki.com/page/Moonhowl_Axe

Nice find! Didn't know that existed- I'll need to pick one up.

Schmackdown
06-12-2014, 04:37 PM
I dug out an old tactical bard I haven't used in a long time and LR'd him to Swashbuckler. Light picks, T5 Exploit Weakness and the SWF line are pretty potent at L20. All of the Perform-based DCs are almost unfair. Low Blow is great. Highly recommended for anyone with an old bard on the shelf and a free LR heart.

Edit: I thought CdG worked with Sap, but I believe I was mistaken. Bummer.

Guardbreaking on the Epic Swashbuckler is great with Exploit Weakness. It stops mob animations like stomps, three-strike leaps and casts every time it procs, which is every crit. You also have the option of just leaving them there in soft mez for three seconds, or fire off a CdG if it's available.

The Low Blow-CdG combo has flavor out the wazoo, and is the one-two punch I have been missing on my tactical bard since the days when trips and stuns triggered twice on the second attack but not the first.

There may be some math to support using rapiers over light picks, but I rarely see EW stack up to more than three before resetting, meaning I am getting x4 crits every four attacks or so. Too bad I dumped most of my picks after they changed auto-crits to helpless, but I kept enough bursting and seeking models around to make things interesting.

A Swashbuckler driving a melee-centric group with some enthrallment can really trivialize content imo. Great stuff.

elcagador
06-12-2014, 05:46 PM
So I've tried a DEX and a STR build, tried going human and taking weapon finesse/SWF/precision, tried going human and taking power attack, SWF and cleave - and I realize pure bard is gimpy and level four is not a proper display of potential, but there are other builds (I guess they're multiclass builds, in hindsight, or THF builds) that seem to survive better AND deal more consistent melee damage.

If I max dex/cha, even with precision, I don't hit often enough for tact to matter, although I'm fairly survivable.

If I max str/cha, even with PA/Cleave, I take way too much damage to solo reliably.

I'm thinking I need to maximize dodge chance, as there's the enhancement that knocks people down when they miss you (which I assume works if you dodge) and hitting proned targets is better than nothing.

Any ideas would be super welcome, I'm VIP with 28p build and all races unlocked. I'd like to make a stable, solo, pure bard. Should I be splashing harder into spellsinger early for the boost to my songs power? At Level 4 I'm not really needing to do a lot of fascinating/lots of mobs are undead, so I'm not sure that the CC solo route will be super beneficial just yet.

I'm okay with having to stop and healspam after every encounter, so long as those encounters are fairly speedy. It's when the healing after the fight was shorter than the fight itself, or when you finish the fight at 12/68 hp that I have a problem with. I'm PROBABLY asking for the moon here, because Bards are jack of all trades, and they sure as **** aren't tanky (especially tanky AND dps-y). But I see you guys post these insane builds that are super detailed and well thought out, with past lives and epic destinies and whatever, and I figure scrapping up some ideas for a first life newbie or even explaining some of the basics would be great.

In a previous post I made, someone gave me the idea to max dex or str. Like I said, the dex/cha bard was pretty solid - even with my starter gear I was laying some hurt on hard. But fairly quickly I began to notice that the time I was fighting was taking forever - i was missing even with my song and then my song would wear off and I'd be even more screwed. I made the (in my eyes) mistake of taking the active that does XdX sonic damage and lowers threat - I solo I don't need that, ugh.

Sorry, I'm rambling, I've been up all night for work and I've been playing around with builds for about 6 hours, just looking for some help. Thanks guys!

(Biggest question - are rapiers always the way to go?)

I think you should invest either Str/cha or Str/dex since you still apply str for to-hit, Im trying with a Pdk (started at level 15 :)), currently bard 9/fighter 4/ rogue 2 (planned bard 12/fighter 6/rogue 2, evasion dps semitank with buckler in stalwart stance with full swashbuckler power), currently with nothing at my offhand but the dps is great, I was able to get the kama from the druids deep chain, even with the extra proficient feat investment is very cool, but if you get a good rapier, shortsword, light pick or handaxe they are cool too.

I started with 16 cha, 14 str, 12 dex, 14 con, 12 int, lvl ups on cha for higher abilities and more perform skill. I probably can't reach the 23 str for overwhelming critical since i have no tomes and 32 pt build, but at least ill take cleave and great cleave for a bit of aoe dmg and master blitz recharge, and try to have a very good cha for dmg, fascinate, coup de grace, and at epics for soundburst and energy burst.

Human or Pdk are very good races for the extra feat and heal amp, for leveling you can multiclass fighter for extra features, once you can get the single fighting feats along with swashbuckler enhancements you will see a notable diference on dps, if you are not going for evasion, the barbarian splash seems very cool for even more run speed and ear smash+ knockout for another stun ability (I would go with something like 12 bard/6 fighter/2 barbarian, cha/str but at least you would be able to scroll fireshield when needed, or go 12 Bard/6 fighter/ 2 rogue if going with some dex and evasion)

Another option could be splashing with artificer for runearm and trap skills but haven't thought about that yet.

Poisonjammer
06-12-2014, 06:28 PM
on a cha build, this

http://ddowiki.com/page/Moonhowl_Axe

So the idea is to go ahead and go 2HF (without feats, obv) until I build up the feats to swap to SWF? Obviously this weapon (I think) adds my Cha to hit and damage, which will make it super easy to play with.

elcagador
06-12-2014, 07:35 PM
So the idea is to go ahead and go 2HF (without feats, obv) until I build up the feats to swap to SWF? Obviously this weapon (I think) adds my Cha to hit and damage, which will make it super easy to play with.

could use that or could use a Carnifex http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Carnifex since at low levels there wouldn't be much diference between your cha and str mod.

Fionivar
06-12-2014, 10:33 PM
So, I prepped a bit for Swashbucker, but I can't stress how incredibly awesome the Tiefling Assassin's Blade (http://ddowiki.com/page/Tiefling_Assassin%27s_Blade) is. Dex to hit and damage, with swashbuckling it's a 13-20 x3 weapon. I plan to use this weapon till prolly level 16. Well worth the farm from the 3BC rare.

Rull
06-13-2014, 01:41 AM
Can I just get some clarification? Are you saying that the relative power represented by the graph is based on actual numbers at their base? Or are you saying that numbers are completely and truly arbitrary, thus meaning that the entire graph is completely arbitrary. Because if so, you sir have made the single greatest chart foot-note of all time....of all time.*

*Not an empirically true statement.

Completely truly arbitrary, the numbers reflect reality as perceived by me.
The only base is my experience and understanding of the game and numbers.

Then again, when someone would claim "you should use carnifex" or "you should use moonhowl axe", there is probably no other ground to that either. Even though they are probably right, they didn't do the math.
I'm just claiming a whole lot at the same time, like "THF beats TWF which beats SWF at lower tiers", and "THF an SWF benefit more from cleave". and "cleave is more important than iTHF but less important than iTWF" and "don't bother with TWF or SWF if you don't have 3 feat slots for it in your eventual build", and a bunch of other claims all at the same time. And instead of using words I represent it visually. :-)

On the other hand, my experience and understanding does come from using calculations and simulations I did over the years, as well as playing. But these numbers are no direct result of those.

SoVTyphoon
06-13-2014, 03:51 PM
Completely truly arbitrary, the numbers reflect reality as perceived by me.
The only base is my experience and understanding of the game and numbers.

Then again, when someone would claim "you should use carnifex" or "you should use moonhowl axe", there is probably no other ground to that either. Even though they are probably right, they didn't do the math.
I'm just claiming a whole lot at the same time, like "THF beats TWF which beats SWF at lower tiers", and "THF an SWF benefit more from cleave". and "cleave is more important than iTHF but less important than iTWF" and "don't bother with TWF or SWF if you don't have 3 feat slots for it in your eventual build", and a bunch of other claims all at the same time. And instead of using words I represent it visually. :-)

On the other hand, my experience and understanding does come from using calculations and simulations I did over the years, as well as playing. But these numbers are no direct result of those.

Ugh. Factual information next time please. Your conclusions may or may not be right, but "how it feels" really isn't quite the same as "how it works". I'm sure we'd all love to see those calculations and simulations you did. It would certainly be much more informative than a graph of your opinions.

And when people tell you to use a carnifex, there's generally a very simple, reasonable explanation, such as "greataxe with expanded crit profile and keen built in".

Holybird
06-14-2014, 01:12 PM
At least I prefer http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Sky_Pirate's_Dagger at low levels. While Swashbuckling it has 30% crit change and 4x crits. And when you get APs to buy Melodic Arms you will start to one shot mobs 30% of time. I like it myself.

junta64
06-14-2014, 02:45 PM
At least I prefer http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Sky_Pirate's_Dagger at low levels. While Swashbuckling it has 30% crit change and 4x crits. And when you get APs to buy Melodic Arms you will start to one shot mobs 30% of time. I like it myself.

I went with http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Sheridan%27s_Ruin and its been serving me well.

walkin_dude
06-14-2014, 09:04 PM
another guy's $0.02:

I TR my spellsinger (Attickus of Sarlona) so that I could try buckling some swashes. At level 6, he's got skirmisher and cha-to-dmg, and he's becoming quite good in combat. If things continue this way, I would say it could be a bit OP before he's done.