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Arlathen
08-06-2015, 05:55 AM
The Arcadian Avenger

A Hybrid Divine Melee/DC Caster build

It's been a long time since I sincerely posted on the DDO forums, let alone posted up some form of Build thread. I've recently returned to game after a break, and fancied challenging myself with something other than a Paladin, Bard, Barbarian or Monkcher build that still seem to be running rampant around these parts. So this thread is a a bit different, as its more of an exploration of a build concept that could help push the boundaries of what's possible with some of the deeper mechanics behind spell casting.

The core build concept is to build a viable Divine DC-based Spell caster combined with good Melee DPS. I think many believe that last sentence is a bit of an 'Oxymoron', unachievable, but the ease with which Wizards can pick up Int-to-Hit/Damage would make an Arcane version of this build greatly easy. But I've always been a sucker for Divines. Who doesn't like getting to fly around with Wings, throwing tonnes of star metal at mobs, right?

How I intend to make it work
The first key concept behind how this build will work is that Spell DCs will built towards achieving viable Crowd Control, with comes with a 1-2 of preventing damage to party members and potentially upping Melee DPS performance. I also won't be focusing on anyone school 'too much', and instead spreading the enhancement/feat/destiny love around

The second key concept behind this build is knowing my spells and my targets. Divines have access to various Crowd Control spells, spread across the three different save types of Fortitude, Reflex and Will. This allows me to target a mob and select an appropriate spell to cripple the mob through it's weakest save, instead of the usual brute force method of overcoming any mobs Fort save such as is typically done on a Wizard Pale Master.

There will, by necessity, have to be some shorts cuts in certain spell casting areas. Particularly I think Spell Resistance will be a difficult area, but thankfully there are still some Crowd Control spells with a damage component that completely circumvents this difficulty.

It is an advanced build...
Before you all rush out and try something similar, please bare in mind I'm doing this on an advanced character that has access to many past lives and lots of bound/raid gear. I've had this concept in the back of my mind for over two years (and could still do with a bunch of Wizard past lives, but still...).

Core Build Template
The below is the core template for what I'm choosing for this character, so should give you an idea of the direction I'm heading in.
Race: Half Elf
Class: Favoured Soul 17 / Fighter 3

Starting Stats
Str: 14
Dex: 12
Con: 14
Int: 08
Wis: 18
Cha: 12

Current Past Lives
3x Fighter
3x Cleric
3x Sorcerer
3x Monk
2x Favoured Soul
3x Martial: Doublestrike

Feat List
HE Monk Dilletante
F1 Power Attack
F2 IC: Slash
1 Cleave
2 Great Cleave
3 TWF
4 ITWF
5 GTWF
6 Quicken
7 Maximise
E1 Heighten
E2 SF: Conjuration
E3 Overwhelming Critical
ED1 PTWF
ED2 Open for debate!

Epic Destiny - Divine Crusader
T6: Strike Down
T5: Castigation, Heavenly Presence, Celestial Champion
T4: Wisdom, Crusade
T3: Wisdom, Sacred Ground, Empyrean Magic
T2: Wisdom, Consecration
T1: Wisdom, Purge the Wicked, Interrogation

Twists
1: Energy Burst or Sense Weakness
2: Balanced Attacks
3: School Focus

Enhancements - (Highlights only at this point)
Half-Elf: Wisdom, Damage Boost, Healing Amp
War Priest: Wisdom, Righteous Weapons, Ameliorating Strike
Angel of Vengance: Wisdom, Just Reward, Lantern Archon, Aura of Menace
Kensai: Haste Boost / Extra Action Boosts / Wisdom
Stalwart Defender: Stalwart Defence / Tenacious Defense / Shield Expertise

Projected Wisdom Score
18 Base
07 Level Ups
06 Enhancements
06 Tome
12 Item
01 Exceptional Item
04 Insight Item
02 Quality Item
02 Profane Item
04 Epic Destiny
02 Guild Ship bonus
02 Yugoloth Potion
= 66 Wisdom
04 Abishai Cookies
02 Store Potion
= 72 Wisdom

I'll put up further posts as I move along with the build, as I'm starting a fresh TR life for this and working manually from 1-28 as a good reminder of spell casting and monster type targeting with the different spells as I earn them.

Videos
See him in action: My new YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHzgZ072RBXV48GCgifIgog)
Level 10 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce39S9MVrN0) - Spies in the House - Heroic Elite, Solo

peng
08-06-2015, 12:45 PM
I'd consider swf with an orb over twf. You get an always on caster orb in addition to your dps weapon. Also, you don't need to pump dex as much (need 17 dex for itwf/gtwf).

Keep in mind, you can only get the magister spell focus boost for a school you you have a spell focus feat in.

It's an annoying grind, but by far the best past life feat for a dc caster (particularly if using more than one spell school) is wizard. If you can knock out a wizard life before you tr into this, you can go human to fit in past life wizard.

Not sure which is better, but you could swap the fighter levels for paladin. You'd lose haste boost and the cleaves, but gain melee power boost, exalted cleaves, and cha to saves.

What are your projected dc's in each school? Will those dc's require item swaps?

SirValentine
08-06-2015, 10:30 PM
A Hybrid Divine Melee/DC Caster build

The core build concept is to build a viable Divine DC-based Spell caster combined with good Melee DPS. I think many believe that last sentence is a bit of an 'Oxymoron', unachievable


Depends where and how well you expect it to work. As a hybrid, you'll be behind a dedicated DC-caster in terms of DC, but in Heroic and lower-level Epic Elites, that might not be an issue, especially if you're well-geared, nor in higher-level Epic Hards. That, combined with some decent melee DPS for bosses, will probably work out very well indeed. But you'll probably have quite a difficult time landing DC spells in the higher-level EEs.




Particularly I think Spell Resistance will be a difficult area, but thankfully there are still some Crowd Control spells with a damage component that completely circumvents this difficulty.


EE Drow are the biggest worry there. There are, of course, other mobs with Spell Resistance, but most are much lower. Note that you can twist +3 from EA, and +2 from Fatesinger when needed. Or even +3 from Draconic, too, but only if you have the Spell Pen feat.




Class: Favoured Soul 17 / Fighter 3


I'd hate to give up Implosion like that, and the extra DC from Heightening things to 9th. Is the 3rd Ftr level critical?



Current Past Lives



As peng said, at least 1 Wizard life is awesome. The passive +2 Spell Pen, sure, but the feat for +1 to all DCs!




E2 SF: Conjuration



Why Conjuration? I am a fan of Cometfall, but I still think Evocation might be more useful.

Arlathen
08-07-2015, 08:41 AM
I'd consider swf with an orb over twf. You get an always on caster orb in addition to your dps weapon. Also, you don't need to pump dex as much (need 17 dex for itwf/gtwf).

Keep in mind, you can only get the magister spell focus boost for a school you you have a spell focus feat in.

It's an annoying grind, but by far the best past life feat for a dc caster (particularly if using more than one spell school) is wizard. If you can knock out a wizard life before you tr into this, you can go human to fit in past life wizard.

Not sure which is better, but you could swap the fighter levels for paladin. You'd lose haste boost and the cleaves, but gain melee power boost, exalted cleaves, and cha to saves.

What are your projected dc's in each school? Will those dc's require item swaps?

1. SWF: I'm pretty much sold on TWF once I get into Epic levels, for Heroics it will be mainly using a THF Weapon and getting the most out of my Cleaves. If I was to change Fighting style I'd probably go SnB simply because toting around a Heavy/Tower shield offers some decent defensive options, especially in terms of MRR.

However, I chose going Half-Elf for a couple of reasons which tie into weapon/style choice. Scimitars are on offer with the Undying Court faith option, which since I'm really limited in the Crit Multiplier options atleast gives me a weapon with plenty of Crit Range. This really ties in nicely with Aura of Purification, Purge the Wicked, Celestial Champion and finally Castigation - I proc stacks of Purification on a 11-20 and then Castigation deals some really good damage if it can built up to doing 25% current HP Damage on some big HP mobs. Its like getting free Energy Drain but without the woo-woo effects (or spell points, or Spell Resistance issues). Factor in Mortal Fear weapons and hopefully these will make my life a lot easier to when cutting down those

For the record, I also chose Half-Elf because I like the race and also can start with 18 Wisdom and pick up +2 Wisdom from racial enhancements if I take an appropriate Dilettante.

2. Spell Focus: I have room for one of these, which I've pencilled in for Conjuration at the moment. This might change later on.

3. Wizard Past Life: I really consider putting myself through the pain of some Wizzie lives, but doing the Sorc ones was bad enough and I can't face it right. The advice is duly noted and welcomed though.

4. Paladin: I thought about this, I reasoned off I could get more Melee DPS through the Fighter option which is what has me concerned at present. MRR suffices for my magical defenses, but my Melee DPS will need every bit of help it can get. With Fighter I can pick up not only Haste Boost but Extra Action Boost as well, as an extra +3 Weapon Enhancement modifier through Shield Expertise in Stalwart Defender.

A note on Shield Expertise as well while I'm here - I really need to pay attention to base damage and later on Melee Power. For example, I *could* get Shield Expertise & Righteous Weapons to make my Thuinderforged +20 Weapons. Throw in +1 from Kensai, +3 from Sword of Justice in DC, a possible +3 with Fighter Dilletante (if I have the AP to spare), and adding my Cha Bonus to Str through Divine might should really help to up the base damage per swing on the build. Then throw on the Melee Power from Divine Crusader levels, Epic Levels, Crusade, and assorted other bonuses and while I'll never be a Blitzing Barbarian it should do some decent damage.

Throw on top of that dual Haste & Damage boosting 8 times per rest and I should be able to fight my way out of a wet paper bag.

5. Projected DCs: I'm guessing low to mid 60s for most of my spell schools, with maybe one school breaking the 70DC barrier if I take two twists from Magister/Draconic Incarnation to do it. The odd item swap is inevitable, but I use mouse buttons to 'step through' weapon sets so its very easy for me to change at a moments notice. The other consideration is that, again, I'll be using Thunderforged Weapons so +6DC per chosen school is available.

Arlathen
08-07-2015, 08:55 AM
Depends where and how well you expect it to work. As a hybrid, you'll be behind a dedicated DC-caster in terms of DC, but in Heroic and lower-level Epic Elites, that might not be an issue, especially if you're well-geared, nor in higher-level Epic Hards. That, combined with some decent melee DPS for bosses, will probably work out very well indeed. But you'll probably have quite a difficult time landing DC spells in the higher-level EEs.

EE Drow are the biggest worry there. There are, of course, other mobs with Spell Resistance, but most are much lower. Note that you can twist +3 from EA, and +2 from Fatesinger when needed. Or even +3 from Draconic, too, but only if you have the Spell Pen feat.

I'd hate to give up Implosion like that, and the extra DC from Heightening things to 9th. Is the 3rd Ftr level critical?

As peng said, at least 1 Wizard life is awesome. The passive +2 Spell Pen, sure, but the feat for +1 to all DCs!

Why Conjuration? I am a fan of Cometfall, but I still think Evocation might be more useful.

1. On Hybrids: Yep, that's pretty much what my initial thoughts were as well, but I'm wondering if the "target weakest save" approach will work for me even in difficult EEs. I'm holding out some hope for it, just have to test it out and see.

2. Spell Penetration: I'm going to try circumventing this whole issue by using spells with a damage component to CC with. Namely Cometfall and Holy Smite.

3. 9th Levels Spell and Fighter: The 3rd level of Fighter offers me Stalwart Defense for +25 PRR/MRR and also Tenacious Defense adds +20% HP. That's pretty huge, defensively, and if I want to be in some EE mobs face I need as much defense as possible. I hate to lose the 9th level heightening as well, but its a good tradeoff for just 1 DC.

On Implosion - It's damn nice spell, more so with me having the Sorc past lives, but it suffers from SR checks and I'm aiming for CC more than instant-kills. If I was doing Instant-Kills, I'd kick Melee completely out the door and carbon copy your own build :P

4. Conjuration: Cometfall is going to end up being my get-out-of-jail-free card. It's backed up with extra DC from my Cleric lives, it has a damage component to circumvent SR issues, and it's based on a Reflex save that makes front line tank mobs and casters vulnerable to being dropped to there faces. Archers/Evasion mobs are generally weak to will saves, so that's Greater Command / Hold Person or Holy Smite for SR Archers.

Not to mention it has one of the BEST visual/audio spell effects in the game!

Enoach
08-07-2015, 09:54 AM
Very interesting idea.

Currently it looks like wisdom is based off a lot of epic gear.

Now one thing I did notice, since you are planning on going TWF, is that you did not include +2 Alchemical Wisdom. Now I realize that the Lord of Blades raids do not get run often, but I could see an off-hand weapon that adds a potential of +1 DC being useful for a build such as this. This can be achieved with a Tier 2 Water Spirit.
http://ddowiki.com/page/Alchemical_Crafting

I would be interested in hearing how this works out in the end.

Arlathen
08-07-2015, 10:45 AM
Very interesting idea.

Currently it looks like wisdom is based off a lot of epic gear.

Now one thing I did notice, since you are planning on going TWF, is that you did not include +2 Alchemical Wisdom. Now I realize that the Lord of Blades raids do not get run often, but I could see an off-hand weapon that adds a potential of +1 DC being useful for a build such as this. This can be achieved with a Tier 2 Water Spirit.
http://ddowiki.com/page/Alchemical_Crafting

I would be interested in hearing how this works out in the end.

Thanks!


I have the alchemical bonus covered off from using Yugoloth Potions, in this instance. The other point to consider is that I can put whatever caster-y bits I want to T1/T2 on my Thunder Forged Weapons and Mortal Fear will still out DPS every other option for my build :)


And I do promise to try to keep this updated!

Arlathen
08-07-2015, 12:11 PM
Lvls 1 - 10 - The journey has begun!

So, this past week has been about getting back on board the TR train and playing as a Favoured Soul, particularly around getting used to throwing in spellcasting around melee'ing mobs to death. Firstly some more build notes on how its coming along:

Levelling Order - Favoured Soul 9 / Fighter 1
Fgh, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs, Fvs

Apart from a single Fighter level to obtain proficiencies and a bonus feat to start cleaving at level 1, its all full steam ahead on getting Favoured Soul levels to get the spell slots going.

Feat Progression
1 HE: Monk Dilletante
1 F1: Power Attack
1 Cleave
3 Quicken
6 Great Cleave
9 Maximise

I came across a sticky problem at 9, as I wanted to begin taking the TWF feats but found I only had a Dex base of 14 as my 3rd bonus point doesn't kick in till 11. So I've taken Maximise rather early, and I'm thinking that now I have access to 4th level spells I may swap it out for Heighten sooner rather than later.

Enhancements
Half Elf
C Versatile Nature, Wisdom, Damage Boost (4 AP)
= 4AP

War Priest
C Smite Foe (1)
1 Righteous Weapons, Divine Might Rk3, Toughness Rk3 (8)
2 Righteous Weapons, Wall of Stell Rk3 (5)
3 Righteous Weapons (2)
= 16AP

Angel of Vengeance
C Font of Power, Shield of Condemnation, Aura of Menace (3)
1 Smiting, Scourge Rk3 (5)
2 Smiting, Just Reward Rk1 (3)
= 11AP

Kensai
C Weapon Focus (1)
1 Haste Boot Rk3 (3)
= 4AP

Stalwart Defender
= 0 AP

Total so far = 39AP

There's lots of AP spent here that isn't doing that much for me right now - Righteous Weapons, Smiting - but these are necessary evils at this stage of the character. I had started putting points into Stalwart Defender early, but after revisiting my progression with the TWF Faux Pas I don't need any points in this until around level 16 for now.

Crowd Control Spells


Lvl 1 Command - Will Save, Enchantment
Lvl 2 Soundburst - Fortitude Save, Evocation
Lvl 2 Hold Person - Will Save, Enchantment
Lvl 4 Holy Smite - Will Save, Evocation


Command and Soundburst were good staples for a number of levels - see below play notes. Hold Person was also alot more useful than expected. Not had chance to play with Holy Smite yet, but will do soon.

Play Notes
I've been on a Heroic Elite streak since getting out the Grotto, and its been fairly plain sailing soloing 80% of the time and then leading/joining some random PUGs from time to time to relieve the loneliness! I'll put my thoughts in a series of notes:




Melee

?Nothing spectacular on this front, my most used weapons was a +1 Acid Greatsword of Ghostbane and a +2 Flaming Greatsword.
Hold Person + Great Cleave was quite spectacular. Even more so when I buffed properly with Divine Favor / Divine Might, and I think my best critical hit at around ... 230 damage in a single hit? Not bad for a DC Caster Favoured Soul.
Controlling some Champions certainly saved my life on more than a few occasions.


Mob Type and CC Spells


Front line Fighter mobs (Hobgoblin Slayers) are perfect targets for my Command or indeed ma Hold Person spell. Except for the larger Minotaurs, Trolls and Ogres my Hold spell was useful against a much larger range of mobs that I suspected.
Archers - Pretty much treated like they were Rangers in disguise with high Fort and Reflex saves, so again Command / Hold Person worked a treat here.
Wizards / Arcane Caster - Soundburst versus there low Fort saves. Perfect.
Clerics / Shamans - Ooh these had my chewing my lip sometimes. Just like a real Cleric they generally have difficult Will saves and good Fort saves, so Soundburst was usually the first choice of
Elementals - I know there largely immune to a variety of effects (similar to the Sorcerers' Savant Apotheosis as a reference!), I did learn they can be Commanded. It may not be helpless state, but it stops them Earth-grabbing me or chucking Fireballs in my face.
Animals - Spiders, Scorpions, Wolves (Damn wolves!) - These can all be Soundbursted, although I found Scorpions tended to have robust Fort saves. Still, a 2nd Soundburst cast is never far away.
Mephits - Low Fort saves, Soundbursted the majority of them.
Worgs - Special note that Worgs (low level quests, particularly STK / Splinterskull) can be Commanded. Can you say "SIT!".
Drow (SR Mobs) - Say hello to my Trip tactic. Having Divine Might behind my Strength helped as well as the 3 Fighter Past Lives.


Random Notes

Total Deaths so far: 3. All to traps *sigh*.
No bank gear used apart from a Voice of the Master and a range of Potions. Everything has been picked up out of a chest or bought cheaply from the platinum Auction House.
I think I managed to rack up somewhere close to 1500 Remnants on my travels as well.



I'll be on a camping trip beginning tomorrow for a week, but when I get back I'll be picking up and I'm hoping to post a couple of Video's to boot as well!

SirValentine
08-08-2015, 01:36 AM
1. On Hybrids: Yep, that's pretty much what my initial thoughts were as well, but I'm wondering if the "target weakest save" approach will work for me even in difficult EEs. I'm holding out some hope for it, just have to test it out and see.


I wish you luck, but I don't want to reassure you, because targeting weak saves is already what a DC caster has to do in difficult EEs, even without giving up a bunch of DC for melee ability.


Cometfall...
Not to mention it has one of the BEST visual/audio spell effects in the game!


Yes!

SirValentine
08-08-2015, 01:39 AM
I have the alchemical bonus covered off from using Yugoloth Potions


Yugo potions are not an Alchemical bonus. They stack.

peng
08-08-2015, 03:04 PM
I came across a sticky problem at 9, as I wanted to begin taking the TWF feats but found I only had a Dex base of 14 as my 3rd bonus point doesn't kick in till 11. So I've taken Maximise rather early, and I'm thinking that now I have access to 4th level spells I may swap it out for Heighten sooner rather than later.
If you started with 12 dex, you won't hit 17 dex (prerequisite for itwf and gtwf) until level 19. You can take itwf at 19 as a fighter bonus feat if you take your last 2 fighter levels at 19 & 20, but you'll need to take gtwf as an epic feat (not too late to switch fighting styles :) ).

Braegan
08-08-2015, 06:16 PM
Interesting read and I look forward to hearing how it plays out for you.

I was one back not too long ago who loved the hybrid melee/divine concept.

I strayed away from it and while I still tinker at the notion of making it work a couple things prevent me from trying again...

1) DCs suffer. DCs are an all or nothing gambit past EH for the most part.

2) Gearing. Getting all the good melee gear as well as all the good caster gear is still something I can't seem to piece together without missing something I find crucial to either side.

3) Seeing the melee damage out put of a melee divine compared to say even a pure fighter (who is behind these days). The damage is woefully low in my experience. So much sacrifice to do so little , IMO. If there was a nice revision of the Warpriest Tree and some revisiting to favored weapons we could be onto something. But, as it stands I am very unimpressed with melee divine DPS compared to even a class that is currently behind the curve.

It can be a fun character type to play and I do look forward to reading your findings and how you hopefully overcome the pitfalls I feel held me back.

/cheers :)

Arlathen
08-19-2015, 02:05 PM
Ok, so back from holiday and I've been messing around with Video editors and Youtube recently so I have some way of showing guys what I'm upto.

Level 10

Heroic Elites are swimming by nicely. No real problems so far, and interesting been pushing it by using ineffective weapons and random looted gear from the quests I'm doing.

So how does it play? Take a peek:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce39S9MVrN0

And some break downs of where I'm at, at present:

Gear List
Main Weapon: +2 Flaming Burst Greatsword
Armour: +2 Retributive Battle Plate of Deathblock
Goggles: Int +2 of Resistance +2
Helmet: Wisdom +4
Bracers: Speed IV (20% Striding / +4% Haste)
Gloves: Dexterity +4
Belt: Strength +4
Boots: Constitution +5
Cloak: Charisma +4
Necklace: Deadly IV
Ring 1: 100% Fortification
Ring 2: Empty!
Trinket:: Voice of the Master

Strength: 30
14 Base
02 Tome
04 Item
02 Guild Ship
02 Store Potion
06 Insight (DM)

Trip: Dc23 (10Base +10Str +3Pl)

Wisdom: 32
18 Base
02 Level Ups
02 Tome
04 Item
02 Enhancement
02 Guild Ship
02 Store Potion

Soundburst: Dc27 (10Base +2lvl +11Wis +3PL +1guild)
Command: Dc23 (10Base +1lvl +11Wis +1guild)
Hold Person: Dc24 (10Base +2lvl +11Wis +1guild)
Holy Smite: Dc29 (10Base +4lvl +11Wis +3PL +1guild)

Jeromio
08-20-2015, 09:08 AM
Looking forward to see how it goes for you Arlathen; I hope it will be a successful and fun journey for you.

I tried making a HElf hybrid some year ago, but pure evocation FVS with fighter dillitant, and using THF. With my build, it worked ok in Heroic levels, but lacked quite a bit in epics. My char had three Wizard past lifes, which helped a lot against those pesky drow.