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  1. #1
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    Default Endgame viability of fighter-splashed, somewhat melee-focused cleric?

    Not long ago I've rolled a vet2 cleric with a one-level fighter splash but I haven't committed to playing him yet, instead wallowing in indecision about whether this build makes any sense.

    The idea here is to get a character that uses divine punishment on bosses, is a capable healer but when it comes to clearing trash relies mostly on two-handed weapons bolstered by divine favor and power. Feat-wise I'm looking at toughness, power attack, empower healing, empower, maximize, quicken, and I'm undecided about the last two slots: extend, extra turning and improved critical: slashing are being considered. Stats are as follows: 18/8/16/8/12/12 with levels into strength. Race is dwarf and I'm not considering anything else.

    Now I've brought up this plan a couple of times in guild chat and the controversy was me being able to hit anything at endgame. But I'm not seeing it: with divine power and favor my attack bonus should be only slightly worse than a fighter's, should it not? Does it then not follow that if they are able to hit things in epics, I should as well (especially considering the possibility of turning off power attack)? Hitting things aside I am aware of having inferior melee DPS compared to a class that specializes in it, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for healing, buffs and a DoT.

    If I am being too optimistic about this build being able to hit things at endgame I'd ask for a more exhaustive answer than "it won't work", preferably explaining what a fighter, paladin or barbarian is getting that I missed here (I know about rages and power surges but it was my understanding that at least the latter are only really sustainable for boss fights; also, where does that leave stalwart defenders or paladins?). I'm also aware of having to plan for some to-hit gear on this guy. Also suggestions about what, if anything, would work better. Pure favored soul was mentioned, but other than the cool capstone I'm not sure I see the advantages.
    Last edited by assimilateur; 04-18-2012 at 06:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Member Vellrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by assimilateur View Post
    Race is dwarf and I'm not considering anything else.
    Should work

  3. #3
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    Well I play nothing else but dwarves (though I'm not categorically opposed to playing other races either if the reasons be compelling enough). I don't even claim that they're optimal for this or any other build.

  4. #4
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    A str-based melee cleric works quite well in most epics. There are a few times where to-hit becomes an issue, some bosses like Malicia come to mind, but for most trash this is not a problem. I did have to turn off PA sometimes, and you will need to invest in STR and to-hit boosting gear (same as any other melee really).

    I am currently getting some fighter past-lives for my melee cleric to bolster her to-hit even further so that she can keep PA on while wielding two scimitars (at least -4 to-hit compared to THF).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atree View Post
    A str-based melee cleric works quite well in most epics. There are a few times where to-hit becomes an issue, some bosses like Malicia come to mind, but for most trash this is not a problem. I did have to turn off PA sometimes, and you will need to invest in STR and to-hit boosting gear (same as any other melee really).

    I am currently getting some fighter past-lives for my melee cleric to bolster her to-hit even further so that she can keep PA on while wielding two scimitars (at least -4 to-hit compared to THF).
    That's reassuring and just what I hoped to hear.

  6. #6
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    I have a similarly built 28 point THF dwarf 19/1 cleric fighter. 16 starting strength, all level ups in wisdom. And he has no problem hitting on any elite quest, without divine favor/power on and with power attack on. Have not done epics hardly at all with him but I'm sure you will be fine.

    A good piece of gear to get for this is spectral gloves to give you an additional +2 to hit. If you make them epic you get +4 to hit.

    Improved crit slashing is a must IMO. To me, extend is a must as well for battle cleric. You'll need to have divine favor/power on all the time and extended they'll last 4:24 instead of 2:12 no extended. This is a huge huge deal as it could drive you nuts casting these 20 times a quest and when you're recasting these you aren't doing DPS or healing. I guess you could get by without it but I wouldn't want to.

    IMO Human > Dwarf for a battle cleric but Dwarf is still a good choice. Also you might want to consider taking another level of fighter.

  7. #7
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    Be prepared to be complained at in parties. Most raid PUG's require cookie cutter healers and arcanes, but do not care how badly geared up melees are. Start playing with epics and you will be accepted (ya healing class) but whining will happen when you are toe-to-toe with the melees.

    Get Terror ASAP (ML:18) and you will be close to on par with pure melees in epics/raid for trash (barb/kensai has better crit range).
    Flufty, Flufs, Fluffi, Fluffit

  8. #8
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    As long as you know when to sit back and heal, and when to smash face, perfectly viable and quite fun. Most epics and non-raid quests don't require constant healing, so feel free to melee or Divine Punish things.

    My pure caster Cleric (with 25 buffed STR) only has to-hit trouble in a few epics (Turigulon, Malicia, eChains gnolls, eWizKing gnolls, trolls in eDeeps), as Divine Favor, Divine Power, and a +4 to-hit item OR Bardsong makes a lot of difference. I also carry around Improved Destruction weapons if I have to-hit trouble to help out the party.

    Most epics, and even raids like VoD (when you're not on tank healing duty) and ToD (when you're not on Horoth healing duty) will let you get into the melee scrum and contribute damage.

    Ignore the complaints, they're not ones that deserve your presence.

    Edit: 19/1 gives you the same RS Aura power as a pure Cleric. 18/2 gives you 1 less base healing on the aura (modified for metas and equipment). The second level of fighter, however, gives you an additional feat (and IC:Slash is a fighter bonus feat), at a cost of 1 less level 7th and 1 less 9th spell. 1 less Spell Penetration too, which would only matter for Energy Drain. You would still have 3 level 9 spells, True Resurrection, Mass Heal, and Energy Drain.

    Note that Energy Drain on orange named epic trash is the best DPS you can possibly do. Draining a full HP mob with 12k HP can end up taking off 4k or so health in a matter of a few seconds. If the caster joins you in the process, the trash mob can easily be taken down to 2-3k and is easily taken out.

  9. #9
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    Ive got a wisdom based utility cleric I LRed from pure last night.

    by no stretch of the imagination would i call it melee "focused", but it's quite capable of swinging a terror about.
    definitely a heck of allot more useful in epic parties than he was as a pure cleric.

    as for end game viability,I made it 2/3 of the way through E fathom, solo, last night before i had an oops.
    elite sins solo was a joke, i almost felt sorry for the orthons
    with parties Ive been using more scrolls, still learning to manage the smaller SP pool.
    healed Ebob, Etides and Estand Pugs without a problem.

    still a work in progress.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel15810 View Post
    I have a similarly built 28 point THF dwarf 19/1 cleric fighter. 16 starting strength, all level ups in wisdom. And he has no problem hitting on any elite quest, without divine favor/power on and with power attack on. Have not done epics hardly at all with him but I'm sure you will be fine.

    A good piece of gear to get for this is spectral gloves to give you an additional +2 to hit. If you make them epic you get +4 to hit.

    Improved crit slashing is a must IMO. To me, extend is a must as well for battle cleric. (...)

    I maxed starting strength and planned putting all leveling points there precisely because I was worried about my to-hit. Either you have much better gear than my monk (who has a similar starting strength plus a few level up points put into it) or I'm missing something in this picture since I find myself having to turn off power attack once in a while. Then again I'm not sure I remember having to do that in quests other than epics, and you specifically mention not having done those, so I guess that explains it.

    For the +2 to-hit this guy, as well as most other toons I have, will be wearing Cannith-crafted +2 attack bonus goggles. I'd make +4 but alas I lack the levels.

    With those two feats you recommend I'd have to get rid of extra turning. Not sure how I feel about that, since I like having 12+ turns on my other divine a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by fluffi View Post
    Get Terror ASAP (ML:18) and you will be close to on par with pure melees in epics/raid for trash (barb/kensai has better crit range).
    Yeah I pulled it not long ago. It's pretty damn good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarisa View Post
    Edit: 19/1 gives you the same RS Aura power as a pure Cleric. 18/2 gives you 1 less base healing on the aura (modified for metas and equipment). The second level of fighter, however, gives you an additional feat (and IC:Slash is a fighter bonus feat), at a cost of 1 less level 7th and 1 less 9th spell. 1 less Spell Penetration too, which would only matter for Energy Drain. You would still have 3 level 9 spells, True Resurrection, Mass Heal, and Energy Drain.

    Note that Energy Drain on orange named epic trash is the best DPS you can possibly do. Draining a full HP mob with 12k HP can end up taking off 4k or so health in a matter of a few seconds. If the caster joins you in the process, the trash mob can easily be taken down to 2-3k and is easily taken out.
    The aura and burst are probably the main selling point of going cleric. Another factor is me never having capped a divine (or any other blue bar for that matter); my highest is a monk2/cleric12, so I'm not too experienced with the spells yet which makes having to choose between 3 and 4 spells per tier harder. Otherwise I'd probably go pure favored soul and pick up the greataxe or maybe greatsword (mainly for Terror) proficiency.


    Quote Originally Posted by trog_star View Post
    as for end game viability,I made it 2/3 of the way through E fathom, solo, last night before i had an oops.
    elite sins solo was a joke
    Sounds better than I expected.
    Last edited by assimilateur; 04-18-2012 at 11:21 AM.

  11. #11
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    Let me shed some of vast experience your way

    Ive played a heck of a lot of 'battle clerics'. heres some pointers.

    1. you wont have trouble hitting. My curent lvl 20 batle cleric (17 clr/2monk/1 ftr) has a meagre 26 str and hits just fine in all content with divine power and favour up. ocasionaly you will need to whack the enemy with improved distruction, or sunder. This tends to be for bosses like epic malicia.

    2. Learning when to swing and when to heal is the biggest trick to playing a battle cleric.

    3. realising that being up front with the meles makes far better use of your aura and bursts than a typical stand back cleric.

    4. build for hit points, theres no need to min max STR. Honestly at this stage id suggest rerolling with 16 starting str and spending those points in CON for more hp or charisma for more turns (bursts).

    5. your mele dps will never be super, but you will hit just fine. Id recomend weapons that debuf the enemy. stat damagers, destruction, curse spewing, paralisers, radiance etc for group play and a dps weapon for solo play.

    6. Quicken is a must have, toughness is a must have, empower heal is a must have. for any cleric planning on being up front with the true meles.

    7. find somewhere to slot potency other than your weapon. This is tricky but it needs to be done. I could recomend a superior potency 6 crystal cove hat, the sorakell set, a neclace from amrath.

    8. be aware that you will be moaned at by idiots who cant see beyond 'heal bot'.

    9. When you get the playstyle down you will find you can stand under the nose of raid bosses and heal with auras/bursts. This realy helps level out the spikeyness of incoming heals. I dont recomend this on bosses that do healing curses or stuns however as its a bit too risky. Remember that as a cleric every time you put your life on the line you put every ones life on the line, this is the reason many people hate battle clerics, but thats where the skill and the fun comes in.
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  12. #12

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    But I'm not seeing it: with divine power and favor my attack bonus should be only slightly worse than a fighter's, should it not?
    No, it will be considerably worse than a fighter's. But, it should be enough to hit things reliably in epics (uber AC opponents like eVoN6 djinns, or eMalicia will be nearly untouchable for you).
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigolbear View Post
    8. be aware that you will be moaned at by idiots who cant see beyond 'heal bot'.
    ...8a. that moan will have a strange doppler effect on it as you blow past the source while running the quest at cruising speed.
    Advocating repeated nerfs in the name of "balancing the game" then complaining about how DDO is moving away from D&D, is a direct contradiction in logic - D&D 3.5 (what DDO is based on) is not a balanced game. We can either have a balanced clone MMO with homogenized classes, or we can have a D&D game. We cant have both.

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    Well I have been considering a reroll. Not just for the strength (lowering it to 16, but not sure yet what I'd put the points into; charisma and constitution are good suggestions but also considering a bit more in wisdom), but also to maybe roll a favored soul instead.

    The capstone DR is seriously tempting, but on the other hand auras and bursts are probably even more useful.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarisa View Post
    As long as you know when to sit back and heal, and when to smash face, perfectly viable and quite fun. Most epics and non-raid quests don't require constant healing, so feel free to melee or Divine Punish things.
    This.

    I had a 19/1 dwarf cleric/fighter who used a Min II greataxe (TRed recently into a FvS).

    I put all my level ups into Wisdom, and was a decent caster (Command, Greater Command and Sonic Blast are awesome at low-mid levels). But I still meleed a lot with the greataxe...

    Just keep an eye on the red-bars while fighting and heal when you need to, and recognize that sometimes you have to step back and only heal/cast.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudh View Post
    I had a 19/1 dwarf cleric/fighter who used a Min II greataxe (TRed recently into a FvS).

    I put all my level ups into Wisdom, and was a decent caster (Command, Greater Command and Sonic Blast are awesome at low-mid levels). But I still meleed a lot with the greataxe...

    Just keep an eye on the red-bars while fighting and heal when you need to, and recognize that sometimes you have to step back and only heal/cast.
    I'm considering a min2 as a general purpose weapon as well, especially if I end up skipping improved critical, but I've been thinking that Cannith-crafted beaters would be better for bosses.

    From some of the input I'm getting the hint that attack bonus is nothing to worry about too much. I'm slowly leaning towards 16/8/16/8/16/12 with levels in wisdom being a better allocation of stats than the original 18/8/16/8/12/12 with levels in strength. I hope I shouldn't be worried about completely gimping my melee capabilities that way, even though I'm fully aware that this build is going to pale in comparison to a fighter or barbarian when it comes to melee DPS, no matter what I do with my stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assimilateur View Post
    I'm considering a min2 as a general purpose weapon as well, especially if I end up skipping improved critical, but I've been thinking that Cannith-crafted beaters would be better for bosses.

    Yes, while Cannith Crafted beaters are better on bosses, you will have so much gear you NEED to swap around to preform your multiple roles you will be better off inventory wise with a Mineral II. I run a more advanced Cleric build myself that while keeping WIS maxed still gets in the 30's in STR, on a first life Elf, and hits 500+ HP in grouping. And I needed to hit 15 DEX for TWF requirement. I have 64 items perma-inventoried, not counting components, potions, scrolls, or anything else. Just gear items.

    From some of the input I'm getting the hint that attack bonus is nothing to worry about too much. I'm slowly leaning towards 16/8/16/8/16/12 with levels in wisdom being a better allocation of stats than the original 18/8/16/8/12/12 with levels in strength. I hope I shouldn't be worried about completely gimping my melee capabilities that way, even though I'm fully aware that this build is going to pale in comparison to a fighter or barbarian when it comes to melee DPS, no matter what I do with my stats.


    It does not matter as much as it's thought to be. I recommend, on a 32-point build, going with an 18 WIS, levelups, and making melee a tertiary focus, OR going 18 STR, levelups, and making melee part of a dual primary focus (second primary focus being healing)- there is no effective way to make melee a secondary focus. Offensive casting is NEVER a tertiary focus-it is there as a primary/secondary or not there at all, and healing is NEVER lower than a primary focus.
    Regardless, I would suggest, since you want a higher melee build, to go with an 18-8-16-10-14-8 split on a Dwarf Melee. Levelups in STR.
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  18. #18
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    Well the point was to still do a little dotting on orange, red and purple names and not only have my blue bar for heals and buffs. I'm guessing there will still be room for smiting enhancements and enough mana to use those without gambling too much (scratch that: should have been at all) with the party's red bars.
    Last edited by assimilateur; 04-19-2012 at 03:47 AM.

  19. #19
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    You can fake your way around the quests with a terror, a GH clickie and tons of to-hit gear. You can even do that in a caster-type FvS.

    Your dps will be nowehre close to that of a human fighter. A stalwart fighter gets +6 str from the stalwart stance, +10% double strike from the capstone, 4 points of damage from weapons specialization feats, 30% haste boost and 25% damage boost.

    The stalwart PrE gives you bonus action boosts, and so does the TOD set - It's common to see human stalwarts with 10+ of each boost to play with. There is no reason to save those for boss fights
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  20. #20
    Community Member Kinerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by assimilateur View Post
    Now I've brought up this plan a couple of times in guild chat and the controversy was me being able to hit anything at endgame. But I'm not seeing it: with divine power and favor my attack bonus should be only slightly worse than a fighter's, should it not? Does it then not follow that if they are able to hit things in epics, I should as well (especially considering the possibility of turning off power attack)? Hitting things aside I am aware of having inferior melee DPS compared to a class that specializes in it, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for healing, buffs and a DoT.
    Fighter
    20 BAB
    +3 Weapon Focus feats
    +2 if Kensei
    =
    25
    +5.5 from Str Kensei (or 4.5 if SD)
    =
    30.5

    Cleric
    20 BAB (with Power)
    +3 Divine Favor
    =
    23

    7 to-hit isn't crippling, but it's not nothing either. That said, you're already comfortable with "inferior melee DPS", so a few misses in less than all content shouldn't bother you.
    Also suggestions about what, if anything, would work better. Pure favored soul was mentioned, but other than the cool capstone I'm not sure I see the advantages.
    Only a cleric can melee and heal at literally the same time. Look at it this way: would you trade your Healing Aura's effect for the party for +1 attack and +2 damage for you? Also worth considering is how you're going to fit all the level 4 spells you want into 4 FvS slots. Divine Power, FoM, Neutralize Poison, Panacea, CCW, Recitation, even plain Restoration... it's not pretty.
    I'm considering a min2 as a general purpose weapon as well, especially if I end up skipping improved critical, but I've been thinking that Cannith-crafted beaters would be better for bosses.
    I guess it depends on if you think you'll be meleeing raid bosses. Standing in melee range, sure, but with all the heal time you'll have to spend, you're severely impinging on your swing time. Seems pretty pointless to me.

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