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  1. #1
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    Oct 2009

    Post "The Middle Ground" a Hybrid Assassin build

    *Disclaimer -- All comments on other people's builds are just my personal opinion, and may be wrong. I really respect the work that both Rogann and Mellkor have done for the community and don't want to bash either of them*

    This toon is an attempt to find a happy middle ground between the "traditional" Max DPS strength rogue, typified by Rogann's build and the (arguably) newer Max Int/Assassinate style typified by Mellkor's build.

    In DDO rogues have the ability to be one of the top DPS dealers in boss fights, with fully spec'ed STR rogue doing ~300dmg per swing (provided full sneak attack + 0% fort), but the Assassin II PRE also grants rogues the "Assassinate" ability, allowing them to instantly kill (most) mobs on a failed fort save. Given the average HPs in Epic Elite content (~4,500Hp for a CR45 Hobgoblin), assassinate can offer a substantial boost to DPS when clearing mobs, provided the rogue has a sufficient DC.

    Rogann's build typifies the first style by dumping INT, maxing STR, and prioritising strength and damage increases above all else, the result is stellar "End-Boss DPS", but at the expense of assassinate DC's meaning that "Mob DPS" is much lower. Mellkor's build follows the other extreme, maximising Assassinate DC at any cost, resulting in sub-par DPS (compared to Rogann's build) when facing end bosses or Mobs that are Immune to SA/Assassinate.
    It is also worth mentioning that I feel Mellkor's build would also be more difficult to level compared to Rogann's, and is more Item dependant.

    I believe both of these builds make excellent end-game rogues, and that both builds are clearly very effective given the ardent support each receives on the forums, However I feel that both builds are too min/max'ed to suit my playstyle. So with this build I will try to find a happy "middle ground" that offers higher Boss DPS than mellkor's build, while at the same time trying to maintain an acceptable assassinate DC.

    • Good DPS for Bosses and Mobs that are SA immune
    • Good Assassinate DC as close to 60 as possible
    • Survivable for EE content --> HP ~500, As much dodge and miss chance as possible
    • At least 21 DEX for Improved Sneak Attack and Full TWF chain


    No problems with the stat distributions, starting with 8 in all stats allows for a nice even spread between STR, DEX, INT and CON without excessive costs. Major benefit comes in the form of an extra feat on a feat starved class, enhancements are also pretty nice, allowing for activation of both Dmg boost and Haste boost at the same time, along with some increased Healing Amp and access to Toughness III. Access to any Racial PRE with the upcoming enhancement pass(hopefully).
    Stat Layout(34pts) = 15/16/14/16/8/8

    Nothing much going for them in my opinion, the CON penalty is too much on a D6 HP class, and overall the extra DEX doesn't give you much as you have to spend the extra points to pull CON up. Enhancements are pretty lack-lustre too. Overall a bad choice IMO.
    Half-elf: I really don't think any of the dilettantes make up for the loss of a feat vs Human. Except for maybe Arti.
    Drow: Favourable stat distribution, but would require a 36 point build to even out STR and CON
    Stat Layout(34pts) = 15/16/14/16/8/8

    Major boost to DEX makes getting TWF and Improved SA much easier without the CON penalty of the Elves. Halfling enhancements are also quite nice offering +8 SA damage. Halflings are due to get the Assassin PRE in the enhancement update, not sure if this will be synergistic with the rogue enhancements or not.
    Stat Layout(34pts) = 14/17/14/16/8/8

    Boost to con is always nice on a D6 HP class, this also allows for a much more even distribution of stats. Dwarven enhancements while not great offer toughness III and +3 tactical DC's, this might be useful if you decide to focus your level-up ability increases in STR instead of INT, allowing you to reach usable DC's on some tactical feats. Overall best stat distribution but enhancements are poor at best.
    Stat Layout(34pts)= 15/16/16/16/8/6

    Final decision: I personally feel human is the best choice, because of the even stat distribution, the double boosts and the extra feat.

    Ability Point Allocation

    Levelling from 1-25 gives us 6 chances to allocate ability points, the only absolute requirement of this build is that you allocate at least 1pt into DEX (with a +4 tome) to qualify for Improved SA, or 2pts (with a +3 tome).
    Either way this leaves you with 4pts to spend in either STR or INT.

    4 level ups into STR equates to +2 to-hit and dmg per swing, or +6 on a critical hit (if using Khoppesh). Additionally If you decide to take some tactical feats this will add upto a 10% increase in procs.
    To be honest this seemed like a very small increase to me and so I decided to put my levels into INT. Especially with the to-hit changes +2 dmg just doesn't seem worth it to me, unless you decide to take a tactical feat, in which case I think STR > INT

    On the surface of it INT level-ups seem to provide even less that STR, granting only a +10% on Assassinate chance, and some useless increases to trap skills. However I chose to go with level-ups in INT because it also synergises with some of my Shadow Dancer ED abilities, increasing the DC of shadow manipulation and Consume. When all three of these abilities are considered together, I feel it provides allot more DPS than just +2dmg.
    Additionally this build will be using the EMG, and high INT is important to get the enhancement bonus on this weapon as high as possible (A +10 enhancement will further negate the +2 dmg from str).
    Lastly if I find I do need additional damage I could always just scroll insightful strikes, to provide an INT to Damage boost. Although I'm not sure if these are available from vendors

    Final Stats
    34pt Human
    Str = 15 +3(Tome) +8(Item) +3(Insightful) +1(exceptional) +2(Ship) +2(rage) = 34Str +12 w/ Temp Buffs

    Dex = 16 +3(Tome) +2(level) +8(Item) +3(Insightful) +1(exceptional) +2(Ship) = 35Dex

    Con = 14 +2(Tome) +8(Item) +3(Insightful) +1(exceptional) +2(Ship) = 30Con

    Int = 16 = +4(Tome) +4(level) +8(Item) +3(Insightful) +1(exceptional) +2(Ship) +2(Capstone) +2(Enhancements) = 42Int + 16 w/ other Buffs


    Essential Feats
    • Toughness (lvl1)
    • Power Attack/Precision (lvl1) --> Take power attack initially and swap once you hit lvl 20
    • TWF(lvl3) ITWF(lvl9) GTWF(lvl15)
    • Past Life Sneak of Shadows (lvl6) --> This feat can be swapped in at lvl20
    • Improved Critical: Pierce/Slash (lvl12)
    • Improved Sneak Attack (lvl 21)

    Class Feats
    • Improved Evasion (lvl10)
    • Oppertunist (lvl10)
    • Skill Mastery (lvl16)
    • Skill Mastery (lvl19)

    Optional Feats
    This leaves my character with 2 Feats left to chose from (lvl 18 & 24 if you stick to the above scheme). This is were I am having serious trouble making a decision the options as far as I can see are:

    Best Damage profile in the game for TWF.
    Improved Critical: Slashing is also required for the EMG.
    Synergy with Power attack, and may require keeping PA over Precision to be effective
    Damage bonus is proportional to Strength so not sure if this is worth it for an INT based toon
    3% doublestrike from shadowdancer ED means no khoppesh in offhand, because AFAIK 3% more hits >> Khoppesh Dmg

    Improved Sunder
    Another -10% fort, to make -30% fort without precision, or -55% fort with it. (Oppertunist + IS + Black Dragon Armour)
    Only really useful in Bad groups where other melee's don't have IS
    Guaranteed to land even with low STR due to stacking -3 fort debuff (Stacks upto -15fort)
    -3 fort debuff can help my assassinates land, and will bring my assassinate DC to equal Mellkor's (IS-->Bluff--> Assassinate)

    Stunning Blow
    Helpless mobs take 1.5 Dmg which is always nice
    Unlikely to have sufficient DC unless STR based, even then its questionable as it requires ~60DC
    Might be an option to a STR based dwarf rogue

    Skill Focus: UMD
    Only really nice for levelling, not useful at higher levels.
    Might take it at lvl6 to boost UMD until 20, then swap for PL:SoS
    Would also make using insightful strikes scrolls easier

    Situationally Awesome for soloing, but useless in PUGs
    A 30sec no-save stun, would be very nice combined with assassinate
    18/30 sec no-save stun would be amazing in EE if you can get the group to coordinate
    Cooldown is shorter than duration allowing perma-stun, or stunning of >1 target
    Might take it at lvl6 and drop it at 20
    Doesn't count as a tactical feat for ED counters

    Generally a useful feat for stopping "jumpy" mobs
    Amazing for bosses whose attack speed is tied to movement speed --> Pit fiends and lialat (anyone else?)
    Useful to run away and heal up
    Doesn't count as a tactical feat for ED counters

    Faster boost activation is always nice
    Faster gear swaps is important for UMD
    Many people love this feat and swear by it, but I've never used it myself

    Precision + Power Attack
    Option to keep both of them
    Seems redundant as you can only activate one at a time
    Usefulness depends on the prevalence of 0% fort mobs in elite content

    Increased dodge is nice and adds to survivability esp in EE
    Not needed if I decide to use robes
    Only needed if there is some amazing light armour that Caps my dodge <25%

    Insightful reflexes
    Synergy with INT build
    Only likely to add +5 at most to reflex saves, this is similar to what can be achieved with a resistance/stability item
    How important are reflex saves in EE is there a difference between +40 and +45?

    SA + Cleave would be fun
    Unlocks some ED abilities

    Current Opinion: I'm personally thinking of going with Khoppesh + Improved Sunder, but I'm really worried that most of the benefits of Khoppesh with be lost by not going STR based.


    Assassin 3 Pre-req's
    Improved Hide 2
    Improved Move Silenty 2
    SA Accuracy 4
    SA Training 4
    Subtle Backstabbing 1
    Rogue Damage Boost 2

    Other Enhancements
    Rogue Haste boost 4
    Rogue Subtle Backstabbing 2
    Rogue Wand and Scroll Mastery 3
    Human Versatility 4
    Human Improved recovery 2
    Human Toughness 2
    Human Adaptability Intelligence
    Human Greater Adaptability Intelligence

    Pretty Much everything Maxed due to Int based Build

    Ugh I dont want to deal with this yet

    So there you have it that's my build Idea sofar, thanks for taking the time to read it. I'd really appreciate any advice or criticism you have to offer on the build. Id also appreciate it if someone could help me answer some more specific questions namely:

    • Is Insightful Strikes a reliable way to use INT for Dmg while leveling or in SA -immune content
    • Are Khoppeshes still the preferred weapon choice of low STR TWF-ers as we stand to gain relatively little from the crit profile
    • Does the 3% doublestrike from the shadowdancer ED provide more DPS than an offhand khoppesh
    • Has anyone used sap in high level content, and how difficult is it to coordinate
    • Does anyone know if any of the newer mobs get an attack speed penalty from hamstring
    • Does anyone currently carry both PA and precision, and how useful do they find PA in EE/EH

    Thanks again for your time
    Last edited by Sploigy; 02-12-2013 at 07:42 AM.

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