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Thread: Is AA worth it?

  1. #1
    Community Member TheGamingThor's Avatar
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    Question Is AA worth it?

    Hey.
    So I want to know if AA is still a respected and viable option for a ranger. Will it be accepted into high level raids? Will it be shunned for its squishyness? And, most importantly, is the DPS enough?
    Just looking ahead.

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    Yes, but these days full ranger isn't the best option for a AA. Full ranger actually isn't the best option for anything at all, but if you go full ranger, go AA
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    I never have trouble getting accepted into groups or raids with my AA. It's a very fun build to play, too. I love not having to chase after enemies. In that regard, it's like playing a caster, just with not so many hot-keys to a manage. I feel that the damage perhaps is not as good as I'd like it to be; however, the fun of playing her far outweighs any regret I have in the DPS department. Manyshot and 10k stars and a good bow go a long way in increasing DPS.

    I built my AA 11 ranger/6 monk/3 arti. Half-elf for cleric dilettante (heal scrolls) and access to elven AA prestige class. The 6 monk gets me 10k stars, extra feats, and wraps. The arti levels get me full trapping skills and better scroll usage (IIRC).

    Here is the build I sort of based mine on, though with some variation (sometimes major) thrown in.
    http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=354668

    My first AA (before I TR'd him into my 11 ranger/6 monk/3 arti) was a pure ranger, and I found a lot lacking. Not just DPS, other things that I wanted/needed. In my opinion, build an AA is best served by splashing and then taking the elven AA prestige line.
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  4. #4
    Community Member gphysalis's Avatar
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    Ranged DPS is much better for the new raid than melee is.

    therefore, AA is part of this month's flavor
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  5. #5
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGamingThor View Post
    Hey.
    So I want to know if AA is still a respected and viable option for a ranger.
    I don't think AA was ever a respected or viable option for a ranger. IMO it has always been a poor choice.

    About the only thing to be said about AA is that it isn't Deepwood Sniper.

    Ranged DPS, even in bursts, does not compare to melee DPS. It never has. And, even with epic destinies, I am not seeing threads talking about how to make ranged damage comparable.

    Any character can pick up and use two weapons. They have a 20% chance to proc the off-hand attack. TWF, ITWF and GTWF increase that chance by 20% per feat bringing the chance to proc an off-hand attack up to 80%. Tempest I and Tempest II are supposed to add another 10% each -- giving a 100% chance to proc off-hand attacks.

    The advantage of ranger is that these feats come for free with no DEX requirement. That means a player can build with just enough DEX to qualify Dodge so they can get the Dodge, Mobility and Spring Attack feats needed for Tempest.

    Rangers also get nearly all of the bow feats for free. This means that, when ranged attacks are preferred, rangers have a potent alternative to melee.

    But, going pure ranged with AA LOWERS the overall DPS. And, as a consequence, it is always a bad choice.

    Of course, Turbine did something else that made AA an even worse option -- they added the artificer class to DDO. The typical AA does not compare to the damage that an artificer does with heavy repeaters. Add in rune arm and weapon buffs plus artificer infusions (spells) and there is no real comparison.

    Now, does that mean you cannot or should not build an AA? No.

    AA is a useful ADDITION to characters that have another PrE in another character class working for them. It is particularly helpful to divines and arcanes looking for ways to save spell points when soloing -- particularly if they do not have items like Torc or conop.

    Some people have tried to save AA by combining monk levels and splashing only 6 ranger levels for key feats (the builds being feat starved otherwise). That is a workable kluge but still does not make AA particularly good.

    AA perform extremely well once they get Manyshot and drop off the usefulness chart right around L14-18 depending on how many past lives and the type of gear they have. Once they hit L18+ they just become a pain as they aggro mobs and kite away.

    FWIW, posters will claim that they don't kite -- that they stand toe-to-toe with mobs. In my experience that isn't what happens. The DPS is too low, there is no measure of CC, and AC/PRR/etc. is too low to remain stationary for an extended time surrounded by multiple mobs. So, in spite of their claims, the vast majority of AA kite.

    In groups that are heavily melee oriented -- which is the vast majority of groups -- this means the greatest part of your DPS is wasted.

    AA is a good tool for soloing. It is a good tool to supplement a solid melee DPS or arcane/divine seeking to manage spell points. It works well in a group of primarily AA where the group works to bounce mobs between them.

    But, as a DPS build in a typical group, AA is and has always been a poor choice.

    Sorry if that isn't what you want to hear. But, it doesn't change the truth of it.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-17-2013 at 09:33 AM.

  6. #6
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    Anyone that does not think AA is viable either does not play one, does not play a properly built and equipped one, or simply doesn't know what they are doing with an AA. I have a pure ranger elf that out-damages most. I am not saying it is an easy button class to play such as caster, but it done right does a ton of damage. I have tried all the hybrids with 10k stars and all, but got sick of trying to build for my Ki. So, keep in mind that you can build a 40+ str and dex ranger, with over 700 or 800 hps (depending on ED), has umd of 40 for scrolls, can crit heal myself for 200-300 on a cure serious, can cast the useful ranger spells, can solo most everything, and that does 2500-3200 points of burst damage per crit with unbridled fury or around 1400-1600 on a crit using the correctly built Leg Dread ED. Establishing helpless (crowd control) is the key to high damage numbers and can be achieved with the correct build.

    The key being knowing how to play the ranger, building it correctly and grinding a ton of gear. Pinion is a must to achieve high dps.
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  7. #7
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:19 AM.

  8. #8
    Community Member Orratti's Avatar
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    I prefer arcane archers over tempest both for melee and ranging. When you make a strength based arcane archer correctly it does better ranging damage, does comparable melee damage, and can self heal off of spell points alone making it far more durable.

  9. #9
    Community Member Torkzed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    This is a typical, defensive response by an AA player. But, I've run AA and have another two in the works ATM.
    You would be more persuasive if you didn't open your remarks with implied insults that provide little actual evidence in support of your argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    Anyone who thinks that an AA is remotely close to a well geared melee is mistaken. Every DPS thread ever written demonstrates that.
    And there are many military history books written that warn against planning to "fight the last war." The game changes, and what was true in the past is not always true in the present.

    I think that there is a difference between arguing whether an AA is a viable build and whether an AA has better DPS than well-geared melee. The AA may have somewhat lower DPS over an extended period, but it is definitely viable. A monk has less DPS than a barbarian, but few would argue that a good monk is less viable than a good barbarian.

    There are posts by an AA showing solo completions of most EE quests and a solo completion of the latest raid (on normal, I believe, but still a remarkable achievement). This is clear evidence that an AA is viable, if the OP wants to work at it. In fact, it is arguably better than many traditional melee builds if judged only by the latest content. Good ranged damage is very useful in FoT.

    On the other hand, if someone wants a low-grind simple option that is always welcome in any raid, there may be better options (healer, perhaps?).

  10. #10
    Community Member HastyPudding's Avatar
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    I find AA's to be very satisfying. While they're not comparable to most melee builds in the way of damage (including the overpowered artificer which made people hate AA's and mechanics even more) they do have their advantages.

    - If you look at ranged and melee characters in a group, you'll note that melee will almost always get hurt more. Being in the 'mosh pit' with the other melee is a good way to get yourself hurt. Melee rangers can get away with this due to the tempest having very high dodge and decent AC. While AA's might not pull aggro from strong melees like fighters or barbarians (usually) they minimize damage done to themselves while still dealing respectable dps (if built properly). When mobs get too close to you, you simply pull out the scimitars or whatever you prefer and make them back up a step. Staying out of the fray is a good way to keep yourself alive and out of harm's way.

    - Shiradi Champion has helped close the gap for ranged dps classes. This gives them some excellent abilities, crowd control, and some nice damage procs. Fury of the Wild can be good for ranged classes, too, but most will prefer shiradi.

    - People tend to forget that rangers have this thing called 'favored enemy'. A pure 20 ranger with the proper enhancements, can receive a +14 damage bonus to all of their favored enemies. If you pick the right types, you can gain a damage bonus to a very large amount of mobs. This brings me to my next point.

    - Critical hits. People say AA's have low damage because they're used to poorly built, high dexterity, fresh-out-of-korthos ranger AA's. They then build their own AA, even take it to level 20, note the small damage from normal hits, and then decide the PrE sucks horribly. If they had bothered to really play and build the PrE correctly, they'd notice that through procs, ranger favored enemy, seeker bonuses, enhancements, slayer arrows, a sinew/pinion bow, ranger past lives, precision feat, and bow strength, they can deal some significant critical hits. They're not comparable to a barbarian in Fury or some fighter using master's blitz, but they can (I've seen it first hand) match critical hits with other melee classes.

  11. #11
    Community Member Duke-H-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    FWIW, posters will claim that they don't kite -- that they stand toe-to-toe with mobs. In my experience that isn't what happens. The DPS is too low, there is no measure of CC, and AC/PRR/etc. is too low to remain stationary for an extended time surrounded by multiple mobs. So, in spite of their claims, the vast majority of AA kite.
    Not going to comment on the viability of AA as dps.

    However, twisting Ottos whistler (or Pin) and using it with IPS does add CC. Fairly good CC to boot, i found it highly useful on my artificer.

    I also think any self healing ranger easily could tank multiple mobs while killing them up to EH, EE is another issue ofcourse.
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  12. #12
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    This is a typical, defensive response by an AA player. But, I've run AA and have another two in the works ATM. Anyone who thinks that an AA is remotely close to a well geared melee is mistaken. Every DPS thread ever written demonstrates that.

    To the OP, note the final part of the post, "grinding a ton of gear. That should be a warning in and of itself about how viable and well thought of AA are.
    There is a video on youtube of an AA laying down the proper damage... 3k+ per hit with manyshot. Find that video and you will want to re-think your position on AA damage. If you are not doing damage like that, you may want to consider re-rolling. I don't see any melee taking down Epic Tor dragons in seconds... I do see AAs doing it regularly.
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  13. #13
    Community Member TheGamingThor's Avatar
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    So, basically, AA is good at burst DPS if built correctly, right?
    So then can someone point me to a build, because I am so lost with them.

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    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:19 AM.

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    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:19 AM.

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    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:20 AM.

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    Community Member fco-karatekid's Avatar
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    I have not run a first life Ranger AA since U14 came out, but I suspect it is a lot more viable now than before.

    IMHO, the higher number of past lives, the more powerful the AA. That first life for me, though, was rough with the squishiness. Couldn't ask for a more versatile character, tho.

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    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:20 AM. Reason: added comment on Favored Enemy

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    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    DELETED -- Reason: Planned future thread comparing combat styles.
    Last edited by Therigar; 03-19-2013 at 11:20 AM.

  20. #20
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    All good points but, IMO, also misleading.

    What is the number of critical hits by an AA in the space of 20 attacks? What did you grind to get to those numbers and is the character icon a ranger one?

    Typical longbow is 20/x3. Atypical longbow (Pinion/Sinew) is 19-20/x3. IC:Ranged makes atypical longbow 17-20/x3.

    Let's compare Pinion with Swailing Blade.

    Pinion with IC is 17-20/x3 for 2.5[2d6] or 2.5(7)=17.5. It is a +7 weapon so base damage, nothing else yet considered, is 24.5 per hit.

    Swailing Blade with IC is 15-20/x2 for 2.5[d6] or 2.5(3.5)=8.75. It is also a +7 weapon so base damage, nothing else yet considered, is 15.75.

    Clearly Pinion is ahead.

    Pinion adds Shrieking for 2d6 damage so damage becomes 24.5+7=31.5. If a player has the favor it can swap Shrieking for Wailing adding 3.5 and, if a player gets to that point, the weapon also upgrades to +8. So, best case just looking at weapon damage is 25.5+10.5=36 damage on normal hits.

    Swailing Blade adds 3d6 fire damage so damage becomes 15.75+10.5=26.25. Swailing Blade also has Greater Incineration which gives 14.2 damage per hit. Swailing Blade is now 40.45 per hit.

    Obviously Swailing Blade is surging ahead.

    But, AA lets characters use Slaying Arrows which do 500 damage on a confirmed 20. That makes the average damage of the arrows 500/19=26.3. So, Pinion jumps to 36+26.3=62.3 -- clearly ahead again.

    So, in a head-to-head comparison it looks like archery is winning.

    Only, that is a false picture.

    To start with, a Tempest ranger is dual wielding with 100% off-hand procs. This means that they are doing 40.45*2=80.95 per attack.

    Just to break even, ranged now must attack 1.3 times faster than melee. There have been several threads on ranged alacrity and what stacks. But, just on base damage the two weapons are already far apart.

    But, your case is being made that there is a boost in Critical Hits. So, let's look at that.

    Pinion w IC is 17-20/x3. This means normal damage on 2-16 and triple damage on 17-20. This is effectively (15*62.3)+4((3*34.5)+10.5). The reason the crit damage is 24.5 instead of 24.5 is because Pinion is a +10 seeker. This all works out to 1390.5 damage in 20 attacks.

    Swailing Blade w IC is 15-20/x2. That works out to (13*40.45)+6((2*36.25)+24.7) or 1109.7 per hand -- or 2219.4 in 20 attacks.

    Note that I gave seeker +10 to the Swailing Blade as well. Why? Because seeker +10 is available on a wide variety of gear.

    And, notice that I have not included STR at all. This is theoretically equal for either build and adds to each bow or main-hand attack and also half the modifier to every off-hand attack. Note also that I did not include Favored Enemy. This is the same for all rangers, so is a wash w respect to damage. But, consider that the best AA builds are not carrying the ranger icon and have only 2 favored enemy (with 6 ranger splashes) and the probability is that the Tempest moves even further ahead.

    It takes nothing to prove that in a sequence of 20 attacks even with the crit multipliers that AA is far behind TWF melee.

    Now figure in actual attack speeds for ranged v melee and you'll see that melee is far, far ahead.

    When it comes to discussions of DPS there is no comparison between melee damage and ranged damage.
    Just to correct some things... we are talking about AA, not rangers, yes? There are many AAs that don't have any ranger levels as it can be solely an elven build. However, to quote myself and prove my point... well played rangers dps... You omitted improved precise shot; which is a major part of the well played AAs dps. The ability to lead mobs into a straight line and to hit multiple targets at the same time and if running Shiradi abilities; maybe even pin, dance or nerve venom a whole slew of mobs rendering them helpless and thus upping the dps. Additionally, you omitted the 15% damage boost from Archers Focus which is pretty much what you do in raids with all the red named. Also, my Pinion is +8, wailing and has good DR bypass to go along with the other base item stats you quoted.

    I do agree with your last statement, there is no comparison between ranged and melee and happily, I am ranged.
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