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  1. #1
    Community Member Wanesa's Avatar
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    Default Weapon Finesse and "dexterity" builds

    Hi

    I have my own challenge to complete all classes as halfling. This race suffers starting STR -2 points.

    Can you share any experiences with Weapon Finesse feat and building melees with boosted DEX? Can be playable?

    Thank for any advice.

    Thelanis: Shewind the Airbender (Sorc20/Epic5 -> Bard20/Epic8 -> Rog20/Epic8/Epic2 -> Harper_FvS20/Epic4 -> Art19), Azaxe (Rog18/Wiz2 -> Sorc20/Epic6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    Hi

    I have my own challenge to complete all classes as halfling. This race suffers starting STR -2 points.

    Can you share any experiences with Weapon Finesse feat and building melees with boosted DEX? Can be playable?

    Thank for any advice.
    It really depends on what you are looking to get out of the game. A friend of mine plays a Halfling Barbarian, although they are STR focused. And while this is an extremely subpar choice, they are still able to complete content.

    As far as taking Weapon Finesse and dumping Strength goes, though, doing so on any kind of class that relies on high base damage, such as Fighter or Barbarian, is going to leave you with very poor damage. You can certainly still complete content. But you will be extremely bad at it, compared to a well built character.

    For classes where the damage comes from another source, such as Rogues relying mostly on Sneak Attack damage or Monk relying on high Attack Speed, the loss of base damage is much less damning. But in these cases you still would not want to dump STR entirely.

    It is also worth noting that there are several weapons in the game that will let you use your DEX for to-hit and damage instead of Strength. And in the Enhancement Trees there will be options for taking Enhancements to do this, such as all Rogue Assassins being able use DEX for to-hit and damage with Daggers, Kukri, and if they have the Weapon Finesse feat any light weapon.

  3. #3
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    DEX / Finesse builds are generally seen as a gimp trap, for the following reasons:
    • Fewer ways of boosting DEX than STR.
    • Finesse only boosts to-hit, not dmg.
    • Only a few weapons use DEX instead of STR for dmg.


    Even on a halfling, you're almost always better off going STR- rather than DEX-based for melee toons. This may change once the Enhancement overhaul goes live; but who knows how much longer we'll have wait for that, much less how much it will change since the Lami alpha?

    About the only reasons currently (apart from flavor) to go DEX-based are: higher AC & Reflex saves; need high DEX for feat pre-reqs and you don't have any tomes (e.g., DEX 21 for Imp Sneak Atk on a rogue); higher DCs on Executioner's Strike (Shadowdancer ability).

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    Yeah the -2 starting STR is not nearly as big a gimp, by endgame, as not having any stat-based bonus to damage (ie STR-to-damage). And if you're boosting STR for damage, you might as well use it for to-hit as well. Especially since to-hit is not nearly as important as it used to be...you can get by with mediocre to-hit, but you cant get by with mediocre damage.

    It'd be nice if Weapon Finesse gave you DEX-to-damage on light weapons as well, that'd really open up a whole new suite of playstyle options. But as long as DPS is king, then STR rules melee builds (and ranged, too, with Bow Strength, honestly, for everything except artis/mechanics).

  5. #5
    Community Member Wanesa's Avatar
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    Thank you for advices. As I understand, DEX build can be useful when I can benefit from DEX in other skills. For example Rogue or builds where I can use light armor only (evasion builds). I wonder, whether take finesse for Halfling Bard Spellsinger with TWF, ITWF and Power Attack. I expect to focus on buffs and procs on daggers - light weapons or ranged weapons - at the end game content.

    Edit: I am expecting that i will focus on STR for generic melee classes - Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, but I am undecided in case of other classes: Rogue, Ranger, Bard, Druid, Monk etc.
    Last edited by Wanesa; 06-04-2013 at 08:52 AM.

    Thelanis: Shewind the Airbender (Sorc20/Epic5 -> Bard20/Epic8 -> Rog20/Epic8/Epic2 -> Harper_FvS20/Epic4 -> Art19), Azaxe (Rog18/Wiz2 -> Sorc20/Epic6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    but I am undecided in case of other classes: Rogue, Ranger, Bard, Druid, Monk etc.
    Arguments can certainly be made for DEX based Rogues, and they become even stronger after the Enhancement Trees.

    One of the biggest advantages to Ranger is that you get all of your TWF and Archery feats, without having to meet the DEX requirements. It doesn't matter if you are ranged or melee, optimized Rangers will have a high STR and mediocre DEX.

    I really do not have enough experience with Bards or the intricacies of different Druid builds to make a comment that I am confidant in. Someone else can certainly fill in.

    Monks can certainly drop their STR a little bit in favor of other stats without handicapping themselves. But for most monk builds Wisdom is going to give you a lot more mileage than Dexterity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    Thank you for advices. As I understand, DEX build can be useful when I can benefit from DEX in other skills. For example Rogue or builds where I can use light armor only (evasion builds). I wonder, whether take finesse for Halfling Bard Spellsinger with TWF, ITWF and Power Attack. I expect to focus on buffs and procs on daggers - light weapons or ranged weapons - at the end game content.

    Edit: I am expecting that i will focus on STR for generic melee classes - Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, but I am undecided in case of other classes: Rogue, Ranger, Bard, Druid, Monk etc.
    DEX is useful, but again, nothing DEX gives you outweighs the gimp to your melee DPS from not having DEX-to-damage on a decent weapon. DEX gives you more AC (but not as much as Heavy Armor does, and no PRR, so you'll never be an AC-tank), and it gives you more Reflex save (but only a couple points, not make-or-break for Evasion).

    Procs arent a reliable main source of DPS at endgame, either. They arent boostable - 2d6 damage will always be 2d6 damage, or less if the monster absorbs. Base damage, though, can be boosted by many things (PA, certain equipment, stat-to-damage, and crits, which are themselves boostable by Seeker, etc.) Giving up that maybe 8-10 damage bonus from STR for zero bonus from DEX is going to be a significant percentage of your endgame DPS.

    The Enhancement Pass does look like it will make DEX builds more viable, but for right now, because of the DPS disparity, DEX builds simply arent. Likewise, Ranged builds arent viable either unless you can fit in Bow Strength, or Insightful Damage for Artis, to get a stat-to-damage bonus.

  8. #8
    Community Member bsquishwizzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    Hi

    I have my own challenge to complete all classes as halfling. This race suffers starting STR -2 points.

    Can you share any experiences with Weapon Finesse feat and building melees with boosted DEX? Can be playable?

    Thank for any advice.
    I somewhat disagree with the others about Weapons Finesse.

    If you go TWF, dual-wielding with Weapons Finesse can actually be fairly tolerable. The key is - in my opinion - using special weapons like vorpals, paralyzers, disruptors, banishers, and so on. You're going to need a golf bag of weapons to suit your situation, but it is a workable strategy. It'll just take more time to kill off the mobs.

  9. #9
    Hero nibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droid327 View Post
    Giving up that maybe 8-10 damage bonus from STR for zero bonus from DEX is going to be a significant percentage of your endgame DPS.
    This is a false assumption.

    A dex-based rogue at endgame will still have STR on the high 20s even without trying too much. Area buffs like Rage and Primal Scream will also hit the rogue anyway. But going dex-based means your dex will be around the 40 mark, which means very easy feat qualification and much better reflex (and on EE, saves are necessary).

    For specifically a rogue, the damage lost is even lower. You are missing 5-8 damage per hit, but you are yet hitting for 100+ per hit on sneak damage alone. Rogues are not as dependent on cleaves, crits and momentum swings as fighters and barbarians.

    Except if you start with 6 Str and try to ignore it. I tried it once. It is NOT fun to run overweight after buying some stacks of potions. Even dex-based characters (and casters) should start with 10-12 Str and use a ogre power item to avoid carrying penalties.
    Main: Amossa d'Cannith, Sarlona, casually trying Completionist [<o>]

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  10. #10
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    I am undecided in case of other classes: Rogue, Ranger, Bard, Druid, Monk etc.
    A DEX-based rogue is a reasonable choice, esp. if you've still only got 28-pt builds and/or no tomes; it makes it easier to get Improved Sneak Atk (req's base DEX 21), plus it raises your AC & Reflex saves. But for other classes, it's a much more questionable decision. One of the best things about rgrs is they get all their feats free regardless of their base DEX; so raising DEX seems pointless, particularly since it doesn't boost your melee or ranged DPS. Druids get more bonuses to STR than DEX (e.g., class enhs, Ram's Might); so for me it's a choice between STR (higher melee dmg) or WIS (higher DCs on spells & shapeshifted atks) on druids. Monks need at best DEX 18 for Wind IV stance; so again STR or WIS is the way to go, IMHO. One of my oldest and favorite characters is a DEX-based drow rog / bard, but she's totally a flavor / gimp build; it's just no one expects a bard to do "real" DPS anyway, so I can get away with it.

    Oh, and if you do decide to go DEX-based, Precision >>> Finesse, esp. if you're making a rogue. Finesse only boosts your melee to-hit; Precision boosts your to-hit, lowers Fortification (good against bosses and certain enemy types), and works with both ranged & melee atks.
    Quote Originally Posted by bsquishwizzy View Post
    If you go TWF, dual-wielding with Weapons Finesse can actually be fairly tolerable. The key is - in my opinion - using special weapons like vorpals, paralyzers, disruptors, banishers, and so on. You're going to need a golf bag of weapons to suit your situation, but it is a workable strategy. It'll just take more time to kill off the mobs.
    The problem is a STR build can use those weapons just as well and have higher base dmg to boot. In theory, DEX vs STR is about survivability vs. DPS; in practice, however, the extra AC & Reflex saves from higher DEX usually isn't enough to justify the DPS loss from sacrificing STR.

  11. #11
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanesa View Post
    Hi

    I have my own challenge to complete all classes as halfling. This race suffers starting STR -2 points.

    Can you share any experiences with Weapon Finesse feat and building melees with boosted DEX? Can be playable?

    Thank for any advice.
    I have read through most of the replies and am going to advise you to ignore the majority of them.

    If you are aware of what is happening with DDO then you know that an enhancement update will occur sometime in the reasonable future. Along with that enhancement update is coming a change to the rogue class's enhancements that will allow players to use DEX as the to-hit and to-damage modifier on all finesse weapons.

    What will occur then is Weapon Finesse and "dexterity" builds will become the flavor of the moment. Builders will post a large number of build concepts using between 2 and 4 levels of rogue, maybe as many as 6, and then taking the remaining levels in the dominant class.

    The posts about DEX being harder to boost in additional ways are correct vis-a-vis STR but ignore something very important -- most players don't come anywhere close to reaching the maximum STR levels to take advantage of this because they are spending build points in DEX in order to get the TWF fighting line. So, most of the advantage gained by higher STR boosts is lost.

    The posts about few DEX weapons becomes moot with the enhancement pass.

    As a consequence, my recommendation to you is that you pursue your goals with halfling. IMO you should start with the non-melee focused classes and with those melee classes that rely on something other than STR or DEX for their main stat.

    In any sequence you can take these character classes and play them through L20 -- even completing some epic levels and working through the epic destinies -- without needing to be concerned about the DEX v STR issue:

    • Cleric
    • Favored Soul
    • Wizard
    • Sorcerer
    • Artificer
    • Bard
    • Rogue (uses INT as primary stat)
    • Monk (uses WIS as primary stat)
    • Paladin (CHA requirement means STR/DEX debate is essentially meaningless)


    This leaves only Fighter, Ranger and Barbarian to be concerned with. In the case of Ranger you can always choose the Arcane Archer prestige enhancement which happens to be the current flavor of the moment anyways. So, you are only dealing with two classes where this matters.

    By the time you work through all of the classes the enhancement pass will likely be here and you can evaluate whether you really want to pursue the Weapon Finesse and DEX builds or not.

  12. #12
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Some additional things to consider are found in the list of Weapons with Unusual Attack or Damage Modifiers. The following weapons all use DEX as the to-hit and to-damage modifier:



    These epic versions of the above weapons use DEX as the to-hit and to-damage modifier:



    And these repeaters both use DEX as the to-hit modifier:



    IMO that is plenty to choose from while waiting on the enhancement pass.
    Last edited by Therigar; 06-05-2013 at 03:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    And these repeaters both use DEX as the to-hit modifier:


    Erm, every repeater uses dex as the to-hit modifier The problem is they dont have any stat-to-damage modifier unless you're a mechanic or an Arti...

  14. #14
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droid327 View Post
    Erm, every repeater uses dex as the to-hit modifier The problem is they dont have any stat-to-damage modifier unless you're a mechanic or an Arti...
    I presumed Therigar meant Doublecross uses INT as well as DEX for to-hit. Either that or brain fart - happens to us old dudes all the time.

  15. #15
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by droid327 View Post
    Erm, every repeater uses dex as the to-hit modifier The problem is they dont have any stat-to-damage modifier unless you're a mechanic or an Arti...
    True. I should have thought of that. I was just picking out the weapons from the list of those with odd to-hit/to-damage modifiers and highlighting them. Focused in on the DEX part a little too much.

    Good catch.

  16. #16
    Community Member bsquishwizzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    The problem is a STR build can use those weapons just as well and have higher base dmg to boot. In theory, DEX vs STR is about survivability vs. DPS; in practice, however, the extra AC & Reflex saves from higher DEX usually isn't enough to justify the DPS loss from sacrificing STR.
    True. But consider two things:

    1) If you go TWF, you need to have a decent DEX score in the first place.

    2) If you are already taking a hit on STR (being halfling), and get a bonus to DEX, you might as well go finesse and pour points into CON and DEX (with maybe CHR for UMD).

    You're 100% correct in a general sense. I'm just pointing out that finesse-based is not as horrid as a lot of people make it out to be if you go a certain path.

  17. #17
    Community Member Wanesa's Avatar
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    Ok, now running Bard with focus on Dex and Cha. I did not take Weapon Finesse yet(!) (on level 5 now. I took Magical Training and TWF. I plan to take WF at 6). Using Cannith Crafting i can craft weapons with various procs, such a Undead bane, Holy, Pure good, Ghost Touch ("Delera's set"), weapons with slicing and bleed and with bodyfeeder (wich works as DR 15 set after every critical hit)

    I have DEX 22 (+6), CON 18(+4), CHA 21(+5) and 15 STR (+2). At lvl 5 don't have problem running elite quests lvl 3-5 for BB (solo Hard 5 and Elite 3 no hires). I will see how this will work on highter levels.

    Feats planned:
    ITWF - extend procs to second weapon
    Improved critical - improve procs on critical hit
    GTWF - at lvl 21
    Max or EmpH - for healing
    Toughness.

    I will not take Power Attack because BAB has reduced progress for Bards. Procs should help with damage. At last, as Spellsinger i will not focus on high DPS at end game, this is only for survivance.

    Thelanis: Shewind the Airbender (Sorc20/Epic5 -> Bard20/Epic8 -> Rog20/Epic8/Epic2 -> Harper_FvS20/Epic4 -> Art19), Azaxe (Rog18/Wiz2 -> Sorc20/Epic6)

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