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  1. #1

    Default Spell Resistance

    I solo & duo mostly and play on Hard or Normal difficulty depending on the quest. I have no interest in raids and very likely will not do any quests on Elite. My question is, for casters (devine or arcane) how necessary are feats like Spell Penetration or Heighten? I get the feeling many builds posted on the forum have raids/elite in mind and I don't want to waste feats slots on things I will never need.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drelgin View Post
    I solo & duo mostly and play on Hard or Normal difficulty depending on the quest. I have no interest in raids and very likely will not do any quests on Elite. My question is, for casters (devine or arcane) how necessary are feats like Spell Penetration or Heighten? I get the feeling many builds posted on the forum have raids/elite in mind and I don't want to waste feats slots on things I will never need.
    Spell penetration isn't for raids, it's for everything. Many mobs don't have spell resistance, but many mobs do.

    Heighten is also for everything, but unlike spell penetration heighten is useful for every mob.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllisDee37 View Post
    Spell penetration isn't for raids, it's for everything. Many mobs don't have spell resistance, but many mobs do.

    Heighten is also for everything, but unlike spell penetration heighten is useful for every mob.
    Thanks for the reply.

    I understand SR is not just for raids or Heighten is useful for every mob, what I'm trying to get at is, if I'm playing mostly on normal or hard, are these really needed/worth spending a feat on?

  4. #4
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drelgin View Post
    My question is, for casters (devine or arcane) how necessary are feats like Spell Penetration or Heighten?
    It depends on which spells you plan to use. Heighten will boost the DCs of your lower-level spells; however it also increases the SP cost (except for SLAs), so you need to figure out if casting a Heightened lower-level spell or an un-Heightened high-level spell will provide more bang for your SPs. Spell Pen is mostly for CC & instakill spells; so if you don't use those spells, you don't need Spell Pen at all. And as EllisDee37 said, not every mob has SR, so you don't always need Spell Pen bonuses even when you do use those spells.

    The real question is: if you're not investing in Spell Pen and/or DC-boosting feats, what are you taking instead and why? E.g., on the cleric builds I posted in this thread, I give up on the Spell Pen feats in order to invest in Shield Mastery (better PRR & doublestrike) and in some cases melee DPS feats (e.g., Power Atk, Imp Crit). One of my builds take a pally 2 splash for Divine Grace; that plus Dwarven Spell Defense increases her saves vs spells quite a bit. The idea is to boost front-line survivability, with the understanding that spells like Implosion and Greater Command won't always land w/out that investment in Spell Pen.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    It depends on which spells you plan to use. Heighten will boost the DCs of your lower-level spells; however it also increases the SP cost (except for SLAs), so you need to figure out if casting a Heightened lower-level spell or an un-Heightened high-level spell will provide more bang for your SPs. Spell Pen is mostly for CC & instakill spells; so if you don't use those spells, you don't need Spell Pen at all. And as EllisDee37 said, not every mob has SR, so you don't always need Spell Pen bonuses even when you do use those spells.

    The real question is: if you're not investing in Spell Pen and/or DC-boosting feats, what are you taking instead and why? E.g., on the cleric builds I posted in this thread, I give up on the Spell Pen feats in order to invest in Shield Mastery (better PRR & doublestrike) and in some cases melee DPS feats (e.g., Power Atk, Imp Crit). One of my builds take a pally 2 splash for Divine Grace; that plus Dwarven Spell Defense increases her saves vs spells quite a bit. The idea is to boost front-line survivability, with the understanding that spells like Implosion and Greater Command won't always land w/out that investment in Spell Pen.
    Unbon, I saw that thread. Actually, I put a post in your 'request a build - get a build'' thread, its on page 98. What I'm looking to do is build a character to solo with. I was thinking of doing a 18/1/1 Cleric/Fighter/Rogue. While building a char like this on the char planner I wondered if taking SP and Heighten would be necessary. In their place I would likely take power attack and probably improved critical: slash.

  6. #6

    Default Forgot to mention to my above post

    The char I specced on the char planner is a HE with wizard delli. I felt the HE with wizard delli gave me more benefits than the dwarf with axe damage.

  7. #7
    Community Member Therigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drelgin View Post
    I understand SR is not just for raids or Heighten is useful for every mob, what I'm trying to get at is, if I'm playing mostly on normal or hard, are these really needed/worth spending a feat on?
    Generally speaking, the answer to your question is, "No."

    However, there are some caveats that need to be made.

    First, how near to maximum is your casting stat and what have you done in terms of tomes and items to increase that stat? The DC of spells is based on this value and this decides if a mob is successful in resisting the spell you cast.

    Obviously, if you are not at or near the maximum for the casting stat then it is easier for mobs to resist your spells.

    Second, how near to maximum is your casting level? Spell penetration is used to overcome a mob's spell resistance. If you multiclass then you can end up with a lowered ability. Of course, some spells have maximum caster levels associated with them, so something like Heighten becomes a wasted feat once your caster level meets or exceeds that maximum.

    OTOH, spell penetration feats still stack in -- so that makes them worth considering.

    Note, however, that on normal and hard difficulties the spell resistance of mobs is generally low or non-existent. Note also that if you are doing quests at or above the quest level you are typically in decent shape.

    There are some very clear exceptions to this. One of the most well known is the quest Running with the Devils where the eladrin are particularly troublesome. Another is the quest joining Stormreach and Eveningstar where the drow are especially tough.

    In neither case, however, are they so difficult that spell penetration or heighten are absolutely necessary when running on normal or hard difficulties. Again, you might want these if you are going in below level -- but at or above level and you should be fine without the feats.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    Of course, some spells have maximum caster levels associated with them, so something like Heighten becomes a wasted feat once your caster level meets or exceeds that maximum.
    As I understand it, heighten and maximum caster level are unrelated and do not impact each other. Heighten raises the spell level, not the caster level.

  9. #9
    Community Member Jingwei's Avatar
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    Heighten and maximum caster level don't really interact with each other.

    Here's what they do.

    Caster Level
    The level at which you cast a particular class spell.
    affects duration.
    For example, Haste has a duration of 6 seconds per caster level. So, if you were an 18th level wizard, your hastes would last 18 * 6 = 108 seconds.

    affects damage
    For example, the Fireball spell does 1d3 + 3 damage per caster level (will cover maximum caster level in a moment), so a 7th level wizard casting fireball would do a base damage of (1d3 +3) * 7 = 7d3 + 21, an average of 35 points of damage.

    affects spell penetration
    Every caster level you have increases your spell penetration by 1.

    Does not affect spell DC

    Maximum Caster Level
    Limits the effects (almost always damage) of specific spells
    For example, fireball has a maximum caster level of 10, so a 19th level wizard casting fireball would do as much base damage with it as a 10th level wizard.

    Does not limit spell penetration

    Does not affect spell DC

    Spell DC
    10 + Determined by the spell level + Casting stat bonus + other stuff (focus feats, focus items, etc)
    This is where heighten comes in.
    Back to fireball as out example:
    Fireball is normally a level 3 spell, so the save against fireball would be 10 + 3 + casting stat bonus + other stuff

    Using heighten raises the level of the spell to the highest we could cast, which also raises the spell DC.
    For example, a 15th level wizard can cast 8th level spells. Casting a heightened fireball would raise it to 8th level, so the spell DC would be 10 + 8 + casting stat + other stuff.

    So heighten is critically important on spells that have no effect when saved against (examples: dancing ball, web, charm) and very important for instant death spells.

    ------------

    Example: a Sorcerer 17 / cleric 3

    Caster level for sorcerer spells: 17
    Maximum spell level for sorcerer spells: 8

    Caster level for cleric spells: 3
    Maximum spell level of cleric spells: 3

    In addition, he has fire Savant II, so he's supposed to get +4 caster level and +2 maximum caster level on fire spells, and -6 caster level on ice spells.

    ----------

    So, if our example gimp cast command (cleric lvl 1 spell) his caster level would be 3, his DC would be 10 + 1 + wis mod + other stuff, and his base spell penetration would be 13.

    If he cast heightened command, it would be treated as a level 2 spell.
    His DC would be 10 + 2 + wis mod + other stuff.
    His base spell penetration stays at 13.

    --------

    If our gimp cast fireball, his caster level would be 17 + 4 = 21.
    Fireball normally has a maximum caster level of 10, but fire savant should increase that maximum caster level to 12.
    So his fireball would to (1d3 + 3) * 12 damage.
    His spell penetration would be 31 (10 + 21).
    Save DC would be 10 + 3 + cha mod + other stuff

    Heightened fireball:
    Damage (1d3 + 3) * 12
    Spell penetration 31
    Save DC 10 + 8 + cha mod + other stuff

    ----------

    Our gimp casts polar ray.
    His caster level is 17 - 6 = 11

    Damage: (1d3 + 3) * 11
    Spell penetration 21
    Save DC 10 + 8 + cha mod + other stuff

    A heightened polar ray looks identical, since polar ray is already an 8th level spell, and the highest level sorc spell our gimp can cast is level 8.

    --------------

    Last example:
    Our gimp casts frost lance
    His caster level is 17 - 6 = 11
    He still gets all three frost lances, since that happens at caster level 11. He also does the regular frost lance damage, as it isn't affected by caster level at all. And he doesn't have to worry about spell resistance since frost lance doesn't allow for spell resistance, anyway.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Therigar View Post
    Generally speaking, the answer to your question is, "No."

    However, there are some caveats that need to be made.

    First, how near to maximum is your casting stat and what have you done in terms of tomes and items to increase that stat? The DC of spells is based on this value and this decides if a mob is successful in resisting the spell you cast.

    Obviously, if you are not at or near the maximum for the casting stat then it is easier for mobs to resist your spells.

    Second, how near to maximum is your casting level? Spell penetration is used to overcome a mob's spell resistance. If you multiclass then you can end up with a lowered ability. Of course, some spells have maximum caster levels associated with them, so something like Heighten becomes a wasted feat once your caster level meets or exceeds that maximum.

    OTOH, spell penetration feats still stack in -- so that makes them worth considering.

    Note, however, that on normal and hard difficulties the spell resistance of mobs is generally low or non-existent. Note also that if you are doing quests at or above the quest level you are typically in decent shape.

    There are some very clear exceptions to this. One of the most well known is the quest Running with the Devils where the eladrin are particularly troublesome. Another is the quest joining Stormreach and Eveningstar where the drow are especially tough.

    In neither case, however, are they so difficult that spell penetration or heighten are absolutely necessary when running on normal or hard difficulties. Again, you might want these if you are going in below level -- but at or above level and you should be fine without the feats.
    Therigar, thank you. I definitely plan on making sure the casting stat is raised as much as possible. Here is the build I did. Please pardon me if I did not attach it correctly, it was the first time ever using the planner and I didn't know how to include it here.

    I would love some feedback on the viability of it and improvements (I didn't spec it out exactly as I might, I was kinda experimenting with the build and the planner at the same time so not everything listed below is exactly how I might take it). For example I have SP taken but I would take something else (not sure what).

    Note: this char will be created from a TR when I get a char to that level (currently at lev 11) and he ate a +3 supreme tome (VIP bonus points at work)

    Code:
    Character Plan by DDO Character Planner Version 03.16.01
    DDO Character Planner Home Page
    
    Level 20 Chaotic Good Half-Elf Male
    (1 Fighter \ 1 Rogue \ 18 Cleric) 
    Hit Points: 282
    Spell Points: 1303 
    BAB: 14\14\19\24
    Fortitude: 16
    Reflex: 10
    Will: 20
    
                      Starting            Ending          
    Abilities        Base Stats         Base Stats        
    (32 Point)       (Level 1)          (Level 20)        
    Strength             13                 16            
    Dexterity            11                 14            
    Constitution         13                 16            
    Intelligence         13                 16            
    Wisdom               17                 25            
    Charisma              9                 12            
    
    Tomes Used
    +1 Tome of Strength used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Dexterity used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Constitution used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Intelligence used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Wisdom used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Charisma used at level 3
    +2 Tome of Strength used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Dexterity used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Constitution used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Intelligence used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Wisdom used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Charisma used at level 7
    +3 Tome of Strength used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Dexterity used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Constitution used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Intelligence used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Wisdom used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Charisma used at level 11
    
                      Starting            Ending          
                     Base Skills        Base Skills       
    Skills           (Level 1)          (Level 20)        
    Balance               4                  6.5          
    Bluff                 3                  5            
    Concentration         3                 22            
    Diplomacy             3                  5            
    Disable Device        5                 25            
    Haggle               -1                  1            
    Heal                  3                  9            
    Hide                  0                  2            
    Intimidate           -1                  1            
    Jump                  5                  7            
    Listen                3                  9            
    Move Silently         0                  2            
    Open Lock             3                  5            
    Perform              n/a                n/a           
    Repair                1                  3            
    Search                5                 19            
    Spot                  7                 13            
    Swim                  1                  3            
    Tumble                1                  3            
    Use Magic Device     n/a                n/a           
    
    Level 1 (Rogue)
    Feat: (Half-Elf Dilettante) Half-Elf Dilettante: Wizard
    Feat: (Selected) Toughness
    Enhancement: Human Versatility I
    
    
    Level 2 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Follower of the Sovereign Host
    Enhancement: Human Improved Recovery I
    Enhancement: Cleric Life Magic I
    Enhancement: Cleric Energy of the Zealot I
    
    
    Level 3 (Cleric)
    Feat: (Selected) Extend Spell
    Enhancement: Racial Toughness I
    Enhancement: Cleric Extra Turning I
    
    
    Level 4 (Fighter)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Fighter Bonus) Power Attack
    Enhancement: Improved Heal I
    Enhancement: Cleric Wisdom I
    
    
    Level 5 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Improved Search I
    Enhancement: Cleric Prayer of Life I
    
    
    Level 6 (Cleric)
    Feat: (Selected) Empower Healing Spell
    Enhancement: Human Improved Recovery II
    Enhancement: Improved Heal II
    Enhancement: Cleric Life Magic II
    
    
    Level 7 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Cleric Energy of the Zealot II
    Enhancement: Cleric Improved Turning I
    
    
    Level 8 (Cleric)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    
    
    Level 9 (Cleric)
    Feat: (Selected) Maximize Spell
    Enhancement: Cleric Radiant Servant I
    Enhancement: Improved Wizard Dilettante I
    Enhancement: Human Adaptability Wisdom I
    Enhancement: Racial Toughness II
    Enhancement: Cleric Divine Healing I
    
    
    Level 10 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Unyielding Sovereignty
    
    
    Level 11 (Cleric)
    
    
    Level 12 (Cleric)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Selected) Improved Critical: Slashing Weapons
    Enhancement: Human Versatility II
    Enhancement: Cleric Improved Empower Healing I
    Enhancement: Cleric Life Magic III
    Enhancement: Cleric Divine Healing II
    Enhancement: Cleric Wand and Scroll Mastery I
    
    
    Level 13 (Cleric)
    
    
    Level 14 (Cleric)
    
    
    Level 15 (Cleric)
    Feat: (Selected) Spell Penetration
    Enhancement: Cleric Radiant Servant II
    Enhancement: Improved Wizard Dilettante II
    Enhancement: Human Versatility III
    Enhancement: Cleric Improved Empower Healing II
    Enhancement: Cleric Prayer of Incredible Life I
    
    
    Level 16 (Cleric)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    
    
    Level 17 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Cleric Wisdom II
    
    
    Level 18 (Cleric)
    Feat: (Selected) Quicken Spell
    
    
    Level 19 (Cleric)
    Enhancement: Elven Perception I
    Enhancement: Elven Perception II
    Enhancement: Human Greater Adaptability Strength I
    
    
    Level 20 (Cleric)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Enhancement: Improved Wizard Dilettante III
    Enhancement: Cleric Life Magic IV
    Enhancement: Cleric Divine Healing III
    Last edited by Drelgin; 06-20-2013 at 08:14 AM.

  11. #11

    Default

    I would choose either melee or casting. Trying to do both makes both perform poorly.

    My first reaction is to drop dex to 8 and raise wisdom to 18, and also take Cleric Wisdom III. But maxing wisdom is for a caster cleric. With 2 feats spent on power attack and improved critical you're looking to go melee, in which case drop your wisdom down, max your strength, and take your levelups in strength.

    EDIT: I see you're also going for trap skills. The thing about traps is that on elite you won't be able to find or disable them, and on normal and hard you can just ignore them.

  12. #12

    Default Cleric/Fighter/Rogue

    I redid my planned build and put it in the Multiclassing Forum. I would really appreciate folks taking a look and posting in that thread any suggestions for improvements.

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