First off thanks for your time in reading this. I've found these forums to be somewhat stagnant of late, and would really like to start up some discussion/dialogue on different players takes on the melee classes. Specifically barb/fighters.
I'm a returning player, having been out of DDO since around the time Epic Chronoscope came out. Before I left I was a regular hate tank for my guild ( a very accomplished Ghallandanian end game raiding guild, with a lot of talented players.) My main at the time was a 2x Barb past life Blitz build, pretty fully specced back then, who I absolutely loved, and still do.I came back to the game proper around a month ago, took a look around at content I had no clue about and tr'd. I've really enjoyed my re working up to 20 as its allowed me to get back into the game and take stock of what players/guilds are still active on my server.
It's been interesting to note the delineation of what a tank/dps is in the heroic tier. The majority of LFMs for good quests run by good players are BYOH (which is fine, this breeds quick runs, and most people are happy to bring a hireling if the situation merits.) Even looking at epic quests that I'm familiar with, I see a great deal of BYOH groups. Admittedly I am out of touch with what epic brings, and perhaps a good deal of survivability can be eeked out of those five levels, but the question I have to ask is: where is the role for the dedicated tank? Not strictly the turtle-up S&B defender, but (as in my case) the double hard fighter/barb with full incite gear, staring down the end boss while the party wails on his back? This was one of my favourite aspects of the game, and this particular role seems to have been diluted. Is this the case? I understand that diminishing numbers of players necessitates a change in play style, but does the sort of party role I described still exist? I noticed that both Nick Robischina's and Shade's (commendable) threads are now somewhat out of date. Where is the wealth of knowledge for us melee types of late?
I'm sure a lot of you played similar roles to me a few years back. Have you TR'd into more sustainable builds or are you in the fortunate position of having guildies to watch your back? I'm happy to chug 200k of pots every life, thats not an issue im begrudging, I'm simply observing the lack of an observable tanking role within groups ive taken part in. I'd say that fighters/barbs are the least played classes that I've encountered. I'd welcome your thoughts on this.
My second question is rather specific to me, and again I'd appreciate any suggestions. As a newly 20 dps focussed character, what should I be running for gear/xp? I headed out to Eveningstar and enjoyed those first few Spinner quests. I'm a FR fan, so adventuring with Elminster is pretty cool, but I've literally just arrived. Is there something I should be focussing on between 20-23, 24- 25?
Im in the fortunate position that my main, Barbachop, has a good bit of gear. I dug the epic Claw set out of my tr cache, and with one scroll to obtain can muster the 3 piece Abishai set. Are these still viable for a melee? Where should I be focussing my efforts gear wise? Seems the Black Dragon Helm comes up a lot, so I guess I have to start there.
Lastly, I'm looking at epic destinies, while fury of the wild looks good, I think legendary dreadnought would perhaps make me a bit more capable of managing my red bar? What would be best to pick up first?
Thanks for your time if you made it this far, any input whatsoever is welcome, lets start livening up this part of the forum, even if Turbine has made that problematic.