My first Dungeons and Dragons character, I had no idea about. She was a dwarf cleric, a Hobbesian cleric — solitary, poor, brutish, nasty and _short_. Healing was more fun when hirelings would do it, so I picked up a fighter level and made her into a melee cleric. I put points into whatever stats seemed good at the time. I had fun, but she was a horrid healer. No idea what I was doing.
When we all restarted, we decided to keep letting hirelings be our main healer, and I switched to rogue. Again, I just put points — wherever. Took a level of fighter. I had fewer hit points than anyone, my dps was crappy, couldn’t find traps well. I decided I was too stupid to level my character on my own, so I bought a +1 Lesser Heart of Wood (the +1 to remove the fighter level) and started over as a Rogue on the Mechanic Path — a trap disarmer. Every time I went to the trainer to level, I’d just click “stay the course!” and the trainer would make all my choices for me.
A LITTLE better, but I still had fewer hit points than anyone, I couldn’t hit monsters unless they were below my level, was usually killed in the first AE in boss battles. I proved to myself for the third time that I am too stupid to level a character in DDO on my own.
This weekend I went to the DDO forums, looked for a Drow Two Weapon Fighting Rogue build, bought a Lesser Heart of Wood (each time with real cash, of course, no free respecs in DDO) and followed the plan to the letter.
I now have comparable hit points to everyone else and did well on the dungeon score cards as we re-did the first three quests in the Harbingers of Madness line — on hard mode. I actually was able to damage a boss. Wow. Also it turns out my previous build didn’t have Two Weapon Fighting. So I was only hitting with my main hand weapon. I am slightly less able to find traps, but the build should keep me able to do that job, as long as I augment my character with Tomes of Stats that permanently raise your characteristics.
In DDO, it is required that you “eat” tomes to raise your stats. There’s a sale now on a Tome that will raise ALL stats three points — but it costs $35 and I just don’t think it’s worth it.
So anyway. I am too stupid to build my own character in DDO. I liked, in Rift, that I could experiment and try new things. DDO’s F2P model requires that they get money from you however they can, and thus, players cannot experiment with different builds, and like me can end up with a horribly gimped character.
Team Spode has carried me for months, and I just felt sick at how little I contributed to the group. On normal mode dungeons, traps rarely hit hard, so the group would run straight through them to get to the next fight while I’d hang back disarming the traps nobody stopped for. Why should they? But since I couldn’t fight or buff or do anything else useful, I could at least get the group 15% experience bonus for removing traps.
The only other game that has made me feel this stupid is EVE Online.
If you’ve played DDO, it’s likely you’re better at it than I am. But maybe you see some of yourself in my mistakes. Don’t trust the game to lead you on to a good path. Don’t trust yourself to figure out the best option. Just let someone else drive the car.
For those who asked, this is the build I used to remake my Drow rogue: Drow TWF Rogue Build.