Monday, October 19, 2009

Trials of a noob wizard in DDO

While Cap'n John and others talk cheerily about soloing DDO missions on Elite level my poor Wizard struggled to complete them  normal. (Duh..Did I mention by the way that I was doing all the missions on normal instead of solo mode because I wasn't ticking the correct box?).  The difficulty stems from the dilemma that a wizard must stand still to cast spells but is very vulnerable while standing still because the lightly armoured wizard can take very few hits (plus attacks have a chance of interrupting the spell you are trying to cast). Well I have got as far as level 2, having just completed the Aqueduct mission and I am finally beginning to get the hang of things.

I opted for the default wizard level up route. I like that you can customise your character but I amn't familiar enough with the game yet to take that plunge.

At level two I can prepare four spells. After a bit of trial and error I have opted for a fairly eclectic mix:

Mage Armour: A buff which compensates somewhat for my light robes. With the extend metamagic toggle I can get about 16 minutes duration on this which is useful.

Summon Creature: This gives me my very own sidekick (a big dog) to harry my opponents and keep them occupied while I nuke them from a safe distance. Sometimes I bring Charm Person instead which allows me to convert one of the enemies into a helper but as this only works on humans it is less generally useful. The trick to using this is to make sure the dog is summoned before the battle as it is almost impossible to successfully complete this spell while being attacked.

Hypnotism: This is a very useful crowd control spell which hypnotises nearby enemies for a variable period. This can be a life saver. While it is sometimes resisted it usually works. Very useful if you need breathing space to perform a summon spell in mid battle.

Burning Hands: I try to pack at least one nuke and this was always one of my favourite spells in NWN. It works great in DDO too. A cone of fiery damage shoots from your hands to toast any enemies in its path. The fact that it is directional means that with careful positioning you can safely use it with crowd control as long as you point it away from the mezzed mobs.

I generally wield the beginner staff (haven't got a better one yet) which does a satisfying amount of damage per whack providing the mob isn't hitting back but I also have a handy fire wand which gives me a ranged attack that doesn't consume spell points.  

In terms of stats I have chosen items to increase my hit point and spell point pools. I opted for an enhancement that boosts concentration  because concentration increases your chance of completing a spell while under attack. I made one foolish choice spending two talent points to increase my intelligence from 18 to 19 forgetting that only even numbers have any impact on the modifiers.

One useful hint to remember is that the recovery shrines recharge after 15 minutes so if you do run out of spell points you can always find a safe place and wait out the timer.

The toughest part of the game so far for me was the journey through the countryside getting to the aqueduct. I suffered my only death to date because I stumbled into a large group of enemies without proper preparation. At least with the above combination of spells I have finally gotten the hang of "normal node" beginner missions. I am now tempted to have a go at a few hard modes to try for better loot. If all else fails I can rent a hireling - the price for level 1 hirelings is much less than I make from vendoring the loot from a mission.


Elric said...

The wizard is one of the difficult classes to solo in DDO, particularly at low level, so you haven't chosen the easiest path for a newbie in this game. Also, you should really start grouping in dungeons as this is where most of the fun resides (and you get meatshields to get bashed on your behalf). I'm glad to see you are enjoying the game.

mbp said...

Hi Elric, in fairness the character selection did point out that a wizard would be a challenging class but I like a bit of a challenge. Now that I am beginning to get a hang of things I will start looking for groups. I just wanted to figure out which end of a wand fire comes out of before I inflict my noobness on others.

Stabs said...

The hirelings are great. On my Sorc I use stealth (even unskilled) and diplomacy and the Fighter hireling generally had aggro on anything around.

I actually went off and cooked on cannith crystal while Virgil Anvilhands killed everything. Came back 10 minutes later and mission Finished and I was still stealthed.

It's too late now but picking up the wand from the first quest reward is a really good pick. 50 mini nukes/rest.

Wizards are very good in parties and are particularly sought after for the very popular Waterworks instance since some of the doors are locked with INT runes.

mbp said...

Hi Stabs, Its good to know that wizards are in demand. I must try and join a few groups.

I did pick up that fire wand by the way and it is very handy for ranged combat. Its says that it recharges once per day but it seems to be fully charged at the beginning of every fight.

Thallian said...

:) I get pwn'd on normal sometimes too with my wife's sorceress. I think it's all about killing them before they can get to you. U seem to have found something new for me though, this hypnotize is new to me, since I wasn't playing a wizard. Crowd Control Class ftw!

Cap'n John said...

I'm not soloing DDO missions on Elite, just Hard ;)

I tried Elite, sucked down half my Starter Heal Pots, and still got killed by the first Sahuagin in Heyton's Rest.

It probably really didn't help that I'm reluctant to assign any points at the moment without reading up more on the Battle Cleric. Which is actually rather silly as I plan to reroll as a Dwarf Battle Cleric...that or create a second account...or drop a few dollars in the RMT store and unlock a couple of extra character slots :)

I probably should "invest" a few real dollars in the game as it really is a lot of fun.

Cap'n John said...

If you didn't have it already, I just found a Map of Korthos Island showing the location of the Dungeons and the three rare Elites.

Tesh said...

I managed to solo a couple of the earliest quests on Elite when I was a level 2 Ranger. I managed to die a few times before getting the pacing right to do it without dying, though. ;)

A couple of notes from this and the last article:

Rest Shrines recharge at different rates for each mission difficulty level. If memory serves, they don't recharge at all on Elite.

While you *can* run around and whack baddies by circle strafing away from their pointy bits, you *do* suffer a penalty to hit while moving. Without some perks to compensate, therefore, you might find melee to be progressively harder as the levels go up.

Boosting your INT to 19 isn't a bad thing, exactly. Different gear options might get you that extra point, at least until you boost it again naturally. It's not immediately useful, but then, there are other things like that in the game. It's part and parcel of the whole "plan ahead" mantra that comes from the core D&D character progress mechanics.

For better or worse. ;)

mbp said...

Good to know Tesh. I tried a couple of hard mode missions last night and didn't find them very much more difficult than I remembered from normal mode. Mind you my character is a bit stronger and I am more experienced. My biggest problem is missions is not being able to recharge health or mana except at shrines. Some missions have shrines half way and some don't. I tried the mission about the ancient giantish machine (jump off the cliff to start) last night but I ran out of spell points before I got to the final boss and couldn't find a moon shrine anywhere.

Tesh said...

Aye, longer missions introduce a strong resource management minigame for anyone dependent on mana. That's part of why I went with a non-caster class; I don't have to mess with it. (I'm not opposed to such design, just not terribly interested in it.) That's also probably one of those "better in a group" bits of design... and I'm a soloist. ;)

Anonymous said...

RE: Spell Points
Once you get off Korthos, you will start finding mnemonic potions which will replenish spell points in an emergency.

One key thing to remember is how favor is gained. You get 1 point the first time you run something on solo. 2 points for Normal, Hard and Elite. Rerunning an instance at the same difficulty level does not generate additional favor.

I try to run short instances once in each. Medium will sometimes get the same treatment. Long or very long won't get a repeat from me unless they are fun.

Why is this important? Because your status with each faction grants your character good stuff. Getting to the next level with Coin Lords gets you a 4th inventory slot.

mbp said...

Thanks for the advice @anonymous. I haven't looked into favour yet at all - I'll check it out.

Cap'n John said...

A good write-up on DDO Favor & Quests:

Cap'n John said...

TenTonHammer have a good write-up on Favor, as well:

DM Osbon said...

DDO is on my list of MMOs to try, a very short list, but am stuck in uncharted country just now.

mbp said...

Hello DM.

Can it be true? Are you moving blog again???

Anyway I certainly recommend trying DDO. Its free and its entertaining. I haven't spent long enough in gaem to vouch for its lasting power but as its free who cares?

DM Osbon said...

Yes, mbp 'tis true! I have moved over to Blogger to join up with a vast array of gamers who blog with it.