By Kyle "FordyTwo" Horner
This guide is here to help players unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons kick some monster butt in DDO!
As a 101 guide, much of the information presented within is intended for beginners.
Ways Your DDO Character Grows
Aside from discovering and earning better equipment (e.g. weapons, armor, trinkets, etc) this visual aid represents the four ways every DDO character grows as they gather more and more experience.
The Relationship (& Difference) between Levels & Ranks
In DDO, earning a new "Level" is a big deal, thus, it takes some effort. To gain a level you first need to earn enough experience to obtain five “ranks.” However, each rank is useful too. Every rank offers up some Action Points, which are spent on buying enhancements for your character. Enhancements are incredibly potent and highly flexible – they're one of the easiest ways to dramatically customize your character! Often times, a new level grants you extra character-building choices; you'll get to pick from a pool of feats and choose an ability to increase. Plus, essential character stats (like Base Attack Bonus, explained next) are automatically increased. Look at the chart below to get a feel for when you’ll get to pick your feats and ability increases! Don’t forget that some classes get extra ones beyond what is shown in the chart!
Base Attack Bonus
In DDO, your Base Attack Bonus (BAB) is a small number with big consequences. BAB determines your ability to hit enemies with both melee and ranged weapons; the higher your BAB, the better your combat accuracy! Additionally, BAB sets the speed (number of attacks) at which a character fights.
Skills vs. Feats
Every character in DDO has skills and feats! Each time a player character achieves a new level, that player will earn "skill points" that can be used to improve a selection of skills such as balance, jump, and hide. Increase the point value of a skill, and the better a character will be at said skill!
Tip! Train 1 rank (not ".5" -- 1.0) into the Tumble skill at character creation. In DDO, a player cannot use Tumble without training, and tumbling away from ranged attacks is a useful skill to have.
A feat is used to improve combat abilities, further increase your capability with skills, or even grant you the ability to use special items and skills in-game. Some feats are available to all classes and races, but some are race and/or class specific.
Tip! Skills are improved by spending skill points, and both skills and feats can be improved via enhancements!
Every character in DDO has Ability Scores, regardless of their race or class. Ability Scores affect a variety of things, but the main thing to remember is that they're consistent. For example, increasing your strength Ability Score will alwaysincrease your muscle power, thereby affecting your chance to hit, and damage, enemies.
Muscle power! Affects your chance to strike a foe with melee attacks and damage.
Coordination and agility! Affects your primary defenses (Armor Class, or AC), ability to dodge attacks (Reflex saves), and the accuracy of your ranged attacks.
Health (hit points)! Constitution lets you suffer more damage before dying, and improves your ability to endure physical strain (Fortitude save). Keeping this Ability Score at 14 is encouraged, even if you're making a character who isn't a melee style. Brave adventurers sometimes use 12.
Learning ability and reasoning! Affects skill points gained at each level and the amount of bonus spell points for some classes.
Willpower and intuition! Affects your willpower (Will save) and the amount of bonus spell points for some classes.
Personality and magnetism! Determines how well you influence non-player characters (NPCs) and affects the amount of bonus spell points for some classes.
Tip! Some class abilities and feats require you to have a “minimum” amount of a particular Ability Score. Keep that in mind when picking your ability increases!
Armor Class (AC) is a number that represents a character's ability to avoid being hit in combat. Every character has a base AC of 10 in DDO, but that number goes up based on various factors such as race, class, feat and equipment choices.
What's an Enhancement?
An enhancement is an advancement method in DDO that – you guessed it – can "enhance" various aspects of your character. Enhancements can provide bonuses to a skill, feat or even an ability score. They can also unlock special abilities based on your race, class, or other character qualities. To purchase enhancements you need Action Points, earned each time you achieve a new rank. Enhancements are learned by visiting class trainers, and can be purchased whenever you want. It's possible to save up your action points for a really expensive enhancement later – so keep that in mind!
Tip! Enhancements are different than ability scores, skills, and feats; enhancements are never permanent choices. You may reset your chosen enhancements for once every three days or so, for a small sum of platinum (in-game currency).
Reflex, Fortitude & Will Saves
We covered AC, but there's one other element to your defense – saves! When an enemy casts a spell directed at you, in order to resist or reduce its effects, you need to "save." Each spell has type of save associated with it.
For example, a Fireball spell requires a Reflex save to determine whether or not you avoid being hit by it. A spell that would hold your character still (e.g. Hold Person) is a Will save to resist, because said spell is attacking your willpower. Saves also come into play when avoiding things like traps. There are only three, and each one is tied to a single Ability Score.
- Reflex Save (Dexterity)
Your ability to avoid damage due to agility and reaction time – like dodging a trap!
- Fortitude Save (Constitution)
Your ability to withstand attacks that target physical stamina – like poison!
- Will Save (Wisdom)
Your ability to withstand mental damage or harm due to willpower – like a psychic charm!
Asking For Assistance
Still have questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments below, or even in-game by typing "/advice" before your question. The "/advice" chat channel often has players with large amounts of basic DDO knowledge.