Kali's Top 10 Suggestions for MELEE defensiveness & survival (also useful for Hard Core)

Kalibano

Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Kali's Top 10 Suggestions for MELEE defensiveness & survival
Being killed constantly in melee combat can be extremely frustrating. My aim is to help others by sharing some of the key strategies that have significantly improved my personal experience playing melee characters through the years.

First a few brief notes:
> in this thread I collated tried-and-tested strategies that I personally use on all my melee DPS characters with advice/suggestions contributed by other players. It might not be considered by some as the 'most efficient' way of playing, and that's fine: 'to each his own' :) I am not here to argue that I am right and everyone else is wrong: this is not what I am about.

> rather than taking such a black-and-white view of things, what I suggest here is that there are many ways this game can be played. This 'way of playing' suits my playstyle perfectly, as it helps me achieve my aim: to have fun, and avoid frustration! So, please help me keep all comments on this thread friendly and helpful: toxicity is definitely NOT welcome!

> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


> bonuses from class & Epic Destinies trees will vary from build to build, so won't be listed here. Useful to say that, rather than take all offensive options from those trees, making balanced choices between defense and offense (as the ones in my build repository) will contribute more effectively towards the strategies for defensiveness I propose here.


1. Adjust your Play-style
> Wait for enemies to be Crowd Controlled before engaging in combat.
This is often done by a caster, and takes just a couple of seconds.

> if nobody in your group has CC, always start combat with your own crowd control first (see next item below)

> Invest in Crowd control, at the expense of some damage choices.
It provides double benefits: you are safe from being hit (defensiveness), and you do extra dmg vs helpless mobs (DPS). Most melee Epic Destinies provide one form of Crowd Control, and is normally some form of attack that does damage.

> Frequently adjust your positioning while attacking, in order to avoid simply standing still while swinging your weapon
E.g. tumbling backwards/sideways out of combat as a reaction to some attacks and/or when certain attacks are anticipated to come
. Content/mob knowledge helps a lot here: many attack chains and special attacks are predictable, and therefore, your reaction to them can be planned (e.g. Lord of Blades stunning attack, and if the tank gets stunned because they did not shield block, this is always followed by an AoE whirlwind blade attack, at which point melee combatants should pull temporarily out of combat).
From @Rathy "I like to move very fast as a melee (so invest points into sprint boosts etc.) and that helps me run from side to side of combats. Like stun a caster crown on right flank, zip over to left. trip some mob, then jump to un-CC'ed mobs and engage! Speed is great and makes me (slightly) harder to kill!"

> Attack from behind if there is a tank in your group and/or agro has been taken by someone else
This seems obvious, but I keep seeing people standing literally on the same spot as my tank, swinging their weapons at enemies. Not only will this strategy grant you some flanking bonuses, but it will also improve your survival chances. Some enemies use cleave attacks, sure, but they don't cleave on every single weapon swing, so this type of positioning (inc reacting when they do swing with shift-blocking and/or tumbling momentarily away) should give the healer enough time to heal the party in between special/cleave attacks.

> Sometimes temporarily retreating is the best strategy to succeed
Rather than go through a number of specific situations, it should suffice to say that there are occasions when retreating would be wiser, if it secures your survival, and consequently, gives you a chance to turn the tide of battle and/or rescue others.
> Casting a Dimension Door can be a life saver (especially if you manage to grab a few Soul Stones on your way to entering it)! Though scrolls are not available for sale, they do drop in chest, so they may be found for ale in the auction house​
> Invisibility can sometimes provide you with a chance for enemies to lose track of your location.​
> Shadowalk / Dark Discorporation both provide incorporeality bonus, while the latter also reduces incoming damage (beware that most forms of interaction will break you out of those forms)​
Dark-Discoporation-clickie.jpg


2. Add some defensiveness via the Set bonuses in your gear
> Stackable set bonuses in your gear can grant a significant amount of defensiveness (e.g. +60 PRR). This is particularly important for those who do not have a bunch of past lives:
> Artefact bonuses can be found in several sets, such as the 4-piece winter set bonus (several benefits listed in blue in the sections below)​
Winter-set-bonus.jpg
> Profane bonuses can be found in sets such as the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse (which generally also support offensiveness)
Leg-Dread-Isle-Curse-set-bonus.jpg
> Set Augments are another source of (though, admittedly, harder to acquire):
- Legendary Bulwark grants a Legendary bonus to Maximum Hit Points​
- Tough shields: artefact bonus to PRR​
- Arcane Guardian: artefact bonus to MRR​

> This isn't about gearing your character as a tank and gimping your DPS: it's about striking a good balance between offensiveness & defensiveness: soul stones do ZERO DPS.


3. Don't neglect your Constitution
> Start with a minimum of 16

> Try to include most (if not all) of the following bonuses in your gear:
> enhancement: common on items, and also available as Diamond Augments​
> insightful: common on items (e.g. Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots), also available as Diamond Augments
> quality: a bit trickier to fit in gear tetris, can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> exceptional: +1 to ALL abilities {Globe of True Imperial Blood augment}, or +2 from some limited sources (e.g. Dino/Alchemical crafting)​
> festive (+2): this Augment needs to be acquired via the Night Revels festival​
> profane: can come from items, or the Epic Litany of the Dead Soul Forged Augment, or even from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse
> Reaper 'Grim Barricade' tree core 3: grants +1 CON, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
N.B.: artefact bonus: a lot harder to fit into tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks


4. Increase your Hit Points
> Invest in as many Hit Points from items + the trees as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> enhancement bonus: common on items, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> vitality bonus: relatively common on items (e.g. Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers), also available on Diamond Augments​
> quality bonus: less common on items, harder to fit; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> Reaper 'Grim Barricade' tree cores 2 and 4: provide some hit points that always stay on (even out of reaper mode)​
N.B.: insightful & profane bonuses: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks
> Invest in as many stacking %Hit Points bonuses as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> A Competence bonus is now present in most (if not all) melee trees​
> A Legendary bonus is a bit more accessible these days (via set augments, the winter 4-piece set bonus, and Legendary Greensteel)

> I personally aim to always squeeze the following feats in: Toughness + Epic toughness
> If there's an extra feat slot, this is also useful: Legendary Toughness

> Invest in the full line of feats for one combat style (x3 heroic feats + 1 Epic 'perfect' feat), as they increase the Hit Point bonus of the auto-granted feat: Heroic Durability (for every melee combat style feat you take (up to four), you gain a 25% bonus to the Hit Points gained from your class levels. Epic and Legendary levels count at half value. This bonus can only stack up to 100%)

> Temporary hit points are a great way to improve survival
> Amongst several sources, Legendary Affirmation is perhaps one of the most efficient and sustainable. It's slightly more accessible these days (e.g. via Dino crafting, Legendary Greensteel and certain named items such as Staff of the Summer Solstice)​
Legendary-Affirmation.jpg
> Earlier in the game, False Life (spell) might be a quick source of some extra hit points (e.g. trap jumping, or pre-combat).​


5. Invest in Damage Reduction
> Two of the major forms of reducing damage are Physical Resistance Rating (PRR) and Magical Resistance Rating (MRR).
> PRR provides a percentage reduction in physical damage (bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing),​
> MRR provides a percentage reduction in damage from acid, sonic, fire, electric, cold, alignment, light, positive, negative, poison, and rust (applied to the damage that passes through elemental resistances).​

> They are widely available (items, feats, enhancements), so acquire as much you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> enhancement bonus: common on armors, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> insightful bonus: relatively common on items (e.g. Winter set item: Legendary Direbear Belt); can perhaps be skipped​
> artefact bonus: can be obtained from augment set bonuses (e.g. Tough shields: PRR / Arcane Guardian: MRR),
> PRR also available from sets like winter 2-piece set
> MRR also available from sets like summer 2-piece set
> profane bonus: PRR available from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse (which also grants offensiveness), MRR harder to fit
N.B.: quality bonus: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

> I personally aim to always squeeze in the Epic Damage Reduction feat
> Bring along items to swap to in specific quests/raids/encounters, to absorb elemental damage
Absorption-rings.jpg


6. Invest in Damage Avoidance
The three major separate Miss chance checks that can occur during an attack are Concealment, Incorporeal and Dodge.

> Concealment:
This forces enemy attacks to include a check for Concealment Miss Chance, so you avoid taking damage completely. This is a separate miss chance from Incorporeal and Dodge.
It comes in two forms:
  • Equipped items or effects (a beneficial form): Note that all of these sources can be negated by enemies with True Seeing (spell)
Among several effects, the most common being Displacement (50%); Lesser Displacement (25%) and Blur (10%).
Blur lasts longer, so I personally find it worth having on all the time, and then casting Displacement prior to entering combat.​
Sources:
Blur: not as widely available as it could be.​
- Scrolls are available to purchase for game plat, but don't last long.​
- Wands drop in chests, and have a longer (level 10) version. These can sometimes be found in the action house.​
Displacement, being a short buff by nature, is widely available.​
- Scrolls (UMD required)​
- Eternal Flask of Displacement is an option, but not available to acquire 100% of the time (only during Champion Hunter Weeks). Worth noting it shares a cooldown with other eternal flasks (I personally prefer using the Freedom of Movement one).​
- Craftable clickies​
From @popejubal "For those folks who don’t like bothering with Displacement scrolls (because they don’t have the UMD for it at lower levels and because they don’t want to bother with something that only lasts 30 seconds), I recommend getting a heroic Greensteel Displacement Quarterstaff clicky. It doesn’t need any Large ingredients, so it’s straightforward to farm up one or two of them and Quarterstaff clickies use your caster level instead of the weapon’s caster level so your Displacement lasts MUCH longer"
  • An offensive debuff form, that is an effect which is applied to enemies via a negative condition, forcing their attacks to include a check for Concealment on all those they attack whilst the negative condition persists. Unlike the other above sources, none of these are negated by the True Seeing (spell), so think twice before dispelling those pesky clouds people keep casting ;)
Concealment-Offensive.jpg

Multiple concealment check bonuses of the same type do not stack, whether beneficial or offensive in nature, only the greatest concealment number applies. Currently every single one is considered the same bonus type - enhancement.
N.B.: Some info on how Concealment from Blur/Displacement is reduced in reaper mode here.

> Incorporeality:
Provides a check for Incorporeal Miss Chance, to avoid taking damage completely (separate miss chance from Concealment and Dodge)
Sources:
> Ghostly: common on items (e.g. Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers), also available as a Named green Augment​
> Enhanced Ghostly is less abundant, but is found on some items (they do not stack, only highest bonus applies)​
N.B. Some info on how Incorporeality (from Ghostly) is reduced in reaper mode here.

> Dodge:
A simple % chance to completely avoid physical attacks (separate miss chance from Concealment and Incorporeal)
This is normally restricted by armor. Any amount matters, as each point adds 1% chance to completely avoid physical damage
> Acquire the Hood of Unrest for key encounters and/or times when everyone but you dies (can be shared with alts via Shared bank)​
Hood-of-unrest.jpg
> Fortification:
Don't neglect this, as increases the chance to avoid being critically hit by enemies

> Spell absorption items:
Always bring along at least one item (I personally aim for 2-3). Though situational, when the need arises, they can enable you to completely avoid large amounts of spell damage/effects.
Sources: Among several items available, I recommend the Pale Lavender Ioun Stone, Mantle of the Worldshaper (also has Heroic Inspiration); and Jeweled Cloak (Level 25).
Mantle-of-the-Worldshaper.jpg
Jeweled-Cloak-25.jpg
Pale-Lavender-Ioun-Stone.jpg

> Deflect Arrows temporarily granted by Stormrage clickies:
Though situational, it can be very handy to avoid ranged damaged (while dealing a bit of extra electric dmg too)
Stormrage-clicky.jpg


7. Ensure you have access to the following potions/buffs

>
Lesser Restoration
> This is particularly useful at lower levels (since with enough investment in UMD, as suggested in this thread, scrolls of Greater Restoration will be preferable later on)​
> The key benefit is dispelling magical effects that reduce ability damage, since it can make you helpless, but this is also very handy to clear fatigue, and improve exhaustion to fatigue.​
Source(s): widely available from potion vendors for game plat​
> Protection from Evil
> The key benefit is being warded from Evil magical controls and compulsions, providing complete immunity to spells of the type: Dominate Person/Monster, Command and Greater Command​
Source(s): widely available from potion vendors for game plat​
> Freedom of Movement
> It's key benefit, in my opinion, is protecting from the Held condition (eg. against Hold Person/Monster), and therefore, avoiding being considered helpless. It also allows you to move and attack normally while under the influence of conditions that normally impedes movement, such as Entangled, Paralyzed, or several Fogs.​
Source(s): not as widely available, but some sources are​
- gear (I personally always carry an item with FoM in it, to swap if/when needed: e.g. fighting beholders, slippery surfaces, etc.). Among several items, Legendary Crocodile Skin Boots is one I personally like because it also has energy absoprtion.​
Leg-Crocodile-Skin-Boots.jpg
- Eternal Flask of Free Movement is a v nice option, but not available to acquire 100% of the time (only during Champion Hunter Weeks). Worth noting it shares a cooldown with other eternal flasks.​
Eternal-Flask-of-Fo-M.jpg
- scrolls (require UMD) are not available to purchase, but they can drop from chests, so some can be found for sale in the action house​
> Shield/Nightshield
> The key benefit is negating the effects of Magic Missiles. This is particularly useful when fighting some champions and reapers.​
Source(s): widely available​
- The Wiki suggests several gear items with clickies. I personally like Epic Sapphire Studded Buckles , and share it with all my endgame alts​
Sapphire-Studded-Buckles.jpg
Epic-Sapphire-Studded-Buckles.jpg
- scrolls are available (but require UMD), but the duration of the buff is quite short​
- wands drop in chests and can be found in the auction house. The level (10) version provides a longer option)​
> Death Ward
> This is invaluable, as it provides immunity to death spells and effects, Energy Drained, and negative energy​
Source(s): widely available​
- The Wiki suggests some gear items with clickies. Among several options, Skullduggery Cap, Epic Dusk Heart; and Legendary Rose Quartz Sigil Stone seem popular amongst players (and can all shared between alts)​
Skullduggery-Cap.jpg
Epic-Dusk-Heart.jpg
Leg-Rose-Quartz-Sigil-Stone.jpg
From @peng For epic/legendary levels, I use epic or legendary versions of the same. Other mass death ward clickies have caster level 15. The Epic Skullduggery Cap can be used at level 20 and has a caster level of 20, and the legendary version has a cl of 30.
- Eternal Flask of Death Ward is an option, but not available to acquire 100% of the time (only during Champion Hunter Weeks). Worth noting it shares a cooldown with other eternal flasks (I personally prefer using the Freedom of Movement one, since there are so many Death Wards items available).​
> Potions of Curse/ Disease/ Blindness Removal + Neutralise Poison
> Always carry a stack of each of these potions with you. Remove curse, in particular, is invaluable for successfully completing several endgame raids. Some diseases (e.g. from Orthons in legendary Vision of Destruction) and Poisons can inflict damage over time, and can be quite deadly in higher difficulties.​
Source(s): widely available from potion vendors for game plat​


8. Invest in Use Magic Device
> Invest as many points as you can in this skill, and always carry items to quickly swap to before using scrolls/wands
> This item is particularly helpful (and could be further boosted with a +5 insightful Charisma augment slotted into it too):​
Legendary-Compliance.jpg
> Amongst other options, the Winter Set item: Legendary Nocturne Ring provides an insightful bonus to Charisma skills (UMD)

> Stock up and always bringing along the following:
> Scrolls:
- Heal
- Greater Restoration
- Fire shield
- Stoneskin
- Greater Heroism (amongst other buffs, it grants fear immunity)
- Displacement
From @popejubal "For those folks who don’t like bothering with Displacement scrolls (because they don’t have the UMD for it at lower levels and because they don’t want to bother with something that only lasts 30 seconds), I recommend getting a heroic Greensteel Displacement Quarterstaff clicky. It doesn’t need any Large ingredients, so it’s straightforward to farm up one or two of them and Quarterstaff clickies use your caster level instead of the weapon’s caster level so your Displacement lasts MUCH longer"
> Wands:
- Blur
- Resist Energy (11)
N.B.: Some info on how Concealment from Blur/Displacement is reduced in reaper mode here.


9. Invest in you ability to be healed more easily (Healing Amplification)
> Healing Amplification (or repair/negative) make it easier to self-heal between battles (using Heal scrolls) and/or be healed by others. Note that it's now possible to self-heal between battles in reaper mode without penalties!
> competence bonus: common in many armors, and also available from Sapphire Augment​
> artefact bonus: available on set bonuses like the winter 3-piece set
> profane bonus: available on set bonuses like Legendary Dread Isle's Curse set (which also grants offensiveness)​


10. Reaper progression: Defense first
> My personal strategy for all my melee builds is to go first with the defense tree (Grim Barricade), until I spend 21 points.
This has 2 main aims:
- secure the bonuses from the core enhancements that work all the time (including out of reaper mode)​
- boost my defenses in reaper mode, as soul stones do zero dps​
Barbarian-Ravager-Reaper-trees.jpg

N.B. This is the set-up for my Barbarian Ravager. I play 23 alts, and I currently have around 30-40 reaper points on each

> I then invest in the offensive tree (Dread Adversary). The key bonuses I personally prioritise are:
> Doublestrike (if not already caped)/shot boost​
> Tactical DCs​
> Melee/ranged Power​


If anyone has other useful defensiveness & survival strategies, please feel free to add to this thread!

Hope this proves helpful to whoever comes looking for advice!
 
Last edited:

Fisto Mk I

Well-known member
My personal strategy for all my melee builds is to go first with the defense tree (Grim Barricade), until I spend 21 points.
This has 2 main aims:
- secure the bonuses from the core enhancements that work all the time (including out of reaper mode)
- boost my defenses in reaper mode, as soul stones do zero dps
Exactly my approach, lol. :)
 

Zvdegor

Melee Artificer Freak
How you fight also matters. If you standing still, mobs can hit you far more easier.
Solution: Do the Kobold's fighting style (think about Waterworks) if you succesfully hit a mob change your position and repeat. Hit and change position again till the mob dies.

Use obstacles/walls/corners/etc to cover yourself from different angles. If mobs can surround you, you die.

Jump over groups of mobs and hit them while they turn around. It takes them time. They cannot turn and attack at the same time (yet)
 
Last edited:

Fisto Mk I

Well-known member
If mobs can surround you, you die.
Or... no. Click your Hood of Unrest, SD Shadow Mastery, it's add +65 uncapped Dodge to your at least 30 ( you already gain it for high reaper, right? ;) ), and with 20% Incorporeality and 20% Concealment in R10 you have only 0.032% chance to be hit for 20 sec... and see how endless surrounding mob hordes melt around you... :D
 

Zvdegor

Melee Artificer Freak
Or... no. Click your Hood of Unrest, SD Shadow Mastery, it's add +65 uncapped Dodge to your at least 30 ( you already gain it for high reaper, right? ;) ), and with 20% Incorporeality and 20% Concealment in R10 you have only 0.032% chance to be hit for 20 sec... and see how endless surrounding mob hordes melt around you... :D
Sadly Hood of Unrest has only 1 charge. My build is also in SD T5 and love that epic moment very much. It is really useful.
Still IMO positioning during fights is crucial. You cant use your Epic Moment all the time.
 

Shear-buckler

Well-known member
Worth noting is that incorporality and concealment is heavily impacted by reaper scaling. Mobs get bypass of 5% per skull, making 10/15/20% bonuses quickly obsolete when going up in skull levels.

My tip for melee survival is to build your character around self healing. What I mean is to pick a method of self healing other than potions, wands and scrolls and build your character around that.
 
Last edited:

Fisto Mk I

Well-known member
Worth noting is that incorporality and concealment is heavily impacted by reaper scaling. Mobs get bypass of 5% per skull, making 10/15/20% bonuses quickly obsolete when going up in skull levels.
You know what reaper scaling is hard caped to 30% reduction, so with full investment in incorporeality while epic moment and with Displacement you still have 20% Incorporeality and 20% Concealment even in R10, right? ;)
 

Kalibano

Build Designer & Fun Lover!
Just wanted to add some info here on how incorporeality (e.g. Ghostly) and concealment (e.g. Blur and Displacement) are reduced in reaper mode.
My understanding is that this info is based on player testing, not officially from the Devs. Info below (inc link) from the DDO Wiki:

Defenses-in-reaper-mode.jpg


Hope this is a helpful addition to this thread!
 
Last edited:

I dont Like gimps

Well-known member
Kali's Suggestions for MELEE DPS defensiveness & survival
Being killed constantly at melee range can be extremely frustrating. My aim is to help others by sharing some of the key strategies that have signifucantly improved my personal experience playing melee characters through the years.

First a few brief notes:
> please bear in mind these are tried-and-tested strategies that I use on all my melee DPS characters, and they work very well for my style of play.
It might not be considered by some as the 'most efficient' way of playing, but that's fine: I am not here to argue that I am right and this is the best, and everyone else is wrong. The beauty of this game is that there are many ways it can be played. This style helps me achieve my aim: to have fun, and avoid frustration! So, please help me keep all comments on this thread friendly and helpful: toxicity is definitely NOT welcome!
I understand what u try to say but winter 10% hp is usually Not worth the dps loss on some builds and in a way makes u much squishier cuz "offense is the best defense" Like 500hp from winter is neat for sure but if that lack of dps causes u to get even hit once or twice (depending on skulls and quest) its not worth... Most melees are at give or take 3.8-4.2k hp at endgame reaps (not counting barbs ) and wether u have 4k or 4.5k doesnt really make a diff tbh but it does if u kill an enemy in 2 or 4 seconds...

Btw the Lower one : hope u learned your lesson to not post on ddovault if u cant stand non polite "feedback" just the way the site rolls
 

Kalibano

Build Designer & Fun Lover!
I understand what u try to say but winter 10% hp is usually Not worth the dps loss on some builds and in a way makes u much squishier cuz "offense is the best defense" Like 500hp from winter is neat for sure but if that lack of dps causes u to get even hit once or twice (depending on skulls and quest) its not worth... Most melees are at give or take 3.8-4.2k hp at endgame reaps (not counting barbs ) and wether u have 4k or 4.5k doesnt really make a diff tbh but it does if u kill an enemy in 2 or 4 seconds...

Btw the Lower one : hope u learned your lesson to not post on ddovault if u cant stand non polite "feedback" just the way the site rolls
Hey there, and thanks for your contribution! :)

I understand what you are trying to say too, but I'm afraid we might have to agree to disagree on this occasion about most of the points you raised. Absolutely no offense intended: not everyone agrees about everything! :) It is very possible to be mature enough to be friendly and polite about how one handles their comments and responses, so here goes my attempt!

Perhaps we can start on what we seem to agree on (though with a little bit of inferring meaning from what you said):
u kill an enemy in 2 or 4 seconds...
> It is possible to infer from the above that mobs are currently dying too fast. I fully agree. Personally, I am very hopeful that mob HP and defenses will be bumped up sometime in the future (hopefully the near future!).

"offense is the best defense"
> Mobs dying too fast has led to the creation of the current 'meta' where offense is perceived by some as the best defense. We do seem to agree that this seems to be the current 'meta', though it seems we disagree ref this being the case all the time, and for all players.

Some further comments, if I may:
1. The 'meta' always changes: those of us who have been around since the start have seen the game change substantially since 2006. 'Offense is the best defense' has indeed been the reality several times in the past. At other times, 'defensiveness and survival' suddenly became important (e.g. when epic levels were first introduced, and similarly reaper mode).

2. We are still in the midst of many large changes: the last few years, in particular, have seen a very large number of important system changes (e.g. EDs, epic feats, stat squishes, heroic tree revamps, a ton of power creep; sentience; new sets; etc.). There seems to be a desire for more large system changes to come (e.g. revamps of reaper, sentience, trances, etc.).

3. The time might not be right for mob balance: The Devs are the only ones who are able to have a holistic view of all this: the fact they haven't balanced mob HP and defenses yet indicates they might feel this is not yet the right time to do so. I personally share a similar view on this: balancing things in the middle of a large number of changes would seem counter-productive. Though now might not be the right time for the meta to change, that time is likely to come eventually, as history has shown.

4. I don't ever build for the 'meta': for the reasons above, there are some (like myself), who do not consider it particularly wise to build for the meta. Some have deep enough pockets to do so and can afford to buy their way out of their current build into the next 'meta' build (while it lasts). Luckily, DDO seem to cater nicely to such differing styles of play.


Most melees are at give or take 3.8-4.2k hp at endgame reaps (not counting barbs )
> I'm afraid we might have to agree to disagree on this
> Our experiences in-game seem to differ quite widely in this respect (mine particularly so in PUG groups).
> It is highly likely that a very large number of characters (perhaps the majority?) are not able to achieve these numbers (e.g. those in their first few lives and/or who have not acquired a lot of reaper experience yet), even with investment in a defensive set such as Winter. To them, the defense boost offered by the Winter set bonus (and the items themselves) is likely to mean a lot.
> These numbers do not reflect what is experienced in the Hardcore League, which is an important aspect of playing DDO for a lot of people (myself NOT included)


Like 500hp from winter is neat for sure.
> The winter set provides a lot more than just HPs


wether u have 4k or 4.5k doesnt really make a diff tbh
> We'll need to agree to disagree too, as we do not seem to share the same experience in game.
> Winter's extra HPs, together with the other defensive bonuses from its items + its set bonus can be the difference between just being a soul stone in someone's backpack all the time, or having that chance between being hit once or twice to land a CC attack (which is one of the strategies I recommended in my guide) and turn the tide of battle

> Many, like me, play a lot of the game content solo. Every bit of extra HP matters a lot when you play solo.

> Some groups have a bunch of nukers who kill everything so fast that melees just get a chance to have a nice jog behind them, trying to catch up to them spamming the angel leaps :LOL:.
- Perhaps I should add to my guide that playing a nuker, not a melee character, is the 'meta', and therefore, the best suggestion for melee defensiveness and survival? ;)


"offense is the best defense" ... u kill an enemy in 2 or 4 seconds...
> Even though we seem to have agreed this is the current perceived meta (at least by some), the above is not true 100% of the time in 100% of the quests (e.g. bosses don't die in 2 seconds, and many have cleave attacks).

> Not all groups have:
- a tank to take agro, so melees can kill everything safely in 2 seconds​
- a caster to land CC consistently, so melees can kill everything safely in 2 seconds with extra helpless damage​
- a dedicated healer to top up the melee's HPs upon taking those first 2 hits, so they don't die and can kill everything safely in 2 seconds​


As I tried to indicate at the start of this guide:
> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


We have different experiences and playstyles, and sharing them here is likely to help those coming here for advice to make their own mind. Thanks again for your contribution! :)


N.B. I am always happy to respond to constructive comments/ suggestions / feedback that are provided in a polite and friendly manner. I welcome discussions with anyone who is capable (and willing) to do this. Some discussions may lead to both parties simply agreeing to disagreeing - that's absolutely fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion after all!
 
Last edited:

I dont Like gimps

Well-known member
Hey there, and thanks for your contribution! :)

I understand what you are trying to say too, but I'm afraid we might have to agree to disagree on most of the point you raised. No offense intended, of course: not everyone agrees about everything!

Perhaps we can start on what we seem to agree on (though with a little bit of inferring meaning from what you said):

> It is possible to infer from the above that mobs are currently dying too fast. I fully agree. Personally, I am very hopeful that mob HP and defenses will be bumped up sometime in the future (hopefully the near future!).


> Mobs dying too fast has led to the creation of the current 'meta' where offense is perceived by some as the best defense. We do seem to agree that this seems to be the current 'meta', though it seems we disagree ref this being the case all the time, and for all players.

Some comments, if I may:
1. The 'meta' always changes: those of us who have been around since the start have seen the game change substantially since 2006. 'Offense is the best defense' has indeed been the reality several times in the past. At other times, 'defensiveness and survival' suddenly became important (e.g. when epic levels were first introduced, and similarly reaper mode).

2. We are still in the midst of many large changes: the last few years, in particular, have seen a very large number of important system changes (e.g. EDs, epic feats, stat squishes, heroic tree revamps, a ton of power creep; sentience; new sets; etc.). There seems to be a desire for more large system changes to come (e.g. revamps of reaper, sentience, trances, etc.).

3. The time might not be right for mob balance: The Devs are the only ones who are able to have a holistic view of all this: the fact they haven't balanced mob HP and defenses yet indicates they might feel this is not yet the right time to do so. I personally share a similar view on this: balancing things in the middle of a large number of changes would seem counter-productive. Though now might not be the right time for the meta to change, that time is likely to come eventually, as history has shown.

4. I don't ever build for the 'meta': for the reasons above, there are some (like myself), who do not consider it particularly wise to build for the meta. Some have deep enough pockets to do so and can afford to buy their way out of their current build into the next 'meta' build (while it lasts). Luckily, DDO seem to cater nicely to such differing styles of play.



> I'm afraid we might have to agree to disagree on this
> Our experiences in-game seem to differ quite widely in this respect (mine particularly so in PUG groups).
> It is highly likely that a very large number of characters (perhaps the majority?) are not able to achieve these numbers (e.g. those in their first few lives and/or who have not acquired a lot of reaper experience yet), even with investment in a defensive set such as Winter. To them, the 10% HP is likely to mean a lot.
> These numbers do not reflect what is experienced in the Hardcore League, which is an important aspect of playing DDO for a lot of people (myself NOT included)



> We'll need to agree to disagree here too, as the winter set provides a lot more than just 500 HPs



> We'll need to agree to disagree too, as we do not seem to share the same experience in game.
> Winter's extra HPs, together with the other defensive bonuses from items + set bonus can be the difference between just being a soul stone in someone's backpack all the time, or having that chance between being hit once or twice to land a CC attack (which is one of the strategies I recommended in my guide) and turn the tide of battle
> Some groups have a bunch of nukers who kill everything so fast that melees just get a chance to have a nice jog behind them, trying to catch up to them spamming the angel leaps :LOL:.
- Perhaps I should add to my guide that playing a nuker, not a melee character, is the 'meta', and therefore, the best suggestion for melee defensiveness and survival? ;)

> Not all groups have:
- a tank to take agro, so melees can kill everything safely in 2 seconds​
- a caster to land CC consistently, so melees can kill everything safely in 2 seconds with extra helpless damage​
- a dedicated healer to top their HPs up on those first 2 hits, before they die​



> Even though we seem to have agreed this is the current perceived meta (at least by some), the above is not true 100% of the time in 100% of the quests (e.g. bosses don't die in 2 seconds, and many have cleave attacks).


As I tried to indicate at the start of this guide:
> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


We have different experiences and playstyles, and sharing them here is likely to help those coming here for advice to make their own mind. Thanks again for your contribution! :)


N.B. I am always happy to respond to constructive comments/ suggestions / feedback that are provided in a polite and friendly manner. I welcome discussions with anyone who is capable (and willing) to doing this. Some discussions may lead to both parties simply agreeing to disagreeing - that's absolutely fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion after all!
fair points I usually write from a "3 digits reaper points/Past lives in r10" perspective and when I sorta singled out the %HP of winter I wasnt even thinking about the 30 Prr artifact cuz I have it included in 99% of my gearsets which partially relies on the aug set so yeah fair Point since 30prr from wijnter is both more valuable and more realistic for non Min-maxers. and outside of r10 the Moments in which u survive due to winterset is probably Much more noticeable I rarely have "-200HP" moments its usually either me surviving with 200ish hp or dying with -1k and up

I guess its a bit of tunnel vision that things beside r10s exist lol My brains sorta automatically processing "its a low life char it wont have too many Reaper Pts thus it doesnt matter if it has winter or not cuz its gonna get 1shot no matter what " completely neglecting that a fair amount of lfms are r6 or r8 in which that winterset defo has its value for a Low life char
 

Kalibano

Build Designer & Fun Lover!
HCL-9.jpg


In this thread, I compiled several suggestions for general melee defensiveness and survival that should hopefully be helpful for this HCL season!

Additionally, though not made with the Hard Core League in mind, the builds in my repository provide stats/numbers that are:
  • based on what a first-lifer (or someone with minimal past lives) would have, unbuffed, outside of reaper mode (they do, however, include equipped gear and partially completed filigrees for endgame stats).
  • indicative of the potential minimum amounts that can be achieved with the investments that were proposed
I hope both resources provide some ideas/inspiration for Hard Core League 9!

Enjoy! :)
 

jwel

Active member
Kali's Suggestions for MELEE DPS defensiveness & survival
Being killed constantly at melee range can be extremely frustrating. My aim is to help others by sharing some of the key strategies that have signifucantly improved my personal experience playing melee characters through the years.

First a few brief notes:
> please bear in mind these are tried-and-tested strategies that I use on all my melee DPS characters, and they work very well for my style of play.
It might not be considered by some as the 'most efficient' way of playing, but that's fine: I am not here to argue that I am right and this is the best, and everyone else is wrong. The beauty of this game is that there are many ways it can be played. This style helps me achieve my aim: to have fun, and avoid frustration! So, please help me keep all comments on this thread friendly and helpful: toxicity is definitely NOT welcome!

> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


> bonuses from class & Epic Destinies trees will vary from build to build, so won't be listed here. Useful to say that, rather than take all offensive options from those trees, making balanced choices between defense and offense (as the ones in my build repository) will contribute more effectively towards the strategies for defensiveness I propose here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Adjust your Play-style
> Wait for enemies to be Crowd Controlled before engaging in combat. This is often done by a caster, and takes just a couple of seconds. If nobody in your group has CC, always start combat with your own crowd control first (see next item below)

> Invest in Crowd control, at the expense of some damage choices. It provides double benefits: you are safe from being hit (defensiveness), and you do extra dmg vs helpless mobs (DPS). Most melee Epic Destinies provide one form of Crowd Control, and is normally some form of attack that does damage.

2. Add some defensiveness to your Set bonuses
>
You might find it useful to include one defensive set in your gear tetris (especially true if you don't have a bunch of past lives): The 4-piece winter set bonus is a possible option (several benefits listed in the sections below)
> This isn't about building your character and gearing him/her up as a tank and gimping your DPS: it's about striking a good balance between offensiveness & defensiveness: soul stones do ZERO DPS.

3. Don't neglect your Constitution
>
Start with a minimum of 16, and try to include most (if not all) of the following bonuses in your gear:
> enhancement: common in items, and also available as Diamond Augments​
> insightful: available as Diamond Augments (also on an item from the Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> quality: a bit trickier to fit in gear tetris, can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> exceptional: from a rare named Augment {Globe of True Imperial Blood}: very useful, as it adds +1 to ALL abilities​
> festive (+2): this Augment needs to be acquired via the Night Revels festival​
> profane: can come from items, or the Epic Litany of the Dead Soul Forged Augment, or even from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse
> +1 from reaper tree core 3, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
N.B.: artefact bonus: a lot harder to fit into tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

4. Increase your Hit Points
>
Invest in as many Hit Points from items + the trees as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> +120 Hit Points from reaper trees core 2 and 4, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
> enhancement bonus: common in items, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> vitality bonus: available from Diamond/Sapphire Augments, (also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> quality bonus: less common in items, harder to fit; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
N.B.: insightful & profane bonuses: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks
> Invest in as many stacking %Hit Points bonuses as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS (the below as a minimum):
> 25% competence bonus is now present in most (if not all) melee trees​
> 10% legendary bonus from the winter 4-piece set bonus melee can increase survival (especially if you don't have a bunch of past lives)​

> Try to train the following feats: Toughness + Epic toughness + Epic Damage Reduction
> If there's an extra feat slot, this is also useful: Legendary Toughness

> Invest in the full line of feats for one combat style (x3 heroic feats + 1 Epic 'perfect' feat), as they increase the Hit Point bonus of the auto-granted feat: Heroic Durability (for every melee combat style feat you take (up to four), you gain a 25% bonus to the Hit Points gained from your class levels. Epic and Legendary levels count at half value. This bonus can only stack up to 100%)

5. Invest in Damage Reduction
>
Take as much defensiveness (PRR and MRR), from items + the trees, as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> enhancement bonus: common on armors, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> insightful bonus: less common on items; ; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Direbear Belt)
> artefact bonus: can be obtained from augment set bonuses (e.g. Tough shields: PRR / Arcane Guardian: MRR),
> PRR also available from sets like winter 2-piece set
> MRR also available from sets like summer 2-piece set
> profane bonus: PRR available from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse (which also grants offensiveness), MRR harder to fit
N.B.: quality bonus: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

> Bring along items to swap to in specific quests/raids/encounters, to absorb elemental damage
Absorption-rings.jpg


6. Invest in Damage Avoidance
>
Maximise dodge (often restricted by armor): any amount matters, as each point adds 1% chance to completely avoid physical damage
> Acquire the Hood of Unrest for key encounters and/or times when everyone but you dies (can be shared with alts via Shared bank)​
Hood-of-unrest.jpg

> Always add Ghostly (available from a Named green Augment, but also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> Enhanced Ghostly is less abundant, but is found on some items (they do not stack, only highest bonus applies)​
N.B. Some info on how Incorporeality from Ghostly is reduced in reaper mode here.

> Don't forget fortification, as it reduces the chance of being critically hit by enemies

7. Invest in Use Magic Device
>
Invest as many points as you can in this skill, and always carry items to quickly swap to before using scrolls/wands
> This item is particularly helpful (and could be further boosted with a +5 insightful Charisma augment slotted into it too):​
Legendary-Compliance.jpg
> Amongst other options, the Winter Set item: Legendary Nocturne Ring provides an insightful bonus to Charisma skills (UMD)

> Stock up and always bringing along the following:
> Scrolls:
- Heal
- Displacement
- Fire shield
- Stoneskin
- Greater Heroism
> Wands:
- Blur
- Resist Energy (11)
N.B.: Some info on how Concealment from Blur/Displacment is reduced in reaper mode here.

8. Invest in you ability to be healed more easily (Healing Amplification)
>
Healing Amplification (or repair/negative) make it easier to self-heal between battles (Heal scrolls) and/or be healed
> competence bonus: common in many armors, and also available from Sapphire Augment​
> artefact bonus: available on set bonuses like the winter 3-piece set
> profane bonus: available on set bonuses like Legendary Dread Isle's Curse set (which also grants offensiveness)​

9. Reaper progression: defense first
>
My personal strategy for all my melee builds is to go first with the defense tree (Grim Barricade), until I spend 21 points.
This has 2 main aims:
- secure the bonuses from the core enhancements that work all the time (including out of reaper mode)
- boost my defenses in reaper mode, as soul stones do zero dps
Barbarian-Ravager-Reaper-trees.jpg

N.B. This is the set-up for my Barbarian Ravager. I play 23 alts, and I currently have around 30-40 reaper points on each

> I then invest in the offensive tree (Dread Adversary). The key bonuses I personally prioritise are:
> Doublestrike/shot boost​
> Tactical DCs​
> Melee/ranged Power​
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If anyone has other useful defensiveness & survival strategies, please feel free to add to this thread!

Hope this was helpful, and apologies if the thread is a bit long!
One key item not in your umd list that you should add, protection from evil. It will block a lot of pesky cc spells, such as command or hypnotize.
 

jwel

Active member
Kali's Suggestions for MELEE DPS defensiveness & survival
Being killed constantly at melee range can be extremely frustrating. My aim is to help others by sharing some of the key strategies that have signifucantly improved my personal experience playing melee characters through the years.

First a few brief notes:
> please bear in mind these are tried-and-tested strategies that I use on all my melee DPS characters, and they work very well for my style of play.
It might not be considered by some as the 'most efficient' way of playing, but that's fine: I am not here to argue that I am right and this is the best, and everyone else is wrong. The beauty of this game is that there are many ways it can be played. This style helps me achieve my aim: to have fun, and avoid frustration! So, please help me keep all comments on this thread friendly and helpful: toxicity is definitely NOT welcome!

> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


> bonuses from class & Epic Destinies trees will vary from build to build, so won't be listed here. Useful to say that, rather than take all offensive options from those trees, making balanced choices between defense and offense (as the ones in my build repository) will contribute more effectively towards the strategies for defensiveness I propose here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Adjust your Play-style
> Wait for enemies to be Crowd Controlled before engaging in combat. This is often done by a caster, and takes just a couple of seconds. If nobody in your group has CC, always start combat with your own crowd control first (see next item below)

> Invest in Crowd control, at the expense of some damage choices. It provides double benefits: you are safe from being hit (defensiveness), and you do extra dmg vs helpless mobs (DPS). Most melee Epic Destinies provide one form of Crowd Control, and is normally some form of attack that does damage.

2. Add some defensiveness to your Set bonuses
>
You might find it useful to include one defensive set in your gear tetris (especially true if you don't have a bunch of past lives): The 4-piece winter set bonus is a possible option (several benefits listed in the sections below)
> This isn't about building your character and gearing him/her up as a tank and gimping your DPS: it's about striking a good balance between offensiveness & defensiveness: soul stones do ZERO DPS.

3. Don't neglect your Constitution
>
Start with a minimum of 16, and try to include most (if not all) of the following bonuses in your gear:
> enhancement: common in items, and also available as Diamond Augments​
> insightful: available as Diamond Augments (also on an item from the Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> quality: a bit trickier to fit in gear tetris, can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> exceptional: from a rare named Augment {Globe of True Imperial Blood}: very useful, as it adds +1 to ALL abilities​
> festive (+2): this Augment needs to be acquired via the Night Revels festival​
> profane: can come from items, or the Epic Litany of the Dead Soul Forged Augment, or even from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse
> +1 from reaper tree core 3, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
N.B.: artefact bonus: a lot harder to fit into tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

4. Increase your Hit Points
>
Invest in as many Hit Points from items + the trees as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> +120 Hit Points from reaper trees core 2 and 4, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
> enhancement bonus: common in items, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> vitality bonus: available from Diamond/Sapphire Augments, (also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> quality bonus: less common in items, harder to fit; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
N.B.: insightful & profane bonuses: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks
> Invest in as many stacking %Hit Points bonuses as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS (the below as a minimum):
> 25% competence bonus is now present in most (if not all) melee trees​
> 10% legendary bonus from the winter 4-piece set bonus melee can increase survival (especially if you don't have a bunch of past lives)​

> Try to train the following feats: Toughness + Epic toughness + Epic Damage Reduction
> If there's an extra feat slot, this is also useful: Legendary Toughness

> Invest in the full line of feats for one combat style (x3 heroic feats + 1 Epic 'perfect' feat), as they increase the Hit Point bonus of the auto-granted feat: Heroic Durability (for every melee combat style feat you take (up to four), you gain a 25% bonus to the Hit Points gained from your class levels. Epic and Legendary levels count at half value. This bonus can only stack up to 100%)

5. Invest in Damage Reduction
>
Take as much defensiveness (PRR and MRR), from items + the trees, as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> enhancement bonus: common on armors, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> insightful bonus: less common on items; ; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Direbear Belt)
> artefact bonus: can be obtained from augment set bonuses (e.g. Tough shields: PRR / Arcane Guardian: MRR),
> PRR also available from sets like winter 2-piece set
> MRR also available from sets like summer 2-piece set
> profane bonus: PRR available from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse (which also grants offensiveness), MRR harder to fit
N.B.: quality bonus: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

> Bring along items to swap to in specific quests/raids/encounters, to absorb elemental damage
Absorption-rings.jpg


6. Invest in Damage Avoidance
>
Maximise dodge (often restricted by armor): any amount matters, as each point adds 1% chance to completely avoid physical damage
> Acquire the Hood of Unrest for key encounters and/or times when everyone but you dies (can be shared with alts via Shared bank)​
Hood-of-unrest.jpg

> Always add Ghostly (available from a Named green Augment, but also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> Enhanced Ghostly is less abundant, but is found on some items (they do not stack, only highest bonus applies)​
N.B. Some info on how Incorporeality from Ghostly is reduced in reaper mode here.

> Don't forget fortification, as it reduces the chance of being critically hit by enemies

7. Invest in Use Magic Device
>
Invest as many points as you can in this skill, and always carry items to quickly swap to before using scrolls/wands
> This item is particularly helpful (and could be further boosted with a +5 insightful Charisma augment slotted into it too):​
Legendary-Compliance.jpg
> Amongst other options, the Winter Set item: Legendary Nocturne Ring provides an insightful bonus to Charisma skills (UMD)

> Stock up and always bringing along the following:
> Scrolls:
- Heal
- Displacement
- Fire shield
- Stoneskin
- Greater Heroism
> Wands:
- Blur
- Resist Energy (11)
N.B.: Some info on how Concealment from Blur/Displacment is reduced in reaper mode here.

8. Invest in you ability to be healed more easily (Healing Amplification)
>
Healing Amplification (or repair/negative) make it easier to self-heal between battles (Heal scrolls) and/or be healed
> competence bonus: common in many armors, and also available from Sapphire Augment​
> artefact bonus: available on set bonuses like the winter 3-piece set
> profane bonus: available on set bonuses like Legendary Dread Isle's Curse set (which also grants offensiveness)​

9. Reaper progression: defense first
>
My personal strategy for all my melee builds is to go first with the defense tree (Grim Barricade), until I spend 21 points.
This has 2 main aims:
- secure the bonuses from the core enhancements that work all the time (including out of reaper mode)
- boost my defenses in reaper mode, as soul stones do zero dps
Barbarian-Ravager-Reaper-trees.jpg

N.B. This is the set-up for my Barbarian Ravager. I play 23 alts, and I currently have around 30-40 reaper points on each

> I then invest in the offensive tree (Dread Adversary). The key bonuses I personally prioritise are:
> Doublestrike/shot boost​
> Tactical DCs​
> Melee/ranged Power​
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If anyone has other useful defensiveness & survival strategies, please feel free to add to this thread!

Hope this was helpful, and apologies if the thread is a bit long!
I also didn't see get a source of fom, dw, shield and fear immunity on the list :). FOM, protection from evil, and fear immunity blocks the vast majority of will save ccs allowing you to not worry about will saves. Protection from evil is trivial to get, FOM comes from select items, and fear immunity comes from Augments or heroism.
Death ward in some form is virtually a requirement, dw protects you from negative levels, shadow/wight stat drain, and the damage portion of death spells. Ive died to a destruction spell with just deathblock because the damage portion still triggers with deathblock and does disintigrate levels of damage. Saltmarsh's final enemy is a great place to get sufficient coverage of it.

Shield/nightshield is also a must have or you will die to the first extra damage mm spamming champ you run into. You can get a clicky from the quest in the waterfall in korthos, kind of a big deal, or umd it.
 

Kalibano

Build Designer & Fun Lover!
I also didn't see get a source of fom, dw, shield and fear immunity on the list :). FOM, protection from evil, and fear immunity blocks the vast majority of will save ccs allowing you to not worry about will saves. Protection from evil is trivial to get, FOM comes from select items, and fear immunity comes from Augments or heroism.
Death ward in some form is virtually a requirement, dw protects you from negative levels, shadow/wight stat drain, and the damage portion of death spells. Ive died to a destruction spell with just deathblock because the damage portion still triggers with deathblock and does disintigrate levels of damage. Saltmarsh's final enemy is a great place to get sufficient coverage of it.

Shield/nightshield is also a must have or you will die to the first extra damage mm spamming champ you run into. You can get a clicky from the quest in the waterfall in korthos, kind of a big deal, or umd it.
Thanks for the contributions! I'll add them to the main post when I get a chance :)
 

onibaba

Active member
Kali's Suggestions for MELEE DPS defensiveness & survival
Being killed constantly at melee range can be extremely frustrating. My aim is to help others by sharing some of the key strategies that have signifucantly improved my personal experience playing melee characters through the years.

First a few brief notes:
> please bear in mind these are tried-and-tested strategies that I use on all my melee DPS characters, and they work very well for my style of play.
It might not be considered by some as the 'most efficient' way of playing, but that's fine: I am not here to argue that I am right and this is the best, and everyone else is wrong. The beauty of this game is that there are many ways it can be played. This style helps me achieve my aim: to have fun, and avoid frustration! So, please help me keep all comments on this thread friendly and helpful: toxicity is definitely NOT welcome!

> Just to be extra clear, this is NOT the place to come for advice on how to get max damage and minimum defensiveness (AKA being a 'Glass-cannon'). I am sure there are other threads that can offer excellent advice on this style of play! :)


> bonuses from class & Epic Destinies trees will vary from build to build, so won't be listed here. Useful to say that, rather than take all offensive options from those trees, making balanced choices between defense and offense (as the ones in my build repository) will contribute more effectively towards the strategies for defensiveness I propose here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Adjust your Play-style
> Wait for enemies to be Crowd Controlled before engaging in combat. This is often done by a caster, and takes just a couple of seconds. If nobody in your group has CC, always start combat with your own crowd control first (see next item below)

> Invest in Crowd control, at the expense of some damage choices. It provides double benefits: you are safe from being hit (defensiveness), and you do extra dmg vs helpless mobs (DPS). Most melee Epic Destinies provide one form of Crowd Control, and is normally some form of attack that does damage.

2. Add some defensiveness to your Set bonuses
>
You might find it useful to include one defensive set in your gear tetris (especially true if you don't have a bunch of past lives): The 4-piece winter set bonus is a possible option (several benefits listed in the sections below)
> This isn't about building your character and gearing him/her up as a tank and gimping your DPS: it's about striking a good balance between offensiveness & defensiveness: soul stones do ZERO DPS.

3. Don't neglect your Constitution
>
Start with a minimum of 16, and try to include most (if not all) of the following bonuses in your gear:
> enhancement: common in items, and also available as Diamond Augments​
> insightful: available as Diamond Augments (also on an item from the Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> quality: a bit trickier to fit in gear tetris, can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Deepsnow Boots)
> exceptional: from a rare named Augment {Globe of True Imperial Blood}: very useful, as it adds +1 to ALL abilities​
> festive (+2): this Augment needs to be acquired via the Night Revels festival​
> profane: can come from items, or the Epic Litany of the Dead Soul Forged Augment, or even from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse
> +1 from reaper tree core 3, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
N.B.: artefact bonus: a lot harder to fit into tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

4. Increase your Hit Points
>
Invest in as many Hit Points from items + the trees as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> +120 Hit Points from reaper trees core 2 and 4, always on (even out of reaper mode)​
> enhancement bonus: common in items, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> vitality bonus: available from Diamond/Sapphire Augments, (also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> quality bonus: less common in items, harder to fit; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
N.B.: insightful & profane bonuses: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks
> Invest in as many stacking %Hit Points bonuses as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS (the below as a minimum):
> 25% competence bonus is now present in most (if not all) melee trees​
> 10% legendary bonus from the winter 4-piece set bonus melee can increase survival (especially if you don't have a bunch of past lives)​

> Try to train the following feats: Toughness + Epic toughness + Epic Damage Reduction
> If there's an extra feat slot, this is also useful: Legendary Toughness

> Invest in the full line of feats for one combat style (x3 heroic feats + 1 Epic 'perfect' feat), as they increase the Hit Point bonus of the auto-granted feat: Heroic Durability (for every melee combat style feat you take (up to four), you gain a 25% bonus to the Hit Points gained from your class levels. Epic and Legendary levels count at half value. This bonus can only stack up to 100%)

5. Invest in Damage Reduction
>
Take as much defensiveness (PRR and MRR), from items + the trees, as you can, without heavily sacrificing DPS:
> enhancement bonus: common on armors, and also available on Sapphire Augments​
> insightful bonus: less common on items; ; can perhaps be skipped (available on Winter set item: Legendary Direbear Belt)
> artefact bonus: can be obtained from augment set bonuses (e.g. Tough shields: PRR / Arcane Guardian: MRR),
> PRR also available from sets like winter 2-piece set
> MRR also available from sets like summer 2-piece set
> profane bonus: PRR available from sets like the Legendary Dread Isle's Curse (which also grants offensiveness), MRR harder to fit
N.B.: quality bonus: harder to find/fit in gear tetris, possibly over-kill, and more useful for tanks

> Bring along items to swap to in specific quests/raids/encounters, to absorb elemental damage
Absorption-rings.jpg


6. Invest in Damage Avoidance
>
Maximise dodge (often restricted by armor): any amount matters, as each point adds 1% chance to completely avoid physical damage
> Acquire the Hood of Unrest for key encounters and/or times when everyone but you dies (can be shared with alts via Shared bank)​
Hood-of-unrest.jpg

> Always add Ghostly (available from a Named green Augment, but also from the Winter set item: Legendary Cold Iron bracers)
> Enhanced Ghostly is less abundant, but is found on some items (they do not stack, only highest bonus applies)​
N.B. Some info on how Incorporeality from Ghostly is reduced in reaper mode here.

> Don't forget fortification, as it reduces the chance of being critically hit by enemies

7. Invest in Use Magic Device
>
Invest as many points as you can in this skill, and always carry items to quickly swap to before using scrolls/wands
> This item is particularly helpful (and could be further boosted with a +5 insightful Charisma augment slotted into it too):​
Legendary-Compliance.jpg
> Amongst other options, the Winter Set item: Legendary Nocturne Ring provides an insightful bonus to Charisma skills (UMD)

> Stock up and always bringing along the following:
> Scrolls:
- Heal
- Displacement
- Fire shield
- Stoneskin
- Greater Heroism
> Wands:
- Blur
- Resist Energy (11)
N.B.: Some info on how Concealment from Blur/Displacment is reduced in reaper mode here.

8. Invest in you ability to be healed more easily (Healing Amplification)
>
Healing Amplification (or repair/negative) make it easier to self-heal between battles (Heal scrolls) and/or be healed
> competence bonus: common in many armors, and also available from Sapphire Augment​
> artefact bonus: available on set bonuses like the winter 3-piece set
> profane bonus: available on set bonuses like Legendary Dread Isle's Curse set (which also grants offensiveness)​

9. Reaper progression: defense first
>
My personal strategy for all my melee builds is to go first with the defense tree (Grim Barricade), until I spend 21 points.
This has 2 main aims:
- secure the bonuses from the core enhancements that work all the time (including out of reaper mode)
- boost my defenses in reaper mode, as soul stones do zero dps
Barbarian-Ravager-Reaper-trees.jpg

N.B. This is the set-up for my Barbarian Ravager. I play 23 alts, and I currently have around 30-40 reaper points on each

> I then invest in the offensive tree (Dread Adversary). The key bonuses I personally prioritise are:
> Doublestrike/shot boost​
> Tactical DCs​
> Melee/ranged Power​
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If anyone has other useful defensiveness & survival strategies, please feel free to add to this thread!

Hope this was helpful, and apologies if the thread is a bit long!
Get gud !!!!! You can disregard all of that defensive advice and replace that with positioning, better positioning and even better positioning. Attack angles, jumping over mobs, 360 degree situational awareness, push in pull out, watching mobs attack chains and anticipation. None of these things can be found on any item or in any enhancement lines.
 
Top