Greetings, everyone. Since this is the inaugural chapter, I definitely should explain what I’m doing here. Don’t worry, in the future I’ll just give a tl;dr version that you can skip on by.
I know next to nothing about DDO. I tried it once, briefly, years ago and didn’t make it off the tutorial island town. Didn’t even hit level 2. I don’t know what max level is, what areas there are, or any of the DDO-specific terms and concepts. I do however have a passing familiarity with D&D through other computer games like the old Black Isle and BioWare titles. I understand what saves are, what differentiates classes, what the different stats do, that dwarfs are great, what THAC0 is (and that it’s not used anymore), and so on.
Having said all that though, I have never played a caster. Well, there was one time I played a bard, but I just played a song and then hit things, so that doesn’t really count. I am definitely more the type to put on the heaviest armor, grab the biggest axe, and then go cleave skulls. Literally. There’s a lot of undead in D&D games…
Anyway, this series is going to chronicle my foray into the world of arcane spellcasting as well as DDO in general. Usually, I’m the guy who knows everything and writes guides or nitpicks articles. This time, I’m the dummy who gets to be told I’m doing everything wrong. When I explain certain basic points of D&D, it’s not to educate the reader (although it could, I suppose), it’s instead to inform the reader of my thought process. In other words, you might have more ammo. If you like to see someone flail about, making half-informed decisions while also trying to be entertaining, then stick around.
Chapter 0: Where are my pants?
We’ll start with the character creation process because, well, that’s where I started. This is going to be a very dry chapter. If you couldn’t guess from the hints, Dorfben is a dwarf. Why? Because dwarfs are great. We covered this. Pay attention. When it comes to casters, there are divine and arcane. The only divine caster I have access to as a F2P player is cleric and they aren’t really the caster stereotype. They can be a melee class, they wear heavy armor, and they can heal. I want to go with something more toward the extreme end of the caster spectrum.
I contemplated making Dorfben a sorcerer because making characters that are obviously disadvantaged from the start has a special appeal to me. Sorcerers use charisma (CHA) as their primary stat and dwarfs have a -2 CHA penalty, you see. Given that I don’t know anything about what I’ll encounter in DDO or how forgiving the game is if you stray off a min-max path, I went the safer route, as far as I know anyway, and chose wizard.
I know wizards are intelligence (INT)-based, so I maxed that out at 18. I’m vaguely aware of bonus spells and guess the INT mod will come into play with something else somehow. Plus, more skill points is never a bad thing. I also hate being squishy so I raised constitution (CON) to 18. The remaining two points went to wisdom (WIS) for no real reason. For those keeping track at home, that makes my stats 8 / 8 / 18 / 18 / 10 / 6. Don’t worry though, a beard gives me +10 to all stats. No it doesn’t.
For skills, I maxed out concentration and spellcraft. Those seem to make the most sense. Then I raised balance, jump, and spot to 1, and haggle to 0. The first 3 sounded important and I thought if I have to buy spell materials, then in the long run, not paying more would be a good thing. Maybe it doesn’t make much of a difference in DDO. I will find out one way or the other. Dorfben’s starting feats were Extend Spell and Toughness.
In the past, I always let my caster NPC buddies in the past do whatever the AI wanted, so I’m fairly clueless when it comes to spells. I grabbed Nightshield, Protection from Evil, and Mage Armor as my defensive ones. Burning Hands and Magic Missile were my offensive choices. I also picked Summon Monster I. Having something else to do and take damage doesn’t seem like a bad idea. The last spell was Repair Light Damage. Maybe someday I’ll construct a friend and that friend will need repairs. Actually, I just got tired of looking at spells and grabbed it because why not?
So there we have it: Dorfben Fizzlebeard, the chaotic good wizard…wearing no clothes on a beach somewhere. Maybe this isn’t such a dry chapter after all. To be honest though, that was the second thing I noticed. The first was that during character creation, I was told I would have 8 HP and 3 more HP from Toughness. I have 41. I call hax. Finally, I see that the spell point system of games past is replaced with a typical mana bar. That is probably because casting 3-5 level 1 spells and then having to rest would put a huge damper on gameplay. I don’t mind it, but I can’t help but feel I’m missing out on some of the fundamental wizard experience.
Next time, I take my first literal steps into the world of Wizardness. I promise the next one will have more (read: some) action. Feel free to leave comments, questions, compliments, or test answers below.