Your First Character on DDO

Edit: Removed “Part One” from header to reflect new single post format.

First Character, onward to adventure! (shipwrecked)


There are many opinions about what your first character in the game should be. Personally, I like the Human Paladin, and I’m here to tell you why. This is purely my opinion, and you may very well disagree.

The paladin has very reliable skills in both offense and defense. Getting the initial stats can be a bit of a task, but thankfully there are other players that have already done this, so following their suggestions should be of great assistance.

Let’s look at what makes the paladin a great choice for new players:

  1. High Offense: Early power for those low levels so you can power through them quickly. Using Two-Handed Fighting really adds a nice bonus to damage, and lets you rip right through the early quests.
  2. High Defense: The new changes to heavy armor (such as full plate and half plate) make damage mitigation easier at all levels.
  3. Self-healing: Though this is now a basic strategy for all current builds in DDO, it is one of the few that provides said healing rather easily. Paladin gets Lay on Hands at second level, and Cure Light Wounds at fourth (presuming a pure build to this point). Lay on Hands will wind up being a major portion of your healing, but Cure Light is a nice backup when/ if needed.
  4. Buffs: Not only does the Paladin get everything stated about, but it also gets buffs to help him/her survive the other effects that can lead to a character’s downfall. Again, this can be provided for by potions, but remember that a beginning player has limited funds, and thus may not have said potions available for some time.
  5. Offense boosts: When battling a boss, your character will need a little damage boost. Paladins get this in the form of Smite, which adds twice your character’s Charisma bonus to the damage of a successful attack!
  6. Human availability: I know many find fleshies susceptible to things like poison, but a starting player won’t have access to races such as Warforged. Thus, Human makes the best choice for a first character paladin. Humans get some sweet enhancements such as skill boosts, healing amplifiers, damage boosts, and extra feats and skill points!
  7. Simple Strategy: For the most part, the paladin is a rather simple character to play, at least in the beginning. Much like the fighter, your strategy will be rush in, and destroy everything in sight with your 2H-Fighting and greataxe! Later, when you switch to Sword and Shield (aka: Sword and Board), your role will change from major DPS to Tank with very good DPS. Don’t be surprised when the rogues start bypassing you in kills later on in levels, but if you’re doing your job right, they will love you for keeping the agro.
  8. Lots of Gear: Heavy armor, great weapons, and sufficient support gear can make your character very hard to put down, even in the epic levels. Once you start with Epic Destinies, you’ll find you become just as much a support character as a cleric or wizard, but with more offensive capability.
  9. Growth: When you get to around level 12, when you switch your combat style, you get a different source of power from your Shield Bash. You get more attacks with Doublestrike, and more power from better weapons and Melee Power. All of that makes you far more powerful than usual 2H fighting alone.
  10. Happies! Considering all of this, the ordinate amount of happiness you will receive from playing a paladin will rise inexorably! Okay, so this last one is subjective. What worked for me may  not work well for you. Of course, if you have the means and can acquire other races or iconic level characters, then all this meaningless.

Now let’s look at what makes the human paladin not such a good choice for new players:

  1.  Fleshy: As stated earlier, some find that the plants with armor (Warforged/ Bladeforged) are superior to their fleshy counterparts. These advantages include not needing to breathe underwater, immunity to poisons, and other vulnerabilities flesh-ridden characters are subject to.
  2. Healing: Built-in healing from the Warforged racial tree, as well as the paladin spells and Lay on Hands.
  3. Stat spread: One of the paladin’s biggest weaknesses is their need to spread their character build points toward three or more Abilities. Strength is needed to hit and do damage, Constitution is needed for Hit Points and Fortitude saves, Wisdom is needed to cast spells and to boost Will Saves, and finally Charisma is needed for your Paladin abilities. Thankfully, some of those are not needed right away (such as wisdom for spells), so you may rely on gear to help boost those instead of using some of your points.
  4. Center of the fight: In order to deal any damage, you must be in the midst of the fray, thereby subjecting yourself to damage in return. Your armor, Physical/ Magical resistence, and Hit Points will help with this, but sometimes things just hit too darn hard.
  5. Limitations: Because the paladin is spread into many areas, they are considered more generalistic than specialized. This generalization means that the amount of damage you will do compared to other classes and builds may be lower than more specialized builds.


Now let’s look at Character Creation.

First thing you will need to do is make the initial choices of your character, such as style of play (melee, caster, specialist), class, and path. In this instance, it would be “melee”, “Paladin”, and “Custom” for your choices.

Then you get to assign your abilities, but be careful! You only have 28 points as a Free to Play first time player. As you earn favor or partake in a true reincarnation you will be given more, but at this point, 28 is your limit. You should allot your points as such for the type of character we’re building:

Ability points should be alloted as such

Next you should use your skill points to boost the skills you’ll use most. Paladins do not have many points, so use them wisely. You can assign them as you please, but I prefer to place the points in Intimidate (4), Concentrate(2), Jump (2), and Tumble (1). This should use up all 12 of your points. You can see the final build for notes on other options and alterations I made from the original build.

Every character gets a very powerful trait called a feat. Humans get an additional Feat at first level, and Paladins get a Class Feat, which is limited to a select few options. As a Paladin, you’ll be getting one every fourth level (1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, etc). Some classes get these feats assigned to them, you get to choose (from a limited list)! (Lvl 1 Feat: Power Attack/ Human Feat: 2-Handed Fighting/ Class Feat: Follower of the Sovereign Host).


You’re almost done with character creation! The fourth and final step is creating a specific look for your character. I tend to always go with the same look for certain races, sexes, and classes, but you have (near) total control over the look (choices are limited to and by race and sex). Find a look you are happy with, or- if that is not important to you, randomize your results with the buttons provided.

Name your character, choose your alignment (Paladins do not get a choice), and you’re ready to start your first “life” on your first character in DDO! I should note that because DDO is a MMO, the name you want may be taken. Try different spellings until you are successful, or pick a different name.

Your first weapon! (for human paladin, take greataxe)

The first thing you will have to do is a little “mini adventure” where you wake from a shipwreck and have literally nothing but the clothes on your back. Thankfully, the NPC’s you meet are willing to arm and protect you until you complete the quest (where they arm you further with an upgraded weapon). The end chest to the quest has some armor, and other useful tools for you to begin your life as an adventurer as well.

Your first battle! (Kill the fish people, not the other characters)

You’ll have plenty of things to do right off the bat. Meet some NPC’s, aid them in their task, break stuff(!), fight monsters (fish people), and get rewards! Some rewards do not come in a chest, though…

Resting can be more pleasant when you have someone to hold 😉

When you get through the initial quest, which also acts as a tutorial on the basics of how to play the game, you then come the the starter area: Korthos Island, where more adventure awaits, along with more loot, more levels, more power, and even greater challenges!

Korthos at last! Now… where to next?

Please note it is snowing on Korthos when you get there. THERE IS A REASON FOR THIS, which you will discover along the way. 🙂


Up to 12th Level: Your first twelve levels will likely go fast, as the damage you will produce as a two handed fighter- providing there is access to decent gear- will seem to be somewhat overpowered. Solo: you should run in, get as much as you can to surround you and use Divine Might and Cleaves to destroy the mobs. Though normal swings will sweep through mobs, but Cleave will get extra damage. For bosses, you should use Divine Might and spam Divine Sacrifice. Grouped: While in a group, you should not rush in if you have someone that would make a better tank than you. Once the selected tank gets the aggro, you then rush in and become a veritable blender. While between fights, try to use your Cure spells to replace missing HP, while the use of Lay on Hands should be reserved for tough battles. Use Greatswords and Falchions as your main choice of weapons. If you can get your hands on a Carnifex at level 4, you will not need another weapon until it is time to change to Sword and Board! There will also be times (usually through traps) when you want more AC or PRR. When these occasions arise, you will want to replace your two-handed weapon for sword and board, this is called “Turtle Up”, whereupon your damage is a non-factor, and your focus is on survival.

Levels 12+: You are now a very effective tank. You will focus more on single opponents rather than an oversized weapons to swathe through mobs. In fact, you are very close to being a two-weapon fighter, as you will use your shield in combat to bash, charge, and stun your opponents into submission. One aspect of this tactic is the fact that- if the correct enhancements are taken- you will start to stack your opponents with vulnerability! This will allow more of all your damage to get through DR! Another great advantage is that all those 2-Handed Fighting Feats you took earlier will still be active, as Bastard Sword still gets Glancing Blows, meaning mobs will still take damage, even if they’re not a your main target. Your strategy is the same solo as it is in a party: Run in, Intimidate to get aggro, use your shield to stun any champions or casters, bash to give them extra damage, and cleave everything else. Lay on Hands when necessary, after all: a tank is only useful as long as they’re alive. I try to save LoH for when I am at 50% health. Again, try to save your Smites for bosses, but use them in situations more dire.

You can view the my build here, or the original build here.


The best thing a new player can do is to join a group that does not mind aiding in your assimilation into the game and community. If I may be of assistance at all, by all means contact me on Twitter: @Citiplaysddo.

The beauty of playing a game like DDO is that you can play the game exactly as you wish. You can make pure builds, or spread your levels among three different classes, and once you finish with one life, you can reincarnate your character into something completely different, and try your hand at an entirely different playstyle!

Those of you reading this with more experience, or even differing opinion, please feel free to share your knowledge below in the comments section. If you have any comments about my actual build, please do so on the build page listed above.

Thanks for stopping by and taking some of your valuable time to read my various ramblings! I look forward to having you here again next week!

10 thoughts on “Your First Character on DDO

  1. Pingback: From flagging to firsties | Even Now

  2. Nice article! Even though i will have to disagree! 😛

    2HF paladin all the way is way better. Better dps, less gear (Carnifex, Riftmaker for Heroics, Thunderforged for epics)
    Stats the same, skills, heal, umd, jump. No intimidate because no tanking required in 99% of DDO and the content that needs a tank is no noob friendly anw.
    No consentration because you will have extra feats (no shield mastery/imp. shield mastery, bastard sword) so you can add quicken! 🙂
    You will even have 2 extra feats to toy around with stunning blow (great +stun random loot items) or maximize for better heals, or toughness if you dont like more buttons to push, or specialization to slashing wep for more dps whatever.
    Big thing though is that you will spend all your AP 2 trees instead of 3
    You will be able to get immunity vs energy draining effects wich is HUGE! And more points to SD.

    Pros: Less Gear, More DPS, Immunity to energy draining/insta-death effects, better heals (skillpoints, more points to SD), no spell failure with quicken.

    Cons: Less survivability ? Less croud control in high end content (Lvl 29+ Dire charge)


  3. Thanks for your reply! This is exactly what I wanted from readers: input so that the player can make their own judgement on how to build their character. Here are my thoughts for the new player:

    All my paladins started out as 2h pallies, and I didn’t do much in the way of dps because I was dead all the time (after getting to mid-level, or so). The survivability for me was way more important than doing more dps. However, I am always loathe to lose all those nice damage numbers when the time comes to respec to S&B. XD

    Where I found I got DPS in S&B is in shield bash. This build REALLY gets some nice numbers with the Shield Bash and Stunning Shield, which then adds vulnerability, making my regular attacks more powerful, too!

    I have never yet had an issue with not being able to cast my spells. This is probably due to a high Concentration. The only heal that sometimes does not go off is LoH, and even then only when it glitches.

    Remember that this is for a first time player, however, so survivability should be something they think about seriously. When I was a new player, I hated playing a lot of quests because of how often I died. I got frustrated, and thought I would never like the game (in reality, I was coming from a game where play was different, and it just took getting used to). 🙂

    The bottom line is that you have to play and see what works best for you! I just recently found that the whole tower shield thing doesn’t help all that much, and have resorted my builds back to what is posted here. Thus far, I’m happier with the DPS from B.Sword vs Scimitars because the glancing blows REALLY do help a lot!

    So, new players: try whatever build interests you the most. If you have a good group, it won’t matter what build you make, because they will be there to help you along. Where your build really matters is in the next lives you do. The more lives you acquire on your “toon”, the more powerful you will become, and the more your build will matter. First Life is more like a “trial and error” kind of thing.

    Now go out and play!

    And thanks again, @nrs10009! I hope you continue to visit and read my articles, your input is welcome and valued! My next build post will be about caster clerics (Necro Cleric)!


  4. Pingback: DDOCast 441 – Gen Con, DDO Players & Slave Lords « DDOcast – A DDO Podcast!

  5. Pingback: Where are they now? | Citi Plays DDO

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