Acidic Arcane Archer, or Strimtom’s Acid Arrow
This post will be the first in a series that looks at a build that is not a paladin, but still one with which I find myself very much in tune. I know, I know. Crazy.
I like to solo. I like to play paladins. Neither of these facts have any effect on the reason for this blog, but the effect this build has on my solo ability is tremendous!
Before we get into the build, let me step back a minute and explain why paladins are my typical class of choice. In a word, Survivability. Damage Per Second (DPS for short) in early and late game is what I would term “Satisfactory”, but is made up for by the fact that they can take a beating. Paladins have build in healing, very good protection from damage in the way of Physical Reduction Rating (PRR), and Lay-on-Hands (LoH), or what I like to call the “Oh, shit!” button, which is ever precious.
All of those traits make the solo ability of the choice of paladin very comfortable.
However, a few months back when I ran across a post by Strimtom called “Strimtom’s Acid Arrow”, my understanding of how to play an archery ranger changed my outlook of what’s good for solo.
Unlike the previous Ranger build I posted a while ago, this build can be played by beginners with little to no complications. Any race and alignment may be used, and at no time in the build are feat or enhancement swaps necessary.
The playstyle is simple: snipe your targets from afar, and dodge incoming damage however possible.
For new players, or even first life characters, I recommend either Elf or Human race for their racial benefits, and neutral alignment to avoid good/evil/lawful/chaotic damage.
- New Player Friendly: Playable at full damage capacity on a first life/28 point build.
- Easy-Peasy Gearing: Requires only one item (Silver Longbow) for maximum damage, and that item comes from a free to play quest.
- Ranged: takes almost no damage.
- Effortless: It’s so easy to play it makes warlock look like a challenging class.
- Disabled/ Lazy Player Friendly: Playable with one hand (though if you want more control, two is recommended).
- F2P/ Premium Friendly: Not Race or Alignment dependent, unlike Paladin.
- DAMAGE: DPS output is insane, even on Epics.
- Self Sufficient: Self heals come in at level 4.
- Dual Tree: Action Points (AP) split between only two trees.
- Evasion: Level nine brings the sweetness that is Evasion, which means traps, AOE spells, and other ranged attacks aren’t as successful.
- Lo Rez: Has trouble raising allies from the dead.
- Speed Leveler: You’ll level so fast you won’t know what to do with your time.
- Does/ Doesn’t Play Well with Others: Other players will have less fun since all other monsters will be dead.
- Pop-up Mobs: Issues with mobs that practically spawn on top of or behind you.
- DDO Points: Use of DDO points to gain level appropriate Corrosive Augments.
- Fort Saves: Low Fortitude Saving Throws means death spells and their ilk can be a nuisance. Good thing there’s Death Ward!
- Target Locked: Mobs hate archers and casters. Regardless of what armor you wear, you’ll have a target painted on you.
- Typically Fleshy: Dependent upon your race of choice. Subject to poison and other such affects, though there are means of mitigation.
- Reaper: Not designed for Reaper Mode!
AAA benefits from higher scores in Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), and Intelligence (INT). Both your Hit and Damage will be affected by DEX, higher CON brings survivability, and INT gives the Skill Points needed.
Skill Points: First and Foremost is Spellcraft. Max this for added acid damage from your bow! Max Spot so you can see those invisiblers, Heal allows you to survive longer, Balance to get back up when tripped, Use Magic Device (UMD) for a better chance to use Raise Dead scrolls, and Swim because The Crucible. Allocate points to these skills as able. Spellcraft>Spot>Heal>Balance>UMD>Swim is your priority.
- Point Blank Shot, if Human also choose Least Mark of Passage for run speed at early levels. Favored Enemy: Undead.
- Favored Enemy: Giant
- Quicken Spell for Heals, since you don’t have Concentration. If you want Shot on the Run, take Dodge instead.
- Improved Critical: Ranged.
- Favored Enemy: Evil Outsider
- Empower Healing, to help keep yourself/ allies alive. If going SotR route, Take Mobility instead.
- Your Choice, unless you took SotR route. If so, take Shot on the Run here. Maybe Toughness for more HP.
- Weapon Focus: Ranged for more Ranged Power. Favored Enemy: Construct.
- Favored Enemy: Aberration.
Epic Feats: Combat Archery, Epic Reflexes, Scion of the Plane of Earth recommended, but none really stand out.
Enhancements: At the start of the build, you’ll want to take points into Deepwood Stalker until you get Weapon Finesse, then go into Arcane Archer to get Acid Arrows and from there just keep increasing elemental damage.
More detail to come in the next post.
Early Solo Levels: For the first few levels, you’ll want to get the Warforged barbarian hireling from the vendor, and put him on active. Let him do all the work until you reach 3rd Level, then get a cleric and take over.
Early Group Levels: Try not to kite, stay out of everyone’s way. Let your group carry you for the first few levels. You will likely fall back to a support role, unless your damage is so much you’re the biggest damage dealer. If so, let the other players get the aggro, then begin with the monster murder.
Mid Solo Levels: This level range is where this build will shine. Add to your acid and ranged damage with Corrosion augments and enhancements and watch everything die.
Mid Group Levels: Same as early levels, but with more damage capacity. Be careful not to draw too much mob aggression!
Late Solo Levels: When you reach level 15 or so, you will notice that things don’t die so easy. Your build will start to gain abilities to aid in your kill rate, but strategy will be of more use.
Late Group Levels: Nothing has changed, continue whatever strategies work best for you in the groups you run. If the same strategies don’t work, it’s best if you experiment with other options to see what works best.
At All Times
Equipment: Whatever you can find from chests/ drops, bows should be: Serpentbranch Bow until 8th level, Silver Longbow until tenth if you have the Ravenloft expansion, or- if not- until you get the Thunderforged Longbow in epics. Upgrade your Corrosion augment until you get the 20th level, at which point continued upgrades become all but pointless.
Spell Use: Your spells will focus on buffs and heals.
SLAs: Your SLA will be damage buffs and arrow conjuration.
In the next post of the series, I’ll cover each level range (Low/ Mid/ High/ Epics) in more detail.
If you’ve made a similar build and have advice or a comment on this build, please visit the build page, and do so there.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. If you enjoy what you’ve read, please be sure to give me a follow!