DDO’s AAA

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.

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Overview

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.

The original poster Strimtom can be reached via Twitch. The original post I ran across can be read here.

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Advantages

  1. New Player Friendly: Playable at full damage capacity on a first life/28 point build.
  2. Easy-Peasy Gearing: Requires only one item (Silver Longbow) for maximum damage, and that item comes from a free to play quest.
  3. Ranged: takes almost no damage.
  4. Effortless: It’s so easy to play it makes warlock look like a challenging class.
  5. Disabled/ Lazy Player Friendly: Playable with one hand (though if you want more control, two is recommended).
  6. F2P/ Premium Friendly: Not Race or Alignment dependent, unlike Paladin.
  7. DAMAGE: DPS output is insane, even on Epics.
  8. Self Sufficient: Self heals come in at level 4.
  9. Dual Tree: Action Points (AP) split between only two trees.
  10. Evasion: Level nine brings the sweetness that is Evasion, which means traps, AOE spells, and other ranged attacks aren’t as successful.

Drawbacks:

  1. Lo Rez: Has trouble raising allies from the dead.
  2. Speed Leveler: You’ll level so fast you won’t know what to do with your time.
  3. Does/ Doesn’t Play Well with Others: Other players will have less fun since all other monsters will be dead.
  4. Pop-up Mobs: Issues with mobs that practically spawn on top of or behind you.
  5. DDO Points: Use of DDO points to gain level appropriate Corrosive Augments.
  6. Fort Saves: Low Fortitude Saving Throws means death spells and their ilk can be a nuisance. Good thing there’s Death Ward!
  7. Target Locked: Mobs hate archers and casters. Regardless of what armor you wear, you’ll have a target painted on you.
  8. Typically Fleshy: Dependent upon your race of choice. Subject to poison and other such affects, though there are means of mitigation.
  9. Reaper: Not designed for Reaper Mode!

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Character Creation

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Feats:

  1. Point Blank Shot, if Human also choose Least Mark of Passage for run speed at early levels. Favored Enemy: Undead.
  2. Precision.
  3. Favored Enemy: Giant
  4. Quicken Spell for Heals, since you don’t have Concentration. If you want Shot on the Run, take Dodge instead.
  5. Improved Critical: Ranged.
  6. Favored Enemy: Evil Outsider
  7. Empower Healing, to help keep yourself/ allies alive. If going SotR route, Take Mobility instead.
  8. Your Choice, unless you took SotR route. If so, take Shot on the Run here. Maybe Toughness for more HP.
  9. Weapon Focus: Ranged for more Ranged Power. Favored Enemy: Construct.
  10. Favored Enemy: Aberration.

Epic Feats: Combat Archery, Epic Reflexes, Scion of the Plane of Earth recommended, but none really stand out.

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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.

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Strategy:

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.

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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.

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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!

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16 thoughts on “DDO’s AAA

    1. lrdslvrhnd

      Yep, Dona’s current life was Strimton’s build (with a few tweaks for my playstyle) until recently. Went more with paralyzing for reaper since CC is king when she ETR’d this last time, but she can still bring the DPS (if not quite as much) against stuff that doesn’t paralyze (bosses, undead, etc.)

      Strimton’s build is a *lot* of fun, though. Highly recommended.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Amberscion

    I’ve run 2.5 Heroic lives (1 on my main, 1 on an alt and I’m on the second life on that same alt) using this build. It is good, but it has a couple problems.

    1) The most important thing is that it does not take Paralyzing arrows. This is the Rangers best ability in my opinion. You can lock down 3+ mobs very easily and that prevents a lot of incoming damage to you and your group. Seriously, drop the AP needed to pick up Paralyzing Arrows. You’ll thank me.

    2) Regarding Advantage point 7 above: DAMAGE: DPS output is insane, even on Epics.
    – I haven’t taken it far into Epics. But on a first life character who doesn’t already have the Destinies unlocked it was a struggle. This is contrary to being good in Epics for a first life character.

    And one benefit that it doesn’t even claim, probably because of the lack of Paralyzing Arrows:

    1) Regarding Drawbacks point 9 above: Reaper: Not designed for Reaper Mode!
    – Nonsense! Paralyzing arrows locks down Reapers just fine!

    Just be aware of the weaknesses of Paralyzing Arrows. It doesn’t work against undead, Warforged/constructs, or plants. Swap to your elemental imbue, or Smiting in the case of constructs, when fighting paralysis immune opponents.

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    1. Amberscion

      PS: I get 2 of the needed 3 AP for Paralyzing Arrows by not taking the 2 AP Conjure Arrows. Instead I summon Flame Arrows and keep a full quiver of other arrows. You’ll get 1-6 additional fire damage per shot this way, but it does require a bit more inventory management over the conjured arrows,

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      1. Hiyas, and thanks for the comment! I do miss Paralyzing Arrows, and would love to work it in by just reallocating a few AP. I wish it was that simple, but Paralyzing Arrows relies on your Wisdom score to successfully proc, which this build doesn’t have. Maybe if you got a +8 ability tome, then it might be worth it, but this build is supposed to be new player friendly. Once I get some racial reincarnations under my belt and can take it without losing Conjure Arrows and have an inherent tome I’ll probably try to work Paralyzing Arrows into the build, but for now the hit to damage is just too much to put AP or ability points into right now.

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  2. Jason Battle

    Have run a build based on this build through TR 3X for elf and ranger past lives. Build is extremely deadly and works well for new players. I build for acid based, but I skip the Silver Longbow now and run exclusively with a vorpal with or without red augment slot. Only used Paralyzing for Reaper when in a group as the dps hit is pretty high.

    The build does benefit from past lives and the biggest drawback is the lack of UMD, but can be modified, if needed.

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    1. Yeah, I have tried a build similar to this but with paralyzing arrows, and it just didn’t work. UMD would be very nice for rez scrolls and a few other benefits, but unless you’ve got a +5 or higher inherent ability tome, there’s just not enough points to make it worthwhile. I put in what I can, though. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Amberscion

    “I do miss Paralyzing Arrows, and would love to work it in by just reallocating a few AP. I wish it was that simple, but Paralyzing Arrows relies on your Wisdom score to successfully proc, which this build doesn’t have. Maybe if you got a +8 ability tome, then it might be worth it, but this build is supposed to be new player friendly.”

    The second time I ran this build it was with a 28 point first life character on a different server. So no gear from my established characters, just mostly junk 5 levels below my own level, and empty slots. No bonuses to Enchantment that didn’t come from the AA tree. A very few items I picked up off of the AH, like a vorpal longbow. I was able to land Paralyzing Arrows against reapers. Not always, but often enough to make a difference. And against regular opponents it was very effective.

    So don’t think that your build needs a +8 tome or even a lot of Wisdom to make Paralyzing Arrows work. They work just fine

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    1. In my experience, paralyze just doesn’t go off often enough if you don’t have at least a decent WIS. I don’t play reaper (no point in it, since all it does is give you reaper enhancements and a slight bit more XP). Different experiences, I guess. Again, you need to remember that this build is meant for new players, most of which will not run Reaper, so again- Paralyze not really needed.
      Also, I forgot to ask about Summoning Flaming arrows? I don’t see how to do that on a pure ranger build. Am I missing something?

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      1. Amberscion

        “Different experiences” is a hard thing to understand when I’m running this build, which on a 28 point Human starts with a 10 Wisdom, and I can consistently lock down 3+ mobs using Paralyzing Arrows. Once a target is paralyzed swap to a new one immediately. The goal is CC, not damage.

        You’re not going to be soloing Reaper on this build. But if you join a group that wants to run Reaper (or Elites) you’re going to be contributing strong Crowd Control if you take Paralyzing Arrows. And to be clear, if you just run solo you may as well skip Paralyzing Arrows completely. You can have either Para Arrows -or- an Elemental imbue on at one time, and you lose a lot of DPS in exchange for the CC of Para Arrows. But in a group you’re preventing a lot of damage your group would be otherwise taking. So if you can ignore the kill count list and be content that you’re contributing greatly to the success of the runs without some arbitrary list propping up your ego, you’ll be a happy camper.

        Flame Arrow is available on wands (and scrolls). You’re not going to be UMDing these at Level 1, but the build invests max points into UMD so you can use them. Cast them before your dungeon runs where failure % doesn’t cost you any group time. Swap to a +CHA and/or +UMD item. Even with Multishot a Ranger doesn’t go through nearly as many arrows as a repeater build, so ~10 stacks should last you through several dungeons.

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      2. I don’t use wands or scrolls (not enough UMD, and swapping items all the time to get one ability is too much of a pain). I solo nearly everything, so that’s where our experiences differ. I wanted this build because it was good for solo. 🙂

        I should probably point out that I am a casual player. I don’t run Reaper, nor do I run Raids, though I will keep this advice in mind should I ever change my mind on those!

        This is where differing experiences comes into play. In regular HE or HH quests, I kill so fast that Paralyzing wouldn’t make any difference. When and if I ever decide to run Reaper (highly doubtful), I will definitely add Paralyzing Arrows.

        Thank you for this lovely discourse, though! I learned a some things, and maybe I can try your way the next time I play this build. 🙂

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