How Do I Pick A Race
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There are currently eight races in DDO, HUMAN, ELF, DWARF, HALFLING, WARFORGED, DROW, HALF-ORC and HALF-ELF. Except for humans, the other races have favored stats, with which they can increase to 20 instead of the max of 18, and a penalty in the non-favored stat, which max out at 16. Each race has pros and cons which affect how a build will be made. Some of these may be minor whereas others could break it. Choosing the correct race is thus important if one wants to optimise the build.
Base ability scores start at 8 and can be maxed to 18 at creation. Humans get an extra feat as well as extra skill points. They can raise two stats by 1 each as a racial ability with enhancements. Racial toughness max out at tier III rather than II for most races. The Deneith dragonmark is an important feat as they open up intimidate enhancements. The human versatility enhancement is a boost which can be applied to either skills, damage, attack, saves or armor class for a short period of time, plus it can be used simultaneously with any other enhancement line (similar boost excluded). For example you could use human adaptability damage with fighter haste enhancement for a huge increase in DPS for 20 seconds. In short, humans are the jack of all trades. In build decisions, humans are preferred when a build is feat or skill starved. Humans are also considered when there is a need for the use of human versatility to make use of a boost which is not available to the class. In addition, many intimitank builds are based on humans as they can reach the highest intimidate with Deneith intimidate enhancements and human versatility. Last but not least, human is one of only two races that are able to get the highest wisdom through the use of human adaptability and human greater adaptability enhancements.
Good for: Everything!
The favored stat of elves is dexterity which starts at 10 at creation and has a penalty to constitution which starts at 6. Elves are quick and this is also the basis of the racial ability to raise dexterity by 2 with enhancements. Elves have an innate resistance to enchantments which they can further improve by spending some action points. The main draw of elves is the ability increase the attack and damage when using certain weapons, namely bows, rapiers and longswords, or falchions and scimitars. Also all Elves are eligible for the Arcane Archer prestige enhancement which allows for summoning magic arrows or enchanting arrows with special elemental damage or other magical effects. A testament to their expertise, all elves, regardless of class, are proficient in longswords, rapiers and bows. Elves are also excellent magic users. This is reflected in the ability of elves to lower the arcane spell failure on armor. In addition, elven wizards are also able to increase their spell points and spell penetration through elven arcanum enhancements.
Good for: Rangers (Note: dexterity based builds preferred), Rogues (again, dexterity-based builds preferred), Wizards (although drows are sightly preferred for rogues/wizards due to their CHA and INT bonus)
The favored stat of dwarves is constitution which starts at 10 at creation and has a penalty to charisma which starts at 6. Dwarves are a sturdy race and this is reflected in their ability to increase their constitution score by 2 through racial enhancements. Being hardy, dwarves are able to increase their racial toughness to tier IV. Dwarves are excellent melee combatants and this is reflect by their racial ability to increase the maximum dexterity bonus of their armor by 3. Expert users of shields, dwarves are able to increase their blocking damage reduction with enhancements. They favor the use of axe and can use their racial axe enhancements to increase attack and damage bonuses. They are also tactically aware and gain access to enhancements which increases the difficulty check of their tactical feats. Dwarven melee classes have a free dwarven waraxe proficiency. Another example of their sturdiness is their ability to resist poisons and spells. A pious race, dwarven clerics have access to enhancements which increase their spell points.
Good for: Fighters (including dwarven axe-based splashs), Barbarians (Note: strength based builds preferred), Clerics, Wizards
The favored stat of halflings is dexterity which starts at 10 at creation and has a penalty to strength which starts at 6. Their nimbleness can also be observed in that they have access to racial enhancements which can raise dexterity by 2. Halflings thrive at attacking from the blind side. The halfling cunning and guile enhancements improve the attack and damage they do when they are in a position to sneak attack a mob. Naturally lucky, halfings are not only able to boost their saves but to impart bonuses to party members with the hero's companion boost. While they are talented in the use of thrown weapons, these enhancements are seldom used due the weak nature of ranged combat in DDO. Halflings are very independent; with the use of dragonmarks, they are able to heal themselves as well as others. Due to their size, halflings have a +1 bonus to armor class. However, size impedes them in actions which are size-dependent, such as intimidation, and also with their carrying capacity, which is 75% that of other races with similar strength.
Good for: Rangers, Rogues (Note: dexterity based builds preferred), Clerics, Monks, Any AC-based build
The favored stat of warforgeds is constitution which starts at 10 at creation and has a penalty to wisdom and charisma which start at 6. The main draw of playing a warforged is the natural immunity to sleep, energy drain, nausea, sickness, exhaustion, poison, disease and paralysis effects. While they may not wear armor or robes, they do have a composite plating which increases their armor class. At level 1, they may choose different types of composite armor to further increase their armor class. The use of docents also mean that they can switch very quickly to adapt to the situation. A hardy race, they have racial enhancements to increase constitution by 2 as well as access to tier IV of racial toughness. Warforged have a natural damage reduction and can further improve it by enhancements or feats. A combat class, they are skilled in two handed fighting and may increase their damage with power attack enhancements. They are also able to further increase their tactical feat difficulty check with enhancements. Warforged, being constructs, are less susceptible to divine healing, taking a 50% penalty to heals from divine sources., although spending some action points can help overcome this problem. That said, they can be repaired easily by arcane spells, which makes arcane caster a popular class choice.
Good for: Fighters, Barbarians (Note: strength based builds preferred), Wizards, Sorcerers and Artificers
The favored stat of drows is dexterity, intelligence and charisma which start at 10 at creation and has a penalty to constitution which starts at 6. While drows are similar to elves, they do have different abilities. Like elves, they have dexterity racial enhancements. They are gifted with rapier, shortswords and shuriken proficiencies and are able to increase the attack and damage bonuses of these weapons. They are also able to reduce arcane spell failure of armors but unlike elves, they do not have access to spell point enhancements. In terms of magical resistance, they are far stronger than elves. Not only they are able to have access to save bonuses, they also have spell resistance. Due to their bonuses in three attributes, drows are probably the best race when it comes to building stat heavy builds that are based on dexterity, intelligence and charisma.
Good for: Paladins, Rangers, Rogues (Note: dexterity based builds preferred), Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, Bards, Artificers
The favored stat of Half-Orcs is strength which starts at 10 at creation and they have a penalty to intelligence and charisma which start at 6 at character creation. They have a racial feat called Half-Orc Orc Blood which makes them be treated as orcs by magical items and effects. Their preferred weapons include greatswords and greataxes. They receive an enhancement line that potentially increases their base strength by an additional two allowing them to possess the highest strength in DDO. They also receive an additional enhancement line which increases their strength even further should they be injured below a certain percentage of their max hitpoints. They receive the power attack enhancement line that the warforged enjoy and get many bonuses to wielding two-handed weapons. A nice perk of Half-Orcs is they can potentially receive up to three additional uses of all their enhancement boosts per rest, and it stacks with the Kensei enhancements that do the same. So a Half-Orc Fighter Kensei 3 could potentially have 13 uses of all his fighter class boost enhancements per rest (5 base-2 fighter enhancement-3 kensei enhancement-3 Half-Orc enhancement).
Good for: Fighters, Barbarians and arguably Monks
Most of what was said for Human also applies to Half-Elves. They get access to the full human adaptability and greater adaptability enhancement lines as well as the human versatility line. They count as Elves and Humans for purposes of item use. They get access to the Elven Arcane Archer prestige enhancement. Also they get access to a special feat line which lets them emulate many class abilities of other classes referred to as Half-Elf Dilettante. They take the Dilettante feat at level 1 in place of the human feat, and they do not receive the extra human skill points. However, they do receive the Elven immunity to sleep and enchantment resistance. Some of the uses of the Dilettante feat are qualifying for scrolls and wands for healing or arcane classes, or adding additional sneak attack damage, armor class, or saves for melee builds. They receive additional enhancement lines based on what class they choose for the Dilettante feat; they can also, with enhancements, increase their level, up to level 10, in that class for purposes of item use. A good Half-Elf concept would be a Wizard who can use Cleric wands and scrolls for additional healing. Or a Fighter/Ranger DPS build with 3d6 additional sneak attack damage and the human versatility damage enhancement for an additional 5 damage for 20 seconds. Half-Elves only have access to one dragonmark but it is exclusive to them, the Mark of Storms.
Good for: Everything!
The classes that are suggested in this post are not meant to be limiting. It just highlights what brings out the most in the race. Take an elf for example. It is very possible to make a strength based elven fighter specializing in using rapiers. Such a build is just as feasible as the dexterity based version. However, the inherent benefits of the class favors the dexterity based fighter more due to elves being able to achieve a higher dexterity score. This makes it easier to make a dexterity based elf than a strength based one. Do take note that this is not intended as a flaw of a class but rather a limitation. However, this limitation can be reduced through careful attribute planning and gear.