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How I Build My Toons
As the author of several newbie guides, I have received many requests from players to run through their build ideas. I love participating in build critiques as it not only serves to increase my knowledge of the game but also to share with others my own experiences. In my three years in DDO, I have seen a lot of builds. There is no one true way of playing a race or a class. The same character in the hands of different players can and will be played differently.
So what makes a build successful? This is a tough question to answer. Personally, a successful build should be one that can first satisfy the requirements set by the player. Why is this so important? The player is the one playing the build, if he or she is not able to have fun, then it is pointless. Second, the build must be able to contribute to the party in as many ways as possible towards quest completion. This is a little more complicated. What I mean by contribution is to maximize the build's uses and to reduce its needs. I'll use two scenarios to explain.
 Scenario 1
A party with two fighters are in a quest. The first fighter is a two handed fighter and the second is a sword and board fighter. Fighter A is an excellent mob killer but unfortunately his armor class is so low that he requires very frequent healing and through the quest died many times. Fighter B does not kill as well as Fighter A but is doing a decent job. Throughout the quest he needed little attention from the healer. In fact, Fighter B saved the party a few times from a party wipe by grabbing all the attention with intimidate.
Fighter B contributes to the party. Fighter A drags the party down
 Scenario 2
A party with two fighters are in a quest. The first fighter is a two handed fighter and the second is a sword and board fighter. The current quest they are in has a lot of mobs that seem to ignore armor class, hitting both the fighters easily. Fighter A picks on one mob at a time taking it down quickly to reduce the damage it can inflict. Fighter B tries to grab the attention of the mobs with intimidate but in the process dies a few times.
Fighter A contributes to the party. Fighter B drags the party down
What am I trying to demonstrate with the two scenarios? Both have the same fighters but they both play the same way regardless of the quest. In doing so, they are not contributing as much as they can. A successful build must be able to adapt to different quests by being able to switch roles. Take a cleric as an example. A cleric that only heals is contributing little to the party. If the cleric can chip in with some crowd control spells or even damage spells, the cleric is contributing a lot to the party. To be able to do so would thus mean having a good basic understanding in what works and what do not. This is the purpose of this thread.
In this thread, I will discuss how a build is made in several topics: