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Newbie guide/Classes and races
The first thing any new players to Dungeons and Dragons Online should know is that every class plays differently. If you have only one character, then you would probably benefit from trying a few others. Roll up a character that is different race and class from your initial character and see how you like something completely different.
Once you've found a type of character you like, then you research more information about the things you can do with that class. Don't worry about specifics until after you've decided what type of function you'd like to perform in the party, i.e. what you would do when fighting in groups.
The Artificer is the tinkerer. Arcane and Divine have no meaning: To an Artificer, magic is fundamental. They study the underlying weave of magic, seeking to understand the how and why of its actual patterns, rather than just how to manifest it.
Artificers are characterized in DDO by two things: their Pet and their Rune Arm. The Artificer can actually be considered two characters working as a single unit: the Brawn of the pet tempered and directed by the Brain of its master. Artificers require a good Intelligence to learn their Infusions, and are able to scribe scrolls and prepare those infusions as a Wizard does. However, Artificers never have to worry about Spell Failure when casting their Infusions.
Their typical weapons are spells, their pets, rune arms and a crossbow. They gain an extra feat every four levels for Artificer type stuff. They also have great bonuses to Use Magic Device(UMD)and can increase items casting level, making them more powerful.
Play this character if you want to be a Ranged, melee-oriented caster
The Barbarian is the bruiser. Big, mean, and angry, and always willing to charge the enemy and silence him for good. They are most notable for their rage ability, which can increase their strength, constitution, and will saves but at the minor expense of -2 to Armor Class.
Barbarians are characterized by a very good ability to hit, very good damage done on each individual hit, very high Constitutions, lots and lots of hit points, and very low armor class. They can deal out a lot of damage quickly, but they sometimes need a lot of healing, due to a lower armor class and there optional abilities which inflict self damage. They are also good for their glancing blows (an additional attack made with most two handed swings which hits all targets around you for a percentage of your main damage) with two-handed weapons with the Frenzied Berserker prestige enhancement. They get passive damage reduction, which reduces damage taken and also a nice 10% base run speed increase.
Pick this class if you like dealing a lot of damage and still withstand hits.
The Bard is the jack of all trades. They can cast spells, use some weapons and armor in combat, have a good many skills for use in combat and out, and they have Bardic music which can help the whole party to perform better in combat.
Bards are characterized by their versatility. You can build a successful Bard in a great many ways. The only constant is that they need Charisma for casting. The amount of Cha you'll want to have depends on how much you'll want to focus on spellcasting versus melee (or ranged) combat. A bard that can't cast spells is a burden to a party. A bard that cast spells efficiently is an incredible asset.
The Cleric is a divine caster who automatically learns most of the healing spells in the game. Calm, collected, and wise, good clerics are always ready to bring you back from the brink of death, and high-level clerics can bring you back even after you've gone over that brink.
Clerics are characterized by their healing spells, and their ability to wear heavy armor and carry some good weapons. In order to cast some of the highest level spells, a Cleric needs a high Wisdom score, particularly for offensive casting spells. Clerics get the ability to Turn Undead, which (with enhancements) can also be used for additional healing or other abilities.
Clerics are a valuable addition to every party and rarely have problems finding a group. With a few melee skills a War Priest can solo pretty much all low level and many mid level quests. See Starting_a_Cleric.
 Favored Soul
The Favored Soul is a divine caster with the ability to heal, cast offensively, or melee. They get a larger number of spell points than a cleric, along with better reflex saves. While their spell points and casting abilities rely on their Charisma score, a high Wisdom score is required for offensive casting. Favored souls learn fewer spells than Clerics, get access to spells one level later than clerics, and can only exchange one spell every three days. Unlike Clerics, Favored Souls do not automatically get all healing spells on their spell list, so it is possible but unwise to create a Favored Soul with little or no ability to heal or assist other party members.
Favored souls often have more of a melee focus than clerics, and gain powerful abilities at higher levels, including Leap of Faith, stacking energy resistance, and one of the best Capstone enhancements in the game, with damage resistance and free casting (only available to characters with 20 levels of Favored Soul,not multiclass builds).
While they are both divine casters, the differences between Clerics and Favored Souls are best described as follows: any well-built Cleric can be decent at casting, healing and melee, but a well-built Favored Soul can be better than a Cleric in two of those three areas, but worse in the third. Many of the more impressive solo achievements in the game have been completed by Favored Souls.
The Favored Soul can be unlocked as a reward for reaching 2500 favor in the game, or purchased in the DDO store.
Fighters run the gamut. From the wily veteran of many campaigns to the fresh-faced young archer, fighters are people who've trained with weapons and armor and don't really know much else.
Fighters are frequently melee combatants, and are sought out for their melee prowess. Strength is very important, as it improves your chances to hit and the damage done per swing.
Some fighters (particularly the archer mentioned above) will focus more heavily on Dexterity than on Strength. There are many good Dex-based fighter builds, but these take a little more knowledge of the game's inner workings to do well. Read up before you attempt it.
Fighters are the best at taking a beating. Even if they do not posses as high hit points as barbarians would, they can reach higher Armor Class with their enhancements and they do not suffer AC penalty when using their core ability (which barbarian suffer when raging). For these reasons, it is quite frequent to see fighters run around with a tower shield. Some builds are even more focused on Armor Class, they have Combat Expertise and a high Intimidate. They grab the monsters' attention and avoid the damages for them. These fighter are often refered as Intimitanks.
The monk is a dynamically versatile martial-arts style melee combatant that fights without wearing any armor and typically unarmed. All monks must be Lawfully-aligned.
Monks have incredible saves, resistances and immunities, building up over time. Monks often escape deadly traps that most other classes (save the Rogue) will succumb. They gain impressive jump and falling abilities and are low in cost to maintain, depending on your build.
By level 3 you must choose one of two paths for your Monk.
The Path of Harmonious Balance ("Light monk") gives a monk skills to assist your party over time with mass healing, removal of curses and disease, restoration, and even raising the dead. Properly played, a Light Monk is virtually self-sufficient.
The Path of Inevitable Dominion ("Dark monk") turns a monk into a whirling engine of destruction, using their abilities for quick dispatch of all but the strongest enemies.
Monks use a special ability known as ki (pronounced "kee"), which powers their spell-like abilities. Ki, however, drains from the monk over time, forcing them to attack to charge it up again. This disadvantage is also the monk's biggest advantage (especially for the Light Monk) as may not need to shrine nearly as often (if at all) as other classes.
Monks chain their special attacks to form Finishing Moves that release their ki for restorative or destructive effect.
While taking a couple of levels of Monk might make for an interesting effect for another class, it is very ill-advised to multiclass a Monk, for many of the feats and enhancements that empower a Monk will never appear, leaving a character in a very precarious state as they level--if they can level at all.
The Paladin is the law man. Knowing what is right and what is wrong, what should be done and what should not be done, what the gods would like and what they would not, a Paladin always does the right thing. People who obey the law and walk in the light have nothing to fear from a true Paladin.
Paladins are known for melee prowess as well as a small amount of healing ability. Many of their abilities are dependant on their Charisma score, but their combat ability is determined by Strength and Constitution more than anything else and their healing spells depend on their Wisdom.
The Ranger is a stealthy fighter at home in the outdoors. Knowing what signs to look for when tracking an escaped felon or a deer you plan to eat for dinner, and being able to put an arrow through a bulls-eye at 300 paces are common feats for a good Ranger.
Rangers need 14 Wisdom for their spell casting, which includes healing; good Dexterity for their ranged combat abilities; and good Strength for their melee combat abilities and damage in any type of combat. Rangers are the only class in DDO that can add their strength bonus to their longbow and shortbow damage.
In addition to automatic feats granted for bows, Rangers automatically gain the Two Weapon Fighting feats as they level, allowing dual-wielding of many weapons.
Rangers are a class that work best if you have a goal in mind when you create the character, particularly in choosing an Prestige Enhancement. Research common abilities and choices before building your first Ranger, and plan out your feats and ability score increases, and you will enjoy it much more.
The Rogue is the sneaky-sneaky. Knowing what a weapon is worth is more important to him than knowing how to use it. Knowing how to disable a trap in order to get to whatever it was protecting is more important to him than knowing how to kill a hobgoblin bare-handed.
Rogues are characterized by their Disable Device skill, which is powered by high Intelligence; and by their sneak attack damage, which is improved every other level. A well played Rogue can cause a tremendous amount of sneak attack damage in melee combat. High Dexterity is important for a Rogue as it helps several of their other skills. Also, to a lesser degree, Wisdom is important for a Rogue, as it improves the Spot skill, allowing the Rogue to react to traps before they are sprung.
The Sorcerer is the impulsive caster. Summoning energy from deep within themselves, they cause the world to change when they need it to, based solely on their own need and willpower.
Sorcerers are characterized in DDO by their ability to cast spells quickly, and their high number of spell points. A Sorcerer's casting ability is based on their Charisma, and while their number of spells grows very slowly, their eventual number of spell points can be matched by no one in the game.
The Wizard is the deliberate caster. Researching lost arcane arts in dusty libraries and learning everything there is to know about everything they find to learn about are frequent hobbies for Wizards.
Wizards are characterized in DDO by their ability to bring the right spell for the mission, and cast it with the right Metamagic modifiers to perfectly solve the problem at hand. A Wizard's spell casting is based on his Intelligence, and he can have a relatively large number of spells prepared, but since his casting is based on learned skills, and not natural talent, it takes him a little longer to cast any given spell than it would take a Sorcerer.
Drow Elves are cunning, agile, and quick. In Eberron, they are quick to kill when they decide killing is the proper course of action, but they are not all evil in Ebberon as they are in some other D&D campaign worlds.
Drow get bonuses to Intelligence, Charisma, and Dexterity, and take a penalty to Constitution.
Drow are not eligible for dragonmarks.
Drow are only available to players who have a character with 400 point of Favor or more.
A typical Dwarf is stout, hearty, and amiable. Masters of smithing, good Dwarven blacksmiths can craft any item quicker and with higher quality than nearly anyone else.
Dwarves get a bonus to Constitution and take a penalty to Charisma.
A typical Elf is agile, arrogant, and protective of all things natural. They have many natural abilities against enchantments, are naturally skilled in light weaponry and ranged weapons and make great scouts. Elves make excellent Rangers or Wizards.
Elves get a bonus to Dexterity and take a penalty to Constitution.
They have higher social skills than other classes, and are given a degree of versatility with Dilettante feats that are unmatched by any other race.
Half-elves suffer from no penalties or bonuses to their ability scores, and are able to use race-restricted magical items that are intended for humans or elves.
A Half-Orc gets bonus to strength at the price of penalties to Charisma and Intelligence. Half-Orcs also have access to racial enhancements to improve their strength and two-handed fighting damage, and are able to use race-restricted magical items that are intended for humans or orcs.
Halflings are half the height of a typical human, but they have twice the spirit, as if to make up for it.
They are naturally lucky, an aid in their saving throws and have many natural advantages to Hide, Jump, Move Silently, as well as thrown weapon skills. Halflings are a natural choice for the versatile Rogue class.
Halflings get a bonus to Dexterity and take a penalty to Strength.
Humans are as varied and unpredictable as they have always been. Humans can do anything, and if you can think of something, a human has probably tried it.
In the last war, House Cannith (supposedly) created the Warforged, living constructs, to act as soldiers in most all of the armies of Khorvaire. In the treaty that ended the war, the Warforged were awarded their freedom, and released from duty as soldiers, if they so desired. Many Warforged still serve in one army or another, though some have decided to try their hands at other tasks.
Warforged get a bonus to Constitution, and they take a penalty to both Charisma and Wisdom, though at level 1 you may encounter a Warforged Sorcerer.
Warforged are not eligible for dragonmarks.