Starting a Sorcerer
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- A Sorcerer learns spells instinctively, unlike a wizard that learns by studying.
- A Sorcerer's spells are powered by his/her Charisma and can require components to be cast.
Also, keep in mind that Sorcerers can cast Repair spells, healing Warforged characters without the penalty imposed on Cure spells. The Sorcerer has a very limited selection of simple weapons, and usually only wears cloth armour. Heavier armour incurs a chance of arcane spell failure. These factors typically force the Sorcerer out of melee to the back row, contributing to battle with their ranged spells and/or bow/crossbow. Well that's the official line. In reality, a DDO sorcerer should be a walking array of firepower (or acid/ice/electricpower as you so choose) that will overwhelm all who oppose you. Back row or not, the shear amount of death you are dealing will cause the mobs to agro on you fast and concentrate fire on you. To deal with this you should:
- Kill them before they can attack/significantly damage you. This is the sorcerer's preferred method.
- CC ("crowd control") them while you kill them. Typically wizards are much better at CC, but sorcerers have a few spells (such as sonic blase and greater shout) that are evocation spells (the school sorcerers most often specialize in). Focusing in enchantment spells also works wonders in keeping the mobs off of you while you fight.
- If all else fails, have resistances and immunities to live long enough to finish the fight. Spells like blur and displacement help, and careful selection of items that make you more durable (the belt of health that gives +5 hit points from the Storehouse's Secret is an obvious one).
- Note that the difficulties with armor only occur when you are casting a spell. One favorite tactic is to cast firewall, then equip a tower shield (no proficiency needed if you aren't attacking while using it) and blocking with it.
Your Charisma fuels your spells. It dictates how strong your spells are (their DC, or Difficulty Check) and how many bonus Spell Points (SP) you get. There is no obvious choice for your sorcerer. Human is possibly the best starting point as they get the Human Adaptability enhancement to add to their Charisma. Warforged is popular choices since can self-heal with repair spells but suffer lower Charisma. Dwarves and Elves have no real benefits for a sorcerer.
Once you have a character with 400 points of Favor, you can create a Drow. Drow get a bonus to Charisma allowing them to start with a score of 20, and increase it via enhancements to 22. No other class can match that (although humans can hit it temporarily via power boosts, and take a bonus feat that powers the DC up permanently as well). The intelligence bonus helps them match humans in skill points as well. The constitution penalty is notable, but can be worked around. Warforged largely remain more powerful for heroic play (levels<20), but eventually drow and humans can heal themselves via epic powers+twists.
Another tip: 1 point in tumble at level 1 helps you tumble out of the way of ray spells. This has an added benefit of slightly reducing your damage from falls. Additionally, adding 1 point of perform unlocks perform bonuses to be added to sonic spellpower (while you are unlikely to afford any more points in perform, you will add charisma points and perform item bonus (if any, seems unlikely) to sonic spellpower).
- Strength is a tertiary stat for sorcerers. Many players prefer at least a 10 here as certain strength sapping effects, like Ray of Enfeeblement, Ray of Exhaustion, can leave you helpless and unable to cast spells.
- Dexterity helps a Sorcerer to avoid being hit in melee combat by any of the many enemies who may become enraged by your damaging spells and charge past the melee combatants to attack you. It also helps to protect you from becoming helpless from Ability Damaged to Dexterity. The Armor Class bonus from Dexterity soon becomes irrelevant as you tackle higher level monsters, but the bonus to Reflex Save is considered by some to be valuable.
- Constitution is always helpful for any character. More Constitution equates to more hit points, and a higher Fortitude save. Constitution should (nearly always) be your second highest stat and in sorcerers should be no lower than 16 (except on elves and drow where 14 is the best they can do).
- Intelligence affects a sorcerer's skill points. Higher Intelligence allows more skills to be boosted. Sorcerers should max spellcraft and if Warforged/Bladeforged repair. Use magic device is nearly as important. Note that once you have your needed skills, adding more intelligence is an expensive way to get them, and should only be done if you can't improve constitution at all.
- Wisdom affects a sorcerer's Spot skill and his Will save. Higher is better, but very few sorcerers have a Wisdom score higher than 8. Will Save can be greatly increased by taking the Force of Personality feat.
- Charisma affects a sorcerer's casting ability. Higher Charisma leads to higher spell point totals and higher DCs for the spells you cast. The great majority of sorcerers start with 18 or 20 Charisma. (20 is only available to Drow elves and 16 is the maximum available to Warforged.) Sorcerers should always max their charisma.
Sorcerers get no bonus feats in DDO. At level 20 they will have 7 Feats in total. (8 for Humans)
Feats sorcerers will find useful include (somewhat in order of importance)
- Maximize Spell - Increases spellpower by 150 at a cost of 25 SP per spell. Take this first as the cost isn't applied to SLAs ("spells" you get from enhancements).
- Empower Spell - Like maximize, but increases spellpower by 75 for 15 SP.
- Heighten Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast all spells at your highest spell level. So if you cast a level 1 spell like Niac's Cold Ray and you can cast level 5 spells, your spell DC will be 10 + 5(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier) instead of 10 + 1(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier). You will need this for any CC casting. Make sure you take it before taking the second SLA of lightning savant (which has a stunning component).
- Quicken Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast a little more quickly, with no chance of interruption.
- Spell Focus - Selected for a type of spell, it makes that type harder for enemies to resist or ignore. Note that acid savants tend to focus in conjuration, other savants tend toward evocation. Expect to take this feat with both evocation and enchantment. Note that taking this unlocks critical paths in the wizard epic destiny (far, far, in the future of new sorcerers).
Other feats (Humans will select two, drow and warforged must do with one).
- Greater Spell Focus - Selected for a type of spell, it makes that type harder for enemies to resist or ignore.
- Spell Penetration - Gives you a bonus against enemies with Spell Resistance.
- Greater Spell Penetration - More of above (rarely kept after level 26).
- Mental Toughness - More spell points, a small increase in spell crits, and unlocks epic mental toughness.
- Past Life: Arcane Initiate, Past Life: Arcane Prodigy If you qualify for these feats you should be editing this page, not reading it.
- Toughness - A few more hit points. Largely a legacy of older builds where it was more important (but can also open epic toughness if your character is tough enough (unbuffed (no spells, items, or enhancements) constitution of 21 or more))
- Improved Mental Toughness Only for characters obsessed with spell points and getting those fire crits for just rewards. In other words don't take it.
- Extend Nerfed mostly passed usefulness, it increases the lengths of your buffs and might be better than some of the feats on this list.
- Enlarge Free SLA metamagic might actually put this in play for sorcerers. I'd strongly recommend greater spell focus feats first.
Epic feats (characters get epic feats at levels 21,24, and 27).
- Ruin An epic damage spell (500 points of damage).
- Epic Toughness 50 hit points (see above in toughness for other requirements).
- Epic Mental Toughness 200 spell points and a 1% increase in spell crits.
- Hellball a 10th level spell
(you can also take heroic [normal] feats if you prefer them)
Many skills can be useful to a sorcerer, under the right circumstances. Plan ahead, before you make the character, as far as which skills you'd like to be able to use.
- Spellcraft increases the damage your spells do. Max it. Increases spellpower by one point per point of spellcraft on most spells.
- Concentration is highly useful. When you take damage while casting, you roll a Concentration check. If you succeed, the spell is cast. Failure means you used the spell points but the spell did not come into effect. The metamagic feat Quicken Spell can be used to supplement a poor concentration skill at the cost of extra spell points.
- Use Magic Device allows the sorcerer to use scrolls and wands made for Divine casters such as Paladins and Clerics. This is almost must-have for fleshy races in order to heal via Divine wands and scrolls.
- Repair is useful for Warforged and Bladeforged sorcerers, because it increases their spell power with Repair spells.
- Heal is useful for humans and drow once they get to 20+ levels and manage to unlock/twist coccoon (a looong process). Not too useful until then (but then it is too late to add to skills).
- Tumble and perform are good skills to spend 1 point to unlock them (tumble lets you tumble at all, which can improve your saves. Perform lets you add charisma and any perform bonus to sonic spellpower. While sonic spellpower is rarely important in itself, many sonic spells are useful as they often include cc components on evocation spells. Increasing any additional damage certainly helps).
Situationally useful skills (depends on playstyle):
- Perform is another skill that is wildly more useful with just a single point. With perform unlocked, all perform bonuses (charisma and items) add to sonic spellpower.
- Diplomacy is highly useful. It can allow you to convince enemies to leave you alone. If the party runs into a large group of enemies and one or more of them targets your sorcerer, you can activate the Diplomacy skill to convince them that some other member of the party is a bigger threat, and they will leave you alone.
- Balance allows a character to get up faster after he's been knocked down in combat. Since preventing the knockdown requires either high Strength, high Dexterity, or the divine spell Freedom of Movement, investing in this skill can help you to stand back up sooner after some creature does knock you down.
- Bluff allows your character to convince certain Non Player Characters to do something for you, or to give you some information. It is rarely useful, but when it is useful, it can sometimes save significant amounts of time. With a Sorcerer's high Charisma, a few skill points at most is usually sufficient.
- Haggle will allow you to purchase supplies at slightly lower prices and will improve the price you get for items you sell to vendors.
- Spot allows you to see enemies who are hiding before they are on top of you and attacking. Some creatures are easier to see than others, but even a few points in spot can make a difference.
- Jump will allow you to bypass enemies and avoid traps. Note that increasing jump past 40 makes no difference and that 9th level sorcerers can get to 30 with a the Jump spell (various items and buffs can easily cover the rest). Few sorcerers regret not putting points into jump.
Sorcerers have access to 4 elemental trees (air, earth, fire, water) and one melee/force tree, Eldritch Knight. Placing points into elemental savant trees also lock out access to the opposing tree: fire and water oppose each other and air and earth oppose each other. The savant trees themselves each focus on a specific element. Fire Savants focus almost entirely on purely destructive spells in both area and single-target form. Air Savants gain a special jump-like ability and tend to be the most rewarding of the savant trees in terms of raw damage, provided you keep up with your evocation DC's. Water Savants tend to have the highest single-target damage, and provide useful movement and attack speed debuffs to targets of your cold spells. Earth Savants focus on acid spells, gain a small bonus to their defenses, and tend to focus more on persistent area-of-effect and damage-over-time spells.
Most commonly, sorcerers invest in one or two of the elemental trees. Some of the most important considerations are maximizing the number and power of SLAs (Spell Like Abilities). These SLAs have minimal cost (2-6SPs) regardless of metamagic enhancements (so take maximize, empower, and maybe highten early and set each SLA to "always" use these metamagics). Other enhancements are important (warforged nearly always will need either enscribed armor under the racial abilities or the Eldritch Knight enhancement which also removes the "armor penalty" due to the warforged body), but the SLAs let you power through quests while burning SPs only where you need to burn them.
The consensus opinion on starting Charisma seems to be that a starting score of 16 to 18 is necessary. Starting with a Charisma score of 18 (or 20 for Drow) maximizes a sorcerer's starting save DCs and grants a few bonus spell points. The spell point advantage is minimal, but the higher save DC is very important. Having a higher DC for all of a sorcerer's offensive spells reduces the chance that enemies will succeed at full or partial saves, making the sorcerer more effective overall.
Another school of thought on the subject of having a high Charisma says that in the point buy system, a score of 17 or 18 uses too many resources to be worth the benefit. Proponents of this line of thought believe that spreading stat points around more will make a more effective character overall at the cost of having a lower spell save DC.
Warforged inherently have lower Charisma which would normally make them a poor choice. They make up for this with their powerful racial immunities and arcane self healing ability. Warforged sorcerers are some of the most powerful characters available (at least for levels 1-20) and are can unleash an entire party's worth of damage all by themselves, self-heal, and repeat.
As a sorcerer, you will know a very small number of spells, but you will be able to cast them rapidly and you will have more spell points at your disposal than any other class. In some situations, no class is more desired than a knowledgeable sorcerer.
Arcane spells fall under one of five categories:
- Offensive spells like Magic Missiles and Burning Hands, every arcane caster needs some kind of offensive spell if they plan on doing any damage that won't result in their quick death.
- Buffs (spells that aid yourself and your allies) such as Jump, Haste, Stoneskin or Shield.
- Debuffs (spells that hinder enemies) such a Ray of Enfeeblement, Bestow Curse or even Break Enchantment (can be used to remove curses/magic effects from your party or buffs from your enemies).
- Repair spells that can heal Warforged (keeping yourself alive sometimes means keeping other party members alive first).
- And finally crowd control spells such as Web or Mass Hold, this type of spell limits the number of attacking enemies or at least hinders their approach.
- Str: 8 (0 build points)You won't be winning arm-wrestling contests, but still make sure to have some sort of strength item so you will be able to continue casting after a spell-caster hits you with a Ray of Enfeeblement.This may be too low and may have to leave loot behind because you are too weak to carry it.
- Dex: 8 (0 build points) Luckily DDO won't penalize (or even show) you for tripping over your own feet. Your AC doesn't matter at all after somewhere after level 5.
- Con: 16 (10 build points) You won't be trading punches with minotaurs in Stormcleave, but you will have enough hit points most creatures won't be able to kill you in one hit. While you might drop this down to 14 and split the points between strength and intelligence, never dump this stat.
- Int: 10 (2 build points) You are still pretty dumb, but smarter than the Half-orc (your charisma score will make everyone overlook this). You need enough intelligence to max spellcraft, repair for Warforged/Bladeforged, and use magic device. Everything else can wait for a tome.
- Wis: 8 (0 build points) You won't be mediating a peace settlement in the middle east, but still make sure to have some sort of wisdom item for your Will save.
- Cha: 18 (16 build points) You will be suave, debonaire, and confident. You will have as many spell points as it is possible to have at the start of the game, and your save DCs will be as high as they can be.
- Concentration - You need a high Concentration to cast spells while under fire.
- Spellcraft increases your Spell Power, making your spells deal more damage.
- Use Magic Device - Use Magic Device will allow you to use magic items built for other races or alignments. You can use arcane scrolls and wands without this skill, but it comes in handy for self-healing and certain items later in the game.
- At first level, Maximize for more firepower mostly to power your SLA´s (note you are unlikely to turn either on normal spells till 6th level).
- Human bonus feat (at first level) Empower Spell just like Maximize, only less expensive.
- At third level, Spell Focus evocation for fire savant later, for Earth savant you will want to take it in conjuration (Niac's is a conjuration spell and the only save that matters for your first few levels).
- At sixth level, Heighten make your DCs higher.
- At ninth level,Quicken - Sorcerers cast fast but you can't rely only in that at high levels. Note that if your concentration is high enough, you shouldn't have to use this often.
- At twelfth level, Spell focus Enchantment. At some point you have to keep the mobs off your back while they die. This should help some cc spells land.
- At fifteenth and eighteenth level, Greater Spell Focus Evocation, Greater Spell Focus Enchantment - there are many feats you can take here and you will have a good idea how they work by level, 18 or Spell Penetration (and later maybe even Greater Spell Penetration or Epic Spell Penetration more, more, more spells must land! (although these two aren't typically kept after level 26)).
- Your first enhancement should be to start the water or fire savant line. Starting with the water line will increase the damage of your Niac's Cold Ray by 50% (note that if you are wearing your Apprentice's Robe, you won't get a similar effect from taking the next level as you will have already capped Niac's damage at 5 caster levels), or unlocking fire line will boost your fire spells.
- The next three enhancements should be to take Niac's Cold Ray or Burning Hands as an SLA. Even if you have this as a spell (and you should), the overpowering damage and ultra-cheap SP cost will make this your best spell (when it is off cooldown). Both Niac's cold ray and Burning Hands can do great damage if you Maximize and Empower them, drag the spell from the enhancement tab on your character sheet onto your main toolbar and right click to select "maximize: always on" and "empower: always on".
- Your next goal is to add as many SLAs as possible. The acid line mixes well with water (unlike fire) and gives a great SLA in Acid Spray. Do the same thing as in water, except in acid.
- You won't be able to get any more SLAs (unless you want to play tricks with opposing schools) until 4th level, so look for anything that looks good. Increasing charisma, healing amplification, and (temporary) spell power boosts all look good for human sorcerers.
- I recommend switching to fire savant at 5th or 6th level (with two levels of fire savant you can get your second ray of Scorching Ray, with 6th level comes Fireball). Fire still works well with acid, but not so well with ice. At 12th level, the chance to spam unlimited maximized & empowered fireballs is irresistible (although acid might even work better, especially if you have patience for Melf's Acid Arrow).
- Eventually, most of the options balance out, and you can move into any option. I still recommend the above for early levels. I'd also recommend having at least two elements with plenty of points spent, as there will always be mobs immune to your best spells.
- Note that most acid spells are conjurations and most of the other elements are evocations. If you want both acid and another line, you cannot expect feats/enhancements/items to work on both. Personally, I find both the knockdown immunity and winddancer enhancements of the air line irresistible (and plays well with either fire or ice).
Pick a few of these, and if you find that one is less useful than you thought it might be, go back to the trainer and pay a small fee to replace the spell with another one. See also full list.
- Niac's Cold Ray should be your go-to spell at lower levels. Fleshlings will love what the robe of the appretice does for it (increases caster level, doubling the power at first level). Take water (ice) enhancements to increase its power and then get the spell as an SLA (and put it as a separate item on your button bar with "always maximized" and "always empowered" turned on by right clicking the spell). Keep this up until at least 4th level or so (by 6th level you will likely switch to fire specialization)
- Repair Light Damage will let warforged sorcerers heal themselves. Long-time players with huge plat reserves prefer buying potions (hint, try the tower of the twelve), but starting WF players will love RLD.
- Master's Touch will surprise those unfamiliar with DDO. A greataxe is still an effective weapon in the hands of a sorcerer who dumped strength, as long as he has cast Master's Touch. Using the axe can save SP on longer adventures, and where monsters resist your favorite spells.
- Acid Spray and Burning Hands are okay offensive spells when starting. Burning hands is better on Korthos (i.e. take it first) since it does extra damage on the ice spiders and ice flenser, and they are immune to niac's cold ray. Swap it for Acid spray (at any sorcerer trainer) when you leave korthos (or have just too many levels in ice savant) as the slimes in the harbor are immune to both fire and ice, but can be killed with acid.
- Some other spells to enjoy at higher levels:
- Sonic Blast is an evoc spell with a will saving throw to avoid stuns. What this means is that if you hit a big dumb brute (like an ogre) with it, it will stop and do nothing for a few precious seconds. Since this is an area of attack spell, it will stop even groups of brutes and let you hit them with things like acid spray or burning hands. It is also the best barrel breaking spell in the game, so it is sometimes worth slotting just for the xp bonus you get that way. Top trick, set this to "maximize: always off" to avoid paying extra for the minimal damage it does (although you obviously might want heighten on it at higher levels.
- Jump at 9th level it will nearly max out you jump score on its own (30 points out of a maximum 40), and by that point you aren't using many first level spells for damage
- Scorching Ray becomes more powerful if you can get your caster level (for fire spells) up to 7; you will probably want it at level 5 (with two levels of fire savant to get you to the magic 7th CL mark).
- Web One of the most popular CC spells for sorcerers, even better for Acid-based sorcs (it's a conj spell). Warning: fire spells will often burn the web away. Use ice storm or acid rain instead.
- Resist Energy is needed if you don't have guild resists and can't afford the +20 potions in the twelve. Eventually (at 11th level or so) take it anyway to give full protection without worrying about ship buffs.
- Fireball This spell is enough to switch you from a water savant to fire savant (Scorching ray is icing on the cake). Take it at 6th, adjust your enhancements and go burn down the dungeons until you get to Lamannia.
- Note that the party will likely ask for an occasional haste and rage. It is important, but don't focus all your power and spell points there.
- It has been nerfed several times, but expect Wall of Fire to be your preferred spell as long as you are not a water savant.
- Eladar's Electric Surge and Niac's Biting Cold are the best boss-killers in this game. They can stack 3 deep (each), have no saving throws or spell resistance (important for boss damage) and have the highest damage/SP cost in the game. Don't bother (too often) slapping these on trash, they take too long (the idea is that you are spamming bosses with spells while these tick away the damage, and refresh them each time they come off cooldown).
- Phantasmal Killer If your DCs are up to it, this is your first insta-kill spell. Used to be important, but I tend to stick to killing through superior firepower.
- Reconstruct is the reason you see so many warforged sorcerers. Quickened reconstruct on your toolbar makes nearly any death avoidable.
- Otto's Sphere of Dancing is half of the favorite "disco inferno" strategy. Cast this spell to get the mobs dancing, then cast firewall to burn them up.
- Polar Ray Has no saving throw nor any spell resistance. Great against bosses and anything with evasion and high reflex saves. A bit expensive (and a longish cooldown) for anything else.
Level 9 spells:
- Nearly all spells are useful, depending on your casting style. At this level, you may make your toss-up as you have enough experience to make decision yourself.