I played a human (to get the extra feat) fighter for 8 of my 10 days of beta. I found him much more capable of soloing when necessary than the other classes I played. With the toughness feat and decent con. score he had reached 88 hp by 4th level. (I had just made the xp for 5th level when my beta expired).
The fighter is very much the classic front line of defense and main damage dealer at lower levels (frequently striking for 25 or so hp with a single blow). In parties I tried not to charge too far ahead of my comrades (often lagging slightly behind a wary rogue) but knew to step up to the plate when danger arose. I frequently stepped between a mage or cleric and a charging minotaur but was often rewarded with a heal or bull strength in return. While a fighter is probably able to handle most situations alone simply through brute strength and a few healing or protection potions he works best when part of a party.
I found the best balance when we had 2 fighter types (a ranger, barbarian or paladin would often accompany us) 2 clerics (healing is often brutally necessary and shrines are often few and far between) a wizard and a rogue (the last being so crucial to detecting and defeating some very ingenious and nasty traps). I created my fighter with 18 str, 14 each dex and con, 8's for int, wis and charisma. By taking the fighter strength action point and the strength increase at 4th level as well as a ring of ogre strength (+1 str) I had reached 21 str at 4th level. This made for some nice damage dealing.
I took weapon focus, toughness and power attack initially, later picking up point blank shot and weapon specialization (with slashing weapons) for my feats. I put most of my meager skill points into jump and swim (I found that with my strength it wasn't a problem to swim in full armor and later got a ring of underwater action which was lots of fun). In classic pen and paper D&D which I've played for about 30 years I usually play a rogue/wizard (which I started as in DDO), but when the game goes live I believe I'll resurrect my fighter because I enjoyed playing him immensely and highly recommend that you try the class. -Gugran
The fighter class can be a really fun class to play, and you can either be the hero or the bane of the group. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your party alive.
- Let the Rogue go first - When exploring a dungeon, he'll discover the traps for you while taking little or no damage. He'll also see what monsters are ahead so that the group can appropriately prepare for the battle.
- Never run ahead of your party - If you don't have a rogue, you're going to be the lead guy. Make sure everyone is following you. If you run off into battle by yourself, you're going to become a martyr real quick. I've seen too many fighters run ahead of the group thinking they are invincible because they can take a hit or two, and then end up demolished.
- Plan to run ahead of your party - If you have foreknowledge of the dungeon and are CERTAIN that gates won't close on you when you enter a room (as happens all the time in Delera's Tomb, for example), then tell your party when they should stay back and wait for you to pull monsters towards them. It is especially helpful if they can prepare a spell like web, so that arriving monsters will be trapped as soon as they step in the room.
- Use your shield - There is this nifty little button on your keyboard called the SHIFT key. When you press it, you go into blocking mode. This is particularly useful when you've got a shield to block with. A common tactic is to stand in front of a door, and have one of your party members hit the switch to open the door while you block with your shield. The monsters won't be able to run past you through the door to your party, you'll take very little damage while that shield is up in front of you, and your party will be able to dispatch the goons from safety. Trust me, this one saves lives!
- If you're particularly skilled with the shield, you can trade blows with the evildoers. Hold up your shield while the monster does his attack, then drop it and take a swing or two of your own. Make sure you've got it back up in time for the monster's next blow though. A word of warning: this can be hard to time because when the monster swings on the screen is not always when he is hitting you due to latency and lag issues. This technique is most obviously important with giants, who have a long, slow warmup for each swing.
- Trade tanking - when two fighters are battling one monster, it can only be hitting one of them at a time. Whoever is being hit should block with a shield, and also (with enough time) turn on Defensive Fighting or Combat Expertise. The other should circle behind the monster and attack, with the +4 rear-aspect bonus. Whenever the monster changes targets, change who does the attacking.
- Use the right weapon - It takes different types of weapons to kill certain creatures. If it's skeletons, use a bludgeoning weapon like a mace or maul. Is it kobolds? Try a slashing one. For oozes don't use anything sharp or they'll just divide in two! Have a club handy or just punch em with your hands. They break weapons easily so be careful not to use anything valuable against them or you'll spend a small fortune repairing them at higher levels. Find out which weapons work best for a certain creature, have them in your hotbar, and be ready to switch using your number keys during a battle. At higher levels, you will get weapons such as Reptile-Bane, Undead-Bane, and Giant-Bane, so using the correct weapon for a target gives an even larger advantage.
- Take as few hits as possible - You're a lot more likely to receive damage if you're getting hit from behind so take a step back and keep all those bad guys in front of your shield. Once you've got aggro, it can even be helpful to tumble around to avoid getting hit. Different people have their preferences. Some would rather hold position and keep aggro on themselves to give the rest of the group an easier time killing the monsters. Your main goal is to keep the monster attacking you while taking as few hits as possible.
- Kill the casters first - A few Kobold Shaman, Arcane Skeletons, or Wight Priests can take out a party pretty fast. Because you can take a few more hits than the rest of your group, it will be YOUR job to run past the melee damage doers and kill these casters as soon as possible.