Starting a Rogue
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The role of the Rogue in DDO is to do damage, as well as providing "utility", by using rogue-specific skills. The key to doing significant damage is Sneak attack which gives you a sizable damage boost, when you attack something, that has not yet noticed your presence or is attacking somebody else. "Utility" is provided, by using rogue skills: specifically Disable Device, Search, Use Magic Device, Open Lock, and Spot. With the warning that Spot for locating traps is extremely useful for new players, but perhaps less useful for veterans (Spot can still be useful, if you're using long-ranged attacks, or if you don't want to bump into hidden mobs while sneaking, or for locating randomly placed traps).
The Rogue receives more Skills and more skill points than any other class. There are, therefore, a wide variety of Rogue builds possible. That being said, the two rogue builds most often played are those that focus on skills and those that focus on damage. As a Rogue, you will be expected to provide good DPS and skilled trap disarmament, regardless of your specific build. There are some specialty builds that allow very high ACs and "tanking". For the more advanced player, you should familiarize yourself with multi-class builds, as well.
When building your Rogue, regardless of your focus, you should take maximum ranks in the following skills Use Magic Device, Search, Disable Device and Open Lock (you can spare points on your open lock, if you are short on points). Jump, Spot, and Bluff are secondary choice, and Balance should get some points but doesn't need to be kept at MAX. Put a minimum of 1 point into Tumble because it's fun, and the rest of your skills you can play around with based on personal taste. One nice thing about the Rogue class is that they get so many skill points that, if you discover later, that you didn't build it "right", you can devote the necessary points to a given skill later.
- Constitution: Try to put at least 6 points here. The more the better.
- Dexterity: Most rogues fight with two weapons (synergy with sneak attack), a dexterity score of 17 is needed for Greater Two Weapon Fighting feat. Strength-based rogues start with 15 or 16 DEX and use a tome to reach 17. Dexterity-based rogues start with 17 or more. Few rare rogues dump DEX and use two-handed weapons plus Cleave/Great Cleave.
- Strength is important for melee damage unless you take the dexterity-to-damage route. Even dexterity-based rogues need strength to avoid encumbrance and keep evasion working. 13 STR is needed for Power Attack, otherwise get at least 9 or 10 for a pure DEX or repeater build.
- Intelligence: Rogues that multi-class into classes with fewer skills per level might need to put some points here. Rogue Mechanics can add their Intelligence modifier to damage with crossbows. The Rogue Assassin's, Assassin enhancements DC is INT-based. For a pure Assassin or a Rogue Mechanic, maximum levels of INT are useful towards DPS. Rogues need Intelligence for quite a few skills, Search and Disable Device to name a couple.
- Wisdom is usually dumped. Other than boosting the Spot skill; used to sense traps, secret doors and hidden enemies, it's not particularly useful.
- Charisma is usually dumped as well. Some points help to increase UMD (and less importantly, other charisma skills).
To do damage you will be dual wielding. There are two options for getting your hitroll high enough to hit things, have high strength so that you can get decent hit roll, or have high DEX and take the Weapon Finesse feat which converts your DEX into hit roll. With the Assassin enhancement tree, you can also add DEX to damage after level 3. The advantage of using the high strength method is you will get higher damage through feats (Power Attack, Cleave, etc.) The advantage to the high DEX method is that it's easier for you to get your DEX high because 17 base DEX is required anyway for the two weapon fighting feats and you get class enhancements that raise DEX. Here's a rule of thumb but by no means required, if you want to focus more on pure melee damage go for STR and if you want to go more for skills and assassination kills go for DEX/INT. You need to make this decision in your head at character creation, or you will mess up your character and end up re-rolling.
As you read the builds, remember that this is your game and your character. What ultimately matters is your gameplay experience, so feel free to deviate in race, feats, etc. That said, this is the newbie guide so it's going to focus on what's fun, satisfying, and not going to make you re-roll over and over trying to get it right. Do not under any circumstances go crazy with a skill build forsaking all hope of DPS. All builds are 28-point builds with no tomes, because that's what new players have available to them.
In terms of choosing a race, you should pick Human, Dwarf, or Halfling. Yes, other options are very viable and even great, but you should pick one of those three and you will be guaranteed to be happy with your choice.
Skills Focused Build
For a skills focused build, Human or Halfling are great choices. Human is nice with human versatility and bonus feat, with Halfling you can pump your INT up to 16 for extra skill points and one more skill point higher in search and disable device from the higher INT plus Assassinate DC's or more damage with crossbows after level 6 for Mechanics. These builds are pretty versatile and you can easily switch to a more DPS focus later on by changing your enhancements. Halfling gets extra sneak attack bonuses and a +1 to hit everything, so their DPS doesn't suffer from the -2 STR also. These are very safe choices.
Every four levels put your stat points into DEX or INT if you're a Rogue Mechanic.
- For Halflings, to get Power Attack, you need 13 base Strength, if you want to hedge your bets here that you might want to switch to a DPS rogue later, go with; 13-STR/17-DEX/14-INT.
Keep Disable Device, Open Lock, Search, Use Magic Device, Jump and Spot at their maximum level. Feel free also to keep some of the less essential skills at less than their maximum level, spreading points out between several skills. Don't waste points in Listen, Swim, or Intimidate. As mentioned earlier, it's easy to change your mind on skills since you can catch up easily. Also, if you need for some reason to skimp on one of your core skills, Open Lock doesn't really need to be maxed. If you choose to take Diplomacy or Bluff you should max it, half ranks aren't going to cut it. Bluff is generally preferable because it can be used to safely pull single mobs away from a group if the group isn't aggroed.
For a melee build: Choose Two Weapon Fighting for your first feat.
Choose Weapon Finesse for your second feat (available at level 3, even for Human). Even with the Dexterity-to-Damage and free Dexterity-to-Hit Assassin enhancements, Weapon Finesse lets you (at level 3) use Dexterity-to-Damage with all finessable weapons including rapiers, short swords, etc.
Feats can be exchanged but it's expensive so be careful on your other selections, but typically you are going to want to take the fighting feats that improve two weapon fighting.
For a ranged build: You will be using crossbows or shortbows until level 6, unless you multiclass. Choose Point Blank Shot for your first feat.
Choose Rapid Shot (if you're mainly using short bows) or Rapid Reload (if you're using the Great Crossbow enhancement option). Both stack to increase how fast you fire, but rapid shot works with all ranged weapons and reload only with crossbows.
Precision, when you can get it, is also useful for a ranged rogue.
The nice thing about enhancements is that you can reset them pretty cheaply so you can't wreck your character by choosing the wrong ones. Play around with these and see what you like. A couple of enhancements are worth pointing out for the skills rogue. Rogue Disable Device, Spot, and Search are worth putting some ranks in, and Rogue Skill Boost in addition to Human Versatility (if you're human) are must haves.
Some key enhancements to consider:
On the Assassin tree: Assassins rely more on stealth than the other trees; needing stealth to perform Assassinate. Many people find this type of play hard to solo and less experienced stealthy Assassins usually require a good party to provide cover and take attention away from them. Assassins thrive in parties, which allows you more opportunities to dish out a significant amount of Sneak Attack damage in a fairly small amount of time without needing to be as skilled or focused on stealth play.
The first and second core—combined—give you DEX-to-hit and DEX-to-damage with daggers, kukris, and finessable weapons (with Weapons Finesse). Execute (Tier 4) and Assassinate (Tier 5) are key attacks giving massive situational DPS. Execute—as a sneak attack against an enemy under 30% total health adds 500 damage to your strike. Assassinate is a Save-or-die attack with an INT or DEX-based DC against the enemies Fortitude Save.
On the Thief-Acrobat tree: Acrobats focus on using a quarterstaff and are adept at hitting multiple opponents at once, as well as having an emphasis on mobility and can be quite difficult to pin down. Mastering how to use the tumble skill can make the acrobat a fun rogue to play.
The first and second core—combined—give you DEX-to-hit and DEX-to-damage with quarterstaves. Faster Sneaking is a Tier 1 Enhancement in this tree. The old Rogue Haste Boost is also in this tree only.
On the Rogue Mechanic tree: Mechanics rely more on ranged attacks than melee, using various types of crossbows. They are second to none when it comes to finding and disabling traps.
The first core gives Great Crossbow Proficiency. The 3rd Core (level 6) gives light repeating crossbow proficiency and the ability to add your INT modifier to crossbow damage. The 4th core (level 12) gives you heavy repeating crossbow proficiency. Most of your rogue skill boost enhancements are in this tree (Disable Device, Open Lock, Search, Spot, etc.) as well as UMD. The Tier 1 enhancement Lacerating Shots lets you add a 100% chance of a Damage-over-time effect (Bleed) with a Great Crossbow. The various "flasks" and other clickies in this tree are not on the same timer and can do some decent damage or stun effects if you build for them.
Most melee rogue Assassins use Two Weapon fighting, typically preferring Rapier, Shortsword, Dagger or Kukri. (Daggers and Kukris are a popular weapon choice at higher level as they mesh very well with some specific Assassin enhancements.) Remember that for Two Weapon Fighting you need a light weapon in your offhand in order to not suffer a to-hit penalty (although some players do not find this a problem). On the other hand, Rogues using the Trained Acrobat tree mainly follow a Two Handed Fighting path and primarily equip Quarterstaves for melee.
For fighting certain Undead (to help bypass Damage Reduction) you may want a kukri, sickle or hand axe (slashing) for Zombies, and a light mace (or if you're a Rogue Thief-Acrobat a quarterstaff) for (bludgeon) damage against Skeletons. This undead damage reduction is usually trivial in higher levels, but in lower levels it can be very useful to account for it. Ranged weapons are weak in the damage department overall if you aren't specialized in them, but rogues that do tend to utilize the rapid-fire repeating crossbows or great crossbows (much slower than repeaters, but very high damage output). All rogues will want to use light armor since rogues lose their evasion when wearing medium or heavy.
If you are a Rogue Mechanic, until level 6, when you get to add your INT mod to ranged crossbow damage, you will be highly dependent on critical hits and sneak attack damage for DPS. Stay in close range and use "deception" items or stealth to keep your sneak attack damage going off. Great crossbows can be pretty powerful at these levels and, with the right enhancements, exceptionally powerful at levels 18 and above.
Overall, for trapping gear, try to pick one slot to switch out your gear, whether goggles (recommended), gloves or rings, and use that for a rotating set of gear for your trapping skills. Carry the highest bonus gear you can. Run with Spot on; flip to Search to find traps; then Disable Device to do the trap - and then remember to go back to Spot goggles! Keep your INT and DEX items in other slots. Additionally, if you Cannith Craft, you can craft goggles with these skills in these slots as well as goggles with Open Lock, Bluff, and/or Persuasion (which affects UMD skill).
Get the highest bonus Thieves' Tools you can get. These add to both your Disable Device and Open Lock rolls. You can buy standard tools at general vendors or up to +4 tools through the Free Agent vendor with enough favor. +5's are only chest loot or off the auction house. With the feat Trapmaking one can craft Thieves' Tools at Trapmaking stations with Mechanical Trap parts and responding level weapons (e.g. +1 weapon for +1 tools, +5 weapon for +5 tools).
Damage Focused Build, DEX Based
For a damage focused Dexterity build, Human or Halfling are great choices. The extra feat from human is huge. Halflings get bonus damage on sneak attack which is huge too. These builds are pretty versatile and you can easily cover your rogue skills (although you may be more dependent on skill boosts and gear).
- It should be noted that even DEX based rogues will eventually get a higher STR than DEX due to the abundance of stacking STR items, meaning that Weapon Finesse may not be necessary for your character.
Every four levels put your stat points into DEX
- For Halflings you need 13-STR to get Power attack, and you want a very high DEX value to get enough hit to use it.
- Choose Two Weapon Fighting for your first feat.
- Choose Power Attack for your human feat if human.
- Choose Weapon finesse for your second feat (available at level 3, even for Human).
Feats can be exchanged but it's expensive so be careful on your other selections, but typically you are going to want to take the fighting feats that improve two weapon fighting. Also, you won't use power attack until later because your hit roll will be low, but it's good to get the feat in anticipation of further use.
Keep Disable Device, Search, and Use Magic Device at their maximum level. Take at least some Open Lock, Balance, Spot, Jump, Bluff, Diplomacy and Tumble, roughly in that order (Open Lock is the most important, Tumble least important). Don't waste points in Listen, Swim, or Intimidate.
- Do put 1 rank into Tumble right away, since that enables tumbling at all and lets your bonuses usefully increase your Tumble skill.
You will be using a rapier in main hand and a short sword in offhand. You need a light weapon in your offhand in order to not suffer a to-hit penalty, and when you get weapon finesse it will only work with rapiers and short swords. For Undead you'll want sickles (slashing) and maces (crushing) and a bow for pulling. Ranged weapon are weak in the damage department overall, you'll be meleeing to do your DPS. You'll want to use light armor.
There's gear that will raise your skills so you'll want to wear it to improve your disable device, search and spot. You can get +3 in Korthos areas, +5 at level 5 up to +15 eventually from drops or the AH.
Damage Focused Build, STR Based
Dwarf or Human, if you are dwarf you'll be using dwarven axes and if human you'll be using Khopesh. You'll use oversized two-weapon fighting to let you do this. You'll still be able to handle traps, but you'll be light on skills in general and will have to pick and choose. Still though, this is a great build.
At level 4, put one stat point into DEX. Every other four levels put your stat points into STR.
This build can greatly benefit from Dexterity tomes. You need 17 dexterity for Greater Two Weapon Fighting. A +1 Dexterity Tome allows you to put all your level-up Stat. points into Strength (any character can easily accumulate enough coins to buy one on the auction house). A +2 Dexterity Tome (somewhat more expensive, still in reach) allows you to start with 15-DEX.
- Choose Two Weapon Fighting for your first feat.
- Choose Oversized two-weapon fighting for your human feat if human.
- Choose Exotic weapon: Khopesh for your feat at level 3.
Feats can be exchanged but it's expensive so be careful on your other selections, but typically you are going to want to take the fighting feats that improve two weapon fighting, and slashing feats which benefit your weapon. You will be a little light on feats in general, and most dwarves take 1 level of fighter. This is a big boost and the current capstone for rogue is lackluster, however I recommend progressing some before making the call, maybe to level 8 before deciding.
You have to have a BAB of +1 at least to take the Exotic Weapon Feat. Rogues' BAB starts at +0.75, and decimals are dropped, not rounded up, which means Rogues cannot take Khopesh at 1st level.
If you are not human, Oversized can be taken at level 3. Dwarves who splash a level of fighter may consider dropping khopesh in favor of the dwarven waraxe, considered a martial weapon for them.
Keep Disable Device, Search, Use Magic Device, and Diplomacy maxed. Throw some points into Balance, Open Lock, and Jump. You are going to have to rely on your groupmates, experience, or luck to know when to hit search since you won't have spot. If that doesn't work for you try to work in spot... Don't waste points in Listen, Swim, or Intimidate. As mentioned earlier, it's easy to change your mind on skills since you don't need to max everything.
The nice thing about enhancements is that you can reset them pretty cheaply once every three days so you can't wreck your character by choosing the wrong ones. Play around with these and see what you like. Since you'll be a little weaker early on in the skills dept, Rogue Disable Device, Spot, and Search are sometimes worth putting some ranks in, and Rogue Skill Boost or Human Versatility (if you're human) are must haves. Other than that, pick enhancements that will help you do more damage and dump those utility skills when you get higher level and want to pump out the DPS.
You will be dual wielding dwarven axes or khopeshes after level 3. For Undead you'll want some maces (crushing) and a bow for pulling. Ranged weapon are weak in the damage department overall, you'll be meleeing to do your DPS. You'll want to use light armor.
There's gear that will raise your skills so you'll want to wear it to improve your disable device, search and spot. You can get +3 in Korthos areas, +5 at level 5 up to +15 eventually from drops or the AH. You will be fairly reliant on this to allow you to tackle the traps.
Since the introduction of rogue capstone enhancement Deadly Shadow, multiclassing rogues comes at a cost. Some rogues multiclass with Fighter, Ranger, or Monk, usually for weapon proficiencies and feats. Two paladin levels can increase your saves considerably if you invest into Charisma. A dip into artificer grants proficiency with repeating crossbows and later rune arms.
Use Magic Device (UMD)
Rogues often use this skill to buff and heal. With this skill, you can use divine and arcane wands and scrolls. You can also bypass race requirements on certain equipment. Read more in the topic Use Magic Device.
This is another optional path that can be added to any build but best suits an assassin. Selecting Improved Feint as an early feat, an assassin is able to continually (6 sec. recharge) use the rogue's major damage dealer, (sneak attack) during combat even when the enemies are aware of him. With max points in Bluff and an appropriate +bluff item you can keep most monsters bluffed constantly. A bluffed monster is vulnerable to sneak attack damage even if you are the target of its attack, this can make a soloist rogue viable, or let you keep dealing DPS if you draw aggro. Improved feint during combat couples nicely with sneak attack before combat starts. Also Feint can be used as a pulling tool (see Bluff description). Mindless creatures are immune to Feint; this includes most undead, oozes, animals, etc.
To say "This is not your father's Rogue" would be getting the point across, but it would be inaccurate. Chances are, this IS your father's rogue. DDO plays like the Pencil and Paper version, which means that the rogue implemented here is the more traditional version, and if you're not used to it, it's because wherever you played a rogue before strayed from the original concept. Abandon your preconceived notions from other games and give it a try. Your trap-disarming, lock-opening, danger-avoiding and treasure-spotting skills are unique to the class, and a good rogue has a place in any party. Now that you have a build, read some suggestions on how to play it.