The Seven-Life Itch, Part Two

Earlier, I had made a post regarding starting a new heroic toon, one with a little something different than that which I have played in the past.  After a bit of deliberation on the various races available, I settled on Half-Orc as the race.

Now, it’s time to take a look into what class to play.  Without further ado, let’s get started!

Oh, wait, disclaimer time:  Once again, this is not an evaluation of the class itself, how good it is, blah, blah, blah, just out-loud musings on something different to play than what I’m accustomed to.  Now, back to the rambling!

Classes

Artificer

While I love them to death – well, with the sole exceptions being the House Cannith artificers in the Cannith Manufactury quests (because let’s be honest, those guys are d-bags) – but that kind of destroys the purpose of playing something new when you’ve got several on your lineup.. including the other “mix project,” my palificer artadin.  Sorry, arti, you’re out of this race.

Barbarian

I have one barbarian in the current list of toons, and while I haven’t played through the revamped enhancements directly, this class is also out.  “Half-orc barbarian” is just too cliché.  While it might make an appearance in a multi-class lineup as a splash, it won’t be the primary class.  Just don’t go raging on me, there, barbs.

Bard

To be honest, I think I’m still scarred from grinding through a Spellsinger before the Update 19 enhancement changes to the class, so I’m leery of bards.  In truth, they’re a pretty awesome class, a jack-of-all trades, if you will, and the enhancement pass did wonders for them being viable in more difficult content.  As much as I want to dismiss the class outright for this toon, mostly due to a knee-jerk reaction from past trauma – and the fact we’re talking about a half-orc, here – this one might actually be a pretty solid contender.  After all, who expects a half-orc bard?

Cleric

In spite of my recent post about Mattok, the 15 cleric who gives me OMGWWITitis flare-ups, I’ve run a few successful clerics through.  They’re not necessarily my favorite class, but then again, neither are most of them that have big blue bars.  (That’s not a phallic inuendo, pervs.)  On the other hand, a half-orc cleric isn’t something you see every day, either.. but there are other classes that have had less time in the limelight.

Druid

BEARQUAKE!!!  Okay, the mere fact I just got that excited about a ginormous, two-ton dire bear powered by The Hulk sort of just disqualified druids.  Poo.  I could have named the horc Lemmy and started a catch-phrase of “I just wanted to pet it..” while standing over a pile of corpses.  Ahh, well, I’ll just do that on another server while goofing off.

Favored Soul

Given a toss-up between a cleric or a favored soul, I’ll probably always take the flavored pole.  It’s not because of the bigger blue bar (snicker) that does it, but more the enhanced combat capabilities and Leap of Faith (http://ddowiki.com/page/Leap_of_Faith) that gives the class the friendly nudge ahead.  As with Cleric, however, this one’s been played a few times, and will probably have to watch from the bench for this round.

Fighter

I’ve only taken one pure fighter through to Epics, and aside from the random Disposable Hero PDK, there hasn’t been a whole lot of action on the Fighter scene from my cave.  That lends itself to a few extra points for the class, but tempered with the notion that a half-orc fighter (very common) is only a few nudges away from a half-orc barbarian (totes obv).  While it isn’t immediately ruled out, it’s certainly not in a Top Contender slot.

Monk

There are so many monks and monk splashes in my background, it’s comical to even consider a monk for a something new build for longer than it takes to type this sentence.  NEXT!

Paladin

See above.

Ranger

Hmmmm… now a ranger… I have only played an Arcane Archer through.  Aside from some test builds, I haven’t played through with Tempest, either.  Add to that the Ranger life I played through on my personal challenge was one of the first through to Epics, and is thus less “fresh” than the rather traumatic pre-U19 Bard life I had, and this class is looking pretty up there as a Top Contender.  Yep, the more I think about it, the more this is looking promising.

Rogue

Aside from splashes, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve run a rogue through, too.  It’s probably safe to say that the Rogue makes for the most common single-level splash in DDO history (although it might tie with monk on two-level splashes), but for the purposes of actually playing a class, I’m not counting those little dabbles.  Given the current top contenders are Ranger and Bard, both of whom would play nicely with a splash of Rogue in the build, it’s pretty much a guarantee that whatever I come up with will have a little rogue mixed in with their big blue bar.  (Okay, okay, that one was a lame innuendo.  –Ed.)  Playing a pure one is also a definite possibility.. I could see a giant brute with a stick-build working nicely.

Sorcerer & Wizard

LOLOLOLOLOLOL.   NO.  Not gonna happen.  I don’t care if they have the biggest blue bars.

Judgement Time

As I sit here, with the powers vested in me by my pants, rambling about a video game to an audience of two, the finalists of the Class for the half-orc are as follows (in no particular order other than alphabetical):

  1.       Bard
  2.       Ranger
  3.       Rogue

And now for a more scrutinizing look at the finalists before heading to the 1-800 number for everyone to vote on!  (Not really.)

Finalist:  Bard

Pros:  Arguably some of the best crowd-control in the game, crazy party buffs that are not dispellable, wicked crits with swashbuckling, moderate self-healing, and a smattering of offensive spells that can nail pretty much anyone.  Possibly one of the best “all-around” pure classes.

Cons:  Personal crybaby emo trauma, not very “fresh” (my challenge bard made it to Epics just a few weeks before U19.. something I wish I’d known before grinding that painful life out), lutes, and more personal whining.  Pointing out the obvious “half-orc gets Charisma” penalty even though it’s pretty obvious that dwarves do, too.  And no evasion.

Finalist:  Ranger

Pros:  Wide range of adaptable playstyles, a brutal list of completely free feats (almost the entire two-weapon line!), moderate self-healing, and EVASION. Manyshot rips bosses to pieces from a mile away.  Also, not a bard.

Cons:  It’s not a paladin or monk.  Seriously, that’s the best I could come up with after ten minutes of deliberation.

Finalist:  Rogue

Pros:  Ultimate trapmonkeying, stick builds with the Thief-Acrobat tree come with ridiculous DPS and martial crowd control, splashing into the Mechanic tree could result in “mini-ficer”-esque ranged combat, evasion, practically every skill in the game is a class skill, more skill points than you know what to do with, UMD, sneak attack, rogue special abilities.  Also, not a bard.

Cons:  Squishier than warm Vienna Sausages (exaggeration), no innate self-healing ability (reliant upon pots/scrolls/wands/hires), splashed into almost every build in the history of evar.  Feels less “fresh” than either bard or ranger due to said splashiness.

The Verdict

As I read through what I’ve written on the final judgements, one thing comes through loud and clear:  this isn’t going to be a competition of pros, but rather, a lack of cons.  All three classes pose some very interesting and intriguing build ideas – the hulking swashbuckler with a thin, short rapier (snicker – oh, come on, like you weren’t thinking that, too).  The double-scimitar whirlwind of death.  The ninja trapmaster with a machine gun.  All three of them bring something wicked to the table – and yes, I did consider the bard swashbuckler seriously, in spite of all my whining.

In the end, comparing the list of pros was getting me nowhere, and it came down to evaluating the cons.  In a competition where there are three really strong contenders, it’s usually the one without any flaws that squeaks ahead, and that’s what happened here.  Both the bard and the rogue had some dings – racial penalties and lack of evasion for one, external reliance on heals for the other – but one of them did not.  Even after actively trying for fifteen minutes to come up with something to pin on the concept as a con, I couldn’t come up with anything worth serious consideration.

So, time for the raspberry drumroll, again…

The winner of Tholgrin’s Next Experiment Competition is:

HALF-ORC RANGER!

(More specifically, 19 Ranger Tempest / 1 Rogue Mechanic.)

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