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How to make your spells stick and/or hit hard

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How to make your spells stick and/or hit hard

Post  Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:34 am

Maximizing spell damage and spell landing proficiency are in my opinion the most important tasks toward becoming a great caster. Lacking in these areas is more often than not why many casters, especially new casters, flounder. There are some key ways to improve here they include:

1. Improve your spell DC's
2. Improve your damage output potential
3. Learn how to cast quickly, efficiently, and accurately


Part I: Improving Spell DC's

Improving DC's is arguably the easiest way to achieve a massive improvement in your casting prowess. Ironically, it is often the most overlooked area, especially at low levels of play. It is truly the most misunderstood aspect of casting. Spell DC's (difficulty classes) follow the following formula.

Spell DC's = Caster ability + bonus + Effective spell level bonuses + 10


If this number is greater than the monster's save roll, then full effect will hit the non immune monster. At low levels and very high levels of play, the mob saves are relatively high compared to your caster DC's. For this reason, it really pays to increase your spell DC's. Even a bonus of one point in your pertinent spell DC can result in a very noticeable improvement of performance. As a general guide,

A starting caster levels 1-4 should look on the following as a goal and good value.
DC of 17-21

End game currently, a good DC ranges from
DC of 36 - 40


It is not necessary to achieve this in all spell schools. And, especially at end game, the value needed for good performance depends on the mob saves. Here are a few ways to improve your spell DC's. Try any or all of them.


Last edited by Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:39 pm; edited 2 times in total


Aandre (Fighter) - Mississippee (Spellsinger) - Gharrick (Warchanter) - Miinsc (Artificer) - Dogfaced (Intimitank) - Comodore (Ranger) - Corkee (Monk) - Joltin (Ranger) - Loca (Rogue) - LeslieWest (Fighter) - Frobozz (Wizard) - RicFlair (Cleric) - Pappalardi (Paladin) - Govvanon (Druid) - VicTwenty (Fighter) - Hyperiion (FvS).
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Ways to Improve Spell DC

Post  Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:34 am

Ways to Improve Spell DC

1. Use eagle splendor spell buff. You can get wands, scrolls, clickies, and potions that last 3 minutes at low level, however, I prefer now to take the spell. A plus 4 bonus to charisma nets a +2 bonus to spell DC's. It's cheap and lasts a long time. Use this until you get a +4 item. House buffs can be used to insure you have high
charisma at start of quests.

2. Get a charisma bonus item. (If you are not using house buffs, then you will need one of these to make sure you have more spell points upon enter quests and after shrines, otherwise, there is no need for this until +4 items or greater are available to you)


3. Get a spell focus item(s) in the school of your DC spell(s)


4. Get tomes to buff casting stat


5. Put all leveling stats into charisma


6. Get charisma enhancement buffs


7. Play a race with high charisma potential and/or start out with maximum charisma


8. Select spell focus and/or greater spell focus in an appropriate school


9. Heighten spells


Guild buffs are another option, however, they don not seem to stack with item bonuses.

** Replace CHA with INT for wizards.



Last edited by Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:44 am; edited 1 time in total


Aandre (Fighter) - Mississippee (Spellsinger) - Gharrick (Warchanter) - Miinsc (Artificer) - Dogfaced (Intimitank) - Comodore (Ranger) - Corkee (Monk) - Joltin (Ranger) - Loca (Rogue) - LeslieWest (Fighter) - Frobozz (Wizard) - RicFlair (Cleric) - Pappalardi (Paladin) - Govvanon (Druid) - VicTwenty (Fighter) - Hyperiion (FvS).
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Napkin = +1DC... is it worth it?

Post  Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:41 am

The benefit of just a +1 DC might surprise you. Here's an example:

Ok, let's say we are looking at 3 angry devils who charge at you. You throw a web. Based on the DC's how will your
spell performance compare.

Assume for saves the devils have again 29. Let's look again at the casewhere one caster has a DC of 35 and the other a DC of 33.



For the fellow with a DC of 33, using the binomial distribution approach,we have a value of n = 3, and p = 0.15. the chance to



Snag one Devils = 0.325


Snag two Devils = 0.0573
Snag three Devils = 0.00337

Now since we want to really find out what the probability that at least three, two, and/or one devil is snagged we must then add the various qualities above. Therefore,



Snag at least one devils = 0.00337 + 0.0573 + 0.325 = 0.3858


Snag at least two devils = 0.06075
Snag at least three devils = 0.0033

These values compare to the original values post as,


Snag three = 0.3%
Snag Two = 6.1%
Snag one = 38.5%

As you can see, we get essentially the same numbers with a different approach. I will leave it to you all to check all the rest of the numbers. Therefore, not only is this type of analysis valid, it is very pertinent to today's caster in DDO. Buffing your spell DC's to the extent that they approach the success with 95% chance individually really makes a big difference. Even a difference of 1 DC can lead to a noticeable difference in performance.



To demonstrate further the difference 1 DC can make, lets look at the situation where the better caster has a 15% chance of success, while his buddy a 10% chance at success. Let's assume that 10 devils charge and
booth let loose with a cone of cold and see how well each caster can perform. A successful snag indicates full damage dealt, while a failure indicates half damage.



The Fellow with the lower DC



Snag at least 1 devil = 0.65
Snag at least 2 devil = 0.26
Snag at least 3 devil = 0.07
Snag at least 4 devil = .012

The Fellow with the +1 DC



Snag at least 1 devil = 0.80
Snag at least 2 devil = 0.45
Snag at least 3 devil = 0.18
Snag at least 4 devil = .05

As can be seen here these are not trivial differences. This is only a 1 DC difference. It is not uncommon to have a DC spec'd caster with a double focus who has a +4 difference. As the difference gets greater, the performance gap widens dramatically.



Better DC's lead to much better damage application for DC based AOE, better performance of CC spells; and better performance of instant kill spells. Therefore, it is my opinion this is one of the most important areas a caster should focus on (if not the most important area).


Aandre (Fighter) - Mississippee (Spellsinger) - Gharrick (Warchanter) - Miinsc (Artificer) - Dogfaced (Intimitank) - Comodore (Ranger) - Corkee (Monk) - Joltin (Ranger) - Loca (Rogue) - LeslieWest (Fighter) - Frobozz (Wizard) - RicFlair (Cleric) - Pappalardi (Paladin) - Govvanon (Druid) - VicTwenty (Fighter) - Hyperiion (FvS).
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Re: How to make your spells stick and/or hit hard

Post  Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:54 am

Damage Output

Ok, having a sufficiently high spell DC is the first step toward becoming an uber caster. However, just as import is understanding spell damage output and how to maximize it efficiently. IMO, the goal in life of an offensive spell caster is the one shot, one kill(s) spell attack. Gearing your build and a good plan of attack are crucial to achieving this goal. Think again as though your an M1 Abrams tank. Even though you have other capabilities like damage mitigation and aggro management. The ability to neutralize any opposition before it can even strike takes a lot of pressure off of you, and enables you to focus resources elsewhere. I want to discuss a little ways to boost your damage; ways to produce good damage if your are spell DC impaired; and ways to produce high DPS and Damage. Spell damage is calculated as follows.

Damage = base damage * (enhancements + items + capstone) * (meta magic)*critical mult


Look here for some more info on spell damage
http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=248390

Outside of epic play, a well spec'd caster can out damage and out DPS any other character class in most all quests and many raids. Here are some pointers to improve your damage. Unlike the spell DC pointers most all of these suggestions should always be followed.

1. Make sure you enhance elemental damage and criticals that matches your spells.

2. Grab a superior clicky that matches your damage type for up to a 75% bonus. In fact, collect up to 3 of them for each type of damaging spell you use. This is probably the single most important way to improve your spell damage. This tip is important at all levels of play, and clickies are available at all levels of play.

3. If you can't find a superior clicky, buy a superior potion from house P or other store.

4. If no clickies are available the best potency item you can find will be better than nothing. Its also nice to have potency items as backup in case you run out clicky buffs or you need to buff unusual damage spells like disintegrate.

5. Get and wield a lore item that matches your attack spells. Work toward a major lore item.

6. Empower or Mazimize your spells. This can be expensive and is not really necessary until 8th level or 9th level so long as you have great spell DC's. However, with poor DC's meta magic use early may be necessary as I will discuss below and requires some more skill to properly cast.

With the exception of empower and maximize, all of the above tips should be followed at all times. Consider dual wielding lore items (i.e fire and ice). It is really easy at low levels to get your critical percentage up to 10% or more.

DPS and damage production are two separate ideas. DPS deals with damage over time, and involves putting out a lot of damage in over a short period. High DPS is key to the one shot one kill approach. It is also good against regenerating foes and those mobs you need eliminated fast. Damage production deals with producing high at low cost. Fighting end bosses late game sometimes calls for this approach. Also, when you find yourself short of mana damage production vs DPS is important.

DPS Production:
1. Multi Casting: One of the best ways to kill foes fast is to use great offensive spells in combination. There are lots of combination to choose from, however, two really powerful combinations early to mid game include.

a) Frost Lance and Fireball combined with evocation focus
b) Acid blast and Niacs Cold Ray combined with conjuration focus

The amount of damage you can put out quickly with this approach is maddening. By sixth level consider heightening these spells. The costs will increase, however, the extra damage produced will also increase. At around 9th level consider maximizing these spells full time. By 11th level, a very well spec'd frost lance will put out near as much damage as a 20th level Polar Ray.

2) Learn your enemy: and preferentially target foes with poor saves. For example, Ogre Mages are notoriously susceptible to fortitude saves which make them easy frost lance meat. While most other casters have low reflex saves, spells like niacs work best here.

3) Use meta magic feats like empower and maximize. Most folks will begin to at least full time maximize by 9th level. Ultimately, maximize, empower, and heighten are used full time in all DPS situations. This approach is especially useful if you suffer from a low spell DC, or if you do not want to take spell focus early. In this later approach, you essentially plan on grouping foes into nice packs and use mostly AOE on them. Even though your mobs make most saves, they still take high damage due to the meta magic used and you obtain one shot kills this way.

This approach has some drawbacks if used early. First off, skill and experience are required to learn your foe, to learn how best to group your foe, and to understand ranges and AOE of the spells used. Secondly, stragglers may avoid your attack. This will require you to either shut down the meta magic to efficiently deal with them; waste mana by using and leave meta magic on to deal with them, or resort to another form of attack. High reflex save mobs with evasion will tough to kill this way. A final drawback concerns the dangers of herding foes.

Herding foes can be troublesome and takes practice. Technically speaking you could herd all mobs in the whole dungeon into a nice pack and land one max/emp spell to kill them all regardless of whether they save or not. However, the more you herd the more skill is needed and the longer you leave yourself open to counter attack. Also, dungeon alert is a bit of a concern. Skill and practice are necessary to overcome the troubles associated with this.

High Damage Output:
Persistent spells are the most efficient spells to use for high damage output. One of the most popular persistent spell is wall of fire. Wall of fire is useful against non-immune mobs situationally. That is, use this spell when you are low on mana and need to put out the most damage over your remaining mana. There are other good uses for this spell, however, rarely is it necessary to place it if the DPS option is available. Wall of fire is a painfully slow way to deal with mobs. You are much better off throwing in most cases a well spec'd fire ball than a wall of fire.


Aandre (Fighter) - Mississippee (Spellsinger) - Gharrick (Warchanter) - Miinsc (Artificer) - Dogfaced (Intimitank) - Comodore (Ranger) - Corkee (Monk) - Joltin (Ranger) - Loca (Rogue) - LeslieWest (Fighter) - Frobozz (Wizard) - RicFlair (Cleric) - Pappalardi (Paladin) - Govvanon (Druid) - VicTwenty (Fighter) - Hyperiion (FvS).
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Re: How to make your spells stick and/or hit hard

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